Thursday, January 31, 2013

On my way to the world’s oldest jungle. Probably won’t be blogging much.

In 36 hours I’ll be on my way to Borneo.

I’d say that this blog is going to go on hiatus, but somewhere, a couple of months ago, it sort of already did. (Oops.)

I’ll try to post some pictures (when/if I can - between internet issues, being very busy, and having entirely too much blog/tumblr/facebook/flickr/other-blog/other-other blog… can’t promise to keep it updated.)

BUT I really will try to use Twitter (which, yeah, I also already stopped using a while back). I’m backing away from all social media commitments for a while - but I think I can manage Twitter.

So, if you wan to keep track of whether I’m still alive (and see pictures of cute orangutans!): Follow me on Twitter!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

BORN TO BE WILD - Trailer

See this film!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

THIS IS WHERE I’M GOING!

!!!!!!

Baby orangutans getting a bath. Baby orangutans in a wheelbarrow.

My pelican case (for my netbook) arrived - and it is AWESOME. (Tested at submersion in 3ft of water and dry as a bone inside! Not that I really need that, so much, hopefully, but hard cases - instead of the stupid sleeves - are difficult to find, and it was basically the same price and its a pelican case, so…) I’m considering getting one for my big laptop, too - although I don’t plan to be taking it out and about, while I’m in Borneo… but. PELICAN CASE!*

I’ve been to thrift stores (and a friend’s mother’s closet) and have most of the clothing I need. Visa is being arranged for (not having to spend several days in the Indonesian Embassy is very good news). I have deet. I have bungee cables. I’ve organized a goodbye this-is-not-a-party-it’s-just-everyone-nearby-that-I-want-to-see-in-the-same-place-at-the-same-time thing for Sunday.

I’m at the stage of packing where it’s still fun and exciting (a week ahead of time, carefully crossing things off a list) as opposed to frantic and nerve-wracking (an hours before you’re supposed to be at the airport and you decide to weight your bag for the first time and it’s double the allowance).

Things are on plan.

I’ve spent the last half hour marrying pill bottles. (Probiotics, ibuprofen, benadryl, etc.) In rather worrying news, the caffeine pills are identical tothe melatonin… 

And my phone has been receiving Indonesian Bahasa “word of the day” texts. (My best guess is that my brother signed me up for something. Which is awesome.)

* I’m nerdy in weird ways, yes, but also - my parents were documentary film makers (IMAX) when I was little and I grew up in a house with a machine shop in the garage and a dark room under the stairs and they traveled, all the time, with major massive over-sized cameras and pelican cases galore. So, to me, pelican case means business means real work in exciting remote crazy places.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The later it gets, the more demanding my (the family) cat gets.

She’ll ignore me (all of us) all day. By 8pm, she’s circling ankles and hoping to be fed. As soon as she’s eaten, she’s sitting on the couch, waiting for us. By 9pm, she’ll sit next to me (or anyone’s who’s up) with her head and paws in my lap. By 10pm, she’s trying to climb into my lap, laptop or no laptop (or forcing herself between me and anyone that I might be sitting close to). By 11pm she’ll be returning no matter how many times I push her away, and by midnight she’ll be actively pushing the laptop out of my lap…  By the time I go to bed, she’ll act like she doesn’t want to - but a few hours later, if I haven’t left the door open, she’ll be scratching at it.

I’m not going to pretend that I don’t like her interest, but… this neediness in new, in her old age. Five years ago and she couldn’t be bothered less if anyone paid her any attention…

In other news… yes, I am still in California (and yes I am still alive)… but I have plane tickets to Indonesia - I’m leaving in just under two weeks!

Things have been… very… involved. Family. Holidays (with eleven people sleeping at our house on Christmas Eve).

More family (my brother, apparently deciding that the holidays weren’t exciting enough, decided to have some sort of a seizure a week before flying back to Paris - so we’ve been running around between doctors and frightening ourselves by conjecturing as to his mysterious condition - we do know that it wasn’t a heart attack, a stroke, or epilepsy - so, there’s that).

Another crazy part-time money-earning-thing (I have been ghostwriting a screenplay, which makes for a great-can-only-be-told-in-person story - ie, the ghost part of the ghost writing - but suffice it to say, it has been a most amusing and educational experience - not to mention also, I think, by representing my official involvement with the film industry, unequivocally makes me a Los Angelino).

Crashing a car (I was responsible for the unfortunate introduction of a cement pole and a car in a parking structure - other than ripping off a side mirror, there was minimal damage - but it’s still, you know, a damaged car - and it wasn’t mine to begin with, either - and I think I am, from this point on, retiring myself from urban driving).

And, as of last week, preparing to leave for Borneo… for sometime between an entire year or maybe I’ll be coming back in March…

Anyone know where/how to buy leech socks?

LEECH SOCKS. I need them.

Amazon and Ebay are both failing me. (By which I mean, 0 search returns. Is there another name for them or something?)

I’ve come across a couple of websites, but… anyone have a recommendation?

