Thursday, January 31, 2008
Lotta cloud cover today...
Thanks to A.R. for language help. I make mistakes still. Sometimes what I hear is not what was said. It has made me have to be very careful how I write names down. That is why I did not have the names of the war criminals, I had to buy an actual news paper to confirm things. I am slowly picking up ćirilici but because I did not grow up with them, it goes slowly. On BHT1 sometimes captions are in the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet, they pull those captions too fast for a non-native reader, so I will have half of a word read, like someone's name, a place name, whatever and then *zap!* it's gone. They pull the latinici captions just as fast, but I have been reading the Latin alphabet since age four, in two languages, (English and Spanish) So it is not the same problem for me.
What I really love is how they will have Serbian Cyrillic cursive for some things on BHT1. It is very beautiful, seriously, an art form! But I cannot read it! The S.O. got both alphabets all through school like most people here did in his school days, and he reads them both rapidly, even the cursive which gives me fits!
Still despite BHT1's best efforts to make it difficult for me, I am sometimes reading whole words before they can pull the caption.
A typical evening alone at home, I will search out some usually cheesy American film, or a nice British film, and watch it while reading sub-titles. Again that can go really fast. Useful shows for me have been 'Monk', 'CSI Miami' 'CSI Las Vegas' and 'Northern Exposure'. I kind of like 'Northern Exposure' for another reason, if the S.O. is there, I can boast about how many of the extras I know personally, a lot of people from the Yakima Reservation were extras. Many of them furthermore are active Democrats, so it's always a pleasure to see a few familiar faces! One night, Billy Yallup was on, and that was hilarious, I think I made the S.O. sort of jealous by talking about him!
Last night's veiwing ended after the the Japan-BiH friendly. Yes dear small but discerning readership... I watched a soccer game all on my own, without the S.O. being around, and actually except for how badly BiH lost, enjoyed the game.
Anyway if nothing else, the fans can be entertaining in their own way. Due to the distance there were not a lot of BiH Fanaticos in the stands. That was too bad, because those guy put on a SHOW that is almost worth the price of admission on it's own. The Japanese fans were out in force, flags, etc. The one group of Bosnian fans were there, with one very large flag. I felt bad for the Bosnian players, they really played well in the first half it was 0-0 then the second half the Japanese guy got a lucky break and then there was no stopping them. it turned into a 3-0 game.
It is not usual for me to watch a game on my own, any game, but now I have done it twice, and I am alive to tell the tale!
Yesterday while I was out, I brought home some suho meso to try, I got it in the Markale. Delicious, simply delicious. I made it with some of the kišeli kupis, (Thanks A.R.!) and it tasted lovely, but my stomach is out of order again today, despite the fact I did not eat a lot last night. I only made a little and cooked it forever, like 2 and a half hours, and it still made me feel ill this morning.
I bet the suho meso will be good with beans. I tried a few slices with horse-radish while I was waiting for the other stuff to cook. Delicious, has American jerky beat hollow.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
my first sarama
So you are walking home one day minding your own business...and you see them taking some war criminals to jail
Anyway, I turned up the hill and was halfway to my street when I noticed two police cars right in a row, just plain black and whites. That is not usual here, you see like one at a time, they spread out usually. This was followed by a white marked police vehicle with a light bar and somehting like six VW vans dark blue, insignia in gold, very classy looking actually, and then I think a couple more marked and one un- marked but light barred S.U.V.
You guys are going to laugh but seriously, the first thought in my head was, 'I wonder if they got like a major war crimes guy or something?' and I continued on with my search for corn chips. I got home in time for the announcement of new stories and heard there had been some sort of important arrest, but it went by pretty fast. I mean I understand the language o.k. at this point, but not if spoken very rapidly, and I was kind of busy in the kitchen putting my few purchases away and making some coffee. It's been cold out, I needed it.
So later the S.O. calls and I asked him if he'd heard anything and told him what I'd seen. No he hadn't, he figured it might have had to do with Gasi's gang. There have been after all a few other arrests there as that nasty little gang has been broken up.
