The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

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Bucket List Update: Scuba Squeaky

Posted on April 29, 2012

I’m officially certified for underwater exploration, as per my Bucket List for 2012. Weirdly, the deed was done in the middle of Pennsylvania cornfield country in an old abandoned rock quarry that is now a PADI diving site. It’s also home to bass, catfish, a cement truck, a chess board complete with pieces, and a quarry barn that is likely now enveloped in algae and slime. The water was freezing and murky, a good thing for a newly certified diver. Any other water would be markedly warmer and clearer in comparison, a psychological advantage only known to cold-water divers. I’d also like to report that the lake’s fauna have no concept of boundaries, as certain inquisitive fish would swim up to our masks and…

A Farewell Ode to PR

Posted on April 27, 2012

Every Thursday night until 10 pm, I’m in the belly of a dingy basement of a distant exclave university building. It truly is a dismal structure. The walls are a bland off-white and the fluorescent lights flicker ominously. Around the corner, I run into the night custodian, a mysterious man with an eye-patch whom I have developed an elaborate backstory for (let’s just say that a hostage situation with a Kyrgyzstani went horribly wrong). But alas, I’m not in this hellish academic islet by choice, at lease not by direct choice. I’m in a course called Issues and Image Management – basically public relations, not-so-basically how to fix the public image and perception of shitty people and shitty corporations who claim profit and revenue…

On Holi, Constants, and Constant Musings

Posted on April 15, 2012

Objectivity is indicative of a decent war photographer, not necessarily of a decent person. But how to ignore the human instinct to act, to get involved when terror greets you from all directions? To properly document combat, you must maintain the position of a fly on the wall and you must get dirty. During this year’s Holi festivities, I did one of these things well enough to warrant a Pulitzer. I once wrote about my year in 2011. In neat little paragraphs, I talked about what I did each month and what I learned in these thirty-day increments. In April 2011, Holi directly contributed to the musing, “perspective is your shit shield”, a lesson that I now live by.  I once considered getting a…

Photo Essay: Urban Nepal

Posted on April 8, 2012

Swayambhunath is one of Kathmandu’s many temples. Stunning shrines can be found there, as well as bricks, souvenirs, prayer flags, and immense views of the city. Within those views you can see the city bursting with life at the edges, like ants with the task of expanding their hill, as the tendrils of Kathmandu slowly but surely snake their way into the valley and beyond. Thamel, Kathmandu: small shop owners spend their days selling tasty treats like hot samosas with sweet sauce. Enveloped by the heat and humidity of monsoon season, students find a way to cool off without destroying their uniforms. Or not. After-swim chill sesh. Negotiations are more of a social affair. A mistake in focus turns out quite well. Don’t you…

My New Home

Posted on April 4, 2012

Big news for The Squeaky Robot! I’ve just been given the green light to study in St. Petersburg, Florida Russia this fall! I’m so excited I sometimes forget to breathe. Literally breathe. Someone had to tell me my lips were blue. Anyway, this has many implications for me and this blog, some of which I will highlight below: 1) I will most definitely have repetitive and comically undignified run-ins with my greatest and most fearsome foe: old Russian women. Despite all the drunks, Russia’s backbone is brass-bound simply because these women prop it up with a collective force that could rival that of Iran’s entire nuclear artillery, and also their canes. They really don’t take shit from anybody; the problem arises when you see what they…