This song goes out to all you freaks on the Metro, on the sidewalk, at the corner, busy with work or busy with nothing but when you see me (eyes down, mindin' my own bidness, trying to give off the strongest "leave me alone" vibes I can muster), you feel compelled, driven, almost honor-bound to try to get my attention with your waves, your tongue clicks, your "heeyyyyyy"s:

"Suggestion" by Fugazi
Why can't I walk down a street free of suggestion?
Why can't I walk down a street free of suggestion?
Is my body my only trait in the eyes of men (in the eyes of men)?
I've got some skin
You want to look in
(well, I guess so)
There lays no reward in what you discover
You spent yourself, boy, watching me suffer
Suffer your words, suffer your eyes, suffer your hands
Suffer your interpretation of what it is (what it is, what it is, what it is)
I've got some skin
You want to look in
(well, I guess so)
She does nothing to deserve it
He only wants to observe it
We sit back like they taught us
We keep quiet like they taught us
He just wants, he wants to prove it
She does nothing to remove it
We don't want anyone to mind us
So we play the roles that they assigned us
She does nothing to conceal it
He touches her 'cause he wants to feel it
We blame her for being there
But we are all guilty


Aloha, Ohana and Hoapili! We're going to Hawaii! Woohoo!
*does a little hula dance*
*eats a little pineapple*
*takes a little nap*






Still unpacking (boxes o' crap) and packing (stuff for trip tomorrow). So cannot form full sentences. No time. But must blog. Can only provide today's Word-of-the-Day:

panjandrum \pan-JAN-druhm\, noun:

An important personage or pretentious official.

So she went into the garden
to cut a cabbage-leaf
to make an apple-pie;
and at the same time
a great she-bear, coming up the street,
pops its head into the shop.
"What! No soap?"
So he died,
and she very imprudently married the barber;
and there were present
the Picninnies,
and the Joblillies,
and the Garyulies,
and the grand Panjandrum himself,
with the little round button at top,
and they all fell to playing the game of catch-as-catch-can
till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots.

by Samuel Foote



Back from the dentist with whiter pearly-whites, a fire-engine red new toothbrush, and a clean bill of health (with a side dish of compliments on my smile . . . awwww). While I tried valiantly not to drool out of the side of my mouth during the cleaning (it's amazing how much saliva pools up under your tongue when your jaws are wide open for an extended period of time), a song kept going through my head. I remember when I was younger, there used to be a cartoon PSA that was featured in between full-length cartoons extolling the virtues of good health, education, and good hygiene. Kind of like Schoolhouse Rock, but not. One clip was about brushing your teeth and the song went like this (voiced by Scatman Crothers):

They call me Yuckmouth, cause I don't brush. No, I keep my teeth like this.
They call me Yuckmouth, cause I don't brush. How's about a little kiss?
I got some beef in my teeth and some chicken, too.
OUCH! That's a cavity. Hey, that's new!
So if you don't brush your teeth then you can too be a Yuckmouth.

Good times. Good times.


Special Six Degrees of Blogeration Update
Newest Addition to the Second Degree! Baji -- the Zistahs -- Chij Bachee, Niqabified, and (Iman)
Newest Addition to the Fourth Degree! Baji -- Chai or the Zistahs -- Hemlock -- Waleed --Karrvakarela
High-falutin literature here, travel guides there, and hip, cool books here. Comedies here, hi-yah chop-socky flicks there, save the drama fo yo mamma here. Riot grrls here, punk there, and compilations and soundtracks here. Is it wrong of me that the first thing that I unpacked and organized were my books, DVDs, and CDs?


Who knew that a soft, cushy, old friend, pillow-topped, excellent for tv-surfing and napping couch could destroy one's shins so utterly and completely? And then (insult upon injury), I find out there is a blanket of dust layered over ancient objects hidden behind the sofa that would make any self-respecting archaeologist green with envy.

Hee. That reminds me of the time loooong ago when, according to legend, I got a hold of a Whitman's Sampler box of chocolates. I would select a bon bon, take a bite, and the ones that I liked, I gobbled down and the ones that I didn't, I nonchalantly tossed behind the couch. Lucky for all of us, Cybermom is close to godliness with her cleanliness and found the sticky stash while vacuuming behind the couch one day.

Tomorrow, the movers come and, Calgon-like, will take it all away. By tomorrow night, I can finally rest, perhaps play connect-the-bruises, and gear up for the next task: unpacking. So until then . . . um . . . enjoy this oldie but goodie about wonderous archaeological finds! And pray for my and LB's bones and muscles and sanity.

btw, happy 50th birthday, Gojira! (trivia alert: Godzilla's roar was the sound of a resin-coated leather glove being dragged across a contrabass (double bass)).