So later on I listened to the news, and heard they'd taken in three war crimes guys, and the guys concerned had been involved with one of the camps. They'd been busted in Vlasnica. So later the S.O. calls, and said he couldn't come visit today, which I already knew, he'd already told me but he'd forgotten that. So I told him what I'd heard on the news. He hadn't yet heard anything, he's a news junkie too, so that was a little surprising.
I'm pretty much recovered from the bad time with kisela kupis. The next time I eat that stuff it's going to be cooked to death. Most of the time I don't like cooked vegetables that well. I do better with raw. Kisela kupis however has been through a process that makes it into a Weapon of Mass Destruction!
Monday, January 28, 2008
Magpies in the Mist
A cold clear day....
Well to tell the whole story, not much that interested me was on T.V. besides the games last night, and the night before, because the S.O. like many men likes sports, we watched the game while dinner was cooking.
Unfortunately I do not do well with kisela kupis, it is a common winter food item here. It's very healthy, sort of a Balkans version of saurkraut. The S.O. instructed me to cook it more than usual and that helped. It also probably destroyed all the famous vitamins. As it was the earlier try at making sarama, and the earlier consumption of salata od kisela kupis did me absolutely no favors. I had really bad gas from it. Of course the S.O. did not believe me about the source, but it's been nearly a week since I last had beans, and I did not have that many of them.
S.O. can also stand for 'Stubborn and Obstinate'! haha!
News locally, some Roma juvenile delinquents, one born in Kosov btw poured gasoline on some poor old lady and set her on fire. She survived a few days but died last night. So now a nasty assault and battery situation is a murder. I hope they throw the book at those rotten little guys! I mean it is plain old psychotic to do stuff like that to people!
The other big news here is that the price of bread has been up and some wheat in the government reserves is not good, and can't be released for human consumption. There was some sort of scandal about cooking oil from the government reserves being labeled wrongly too. That led to a lot of covcrage on the news. More in fact than the nasty attack on the old lady.
Still a person could get an exagerated picture of crime here from the newspapers. It really isn't any more scary than back home. Seriously, it isn't. In some ways it is a bit safer. The locks on homes for example are far better, and many places even have bars on the windows. I wished at times I had them in the old neighborhood, not in the last two years, but four years ago there was a bit of gang activity beyoned grafitti. I used to have to call in shots fired pretty regularly, then there was the sword machete fight down th e block and a shooting.... So the gulag, small town or not could be dangerous too.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
The sarama turned out not too bad. I was shown how to make it by one of the S.O.'s neighbors years ago. Of course there is a massive shortage of kisela kupis in the Yakima Gulag. You need to know how to make your own, or to know somebody. No such thing as buying it in a store. Anyway, it turned out not too bad. I put the amount of water it said on the package of short-grain rice, and with the browned ground meat, that was too much water, so next time I will add like half a cup less water, and probably more salt and pepper wouldn't hurt.
Not bad all things considered.
The last few days they have been running a program on Sevdalinke, which gives the history of this form of music. It's on FTV and they had various singers who are not around anymore. Sad too, most of them were very good. They had film of various places before the war, and even from long ago, very long ago, so that was interesting.
Last night from the same guys that had the documentary about shepherdesses, there was one about a guy that returned to his small village from America. There was a white wolf that was killed. He was a man who likes wolves too, so he felt it was a shame to kill it, but when wolves come in and start eating your sheep, well, then you have to do something. The radio station where he lives is called 'Radio Vuk' and uses wolf howls as part of their call signal.
I am roughly halfway through the revision process on the NaNo novel. This is sometimes slow going, because of the whole 'Open Office' doesn't transfer well to 'Word' thing. That whole problem was the bane of my days at the Yakima Gulag Institute of Higher Re:Education. Supposedly, according to Ivan the Terrible, Minister of Technology, they should work together just fine. Yeah, whatever! *large armed securithugs from Ministry of Technology arrive at door brandishing black A.K.47s * .....
