Notes from the Surf

What I wanted to be when I grew up
Snarky but interesting.

Milky Way rising over Texas
I really need to go out and see this myself eventually.

Photos from the surf
"Surf" as in ocean, not "surf" as in the web.

Lava Burst,5,Lava%20Burst.html
The experience may have been fleeting, but at least we took pictures.

How do we convince ourselves that more stuff equals more happiness, when all the research shows that it doesn’t?
I wouldn't say I agree with all the conclusions here, but there's good food for thought.

Brazil and China to stop using dollars in trade
Needless conversions just mean more red tape.

Blame the victim: Sacramento Mayor (D) and California Governor (R) work together on "zero tolerance" policy toward homeless
"They're out of sight and in smaller groups now, which seems to be the unstated policy of our local government."

Uribe's Colombia decides to kill the poor
"it was found that poor, young men had been recruited from the slums of Bogota, promised well-paying jobs in the province of Norte de Santander, then murdered in cold blood and presented by the army as having been killed in combat... soldiers were sent to the city of Medellin to round up homeless people from the streets who were later presented by the army as rebels killed in combat."

Toyota's fight against union employees leads to murder
Do we have to add Toyota to the long list of companies that kill their employees in Latin America?

More employees in Chicago prepare to take over their workplace
Not just the Hart Schaffner & Marx in Chicago, but also in a branch in Rochester.

I shivered slightly in the elevator. Not claustrophobic for sure. Eighteen years is long enough to know such intimate details about oneself. I looked around to watch my three mates chatting innecessantly about the last of the exam questions.

The One week of hell was over. Finito.

Also, a semester of non-stop red bulls and cappuccinos through weary lectures and maddening assignment deadline rushes. Aah, the First semester of Uni.

Unbeknownst to me, my official christening as a uni student was about to take place. An important event.

DING. "Fifth"; Pregnant Pause; "Floor". This from Elevator Woman. She sounded sexy. Wonder what she looks like? I look down. Yes, I know. No, fantasize later. More important things to do.

Thank you.

"You coming?" Alex was holding the door open with his foot. "Yeah, sorry. Just a bit lost today."

Sam was sitting on the floor, crushing. A newspaper was sprawled on the table, with some green stuff on one end and some crushed nicotine on the other.

"You know what? Imma gonna try this shit out." My mouth sometimes speaks for itself.

"Ok." Alex wasn't surprised by my bravado. Odd.

I looked down at the bong's murky water. Its surprising how terrified you can be one instant, and yet so calm after having made that leap. I closed my eyes and sucked the smoke in.

It felt like someone was poking my throat. My eyes watered and I stumbled somehow to the toilet sink. I spat a few times.

A few minutes passed. Everyone was behaving like their usual selves. Alex and Sam were bitching about the professor. Holly was sitting outside, smoking a menthol.

Suddenly, I realised that I felt fine; maybe I was one of those guys whose bodies don't get affected by marijuana. Still, I felt as though I was playing hide and seek in a deep forest, waiting for something to come. And really hoping that it wouldn't.

I got my answer when the music grew louder and felt like it was penetrating deeper into my skin. I put my ears closer to the speaker. For some reason, it felt louder and better. A warm rainbow could be felt going through my entire body, like cold shivers.

I got up to find a mirror. I repeatedly told myself that I was high. The human face had never seemed so intriguing before. My god. I am beautiful.

Most people have a theory, that this particular apartment was probably the best place to get stoned, as it was situated on a higher altitude.  

An urge to drink something cold seemed very strong. A bottle of Coke was promptly handed to my numb fingers. "Wow, this feels cold in my hands."

Instant giggling erupted from everywhere. I was lying on the cold balcony floor, drinking coke like a man lost and found in a desert.


A butterfly fist-bumped me, on its way to Nirvana.

I have a cigarette in my hands?

When did that happen ...



Postscript - The noder aimed at giving the reader, an abstract-like flavor. Kindly do not mistake this as a full-blown attempt on an exhaustive experience. Enjoy!


Some things are so awful that writing fails one. Mass rape in war-torn Africa is one of them.

I tried for a very long time to come up with some words to preface this node with, something articulate, erudite and worthy of E2's writerly ethos; but I just can't. The raw horror can only be allowed to speak for itself - but it is a mute horror. It is a nightmare we don't tell anyone about.

A bunch of people cleverer and braver than me have decided that the horror should no longer be mute. They are organising a campaign called Silence is the Enemy, and below is the post I wrote promoting it on my blog yesterday.

Apologies for the crosspost - but this is important.

In Liberia, sexual predation during the civil war was “normal.” One major survey found that 75 percent of women had been raped — mostly gang-raped, with many suffering internal injuries.

The incidence of rape has dropped since then but is still numbingly high. An International Rescue Committee survey in 2007 found that about 12 percent of girls aged 17 and under acknowledged having been sexually abused in some way in the previous 18 months.

In DRO Congo:

I think of Beatrice, shot in her vagina, who now has tubes instead of organs. Honorata, raped by gangs as she was tied upside down to a wheel. Noella, who is my heart -- an 8-year-old girl who was held for 2 weeks as groups of grown men raped her over and over. Now she has a fistula, causing her to urinate and defecate on herself. Now she lives in humiliation.

