View of Goreme Village in Cappadochia. The pillars are made out of compressed and eroded volcanic ashe.
View of Goreme Village in Cappadochia. The pillars are made out of compressed and eroded volcanic ashe.
Sorry for the hiccup in posts, I know that once a month posts do not a blog make. It’s just that I’ve been real busy with a few minor issues…namely THE COLLAPSE OF THE AMERICAN FINANCIAL INDUSTRY (and the subsequent collapse of my bonus for the year) as well as violence in the [my] motherland. So blogging took a backseat for a while.
There have been some positives during the last month though. FOOTBALL SEASON has arrived to save my Sundays until January. And the defending champion NY GIANTS are off to a 3-0 start. [Tho I have to say I’m really pissed that Monday Night Football is on ESPN and not a public channel. For cheap non-cable having bastards like me that is a huge blow. The weekly showcases should always be on public TV. I’m really sick of the big leagues selling out to the cable networks.]
I’ve also been real busy planning my trip to Turkey which is coming up in 2 weeks!! I’m so excited.
And I just can’t hide it.
AND I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW, I WANT YOU [shut up it’s a fun song]
After my insane previous experience with it I am actually asking for more punishment by trying to rent out my apartment again. I put an ad up and got the typical idiotic responses from people saying things like, “Looks good. I take apartment. You said only available in October. I need for November to February. Where can I sign. Take check?”
I got another hit from a chick who I soon discovered was a 16 year old girl traveling internationally on her own but meeting friends here..code for ” if you give me the keys to your apartment I will turn it into the set of the newest lifetime movie entitled The Young and the Pregnant. No thanks sweetie. Not in my bed, Suzie.
But I’m talking now to an older couple who seem pretty legit, so wish me luck.
PS I’ll try to blog more often by making the posts shorter and more content-specific, so as to keep you fiends off my back about being lazy.
The summer is flyin by, and I’m not happy. Gotta make the most of it while we can, folks. Ive been trying to, but that’s only part of the reason why Ive been seriously slacking with the posts…believe it or not, Ive actually been busting my ass at work. Despite my best efforts to evade acknowledgment and remain anonymous in all aspects of the company other than the payroll, word got out that I actually exist and have the capacity to tackle a larger workload. Sons of bitches…
Here’s another patented ramble to update you on my life, and ruminations on everything relevant (to me) outside of it:
•Just back from a weekend down on the Jersey Shore, where I stayed at my friends awesome beach house. Saturday was a fucking monsoon and I got kicked out of the water because the sissy lifeguards were afraid of the raging lightening. Wimps. Sunday made up for it though…started the day early and got in plenty of sun, and my arabian skin did great under the pressure (I only used SPF 8 sunblock). Came back to work today lookin extra crispy, wearing white to accentuate the contrast, which made all the home-bodies in my office hate my guts. Mission accomplished.
•Reading Things Fall Apart right now. It was assigned in college but I Sparknote’d that biatch. My friend Andrew gave me a spare copy and I thought I should actually read it, being it’s a classic and I haven’t read any other books set in Africa. More to come on this. No spoilers, please.
•I lost my phone in a taxi after it fell out my pocket. No one called or tried to return it. I hate that. Ive found phones before and went to crazy lengths to get it back to the owner. Feels pretty crappy, cuz I know someone found it… Ah well, I have insurance cuz I know I always lose or damage my phones; the list is pretty impressive. I’ve dropped a phone down a sewer grate, in the toilet, in four feet of snow and couldnt find it, one fell on the street and got ran over by a truck…I could go on for a while. That’s why I am the only person in the world who has no interest in an iPhone…I know Im gonna lose that shit in a week. Not much of a gadget person anyway…long as I can make a phone call and it’s smaller than the one Zack Morris used to pull out of his ass in Saved By the Bell, then I’m all good.
