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05.07.09: Added Twitter to make my blog update faster. Some people will also not be on Twitter.

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    6.30.2003 ||>  

    So I can't tell if I'm sick or if it's just allergies. I took 120mg of allegra with however much of the pseudoephedrine they pack into those tiny little pills. I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone, but now I just feel loopy. And naturally, since I feel this way, I have decided to share my medication-induced loopiness with all of you.

    So the friend I'm staying with has these neighbors who make him sick whenever he goes near them. The mom's a doctor and so the whole family is like a carrier for weird stuff. They never get sick, but us poor Americans with our lack of immunity to weird stuff are completely vulnerable. So back to the neighbors. I didn't know who these neighbors were, or what they looked like although I had heard some stuff about them. So when the neighbors invited me over to drink tea, I went and didn't think about it. Now my friend thinks I'm going to get sick and I'm sort of afraid of infecting people myself. But at the same time, I don't feel sick and I'm just really sniffly which makes me think it's just allergies. So I'm paranoid and feeling silly for being paranoid at the same time.

    Wooohh, drugs make my head all swimmy... Good bye.

    song: the hunchback of notre dame - esmerelda (in russian)

    Sepra was livin' easy on 7:04:00 AM || Site Feed ||

    0 snow blossoms

    6.29.2003 ||>  

    Ok, so I'm back. I think my Russian has improved, although the test I took doesn't think so. I'm just going to study sticky grammar points and it'll be better. As for my living situation, well, that's also sticky, so we'll just skip over that too for a second...

    ...and talk about how tired I am. I don't think I've ever been so tired in my life. I can't stay awake longer than six in the morning. I go to bed at 10 at night, but even then, it's only eight hours and that's not normal for me, since usually I got to bed at at least 11 or midnight. But even at ten I'm exhausted. It's like a functional fatigue, but I feel as if, because I'm across the globe, my insomnia has completely reversed itself and I can't stay asleep instead of not being able to go to sleep. It's really affecting the way I feel about everything. I wish I could sleep...

    site: anna's and kelly's new layouts!
    song: saffron hill - my love is always

    Sepra was livin' easy on 9:00:00 AM || Site Feed ||

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    6.22.2003 ||>  

    So the camp I was working on for the last two weeks is over and oh my god I'm still so tired. I was all excited this morning because I could sleep in, but of course, I woke up at the exact same time, 5:50 am, today and could not get to sleep. Last summer as soon as I got here, I woke up between 6:00 and 6:15 every single morning and it didn't end until the first day it snowed in December. I think it's going to do that again and so I've got to learn to adjust to my new influx of melatonin. Damn it.

    I'm going to a language training thing next week, so if someone emails me, I may not be able to answer them for a week or so, or maybe I will be able to answer, but it may only be in russian. :)

    As for the Pulsar comment, I am going to stop, but before I do, let me end with this quote:

    me: You know, between the neurological damage, the emotional damage, the diarrhea and gas, we have got to stop drinking Pulsar.
    friend: Yeah, but it's so good...
    me: I know...

    song in my head: hot action cop - fever for the flava

    Sepra was livin' easy on 1:27:00 AM || Site Feed ||

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    6.19.2003 ||>  

    So I'm going to do those last four reviews of Buffy any day now. And then I'll do the last 18 reviews of Angel any month now. :) Angel reviewing has always been a problem for me though because they all seem to run together into one big thing. I don't know if this makes any sense. But it does to me. So right now, on this site (you know... [dot com]), I have a new book review in my articles section to appease everyone with. Just got finished with The Mammoth Hunters and had to write about it. Priyatna apetit as we say in Russian.

    Anyway, I'm checking out of the hotel I've been living in for a month on Sunday, so that's my last day, and thus the end of all my freaky hotel stories. But before this happens, let me entertain the world with one more.

    So some friends and I were out at the topjons having a beer or two again, because a fellow volunteer was going to America for a wedding and we were waiting up with him since his flight was at 2:00 am. And have I mentioned the classifications of Uzbek beer? Because some of it is slightly scary. The scariest one being called Pulsar. It's make in Samarkand and it tastes ok and is cheap, which is why it's the drink of choice. See, we all hate vodka by now and the wine and champagne gives most of us too many gastro-intestinal problems to justfy the price. So we mostly stick to the beer, which seems to go over better. But Pulsar is weird. It has this strange effect on all of us, all in different ways. It cause severe gas in most of us, other gastro-intestinal issues (especially in me) and in some people neurological weirdness. Like a friend of mine drank a bottle one night and the next day his middle finger began to twitch uncontrollably. Limbs fall asleep easier, it's really odd stuff. But the other night, it was making us really, really emotional too. At one point, I was crying, another guy was crying and another one was like "I hate everyone, everyone hates me, screw the world." We were all feeling very odd to say the least. So we sit up until 2:30 and have this huge emotional event.

    Then everyone shuffles off except this one friend (the "I hate the world" one) who stayed the night before and I got in trouble over. Well, he wanted to crash again, and I didn't have a problem with this, but the last time, I was bitched out and told to notify the hotel desk. So I notified the guy at the desk and he was like, "I need to see his passport." So we gave him our PC identification and my friend tried to make sure that Peace Corps wouldn't be charged for his overnight stay. The guy said he had to charge if he had the information, so it was like a catch-22 of sorts which pissed us off. So we talk to the guy for 5 minutes and convince him not to charge. But he still wants a $5 bribe ("It's not for me, it's for the guard, because he will talk" - yeah right) from us to let him stay the night. So my friend has $2 and I go upstairs to get $3, but we're a little pissed, and so I say to the guy when I give him the money:
    "Here is my 3,000 soum. Before you give it to the guard, please let him know that this is all the money I have for tomorrow's dinner. So please let him know that because he has taken my money, I will not eat tomorrow because he has my dinner."
    And the guy was like: "Uhhhh."
    But what I didn't know was that when I went up to my room to get the money, my friend tried to talk to the doorman and the doorman said, "Look, I am a man, I understand these things. But the guard will tell anyway. But I am a man, so I understand." and the waiter was winking. How presumptuous! Especially because nothing could, would or should ever happen!
    Anyway, we go upstairs and after I am in my pjs and my friend is in (his, separate) bed, we hear a knock. As I was thinking what now?!? I open the door and there is the guard. He hands me back the money and says he doesn't need it. We thought this was cool and I thanked him and closed the door hopped into my bed and just after I turn off the light, the phone rings. Here is that conversation:

    me:Hello? (impatiently)
    the doorman: Hello Sepra, (they always use my name!) I just want to let you know, we gave you back your money, but two things. Your friend can not eat breakfast here.
    me: That's fine. And?
    the doorman: Try not to make too much noise.
    me: (very pissed and tired) Ok, I promise to be very quiet for the two hours I have left to sleep.

    Which, I had to get up at 5:50 for work and it was 3:30 by now. I was so pissed. So I slept for two hours, got up and I was seriously on a different planet I was so tired. I ate, and I walked my friend to the metro where we both left to go to work. We were laughing at last night and he was filling me in on the wierd "I'm a man, so I understand" b.s. and we discussed the weird emotive effect of the Pulsar on us. We blame it for the oddity of the whole evening.

    Anyway, so I think that will be the last crazed thing that happens there. I hope so at least.

    surfing: curse the stars
    song in my head: ben harper - my own two hands

    Sepra was livin' easy on 8:28:00 AM || Site Feed ||

    1 snow blossoms

    6.17.2003 ||>  

    Score one for feminism.
    Okay, this is going to be a very technical thing that some people will just not get, so please bear with me while I share my two webby victories of the week.

