Monday, November 30, 2009

Congrats New Zealand!

I wanted to wish New Zealand my Congratulations on their launching their first ever space rocket. Named Atea, the Maori word for space.

It achieved a maximum velocity of Mach 5, and burned for 20 seconds to an altitude of 60 miles! It then orbited for 20 minutes and touched down in the ocean.

This rocket was launched by a private company, and was the first launching of a space rocket in the southern hemisphere. While this brings about many questions regarding corporations and space travel or space explorations, I think it's important to remember that any advance by any country adds to the shared knowledge of the whole.

Thank you New Zealand for your specific contribution to space exploration.

Oh and please don't weaponize the rockets. Kthanks.

Thanks for reading and best regards,

Winter is Here!

Perhaps this post is a little premature since the official start of winter is December 21, BUT the tree in front of my house lost its very last yellow-brown leaf this morning and as a result: I DECLARE THAT AUTUMN IS OVER, AND WINTER HAS BEGUN!

Oooooh I feel like I have so much power! What else can I declare?


See, now we're getting fancy.


Does this declaration clear things up for some people who are on the fence? I hope so.


Man this is nice. I never knew I had so much power... I think I will use my powers for good.

When my ego gets this big I like to remind myself of the time I tried to use Kathleen's Picture in Picture TV. I figured out how to get two channels to show up at the same time, but then I couldn't change either of those channels, and none of the buttons responded, so I was stuck watching Fox News with an inset screen of Dora the Explorer for fifteen minutes until the cable guy who was setting up her internet came and shut off the TV for me.

Thanks for reading and best regards,

Saturday, November 28, 2009


YAY! East Rock Park Photo Contest!

Please help me win the Photo contest by voting here: for photos 18, 40 and 66!!!




My fancy new widget shows me where people visit from. This is pretty cool since I already have EIGHT countries!

The U.S., Malaysia, India, Morocco, Sweden, Singapore, Canada, and Indonesia.

NOW, let's dissect this a little, shall we? I KNOW who the New Haven Connecticut hit came from: ME. I know where the Singapore came from (JP), I know the Morocco and Canada, the TX, MO, PA and NY hits are all people I know. One of the India hits is another blogger who I emailed after seeing his blog on books. The one in LA is my friend Shane and his blog on books and creative writing is here.

WHICH ONE OF YOU told all your friends in Malaysia to check out my site? How did seven Malaysian cities register? What's strange about the hit counter is that I wish I could see EVEN more detailed information. I wish I could see addresses within the towns when I get multiple hits from Madras, India. BTW, Tangerang, Indonesia is pretty much the coolest name for a city ever.

Don't you wish you could get like a big map and a bunch of virtual pins and pin the IP addresses on here? I know I do! This counter is both an excellent tool for marketing, but also a fun widget for me since my wanderlust controls me. It makes me still feel as though I have some connection to the outside world despite my being stuck in my parent's attic.

Before I go I wanted to make a special mention that the last leaves are falling off the trees. This autumn, the foliage was delayed a full two weeks. While this was a pleasure because it meant a prolonging of the season and warmth of fall, it is a sure sign of the global climate change we all fear. This prolonging in seasonal change prevents ice from freezing properly and therefore means the arctic ice sheet will break up even faster than usual this Spring. I want to wish the members of the United Nations and President Obama the best of luck at the Copenhagen Summit this week. It is my hope that they make decisions and come to agreements that are best for humanity, even if individual humans lose out.

Thanks for reading and best regards,


Thanks to a friend of mine, I found a site that lets me show a MAP!!! However, this will only refresh every 24 hours so you'll have to come back this time tomorrow to see the international awesomeness!

Friday, November 27, 2009


This was a decent Thanksgiving. I just ate so much turkey I'm gonna pass out.

Happily I was able to both be helpful in the kitchen allllll day, and also not get so angry that the parents refuse to feed me! Victory is mine.

We had so much insane food. Pies and seafood and turkey... nom nom nom.

It was so strange that my dad decided to tell everyone he worked with that I was joining the Navy. They all had questions and when I asked, "dad, how many people did you tell?" only then did people seem to understand that perhaps I didn't want to talk about this...

The strangest part of the night however was when someone at the table asked if we could make a toast to the troops defending our country. My father looked at me, dead in the eyes, and said, "I won't mind if people feel like they want to do that."

The other odd thing was that a former Department of State employee was there. He and I started speaking in French, and we had our own conversation about Bantu languages and living in Africa and the Comoros (he's been there and I work at the Comorian U.N./ U.S. Embassy). It was bizarre to see other people try to join into this conversation. As if they understood any of the linguistic roots of Malagasy, Kicomoro or Kiswahili... why do people need to participate in EVERY conversation?

