because I posted.

Another quick, but important post! Princess Sheela’s Maharaja Uncle has been nominated for the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award. Please go vote for him! His name is Baba Kalyani and he is in the Business category. Go vote! The sooner he wins, the sooner he will invite me to his palace!  Once you put in your information, it will take you through the poll for Politics and Sports first (I don’t care who you vote for in these categories >:]), and then Business.  You will need to complete the poll by voting for the categories after the Business category (I do not care who you vote for here either>:]).  Please go through all of them to ensure that your vote will actually be counted.  So go vote NOW!! HERE!! Thank You!!  Why are you still here?!  Go vote!  Voting ends at midnight on January 22nd, so hurry up! :p  Merci. 🙂

This post will be photo-laden to compensate for the fact that it is text-poor.  But it is still a post!  Which means that I am another week closer to winning $10.00 from someone who is already poor. >:]  For those of you wondering why I have not blogged about my favorite part of the year yet, don’t worry! 🙂  I will.  I am just too sleepy to put in the effort which such a post would deserve.  And now, pictures:

 

 

Baby
Baby

 

Baby Likes Black AND White People!
Baby Likes Black AND White People!
Baby Likes Faces
Baby Likes Faces

 

Baby Likes Boobs!

Baby Likes Boobs!

Baby Likes Fat People!

Baby Likes Fat People!

 

 

 

You know how every family is supposed to have that one crazy uncle?  Our family is so large and strange that I always found it difficult to pinpoint this individual.  However, we were reintroduced to Uncle “Big Ben” today for the first time in a little over a decade, and I immediately knew that he was THE ONE.  It would take me much to long to recount our entire encounter, so here is a snippit for you:

Uncle Ben: You are the Major’s son?
Juju: Yes. Who are you?
Uncle Ben: Uncle Ben! Like Big Ben! Uncle Big Ben!
Juju: Uncle… Big Ben…? 
Uncle Big Ben: Yes, You should join the service in Ghana!
Juju: I already did.
Uncle Big Ben: You did?! It is good.  This is why you should not drink.
Juju: Oh… I don’t drink…
Uncle Big Ben: Do you drink?!
Juju: No…?
Uncle Big Ben: Good!  I drink!  It is not good! That is why you should not drink.
All of us:    😐 

It is very difficult to convey the ridiculousness of the situation.  I wish we had videotaped the day, because we would have received a few million hits on YouTube.  Basically, this strange man… who showed up to the funeral in a grey hoodie… would randomly pop in and ask us random questions and dole out various nuggets of wisdom.  And he would yell practically every word in a garbled mess of English and Twi. 😐  It was really disconcerting the first few times.  And then it just became funny.  At least until Juju’s other friend drank his orange soda and then spilled someone else’s drink on the carpet.

Someone please tell me why we were at dinner on Friday night (one of our centennial family restaurant trips) and my brothers (this includes you, Emmanuel) and Father proceeded to get into a 30 minute debate about “crab fries.”  Crab fries?!  CRAB FRIES??!!  I did not even know that such a thing as Crab Fries existed until my Dad ordered them; and upon the arrival of said appetizer, he began to lament about how they were not made out of crabs.  My brother refuted this point with some semi-illogical bit of logic, and thus ensued the longest conversation about crab fries which I have ever heard.

I think the most amusing thing I heard of late, however, was during one of my final MARC train commutes.  Those of you who have not heard yet, my former MARC train crew has endearingly come to be known as “The Thug Train,” by the conductors and staff at Union Station.  Perhaps, if their trains were consistently on-time and non-trifling, then we would not have earned this moniker.  Anywho, one of the amusing parts of the commuter experience is observing/pointing/laughing at the newbies.  Well, on this fine Friday, one of the conductors decided to give the bewildered newbies (and in all honesty, there is such chaos when boarding the rush hour trains that sometimes I am still bewildered even though I am no longer a novice) a verbal heads-up.  As all of the regulars stampeded (mob-style) up the boarding platform, his words of guidance were as follows:

Random Conductor on Platform: Hello Everyone! This is the Thug Train to BWI!  For those of you who are new to our fine system of public transport, BE CAREFUL! This is the THUG TRAIN!  They will elbow you in the head and push you over the rail in order to get a seat on this train!  I know!  Because they have done it to me before… And I was not even trying to get on the train…  Okay!  Thank You!

