this week i

live at the end of this driveway.

watched a gecko eat a fly. they are t-rexes the way cats are lions.  and mosquitos are foot fetishists.  and swahili has its flaws.  and and and the onion will always be the best.

should switch my energies to endeavors that don't scale well.  did scaling well drive the newspaper industry's plummeting standards?  also curious if companies that ask you to leave a review bias their ratings.  are customers badgered into online feedback more likely to just leave a 5 out of 5 and be done with it?

did not know japanese erotica started so long ago.

bought new tires.

apologize now.  the dogs who live here are going to get fat.

listened to some history of the english language.  the indo-european tribe had a regional advantage, an early genetic mutation allowing digestion of milk past infancy.  plus horses.  similar, separate genetic mutations occurred in the agricultural societies of the middle east and among the tutsis.  plus chariots.  said that already, didn't i?  the reason bangladesh and iceland have the same word for mouse, many more.

carved toward the southwest chilean coastline.

jotted notes from pamphlets on relief carving.

use the biggest chisel they can for any given task

you'll be tapping the carving tool with a mallet, not pushing it

complete all background carving before doing any work on the free-standing parts of the design.  this is not an arbitrary rule, but rather a method that greatly simplifies the work

sandpaper destroys the tool marks that bear witness to serious handwork, and in an age of some very good plastic imitations, this is a serious consideration

never substitute sandpaper for good technique and discipline

rabbet the perimeter of the panel

step back and view your work from a distance (6 ft. to 8 ft. away) as you complete each section of the carving

work in broad strokes, to rough-out the carving, then do the details

use a scotch brite pad or 000 steel wool on the final coat.  it's most important to coat the back of the carving and frame with the same number of coats as the front, thus allowing it to breath evenly and not warp.  finally, apply a coat of minwax or carnuba floor wax and buff with...a soft cloth

work ambidextrously

driving a tool straight down into the wood..wedges the wood fibers apart, rather than slicing them, and leaves weak areas that are likely to chip out later

trace the bottom of the cup to form a circle, and then sketch a smaller circle freehand in the center of the first one.  next, draw in petals and round their ends


this week i

explored the city.  largest shopping mall in the rainy season..

an a-class balancing act

..a gecko, fly-hunting.

 carved and listened.  the rightmost third turned out well.

stayed home, working..


(1) syria unresolved

there are any number of reasons why such an approach might fail.  assad might prove obdurate.  the opposition might be unable to reach agreement to proceed among its many factions.  saudi arabia or iran or both might prove unwilling.  non-isis jihadi groups, notably the al-nusra front, may refuse to take part.  if negotiations over a nuclear agreement between the us and iran fail, the rouhani government could be so discredited at home that it is politically unable to take any risk for peace abroad.  and so on.  the odds are against success.  that's one way to look at this, but there is another.  nearly half of syria's population has been made homeless by war and about the same amount of its physical wealth destroyed.  jordan, lebanon, and turkey have absorbed enormous, destabilizing numbers of's a good time for testing what could be done.

(2) starting doctors

all i could summon in my mind was that burnside was the name of a famous general in the civil war

(3) lincoln's newspapers

newspapering became the preferred path to becoming ambassador, port inspector, revenue collector, postmaster, and white house staffer-dozens and dozens of the ink-stained were brought in to save the union

(4) the drift in our sentencing decisions

our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors and with no judicial oversight

the prosecutor, not the judge, who effectively exercises the sentencing power, albeit cloaked as a charging decision

(5) dorky dystopia

a jacket that gives you a hug every time someone likes your facebook post

last year the department of homeland security responded to 256 cyberattacks, half of them directed at the electrical grid.  this was double the number for 2012.

we've..heard this before, in 1845, when marx wrote..that under communism people would be "free to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, and criticize after dinner"

(5) life finds a way, in gaza

the gaza zoo, highly popular among the huge population of children, tried desperately to import a zebra via one of the tunnels, but this didn't work the end they painted black and white stripes on two donkeys


this week i

woke up this morning, didn't do much.  code from the night before had broken in the wrong place, i made amends, set it running again.  electricity out while i worked, no problem, tanzanian internet relies on cell towers.  what price paid for the luxury of moving slowly.  figure that out later.

saw a huge snail.  bats here, the coolest bugs ever.  and the term somali pirate is almost redundant.

wonder about the gini coefficient for fossil fuel consumption.  does unsustainable resource consumption differ from the distribution of wealth inequality in any meaningful way?  oh look at that sorry what was i saying?  bet tanzanians have colorful thanksgivings.

cannot sign up because my account would have to be @abanthabonaby "can i fuck it or eat it? otherwise not interested. my tweets are your opinions"

bought two logs to practice hand-carving..

..could make this, if nothing else.

swore rafiki meant monkey.  everyone here calls me it.  apparently it means friend.  thought it was a clever swahili dis on foreigners.  simba still lion.

underestimated the importance of a bicycle mud flap in the rainy season.


(1) what happens in texas

it's an old pattern.  texas voted overwhelmingly in 1845 to join the union, but sixteen years later it did an about-face and voted to secede and join the confederacy.  in recent years the united states as a whole has been as closely divided as ever in its history but texas is not.  it is always hot for whatever it is for.  at the moment baptist republican texas is for the election of a president in 2016 who respects traditional verities and is a guilt-free white male straight protestant republican who believes the final word is not yet in on man's role in climate change

"satan's fib about women's lib."..."this unisex movement," he said, "has been belched out of hell."

(2) the pulse of democracy

(3) the vietnam-era fbi


this week i

bought kelly's old iphone for seventy bucks.  the rule i still haven't broken: have a home or a cell phone, never both.  anyway it's my router here.

bought a bicycle as well, clearly.

replaced the piece of shit seat with a cosmetically worse but functionally superior one for six dollars.

ocean kayaked, sorta.  both of those words are generous interpretations.  plenty of spinning in circles and prayer.

moved in, and south africa's version of whole foods opened the very next day.  you could see wtf thought bubbles above everyone's heads.

forgot to check the forecast.  now would be a great time to not have gone out for a bike ride thirty minutes ago.

might not discover tanzanian cuisine, south asian food tends to disrupt my field of vision.

cannot leave home after dark.  okay.  my canvas here indoors with me.


this week i

lost another ten kg at the check-in counter.  could've sworn the emirates website said forty, but the ticket agent said thirty.

spent a week at kelly's home, pictured here lousiana cooking.  last time we'd made food together: sushi on a roof.  she holds the distinction of being my only friend in africa with a car.

watched some ted lectures, mostly fluff.  only good one so far: mri-detectable changes when in love.

prefer tanzania pronounced with accent on the za rather than the ni.

saw a few properties.. second choice.

paid, moved in.  bees over the entrance doorsill but bees don't bite.

expect to stay put till july.