Sunday, May 31, 2009
First impressions: Cloak and Dagger: Pretty darn good, especially for survielance. Seems to have a limited usability, in that your strategies are completely different now, mostly survielance and waiting for the perfect oppurtunity. And just being spooky.
Dead ringer: Actually more useful than I'd thought! good for breaking into places, also gives you more of a certain melee chance, with the ability to survive (Nearly) any hit thrown your way, at least once. Great for getting intelligence, it sucks when you sneak all the way into someplace, only to get blasted in the face and it's all over. A rechargable second chance, really.
The Ambassador: Not too shabby, still getting the hang of sniping with the darned thing, also pleased that the scantily-clad lady engraved on the gun is more or less impossible to see from the first-person perspective. Really, I didn't want to be "Distracted" or anthything like that.
Sniper weapons: The huntsman: Still really getting the hang of this one, good for medium range, just like it says on the tin. Some people can use this thing as a lethal weapon of mass destruction, I'm still using it like a pea-shooter you fire blindly. Ironicly, blind fire isn't that bad of an idea, each arrow really, really packs quite a wallop, so even without a headshot, you can take out half of most enemies health.
Jarate: Yet to get, really looking forward to it though, what with the team-support factors it presents, since the SMG isn't used to often.
Razorback: Not really looking forward to this one, spies are usually pretty clever, it's entirely possible for them to just revolver you to death, or at least smash your health before you have a clue of what's going on. Not to mention the slowing down is kinda pants (I love that Irish phrase), I think losing your only backup firearm is punishment enough really.
"Un-be-frickin' lieveable!" -The Scout
Friday, May 29, 2009
IT'S THE MOTHERFLIPPIN' SUMMER!
I am actually not as exited about this as I should be, I do not think. I do not know why. Perhaps it just hasn't sunk in yet. I will not be missing double french every monday morning, that's for sure.
So, sorry I haven't had an actual blog post in quite a little while, exams and such, I'm sure you understand. Twitter makes a pretty good substitute, like the difference between saying "I'm hungry" and writing an essay on what hunger feels like. Hmm. Maybe I should eat breakfast.
Team fortress 2 recently released the new sniper/spy update, and I have some issues with it. Not that any of you reading this play TF2, but all the same, I will let you know. The new item-unlock system sucks hardcore. It used to require that you unlock achievements, do stupendous acts that required both luck and skill, and after working at these, you would finally unlock new weapons. Not necciscarily better, per se, but new, and different. The problem with this is, people started developing "Achievement servers", where people would just sit around and help each other unlock weapons. So instead, they decided to turn the whole thing on it's head, with horrible consequences. Right now, the new system is deeply flawed. You are given a random weapon for a random class at a random time, usually which is very, very long in coming. It is as if Santa decided that instead of giving good boys and girls presents they asked for on christmas, he became sullen and moody and just occaisionally gave people presents they didn't ask for out of the blue throughout the year. "What's that timmy? You wanted a bike? Too Bad. You get a barbie. Suck it, timmy." The system is due to have a trading scheme implemented in time, but it does not sound like the sort of thing that will actually be useful. At all. The main frustration is the fact that you don't choose what you unlock. Say that you have unlocked all but 3 weapons. Now, that's 3 out of 18 possible weapons. At very very best, you get 1 new item every hour or two. (But once again, this is all randomized, so in theory it is possible to play this game for days on end and not get a single weapon). This means that if it takes 90 minutes... Wait, time for some maths.
Ok. Based on some rough (and dodgy) calculations, it would take approximately 540 mins (9 hours) to get three of the items you wanted. That's not all three, either. based on probability, that means that you could get one of the three items you wanted three times. If you unlocked 17 items and just wanted to get that laaaaaaast one you've been dying for, it would take approximately 27 hours (1620 mins) to unlock. Or it could only take one hour. Or you could theoretically never get it at all. Valve (The Game Developers) Have promised to add some content, like being able to choose which weapons you wish to unlock next. All the same, it is a rather frustrating system. The biggest Irony is though, (and I just realised this) Is that I am complaining! They keep adding content to this game for free and I have all the weapons I need. I have no right to complain, so I will not. Random rewards are simply frustrating, I suppose, and there's a certain "Look at the cool kids" Factor to it when you see other players running around with their bows and arrows and invisibility watches and jars of urine. The sad part is, they created this system to do away with achievement servers, but now, because it is a time-based system, there are now "Idle" servers where you can log on, leave your computer running overnight, come back in the morning, and bam! New items. I contemplated doing this, but it's just too much of a kick in the groin to mother nature, I think.
