Monday, August 28, 2006

San DiYAYgo

Okay, Lisa and I just watched Urban Cowboy (twice in one week!), ate COld Stone ice cream, chocolate-covered pretzels and Reeces pieces, and laid around like fat lards. God, this weekend has been great. We deserved a rest because the last two nights here were absolutely nuts. This "morning" (12:30) when we dragged ourselves out of bed, I said to Karen and Lisa that I didn't think we had had such a crazy night since college. I love being with these girls, and being with them in San Diego is wonderful because it's so laid-back, warm, beachy and sunny here. True relaxation.

I will write more details later because Lisa and I are about to pop in a Mark Ruffalo movie and Karen is on her way back to the house, but here's a brief recap. Friday night, Lisa hosted a bbq at her place and tons of people showed up. We grilled up chicken, sausage and veggies and played flip-cup, then went out to a bar for some dancing. Karen and I peeled out early since we had been up since 4 am to catch an early flight out of Oakland, and we both passed out on Lisa's couches when we got home.

Saturday we spent the day shopping off our hangovers, and then Saturday night we all went to the Dave Matthews concert in Chula Vista. We girls organized quite the gourmet tailgate in Lisa's friend's Jeep, with wine, cheese, baguettes, pretzels, hummus, salame, grapes, veggies, and, of course, beer. A bunch of guys showed up to help us eat and drink, then we all headed into the concert and continued to suck down the beer and have a ridiculous night. Oy. I think when I put up pictures it will all make more sense.

Today we rented bikes (I got the snazzy pink one) and drove to a beautiful beach in La Jolla. We laid around and then ventured into the frigid water for a refreshing dip. The water was so cold that my feet were white when I came out, brrrr. The rest of the day was spent hanging out, eating sushi, stuffing our faces with junk food, and watching movies. What a perfect weekend. All three of us are sad that Karen and I are leaving tomorrow, sigh. At least we got this last reunion before I move to the East Coast. Yay.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What the Fudgiscle happened last night?!

Last night was one of the weirdest, most unsettling nights I have had in a long time. After a nice night of watching TV with Emily, I went to bed around 1 and read a book (Atonement by Ian McEwan) until 2 or so. At around 3, I was awoken by what sounded like a sonic boom. It was a huge, loud bang that was so powerful it shook the house and, I later found out, caused two framed photos in the family room to fall off the wall and break on the floor. Immediately after the boom, a car alarm went off for a good five minutes, and when it stopped, I heard footsteps downstairs. I didn't really panic until the footsteps started creaking up the stairs, and I realized that someone was coming to kill me in my bed.

In retrospect, I probably didn't handle the situation well, because instead of calling the police or hiding in the closet or arming myself with the only potential weapon in my room (my aunt's synchronized swimming trophy), I stood up on my bed to look over the partition to the stairwell and called out, "Hello?" in this scared little voice. Nice, Stephanie. Turns out it wasn't an intruder after all, but was my grandmother, who was also woken up by the scary noise and had come to make sure I wasn't setting off fireworks in my room. When I realized that no one had broken into the house, my body, which had gone numb, started tingling in a horrible pins-and-needles way, and I started shaking. Damn adrenaline.

I went downstairs and found my cousin, who was awake and freaked out as well. We sat in her apartment and tried to decide what to do. When she heard the noise, she thought it was gunfire, and that our crazy neighbors had opened fire on each other. Not really an unreasonable suspicion, given their tumultuous relationship, but the noise was actually louder than a gun, so we ruled that out. When ANOTHER boom happened ten minutes later (followed by another car alarm), we called the non-emergency line of the SF police and reported the incident. We then called Emily's brother, Rory, who said it was probably fireworks. Fireworks at 3:30 am on a Monday? What kind of neighborhood are we living in, anyway?

To calm our nerves, E and I watched Urban Cowboy and I fell asleep in her La-Z-Boy till 7 am, when I dragged myself up to my own bed again. I was re-awoken at 10 or so by cement workers drilling the crap out of the sidewalk right in front of our house. It's like God doesn't want me to sleep.

Anyway, the whole thing was very strange and pretty scary, and it made me appreciate the fact that some people have to deal with actual disturbances outside their doors all the time, like in warzones or neighborhoods where people actually do shoot at each other. Makes me appreciate our (normally) quiet San Francisco neighborhood. If anyone knows what that noise might have been, please let me know. Just curious.

