Sunday, September 28, 2008

Next year in the Holy Land...!


I recently went ahead and invested in something I've wanted for YEARS...a digital voice recorder. I've brought it to work a few times, and the other day, I recorded a long conversation we had on our way out to the field. I now share it with you, since its typical of Shadi and so many of the conversations we have in the van. Almost every single day, this subject of America's inferiority to Shadi's home country of Israel is brought up.

Please excuse the vulgarities...Fremont Kirby business is certainly no Rexburg, Idaho. I've edited as best I could, while attempting to still remain true to the meter and tone of the conversation. The speakers: myself, Shadi (Israel), JP (Token Latin Man - Nicaragua/Peru), CJ (Token Black Man). Also note the use of the word "hella" in this conversation. It's a swearword specific to the San Francisco Bay Area, and is used to mean "lots" or "many" or "very." (The coolest thing is that Mormons say "hecka.")

SHADI: (yelling in Arabic) It cost one, two, three, four dollars. Robbery! This America! Robbery!

LIZ: Opportunity, Shadi.

SHADI: What the f**k is this? Opportunity? They take my money away! I do good, and they take it away. Robbery. America. Welcome to America. They give you in one hand, they take in both.

CJ: Means you gotta work harder.


CJ: Means you gotta work harder.


CJ: Right? Right?

JP: Right.

SHADI: I been here for ten years. Wasting my time.

LIZ: Getting married, having kids? Waste of time. [Shadi's wife, Stacey, who works in the Kirby office in Fremont, is 13 weeks pregnant with Shadi's first child.]

JP: In America? Lot of money.

SHADI: Don’t make s**t. They take it away.

JP: Land of opportunity. Lot of money.

SHADI: THEY TAKE IT AWAY! F*****g fifteen-hundred dollar rent! What the f**k is that?!

JP: Everyone pays rent, fool.

SHADI: How much people they get paid? From regular job? Fifteen-hundred! How much the rent? Fifteen-hundred! So?

JP: That’s why we drug deal over here.

SHADI: How they f*****g live?

JP: We sell crack cocaine.

SHADI: You all are lucky you are in Kirby business. All—whatever I did in America, I make a lot of money. Whatever.

LIZ: See? Opportunity!

SHADI: BUT THEY TAKE IT AWAY FROM YOU! I’m talking about f*****g… (mumbling in Arabic)

JP: You could live in my apartment, the rent’s cheaper. But you don’t want to, that’s not my problem, that’s your problem.

SHADI: I don’t live in garbage areas. In this garbage district. How much you pay? How much you pay?

JP: Eleven-fifty.

SHADI: Ghetto houses! F*****g eleven-fifty!

CJ: You’re always hella mad about everything.

SHADI: You go to my country, eleven-fifty? Eleven-fifty, you buy a mansion.

CJ: No one cares.

SHADI: You live in a mansion. Goddammit. (points to helicopter) Look. See, they recording whatever I’m saying. To send me back home. That what they think, but they do me favor. Yeah yeah yeah, get closer to me! Yeah, get closer! Yeah! Come on!

SHADI: F*****g I used to — Oh my god. I was back home making tons of money. What the f**k I came here for?

JP: For the women.

SHADI: For the women?

JP: Women! We have all kinds! All kinds of women!

SHADI: Back home we have more women than here.

JP: No, not really. NOT. N-O-T really.

SHADI: Goddam you all.

JP: There, there’s just them Persian kind of women. Here, you get to choose, you know what I mean?


JP: You know what I’m talking about, Liz!?

LIZ: Boys! Boys…

JP: Nah, what do you think, we’re doing it to ourselves? Think we’re messing with other boys? No? Exactly.

SHADI: You see? You see? I used to go out with Russian girl. She used to be a model.

LIZ: Russians are stupid.

JP: And she probably had no body.

SHADI: Excuse me!?

JP: Men like you don’t know what shape is—

SHADI: You don’t know f*****g sh*t!

JP: You’ve never been with a real woman, with real shape.

SHADI: You don’t know sh*t!

JP: Real shape.

SHADI: You don’t know sh*t!

JP: Real shape. With a big beautiful ass.

SHADI: You don’t know sh*t! You don’t know sh*t.

JP: That’s shape. Ain’t no f*****g teeny little b**ch. (to Liz) Excuse our language. I feel bad, you’re like a Mom. I feel weird.

