adrian is rad

12/27/2009

reverse

Filed under: — adrian @ 8:21 pm

I referred to some reverse culture shock since I got back. I thought I’d elaborate about what I’ve noticed anew in US America.

  • relative wealth
  • relatively little security
  • relative lack of paranoia about safety
  • less of a correlation between race and class
  • stores open late
  • people talking like me
  • people not talking like me
  • big cars
  • expensive food
  • cheap electronics, clothes

12/21/2009

travels (cape town to dc)

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:00 am

jo'burg airport

I left South Africa on Thursday and traveled for about 26 hours until I landed in DC on Friday morning. Everything has gone pretty smoothly so far. The flight and travel felt shorter than I expected; I got in before the big snow fall here; I’ve had a great time hanging out with friends; and the Steelers stopped their losing streak yesterday in a ridiculous game.

andy at lunch

I was hoping for some cold weather and snow when I got here but I didn’t expect the biggest December snowfall in DC’s history. We mostly just huddled inside, had some beer and pizza. In the evening, we went for a nice walk on still-unplowed streets in picturesque neighborhoods. It reminded me a bit of Norman Rockwell.

snow on street

It’s been a bit disorienting being back. Besides going from the hot summer to snow and winter, there have been some cultural shocks as well. People speak differently and think differently, things work differently, some things are easier, some are harder.

12/16/2009

who directs traffic when the traffic lights are out?

Filed under: — adrian @ 1:19 pm

In Johannesburg, it’s apparently Outsurance, one of the bigger South African insurance (vehicle, home) companies. There apparently weren’t enough police/ traffic services to do the job so this company has started sending their own teams.

It’s brilliant. Good PR, good opportunity for advertising—the traffic directors wear Outsurance shirts—and it saves them money—fewer accidents means fewer payouts.

12/13/2009

4+ months

Filed under: — adrian @ 8:46 am

It’s hard to believe it’s been over four months in South Africa already. Like life tends to be, the time seems to have passed both slower and faster than that.

In general it’s gone by very fast. I’ve done a lot but it doesn’t seem long ago that I was getting on a plane here. It doesn’t seem long ago that I was looking for an apartment and trying to decide whether to go to Ingwavuma. It doesn’t seem long ago that I was spending my birthday with people I hardly knew, but having a fine time anyway.

In a number of ways, things have gone slowly. Making friends takes time, though I feel like I’m starting to get there. I still haven’t gotten a number of things that I thought would be nearly immediate: a bike and a guitar among them.

Culture shock has come slowly and subtly. For how South African I viewed myself and all the things I was already accustomed to—most language, food, braais, mannerisms, etc—it was a bit of a surprise that there was any culture shock, but it was that little things that I found surprising, distressing, or disorienting.

When it comes to culture, it’s difficult deciding what I’m going to be stubborn about. One may think that it’d be best to be fluid and adopting of another culture, and that may help socially, but there are some thing I want to be stubborn about. One easy example is that I’d like to guard against the (sometimes intense) paranoia that some South Africans display. I feel like there’s little reason to live life paranoid and if I do get to that stage, it’s time to move back to the States.

I don’t have much of a concrete plan about what the future will hold, but I am coming back in January to see. It should be an exciting few months: a roadtrip with a friend, a visit from my parents (planned before I decided to move here), and the World Cup. And I’m sure other things will turn up in there as well.

But for now, I’m preparing to return to the US America. I’m pretty excited for the trip, to see friends and family, to see my breath, eat some comfort food and drink good beer.

US America

Filed under: — adrian @ 8:46 am

My country of birth listed on my ID is “U.S. America.” There’s obvious wisdom to this abbreviation and I think we should all adopt it. All in favor?

12/8/2009

photos: norman rockwell + world leaders

Filed under: — adrian @ 12:10 pm

The New Yorker’s Platon shot many of the world leaders when they were in NYC for the UN Meeting a couple months ago. Not all the photos are great but it’s a great collection all together.

I never knew that Norman Rockwell staged photos of his ideas and then painted from the photos. The photos are obviously very meticulously produced. Check out some side-by-side comparisons.

japanese weird+awesome: tarantino and vintage baseball cards

Filed under: — adrian @ 12:03 pm

This is really strange:

I really like these vintage Japanese baseball cards.

12/6/2009

movies, steelers, draw party, a week and a half, etc

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:57 am

Movies are <$4 is my local art house cinema (about a 5 minute walk) so I go see films sometimes. It reminds me of when I went to movies in Germany lots on Tuesdays because it was 4 Euro movie night.

Last week I saw Whatever Works, the latest Woody Allen film. It stars Larry David as a man who despises everyone and sees life in a very negative light. I laughed aloud a few times. Decent entertainment but not a great movie.

Today I saw Zombieland, a buddy road trip/ zombie comedy. I’m not a fan of zombie movies (despite the Pittsburgh tie) but this is really funny. I liked it a lot.

I’m following along the Steelers game online. I hope they stop their recent slide here.

I watched last week’s game yesterday. They lost but I was pretty happy how our 3rd string QB played in his first start (and his first throw of the game was only his second NFL throw ever).

K'naan and crowd

There was a big party on Long St, about 10 minutes walk from my place, for the 2010 World Cup Draw which happened on Friday. It was packed but it was a good time.

In the draw, USA got England, Slovenia and Algeria. Not an amazingly tough group but there’ll be a couple competitive games in there.

I head back to the States in a week and a half. I’m excited to see friends and family. I’m excited for some hat-and-gloves-and-seeing-your-breath weather.

I have a bunch of things to do before I head back, probably the biggest of which is trying to find a car. I’m renting a car right now and I’m returning it right before I leave.

12/3/2009

wow.

Filed under: — adrian @ 1:33 pm

You’ve probably heard the story: rookie quarter back of a bad team leads his team in a comeback (against an admittedly bad team). Six points behind, on the second to last play of the game, he gets hit so hard that his shoulder is separated and, by rule, he has to leave the field…unless the opposing team calls a time out, which it does. He throws off the doctors and reenters the game to throw the winning touch down.

Now watch the video. The quarterback was miced. The video is pretty inspired.

I’ve always loved NFL Films even before I followed the game–they bring the game to a mythical level, symbolic struggles with giant men.

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