Goodbye Dinner

I had my going-away dinner at Espetus, the Brazilian churrascaria on Sunday night, and man oh man, was it good. I love going to that place because: a) it's delicious, b) they have lots of good Malbec, c) I am friends with some of the Brazilian dudes who work there from the hostel, d) they keep the pao de queijo coming, and, perhaps most importantly, e) the buffet has unlimited palm hearts. Mmmm, palmitos.

It was such fun to get my friends and family together in one room, with shedloads of meat at our disposal. I think the highlight of the night was when my family semi-spontaneously started singing "Leavin' on a Jet Plane." It was actually sweet. The thing about my family is that we all love to sing and we all love attention, so there's always a chance that someone's gonna burst into song if you get a few of us in one place.

After dinner, my cousins Peter, Rory and Emily and I went to a bar in the Haight for a drink or two to help the meat settle, then I came home and passed out on Emily's couch while watching Arrested Devleopment. Awesome end to an awesome night! I am posting a few pics from the night below. Enyoy.



Saturday, August 19, 2006

Free bird



I am at work. When I'm at work, I do things like take pictures of myself with my computer (see sidebar) and compulsively download podcasts. I now subscribe to "Yoga Today" and "The Hills: Aftershow." You can't beat the aftershow: it's free, AND you get to see the inside of Jason's car. Speaking of Jason from The Hills, did you know he is my friend on myspace.com? It's true. Julia doubts the legitimacy of J. Wahler's profile, but I know it's for real. Only the REAL Jason would post this on his profile:

Yeah yeah and if your going to leave me a comment dont just say 'your hott' or 'whats up' because I wont reply to that. Because if you say hott the only thing I can say is thank you and if you ask whats up all I'm going to say is checking myspace.. I mean the obvious. And if you want to send me an email I'm sorry, my mailbox gets overloaded with fan mail, so I put up an away message, sorry guys.

Oh, Jason. I'm only saying this because we're such good friends, but...get over yourself.

Anyway, this is my last day of work at Stanford. Hard to believe -- it feels like I am really severing ties with this place, movin' on, movin' out. I guess it's about time, seeing as I graduated in 2005 yet am somehow still employed as a "student worker" a year later. I will never really sever ties with Stanny, of course. I love this place, and always will.

But I guess it is time to move on: I'm sitting here at the Alumni Center with my Harvard Law School 1L Orientation Reading Materials in front of me. The next frontier! Exciting and all, but it's gonna be hard to end my summer in San Francisco; it really has been awesome.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Kitler

I just saw this on a friend's AIM away message and feel the need to broadcast it.

http://www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com/

Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like. Check out the "best kitlers" link.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

AND flowers...

Enrico, the Italian guy who I trained the other day, just gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Gosh, these people are really wonderful. Lots of love to the hostel.

Sugar high

I just ate about half of a chocolate cake with gooey chocolate frosting. Okay, maybe not HALF, but a large chunk. It was my going-away cake, lovingly baked by my coworker, Kris, to mark my departure from the hostel. So unnecessary and nice of him.

The cake was gorgeous; a bunch of hostel peeps stood around the reception desk with me and ate it with forks, semi-scooping it into bowls as we went. Yummm. Now I have a total sugar headache but it was worth it. It's funny to compare how nice everyone here has been -- like the fact that all of them have told me how much they'll miss me when I'm gone, etc. -- with my experience at the law firm in Brazil.

When I left the firm in Sao Paulo, no one really blinked an eyeball, which is ironic, since I had worked my tail off there for seven long months, completely underpaid and most definitely underappreciated. Here's the icing on the (non-existent) cake: once I left Brazil, not only did I not receive any word of appreciation or thanks from the company, but instead got an email demanding that I mail the office manager $20 for my last month's cell phone bill (for the phone that the office required me to have). As IF!

I realize that it's hard to compare a touchy-feely backpackers' hostel with a large, international law firm, but actually, when it comes down to it, basic respect between bosses, employees, coworkers, whatever, shouldn't drastically differ from place to place.

Sorry if I sound horribly bitter but when someone bakes you a big, chocolate goodbye cake, it really puts things into perspective. I'll miss you, hostel!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Weird things. All of which are unrelated.

I am weirded out. I just got my schedule for Harvard Law School. Like, actual classes with actual books and professors and classrooms, starting September 5. Yeah, as in, September 5 2006, three weeks from now. So, I guess this means I need to buy school supplies. I actually have to go to a store and purchase pens and college-ruled notebook paper.

