Archive | March, 2009
March 22, 2009

Iraq, anyone?

Iraq is officially welcoming tourists:

Well, here she was in the lobby of a Baghdad hotel, ending a 17-day tour around one of the world’s ultimate danger destinations.

“It had always been on my list,” said Ms. Gilbert, wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with a cartoon cat and the phrase “Life Is Good.” “If it opened up, I wanted to go.”

Whether Iraq can be described as open is debatable. But Ms. Gilbert is a member of a group, mostly middle-aged and older, that has the honor of being on the first officially sanctioned tour of Westerners in Iraq since 2003 (outside of the much safer enclave of Kurdistan).

Well, WTF. If a 79 year old is hanging out in Baghdad, then I don’t see why I shouldn’t as well.
Just kidding. My mom would KILL me. And much respect for Ms. Gilbert. I hope I am still traveling when I am her age.

March 15, 2009

New banners


I made a bunch of new banners because I’ve had the same ones for, like, two years or something. They’ll show up eventually, you’ll just have to keep refreshing or whatev.


March 15, 2009

My life (in comic strip format)

st_francis_comic.gif


I would probably say “dude” more often, though.

st_francis_comic.gif

Via “Hark, a Vagrant!” by K. Beaton.


March 9, 2009

Ура!!!!!!!


In an effort to improve my Russian (aka no longer sound like an illiterate peasant) I have signed up for yet another Russian class. The last time I took a formal Russian class was in 2005 while at the LSE. Since then, I have basically forgotten everything, except how to order borscht and tell the taxi driver to take you to the military museum (but really, what else do you need to know?)

Anyways, I can’t wait to start conjugating verbs again and participating in those fun role play scenarios (“No, officer, there is no contraband in my luggage. May I pay you a ‘fine’?”). Good times.


March 8, 2009

Stuff I want to do: Cruising around Antarctica on a Russian icebreaker

Kapitan_Khlebnikov.jpg

I have never been on a cruise and I have absolutely no desire to go on one. I imagine a huge boat filled with drunk people gorging themselves on boring food, playing slot machines, laying by a pool, and occasionally getting off the boat to visit random bars in some port city. Aside from the drinking, that sounds incredibly dull. I think I’d rather be dropped off the coast of Somali, in a rowboat, with a bottle of vodka.

Antarctica, though, is one place that I wouldn’t mind going to on a cruise ship because that’s pretty much the only way to get there. If I’m going, though, I have to do it in true Lindsay style and hop aboard the Kapitan Khlebnikov, a Russian icebreaker:

Kapitan_Khlebnikov.jpg

Yes, that is the Soviet coat of arms adorning the ship’s bow.

Perched high on the ship’s bridge (open to passengers most of the time) you’ll marvel at the ease with which the Khlebnikov crushes a swath through meter-thick ice pans. Where other ships must turn around, the Khlebnikov plows forward through ice-choked waters, taking up to 108 passengers to remote fjords, channels and shores where precious few, if any, people have ever visited. And, with its on-board helicopters and fleet of Zodiacs, the range of possible destinations to explore is expanded even further. Helicopters are used for ice navigation, scouting landing sites, “flightseeing” and to land passengers in out-of-the-way places. Zodiacs whisk passengers ashore to observe wildlife and explore and archaeological and historical sites.

Helicopters! The ship has freakin’ helicopters!

The downside of cruising around Antarctica on this awesome ship is the price, which, depending on the length of the trip, ranges from $13,890 to $22,490 for a spot in a triple cabin. So, basically, the only way I can afford this trip is if I win the lottery (which I don’t actually play) or start saving enough money so I can eventually go when I’m, like, 80 years old. Awesome.

March 5, 2009

Oh, to be a laid off investment banker!


I am an idiot. When I was a student at LSE, my friends who were studying finance kept telling me that I should work in finance. I told them that finance sounded really boring and that I actually knew nothing about finance. They told me that it didn’t matter if I knew nothing about finance, I should just apply. But I didn’t, because I wanted to work in the oil & gas industry. After reading this article, however, it is apparent that I made the wrong choice. Instead of working for an industry that actually, you know, provides the energy that runs the world while managing to turn a profit and not completely fuck up the world economy, I should have gone to work for Goldman Sachs or Deutsche Bank or whatev, and then received a pink slip so I could travel the world and fulfill my dream of climbing Mt. Everest:

When Deutsche Bank determined that strategist Rod Manalo was, in the merciless language of hard times, “redundant,” it was an abrupt and humbling end to a seven-year career in finance.
But Manalo, 30, has not been trudging the gray streets of London where he was based looking for work. This week, he was in the sun-drenched Brazilian resort city of Florianopolis, taking surfing lessons and dancing in throbbing nightclubs amid Carnival revelers. That was after he had snowboarded in the Alps, golfed in Florida and prepared for a year-long world journey that he expects will take him to the Amazon, Antarctica, Australia and beyond.

[…]

Among such Type A tourists, there is often more going on than daiquiri-sipping or hammock-swinging. Take Alex Iscoe, a 28-year-old Toronto native who resigned from Goldman Sachs last May as the financial storm clouds were gathering. Recently, he was in London, hooked up to a machine that simulates the depleted oxygen conditions of high-altitude peaks, part of his training regimen to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents, something only about 230 people have done.

Well, that sounds like fun. I’ll be daydreaming of climbing Mt. Everest while sitting in my cubicle tomorrow, wondering how I can manage to scrounge up the $65,000 to actually do so.


March 1, 2009

Inauguration weekend photos

A few photos from Inauguration weekend (yes, I realize this was over a month ago). Most of these photos are actually from Annie and Cheryl.


My mom and I with the Patino side of the family from LA. They were in town because Tom was doing some shots for Leno’s Tonight Show.


We took a tour of Lincoln’s summer cottage in NW DC.


Checking out Lincoln’s top hat at the newly renovated Smithsonian American History Museum.


Waiting to pick up our tickets from Mary Bono’s office.


Yeah, these were pretty much everywhere.


The Obama store…INSANE.


I LOVE YOU ANDERSON COOPER!


Annie and I


Cheryl, Annie, my mom, myself, and Katherine in front of the Capitol a few days before the Inauguration. All of the tourists were so happy they would say “Happy Inauguration!” to each other. It was a giant love fest.


Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House


Obama’s viewing stand


The morning of the Inauguration, a little after 5am. We stepped out of the Courthouse and there were already thousands of people pouring out of the Judiciary Square metro station chanting “O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!”.


It was really, really cold that morning.


Waiting at the blue gate.


Did I mention it was really, really cold? Thank god for those instant hand warmers. I stuck them in my boots, back pockets, hat, and uh, basically anywhere I could.


Annie, our professional photographer. She was using a metal barricade to boost herself up and the dude in front of her was nice enough to allow her to use his head as a tripod for her camera.


Obama, as seen through her zoom lens.


I-395 was shutdown to traffic so that pedestrians could use it to get to the other side of the National Mall.


Goodbye, Bush!