Baji, over and *collapse* out.


Moving Day Approaches

A river of packing tape,
A mountain of boxes and crates.
High-tech plastic pillows,
Low-tech crumpled up newspapers.

Stereos wrapped in cords,
Computers wrapped in foam,
Shirt wrapped in dust,
Mind wrapped in recollections.

Boxes of letters,
Boxes of pictures,
Boxes of souvenirs,
Boxes of boxes.

Throw out the magazines,
(but this one is a collector's issue)
Donate the clothes,
(but I might wear this next season)
Box up the VCRs, DVDs, CDs, and MP3s,
(but I need some tunes while I pack)
Store away the plates and silverware,
(wait, not yet!)

Change of Address, Mr. Postal Employee,
Change of Address, Mrs. Bank Teller,
Change of Address, friends and family,
Did I forget anyone, or anyone forget me?

Whose is this?
Is it yours?
Do you want this?
Can I have this?

Who knew how much noise
the framed art on the wall absorbed?
Why is this Persian rug
so very heavy?

Good-bye familiar creaky floor
that doubled as a burglar alarm.
Good-bye clanging radiator
that doubled as a headache.

So long, roaches;
you get no forwarding address.
So long, freaky shower;
hope the next tenants figure out your secrets.

Carry the mirrors by hand,
the monitors and jewelry too.
Carry the memories by heart,
the guests and slumber parties too.


Eid prayers in Virginia (hypnotized by the imam's henna'd beard waggling back and forth and impressed with the silence and order of the sea of Desis).

Eid brunch in Maryland (puris, chole, haleem, samosas, gulab jamen, sheer khurma, and chai; all enjoyed during daylight hours).

Eid movie in D.C. ("Bridget Jones II" for Sister's Sunday; shoulda watched "The Incredibles" instead.)

Today's mini-blurb brought to you by Harper's Magazine:

Go balloons, go balloons! I don't see anything happening. Go balloons! Go balloons! Go balloons! Standby confetti. Keep coming, balloons. More balloons. Bring it -- balloons, balloons, balloons! We want balloons, tons of them. Bring them down. Let them all come. No confetti. No confetti yet.

No confetti. All right, go balloons, go balloons. We need more balloons. All balloons! All balloons! Keep going! Come on, guys, let's move it. Jesus! We need more balloons. I want all balloons to go, goddammit. Go confetti. Go confetti. More confetti. I want more balloons. What's happening to the balloons? We need more balloons.

We need all of them coming down. Go balloons -- balloons? What's happening, balloons? There's not enough coming down! All balloons, what the hell? There's nothing falling! What the f*** are you guys doing up there? We want more balloons coming down, more balloons. More balloons! More balloons!

From comments made by the producer of this year's Democratic National Convention while he was unaware that his outburst was being broadcast live by CNN which had microphones in the control room.


Six Degrees of Blogeration
Rule -- degrees are established by one live person actually meeting, laying eyes upon, hugging, or clobbering another live person.
* indicates blurker or guest-blogger status

First Degree

Baji -- Lil Baji*, Cybermom, TP, Chai, H-Biddy, City Nomad, Ismo, Literaunty, Ushi, and Osman*, not to be confused for the Usual Suspect Osman. Hmm. Guess that makes him the 'Unusual Suspect.' Heh. (me relatives)
Baji -- Abez, DeGrouchyOwl [collectively, "the Zistahs"], Chan, Gunnar, Najm, Upyernoz, Amaal* (a.k.a. Gojira), Lamisse* (a.k.a. LaMushy), and Taha* (a.k.a "2 Scoops", a.k.a. spaz who really should make a blog of his own). (me crew)

Second Degree
Baji -- Chai or the Zistahs -- Hemlock and Lil Gray Crayon
Baji -- the Zistahs -- da Momma, Poppie and Vora
Baji -- (LB or Lamisse) -- Yasmine, Somayya, and Chocoholic
Baji -- (Taha) -- HijabMan
Baji -- Upyernoz -- Josh Corey, Cathy, Chuck, Sarah, Jon, Julia, LLCoolP, Anglobaptist, and Atrios

Third Degree
Baji -- the Zistahs -- Poppie -- The [original] Usual Suspect and Anju
Baji -- Chai or the Zistahs -- Hemlock -- Waleed and Chij Bachee

Erm. Did I miss anyone? *hammers "work in progress" sign onto post*
Eid Mubarak, y'all!


