Sunday.

May 6, 2007

It rained last night.

Hard.

So much so that the thatched roof on the bar began to leak. Enough droplets dripped right onto the wires that powered the amplifier, shorting out the music. I had just changed the playlist of shitty R&B to a mix of classic rock, some Ramones and Sex Pistols for good measure, and new stuff like The Kooks, The Fratellis, G Love, Dispatch, and The Avalanches.

Right in the middle of Boston’s Peace of Mind, the tunes cut out. By the time I rounded into the bar, the wires were in a puddle. I picked them up to try and shake them off, but mid shake, the InMo shows up, drunk off his ass.

“Dude. Wires and water = not cool! By the way, have you seen my buddy? His name is Jack Daniels. I haven’t seen him in a while. Oh!”

What could I do to keep the evening going for my clients? I decided to get the guitars. Coveralls, a South African Pilot also plays and has a beautiful full bodied Yamaha with a clean tone and great action. Thunder clapped and lighting silhouetted palm trees black against the sky painted purple. The hard alluvial clay resisted the water pounding against it, leaving most of the compound flooded. We jammed out, enjoyed our cold pilsners, our brandy and cokes. Coveralls would just play some chords and I’d noodle a solo over it.

It was a great a night.

This morning I had planned to lock myself in the office and tear through some paper work that had been piling up. However, a documentary crew trying to make a chartered flight was being hassled by local police (and some of my security staff) for their photography permits. Oh, and I had to host the Acting Deputy Governor and Police Commissioner for breakfast with Ambassadors from England and Australia to try and save a local expat friend. That and my driver was in Wau so we couldn’t drive to the trash dump to preempt tomorrow’s inspection.

So much for breakfast.

I rocked the office for the next few hours, lamenting silently my last day off back in January, but only until the AC fan whirred to silence and the lights flickered off. The power indicator at the top right hand corner of my screen flashed black and began its slow countdown. I sighed audibly.

As I walked to find the source of the power outage, the termites were out. A few weeks ago in Juba, about a day after a big rain, termites flew all over the place. Big ass termitesThey were inescapable as they cavorted about candles and lights. Late in the night, they had commandeered an ablution block, their wings stuck thick to the floor, and hundreds of them crowded in the sinks.

It was revolting.

Tonight, however, the termites were little. The setting sun cast a flaxen refulgence across the thirsty land that had already consumed the previous evening’s deluge. The ephemeral fluttering wings of the insects flushed with a brilliant luminescence, quite reminiscent of the fireflies of the hot Pennsylvania summers I used to know. Walking past the bar, cheers and applause erupted as locals and expats alike congregated for the preeminent religion of the area: Premier League Football.

The serenity of the sunset didn’t change the fact that the 200 KVA FG Wilson generator’s fan block double bearing had ground to a halt. With no one in Nairobi on a Sunday, the order won’t be received until Monday morning, and I’ll renounce any disbelief in an omnipotent deity if it arrives by Wednesday. So for the foreseeable future, we’ll be running one generator for 24 hours with no back up.

So, if anyone can send the part pictured below to me in Rumbek, Sudan by the afternoon of Monday, May the seventh, 2007, I’ll buy you a beer.

Fan block double bearing

Actually forget the beer.

I’ll buy you a Ferrari.

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Joost: Who wants an invite?

May 1, 2007

So, I’ve got three invites. Joost is picky: you need an intel mac. And frankly, I don’t think these invites will go out to my windoze using friends.

Cause I’m picky, too.

And a pretentious arse, to boot.

Lemme know if you want one.


Liberating Precariousness

April 28, 2007

So a lot has happened in the past couple weeks. I ran a camp. I got my haircut. The celebrity blogging world picked up on my niche. But I’ve not done much chnepring. I’ve been trying to write one of those raconteurous, bloated, all-encapsulating, allusion-filled anecdotes for, uh, like the past three months. I’ve got a couple drafts, a few half-finished stories, and three pages of meandering prose with lots of paragraphs but very little punctuation. Whilst my oft-imitated numbers list was fun, I know my faithful readers need a real update.

Ha.

Faithful readers.

Tha majority of my hits are people doing a GIS for Mackerel.

So, with that in mind, here’s the last three months:

Two of my friends were hired by the firm and arrived in February, henceforth to be known as Buckshot and Raleigh. Buckshot I met in summer 2003 while doing an internship at a restaurant on Park Avenue. He’s from New Orleans, and while I was working, he was taking classes and screwing off. However, we did talk food a whole lot. And we did some drugs. We lost touch for a little bit, but found each other again through a mutual friend and the wondrousness of the facebook.

Raleigh is South African. We met in 1999. I was still in high school, but taking a restaurant management course at the local community college. I’m still not quite sure how he ended up at a community college in The Hem, but we became friends nonetheless. We had also lost touch for a number of years, but when I moved to The Dark Continent, I dropped him a line. He was managing a boutique hotel in Stellebosch. Crazy? Well I left Vegas for this place. . .

Basically, all the hot girls I tried to get hired weren’t interested.

