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4.02.2005 ||>   Soiled and petty as we happily taunt her

On a certain site, I made a comment about a certain person in Russian, and called the author of another site "silly". In the next comment, he wrote back and said (and I quote)
I realize English may not be your native language, Sepra
Of course, I never let anything go.

As this comment nagged at me, I first thought it was just moronic and as a biting remark, was actually pretty complimentary. Yes, I am bilingual, thank you. But then I started thinking that it is a sad commentary on life here that if someone speaks in a different language in the States, well then it must be that person's native language. It couldn't possibly be that an American might be cultured or multilingual or international all by themselves.

It's a bit disturbing that someone who writes political commentary about international events would look down upon someone who has actually traveled to a place longer than for two weeks in their gap year. Especially so, if that someone speaks the language of the place they are commenting on, and knows what they're talking about. Sure, ridicule those people, because it covers up your own moronic behavior.

Lastly, if a person reads a post twice and still has no idea what the writer is talking about, I think that the writer should start asking himself where he went wrong. Was it all the drugs he took in high school that made him that nuts? Or was it just that his writing is shit? The answer may remain a mystery.

(I feel much better now!)

Sepra was livin' easy on 12:26:00 AM || Site Feed ||

4.01.2005 ||>   And that's the Masochism Tango!

I was wracking my brain this year for an appropriate trick to play on someone this year, but I couldn't think of any good ones. In lieu of a good practical joke, I'll simply recycle one and share the one I played on my students either last year or the year before.
Pop Quiz
This will count for one test mark, so please answer all the questions. Good luck!

I. Define the words:

II. Please put the following sentences in the passive voice:
1. Someone built the ship in 1901.
2. A plane crashed.
Then, as my students began to cry in hopelessness, I would offer them one extra credit question. Their eyes would light up and the glimmer of hope would reappear.
Explain the phrase: "April Fools!"
At first, no one would get it. Then one student would remember and like a wave, the class would ripple with "Is it really a joke?" Then a student would yell, "I kill you now Miss Sepra!" and it would all be over. I would laugh with mirth and they would laugh with relief.

Yes, I really was that kind of teacher. The important part with practical jokes like that is that you have to make 30% of the test attainable so that they really believe they simply don't remember the rest. They really did know what "cacophony" and "bling-bling" were.

Sepra was livin' easy on 12:15:00 AM || Site Feed ||

3.31.2005 ||>   Let the sunshine in

For the first time in months, it's been over 60 degrees (although I still think of it in Celsius as 16 degrees), and I didn't even want to be at work yesterday. I think that on the first really warm day, a state holiday should be declared and no one should have to work. We could all go and put our feet on the grass and walk around, hippie-style, with a flower behind our ear.

Sepra was livin' easy on 9:29:00 AM || Site Feed ||

3.30.2005 ||>   Kyrgyzstan FAQ part three: The party is jumpin'

The third part in the Kyrgyzstan FAQs. You can get the Tulip FAQ and the Players FAQ for the Kyrgyzstan Tulip Revolution as well. These are just basic questions answered.

Who are Kyrgyzstan’s opposition parties?

There are about 40 political parties in Kyrgyzstan. Most of the parties have decided to combine into separate election blocs. They include:

The People's Movement of Kyrgyzstan was created by Kurmanbek Bakiev on September 22, 2004 from nine parties and movements. These include the Party of Communists and the Communist Party, the Republican Party, Asaba (which is the political party of interim general prosecutor Azimbek Beknazarov), the Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan, Kairan El, New Kyrgyzstan, Erkin Kyrgyzstan, and Erkindik.

The "For Fair Elections" election bloc was formed on May 20, 2004. It includes Ar-Namys (the political party of security leader Felix Kulov), El, Ata-Meken, and Social Democratic parties.

Other political parties of importance are:

KelKel means "New Epoch" and is a student movement committed towards democracy. They say that if liberty doesn't carry on after the revolution, then they will continue to protest until they live in a free society.
Alga, Kyrgyzstan! (Forward, Kyrgyzstan!): This is the pro-government party, in which former president Akayev’s family ran. Also sometimes confused as the "family party," one could assume this was less about values and more about nepotism.
Ata Jurt (Fatherland) is the political party of the interim foreign minister, Roza Otunbaeva.
Muratbek Imanaliyev is a former Kyrgyz foreign minister and is a leader of Jany Bagyt.

What are the orange and rose revolutions?

The Orange Revolution refers to the bloodless revolution in Ukraine. It started as a protest after the fraudulent elections in November 2004. In January 2005, new elections were held because of protests and the winner was favorite Viktor Yushchenko. It was called “orange” for the color showed solidarity with Yushchenko’s campaign.

The Rose Revolution happened a year earlier in Georgia under much the same circumstance. In November 2003, the presidential elections were rigged by then-president Eduard Shevardnadze. Massive protests ensued until Shevardnadze tendered his resignation. Opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili won in January 2004. Protesters wore roses, which gave the revolution its name.

Are there other protests going on in the former Soviet Union?

Yes. Protests happened on March 25th in Belarus against President Alexander Lukashenko. They were violently put down. There were also protests in Mongolia, although they seem to be more like democratic demonstrations than revolts.

