Friday, December 28, 2007


Benazir Bhutto brutally assasinated

Yesterday, I had to go out and get money to pay my utility bills. They are a lot less per month than Stateside, and you just take your bills to the post office to pay them. I also sent my son, sister and father mail. I need to write to my daughter and a few friends back in the Gulag, it takes time to write a good letter by hand and I sometimes include drawings, for things best illustrated with drawings.

I got home from all this, took off my boots, my coat, put away the obscene looking hren, and made coffee and turned on the news. The lead story was the murder of Benazir Bhutto. Usually the lead story is not from outside of BiH, but if it bleeds bad enough, then that is different, and this was very bloody. There were graphic pictures of people simply blown to bits.

Benazir Bhutto was appreciated here, because she visited Sarajevo back in 1994 and tried to be of help. So people in general feel pretty bad about all this. I do, I remember thinking it was neat that Pakistan, one of the most patriarcal countries on the face of the EARTH elected a woman to be prime minister before the U.S. supposedly so progressive managed the same thing, that in this Pakistan was ahead of all but India, in electing a woman to lead. I was afraid for her when she went back, I was very afraid some son of a bitch would assasinate her. I feel bad about it. If she cared enough to come to Bosnia when it was not a safe trip, she can not have been all bad, and is is a SHAME, SRAMOTA that anyone thinks that their religion justified not only killing her, but people who simply were in the near vicinity. I hope those fuckers rot in Hell, and I hope they go there soon.



Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
hren is a root that is used for remedies and seasonings. The root here, despite it's threatening appearance is very mild.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Slushies all around...

And I do not mean from the Kwikie Mart! I am relieved that the endless cycle of multi-multi holidays is coming to a slow close. I have enjoyed them all one way or the other, but now I am sort of tired.

Movie to watch if it Ever Comes Your Way (na žalost it will not if you are outside the region ) Most,(or in English, Bridge)

This is one of the better Partizans vs Nazi films I have seen. I was by myself so I was able to watch it. Basically these guys have to blow up a bridge, and it is full of cool, but at least somewhat probable plot twists.

Lots of nice shows for Christmas, seriously, pretty decent music. There is other Christmas stuff to come, since the other Christians here are Orthodox and their Christmas comes up Jan 7.

My Christmas was peaceful. I watched Midnight Mass in the Katedrale, and in Rome, the next day, Christmas Day I watched Urbi i Orbis, from Rome and Christmas Day Mass again at the Katedrale. Someone please tell me how it is that 90% Muslim Sarajevo had more and better quality Christmas shows than 90% Catholic Croatia! :)

I do not know if I have mentioned another favorite show, Positivna Geografia, the host looks like he could be Anishanabe, or perhaps from the Yakama Rez. He has the right kind of jacket, the right kind of red and black flannel work shirt, and jeans, his hair is long, and tied back or in a braid. No seriously, he could be a skin! :). Right there I like him. He goes all kinds of places in BiH I may never get the chance to see, and just raps with people. It is really a wonderful show. They should think about shows like this in other countries. They run it more than once. in a week too.

I like Folk Show a lot too. My S.O. and I watch it regularly together or not. Last time there was a folk group of primary school kids who were totally good, they had everything DOWN. One little girl looked a lot like my grand daughter, another looked as my daughter looked when she was little, and there was a boy that resembled my grandson a bit. Usually children screw up in some way, these kids did not, they did as good a job as their older collegues! And were devastatingly CUTE.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


taggers in the Gulag will be shot on sight! (j/k!)

Seriously, it would be nice to have something like that done here in Sarajevo, the tagging situation is pretty drastic. Sometimes the graffitti is artistic, but not always.

In the Yakima Gulag, the property owner faces fines if they don't remove the tags. HUGE fines. The alternative is to sign on to have young jailbirds paint it out randomly. I did not like that either. I think something better to catch the taggers is a move in the right direction.


Alright, I lied...

I expected to be otherwise occupied today, and it turns out I was free to go out and the weather is not too attrocious, cold enough to fool one into thinking one was experienceing a typical Yakima Gulag Siberian Express type of day, but people are out and around. I am out and around, even if it is only the immediate neighborhood. I think it is important to get out and walk no matter what the circumstances. If you don't you will soon become a rolling tub of lard.

Which leads to the subject of food. I made some lovely soup, and a salad from raw garbanzo beans. I learned this salad during the course of my unfortunate first marriage. It in fact coincides with the day I fainted because I was expecting my son and did not yet know it.

So this dish has history for me. Both lentils and garbanzo beans are edible without needing to be cooked. All you have to do is clean them, wash them, and soak them in water over-night.

Then if what you have is garbanzo beans, you drain them, add a cut tomato, a diced onion, a diced clove of garlic, and salt and pepper, then you add oil, and vinegar. The taste of the beans themselves is slightly sweet. Interestingly, eatten this way seldom gives me a gas problem. With garbanzo beans cooked, I add a bit of cocoanut powder, which is easy to get here, fairly cheap and of extremely high quality.
I found that if I eat cooked lentils this is helpful too.

You can do the same type of salad with lentils, only if the beans are lentils, I add some rosemary. Crush it small in your hands first, before adding it to the lentil salad, and with lentils, it is best if the oil is good olive oil.


Documentaries I have watched, today includes one called 'Ostali' this is a series, and it is about minority groups in BiH. Today's was interesting, it was about Polish people who live in BiH. Right now they number around 200. Previous documentaries in this series that I have seen covered the Ukranian minority here, the Czech minority, and I look forward to seeing other films in this series. They interview people, which is good.

There is a series about what happened with internally displaced people since the war, Otisci. Also very good.

Tonight the film 'Most' is on. Since my S.O. isn't going to be over, I can watch it. He doesn't like films with the least bit of shooting, and I suspect there will be shooting, cussing and drinking. :).

Yesterday, while visiting friends who have a small shop in Bascarsija, I was given a bit of the most heavenly delicious baklava I have ever, ever, ever eaten. I have had Greek baklava, Turkish baklava, Arab baklava, and of course Bosnian baklava, and baklava is a favorite with me. This was absolutely first rate, the best ever.

I found that walking actually eases the pain in my left hip. I saw one of the local stores has an add for something called a 'medicinski jastuk' a 'medical pillow' for 15KM so I will check that out on the way home. Heat helps a lot. So if it is not something I have to plug in to use, I will go and get it.

One really useful program here is the news for deaf people. It is called 'govor tisina' and it is basically the whole weeks news translated into sign language. All the local T.V. stations do something similar, and it is a very helpful deal as the news casters in fact DO speak, and what is lovely, they speak slowly enough for me to understand. Newscasters here speak as fast as I can type. I now type at what my late mother would have called 'wire service speed'

Very fast indeed. So the fact these folks are slowed down a bit helps me keep informed. In the States, the deaf are often quite a lot less informed than people with other handicaps just because news translated for deaf people is not universally available in the States. I wish it were more available, closed captioning is helpful but often not enough.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Happy Id to all Muslim readers of this blog

And due to the snow and unpredicatibleness, Merry Christmas (Catholic and Orthodox !) to my Christian readers, please the roads get icy and I am not getting any younger! Sometimes various bones hurt me and pobjeda ću General Zima! General Winter always is victorious!

Not much to note except that Dodic told everyone in the legislative body of R.S. to all go to pička materina, right on T.V. right in front of everyone. My S.O. told me all about it, I was busy self indulgently watching Star Wars and stuffing my face with pop corn at the time. Sorry to have missed the show.

Anyway his legislators had questioned him about expenditures, he has no reciepts, even someene selling you slipper socks is going to give you a reciept, taxi drivers give them on request here. So they wanted none of his buck buck about it!

It is still ugly because of that.

The quest for yeast was not a sucess. Eventually it will be, for now, I made some home made Drambuie, and it is not at all bad.

Goes down a treat with cheese and onions, takes away the onion breath, and generally is good.

I have been watching more films and documentaries, Azra, which I liked, especially the Great Unveiling bit, and I liked Smrt i Derviš a lot. the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens will be on later. If I am back home in time I may tune in. Lots of good music due to Id Kurban. I love Bosnian music, so that has been a treat, and helped me bear up with the snow. The Mevlevi Dervishes were on last night. Really amazing, a lot of discipline in what they do.

