Saturday, March 28, 2009

What I'm Watching #193

dakan, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Dakan is a movie out of Africa, Guinea, to be specific. It's the story of two young men who are in love with each other and all the shit that they must endure before finally affirming their love. It's a movie that helps you see just how difference West Africa is from the United States on a myriad of levels...many without any direct connection to being Gay.

Brave in its context, mundane and enigmatic outside....I doubt you can easily get your hands on it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cold March Morning

coldmorning, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Ice Fountain Sculpture!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Miniture Iris

miniiris, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Not long after I purchased my home with my ex- back in 1994, he planted a set of miniture Irises in our gardens. Over the years they have continued to appear from time to time. Their arrival is always early in the season and often as only spiky leaves without blooms. And most of them have died off.

At some point I unearthed the bulbes of one of these spring denizens and replanted it in the front yard off of the driveway. And this spring that little flower has been utterly prolific! Nothing short of 4 blooms, lasting days on end. Here's a photo taken on Sunday afternoon of one of the blossoms.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Etymology #1

flamingo, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

I love words, and I learned the origin of one today that I found fascinating. It seems that in the 15th century the Spanish and Portuguese speaking inhabitants of the Iberian peninsula took to associating with their European neighbors of Flanders the characteristic of a rudy complexion. The word for the Flemish in both languages was Flamingo, and when they encountered these glowing pink birds during their exploration of the America's and Africa, they mockingly refered to them as "flamingos" after the red cheeked citizens of Brugge and Antwerpen, and it stuck. Pretty cool, eh?

What I'm Watching #192

boystown, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Chuecatown (a.k.a. Boystown) is a spanish film set in the gay neighborhood of Madrid (not Chicago). The plot has a drop dead gorgeous and ruthless real estate developer murdering off the intransigent old ladies in the neighborhood when they refuse to sell him their condos. Enter a feckless gay couple with an obnoxious chain-smoking mother-in-law, a detective with more phobias than Monk and a closeted gay son in tow, and, well, you have the makings of an hilarious comedy!--or so says the DVD box. In reality, it's a cute little movie. Nothing to die laughing over, but it's sweet and funny in a Mediterranean sort of way.


ben'schillibowl, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Couldn't sleep last night and so decided to drive around D.C. It's a very well lit city at night. Here's Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street @ 3:30 am--SRO! U street was hopping, and by comparison M Street in Georgetown, Pennsylvania Avenue SE around Capitol Hill, and Georgia Avenue, NW from Howard University to Pentworth were dead...WELL lit, but not much action. Well, there was the all night laundromat at Georgia and Park, NW....

Good news, got home around 5 AM and slept until 11:30!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March Madness 09.2

b-ballimage02, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Picking the #10 seats was at least a first round strategy that has paid off. With U. S. C.'s win, I'm rooting for teams with a 75% up-set rate.

Go you Trojans, Spartans, & Terps!

Friday, March 20, 2009

What I'm Listening To #51

thisdelicatething, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

"This Delicate Thing We've Made" by Darren Hayes is totally that and more. Darren has a wonderful voice and he knows how to use it to express both ideas of celebrations and longing.

Spring Arrives and Speaks....

spring, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Madness 09.1

ncaa2009-01, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

I am not very inclined to madness involving basketball. But given my history, I've staked my claim upon the #10 seats.

U. S. C.

And so far two of the four are advancing, only Minnesota has been eliminated. U.S.C. has yet to complete its first round match. May Spartans, Terps, and Trojans rejoice this evening, while Gophers go home with grace and good-will ready to play for glory again in a new season.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kick Ass Video

From a Mom I love to you; apologies to Tchaikovsky....

Mom Song - The best home videos are here

Monday, March 16, 2009

Random Quote #103

georgecarlin, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

"I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed."

~ George Carlin, 1937 - 2008

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Open Letter #1 ~ Re: A.I.G.

obamaimage, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20050

Dear President Obama,

I am writing to you this evening after learning that the international insurance giant A.I.G. has decided to use some of it's bail-out funds to pay its executives $100,000,000.00 in bonuses. This raises for me a couple of questions:

1) Bonuses for what? I'm a teacher. Will I get a bonus under your proposal for merit pay for teachers if I send all of my students to the poorhouse and prison? If so, then, hey - I'm ALL FOR MERIT PAY!

2) Bailouts without strings? Haven't we been down this road before under George-the-Lesser and his corporate loving regime? (Just this very morning I got yet another phone call from the DNC asking me for money. MY MONEY. Why would I ever give you or the Democratic Party another penny of MY money when it just goes into the pockets of multi-millionaires who are incompetent in their professional contractual expectations while I struggle to meet my meager fiduciary obligations?)

