America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

30 December 2009

Nothing like a chance encounter with bike stuff while estimating woodwork

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03 December 2009

Country Conditions for Mailing — Australia

Can someone explain to me why I can't mail anything to Australia which bears the word "ANZAC" on it? Sales of wool apparel is going well- I have buyers in Australia, which.. ironically, is where the raw materials for the apparel comes from [to Turkey].

Prohibitions (130)

 

Coins; bank notes; currency notes (paper money); securities of any kind payable to bearer; traveler's checks; platinum, gold, and silver (manufactured or not); precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles are prohibited.

Fruit cartons (used or new).

Goods bearing the name "Anzac."

Goods produced wholly or partly in prisons or by convict labor.

Perishable infectious biological substances.

Radioactive materials.

Registered philatelic articles with fictitious addresses.

Seditious literature.

Silencers for firearms.

Used bedding.

26 November 2009

I forgot how, seriously.

Tomorrow morning my six year old son and I will attend our first religious service together. It's a holiday for the Muslim world, apparently. We're in Rochester and honestly, I have not set foot in a mosque or touched my forehead to a prayer rug in maybe 12 years.. We're going to the Turkish Society of Rochester for the service, where pretty much everyone knows who I am and knew my father. There will be lots of looks and double takes from old friends of the family.. Some of whom remember a time long ago when my father took me to prayers as a child. Reis is going to be told to follow my lead tomorrow.. Little does he know that I will be copying everyone else around me. It's going to be interesting, for sure.
Happy Bayram and Thanksgiving.
Thanks for reading.
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19 November 2009

Phoenix Arizona: nice place to read about

The single most impressive thing about Phoenix Arizona is the Rental Car Terminal. Intelligent design has a special place in my heart. The thing that brought me down was the emptiness. Phoenix is a lonely city- all dressed up and waiting for a party to happen, it seems, and everyone is a no-show. The glimmering mini skyscrapers seem to be populated only by the palm trees which surround them. It's a scene out of Grand Theft Auto if I ever saw one. The boring flat landscape is made interesting with shiny hollow trophies of an era which probably ended a little after Y2K and the bottom falling out of tech stocks. I'm well aware of the mountains, canyons and natural beauty that is beyond the perfectly linear matrix of streets, and I begin to wonder if maybe that's where everyone went. Severe time limits prevented me from finding a bike to rent and from exploring the roads for hours like I wanted to. Shit, I only put 30 miles on my rental car for that matter. Phoenix has an abundance of billboards. Some one is getting very rich selling space to all the corporations who pine for your attention. I detest them, almost as much as the car dealer ads on the radio.. You know, the ones that sound like you're listening to the preview of an epic movie, followed by a fast talker who reads all the fine print of that zero down zero interest deal that ends tomorrow.. Car dealers are slime, just like billboard owners. One is engaged in noise pollution, the other in sight pollution. Way to make an ugly place uglier Phoenix! I did not turn on my car radio, for reasons I just described.. But you can't close your eyes while driving. I lied there's something else I liked about Phoenix- the Metro running up and down Central Ave is a slick set-up. There's even a car where bicyclists can hang their bikes from the ceiling- a nice touch but one which I can't understand. The climate is near perfect and the roads are perfectly smooth and flat. Why bother jumping on a tram when you're already on your bike in the first place?
The Convention Center is a LEED Silver certified building which is respectable.. LEED and Green construction practices were frequent topics discussed at the trade show I attended in Phoenix. A speaker in one of the workshops I attended said something pretty dramatic:
"In 20 years, 1/3 of the jobs available today will be gone, and 1/2 of them will be replaced by Green-collar jobs". My profession engages me in the construction and renovation of high performance green schools. This is stuff I care about. Furnishing $5 million hi-rise condos on Beacon Street with expensive and exotic woodwork does not turn my crank. Furnishing a public educational facility with responsibly forested, locally harvested and low VOC emitting woodwork, does interest me, immensely.
I will board my flight here in Detroit shortly. My new Blackberry 8900 is junk- I'm trading up to a BOLD. Time to play some Word Mole. Thanks for reading.

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11 November 2009

My bike commute just increased 300%

New job, different bike commute. For the past five years I was lucky to have an 8 mile bike ride to work. (I used to take the long way home of course..) Now my bike commute is 26 miles each way and I fear that it may be a bit too much, especially in the mornings. This is going to be hard to do more than once a week. I need to leave the house at 6:00 am in order to get there at a reasonable hour, and the logistics of clean clothing, grooming failures and odor control really make it harder than you might think. I rode this route home tonight for the first time and noticed that it was always a very gradual downhill with a tailwind, going north to south. Tomorrow morning it will be colder, it will be uphill and it will be into the wind. What better way to start the day than with a challenging 90 minutes of straining yourself while a backpack humps your torso and every driver acts like they wish you were dead? It will be a relief to reach the bike path tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Gewilli's commute is what, 3 miles? with an over-population of phreds whose primary training goal each year is to avoid being passed by anyone on the bike path? the East Bay bike path is narrow, bumpy, covered in bird shit, and always smells like low tide..The Blackstone Bike Path is stunning. I've seen all five paths in Rhode Island and Blackstone is by far the most scenic, interesting, and beautiful of them all. Thanks for reading.

