this week i

stumbled upon some avian flu vectors in a city park, still classier than pigeons.
opened my home to a political science graduate from berlin. he locked up some interviews, booked a flight, arranged some couches to surf, landed in dc, and - at interview #1 - was offered the internship in renewable-energy he'd wanted. he'll be moving here permanently soon. glad to have helped in some small way.

sent in my adopt-a-family application. i used to volunteer about five weekly hours of programming to icg, but a friend convinced me to leave the technical skills at work and spend time on the front lines.

monster truck rallied. we dressed the part..

..watched superman hit a kryptonite curb.

..gasped at death defied.

..got our money's worth.
video

witnessed my first rap jazz band.

ice skated to work, i've got some choice words for the opm decisionmakers.

changed my mind: the best song at last week's inauguration concert.

1/29/09

this week i

joined the chaos. no oath of office complete without

live jazz

live salsa

live civil war - union army


and a concert of the century, garth brooks my favorite act. the jumbotron cameras enjoyed a feast of mittens.

played a few rounds of chess, i'd been meaning to use this set.

wondered why our nation has an obesity epidemic, sarcastically.

honed my sarcasm. felt much safer.

mourned the loss of the onion's bush coverage.

stumbled upon the magna carta.

in other news...

employee handwashing just doesn't compare to warning signs of yesteryear.

overflow crowds blurred restroom lines' gender lines.

the secret service couldn't explain this one.

her parents met at hopkins, another debt the world owes baltimore.

oh yeah and america is #1.

1/22/09

this week i

worked on window-of-opportunity-specific issues. we're concerned about staying relevant in the current health care reform conversation, which left me with a pile of regressions to establish the factors correlated with medicare advantage enrollment and also the differences in medicare spending across supplemental coverage types. i'm debating the move to r - stata's interface makes it difficult to capture (automate) the repeated outputs that stepwise regression (and/or a long list of dependent variables) necessitates.

hated the benjamin button movie.

had some mango potato chip salmon at my dad's, frito-lay take note.

inquired about this plot of land. seems like a better thirty-year investment than citi stock.

decided that if god really had a divine plan, this might not happen.

braced for the siege of washington.

1/15/09

this week i

won a staring contest. walking in the opposite direction of some little smart-ass, i noticed his look fixed on me, so i locked eyes with him. we paced this way, unblinking, another twenty meters, until i warned him with a grin. no avail, two more steps and he tripped over the curb. generous compensation for enduring two weeks of faranji-pestering.

wished airplanes could be made out of glass.

concluded...

yeah okay that's not a seat

no deterrent value for mr. analgesiac above

good thinking

pterodactyl meets thanksgiving dinner

all rural health clinics should have a statistics room
car's eye view
video

a dickensian hybrid of scrooge and tiny tim, note crutch & coin-counting

one big pig
satellite tv must be a priority
monkey skulls are indisputably but inexplicably fascinating
one step for each year of mussolini's fascist reign, kids can make anything fun

the first bipedalist
the silver lining of italian occupation

ethiopia. five am eastern time sure is pretty when your body thinks it slept 'til noon.

enjoyed huxley's doors of perception. with darwinian self-preservation the goal, our brain matures to filter out sensory perceptions unlikely to be practically useful, 'nervous system and sense organs are in the main eliminative and not productive.' drugs like peyote remove that valve, flooding the mind with universal awareness - rather than only those inputs learned as advantageous for survival.

01/08/09

this week i

landed in lalibela, home to nine hundred year old churches carved out of solid stone - inverted construction. step one) find huge rock. step two) start chiseling. fantastic achievements,

only mildly dampened by the unesco-planted runoff shields and heavenly laundry service.
shared a plane ride with a young woman studying hotel administration in addis, also managing her own cafe.

she helped me find cheap, comfortable, convenient lodging, then treated me to a coffee ceremony, mutton injera, and an evening of satellite tv soccer. again, reservations for wimps.
witnessed near death-by-rickshaw.
video

spun through a saturday market.
video

found a philadelphia cheesesteak. in rural ethiopia.

was mistaken for a japanese tourist three times, must be the hair?

read both of the president-elect's books. i'm comforted by this access to his mind.
detailed summary - http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19651
favorite excerpt - "we both got better than we deserve, mr. president," i said, shaking the first lady's hand and hoping that i'd wiped any crumbs off my face. the president turned to an aide nearby, who squirted a big dollop of hand sanitizer in the president's hand.
"want some?" the president asked. "good stuff. keeps you from getting colds."
not wanting to seem unhygenic, i took a squirt.
p. 46 audacity of hope
i'd be happy to loan them to you.

spent an evening with 4/7,000ths of the village. we had a blind taste test to crown one of the three ethiopian beers a champ. this game works better in belgium. then, the theme game -

sleepy
arnold schwarzenegger

- and we moved to a traditional bar, leaned against untanned cowhide, sampled honey wine & zora dancing.
walked home at eleven, a happy hydra.

01/01/09

this week i

woke up in addis ababa. arrival without an agenda meant i had to rely on the kindness of strangers, a safe bet. a ticket agent at dulles airport armed me with her cousin's number, but i ended up hitching a ride with some friends i made on the plane. the ethiopian-born, hopkins-trained dermatologist among them insisted i tag along as they

toured a leprosy hospital (http://www.telecom.net.et/~tdalert/about_ethiopia.htm). its mission extended to post-treatment employment, maybe a lesson here for western medicine/hospital administration.


caught a minibus north.

hiked along waterfalls. overdosed on spongebread. ambled through slums. napped like crazy. hopped between twelfth-century island monasteries. rediscovered the source of the nile. flew through the countryside.

unearthed...

sweet addiction in every home

hydroelectricity or magnificence, never at the same time


roadside choirs
video

baths

more foosball tables than street dogs, no explanation.


realized that the obama-supporter pejorative, "kool-aid drinker," originated from the jonesboro, guyana mass-suicide cult. a little extreme, but not without company.

12/25/08