February 2011

02.16.11

For the record, I try to catch as many typos as I can, but since I don't actually get an editor to look over my work, there are a few that sneak in (I think I miss out on having an editor because I'm online rather than in print). I caught today's typo at 11:50ish and tried to upload the corrected comic onto GoComics's server a bit later. Unfortunately, for some reason, the new cartoon refuses to copy over the old one if I try to upload "too late." I'm not sure when "too late" is, but it appears to be between the time right before the comic is due to appear or after it pops up on the GoComics site.

I'm doing my best to prevent this from happening, but I'm not perfect and unfortunately, CLV is only one of many things I do on a daily basis.

Mea culpa.

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Did everyone have a good Valentine's? Did you get your chocolates for half off today? You should- because that's another good way to save money.

Edouard knows that he doesn't have to get me stuff for Valentine's because I think it's a silly holiday, but he still got me a little vase full of succulents, which one can find all over my native CA (they were also featured in our wedding flower arrangements). It was a nice gesture, and unlike roses, I can actually keep these for as long as I'm able to keep them alive.

Jen

02.13.11

So in case you haven't heard, Mubarak stepped down on Friday. I'm grateful for this for obvious reasons, but even more so because after Mubarak's speech on Thursday night- the one where he said he didn't have any intentions of stepping down before September- Tahrir Square erupted with anger and frustration. My friends in Cairo suspected that there would be much more bloodshed to come. In a fortunate turn of events, however, Mubarak decided to step down the following day.

We shouldn't celebrate and call it a day, though. Egypt is still in a volatile position. The military is essentially running the country, and it's still up in the air as to what kind of leadership the Egyptians will choose. As it has happened in the past, the Egyptians may end up with a leader who is just as oppressive and controlling as the preceding president. They may pick a leader who is ultimately even worse. I have friends in Israel who are very concerned about what will happen next: "As oppressive as Mubarak was, at least he maintained the peace between Egypt and Israel."

I'm still not sure how this is all going to play out, but I suspect that most Egyptians do not want to engage in a war with Israel or the US. I also think that Egyptians are mainly concerned with having peace, stability, and fairness within their country and among their countrymen right now. As many have said before, Egyptians see themselves as Egyptians before anything else, and want what is best for all Egyptians. For every zealous Muslim bombing a church in Egypt, for instance, there are hundreds more Muslims protecting the Christians and their right of worship. I really hope this kind of sentiment is translated in the elections, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a secular and stable government comes into power. Time will tell though.

I also hope that the statues of King Tut, Akhenaten, and Nefertiti are returned to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Movies watched while inking:

Goodfellas: It was kinda like watching Casino, but in a different time and setting. Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci had slightly smaller parts, which was too bad for me, but it still gets my stamp of approval.

Beat the Drum: This was a very somber movie about AIDS in South Africa. A young boy leaves his village after a mysterious illness kills off his entire family. He journeys to Johannesburg to try to find his uncle and to make money for his remaining family members, and is faced with the culture shock of urban life. Meanwhile, other characters in Johannesburg are affected by AIDS, and the boy learns that it is AIDS that has ravaged his town. This movie was good, but the narrative seems to get a bit sloppy near the end. I also felt that the ending left too many loose ends for the sake of having a clean, happy ending.

The Parking Lot: A documentary about former and current parking lot attendants at one particular lot in Virginia. I wasn't really sure whether to like or hate this movie at times, and it wasn't because of the subject of the documentary, which I thought was kind of interesting, but because the parking lot attendants themselves walked the fine line between being being thoughtfully sincere and disgustingly pretentious. There were times when they were so disgustingly pretentious that it made me want to scream, but other times they just seemed like normal, fun guys who conceded that they had a job that let them think too much about what it means to be a parking lot attendant. Another cool note: one of the librarians from the Met was in this movie! It was strange to see him in such a different context.

Jen

02.06.11

So, I'm sure there are some people out there who are curious as to what my take is on the current events in Egypt. In fact, I've had many people ask me what this means for my dissertation (my proposal got approved last Tuesday by the way!), and the answer is quite simply: I'm not really sure. In fact, I don't think most Egyptologists really know what's going to happen. Some are confident that we will be able to resume work later this year, but others are less optimistic. I am in the latter camp, but I also tend to prepare for the worst case scenario.

I first heard about the protests in Cairo on January 26th. The protests started out peacefully enough and I was very happy to see that the Egyptians were speaking out against their government, which has been a relatively oppresive one. Over the next few days, however, the protests became increasingly violent. The Cairo Museum, numerous landmarks, and archaeological sites became endangered, and the death and injury tolls were climbing. I had more friends in Egypt than I ever had before, and I became increasingly worried, especially since there was absolutely no way for me to communicate with them for days. Eventually NYU made plans to evacuate their excavation teams, and Egyptologists from other institutions in Egypt made plans to evacuate as well, especially when things started getting bad in Luxor (I hear it's better there now).

I still have lots of friends in Cairo though, and I think about them constantly. I hope they are ok, particularly since most of the ones I know are involved in the protests (anti and pro Mubarak, by the way). Just the other day I had a friend of a friend who was seriously injured on his morning commute to work, and he wasn't even involved in any of the demonstrations. Furthermore, resources in Cairo are difficult to get and people have to defend themselves and their families because there aren't enough police officers to protect everyone (or the numerous archaeological sites, by the way- looting is a big problem right now).

So basically, as I see it now, things in Egypt are pretty awful. Not only are people in the major cities suffering, but the rural Egyptians who would normally be working on archaeological digs no longer have a source of income. This is terrible, especially considering the rising food prices there. I'm not sure what can be done to help these people, so I think and worry about them often.

I'm also concerned as to what is going to happen in Egypt over the next few months. The way I see it, things can either turn out really great, or some crazy fringe group will take advantage of this chaos and the imminent power vacuum and make things far worse than anything that happened under Mubarak's leadership. If history has taught me anything, it's that these kinds of situations are precarious. Revolutions don't always result in what is best for a country's people, regardless of the revolution's good intentions.

Egypt is a beautiful place with many wonderful, kind people. I really hope for the best outcome for Egypt and I hope its suffering is not in vain.

Jen