Wednesday, April 25, 2012

iBaby, iHoney, iWacky...

It's a big day for me! I finally bought my first Mac! And it wasn't an easy decision, let me tell you. So, there's Mac Pro and there's Mac Air! Oh my, my sufferings along the way! I mean, the Air looks so sexy and sleek and anorexic, but the Pro has better guts--more memory and better processor, but it also likes to munch more so it's a bit heavier--less than a kilogram--so it was a very tough decision. I decided to go with the substance over looks, this one time, and My Pro is now comfortably resting behind a deadbolt in my apartment. If you're visiting soon, please don't even try to approach my new iHoney with drinks, food or any kind of bodily fluids. If I see you even attempting to sneeze near it, I will tackle you!
I'm in Dolcezza (of course, ) writing this on my old (2007) Toshiba Satellite U300, currently in hospice state, and when my husband asked me an hour ago:
"So, you're bringing your new Mac to Dolcezza?"
I said: "No, no... no, no, no....NO!"
Last night, I blasted a colleague's story at GW for her adult character talking to her purse being unbelievable, unless she's wacky. (Which she wasn't.) I said, and I quote: "if you talk to your purse, you need professional help."
I vow to you that, as much as my laptop is perfect, shiny, problemless, I will not talk to it, or call it "baby!"
I only personify my car (red VW New Beetle,) but, come on, can you blame me? Have you ever seen a New Beetle up close?
New Mac is not that cute, but, if you come over, don't even breathe too close to it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Black tie, white lie

The article on Morocco is almost finished. I just have to put some final touches, and voila, it's on its way to the editor. Monday, probably. And then he'll probably asked me to edit it, which is fine. I think it's too long anyway, but it just grew that way. I don't want to cut until I know what he wants me to cut.
Other than that, I'm yearning to return to my book. I got feedback on several stories in it and I'm really itching to edit them. But I should really get on my democratization article first. Why is writing fiction, or blogging or even travel writing so much more fun than analytical articles? I know why! I can't use my imagination, nor experience, just dry facts. Sigh.
But I said I'd do it, so I'll do it. You know me (no you don't), it's hard for me to start something lengthy and demanding, (like marriage or a novel), but once I do, I usually like working on it. I will like this article too, once it's published. The fulfillment, ahhh.
Other than the writing, I have this black tie event tomorrow, and I still don't know what I'm going to wear. And I don't sound girlie or superficial here. It's important what you wear to black tie events, that's why they are called "black tie." Even though I find it sexist, and I'm a bit tempted to actually wear a black tie to it. And nothing else. Kidding. Don't censor me, I'm just kidding. Anyway, my bark is wayyyy louder than my bite, usually, sometimes, maybe?
I have a big mouth, and fast fingers, that's it. I'm actually quite harmless...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An ode to....(with pictures)?

Things are slowly getting back to normal. My normal. Whatever that is...
I just had another interview for an article (or maybe I should call it a case study) on democratic transitions, and I have so much material, that frankly, I'm a little intimidated of the moment when I have to begin writing it. and that moment is close.
I also started another article on Morocco, in Morocco, that I really ought to finish. And I'll do that, just as soon as I finish this.
I was warmly welcomed back into my GWU fiction writing class, and I have enjoyed it immensely last night. I really missed being around fiction writers, analysing, dissecting...  And most of all, I miss writing!
Journalism on the side, I have not written a word of fiction in about two months! TWO MONTHS!
It's bad, it's really bad, but, I realized, I can't have it all. (Sniff, sniff).
So, I'm not going to write about Morocco, since I'm doing that for a magazine. I will post when it's out. I wish they could publish it first, and then I could write it.
To recap.
I have visited two continents, five countries and 11 cities in 34 days. Six days in London, three days in Paris, one in Oxford, five days in Morocco, one in Skopje, Macedonia and the rest, in assorted cities in Serbia.
In London, I saw Rosetta Stone for the first time, in the British museum, went the the National Gallery of Art three times (yes, I need professional help), not because I'm a nerd, but because it was raining. And I love Van Gogh.
In Paris, I went to Louvre, again. (Last time, 2003.) And I again had to elbow my way to Mona Lisa. I know, it's a cliche, but it would feel weird going to Louvre and not saying salut to Ms. Lisa. After all, she is very charming, and well preserved. I wish I would look that good at her age.
I also went to the Eiffel Tower at night, something I haven't done before. Ms. Eiffel is indeed spectacularly beautiful when the sun goes down, and the lights start flickering, even more so than during the day.
Paris has beautiful gardens so Jardin de Plants and Jardin the Luxembourg were on the menu as well. People dancing tango in a park near Notre Dame was somehow so French, so movie-like. I can't imagine people dancing tango near the National Cathedral in DC. If they do, I will move to Mars.
This time I actually touched L'Arc the Triomphe, another thing I haven't done before. But having croissants and un chocolat chaud on Champs Elysee afterwords is not a good idea unless you hate money.
I got a massage on a Rue Mouffetard near the Pantheon, and that was a first too. That I would recommend, especially since you only tip.

In Paris, I often felt like Kate from the movie "French Kiss," one of my favorite of all time, and severely underrated. While on the metro, or walking, I would see the Eiffel Tower, out of the blue, peeking, and it seemed somehow alive, as if sneaking on me. I might sound like a child, but it made me smile. It made me happy every time I saw it. It's a symbol of France for me, and France is my first love. My elementary school, fifth grade French class crush.
I guess this post turned out to be an ode to Paris. So, be it.
Part deux, demain, ou plus tarde.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Danger! Bananas!

I will start at the end.
I landed at Dulles airport around 2:30pm on Wednesday, coming back from my last leg-- London. I was asked if I had any food with me. I have issues with lying to authorities, i.e. I suck at it, so I didn't. I said I had a banana in my purse, and if that's a problem I'll throw it away or even eat it. I mean, it's a banana, not a crocodile. So, this nice, tattooed, body builder of an officer wrote a big A on my landing customs card, and the first thing that I thought, a Scarlet letter? But why, I didn't do anything, I swear!
So I ate my delicious London banana, bought in a very nice Marks and Spencer close to Kilburn Park, and waited for my luggage.
Almost at the exit, I was stopped by another officer and sent to an A line. Oh, come on, I said, I don't have anything!
So, the following is, as accurate as possible, a conversation between me, nauseated and migraned from the turbulence, with another nice, perky male officer.
"I have no idea why I was sent here, I don't have anything!"
"Really? You sure? You don't have a banana?"
(How did he know I had a banana? Are they all phychic? Or maybe bananas are new tools terrorists are using and they started tracking all of them.)
"Yes, I had a banana but I ate it."
"Now, while I was waiting for my bag."
"And what did you do with the peel?"
(Here, try to imagine my extended eyeballs...)
"I threw it in the trash!"
"Well, go and get it?"
"I'm sorry?"
"Ma'am, either you go and get your banana peel, or you can seat down and wait. It's your choice."
"But why? I don't understand, it's in a trash can, in the women's bathroom!"
"That goes into the landfill, and we have to incinerate it. So either you get it or we will."
A moment here, in which I'm looking for a candid camera.
Then I said fine, went back to the bathroom, and took my banana peel, luckily still on top of the trash, with a paper towel.
Then this nice officer handed me an ordinary looking trash can to put it in. No flames, no gloves, no sculls and Xs on it.
Then they x-rayed my luggage once again, and looked at my passport for the fifth time.
All because of that banana.
I didn't even enjoy it.