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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Money is no object!

You know something I've always wanted to say?

"Money is no object!"

Who even talks like that?

I've never actually spoken this phrase while shopping, but this is basically the reason I make my mom take me shopping to Dollar Tree whenever I visit home. (Dollar stores in New York are disgusting). I love being in a store in which there is not a single thing I cannot afford. Nay, not even a single thing I'd regret purchasing if it didn't work out.

I kind of want to be looking at something at Dollar Tree and vacillating on the color, at which point I say "I'll take them all!"

In this fantasy I am dressed like a soap opera character from the 1980s and look more like Ivana Trump.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Angelina, the clothes blender, and Jefferson: some small things in my life

  • I bought a trenchcoat, because Angelina Jolie looks so good in them. The first day I wore it, the repeated rubbing from the strap of my heavy shoulder bag popped off the upper left button. (A girl's gotta work, and New Yorkers don't have cars in which to stow the materials of life and toil). On a related note, why must Angelina insist on carrying her now-enormous children, two at a time, for the cameras? And how do her skeletal arms not break under the strain of Pax and Zahara?

  • I have recently taught the vocabulary word "prodigal" to approximately seven SAT students, and have discovered that my "Christian" students (all Asian -- this is, after all, New York) are totally unfamiliar with the actual contents of the Bible. Prodigal son? Nothing. Sodom? Never heard of it. (No point even getting into how maybe the moral of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah ought to be "Don't hand off your daughters to gang rapists!" or even just "Rape is bad!" rather than "Gay people are bad", even if that were appropriate discussion with a tutor, which it isn't). I had suspected the informational bankruptcy of church youth groups when an SAT essay topic about sacrifice came up in a class I was teaching, and some students asked if they could write about Jesus. I said certainly, although such an example should contain the same level of detail and rigor as any other argumentative example: references to specific incidents related in the Bible, specific parables, books of the Bible, etc. None of the essays I received back had a level of detail greater than "Jesus was nice and 100% good and he died for us" (even in essays in which the student had shown him or herself capable of better by also writing detail-laden examples about, say, World War II, or The Great Gatsby). When an atheist knows more than you do about your religion ... read more! Of course that is my prescription for many ailments, both societal and individual. Please enjoy this article about the Jefferson Bible, the historical life of Jesus, and the suppressed Gospel of Thomas.

  • I am considering getting a tattoo that says "Read More."

  • I have become less thin in the last six weeks, as Army food really wasn't bad at all, and downing Gatorade was a requirement just to stay upright. A pencil skirt that used to ride up around my ribcage now stays snugly in place across ... what do you call them ... hips? Previous readers who have rudely suggested I "eat a sandwich" will be pleased.

  • I've been meaning to ask about this for years: how can a cab driver charge you for tolls on top of the $45 "flat rate" for a ride from JFK to Manhattan? Doesn't that defy the very idea of a flat rate? Have I been taken for a $4 ride (well, a $49 ride including a $4 swindle), repeatedly?

  • I bought a beautiful pressed tin, embossed jewelry box in Bahrain, from a vendor who told me he'd imported it from Kashmir. I paid a nice sum for it and substantially repacked my suitcase to get the thing home. Two days after returning to the States, I was in Chinatown ... and guess what they were selling? A friend told me my jewelry box was more special because I had actually brought it back from somewhere. I'm not sure if believing this violates my antipathy for superstition.

  • In eight days, I will cease to be the only "Jennifer Dziura," by virtue of my brother's marriage to his fiancee Jennifer. She even shares the middle initial "L." You know how weird it is to hear my Mom say "Jennifer and Brian" and have her not mean me? Jen 2.0 is totally nice and normal and genial, though, so I can't even say anything bad about her stealing my name. In fact, once you take a full-time job in a domestic violence shelter, I'm not sure anyone can ever say anything bad about you again.

