Thursday, February 3, 2011

Walk Like An Egyptian

In case you are not currently aware of this, there is civil unrest in Egypt. Just a brief background, Egypt is unhappy with their president, who has been ruling over the country for 30 years. (For my safety, I’m not even going to try and type out his name. I will refer to him as “Bob” from here on out). So a protest has been going on for some time, and just yesterday the conflict became violent.

Now this is very nerve-wracking for several reasons. The first is that Anderson Cooper is there, which means some serious s**t is happening. Anderson Cooper does not just drop into quaint little disputes. If Anderson Cooper is there, that means that things are burning and children are screaming and buildings are falling down around him as he stares into the camera with that steely gaze. He is like the angel of death. If you see him descending into your town, you know you’re screwed.

The second thing that scares me is that before this, Egypt was supposed to be one of the most stable countries in the Middle East. Of course, that is like saying that somebody is the skinniest person at the OA meeting, but it was nice knowing we had an ally there who wasn’t constantly running around like Wile E. Coyote trying to find a way to launch missiles at Israel. But now that the country is in turmoil and U.S. ally “Bob” might be on the way out, we have a serious problem.

I think it has surprised a lot of people that the Egyptians are protesting. Generally they are a pretty passive people that just take orders and do what they are told. Sure, that is a generalization not supported by any facts but I am assuming it is true. I mean, you don’t get all those pyramids built with slaves who protest (unless it really was aliens). If you tried to build the pyramids today, the government would have to pay some construction company millions of dollars so they could send their workers out to take lunch breaks for three years before they would ask for some more money because of “unforeseen obstacles” before shutting down the project and leaving it half finished due to lack of funds. Whereas those ancient Egyptians just worked all day under the hot sun with no breaks. Sure, there were whips and most of them died, but still.

So my point is, the Egyptian government must have done something to really irk these people. As with most important international events with far-reaching consequences, it’s really complicated and I don’t really know much about it. But I do know one mistake that the government made: they took away the Internet.

More specifically, the government shut down Twitter and Facebook, where much of the anti-governmental sentiment was coming from. The problem with this is that it actually made the problem worse. Normally, only the real patriots and freedom fighters would be angry at the government. But by cancelling social media, they then involved people who were simply mad that they couldn’t water their turnips on Farmville and figure out what Justin Timberlake was eating for breakfast.

Now, I know very little about modern day Egypt. I know a lot about old Egypt, because the old Egyptians were a very integral part of the section of history that we constantly had to learn about in school. So unfortunately, whenever anybody says Egypt today I still think about Cleopatra sailing down the Nile with King Tut wearing one of those weird hats and that fake chin thing running away from mummies. But not knowing anything about a subject has never stopped me from trying to give advice.

The first step is to get “Bob” out of office. I mean, 30 years is a good run, but he has to realize that is a little too long to be in charge of a country. Barack Obama has been in office for less than four years and people are yelling at him. So after “Bob” steps down… Well actually I think that’s the only step. Yeah, from what I gather that would just about solve things.

Sometimes things are just that simple. I have no idea if this is one of those cases, but I’m pretending it is. The main point is that we get Egypt up on its feet and back to producing, uh, whatever they make. Sand bags? Museum exhibits? Okay so I have no idea what their role in the big picture is, but I think we can all agree that a stable Egypt is very important. Because frankly, Anderson Cooper needs to be covering the natural disaster in Charlie Sheen’s house.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cold As Ice

Believe it or not I’m actually supposed to be in class right now. But in case you haven’t heard, hell has frozen over, and apparently it is intent on taking Colorado with it. The entire state is in one of the coldest spells in the history of this state, which is really inconvenient since I happen to be in the state at the moment. I woke up this morning and my thermometer read 10 degrees. Wait, something doesn’t look right about that… Wait, what is this little dash in front of that? Oh yeah, a NEGATIVE!!!! IT’S NEGATIVE 10 DEGREES!!! And that’s without the windchill.

I’m sorry for yelling, but in case you’ve never met me or read anything on this site before, I’m not exactly a cold person. Growing up in Hawaii, I thought that temperatures below 40 were some sort of urban myth, like fluffy unicorns. Over my break in Hawaii, we hit sort of a “cold spell,” and people were freaking out and wearing heavy jackets for temperatures in the 60s. I love Hawaii people, but we are not a very tough group when it comes to cold temperatures.

Which explains why I’m not in class. Half of my classes were canceled, but despite the dangerously cold temperatures, CU still refuses to cancel school, even though every other public school has. So I’ve decided to skip my last class, mainly as a form of protest over the safety of my fellow classmates, because I care. It’s not because I’m lazy and I skip class all the time anyway and I want to sit in my warm little apartment with the heater blasted up to “defrosting chicken.”

Besides, I will be paying my dues this week. I work in Denver, which is supposed to be even colder than Boulder. I went outside to make the 30-minute drive on Monday, and was shocked to find that in the place of my car, I found a large, silver block of ice. Every surface of my car was covered by about a half-inch-thick sheet of ice. Now, I never had to prepare my car in Hawaii, unless you count getting my cats out of the front seat because I left the truck window down again. But in snowy places, you have to head to your car an hour early just so you can get your car ready to go. So I hopped in the car and hoped I could just ignore the ice, but unfortunately ice is not as transparent as you would think.

So, armed with a little scraper that I bought at Target for about $1, I set to work. Immediately, I realized why this scraper cost $1. I looked like a paleontologist scrapping out dinosaur bones, slowly chipping at an area and creating a dime sized hole in the ice after about ten minutes. I’m convinced I should invest in a blow torch instead (besides, then I could make crème brule). I was about to be late, so I just created a hole big enough to see through in each of my windows and blindly slid off toward Denver.

Now came the hard part: driving in this weather. In case you have never driven in snow and ice, it’s sort of like driving one of those quarter-slot cars outside of Wal-Mart. Sure, you could turn the wheel and step on pedals, but that isn’t going to change where your car goes. In snow and ice, your car basically just goes wherever the hell it wants to go, which is normally into medians and other car bumpers.

Now, my route into Denver takes me through several freeways where the speed limit is 60. Now, as somebody who never used to drive in snow (or anywhere with a speed limit higher than 35 mph for that matter), I drive very slowly and very carefully. But it’s everybody else that I’m afraid of. Unfortunately, a lot of Coloradans think that even in bad weather they will be punished if they don’t break the limit by at least 10 mph. I saw at least four cars slide off the road, only to rev up and head back onto the road to go kill somebody.

So if you see some guy driving very slowly out there this week, that is probably me. So please don’t try and rush me. To make your life easier, I will hibernate most of these cold days. So somebody wake me up when the temperature rises above 60. Yep, we Hawaiians are tough.