Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roses with some issues. but still.

A rose, by any other name, would still be suffering from composistional problems regarding the spacing of the flowers, but...could also still be fixed.

Superstitious Minds - Elvis and Expectations of Modernity in the Zambian Copperbelt

Ok, ok. I admit it. I'm up in the wee hours (again...gosh! when will I learn how long it takes me to write presentations!), this time working on a presentation on James Ferguson's book (classic, I'd say), Expectations of Modernity: Myths and Meanings of Urban Life on the Zambian Copperbelt. It's the most interesting thing I've read all semester. Anyway, page 120. Discussing witchcraft, murder, and miners who were afraid of their neighbors: "No one would claim that illegitimate harm-doers, poisoners, or sneaky killers do not exist, or that only superstitious minds are capable of believing such things. Murders occur in every society, and there exists considerable ethnographic testimony for the specialized knowledge and use of poison in south-central Africa, supported in some cases by autopsy and laboratory tests."

James probably chuckled to himself as he wrote "superstitious minds" and thought "We're caught in a trap...I can't walk out...because I love ya too much, Baby...we can't go on together... with superstitious minds...especially if you murder me with witchcraft..."

That's what I would have been thinking, anyway. chortle chortle.
Elvis himself

dumb presentations. I need to sleep.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Coming soon to posters near you...

...the faces of African Studies in Basel. (I feel a little like a token blond American in this.)

David from Nigeria, Steph from the good ol' US of A, Myra from the Phillipines, Chantelle from Ghana/London, Chantal from Switzerland (I think).

Images belong to the Centre for African Studies, Universit├Ąt Basel.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Steel Pan Bands

I occasionally meet very interesting people on trains. Today on my way home from church I sat across form an older man who I'm sure I wouldn't have talked to at all, except for a couple of Arab women behind him who got into a REALLY loud conversation over...well, we don't know what they were talking about, actually, or if they were arguing or just talking loudly, but the man shook his head at me in disbelief and was a little perturbed by their noise. He asked if I was Swiss, and I found out he's from the Bahamas, but he's lived here 35 years. I'd like the Bahamas, he said. I should go sometime. He's a musician, he said, and asked if I play anything. I told him I used to play violin, and he said it was sad I don't play anymore and wondered if I'd pick it up again. When I got home I looked up his band, The Steel Harmonites, and discovered his name is Mike, he's from Trinidad, and he started the band in the 70s. It's the oldest steel pan band in Switzerland that is still playing. "Are you studying here?" he asked. "and your folks? are they in Oregon? Your dad and your brother--and do you have sisters?" I hadn't even told him I have brothers! How did he know that!? Maybe it shows. I wished him a good afternoon at my stop, and he said, "yeah, you too, sweetheart," and I felt juuust a bit like I was at home, where it's not so unusual to be called sweetheart by a perfect stranger after 5 min. of conversation. And where my pa always calls me that.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

less grumpiness, more job interviews

I'm pleased to announce 2 job interviews in the next 7 days. Both in Switzerland, both in documentation. One is in Geneva though...which is a bit of a commute, oui.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

grump grump grump

This is a public service notice that Stephanie is in a grumpy phase and feeling frustrated about...oh, pretty much everything lately. So you might want to steer clear, and I won't blame you for it. I will try to focus on positive things, for instance that my (probable) impending move will mean meeting new peeps and maybe spending more time with the familia, or that having 5 presentations to prepare means I'm going to learn some interesting things, or that house sitting this month means hanging out with a very affectionate cat who looks like Tinkerbelle's younger sister. But, by and large, it feels like moving means leaving people and places I like for a currently unspecified job that may or may not be interesting, and presentations and house/cat sitting take up a lot of extra time each week and I don't get to see said people I like, which is more frustrating and disappointing than it might normally be since I'm (probably) leaving soon.

The grumpiness was mitigated by M&Ms and a ride to the train station after church earlier. :) Amazing how far chocolate and a ride will go! I remember when I was an RA in college, if someone was having a particularly bad day (usually evidenced by long, quiet, teary phone calls sitting on the floor in the hall), the girls would take up a chocolate collection to cheer the person up. Whether it was the chocolate or the caring attention, it worked wonders.

On the job front, I'm applying for a couple jobs in Editing this week. They're located in Boston. I've always wanted to visit Boston, and while I don't really want to move there, at least the jobs genuinely interest me. I'm also applying for a communications job with Legacy Health in Portland, and I might apply for another communications position, also in PDX, but the problem is this company has already turned down my application for 4 or 5 other things in the last 9 months. I'd like to work for them though. What do you think--is it desperate or just persistent to keep applying as things come up? Someone said the worst they can say is no, but I think the worst they can say is "GOOD GRIEF! What a thick-skulled so and so who can't take no for an answer! We'll NEVER hire her," and that, of course, is worse and more permanent than simply "no."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

I don't know what YOU'RE doing up at 1 am Saturday night before Easter, but I am up baking cookies, figuring out what to wear tomorrow and listening to "Walking in Memphis." I like the part that says "Reverend Green would be glad to see you when you haven't got a prayer," because my grandma's daddy was Reverend Green, and I've always looked forward to meeting him.

I've heard the song a few times now tonight and I still haven't decided on what I'm wearing (not that Easter outfits really matter). I do this on Saturday nights to spare my closet the tornado in the morning and to avoid running to the bus, but I usually end up running anyway. Awhile back I was talking to Laura early on a Sunday morning and I admitted to her that I didn't feel very ready for Sunday School, which I was teaching that day, and I didn't know what to wear. "How about nothing?" she said. "That would solve the problem about what to say in Sunday School too. Nobody would pay any attention anyway."
Ah, Laura. Such practical problem solving. That's why you're my best friend.

Anyway, it's time for your yearly Easter reading. Unfortunately, great literature and I have not been on very close terms lately as I'm up to my eyeballs in the social sciences. Your first Easter reading, therefore, is a hymn, and one of my favorites:

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all life thou givest to both great and small;
In all life thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish but nought changeth thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render: O help us to see
'Tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.