My mom does this all the time. I'll have a conversation about African politics or economics, and she'll interrupt and go "Well, You know what my favorite country is?" And some unsuspecting person will try to be inclusive and say "what?" and she'll break out into song. "Zanzibar, Zanzibar, Can't go far in Zanzibar! Don't need a car in Zanzibar!" Etc. etc. etc. until I die of mortification and have to say "You know Zanzibar is NOT a country, it's a protectorate of Tanzania, and since I'm the only on at the table who has ever BEEN to Zanzibar, I can tell you that the island is QUITE big, and we needed a car." I mean... I wish I could add, 'Do we need to go look at pictures on my computer to get you to stfu?' BUT I don't.

Zanzibar, Zanzibar, Can't go far in Zanzibar! Don't need a car in-- crap now it's stuck in my head. Stupid song...

Thanks for reading and best regards,

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rewriting and Spreadsheets

Hello peoples.

I have started rewriting the novel I began so long ago in Kenya. You all remember that old project from my SIT study abroad time. Problem is that I absolutely cannot edit my own work with an objective eye. I'll take a paragraph, and instead of adding a comma, which would be the only complaint to an outside reader, I will become entirely dissatisfied with the section and rewrite the entire paragraph. Now on many levels this is a positive thing. For one, it increases the level of my writing as well as updates my work from 21 year old me to 24 year old me. For another thing, it expands the work, adding details and clarifying points before sending it to an external editor. The way I wrote it while in Kenya was as a quick project to get a grade, and part of this rewriting needs to be expanding on the basic structure and plot.

However this is taking me SO MUCH LONGER THAN IT SHOULD. Part of the problem that I am having a truly difficult time being inspired. But "lack of inspiration" is kind of a cop out. As is "I have other things like work," even though these interminable spread sheets for the committees are getting in my way with not only my book but my other United Nations duties. Point is. I don't know what is blocking me from just sitting down and working on this project as well. Yesterday I found my self wanting to read a brief entitled, "The Effects of the Financial Crisis on IMF Debt Repayment in Low-Income Countries" instead of writing. It was 34 pages long. (Let me just add, if you are ever given the choice between, say, reading this paper and putting your hand in acid, I hear that the latter is not as painful as it sounds, and cosmetic surgery should take care of any scarring.)

SO I now am asking that if you have any advice for getting over writer's block, please email me or paste it in the comments below. kthanksbye!

Thanks for reading and best regards,

Friday, November 13, 2009

Recruiter Vs. My Mom: Round 1

As some of you may know I intend on joining the U.S. Navy as a commissioned officer.

So my recruiter came to the house today to have me sign some paperwork. And she met my mother. If ever I needed motivation for suicide... ha ha ha... ha ha ha kidding!


Now For those of you who have met my mother, you know she is sometimes not so good with "the people." Especially the people she thinks may be conservative. So firstly, instead of knowing how to address Chief Juliet Snell, NCC Navy Recruiter NRD New England, she called her "girlfriend." As in "girlfriend! What are all those buttons for?" (by buttons she was referring to Chief Snell's 12 Naval Medals, including a distinguished service ribbon, a good conduct ribbon, a global war on terrorism medal, and a humanitarian service medal for her work during both Katrina and some flooding somewhere. That's 12 not including duplicates. 20 years of service and my mom calls her "girlfriend."

Oh and my mom tries to get Chief Snell to let my mother wear her hat. Which I just have to say was ENTIRELY DISTRACTING while I'm signing paperwork. So distracting in fact, that I misspelled MY OWN NAME. TWICE. Yeah, devastated.

Enjoy my pathetic life! I can only hope the Navy takes pity on me by making me an officer candidate after putting me through so much paperwork. I mean, I have a recommendation from a United Nations Ambassador. My application does kind of kick ass.

Thanks for reading and best regards,

Monday, November 9, 2009

20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

I felt that it was important to mark this historic event by writing about the economics behind the Berlin Wall in today's world. This social and political event in Berlin was attended by world leaders and people who just wanted to be a part of it. The coolest part for me was the Berlin Wall Replica Dominoes which were over a mile long and knocked down once again, not to signify the fall of communism, but to signal the strength of Germany's democracy. I love that these Berlin Wall Dominoes seem to be painted by citizens from a reunified Germany, Europe and world. :D

Even during a worldwide economic crisis it seems that people are capitalizing on this 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Example? For just 99 cents on eBay you can be the proud new owner of a (slightly used) certified chunk of the Berlin Wall. I know that you may be thinking that 99 cents is a bit pricey for a piece of concrete, but I think that if the economy were performing better that these little nuggets of history would be going for at least twice as much. AND of course if you have the money to spend you can get bigger pieces with large sides of intricate graffiti for $150 or more.

But all in all, was really a great thing to see an inspirational event (finally) in the news after a full week of shootings. Especially an event where thousands of people were willing to wait in the rain to see history remembered. Click here to see a video of the Berlin Wall being torn down 20 years ago from BBC News.