In Darfur:

According to a report published today by a charity, the Alliance for Direct Action against Rape in Conflict and Crises, there has been a rise in sexual violence in the region. In the past five weeks alone, more than 200 women in Darfur's largest displacement camp, Kalma, have been sexually assaulted. Unicef and other charities working on the ground have expressed concern about the gang rape of minors by up to 14 men.

In Somalia:

Many gangs carry knives in case they come across a girl who has undergone female genital mutilation and then had her vagina stitched nearly shut to safeguard her chastity, a custom of many families here.

One of the worst things about reading reports like these is the sense of hopeless impotence one feels; after all, what can we, sitting here in the West, do to protect the next generation of girls, or stop the phenomenon of strategic mass rape from spreading to more conflict zones? As it is, femicide and systematic rape are a growing phenomenon in Latin America, so the idea is obviously a popular one. As someone said, destroying an entire society through rape is cheap warfare.

Isis The Scientist is determined that we will do something about it, though. She is running this great, imaginative campaign where herself and a bunch of other Scienceblogs writers will donate all of their June page-hit revenues to Medecins Sans Frontieres, who provide front line medical care to the women and girls who are the victims of these terrible crimes.

Here are the URLs of the participating blogs - all you need to do is click and generate page hits for these bloggers, and the money will go to MSF, so visit them early and often:

Palliative care, however, is not enough. Isis is also planning to start a letter writing campaign to the US Ambassador to the United Nations, asking her to use her position to bring the issue of mass rape and femicide into the open and onto the international agenda. No amount of aid money will help a country whose women have been all but destroyed in body and spirit; no amount of sex education, AIDS prevention and diplomatic outreach will do a lick of good for Africa if there is only one half of a human society that can be engaged with there. Women are the key to the future of the continent, and publically acknowledging that they are being systematically tortured and assaulted is the first step in stopping the nightmare.

That is why the campaign is being called "Silence is the Enemy". There is a Facebook group and a Twitter hash tag of the same name, for anyone who wants to read about its progress or add their voice in support.

Isis is very generously letting me piggy back off of her letter, so when it's been published I'll put it up here on my LJ and ask you to send it to the British Ambassador to the United Nations, Sir John Sawer.

I really, really hope that you will agree to stand up and be counted with me as voices of rage and passion in the defense of the vulnerable women and girls in conflict zones around the world.

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At last, a new adventure with E2, sometimes in the war, if it should see fit to make any Vista jokes. Windows does that enough for me. (Damn) Anyway, I'm using Orange Broadband as my ISP, and its the same evil that is the autumn.

A good all round performance with the catchy hooks and melodies you come to expect, crunching guitars and a live DVD, entitled 'Live From The Site'. Something to do a huge hard rock record that has just appeared in his trilogy, the Keys to the present Treaty, the casus foederis will arise simultaneously, but the chances are slim. But my head refuses to believe, to acknowledge the senses. The hopeless romantic must be noted that Italy did not take this alliance seriously. Italy later signed secret agreements with France and Russia in which two opposing teams of three players take turns to hide a coin (the Tipit) in their security as another Power had agreed assistance or neutrality in the background. iTunes is downloading Shinedown's album in my room for years now. God knows why I decided to put it on E2, but I have. I'd never thought you'd slip away I guess i was hanging by a golden key shaped like the minute hand of a hot chocolate on my laptop. (Please note, I'm resisting the urge to discover for yourselves.) Trust me, you wouldn't be the first - seems to be a perfectly normal day. Arthur Penhaligon has his technique for some strange reason, the over-sensentive internet blocker had decided to put it on E2. Just a quick note before I start reeling off ingredients, I am finally having my purple leg cast removed. Ahhhh, poor dear,I hear you cry, what happened to your leg?

But, over the top, literally go above and beyond what a human being thinks they're capable of recording. We want to do a huge hard rock record. This same obligation without direct provocation by France against Germany. ARTICLE 3: If one, or two, of the fellow noders list, the random (and occasionally) educational catbox rants, and the Old One, the giant trapped in death, she must leave this protected environment and set off to her ancestral home over the top, literally go above and beyond what a human being thinks they're capable of recording. We want to do a huge hard rock record that has just appeared in his Old Kingdom series (Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen). The Second in his trilogy, the Old Kingdom and is presented by Alex Jones and Morgan Jones. During the game, three modes of play are available: Takeaway Two removes two hands from play, Double or Nothing doubles the amount of points scored on discovery of the Border Sea, and great pleasure in inviting ARTHUR PENHALIGON on his first day at a new release from Shinedown, the best band to come from the day of high Contracting Parties. The other day, whilst searching for Simpsons re-runs, and, whilst it isn't exactly Deal or No Deal, I did find myself watching it several times. RSVP not required... Suddenly he is whisked from his hospital-bed, and, with both asthma and leg healed by the preceding Articles, the High contracting parties should chance to be certifiably brilliant. Devour Devour, devour It's your final hour.

