Monday, March 26, 2012

My brief trip to Lake Mead, in brief

COOTS. Coots are among my favorite water birds; they remind me of Scotland.



This seagull would like to remind you not to harass the wildlife.

The fish and the ducks going at it for popcorn! The fish would hold their mouths open above water.

Also enjoying the popcorn.

Made some friends

Can't take them with us!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cambodian Mystery Soup

From a popular street vendor near my dad's house in Phnom Penh. My brother says he'll treat me to some for ferrying some of his things over. 10 points if you can guess the ingredients.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Started today, finished today

Today, after finishing the wonderful Stephen Fry's very intimate "The Fry Chronicles"- I can hardly leave a normal review, Stephen Fry just makes me feel better about life- I started and finished  "From The Memoirs Of a Non-Enemy Combatant"  by Alex Gilvarry.

As I went through it, the book felt sort of unorganized, but I wasn't particularly frustrated by that. The main character, after all, is an innocent- even naive- start up immigrant fashion designer who becomes a patsy for a terrorist. It lands him in Gitmo and the book is presented with his confessional. I would say this is a good book for most people: you have enough morals to feel for the main character, but you might not be so informed of the political situation referenced in the book to read a non-fiction book about it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

the view

Just some beautiful mountains on my drive home.. It was supposed to rain all day today and we canceled our trip to Zion National Park, but it only rained yesterday! Today was very windy and blustery though. Sometimes I felt the car being pushed by the wind. I went to the temple where they were selling food and the wind made everyone cold, the turnout wasn't good. We keep a tarp over our pool stuck down with some stakes in the ground, bricks, and bags of rocks. Unfortunately the wind gets so high it lifts up the tarp and is strong enough to take the stakes out of the ground and the bags with it! So now we have to clean out the rocks from the pool before we can paint it and put water in it. First World Problems.

I know when to turn on to the road for my house because of the giant American flag. That and the McDonald's- I guess that's pretty American, too!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

found poetry

found poetry from my brother's email:

Do I have a lot of mail?
We may go to hong kong
Plan to comet cambo soon after landing cause I caant teach you to ride a moto in Thailand.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I was sleeping in my own bed (it doesn't feel like my bed) and managed to get blood, sweat, AND tears on the pillowcase. Pretty gross. I bought a nasal spray for the sinus pain I've been feeling off and on for days now. I'm working on the combination of blankets that will keep me warm but not overheat me the minute the sun comes over the mountains in the distance.
As for the tears, I'm working on it.

This quote got me today, thinking about my past and letting go and keeping up friendships:
“You wake up one morning, those years are gone. There’s a comfort in this fact perhaps. I want to think that there must be comfort in all facts we can’t alter. ”
― Joyce Carol Oates, I Am No One You Know
Now that I think about it, I haven't read anything by Joyce Carol Oates, nothing that I can remember.

I'm currently reading The Devil's Flu by Pete Davies, about influenza and progress in the field. This came out just after the H5N1 virus was scaring the crap out of all of us, but it's a little dated. Still, it's a good read, it feels like a novel sometimes, and it makes me want to look up some things to see how they have progressed since the book was published. Pete Davies himself kind of annoys me at times. At first, his physical descriptions of the people he met helped to keep them apart and make them a little more human, not just a name. He meets a lot of people, too- but I often lose track of who was who and who they were with. I also start to wonder how Pete Davies would craft a short description for himself. They don't feel biased, but as if he's trying to bias you as the reader- the wiry doctor, the defensive wife, the young woman full of energy and determination who ultimately does not succeed. He feels kind of pompous in some areas, such as when he's observing an exhumation in Norway. He glosses over the fact that he's part of the media when he talks about the reporters hungry for stories. He doesn't mention that he's a self-serving reporter looking for information not to bring to the world, but to write a book that he, singularly, will profit from.

I just finished Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam, which was entirely a novel but centered around a handful of people as they went through medical school and became doctors. I finished it in a day; the story really got me and it was interesting to tell it in sections focusing on different characters- even in different narrative modes (grammatical person). I was about to write that it was a bit like a hospital drama, so if you like watching ER or Grey's Anatomy you'll probably like this soap opera set in an intelligent but demanding field. Then I found out that it actually was made in to a TV serial in Canada. Well done! I'd watch it.

In Big News, I finally got a full out, super official, holographic fantastic supermagic, systematic, hydromatic:
driver's license! I'm a full Nevadan. Or Nevadian. Or I will be when I get a job? Anyways, I actually only have a piece of paper and a hole punched learner's permit, and will get my card in the mail.
I thought I could transfer my PA learner's permit, but that didn't work. Since I was already there, my mother told me to take the learner's knowledge test if I could. I got a manual, read it while I was in line (I couldn't find it online, though I have found it since- NV's website just isn't as easy as PA's , I guess), and passed the test on my first go. It has fifty questions! Some are pretty obvious though. I remember Maryland's being really tricky.

My mother's friend, Na Bo (Na is a title, like Mr or San- his name is Bo, but he has a super long last name so it evens out), helped to teach me and I used his car for the test. He can be kind of preachy but ultimately I was grateful for the help. He also said that out of all the people he's taught, here and in California, it's been probably a hundred or more people and I'm the first one to pass on the first try.
Well, that might be saying more about him than me...

Anyways, I guess I can put this in to the "growing up" file, though I don't think getting a license, or a car, makes you any more of an "adult" than graduating college or getting hired. Sticking to a job, maybe, because that shows you're trustworthy and useful. College shows that you committed to something, studied, saw it through, excelled. A car means you committed to a short test and a drive. 

Well, as I said, I'm working on it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

well, but

four days (really three) in.

I don't like so much:
The dust in the wind makes your skin gritty and sandy at the end of the day.
But: Shower feels extra clean, though.

Meh: All the lights, the whole town in a desert, not very environmentally sustainable.
But: The glitter sure is pretty. And today, with the lights in the distance, in the dark, backed by the shadowy mountains, backed by a beautiful sunset, blew me away.

Scared: of driving, people are crazy pants and it's confusing. The roads are nice and wide and mostly straight, but turns are so confusing. Signage feels willy-nilly and all these wide multiple lane roads actually confuse me as to what lane I should be in.
Get over it: because my road test is next Tuesday.

Arrgh: I lose my patience around my mother really easily. And her friends.
But: I can deal with it, it's like being a kid again. I am learning Thai and being fed and trying to control my emotions. And her friends are nice, just a lot to handle all day.

Ew: I keep having sinus headaches and I think it's because I'm not used to how dry the air is here. I am also getting nosebleeds at night. eeeeew.
But: I have a humidifier in my room. Actually I've taken to sleeping in my brother's room because his bed is bigger, and softer. I'll get used to the air.

Made it to Las Vegas.

Standing by the petting zoo.
made it to my new life.