Monthly Archives: March 2012

An Apology, A Question, An Answer And A Heads Up…

By Kiki Keane

Boy! Left to my own devices (Rachel is away on a retreat), I have become even lazier than normal. Rachel is away one day and I fall down on my job. I decided that Journey 2The Golden Girls, a trip to the library and surfing the Web for adventure books was a far better use of my time than a blog post. Sorry.

Here’s my thought/question of the day:

Have you ever been slapped in the face by the words in a book? Did those words inspire you or push you to make you change your life, or at least part of your life?

I have. It happened last Friday. The book itself is nothing special. I wouldn’t have even picked it up if it wasn’t this months pick for my book club. Bloodland, by Alan Glynn (Limitless), is a suspense novel about an unemployed journalist who is writing a book about a dead celebrity, which leads him to some nefarious dealings of some powerful, shady people. It wasn’t so much the words that made me slap my head and say “Duh,” rather it was a scene. A man, Rundle, is anxious. He should be. Everything he has worked for could come crashing down around him at any moment. It turns out that the anxiety is from fear of losing control. I read that scene and I thought, “F**k!” My situation is nothing like Rundle’s. I’m not afraid of losing control or losing everything. The Duh/F**k moment was the realization that what I have been experiencing that last eight weeks is not nerves, but anxiety. And what I experienced last week was a full blown attack. I have never actually been sick before going to work. I have never dreaded walking out my door in the morning. I have never had to fake a smile. Until last week, that is. I thought I could handle it. I thought I could live through it. It was only for 23 weeks, after all. But I couldn’t. I started to hate people. Not, the people-can-be-so-annoying kind of hate, but the burning, rage-filled hate. And when Rachel became the optimistic one in the group, I knew something had to be done. So, I quit.

The good news is that I don’t hate people anymore. I trust them less, but I don’t hate them. Also, I’m back to being plain old nervous about not making enough money for my trip and falling flat on face, instead of nursing an ulcer. Bad news: back to the Want Ads.

Just an FYI: A new episode of Richard Engel’s Hidden Planet has been released on the Rock Center iPad app. It will be on the website next week. The current episode is about the Saqqara plateau, Egypt’s oldest pyramid complex. Good stuff!

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A Bit of Progress and Another Nerdgasm

By: Rachel Womek

I’m on a movie watching role! Two days and two movies! I got the Alien Anthology and am working my way through the four films. This means that one goal (watch one movie) has already been fulfilled. As they say at the football match (International football, not American): GOOOAALLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The heroine of these films: Ripley, is I feel, one of the best and most authentic female protagonist characters. She is not an over-sexed dominatrix type (think Kate Beckinsale ala Underworld) nor is she an extremely butch woman. She is a hero on the same level as any male hero portrayed in film, and unmistakably female.

In world news a photographer captured a shocking moment as a Tibetan activist protested China’s rule in his country by setting himself on fire.

Here in New Mexico the weather’s warming a bit. I caught a quick snapshot of the mountains:

In non-photography related news:

Today is Leonard Nimoy’s 81rst Birthday!!!! 81 years old and still sexy. For those of you who have been living under a rock since the dawn of man: Leonard Nimoy is the wonderful actor who brought to life the character of Spock in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. This year he’ll be appearing in the more modern hit television series: The Big Bang Theory.

Categories: Adventure, Feminism, Free Speech, Goals, Journalism, Media, Nerd, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Continued Panic, Old and New Goals And Failing In Style…

By: Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

It’s that time again, time to talk about our weekly goals. For better or for worse (usually for worse) today proves no exception.

Rachel’s goals were to: 1) Read and finish at least two books 2) Watch at least one movie 3) Research vaccinations 4) Practice photography

Rachel read  only 1.5 books this week. Goal nearly accomplished but not quite. She did watch one movie: Alien. The last two goals she failed at miserably. She also failed at the majority of our joint goals; with the exception of one (“Don’t Panic”). Before you know it she’ll be off exploring the galaxies towel in one hand Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster in the other!

Kiki’s goals were to: 1) Read two books and 2) Watch a couple of movies.

Kiki read a few pages here and there in a couple of different books. She also watched a couple of movies: The Mirror Has Two Faces, Casino Royal and The Bourne Identity. As far as the collective goals go, Kiki studied a very little bit of Arabic and failed miserably at everything else. Especially the “Don’t Panic” goal. Kiki has managed to make panicking-about-stupid-things into an art form. For some reason she can nearly drive herself and her friend off an icy road and nearly off a cliff and not bat an eyelash, but going to work is not only panic inducing, but vomit worthy. She really, really needs a new job.

New and easily obtainable, idiot-proof, goals!!!