Last Weekend in Paris Nibblet: We decided to start our early Saturday morning with a jaunt through the neighborhoods and ended up climbing down 85 steps down a circular, stone staircase into the depths of the Parisian sewer system and mass grave known as the Catacombs. We wove our way through the dark, wet tunnels decorated with skulls and bones and tried not to imagine that the dust on our shoes was bone grit and the drips on our heads were not blood. Since it was our honeymoon after all, my favorite design was of the skulls artfully arranged into a heart:

Awww, how romantic!

We spent the afternoon perusing through the open-air market where we were dazzled by the [radio edit] and the delicious [radio edit] and the scrumptious [radio edit] which we picked up for our picnic lunch at Luxembourg Gardens. After a brief sit-down at Cafe de Flore, we watched a battle of the bands take place when a chanting, finger-cymbal-wielding Hare Krishna parade marched through a lively brass band (complete with crazy dancing lady) playing in front of the Saint Germain church.

It turns out that throughout this particular Saturday night, Paris was celebrating its Second Annual Nuit Blance ("White Night" or "Sleepless Night"), a city-wide contemporary arts and culture festival where you can visit a theater, enter a number of museums, or see exhibits at an art gallery from dusk to dawn. We walked to the riverbanks to experience the "Foghorn Concert" performed by 15 barges sailing down the Seine (recall the honking notes of the spaceship in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"). People filled the streets either as performers (tiny local bands set up their sets at almost every corner) or audience members (did I mention how much I love free?). Some artists displayed their talents with vegetables. Some artists left their marks directly onto the streets of Paris:

The night was very surreal, made doubly so when hordes of rollerbladers took over the streets for several long moments. We spent the rest of Sleepless Night wandering around the city, taking a nap (but it was artistic sleeping, so it was ok), and by Sunday morning, touring the Louvre for free (FYI, free rules!). Actually, Nuit Blanche aside, the Louvre would have been free anyway because the first Sunday of every month is free. After touring the Islamic Art Exhibit (portions of which were on loan from the NY Met), we walked to Place de Concorde, hung a left, and met our touristy obligation to visit the Eiffel Tower (which had been closed due to a worker's strike earlier). We capped off our last day with ice cream directly from the one, the only, actual Bertillon shop on Ile St. Louis. Final gelatoish report:

Coffee: A
Earl Gray Tea: B+
Grapefruit: B
Extra Dark Chocolate: A+++ valedictorian, best in show, undisputed champion of the world.

In other news, that concludes the travelogue so now what should I blog about? Any suggestions?


10/1 Nibblet: We spent Friday morning taking the metro up to the Arc de Triomph and promenading down the Elysian Fields. Along the way, we passed by the Louis Vuitton shop that was oh-so-stylishly under construction:

We stopped at Pizza Pino for lunch where we shared a pizza with beef, two kinds of cheese, and an egg (whaaa?). The pizza was humongous and could possibly rival our neighborhood's jumbo pizza that made the cover of the City Paper this week. We walked along the chestnut tree-lined boulevard and stopped for some crepes. We continued on to Place de Concorde and stopped for Belgian waffles liberally dusted with powdered sugar. We strolled through the Tuileries, crossed the bridge, and finally made it back to the apartment by late afternoon (just in time for a nap).

Upon waking up from the nap, we learned that several Tunisian guests would be arriving soon for a house-warming party (i.e. excuse to shop in Paris) and were asked if we could help out with the dishes, ironing, dusting, distract the toddler, move the chairs, put out the plates, and greet the guests. The old crew from Hammamet (see Tunisian Travelogue for details) showed up with their finery wrapped around their necks, brand names wrapped around their bodies, and high-falutin 'tudes wrapped around their heads. TP and I escaped onto the balcony for some fresh air and to give the guests some privacy in which to discuss and eye each other's clothes, shoes, and latest acquisitions. The "fabulous set" decided to go to a "fabulous restaurant" and our only amusement came when they could not identify any of the dishes (upon the advice of a friend, one guy ate a whole scoop of wasabi before dashing off to the bathroom to wash out his mouth) or operate the eating utensils. After getting our fill of fakeness, we passed on joining the group for dessert and, in full anti-social mode, took off on our own before calling it a night. Seriously, I chose getting away from those people over getting some Bertillon ice cream. *shudder*

In other news, despite the near freezing temps that are predicted tonight, I'm going out to see Interpol! For free! I heart free.


9/30 Nibblet: Travel Day, so not much happened. We took an early morning walk through the fog around our little village and came across a whole patch of grapes, blue berries, and figs. Free food! Walked a bit more, bid bon jour to our neighbors, scurried past the homes with wildly barking dogs, and took some pix of the cornfields, the houses, and the animals.