I was dying! 😀  It made my day.  He was not even trying to be funny.

CRAB FRIES!

CRAB FRIES!

I did not think that he could win.  Not as first.  I thought that there existed just one too many closet racists for it to happen.  I thought that the Old [White] Boys’ Club/Network was simply too powerful.  After the re-election of George Bush, I thought that Americans did not really want the change which they loudly demanded from every available hilltop.

After throwing our economy into the depths of Mordor, with our greed, our consumer lust for homes and products which we could not afford (but bought anyway… on credit), our reluctance to talk about our individual financial situations (until they all so unsurprisingly converged into a nationwide crisis), and our all too eager attempts to point the finger and assign blame, while taking no responsibility for our own actions… Frankly, after all of that, I was not sure that our country deserved much.  Reap what you sow.

And then we elected Barack Obama.  And, of course, I was thrilled.  People cried thousands of joyful tears.  Worldwide, nations rejoiced.  Sarah Palin returned to whence she came.  It truly seemed as if truth and hope had won.  Justice dispensed.  “We’ve come so far!” they said.  We’ve come “so far.”

Last Friday, my Dad had to go to the ER for the second time this autumn.  He is not one to cry, or even admit to physical pain.  But something so strong came over him as he waited for the train to go to work, that he got back in his car and drove to the ER.  By the time he got there he was in such pain and so disoriented that he could not even get out of the car.  A Caucasian woman was walking through the parking lot and he called out to her.  My Father.  The man who would do anything for anyone.  Has done so much for so many.  Wearing a suit and doubled over in his seat, called to the woman.  “Excuse me?  Please!  If you could help me out of the car, or get some help from inside, Miss?”  And the woman glanced at my father, a glance so brief that the only feature she could possibly register was his brown skin.  And said, “I’m running late for a meeting.”  And quickly walked away.

I can only imagine the look on my Dad’s face.  Talk about adding insult to injury.  As he relayed the story to me later that evening, I was so nauseated.  So infuriated.  I could not speak.  When I had finally digested what had happened, my first thought was that this woman never ever ever ever crosses my path while I am with my Father.  If he identified her… God help me.  God help her.  Because I do not know what I would do.  But I am pretty sure I would end up in jail.  And it would totally be worth it.

So when these people, who are usually not part of a racial minority (aka- PIs), tell me about how far we have come.  I give a polite half-nod and half-smile.  It is very difficult to explain racism, even the more blatant types, to people who have been fortunate enough to not ever have it in their face.  Who have never witnessed racism when it was a matter of life and death.  Who have never experienced the patronizing grins.  The disregarding looks.  The all too regarding looks.

I am unstewped enough to realize that President Obama will not be a panacea to our nation’s ills.  Political, economical, racial, or otherwise.  And I realize that we have come far.  But how far is “so far?”  Evidently, not quite as far as we would like to keep on believing.  Ignorance is bliss.  I don’t think that I will keep believing the hype.  The pleasantries.  The lies.  But I’ll keep hoping.

NaNoWriMo Word Count: (5,000/50,000)

Hmm… that month went by quickly… Who knew that time would fly so quickly on the plantation?  Not that I am complaining. :]  I apologize for my online absence, but now that it is that time again, my posts should be somewhat more frequent.  Since I have been MIA, I have compiled a list of some of the more important things which have crossed my mind during my daily commute on the bus/train/metro/shuttle.

  1. I wonder if I will ever make it home in time to watch Arthur…
  2. Someone should tell that girl that her tracks are showing.
  3. Is that Rider Strong??  If so, he still has great hair!
  4. “Weight Limit on Q Street.” Hahahahahaha! Gets me every time…
  5. How can I get on the Annapolis Base?
  6. VPL.
  7. Do I have a bra on?
  8. Hungry.
  9. Who can I get to buy me lunch today?
  10. Whoa… Do people even realize when they are mean-mugging??
  11. That boy thinks he is so cute! …I’d hit it.
  12. I’d hit that too.
  13. I would not hit that.
  14. I guess some people do not own mirrors.
  15. I need to get myself invited to an embassy party.
  16. Whoever owns these niglets needs to come remove them from the metro now.
  17. I hope that I do not fall down this escalator one day.
  18. I probably will.
  19. What were the engineers and architects of this station even thinking anyhow?!
  20. That kind of looks like Scarlet Monastery.
  21. Hm! Maybe he will not text me today!  Spoke too soon…
  22. Was that a bear?!
  23. Maybe I need a nap.
  24. $2.18?!?!?!
  25. It’s almost my birthday!  Those black people better not combo-gift me again…

NaNoWriMo Word Count: (2,000/50,000)

In honor of the impending witching season (and also of NaNoWriMo 08!), I bring to you a short story.  Although, my use of poetic license and of monikers may be liberal, the majority of the following narrative is still mostly somewhat true.  Or at least partially based on a true story.  Or truly based on a partial story.  Or something… The point is that it did actually kind of happen.  And in 3D.  Enjoy! 😀

One mild yet sunny day, not quite yet in the ides of autumn, a group of scientists were toiling away in their shady basement laboratory.  The lab was so vast, and buried so deep within the university, that soft and numerous drafts were experienced daily by its inhabitants.  It could have passed for a dungeon.  Perhaps it was one.

For weeks, these chemists, biologists, and clinicians had been slaving away.  Food. Water. Pooping. Sleep.  All of these things had become unnecessary.  Luxurious nothings from a former life.  Adaptation? Evolution?  Epigenetics?  Whatever the cause, there was no time to try to pull logic from rapidly fading memories.  From dreams.

8:00 PM.  The Deadline.  And quite literally so.  For in every pseudo-dungeon, there lies a pseudo-dragon.  Perhaps there are places on this earth, tangled within the superstring, where an exception exists and defies this rule.  However, the Cartesian coordinates for such a locale were clearly not the same as those for this one.

As the researchers scurried, much like their mice did in their cages down in the room below, to collect and collate their data, the Dragon skulked out of its opulent chambers and into the harsh sterile glare of the main room.  It sniffed visibly (as if someone had just put an open bottle of beta mercapatoethanol under its nose), thinking of how little the lighting up here did for its Prada clothing.  It’s gold jewelry.  It’s sizable cloud of self-importance.  It thought to itself (and then proceeded to share the thought aloud) that the lighting did almost as little as the peons running about it’s domain.

Accustomed to such helpful commentary, the peons continued with their work, not daring to meet the Dragon’s soulless gaze.  Rather, they kept their eyes on the clock. 4:13. 4:28.  The soft hum of machinery just barely masking the whispered prayers.  Fervent pleas to the gods of science and technology.  Pleas for good results.  Success.  Tenureship.  Escape.  One researcher looked up, perhaps to his deity.  Were those cobwebs he saw? Or just the workmanship of the spiders.  Haphazard algorithms?  Or very deliberate designs?  Like their data.  Like every action which they were performing now.  Working as one seasoned perpetual motion machine.  Dragon observed, offering little physical aid and even less moral support.

5:00 PM.  The final paper.  Compiled.  Reviewed.  Edited.  Corrected.  Consecrated and sent.  A communal sigh.