08 November 2009

Conformance

If you told me 10 years ago that I would one day break down and buy a "Christmas" tree I would have made a face indicating that I smell cabbage.. "That's blasphemous" might have been my reply. Now looking back upon 38 years of deprival of one of the most cherished and fundamental American traditions ever known, all I can really take credit for is saving some time and some money. "We don't celebrate Christmas" is not a compelling enough reason for a six year old boy to accept. Christmas is a holiday of glittery sparkly pine scented money spending gift giving wholesomeness and nothing more. Am I religious enough to believe that I will get onto G-d's shit-list for participating in such a pagan ritual? Well maybe so.. caulk it up there with my occasional drinking, pork consumption, gambling, complete and total failure to ever pray five times a day, or fast, or set foot in a mosque for the past 15 years, or give 1/40th of my income to charity.. and the act of buying a Christmas tree begins to seem like the most religious and good thing which the Angel on my right shoulder has ever recorded in my little book of Good Deeds.

31 October 2009

Determination


I'm pleased because even though I crashed heavily two times at today's Canton Cup Cyclocross Race, your hero never quit, he avoided being lapped and even caught four people and sprinted past a fifth right at the finish line. My son Reis pulled a similar result in his kid's race for 6 and 7 year olds. He went right off into the weeds on the first slick muddy turn and was dead last.. until he got back on the bike, chased down and passed two kids and finished fourth. Mommy for her part, put up with all the pissing, moaning, whining and bullshit that Reis and I could dish out, all day long, before patiently painting Reis' face like Spider Man so we could all go trick-or-treating. It takes a strong woman to handle a couple of selfish crybabies like Reis and I.. but the knife cuts two ways and we'll leave it at that!
Finishing my first cyclo-cross race on the same lap as the leaders feels pretty good. So does catching and passing people and looking back to see the gap on them open steadily. A taste of that could light my fire to try even harder to do well.. Usually I just use cyclocross as a means to keep fitness sharp until January when the road training officially begins.
Another home run from today that I'm absolutely beaming about: I found my Powertap bike computer. It was lost in mid September and I've looked everywhere for it, even in the place where it was found: the pocket of my brown camouflage shorts. I've repeatedly fondled these shorts and others over the past weeks, hoping to feel the little device from outside. Well today I said fuck-it and shoved my hand into the pocket for once and [curse your slim profile, Powertap] there it was. I came running down the stairs almost naked to report the search and rescue to Ebru. She thought I found a million dollars, I think she was disappointed.
So it goes- I finally finished a race at Canton, on the 3rd try. My doors were blown off [even worse] on the 1st try and again a couple of years ago when I dragged my poor father to the race with me. He froze his balls off watching me pathetically try to ride a bike for 2 laps.. I don't think he was too impressed with me that day.. Maybe today makes up for it. Maybe finding the Powertap was payback for determination. Maybe this should be the last sentence of this story.
Thanks for reading.

26 October 2009

Bliss

I have two weeks of free time before I begin my new job. Today after depositing Reis on the school bus I went out and did an endurance/tempo bike ride of about 37 miles in 2 hours. On my way up Route 102 North I noticed one of those ubiquitous NBW arrows in the road, beckoning me to turn onto Purgatory Road. It's nothing like it sounds- this is a tree lined country road with no traffic and brand new ultra fine (fast) blacktop. At some point I forgot what day it was and what time it was and that it's the first time in five years when I am not carrying a Blackberry. I looked up at the sky and it was shade of blue that I don't remember seeing for a long time.

24 October 2009

IRONY

For the past many months and months, Facebook has pretty much hijacked my attention span, taking it away from this blog and leaving readers twisting in the wind.. unless they themselves migrated over to the land of imitation friendships. Let's face it, accepting a friend request is the equivalent of canine crotch sniffing. We proceed to ogle all of the friends, photos and other bullshit which our new "friends" have just exposed. It's a peep show of flashers and consenting victims.
Today something different happened. Something less typical than what I describe. A couple of things happened actually. First I stumbled upon the Facebook link to my www.americanturk.blogspot.com blog, where I was astonished to discover that I have followers. I can't think of another word which makes my insides tingle more warmly. Okay there were only six of them in there, but I am not acquainted with three- total strangers. This gives me a hard-on, figuratively speaking, and it explains the first irony which my title suggests: that Facebook played a part in getting me interested in blogging again.
The next surprise came in the form of a friend request acceptance and a message posted to my Facebook Wall by my new friend. I sent a friend request to Franz Wright earlier in the afternoon. By the time I got home from a friend's child's birthday party, he had replied with an acceptance and the following message.

Franz Wright Hi, and thanks for befriending me. I remember coming across your blog a long time ago and being greatly encouraged by some good words of yours. FW

4 hours ago · · · See Wall-to-Wall
I usually have a pretty low opinion of my work, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Franz Wright won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2004. That he stumbled upon my blog and found words fit to encourage him is the biggest compliment I have ever received. Irony No 2 happens to be that for twice in one day, Facebook sent me back to the drawing board (that is, my blog), and wondering why I have let is slip so.
The third thing I want to share with you is partly coincidence and part irony. I resigned from my job last week, and yesterday was my last day after five years of service. While my pre-resignation memo and my resignation memo which followed by one month were both ignored completely by upper management, my memo to all fellow co-workers sent yesterday was much more warmly received. I received dozens of replies from well-wishers and numerous compliments relative to my writing. Even a recent e-mail from my new employer also indicated that my choice of words was impressive. Yesterday a [former] co-worker expressed to me that I could probably make a living using this skill if I put my mind to it. Having said all of this, isn't it ironic that the weakness bird-dogged the most by my former employer was "poor communication"?
Here is my Resignation memo, followed by my Goodbye memo. I think Franz would like these.Resignation Memo:

Gentlemen:

I recognize that the problems at [company] are intense enough to eclipse all other matters but it's impossible to perform at a high level when my concerns are ignored. I can't continue to pretend that it doesn’t hurt me that my previous message entered a vacuum. This lack of communication has made things difficult.

