Face The Sun: Let There Be Light!
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are exclusively those of its author, and are not in any way meant to reflect the opinions or policies of the US Government.

Past Travelogues.

Finland, Estonia, Petersburg

Kirovograd, Ukraine


Tirana, Albania

Macedonia & Romania

Budapest to Bucharest

Balkans and Poland.

Christiania, Copenhagen.

Northern Norway

Northern Finland


Kashgar, briefly

More to come, Inshallah, as I go through old paper travel journals.

The DC experience, archived.

July '05
June '05
December '05
October '04
More to come should interesting things happen to me. Ever.

Blatent Plagiarism

The nation's largest chain bookstore has indicated that, due to lack of consumer interest, it has stopped selling books.
--Frederick Raphael, The Glittering Prizes

I feel this is the equivalent of a surgeon, skipping through a radiology department singing, 'I don't have cancer, I don't have cancer!'
--Phil Robinson, Charlie Big Potatoes

Mum is crying with her faced turned away from me, gulping and honking like an injured seal. And I'm rolled up in the back seat wishing the old man would stop the car and make her walk. That or buy her a fish.
--Phil Robinson, Charlie Big Potatoes

I love it when well-educated women sweaar -- the words regain their original power and meaning when delivered unexpectedly with so much poise.
--Phil Robinson, Charlie Big Potatoes

She lived with her mother, who looked like an old labrador, and an old labrador.
--Will Self, Great Apes

When I was small and would leaf through the Old Testament retold for children and illustrated in engravings by Gustave Dore, I saw the Lord God sitting on a cloud. He was an old man with eyes, nose, and a long beard, and I would say to myself that if He had a mouth, He had to eat. And if He ate, He had intestines. But that thought always gave me a fright, because even though I come from a family that was not particularly religious, I felt the idea of a divine intestine to be sacrilegious.
--Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Quality is merely the distribution aspect of Quantity.
--Vladimir Nabokov, Bend Sinister

...In the frank brilliance of the bright sun, which, as we all know, is the friend of heroes.
--Jose Saramago, All the Names

He stuttered so badly that you could go out and buy yourself a chocolate bar while he was wrestling with an initial p or b; he would never try to bypass the obstacle by switching to a synonym, and when the explosion finally did occur, it convulsed his whole frame and sprayed the interlocutor with triumphant saliva.
--Vladimir Nabokov, Bend Sinister

To Stand on Jericho's Walls and Face the Sun.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


This site is simultaneously hilarious and horrifying. Indeed, I ask you: what SHOULD you do if you meet an atheist? (Be sure to click on Mr. Gruff the Atheist's head; it just doesn't get any better than this).

Posted by Dakota on 9:57 AM link |

Monday, December 15, 2003

"My wallpaper is killing me. One of us has to go."
--Oscar Wilde, shortly before his death.

Posted by Dakota on 4:04 PM link |

Friday, December 12, 2003

Quoth the good people of the United States Senate:

"Foreign Language Proficiency.—The Committee is aware of the continued shortage of personnel at the State Department who possess the language skills required for their positions. If our diplomats truly are our "first line of defense'' against foreign threats, then their ability to converse fluently in the languages of the countries to which they are posted is critical to national security. Foreign language proficiency should weigh more heavily in the determination of who is hired into and who advances within the Foreign Service. The Committee directs the Department to increase its emphasis on foreign language proficiency in the hiring and promotion
of Foreign Services Officers. The Committee directs the Department to report on the changes it makes to its hiring and promotion practices no later than April 14, 2004."

Assuming I do get hired, it appears that I'll finally be rewarded for my skills.

Posted by Dakota on 9:38 AM link |

Monday, December 08, 2003

Google'd Spinach-Artichoke Dip. The resulting search sent me to cooks.com, wherein a recipe was provided. More interesting, though, was the section just below the recipe, labelled "Recipes Recently Retrieved."

One of the most recently retrieved recipes:

4 lb. meat cut into strips
2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. powdered barbecue seasoning
2 tsp. pepper (optional)

Bake on 150 degrees for 9 hours.

The take home message here is that Deer Jerky is shockingly easy to make. (It has less fat, but you eat more of it).

The only other recipe worth considering there (aside from "Chicken With Hidden Valley Ranch Sauce" -- which involved browning chicken and then slathering it with Ranch Dressing) was:

1 3/4 c. Irish whiskey
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 c. whipping light creme
4 eggs
2 tbsp. chocolate syrup
2 tsp. instant coffee
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Dissolve coffee in whiskey. Place all ingredients in blender and thoroughly mix. Refrigerate. Makes 5 cups. If settling occurs, hand shake before serving.

Posted by Dakota on 3:32 PM link |
I need a marine, or a military haircut.

Quoth Slate:

A military man's haircut has four stages: Scalp-tastic, Velcro, Velvet, and Puppy Butt. Relish the fleeting Scalp-tastic phase. The Army guy's head = Pat the Bunny for grown-ups.

Posted by Dakota on 10:52 AM link |

Friday, December 05, 2003


Just when you think they can't get more bizarre, they up and get bizarrer.

Victim of cannibal agreed to be eaten
Luke Harding in Berlin
Wednesday December 03 2003
The Guardian

To the family next door, Armin Meiwes seemed the perfect neighbour. He mowed
their lawn, repaired their car and even invited them round for dinner.
Other residents in the small German town of Rotenburg also believed there
was nothing odd about the 42-year-old computer expert, whose light burned
late into the night inside his creaking mansion. Yesterday, however, Meiwes
appeared in court charged with killing - and then frying and eating -
another man.

