Weird Stuff

Monday, March 14, 2016

Into the Mild: Misadventure in Mozambique

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Mozambique and I got off to a bad start.

After less than 24 hours at my new job in coastal Mozambique, I decided it was time to leave. My new boss had changed his mind or been misleading about a couple of key things, then wouldn’t be available for several days to answer questions. I had a bad feeling. So I left.

Ilha de Mozambique
  • Ilha de Mozambique
First I wandered onto an island nearby and asked a hostel if they needed help. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t. I went to a hotel, asked the same question, and got the same answer. I decided to look for work at a hostel in a nearby city where I had grown impatient previously because there was nobody working in the morning. I grabbed my backpack and flagged down a van, stuffed to the gills with 25 people people and their bags. It broke down 30 miles into the 120-mile trip. The driver of course didn’t offer a refund.

I flagged down a Toyota Tacoma and rode in the bed for the next 30 minutes, then was left at a fork in the road. A passenger from the first minibus helped me find another ride and jumped into the bed of a farm truck with me.

We spent the next hour driving down a small highway, constantly surrounded by green plants, palm trees, and small hills. It was perfect. But the approaching grey clouds made us nervous.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Let's Keep Piling Up All of the Ridiculous Things Some GOP Extremists Say About Obama

Posted By on Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 1:15 PM

I will burn plenty of San Judas candles for all of you, Texas K-12 students.
  • I will burn plenty of San Judas candles for all of you, Texas K-12 students.

Just when you think things couldn't get any weirder with extremist Republican wannabe public officials, you come across a post by Slate that reads somewhere along the lines of, "A retired teacher who thinks Obama was a prostitute won big on Super Tuesday."

Her ever-so predictable anti-Muslim, climate-change-is-a-Marxist-hoax, and Obama-was-a-prostitute-when-he-was-in-his-20s rhetoric got Mary Lou Bruner, a candidate for the Texas State Board of Education, roughly 48 percent of votes in a three-way Republican race for the board's 15 seats, though. Something is working. The same thing that's pulling strings for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Texas has long been ground zero for wackazoid right-wing politicians, who seem to get more entrenched every year: The current agriculture commissioner, Sid Miller, is on a heaven-sent mission to put deep fryers and vending machines back into schools after a 10-year ban, and the attorney general, Ken Paxton, is obsessed with invalidating same-sex marriages, even on death certificates. (Paxton could be disbarred for encouraging clerks to ignore the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, among numerous other ethically questionable acts.)

But Bruner, a retired teacher with 36 years of experience in Texas schools, is exceptional even by Lone Star standards. Earlier this year, she made headlines for claiming that President Barack Obama bankrolled his drug habit by plying his wares on the street, as first reported by Texas Freedom Network. She posted on Facebook:

Obama has a soft spot for homosexuals because of the years he spent as a male prostitute in his twenties. That is how he paid for his drugs. He has admitted he was addicted to drugs when he was young, and he is sympathetic with homosexuals; but he hasn’t come out of the closet about his own homosexual/bisexual background.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Into the Mild: Day One in a Nairobi Slum

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Mathare Slum, Nairobi, Kenya – January 2016

Summer.

Finally.

I grew up in Death Valley and don’t do well with cold. Seeing 2016 on my calendar means that I’d been on the road for 18 months now, shifting between hemispheres every six months and staying in perpetual winter. 18 months of cold nights and stuffy clothes. But not now. The warm and humid air that stuck to me after I exited the airplane in Kenya was a long awaited hug.

After a quick wait in the immigration line, I made my way out of the airport and was quickly met by Eric and Vivian. Eric is the founder and leader of Mathare Foundation, the organization where I would be working for the next month. Vivian was an assistant who coaches the soccer team and counsels children in writing. We grabbed a cab that was too small for the three of us plus my backpack, so I went with my bag on my lap and Vivian offered to take Hobbes on hers. These were good people.

We were headed to Mathare Slum, a slum of 500,000 people with a 30 percent HIV infection rate and no free education past 8th grade. I would work at Mathare Foundation, a non-profit that offered children free classes in soccer, performing arts, and photography. The pragmatic hopes are that the photography program can be self sustaining and offer the children real work, while the soccer and performing arts programs were meant to assist children in getting scholarships to continue their studies. The immediate results are that the kids can display and take pride in their accomplishments, have positive role models outside of the home, and have productive work to do in the time when they are most vulnerable to drugs and crime.

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Into the Mild: A New City, New Job, and New Overdose

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Salvador, Brasil


I’ve never touched a drug in my life. The only possible exception would be when we tried to make a delayed-fuse piccolo pete bomb by poking a hole in a cigarette, putting the fuse of the piccolo pete through the whole, then inhaling to try to light the cigarette. It didn’t work. Instead I just coughed a lot and learned to hate the smell of tobacco. I don't drink alcohol. I even avoid caffeine when I can. Despite this, I ended up overdosing on legally purchased sleeping pills while using them for their stated purpose. Life’s a bitch, eh?

click image The sign at the entry to our hostel
  • The sign at the entry to our hostel
My first job in Brasil was at a holistic retreat in Arambepe. I worked daily from 7 a.m. to noon, handling anything from construction to helping at ayahuasca ceremonies. A month later, I went to coastal Salvador to work at a hostel. Overnight, I went from starting work at 7 a.m. in Arambepe to working nights and ending at 7 a.m. in Salvador. I enjoyed the night shift quite a bit. I only worked thrice a week and spent the first three hours of my shift hanging out with amazing people that I would be hanging out with at night anyways, then spent the rest of the night ironing sheets and watching Breaking Bad.  

In addition to working when I usually slept, I also started sleeping in a very active dormitory. These changes in my sleeping pattern completely threw off my internal clock. I was lucky to get four hours of sleep in a day. It started to catch up to me quickly so I went to a pharmacy and asked if they had anything light that could help. I declined the first thing offered and took the cheaper of the two medications. The recommended dosage was one pill, so I took them for a couple mornings. I looked up the pill online to see why it wasn’t working better and found out that it was generic brand valium. Normally I would worry about that but I still struggled to get more than four hours of sleep and I was exhausted all the time. I figured that valium or not, if I wasn’t getting more than four hours of sleep a night with it, it couldn’t be too dangerous to up the dosage. I finally felt horrible one night and took two.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Do A Deep House Downward Dog

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2016 at 9:00 AM

COURTESY SPIRITUAL GANGSTER YOGA FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Courtesy Spiritual Gangster Yoga Facebook Page
Deep house yoga isn't a term you hear every day. Actually, you've probably never heard that term. But if you really love chillwave and stretching, every Wednesday night at Movement Culture Spiritual Gangster Yoga hosts a "Deep House" class.

The hour-long, high energy class mixes asana flows and the beats of DJ Elektra Tek to reduce stress and enhance one-ness between your mind, body and soul. The class' Facebook page encourages everyone to show up if they want to move and feel great. Oh, and it's free. Class starts at 8:45 p.m. at Movement Culture. Namaste. 

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Into the Mild: Santiago's Mad Max University

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 9:00 AM


Santiago, Chile


Students live in the classrooms, all fences have been blocked off by tables. The police just gave up… it’s Mad Max in there!

-My boss


mm1.jpg


Many universities and high schools in Santiago were on strike for much of the last year. Each had different reasons for the strike, with the students striking at some, the teachers at others. The most visible effect were messages written on posters and draped over university walls. The weekends often featured large protests. While exploring Barrio Providencia, I found the mothership, Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano. It made the other protesters look like amateurs.

The first striking image was the walls. Universidad Academia’s fences and gates were completely boarded off using chairs and tables taken from the classrooms, while the outer wall was often plastered with signs and graffiti.


mm2.jpg



mm3.jpg


mm4.jpg


mm5.jpg

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Update: Roosh Valizadeh Says His Meet-ups Weren't Pro-Rape, Honest

Posted By on Sun, Feb 7, 2016 at 4:45 PM

Update Feb. 8, 6 p.m.:

It turns out that the Return of Kings meet-ups weren't actually ever advertised by the group to be pro-rape, according to an article posted by ROK member Rob Berne yesterday. From the horse's mouth:

Media reports resulted in a shut down of the meet ups planned among our followers...The Establishment intentionally took one article written by Roosh in which he proposed a thought experiment to increase the safety of women by 'legalizing rape on private property.' The elites took a gamble that taking that article out of context and exaggerating it to the fullest extent would create a firestorm—notice that few of the slanderous articles actually linked to the piece in
question, where any reasonable person could see that it was not written earnestly.

The media twisted the followers of ROK and Roosh into 'rape supporters' simply because of one article that was obvious satire. Jonathan Swift once wrote that poor children should be eaten by the wealthy. Back in the 18th century, no one was stupid enough to take Swift’s essay seriously.
So, Return of Kings's didn't intend to host a series of meetings advocating rape. My bad. The article written by Valizadeh—the one that apparently made everyone think the ROK meetings were pro-rape—was labeled as a "satirical thought experiment" in a note at the top of the page. According to Snopes, this thought was added after he initially received backlash for the article in Feb. 2015.

Based off ReturnOfKings.com's content and the fact that the meet-ups were aimed at heterosexual male readers, I  think it's pretty safe to say the meetings would have attracted a group of men who support rape culture and pro-rape attitudes.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Into the Mild: The Adventures of Jason and Hobbes

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Traveling alone can be tough. When all of my snooty friends couldn’t join me because they had families or careers they couldn’t walk away from, I had to get creative in my search for a companion.

I left Tucson in June of 2014, traveling with a group of 500 soccer fanatics to watch the World Cup in Brasil. We were hundreds of strangers from across the US and everyone seemed to bond almost immediately

Then, after two weeks, they were gone.

I next stayed with a friend from Brasil, though she usually had school and I spoke no Portuguese at the time.

Then, after two weeks, I was on my own again.

I worked in Bahia for a month, then left and never saw my coworkers again. I repeated the experience in Salvador. And Ecuador. And Peru. You see the pattern. I was surrounded by people who wouldn't stay in my life. I was alone in a crowd. I wanted a permanent travel companion, flexible and adventurous.

So I made my own.

First came the pattern. I found this nifty guide, printed out a PDF of the design, bought some fleece, and got to work.


hobbes3.jpg


I started with the arms and legs. They were the easiest pattern, and as I had never sewn before, the least noticeable if/when something went wrong.

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Support Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Water Protectors. Art, music, film, food, and hot drinks at EXO… More

@ Exo Roast Co. Sat., Dec. 10, 6-10 p.m. 403 N. Sixth Ave.

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