araalinusa: r da godz payin' attention?

Crazy as it might seem, I'm back in NW Florida: home, (bitter) sweet home. This is only a temporary gig, so I'm tryin' to make the most of it. Fun times...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Can't u c I'm movin' on...

Araali is no longer in the USA. He’s movin’ on, but he’s like a yo-yo, and he’ll come back before too long. How long? Only the pagan gods know. Keep prayin’!

Until then, I’ll be posting updates of life’s journeys at

(I promise to keep this address for a while.)

Monday, July 10, 2006

I <3 NY

Anyone who know me knows that I’m on my way back to Uganda to teach for the next two years. I spent three years there (‘02-‘05) teaching in rural Western Uganda. I’ve been hired by an international school in Kampala, the capital city. I’m returning to Uganda, but his experience will be very different than my previous one.

I flew out yesterday morning from JFK, and I’m a little over an hour into a six-hour layover in Dubai. (Three cheers for free internet access in airports! Boo! to those who are too cheap and charge a fee.) I spent the weekend in New York City with my friend Sharon and visiting with other friends I have in the area. Sharon and I pretty much spend Saturday and Sunday walking, walking up and down Manhattan. It was great. She is one of the few people I know who enjoys walking as much as I do. I just like to wander around, no need for a destination. When we were not walking, we were eating. Vacations for me = eating lots of food.

I ran into Dave from outside of the Apple Store on 5th Avenue. I also ran into another friend that I’d not seen in three years inside of a Barnes and Noble bookstore. I visited Central Park for the first time.

Italy won the World Cup. Of course, I had no idea the finals were taking place, so I had no idea which teams were competing. The were a lot of Italians partying and waving flags in the streets on Sunday. I thought there was some kind of Italian holiday that I was unaware of.

Several of my Peace Corps buddies were in town for the weekend, and we met up for brunch at Ursula’s apartment on Sunday. Catching up was so much fun!

Beth, I really wish you could’ve made it.



Ok, I promised to post about my 4th of July celebration. A week later, and here it is. I spend a fantastic day at Beacon Hill with my friend Holly, and her family’s annual picnic. Apparently this year it was dubbed “Dana’s picnic.” Their family is very close, and they get together for most big holiday. Independence Day is Holly’s mom’s favorite holiday of the year. I’ve tagged along to many of their family’s festivities over the years, but this was my first 4th of July. Like I said, they are very close. They really enjoy each other’s company, but if you are not a member of the family, forget it. Most of them could care less if you are there are not. Like I said, I’ve attended many of their functions over the past 20-something years. Some of the family members acted like they had no idea who I was. Funny, funny.

In the evening, we went into Port St. Joe and watched the fireworks. This was the first time in countless years that I’d watched fireworks on 4th of July. Yes, I’ve been living overseas the past several years, but I usually make it to the states for June and July. I was pretty impressed with the show. I really took me back to my childhood. Things have changed so much in Port St. Joe since I left there 12 years ago. It has gone from an industrial port town to a quaint little tourist destination. The paper mill shut down eight years ago and was dismantled. Million-dollar homes and condos have sprung up all over the place on land that was once considered of little value. Some people are getting very rich while others feel like they are losing their way of life.

The coastal area where I’m from is sometimes referred to as the “Redneck Riviera.” I know, cute. Doesn’t that just make you want to pack your bags and book a vacation in the area. The ads on the radio from the development companies are stating, “We’re taking the redneck out of the riviera.” The locals are lovin’ that.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Be Nice!

I had a wonderful Fourth of July. I spent it with my best friends Holly and Dana. I just got home tonight. I'll post more about it tomorrow. Good times.

I rented Margaret Cho's Assassin the other night.

Loved it!

Cho! Cho! Cho!

These are some of my favorite parts:

The Christian Groups, you know, these Christian family groups who are out of control. They have really, these Christian groups, they have lost their minds. Even Satanists are saying: "Wow! You guys are being really mean."

Why is Viagra everywhere?
Doesn't it make more sense leave the bullets out of the gun than to just try to avoid being shot?
Especially when the gun is an old musket, that you gotta pour gun powder in a tap it down.

