February 2008


Things I Read…

It’s time for one of my occasional updates about things I am reading on the net.

Last time I revealed some things about the other blogs I was reading, I let it slip that I was reading a porn star’s blog—an incredibly self-centered shallow porn-star. Out of the three gay porn star blogs I am reading right now, two are self-centered and shallow; one is complex and interesting, but I won’t list them here for now.

I can’t tell you how I’ve found these blogs—just that I’m now reading them.

Stepping Stones is written by a Canadian living in Tiranë, Albania. Her recent entry, “The Angel From America” is especially outstanding:

I have a friend living in what are possibly the most difficult conditions for an expat to be in here in Albania. Her and her husband live in the remote northern town of Kukes. There aren’t many cars there, nor even bicycles. People walk in Kukes. It’s a poor town, still affected by the influx of Kosovar refugees back in 1999.

Here’s where my friend becomes an angel. A year ago she knew she would have to find a way to fill her days so far away from all the other expat ladies in Tirana. And so she courageously walked into town one day and knocked on the door of an NGO that works with victims of landmines, and made herself available as a volunteer. The two Albanian men who worked there took up her offer and started taking her with them as they made their rounds to visit the often lonely and isolated victims in the area. She’s not a doctor, but a nurse from Los Angeles, where she worked in dermatology, caring for movie stars and wealthy clients. Now she cleans wounds, teaches good hygiene, and wraps stumps where hands and legs should be.

There’s more and I she’s been an excellent addition to my reading list.

Oh My God South Africa is written by somebody who I once knew as the extremely hot Public Intern for The Stranger. He’s headed off to South Africa where he’s prayed to god for the first time for a woman suffering from AIDS, and, as a teacher, asked his students to imagine AIDS and perform a play about it.

In another instance, two of the girls in the group teased the HIV positive girl. They came to her hospital bed, specifically to hurl insults at her. This seemed especially cruel, and I felt like, as an audience member, I didn’t believe the character’s motivations.

In this case the teacher is the one taught:

After a while, I began to realize that the play that was emerging was illuminating not the truth of what it meant to be HIV positive in South Africa, but an imagination of what would happen if someone in the class disclosed his or her status as HIV positive.

Of course then I like learning lessons about my native land from visitors, including the Big Apple, Little Britainer. As a Brit living in The City, she shares excellent insight, although the first example is from when she was living in the States the first time, at 7 years old and experiencing Valentines Day traditions for the first time:

My parents, struggling to adapt themselves, were just as in the dark as I was about American school culture, but I think they were relieved I had friends and thought it was fun to tease me about Morgan. My mum encouraged me to make a card for him, which I did. I seem to remember it involving a lot of glitter and mess (this was well before the days of glitter glue pens) and it somehow wound up being kind of biggish.

More recently (both in time and blog sequence), she talks about riding the subways:

Getting on the New York subway at the weekend with the ambitious goal of traveling to Brooklyn from the Upper West Side is not dissimilar to boarding a 19th-century prison ship bound for the colonies. You never quite know what borderline psychopaths, criminals or examples of infectious diseases you’ll be cooped up with and you certainly don’t know where exactly you’ll be going or when you’ll arrive.

So there you have it: three new favorites for you to sample. I hope you enjoy them.

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