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juin 2014

Day 59: heat, dust, chafe, ridgewalking and the swimming hole of dreams

CARROT QUINN

June 22
Mileage 31.5
Mile 1220.5 to mile 1251.5 (plus .5 to water)

The mosquitoes arrive just before bed- big fat swarms of them, bumping up against our faces, whining like little single engine planes. I pull my mosquito headnet over my face and try to sleep- the mesh on my shelter is busted and I’m going to send it into zpacks for repair (thanks, zpacks!) but I haven’t gotten around to doing it, yet. The mesh headnet falls against my face and I can see the bugs, bumping up against it. Their whining grows louder and louder. And it’s hot in here! It’s hot tonight, and I’m all the way in my sleeping bag. How am I ever going to sleep?

Later after the stars come out the mosquitoes go to sleep, and so do I. I tear the mesh off my face, breathe the good night air, and…

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Am I Too Young To Be So Bitter?

Am I Thirty Yet

the internship owen wilson

A few weeks ago I went to my friend’s graduation. I’m one of those people who tends to cry at everything. I can’t even watch 95% of the commercials they air these days without a box of tissues on hand. So I warned my friend that I’m probably going to tear up at some point during the ceremony. Graduations can be an emotional thing and I just knew one of those speeches was going to get to me.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sadness was the last thing on my mind. If I was going to tear up, it would have been from laughing so hard. I laughed at most of the speeches. It was either I laugh or scream with rage. Anger. That’s the emotion I felt the most during the graduation ceremony.

I graduated from college over four years ago. I owe a ton of money from student loans…

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There are no postcodes in Ireland

What I did on my holidays

This weekend I go away on my first ever holiday on my own.  Actually that’s not strictly true because when I was seventeen I went alone to Morocco. I’d recently ended a relationship with a man who later went on to be a (not the) manager in Sainsbury’s and whom my mother liked very much.   I had inadvertently forgotten to save any money and managed to survive for a week thanks mainly to the generosity of Lloyds Bank, but I had to supplement my meagre overdraft by begging in Tangiers.  Back then (it was the olden days) the flight cost £18 and I managed to find a series of « hotels » which were very cheap and totally justified their inverted commas.  I had a ball.  I travelled from Marrakesh to Fez with a donkey on my lap (it was a very full bus), got pulled over by the police for wearing shorts, and…

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On Not Being Able to Write It–Wendy Rawlings

Bending Genre

In 1988, fresh out of college and working at a macrobiotic deli in a health food store, I had an affair with the stock manager, a married Irishman living illegally in the United States and the father of a three-month-old daughter. In the mornings, when we met before work to make love in the back of my car, he smelled of baby powder and the beer he’d drunk the night before at what he called his local, The Dribble Inn. We flirted through the workday, French-kissed in the walk-in freezer. One day six months or so after our affair began he didn’t show up for work. Just like that, he was gone. This was in the days before cell phones; he didn’t get in touch to tell me that his wife had found out and given him an ultimatum: quit his job or she’d take his daughter away and make…

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Five Celebrities: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Five.

1.

“You’ll absolutely die when you hear what happened today at the café,” my then-girlfriend said, poking her head around the kitchen door to watch me struggle to cut the ribs off the entire bunch of dinosaur kale with a dull knife.

“Mmmhh?,” I responded.

“Well, we were listening to that Judy Garland album you put on the store iPod,” she said, stepping into view in the door frame. Her jeans were dusted dark brown where she wiped her hands after each shot of espresso, and she smelled like work in that way I loved: salt and coffee and warm milk. “Philip Seymour Hoffman came in, ordered a couple iced lattes for him and Mimi, and was standing by the bar waiting for me to finish making them.” She came up beside me and gently took the knife from my hands, easily dispensing with the ribs and cutting the kale…

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In And Out of Place

Landscapes of Cairo

This week features a piece by Sara Salem, a PhD scholar based in Cairo.

Throughout my life I have gone through different phases in terms of relating to where I am from or where I belong. Growing up in Zambia with an Egyptian father and Dutch mother meant that a restless feeling of not quite being settled was always part of my life. During my teenage years I remember this expressing itself as a dramatic quest to find out “who I am” and “where I belong”—something that should probably be attributed to the fiction I liked to read or drama shows I liked to watch rather than some universal human need to belong somewhere. I quickly grew out of that and the question didn’t seem to matter so much anymore. When I was 16, I moved to Egypt, when I was 22, I moved to the Netherlands, and for now…

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10 Things not to say to someone from Pakistan

Omaira Gill

Road in Pakistan. Not photoshopped Highway in Pakistan. Not photoshopped

I grew up in Pakistan. In my travels across the world, I have encountered many a misconception about my home-country. We’re everyone’s favourite friendly neighbourhood failed state if Fox News is to believed, and I was amazed at how shocked people were that an actual living, breathing product of the dark side of the moon was stood there talking to them. Here are some of the weirdest things people have said when they learn where I come from.

1)   Wow! Your English is really good?

This is the commonest comment anyone from Pakistan will hear the first time they have a conversation with someone. People are astonished that anyone from Pakistan, let alone a woman, can speak, read and write completely fluent English. The world expects us to either be the frothy-mouthed zealots or mini mart owners they see on TV.

English schooling systems are…

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Practice Good Blogging Etiquette, Leave Your Readers Satisfied

Calpurnia’s Crackling Bread

The Art of Eating Books

IMG_1038

As children my sister and I wrote short stories with long drawn out descriptions of food. This would have been forgivable had we written the rest of the story in the same amount of detail (apparently plot was never particularly important.) This uneven focus has continued into my adult life. Seeing a commercial or even hearing a passing mention of food can make me fixate on it to the point that I feel physical pain if I don’t eventually eat that particular thing. I also watch cooking shows when I’m hungry so that when I finally tear myself away from the TVsalivating, stomach churningthe food I eat will taste even better. I think I might be a crazy person. Or a sadist.

To Kill A Mockingbird at least pretends to have a plot (just kidding. Racial strife, yo. It’s important.) Food works on many levels: as metaphor for racial segregation (the…

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