Posts Tagged With: Egypt

Long Time, No See…

By Kiki Keane

Hi everyone! I’m sure you’ve noticed our absence. Or not, which is okay, too. Anyway, it has been nearly 5 months since we have written anything. I don’t really have a good excuse, but Rachel does. I also have a couple confessions to make, so bare with me.

I won’t say what Rachel’s excuses are because I think they are for her to tell. Lets just say that she has had a major life change (a good one) and another will be happening soon (also good, I think) on top of all the many daily things she has to do. So, blogging is the last thing on her mind.

As for me, I left Cairo and moved to Hurghada, which is a small city on the Red Sea populated mostly by Russians. Needless to say, it has not been conducive to journalism or managing my laziness. I don’t why, but living next to the beach with all that blue water and blue sky makes a person want to crack open a good book and not spend time in front of a computer. It also makes a person come face to face with some not so pleasant facts, such as the following:

  1.  I have no money to continue my adventure.
  2.  I have no skills to get a job to get money for my adventure.
  3.  You need to either speak the local language or have money to hire someone who can translate in order to do decent journalism.
  4. I have neither of these things.
  5. I am a dinosaur. I do not have the understanding of technology or social media to participate in journalism as it is now. I do not have the patience to learn how to make it in this new world, which is why I am extinct before I even hit 30. I should have been born in the early part of last century to a family of means and liberal minds.
  6. I love journalism. I want to tell the stories of all those people who can’t tell their own. However, it seems it is not my calling, at least not at this point in time.

So, there you go. I am packing it in. I hate being a quitter, but I know when I’m beat. Maybe I set my goal to high. Maybe I set myself up for failure. That’s okay. If there is anything I have learned in life it is that it is never the way you planned it. I am open to whatever lies ahead. I think I am going to make another try for my MA and then maybe a PhD. Or maybe I’ll take another giant risk and open up that Noir themed bookstore I always wanted, complete with a little coffee shop with drinks named “The Big Sleep” or “Double Indemnity” and once a month Murder Mystery Dinners.

The other confession I have to make is something that I never thought would happen or wanted to happen, actually (until now). I got married on February 14. I know. I know. It was a fast courtship. No one is more surprised than me. But it feels right. Despite the language and cultural differences, we make a great team. We are working on getting him a visa to the US so that I can enjoy the freedom I am used to and to live a rent free life (for awhile, anyway). Also, I miss my fur baby, Alia. And English TV. And Libraries. And movies other than Twilight or Fast and the Furious.

I’m not sure if we will be keeping up with this blog. I mean one half of The Intrepids is to busy to keep it up and I have a terrible track record. Also, its purpose is gone. We made it to North Africa, at least. Rachel left and I will be gone soon, too. (Inshala, as they say here.) However, I think I will start another blog. One for myself. We’ll see. I will check in here once in awhile and if I ever do make another blog I will let you know.

 

 

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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

Apologies Again, Promises And Some Personal News…

By Kiki Keane

I want to apologize for not writing for almost two months! Egypt has made me more lazy and sleepy than I was back home. Who knew that could be possible? Actually, Rachel and I are going to start blogging on a more steady basis again. We both have had some major changes in our lives and it looks like our futures are going to hold even more exciting changes! We probably won’t have any more joint blogs since she’s back in the US and I am in Cairo. Maybe we will still have our weekly goals post, though.

This will not be a long blog, because I have some professional obligations I need to take care of. I just want to let you all know that I am alive and that this blog will keep going.

Just an FYI before I leave you for now:

You may have noticed that I wrote that I am still in Cairo at the end of the first paragraph. I will be here for awhile for a number of reasons. First, I decided that it is more cost-effective to have a base and Cairo is pretty cheap and less distracting than Hurghada (beaches!). Second, it turns out that flight and hotel/hostel prices are more expensive this time of year, so staying put for a bit seems the cheapest thing to do. Third, I need to learn the language and so I will be taking one of the many intensive month-long Arabic courses offered here. Fourth, I need some extra cash, so I will be trying to make some by tutoring in English. An added benefit to all this is that my boyfriend lives here.

 

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The Perils Of Packing, Or Having To Admit To Myself That I Once Listened To The Backstreet Boys And I Want That Way…

By Kiki Keane

Wow! Nearly two weeks since we lasted posted anything. I will admit that, per usual, part of the reason is laziness and/or avoidance. However, I can also say, with much relief, that mostly the absence is due to trip related business. I wish that I could spend the time to write at length and post some links, but I am stretched thin.