"ahhh, ma petite chou-fleur." -The red spy/edit: I FINALLY unlocked a weapon I didn't have after about an entire week of playing. The huntsman: who needs a fancy lazer-guided gun when you have a bow and arrow? Not you, apparently.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I headed off to the bathroom to wash up, and then gingerly biked home, with bruised palms and knees. Once at home, I washed myself up in the shower, and then applied some bandages, and then recieved a phone call from my piano teacher. I was 10 mins late for my last lesson. I quickly hobbled over to the churchtown school of music, and played in plastered hands, which wasn't that bad. Upon returning home, I filled in my mom on the details, and she ominously foretold that it would have to be cleaned "Properly", a grim prophecy that would no doubt involve cheap vodka. I forgot to mention, I howled at hollered while cleaning my leg up, real men can cry out in pain and still be manly (Grr. I'm manly. See?). After sufficient procrastination, I volunteered for this "Properly". I knew it had to be done, there was still dirt in the wounds, and nobody likes infections. So up to the shower we went, and I stripped down (Moderately), when she produced soap, scissors, and a needle. We washed it, cut off loose skin (surprisingly not that bad), and then, underneath running water, I began the delicate operation of picking out dirt from my wound with a sharp implement. Bizzare feeling, really. It bears mention that I also whooped and hollered while doing this. Then, as prophesied, out came the cheap vodka. This stung like crazy. I covered my eyes with one arm, leaned on the wall for support with the other, and clenched my teeth as my hands and knee blazed with wrath at their suffering. Then my mom plastered me up like a good nurse, aww. Shoutout to Nicole who had an infected knee before, so I'll probably come running to her sooner rather than later. She also threatened to attack me with antiseptic wipes if I didn't clean it properly. She's wonderful :)
"Ooops! Zat vas not medicine" - Medic, team fortress 2
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
That right, I was the first motherflippin' person to listen to the song. It's quite a shallow boast really, right up there with "FiRsT cOmMeNt" on a Youtube video. But all the same, it is pretty unique, in my opinion, as I may have been the first member of the general public to listen to that song. Like I said, it's a shallow boast though, I was so busy going "Holy crap! 0 views? holy crap!" That I don't even remember what the song was about or how it goes. Shameful, really, but c'est la vie! Just for further corroborative photos, check it.
If you'll notice, the time and playlist elapses, but for some reason the number of times played does not. I'm guessing it has a few people listen to it before it updates it as having been listened to or something, but at any rate, it was pretty sweet.
Also, go actually listen to "Laughing with" on the above webpage nao, it's a wonderful song about people's dependance on God in times of hardship.
"No-one's laughin' at God when their airplane starts to uncontrollably shake" - Regina Spektor
Thursday, May 14, 2009
"Ok, let's get some tofu. The Vegetable shop closes in 7 mintes. It is a six minute walk..... *Begins running*"
*Arrives at vegetable shop and looks around* "Do you guys have any tofu?" "No, we don't have any at the moment." (Vegetable shop without tofu, pffft.)
Luckily, Supervalu was just across the street.
I spent a good 15-20 minues looking for this fabled dish, and it was about then that I realized I have no idea what tofu actually is.
I looked in the dairy section. Tofu is white and kinda squishy, isn't it? Cheese is too. So they're pretty much the same thing, really. It's soy curd right? Milk has curd, and then they make cheese out of that. That has to be right then. (Fun fact: Tofu is not like cheese in the slightest)
I eventually asked someone to help me find some tofu, and find it I did, in a little rectangular box. Whatever Tofu is, it comes in boxes, I guess. (Like custard. They're similar. (Not really.))
After paying for it, I began walking home, and decided to read the back of the box ( I can't get over this, it comes in a box?) and then the plot thickened, just like Tofu. Turns out it's soy milk and water put into a box, and it then ferments and begins to solidify, making tofu. What the crap is soy milk, anyway? I think it's delicious myself, but I never thought about all this! What is it with soy trying to be dairy? Be yourself Soy, we'll love you just the same. I then read the RDA Part, it turns out every hundred grams is about 3 grams fat (Take that, every other food product ever, that is pretty low fat, as far as I know (Which as we have firmly established is not very much)), 7 grams of protein, and 2 grams of carbohydrate.
At first, I was calmed. "Ah, this food is very low fat", I told myself. But then I realised. What in the name of toblerone is the other 88 grams of tofu? "What's your secret, Tofu? Where did you hide the diamonds?!?" I gruffly demanded of the little cardboard box. No reply. "Ahh, I see your game. Very sly, Tofu. very sly indeed." Tofu is pretty shifty you guys. I'll give you a chance, Tofu, but I've got my eye on you!
(I'm not crazy, I'm just bored.)
Upon arriving home, I asked my mom "What the crap is Tofu, mom?" "It's pressed bean curd, Lorcan." And for the first time, I realized that I had never even come close to understanding what any of that meant.
And now to wikipedia Tofu and look back on this ingnorant rant in shame. Though I'm sure it will be delicious!
/edit: The second I hit "Publish Post", I remembered I have actually had Tofu loads of times at oriental resturaunts, and think it's actually quite tasty! Today is not my day to sound smart, I do not think.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Basically, I just didn't want to post this on twitter, because I actually miss blogging. Anyway! Did end up finishing that English essay. Piano is going well, not doing grade two, just learning songs I want to learn right now, it's pretty sweet. Farewell!
