Monthly Archives: April 2012

A Noteworthy Blogger, Mediocre Haiku And The Tragic Reality Of Ignorance In America’s Youth OR Why Kiki Will Become A Hermit Soon

By: Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Greetings Constant Readers from the hazy nebula of our collective imagination!

First of all we would like to issue a shout out to a great blogger and a personal friend of Rachel’s. The Desert Scientist, an entomologist who blogs primarily about the environment, the flora and fauna of New Mexico and Women Scientists. He regularly features the biographies of different female scientists. We commend him for bringing the scientific contributions of these often overlooked scientist to light and for educating the public about the oft ignored creepy crawlies. Rachel, at least, loves reading about reptiles, insects and arachnids! He’s also a pretty darn good photographer.

Rachel has been doing a few Haiku, with the goal of one a day. So far it hasn’t been going quite that way. Some days she writes none and others she will jot down several she has been collecting in the vast and largely unexplored reservoirs of her mind. O.K, O.K, maybe I am getting a little carried away. They are not anything special; just my way of exercising a tiny bit of creativity and enabling me to do a small bit of writing each day. We can’t all write impressive novels like Kiki (haha!)

Rachel’s Haiku:

Beneath the mountian

Poppies consume the desert.

Carpeting yellow.

 

Clear morning reveals

Coral colored blossoms.

Thorny cactus plant.

 

Marching brown army,

Ants invading the kitchen.

Stay away from my stove!

 

As for me (Kiki), well…I’ve done very little this week. Since I am unemployed I have vast amounts of time on my hands so I thought I’d take the opportunity to do something creative and productive. Hence, the novel. Sadly, when it comes to me, vast amounts of time leads to laziness. Basically this means that I have done very little this week. I have written maybe three hundred words of my novel (it should be about 1600 a day). I have not practiced Arabic and I have not read a single word of anything. Not a book, not a poem, not a newspaper.

I did, however, manage to get my lazy butt out of bed to see The Raven yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised. It is not a cinematic masterpiece, but it was worth the money. Also, it was sufficiently gruesome. Later I rented A Dangerous Method. It was pretty good, too. I enjoyed the acting, which is saying something. I would recommend both.

I also saw sat down with an old friend for the first time in nearly ten years. We had a great deal to talk about. One of the things we talked about was the dismal state of affairs we are in when it comes to what the American people know about history and about books. For example, my friend mentioned that according to a survey, most young people did not know that the movie Titanic was based on a historical event! How could they know about the Titanic? It may not be favorite historical tragedy (and yes, I understand how creepy it is to have favorite historical tragedy), but it was huge! Also, I mentioned that Longfellow and Emerson were mentioned (not nicely) by Poe in The Raven. Actually, it was suppose to be funny. I was the only one that laughed. I’m sure the friend I went with knew who those illustrious men were and why it was funny, but there wasn’t peep from anyone else. This saddens me. Is this were we are headed? Where reality stars and football scores are more famous and more important then our tragedies and triumphs, our great men of letters? Really? I don’t think I want to be part of that world. Maybe I should just become hermit.

Rachel would like to add that I’ve been trying to become a hermit for years! It is easier said than done. I have one more haiku to bore you all with it is one I just wrote while Kiki was zealously typing away. This is something I saw today between Las Cruces and Hatch.

 

Men baling green hay;

Sweet scented under the sun.

Last days of April.

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A Small Soap Box, A Boringly Awesome Day And Some News…

By Kiki Keane

Somedays I get caught up in feeling sorry for myself. Then something extraordinarily lucky happens, the universe similes and the world goes right again. Then the guilt sets in. I mean, really. Who am I to complain about anything? I am far better off than the majority of people in the world. Could things be better? Yes, of course. I could use a job, for one thing. But than things could be soooooo much worse, too.

Okay, off my soap box.

Yesterday was a good day. First, I found a season of Caroline In The City online. I forgot that I loved that show as teenager. I always hated the way it ended, though. Poor Richard. Did he ever get Caroline back? Then that awesome thing happened, which I can’t say just yet for fear of jinxing it. After that I got my guest library card for NMSU, which means I can check books out and read them in my pajamas in my papasan. Lastly, Richard Engel was on The Tonight Show. I’ll post the links at the end.

Here are some news stories I came across today:

1) Charles Taylor guilty in war crimes case

2) Latest in the ‘spy in the bag’ case

3) Latest on North Korea

And here is Part 1 and Part 2 of Richard Engel’s interview on The Tonight Show

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Cleaving and Other Joys

By: Rachel Womek

I got a shiny new toy today: a Henkels Stainless Steel Cleaver! A knife to meat all my cleaving needs; which are more extensive than you might think. I spent about 45 minutes cleaving 11 lbs of meat and separating it into little plastic freezer baggies. The meat is not even for me but for the little curly-tailed, dog-shaped, demon I am enslaved to. All that cleaving will keep her in raw meat for about 6 weeks! (Be satiated Master!!!) I am calling my new knife Mr. Cleavy.