I hope that you will act in extraordinary ways to protect my tax dollars from such arbitrary and capricious abuses. When the head of A.I.G., Edward M. Liddy, justified this outrageous action, he stated that:

1) He was afraid of being sued. I would counter that such a threat is the new cost of doing business with MY money. Those who sue only diminish their desirability as future employees at A.I.G. or anywhere else. (When have you ever heard a company demure from seeking court approval for reneging on retiree pensions or health care benefits because they are afraid of being sued for breech of contract? And these people have actually WORKED! It's absurd on its face.)

2) Further, he contended that these employees were the “best and the brightest” and not paying out bonuses could jeopardize their retention with the company. Am I living on “backwards planet”? These experts are the greedy foolish curs that landed A.I.G. in its present crisis. If I were such an “expert” as a teacher, I would be gone in a heartbeat.

Will you remind dear Mr. Liddy that he was appointed by you, and that his #1 obligation is to ME (the tax payer); and NOT to the people who's “expertise” caused this crisis? Is this too much to expect? I sincerely HOPE not.

I so want you to succeed. I write you in both the spirit of outrage and trust. I love my country, and it hurts me to the core to watch the privileged few rape U.S. for their own selfish pleasures, and all the more in time a crisis when average folk are making patriotic sacrifices.

Humbly Yours,


Today's Sermon #13

daffodilsinsun, originally uploaded by Randuwa.


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in a never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay;
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee;
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company;
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought;

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

~ William Wordsworth, 1770 - 1850

Saturday, March 14, 2009

For The Birds

dove, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

One of the most clear and delightful harbingers of Spring are the birds.

Last weekend I happened to awake well into the night and while working on my computer heard the first strands of song from birds newly returned to the neighborhood.

This morning I awoke late, but still had the privilege of watching Robins, Wrens, and Sparrows flit around my backyard. In the front yard, Mockingbirds and Blue Jays were competing for a place at my fountain.

Later in the afternoon I caught this Morning Dove at the bath in the backyard.

What I'm Listening To #50

daftpunk, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

"daft punk" in the creative coalition of French musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. It's like electronica-lite. Easy on the ears and the heart. Cool, at times jazzy, even tempered music with a beat that floats as much as it hits. Ideal background music for any event.

What I'm Watching #191

letsgotoprison, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

"Let's Go To Prison" is a light-hearted little comedy that makes a cloudy rainy afternoon just slide by. It's mostly predictable, but caught my funny bone a couple of times. Nice movie.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Today's Sermon #13

Today's sermon is not a poem. It's a Television commercial for a Bank! What did Christ say? Give unto Caesar.... not that that axiom applies here.

This is more like "do unto others." And it took a bank from Argentina to remind us of this!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

She's Back!

deerinmybackyard, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

After a grateful hiatus, my deer is back.... Alas!

I first contemplated this possibility after pulling into my driveway on Thursday evening and discovering that all of the crocus blossoms were mysteriously gone! Gone, indeed. More like lunch....

And what's to be done? No one in any official capacity will assist me. Do I curse the fact that I live in such a woodsy urban setting?

Yet, how do I stop feeding the damn deer with every flower, bush, tree, bulb I plant!?

Am I suddenly left with the maxim: "Love the animal, hate their animal instincs?" How crazy ironic is that!?


Friday, March 06, 2009

Tales Out Of School

fishtrivet, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

For a short week, it was a week full of flurry and melt. There are so many reasons why my job is the BEST job on the planet, but none tops the people with whom I work. The 5 to 12 year-old set is as compelling and endearing as any age group out there.


One of the ways I make myself useful is to greet and welcome new students and often assist our Instructional Data Assistant in administering their mathematics placement test. A. enrolled on Tuesday from Bangladesh. She had been screened by the school district's "International Office" and was passed on to us as being sufficiently English proficient to enroll directly into school. The principal assured us that he and A. had had a "conversation," and the assistant principal talked about how well A. understood her during a tour of the school.

Within seconds it was painful apparent that A. would smile and nod at me no matter what I said, as long as my tone was friendly, and I was smiling at her. As someone who has lived in both China and Central America, I often found this technique very helpful in maintaining a general sense of order among those around me, while remaining completely oblivious to what was actually "happening" around me.

A visit with our own ESOL teacher quickly pegged A. as without a bare minimal of English Language skills. Her dynamite smile remains intact and active.


Today, we received two more students from overseas. This time they were brothers from the Cameroon. I helped with I.'s placement test. In no time it was apparent that he had learned (and learned well with mechanical strategies) certain basic skills/concepts (computation, fractions) while others fundamental to our curriculum were complete strangers to him (geometry, number theory). At one point he looked at the compass and protractor and began to cry.


Visiting a first grade teacher in the afternoon, I was asked to check up on a new student in her class, M., who was in the nurse's office because she said she'd fallen and hit her head while visiting the bathroom. The teacher indicated that she was concerned about M.'s odd behavior and lack of most basic understanding of school and the expectations of being a first grader -- both separate from this particular incident.