Riz picked us up so that we could have breakfast at her house before heading out to Lyon to catch our 11 a.m. TGV back to Paris. Unfortunately, her husband was operating on D.S.T. (Desi Standard Time) and didn't arrive until quite late. We reached the Part Dieu train station at 10:59 a.m., just in time to watch our train (and our reserved seats) slide out of the station. We were assured that we could board the 12 p.m. train (there is one every hour to and from Paris) so long as there was room enough. We found two seats together, tried to look as inconspicuous as possible, and when the conductor came by to check our tickets, we meekly handed them over. He glanced at the ticket, glanced at us, shook his head and said something in French of which I only caught "un probleme." We asked if he spoke English. He looked at us again, took the ticket of the passenger next to us, reviewed it thoroughly, and apparently found un grande probleme with that guy's ticket because he passed our tickets back to us with a curt "c'est bon" and focused his attention and glower on our neighbor instead. Whew.

We arrived in sunny, balmy Paris and immediately hit up La Croissanterie for their wonderful croissants, flan, and cafe creme. TP bought me a cool, orange messenger bag from Mandarina Duck for my birthday. We strolled around the neighborhood, did some window-shopping, and finally returned to the apartment to take full, uninterrupted showers. Stink waves be gone!

In other news, thx to Abez for the great gingerbread punjabis (I got the @-man and the pirate), thx to Najm for the moist brownies (excellent sehri material), thx to Literaunty for the spicy haleem and southern peanut salad (TP had haleem for sehri this morning!), and thx to Chai and HBiddy for the laughs (and not killing me for leading you in a complete circle downtown).


Sigh. I suppose life goes on as must the nibblets. And so.
9/29 Nibblet: After our daily alarm clock went off, we found out that our little pink farmhouse in La Championniere was still sans hot water. My cousin, Riz, picked us up, took us to her house, and there, I tried to take a hot shower. I say "tried" because I managed to shampoo my hair, rinse, and soap up before the water cut off. Not just the hot water; all of the water. So with a thin film of soap rapidly drying on my skin, I bellowed for help. Apparently, there was a notice from the construction crew nearby that they were doing some work that morning and that the neighborhood's water would be shut off for a few hours. Alas, in this sleepy little village, no one really checks the mail on a daily basis and so the notice went unread. Riz came to my rescue by heating up half a bucket of bottled mineral water for me and 10 minutes later, I got to rinse off. The only highlight from that little incident is that I can now say "why, yes, I have bathed in Evian water!"

Since TP needed to wash up as well, we zipped over to Riz's sister-in-law's house which, despite being nine centuries old, had both hot and running water. Alack, we zipped too quickly and Riz kinda crunched up the car against the wall. Oops. Now running even later than we were, we scarfed down our breakfast and drove into Lyon to meet Gojira's mere and chien. The second largest city in France, Lyon is a sprawling metropolis located between Fourviere, 'the hill that prays' and Croix-Rousse, 'the hill that works' and is split in the middle by two rivers, the Rhone and the Saone. Mrs. Gojira's apartment was in a very lovely neighborhood that bore a striking resemblence to Saint Germain with its chic shops, bustling cafes, and spotless boulevards. Mrs. Gojira welcomed us warmly and immediately fed us a wonderful leek pie, fresh and healthy tomato and avacado salads, and all sorts of cheeses. We shared some stories about Gojira (heh heh), saw some family pictures (ha ha!), and eventually bid her and MacDuff adieu.

We drove up to Fourviere hill and worked our way down from the Roman Ampitheater (where TP stole a bunch of grapes) to the Notre-Dame de Fourviere Basilica to the St. John Cathedral. We had a clear view of the city below at each stop.

In other news, check out the front page of the UK's Daily Mirror.


Special Election Day Blog:

See Baji.
See Baji and LB.
See Baji and LB go to vote.
Stand in line.
Wait, Baji, wait!
Two hours is a long time.
Wait, LB, wait!
Almost at the "Festival Center" voting location.
Grab Number Two Pencil.
Read carefully.
Vote, Baji and LB, vote!
Good job!

If "Dick and Jane" is not your style, how about a haiku?

Indecision day.
So many choices, which one?
Paper or plastic?

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog.

Update. Daily Show Election Blog. Thx, Julestress!


9/27 & 28 Nibblet: Thanks to Monsieur I-don't-like-to-read , all you get today are pix. Well, ok, a little text. TGV to Lyon. Lyon to Chateau Gaillard. Tour of Chateau des Allymes and Tour de St. Denis. Three hour hike through the Alps. Delicious, familiar, safe, mouth-watering, missed-you-so-much-Pakistani-cuisine. 12th century farm house with cable tv.

Mont Blanc

Mer de Glace

Bustling Rest Stop

Crossing Swiss Border

Championeire Water Pump

In other news, Gojira and I totally have to apply for this position! Because we arrre the best and everyone else is the worrrrst.