  • I have a splendid device in my house -- it's a Wonder Washer, AS SEEN ON TV (tm)! It's basically a giant blender for clothes. It washes delicates. No one ever talks about this, but what do other ladies DO in New York? I drop off my sheets and towels and jeans and socks and a few other things to the laundry-by-the-pound place, where they are returned to me clean and folded, but for years I have been carting my delicates to the laundromat, washing them myself, bringing them back wet (sometimes carrying baskets or bags of wet laundry several blocks) and hanging them up. Which means I have been known to buy new bras rather than wash the old ones. The Wonder Washer doesn't solve all my problems -- it has no drainage system and doesn't really rinse -- but it has cut down on laundry quandaries by at least 50%, which is well worth $40.

  • The mother of one of my Korean students has gotten me hooked on roasted corn iced tea! When I first tried it, at my student's house, I just assumed it was something herbal. When my student's mother offered me some teabags to take home, I asked what it was. Corn! Who knew? It's freaking delicious.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

haha college LOL

The SAT is advertising on MySpace! Next to Desperate Housewives!

I have a new idea for a slogan:

If you found out about the SAT from MySpace, it's too late anyway.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mideast tour: Blake and Andrew

Apropos to my last post, on the victory of earnestness over irony among our armed forces, here is something I am delighted to have taped.

At Camp L.S.A., Kuwait, two young soldiers stood out in the crowd because they showed up after I'd already begun my set, and because they had bothered to go back to their tents and change into civilian clothes. One even had bleached-out hair -- they looked good, but a bit out of place. I teased them a bit from the stage, and when they came through the autograph line, they told us they made music, and asked if, should they go to their tents and retrieve their guitars, we would sign them.

That turned into this:

They performed two songs for us. Andrew, on the left, was charmingly nervous. I later received a MySpace message from Blake -- his profile says he's just 20! I know these young men have important and difficult jobs to do, but seriously: could boys get any cuter?

Blake and Andrew are thinking of moving to Nashville once they get out of the service. They don't have a band name yet. Perhaps they are taking suggestions?

I have kept in touch and offered to find them a place to play when they come to New York, perhaps in January. I am inviting all my lady friends.

The delighted audience. Comics rarely finish doing a show...
and then get a show done back for them.

Andrew, Blake, and the girls in the USO.
Note the signed guitars.

The USO at Camp LSA was an air-conditioned oasis full of IKEA couches on an otherwise bleak desert base. (Even though it all looks very nice, keep in mind one still has to leave the tent and walk 50 yards through 125-degree heat to get to the latrines). Note the psychedelic decorating scheme -- somehow the USO has co-opted the imagery of the Vietnam protest movement to provide today's troops with the nicest tent in all of Kuwait.

Eventually, Blake and Andrew's superior officers made us wrap it up -- after all, it was nearly 9:30.

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Mideast tour: white people and a total lack of irony

On my comedy tour of the Middle East, I was brought to realize many things.

Our military is a lot whiter than I had imagined. In fact, a huge swath of the US Armed Forces is made up of recent (Caucasian) high school graduates from Texas, Indiana, and Ohio.

At one point, I said to one of the other comics, "I thought the military had a lot more black people."

He replied, "No, you're thinking of Vietnam."

(Update: A commenter has provided this link [downloadable PDF] to the relevant data).

Living in Manhattan for awhile will give you a skewed picture of American demographics. If I had to guess, I'd guess Manhattan was roughly fifty or sixty percent white people, but all of them relatively wealthy, while a large percentage of everyone else are recent immigrants.* Every very rare once in awhile, you see a homeless white person, and think: what, possibly, could be the excuse for that?

(*Side note: Manhattan has as high a percentage of recent immigrants as, say, Texas, but nowhere near the anti-immigrant sentiment, because it is so terribly obvious that without hardworking recent immigrants, some of them illegal, we wouldn't be able to afford to go out to eat, get our nails, laundry, and dry cleaning done, our food delivered, and many other services. You ever try to get your nails done in the suburbs? Try making an appointment and paying $35! A million small things are cheaper in New York thanks to a constant influx of immigration).

