Goals

Just A Quickie…

By Kiki Keane

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and I wish you all the best for 2013!

I know it’s customary to make New Year’s resolutions. I only have a few:

1) Redo the 50/50 challenge and actually finish! (I’ll be keeping track in the “Kiki’s 50/50″ tab and on Goodreads)

2) Blog more often

3) Write!

4) Get a paying job

5) Try, try, try to get that paying job in journalism

6) Do my own NANOWRIMO

Ok. That’s it for today. I’ve got some stuff to do, but I’ll be back in a day or two with a decent post. Promise.

 

Categories: Books, Celebration, Goals, Journalism, Life, Nerd | Tags: | Leave a comment

Dear Readers, My Apologies Once Again. From, A Very Broken Record…

By Kiki Keane

Sorry for the very long absence, folks. Obviously I have not accomplished all my goals. What can I say? The holidays, illness and general laziness got the better of me. I did, however, accomplish one goal. I finished Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. I also read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre.

There really isn’t much to say. Egypt had a MB Pharaoh, there was protesting, gun waving, death and then there was no longer a Pharaoh. A few days later there was a constitutional vote and the people voted yes and the Sura Council has started. Tharir still has its die-hards, but they are not winning any fans in this part of the city, especially since the square seems to be surrounded by thieves. (This what everyone is saying, anyway.)

Unfortunately, I missed reporting on much of the protesting because of a particularly bad bug I picked-up along the way. Saw most of it play out on TV, though. I had a very interesting flash back to my J-School ethics class. There was a particularly heated discussion about showing dead bodies (particularly babies) on the news. I don’t way it was heated since almost everyone agreed that it was, at the very least, hurtful to the families. Those of us who disagreed knew it was losing battle, so we let it go after awhile. I remember thinking that for a country that has free speech as its very first amendment we do an awful lot of self-censoring, especially in the  name of hurting someone’s feelings. Here, in a country that has no such thing as free speech, there is no problem showing dead bodies, uncovered and uncensored. Sometimes there is even a guy poking all the dead man’s bullet-holes for the rapt public.

I do realize that I have pretty much written the same blog post three times. I swear I’m going to rectify that. It will be my first News Year’s resolution!

New Goals:

1) Read Anna Karenina 2) Write at least 2 blog posts 3) TOFL homework 4) Write non-fiction 1 hour per day 5) Write fiction 1 hour per day

Hope everyone’s holidays were great. Enjoy your New Year celebrations!

Categories: Books, Free Speech, Goals, Journalism, Life, Media, Nerd, Procrastination | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

I Am A Lazy Procrastinator With A TV Addiction…

By Kiki Keane

So… I have been absent for awhile. Again. I think we have established that I am a lazy procrastinator with a TV addiction, so I won’t bore you with excuses. Nothing much has changed since the last couple of posts except that I have traded in forensics for a holiday movie binge. Also, I have a new kitten. Her name is Haniya. She enjoys sleeping on my lap and attacking feet.

Other than the above mentioned, it has been life as usual. “How can that be?” you ask. “You live in a country that has been in the news non-stop for weeks!” you might exclaim. “The man that rules your adopted country is being likened to a Pharaoh by, well, everyone! He made weird, ambiguous comments about Planet of the Apes!” you might argue. To which I can only reply with the following: I am a lazy procrastinator with a TV addiction. I will also add, though I hate admitting it, that awful parasite called Writer’s Block, which took hold of the fiction part of me ten years ago, has spread to the non-fiction part. Maybe I’m trying to hard or not hard enough. I don’t know. I take comfort in the fact that Fran Lebowitz has suffered from it for 30 years.

I decided to try and set weekly goals for myself again. I know what you’re thinking. Why bother? I didn’t finish a single one before, why would this time be different? It might not be, but I have to try something. And yes, I do know what Einstein said about insanity.

Goals for the week of 30 Nov – 7 Dec

1) Finish Fall of Giants

2) Work related writing 1 hour a day

3) Certification work 1-2 hours a day

4) Blog related writing at least 2x a week

5) Fiction related writing 1 hour a day

6) Clean something (you have no idea how hard that is for me)

Categories: Adventure, Books, Elections, Goals, Journalism, Life, Nerd, Procrastination, Work | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

My Existance Also Continues

By: Rachel Womek

Greetings Constant Readers! You must be Constant indeed if you are still reading this blog!

Yes, shit has happened and is continuing to happen. Kiki and I went to Egypt, I came back from Egypt, My “Bob” caved out from under me, I got a new “Bob”, I have read a few books and watched a few films; I am too lazy to list them at the moment though.