So WEIRD.

The very idea of studying and books and legal writing and the hallowed halls of Harvard is giving me the major heebie jeebies.

Other weird things that have been on my mind: beauty. Why do we suffer for it so? Both my cousin Emily and I went to our waxing lady, Sandy Tu, yesterday. Sandy Tu operates out of the back room of a creepy little salon called Urban Beauty on 20th and Irving. The first time we went in, a lady was cutting hair in the front room and the hair was everywhere, piles of it. E and I sat under a poster showing the options available for "eyebrow embroidery" (?) and tried not to inhale the hair floating in the atmosphere. Eventually, after much ado, Sandy ushered us one by one into the back room, where she worked her magic.

Anyway, Emily's experience yesterday was slightly more horrific than mine (unlike last time) as Sandy Tu actually drew blood from Emily.

"Oh, your skin so thin," she said, tsk-ing, as if it was my cousin's fault that Sandy Tu had forcibly ripped hair out hard enough for E to BLEED. Actual blood! Yet, both of us keep crawling back for more, like sick little puppies that like to be kicked. It's sort of satisfying to suffer a little bit when you know the end result is going to be fabulous; it's the same principle that guides me to wear shoes that shred my feet into ribbons after three wobbly steps. A little blood is a small price to pay to look cute (and three inches taller), right?

Other weird things: tomorrow is my last day of work at the hostel. How time has flown. My manager tried to suck as much use out of me as possible by putting me on every day and having me train a new receptionist yesterday. I have to leave my mark behind on this place somehow, I guess.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The final countdown....

My time left in San Francisco is dwindling, but I think I am taking adequate advantage of this place before I leave for other coast. In the last week, I have done the following:

1. partied (partly in portuguese!) at the hostel
2. eaten yorkshire pudding at the House of Prime Rib
3. gone for fro-yo...several times
4. gotten my eyebrows done at Benefit, the quintessential San Francisco girly store
5. walked *extensively* around the Haight, Golden Gate Park, the Marina, downtown, and the Sunset, duh
6. dined at Marnee Thai with Karen
7. gotten lost on Mt. Sutro
8. gone to see Diplo perform at Mezzanine

That last one, Diplo, occurred on Thursday night. I guess all I can say is that you know it's a good night when you end up leaving the club sweaty, minorly injured, with drinks/other fluids spilled all over you, and you don't care. I'll let a few pictures from that night tell the story:


Friday, August 11, 2006

Tupac lives



Ever since I saw this Dave Chapelle sketch last night about new TUpac songs, I have had this stuck in my head: "I wrote this song a long time ago, a real long TIME ago. I wrote this song a long time ago, was the dopest song I ever wrote... back in '94!!"

I can't stop laughing, and I just have to share this with the world.

Dave Chapelle is wonderful.




"Rest in peace, Tupac!"
"Okay, I WILL!"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Self-Absorbed Time Capsule

Cheesy and self-indulgent thought exercise alert!

If you could put 10 items in a box to give future generations an idea about your own day-to-day life, what would you put in it? My time capsules, like most people's, would tend to be pretty situational, because the tangibles that fit into, say, my life in Brazil are drastically different from the items that would sum up my life here. Like, if I were to make a time capsule representing my entire stay in Sao Paulo, it would probably include the following:

1. Haden mango
2. pair of pink Havianas
3. pao de queijo, fresh-baked!
4. Tribalistas cd
5. cigarette-smelly clothes after long night of clubbing
6. a bottle of Malbec
7. a Petrobras access card
8. fake Chanel sunglasses
9. my couch, which would no doubt be the smallest item in the time capsule
10. Academia Reebok id card

If I were to make a time capsule summing up my life in Buenos Aires, it would have these items:

1. slab of meat
2. bottle of Malbec
3. pair of bronze high heels
4. tight-ass jeans
5. vodka-and-diet-coke cocktail
6. cheap hair accessories
7. hostel blanket
8. another slab of meat
9. dulce de leche ice cream cone
10. big fake leather purse

My life this summer in San Francisco would have the following:

1. muni pass
2. hostel staff tee-shirt
3. my dirty running shoes
4. green backpack
5. hand sanitizer
6. fro-yo with sprinkles
7. bling from H&M
8. Snow Patrol cd
9. stripey shirts: red and white, black and white, pink and white
10. cell phone with "say my name" polyphonic ringtone. awww yeah

But see, it's hard to sum up one's life with THINGS, isn't it?