On Army and Air Force bases, we often did shows to crowds of 600-700 soldiers, many of whom would line up afterwards for autographs. They hadn't known who we were before the show (well, there was one guy whose wife loved my work on McSweeney's -- dear god did that make my evening!), but there was literally nothing else to do, and an acute shortage of women.

The McSweeney's note was especially unusual, as the entire remainder of our tour was free of irony and of any appreciation of irony. As well, perhaps, it should have been, as earnestness may be a necessary means of bolstering oneself for peril.

At Camp Buehring, Kuwait -- a training base where soldiers are stationed for a short time just prior to deployment in Iraq -- we did a show for an audience that was both armed, and shipping off to Iraq an hour after the show. One officer, observing the mood of the crowd, explained that much of the audience wasn't laughing out loud because "Twenty or thirty of these guys are going to get blown up just on the way there." In the autograph line after the show, one soldier took his signed photograph of Laura Rosenberg and showed us where it would be taped to the butt of his rifle, to keep him company in combat. Is it 1944? I thought, and then Well, goddamn.

Towards the end of the tour, we did a show on the USS Enterprise, and the ship's media officer did taped interviews of us for the ship's local TV channel (when they don't have something like a rerun of last night's comedy show to play, it's just a blue screen with motivational messages scrolling by). Despite all the (wry, offbeat) quotes that could've been extracted from those interviews, when the ship's newsletter came out the next morning, it was peppered with made-up (unfunny) quotes purportedly from the comics, things like, "Performing for the troops who are defending our country makes me proud to be an American," and, "Entertaining the hardworking men and women of the USS Enterprise is the greatest experience of my life."

We did not say those things. But we forgive the "media specialist" responsible.

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Mideast tour: Comedy at Camp Arafjan

This recording starts mid-joke, but it's pretty decent for a digital camera in an outdoor setting. This was actually from the first day of the tour, 8/23, in Kuwait.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

No. That would be "Omnipotent" lipcolor. Or, more precisely, lipcolor that makes its wearer omnipotent.

Diction, folks, diction.

This ad says "My lipcolor is never in error; therefore, I am omnipotent." That, itself, is a fallacy, thus proving that a quality possessed by a lipcolor does not necessarily transfer itself to the wearer.

The proof is not "in the mirror," L'Oreal. The proof is really only in, well ... the proof.


we can stop being snide Americans now

$1 US = $1 Canadian.

Yeah, I'm sure I'm not the only comedian who has jokes to go back and revise.

World Beard and Mustache Championships

The World Beard and Mustache Championships have announced their winners.

Funny -- among all the categories for English, Hungarian, Imperial, and Chinese, why no "Hasidic"?

This is Matisyahu, the Hasidic reggae star.

Just saying.

Related post: porn with mustaches: my practical joke from 2004

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mideast tour: I finally put some flat objects in my scanner

Now settled in after my Mideast tour, I've finally found time to scan some souvenirs.

I bought this greeting card in Kuwait. It came from a whole line of greeting cards featuring cute cartoon burqa-clad women and dishdasha-clad men doing things like barbecuing, riding on a magic carpet, and in one case, being visited by space aliens.

In Djibouti, I found myself saving everything that said "Djibouti" on it. Iced coffee is not well-known outside America, but the hotel staff at the Djibouti Kempinski was quite enthusiastic about making me one (for what looks on the receipt like $700!) The beverage I received was laden with heavy cream and had been strained over ice, but was served sans ice, making its temperature only infinitesimally lower than that of the hotel at large. Like a cool bath. In a glass.

I purchased a bowl decorated with elephants at this shop in Djibouti. The proprietors were really adamant about giving me their business card, which had been faintly xeroxed and badly cut, but basically got the message out about HAPPY SHOP. And now it's on my blog! So next time you're in, say, Somalia, go ahead and take a detour to Djibouti. The bowls are great.

There is a coin shortage on US military bases. Instead of actual metal currency, you receive these cardboard "pogs" as change. Annoying! I'm stuck with seventy-five cents' worth. I'm going to mail them to my mom so she can see if they'll take them at the Navy Exchange back home. I've always wanted to buy my mom a pack of gum.