No one stays employed anywhere for 5 years for being a low performer, yet the past few weeks and months make it seem as though I am being encouraged to leave. This does not feel good and I hope that I will be proven wrong somehow. From where I stand, it’s a dishonor to stay in this position and it invites others to disrespect me if I go along with the derision as if it’s acceptable. I need to stop trying to catch a falling knife.
If there are any positive ideas or future changes which I am unaware of, now would be the time to share them with me. Otherwise this will serve as my notice to leave [company] and we should discuss an exit plan.

Best,

Goodbye Memo:


Dear Fellow Co-Workers:

"It's what we do." Remind yourself of this the next time an assignment is getting the best of you.

It has been an honor to count myself among you for the past five years. Working with the caliber of people who populate [company] is a privilege- take pride in being immersed in such a deep pool of talent. As the melancholy of leaving you eclipses the excitement of a new career, it's abundantly clear to me that five years have not been wasted. I leave you carrying a giant payload of personal growth, valuable experience, and great memories.

I humbly encourage everyone to test their limits- it's not possible to become better/faster/stronger if we do not. We all want to be strong. Fortunately, the limits we decide to test are in our control. Let's choose them wisely so that our adaptations are compatible with our goals. You’re the captain.

It is my hope to be considered as one who cares deeply about [company], as one who salutes those who try to be excellent, and that your actions say the same about you.

Best,

Thanks for reading.

14 October 2009

Big changes coming up

I'm excited and nervous- my hand's on the buzzer and I already know the exact answer, before the question is even asked. When success is guaranteed, why is there hesitation? Maybe because nothing that is worth having is ever easy to get, except when it occasionally is.. and so we second guess whether it's really worth having.. and why aren't others also getting some? Because they can't no matter how hard they try, dumb-ass!

19 July 2009

Slideshow of my bike race team: Millwork One Racing

Recent posts are by a renegade blogger who has hijacked Amerikan Turk, not by me, Murat. This slideshow is from me though. I have no time to blog and Amerikan Turk is on it's last legs. Forgive me for letting it slip into such a death spiral. Well.. at least you now get to see where much of my free time is used. Enjoy:

15 July 2009

Olgunlasmak.

Artık eskisi gibi her haftasonu birileri ile dısarı çıkmak
istemiyorum.Beni yoran iliskiler, yeni tanısmalar, yeni yüzler aramıyorum. Eski
dostlukların da özetini çıkarmaya basladım. Iliskilerde tasarrufa
gidiyorsun her seyde oldugu gibi ve gereksiz insanlari hayatindan atmak
istiyorsun.

Yapmacik, inanmadan konusmak istemiyorum artık. Beni anlamayanlarla
Konuşmak cümle kirliliði yaratıyor ve hak edenlere saklıyorum enerjimi.
Istedigime istedigimi deme özgürlügüne sahibim, elestirme hakkını
Olusturan yasamislık ve yeterli yas faktörü artik bende de var.

"Ben demistim" ,"ben bilirim","ben zaten anlamıstım", sendromunda
Olanlarla arkadasliklari bir kez daha sorguluyorsun. iliskilerini
sadelestirmeye baslayinca sıra iyi ve kötü gün dostlarını ayıklamaya
geliyor. Kötü gün dostlarını belirliyor ve onlara daha çok önem
veriyorsun. Iyi gün dostu bulmak ne kadar kolaysa kötü gün
dostu bulmak bir o kadar zor, biliyorum. Dostlar ihtiyaç oldugunda
göçmen kuslar gibi sicaga uçuyor ve sadece seninle birlikte sürüden
ayri düsenler kalıyor.

Zamanın ne kadar kıymetli oldugunu ögreniyorsun buralara kadar
gelirken. Uzun düz otobanlardan oldugu gibi, kestirme bozuk yollardan
da ulasabilirsin hedeflerine. Kestirmeleri de ögrendim gide gele. Bos
geçen her saniye degerli artık. Daha yapılacak çok sey var ama, kendimi çok
yormaktan çok hırpalamaktan yana degilim. Gerektiginde "HAYIR" demeyi
ögrendim ve bu kelime basta karsındakine kırıcı gelse de senin için
hayat kurtarıcı olabiliyor. Sevgiye önem vermek gerektigini, zamanı
geldiginde elinde sadece sevginin kalacagını biliyorum. Sevgi paylasildıkça
olusuyor, olgunlasıyor.