At least my head doesn't hurt anymore. It did a bit yesterday, and I had the post-migraine munchies. That is another thing I don't like, you start eating everything in sight....never a good thing when you are trying to not get fat...
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Sorry Dears, I had a headache...Here's the coffee, smell it now... this is your last warning....
So last night, I made an early night of it. I went to sleep and woke again, then watched some T.V. until I got bored, and went back to sleep. The S.O. called to see how I was doing. I told him, better than earlier, and that I was glad he'd called.
Here if there is an upside to migraine, is the up-side, when it is all over you feel so damned grateful not to have pain, the world becomes this beautiful place, all the people in it, baring the real scum of the earth, also become beautiful....
Then life gets back to normal....
O.K. most mornings I watch FTV for Euro-news, a helpful program that allows me to watch news in English. This morning, FTV radio was playing OVER the broadcast. That was annoying, because there is important stuff going on and while I understand Bosnian spoken at a normal rate just fine, I can't keep up with the speed at which news-casters speak here. So Euronews and special broadcasts for deaf people keep me from being hopelessly out of the loop as far as daily stuff goes. I also try to tune in SATV because they list all power and water outages due to work on stuff like the water system and the electric system.
Well the radio over Euronews had some unintentionally funny bits..1 over pictures of a man who had specimen cases of Giganto bugs, beautiful tropical insects, the size of the palm of my hand, many were lovely dreamlike colors, the Radio FTV news caster related this bit of trivia, Men lie 3 times more than women, especially about intimate matters. . . the other one was during the 'Pret-a-Porter section, which is of course 'fashion' (I don't call it fashion, I call it weird costumes...but that is just me I guess) they played a song called 'Don't Make Me Over' which would be damned good advice to a lot of men, don't try making a woman over, it puts us in a knife-weilding frenzy.... Then there were the fashions themselves, horrible metrosexual attempts to look corporate, which I have to admit I appreciated for the irony, but not the aesthetics, and then some sort of horrible dystopian Mad-Max stuff on the guys that came out next wearing rags that showed off Union Jack patterned underwear, I guess that was for the fudbal huligani, not that they actually buy clothes, their girlfriends if any do that for them, Then there was some guy named Galliano, he wore a huge silver earring with a black stone in it, jet or onyx? and this leather-NAZI get up with metal stars on it.
All that is trivia though. What really was attention grabbing was the condition of stock markets world wide. I warned all my Republican acquaintences that this would happen.... but NOOOO they just had to go vote for Those People.... They could not be smart and LISTEN to me, and think about a world with nothing but badly managed wars and oil prices near $100 (nearly worthless $ too) a barrel oil.... no that was not good enough...
Anything other than a total overwhelming Democrat victory in the fall will be my sign that the U.S.of A. needs more help than anyone on Earth can give it...
Usually words like 'CRASH' (in German the spelling is KRASCH! I love that!) WAKE UP PEOPLE!
Oh the other thing, Americans are not the only people who can be stupid....Nicolic was ahead of Tadic. Nicolic got what 39% and Tadic got 35%. A record number of Serbs went to the polls. Usually they just don't care. I guess all you have to say to them is 'Kosovo' and follow that word with dire warnings and they all prick up their ears...
Still neither man had decisive numbers so the whole merry circus starts again Feb 3.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Cloudy again today...
I am revising my NaNo nove. My home computer has Open Office, and it gets very weird when you switch to Word, this needs to be in Word so that at the point I print out, it will look nice. The Open Office vs Word problem was a big fat pain when I was in school. I had to live in the computer lab for some of those Allied Health classes despite haveing a really good home computer.
I saw a guy hauling wood with a small tractor. The tractor was so small that it had a little two stroke engine. When I was here before, you did not see many people on bicycles, scooters or motorcycles, now you do see the occasional 'rice burner' and you sometimes even see Vespa scooters. Yesterday going home I saw a guy on a bicycle. Personally, I feel safer on foot. If I drove, and I don't I'd be scared stiff to drive here. Most drivers here really are not all that bad, it's the complex, Medieval tangle of tiny streets, especially in older parts of the city. In bad weather most streets turn into small rivers, either if there is snow and it melts, or if there is rain.