In one of the most extraordinary trials in German criminal history, the
self-confessed cannibal admitted that he had met a 43-year-old Berlin
engineer, Bernd Brandes, after advertising on the internet, and had chopped
him up and eaten him.

It was, he said, something he had wanted to do for a long time. "I always
had the fantasy and in the end I fulfilled it," Meiwes told the court on the
first day of his trial for murder in the nearby city of Kassel.
Yesterday German prosecutors described how Meiwes had fantasised about
killing and devouring someone, including his classmates, from the age of

The desire grew stronger after the death of his mother in 1999, prosecutor
Marcus Köhler said.

In March 2001 Meiwes advertised on the internet for a "young well-built man,
who wanted to be eaten". Brandes replied.

On the evening of March 9, the two men went up to the bedroom in Meiwes'
rambling timbered farmhouse. Mr Brandes swallowed 20 sleeping tablets and
half a bottle of schnapps before Meiwes cut off Brandes' penis, with his
agreement, and fried it for both of them to eat.

Brandes - by this stage bleeding heavily - then took a bath, while Meiwes
read a Star Trek novel.

In the early hours of the morning, he finished off his victim by stabbing
him in the neck with a large kitchen knife, kissing him first.

The cannibal then chopped Mr Brandes into pieces and put several bits of him
in his freezer, next to a takeaway pizza, and buried the skull in his

Over the next few weeks, he defrosted and cooked parts of Mr Brandes in
olive oil and garlic, eventually consuming 20kg of human flesh before police
finally turned up at his door.

"With every bite, my memory of him grew stronger," he said.
Behind bars, Meiwes told detectives that he had consumed his victim with a
bottle of South African red wine, had got out his best cutlery and decorated
his dinner table with candles. He tasted of pork, he added.

The unprecedented case has proved problematic for German lawyers who
discovered that cannibalism is not illegal in Germany.

Instead, they have charged Meiwes with murder for the purposes of sexual
pleasure and with "disturbing the peace of the dead".

The accused, however, has a unique defence: that his victim actually agreed
to be killed and eaten.

Crucial to the case is a gruesome videotape made by Meiwes of the entire
evening, during which Brandes apparently makes clear his consent.
Before setting off on his one-way journey to Rotenburg, Brandes was,
outwardly at least, a successful, financially secure professional, with a
live-in girlfriend.

The girlfriend, Bettina L, told German TV that she had enjoyed a healthy sex
life with Brandes but they had split up after he revealed that he also liked

In fact, prosecutors said yesterday, Brandes was suffering from a severe
psychiatric disorder and "a strong desire for self-destruction".

After killing Brandes, the German cannibal met five other men who responded
to his internet advert, including one from London.

He did not, however, kill them. In July 2001 a student stumbled on Meiwes'
chat-room and alerted the German authorities, who arrested him last
December. Yesterday Meiwes told the court that he had felt lonely and
neglected as a child after his father walked out on the family. He had
fantasised about having a blond "younger brother", who he could keep forever
by "consuming him".

If convicted, Meiwes faces life in prison. A verdict is due early next year.
The cannibal's defence team, however, say that Meiwes is guilty at worst of
'killing on demand', which is punishable by five years in jail. In his
pre-trial interview, the cannibal said that after eating Brandes he felt
much better and more stable.

Brandes spoke good English, he said, and since eating him his English had
improved. He also revealed that he is now writing his memoirs. The trial,
which is due to last three weeks, continues.

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited

Posted by Dakota on 1:11 PM link |

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Last night walking home, passed by a car. License plate: 202BST8.

I, too, am pro-DC Statehood.

Posted by Dakota on 9:49 AM link |
Current Location:
The People's Republic of China.

Stop by any time: everyone's welcome.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem to Be Born

Comments and requests for dates should be directed to email.

And here I am.

And for all you random folks out there whom I don't know, for the love of god, email me. I'm abroad, know no one, and look forward to hearing from you. I'm especially looking at YOU, whomever YOU are who's Facing The Sun all the way from Kenya. And Sweden. And Canada. And whatnot.

Books Tackled, 2006:

1. Jarhead, Anthony Swofford
2. Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia, Dennis Covington
3. A Brief History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
4. A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City, Anonymous
5. Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism, Dawn Prince-Hughes

This year's movies, in chronological order:

1. Kung Fu Hustle
2. A Wrinkle in Time
3. Pi: Faith in Chaos
4. My Big Fat Independent Movie
5. The Winter Guest
6. Voices in Wartime
7. What Dreams May Come
8. Farewell My Concubine
9. The Ring
10. Like Water for Chocolate
11. Sahara

Foreign Service Officers by day, Bloggers by day as well.

The Diplodocus
(Islamabad, Pakistan).

The Permanent Mission of Joshie
(Zagreb; Libyaward).

Prince Roy
(Chennai; Taiwanward).

Sue and not You
(Tbilisi, Georgia).

Life on the Mekong
(Vientiane, Laos).

FSO Globe Trotter
(Lahore, Pakistan).

Vice Consul: Diplomatically Transformed
(New Delhi, India).

Adventures in Good Countries

Our Man in Tirana
(Tirana, Albania).

Anne's Blog
(Kazakhstan; Greeceward).

(Bogota, Colombia).

Furnish Worldwide

Tasman's World
(Dhaka, Bangladesh).

(Lome, Togo).

World Adventurers
(Seoul, Korea).

Aaron Martz

A for Adventure
(Chennai, India).

The Excellent Adventures of Nickie P
(Paris, France).

Permanently Disco
(Dhaka, Bangladesh).

Consul At Arms
(Kingston, Jamaica).

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