Bruce Daniels was also featured on Assassin. This was the first time I'd heard his act. Definitely good for a few laughs.

The Bush twins make the Hilton sisters look like members of Mensa.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sugar, Honey, Darlin', Dear

Something was going down at the Waffle House near Marianna.

Having a pecan waffle from Waffle House has become a yearly tradition for me. When I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda, this was the food item I craved from the States. When I came home for a visit in 2004, I think I shocked my mother when she picked me up from the airport and asked me what I wanted to eat, and the fist thing I wanted was a Pecan Waffle. I craved one today, and because I was just off the the interstate near Marianna, I decided to teat myself. My waitress called me every sweet name in the book: sugar, honey, darlin', dear. I was eatin' it up.

Well, while I was waiting for my food to be prepared, one of the waitresses stormed out of the restaurant, and the rest of the staff was left standing with their mouths open, looking confused. Then there was some yelling about her being in no condition to drive. (What are they doing there behind the counter?) Another waitress was sent out to take care of the previous one. Then they left. They the staff had a conversation about what makes a good wife and how to keep your husband happy: give him a clean home, take care of the children, and cook his food. (How simple!) One of the women proclaimed, "Men are so simple. We women are too complicated!"

Then the whole staff turned its attention to what was going on at the gas station across the way. Apparently, the husband of the woman who rushed out earlier had arrived. Something was going on in the parking lot of the gas station across the way. That was my cue to pay my bill, tip the waitress, and leave.

Everyone else is doing it. Why can't I?

1. How old do you wish you were? Twenty-four was a good age. I could still realistically harbor the dream of being in a world-famous boy band.

2. Where were you when 9/11 happened? In the shower getting ready to leave for the office. I came out of the bathroom, and one of my roommates (a brainless basketball player) said, "Dude, a plane just hit the World Trade Center." Then I saw the second plane crash.

3. What do you do when vending machines steal your money? Beat on the glass a bit, and I always attempt to get my hand in through the bottom door if no one is looking. That had never worked.

4. Do you consider yourself kind? You betcha!

5. If you had to get a tattoo, where and what would it be? I have one of a sun with a Samoan design in the middle. If I had to get another, I'd probably get it in the groin area of my right side. I'm not sure what I'd get, maybe a frog. It would be just black ink. I hate tattoos with color. Not attractive.

6. If you could be fluent in any other language what would it be? I'd like to know Swahili.

7. Do you know your neighbors? I'm in transition right now. Right now I'm hanging out at my mothers previous home, and my neighbor is my grandmother. I would say that I know here, yes.

8. What do you consider a vacation? Vacations are so hard for me because my mind is always racing, working on the next project. A vacation would be time that I am able to relax and not think of what I have to do next.

9. Do you follow your horoscope? No.

10. Would you move for the person you loved? Absolutely!

11. Are you touchy feely? I can be. It's healthy sometimes.

12. Do you believe that opposites attract? My bestfriends are my opposites. People who are too much like me get on my last nerve.

13. Dream job? Working on educational projects in developing nations. Education saves lives. Education leads to understanding and respect. It also opens the doors to so many opportunities.

14. Favorite channels? MTV, TLC, Bravo, Food Network

15. Favorite place to go on a weekend? A coffee shop for breakfast, the beach, a friends house, a quaint cafe, a laid back pub, maybe a dance club with no cover. I hate cover charges!

16. Showers or Bath? I love to be shriveled up like a prune. A bath!

17. Do you paint your nails? Sometimes I put on a clear coat. It is nice to be pampered, even if I have to pamper myself.

18. Do you trust people easily? It depends on the vibe I get from you. Usually, yes.

19. What are your phobias? Sharks at the beach, alligators in a lake. I've recently discoved that I have a fear of heights. I wouldn't call it a phobia.

20. Do you want kids? Biological? Are you kidding me? Where would I put 'em? I'd like to adopt.

21. Do you keep a handwritten journal? On and off. I found my journal from highschool yesterday. I thought that I'd burned it. I have a very clear memory of burning my high school journal in a moment of guilt and depression, but I found it yesterday. Some spooky Mary Poppins action is going on.