Also, people seem to be catching on that I'm saying "Greetings, citizen", (as uttered by Anduin Wrynn in World of Warcraft if you click on him a few times) as a greeting. I have said this most every day for the past month or so, and so far the only people to catch on are Nicole and Peter. Weird thing not to notice, I wonder what kinda crap we could get past the radar in our greetings!So yeah.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Ice Hockey in the shower
Wild african safari in the shower
Extreme tightrope walking in the shower
Bible reading in the shower (I always did think it would be cool to have a laminated bible)
Shaving in the shower (I actually did this on my legs once, maybe it's less impressive for girls.)
Video game tournaments in the shower
Medieval battle reenactments in the shower
Blogging in the shower (Oh crap, I'm actually going to wind up doing this one now!)
Cleaning yourself in the shower (It's just crazy enough to work!)
Extreme shoe cobbling in the shower
Singing worship songs in the shower (Guilty.)
Sewing in the shower
Mud wrestling in the shower
And now, things that one does not do in the shower:
Use a hairdryer
And basically half the stuff that's up there. Except for the medieval one, that one would totally work.
Coming up, further procrastination from yours truly instead of him doing his giant english essay that's due for tomorrow! :D
Saturday, May 9, 2009
1: It is possible to have a shower and brush your teeth at the same time.
2: One should always give themselves more time than they need to prepare for a date.
3: Coraline is a PG movie , with 7-8 year olds for main demographics. No need to fear.
4: Movies with 7-8 year old demographics can still be surprisingly awesome.
5: If someone is throwing polos at you, do turn around. They could be a friend!
6: Persistence can get you far, but it wasn't meant to get you everywhere. (Not as dodgy as it sounds.)
7: The drums on Guitar Hero: World tour need a proper walloping to register anything at all. This is very fun.
8: Be yourself.
Saw Coraline today, I would really reccomend it as a movie, it was the first 3D movie I have seen in absolutely years and years and years. I don't think I'd see it twice, but it has some good characters, a really awesome setting and filmography, and the 3D just plain old looks cool. Nice setting, like I said, some very creepy moments, but in a good way, like a spider web. Beautiful, but unsettling. Hung out in town today, and then headed over to a friend's for a birthday party, with cake and pizza and Guitar hero. I gave singing a try, in the back of my mind I like to secretly think that I'm secretly really awesome at singing. This is mostly untrue. I would consider myself a passable singer at best. I won't peel the paint off the walls, but I can't carry most tunes very well. But that has never stopped me from having a go anyway! :P
Nicole is pretty wicked awesome. She is a thinker. She thinks for herself, and does not let herself be told what to think, it's pretty impressive, really. She's also just awesome in general. Pretty decent sniper in Halo 3, knew to get behind cover, managed to kill me out of absolutely nowhere, very impressed. Also did not cover me in makeup like she was doing to all the strapping young lads at the party. She was surpirsingly good at making them look surprisingly good. Of course, wearing makeup makes you no more or less of a man, but it's nice to have your wishes respected. Relationships are pretty interesting things, a bit like learning to fly while hurtling off the side of a cliff, only without the impending splat being quite so likely. Putting your trust in God for these things helps too, God has taught me so much about these things, even on the luas today I got a double-whammy of wisdom applied to exactly where it was needed from the scriptures. So things are going pretty well. Something within me knows I'm just making it up as I go along, and something within me knows that that's not half bad, really.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Friday, 3rd April:
Everything is going great, I mean traveling kicks the crap out of you, but I’m safe, and that counts for a lot. Read psalm 121. Randomly flicked open my bible and it was like it was just waiting for me. God’s with me. Not just on this trip, but everywhere. I worry too much about stupid crap. I can feel the anxiety twist in my gut like a knife. I think I’d be a lot happier if I stopped worrying. I know I would be. We’re over Africa now. It’s 23:34 Lusaka time, We’re just passing the northern coast, east of El Menia. Shit, how do I stop worrying? It’s usually over the most retarded stuff, like when I’m going to get to use a toilet. That’s messed up. Diseases? Whatever. Death? Meh, I’m not afraid. Holding pattern on a plane for 50 minutes and no jaxx? Dear Lord, how the fear coursed through my veins. Enough about my excretory system. Watched “Yes man”. Good movie, well written, funny. Good characters and a decent message. Just noticed the fold-down table, was previously scribbling on metal bible. Hee Hee! So much of me wants a ladyfriend. Nobody in particular, even. Just another Human being to be close with and not afraid of. To hold and be held, I think that’s all anybody wants, deep down. That’s kinda in wedding vows, anyway. I’m flipping between celibate and desperate, these days. Think I just want to be celibate out of a fear of my wife, girlfriend, whatever, thinking me a joke and a shame. And I promised myself I’d never be celibate out of fear. Wait, I should be talking about going to Zambia, hah! Oh well. People are more interesting anyway. Gah, so much of me is wrapped up in shame about visiting TURBULENCE… the men’s room so darn often, hah weird thing to let control you. TURBULENCE… Can’t believe I said I’d upload this, I hope I don’t edit it, just so Phil and Bernard thing I’m normal. Jeez! I said I’d send the blog link to my grandpa too! Hi Grandpa, your grandson is more than a little strange XD. (Don’t worry, I’m sure I got it from my dad’s side of the family, your daughter is plenty normal. Kinda.) :P
Saturday 4th April:
The sunrise mimics my current state, a faint mix of yellow and purple. The sun is risen now, the golden African dawn shames man’s fluorescent imitations in the plane. The plane turns on it’s side, like a bird sunning it’s feathers. The ground is rich and deeply coloured. The tilled earth is bright red, the vegetated earth is deep brown, and every shrub and plant is darkest green. Red and brown and green. My arrival gives me rebirth, and I am helpless to praising this country’s beauty at the top of my lungs.
Holy crap, I’m tired. Doing better though! It might sound silly, but it seems I’m always provided with a toilet when I really need it, and not a moment sooner. I believe that’s God looking after me and my neuroses. Today is great. Met Charity, she’s our leader lady. She’s super nice and chipper. The ladies all dress pretty modestly over here, which is actually quite nice, I mean, it’s convenient to not have the temptation to check out the “culture”, as my mom put it. Have I mentioned I am heterosexual today? :P
Most people are Christian here, it would seem. Out driver has a “God is LOVE” sticker and a Gideon bible in his car. Their faith is equal parts crazy and awesome (Author’s note, I mean this in the phrase “Crazy awesome” that I use frequently, not that they’re crazy). We have everything, physically. Clean, cold water whenever we want it. Housing. 3 square meals a day, most of us. Wardrobes full of clothes, and enough “entertainment” to make a hedonist blush. And yet in our wealth we are empty. We kill ourselves more than anyone else, and we are miserable. Here, the children dance in the streets next to dirt roads, dancing in their worn shoes just because they feel like it. They laugh at my silly hat with their wide smiles, as they stand next to their concrete, 3 bedroom abode, while we weep in our mansions. (Editor’s note: A bit unfair of me, really. Lots of us in the west are actually pretty happy. Just notable that something is missing in us, while they have it, and wealth doesn’t seem to indicate whether we have it or not).
Rebecca said she wished mass was more like their gospel choirs. We came to them with God’s message, and we’re surprised to hear it back, our faith an echo at times, while they propagate the sound of joyous singing, and we are at times curious or afraid or envious or resentful about their faith. It is ka-raaaaaaazy. We toured the city today, and I am now forever bereft of my ill-notioned right to complain about anything forever. I held over 1 million of a currency today, it was nifty! (author's note: Gotta love that exchange rate!)
Sunday: 5th April:
Just finished a nice cold shower. An ice cold shower. And yet such a thing is still a luxury. Bizarre. Church was great. The people here fear God in a wonderful way, they really treat every encounter with him with the knowledge that he could wipe us off the face of the earth, and that he actually created us, that he is both great and Good. It is an encouragement. When people say that man was created to worship God, they are talking about these guys. Their praise is simple and familiar (I knew the first two songs they sang off by heart! :D In the southern Hemisphere, imagine that!) And that praise fills them full up with joy, as though it were the natural way of things. Guess they showed me it was. Though they learned still from God, and praised independently of music to remind themselves that God is more than just the happy hubbub of singing. Preacher was waaaay enthusiastic just like everyone else, like if Chris Rock found Jesus. Even Simon liked the singing, and he thinks it’s “all a load of bollocks”. God, I mean. He acts as thought it is water off a duck’s back, but I thought I saw curiosity in this eyes when the Reverend talked of a relationship with God, and a childlike sort of discouragement when he talked of Hell. Didn’t agree with everything, of course, but we could learn so much from these people’s faith, though I’m not sure we could return the favor very equally. Bartered today. Something did not sit right with talking impoverished people’s prices down. They offered high local prices, but these were relatively low, globally. 1,500 Kwacha for a scarf is nothing to scoff at here, but it is 2 euro with the exchange rate. Would taking her initial offer of 2,000 been so hard? I think it is a pride thing. Some of them see us as giant suckers with too much money. (In their defense, I was a white guy with a silly hat and an American accent), and we are desperately looking to prove them incorrect, mostly to ourselves. And yet, we are afraid of them. I felt bad for bartering them down. I give more the Charity, but something in me doesn’t like to think that he thinks I’m stupid. I was going to write more, but I accidentally wrote right through dinner.