Rachel: 1) Research vaccinations 2) Practice photography (No problem since I’ll be at the WP Conference!) 3) Finish both Cakes and Ale and A Universe From Nothing! 4) Start Passport Application 5) Watch one movie!

A lot of goals but I (Rachel) had to carry over the ones I completely ****ed up on!

Kiki: 1) Don’t panic (hahaha) 2) Finish my book club book 3) Watch a movie 4) Find a new job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, maybe I’m not good at picking obtainable goals… Maybe I like failure…

Collective: 1) Study Arabic 2) Blog about fabulous things 3) Blog more


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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back, Or Kiki Is Grumpy and Rachel Is Cheery (For A Change)

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

So… we have news on our trip. Firstly, it will be much more expensive to live in Egypt than we thought, so a new job hunt has started! Wish us luck (also because we are miserable in our current occupations). A friend of mine (Rachel) has offered to help us in our apartment search, so it’s not all bad. Secondly, one of my former professors has offered to let me (Kiki) write a few stories for the journalism departments online magazine, The Merge. She has also offered me (Kiki) a press pass, which is very exciting and helpful! In other words, our trip is both progressing and halting.

Rachel has been making progress on her 50/50  challenge, she has finished one book this week (Bag of Bones by Stephen King) and is halfway through a second (Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham). She needs to do better on the movie side of that 50/50 coin however, since starting the challenge she hasn’t watched a single one! She also has to get on board with some non-fiction to round out the book portion of the challenge.

Kiki is a complete failure on both parts of the 50/50 challenge. She has done nothing but watch The Golden Girls and Frasier  reruns. Well, that’s not entirely true. She did read about five pages in a new book called Baghdad Without A Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia by Tony Horwitz. So, that counts for something right?

Here are some interesting bits we’ve been keeping an eye on this week:

1) Paintballing with Hezbollah

2) Mathematician, Vi Hart, Explains Spirals and Fibonacci Numbers in Doodles and Vegetables

3) Einstein’s documents are online

4) Muppets get star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

5) Iranian weapons are being used against Syrian protesters, according to U.S. and European officials

6) Military push against Kony

7) Cruise ship vs. cargo ship

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A Workers Lament

By Kiki Keane

I don’t usually like to complain about work. I am well aware how lucky I am to have job. Also, I need the job to make my schemes and dreams come true. I just want to say that for first time in my life I really, truly hate my job. It literally (and yes “literally” is used way to much, so sue me) makes me sick to go to work. It’s the first job I have where I am truly afraid that I will screw something up and get fired. It’s not dealing with the customers. Despite my snarkiness and introverted nature, I actually really like people. I just hate the phone, I hate the feeling that I have no idea what I’m doing and having to pretend that I do. In all honesty, I don’t have any more of a clue than the customer. The only advantage I have is a system that has the answers IF you know how to find them. I have begun to apply for other jobs. I’m even willing to take a pay cut.

On a lighter note, I have actually practiced Arabic a bit this week. I can now ask the question, “What is this?” Now if I could just understand the answer, I would be rockin’!

Here are a few stories I have been paying attention to today:

1) The possible coup attempt in Mali

2) Richard Engel’s report on Cybercrime (actually, that’s only part of the story. The full report can be found on the Rock Center website)

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So Called “Spring Break”

By Rachel Womek:

So I totaled out on books yesterday. I checked out three and I bought three (less than 2 bucks, woot!) and I am currently reading another. Did I mention that I have about 15 more books bought in the past to get through? So many books, so little time.


It’s “spring break” here in NM. They should really call it homework break, how those fratties find the time to party it up I’ll never know; it’s not as if they are being diligent the rest of the semester. My spring break actually is next week when school will be back in session. I am going to a conference in Albuquerque: The White Privilege Conference. Calm down! It’s not what it sounds like. The conference is basically about educating middle class white people about the race based social stratification here in the good ol’ U.S.A.  I am “white”, though not middle class, and am already aware of stratification (the very concept of race is a means of creating social stratification), but the opportunity arose for me to go and I jumped at it. I am leaving next Wednesday and will return that Sunday. Sadly, Constant Readers, I doubt I’ll have internet access, so you’ll have to go without any blogs by me for a few days. Never fear! Kiki will, with eloquence and humor, fill the gap. You can also expect a full report, photos included, upon my return.

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Wind, Books, Books and More Books, Or The Life Of A Bookworm…

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Wow! It’s a windy day here in New Mexico. Rachel and I were almost blown away as we walked from the car to the restaurant where we are now sitting. The horizon is a haze of brown and our faced are caked in sand. This is why Kiki hates Spring. This is why Kiki hates Spring. All outdoor activities are now off the roster, not that they were ever on our roster. At least it’s not all bad sitting here in a restaurant, eating comfort foods (hey, we’re going to the gym later!) and blogging.