How was Egypt? It was great and interesting. To sum it up: We arrived, slept, explored, ate falafel, got hustled, saw the pyramids,went to a protest, walked on the Nile, went to Alexandria, smoked Hookah, went to the mall, slept more and then I came home.

I am sure I may have something more amazing and “profound” to say in the future but that about sums it up for now!

Goals: Write the blog

Categories: Bull, Goals, Life, Procrastination, Uncategorized, Work | Leave a comment

We Are Back! No, Really! We Are! Promise!

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Okay. We have been really, really, really bad at this whole blog thing as of late. Rachel is still in the process of moving into her new place and I have been busy reducing my life into a backpack and medium sized duffle bag and watching a truly terrible show called Femme Fatale. It’s like driving by a car wreak; you know it’s wrong to look, but you do it anyway.

Also, I would like to share some happy news. I will be working for Toonari Post. It is unpaid and I still have to go through orientation, but I least I will have a place to publish and an extra set of news credentials. Yay!

For our first collective blog in weeks we are going to share our new goals. I don’t remember what mine were, but it’s a safe bet that I didn’t do them. I swear I’m going to get better at this whole followthrough thing.

New Goals:

Kiki:

1) Read a fiction book 2) Finish one of the trip related books 3) Make a Visa decision (they still aren’t answering the phone or responding to email)

Rachel

I do not remember my previous goals either but it is a fairly safe assumption that I have completed few to none of them.  Here are my new goals:

1) Complete a book either fiction or non-fiction 2) Work on my credit card issue (the issue is I don’t have one!) 3) Complete the moving process 4)Relax a little bit

Moving is really no fun, I can only console myself with the fact that soon I will be in a new home. There are 5 or 6, no joke, FOR RENT signs up in front of my house so at least once a day somebody comes by poking their head into the windows and asking me 5o questions about the place. Couple that with the fact that the tiny widow air conditioner is so completely ineffective that I cannot sleep  more than a few hours a night due to the stifling heat and you have a very cranky Rachel indeed. Yesterday I rode the bus for an hour simply because it was air conditioned.

In Other News:

I (Kiki) thought I would have to avoid the news for the duration of the Olympics, but thankfully news organizations have been good about putting other news on their websites. So, I have been able to avoid that jock-fueled, Nationalist weirdness as I read/watch the news. Although, I haven’t been able to filter out the Olympics completely. As it turns out this is the first time that all nations taking part in the games have women on their teams and there are two Saudi Arabia women able to participate.

Here are some stories I’ve been following:

1) Syrian rebels finally got a couple of missiles and Assad is rallying the troops. Also, Foreign policy experts urge US to get involved in Syria.

2) Is Mali a haven for Al Queda?

3) Clinton will be making her first visit to South Sudan.

4) The situation is deteriorating in eastern Congo.

5) Violence nearly at two-year peak in Iraq.

6) Netanyahu told Panetta that time for a peaceful solution to the Iran nuclear dispute is running out.

This isn’t news, but I love this article (the book is about to come out). It’s a wonderfully articulate article (with lots of examples) about why some of the most touted “literary” writers are actually bad writers. He makes a very valid point: just because you don’t understand what the heck they’re saying, doesn’t mean they’re literary or that your stupid. Actually, it most likely means they are actually bad writers.

 

Categories: Adventure, Books, Goals, Journalism, Life, Media, Nerd, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goals, Jonesing For A Hitchcock Marathon, Exploding Things And The Lack Of Good Manners, Tomb Raiders, Or Why Is It So Friggin’ Hard To Answer The Gorram Phone?

By Kiki Keane

Rachel had a dinner engagement tonight that did not end until late, so I have been tasked with writing our weekly goal blog. And without further preamble…

Kiki:

I can’t believe how terrible Rachel and I have been about keeping up with this blog. I guess having time and access to the internet has not, for me, been conducive to productivity. Unless you consider watching all the available seasons of Rizzoli and Isles productive.

For those of you who have been reading this blog for the last few months the following will not be much of a surprise to you: I did not accomplish a single goal. Hey! Why break my streak? Wouldn’t want to disappoint! However, I did actually attempt to figure out the Visa thing, but apparently those who work at the consulates and Embassy only work for four hours a day and don’t like to answer their phones when they are suppose to be at work. I got a pretty speedy response to email, but it didn’t actually answer my question. Finally, today I was able to get through to the people at the Chicago consulate, but it has only added a possible problem. So annoying. If I ran the world things would run smoothly and there would be no Visas and anyone who was unhelpful would deal with the Red Queen!

