Long Way Round

Having searched Netflix quite often for travel documentaries, I came across Long Way Round, which features my favorite Scot, Ewan McGregor, and his best mate Charley Boorman riding 20,000 miles on some fabulous BMW motorbikes. It’s a 2-disc set and I was glued to the tv for all 7 hours. If you aren’t familiar with the premise here it is:

Setting off in London in April 2004, Ewan and Charley travelled through some of the most beautiful, and at times dangerous, terrain the world has to offer. Crossing over into mainland Europe, they rode through France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada before arriving 115 days later at their final destination, New York City, USA.

As I watched, their trip reminded me of all of my travel adventures with Komenka and how, no matter how unfamiliar a different culture may be, the people you meet quite often are just like you–willing to open their homes, share their customs and food, and celebrate life through music and dance–all without sharing the same language. I was lucky enough to travel to France 3 times, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Greece and each time I didn’t want to return to America, the land of strip malls and fast food. It’s nice being able to simplify your life and realize that you don’t really need much else besides good friends, food and shelter.

With that said, I looked up Ewan and Charley’s site because the DVD mentioned that they also produced a book. Well it turns out that the boys are off on another adventure this September called the Long Way Down, from Scotland to South Africa! I cannot wait!


dissertation desk

We spent all day cleaning up the apartment, setting aside tons of paper to recycle, and moving bookshelves from room to room. The initial plan was to have our living room have 3 writing spaces–1 for me, 1 for Andy, and 1 common computer station–but once I saw how much space was in our spare bedroom, I went for that area. This is the room that has been deemed the “animal room” because all the reptiles/amphibians live there in their respective tanks. Needless to say, Sweetness and I rarely enter that room. But now that I have to shift into serious writing mode and cannot afford to hang out at a Starbucks or Panera everyday, I decided to let the cold-blooded creature be my muse. 😉

I know books will soon take over, so here’s a nice, clean, “before” picture.



public and private

Everyday I log on and wonder what to blog about. I start a post, then get bored with it and delete it before publishing. Lately, I’ve become more private with what I want to share on my blog, mainly because I’ve shifted into “to-do” mode with several lists of things to accomplish this summer. A lot of time will be spent doing academic reading, but I also have a couple trips in mind.

Anyway, I find myself on MySpace a lot more [than I ever expected] and communicating with friends in that public/semi-private space. Perhaps because I hope to go on the job market this year, I’m being extra careful to not divulge too much of my personal life or complain about things going on in my academic life [potential IRB issues, etc.].

Mainly, I’ve just been trying to get used to the freedom that being ABD offers! I’ve been working out more than usual and going to school to read/grade papers diligently, but who wants to read a blog about that?

Wah wah wah. I know once I come across links I like I will share them.

In fact, here’s a project that Clancy called to my attention.

The Webcomic project’s “about” page is here, with the chapters starting here.

A.D. tells the story of Katrina and its aftermath from the perspective of real people still dealing with the storm each and every day. A two-part prologue sets the scene and shows the storm, almost like a silent movie. In chapter one, we meet the people whose lives we’ll be following over the course of one year, with audio and video augmenting the comic itself on our active blog. A.D. is a nonfiction graphic novel, a new approach to storytelling, and a multifaceted peek into the personal tales emerging from the storm of the century.



Sorry for the lack of blog posts. I flew to NOLA for a funeral then was wifi-less for days til now. I know I’ve only been out of town for a couple days, but I have this weird feeling over me that without the Internet or constantly checking my email that I’m missing a deadline or forgetting to pay a bill. 🙁

On the less anxious side of things, I just checked on my USF account and I’m officially a “doctoral candidate” who signs up for dissertation hours!!!

This Monday begins my writing and exercising schedule. I need to prepare for Oxford/Harvard! Check out the list of tutors we’ll be working with here.


more blogosphere attention to NOLA

“New Orleans shows signs of hope and grief” They quote bloggers from First-Draft and this is the link to their Katrina category.

A passage I found moving [although I don’t know why they didn’t give his blog address]:

Sinfonian, who blogs from Florida, said he has a lot of emotional attachment for New Orleans, so he wanted to do something besides write about it.

“I was stunned and moved by what I saw,” Sinfonian said. “When you consider it has been 20 months, it’s very sobering.”

Sinfonian said the character and resilience of the people made an impression on him. “The spirit seemed to be alive,” he said. “That was motivating and heartening to me.”

Even though he has experienced hurricanes at close range, he didn’t see Florida communities with the same kind of shared connectedness.


MyDD on Hurricane Katrina

Part 1 of 3: Since the Storm: No End to Katrina in New Orleans, which is a truthful take on post-Katrina NOLA, proving that she’s ever-present.

In the midst of [planning to do some] wedding planning, I was overcome with the impact Katrina had on even that. It would all be so much easier if I could just go home to my parents’ house and the church parish where I received every other sacrament, but now it is no longer an active community and we don’t really belong or have a history anywhere else. Friends and family are scattered so I need to take into consideration people flying in and hotel rooms, etc.

And that’s when that urge to postpone the wedding kicks in! 🙂

So I switch my attention to my dissertation and conference presentations since I’m committed [no pun intended] to my PhD program. Here’s my latest abstract submitted to 4Cs 2008:

A growing number of native and naturalized New Orleanians have turned to online spaces in order to rebuild the communities washed away by Hurricane Katrina and the levee breaches. Pulling from interview data collected from 2006-2008, this paper will share testimony from those place-bloggers, whose individually authored blogs and collaboration on neighborhood-designated wikis sponsored by demonstrate civic activism in the face of mainstream media.

Nearly two years after the storm hit, many traditional media are focusing on other stories, while the post-Katrina reconstruction is still unfinished. Locals are increasingly anxious about the rebuilding of the levees and are plagued with high crime rates and still unfulfilled insurance claims. Documenting these frustrations daily on their blogs and using their blog networks to meet in person and discuss political, economic, and social issues, these New Orleanians, who are attending to the realties of their lives, offer models of public writing that shows outsiders world-wide what life is like in “the city that care forgot” and demonstrates the civic importance of new media.