    Victory the first: my conquest of the font tag. I shouldn't even be admitting to it, because I feel so stupid that it took me how many years to figure this puppy out, but I was getting really frustrated with making tables in HTML because to make them look good, I had to use font tags for every freaking cell which is annoying to say the least when you're doing a million cells all by hand on notepad. Plus, the file sizes for the webpages were annoyingly big because of the extra taggage on the page. I kept trying to use CSS to no effect because while it would format outside the table, it wouldn't go in the table where I needed it. So it just occured to me like two days ago to put a font command inside the table tag and it would do it. Like:

    < table style="font-size: x-small;" >< tr >< td >< /td >< /tr >< /table > instead of:
    < table >< tr >< td >< font >< /font >< /td >< /tr >< /table >

    Yes, it's taken me this long. But I'm not an idiot any longer, promise! I feel like a revolution has taken place where my workload for this volunteer website has just decreased 200%. I was so happy I did a little dance.

    Victory the second: Today I was working at the summer school and it's at a Lycee that has computers (it's pretty rich). Well, one teacher there is working with the students on HTML web-design work. They have Dreamweaver, Photoshop, the works. How they afforded it all is beyond me, maybe a charitable donation or a grant, I don't know. Anyway, my new site mate who works at the Lycee told them that I do web-design work and know HTML. Being men, and especially Uzbek men, they were very sceptical, like "psh, she's a girl, how can she know this stuff!?!" They didn't believe him, but they sort of started to ask me questions anyway to prove him wrong. So here's a basic gist of the conversation:

    Them: "So, uh, what program do you use?"
    Me: "Well, I know Dreamweaver, but right now all I have is notepad to work on for the Peace Corps Volunteer website."
    Them: "Wait. So you write the HTML?"
    Me: "That's right. By hand mostly, but I also get some code off the internet, like DHTML tricks and CSS commands. It's just easier that way because some browsers don't support JavaScript and you have to make sure it's compatable with different computers."
    Them: "Uh...." (a pause as the light dawns and then....) "Oh my goodness! Do you want to see our website?! Maybe you would like to help us or teach us?! How did you learn HTML anyway?!"
    Me: "By myself, through a book and a lot of practice. I use Dreamweaver to make things faster, but I like to control my own HTML. I also use Photoshop for my graphics, so I know that too."
    Them: (a big pause while they assimilate all this, then a sudden rush to show me everything they've ever done on the internet, begging for my approval.)

    I think it's good though, because my biggest problem with boys (and some girls) is that computers and the internet are stereotypically a boys domain or whatever. So even in the States I sometimes get boys who know less than me about web design or computers get this "let me help you with that, little lady" attitude when I am perfectly capable, or girls who are like, "that's nice and all, but wouldn't a boy be better to fix this?" when I am better than the next available guy. (which is the worst for me since I am so embarassed for my gender at that point.) So in this overly male-dominated culture, here I am, proof that girls can do these things and do them better than the guys around her. And it's such a good, because it means that they won't turn into these macho bastards like the majority of the men around here. So I say: feminism, yay!

    song in my head: lamya - empires

    Sepra was livin' easy on 9:35:00 AM || Site Feed ||

    0 snow blossoms

    6.14.2003 ||>  

    Okay, that last blog was all about me feeling guilty for not doing something I shouldn't have done anyway, and also feeling guilty for feeling what I was feeling. Especially since the Peace Corps people here are like the most competent people I have known when it comes to this sort of stuff like organizing and implementing.

    Anyway, I used to be a reviewer for a web magazine and they went defunct sorta, so I took my reviews and put them here for people to read who never went there. So there are three book reviews up, and if you haven't read them already, they're new and in the article section.

    Sepra was livin' easy on 2:45:00 AM || Site Feed ||

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    6.13.2003 ||>  

    I had the last of my macaroni cheese tonight. Yummmmm.... And I was puttering around earlier trying to write the review for Chosen and End of Days and I realize the problem certain other webmasters are having (cough annaandkelly cough) writing their own reviews because I'm still speechless, and I will be dorkily triumphant to note the only one of the three Buffy fans here to shed tears of joy and sorrow. That was some good macaroni and cheese too, it was sooooo cheesy.