Well, not that hard, actually. Please see above.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Didn't I see you in the dungeon last night?

After three months of working at the hostel, I finally went to a real hostel party last night. It was a combined going-away party for this guy Fabrice (French) and also a 21st birthday for Giovanni (Italian). I knew it was going to be a wild night when my extremely wasted managers cornered me and another receptionist and forced us to take tequila shots with them. The managers, for whatever reason, were the drunkest people at the party, which is, of course, awesome.

I was hanging around the bar downstairs, drinking white wine out of a plastic cup and eating cheese, when this man in full S&M leather regalia approached. I had seen him around the hostel in that get-up before but had always assumed he was on his way to a Hot Cops audition or something. I was wrong. I asked him, "So, what's the deal with the leather? And the whip?"

"Well," he said, matter-of-factly, "this is your typical gay-male-S&M outfit. I'm really into that scene, and San Francisco is a crazy city." He went on to explain that he was going to a bar that night called the Eagle, which has a REAL dungeon. He said he had seen quite a few hostel-goers in the dungeon a couple nights ago.

"There are a LOT of gay boys in this hostel, but I bet if I saw them the next day they'd pretend they were never even in the dungeon," he said. That is truly surprising news.

Leather Man went on to chat up Meghan and I, explaining the finer points of spanking and whipping, telling Meghan that she had "the most exotic-colored eyes," and telling me that I was "just precious."

"God, it's too bad you're not a guy," he said, wistfully.

"If I had a nickel for every time someone's said that to me..." I said.

In reality, I'd have one nickel.

So, the night kicked off with tequila and leather, then devolved into chocolate cake, wine, champagne, and me speaking mad Portuguese with a Brazilian dude in the lobby. I am normally totally socially paralyzed when it comes to speaking Portuguese with Brazilians (outside of Brazil, that is), but I guess a few cups of warm chardonnay helped me overcome my fears.

All in all, it was a good night and I'm glad I finally partook of the hostel party scene. It wasn't the same as my own traveling days, but it brought back some of the same feeling. E, finalmente falei portugues com um brasileiro!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Retrospective

I was digging through my old sent mail folder, looking for something entirely different, when I stumbled across an email that I sent out to some of my girl friends way back in January. I was still in Sao Paulo then... weird. Anyway it's kind of fun, so here it is, lazily copied and pasted by yours truly:

ok ladies, so I really am idle at work and found this on a blog that I read (http://stephanieklein.blogs.com/greek_tragedy/ )
if you have as much free time as I do, fill it out...

Welcome to the new 2006 edition of getting to know your friends. What you are supposed to do is copy (not forward) this entire e-mail and paste it onto a new e-mail that you'll send. Change all the answers so they apply to you, and then send this to a whole bunch of people including the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you will learn a lot of little things about your friends.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
7:24 AM

2. Diamonds or pearls?
Diamonds... or cubic zirconia because, really, who can tell.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Harry Potter e o Calice de Fogo -- not dubbed, thank goodness

4. What is your favorite TV show?
America's Next Top Model right now... but the Daily Show usually... oh and currently obssessed with Little Britain

5. What did you have for breakfast?
Bread and cream cheese, a mango, a cup of coffee

6. What is your middle name?
Margaret

7. What is your favorite food?
Frozen yogurt with sprinkles

8. What foods do you dislike?
Melon of any description, lamb (tastes like dirty socks), fruity compotes with meat dishes (i.e. grilled chicken with "mango chutney." any chutney, really, does not work for me)

9. Your favorite Potato chip?
EVEN COOLER ranch doritos

10. What is your favorite CD at the moment?
let's say favorite song -- right now, tribalistas, ja sei namorar

11. What kind of car do you drive?
.................. can i sing a brazilian car commercial jingle for you instead?

14 Favorite drink?
Diet coke for lunch, red wine (like argentine malbec) for din... or even, WITH din

15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be?
New Zealand, maybe Venezuela...