So my new goals are the same as my last. Lets hope I don’t discover any new TV series or movies. Although, I am jonesing for a Hitchcock marathon…

1) Finish a book. Any book. 2) Read some trip related literature 3) Cut down on TV watching (except the news) 4) Figure out that Visa thing 5) Smile once a day. A real smile.

Before I move on to Rachel’s goals, I want to pass on Richard Engel’s interesting piece on tomb raiders in Egypt post revolution.

Also, I may have been sheltered as kid (which is funny considering I lived in Hawaii, several towns in New York and spent summers in Japan all before the age of 10), but I was shocked when I moved to New Mexico and I saw that people set up tents where they sell lots and lots and lots of exploding things around the fourth of July and people buy those exploding things and then make them explode at 11 o’clock AT NIGHT waking the slumbering person minding her own business, having pleasant dreams about pie that makes you lose weight when you eat it… I’m all for celebration and exploding things, but I prefer them at reasonable hour. I mean, causing loud explosions late at night is just bad manners.

Rachel:

Rachel did not finish a book, but she started three: Anna Karenina, A Brief History of Time by Stephan Hawking, and Relativity by Albert Einstein. She did not watch a movie, but she did watch several episodes of Bones and a few debates. She says that she was cheery on some days and not so cheery on others (I can’t verify the cherry days ’cause I don’t think I was there for them…). I was there for the prank call to our friend about Hairy Balls.

Her new goals are: 1) Actually finish a book instead of starting several new books 2) Watch a movie 3) Feel good about herself 4) Write Haiku

Collective Goals:

Practice Arabic and write blog posts!

Categories: Adventure, Books, Goals, Life, Media, Nerd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Goals, News, Movies and Science Stuff, Or Why Life Is Exciting (Or Not)…

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Well. Here we are again. It’s goal time. Maybe this week we will actually accomplish something! (Kiki is trying to be positive, here.)

Kiki:

I think it’s obvious that I accomplished nothing the last two weeks. Unless you count watching four seasons of Psych and two movies an accomplishment, in which case I would be golden!

1) Finish a book. Any book. 2) Read some trip related literature 3) Cut down on TV watching (except the news) 4) Figure out that Visa thing 5) Smile once a day. A real smile.

Rachel:

I read The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest and I watched a ton of movies this weekend, well three movies and one 10 hour mini series which I think counts as a movie since mini series are basically really long movies and are usually put out on DVD as such. Other than that I have been useless.

1) Finish a book…after finishing The Girl With The DragonTattoo trilogy I have been in a reading slump 2) Watch a movie 3) Be of general good cheer 4) Leave prank messages on the topic of hairy balls on various friend’s phones

Joint Goals

1) Don’t be depressed 2) Study Arabic

Other Stuff:

As you probably know, Egypt elected it’s very first president the other day. Morsi (and the Muslim Brotherhood) is the Big Man now. We hope it doesn’t impact our trip in a negative way. Here and here is the latest from MSNBC. Also, here and here is some analysis on what it means for Egypt and for America and the world.

In Iraq news, 43 news outlets have been forced to close due to issues with broadcast licensing.

There is a new Anna Karenina coming out soon. Kiki is super excited. They better not mess it up. In preparation for this, we and our friend, Dulce, will be reading (or rereading) the book. Wish us luck.

We also discovered that Odd Thomas will be made into a movie soon. Kiki is moderately excited about this piece of information.

Also exciting: Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider plan to make an announcement regarding the search for the Higg’s Boson at the International Conference on High Energy Physics  in Australia! Rachel is very excited about this, Kiki on the other hand doesn’t give a crap.

 

Categories: Books, Elections, Goals, Life, Media, Nerd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Accounting, New Goals, Syria And Punctuation Personality Types, Or Why Rachel Is Now Called Wednesday And Why Kiki Can’t Find The Glasses On Her Face…

By Kiki Keane

Apologies for our long absence. Rachel and I were busy (Rachel) and lazy (me). Well, that’s not entirely true. I’m going to take a dig at Rachel simply because she’s not here to defend herself. You see, Rachel has been busy this week, but there was a day were she could have blogged, but she decided instead to play Cards Against Humanity into the wee hours of the morning… Actually, it’s not much of a dig. Rachel would the be the first person to confess that she chose a game over blogging.

