Jul 29, 2004

Air so thick you could...

The humidity level inside our apartment is steady at about 130%. Posters are sagging on the walls and our tatami smells like fresh-cut sweetgrass.

But all in all this has been an unusually dry "rainy season." In fact, the heavy rain that's been falling in spurts all day is the our first since I unofficially declared the beginning of the season back in early June. Oh well, at least the mercury dropped again.

Shuan Shuan

Jul 28, 2004

Afghanistan sans Médecins Sans Frontières

After 24 years of providing services in Afghanistan, Doctors Without Borders has decided to close medical programs there. (their announcement)

Sad. This in the wake of the killing of five MSF aid workers... and apparently some misunderstanding of the good intentions to "win hearts and minds." That's okay. We've got everything under control... right?
Last April, for example, US planes began dropping leaflets in southern Afghanistan demanding that people pass on any relevant information regarding the Taliban, Al Qaeda, or Hekmatyar to the coalition forces in order to "continue receiving humanitarian aid." (article)

Jul 25, 2004

Move over, crop circles

"An enlarged work by Aomori woodblock artist Shiko Munakata (1903-1975), stands out in a rice paddy in Inakadate, Aomori Prefecture. The work was created by a local village promotion council, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Munakata's birth. Underneath the reproduction of the work are the words, "Inakadate, a village of rice plant culture." About 600 people in the village planted purple, yellow and green rice plants, which formed a picture as they grew."
(pic and text from MDN)

Jul 19, 2004

The month that wasn't

Almost an entire calendar page worth of days just flew out my window.

What have I been doing? Not enough, probably. Much of it job interview-related shuffling about in dark, long-sleeved clothing totally inappropriate to this country's sticky-blistering summers.

The happy result of my scant activity was that I landed a job of adequate proportions to last until May 2005, our revised re-patriation target. While my conscience generally keeps me honest (see post below), I'm not oblivious to the value of half truths and... how do you say it... plausible deniability? That and lots of culturally-sanctioned avoidance of eye contact.

To celebrate starting my new job tomorrow I gave this site a much-needed makeover. Okay, so I just changed the template, and haven't even customized the sidebar or re-installed the Haloscan comments. That I'll take care of tomorrow, providing I don't go on another extended laziness binge.