    What the hell was I going to talk about? Oh, yeah, depressing stuff. Remember that camp I was doing and couldn't complete because I got kicked out? Well, the other volunteers revived it and some kid died yesterday at the camp. They went to a public swimming pool and a kid drowned because none of the lifeguards or doctors knew CPR or had appropriate resusitation equipment. Now here's the part where I get all screwed up and irredemable. I'm really saddened by it but I feel sort of responsible too. Like, if I had been the director, we never would have gone to the swimming pool, or if I had made the guys who took it over stick to the budget like a cheap polyester suit, they wouldn't have been able to afford to go there. Or even worse, if I had been all petty about my site and been like "screw their camp, those funds will go to another place" the camp never would have happened and the boy would still be alive. So basically, I feel as if had I been more in control, someone would be alive because of it. I mean, it's no one's fault, and definitely not the other volunteers, but I can't help thinking this stuff. I'm going to hell, aren't I?

    Sepra was livin' easy on 12:58:00 PM || Site Feed ||

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    6.12.2003 ||>  

    That was beautiful. I love Buffy, I love the fans, I love it all. It was just too beautiful. Thank you Joss, thank you cast and crew and writers and thank you Kelly for letting me witness this. The other volunteers here are also shouting their thanks right at this moment as they catch up.

    ... and the moment's done.

    God that was beautiful. More will come soon.

    Sepra was livin' easy on 12:38:00 PM || Site Feed ||

    0 snow blossoms

    6.11.2003 ||>  

    So I mentioned how wierd the hotel got after my friend crashed for the night, right? It gets weirder. I thought I was pretty obvious in how I did not in any way sleep with him. I mean, there were two beds in the room and he left his unmade, so I left mine unmade too on purpose so that the maid would tell people that we slept in separate beds. (Which we did, since he's a freaking friend for cripes' sake and and oh... it would just never happen, not to mention I'm not like that.) Anyhow, so the maid leaves fresh sheets for both beds, and the other hotel staff last night was like "oh my god" when 4 of us sat out on the topjons (these big Uzbek seating areas that're raised off the ground) again to talk and have a beer. So I had to make a big scene and say "everyone's going home tonight!" so that they'd leave us alone. But regardless of my big scene last night, this waiter, Alek (yes I know their names - and now they call me by mine) asked this morning at breakfast: "So your friend is not here this morning? Where is he?" I nearly lost it. I was cracking up so bad, it was all I could do to keep a straight face and tell him "He's at home, of course." I mean, this hotel staff is seriously sad if they are living vicariously through me. I'm way to boring for that!

    There was also this time in the past month that I've been living in the hotel that I stayed the night at another friend's apartment because it was too late for the metro and I didn't want to take a taxi. So I came back at 8 in the morning and the guy at the desk asked me "So where were you... all night?" They now probably think I was staying at the first friend's apartment, and are gossiping their butts off. I almost wish I was as interesting as they are making me out to be...

    song in my head: saffron hill - my love is always
    surfing: anna's new layout

    Sepra was livin' easy on 9:47:00 AM || Site Feed ||

    0 snow blossoms

    6.10.2003 ||>  

    I am very pluggy lately, but I promise that this is my last time! This site is a recent phenomenon for me, and I can't keep my browser off it. It's really slow to load, but it's strangely worth it! And you know, usually I don't say stuff like that.

    So last night, I drank some beer with other volunteers and one of them crashed in my room because they didn't want to have to pay a taxi to go home. But in the morning, just after they left, the hotel calls my room and was like, "we need to talk to you." Look, I know you're not supposed to have an unregistered guest, but come on! I mean, the guy had a point, which was that he could theoretically be arrested for not reporting a foreigner in a hotel, but it didn't happen, did it? And the person was a Tashkent volunteer who was registered for Tashkent anyway, so what does it matter? Anyway, the point is this: they need to make this whole KGBish registration thing less of a freaking hassle. Plus, the hotel is not that great, it's not like too many people are even there! But at the same time, I don't want to piss them off so whatever. Other than that, it was a totally laid back thing, and fun, so it's all good.

