Archive for March, 2008


I am not a Lebowski Achiever.

The Dude“Please accept this letter as formal notification…”

After four years at the company, I met with my boss yesterday and put in the notice. I made the announcement in our weekly staff meeting this morning to a surprised and bemused bunch of producers, editors, and videographers. The company-wide resignation email from Human Resources went out today. People shook my hand, told me congratulations, and gave me hugs. I got more emails from co-workers today than I ever have in a day. (Even one from an executive VP!)

There were smiles and raised eyebrows at the ethereal “plan” for my trip, which I’m getting pretty quick at explaining.

I have taken the final step to really, actually, FINALLY going on this trip. I will be unemployed; a man of leisure. (At least for a while.) It’s official and it feels great. Remind me why I was nervous about this?

So, Dude, how did that meeting with your boss go again?

“Okay! The old man told me take any rug in the house!”

The bums will always lose? Ha!

Though I’m starting in Lima, I can’t wait to get to Colombia… and there might even be a war on!

Colombia holds a strong mystique in my mind and it’s a high priority destination for me. I’m not entirely sure why, but I definitely have an interest in going to a place where that all anyone knows about are cocaine, kidnappings, and rebels. On the contrary, most of what I’ve read about visiting Colombia has been overwhelmingly positive. Colombianos are said to be very kind and welcoming. The same can’t be said for the FARC, though. Things may just get interesting yet, people.

Troops in EcuadorTroops are massing at the Venezuelan and Colombian borders, and I’m fixing to head right into the middle of it. Granted, not for a few months, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

I’ve spent a good bit of time reading articles and about the history in the region over the past few days. Daniel Howden of The Independent writes:

This is an alarming degeneration in the region and has ominous overtones that could lead to provocative developments,” said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a Washington think-tank.

There’s no question of the enormous political tension now and any miscue could set off a conflict,” said Michael Shifter, a vice-president of the Inter-American Dialogue group in Washington.

The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New RussiaAt this juncture, I’m feeling quite undeterred. Especially after reading the first chapter of Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi’s “The eXile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia.” Not that I want to live my life like Ames has, but I did read his story about a civil war breaking out near his apartment a month after moving to Russia with earnest.

Ames writes about October 3rd, 1993 in Moscow:

“The rebels stormed out of the White House and seized surrounding territory, disbanding and beating Yeltsin’s troops…raced down to the Ostankino TV tower. … I was watching television as the battle began. The announcer was terrified. And suddenly, just the way it happened in Dawn of the Dead, my TV went blank.”

Ames then goes on to talk about being awoken by tank cannons and actually going out and walking through the “war zone” the next morning.

“On the naberezhnaya, I gathered with a crowd of Russians to watch the tanks fire into the White House. Snipers took aim at us. Bullets were ringing off the lamp-posts and the heavy cargo trucks parked on a lot behind us. We scattered for cover. … Elsewhere in the park, while gunfire rattled, a group of men drank vodka and played chess. On a bench farther down, a woman lay on her back, reading a book.”

Interesting. Crazy.

Wonder what the state of things will be in Colombia when I’m there? Will things have simmered down or, to quote my friend Steve, will kevlar be the new cotton? Here’s hoping for no “miscues” or “provocative developments.” I gotta get to Colombia.