•SPORTS. Ok, plenty of quick thought, cuz each is deserving of it’s own post… Brett Favre is a selfish bastard and the Packers are assholes for now declaring that he can compete for the starting QB job, after all this freaking talk about being committed to Aaron Rodgers. They totally gave in to this drama queen. They drafted Brian Brohm because Favre said for the 716th time that he was definitely hanging up his helmet. He put the Packers in such a bad spot, and for that reason alone they shouldve had the stones to move on. Federer is losing his #1 ranking, but is still the best player in the world. I think he’s gonna bounce back in a big way, and people are nuts for prematurely predicting his demise. Manny to the Dodgers is good for both teams. He is gonna play great there (a motivated Manny is the most dangerous hitter in the league), and the Red Sox dont deserve the negative backlash theyve gotten since the trade. That team won 2 championships because of team chemistry, and Manny gave up on them and called out management on a daily basis. Francona is the best skipper in the league and he needs respect from everyone in his clubhouse. They gave up a lot, but in getting Jason Bay and ridding themselves of a clubhouse cancer, theyre a contender that will only get better. Team USA basketball is looking great in their tuneups, and D-Wade is STRAIGHT UP NASTY. Do not sleep on this man!! He lost some luster in the eyes of many the last two years because of serious injuries, but somehow he looks more explosive than ever and has been their #1 highlight reel so far (and he’s a only sixth man). I’m not afraid to say it: USA Basketball is gonna dominate the Olympics. Write it down, bitches. Ron Artest to the Rockets? I’d be lying if I said I’m sure it’s gonna work, because Artest truly does deserve his rep as a headcase. But the conditions are as good as they can be, as he’s playing for a coach who he actually respects, in a system he can benefit from, will be asked to contribute offensively and handle the ball at times, which will make him happy since he’s always clamoring about not being utilized offensively, and Shane Battier can come off the bench as a top sixth man who can play multiple positions. The Rockets are my fav team after the Knicks, and, if by some strange turn of events the Knicks do not win a championship this year, I want the Rockets to go all the way. T-Mac is too damn good to never get out of the first round.
•McCain is a dirty bastard and his attack ads are ridiculous. Trying to knock Obama as a leader by comparing calling him a celebrity in the likes of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears? That shit is weak.
What a loser. Later y’all.
Ive been saying for a while now that I want to live abroad, for a short while at least, and experience life in a completely different environment. Ive begun to travel a lot recently, but that has only motivated me even more to get off my ass in pursuit of adventure. I have a great job here in NY, some stability, friends…but there are other great places besides NY, my friends will still be here and I can make new ones anywhere, and stability at 23 is kind of overrated. It sounds romantic, but living abroad for a while is becoming an itch that I have scratch.
Actually, it’s more like an infected, open wound. Why? Because getting a Visa in the EU (my preferred destination) is so damn hard. What happened to the good old days when an American could just go and settle anywhere he wanted just because he was an American? OK I don’t know if those days ever existed, but I think it was easier before because Americans never fell into the group of skill-less mass migrants who threatened to rely on public assistance; American workers generally had more money and skills and were usually a boon to foreign economies. But the way things have been going, the EU has its own surplus of skilled and educated workers, and work visas are much more easily obtained by laborers from third world economies than skilled foreign competition.
Being an American sure has lost its luster. What the hell, Europe! Dont you want me to bring democracy to your people! Freakin commies…
My company won’t relocate me to a European office because, frankly, Im not nearly important enough here to warrant visa sponsorship. I don’t feel like studying abroad just so that I can get a work visa, which is what I really want — that would be way too expensive. Basically, unless I marry me a Frenchie, I’m on the outside lookin in.
Chicago is looking like the more likely destination if I plan on getting my ass out of NY anytime this decade.
This really pissed me off. I’m going to Turkey for a few months on vacation; it has always been my dream vacation. I think about it as a crossroads of modern human history, where so many civilizations have made their mark on the world, a mark whose beauty is reflected today in the diversity of the Turkish culture.
That’s why I was so pissed off by the news report today that the Turkish High Court overturned a legal change issued by Prime Minister Erdogan that would allow women to where the headscarf at Turkish universities on the grounds that the change violated laws protecting Turkish secularism.
Read that sentence again. The purpose of the overturned legal change wasn’t to require women to wear the headscarf; it was to allow women who choose to wear it to attend a Turkish university.
I know the history of Turkey is complex and that there is a strong general desire to protect secular laws from religious extremism, but this isn’t a question of zealotry or “Islamism” or security. It is a question of liberty, justice, and equality. Secularism can be maintained while preserving individual liberties. These kind of laws cannot be made to assuage irrational fears; think about where the U.S. would be if lawmakers and courts never took a stand against irrational and often ignorant public opinion. The decision of the high court is appalling because Turkey is trying so hard to kiss EU ass and prove that it is progressive, yet refuses to pass laws securing individual liberties for it’s own citizens (the other well known grievance is the strict code of expressive censorship Turkey enforces). The courts are also considering banning Erdogan and his widely popular AKP party from politics altogether…they have banned entire parties in the past and are expected to do it again here.
Obviously there are many other countries in the same boat, but I guess I just expect more from Turkey. I am also especially sensitive to human rights violations that are validated by the courts…I place a lot of faith in court systems as the guardians against corruption, and I feel indignant when they instead become the purveyors of it (I wrote about a similar story a few months ago regarding a US supreme court decision).
