Monday, 25 August 2008

My Grandma Watches Mad Men

Mad Men is a very interesting show on AMC (and about a Madison Avenue Ad Agency in the '50's. All the men smoke and drink and screw constantly in the office, they relentlessly ogle the women and make crude racial judgments.
The plotting is glacial, and the characters never really grow or change (we learn the main character's back story piecemeal, through flashbacks, and this is meant to substitute for having actual dynamic characters). However, I find the show fascinating for the insight it gives us into that era and that generation. Therefore, the question I always find myself asking is "How real is this?" How much of Mad Men is genuine, and how much is invention?
My Grandmother answered that for me last night. Turns out, she had found the show independently, and was so taken by it that she began watching regularly. It takes a lot, I think, to persuade my Grandmother to embrace a new show, but Mad Men did. That she watches it is probably the best recommendation I could hear. I wonder if others from that generation are as interested in the show as she is.

Monday, 4 August 2008


Don’t underestimate the Ewoks. Those tiny, furry, aliens were the target of much derision after Return of the Jedi, which is unfair. The Ewoks saved that movie. The Emperor saw right through the Rebel Alliance’s plan; he anticipated their every move. The only thing he didn’t plan for were the Ewoks. If it hadn’t been for them, Luke would be evil, the Rebels would have been crushed, and the Empire would have ruled for 1,000 years. And some of you have the gall to laugh at them.

In Star Wars: Battle Front 2, players have the option to use the “Hunt” game mode. This mode pits you and your computer allies against the indigenous population of whatever planet you choose. My friend and I, at around 5:00am decided to indulge our diabolical nature and kill us some Ewoks.

We started out confident. Our storm trooper avatars strode manfully into the forest, ready to unleash the slaughter. I laughed at my friend for over reacting when he threw a grenade. But, slowly, respawn by respawn, we realized something was wrong. Ewoks are small. Ewoks are camouflaged. Ewoks are fast. We ended up huddled around our last command post as the forest around us poured on withering laser fire. At the last moment my companion respawned as Darth Vader, and I remember watching him swinging his light saber, surrounded by a crowd of gleeful hirsute aliens as the “DEFEAT” message came on screen in a dark, humiliating, red.

I guess we should have made more of an effort for the hearts and minds of Endor.

Friday, 1 August 2008

RIP Paul T.

Some ruffians were letting off fireworks in the parking lot outside Paul's town house the other night....Also a mysterious figure in a green cloak was prowling the grounds. If you have any information relating to either incident, please contact me.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

The DC Metro

Descending into a Washington, DC metro station is an arresting experience. A steeply inclined escalator inexorably carries passengers down, what feels like several stories, into the bowels of the earth through a large concrete tunnel. Visually, the experience is dominated by perspective. Every thing worth talking about is constructed of parallel lines, the wiring on the walls, the sequence of lights, the rubber belts that power the escalator. All these things converge at a single point, down beneath you. It simultaneously inspires vertigo and claustrophobia.

A New Start

I have decided to re-start my blog. It fell into disrepair after I returned from Paraguay, but I have decided that life at Princeton is just as bizarre as life in the jungles of Canindeyu. Of course, the name is a bit of a misnomer now; I sold my bike in June of 2007 for 800 dollars when I moved back to America. But I really miss it, and I feel that the name is appropriately nostalgic.

Thursday, 26 April 2007


Large flocks of tiny yellow butterflies have occupied sections of the road in between here and Mbaracayu. They huddle together, in what looks from afar like a yellow spot on the road, about the size of a shoe. When I get near them they fly up suddenly in a colorful little whirlwind, diving for my face and eyes like uncannily accurate little yellow kamikaze pilots. (Reading over this I realize there are a couple ways the phrase ‘little yellow kamikaze pilots’ could be interpreted).

Welcome to the Jungle

I saw a giant, hairy spider crossing the road one day as I was slowing down to try and navigate a muddy patch. It was the kind that is so big that one is reluctant to step on it, because it’s not certain whether that would kill it or just make it mad. Naturally I ran it over on principle, but that doesn’t make me feel any better: what if there are more? On the same ride I caught a glimpse of snake slithering away into the underbrush. With such a huge beautiful sky over head, and the long picturesque jungle views, it’s easy to forget just how many truly gross little creatures live out here.