August 30, 2011

It All Comes Full Circle.

From Mount Pleasant to Dar es Salaam to Mount Pleasant via Capetown.

August 21, 2011

Housing Search.

Our DC housing search has begun in earnest. And we have met many characters along the way. The considerations have been many - which neighborhood? what price point? year long lease? short term? hotel? roommates? But it was not until we came across this advert that these debatable questions got tipped in a very definitive direction.

As found on craigslist, the authoritative source of housing searches:

$1000 Best. Roommate. Ever.

Konichiwa bitches. Are you looking for the most kick-ass fucking roommate that ever lived? If so, look no further. You fucking found him. I'm a 25-year-old professional marking agent with experience at bad-ass companies like AOL and FORBES FUCKING MAGAZINE. That's right! What you know about experience? I graduated from Auburn University in Alabama, and moved to NYC at a ripe, tender age of 22. After deciding that New York was a stinky shit-hole, I moved back to Alabama to cultivate a more professional experience. Why? So I can make millions of dollars and not have to post shit like this on Craigslist.

Anyway, so I landed a job with a marketing firm in Boston, and I have no fucking clue where to live. My office is located in Cambridge, so I guess I want something in that area. Honestly, I'm moving there in 3 weeks, so I don't give a shit if I have to sleep in your bathtub.

A bit about me: I'm respectful, quiet, clean and I won't bother any of your shit. If you leave shit out, I'm just like, "Oh fuck I better not mess with this shit, because it's not mine." I turn off lights. I clean toilets. Fuck it. I'll even cook for you. That's right! My dad is a chef and taught me everything there is to know about cooking southern cajum cuisine. I'll fry green tomatoes, cover them with marinated crab meat and smother that shit in bearnaise. EVERY. GODDAMN. NIGHT. Don't eat meat? That's fucking FANTASTIC! I'll make a zucchini and yellow squash carpaccio that will knock your fucking socks off.

I also read a lot. I fucking LOVE books. Vonnegut, Palahniuk, Hawthorne. All that shit. I read Tuesday's with Morrie the other day. It's a sad story, but I learned something about life, love, knowledge and the pursuit of something greater than myself. Fucking smart. Do you like movies? I fucking love them. We can watch the shit out of some movies together if you like, or go get drinks, or work out, hike, play video games or play a game of one-on-one basketball, or I don't have to talk to you at all. It's completely UP TO YOU!

Sometimes I play guitar. Are you going to love getting baked and listening to Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd? LIVE? WHENEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT? Of course you are! I'll take requests and learn any song you like, because I have the voice of an angel and the acoustical stylings of James Fucking Taylor. AWWWWWWWW SHIT YEA!

A lot of people ask me, "Hey, you're from Alabama. Are you racist?" And, the answer to that question is, no. I'm not racist or judgmental at all. I love everyone. I'm a secular humanist. I FUCKING LOVE PEOPLE. That's the only requirement to being a secular humanist actually. You have to like other human beings and want to help them for no other reason than they are human regardless of race, religion or sexual preference. WTF?!!!? Pretty fucking cool right?

I own almost nothing! I's driving my car from Alabama to Boston in which I'll be transporting two duffelbags of clothes, one laptop computer, one guitar, one cell-phone with charger, 8 pairs of shoes, one picture frame, probably some condoms and a shitload of beef jerky and Pringles for the trip. Though, you can expect the jerky to be gone upon my arrival. Unless you'd like me to pick up some on the way into the city. See?! I'm the most considerate person you've ever met. I'm offering to buy you shit already!

Am I interested in your pad? You can bet my nomadic ass I am! I only require 4 walls, a ceiling and a floor to shelter me from the elements. Other than that anything else will be considered a convenient plus. I's taking being a roommate to the next level. Email me! I'll hook yo ass up with Facebook links, background checks, credit reports, phone numbers, resumes, references, awards, sexual history, pictures of karate trophies and a list of the top 10 women I'd like to band before I die. If you want a next-generation roommate who consistently blows your fucking mind with awesomeness, then hit me up. I's ready to give you money.

August 20, 2011

August 19, 2011

Back in the USofA.

Low - Especially Me, from here.