Another happiness stems from the  end of school in a few weeks! Hurrah! I need only survive a brief span longer before the rescue plane arrives to sweep me off to summerland!

Cool morning outside.

Within the austere classroom

I long for freedom.

 

Another thing getting me through is the new season of Game of Thrones. Overall I am enjoying it immensely, although I am a bit disappointed with some of the choices/deviations they are making. If it comes together smoothly in the end I will be pleased.  Is Gwendoline Christie not perfect for Brienne? Excellent casting choice there.

Wish me luck Constant Readers, for a successful end to the semester!

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A Blog In Which The Authors Tell Everyone Things They Probably Don’t Care About… Oh, And Some News Stuff

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Due to a scheduling conflict involving the watching of a certain show called “Game of Thrones,” Rachel is absent for this blog session. So, I (Kiki) will be doing it today.

Today is the one day a week that is eagerly awaited by all, I’m sure. It is goal day! The day that we humble bloggers take stock of our accomplishment (ha!) and failures.

I’ll do Rachel’s first:

Technically Rachel didn’t set any goals last week, or at least she didn’t post them. But this is what she wishes me to put under the “goals met” category: 1) Practiced photography 2) Read 4 books and 3) Watched a couple of movies (I think Hunger Games was one of them).

New Goals: 1) Read 1984 2) Survive the school week

Kiki:

What goals did I meet this week? Well…I’m tired of giving excuses (mainly because I’m running out of them) and I’m sure you’re sick of reading them, so I won’t waste the space. I accomplished exactly 1.5 out of 3. Actually, that’s better than last week! I did half of what I set out to do, so I won’t beat myself up to bad. I finished one book (Carrie, by Stephen King) and I worked on my novel (I won’t be winning the Pulitzer anytime soon).

New Goals: I am simply going to do a cut and paste from last week… 1) Finish at least one of the books I’ve started and read 1984 2) Work on my book 3) Watch a movie 4) Not panic or have a panic attack about any of the following: my unemployment/bum status, lack of funds for my upcoming move to Egypt/N. Africa/Mid-East, the fact that I am a single (not actually something I’m upset about), unemployed, soon to be 28-year-old woman with a cat who lives with her grandparents (don’t judge!).

Collective Goals: 1) Practice Arabic 2) Be blogging goddesses!

Newsy Things:

1) The latest on N. Korea: S. Korean government will be reduced “to ashes”

2) ‘Gaia’ scientist was an ‘alarmist’ about climate change

3) Sudan bombs S. Sudan; 3 killed — moving photos

4) Chinese Murder Mystery

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An Apology, “Sad” Brony News and Haiku, Or Why Rachel Will Be Fed Humble Pie…

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

We are sorry!!! We know that we have been slacking and we apologize profusely! I (Rachel) have been caught up working, studying (end of school two weeks away!), cleaning, and trying unsuccessfully to adopt out my foster dog. I have managed to read a few books: a graphic novel, two haiku poetry books and one book on dog nutrition. Not exactly heavy reading!

I guess I Can’t make fun of Rachel for being lazy since she’s actually doing things. Me? I’ve been avoiding the computer like its got the plague. Productive? Nope. Not unless you call watching endless NCIS marathons productive. Oh. I did apply for a guest library card at the university library. Won’t get it tell next week, but I intend to wear it out while I’m still in the country. What else? Panicking. A lot. Unemployment does not suit my constitution. (In Rachel’s opinion unemployment suits few people’s constitutions! )

In Rachel’s opinion we should all dedicate some time to mainstreaming heavily armored shoes in children’s sizes because I keep stepping on Kiki’s teeny, tiny, feet!

In other news I don’t think I was approved for the My Little Pony forum. I guess the username: ManMareontheMoon sounds a little too pedophiliac for the forum’s taste. My undercover Brony dream is shattered! O.K I wasn’t that attached to it. After a brief mourning period I can move on with my life.

In other news, Rachel and I have decided to reread 1984 this week. Maybe we’ll watch the movie when we’re done.

Speaking of highly controlled societies, here is one last clip on Richard Engel’s trip to North Korea.