SHADI: Russian model. What her name…Maria. Marina.

JP: See, she wasn’t even that good, you forgot her name.

CJ: What we ain’t got that you got? We ain’t got no f*****g soccer in America.

SHADI: Because you SUCK in soccer! That’s why! Home, the whole f*****g country is soccer soccer soccer!

JP: You get beat. Spain, Brazil…

LIZ: All the South American countries. Germany.

JP: Germany sh*t all over you.

SHADI: Yes, yes! It’s okay, but Americans…

CJ: See?

JP: We have to let you win some things.

CJ: You guys are soft. That’s why we got football and you guys don’t.

JP: Yeah, we’re tough, man.

CJ: It’s ‘cause you guys are soft. You guys don’t got football. Shadi, you got football? Over there?

SHADI: We don’t have football. We don’t have that.

JP: You don’t have the athletes.

CJ: You got every other f*****g sport. You got baseball? The great American sport?

SHADI: We have this there.

JP: Not really.

SHADI: We have baseball. F**k you.

JP: You have softball.

SHADI: We have baseball, softball—

JP: Softball for men.

SHADI: We have baseball. And they beat America.

CJ: There be no way in hell.

JP: Never in your life.

CJ: It’s a white man’s sport.

SHADI: You have Dead Sea? In America?

JP: Yeah, in the mall, fool.

CJ: The what?


JP: Yeah, that sea spa sh*t. That’s in the mall. That sh*t works, man.

SHADI: You have the Dead Sea, in America?

CJ: What is the Dead Sea, man?

SHADI: THE F**K! HE DON’T EVEN KNOW F*****G WHAT THE DEAD SEA! [Shadi's English grammar gets worse, the more worked up he gets...]

JP: F**k, they sell it over here. In the mall. That sh*t works, man. Rub it in your hands, it makes your hands hella smooth…

SHADI: I have it at home.

LIZ: The Dead Sea?

SHADI: The Dead Sea, man, you go—like a beach, okay? But its all salty.

JP: Hella salty.

SHADI: You can’t put your face inside.

JP: Hell no.

SHADI: It’s like a beach, right? Big. Huge.

JP: Nothing lives there.

SHADI: No fish. They can’t live there. You go, and just lay down on the beach, no? Lay down, take uh…newspaper or book and just read and you never go.

CJ: Who the f**k wants to do that?!

JP: Exactly. Why you go to the beach, to lay down? Go to a park. Why the hell you gonna go to the beach and lay down?

SHADI: It’s f*****g beach!

JP: You can’t go in the f*****g water! Who cares? It’s like going to the beach here in San Francisco, you can’t go in the water, it’s too damn cold. Same sh*t, same principle. That’s why your country sucks.

SHADI: You have, uh...

JP: I love my country.

SHADI: You have sharks?

LIZ: Yes.

SHADI: We don’t. HA HA HA HA HA! See?!

CJ: Listen to this mother-f****r going on about a f*****g shark. How many f*****g deaths a year due to sharks? More people die from like falling and sh*t.

LIZ: You’re more likely to be killed by a cow than a shark.

JP: Really?

LIZ: That’s true, that’s a true statistic.

CJ: By a cow or by like a falling…anvil.

SHADI: You have….what you want? You have black and white TV’s?

CJ: Who the f**k wants a black and white TV?

SHADI: You don’t, right?

CJ: No.

SHADI: We do.

CJ: Who the f**k's gonna be buying black and white TV’s?

JP: Like 25 years ago…

SHADI: Twenty dollar.

SHADI: I wish the immigration come to take me away, and deport me. I WISH.

CJ: Shadi, they can’t deport you.

SHADI: I wish the el migras—la migras come and take me away.

LIZ: Why don’t you just go yourself?

SHADI: No, I can’t.

LIZ: Why do you have to wait to be kicked out?

CJ: No, he wanna go for free.

SHADI: Exactly. Two-thousand f*****g dollar ticket.

CJ: What about Stacey? They not gonna take her, so what she gonna do?

SHADI: That’s why I want them to f*****g deport me!

CJ: You don’t want your wife to go with you?

SHADI: It’s not my fault! Not my fault. Stacey, not my fault. But the f*****g problem—they can’t f*****g take me. They can’t. I am legal here. Goddammit. I go to Bush…you take me? You send me home? What, what should I do to get them to send me home?

