Thursday, April 27, 2006

I just found out that foreigners in Cairo are supposed to be keeping a "low profile" on account of some ongoing demonstrations. Oops! Clearly that's not what I was doing when I took the following picture today:

I don't know the full story yet (and perhaps never will) but apparently the Egyptian government has done some bad stuff restricting the independence of judges, and people are upset and it got violent last night. So they sent the riot police out in force today to keep order.

There wasn't much at all going on today, as far as I could tell. I heard some mild chanting, but you couldn't even get within blocks of the High Court. There were long lines of bored-looking riot cops everywhere.

I did notice, at one point in the long line of riot cops, a string of un-uniformed roughs who I can only assume (from my experience observing the "elections," ahem, in Alexandria in November) were petty criminals swept up off the street last night by the local police. When the shit starts to go down, they're the ones sent in to bash heads. No joke.

Hold on. I just looked at the picture close up. That's them, just to the right of the orange guy's head.

Anyway, in honor of the Egyptian quasi-hipster dude on the right side of the frame (who had nothing to do with any demonstrations, seriously) I'm currently listening to Sonic Youth's "Teen-Age Riot."
Two months ago I got some comments about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that I only read just now.

I regret to say that I never got far with the book. I don't know why, it just hasn't pulled me in yet. I could be convinced to keep plowing through, however.

I remember having the same trouble with The Sound and the Fury until it hit me like a .... like a... like a big speeding tractor how good it was. As I recall, that happened during the part where the little kid keeps following the main guy (Quentin, I guess) down those dirt roads and durn it won't leave 'im the heck alone.

I might as well follow my free-associative chain now and link to this super smutty post I now recall, posted by The Rude Pundit on the old Confederacy's anti-sex-toy legislation: "So Caddy Compson, for instance, could own a mini-rabbit that, perhaps, Quentin could control with a remote, but she couldn't offer to sell one to Dilsey...."

For so long I thought I was talking to the abyss. Then I happened to click on the "comments" section of the blogger dahsboard and I noticed that there are comments going back to February (!) waiting for my approval so they can appear on the site.

Sorry about the screw-up, folks. I've fixed it so comments should appear immediately, though there's still that pesky word verification to avoid comments spam.

Um... Chatter away! Talk amongst yourselves! I gotta demonstration to go to.

I guess I can cross one more thing off my life's things-to-do list: Last Saturday I had tea in the Sahara.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nadia, the maid, has a wonderful way of informing me of ongoing current events in the Arab Republic of Egypt. She walked in today and said, “Mister Hosni Mubarak television blub-blub-blub.” (I guess he was on TV talking about the spate of bombings.) Really, those were her exact words. I shall miss her.


Do you know that feeling when you suddenly realize something really important to you is actually something completely different? The metaphor I always use is that of the cat that barks. One day you wake up and your cat is there beside you and it starts to bark.

As I’ve mentioned before, Cairo is filled with dead and dying cats. Since early this morning I’ve been hearing a crying noise coming from the garbage-strewn shaft in my apartment block. I figured it must be a cat who’d run into some mortal trouble, and I was hoping the doorman would do something about it, like rescue it or put it out of its misery.

Recently the cries turned into high-pitched yelps, something almost more like a bark from a little dog than a frantic meow. I went over to the window in the kitchen and peered down into the shaft in case I could see something.

On a disused stairway across the darkened shaft there stands a kitten. And I swear, it’s barking. It doesn’t appear to be injured or anything. It’s fine. It’s just barking. I do not jest. The cat is barking.
I have been thinking back to the last time I was single, a period of my life I usually refer to as my “slut phase.” It occurred to me that the slut phase didn’t really last that long and wasn’t even all that slutty.

It began in May 2000 and ended in January 2002. During those 20 months, I had a two flings (a long-ish one and a really strange short one), a short and moderately enjoyable but ultimately ill-advised quasi-relationship, two one-night stands (one of which the other person wrote a detailed account and posted in the web; no, I’m not linking to it), one two-night stand, one ex-girlfriend that I hooked back up with numerous times, plus a brief, intense, illicit affair with a Swedish-Hungarian lawyer who had a serious long-term boyfriend in Japan.

OK, I guess that might be considered kinda slutty by some folks, including me, actually. You tell me.

The thing is, I didn’t actually enjoy that period of my life, and now I’m starting to remember why.

I told the lawyer than I would stop smoking pot if she left her long-time boyfriend. This would have been a huge step for me at the time, but that’s how infatuated I was. Alas, she didn’t take me up on the offer and soon moved back to Stockholm and now, I just found out, she’s married to him.

I was seriously bummed at the time and pined for the Swedish-Hungarian lawyer for some time, but recently I realized how much of a better person she is for not dumping her boyfriend for me. As for me, I’m pretty grateful for those few extra years of being a pot-head.

So much has happened since then. For instance, there’s my little friend Isi. She hadn’t even been thought of back then.

I know that posting pictures of cute kids on my blog is pretty cheap and sentimental, but I can’t help it.

Monday, April 24, 2006