Needless to say, we’ve been had a hell of a time. We all found comon ground on a new found love of karaoke and tore it up at the local Juba Pizza spot every friday. Buckshot had a little trouble adjusting, but is now rockin and rollin. He ended up being put in charge of a camp that houses many people from a large international organization. He did some party promoting back in Nawlins and has since turned that camp into Studio 54 Juba. It’s pretty ridiculous. Raleigh picked up the hotel and ran with it. He’s really been kicking the place up a notch. Pepper grinders and stuff.

The first two weeks with the three of us all at one camp was like a think tank. We were coming up with ideas every night, making cocktails, making new dishes. It really jump started me, giving me the energy that i needed to keep running. I’d seen neither of these dudes since some time in 2004ish. And all of a sudden we all meet up in Sudan. If you woulda told me this woulda happen back then, I’d’ve bet against it.

Oh. And about month after they arrived, I turned 25. I got the car insurance break and I don’t even have car insurance to notice it. Or a car. But we had green beer for St. Paddy’s. A Juba first, I’m sure. And sambuca was lit on fire. Glasses were stuck to bums, spoon fights were had, the finest white women in Juba showed up, a fight nearly broke out, and someone who shall remain nameless vomited. It was everything a birthday should be. Not only was it spectacular celebrating a quarter century of life on the banks of the White Nile, but it was the first birthday I’d celebrated internationally since I turned eight in Goteburg. It wasn’t a big bash cause I’m not big on birthdays. See, I’m usually the center of attention anyway, so what’s one day? I’m just always impressed that I made it another year without snuffing it.

As for me, I’ve realized march inventory usage faster than it has ever been before. Hoo hah.

Now it’s just another month till I get an entire month paid leave. Double hoo hah.

But last thursday I left Juba. And now I am running a camp in Rumbek, where my Sudanese adventure began late last year. And now things are changing.

Well, I guess they always were.

I am kinda going day by day on this I don’t know where I’m going in a month. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. There’s certainly a comforting freedom in such uncertainty.

I’ll keep you posted.


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.

Huh.

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.


I Want My. . . I Want My Chah-Neh-Puhr

February 10, 2007

I know I’ve been MIA for the last last month and a half. I was surprised how many emails I got asking for updates. To my faithful readers, thanks.

I’ve since been sent to run a camp in New Sudan. I’m like the GM. I think the execs wanna see if I got chops, or if I’m just a good talker. While I am a good talker, I also have chops.

But this place is insane. Absolutely crazy. Everything is a big problem, and nothing is accomplished easy. There is so much on plate I can barely get to sleep. Strangely enough, I am really enjoying it: It’s fun being the boss again. I wish I had the to do a full narrative abounding alliteration, allusions, and similies, precisely parlaying my prodigious parlance. But I’ve got a hotel to run. So while you might not hear from me very much in the coming month or so, at least now you’ll know why. Here’s a few numbers from my first 10 days:

Tents: 70

Rooms: 22

Occupancy: 88%

Employees: 100 give or take a few day laborers

People fired: 2

People hired: 5

Out of the number hired, how many were truck drivers who never showed up again: 3

Fights between staff: 1

Fights between staff involving one person hitting another with a pole: 1

Security breaches: 1

Employees attacked and severely beaten in the middle of the night at another camp: 1

Interviews with the Juba Post: 1

Interviews with the Juba Post where I didn’t sound like a blathering idiot: 0

Number of Letters sent to the Ministry of Labour Somethingorother: 6

Minutes of the Superbowl actually viewed: 4-6

Epileptic seizures (not mine): 1

Former student activists/freedom fighters from Bangladesh who happen to be mechanical engineers and super cool: 1
Persons detained at the airport and subsequently deported: 1

Empty and ambiguous threats on my general well being: 2

Water pipes busted: 3

Employees disciplined: innumerable

Employees named ‘Louis Lui:’ 1

Number of Employees named Ipee: 1

Number of letters differing the end Ipee’s last name from ‘Freely:’ 4

Weight in kilos of new water filtration system: 2200

Trees to which the new water filtration system was tied: 1

Diesel drums onto which the new water filtration system, tied to a tree, dropped as the truck pulled away: 4

Cinderblocks to support diesel drums on uneven soil: 8

New water filtration systems destroyed in this ingenious process: 0

Abdul’s U-Rent-it Forklifts’ years of operation here: -2

Ladies who came in the office to meet me, impressed to see me doing a white glove test on a chair in a bar on the dusty banks of the Nile: 3

Acronymous organizations I deal with on a daily basis: 10

Acronymous organizations I deal with whose name’s meaning/origins are a complete mystery: 8

Former US presidents hosted: 1

Roughly averaged, hours of sleep/night: 5


Coming Up: Completely Unbiased, Informed, and Educated Predictions

January 2, 2007

Macworld San Francisco 2007 Stevenote: Monday, January 8th

Things to come

2007 NFL Playoffs: Beginning Sunday, January 6th

2007 NFL Playoff Logos

Word on the street, Jeff Garcia learned the ways of the the RDF when he was with the 9ers. . .


Marmaduke Explained

September 27, 2006

I really enjoyed all of the explanations:

Markaduke explained