Driving Range?

March 26, 2007

Me N AngieNot too sure how this little gem managed to slip through my fingers in the last two months, but I had a good laugh over it.

Apparently, PopBitch (a snarky British celeb email-zine) sent out some information about hotels in South Sudan.


I happen to know a little bit about that: I mean, I am an avid PopBitch reader. . .

The excerpt in question was reprinted by People Magazine for Imbeciles dot com, otherwise known as Celebitchy.

Upon discovery, I was hesitant to link, or even make mention of this atrocity. Especially since I’ve tried very hard never to mention a person, organization, or firm by name on CHNEPR. Of course, that’s mostly because of the fact that I’m an acrimonious, avaricious and outspoken braggard.

See, normally I trust any and all information from a domain name containing the word ‘bitch,’ but these guys, I mean, these guys, are just plain making crap up. Then again, I’m all for poking fun, taking the piss, and yanking chains. So ultimately, it made sense as to why I’m even reprinting this drivel, let alone (dis)honoring the occasion with a custom CHNEPR2.0 pic.

So according to PopBitch:

Ever wondered why celebrities like Angelina Jolie have been rushing off to war zones? Life for international peacemakers may not involve quite such danger and hardship as we imagine. It seems to be more like living in an Ian Schrager hotel.

UN, UNICEF, foreign correspondents and the staff of most big aid agencies spend their time in camps run by a company called Afex. For more than $200 a night, foreigners trying to stop the war in Sudan live in luxury gated compounds (with names like Hotel California) enduring wi-fi, ensuite tents that wouldn’t look out of place in Wallpaper, satellite TV, games rooms, fully stocked bars (in this otherwise dry country) and espresso cafe.

Food-wise there’s everything from Mexican themed nights to curries, carveries, chinese buffets and ladies’ party nights.

Plus “logistics and security” experts Afex have a private army at your beck and call. They offer “asset protection” (ie can shoot anyone who looks twice at your laptop), and “access control” (guarding you from having to come into contact with locals etc).

Dry country? $200/night? Frickin Ian Schrager? War? What war?

But then again, I did have a delectable vichyssoise last night.

And though I’ve hit a few under-ripe mangoes into the Nile with six iron, I would hardly call that a driving range.


Pops in ‘Bama

March 14, 2007

So today it’s official.

It will be officially announced later today that my dad’s gonna be the president at the University of Alabama Huntsville. No word on whether my mom will be officially proclaimed the first lady. UAH President’s MansionAll the lead up info can be found here. This means my folks are leaving Bethlehem for northern Alabama this summer.

<———To live here.

Though we moved around a lot as kids (Australia, Britain, Sweden, New Mexico) we always had the house in the Hem. It expanded a bit, TV couches came and went, and the basement became somewhat of a vortex for action figures and Nerf products, but at least it was in the same place.

Thing is, when I moved to Africa, I had no idea when I left that house, that it might be the last time I’d leave it as my home.


(That was just a plea for international sympathy. Don’t buy into it.)

See, in actuality, it’s all quite fitting:

steve and matt at christmas
A: Matt has settled in NYC, foregoing a career of penthouses, money, women, bullet proof cars, and government glad-handing as an oil exec, to instead save the world one MySpace-addicted child at a time. Honestly, he’s gotta be the most educated babysitter on the face of the earth.

B: Steve is graduating from a second-rate Ivy League wanna-be institution with his degree in Civil Engineering (just a step up from Art History), and will most likely move to DC. Mols, Varn, Burch, Portia: alert all females in the area to be ready for bad pick-up lines.

If you’ve been reading CHNEPR at all, you might have a vague idea about me. But just in case you don’t know, I am a war profiteer exploiting indigenous peoples for my own professional gain.

So losing my boyhood home is not a sad thing at all. It’s monumental. It’s a turning point in the family. Truth be told, I’m really proud of the old man. He’s worked with one employer his entire career, living in—or always coming back to—Bethlehem for more than 30 years. He’s at least 70-something. Maybe 80. I don’t really know, I mean, he’s just old; like Charlton Heston old. He was totally gonna retire, travel, yell “get off my lawn” at whippersnappers, and tell everyone how good things used to be. Maybe buy a Winnebago or something. But now he’s leaving it all behind for an incredible opportunity.

Through it all, I’d like to think he followed my lead, you know, making a drastic career change.