These are my alcohol ration cards from the Army bases in Qatar and Djibouti. There's a three-drink a day limit, although that seems to be something of a formality for performers, perhaps especially female performers. I think I could have obtained really as much alcohol as I personally desired to consume.

Just add meat and milk cards for that old-time World War II feeling.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

nut allergies are very serious, and also sound funny the more often you say "nut"

I would like to alert readers of this blog to a year-and-a-half old item that is suddenly generating new controversy in the comments.

I originally wrote about the double-entendre of the expression "nut-free school."

We have now, seventeen months after the fact, been treated to a list of people who have died of peanut exposure (scroll down for it).

I love what Google does for blogs.

Update: Dear god -- from this list of the deceased, it seems clear that people with peanut allergies should just never eat dessert of any kind, ever, and also should stay the hell away from Chinese food and curry. Look, you'll be thin and free of MSG headaches. Win-win. Yikes. Also, according to one entry on the list, it's possible to die after being kissed by someone who's eaten peanuts.

I now have to write a screenplay about an impossible love between a girl who has a peanut allergy and a man whose job it is to taste-test Reese's peanut butter cups, and how they send ardent emails from afar. After years of buildup, and resistance from the girl's parents, the two eventually meet after the man has taken two weeks off work to detox, been thoroughly scrubbed, dressed in surgical garments, and ushered into a sanitized bubble, like the one that guy lived in on Northern Exposure.

But then, in an ironic twist, the man dies of a previously unknown allergy to oil of Bergamot, found aplenty in the Earl Grey tea the girl has prepared inside the bubble, because she is British. The movie ends with doctors dragging her off his swollen corpse as she cries out for peanuts, wanting to join him, Romeo-and-Juliet style. But, of course, the bubble is entirely peanut-free, which was the point in the first place.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I have never vandalized a bathroom before

But when I saw the "w" had worn off, I couldn't help myself.

bloggity blog blog blog

I'm back in New York, doing shows at Pete's. I'm going to keep posting my Mideast videos until I run out, though.

I'm a bit behind on the blogging, but that's because I have so much to tell you, it gets daunting at times. Not that I ever want you to imagine me daunted. I'm dauntproof!

My brother's wedding -- which I am performing in a fashion both comical and atheistic -- is in two weeks.

More news soon, and photos, and funny things, although perhaps not so much in the ha-ha way as in the Oh, I feel a smirk coming on, and Jen's acerbic photo captions make me feel vivacious and sexually enticing, but in a special nerdlike way way.

Taken today. Cow is glad to have me back.
Also note: a rare glasses sighting!

Mideast tour: leaving on a jet plane

Specifically, a Learjet from Kuwait to Qatar.

More specifically, a Learjet that was sent from Qatar to Kuwait to pick up four comedians because, after the comedians woke up at 2am for a 3am call for a drive to a secured military airstrip for a 7am (non-Learjet) flight, it was discovered that the pilot of said 7am flight had arrived at 3am, dropped off four passengers, thus making room for the comedians -- and then promptly departed. Calls were made. Comedians were tired and annoyed. Naps were taken. A Learjet came. The part of the video inside the jet is really loud. It's kind of hard to talk in a Learjet, even though you sort of feel like a financially successful rapper.

I don't know what a Learjet flight runs the military (you can charter one yourself for about $2K/hour), but somebody cost the taxpayers some bucks on this one.

"Ninety percent of your body is water -- very little of it is land."

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mideast tour: the largest paper bag EVER

Other comics on the Mideast tour were extremely interested in the technical details of how a plane lands on the deck of an aircraft carrier, which is much shorter than a runway.

Me? I was very interested in the largest paper bag EVER.

Christina Lopez is a doll for playing along.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Mideast tour: tents in which I have slept

As I was leaving on this tour, people asked whether I was scared.

"No," I would say. "I have no problem doing dangerous things. I have little fear of death. What I do fear is discomfort. I'll happily jump out of an airplane, provided at the end of the day there's a chaise lounge and a nice Shiraz."