And on that note, I am seeking suggestions from readers about what direction this blog should take. Should I scrap it altogether? Keep it going with a new twist? What would people like to see more of - music? recipes? pictures? banal commentary? on urban planning? development? design? useless facts otherwise?

all suggestions welcome, however, consider yourself forewarned, this is not a democracy.

August 4, 2011

Zoos Get a Bad Rap.

As seen in the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago:

As seen in Mikumi National Park in Tanzania:

Music Credit:
Video #1: Mykonos by the Fleet Foxes
Video #2: Loog by The Clean

Hot Shower Made Possible.

At the Kisolanza Old Farm House.

August 1, 2011

Adventures in Unexpected Places.

When people think Tanzania, they think safaris, East African wild life, and Zanzibar. Tanzania has more designated wildlife areas than any other country on earth, with one third of its surface area given over to national parks, game and forest reserves and other valuable protected spaces. And within that, there is plenty of room for diversity and adventure in unexpected settings. Frankly, one of our most impressive trips was to Udzungwa Mountains National Park back in February of this year. I realized I never devoted any blog space to this park, but found that I kept coming up short with words to describe our experience. Instead, I shall borrow from the Rough Guide to Tanzania.

Even with a thesuarus on hand, it's difficult to do justice to the wonder that is Udzungwa Mountains National Park, an immaculate forest-cloaked wilderness whose 1900 square kilometers are among the most biodiverse on earth. Protected as a national park in 1992, the driving rationale was to conserve the catchments on the Kilombero and Great Ruaha rivers, lifeblood of the Selous and of human populations elsewhere. The authorities of course also knew that the area they were protecting was rich in species, but just how rich continues to amaze. Forget about rare bugs and plants, new discoveries of which are two to a penny, Udzungwa still has the habit of turning up mammals hitherto unknown to science, the latest being the world's largest shrew (60cm from tip to toe), and not just a new species but an entirely new genus of monkey, which turned up at the same time it was also found in Kitulo National Park.

Like the Uluguru and Usambara mountains, the Udzungwas are part of the Eastern Arc, a disjointed chain of ancient mountains whose age and isolation, and a steady rain-soaked climate, has allowed its forests to evolve independently from each other, and quite spectacularly. But whereas most of the Eastern Arc's ranges have suffered major environmental damage over the 150 years, Udzungwa is pristine, thanks both to its unusually steep terrain (limiting human interaction to the lowlands) and taboos. Locals around Udzungwa believe the mountain's forests are the abode of ancestral spirits (a belief that crops up elsewhere in Tanzania in places along well-established primate populations), and as such they restricted access to ceremonial purposes, and for burials. To disturb the spirits or the graves, people say, will bring great calamity, and should anyone dare cut down a mitogo tree, they're sure to become a lion's next meal...The result is the only place in East Africa with an unbroken virgin forest canopy from a low-point of 250m above sea-level to over 2km high, covering miombo woodland, bamboo and lowland forest containing trees 50m tall, to montane rainforest up in the clouds.

Given its exceptionally well-preserved forest cover, Udzungwa's wildlife is rich. The park contains Tanzania's widest selection of primates, its 12 species including the recently discovered kipunji monkey, and four endemics: the Sanje crested mangabey, the Iringa (or Uhehe) red colombus, and two species of dwarf galago or bushbaby. Other primates include the thick tailed galago, blue monkey and black and white colobus. Also frequently seen are buffalo. Of elephants, you are most likely to see their droppings or patches of vegetation flattened by portly backsides. Rarer animals include red-legged sun squirrel, the recently rediscovered Lowe's servaline genet (previously seen seventy years ago), the red duiker, Abbot's duiker, Livingston's suni, bush pig, bushbuck, spiny mice, the comical chequered elephant shrew (named after its trunk-like snout), and also recently discovered Philip's Congo shrew and grey-faced sengi - a truly giant elephant shrew (a wispy 700g). Birders are in for a treat too, with possible sightings of rufous-winged sunbirds or Udzungwa partridges, both of them rare endemics. Other endemics include millipedes, a tree frog, over seventy species of spider, a gecko, a skink, and the pygmy bearded chameleon.

Rough Guides concludes: "You would be insane to give this place a miss".

I heartily agree.