The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

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The Gaucho

Posted on May 23, 2012

Montevideo is not as loud as its South American counterparts – nearby megacities like Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro manage to overshadow the modest country of Uruguay as a whole. But nevertheless, there it lies dwarfed, pressed between two gargantuan neighbors. Argentina is world-famous for its unwavering pride (which often translates into blazing arrogance), rough politics, and venerated national heroes like Che Guevara and Evita. Bring up Brazil, and discussion about soccer, sexy natives, and the world’s most festive carnival are soon to follow.  But when Uruguay comes into question, if it comes up at all, the only thing that might be mentioned is the beach along the southeastern coast and, more recently, Diego Forlan. And honestly, it’s a shame. What Uruguay lacks…

On History, Poland, and its Woods

Posted on May 17, 2012

The Second World snugly finds its place between the First and Third worlds. These are constructs of the Cold War, antiquated political categorizations that pigeonhole the world as we know it into a neat, fun, digestible grouping of three. The Second World isn’t halfway between ‘developed’ and ‘undeveloped’, but simply denotes countries that are communist or have recently been communist and have retained a certain Leninist flavor in their renovations, despite progressive efforts, in some places, to try to dispel it. In fact we don’t really hear the term anymore, probably because modern day communism fails to resemble traditional communism in any shape or form. Direct observation of China’s version of communism tells me, for example, that it’s little more than capitalism on steroids.…

On Food, Pho, and Ends

Posted on May 11, 2012

I celebrate everything with food. Food is the natural follow-up, the obvious supplement to all of life’s joys, sorrows, and monotomy. When I’m feeling particularly nostalgic for someplace different and far away, which is every single minute of every single day, I escape to DC’s various ethnic hole-in-the-walls. No english, no white people, hearty meals, gargantuan portions, and tiny out-of-pocket prices. Cash only.  Indeed, such a craving made itself known just before I exited the District for a long time. I quit my job, my work there is done, and I won’t be back until January after I return from my Petersburgian winter epoch, presumably alive. So to celebrate such an occasion, the occasion of seeing something to its end (in this case, another…

Run Away

Posted on May 10, 2012

… to South America. Those who deem it cliche haven’t done it. Run away and stay off the beaten path. Get to know a foreign place, leave it with new friends. Eat with the locals, you might learn something. Eat everything that’s placed in front of your nose; even if it’s still squirming, you might walk away with a new favorite food.  Avoid as much planning as possible; these plans will change anyway, often for the better. Be open, be kind, be appreciative of the world and all that’s in it. Give to those who need it, give to those who don’t need it. Travel cheaply in local transportation; your seat-mate may be a chicken, but it’s more awesome this way. Forget about comforts…

On Travel, Coming Home, & Moving On

Posted on May 7, 2012

Dear Blake & Misha: We returned from our epic summer journey through Russia, Mongolia, China, and Nepal with a pit-stop in South Korea late last August. I can sincerely say it was one of the more memorable experiences of my life – it was life-changing, it was path-altering, it was a three-month show of everything good that the World has to offer. I was so happy all the time, even when things were going to hell. As long as we were okay, I was happy. That’s all it took. But you and I both know words can’t really describe it, the enormity of it all, and God knows we’ve tried. I know it’s shocking, but the trip came to an end. Since August, we’ve…

Gratuitous Photo Dump//Nikon FM

Posted on May 4, 2012

After a month-long nerve-wracking misadventure with my Nikon FM, I finally see a finished product. Film photography is dying medium, but I’m still thrilled to use it. This camera has shaved years off my life just from sheer stress, but the feeling of seeing these photos materialized feels too good; the weight on my shoulders is alleviated, I breathe easier. I think I have a problem. Cherry Blossom Festival, 2012. Ten minutes before I took this, the painter said that someone stole one of his paintings that was leaning against a nearby tree. He was fuming, and the last thing he probably wanted was for someone to steal another one of his images with a camera. A photo of the paints will have to…