So, basically I want to be James Bond.

Alas. Instead, try three weeks of very little danger and constant sweaty, buggy, ill-lit, breakfast-skipping, desert-trek-to-the-bathroom, cargo-plane-riding discomfort.

Here you go:

In Qatar...

...and in Djibouti.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mideast tour: Jen shops for camels

Don't buy a sickly camel! This is me negotiating for camels in the PX at Camp Arafjan, Kuwait.

One fun fact I learned in my brief time in the Mideast is that citizens of oil-rich nations such as Kuwait and Qatar don't have jobs. (Why bother, when you receive reverse taxation from the government?) They also, judging from the shopping I saw in the airport and in two malls, buy a tremendous quantity of Bulgari, Burberry, Hermes, and other designer goods.

This means that all of the actual work in countries like Kuwait is done by Indian and Southeast Asian people. I bought a dress from a Filipina woman in Kuwait who closed her shop every time the call for prayer came around -- and then she just hid inside the shop, arranging racks of clothes in front of the glass windows.

When visiting a foreign country, one's contact with locals often comes in large measure from interacting with servicepeople. In Kuwait, however, since none of the servicepeople are locals, and there are taboos against men talking to strange women, and it hardly seems inviting to test out the English skills of a woman who keeps her face covered and carries a $2,000 handbag ... a person can spend a long time in Kuwait without ever talking to a Kuwaiti person.

Another consequence of reverse taxation is that it's really pretty difficult to purchase a souvenir of Kuwait. Kuwaitis don't make handicrafts. You can certainly, however, go to Kuwait and buy something from an Indian vendor, imported from India, with a picture of a camel on it and the word "Kuwait" stamped on it by Indian laborers. But that's as close as you can get.

How terribly unfair that India didn't get any oil. And how baffled the Indian vendors on base must be when mistaken by Americans for Kuwaitis.

Update: The Intrepid Young Journalist points out that India is lucky it didn't get oil, because instead it got democracy. To explain: the "resource curse" is the phenomenon by which states that are rich in resources do not have to negotiate with their people for wealth and productivity; thus, resource-rich nations typically rule absolutely and have no need to develop the means for democracy. When oil is free and the government owns it all, the people had better shut the hell up and just collect their checks. This creates a quite different dynamic of power than in states in which elected leaders have to campaign and extract taxes from working people in order to rule. As a result, they rule -- to put it mildly -- less absolutely.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mideast tour: Jen on the pull-up bar at Camp Arafjan

At the urging of Gunner Honeywood, I took up a dare to qualify as a female Marine by doing the flexed-arm hang for 70 seconds.

Incidentally, I did this AFTER having done seven pull-ups. I can't say this is the most eventful of videos; in fact, I don't move for seventy seconds.

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Mideast tour: the Arabic word for "stop"

Comics Jennifer Dziura and Chris Freeman, on an Armed Forces Entertainment tour of the Mideast, contemplate the Arabic word for "stop." They know no actual Arabic.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

back in NY: low-carb bagels and two-day rentals ... aren't

Yesterday I stepped into the bagel shop in Queens from which I sometimes purchase egg sandwiches and wraps. I gravitated towards the "low-carb bagels," pleased to see that there were two left so late in the day.

The guy behind the counter hurries over: "Hello, beautiful, long time since you come in."

"I've been meaning to ask you," I say, "how do you make a low-carb bagel?"

He looks uncomfortable. "Well, you know ... it's all flour. Bagels are from flour, you know?"

"So it's the same as a regular bagel?"

"Well, yes... I mean, how would you change it?"

"Well, sometimes stuff like that is made from soy flour or something."

He shrugs. "Nope. And let me tell you -- in the morning we make one big tuna salad. Half goes in the case labeled 'tuna' and half in the one labeled 'low-fat tuna.'"

I order egg whites and tomato on whole-wheat.

