Courtesy of an old Fed3, un-photochopped and raw.

Light at the top of a mill. Somewhere in Minnesota in the middle of a road trip with the Aussie.

When I still thought Broken Glass was fantastic. Rooftop in St.Paul, Minnesota.

Paying my dues to ‘Angsty Lonely Chairs’ and ‘Dramatic White Space’.  Factory in Pennsylvania in middle of road trip.

Dramatic Black Space. Car Factory somewhere in between Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Niagara.

Son, follow the path of light.    Same Car Factory

But you know?  TGC Loves YOU!      Same Car Factory.

Make art from Wire + Tags.   Same Car Factory.

Faux People pose in Awkward window fashion.  On the way to Heavey Khemicals in Ukraine.

Follow crooked shadows nowhere.  Wandering in Kiev, Ukraine.

Tipsy, Flipsy in the Bus Graveyard!   Kiev, Ukraine.

Office.  Pripyat Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Bleak outlook.  Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Propaganda got them a musty closet in the middle of a nuclear disaster. Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Weeee feel the radicals in your hair!!!  Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Dish up Wip-lash with a taste of Meltdown. Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Nature takes over the Dodge-ems.  Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine.

To Boldly Cook What No Man Has Cooked Before: Egg/mushroom omelet with fried tomato center.



Aww, festive office decorations.



SPIBA Christmas Party.


The result of falling…after several hours and the following conversation with Dan: “Have you tried a Blue Lagoon?  Nope.  Have you tired a White Russian?  No.  Have you tried a Scarlett O’Hare?  Umm, No, lets order one of each!’

From Spy to paranormal TV show? Clearly the retirement package for former Soviet Spys doesn’t include a training on how to not be class-less.

Thunder Thighs! Oh me of little faith this time, when D gleefully told me of his discovery while perusing the daily news! I stand humbled. Gives new meaning to the phrase ‘Loins of Steel’

Just discovered Christoph Niemann-using cookie dough for graphic art? Brilliant! Current favorite single print is ‘Spooning’ on the ‘Prints Etc’ page

As previously mentioned, NYTimes Lens Photo Blog is worth following-especially when the photographer featured highlights something other than war/developing countries. Here is Mayhem:
car crashes as art and sculpture-a brilliant take on PSA and a culture obsessed by disaster.

  Rant by Chuck Palahniuk-
purposeful car crashes to feel alive with a culture obsessed by the macabre; where rubbernecking becomes a national pastime.  

Eerie.   Brilliant.   Read the book (!!!) with the photos near by, suggested music is Group Four (et all) on Mezzanine, by Massive Attack.

….may cause purchase of large gob off fish eye lens you don’t know how to use, subsequent badly photochopped snaps and green/orange babies/body parts)

We did this in ’08 …illegal tour?

Since Murad and Elnor introduced the worthy youth of Izzy Town to the joys of biking, the trend has slowly grown in the years following the summer ’08-unfortunately, as with many sports/clothing/fun activities, biking is an activity that is strictly for males-females being in danger of losing their virginity if the road happens to be a tad bumpy-puzzling, I know.

Since the spring of ’09 I have been plagued by an army of bike riding terrors ranging in age from 5-35-this was briefly mentioned in a post a while back: Ah The Signs of Spring

in which I admitted my fantasy of taking revenge before I left Izzy Town for good.
Since I have only a few weeks left of living here; the time seemed right to start finally growing a pair (so to speak) and giving the riding twats a run for their money.

Since I was in a bad mood to start with-a lack of adrenaline has been killing my soul of late-I was just waiting, quite eagerly, for any chance to unleash my wrath.

Since it was the same 9 year old dirty, snaggletooth, Mongrel who’d been persistently harassing me-a favorite phrase, was ‘LITTLE BUNNY!!!!’ followed up with a few foul words-it took 2 near misses in the town center, outside the stately Hayder Museum, before I called him an ‘ass hole’ and pushed him and the dinky bike over.

Since the town center is paved, both bike and Mongrel landed with a good satisfying smack- for what Mongrel lacks in education, he makes up for in persistence by gamely picking up both himself and bike, giving me a look of both shock/anger and wobbling off, unhurt, to a safe distance.

Since I’m that kind of person who pushes 9 yr old twats, I didn’t even feel guilty…until several hours later, when having a moment to think, I had the sober conclusion that not only did I teach Mongrel a new swear word, I also taught him how to piss off the American with little consequences beyond a ding or two in an already shoddy bike.

Since Mongrel represented the last 3 years of harassment that I’ve sometimes lacked (ashamedly enough) the strength to stand up to on the daily, I am perfectly fine with being happy I pushed him over; however passive aggressive, wrong or bad example it might be.

  And I’ll do it again

The Umbrella Man

July 21, 2010

(As told by the Umbrella Man to L (of the running fame)-whose command of both Russian/English languages leaves little room for error.)

The story goes as such: He was raised in a conservative family in a village outside Ismailli center. He wasn’t particularly well educated, but grew up speaking Russian as his native language. The ideas and thoughts of the Russian writers were shockingly different from that of the Azerbaijani’s. He rebelled in school, at home, in general. He was independent. He and his father quarreled, typical. There was a girl he loved, of course. As a gift, she gave him an umbrella, a luxury item. But his family had different ideas and forced him to marry a relative. The fall out was devastating. The new bride was hateful. The groom miserable. The girl he loved had to marry someone else. Slowly over the years the sharp pain went away, leaving misery. He walks through Ismailli now, age somewhere between 70-80. People make fun of him, say he is weak in the head and has foolish thoughts; expect for the whispers, no one talks with him besides my students. He speaks only Russian now. He said to my girls: ‘I like your teacher, she is different, she is from American and she is here to help you. I have had sadness in my life, but I know that you are good students, you will be happy. Always study. Read books. Think your own thoughts. Go after your wishes (dreams). Listen to your teacher. Don’t listen to what people say about you or the American girl, they talk about me too.’ He often will pause on a bench, open his umbrella and sit for hours. Somehow there is a connection. On overcast days he can be found standing in front of the abandoned carpet factory, umbrella open, eyes half closed.

L was thrilled the first time the man told her the story and henceforth, its considered a lucky day if one sights the Umbrella Man. Ever since Song Zang and the emptying out of the school yard he now sits in the shade on a concrete block.  Many days, angry beyond reason, I’ll pass through the town center, only to be greeted by Umbrella Man, who will pause in his daily rounds of benches and factories, to either flash a grin and thumbs up or bring his hand to his heart and nod, bending a bit at the waste, to greet me, respectfully, kindly, enduringly. I like to imagine what he is thinking, or what we would talk about, if by chance I spoke Russian. I like to think that the thumbs up is a way of saying: ‘I know, they think I’m odd too, but we know we are the smart ones!’

Em and I convinced Nick to make a stealthy return trip to the toilet just to snap this GEM of signage hidden on a FlyDubai plane. Pity the foo who had to clean up after the first misuse!

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