Aileme ve seçtigim tüm dostlarıma daha önce göstermedigim sevgi,anlayis
ve ilgiyi gösteriyorum. Biliyorsun ki gidenlerin ardında sadece
iyilikler kalıyor, ne kadar sevgi dolu oldugu hatırlanıp anılıyor. Bana
çok genç olduklarını hatırlatırcasına nedense tecrübelerimi,
fikirlerimi sormaya basladılar. Verecegim cevaplar belki çok anlamsız geliyor ama
yine de dinliyorlar ama ben biliyorum ki yasamadan hiçbir sey ögrenilmiyor.
Yasamıslıgın olusturdugu bir alçakgönüllülükle gülüyorum içimden
sadece.

Artık daha şık giyiniyorum, senelerle birikmis dolaplar dolusu kıyafet
Var ve bunları kendimle paylasmalıyım. Önce kendine güzel
görünmelisin, kendi zevkime göre giyinmek istiyorum, böyle
hissediyorum.

Modaya uymak adına popomun sıgmadıgı düsük bel pantolonlara sıgmıyorum
Diye kendimi üzme tercihini de kullanabilirim. Ayıp, günah ya da ne derler
korkuları çoktan geride kaldı . Dostlarıma, kendimize yemek yapmak
hosuma gidiyor. Mutfak eskiden bir zulüm iken simdi zevk aldıgım mekanlar
arasına giriyor. Farklı lezzetler denemek güzel ve kendi lezzetimi
kendimde yaratabilecegim belli bir damak zevkim ve mutfak kültürüm olustu.

Sonra Sezen'in sarkısındaki gibi anneni daha sık düsünüyorsun ve
hatta anlıyorsun. Iste bu yeni alısmaya baslanan ve giderek hosa giden
yeni duruma olgunluk deniyor. Yasamıslıgın, görmüslügün, geride kalmıs
üflenmis dogum günü mumlarının bir sonucu kendiliginden ortaya çıkıyor
hayatın bir dönemecinde bu olgunluk. Ne zaman dersen herkese göre, ne
kadar dolu yasadıgına göre degisiyor bu olgunluk çagına ermek. Inanın
bana hayattaki düsüsler, zor alınan virajlar bu zamanı hızlandırıyor. Kendi
dünyanın küçüklügünü kesfetmek ve buna ragmen kendinin kıymetini bilmek
çok ise yarıyor. Bir gün hepimizin bu huzurlu olgunlugu bulmasını
diliyorum.

CAN DÜNDAR

08 July 2009

Bir metod var. Hep uyguluyorum desem yalan. ınsanın içindeki topakları, insanlığının çorbasında eritmesini içeriyor ki, bunu herkes hep yapamaz.


Keşke yapsa. Hep rahat ederdi. O hep aradığı huzuru, gözünün içinde buluverirdi. O ağır gelen kafası, yerçekimsiz ortamda, kalbine değer de değerdi. Herşeyle ve herkesle bir anlığına dans eder ve o anı ömür boyu saklardı. Hani bazen oluyor ya hepimize. Bir an ışığı görüp, selamlayıp, unutuyoruz.

Ha, önce birşey hatırlatmak isterim: Dışardan sert görünen çoğu şeyin içi, bir karpuz kadar kolaydır. Tadından yenmiycek kadar güzeldir. Susuz kaldığınız çoğu şeye devadır. Ve hatta dışının renginden başkadır. Meyvelere daha dikkatli bakmalıyız. Onlar da en az bizim kadar canlı. Ben, metodu böyle sert birşeye uyguladım. Kendisini ikiye bölmesini ve içini göstermesini istedim. Genellikle yuvarlanarak kaçan bu şey, bu sefer, kimbilir belki de dilimin tatlılığına dayanamayıp, kırmızısını ve şerbetini döküverdi. Kamışı batırdım. Pek gıdıklandı, pek hoşuna gitti.

Samimiyet ve sevginin açamayacağı kapı olmadığını hep dinleriz. Bazılarımız bunu duymak için doğuya gider. ıçine bakar. Bazılarının içine bakması için uzağa gitmesi gerekir, öyle herkesin ortasında olmaz. Birşeyi duymak, hep işe yaramaz. Bir tek birşeyi yapmak işe yarar.

Ben de yaptım. Bana sırtını dönmüş gibi yapan herşeye yapıyorum şimdi. Çünkü anladım. ınsan ne derse, ne yaparsa ne verirse kendisiyle alakalı. Yani hayattaki herkesin bir an kendiniz olduğunu düşünün. Yüzlerini silin ve kendinizinkini koyun. Sonra düşünün, bu bensem nasıl davranmalı?

Cevap hep aynı: Samimiyetle ve sevgiyle. Birşeye çarparsanız, çarpıp duruyorsanız, ne zaman rastlasanız size çarpıyorsa, her seferinde topu kalbinizle karşılayın. Bırakın gururlar ayağa kalsın. ‘Oturun' dersiniz ‘henüz gitmiyoruz'.

Bu metodla bir kapıdan girdim ki sormayın. Çok heyecanlıyım. Fakat hangi hareketleri sıralarsam, karşıma çıkan canavarı yeneceğimi biliyorum. ınsanın içinde de, aynı anda basınca herşeyi alt eden tuşlardan var. Zamanla, basa basa, yana yana, basa döne döne öğreniyoruz. Hayat oyun değil demeyin.

Oyun. Eğer oynarsanız.

12 June 2009

RIP

Today I am asked to move into the cubicle of a person who took their own life over the weekend.

He will be missed.

10 June 2009

Sad week so far..