Monday 6th April:
Today, we worked at the site. Up at 6, there at 7:30, home by 4. Let me tell you about the children. They are a ball. Me and Nicole sat on a barrel and slowly entertained them over from afar, with silly faces and party tricks. They loved her sunglasses and her camera, she loves these kids so much. Me too. We got them close, I ham-handedly tried to write “Hello” in Reagan, and they came so close! I stuck my hand out for them to shake, and after 1 brave soul shook it, there was an avalanche of greeting! Hands were shook like crazy; we even taught them the fist pound! :D They are fantastic; they have so much joy and energy. They almost become a uni-gender of “Children”, though girls hang out with our girls and play clapping games like patty- cake, and the boys hang out with each other. But the younger you go, the more you realize that their happiness knows no gender. I am becoming more and more convinced there is something wrong with us. We would complain about the responsibility of taking care of a younger sibling after the death of our parents: and perhaps rightly so, such an occurrence is grossly unfair, yet they, the children do it without misery. I spend my money on more and more games, yesterday I saw a child having a great time rolling a tire along the dirt road. It would appear that rubber has triumphed over “next gen graphics”. Used their latrine today. Garbage bags wrapped around 4 sticks to make privacy, though in truth I shared the experience with 2 cockroaches. Stomped one of ‘em good, they’re quite quick at scurrying! Biggest culture shock of my life. A port-a-loo was brought later, another wonderful privilege would be considered absurd at home. Glad I brought my own TP, the stuff here is just about soft enough to grate cheese. (Author’s note: I really wanted to say that XD) Yet such a thing is a blessing! Crazy!
Tuesday 7th April:
Rorschach’s Journal: 7th April. Not taking as much time to write. Takes up so much time that could be spent doing stuff. Anyway! Did wake up call today, borrowed pots and rolling pins from the food ladies. Ended up breaking a rolling pin and smashing a hole in a pot. Whoops! Thought Simon had barricaded himself in his room but it turns out he just locked it. Some of us tried to shove it a little harder than others, ended up bending the lock! (Author’s note: They were locked in and missed breakfast! XD) It was 7 o clock in the morning and we had already caused more than a hundred thousand Kwacha worth of property damage. Gave our chefs money to buy new pots and rolling pins, but it’s still the worst wake up call so far.
There is something beautiful about houses. They are such a symbol of our dependence. We feed ourselves from the earth, we came from the earth via Adam Via God, and we gather the dust of this world, unique dust for this purpose, and we pile it together with more unique dust. Different dust. And into this dust we pour our lifeblood, water. And we mix it and mix it and in this way, our sweat joins the house. We dry some for bricks, and these we lay. We leave some for Mortar, a joining clay, and we pile this high and we pile it wide, cementing our labours with yet more sweat, and we wait and watch as the sun dries and inspects our work, leaving it’s seal of approval as dried concrete. This is dust mixed by dust with the dust’s lifeblood and sweat, finished by the sun. I feel Elton John should be playing “Circle of Life” wile we build :P
Wednesday 8th April:
Today was tense. Random people showed up at the building site and started “helping”. Most of us thought they were builders, but they were being more than inappropriate. Wouldn’t leave the girls alone. Just kept bothering them, calling them over, asking for stuff, one wouldn’t stop play-boxing with Nicole, another held Rebecca in his arm and rested his hand on her stomach. Physically disrespecting women makes me angry like nothing else. The fear a man can physically instill in a woman, when abused, makes me furious. Erugh! Can’t stand it. Will keep eyes more open tomorrow. Thought they were messing or something. 1st House is nearly done. Second foundation is laid. So frustrating. We cannot clothe these children, or feed them like they should be fed, all we can do is give them a shelter. We cannot give them their parents back, we cannot stay and help look after them, we cannot wrench their fate into one of more choice and less responsibility, as a child should be. These are adults in children’s’ bodies. All we can do is treat this symptom, while the disease remain unchecked. And yet, we could do so much. We could feed them, we, the west. Not force-feed them, but offer it, at least for the orphans, for those that are so scarcely fed and clothed, those who have suffered so much, so unjustly. Yet I buy another movie while they have to shirt, I buy another game while they barely eat. I tell myself they will all be fed, be medicated enough, but so many remain in suffering while my movie leaves me unsatisfied. I will spend my money on them. If I have a spare shirt, I will give it to my neighbor. I will try my best to love my neighbor as myself even if she is on the other side of the world, even if I have never seen him and never will.
