Is aris didi gogra, Charlie Brownadze!

This week I spent a day working from home.  It was an awful, frustrating day that ended with the realization that my personal laptop’s harddrive had given up the ghost.  I haven’t backed it up in years, so the catastrophic loss of data is maybe just desserts.  Still, the disaster stings: I lost a lot of photos, basically all the work I did at Stanford, and most of the documents related to my grad school applications.  It was a very bad day.

That couldn’t keep me down today, though!  I spent a large portion of this stunning autumn day walking around, leisurely exploring the path between Saburtelo and my house.  I took only back roads and explored a few abandoned-looking buildings just because I could.  The temperature was perfect as I meandered through Vere park and passed the sentinel churches at the southern end of it.  I paused at an open gate.

My audiobook nattered on describing the psychological obstacles that Tom Eagleton’s nomination as Vice Presidential candidate posed to George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign as I backpedaled to peer through the gate.  It led to a semi-ruined house with a balcony (room with utterly destroyed walls?) that overlooked the Mtkvari river and the left bank.  I hesitated, having spotted a mattress through a busted doorframe.  Maybe the ruins were inhabited?

The sunlit balcony tempted me forward.  If someone approached me from the house I would simply apologize and back out.  Obviously this is not really a good plan or excuse for potential trespassing, but I figured odds were pretty slim anyway.  I picked my way through the litter that cluttered the cement steps and soon beheld the city below me.  I basked in the sunshine, back to the open-faced building.

Sure enough, somebody bedded down there every night.  There was no sign of them while I was there, but three mattresses, some clothes hung out to dry, and dozens of empty bottles indicated that probably several people lived here.  One of them had apparently even propped a mirror in one corner.  That certainly says a lot about the human condition–living in squalor but still setting up a mirror like that.  I won’t wax philosophical, but I sure could!

I left the squatters’ den behind and continued my stroll homeward bound.  As Nixon and his Plumbers schemed, I took extra care to observe little details on my walk today.  Often times I get lost in my iPod (music or books) and ignore my surroundings.  I can probably walk to work and back in my sleep and the route is fairly static (despite the spate of construction going on), so there’s not as much to notice.  Today, though, I found myself peering into yards and stairwells, noticing the plastic playground behind the wall and the sun-speckled laundry hanging in the courtyard.

The leaves have finally turned in force and I played my favorite autumn game from childhood: Find the crunchiest leaf…and crunch it.

I also play my second-favorite autumn game from childhood, Shuffle the Leaves along with your Feet!

I passed April 4th Park and neared home.  I’d been walking for nearly two hours, by my estimate (which is all that counts on myblog, thank you very much!) and was ready to relax at home.

This photo could fit equally well into the "Beautiful Autumn Scenery" category and the "Shades of Gray" category!

Halloween has come and gone, and though it didn’t have nearly the epic scale of last year’s Zugdidi party, it was quite a pleasant holiday in its own right.  Angela and I spent the weekends prior to Halloween watching terrifying movies: Paranormal Activity I and II.  I seriously bruised my fingers from clenching my fists together too tightly.  Judge me all you want, I think they were terrifying!

We went walking the day before Halloween to find the elusive rumored Populi near our house.  Sure enough, it was there!  Hidden behind a construction site, sure, but there nonetheless!  Inside we found a veritable treasure trove of highly-priced, delicious-looking, irresistible goodies.  Including…

PUMPKINS!!! So of course we had to buy one and carve it!

Cass brought the wine and candy and we provided the pumpkin.  Unfortunately our “Sharp knife” couldn’t even properly puncture the pumpkin.  That’s why, as you may notice, we found ourselves using Cass’s two-inch pocketknife to do the entirety of our carving.  It really wasn’t so much a “carving” as it was a “repeated and strategic series of stabs.”  Our unstable tablewasn’t serving us very well, so it wasn’t long before we moved the carving out onto the balcony.

Angela, reveling in the majesty that is my awesome 3-in-1 L.L. Bean Coat. Thanks mom!
My technique is a little more brutal. Same idea, just executed with more flagrant brutality. It really reflects the differences between us. (Otherwise we're largely indistinguishable)

We only bought one pumpkin to share, so Angela and I created a Janus-faced jack-o-lantern with each having the creative rights over one half of the pumpkin.  Angela, as you can maybetell from the above picture, went with a traditional toothy-grinned visage, while I wanted mine to look more badass.

I wanted it to reflect my badassery.

With my energy flagging, I’ll switch to my lazy-method-of-choice for polishing off this entry: String of captioned photos!

Behold! The ingenious advantages to a Janus-faced pumpkin! An ominous, terrifying spectre projected against the wall!
Here's my pumpkin hauting Angela's grin.

Having finished, we moved the pumpkin to the kitchen window where it remains to this day.

They terrify the local street puppies.
When everyone scorns him, however, our little pumpkin's smile fades...
Into a scowl...
that seems...
every time we...
look directly at it...
Oh God!
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