This wonderful April-like weather isn’t enough of a downer- a co-worker here at MW1 commited suicide over the weekend. And just now I discover that the Turkish cycling legend Rifat Caliskan (2nd from the right- my father Irfan is on far left) has passed away from a heart attack. He was a friend of the family who raced with my father in the late 60’s, who coached me in the summer of 1989, and who was Turkey’s answer to Eddy Merckx at one time. RIP.

04 June 2009

Forgot to include:

Dacia, Alfa Romeo and Citroen.
These are some interesting cars.
I'm blown away by the new hatch version of the Honda Civic. That thing's a work of art.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

CARS

It always amuses me how this country went from having three or four auto brands back when I was a kid, to now having more than we have in the US. Back in the 70s, the only cars on the road were LADA, Skoda, Renault and TOFAS (Turkish FIAT). These days we see such oddities as SEAT, Peugeot, and OPEL- all of which make very handsome cutting edge vehicles. Then of course the ubiquitous Kia, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Hyundai, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW, and Volvo are everywhere. I have not seen any Saabs. Honda Accords look like Integras and Civics look like American Accords. Weird. Imports such as Land Rovers and Lincoln Navigators cost DOUBLE, yet you see more in one day than we see in a month driving in New England. On the interstate highway between Istanbul and Ankara, we were passed by some pretty sick drivers doing nearly 200 kph in their Beamers and Benzes. Speaking of BMW- I saw one yesterday which looked like it was on steroids- a kind of bad-ass looking cross-over. I would like to have one-but even with my generous income, it's impractical and out of reach (I'm a cheap bastahd) How do they afford it? Well apparently there are two classes here- have and have not. Both are immense. Middle class is a minority. Time for breakfast. Its rainy out today so we're keeping the rental car one more day.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

27 May 2009

Part 2 is a Go

Your hero is going to be a licensed participant of Turkish Masters Road Nationals this weekend
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25 May 2009

Priceless

My 90 day Visa stamp is 20$.. The porter at the airport gets 20 TL for helping me with my bags and getting me a big taxi.. (I found my Thule bike case in the middle of the floor in baggage claim) The cab ride to the bus station is 40 TL.. Porters descend on my cab and carry my bags and bike to my bus. There's 2 of them and I give them a 10 TL bill to share. The younger one wants me to give his buddy another 10.. I show him only 50s in my pocket and he's reaching for it saying he can break it. I'm astonished by the lack of manners. If this guy is making 10$ every 5-10 minutes just to roll a tourist's luggage about 100 feet, he's doing a LOT better than you or me.. Fuck that- the bus ride cost 20 and I'll lbe damned if using a porter doubles the cost.. This country is crazy. I'm now considering a career change.
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01 May 2009

This is what you get when I watch "The Bucket List":

Buzun uzerinden düşmiyelim derken..
Buz kırıldı yuttu hepimizi..
Fırlıyoruz ölümün ağızına doğru..
Fren patladı yavaşlatmiyor hiç birimizi..

-Murat Altinbasak

25 April 2009

..don't know if you've noticed but..


April 25th, 2009
Posted: 07:18 PM ET

From Samson Desta
CNN

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Twelve children in Pakistan were killed on Saturday when a device they found exploded, local police said

Children in volatile North West Frontier Province found an object and took it into a house where it exploded, police said.

Other children had gathered to see the material. Eight boys and four girls died. All were under age 13.

Four people were wounded, a female, two boys and a girl.

24 April 2009

Thousands of Armenians mourn WWI mass killings

Full AP Article HERE

Money quote:

“Friday's procession began with a burning of Turkish flags, and many carried placards blaming Turkey for spilling the "blood of millions" and calling on Ankara to acknowledge the killings as genocide.”

17 April 2009

Brown

Holy smokes everyone on Thayer Street is in stripper mode.
It's a sea of pasty white skin..

02 April 2009

My co-blogger will love this one

I'm in a portable toilet up in Boston yesterday, on the service road behind Beacon Street. It's interesting to read all of the obcenities and look at all of the crude pornographic pictures that various tradesmen scrawled onto the walls. One particular scribble stood out among the others. It read:
"I'm sweating like a -igger writing a check."
This is funny to me. Not because I am a racist pig. I am not. It's funny to me that it's the year 2009 and there are still people who are engaged in such petty ugliness- especially during a time when our President is black. On the other hand, maybe I do deserve some complicity, because when I read this 'humorous' statement, I couldn't help but think back to the old stand up routines of Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor, who were of course permitted to make fun of themselves and use the ~n~ word. If they were saying it up on stage, you would laugh, and that would be PC. Am I mistaken?

28 March 2009

Wise man say:

One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.

27 March 2009

Women hating women


I really don't understand why many women hate other women? They're jealous and gossipy. They say negative things about themselves in order to justify their incessant mocking of others. It's negativity I don't need to hear.

I really think this should be the new feminist concern. We women are horrible to each other! Don't they then win? Have we come this far just to lower our standards of basic interaction? I think we women should be doing more to encourage mutual success or mentally stimulating each other. Wouldn't that be nice?

But how? Maybe we should start calling each other out. Someone has to, we need an attitude adjustment!

16 March 2009

The Way We Were


Strange how the good memories seem more painful than the bad ones. Is it because good times allow the vulnerability to love and bad times require strength? Still doesn't explain why they hurt more.