My sister marked a birthday last week. I could not get out, I did send her an SMS, I hope she got it. SMS is cheaper here than a call. I am setting up the Skype stuff, I need help from a person I know here to finish the job.

It has been good to get out for once! All the best to everyone!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Rainy today...

And my S.O. is kind of in trouble for repeatedly forgetting my umbrella! :). Anyway, it's oversight Thursday, the day I blog about stuff I forgot to mention on earlier occaisions...

Back at the old flat, I had cable and there was a German channel that on one occaision showed a Bollywood film dubbed into German. It seemed to involve a wedding, Bridezilla, Groomzilla, some guy that was an alter-ego, or evil twin of the groom was around, anytime the future groom got drunk or something this other guy would show up and generally mess things up...

The future father in law looked like an Indian edition of Hitler, the mustache, the gestures, and someone involved in dubbing this film into German, had a field day with the guy!

Bosnian subtitles, no damn clue what the film was, but it involved the Dancer's and Musicians Unions and a lot of really nice Indian traditional outfits got worn at different times.

I was really glad to be alone that night, because probably my S.O. would not like Bollywood films. They are too crazy! He would have liked the music though.

This morning there was an odd little documentary on BHT 1, it involved a very old guy who is terribly poor. He has to go through the garbage for old bread. I do not know how he manages to have cigarettes. He lives in basically a small shed someplace. I think the someplace is on the outskirts of a small Bosnian town that has a lot of weird little factories. He's actually Macedonian.

Anyway, he is also some kind of curendero, he's Muslim. He heals people the doctors have given up on. Watching him at work was interesting to me, because apparently there is an awareness of accupuncture points in traditional healing here. That fascinated me. The guy's sheer will to keep on truckin' amazed me.

Another documentary I saw was about Bosnians who went to Turkey in the war times, and who have come back. Fascinating people.

There are more documentary films here than in the States. No one thinks they are weird or nerdy.

That or being nerdy is alright here! :)

Off to go get some food items and home again. Oh there was a magpie on the ledge of the bedroom window. I got a good look at it, but sadly no chance to photograph it. There are a lot of magpies around this area.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Just a few words...

it is on the bleak side today, I have to meet up with an American friend who was kind enough to score me some toothbrushes that fit in my small mouth. She is a delight to visit with, and a lot of fun to hang with. I wish she were not so busy so we could hang out more, but that is fate I suppose.

I have not been out of the neighborhood in DAYS, nearly a week and a half, and it is always fun. A friend of mine in Baščaršija who has been ill is back, so I was happy to see her and her co-worker, We had some nameless Bosnian fruit tea together, very nice against the chill here. Then I went to get a taxi to where my friend works, and we will go either have a coffee or do lunch. Depends a bit on her schedule more than on mine. So long as I am in before dark I do not care.

My S.O. and I watched the game together, and that was fun, Marseilles vs Liverpool. Tonight I suppose he will watch the game at his place.

Not much doing on the whole Kosovo thing and that is a relief at least for people here.


The front of the jar of heather honey

Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
I did not find the word for heather in my crappy little dictionary, I found it by using a firefox add-on that does some helpful translation features. Anyway outside of certain bastions of Scottishness in the States, heather honey is scarcely obtainable, when it is available at all it costs from twice to three times the price of what you can get in BiH!
So pending the success of the quest for wine yeast, it sits waiting to be made into the nectar of the Gods! Heather mead! :)


The back

Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
of a jar of heather honey, showing inspection stamp.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Lovely out today...

So here I am at Club BIT, the neighborhood internet cafe. They are very nice and helpful, I was given the choice to sit at a computer out of the sun, which is very helpful, since I do not see well to begin with. If you can handle smoke, this is a pretty decent internet cafe. They have coffee, and people hang out here playing games online. I like that.