There might be rain today, it is cloudy, my ankle is bothering me, and my ears itch like mad.
On the news, it was announced that Mladic has not been in BiH, Federation or R.S. since at least 1997.
Total trivia: I made the BEST bread pudding EVER yesterday.
I do not eat a lot of bread, I only buy it if the S.O. is coming over. He eats a lot of bread, his favorite being Klas polobijelo. (half white for those of you in Rio Del) Anyway there were some left over ends lieing about and bread here has gone up in price. So I let them dry a bit, bread pudding takes dry bread.
fresh ground nutmeg, ground cinnimon, 5 cloves, a pinch of anis seeds.
a handful of raisins, five pitted and chopped dates.
1/3 cup of butter.
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
a couple heels of old bread. probably it comes to 1/4 loaf.
Fry the raisins, dates and spices in the butter, do not let it burn at all, put in the bread and just stir it around until the bread is coated in butter. Add more butter if you have to. Then put in the milk, when the milk boils, stir the bread around, and add the sugar. When it smells good, it is done.
It's fun to put a bit of whipped cream on top.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Kosovo and other business...
From Euronews, the E.U. narrowly voted down a proposal to prohibit girls in elementary schools who are Muslim from wearing head-scarves. A Dutch person on the body voted against it, because 1. It will not change anyone's mind, and 2. She doesn't like telling people how to dress! That is good, I am glad calmer, more sensible heads prevailed on this issue.
To be noted, Muslim girls who are not old enough to have periods don't have to wear scarves, most elementary school girls are therefore too young to be under 'obligation' in this department. Also the rules in this department are not so strict as some people seem to think, women over a certain age are not obligated either. I think they mean the age for hot flashes, when sometimes women want to go out and roll naked in the snow! :)
Also to be noted, Europeans used to be a lot more modest before WWI when fabric rationing deprived women of enough to wear. Somehow not enough to wear got confused with being 'modern'. The fashion designers, most of whom are men, and men who leave a lot to be desired in the character department did the rest of the damage.
Then corporate society enforced certain modes of dress on everyone who wants a job in their world. Maybe they don't throw people in jail for not doing things their way, but they do enforce it make no mistake. Cultural imposition is not a one way street, it is a busy cross-roads. I am very glad the E.U. did not make the mistake of voting for such a stupid measure as banning head scarves, but it points up one of the flaws of the E.U. Who the fuck ARE these people to decide this stuff? And they used to talk about Communism! jebiga!
Interesting documentaries. Last night I watched a documentary on women who herd sheep someplace, I think in Hercegovina. Most if not all of these women seem to be Muslim. They nearly all lost husbands, sons and brothers in the war, so are left to fend for themselves, and raise their kids on their own. They not only have sheep, some have small herds of Bosnian ponies. There is something about them that reminds me of the Navajo people. The women are pretty decisive, and hard-working. The kids interviewed seemed to me to be happier than children growing up in cities pretty much anyplace. There was one really charming little boy interviewed. Perhaps he was 12 or 13. He just was all smiles and very cute.
These women make a living by selling cheese made from sheeps milk, wool, knitted things they make, and of course sheep. They seem to have a better life than one would expect, even though they are living without electricity or running water in many cases.
This morning there was a neat documentary about a poet and writer here named Josip Pejaković. He really loves dogs, especially he loves the Tornjak dog, which looks like a very calm collie on steroids. He has written poems and movies over the years. He is from Travnik. You know you are in a good country with good people when they will PAY to get into a poetry reading, not only that, LARGE numbers of them paid to get in to hear this man read his work, and dressed up for the occasion! Even in San Francisco which prides itself on being a great town for poetry, I never saw such numbers pay to go to a reading! It was great to see.