* * *

Later that night I go to Blockbuster and sign up for a membership, the conventional $4.59 per movie kind, so I can rent season two of "The Office." It's a two-day rental. "What time is it due?" I ask.

"Doesn't matter. Well, midnight, actually."


(whispering) "But you have a seven-day grace period! You didn't get that from me."

* * *

Let's review: Lowfat tuna on a low-carb bagel will make you fat. Two-day rentals are really nine-day rentals. Capitalism continues unfettered. Class dismissed.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mideast tour: my mom's response to this photo from Camp Virginia, Kuwait

Dear Jen,

Camp VIRGINIA? Who knew? This is one part of Virginia I have no desire to visit. I've been enjoying your blog. This is a cute picture. There's enough fabric in your skirt to make a lot of hotpants.

Love Mom

Please sign the petition to convince my mom to start her own blog.

You know, the photo above looks all sunny and nice, but it was actually so painfully hot and dry -- 127 degrees, like being baked on a cookie sheet -- that I could barely stand out of the shade for long enough to shoot a photo. The first couple attempts looked like this:

Hence the sunglasses.

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Mideast tour: what to bring to the Middle East

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mideast tour: on the USS Gettysburg

Guns and wind, guns and wind!

After flying into Bahrain, we immediately were flown onto the USS Enterprise, 200 miles into the Persian Gulf. This required sitting in the tiny, windlowless nose of a plane, wearing a helmet, earplugs, and a harness (hot!), and, of course, landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier. We later watched this process, which is pretty amazing -- each airplane has a hooked tail that drags behind it, catching a cable, which keeps the plane from flying right off the other end of the aircraft carrier. If the plane fails to catch the cable, it is very important that the plane keep going full speed so it can fly off the other end, without falling into the water, and try again. Therefore, the planes landing on the flight deck don't slow down -- in fact, they speed up! And their little tails catch this rubber-band thing and just stop them cold. It's a little jarring from the inside.

After doing a show in the Enterprise's hangar later the same evening...

...and then a 9am (yes, a.m., oh-nine-hundred) show the next morning for the guys who work nights, we were transported by helicopter to the USS Gettysburg for an afternoon show in the mess hall. Um, how cool is that? The helicopter's door stayed open the entire time, with a big gun poking out of it. On the way back, the guy who operates the gun had his shirt off for the whole ride. (It certainly was hot, but it might have had something to do with the all-women comedy show).

Here's a video from the deck of the USS Gettysburg:

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Mideast tour: a good view of Djibouti

The other lady comics on the trip, Laura and Christina, took malaria medication before coming. I didn't. I mean, it was "optional." Why bother? So what I'm saying is that I have malaria.

Djibouti is freaking filthy. The US is there on a humanitarian mission, which means trigger-happy Marines are sometimes bummed out to find that their new assignment involves painting schools.

We were warned to NEVER DRINK THE WATER and, in fact, DON'T EVEN BRUSH YOUR TEETH WITH IT -- yet everywhere there were sinks labeled "NON-POTABLE WATER, FOR SANITARY PURPOSES ONLY." So if I brush my teeth with it, I'll die, but I should be using the stuff to wash my hands, rinse foreign objects from my eyes, and wash out wounds? Good idea! Very sanitary.

In the market in Djibouti, various locals objected to my videography, so I surreptitiously took several very short videos and strung them together here. There's not as much comedian-bantering, but I do think this represents the Djibouti experience, except that none of the women would consent to be photographed. (Although this video does end with a man trying to sell me a headscarf by modeling it himself. He seemed secure in his masculinity).

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Mideast tour: in the belly of a Navy ship in the Persian Gulf

After arriving in Bahrain, we were flown 200 miles offshore to the USS Enterprise, a city-sized aircraft carrier. We were treated like kings! (And I do mean "kings" -- wait 'til you see the Suave).

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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Mideast tour: how to get in and out of Djibouti

Getting to Djibouti from Qatar required five and a half hours on a C-130 -- a cargo plane in which you sit on a pull-out, lawn-chair-like seat, and pee in a bucket in the back of the plane, behind the cargo.