As far as Kosovo goes, nothing happening today so far. Of course I will be back home and glued to the news pretty soon as I expect my S.O. to visit. He had a number of Christmas related errands to deal with. He had to run around getting wheat seeds for the wheat grass people grow here for Christmas, so on and so on. So I won't see him before 2p.m. Both 'Euronews' an English language thing that is piggybacked from C.N.N. and the local news had quite a bit on the Kosovo situation and on the elections in Republika Srpska. The victor was at a party and waiters were passing around glasses of what looked like pretty decent white wine. He said he wanted to work with everyone. He's not a politician, but a professor of Political Science. So we shall see.

I am going to watch Star Wars tonight. I love those films. I am glad the whole series is being shown.

It is very nice out, warm enough that I did not need to put on my gloves, and sunny too.

When I went by the little cevapi place on the corner, it wasn't open yet, there was a little blue plastic shopping bag full of somun on the doorknob. I thought, 'Such trust, that no one would nick it and run off with the bread!' Granted the street has plenty of eyes, anyone stupid enough to do that would be caught! :). The guy at the news kiosk, or the lady at the little grocery store would notice and there would indeed be Hell to pay!

I noticed tomatoes there, I am going to go ahead and get some feta cheese and make my famous tomato feta cheese salad and have some nice potato cakes, I already boiled the potatoes. Just have to peel them, mix them with a little kefir a little flour, and an egg, and some salt and pepper, and then as they say in the Army, 'good to go!' :)

My American friend has returned to town, she brought me three Reach (tm) tooth brushes. Despite what some near and dear to me say, I have a very small mouth, I have to have a child sized and soft toothbrush. To tell the truth, I was having trouble finding them even back in the Yakima Gulag, so to have three feels like a great blessing!

We are going to get together for lunch or a coffee near where she works. I look forward to seeing her, she is a friend I made because of NaNo. (National Novel Writing Month).

Sunday, December 09, 2007



Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
Sad to say, the rebuild is less stable than the original. The original bridge was built by hand around 500 years ago, and only was destroyed with great effort. The rebuild could come down if there was anything like a serious earthquake. :(


Food and Drink Column

Proper news first. a friend of mine who needs to be annonymous had to be out of the country a few days and reported that the return flight was full of reporters. Kosovo may declare unilateral independance tomorrow. I hope that they do not do that. If they do, I hope everyone here please acts like GROWNUPS!

By the way, I actually like our Ambassador here, he seems to be one of Bush's better appointments. A friend who has met him says he is a very warm person, and really cares about Bosnia, which is all to the good. I am speaking as someone who did not vote for Bush, but fair dues to him if he does the right thing, I always give credit where it is due.

Now to the promised trivia. Sometimes living abroad, one tries to find local equivalents to foods one may not even have liked that well from back home. This can be a good thing or not so good. I went to the local branch of Konzum and among my purchases was a can labeled 'Ha
še' Well the phonetics made me wonder if it was some local variant of 'hash' an American thing, so I read the label, noted the presence of lung, and kidneys, and the absence of potatoes and thought 'Oh what the Hell, let's try this!' So I bought one can. small.
Last night, I diced up some already cooked potatoes, and began frying them, opened the can labeled 'Haše' and threw it in the frying potatoes, onions and sunflower oil. It was not so bad. on the handy dandy Snail o Meter, it rated as slightly better than snails but not as nice as American hash. The taste of kidney was off-putting for me. I just don't care for it or how they smell. It was not awful, but it was also something I am not eating again.

The locally available curry powder is decent, so I can have my curry in some form and a lager weekly again. I found coconut powder, kind of expensive here but very good quality. Coconut powder is the magical anti-flatulence ingredient. It goes into things like a dish of garbanzo beans, or I just eat a couple tablespoons and it settles things down very nicely. I found anise seeds too, for fairly cheap, at Badem which has two stores in Sarajevo. They carry a lot of unusual things. Anyone who is a vegetarian planning to live here needs to check them out.

As far as doing stuff, it's been a bit bleak out, so I haven't wanted to go many places. I have stayed home, and watched some T.V. as always. Star Wars is on tomorrow night, and I of course like the good Nerd I am, will be watching.

