Trending on my Twitter feed: #travel

Hauling back a painting taller (and wider) than me from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Hauling back a painting taller (and wider) than me from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

  • Oakland, CA: 8 Jan – 11 Jan ($200 RT via Southwest Airways)
  • Buenos Aires (Argentina), Sao Paulo & Rio de Janeiro (Brazil): 16 May – 23 May. ($386 via TAM Airlines–that’s right; eat your heart out, everybody!)



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Democracy Calling (Barack the Vote)

Mic Check

Excuse me, is this thing on?

It’s been a minute y’all, but I need to dust off this internet space to talk about election day in these united states. It’s a day of anxiety for me. Right in the pit–or what feels like the pit–of my stomach, there’s something heavy. You may think I’m talking to you about something important. No, I’m just trying to keep this gnawing feeling at bay. I’m just not that into you right now. (Check back with me in a few days; give me a few extra though if my guy loses.)

These last few years were supposed to be golden: Barack Obama promised us hope and change, right? We’re post racial now; we have black president. It hasn’t felt that different: for starters, there’s a young man called Trayvon Martin who was murdered; a whole bunch of white men are trying to tell me what rape is; and the country of my birth is being terrorized by U.S. drones.

You might wonder, then, why exactly I’m in it for the incumbent. Especially if you saw the foreign policy debate, during which I wondered, hey, who exactly is the Republican here?

Well, Barack never won many points with me nor will he because I’m not even in this for Barack.

I’m in it for all of us who know that a better world is possible, for those of us who work every day to make that world possible, for those of us who fail most days and keep trying anyway. Not just for the children, or the children’s children, but all of us who are living and struggling right here, right now.

The actions and events I disagree with in the world are bigger than Barack and Mitt Romney; they’re bigger than being a Democrat or a Republican; they’re bigger than U.S. empire. And, yet, on the eve of elections, I lose my grip on my critical mind. I want to believe.

“the difficulty of hope, the labor of hoping, against the easy certainty of knowing ‘things are never going to change’ and ‘there is no winning.'”
— Gukira, “The Afterlife of Hope

Four years ago, I made some promises to us about what I would work toward. I’m happy to say that the current administration has made significant gains on most of my goals (climate change, who? what? when? nah!) and I’ve been working on them, too. I have another set of goals:

  1. Teach everybody geography.
  2. That climate change thing.
  3. Make big talk through small talk: take risks, talk about those topics that are supposed to be taboo at the dinner table, at the barber shop, at the doctor’s office. The stuff that us “liberal” college instructors are not supposed to disclose to our “neutral” students in “politically uncharged” sites like classrooms.

Let’s stop talking about just the weather and talk about climate change, too. We cannot work together (and we must or we will destroy ourselves because Planet Earth will go on without us–quote me on it!) unless we understand one another, unless we hear where each other is coming from, and how that helps each of us understand where we want to go.

When the polls are closing tomorrow night, I’ll be crossing my fingers not with a cautious optimism like in 2008, but with a desperate fear.

America, please elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden and all the Democrats on your local tickets on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. And, America, promise me this: we will work like hell to hold their feet to the fire because this system is broken. Real substantive democracy requires you and me, not politicians. It’s an every day practice, not a vote cast every four years. Democracy cannot and will not happen without us.

Thank you, good night, and may the odds be in our favor.

(P.S. “For All of Us” if you need a political pick me up)

Victory 2008

It won’t be Harlem, but I want to celebrate on election night!

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H. Becomes an Internet Doctor

H. is, increasingly, my favourite brother. Disregarding, of course, the fact that he is my only brother. From time to time, I’m too busy to post real content and he rescues me through his striking comedic form [see also: I Stood in Front of a Class Today (Temporarily)*]. That post over on Becoming Neelofer Ph.D. got a 100 views, the highest on that blog. Thanks, baby bro!

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Sneeze Fest 2010 (Am I Allergic to Western Mass?)

They attacked out of the blue on Saturday morning, starting as I finished re-packing my car outside Grace’s apartment. She’d brought down Stumptown coffee in my refillable mug. (Have I ever mentioned what a good friend she is? No? Well, she is.)

Though the initial ambush was slow, the sneezes came in a quick succession — 6 in a row — once I switched on the car’s ignition. I didn’t think much of it then. I have a tendency to sneeze in multiples.

In fact, it wasn’t until this morning, pre-dawn, that I attributed this continuing sneeze fest as an allergic reaction to western Massachusetts, or perhaps to ‘coming home’ so to speak. I’ve already had a tough time with this part of the world and I’ve only returned a few days ago. I’ve begun planning my next trip (Montreal, QC; October 2010). Also, I haven’t stopped sneezing since Saturday morning. Granted, I do get a few words out here and there and even accomplish tasks like trading in a Mississippi license for a Massachusetts one (that costs $100).

In others news, I’ve consumed a Trader Joe’s raspberry lemon strawberry popsicle as 600+ photographs download themselves to my laptop. Verdict on the popsicle: mostly good (lemon part too tart in comparison to berry sweetness). Verdict on photographs: you decide. That is if I ever get around to posting them. I’m still queried on when my Pakistan photos will appear. That trip ended in mid-January. Hold on to your hats, folks! (There is a new batch on Flickr though.)

My summer galavanting has been successful. At least in the sense that I took many photographs, I read good books (and some not so good ones), I spent time with people I love dearly, and I even found time to ride bikes despite loaning mine out for the summer.

Events worth recapping include:

  • Dominican Republic, May 2010
  • Tour de Brooklyn, June 2010
  • Visiting family in Arkansas and Mississippi, June 2010
  • San Francisco, June and July 2010
  • Cross Country Rail Trip, August 2010
  • Maine (including J and N’s wedding, Acadia National Park, Portland, Lobster!, and Facedowns), August 2010

Until next time! In the meanwhile, enjoy this trio of photos of me and one of my favourites:

In our splendid glory

pontificating on something worthwhile

oh, look, picture time!

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Living in the Time of New York

Adam and Tyler on the Brooklyn Bridge (2007)

it was a limitless source of inspiration, beauty and wonder that — despite everything that makes living in this city difficult if not impossible — was almost holy in its ability to inspire.

I encourage you to click through to read the full post and listen to the song below. Both are beautiful.

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Saving the Earth: Deep South Edition

I walk up to register 2 and lay down my goods: an Aveeno oatmeal bath and hydrocortisone for me, Miracle Gro and a card for my mom.

I say to the cashier, “I won’t need a bag.”
“Huh?” comes her response.
Me: I don’t need a bag for this stuff.
Cashier: Now, you really don’t want to do that. Do you?
Me: Actually, I do. (said with a smile of course)

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Dreaming of South Africa

Is it possible to love a place to which you have not yet traveled?

If so, South Africa and I are in the midst of an intense affair.

Please check out original photographs by clicking on the above image, which will re-direct you to individual links for these photographs. None are by me, obviously.

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