This picture is from the last time my dad made me breakfast. Last year I went to Turkey to see him before he died because we knew he was getting close. This was one of only 2 days out of 2 weeks that he felt well enough to get out of bed, but wow, what a great day it was. Barbara Streisand's "The Way We Were" comes to mind. If you look closely you'll see our reflection in the teapot.

The Way We Were
Mem'ries, light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories

Of the way we were

Scattered pictures, of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were


Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we, could we


Mem'ries, may be beautiful and yet

What's too painful to remember

We simply choose to forget


So it's the laughter

We will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were

The way we were

13 March 2009

Toddler gets a body piercing

Here's a tough as nails kid, no pun intended. Little Mehur Kumar's belly is populated by a piece of rebar that appears to be the diameter of a railroad spike- scaling with rust too. Hope he had his tetanus shot! If it were me, I would be passed out stone cold in terror.

Here's the story at CNN.




05 March 2009

Dearest in Christ.

Must-contain-maniacal-laughter.. I populate one of my other blogs (www.scamlisting.blogspot.com) with about 4-5 of these Nigerian advance fee fraud e-mails, every day. (Yes it is purely for the Google Adsense dollars, but at least I am truthful- and believe it or not, people have thanked me for it) This is the first time I am seeing a person so twisted that they exploit and lie about terminal illness and religion in one neat little package. The scammers are getting more bold and more creative as the economy goes down in a death spiral. This one is original, I'll give it that.
I encourage you to write to these cretins and have fun with a little bit of scam baiting. 

From: From Charles and Elizabeth. charlestoure_001@yahoo.com
Subject: Dearest in Christ.
To: sarawak_cardiology@yahoo.com
Date: Thursday, March 5, 2009, 8:21 AM

From  :Mrs Grace Tapia
Email :grace.tapia@ymail.com

Address:N11-Olof Salem Street
       P.O. Box 59022,Safat 13060 Kuwait.

Dearest in Christ.

With Due Respect And Humanity, I was compelled to write to you under a
humanitarian ground.

My name is Mrs Grace Tapia,from Kuwait.  I am married to late Dr
Ramsey Tapia  ,who worked with an oil company in Ivory Coast for
Thirty-two years  before he died in the year 2005.

He died after a brief illness that lasted only four days Before his
death we were both born again Christian. Since his death I decided not
to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible
is against. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of
(US$5.8 M)(Five Million,Eight hundred Thousand United States Dollar)
in a General Trust Account with a prime bank in Abidjan .
Presently,this money is still with the bank.

And Recently, My Doctor told me that I would not last for the next six
months due to my cancer problem (cancer of the lever). Presently this
money is still in the Bank.  Having  known my condition I  am in need
of a HONEST Hearted Individual Christian or Church that i will utilize
this fund the way I am going to instruct herein.

I want somebody that will use this fund according to the desire of my
late.husband to help Lessprivilaged people, orphanages,widows and
propagating the word of God.

I took this decision because I dont have any child that will inherit
this fund, And I dont want in a way where this money will be used in
an un Godly way. This is why I am taking this decision to hand you
over this Fund. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am
going.I want you to always remember me in your daily prayers because
of my up coming Cancer Surgery.

Write back to me as soon as possible because any delay in your reply
will give me room in sourcing another person for this same purpose,
Hoping to read from you soon.

With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I
shall give you the contact of the Bank in Abidjan. I will also issue
you an authorisation letter that will prove you the present
beneficiary of this fund.

May God bless and keep us as we seek to serve him.

Yours in Christ
Mrs Grace Tapia

01 March 2009

Alone Together

Reis.. by himself on the edge of the Pacific.
Who will watch over him when I am gone?
The same who is watching over me.
No one.

27 February 2009

Airport security

They threw our son's 8 oz container of sealed vanilla milk in the trash (along with our three small bottles of Coke, which we figured would happen) A one liter bottle of water is $5.05

25 February 2009

A new low..

I have been neglecting this blog for some time now. Not quite sure what took the wind out of my sails, but thinking back to the time wen you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a Turkish blog, the "blogosphere" used to be a little bit more engaging. Many Turkish bloggers have dissipated like a fart in a hurricane, and I occasionally feel as though I will be the next blog to add to my own "Missing Persons" Blogroll. Meanwhile, your hero has been tickling the soft underbelly of his other blog pretty regularly for the past couple of years.. There's something special about traffic that isn't 99% Google search driven. Google traffic is like non-dairy creamer, and I seem to get the real thing over at Bisikletci Murat. I know that you have a choice of which blogs to recommend.. Thank you for directing people here, Google..

04 February 2009

censoring myself limits my writing

Murat asked me to cowrite on this blog and I have... somewhat. I know I could write more but it's difficult when I know I'll shock him and maybe even embarrass him with my raw and honest opinions that plague this Amerikan Turkish girls thoughts. I have a lot of experience to share as an Amerikan Turk but it's not all too "hanım" or ladylike. I've already experienced censorship once from my family when my photo hobby site on Flickr was discovered. I had to endure my mother calling me to ask if I was ashamed of myself or had any self respect and that was only after hearing about it, she hadn't even seen it yet. I had to tear down 1/3 of my favorite pictures because they were too "erotic" or as I would call them, "artistic and tasteful self expression". My point is that there is so much I could write about, but what if one of my mom's friends read it! What if Murat is mortified by my opinions of modesty versus freedom of sexual expression. How I think that many girls in Turkey play the supposed innocent virgin till marriage while us Amerikan Turks are cast to be whores because we're not full of shit. Already I've said too much.