Last night's domestic film was 'Život Radnika' and I really liked it, it. It was very sad though. It was filmed in several towns not far from Sarajevo. I thought the acting was very good, and the screenplay was very good. Sets and costuming were perfect.

I hope I don't have to miss out on all of 'Sivi Dom' which is a prison drama, set in a Serbian prison. It has some violence. My significant other doesn't like programs which have violence. I am alright if it is an integral part of the story, same goes for sex, if the story would not work without it, fine, just no random and gratuitous violence or sex.

I find the way that 'Sivi Dom' is written to be very effective, it is well filmed, and it gives a fairly realistic picture of prison life in general. It's probably more true to life than 'Oz' which I like to watch sometimes.

There are a lot of fairly cheesy films this week. I watch them to use the subtitles to speak the language better.

'The Hunting Party' the film with Richard Gere, which concerns an effort to capture Karaddži
ć is premiering here on the 14th of December. These things are at night, and as a person who values their ankles, I am not going. I wish I could go, I'm sure it will be covered on T.V.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Sretan Hannuka!

Sretan Hannuka!
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
Happy Hannuka to all my Jewish readership!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Mysterious Window to nowhere

IMysterious Window
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
This is the mysterious window to nowhere I can't figure it out. My working theory is that it's to a small walled off room.


Well that was brilliant! NOT!

I left the house without my mobile phone. Normally I do not go even room to room in the house without it, because someone might call, and I do not want to miss my calls. I take it with me when I am out for the same reason. It is happily sucking in current back home, while I am here at BIT internet cafe. Oh well! The snow is melting, and I am going to put up the picture of the mysterious window to nowhere. I have a mysterious window to nowhere in my flat. I should have mentioned it earlier, it's kind of cool. I have had all kinds of fun speculating about what it is. I have no clue. I think now that there may have once been a room between the entryway and the bathroom, and that the window was left in to baffle people. Maybe it's intended to trap anyone stupid enough to try breaking in.

BiH initialed the stuff that leads to being part of the E.U. yesterday there was some sort of big ceremony about it. It got rid of something I wanted to watch and the something I wanted to watch was bumped in favor of a stupid French soap.

Today something I actually wanted to watch was replaced with some sort of film from 1979 of a big party for a lot of ex-Partizans. I have no clue why that was the case. Sometimes the T.V. listings are only the vaguest notion. The Celtics vs Milan game got switched with a game that involved some team from Italy and some team from Russia. I watched only part of the game as it interfered with my watching 'Zona sumaraka'
The story on it was why NEVER to take a short cut in New Mexico. It was pretty good.

I am not enough of a football fan to miss 'Zona sumaraka' in favor of a game unless my S.O. is here to watch it. I have as much fun watching his reactions as I have watching the game. He really gets excited.

I don't know how much I'll be in over the weekend. He's supposed to come back from his stuff he had to do down South. As always, paray for peace. 10th of December is lurking and who knows what that could mean.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Sunny yesterday, shades of gray today...

It is a bit bleak out, but I decided that I needed to get out of the house if only for a bit. Don't get me wrong, I love my flat, it is one of the nicest places I've ever lived, but one needs to get out just to preserve sanity sometimes.

Last night, on Hayat, they showed a new series, 'Sivi Dom' which I liked. It was the first episode, and it is set in a prison in Serbia. Very good, I hope I can continue following it. It is on Saturdays and usually my S.O. visits. He tends not to like shows like that. He doesn't like any programs with shooting, so crime and war and most Sci Fi is out for that reason. I quite understand. He had enough personal experience with war in his life, so he is only protecting his mind. There are shows I do not watch for similar reasons.

Last night as well on F.T.V. they showed 'Tko tamo peva' I really liked it, it was sureal, and funny, and had this wonderful wood burning bus, that people were taking to Belgrade. It is a really great film and I recomend it highly. The characters are all funny and quirky, and the film gives an interesting picture of the WWII era in Yugoslavia. Not especially violent, but some shooting, one accidental. No blood, except for when there is a pig butchered. You don't see the pig killed though. Warning, if you don't like sad endings, this film is not for you, but if you like quirky old busses, which I do, and quirky characters which I do, and amazing landscapes, this film is for you.

