April 25, 2006

Fast finished

Great 7 weeks. I'm so excited about fasting, I'm already making plans for what to give up next year (coffee and tea possibly added to the list).  I have committed to going Wednesdays and Fridays with no animal products.

Fasting is a great, great thing. I feel so healthy, probably dropped 10 pounds, and didn't get sick during the whole fast, except the last 2 days, when I got bollicksed.

It's definitely recommended for all you out there in the blogosphere and beyond.  Fasting is in such contrast to the culture I know. I don't remember it being mentioned or encouraged in the Protestant Church I attended as a kid.  It definitely isn't part of American culture. 

I think given the strength of some of the food companies, fasting might actually be considered un-American. Very unfortunate. It's really a great way to reconnect with food and regain a little balance in your daily life.

Breaking the fast was delicious. Yogurt was on a whole new level of creamy.  The thing that really got me was the lunch rolls at the the restaurant I frequent near work. The rolls are served with most meals, and throughout the fast, I'd been dining on them unaware that the butter had been removed. When I bit into one of the rolls yesterday, it was so soft, succulent, moist, scrumptious. Wow. I had no idea a roll could taste so good.

Meat, I did I pretty good job of avoiding over the weekend. I had a little bit of kitfo (ground beef with spices) and some nice doro wat (chicken sauce), but other than that, I kept it light. Honestly, I think this fasting thing is a new life direction for me.

April 17, 2006

Book Review: “Fury”, Salman Rushdie

Fury is a quick read, full of pop and historical references that string together the story of a middle-aged man confronting inner demons he’s carried since childhood (magnified mid-life crisis). Rushdie’s ability to draw from a bottomless well of timely and appropriate references is unmatched.

Fury follows the transition of Malik Solanka, Cambridge professor turned wealthy dollmaker, as he flees his English home, wife, and child, for the anonymity and physical distance offered by New York City.(Solanka’s experience reminds you of some of the raw storytelling of early 20th century French like Zola.) Why he flees, you’ll have to read, but it is disturbing. 

In New York, he confronts his distant past (growing up in India), his not-so-distant past (wife and child in England) and the present he creates while in New York.

I especially like how Rushdie was always one step ahead of me as I tried to unpack the morality of a man who left his wife and child, then finds himself in some “strange” relationships in New York.
“Fury” is well worth your time and will leave you with a lot of good ideas to chew on.

Only Umberto Eco (Foucault’s Pendulum, The Name of the Rose), another author I recently read, strikes as capable of offering anything as challenging as Rushdie, though in a very different way.

Slow drip at the Fun Zone

The Fun Zone is still alive but short on material and will get to posting as soon as a bolt of inspiration or flash of fury strikes me....wait a minute.

April 07, 2006

Gang of local toughs takes up residence on the Fun Zone's turf

Though not an exact representation, this image gives you a reference for the tough acting gang of youth that has taken up residence down the alley. Their headquarters consists of a nook, not more than three meters across and one deep, below a telephone pole standing centurion over the gated back-entrance to a row of houses.

Much to the disappointment of the Fun Zone, this development looks semi-permanent and is on one of the main access roads the Fun Zone uses to go to work (luckily, they haven't established morning hours of operation as of yet).

This cigarette smoking, khat chewing, group of local toughs stares down cars, mouths the occasional comment (they are just beginning this aspect of their presence), all the time sneering at the social norms in Ethiopia and the neighborhood which dictates they should be doing this completely out of sight, if at all.

There was a time in the Fun Zone's less intelligent youth that I might have tried to take a hard line with such yutes, acting tough, returning stares, etc. But a group that so blatantly smokes for all passers-by to see, must not have very serious parents, are likely unemployed, and are probably not the crowd the Fun Zone wants to take the moral high ground with. As such, the Fun Zone adopted the steely/mildly anxious "Ethiopian street face", and glides his car through their environs with caution and grudging respect/resentment.

Update October 2010:  What was I thinking - harmless neighborhood kids, bored, never did a thing to me or anyone(that I know of).

April 06, 2006

Joys of fatherhood

This is quality blog fodder (names changed to protect the innocent and to ensure I continue to receive this kind of grade-A material):

"Stacy and my girls are doing well. Unfortunately, Sarah has learned the F-word (must have been from her mom because Lord knows I never speak like that). The other night, she informed us that Rover (our black lab) was eating the f*##@ing fish again. It really makes a guy proud to hear his three year old daughter swear like that."

That is magic.  Being a proud father myself, I'm looking forward to the day when my daughter broaches her first swear word, though, it will be probably be in Amharic, which will make it difficult for me to catch.

At the same time, some of the first words I set about learning in Amharic were the less-polite ones, so I've developed quite a repertoire of the fundamentals of Ethiopian potty-talk.

I am a bit curious, though, why it’s a problem for the dog to be eating fish. I remember it was a big problem for my own yellow lab to roll in dead fish from streams, but I don’t remember him eating fish as a problem. Maybe they are smoking it outside the house or the dog climbed up on the counter.