It is on the cloudy side today. I am just in the neighborhood. My mother if she had lived to be an internet junkie would have loved Club BIT, it is smoke filled and has a noisy esspresso machine. The people who run it are nice.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Department of Loose Ends:
More on the guy that got busted yesterday, he was a very big criminal. It took MONTHS of careful investigative work by the police here in Sarajevo to nail him. He was arrested not all that far from where I live right now.
I have not had as many links as before, sorry about that, time simply has not allowed for it.
Finally it looks like the weather is clearing up. That comes as a relief. The S.O. and I plan several good long walks. His doctor says this would be good for him, and I don't need no doctor to tell me it would do me good to walk. Besides then I can take some pictures of other places, to share with my small, but discerning international readership! :)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
How Is Crime Threating You These Days?
Saying Goodbye is always hard to do.
A very nice documentary was on BHT1 about a famous singer of Sevdah here in in Sarajevo, a sweet old guy, and the program explained that his body of work was lost when the T.V. station was hit by rocket fire in the war. They showed his wrecked up flat, very sad. He not only knew all kinds of old songs, he sang well for a really old person.
It is bright and sunny today, and nice to get out for a bit.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Folk Ensemble from Kraljeva Sutjeska
Mostar Sevdah Reunion on Folk Show
Pyramid thingie ii
Sarajevo Saturday Night Live
There were some similarities to the Bulgarian Women's Choir, they did that little high pitched yip at the end of verses. Most of them had the hand tatoos, REALLY had them, this was not ink or henna. People in that area dressed traditionally well into my lifetime. What these ladies wore was normal everyday attire up until as late as the 1970s to judge by male attire worn in the streets in another film I saw, a documentary on Jajce.
So anyway I liked that, and also 'Sto je muskarać bez brkove?' Some of that film was very funny. Also watched 'Jesen stiže dunjo moja' That show earlier had jack-o-lanterns used in some kind of village celebration. I tried to get the S.O. to explain abut it, and basically, despite my lovely little color sketches, he failed to enlighten me. I have no idea what I was seeing, but it seemed to be in a different context from the Celtic use of jack-o-lanterns. Any enlightenment on this subject by my select, discerning, international readership would be deeply appreciated, because no one else could tell me what that was all about. To the best of my understanding the village young men dressed as devils and one dressed like Jesus, and they made the rounds of houses asking for various food items, slanina, brašno, itd, and then there were the village girls dressed in white, with some sort of nice wreaths on their heads, I have no idea what they were about, I am assuming it was autumn, because that is when pumpkins are ripe. There was no snow. So anyway someone please let me know. I know that Halloween is most definately NOT a Slav do, so what was it?
They have started showing 'Monk' That show is really funny, and sometimes I get to see some neighborhoods familiar from years back as it is set in San Francisco. His continual requests for 'wipes' are funny, and I loved when he was like all 'eeeew jail goo!' My sister turned me on to the series, and it is a good series. I watch stuff for the subtitles, and this one has had useful subtitles, VERY useful subtitles! It really is a funny show too, the poor Mr. Monk's phobias are endlessly entertaining.
On a more serious note, a decision on Kosovo independence seems likely to occur soon, what with Merkel and Bush on the same page.
I see by the papers that John Kerry endorsed Senator Barak Obama. Again, whoever the Democrats run is going to get my vote. The other side are in bed with the people who have so busily been ruining my life.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Nice out this morning, who knows about now...
Loose Ends Dept. Osmanagić says there is another pyramid in the Visoko area. This was in Oslobođenje, and on T.V. I think BHT 1 and FTV both had some stuff about it. gluposti! Probably a Celtic hill fort or yet another Ottoman era arms dump, or perhaps a spare little castle complete with Sulking Room for one of the Tvrković dynasty, not a pyramid, sorry NOT a pyramid!
The stray Avacados I took pity on in the Pijaca are still hard as rocks. I left one out to soften up so it can become guacamole later, the highest life form for an Avacado to achieve, especially when I make it! The other is in the fridge, detained for future reference.