Our flight here began with about fifteen minutes of sitting on the plane, inserting our earplugs, melting in 120+ degree heat. Then the A/C came on and the temperature dropped to about 40. I borrowed a windbreaker and slept, on and off, and tried to limit my fluids. Seriously, watch this video:

Somewhere in the last half of the flight, I woke up and decided I'd have to just suck it up and pee in the bucket. I started to squeeze past the cargo to the bathroom area when a female airman (er, airwoman) -- a tall, young black woman looking hot in her aviator glasses, and forevermore to be known as the Angel of Pants On -- signaled for me to take out my airplugs, and then shouted that we were landing in ten minutes.

We're about to board another C-130. It's 4:30am here, and our flight's been canceled once already, meaning we're behind schedule. We may have to travel and do a show in the same day, which isn't supposed to happen, but we're pretty good at bucking up and doing the show. Someone will meet us in Bahrain and let us know if we're off to a hotel, or a show on a base, or helicopter to a show on a ship.

I'm sleepy.

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Mideast tour: the trials of an introvert

Conversation I just had with a member of the United States Army:
Army: You are very attractive, but you are so unapproachable.

Me: I'm just checking my email and then I'm going to go to bed.

Army: It's like there's a starving man and you take a warm Thanksgiving turkey and put it right out of his reach! At least move the turkey a little closer so he can touch it!

Me: Women are not warm Thanksgiving turkeys. We are people with goals and jobs and interior monologues independent of your interest in our fresh meaty smell.

Army: I think you need to work on the approachability.
Solider then goes back to flirting with Christina, who is showing him the pictures on her digital camera. When pictures of me come up, he says, incredulously, "Look at her, she laughs! She looks so happy!"

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Mideast tour: fun with computers

I just had the unique experience of setting my iBook's Apple time clock to "Nearest city: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia."

You may be interested to know that is banned by the government of Qatar:

And also by the U.S. military.

Reason? "Pornography."

Just wait til I get to upload my video about covering our filthy whore shoulders on base.

One more -- when you go to Google in Qatar, you get this:

Notice that the text box works from right to left!

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Mideast tour: from the stage

When I stepped off the plane in Kuwait, one of the first things I saw in the airport was a woman in the full ninja suit, just her little eyes poking out. I stared at her -- I couldn't help it. So she decided she was going to stare at me. I stared at her, she stared at me. I stared at her, she stared at me. Finally I stuck my tongue out -- and she had no means of retaliation.

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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Mideast tour: I'm totally in Africa

Get your Beavis and Butthead voice ready...

I'm in Djibouti!

It is full of rubble and trash and abandoned tires and goats eating the rubble and trash and abandoned tires, and aggressive street vendors and children begging for food, and then the street vendors literally hit the children in the head for distracting the tourists from buying.

After days in the Middle East where I felt all but invisible around Kuwaiti men (and highly disdained by a few Qatari border guards), today I have had at least twenty Djiboutian men (pronounce: Zha-BOO-zhin) put their arms around me and call me "sister," while offering me a "special price."

All the touching is startling after being in countries in which husbands and wives can't even touch each other in public. I jumped when I felt someone behind me grab my hair; it was just a cute little girl, in a headscarf. And then, of course, some man whacked her in the head.

A bunch of Djiboutian men were actually requested that we pull out our cameras and take photos with them; they would then provide big qat-stained smiles and thumbs-up -- while the women would jump out of the way, knowing that my camera can store up to 800 souls when captured at 640 x 480 pixels.

In front of the "Jenyfer."

Despite terrible poverty, an awful lot of Djiboutian women look just like Naomi Campbell.

After being in town, we went swimming at the Hotel Kempinski, a $214/night property that looks like this:

To me, "swankiness" + "Africana" says "I think I saw this on an MTV special about Russell Simmons' house." It was fabulous. They make bread in the form of snakes!

A hotel employee in charge of arranging rose petals gave me this:

I have a ton of videos for you, but the internet here is painfully slow. Off to do a show!

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