Another show that has made my list of things to watch is for young people, it is called 'Zyon' and has weird characters. There is this ad for sardines that has become obnoxious it's on all the time, and they made fun of it. One guy runs around with a giganto moustach and a big sheepsking hat, and it's just crazy.

Kids shows here often actually have kids on them, real kids not prettied up kids. I like that a lot.

There is another show that in English would be called 'Trading wives' The women usually go from country to city and city to country. That of itself can be amusing. The other thing that happens is the new partnerships can result in a lot of bonding behavior. My S.O. and I speculated whether sometimes a bit more than we see on screen happens. He told me that one time a woman refused to go back home to her REAL husband, as she and the other guy fell for each other. The couples always have children, and seeing how the children react is interesting. The other thing is it gives an inside look at life in Croatia. That I enjoy a lot, seeing just every day things, like what is a farm like in Croatia as opposed to in the States or in Mexico. That is in fact fascinating.

Earlier today there was a show called 'Ovaj dio svijet' which was about people who live in the mountains here in BiH. They showed life in several remote villages. People have it very hard in the villages high up, and not a lot has changed since early in the 20th century for some of these places. Schooling is especially hard, because high schools are located so far away that most kids don't have the option of going. It would involve being boarded far away from home among strangers and of course that has financial and emotional costs. People work very hard too, and with fields that are nearly vertical, there isn't the option of using modern machinary. So people harvest with sickles and scythes and log with horses, fairly small horses I might add.

The people who live high up are very proud though and should be, not everyone could do what they do just to survive.

I have not wanted to go down into town these last few days. So nothing of interest to say about that. Mostly even though there is no snow, it's been too cold to go a lot of places.

I do need to go get a look at some of the museums. I have time to do it now that I am done with the novel. I am editing it. I took out one extraneous sub-plot that might work better as next year's NaNo.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


How people here in BiH sometimes get eggs

How people here in BiH sometimes get eggs
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
Just another eggsellent picture! :)


Stuff that is different

Something is a little messed up today at Blogger, no compose feature. So you don't get any links. Sorry.

I have to say I had fun watching T.V. the last couple of days. I watched a show called Retrovizor which is a music show, they had the most incredible concert, some vocalists, female, and some drummers, mostly elfin looking hairy guys. There was a guy that played the Bosnian version of a bagpipe, and they re ran it yesterday morning. I have no clue who all were involved in this marvelous group howl but they were awesome.

Dubioza koletive were on it last time and some other regionally available rap. Dubioz kolektive use accordians in their compositions and God knows what all.

Watched a cheesy movie about Billy the Kid last night, I think the English title is 'Young Guns'. Seeing a Mexicano play a real guerro was pretty amusing, but the movie aside from chases on horse back,which looked like film of the Omak Suicide Race up way too close and personal, and a lot of shooting, it was not that true to the story at all points. I disapprove of putting stuff like Bon Jovi in sound tracks of Westerns. That's just bad and wrong, sorry.

One neat thing about being here is I can watch all the cheesy movies I never would bother with in the States. I even have a good justification. Reading the subtitles, improves my language skills. They had another film called 'Very Bad Things' These guys go have a batchlor party in Vegas, and between the dead hooker in the bath tub and the security guard one of the magical thinking guys killed, things go straight to Hell in a fast hurry.

This morning I watched 'Wild America' and it was not bad, it was funny at some points. Movies with intrepid children are fairly popular here.

They ran Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me three times this week on OBN, it was each time labeled as something else, and then did NOT show it at the advertised time. This makes people channel surf way more :).

Of course my S.O. is a football fan (soccer for my American readership). Anyway, he has been trying to show me the finer points of the game. We watched the World Cup qualifying match England v.s. Croatia, and it was a good game. He likes to watch English teams more than the domestic teams. He likes the English fans, how they shout and sing. I think he played as a young person.

The good news is he only watches important games, not every game. If the reception is decent I kind of am begining to enjoy it. I can barely see the ball though sometimes, because of the reception. Here even with a good set and cable or satellite, reception can really stink.

I am at the internet club in the neighborhood. Time to sign off, pay up and truck on home. :)

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