16.What color is your bathroom?
Bathroom Tile White

17. Favorite brand of clothing?
Anything from Anthropologie.. well, anything that doesn't involve weird, Victorian-esque corsets/fastenings or gauzy floor-length skirts
18.Where would you retire?
North Carolina, or Argentina... but I'd be sure to pick a NON-nazi retirement community

19 Favorite time of day?
getting home from work, reading before bed

21. Favorite sport to watch?
hockey, track (and some field)
22. Who do you least expect to send this back?
eh

23. Person you expect to send it back first?
Foolia

24. What laundry detergent do you use?
I don't do my own laundry.. but I suspect some brazilian brand with a name like BEZ or Ó or UAU

25. Coke or Pepsi?
just for the taste of it, diet coke

26. Are you a morning person or night owl?
morning person... please no early jokes

27. What size shoe do you wear?
8 to 9 in US, depending on how my feet are feeling. 39 in Brazil. Something else in Europe.

28. Do you have pets?
My rents have Dougal but I take no responsibility for his behavior

29. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with your friends?
I have 37 days of work left.

30. What (who) did you want to be when you were little?
Author and illustrator, wildly successful

31. Favorite Candy Bar?
Milky Way, duh. or else that new one with pretzels in it, oh man.

33. What are the different jobs you have had in your life?
research assistant/manual laborer/rat-poop-infested shed cleaner, koney dog slinger, pizza schlepper, research assistant/girl in charge of memorizing every IMF country code in the world, including the one for Christmas island, research assistant, front desk greeter/coffee maker, "paralegal"/indentured American servant for unfeeling British corporation

34. Favorite season?
Fall in Michigan before it starts to snow (approx. 2 weeks in September), spring in California

35. Nicknames you've had?
Cougar, Eteffi, MoneyBags

36. Piercings:
at one time, 5... now, 2

37. Eye color:
Brown

38. Ever been to Africa?
No

39. Ever been toilet papering?
No

40. Love someone so much it made you cry?
eh

41. Been in a car accident?
No (no thanks to me!).. well actually I have backed into several things... but who says it was an ACCIDENT

42. What's a question no one has ever asked you?
"who died and made YOU queen bee?"

43. Favorite day of the week?
Saturday. Call me unoriginal but that's how it is.

44. Favorite restaurant?
No way I can pick just one... I'll say Kerby's Koney Island, even though that is a bold-faced lie. They do have good chicken greek salads though.

45. Favorite flower?
lilacs? i guess? daffodils are pretty

46. Favorite ice cream?
does yumi yogurt count?

47. Disney or Warner Brothers?
I owe Disney more of a thank-you for happy childhood memories but I suspect both of these companies are probably evil

48. Favorite fast food restaurant?
I like McDonalds ice cream....
49. What color is your bedroom carpet?
Hideous... i think some sort of industrial blue...

50. How many times did you fail your driver's test?
ONCE.

51. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail?
My dad..

52. Which store would you choose to Max out your Credit Card?
Anthropologie. and why is Max capitalized?

53. What do you do most often when you are bored?
Read celebrity gossip online, get started on writing those memoirs, prank call the new president of Bolivia

54. Bedtime:
11 or so

56. Last person you went to dinner with?
Dougal, Nicola, Toby

57. Ford or Chevy?
chevy, in honor of my first car, patty

58. What are you listening to right now?
the airconditioner in my office, someone pulling paper towels out a dispenser, corporate phone ring
59. What is your favorite color?
i like them all actually. no beef with any particular color.. for now

60. Lake, Ocean or River?
Ocean SANS sharks. but I also like the Great Lakes, except for Lake Erie

61. How many tattoos do you have?
Zero

62. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
The omelet
63. How many people are you sending this email to?
Haven't decided yet

64. Favorite Cocktail?
Vodka and diet coke... and caipirinhas are good once in a while

65. Red or White wine?
Either, as long as it's not Brazilian

66. Where would you go for a girls or boys weekend get-a-way?
Hawaii

67. What do you want to be?
A good person

68. Republican or Democrat?
Ugh, some choice. I voted democrat

69. Favorite Family Vacation?
Outer Banks, North Carolina

Thursday, August 03, 2006

saudades de chiclete

When I was in Brazil, if you’ll recall, I was totally mystified by Carnaval music, in particular the appeal of the group Chiclete com Banana (“Gum With Banana”). By the end of my scarring Carnaval experience in Salvador, I had that song "Eu quero este amor" stuck in my head pretty much for 16 weeks afterwards, which I guess wasn’t completely unpleasant, but wasn’t as nice as having, say, “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off [To Have a Good Time]” on repeat in my brain.