6:30 PM.  Response Received. “Manuscript Rejected…” Dragon reads aloud calmly, yet shaking with unimaginable fury.  Despite the tendrils of fire escaping its nostrils, the room temperature seems to have become sub-zero.  Everyone tries to play dead.  To make no sudden movements.  To make no movements at all.  But in a room frozen with fear, their warm breath is as visible as liquid nitrogen…

To Be Continued…

If we are still alive later this week… 😀

I’m back!  My apologies for the sporadic posting!  It should be better now that we finally got our router (that story could be an entirely separate post of its own).  I know you guys all missed me from your sweet “Where the hell are you?” and “Hey. Why don’t you update your blog, so I can laugh at you?” messages.  I missed you guys too!  Some of you!  Sometimes.  Before I get into what I have been up to, I have to share this awesomeness with you:

It's Rosie!  The Riveter!

It's Rosie! The Riveter!

Hohohoho!  I never thought that I would see Animal power-washing our fence.  Or anything other than her hair, for that matter.  But look at Rosie go… I am going to print and frame this.  Do not be surprised if you receive a Christmas card from me this year with this photo on the front.  This shot is so classic that I should commission Thomas Kinkade to paint it.  I hope he accepts food stamps as payment.

Moving on… I do not even know where to start.  Perhaps with the shady guy who tried to follow us home from the shore on Labor Day weekend.  Or the story which commenced upon our return that Monday, when we discovered that we were locked out of our house.  Or maybe with the morning we arrived at the station, only to find that none of the trains were running to DC because someone got hit by an Acela… and the awesome traffic that resulted from this, as everyone tried to find an alternate way to get to work that morning.  The word on the street is that it was a suicide, although the media portrays it as otherwise.  People were very angry that someone would so selfishly take himself out in a way which affected thousands of commuters.  Hahahaha:D  Oh, I mean… um… that is not funny.  I would like to note that Jacqueline STILL got to work before me that morning… So whack. >:|

Perhaps I should tell the not-so-humourous story of the 90-minute late train at Union Station last week… the frightfully angry mob which I was stuck in the middle of… and the appearance of the K-9 patrol to settle things down… Or about how excited we were to finally get a new showerhead, only to discover that the old one could not be removed with the Jaws of Life.  I would also tell you about how “We are not Captain Planet,” but you would not understand what I was talking about.  I would also tell you about our UPS adventure, but that would take me about 5 hours.  As would the tales of some horribly awkward lab meetings.  I did my first cervical dislocation and dissection the other day.  It was totally kind of traumatic, and the doctor I was working with laughed at me, because I was so like this —>  :O!!!!

To say that the last 4 weeks have been long would be an incredibly gross oversimplification.  At least I will have some awesome material for NaNoWriMo this year. 😀  If anyone has any advice on removing an old crusty showerhead without breaking the arm from the wall or on Fidelity vs. Vanguard Group or if you would like to buy me a condo in DC or offer me a book deal, please email me! :]  Thanks! Lobu!

Those of you who care (in other words: make any sort of active effort –isn’t “passive effort” an oxymoron?– to keep up with me) already know the answer to this.  To my great dismay (and that of many others >:]), I am no longer in that utopic stretch of land known as the tri-state area.  No longer a stone’s throw away from Philadelphia (what is this nonsense??) and NYC. 😦  Far away from the Schuylkill, Wawa, my idyllic running paths, some of my favorite people (you are not included in this subcategory), convenient Boltbus stops/train stations, and Bubble Tea providers.  When I put it this way, it all sounds like a pretty dire situation.

However, I have gained one of the best roomies ever, moved considerably close to a Medieval Times (not that we can afford it!) and a whole other set of family (these Africans are everywhere), and (despite now basically having a 12-hour work day) have had more fun and adventures this week than one could shake a stick at (what does this mean anyway?)!!  Anywho, I am positive that many more escapades await me here. >:] Anyone want to teach me Hindi, Marathi, and/or Mandarin Chinese?  Because everyone in my new lab speaks at least one of those, and I would like to be able to contribute to the native-tongue conversations.  Or at least know what they are saying about the Dragon…