Here’s hoping that Turkey can be a place where all people are afforded equal rights, and that any protests that result from this decision are widespread, yet peaceful.
I’m planning on going away for a few days and figured I’d try to recoup some of the money I’m spending on my trip by following the lead of a few friends and renting out my apartment when I’m not there. Basically, the idea is that if you’re going away for a while on vacation, and being you in a tourist hot-spot, there would probably be a bunch of people who’d be willing to rent out your place while they are in town. Sure, my place might be considered a slight downgrade from the Mandarin Oriental, but it’s a nice apartment in a great location, and not staying in a five-star hotel means that the guest won’t pay five-star prices. I’m just looking for a normal dude who wants a cheap, comfy place to sleep and shower. Not too much to ask for, right?
Well, it didn’t quite work out that way for me.
I put an ad on craigslist and only got one response (I posted it kinda late). I spoke to the woman on the phone and she sounded really polite and sincere. She was visiting from Florida and her parents were visiting from India, and they have family that lives in the area, but they didn’t want to stay with them (understandably). We arranged for her parents, who were already in town, to come see the place that night.
So they get there, and they seem normal enough. Pretty quiet. They bring their brother-in-law. He goes into the bathroom and stays there for five minutes. I’m near the door. No tinkling sounds. This dude is totally snooping through my meds…or taking them (was actually hoping he’d take some deodorant, because the dude was stank). The parents are walking around, not saying much but exchanging a few comments in Hindi. We start shooting the breeze a bit, and they seem very friendly and interesting. By now the brother-in-law is laying on my couch, perusing my coffee table books. Things are going well with the parents, until:
Mother: Your apartment is very nice.
Me: Thank you.
Father: But, uh, can you move some things?
Me: Huh? Oh yea, sure, I’ll clear space on the dresser for you guys to put your things on, no problem.
Father: No, uh, other things.
Me: What things?
Father: These things (pointing to picture frames littered throughout the room) and those things (pointing to the posters on my wall).
Me: What? You want me to take down my pictures and posters?
Father: Uhh Yes. Yes.
Me: Why? You know this only for a few days, right?
Me: So then…? (giving a wtf are you talking about look)
Father: Maybe someone will come who doesn’t like those posters and these other things.
Me: What? Why not? Who will come? Are you planning on having guests?
(Father abruptly pulls out a phone and starts talking to someone in Hindi for 3 minutes, then turns back to me)
Father: (Looking at wife, then me) OK, we will be frank. Some people will come to see us here. (pause) And they cannot see these things. (pause) We would not keep these things in our house. (pause..notices my intensifying glare) OK, because, we are going to tell them that we live here. That this is our apartment. So we cannot have these pictures. You see now…you know the truth!
Me: But, how would, why would, are you saying that..
Father: Yes YES exactly! You see now! I am a hindu priest, I cannot have these things! Hookah? No I don’t smoke a hookah, you have to hide this. And these children [in the pictures], they know my daughter, these are not my children. You see now!?
Mother: You don’t have to take down everything.
Father: No, no. Just this, that one, these things, yes just take them down, those things, yes see it can come down quickly (nearly ripping poster)..
Me: Don’t touch that poster!
Father: Ok you can do that later of course. Ok so here is some money where do I sign?
Me: Um yea I don’t know about this..
Father: Oh yes dont worry here take the money we have to go now take the deposit call my daughter to arrange dont worry heresthemoneycalldaughter.
(Door closes behind them)
Ok. WTF just happened? Telling people they live here? How many freaking people were they gonna have over? Why would they lie about that? What else are they lying about? If there weren’t posters that wouldve busted there cover and would have been impossible to discreetly remove, would they have bothered to tell me this? I doubt it. And I don’t like the idea of them moving all of my pictures, plaques, posters, arab-esque decor and anything else suggesting that this apartment is not usually inhabited by a conservative Hindu Indian couple in their 60s, which would be a whole lot of stuff. I’m not trying to come home and re-decorate my apartment, or worse, see something missing and have to put a 60 year old Hindu priest in a head-lock. Not to mention the fact that they seemed ready to have a Diwali party in my apartment (I thought that wouldn’t be a concern with 60+ year old guests)… and if I came home to see the tall, lanky brother-in-law sitting on the couch, wearing my underwear and watching a pay-per-view bollywood movie, I’d have to kick his ass, then just set my apartment on fire and find a new place to live.
Actually coming home to this Diwali party would be pretty fun…
Even if none of this actually happened, having these thoughts run through my head is not my idea of peace of mind, and that is something even more valuable than the small amount of money I wouldve gained for the short rental. How much value it has to you is something you should strongly consider if you’re ever in the same boat.