Thanks for reading and best regards,


I have so much trouble sitting down and getting my work done when I've had a huge portion of coffee. Pretty sure this mug about sums up how I'm feeling about the whole thing right now.

I'm supposed to be reading books/writing books but I can't concentrate. As a result, I am listening to old episodes of This American Life and figuring out how to make the Crystal Noodle packaged soup taste better... I'm thinking some sauteed leeks, cilantro, scallions, peanut butter, coconut milk, chili peppers, srirachi, and garlic. Check out Recipe Stockpile once I've perfected this.

So, I'm supposed to be reading the MILPERSMAN: Naval Military Personnel Manual. It's 3160 pages long.

Okay seriously, I'm gonna try to get the coffee out of my system and then write more of the book.

Thanks for reading and best regards,

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Photo Contest and Translation Job

Alright, remember last week when I shared all those East Rock Park photos? WELL, this week there's a contest for BEST PARK PHOTOS!!! (score!) This contest is Justin Elicker's doing since he's the President of the Friends of East Rock Park as well as the new Alderman, so once again, Justin rules! AND A special shout out to Chris who took time this afternoon to help me choose my entries. Thanks buddy.

I entered three photos last year but there were 85 entries and only 10 winners so I didn't win. But this year I feel it. I'm gonna totally win. (If you vote for me, link to come)

Also, my scheme of going into chat rooms to give out my resume and look for work has finally worked! I got a translations job from French to English. Best part? Could end up being like a $2000 job! (score #2!) I wonder if I can get them to pay me in Canadian Dollars. That would be like 10% more... stupid dropping dollar.

I win twice today. The American Economy? Not so much.

Speaking of translations, I learned how to say "sexy pants" in Mandarin, which will come in handy if ever I meet a super hot hottie from China! "ku4 zi3 xing4 gan3 de" is the English transliteration. Enjoy that people. Enjoy, and use wisely.

Thanks for reading and best regards,

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Election Day, $8 Coffee, and a Lawn Sign Surprise

I would like to take a moment to congratulate Justin Elicker who won the election on Tuesday November 3, 2009 for Alderman of New Haven's Ward 10. He ran a good, clean campaign based on the issues. I was very proud to be a part of his campaign and to be able to share in his day.

While it is sad to see our ward no longer be represented by an Independent, I am so pleased to know that Justin will be our Alderman. His commitment to stem crime and care for East Rock Park, as well as the way he plans to take on controversial issues like the new Worthington Hooker school opening and rezoning of out Police District.

Additionally, I would like to thank him again for helping me start the Upper Orange Street Block Watch(formerly the East Rock Block Watch). This group has given me the opportunity to become more involved in my community and meet new people.

NOW, Something has gone wrong with my local economy. I went to the little store at the corner that just opened up while I was walking around to help collect the candidate's lawn signs after the election had ended. I wanted coffee. The large cup of coffee with milk and sugar and maybe some foam and caramel syrup stuff, and a croissant: $7.69.


America, we need to talk. Alyson is unemployed. Mostly. Alyson will over-pay $7.69 for lots of things: movie tickets, burritos, books, The Economist, $5-foot long sandwich, even a box-o-condoms if it came to it. What? You should ALWAYS use protection people (= best advice ever). But a cup of coffee and a croissant, that's a maximum of $4.50.

So, little shop on the corner, you owe Alyson $3.29 in breakfast food.

And while I went around to collect lawn signs I noticed something fishy. I think there is a Lawn Sign Conspiracy in my district. I am going to describe the situation and you are going to tell me if I am on to something dastardly.

The Elicker Campaign had asked people if they could put lawn signs on people's private property a few weeks ago. The night before the election a group of volunteers put out an additional 100 campaign lawn signs in the tree strip, this put the total number of lawn signs just for the Elicker campaign to about 175 in a 10x10 block area. The campaign was going to organize volunteers this weekend to remove these signs.

Two days after the election (today) I walked for a mile and a half up and down the streets of my neighbor hood and saw TWO lawn signs belonging to the either Aldermanic campaign. I saw EVERY Mayoral lawn sign still in place, and many of the Aldermanic opponent's signs had been removed as well.

Technically putting signs on the tree strip is illegal. All of the Alderman signs from both campaigns had been removed from Ward 10 (but not Roland Lemar's in Ward 9).

I think there was a conspiracy organized by the mayor to keep only his signs up in our ward after the election.

Political lawn sign sabotage? I think so.

Thanks for reading and best regards,

Monday, November 2, 2009

Abstract Autumn

Happy Autumn,

My best friend is in Singapore going to graduate school so I have spent a few days going around my neighborhood talking photographs of the fall and the leaves and the pretty trees. These were taken in East Rock Park

I think the colors and the light behind the leaves just makes autumn the most beautiful time of year. Thoughts?

Thanks for reading and best regards,