15 January 2009

Bleeding Economy


My client is blowing me off. Why you ask? Well, he owes me $2,000. Last meeting I had with him he was driving his sister's Denali and I was in the back seat overhearing their conversation. His sister said how she heard SoAndSo got $17,000 off the Escalade they bought from WhatsHisName because they're desperate to sell in today's economy and if you pay cash you get a big discount. I then heard my client say how he's been wanting one and maybe this week he'll do the same. Hmm, cash, must be nice. Why can't he pay me my balance then? He should be embarrassed and ashamed of himself. So, I'll keep calling and he'll keep sending my calls straight to voicemail. The poor thing must be too busy driving around ruining the environment with his disgusting new gas guzzling Escalade.

12 January 2009

One of my favorite movie quotes;

"To Love is to Suffer, To avoid Suffering, One must Not Love,
But then one Suffers from Not Loving.
Therefore: To Love is to Suffer, Not to Love is to Suffer, to Suffer is to Suffer....
To be Happy is to Love, To be Happy is to Suffer, But Suffering makes one Unhappy.
Therefore: To be Happy, One must Love,
Or Love to Suffer, Or Suffer from too much Happiness.
I hope you're getting this down."

- said by Diane Keaton in Woody Allen film "Love and Death"

I can really relate to this quote as a single girl who is looking for love, or maybe I am already in love but not sure because for once I'm not suffering and wonders if I've ever been in love with all the ones where I did suffer because maybe the chase was more important.

Perhaps this time I am the one being chased and that discovery is proving to be a nice change. But then I wonder if he suffers for my love and if by sharing my thoughts will his chasing end? This possibility then makes me suffer at the thought of losing his love so maybe I am suffering, or happy or...or...

or maybe I've been caught! :)
hmm...

07 January 2009

In My Humble Opinion

Random question with no real importance;

Is a person still humble if they just claim themselves to be? If one was humble, wouldn't they not boast about it? At first when I hear, "In my humble opinion" I feel the power is given back to me to decide on my own. The humbleness suddenly opens me up to the opinion because it isn't forced, it's gentle. But then I feel tricked! Why would they tell me they're humble? Is that humble?


06 January 2009

Turk olmak nasil bir duygudur?