Rachel is trying to write a haiku every day. They aren’t very good, but perhaps I will let you read some soon! I want to get a little box so that I can write them on little cards and read them when I am in the mood to enjoy my own genius! (Don’t worry folks, I’ll make her eat some humble pie…) Well when I actually read them I may come to the self realization that I am not, in fact, a genius after all…

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Goals, News and Pulitzers, Or A Really Long Post To Make Up For My Laziness…

By Kiki Keane

Okay, so Rachel and I have not been on the ball lately. It’s been a few days since we’ve blogged and we’re late on our weekly goals post (I’m sure you’ve lost sleep over it).  I guess we’ve been lazier than usual. So, this is going to be a combo post: goals and something…

Rachel hasn’t given me her goals or mentioned what goals she accomplished last week, so she’s going to have mention them on the next post she writes.

I am 1-5 this week, though it’s not for lack of trying. I applied for jobs, but to no avail. Apparently, I am too educated to flip burgers or run a cash register and too inexperienced to ________________ (fill in the blank). I tried to watch The Spy Who Loved Me, but the DVD was scratched, so I only got to the part where Jaws rips off pieces of the van with his bare hands (its not like I have seen it million times or anything…). I guess I could have found another movie to watch, but I was in a Bond mood and that was the only one I could find. Apparently, everyone in Las Cruces was in a Bond mood. I did not read a full book, but I think I read enough of several different books to say I read a full book… Still, I won’t count it. I did not work on the news/profile piece this week. I have no excuse for it. I did, however, work on my novel. Man is it bad! But it passes the time and what else am I going to do with all this time I have (don’t answer that!)?

I think it’s safe to say that I did not work on the collective goals either.

New Goals: 1) Finish at least one of the books I’ve started and read another one 2) Work on my book 3) Watch a movie 4) Not panic or have a panic attack about any of the following: my unemployment/bum status, lack of funds for my upcoming move to Egypt/N. Africa/Mid-East, the fact that I am a single (not actually something I’m upset about), unemployed, soon to be 28-year-old woman with a cat who lives with her grandparents (don’t judge!).

Collective Goals: 1) Learn Arabic 2) Blog

The Something: 

International News: I’ve still been riveted by the North Korea story. Here and here are the latest from Richard Engel. I believe he’s left Pyongyang.

Local News: People sometimes think I’m a bit weird because I’d rather not risk going out at night to walk, or at least not on my own. I know it’s crazy. I mean I want to report on one of the most volatile regions in the world, cover war, revolutions and disasters, but I don’t want to risk going for a walk at night in a small, fairly safe city because something, like rape, might happen. Well, as it turns out, according the New Mexico Department of Health, I live in the state that has the 5th highest prevalence of rape in the country. To break it down, 1-4 New Mexican women will be victims of rape and 1 in 20 men. They also say that the real numbers are probably much higher. And it’s not getting better. It’s getting worse. I know that we have more to fear from the people we know than from strangers, but still…

Books: So, the Pulitzer Prizes have been announced. The big news is that no award was given for fiction, which is the first time since 1977. I find I actually don’t care about that. I am really glad about the photographer who won for his photo of the little girl in the green outfit who is crying/screaming surrounded by people who were killed in a bombing in Afghanistan in December. It is a hard photo to look at, but I remember it very vividly. It so moved me that I splurged and bought the newspaper (it was The New York Times, which is very expensive for a Master’s student in Hawaii).

Also, I’m reading Carrie for the first time. I’m not a King fan. I love his ideas, but there’s something about his style that grates like nails on a chalkboard. However, Carrie seems to be fairly readable. I’ve only cringed twice.

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An Ode To Libraries During National Library Week…

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

We are sitting in the New Mexico State University library where Rachel has lost her mind, or perhaps I have just discovered that it has long been missing. She is completely transfixed by the darkened aisles. I’m worried she might be a vampire. She says, “A vampire of literature!” I prefer a nicely lit place to enjoy my pros, such as near a big window in a papasan or some other giant chair, just me and Dickens, or maybe Austen, Poe on rainy nights and Tennyson or Keats when depressed.

We are waiting for the Jazz concert to start. We have about two hours to wait, so why not spend it in a room full of books? The only thing better would be if these stupid knuckleheaded students were not here. Oh well. I guess they have every right to be here. Wait tell I rule the world, though! All libraries will be mine! Muh ah ah!

Rachel also agrees that we should have the Library to ourselves. Then we can walk the cool and dark aisles, solitary, breathing in the dust and the smell of books. Old books rich and musty, new books crisp and sharp, some smell like mildew and others like honeyed butter. Then we can sit down in a quiet and comfortable corner surrounded by stacks of bound paper. We will open a book and read words, modern or ancient, wise or inane, words that twist and flow, like dancers, across the page. The external world will fade away and all that will exist is the universe of language filling our minds with its endless possibilities.

