come for the strip clubs, stay for the bagels

This episode of Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover makes me miss Montreal something terrible. Schwartz’s pickles, LARPers, and raw milk cheese. He clearly has good researchers.

He’s only wrong about one thing, which is why New Yorkers visit La Belle Province: “Because they want to get drunk, and they want to eat good <expletive deleted> food like this, out of a truck.” You forgot the rippers, Tony.

(Thanks to Goulet for the link. A brilliant way to spend 40 minutes on a Monday morning. Except now nothing in the fridge appeals to me, because I want a foie gras double-down from Joe Beef.)

the prodigal child returns

It’s freezing cold, but the snow finally arrived with two days to spare, so I will stop complaining about wanting a refund.

please hang on for two more days. iiiiiii'mmmmm dreaaaamming of a whiiiiiiite chriiiiistmas...

There have been a multitude of high points, and I still have more than a week at home. All the regular sappiness: family and friends, warm homes and hearts. But also:

the final minutes of the 28-hour journey takes me directly over the hills where I grew up. yes, you can see my house.

MONTREAL. enough said.

latte art at Cafe Neve.. yes that is a Ninja Turtle in my coffee. it's a Michelange-latte.

BAGELS

And of course, the joys of fast Internet connections, to bring us gems like this:

“PONIES?!?!” (via Goulet.)

Yesterday was winter solstice — time to celebrate the return of the light. Happy holidays to you and yours.

it’s the end of the world as we know it

I got really quite horrifyingly ill last week. I will spare you the details, but it involved undercooked chicken and the digestive tract equivalent of Fukushima Daichi — your personal experiences with salmonella poisoning can fill in the rest.

As I laid in bed on Wednesday contemplating the sweet release of death, the sky outside my window increasingly darkened. A huge clap of thunder shook the walls, and then it started hailing. Yeah. Like, ice falling from the sky. Pea-sized chunks of frozen water pummelled the earth, mixed with rain and general atmospheric chaos. Keep in mind Nairobi is just a few latitude south of the equator. It’s supposed to be summer here.

I stared in disbelief out the window. Then I thought about the plague infesting my body… and all I could think was, “Yup. It’s the apocalypse.”

Talk about pathetic fallacy. I managed to struggle out of bed and get my camera soaking wet, just to document the moment — for future proof that I hadn’t been delirious. In the end, I was spared a hospital visit by my travel medicine doctor in Montreal… more specifically, the little bottle of miracle antibiotics she prescribed in May. This was not the first time I’ve found myself deploying 1000 mg of cipro-fury on a stomach bug, and I never cease to be amazed at the effectiveness. I may name my first-born Ciprofloxacin.

Anyway, don’t feel too sorry for me. I’m better now. And a week from today I’ll be waking up here. Jealous? Distract yourself with this crazy story [via Goulet]. Or this awesome element of American society. (The whole rice and curry thing is getting old. I could really go for some grippachos or alligator jerky.)

Jack

Whether or not you agree with his policies, there’s no denying he was an admirable man. Here’s to you, Mr. Layton. You’ll be missed.

into the single digits

Today was my last day as a producer at CBC Radio in Ottawa, at least for now. I leave for Kenya in nine days, where a reporting job awaits. And I think Alice Bradley and I were separated at birth… this is exactly how I react/cope/deal with airports:

I’m really not a fan of flying. Not just the hurtling through the air in a screaming death machine part: the whole process. The packing. The boarding pass-getting (will I do it wrong? Probably.). The panicking on the way to the airport because the cab/train/subway is taking longer than I think it should take. The double and triple-checking that I’m in the right airport/terminal. The long, arduous security line. The possibility of being manhandled. The idiotic shoe-removal. The waiting around the gate for two hours because God forbid I don’t get there super early. The purchasing of overpriced snacks and magazines. The visiting of every restroom in the airport, because when I get anxious, my bladder goes into overdrive.

BUT! Then I see videos like this. And I remember why I can’t wait to lift off.

That one’s the best, but LEARN and EAT are pretty good too.

Anyway. Nine days. Less.

two blogs, one stone

Here are the newest additions to my Google Reader:

1) Suri’s burn book

2) Myths retold

And here is Matthew Baldwin of Defective Yeti telling a fabulous story from Back Fence PDX. A taste of what you can look forward to if you make the trek to Nairobi to visit me.

He has a post about Back Fence PDX, where you can find some other charming and hilarious storytellers. I may or may not have stayed up past my bedtime watching them.

Also, I promise this page will become less of a collection of random Internet curios once I flee the country on August 14. In the meantime, check out that browser address bar! Woah-ho! I’m a URL!

what’s funny in Kenya?

That’s what American comedian John Ramsey is trying to figure out. Here is his best guess:

John Ramsey is volunteering in Kenya for a year with International Justice Mission, and while he’s there, he’s been honing his craft for a Kenyan audience. He’s written about trying to figure out what makes Kenyans laugh, and it turns out that the jokes that he “liked the least were the ones that worked the best.” (Although, he’s careful to point out that “it’s not that I get Kenyan jokes and don’t like them (like primitive humor) – I just don’t get most of them at all.”)

The above clip is from the show Churchill Live, an extremely popular “late night” show in Kenya which reaches 10 million viewers (in Kenya, the surrounding countries and the diaspora). Props to John Ramsey for trying to connect with Kenyans through their own language and sense of humour, instead of hiding out in embassy smoking lounges cracking jokes about colonialism.

ps – Kenya friends – they film Churchill Live at Carnivore every Thursday evening… who’s in!?

diversions

1. “As the situation descended into chaos, the researchers stood by and watched—until one of their colleagues finally spoke out.” (It was ethical at the time.)

2. This is totally disgusting, but not disgusting enough to change my habits:

3. “The end result of less diving is that watching women play soccer at the highest level is less encumbered by obvious cheating histrionics and more of a pure experience.”

4. It’s Wednesday. Hump day. Here is something to get you through the afternoon — 39 songs in one. Girl Talk, watch out, you’ve got company: