Wednesday, January 30, 2008

John we barely knew ye

John Edwards pulls out of the presidential Democratic primary today. I´m sad. I´m sorry. I didn´t vote for him, having an absentee ballot which I sent in two weeks ago, but I still would have liked to see him hang in there. I think his candidacy did a lot, brought the question of universal health coverage, poverty, employment, Guatanamo, rendition, and accountability for the horrific damage the Iraq war has done to our country and to Iraq. He staked out certain positions that I don´t know that Hillary or Obama would have touched in the same way if it weren´t for him.

There was lots of silly stuff too. The haircut. The size of his house. But that will get filed away for the a couple elections from now, as a reference point for some other unlucky presidential left-leaning candidate. I worked for the Dukakis campaign and never heard much about that freaking helmet and tank incident until this century.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday, movies, and popcorn

I saw the Ecuadorian film, Cuando Me Toque a Mi today. (It might be translated as When My Number is Up.) It was probably not the greatest pick for my mood, grimly exasperated with many, many things about this country. (Apologies in advance to my most kind Anonymous Cuencano reader who told me to read Freire. He or she will most certainly be offended by this post.) The movie is set in Quito, and its leading characters are an alcoholic mortician, a taxi driver in the wrong place at the wrong time and his wife who is frantically searching for him, a homicidal drug addict, a mother at her young son´s bedside. The movie follows a series of interlocking stories in Central Quito over the course of several days, with reflections on death, family, homophobia, immigration, bribes and influence peddling. It is a really interesting reflection of the brutality of certain aspects of Ecuadorian culture, the bureaucracy, the incompetence of police, how families support one another selectively and sometimes not at all, according to their norms and biases. I found it to be dead on in its critiques and artistically consistent with its goals, much of the film takes place in the drab pastel hallways of a hospital. I don´t know if this will get released theatrically in the States, but if you run across it, its worth a look.

Friday, January 25, 2008

River, windows, wooden panes, adobe tile floors

I am moving into the prettiest apartment in the world. Next Monday.

Really its the prettiest one there is. Anywhere.

I am super lucky. It is just for seven months, but heck, you can spend a lot of time in your apartment in seven months. You can invite people over for drinks a bunch of times in seven months. You can bake a monton of cookies in seven months.

My friends have a lease they need to break and wanted to fill it with someone good. I live over a motorcycle store, and it took me a good number of days to decide that I should be the one to make their lives simpler. I really dislike moving.

Now everytime I hear a motorcycle being gunned, right under my living room window, I think seven more days, whereas before I just tuned it out and grimaced, you know, inside.

Apparently the upstairs neighbors was praying, like really praying, that I move in. That is a nice compliment.

I will post pictures next week.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Las MaƱanitas

I celebrated my 35 birthday during the weekend and yesterday, mainly marking it by drinking way more wine than I should have and making a speech about how old I felt. Andy, who has my same age for a little less that two months, summed up my mood about the whole thing.

"Yes we are 35. Officially and irrevocably. Thank the gods! Did we do what we thought we would? Are we becoming more of who we want to be? A little bit yes and a little bit no, right? Depending on the angle and the day (I find). Welcome. You are now closer to 50 than 20."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Hampshire and Iowa

Man, Obama was looking great after he won. And Edwards came in second, that also pleased me. We´ll see what happens next week.

Not so fat

When I actually sat down and looked up my kilos in lbs I realized I didn´t get quite as over weight as I thought. I still feel like everything I ate went right to my stomach and I have this ridiculously prominent spare tire, but the last four days, I went jogging three time and counted calories coming in under 1500 every day. So, the new year regime is off to a reasonably good start.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Back home again

I left New York in the middle of a rainy night after watching Rosemary´s Baby with my pal Benjamen, who very kindly stayed up with me all night until I left. My flight left at five am and I got to the airport just a little before boarding. I had a super nice car service driver who sang the whole way to the airport, so I left on a good note and got a decent amount of sleep on the plane. I was reminded how unpleasant air travel is these days in the United States, going through security was ridiculously complicated.

And then I arrived in Guayaquil, trailing my winter coat and a wool sweater in the heat of the coast. Fortunately I had a few days in the beach with friends before I get back to work. I begin 2008 with lots of stuff to do, but not necessarily a clear path for getting it done. I have to plan a bunch of workshops, write a bunch of reports for funders, and negotiate the complicated path of dealing with a community I have been organizing that maybe don´t want me to organize them quite so much anymore. And of course they are Cuencano, so they don´t actually tell me. I guess, though I don´t know for sure, that this is sort of the nature of the territory.