Anyway, enough of that. I am here for our weekly accounting. Rachel is busy running around and doing things that self-sufficiant adults have to do. Put simply, Rachel accomplished 1.5 out of 3 personal goals and is 1 for 1 in the collective category. As for me, I accomplished 1.5 out of 4 and a perfect 1 for 1 for the collective! In truth, however, things are little more complicated than that, at least as far as Rachel is concerned. Let me explain.

Rachel:

Rachel finished one whole goal, which was to watch two movies. She watched The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish version) and The Yacoubian Building. The other two goals (reading two books and being optimistic) were only half accomplished. Rachel read one book: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. As for her optimism… Well, she’s decided that I am the best judge. My ruling is as follows: 3 out of 6 days. She wasn’t optimistic in the strictest sense, but she did try to crack a few jokes while practicing Arabic. And there were a few moments were she wasn’t all doom and gloom. Some days I am tempted to call her Wednesday.

So you see, the tally isn’t exactly 1.5 out of 3. For all I know, Rachel might think she was pretty optimistic everyday. Until I learn to read minds (it’s on my Bucket List) I will have no idea what goes on in her dark, dark mind…

New Goals:

1) Read 1 book 2) Study Arabic 3) Cling to the remnants of her sanity

Kiki:

As always, I was a lazy lady this week. I think sometimes that I was born in the wrong class in the wrong century. I am much more suited to the life of country lady of yore. One who lays on an uncomfortable looking couch staring dreamily into the distance or being fed grapes by very handsome, very stupid man.

Moving on…

I watched The Yacoubian Building, which was my one fully accomplished goal. I even returned it to the library on time! I read one book, which was also called The Yacoubian Building (my halfway finished goal). I forgot to call the visa people. Every. Single. Day. I would only remember at night (like right now) when it was to late to call, which would cause a small panic attack (like I’m experiencing right now). So there went goals 3 and 5. I feel like I shouldn’t make “not panicking” a goal, since I panic a lot. Everyday. Sometimes multiple times a day. It’s hardwired into my DNA. It’s what I do. And I’m REALLY good at it. But, I hate it. So, I’m going to keep making it a goal and maybe one day I will successfully not panic. It’s funny though. I’m always much more calm when I’m traveling and have no idea what I’m doing. I only panic before I go…

As for reading 1984… well, I had to take it back to the library (I renewed it to many times) so I was unable to finish it. However, I will check it out again (and finish it!) as soon as I read one of the other library books I have stacked at the side of my bed. Which leads me to the half unfinished goal: reading a book relevant to my trip. Now, The Yacoubian Building is an Egyptian novel. So technically I could argue that I accomplished the entire goal, but that’s not what I had in mind. When I wrote “one relevant to my trip” I meant non-fiction and while I have read a good 200 pages of a couple of different non-fiction books about the Middle East, I didn’t finish a single one.

New Goals:

1) Read 1 novel and a book relevant to my trip 2) Study Arabic 3) Call the Visa people 4) Read two magazine articles a day 5) Not panic

Collective Goal(s):

1) Study Arabic together

Because I Haven’t Wasted Enough of Your Time…

I came across this today. It’s called Your Punctuation Personality Type, in which you can find out what your favorite punctuation mark says about you. It’s made up, of course, and I completely disagree with most of them because I see those punctuation marks differently. For example, I really love and abuse the ellipses. I like what it says or doesn’t say. I love that it leaves so much unsaid and that you, the reader, get to decide all that is in the … I think it shows a healthy respect for the unknown. This is what my personality type is according to the post: An indecisive and flighty person. You lose your train of thought easily. You are a follower and like to let other people take the risks. You often misplace your keys or spend ten minutes looking for the glasses you’re already wearing. Indecisive? Yes. It’s not because I can’t make a decision, but because I like adventure and because I really don’t care most of the time. Flighty? Maybe. I don’t forget the glasses on my face and I NEVER misplace my keys. Okay. I forget them sometimes, but only if I haven’t driven my car for a few days. Follower? Certainly not. Not unless there taking me to the ice cream shop or leading me to chocolate. I may not be a “leader,” but I’m definitely a risk taker. I am, after all, about to embark on a journey that could get me killed or imprisoned or just be an epic fail.

My other favorite punctuation marks are the parentheses and the exclamation point. I over use them. A lot. I don’t wholly agree with the personality assessment for these marks either, but they are half right. I am sarcastic, though I prefer the term “snarky,” and I am a very affectionate drunk, though I can sometimes be mean. It depends on what I’m drinking.

