Posts Tagged With: Iraq

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

Apologies But Life Avoidance Was Necessary, Or Why Are Women’s Sneakers So Annoyingly Colorful?

By Kiki Keane

I apologize for the long absence. Rachel has been busy getting ready to move into her new apartment and I have been very distracted by Blossom and Two Guys, A Girl and A Pizza Place. I had no idea they had been put on DVD. I became obsessed. It was real ugly there for awhile.

The daily 90s sitcom marathons were no doubt an exercise in avoidance. Between dancing along with Blossom and Six and swooning over Nathan Fillion and Ryan Reynolds (together!) I had little time to freakout over the Visa situation (no one answers phones or emails), the lack of decently colored women’s sneakers (Why is everything white or neon and pastel? Whatever happened to just plain black?), the lack of “modest” but attractive dresses (Why are the only options skintight and Daisy Duke short or grandma?), the lack of real jeans options (again, skintight or mom or grandma), the fact that my Amazon purchases for the trip have been delivered but have not actually been delivered (they supposedly arrived a week ago) and I am six weeks away from the biggest life change I have ever had (and I have had a few) and I have no idea what I am doing. I’m not someone who “wings it.” I am planner and worrier and a freaker-outer (silently) and there is just no way to plan this kind of thing. Not really. Not in any kind of detail.

Okay. Enough of the drama. How about some actual important drama? Forgive me if these stories are out of date.

Here is the latest on Syria: Richard Engel is in Syria and here are his reports for Nightly News on Tuesday and Thursday and on Today. Richard Engel’s analysis of the situation and on the Shabiha and the rebel’s justice. Al Jeezera’s latest on Aleppo. CNN’s latest on Damascus and Aleppo. Here is the latest from NBCNews. This one is a bit old, but just in case you haven’t seen it: Richard Engel’s Rock Center report on his last trip to Syria a few weeks ago.

Here is a bit about Iraq: There were a 103 people killed in Tuesday’s blasts and according to CNN, suspected Al Qaeda militants clashed with security forces on Thursday.

Here is some news out of Egypt: Morsy appointed a new Prime Minister on Tuesday.

Here is a domestic story:  A short NBCNews story on the massive synthetic drug bust that happened recently. I put it here only because one of the stores that was raided is a local one. I always find it amusing and annoying that the only time New Mexico makes the national news is for something bad.

Categories: Adventure, Journalism, 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

Being Unproductive And A Few Thoughts On The Looting Of Antiquities…

By Kiki Keane

As I have stated many, many times before, I am currently unemployed. You would think that I would use all this extra time in a productive way. Read more, perhaps. Study Arabic. Learn a little French. Maybe write a novel (why not, right?) or a short story or an essay. Sadly, I have not left my bed today except to make popcorn and get a cup of coffee. I watched CSI and then Bones and then Frasier and now Golden Girls. That is my life. One long parade of crime dramas and sitcoms.

Okay. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. I did do a little reading today. A few days ago I got a bee in my bonnet. The bee is stolen artifacts and archeological looting. I went to library and got a couple of books on the subject (Stealing History and Loot) as well as the memoir of Egyptologist, Donald P Ryan, Ph.D, called Beneath the Sands of Egypt.

I’ve only read about 30 pages of Stealing History, but I’ve already learned a lot, though most of it is depressing. As someone who values history and believes that the only way to understand who we are is to understand where we came from, I’m disgusted by the looting and damage done to historical sites, by those who buy and sell looted pieces and the governments and agencies who do little to stop it. However, I can kind of, sort of see why the looters do what they do. I mean, if I lived in a country in which the average person lives on less than a dollar a day and I saw how willing the wealthy are to pay thousands of dollars for a tiny statue I could dig out of the ground, I might risk being a grave robber too. Also, I find myself strangely drawn to the argument one seller made about how antiquities move those who collect them and are therefore better able to take care of them than the elitist archeologist who hoard them away where they collect dust. Don’t get me wrong. I will always be on the side of the archeologist, elitist hoarders or not. I’m just saying I understand the various reasons people have for looting antiquities. I can understand the need to feed one’s family and the pull of “easy” money ($50 for a days work in a place like Mali is an awful lot of money). I understand how a piece of history–of art–can move a person. When I was a History grad, my professor gave us photocopies of letters written by British writer Stella Benson. My knees went weak when I saw her actual hand writing. And that was over photocopies! I can only imagine what it would be like to actually possess a piece of the past, particularly the ancient past. But I’d rather have my history lesson. History belongs to everyone.

Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now.

I also started The Foreign Correspondent, which is a historical suspense novel by Alan Furst. The first few pages feature an affair and an assassination. Pretty exciting stuff.

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

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