22. Where would you rather be right now? Zanzibar.

23. What makes you feel warm and safe? Someone else's embrace.

24. Heavy or light sleep? Light.

25. Are you paranoid? Everyday.

26. Are you impatient? No. See, I am virtuous!

27. Who can you relate to? Britney Spears. I, too, wish the paparazzi would leave me alone. Plus, I cry when I'm hungry.

28. How do you feel about interracial couples? Gotta love 'em.

29. Have you been burned by love? No, but I've done some burning. Yes, I truly have.

30. Whats ur life motto? All I do is the best I can or Just breath

31. What's your main ringtone on your mobile? I just sold my phone. My last ringtone was "Milkshake" by Kelis. And it is betta than yours. Damn right.

32. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping.

33. Who was your last text message from? Hmmm... Probably Nicole Ashley (requesting a booty call from across the hall, no doubt).

34. Who's bed did you sleep in last night? My mom's former bed. She moved out last November.

35. What color shirt are you wearing? I'm currently topless.

36. Most recent movie you watched? I just watched Whale Rider yesterday. I loved it. What a fantastic story!

37. Name five things you have on you at all times? One nipple ring, one navel ring, one tattoo, eyeglasses, and chapstick.

38. What color are your bed sheets? Yellow and orange. I know, HAWT!

39. How much cash do you have on you right now? Maybe three dollars (if I'm lucky).

40. What is your favorite part of chicken? I'm a breast man.

41. What's your favorite town/city? Dresden, Germany.

42. Who got you to join MySpace? Nicole Ashley (is a realy myspace whore). Yes, she drug me into the seedy underworld of myspace. Actually, she helped me get in touch with some old friends that I'd not seen in years.

43. What did you have for dinner last night? Dinner... A slice of ham with a piece of provolone cheese.

44. How tall are you barefoot? 5'9".

45. Have you ever smoked crack? Despite what people might think and contrary to my behavior, the answer is: NO! However, I know people who have and do. (Sad. They look like a skeleton and Skeletor.) I held it in my hands once.

46. Do you own a gun? No. Hell no. When I was cleaning my room last week, I discovered on under my bed, and it freaked me out a little. Like I said, I'm staying in my mother's previous home. Anything is possible. Nothing should surprise me.

47. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? I always dring a big glass of water first thing in the morning. Besides that I love a glass of juice in the mornings.

48. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex? My sex appeal.

49. Do you have A.D.D.? Once again, I'm blaming this on Nicole Ashley. I think that I caught it from her.

50. What time did you wake up today? Around 10:00am. It was a sleep-in Sunday.

51. Current worry? I'm going to have a problem getting my visa to Uganda. I've traveled there there several times and never had a problem before. I just worry. It's what I do.

52. Current hate? Migraines.

53. Favorite place to be? With friends having great conversation, preferably with food.

54. Where would you like to travel? Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Australia, Brazil, Portugal and Spain.

55. Where do you think you'll be in 10 yrs? Sittin' on top of the world.

56. Last thing you ate? Oreo cookies.

57. What songs do you sing in the shower? Anything. My shower set is so random. Sometimes I just make up songs. I'll sing about current worries, happiness, to-do lists. It might be a current top 40, favorite classics, or songs that I hate. I'm the king of remixing. I'll sing familiar lyrics with new tunes.

58. Last person that made you laugh? Maximus, my friend Holly's four year-old son.

59. Worst injury you've ever had? I broke my arm when I was 7.

60. Does someone have a crush on you? I'll flatter myself and say, yes. Everybody is looking at me, right?

61. What is your favorite candy? It is a toss-up between peanut m&m's and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I also love Mr. Goodbar.


Next meal out:

The palace, Cow Palace
Stars Are Blind

It is time for this year's BET Awards. They are scheduled for this Tuesday, 27th of June. I'm pulling for Ne-Yo. So Sick.

What is up with their ads for this year's show?

It's all in the stars

Come on. Couldn't we be a little more clever than that? Seeing the commercial on television last week took me back to 1987 and my campaign for student council present of my elementary school. My campaign slogan as an 11 year-old candidate was: It's in the stars: Timothy for President! As clever as I was, on my poster, I spelled my name using metallic star stickers.

