Category Archives: uncategorized


Surveillance: “watching from above”
Surmontrance: “showing from above”

Ubiquitous CCTV cameras yield ubiquitous surveillance.
Ubiquitous CCTV projectors yield ubiquitous surmontrance.

Residents of London live in a ghost world imposed by the state. The shadows and murmurs of un-augmented reality are barely perceptible under thick layers of surmontrance. Conscientious objectors blind and deafen themselves, only trusting their unsurmontred senses.

Image CC-BY-NC-SA by hc gilje


Sourdough PancakesInjera

SourdoughInjera Starter

1/4 c old starter
3/4 c all-purposeteff flour
3/4 c water

Mix in blender on high for one minute, to grind some of the coarseness out of the teff flour.
Let stand until bubbly.

Sourdough PancakesInjera

1 c all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/41 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1 1/4 c bubbly sourdoughinjera starter (Put the remaining starter into the fridge for next time.)
2 tbsp oil

Stir together dry ingredients.
Mix in wet ingredients. Thin with water to the consistency of heavy cream: thinner than pancake batter, but thicker than crepe batter. Do not overmix.

Pour about 1/41/2 c batter into a medium-hot non-stick skillet.
Cover tightly
Cook until surface is bubbly and edges are slightly dryjust beginning to turn brown.
Flip and cook other side until golden brown.Cook on one side only.
Remove to cooling rack. Texture will be slightly gummy until cooled a bit. First one in the batch will be awful, just like pancakes.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 1989.

Image CC-BY-NC-ND by marymactavish

Mangas Verdes

The cities of São Cosme and São Damião
have twenty million souls between them.

They are separated by mutual ignorance,
spanned by a single narrow bridge.

Children occasionally make the crossing,
and return full of unfamiliar sweets.

The blind, the mad and the extremely old
maintain friendships across the divide.

The rest live as silent neighbors,
often dying unaware.

I ate a green mango,
given to me by a stranger.

Now I can’t stop seeing all of you,
here in my own hometown.

Image CC-BY-NC-SA by Jepster

Out of Gas

On the way back from Awash National Park, Matthew, Zerihun and I ran out of gas. We coasted to a stop behind a ten-ton truck. Zerihun got out an negotiated for the driver to tow us with a cable tied around the frame of our jeep. We banged along like that toward the next town, which was supposed to be what, nine, fifteen kilometers away? After about twenty kilometers, Zerihun said, “Well, he’s either towing us all the way to Addis, or else maybe he’s towing is to Maljacha Ferenjecha.”

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Octopus Sanctuary Trip Report


We spent this morning at the Laguna Negra octopus sanctuary, hacking through the jungle behind our local guide. The Laguna Negra villagers looked toward octopus tourism in the late 1960’s when the market for chicle gum was drying out. The central Yucatan jungle is home to twelve subspecies of octopus arboris, all of them now endangered or threatened. Four of the subspecies have been found within the sanctuary itself, and all village adults take shifts on armed patrol, discouraging poachers seeking meat and leather.

Our guide told us a (wonderful, possibly apocryphal) story of a school of octopodes imitating a sleeping adult spider monkey and then swarming and devouring the hapless ocelot who tried to prey on the monkey.

We had just about given up hope of seeing the elusive creatures when our guide motioned for us to stop. We stood breathless and listened to the cracking of branches and then caught a fleeting glimpse of something before whatever it was disappeared in a blurry cloud of diffracting ink.

Photo: Me, uneasily trying on black-market octopus-leather cap at one of the ubiquitous folkloric-craft stands on the road to Valladolid.