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Blast Off! Or Not…

By Kiki Keane

I have been glued to the TV the last few days. So many exciting things have been going on in the news. Okay, really one exciting thing has been going on in the news: the North Korean rocket launch. It has been exciting because DPRK has let in some foreign journalists to cover the whole thing. Granted it has been a highly orchestrated affair, but it is still interesting and says a lot about how N. Korea wants the world to see them and how they see themselves.

Today, DPRK launched the rocket and it promptly failed. I can’t say I was surprised. What is surprising is that North Korea has admitted to its own people that the rocket failed. I don’t think anyone expected that to happen. The question now is whether DPRK will follow up with a nuclear test in a show of strength.

I mostly watch NBC and MSNBC so the following links are all from those websites. Richard Engel is the reporter.

Display of devotion at unveiling of Kim Jung Il’s mural  (April 9)

Inside North Korea’s capital (April 10)

Mission Control room (April 11)

Launch and failure (April 12)

There should be more reports coming. I’ve heard rumors of more tours in Pyongyang.

Also, if you would like to see some really interesting pictures of DPRK you should check out Richard Engel on Twitter (@richardengelnbc)

Came across this website. It was created by DPRK and KFA (Korean Friendship Association). It’s purpose, it seems, is to build international ties with DPRK.

 

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My Little Brony

By: Rachel Womek

So the My Little Pony show is on Netflix and just for amusement I sat down with my brother and sister (and we are all adults mind) to watch the first two episodes. It was quite fun (though it’s not exactly Powerpuff Girls or Fairly Oddparents quality). A funny moment did come though when the pizza delivery man arrived to a home where three grown-ups, including a heterosexual man, were watching this sparkly, pink, pony extravaganza. I was secretly hoping the evil pony would win, cynic that I am, but it was not to be. However my sister can get a good lesson from the show: obey your older sister without question! Like an obedient robot.

 

Apparently Pony mania is pervasive, all over the place! Many adults are fans of the show, watch it and collect Ponies. When I was a young my sister had quiet the collection, and together with her friends Ponies, they lined up nose to tail all the way down the block and around the corner. I also seem to recall our then dog, a Shetland Sheepdog named Sebastian who was then just a puppy, chewing the head off of one. He also chewed the head off of two consecutive Skipper dolls, in retrospect he must have been aiding me to escape a traditional female role.

 

But I digress. Some of these My Little pony or MLP fans are, in fact, men. The call themselves Bronies. Yes, this IS a real thing. Using slogans such as: “Bronies Before Hoenies”, these steak eatin’, all-American men are representing; Pony style. And hey, more power to them. Any individual who can break out of that gender box society assigns us and find happiness in a non-violent way is pretty cool in my book.

 

I am going to lurk on some MLP forums so stay tuned for more news on MLP culture. Just remember Constant Reader: “Friendship is Magic”.

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Goals Old And New and North Korea

By Kiki Keane

Normally Rachel and I would be doing our goal post together, but Rachel has come down with a cold, so I will be doing it on my own.

Here is how we did on our goals and what this weeks goals will be:

Kiki: I’m 2-4 this week. I worked on my novel and I watched a movie. Actually, I watched several movies: Indiana Jones and the Crystal SkullGreat Expectations (2012), Transformers and Her Alibi. I did not finish a book. I hardly read at all, which does not bode well for the book part of my 50/50 challenge. I also did not apply for my visa or passport card. To be fair, the reason I did not apply for my card or visa is because I do not have a job, though not for lack of trying.

New Goals: 1) Read a book 2) Watch a movie 3) Find a job 4) Write up the story I’m working on 5) Work on my novel

Rachel: I have no idea if Rachel accomplished her goals. I’m pretty sure she watched a movie and probably read a book. I know that she did not research vaccinations. As for photography…well, she took the camera to the interview, but I was not paying attention, so I can’t say for sure. We’ll say she’s 3-4.

New Goals: 1) Practice photography 2) Read at least one book and 3) Get over her cold

Collective Goals: 1) Practice Arabic 2) Blog about something new

I would also like to direct anyone who is interested to the following news stories. You are probably aware that North Korea will be launching a satellite this week. The world is a little nervous. Not about the satellite, but about the ballistic missile and the possibility that they are preparing for an underground nuclear test. North Korea has allowed a number of foreign journalists in to the country to watch the launch. Here are a few of Richard Engel’s dispatches.

Here they are:

1) U.S. skeptical of North Korea Launch

2) North Korea prepare to launch rocket

3) South Korea: Pyongyang reading for nuke test

4) North Korea missile poised to launch

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