I should really say that the initials S.O. can stand for 'significant other' or 'Scuttlebut Officer'
There was a big scary guy arrested a couple days ago, and a pretty impressive perp walk at one of the main Sarajevo places of confinement for Less Than Desireable People. The police all had heavy flakjackets, and helmets and they were numerous. They husstled a guy known as 'Gusar' My spelling may not be correct. Not actually being from here, I thought , 'Oh looks like they got a war criminal, a dangerous one for sure!' The Scuttle-butt Officer corrected this, instead, the man ran one of the biggest car-theft rings in the region. He did not live far from where I live. Hightly interesting to see the procedure anyway.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
For the record, some steps backward are a good thing, maybe modernization is not always what it is cracked up to be, the Bosnian traditional attire of all ethnic groups is beautiful, and should be worn more often. India did not lose anything by remaining Indian in customs and attire, and for Bosnia it would be good to revive some things. This is a nice step in the right direction.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
In other news
Also was on BHT 1 last night, went by very fast.
It is misty but not especially cold today hvala Bog! in fact here in Baščaršija it is again sunny. I am down at Club Easynet, where it is peaceful. I like the people here, because it is quiet. Sometimes I don't mind the more frantic atmosphere at B.I.T. Today though I need calm. Last night caught 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' a wonderful film, and really enjoyed it. I normally love the Star Wars series, but I decided to give 'Revenge of the Sith' a miss. Just tired of Darth Maul, and Jar-Jar Binks who is high on my list of F***ing Annoying SideKicks. Why do they put F***ing Annoying Sidekicks in ANY films ANYWAY? What is being accomplished? Someone more flicksavy please tell me? Wait I know, F****ing Annoying People have a union, and they have a deal that insures this......
Off to find a grater, yesterday I brought home two stray Avacados! Found them in the Pijaca! I have missed avacados.
Most Helpful of You President Janez, NOT!
While RS is a potential source of problems, the Kosovo situation is one big reason why this is so.
Monday, January 07, 2008
How to have 2 Alarm Čili instead of False Alarm Čili
How to have 2 Alarm Čili instead of False Alarm Čili
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
Everyone needs a 'Jugo' Sretna Nova Godina, Sretan Božić
The big news here was the zićara went all messed up, people were stuck in the freezing cold in mid air for HOURS, like some nine hours, it took a very large rescue effort to get everyone down. That is bad, because they have to fix the lift now and who knows when that will happen! There were a lot of good New Years Eve shows, and movies. I enjoyed being home to watch them. They showed 'The Company' for the first time in Europe, the whole Star wars series ends tonight, but I am watching 'My Big Fat Greek Weddin' instead. I saw 'Revenge of the Sith' fairly recently, and I have neaver seen 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' It ought to be valuable for the sub-titles alone. Sometimes the sub title people get a little bored and have fun with subtitles. In a film that was mostly respectable, someone used the phrase 'vukojebina' instead of a more proper 'daleko' or 'dalje' for remote.
Sometimes there are other documentaries from other countries, last night there was a deal on the Harvard bells, I had NO idea they came from Moscow! There was a lot of Russian being used, and I got just a bit of it. The speakers kept interfereing with each other, there were times it would have been better to have subtitles and not speak over the person in the film it made for a really annoying sonic mishmash.
There was a very excellent concert by a group called 'Vassilisi' or something like that, I think I have seen them before. Very good. Check them out people! Mostar Sevdah Reunion had a concert in Dom Mladi which I missed since I had guests. If I had known about the concert sooner, there would not have been a party I would have dragged my S.O. out there! Unfortunately it was not advertised on T.V. soon enough.
My New Year's Eve party was a lot of fun, I made some chili, because one guest was from Texas, and some corn soup for a guest that was vegetarian, and there were plenty of nice adult and non alchol beverages, it all went off wonderfully.
I hope all the good guys prosper in the New Year!