I am amazed at how much time it takes to pack 28 years of a person’s life into a large duffle bag, a small briefcase-sized bag and a backpack. I am still not done. I have packed and repacked a dozen times at least. Adjusting, refolding, taking out and putting in. Should I assume that certain necessities are available wherever it is I end up? Are they really even necessities? How can I live without cocoanut Jelly Bellies and Reese’s peanut butter cups? Then there is the question of books. How many do I take? Which one’s should I take? Should I bring my favorites or take a chance on new ones? Uplifting or depressing? Fiction, nonfiction or poetry? Classics or contemporary? Tennyson, Keats or Naruda? Homer, Dickens or Gaiman? And why doesn’t Las Cruces have a copy of Zorba the Greek?

I have to admit that I am excited to embark on this new and adventurous life, but I am also scared shitless. I am not afraid of the physical risks I will be taking once the Egypt leg of the trip is over. I am not worried about where I’ll sleep or if I will have enough to eat. I am a bit freaked about the great potential for complete and total failure. However, today I learned that you will receive what you need when you need it. I received two things today: 1) A gift of great value both literally and symbolically and 2) a bit of wisdom or, if it is not exactly wise than at least something I can cling to when I feel like jumping of cliff when this adventure turns out to be a disaster. It is from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and it goes like this: “But the person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing. All we know about the future is that it will be different. But perhaps what we fear is that it will be the same, so we must celebrate the changes because as someone once said, “Everything will be alright in the end and if it’s not alright, than trust me, it’s not yet the end.”

We have about a week until we leave for Cairo. Hopefully one or both of us will be able to at least do some short posts before we go.

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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.

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Vaccinations, Passports And Goals

By: Rachel Womek

Mwahaha…Kiki is taking a break while I fill your heads with whatever nonsense I desire.

I have some personal good news! I received my passport today and officially asked for time off work for Egypt! I am feeling very excited and nervous.

it’s goal time!

Here are my old goals and how I did. I said I would finish a book and not star any new books, I did not finish anything but I also did not start anything. I’m giving myself a .50 for accomplishing the second half of my goal. I said I would watch a movie and i did. I saw Cabin in The Woods which I would entirely recommend. Joss Whedon can do no wrong. I said I would feel good about myself, some days I did, some not as much. Lastly I promised to write haiku which I did and posted one in an earlier blog.

New Goals:

1)Finish a book already! 2) Apply for credit cards 3) Don’t panic!

Here are Kiki’s goals:

Kiki accomplished non of her goals from last week but we can understand because she has a lot on her plate. She did get vaccinated for tetanus, meningitis and yellow fever so she has completed some trip related actions. Here are her new goals in her own words.

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.

I worked some on the Visa thing, but no answers the phone or email…

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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.

 

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Delicious Science, Honest Abe Kills Non-Sparkly Vamps, Books Are Heart-Cockle Warmers And How ‘Bout Those Elections?

By: Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Science, delicious, delicious science. I (Rachel) watched a great Ted Talk by Brian Greene earlier about string theory and the multiverse. My favorite thing he said was that the multiverse is “a great cosmic bubble-bath of Universes”, grab your rubber duckies people! I also watched some stuff with Richard Dawkins whom I like a lot, even though he is a bit extreme. He’s not a big fan of agnostics like me, but I can forgive that for his snarky attitude, and I love snark. That is why I am friends with a certain journalist.

I’ve been watching these because I am petsitting and largely deprived of going out for long periods of time, playing Skyrim, and I already finished my book. Sadness.

Last night I did go out and see two movies though, not something I normally do, and I am happy to report that I did so without getting a migraine. I saw Prometheus and, with Kiki, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. They were both good, in completely different ways, and I would recommend either.

Sadly, my (Kiki) life is not very exciting. This week was spent mostly in isolation watching Psych and the news. Last night I decided to go back to the land of the living.  As Rachel mentioned, we went to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (from here on out, ABVH). If you know me at all, you that I am 1) Snarky 2) A Purist and 3) A Party-pooper, especially when it comes to messing with history, my favorite things and/or my childhood. I admit, ABVH was entertaining. I enjoy fictional gore, vampires (not the sparkly kind), general badassery and Rufus Sewell’s big Brown (Hazel?) eyes and husky voice. But I LOVE Abraham Lincoln and history with a passion that I cannot fully express in words and to mess with my beloved president and history, creates in me a kind of eye-twitching irritation. The historical party-pooper in me wants to shake people and say, “Is nothing sacred?” On the other hand, as someone pointed out to me, this might be the only way that people will learn about Honest Abe, which is a sad commentary on our educational system.

In my isolation, I also did a lot of online shopping, mostly in the free Kindle book department. I love free books. Just wish they were “real” books. Nothing warms the cockles of the heart like the smell and feel of a beloved book, or any book, really.

So, how about those Egyptian elections? Here’s the latest from NBC Nightly News.

Categories: Books, Bull, Elections, Free Speech, Life, Media, Nerd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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

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