Tonight was fun. I finished teaching Nicole chess, she came worryingly close to kicking my ass, I barely managed to sneak in a checkmate, she took the majority of me pieces. First time and everything! Jeez. She had a lot of fun with her camera, there was a power outage and we stood under the stars, we looked for the southern cross and she used me as her tripod to take a picture of the moon. Then later, I took my revenge for her spooking me at the building site, her “Boo!” Repaid with relentless tickling. This erupted into an n al-out tickle-war, I was held down by a group and tickled without mercy. It was fun, but I bizarrely felt like I should have been having more fun. Tickled Simon. That was hilarious! Nicole is so fun and thoughtful, like a merry-go-round with Frederick Nietchze’s brain (Author’s note: >.<) Fun, but deep and also both spunky and quirky. Received Mosquito bite above left eyelid. Thursday 9th April: Writing one day late. Today had it’s ups and downs. Upside, I taught a bunch of kids the hokey pokey and spent half an hour having loads of fun with them today. Two downsides. One, I ended the life of a frog. We were shoveling sand and the kids found a frog. One of them deliberately broke it’s leg. Lone from, middle of dry, dry land, broken leg. People began to say that someone had to kill it, end it’s suffering. I picked up a shovel without really thinking much about it, but I knew what I was going to do. I walked over to the frog and scooped it up. The thing was still moving in circles. Went behind a pile of hay far away, almost off-screen, as it were. Placed it on soft rock, still limply moving it’s legs. Raised flat of shovel after shooing children away, some wanted to watch. Raised shovel high in air and swung down with as much strength as I had. Flatter, and it’s skin tore around it’s arm. Shoveled it into the field. Everyone told me I did the right thing. I think I did, it was going to die anyway, but people talking about euthanasia left a bad taste in my mouth. Eugh. First small animal I’ve ever killed. Felt detaching, like losing something. Weird, really, I love steak and all that. Kept worrying that one smack hadn’t killed it, felt that I should have buried it. I mean, no one wants to step in decomposing amphibians on their morning jog. Forgot about it though. Don’t regret my decision, but one can’t help but worry a little when that’s how serial killers start. Less worried now, thankful for people’s support. Second downside: A man named Moses, the same who caused trouble, showed up today. I made sure to always be between him and the girls, just in case, but when we were all working inside the house, (and can I just say the man smelled of drink, his eyes were all fogged over) (Author’s note: Upon later information, he is a local man with several children who collects scrap metal for a living and spends it all on alcohol, while his mother looks after his children.) I looked outside, and he was standing across a barrel from a little girl, couldn’tve been more than 6. He lifted his hand, and then slapped her. Not full impact, but with strong impact nonetheless. The girl started crying loudly. He realized this, and began to repeat the same phrase, I presume telling her not to cry. I walked over, and defensively raised his voice to me, then loudly repeated the phrase at the girl. It was infuriating. I was powerless. I did not have the authority to tell him off or shove him away. All I could to was “Shhh” him, lightly suggesting that he should not yell at the orphan girl he just slapped. I neither had words of comfort for the girl that she could understand. The tragedy is, both jobs should have been filled. A mother to comfort and a father to protect, yet neither was done and her wails of injustice went unavenged and unsoothed. Friday 10th April: Writing one day late again. The days are moving faster now, almost running into each other like a train wreck. My muscles are getting seriously bigger now, the bricks seem lighter every day (Author’s note: I got seriously lopsided muscles, my right arm was way more impressive than lefty!).Feels very natural and good. I can now lift two smallish children at once, one on each arm! I have wanted to do that all my life. Getting to know certain children better, namely Matthew and John. If I can find a Luke and Mark, we will start a gospel choir! (The wit!) My previous evaluation of the children was deeply flawed. They are each unique, but similar also. And very similar to other children! You have the messers, the leaders, the shy ones, the adorable ones, the ones that crave attention, the playful ones, the list goes on! Even on the other side of the world, we have messers. Touching in a way! Today is good Friday, celebrating the day that a man was Nazareth died on a cross. This always confused me. I once asked my mom about this when I was a child. “Why do we call it good Friday? Him dying doesn’t seem that celebratory”. “Well, I guess it’s good for us!” she said. I think God a really a lifer kind of being. It would be much easier and simpler if it was a bunch of hoops and all you had to do was read your Bible and pray, but it is so much more than that. It is like spending time in the presence of a friend, opening yourself up to being loved, and letting that love fill you. Following the way of love, learning more about it and you, and the time when life sucks or feels boring and useless. More and more I learn that God is not a thing, but so much more than that. Friend, Father, Helper, Guide, and it never ever ends, which can sometimes seem tiring, but on we roll down this hill called life, cutting a trench in our wake as he helps me desperate steer this careening rock, trying to spell out LOVE. Which all makes the next sentence rather stupid-sounding. Felt vaguely depressed midway through game of chess with Nicole. Everything seemed so insignificant and pointless, the winner of the game, my future, everything. I suppose I’m just losing hope that there is someone out there for me. I can feel a hunger for another, an equal to exist with and stumble, but together. Yet there are seemingly no prospects