JP: Nothing. You’re an American citizen.

LIZ: Yeah, you’re an American citizen, you can’t do anything.

JP: You can go to jail.

CJ: They just take your ass to jail. You could just kill yourself. You don’t got to worry about being in America no more. Or alive, for that matter.

SHADI: Here, waiting for f*****g…

CJ: Why you always gotta be cussing? And yelling?

SHADI: This is American f*****g way!

CJ: Liz from America, you see her doing that? And this is not how Americans drive. You made this sh*t hella difficult.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bloggy divulgences

Hello blogosphere. I haven't written in a while, but I have read a lot of your blogs, so I'm going to steal the idea for this entry from fellow blogger James, and take a moment to reveal a few deep, dark, embarrassing things about myself and my past.


1. I used to be hopelessly infatuated with Ryan Gosling. When I was 13 and he was 18, he was the star of “Young Hercules,” and when I found out he was LDS, I was certain that we were going to be married. While I’ve grown out of my infatuation (and while he's grown out of being LDS), I still claim that the man’s talent far exceeds his recognition. (And that he’s still gorgeous.)
young herc

2. At one point in my childhood, I owned over 100 “Baby-sitter’s Club” books. I still remember all of the names and personalities of each of the characters. Dawn and Claudia were my favorites. I was and still am slightly intimidated by Kristi.
baby-sitters club

3. During my short stint of non-activity in the Church, I was Wiccan. As in I practiced the art of witchcraft. A friend from school introduced me and we used to do spells at her house after school, while her parents were gone. Mostly white wicca, but when I started getting into dark, I had some scary experiences and decided to go back to church.

4. I played dress-up/pretend games in complete seriousness until my early teens. At age 14, I still put on layers of skirts, folded a lacy place-mat over my head as a bonnet, and pushed a wheelbarrow around the backyard, pretending I was a pioneer. Now, I have absolutely NO enthusiasm for pioneer stories or celebrations. I guess I met my quota of pioneer enthusiasm early.
pioneer day

5. From the time I was about 11 to the time I was about 16, I had a large collection of incense, and loved to have a stick burning in my room. I liked the smell, but most of the attraction was watching the smoke curl into the air in interesting patterns.

6. I dyed my hair blue for a day in high school, without my parents EVER finding out.
temp hair dye

7. I really like studying people’s hands, and their feet. Most often, people’s hands and feet “match,” so I like to look at people’s hands and try and guess what their feet look like. I really like when my guesses turn out to be accurate.
hands and feet

8. Most of my childhood life was spent in eager anticipation of being a “teenager.” I couldn’t wait to get a perm, drive a car, kiss a boyfriend, and have a different teacher for each subject. The day I got my locker (in 8th grade) was one of the happiest days of my life up to that point.

9. I have a love affair with banjo music.

10. I can state, in honesty, from experience, that kissing a smoker is absolutely nothing like licking an ashtray. Actually, I guess I can't honestly say that, having never licked an ashtray, so I suppose I can’t really compare the two. But I have kissed a smoker before, and it was nothing like what I imagine licking an ashtray would be like.
ashtray kissing

11. I stole a small lock and key from a Target when I was about 7. I’m not sure what the appeal was, but my Mom ended up finding it the next day. She took me back to the store, made me return the lock and key, and apologize in person to the manager. The experience was strong enough to have scared me away from any desire or impulse to steal ever again.
theft sign

12. There are certain musical artists whom I love, but always feel reluctant to let others know of my love for them. Singers that I adore, sort of “in spite of myself.” So I divulge, here and now, that my musical indulgences are Fergie, Bobby Darin, and Gwen Stefani.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"Russian birthday song! Party party party party! You have to frown but you still can dance!" --Nathan Russell

It's my birthday tomorrow! In celebration, check out this awesome song, from a kid's cartoon in Russia.

This alligator is cheerfully singing about his birthday, despite the rain. More specifically, he sings this:

Let the pedestrians run clumsily along the puddles,
and the water runs along the street like a river.
And it's not clear to the passers by
on this bad weather-ish day,
why I am so happy.
I play on the accordian in front of the passersby in sight.
Unfortunately, birthday is only once a year.
A wizard will fly in suddenly
in a light blue helicopter and for free, will show movies.
He will congratulate with the day of birth
and probably will give me, as a present,
five hundred eskimo pies.

Happy birthday, me.