CANIM ARKADASLARIM, Amerika'dan bir vatandaşımızın 'Türk olmak nasıl bir duygudur ?' konulu yazısı Aslında çok şeydir, Türk olmak.
Türk olmak, Osmanlı'nın borcunu ödemektir. Hovarda babanın borçla yaşayan evladı gibi. Kosova'da ve Bosna'da, Batı Trakya'da ve Makedonya'da bilmem kaç asırgeçmişte kalan meselelerin hesabını vermektir.
Türk olmak, Kıbrıs'ta, Hocalı'da, Anadolu'da ve Balkanlar'da soykırıma uğrayıpkarþılıðında yapmadıðın soykırımla suçlanmaktır.
Türk olmak, faşist olmaktır, vatanına, milletine, tarihine sahip çıktığınca.
Türk olmak, demokrat ve çağdaþ olmaktır, vatanına, milletine, tarihine sövdüğünde.
Türk olmak, lisanının Avrupa'da yasaklanmasıdı r ve yine Türk olmak kendini vederdini anlatamamaktır.
Avrupa'da hor görülmek Türk olmaktır, ataların bir çok asır önceViyana'yı kuþattığı için ve hoþ görülmemektir tabii ki sadece kuşatıp;Napolyon gibi bütün Viyana'yı yakmadığın için.
Türk olmak, Selanik'te Pontus Anýtı'nın, Viyana'da çiğnenen yeniçeri minberinin veMalta'da papazın üzerine bastığı Türk bayrağı heykelinin önündengeçmektir.
Türk olmak zordur, çetindir ve eziyetlidir. Üç kıtadan dönüp, bir küçük yarımadada misafir muamelesi görmektir.
Sayısız imparatorluk kurmak Türk olmaktır, aynı zamanda sayısızimparatorluk yıkmak da Türk olmaktır.
Arabaya koşulan ilk atın vatanında, ilk yazılı antlaşmanın imzalandığıyurtta, yazının bulunduğu, paranın icat edildiği hermetrekaresinden bereket fışkıran bu yurtta, kalkınmak için yabancısermaye beklemektir.
Türk olmak, Troya'dan bu yana, Sümer'den bu yana serpilerek gelse de, tarihteneski bu topraklarda, bütün zamandan damıtılarak gelen yüksekdeğerlerine rağmen, bir haftalık hafıza ile yaşamaktır.
Doğu Roma'yı da Batı Roma'yı da yıkıp, yeni Roma olan AB'ye girmeyeçalışmaktır Türk olmak.
Türk olmak, Mostar'da köprüdür, Kerkük'te kaledir, Istanbul'da Kızkulesi'dir,Anadolu'da buğdaydır, Çukurova'da pamuktur, Ege'de tütün, Karadeniz'defındık, Trakya'da ayçiçeğidir.
Türk olmak, Çanakkale'de ölmektir. Çanakkale'de ölmeden önce düşmana su vermektir, onun yaralısını sırtında kendi hastanesine taþımaktır. Düşmanınardından rahmet okumak, kanlından helallik almaktır. Sabahları odana rahmet dolsun diye, camı açmaktır. Kar yağdığındakayak yapmayı değil, evsizleri düşünmektir. Balkon köşesine kuşlar için, kışın ekmek kırıntısı, yazın su koymaktır. Yağmura rahmet, kara bereket diye bakmaktır.
Türk olmak, harap bir ülkede, zengin ülkelerin müstemlekesini reddedip, tahtadankılıç ve ipten üzengi ile, paylaşacak ve sahiplenecek tek varlığıfakirlik olmasına rağmen, yedi düvele meydan okumaktır.
Türk olmak, askere davul-zurna ile uğurlanmaktır, belki de dönmeyeceğini bilerek.Türk olmak, annenin şehit oğlunun ardından 'bir oğlum daha olsun, onuda vatan için göndereceğim' demesidir. Babanın gözyaşlarını tutarak, tabutuna son kez dokunurken 'vatan sağolsun' demesidir.
Türk olmak, 'Türk çayında radyasyon olmaz' yalanları ile, 'gusül abdesti alanaaids bulaşmaz' dolanları ile yaşamaktır. Her hükümetin enkaz devraldıðı, ama asla ardında enkaz bırakmadığıülkede olmaktır.
Türk olmak, ecdadın yaþadığı kığlıktan dolayı, çayın yanında gelen şekerden fazlaolanı garsona geri vermektir. Aynı nedenle Türk olmak, yemeği ziyanetmekten korkmaktır.
Göz hakkına, diş kirasına saygıdır Türk olmak, Evindeki bir kap aşın yarısını tanrı misafirine vermektir. Kendi yerde, misafiri döşekte yatırmaktır Türk olmak.
Türk olmak, milli maçta ağlamaktır. Ayhan Işık'a, Belgin Doruk'a aşık olmaktır.
Türk olmak,aşkını ölesiye sevmektir. Aşkı için ölmektir, öldürmektir. Sevdiceşinin elini bir tez tutamadan, toprağa girmektir. En güzel aşk şiirlerini yüreğinde hissetmektir. Eşkıyaya türkü yakmaktır, Türk olmak, Milletine sövmektir, ama başkasına sövdürmemektir.
Türk olmak, Yunus'u bilmektir, Aşık Veysel'i sevmektir. Mevlana'yı,Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli'yi ve Hoca Yesevî -tek bir satırını okumasa da-yüreğinde taşımaktır.
Türk olmak, saz çaldığında, ney üflendiğinde, kös dövüldüğünde ve kavalçaldığında, yüreğinin derinlerinde bir sızı sezmektir, bir de Yemen Türküsü'nde...Hayatın sana verdiklerine 'nasip', vermediklerine 'kısmet' demektir. Her işin 'hayırlısına' inanmaktır ve 'feleğe' küfretmektir veağlamamak için çok gülmekten çekinmektir.
Türk olmak, Asya'da batılı, Avrupa'da doğulu diye tepki görmektir. Irk sözünü bilmeden yaşamak, yaradılanı Yaradandan ötürü sevmektir. Magazin programları ile dizilerin arasına sıkışsa da, silkinipüzerindeki ölü toprağınıatabilmektir.
Türk olmak, mahalle maçı için aynı saatte, on kişi buluşamazken, milyon kişininbir araya gelmesidir. Tavla oynarken bile kavga ederken, milyonkişinin kavga etmeden gösteri yapabilmesidir.
Türk olmak, Buhran zamanında Arjantin'de de mağazalar yağmalanırken, daha ağırbuhranda sorumlusuna en ağırcezayı tek bir cam kırmadan sandıkta kesmektir.
Türk olmak, En zayıf gününde bile dünyaya meydan okumak, en dertli gününde bile herufunetin bir şafakta biteceğini bilerek tevekkül göstermektir.
Zor iştir Türk olmak.
Türk olmak, Anadolu'da her düşen yağmur damlasına hamdetmek, her çıkanbaşak için şükretmektir.
Türk olmak, medeniyetler mezarlığı Anadolu'da dik durmaktır.
ILGINIZE VE BILGINIZE SUNUYORUM.
FEHMI OZTURAN

05 January 2009

Lucky US Dollar For Sale

I'm thinking of listing this thing on Ebay to make a buck, no pun intended. We'll start the bidding at one million dollars. Seriously, I'm going to do it, and if the winner mentions this blog, they get free shipping.

Wonder Wom-aaaaaannnnn


Mom
Originally uploaded by Amerikan Turk
My mother's about to start twirling around and turning into Wonder Woman, I just know it. Don't you see her invisible jet floating on the water behind?

02 January 2009

Under your wing


Empire State Building
Originally uploaded by Amerikan Turk
My maternal grandmother is visiting us from Turkey. It's a short time after we moved from our apartment in Kew Gardens to a nice water view home in College Point. My sister Elif appears to be less than one year old, so it can only be Spring 1977, I guess. Presumably, my dear mother is taking this picture with an old 110 camera- the kind that makes a funny whining sound in between shots. I was flipping through a pile of old photos and stumbled across this one. We're on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. I don't know- this picture makes me want to cry for some reason.
In this picture, I see myself in a place which I searched all of my life to find again, and never did. Look at little old Murat under there- under the wing of his hero, feeling so content that he's oblivious to the camera. Man.. this is emotional. I miss my Dad.