Speaking of, anyone want to go with me to a symposium next month on the NIH campus, followed by cocktails and dinner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which I am being forced asked to go to?  Actually, it is for a great cause, and it is in memory of one of the most publicized female medical researchers of all-time.  There will also be plenty of overly-impressive, overly-important people from the NIH, the Ivies, and universities from Japan to Germany.  So, if you would like to be somewhat bored (yet well-fed) with me, let me know! 😀

Go see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (directed by Sanaa Hamri, who also directed Something New).  I know that this is an absurd request, since the first one sucked really bad.  But, oddly enough, the sequel was pretty decent!  Respectable, even!  And it has some great scenes of one of the hottest guys I have seen in a long time…  The one who plays Lena’s love interest from RISD.  There was an audience-wide gasp when he… well, I won’t ruin it for you.  I will just say that every girl (and their mothers) in that audience was in awe… Yeah… Good movie…  Even though it has a PG-13 rating, I really would not advise taking anyone younger than 10/11… so there is another hint for you.  That boy was sooooo fine… And if some punks try to tell you that I cried during this movie… I possibly did not.  For my girls who think that I have forgotten about my idea to get our own traveling pants…  Perhaps I did.  But now I have been pleasantly reminded… check your mailboxes, girlies… ;D

Lastly, congratulations to MRS. K.P. and MRS. N.A.!!  Although, I could only attend one ceremony, I know that both of you were gorgeous on your wedding days!  Best of luck and love!  As long as you don’t get old and boring on me! :p  Can’t wait to hear the wedding night/honeymoon details… 😉  You grossfaces!  Lobu:]!

I had my first experience with Boltbus this weekend; we went up to NYC for a birthday party.  I was pretty impressed!  The buses were new, clean, quiet, and offered free wi-fi.  That last bit was essential, since about 80% of the passengers were college students and other 20-somethings with laptops and smartphones.  It was a pleasant ride and I even made a new friend!  Although, it was not quite as amusing as our Greyhound trip, Sheelu!! Hahaha!!  You so should have asked that girl for her number!  You two had sooo much in common! >:]  AND My round-trip ride from Philly to NYC was less than $10! Holler!!  Check out Megabus for a similar service.  Anywho, NYC was nice.  Had dinner at Takahachi in Tribeca, then hung out at Emerald Pub.  Afterwards, Chenkay and I had a late-night conversation about a certain pillow and blanket…  >:]

While in NYC, I tested out HopStop.  It surprised me in the following ways: (a) It worked! (b) It was pretty clear and concise!  It reminded me that I left out something in my Don’t Text Me post.  That some texting services are actually very useful.  So that is one more point for texting.  But I still rather receive a text from a bot, than from any of you. :p  Which reminds me, thanks for the 5 billion texts you guys sent me the day I put up that post… You are all so hilarious…  Hmm… So I guess I will tell you my current favorites:

HopStop: Will send you directions via public transportation.  Currently only works for 8 major metropolitan areas, but they will be extending their network.  Philadelphia, Atlanta, and a few others coming soon!  Just text two addresses, separated by the word “to” (ie- 50 Wall St. to Penn Station) to HSTOP (47867).

Google Mobile: Text “Help” to GOOGLE (466453).  Google will then text you back, asking what you want.  To see the things which you can ask for, click here.  It is a pretty wide range.

ChaCha: Text ChaCha (242242) or call 1-800-2CHACHA and ask them pretty much anything!  Admittedly, I have not tried this one out myself yet, but I have heard good things.  You do need to sign up on the website before you can use this service though.

Jott: Jott does a lot.  Too much to paraphrase. I think that I have mentioned it before.  Go check it out. :]

Friday morning I read about the death of Randy Pausch, and I was literally in tears.  Crazy how you can feel so much for people whom you have never met.  I have mentioned him in my blog before and posted the links to his lectures.  Although, I am almost positive that hardly any of you took the time to see what this man was about, because your lives are all so very busy and eternally filled with crucial things to be done.  Well, he certainly inspired me, as well as millions of others.  My heart and prayers go out to his family and to all who knew him.  Especially to his wife and children, who had the rare gift of a truly wonderful husband and father.  May he always be with you.