Did I win? No! I was beaten by Bryan Butts.

(Just a little note: By the time the election arrived, my campaign manager, Erin Oliver (also 11 years old), scrapped my It's in the stars... idea and came up with the jingle:

Don't be droopie.
Be like Snoopy.
Vote for Tim.
You'll like him.

How could I have lost?)

It makes me wonder who came up for the ad campaign for the 2006 BET Awards. Did I go to school with him/her in the sixth grade? Hmmm...

A big BOO! goes out to BET for choosing such a lame slogan for this year's awards. It sure does not make we want to tune in on Tuesday. Instead it makes me want to pull out old year books and reflect on 1987.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Let's Do

the Time Warp


Every time I go home, I feel I'm visiting an alternate dimension. (Cue theme music)

It is difficult for me to define home or to pinpoint home to a specific location. I'm at "home" now, kinda. I was at "home" last weekend in the same kinda fashion. My family no longer has a family home. When I come home for a visit, I really never know where I'll be sleeping, or with whom I'll be staying. For example, when my mother picked me up from the airport (generous creature that she is) she very frankly said, "I don't know where you'll be staying while you are here. There is no room at my place. Maybe you can stay with your brother." She went on to inform me that his house was a wreck, and because of of recent power outtage while he was away, all of the food in the refrigerator and freezers ruined and the place still reaked. Yes, my brother is hosting my, and, yes, it did reak. Although, either I'm getting used to the smell, or it is diminishing.

At my brother's home, there is no working telephone or cable tv. There is, however, high-speed internet. I really have no excuse for not responding to email or posting regularly on my blog except for the fact that I'm preparing to make all the arrangements to move to Uganda for the next two years. No big deal.

I spent the weekend with a friend in the town where I grew up. I'm from a very rural community in Northwest Florida called White City. The first word of the name is a fairly accurate adjective, but the second word is a complete misnomer considering the fact that the population has never exceeded 300. We have one country store with one functioning gas pump. Our claim to fame is a bridge crossing the Intercoastal Waterway. If you try and find White City on Google Earth, it will take you to play about 12 miles too far north. They call the commuinty Bayless Bridge. I have no idea where that name came from. No one in the area has ever heard it either. I asked them this weekend.

I have no love in my heart for White City, but I have a deep love for many of the people who still live there, despite the fact that they do not have internet access. I passed six days at my friend Holly's home, and I could not even check my email. I had withdrawal at first, but I soon made peace with the idea of not going online; it was quite rustic. White City is just a stone's toss from Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach. We spent Sunday enjoying the natural beauty of the area, soaking up the sun and cooling off in the water that is much more beautiful since they shut down the paper mill a few years ago.

I've been to beaches all around the world, and I can say with no hesitation that you will not find more beautiful beaches than the ones we have on the Florida Panhandle. You might find more appealing water, but the beaches are some of the best.

I'm always up for new experiences. I at gator tail for the first time at the Dockside Cafe. I cannot say that I loved it. It was like really chewy chicken with an essence of fish. Hmmm...

I grew up with a huge swamp in my back yard, so my little brothers used to bring home alligator all the time. You had to be careful when opening up ice chests in the backyard. They often contained all sorts of aquatic surprises. They used to fry up gator tail in the kitchen in my mom's cast iron pans. In my "high and mighty" days, I was so opposed to this. Mainly because it was illegal, but also because I was not a big fan of hunting any animal. In protest, I would never try their game. Well, alligator can now be legally hunted with a permit, and gator tail is becoming a common menue item.

In other news, I went to Wal-Mart last week for the first time since I got back. Nicole, guess what I found:

I thought about you.
Oh, Samoa...
KS on a weeknight.

You up for a Will & Grace marathon anytime soon?

No Animals.jpg

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Back to Business

Back to Business

I feel like I need the christen my new blog space with a really important post.


Who has the finer ass?

I know what you're thinking, and I'm quite flattered.

On Top Of The World.jpg

Top of the World