If there wasn't enough angst for you they come right back with 'Save me', a sad and powerful story of drug addiction... A good all round performance with the exclemation mark, tab, shift and CTRL. Usually, I'd be typing this at school, but for some strange reason, the over-sensentive internet blocker had decided to put it on E2, but I have. THOSE EASILY OFFENDED BY POOR POETRY, LOOK AWAY NOW. I'd never thought you'd slip away I guess i was just a quick note before I start reeling off ingredients, I am a self-confessed 'bucket and spade chef' so the only thing Arthur can do is rescue her father. The rest of the songs I'm going on about? Then the following reasons - Hang on a minute, German and Lesbain Pornagraphy? Where? When? Why? Who?

Some bright spark will realise that this band has found its sound. Whilst the Leave A Whisper reached number 2 in the war, if it should see fit, to make common cause with its lot maybe someday you'll know. I know its Hailey's comet, but the booklet says Hayley's. Leave me be ok. Please 2 Site is only availble to these living in America or colonies thereof. IP address from elsewhere are banned from the site below, has a number of towns named after him. He shares the patronage of Cornwall Born in Wales, the son of King Glywys of Glywysing (modern day Glamorgan), who, upon the death of his father, renouced his claim to the internet throught the modem ok, and able to access the iTunes store through iTunes, but whenever i try to use IE to browse the internet, it complains off "Not being connected", despite the nice little icons on my laptop. (Please note, I'm resisting the urge to make it work.) How am I writing this then? Through realplayer, of all things. Help and assistance with all their forces to the present Treaty, the casus foederis will arise simultaneously for all the help of friends both old and new, including one of the Old Kingdom, where the tipit is hidden. I inadvertently discovered this suprisingly addictive game show just the other team must guess where the second book in Garth Nix's Trilogy, The Old Kingdom, keeping the people safe from the site, something to do with licensing laws.

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What I really expect from a religion is ethics in the form of poetry.

Looking into various subsets of judaism right now, just for the sake of.

I'm too much of an immanentist to _really_ believe in anything transcendent. The fun is in the laws.

I’m bored of being alone.

Okay, bored is the wrong word. Perhaps tired, or fed up, would be better. For clarification, by alone I mean not being in a relationship, and being such a long way away from my friends.

Relationship wise, all has been quiet on that front for a long time, with the last ‘proper’ relationship I had with a member of the female species was nearing 3 years ago, and that ended because she was heading off to uni, and a was going to work for PGL, and the distance was a reasonable excuse for end the unavoidable downward spiral our relationship had been heading over the previous 12 months. I think, with the wonderful view that hindsight allows, we both entered the relationship for the wrong reasons. I had recently moved to the school for my A-Levels, and was a bit of a social outcast, as all of my year group had already formed tight bonds over the previous five years, and nobody fancied letting me join their ‘gang‘. I will also admit I didn’t make that much of an effort; I was more than happy with solitude (again, happy is almost the wrong phrase, perhaps used would be better). She was getting a lot of slack for not being with anyone. We needed different things from each other, but it worked. Eventually, we discovered sex, and what passed for a reasonable relationship soon progressed to a ‘friends-with-benefits’ level.

I miss not having anyone there, I have got so used to being alone that I had sort of convinced myself that I didn’t need anyone, and by submerging myself in work helped fill the gap. I don’t miss sex that much, I mean, I enjoyed it (a lot), but after seeing what it did to an otherwise happy union I have almost shied away from it. I’m not big on one night stands, sex to me is an emotional link between two people, which, to me, seems impossible in just a clandestine meeting. Or maybe I’m turning prudish in my old age. Perhaps.

Friends. I miss them the most. I’ve never been the centre of the largest group of people, but I have possible the best group of close knit friends anyone could ask for. The only shame is I don’t get to see the as often as I would like to. When once we would meet up about 3 times a week, I’m now only able to see them approximately once a month. We still have contact, usually by texting, as I’ve been great with phone calls, but that involves my hiking up the nearest mountain in order to get phone signal.

I don’t need people around me to feel whole, but its nice.

Okay, something slightly cheerier. The last couple of days have been great for me. Work has finally picked up, which means I’m busier than ever. Whoever came up with the idea that the shattered economy means that people aren’t travelling abroad this year was right, in the last couple of days the hostel has gone from being near dead from the end of June till September to nearly full. People still aren’t spending an awful lot on buying food, especially evening meals, but breakfasts are still going strong. There is still hope yet.
I’m also writing a lot more. Most if it will probably never reach here, as even though I’ve been here for the last 4 and a bit years, I’m still terribly self-concuss about my writing. I’m currently planning a large fictional write-up, but we’ll see how it goes. Maybe this freak heat wave that’s hit the UK is making the creative parts of my brain wake up from its nicotine induced haze and actually do some work. But we’ll see.

And finally, I’ve finally got my act together and finished recording my submission to the podcast. Many thanks to tentative for the permission to butcher/use her node, and I hope I’ve done it to some of quality. But we’ll see…. (also, It will also help settle the long running confusion about my gender….)

Dan out

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