We’ve just come from the library where Rachel walked away with 3 books and Kiki with 4 books and a movie. We are serious about our 50/50 challenge, no matter how arduous pleasure reading is (sarcasm). Rachel also lent Kiki a couple books so she’as got at least 7 to get through.We hope she can stop watching The Golden Girls long enough to get through them!

We are now about to head to our local used bookstore, Coas Books. It is a giant, six room cornucopia of literary adventure, knowledge and all things awesome. It is all one of the top used bookstores in the nation.

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Panic Attacks, Research, Goals Met And Not Met And Other Topics Of Interest, Or Why Kiki Is Going Crazy…

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

What a week! Rachel finished her book! Actually, she finished three, which means she has made up for her slacker ways of weeks pasts. Kiki, on the other hand, is still a slacker.

Trip news: We looked at camera lens prices. Hopefully, we will be able to get one soon. We also glanced at cell phones, international plans and egyptian plans, though little information was had. Well… unless your planning a short, touristy trip. Also, we had a mild panic attack (actually, Kiki had the panic attack. Rachel seemed stoic) regarding our tickets. FYI, (and Kiki, international traveler that she is, is embarrassed she forgot this tidbit) the name on your ticket must be the same as your passport if you are traveling internationally.

Rachel did slack on researching international vaccination requirements, she was too busy reading. She claims that she still has one more day before the end of the week. Two out of three goals is normally respectable. However, vaccinations are a fairly important aspect of our trip, so shame on her (LAME!).

Kiki already blogged about her goals. She failed at her new goal (reading two books). She only finished one, though she has started four others.

New Goals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kiki: 1) Read and finish two books 2) Watch a couple of movies

Rachel: 1) Read and finish two books 2 ) Watch at least one movie 3) Research vaccinations 4) Practice photography

Collectively: 1) Study Arabic 2) Not panic 3) Come up with better things to blog about 4) Not spend money (after today because Kiki needs an Arabic book and dictionary)

Categories: Adventure, Books, Goals, Nerd, Photography, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Bookworm’s Celebration, Or Why I Am One Step Closer To The Poor House…

By Kiki Keane

I try not to blog about my job, but Friday was a good day. I graduated from training and am now moving into the transition stage! This is exciting because it means that in two weeks time, when I become a full fledged Trusted Advisor (what a crock!) I will be paid a dollar more when I work after 6pm and on weekends, I will be allowed to work overtime and get paid for it and I get paid a percentage (a very, very small percentage) on any sales I might make. I don’t usually care that much about money, but I need every cent I can get for this trip. The truth is that isn’t just a trip for me. If I’m successful I will have a new career and a new life!

Having said that, I have to admit that instead of saving all those pennies I made today, I spent them. Well, not all of them. Just half. I decided to celebrate and went on a late night trip to a bookstore. I walked out of the store with an armful of books and an Irish Creme Mocha. I purchased the following: Dark Safari by Paul Theroux, Scribbling the Cat by  Alexandra Fuller, I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallmann and The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe by Peter Godwin. I spot a theme…

Here’s the news I’ve been most interested in today:

1) George Clooney’s arrest

2) Soldier’s identity revealed and Karzai’s response to massacre and U.S. Troops’ response

3) Syria

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

I Am To Tired To Think Of A Title, So Your Stuck With This Unnecessarily Long Non-Title…

By Kiki Keane

Well… it is past the time when Rachel and I write about how we failed to fulfill our weekly goals. It was a very trying and sad week for Rachel, so she has an excuse. I have no such excuse. I can only blame my addiction to The Golden Girls and sleep. But, starting today (Thursday), I am going to force myself out of bed to practice my Arabic and read before work (I can see you all rolling your eyes!).

I did actually accomplish at least one of my goals. I finished a book. I read Die A Little by Megan Abbott, which I think I mentioned in another post. It is a Noir that pits two femme fatals against each other in 1950s L.A. Chandler she is not, but Abbott has the ability to keep you engaged and creeped-out for the duration.

Also, I listened to Arabic music. Can that count as my Arabic study? No? Fine. If you want a nice jazzy album you should give Rough Guide: Arabic Lounge a try.

I think I’m going to keep my goals for this week the same as last week. Except I will read two books this week! Yes! Two whole books! The first is The Sisters Brothers by Patrick Dewitt. The second is yet to be determined. I’m thinking I will reread Richard Engel’s War Journal.

Here are some news stories I’ve been keeping an eye on:

1) The terrible murders in Afghanistan. Here’s the latest from MSNBC and here is Richard Engel’s Nightly News update.

2) The birth control controversy in Arizona. This piece is opinion rather than news.

Categories: Adventure, Books, Feminism, Goals, Journalism, Media, Nerd | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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