Sepra was livin' easy on 1:24:00 AM || Site Feed ||

3.29.2005 ||>   I'm still no one, and you're now a star, what do you care?

I just had a dream that during an interview at Google, Sergey Brin asked me out. But then his friends told him I was a poor, unemployed loser and that he shouldn't go out with me. So, the night of the date, he stood me up. As I sat in the coffee shop waiting, I saw him walk by with Paris Hilton, which of course made me very angry.

Just because you are a brilliant programmer and an almost billionaire doesn't give you the right to stand a girl up.

I think he should owe me a date now.

Sepra was livin' easy on 12:39:00 AM || Site Feed ||

3.28.2005 ||>   You carry on because it’s all you know

Perspective is such a strange and fleeting thing. It's one of those things that seems so logical and right. Well, if I can see it this way, of course it must be true. When you begin to lose perspective, the loss is an insidious entity that happens so slowly that only someone inhumanly self-aware would notice the change. The shift still retains that sense of rightness to you, but not to anyone else.

The thing to remember though, is that it happens to everyone. Those what was I thinking moments can be constructive so that one can better see the slippery slope the next time. Anyone who answers "no, never" is either lying or a hermit.

The reason I'm bringing this up is that a certain teacher has noticed that her temper has gone downhill. I was a much worse teacher. I was not afraid to yell and make a scene if my students disrupted class or cheated or tried to burn their textbooks in class. I tore up cheaters' tests in the middle of lessons and threw students out because they just could not be quiet.

But I also loved them all very much. One of the reasons I won't teach is that I ended up caring too much.

Since this is more of a ramble, I'll also say that I think one of the reasons I didn't get another interview in the job I didn't want anyway, is that one of the questions was actually a role play of a child not wanting to learn. I told the chick who interviewed me that my inclination was just to let the child stew, mainly because I still feel too burned out to enforce or reason out effort anymore.

But it's all perspective. From my vantage point, it just looks as if a tired, abused teacher has finally reached the point where she needs to get out and regain composure. From hers, it's that something has gone terribly wrong.

I don't know the moral to this. When I've explored it enough in my own head, I'll get back to it.

Sepra was livin' easy on 6:29:00 AM || Site Feed ||

3.27.2005 ||>   Kyrgyz FAQ part 2: Players and Haters

Some more answers as an addition to the Tulip Revolution FAQ posted the day before yesterday on what is going on in Kyrgyzstan:

Who are the major leaders in the Kyrgyzstan revolution/revolt/coup?

Askar Akayev has been the president of Kyrgyzstan since 1991. In the beginning of his tenure, he was held up as a democratic light in a sea of dictatorships. However, he settled in to corruption. When rumors abounded that he was seeking to extend his term past the limits set by the constitution, protestors took to the streets demanding his resignation. He has since fled the country and is residing in Moscow. However, he still maintains that he is the president of Kyrgyzstan and is merely taking a short vacation.

Kurmanbek Bakiev: He was the governor of the northern Chu region which is also the former president?s homeland. In 2001, he was forced to tender his resignation as Kyrgyz Prime Minister after some deadly protests in the south. Now, at 56, he is the interim president. He is also popular with intellectuals and the Russians in the country.

Roza Otunbayeva: This 54 year old former ambassador has her following with the intellectuals. She was just recently made the interim foreign minister. When asked by the BBC whether or not she would run for president, she said "I will not think about it."

Azimbek Beknazarov is the new interim general prosecutor. A lawyer, he started as an investigator in a rural prosecutor's office and made a career as a judge in the capital Bishkek. When he was a former MP, he implied that President Akayev be impeached over a land issue and was put in jail on trumped up charges. He was reportedly beaten repeatedly while in jail.

Felix Kulov was rescued from jail by protestors on their way to ousting the president. He has since been put in charge of security, which involves clamping down on the looting that has engulfed Bishkek. Unfortunately in the past couple of days, there have been rumors as to whether or not he?s killed people to keep the peace. He has also said that he will go back to jail after the revolution to serve out the rest of his time, but that remains to be seen.

Ismail Isakov was appointed interim defense minister. The former general and Member of Parliament is a long-time opponent of former President Akayev.

Myktybek Abdyldayev, named interim interior minister, was the general prosecutor until Akayev dismissed him on Wednesday, the day before the opposition swept to power.

Keneshbek Dushebayev, a former head of police in the capital Bishkek and interior minister in the Akayev regime, he was leading protests against Akayev's ousting on Saturday.

What countries would possibly want their fingers in the pie?

Russia would really like to have controlling interests in all the former soviet republics. However, after playing a bad hand during the revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, the Russians have been keeping the cards close to their chest. They say they were in talks with the opposition leaders, and yet they are welcoming the former president in their capital. Playing both sides could be useful and keep them away from the crow that they've eaten before.

China is the biggest country next to Kyrgyzstan and has been having its own problems as of late with the Xinjiang province of which Kyrgyzstan borders. The Chinese really want stability as it doesn't do to give ideas to an already alienated population.

The other "stans" such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have made statements which assert that nothing the Kyrgyz do reflects on them. However, they are not going to take a revolution on their own territory lying down and may engage in preventive measures.

Sepra was livin' easy on 12:45:00 AM || Site Feed ||