(I already have a pair that I bought the last time I was in Borneo - but I’m not entirely sure that I can find them - and I kind of like the idea of having two pairs…)

[ EDIT: ALSO - anyone have a certain brand of universal adapter that they swear by?

I usually just buy the cheap-ass low tech things that make-the-metal-prongs fit the local sockets once I’m on the ground (and let my laptop/camera charger/external hard-drive deal with voltage conversion)… But it looks like this time I’m not going to have much time on the ground in between landing in Jakarta and hustling myself off to the middle of the jungle - and the internet tells me that there isn’t even a standard plug-type in Indonesia, anyway, there’s like three of them that vary - so…

I’m considering one of those fancy universal ones - but not one with loads of little removable-detachable tips (that I can, and will, lose) - but one that behaves like a kid’s robot toy and different parts swing out when you hit different buttons - but I’m not convinced the latter type aren’t a waste of money….

Anybody? ]

Thursday, December 13, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Death by papercuts? (Or, really, just grumpiness.)

Bad cold + Typhoid, tetanus, and Japanese encephalitis vaccinations yesterday (lifting my arms horizontal hurts like someone punched me in the biceps repeatedly and viciously) + Those four teeth that got pulled (along with the seven bone grafts in my jaw) a couple of weeks ago = Feeling rather all-around shitty.

Also: Insomnia keeping me up until 2am + Waking up at 5am to drive someone to LAX = Completely justified return to bed.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The earliest writing preserved in the entire Indonesian archipelago occurs on seven stone pillars found in the region of Kutei, eastern Borneo, dating from the fifth century CE. The inscriptions were written in Sanskrit, the language of high culture in India at the time, and the script was derived from Pallava, a writing format from southern Indian in contemporaneous use with the Kutei inscriptions. The inscriptions tell the story of King Mulavarman and his community in eastern Borneo, replete with descriptions of merit-making activities, gifts of objects (“tawny cows and sesame seeds”), and itinerant Brahmins. Though spare in what they describe of Borneo society as a whole, these stone-pillar etchings off fascinating windows into what this ancient society thought was worth recording, namely, the virtuous activities of the (locally) all-powerful king. The language and script of the inscriptions link this isolated outpost of Indonesia with India of the same epoch; the names and concerns expressed show that a diasporic Indian orbit already existed in monsoon Asia at a very early date. There is every chance that these seven inscriptions constitute only a fraction of many others produced at the time, but that have long since perished.

- Hellwig & Tagliacozzo (2009) The Indonesian Reader

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sorry to have to re-blog, couldn’t figure out how to answer otherwise! (The character limit on answering is ridiculous, and if I sent you an Ask, I couldn’t include links…)

huff-de-puff:

I will sell my kidney to anyone who would point to the right direction where I could find academic articles about obesity and how it is not always linked with health problems.

I’m writing a paper on the junk food tax in the US and I want to prove that obesity has little to do with actual health problems, that after all thin people have diabetes, heart strokes and all the other fun stuff too.Unfortunately, I can find everything but that.

Help, oh fellow anthropology students?

I’d just be careful about “obesity” vs “over-weight” (or whatever the technical terms are) - overweight/fat (or what society considers and calls fat) is not necessarily unhealthy - but past a certain threshold (obesity) and there are undeniable health complications… (Also, maybe carefully distinguishing between morbidity and mortality rates might be helpful.)

Anyway, here’s what happened when I searched my pdfs (in  a variety of different directions, so some of them might at least help complicate the issue):

As I understand if (and can remember from a few bio anth lectures a couple of years ago - this really isn’t my field)… from an evolutionary standpoint, being “overweight” does have (or, perhaps, has had) advantages - including lower mortality rates for some diseases and ability to survive famine conditions, etc.

That said, being “overweight”, much less “obese”, seems to unequivocably lead to greater morbidity (disease burden and poor health) especially for old people. BUT, as the correlation increases with age, that would seem to imply to me that in an evolutionary/prehistoric context with decreased life-spans obesity would have less of an impact on health and the advantages might have been more important…?

Also, a cross-cultural comparison might be interesting - ie, does being overweight or obese have the same health impact in different cultures? (Particularly those with less of a social prejudice towards weight, or even those traditional cultures that considered it attractive and aspirational.) Given the increasing evidence towards the impact of social networks, public discourse, and psychological well-being on health… could an argument be made that some of the health effects of weight seen in western culture might be more directly caused by depression and prejudice?

(PS. And  you should see this - http://savageminds.org/2006/04/09/a-thin-hypothesis-about-fat-people/ ! )

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I just (finally, after having been home for three months) changed all my computer settings from UK spelling to US….

Goodbye double-l’s and u’s-that-follow-o’s-and-add-balance-to-the-word. You will be missed.

Science! Women! … and third-wave feminism?

I wasn’t sure if I loved this or not until I saw it was made at the University of Bristol.

Apparently it’s a parody of a thing, but I didn’t see the first thing, so… It’s just awesome.

(Also, I miss Bristol. Bristol is awesome. Although “Sexy and I Know It” will always give me flashbacks to Cambridge, three in the morning, and drunken housemates who, it must be said, were generous with their whiskey…)