I also have great respect and am in awe, really, of the semi-colon. Mainly because it’s so powerful and so often misused.

Okay. Enough about the punctuation. How about some news? I’m only going to mention Syria because I have things to do and the sun is quickly setting.

It turns out that Syria’s regime is ‘wobbling’ and is descending into a civil war. Apparently it’s less like Libya and more like Baghdad. Here’s Richard Engel’s report on Nightly News yesterday and the bit he did with Andrea Mitchell today. Also, Russia seems to be giving the regime helicopter gunships.

Categories: Adventure, Books, Bull, Goals, Journalism, Life, Media, Nerd, Punctuation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Finished Book, A Diatribe Mixed With Self-Loathing And The Passing Of A Write…

By Kiki Keane

I have finally finished a book! I don’t know what’s been wrong with me the last several months. I used to be able to go weeks without turning on the TV and now channel surfing is the first thing I do upon waking. Taking the TV out of my bedroom hasn’t helped because of this new fangled thing called a computer, which has access to this other new fangled call the internet, which has all kinds of things to help you waste your time. Also, the computer has this awesome little device that allows you to watch DVDs. I am torn between loving technology and the ease with which it allows you to access information and hating because it is so distracting and has made the world so…fast. We know so many things and yet have no time to actually learn. I mean I would probably do pretty good on a current events quiz (as long as it had nothing to do with celebrities). I do watch and read a lot news. But does knowing equal learning? Also, I haven’t learned any of things I set out learn six months ago. Six years ago I was translating a chapter of the Odyssey after only studying Greek for a year (one hour three times a week for two semesters). Given that I could do that, shouldn’t I be farther along in Arabic than “a blue chair”? Yes! And why am I not? Because I can’t look away from the screen. Not the TV screen. Not the computer screen. And not the smartphone screen.

Okay. I’m done with my diatribe and self-loathing now.

On to the news.

Alright, I know that many important things have gone on in the world today: Another massacre in Syria, Russian lawmakers backing $9K fines for protesters, more protesting in Egypt, the anniversary of D-Day, etc. And these stories are important and should be acknowledged, studied and passed on. But for me, the news of Ray Bradbury’s passing is the one that I am most drawn to and the one that has occupied my thoughts the most today. Bradbury is the only writer that has ever, really, truly scared the s*** out of me. I still have nightmares twenty years after reading The Illustrated Man, which had the particularly disturbing story called The Veldt. More than that, though, Bradbury gave me one of the two mantras I live by: “You can’t try to do things; you simply must do them.” I say it whenever I go into a new situation. I used to think the implication was that you had to succeed at what you did. And maybe that was what Bradbury meant. But I choose to interpret it this way: You can’t try, you must do, but that doesn’t mean that you will succeed in what you do. The doing is the success.

I will leave you with this link to a nice bit that Neil Gaiman wrote about Bradbury.

Categories: Adventure, Books, Bull, Destopias, Goals, Journalism, Life, Media, Nerd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sad Goodbyes, Goals Accomplished (?) And New One’s Made, Or We Are To Tired And Cranky To Come Up With A Better Title…

By: Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

It is goal time again!

Rachel:

I hope you are doing well Constant Readers because my week is sucking. Yesterday my favorite tarantula passed away for no discernible reason and tonight I have to entertain both my sisters and their friends even though all I want to do is curl up with my book and curse society.

I got 1/2 of my goals accomplished. I read Prey by Michael Crichton and I Blogged about GLBTQ. I did not watch a movie nor did I post photos to the blog. Shame on me.

New Goals:

1)Read two books 2) Watch two movies 3) Be optimistic

Kiki:

Okay. If this were a society in which people were flogged for not doing what they say they are going than I would be in deep doodoo. Normally, I at least have my movie goal to make feel like I’m not a total failure, but this week…well…I should be flogged. However, I was a social butterfly ALL DAY LONG on Sunday (I hate being social), so I should get some points for that. Right? Right?

I did accomplish the collective goals, though. I studied Arabic and now know about 10 simple sentence structures, which would be useful if I could just remember the damnable words! I also got two vaccines on Tuesday: finished the Hep B series and started the Hep A. I’ll be done with my Typhoid vaccine tomorrow (I went for the pill option because it lasts longer).

New Goals:

1) Read a novel and a book relevant to my trip 2) Watch a movie 3) Call the Visa folks 4) Finish 1984 and 5) Not panic

Collective Goals:

Study Arabic

Categories: Adventure, Books, Bull, GLBT, Goals, Life, Nerd | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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