    Album in my head: radiohead - hail to the thief
    Plugging: photogenic

    Sepra was livin' easy on 2:53:00 AM || Site Feed ||

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    6.07.2003 ||>  

    So I added this girl's Faith site to my links page for BWLS and she linked to me too, but she said the coolest thing, that I have to tell you what she said! She said: "BWLS: This is the most original BtVS site you'll ever get! The ideas within this place are so unique and i was hoping to affiliate with the site but the owner doesn't do affiliations so i had to settle with a link exchange. If you have nowhere else to go, this link is dying to be visited." Awww, isn't that sweet! So I'm plugging her today because she's really cool, and her site's interesting too, the layout is unique to say the least. Oh, and as for the Buffy site, I updated again, and am working right now on another, although it won't be up until tomorrow.

    As for news, well, there is none. I am still living in the hotel and the apartment hunt is annoying to say the least. Plus, get this: I am the only guest in this entire hotel! It is really freaking me out. I come "home" late and the guy at the desk asks me where I was, or when I go to breakfast, there is no longer a buffet, but they made one plate. For me. Isn't that creepy? I have been here way too long. I think I saw some people check in today and I heard a baby cry upstairs so I'm hopring that means there will be guests soon as I find all of this quite sketchy. I mean, I know the people and they're perfectly nice, but I feel like the last person at a restaurant. In restaurants, the whole staff always waits for that last table to be done so they can do whatever they want and clean up and go home, dressing how they wish. I get the feeling that I'm that last customer. Although being able to shower everyday and having air conditioning more than makes up for it....

    Song in my head: shakira - "the one"
    Surfing: deep (like I said before)

    Sepra was livin' easy on 2:18:00 PM || Site Feed ||

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    6.04.2003 ||>  

    So I got a school yesterday and I went to visit it and the teachers are all my age. In fact, when they first came in, I was like, "are these my students?" But they were teachers. Anyway, they seem really excited, so things look like they're looking up. and I'm going to stay in Tashkent for the next year and a half too, so I'm psyched. Ok, going to be inappropriate (aka drinking beer with the locals, which in Peace Corps slang is, "community integration"). Take care!

    Edit (5:26 pm): So I went to the outdoor drinking area and while we were drinking, this guy walks buy with a live rooster and goes into the kitchen of a restaurant. 10 minutes later, the rooster comes running out and the guy is chasing it all down the block for 5 minutes until he catches it. Then they go back into the kitchen. Another reason to love this country. Hope they enjoy their chicken dinner. Fresh!

    Song in my head: Snoop Doggy Dogg feat. Pharrell - "Beautiful"
    Surfing: english-sun

    Sepra was livin' easy on 6:32:00 AM || Site Feed ||

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    6.03.2003 ||>  

    So I have been finally surfing in what feels like forever which means I can go to all these new sites that I haven't been to before. I mean, I've always tried to go to my dailies, if I can, but new sites were usually beyond my ken. It's cool to see what all these "new" people are doing and the sites are just beautiful! I miss surfing.

    Anyway, what was I going to talk about... oh, I may actually get a place to live! An apartment all by myself! After 3 weeks of living in a hotel, getting a permanent place has both it's up and down sides. The good: it's cheaper to live in an apartment and I can cook my own food. Plus, there's noone coming into my room with all my things once every couple of days. No one will have the key but me. The bad: there may be no running water, or hot water which precludes once-a-day showers, it may be cockroach infested, and there is most probably no air conditioner (or even electricity). Oh, and it may be very, very, dirty. But I think I'll probably feel a little more secure in an apartment anyway. I think I'm freaking out about change again, which I shouldn't be doing.

    And on a funny note, I saw a lady on the metro today wearing a shirt that said:

    Save the Apartheid
    Boycott of the Cutegirl Nazi
    Lettuce Growers for Jesus of
    the Nuclear Whales

    God I love this country.

    Song in my head: Shania Twain - Kaching
    Site plugging: beautiful-sin

    Sepra was livin' easy on 6:38:00 AM || Site Feed ||

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