on the horizon. Dunno what I’d do in a relationship anyway, like being exited to drive, then realizing you don’t know what any of the levers do once you get in the car. Then I remembered that God has rescued people from Lions and fire, raised the dead, and turned one thing into something completely different, so playing matchmaker in Heaven is surely weak sauce really. God works on a timetable, as exiting preacherman said. Remembered that, and shoo off negativity like so much dust on my shoulders. Saturday 11th April: God, I miss home. Not home, but what was there. When there was still earth and beast and nature. I am not trapped in concrete, but all the buzz cancels itself out and I feel alone in a desert wasteland of blinking lights. I miss the stars. Orion’s belt and the moon can only take you so far. I want meaning To share and learn meaning with someone. I do not want a girlfriend, I want to stare into the infinite depths of another’s eyes, and know that she is staring into mine. To speak of what we are learning without fear of each other, to speak words of gravity, not of importance to others but things that resonate with the structure of our souls. I fear the times before and after such searching, as if I am afraid of the 3-month car journey of awkwardness before we get out and start walking down the road of life (cheeeeezy). Jeez, I talk about myself a lot. Our lunch ladies are nice. One is called Faith. The all have awesome names like that. She offered me a small, anchovy-looking fish yesterday. Ate the whole thing in one go except for the head. Tasted like normal only more tangy and oily, and the skin and bones gave it a notable crunch. Spent a lot of time with babies today. Matthew has a little sister called Ble, pronounced “Bleh”, and she is even more adorable than her name. The kids LOVE to be picked up under their arms and lifted. Sad that most of them do not have fathers to do it. Lifted up Matthew a zillion times today, almost felt like Rafiki from the Lion King, even softly sang “Circle of Life” while holding him in the air. Met “Tobias”, a 2-moth old baby. First baby I’ve held in a quite some time! He is the chubbiest baby I have ever seen! It’s that he still has all his baby fat, I mean, he’s practically fresh out of the oven. We have taken to calling him chipmunk baby, because it look like he is storing nuts in his check for winter. Seriously chubby. Some lady walked up to me today with this wailing, ska-reeeming baby and held him out to me to pick up; this she did with a grin. Took baby, she seemed pretty keen on the idea. The baby started wailing like a banshee, and screeeeming for it’s mother, wildly flailing it’s arms against my chest. My eyes went wide with fear and I put on my “Holy crap, what is going on you guys” grin. Thankfully, the baby was taken off of me, and the mother and son walked off. I stood there flabbergasted, and the head builder explained ; “The baby has a fear of while people”. Babies are adorable most of the time, even the Xenophobic ones. Sunday 12th April: Day late again. Today was our day off, so to speak. I woke up at 6 to use the toilet (I personally blame the malerone, it’s a bit of a physical scapegoat), and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I read some of John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath”. It is known as “The great American Novel”, but it has communist themes about what are essentially illegal immigrants. Funny that. Wake up was at 9, so I got about 50 pages done. So much for the lie-in, but thems the breaks! We were awoken by Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. O’Carrollan(Author’s note: turns out his last name is just Carrollan), who were wearing local skirts to our great amusement. We got crème eggs, which I am sure my mother will take great delight in, she was very concerned that I would have no chocolate on Easter Sunday. We lazed around, ate breakfast, then headed off for a second visit to the market. I decided to pay prices I would have expected at home, but due to a misconception of exchange rates (I thought 1$ was 10,000 Kwacha, when in reality it is 5,000), and not remembering to haggle, I got ripped off to some extent and ended up paying 32$ for a walking stick in my defense,, I misinterpreted it as 16$), and ended up paying 15$ for two small paintings, which is more reasonable. Tricky subject. They would pay far less for these good locally, but the income is appreciated and needed, I’m sure. But Then again, overpaying them in fear of one’s conscience is incorrect as well. Like most things, I suppose, these is no clear-cut right and wrong choice. Live and learn, I guess. After lunch, we saw a movie “Monsters vs. Aliens”. It was short, snappy humor, very simple plot, and featured some good old sci-fi jokes for the oldschool nerds. Although about 20-30 mins of the film screamed “Holy crap you guys, we got Colbert as a voice actor”. Interestingly, the film had very notable feminist and female empowerment (or in this case, superempowerment) themes, which was refreshing! The night wasn’t great, it was pretty tense, we’re all wearing on each other’s nerves. Very, very frustrating. More and more I learn that I do not understand girls, and I’m sure such a revelation would drive me stark-raving mad. Tired of squeezing myself into political correctness, of keeping my honest thoughts and opinions repressed. I frequently hear the phrase “Dig up, stupid!”. Have decided to dig in whichever direction I please, even if such an idea is perceived as drilling straight down. After all, mine is the drill that will pierce the heavens, sometimes a situation calls for a good ol’ fashioned Giga drill breaker. (<3 Gurren Laggan)Such expression must be controlled, I am not in favor of unfettered douchebaggery, but I am simply tired of hiding what I think from people, of apologizing for who I am. Long, tense, frustrating night with other people. Told a friend lost about Jesus and God today. People tend to like him better when they realize he’s not an angry old guy in the sky, waiting for you to screw up. Redeemed entire day. Oh, and happy Easter.
Monday 13th April: Day late: Last day in Zambia New chef ladies, I miss Faith; these new ones aren’t as much fun. Today was happy and sad. Donated metal bible to new family, had to clear it with Charity first. There was a ceremony to hand over the house, we played with the children with bubbles and balloons, it was very moving. I hate long goodbyes though and today just like one long goodbye. Felt wonderful to hand over the finished house, I realized the meaning of it when I thought about how I wake up in the same home every morning. These children are blessed to have this house but it is still so little compared to what we have. I suppose that too, is beautiful in a way. They are so appreciative, it makes we wonder what truly brings happiness. These children live in horrible conditions without parents, or enough food or sanitation. Yet they are so happy!!! It is just too much for me to understand, perhaps someday I will. Had awesome local dancers for the ceremony, it was very impressive! They had fire-swallowers, I alllllmost tried to when they offered, I ended up just burning my tongue. Had very long lunch, then headed home. We really feasted for lunch, sausages, fritters, nshima, and many other foods. To top it all off, a glass bottle of coke. Coca-cola has never tasted better, and I got to keep the bottle cap! I will miss Maxwell, Daniel, and all the other crazy awesome builders we had. Went home, packed, had a team meeting, then went out for dinner with Charity and Lucy as a big team thing. Originally was still grumpy at people, but I was prayin’, and I realized this was a time for celebration; the time for conflict had come and gone. I shortly thereafter played looooads of karaoke with friends (Author’s note: “Boys don’t cry” by the cure with Sam, and then “Ghostbusters” with Nicole, Sam, Simon, Aoife, and Laura. Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Carollan sang “Creep” by Radiohead; the vulnerability of the song showed a different side of the teachers, it was quite touching! And then Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Watson sang “Bohemian Rhapsody”, stealing me and Laura’s intended song. Still fun though! :D)Lots of fun. Ordered a beef stir fry with noodles. Came with a chili pepper of the VERY spicy variety. I’ve always wanted to eat a whole chili pepper in one go, this seemed as good a time as any. I spent about a solid 3 minutes screaming with a tone that could be generously described as “feminine”, the pain lasted another good 10 mins, but was more subdued. The pain was over, or so I thought. (Dun dun duuuun, to be concluded). The evening concluded with a short speech from Charity, a certificate, and a pretty awesome shirt with shields on it. I look like I’m about to celebrate Kwanza, seriously. Went back to the ho(s)tel, had another short team meeting, and went to sleep.
Tuesday 14th April: Today started just as the last day was ending. Not. I’ve lived my life mostly free of regrets, but now, I have another. Eating that Chili Pepper. It was a little past midnight, and I was wondering if stomach acid would dissolve capsaicin, the spicy ingredient in chili peppers. As I speedily ran to the toilet, I realized this was most likely not the case. The resulting cacophony of caca actually awoke everyone else in the room, and their laughter at my predicament was both loud and merry. I join in, I’m usually so shy about my toilet habits it was almost liberating to have a full-on conversation while violently oneself (Author’s note: ew.) I would not have chosen a worse day to get the skitters though, with a full day of travel ahead. I pumped myself full of immmodium, and felt relatively calm with the two possibilities the day provided me with, that I would either crap my pants or I would not. (Further author’s note: double ew! In fairness, this would almost be “character development”, I would usually freak out in this situation.) But enough about my colon. (Author’s note: finally. Sorry guys, I wanted to edit this, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it! XD) Watched the sunrise at about half four, as the orange slowly bled up the sky, mixing with the purple of the evening as the sun took the day shift. Africa really is a beautiful country. Airport security was simple enough, quick enough. Conveniently enough got a seat next to the jaxx. Decided to watch a movie, “Happy go lucky”, about a bright, positive young lady who dates a sourpuss. 4 stars, looked to be something very mentally invigorating. As the opening credits rolled on, I could not help but glance at my friend Sam’s TV, which proudly displayed the movie “BOLT”. Internal dialogue: “Ah yes, good cinematography, excellent opening sound track, very orchestral…… Hee hee, look at that silly puppy… no! Ah, she is riding a bicycle, she is an enigmatic character, it would seem…. Aw man, was that an explosion? No Lorcan, you are nearly a fully-grown man, this is no time for a childish movie….” I then flicked to BOLT, and thoroughly enjoyed myself, Sundance’s kin trounced by a puppy who thins he has superpowers. 10 hours passed quickly, and I was home before I knew it, with no real trouble from the chili pepper. I fell different now. I can’t put my finger on it, but for whatever reason when I look in the mirror, I see a man. I have learned so many things, but I will share with you three. 1 Dollar equals 5,000 Kwacha, not 10,000. Do not eat a chili pepper in one bite the day before major traveling. And lastly, a real difference can be made in this world, and a real difference must be made in this world.
(Author’s note: Most of the other things I learned through experience, I would recommend you go on one of these trips, you learn so much about life and everything. I’ve been Lorcan Murphy, and I hoped you enjoyed reading these, I hope you learned something, and I hope that someday you go on a trip like this too!)
Also, photos courtesy of Everyone's favorite existentialist carnival ride, Nicole Campbell: Album 1, Album 2, and Album 3!