The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

Posts from the “Bucket List” Category

Photo Essay: An Austrian Love

Posted on August 2, 2012

I feel glad to be alone here. I’m often at peace, but the calm is especially pronounced as I wind through the Bavarian Alps. The crystal clear water probably splashes clarity. Talking with some Argentinians in Amsterdam, they find out I’m traveling alone. Then they relinquish a group “awww” and look at me with sad brown eyes, saying preciosa and pobrecita. Poor me, indeed! Achieving my travel dreams whether or not someone will accompany me on them! And then this thing called cultural relativism kicks in: to them, it’s extremely unorthodox for a young blonde woman to go without steady companionship for extended periods of time, especially in foreign places.  But I say in Spanish with that unique Argentine flare as I point to…

Welcome to Austria!

Posted on July 31, 2012

 I seldom do narratives on this blog because I seldom pull them off, but I’m going to try anyway. Yesterday I was in a cozy Stockholm suburb, today I am in Salzburg. There is something exhausting and comforting about transit. It’s kind of like scuba diving: long hours of relative peace and serenity peppered with moments of hurried panic (will I make the train? Shit, I’m on the wrong platform!!). And then you arrive, eventually, and the world seems still again. From Stockholm I fly to Munich. I intend on staying in the city for at least a day; I have been there before, but it truly is a gorgeous place and the weather is beyond agreeable. And so I quickly book the cheapest…

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…

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…

The Story of a Book

Posted on March 2, 2012

It’s seldom that I see anyone perusing the stacks of the library. While this indicates that too many people aren’t taking advantage of a different type of infinite wealth of knowledge and wisdom they have at their keyboard-stroking fingertips, this also means that I have unlimited literature all to myself. I can skip along the aisles in utter joy, dragging my fingers along thousands of leathery bindings and there is no one there to obstruct my path. I can, theoretically, build a blanket fort anchored by books, one with bookshelves for walls and two password-guarded exits (hint: it’s the invention in Cat’s Cradle that destroys the world). This is nothing but a silly theory, but it is one I am determined to test. And there would…


Posted on February 22, 2012

“Two-percent moments”. They’re the moments that would make it in a story told about someone long after they’re gone, the moments of a person’s life that define them, complete them, definitively alter their path, and flash before their eyes upon death. The moments that make living so extraordinary. A collective aggregate of important, beautiful, and calamitous events and occurrences and moments that would amount to two-percent of your entire life. Not the monotonous hours spent completing trivial tasks and empty formalities, but the most joyous and tragic occasions of a person’s life that they can’t and won’t forget; the stories your grandchildren will be hearing about before bedtime, wide-eyed, curious, and patiently awaiting another adventure, another momentous tale about their rogue ancestor (“Our grandma…

Najpyszniejsze Pierogi

Posted on February 20, 2012

2012 Bucket List Update: learn how to make pierogi I’ve taken pierogi for granted my whole life simply because they came so easily and abundantly. I would ask my grandma for some and a few days later, they would appear on the table in a greasy metal bowl, like out of thin air. Then I would indulge. But gone are the days of magic pierogi. My poor grandma’s hands have been stricken with arthritis, making it difficult, time-consuming, and painful to pinch the lips of each and every pierog. And I wouldn’t dare ask. You grow up and realize that the world doesn’t revolve around your pierogi needs. So I added it to my bucket list of 2012, to learn how to make pierogi…

Zen and the Art of Scuba Diving

Posted on February 2, 2012

Anyone of the unfortunate circumstance of being Facebook friends with me is surely fed up by now. Fed up by my incessant scuba-related posts, rants, comments, and photo-updates. Fed up by my obnoxious pride over something that I technically know nothing about and have no experience with. It’s new for me, you see. I’m taking a weekly course on scuba theory and technique, as per my Bucket List for this year. So I went with some friends last Friday to the very edge of DC, almost to that mystical terrain known as Maryland, to buy my gear: snorkel, mask, fins, weight-belt, booties, and textbook. The wetsuit we will rent. It soon became clear that when it comes to scuba, I am  woefully challenged sartorially…