Anyway, in my original Carnaval post (http://teffsinbrasil.blogspot.com/2006/03/vida-carnaval.html), I wrote about the main Chiclete com Banana song “Quero Chiclete,” and how I just didn’t get how people didn’t get sick of it. I mean, the body of the song goes like this: “Chiiiiiicleeeeeteeee, rouba, rouba!” over and over and over and over. And over. At Carnaval, I found the song supremely irritating because I felt like I was left out of some big Brazilian inside joke, and also because when it comes down to it, you can only hear any song 23248724749834925 times or so before it starts to grate on your nerves. Unless, of course, that song is “Say My Name,” by Destiny’s Child, but that is a special exception.

Well, a funny thing has happened since I have been back in the US. I actually downloaded “Quero Chiclete” from itunes and have been listening to it a lot. Like, a LOT. Either I am becoming Brazilian retroactively or else the nostalgia center in my brain is on overdrive, because I can’t get enough of this song. How did I never notice that cool electric guitar riff in the beginning? And how did I discount the lyrics so quickly?

Lambada nao e
Merengue nao e
Sabe qual e, qual e
Chiclete com banana!

Chiiiiiicleeeeeteeee! Rouba, rouba!

(Translation: It’s not lambada, it’s not merengue, you know what it is, Chiclete com Banana!)

I mean, I want to do karaoke to this song. God, that’s weird.

Dispatch from Havana

Big news in Cuba. Fidel is relinquishing power to his brother, Raul. This is huge, because Fidel has been sick before, has even fallen down and broken bones, but has never even hinted that he would delegate any power to Raul or anyone else in the government. It’s been understood for a while that Raul is Fidel’s heir apparent, but for Fidel to actually designate Raul as the one in charge is a big step, and a clear hint that Fidel is on his last legs.

Some of my friends asked me what I think is going to happen in Cuba now, and whether this is bad news or good news. I don’t pretend to be some sort of expert on Cuba, but I did spend a summer in Havana and have done a fair amount of research on the political situation there, so I guess I can offer my seriously amateur opinion on this.

I think that the fact that Fidel is stepping down is going to have a far-reaching impact in Cuba, but those changes won’t necessarily be positive, and almost certainly won’t lead to Cuba opening towards the United States (or vice versa). Raul, who is currently in charge of the Cuban military, has a history of being militant and authoritarian, is extremely unpopular with Cubans – they call him “la Chinita,” the little Chinese girl, because he is rumored to be gay and has slightly Asian features – and of course wants to preserve the Castro death grip on the Cuban government.

But before we can consider what kind of havoc Raul (and the Cuban military) may wreak on the island, we have to realize that Fidel, despite plenty of wishful thinking in Miami, is still alive and is still very much running the show, even from his sick bed. I read a little article in the Chronicle today in which a Cuban in Havana pointed out that Fidel is still micromanaging, pulling the strings behind the scenes, and Raul knows that. Perhaps that explains why Raul has yet to make a public appearance since Fidel’s announcement.



I really wonder what is happening on the ground in Cuba. I know that people are probably extremely anxious and excited, probably torn over whether they want Fidel to die now or not. The thing is, although most Cubans that I met in Havana are very disillusioned with Fidel and his policies, they have come to accept that he has determined their fate as a country for the last 47 years. Whether they agree or disagree, they are so used to him being in charge and managing the day-to-day running of the island that it’s hard for them to imagine anyone else in power.

Plus, the Cuban government is big on fear-mongering – think Fox News times 100 – and over the years has convinced most of the populace that the United States military is waiting to invade the island and annex it. That scenario might have been plausible a century ago, but clearly, invading Cuba and making it the fifty-first state is pretty low on the Bush administration’s agenda. However, a lot of Cubans genuinely believe that they are under constant threat of invasion from the U.S., because the Cuban press reports as much. So, I imagine that Cubans are probably extremely nervous about the immediate future. From their perspective, an unpopular public figure is taking the reins from a man who has been in complete control since 1959, the government is vulnerable, and the U.S. is eager to swoop in and make Cuba into Puerto Rico II.

Stay tuned to see what happens when Raul actually takes over. This should be interesting.

Separated At Birth....?

Okay, I am only posting this because my mom saw these pictures and said I had to put it on my blog. So, I was messing around with my built-in computer camera the other week and took a goofy picture of myself looking up toward the window. Then, the next week, I borrowed the DVD "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" from my cousin Michael. As soon as I saw the cover of the DVD, I cringed. Let me stress that this was NOT intentional.

Compare: