Monday, May 08, 2006


Want to know what made me cry over dinner last night? It was the repeat episode "Lockup" on This American Life. I really wonder what people are thinking? How can you expect prison inmates to "rejoin society" once their term is up, if while they're inside they can only have one five minute phonecall every 90 days if they're on "good behaviour." And why are most people in there in the first place? It's so mind boggling.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


I couldn't resist after reading hoagie boy's post with these great maps from this site.

So, here's my own "states visited" map. Looks like I have a little work to do in the middle of the country.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Here's a picture of a bicycle very similar to the one I borrowed today to go riding off to climb a little mountain up to a temple. Everything was beautiful (the weather, the scenery etc.) but what really struck me as I bounced along on bumpy dirt roads on this bicycle that I was sure was going to fall apart at any second was that, compared to many of the people I was passing, I had it made transportation-wise. They had no bicycles (not to mention cars!) or maybe one to share with two or three people. My bike even had a bell on it.

Perspective. We need it.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Saree Adventure

Today we went to Laxmi road which is one of the shopping areas in Pune. It was very crowded with hundreds of shops and people and cars and autorickshaws and donkeys and roadside vendors. We went to a clothing shop because a friend wanted to buy a sari for his girlfriend. They were so beautiful that I could not resist buying one, too! And I'm really glad I did because it was a really interesting and fun experience. First you sit down on the cushioned floor and they bring you all sorts of materials so you can choose your sari. They wrap them around you so you can see how you look. Interestingly enough, in this shop it was all men selling the saris. There were so many different patterns and colors, some with jewels sewn into the material, some with gold thread and so on. Once we decided on the colors, then they cut the sari material for us. It comes as a big long piece, and they have to cut away the part that will be made into the blouse. Then they showed us a tailor to go to to have the blouses made. A man from the clothing shop led us around onto another street to the tailor. Then he measured me for the blouse, much more carefully than they measure in the U.S. He didn't just measure my chest and waist, but all these other points, too. I had to decide the shape of the neck (I picked round), how long I wanted the sleeves, and how low I wanted the neck in the front and back. Then I had to choose how to have the sari hemmed. We managed to get through all of this with us not speaking Hindi or Marathi and them speaking a little bit of English. (Pune is a large city of about 2 million, but not many tourists come here so very few signs are in English and not many people speak English very well.) Everyone was so nice and helpful and it was a lot of fun! Tomorrow my friend will go back and pick up the two saris for us.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Idli Sambar

Today my Indian culinary experience continued. I've always loved Indian food, ever since I dated someone from India in high school. But now I'm having the chance to try real Indian food three times a day. My favourite so far has been learning what they eat for breakfast. On the first day we had idli sambar. Idli are these sort of round steamed cakes made of rice and lentils in a 3-to-1 ratio. The rice and lentils are ground together and then shaped into balls and then steamed. The sambar is mixture of vegetables in a sauce, or maybe more accurately it's a soup. If you're curious, here's a recipe.

This morning we had paratha which is a kind of round, grilled flat bread cooked on a grill. It was stuffed with a thin layer of potatoes and spices. It was absolutely delicious!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Honk OK Please

That's what it says on everyone's bumpers here in Mumbai. They honk just to let you know they're going to pass you, they are passing you, and they've finished passing you. And for many other reasons, too. This makes it a very noisy place to drive around! Plus traffic here is kind of like a fluid. It all just flows into whatever openings (however narrow) are available. I think if I tried to drive here I would probably have a coronary. There are cars, trucks, buses, autorickshaws, motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles, oxen, horses, and cows all sharing the same road. Oh, and did I mention people, too?

So anyways, yes, I am in India. It's quite an amazing place and I am really enjoying it ... but almost too much has happened to put into words!


Friday, January 13, 2006

Queer As Folk

Ahhhh ... I just watched the last episode of Season 4 of Showtime's Queer as Folk. If anything could make me hook up that satellite dish, it's the prospect of being able to watch the newest season of that plus Gilmore Girls, which is a WB show. Which is funny because the shows are as different as David and Goliath. But I think they both have great writing/dialogue/camera work/music that just sucks you in. Unfortunately, QaF has been getting better but is going off the air, and GG is still going but I think has gone downhill. Funny how that works.

Anyways, just to warn you, if you haven't seen the 2004 season of QaF and you want to and you hate spoilers then stop reading. Don't get mad at me for spoiling all the fun for you. But this season was filmed right when certain states (Oregon, Massachusetts) and provinces (Ontario) were legalizing gay marriage. Two of the characters (Michael and Ben) get married in Toronto and are hopefull that "soon" it will become legal in their own state. (The show is set in Pittsburgh.) In fact, the last episode ends with a punk version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." I certainly felt that way last year or two years ago but am getting increasingly worried about what the political wackos are up to. I don't think these confirmation hearings for Alito bode well for this nation. On the one hand, we have come so far--yes, I've been complaining about how apathetic we all are and we aren't fighting for what we know is right. But we have come far enough that many more gay people are "out there" and vocal and fighting for their rights. I don't think QaF would have been broadcast (even on a pay channel like Showtime) ten years ago. But I feel that part of America is scared. And that what they want to do is re-segregate (already happening! look here), shove people back in the closet, and put all us women back in the kitchen with 32 kids each. Heaven forbid abortion could ever really, fully be legal here.

Again, I just have to shake my head and wonder. Why are people so afraid of love? In "Brokeback Mountain," the character of Ennis Del Mar says, "If you can't fix it, you got a stand it." I don't want to stand it.