In all honesty, way to go Pops. It’s gonna be a serious adjustment, and big change to the family dynamic, but we’re 100% behind you.

It’s frickin awesome.

I know The Babysitter and Art-History agree.

A few clarifications:

It’s not the Crimson Tide, bro, it’s the Chargers. Kinda like how UCLA is the Bruins, and UC Santa Cruz is the Banana Slugs.

My folks will keep the abode in Bethlehem for the time being, but when I do return to the States, I will most likely be returning to ‘Bama. It’s been a good long run at McGrady’s

I am very much looking forward to wearing a beater to bars, wearing overalls with no shirts, and learning to play the banjo.

On Hold = It’s a Go.

March 13, 2007

Alright, 86 that one.

I leave for Yei in half an hour.

So of course I take this time to update CHNEPR.

Don’t worry about me.

As per Frappy’s advice I have a ‘quick-run bag,’ with some bare essentials.

But I also have a satellite phone, a knife, a towel, and a bunch of bottled water.

I leave you with this:

Trautman: John where are you going?
Rambo: I don’t know.
Trautman: You get a second medal of honor for this.
[Rambo looks over at the rescued POWs]
Rambo: You should give it to them. They deserve it more.
Trautman: You can’t keep running John. Your free now, go back with us.
Rambo: Back to what? My friends died here, part of me died here.
Trautman: The war, everything that happened here maybe wrong, but damn’t don’t hate your country for it.
Rambo: Hate? I’d die for it.
Trautman: Then what is it you want?
Rambo: I want, what they want, and every other guy who came over here and spilt his guts and gave everything he had, wants! For our country to love us as much as we love it! That’s what I want!
Trautman: How will you live, John?
Rambo: Day by day.

Going to Yei? Wau!

March 9, 2007

Our Security Manager just got back from a trip to Rumbek and Wau. He’s an ex army black ops, or green-beret, or blue glove and could probably kill three men while pretending to tie his shoes. He gets a CHNEPR guest spot cause he also really like going to spas and Starbucks. Henceforth he shall be known as Frappucino Manicure; or Frappy for short.

I was tasked today to retrieve a truck in Yei held at customs. Normally we send our maintenance guy, but this time there was a miscalculation, and they were trying to charge us twice the normal amount. The Bosses needed someone relative sharp and relatively available. I fit the bill, relatively.

So Frappy shows up and I’m finding out how Rumbek’s doing. He pines for double venti mocha lattes and I lament data entry and the woes of remote connections via satellite. I mention offhandedly the trip to Yei.

He cocks his head, says whoa, and sends me this email:

07 March 2007


1. SPECIAL ADVISORY; JUBA-YEI ROAD. Due to recent abduction of civilians along Juba-Yei road by an unknown armed group, as of 06 Mar ’07, the DDO has declared Juba-Yei road UN Security Level 3 with armed escorts mandatory for travel of UN Agencies, Programmes, Funds, INGOs and Implementing Partners. Restriction will be reviewed by the SMT on 08 Mar ’07.

2. TAMBURA, NZARA, EZO SITUATION. There was a reported armed clash between LRA and the SPLA in Yubu Source (South West of Tambura along Sudan – CAR border). The resultant tension was exacerbated by further incidents in the Tambura area and the host government is responding to the situation. On 05 Mar ’07, the DDO approved UN Security Level 4 for Tambura town and immediate environment.

Hmm, I say.

Lock and load, says the InMo. I’ll bring the scotch.

I email the bosses:

In regards to the Yei trip, there’s apparently an advisory level three for the road from Juba to Yei.

What does this mean?

If it’s scale of 10 I’m not worried.

One of the bosses emails back:

It’s 1-4 scale. . . so not too good.

Let’s put the trip on hold right now.

I was actually looking forward to traveling in an armed convoy with a bandana tied around my head, and my blade in my boot. We’d get stopped and everyone would be yelling in Arabic, I’d climb onto hood roof of the car, click one in the chamber and yell, “Yippee kai yay motherf—,” only to be censored by the networks on the TV preentation of Die Hard 7: Sudanese heat.



Please Sir, May I Have $3000?

March 3, 2007

I think some local folks here get confused about the difference between Humanitarian organizations and businesses:

Appeal for $3000

All I could think was, “Dear Ndugu. . .”