I arrived at the Nurse's Office to find her sitting with an ice pack held to the crown of her noggin. She wore a forlorn expression on her face. I asked the nurse if M. was able to return to class, and she assured me that M. was.

M. tossed the ice pack into the wastebasket and replaced her frown with a big smile. As we stepped into the hallway, M. eagerly placed her hand into mine. We made small talk as we walked down the hall together.

Passing a water fountain, she asked me for permission to get a drink before entering her classroom. I said that would be fine.

She suddenly turned back toward me just before getting the drink to ask, "Are you the uncle?"

Thursday, March 05, 2009

O Mon Dieu!

teturadio1, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Têtu, the French gay/lesbian magazine has launched a web radio station! So now, Belgium's Donna Radio has a neighbor....

Listening tonight the first five songs were:
~ "American Boy" by Estelle (w/ Kanye West)
~ "Aerodynamic" by Daft Punk
~ "Hot n Cold" by Katy Perry
~ "Black And Gold" by Sam Sparro
~ "Taking Back My Love" Ciara/Enrique Iglesias

Hot International Techno-Dance Club with a mix of vocals and intrumentals. The "Black and Gold" version was the extended dance club version.

Check it out.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What I'm Reading #13

mountcarpediem, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Carpe Diem: Put A Little Latin In Your Life by Harry Mount is a delightful little book of annecdotes, observations, and ideas around growing up with a Latin in a world that takes it's history and influence for granted.

Great for the night table, easily consumed in bite sized chunks.


Monday, March 02, 2009

What I'm Watching #190

thelaramieproject, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

I've been saving this one, and wisely so. It took a day when I had the unexpected gift of time and my heart was full of the wonder of a sudden snow to give me the grace to experience this amazing and profound movie.

"The Laramie Project" started as an idea in the mind of the playwright Moisés Kaufman. It was an attempt at capturing a moment in history that was first about murder, second about hatred, third about a community, fourth about homosexuality, and finally about humanity.

It asks the question without ever really asking it: What does make us different from other animals? And it answers it with the humble, wrenching testimony of Matthew Shepherd's father at the sentencing of his recalcitrant murderer: Mercy.

This movie ought to be a part of a class that every high school senior is required to participate in: Humanity 101. And no matter the outcome, at least our next generation will be asked the right questions....

Home Snowy Home

myhomeinsnow, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

There's no place like home on a snowy morning!

4 Views, Snowy Monday in Sligo Creek Park

sligocreek01, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Up and out walking the trail along Sligo Creek near my home. Love the snow.

View #2, Snowy Monday in Sligo Creek Park

sligocreek04, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

View #3, Snowy Monday in Sligo Creek Park

sligocreek02, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

View #4, Snowy Monday in Sligo Creek Park

sligocreek03, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Plowing The Snow

phalanxofplowsnha, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Caught this phalanx of snow plows clearing the north bound lanes of New Hampshire Avenue this morning as I was waiting to cross. There were seven of them in total and they lined up so that the first shoved the snow to the second, the second to the third, etc. until the seventh buried the sidewalk with it. Great for the cars, no so good for the walkers!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

What I'm Watching #189

najumpnthebroom, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

Two movies on a Sunday afternoon? Yes, it's snowing in D.C.!

Fans of the Logo series Noah's Arc will appreciate this post series movie that ties up the loose ends left by the series abrupt cancellation after two years on the budding GLBT network. It's all the characters from the cable show and the subject is once again love! They go from crazy to calm discovering themselves all along the way.

Best line: (when Ricky returns to the house after a night in jail) "He's done lost his mind. Blowing strangers in the park will do that to you--especially if their dick is big."

Best moment: The wedding vows. They would make a stone weep and turn a stick into a hopeless romantic. Believe it!

Must see TV!

What I'm Watching #188

madagascar, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

After watching Madagascar 2, it occurred to me that it's been ages since I saw Madagascar 1. So I picked it up at a local Target this morning. The result: It really is a descent little movie, better than I remembered....

All the less impressed I am with the sequel.

Today's Sermon #12

japanesedogwood, originally uploaded by Randuwa.

A friend of 6 years now contacted me on Friday, because he'd just discovered that he is HIV +. I was the first person he told, the person he called later that evening after his first appointment with a health counselor. I could hear the fear in his voice as he fought the urge to cry and assured me that he was alright, everything was alright.

The good news is that the positive result was from a routine test, and his health is good. He's certainly not dead yet. And we all die. Just some of us are given more time to ponder death's meaning.

He lives in Vancouver and like the Japanese dogwood in this poem is a transplant from another country.

from "Sabbaths, 1998"


Early in the morning, walking
in a garden in Vancouver
three throusand miles from your grave,
the sky dripping, song
sparrows singing in the borders,
I come suddenly upon
a Japanese dogwood, a tree
you loved, bowed down with bloom.
By what blessedness do I weep?

~ Wendell Berry, 1934 -