Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Man, I bet this blog seem pretty freaking bitter. Well welcome to my world, baby. I didn't win the "Most bitter, prematurely filled with angst" senior superlative in high school for nothin'.
Nah, things are good. We caught some mice using glue traps, I'm getting along with my coworkers, and I manage to either go running or go to the field almost every day. You'll just have to imagine cool pictures of half-clothed kids playing with toys made from sticks, thatch-roofed huts, trucks overflowing with sugar cane, and the office where I work.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I took a couple-three matatus for a couple-three hours to attend LDS
church today. I don't know why I should be surprised by this, but the
music totally sucked ass. Every song was a funeral dirge. That's par
for the course in America, but having heard all the Pentacostal church
choirs in Busia, I set my expectations too high. Also, the meetings,
the lesson manuals, the Bible and Book of Mormon, and everything else
was in English, which I thought was lame. With
Pentacostal/Evangelical churches so big around here, I guess we
wouldn't want people getting excited about the gospel or singing
half-way decent :)
A lady offered me some crickets for lunch. I had just bought a bunch
of bananas, so I guess crickets'll have to wait till next time.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Yesterday was my 27th birthday. What have I accomplished in the past
27 years? Well, I'm a virgin, I've had all of two girlfriends, and
I've earned more than $10,000 a year only twice. Sounds like success
to me. If I were to shoot my self in the face with a shotgun or choke
on my own vomit I would surely become a rock legend, but I think I'll
So how did I spend my birthday? I went out with my tracking team, but
we didn't have much success ("My daughter is somewhere in Nairobi" is
not so helpful) and while waiting for the rest of the team to come
back I took a nap under a tree and was continually getting ants all
over me. Then at night I was finally able to unpack my stuff. The
previous occupant moved across the hall, and I spent a couple hours
sweeping up thousands and thousands of mouse turds. The room is now
livable (ie, no large collection of turds on the roof of my mosquito
netting) but the turds keep reappearing. Go for a run, find more
turds. Take a shower, find more turds. Thankfully it's only one or
two at a time. I put out a trap baited with peanuts (they like
peanuts, right?) and some poison, and I'm going to work on improving
my relationship with the cat, and hopefully that will solve the
This may make it seem like my birthday sucked, but not really. In a
nerdy sort of way it felt like a big accomplishment sweeping up turds
from eons ago.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I'm really good at making fun of people. Or at least I think I am.
I'm just fine with doing that in private, either by talking amongst
friends or writing it in my journal. But posting it online? That
strikes me as a little odd. I'm in Kenya till January, living in the
same tiny rural town with about 5 wazungu, most of whom are my
housemates. I'm sure I could write some really funny stuff about
them: how messy the house is, how emotional girls are, and the quirks
about the Kenyan staff. What if I were to make fun of my roommates
scarves-and-brandy-bottles collection, and word somehow got back to
her that I think such a thing is retarded, even though it's obviously
not a deliberate collection? And if I leave out such items, how am I
supposed to entertain you? "Went running, got lost again" and "Went
to the field, still didn't understand a word of the Swahili or Luhya"
would certainly get boring eventually, and "Worked in the office doing
data stuff" is boring the _first_ time I write it. Unless you know
Stata really well my making jokes about type mismatches would totally
suck, and even if you know Stata well enough to understand that pretty
much every error you'll ever get is because the default for a variable
with no observations is a byte and you're trying to put strings into
it, you shouldn't go admitting this knowledge in public.
I see why someone might want to read my blog based on my previous
experiences--AT, PCT, hitching up the California coast, Peru,
Pakistan, etc., but that's a little different. I'm not sure that
anybody'd want to read this anyway. I mean, my sister tells me I'm
funny all the time, but maybe that's just her flattering me so that
I'll keep on editing her papers for her. Who knows.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Well, I've seen what my job will be like, I think. I spent yesterday
in the office doing data work and developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
(Seriously. My laptop is freaking death trap for forearms.) Today I
went to the field with my tracking team. I don't speak a lick of
Swahili or Luhya, which would certainly improve things, but it was
still cool to drive around in the bush and stuff. We managed to find
11 of the students, which is pretty good for a days work.
Things are good. My first impression of Busia Town wasn't so
fantastic, but now that I've left the paved road (of which there is
only one) and gone for a run in the bush, I'm pretty happy. Getting
chased by kids yelling "Mzungu, how are you?" hasn't quite gotten
On a side note, I have a kitten that is a boy named Sue. Its job is
to keep the rats away.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Thank you God for Norwegian women.
Well, I've left Nairobi now and am in Busia. Am I happy to have
finally left the dirty, polluted, dangerous city of Nairobi? Not at
all. I spent my last night there hanging out with five
drop-dead-gorgeous Norwegian nurses. Maybe I'm just especially
forlorn these days, but holy crap. I haven't generally considered
myself as being into blondes before, but holy crap. And those blue
eyes. Holy crap. The whole time I was thinking about a discussion in
Chuck Klosterman's "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs" about how Norwegians
engage in the most frequent casual sex of any western people.
Unfortunately Henrietta didn't seem to catch my telepathic vibes that
we totally needed to make out. Or maybe she caught them and my
discussion of how fjords reminded me of fractals and how the research
project I'm working on is great because the econometrics are so easy
thanks to randomization turned her off. Oh well. At least now I know
that all that talk about Scandinavian women is not just urban legend.
I also met a pilot for an NGO that is pretty sure he's run guns to the
Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda and an Israeli that got out
of the IDF by feigning psychological problems. Well, half "feigning,"