This year’s Holi was special.
Soooo, should i just leave the window open then? Twante, Myanmar 2014.
Anonymous asked: This is super random, but I found your post from awhile back about downloading music from tumblr on a mac. With the newest macs, there is no Activity option under Window. Suggestions?
Yeah — you can enable the Developer settings, then Cmd-Opt-A to show the resources with a handy search bar (hint: mp3). Find what you want, and as before, copy the appropriate link, then press Ctrl-V when your Downloads window is open.
Also, Offliberty bookmarklet for YouTube.
midgardian etiquette 101: when going to their homes, hang your coat first or in some cases, your mjolnir.
naw maybe it’s actually asgardian custom to check your weapons at the door
It was medieval custom to check your weapons at the door of the meadhall before greeting the king of the place you were going to. It was courteous and showed respect. You can see it in Beowulf.
what i don’t understand is how that hook can hold the mjolnir.
the hook is worthy
the hook is worthy
Peter Pan would disagree.
I’ve not read the comics but I always figured Mjolnir wasn’t heavy so much as stubborn, and if it decided it didn’t wanna move it just wouldn’t. It sits on Loki, rather than crushing him in Thor 1, and in Avengers it rests on the floor of the ship, and trying to pick it up Hulk starts breaking the floor with his weight, but Mjolnir doesn’t seem to weight anything at all (If it was as heavy as Hulk implied, it would drag the whole ship to the ground right?). Mjolnir isn’t heavy, cos its not going down, instead it is a fixed point and everything else just moves around it. Hence, the hook doesn’t hold it, it merely remains in place.
so what you’re trying to say is that Mjolnir is like a chicken head
instead it is a fixed point and everything else just moves around it.
OK SO WHAT YOU ARE SAYING
IS THAT WHEN THIS HAMMER WAS FORGED IN THE HEART OF A STAR IT BECAME A FIXED QUANTUM POINT
AND THE UNIVERSE MOVES AROUND IT—AND THOR IS THE ONLY ONE WITH THE PROPER RESONANCE TO INTERACT WITH IT ON A QUANTUM LEVEL
AND SO HE IS THE ONLY ONE WITH THE LEVERAGE REQUIRED TO SHIFT THE REST OF THE UNIVERSE AROUND THE FIXED POINT THAT IS MJOLNIR
THIS MAKES SO MUCH SENSE
DUDE YOU GUYS SCIENCED THORS HAMMER THAT IS AWESOME
i just… can’t have this not on my blog.
Outstanding work, internet.
In the days before General Stanley McChrystal came to Afghanistan, military bases were allowed to sell alcohol, which civilians and permitted soldiers could buy (US no, UK yes, everyone else big yes). The general rule was a 2 can limit, although whether that was adhered to depended very much on the status of the base. In ISAF’s HQ, it was rigorously enforced, while at the military wing of Kabul International Airport, they had around nine bars in business during my first year in Afghanistan, during which I lived in a container right next to the flightline.
Every nation had their own bar. The Czechs played dour-faced pool over Budvar, the Belgians drank Stella and danced to Euro-techno, while the Nordic bar had been over-run, for some reason, by Americans from the southern states. Being new to the place and eager to sniff out stories, I spent my evenings as many a journalist has; being a bar fly. I would hit all nine bars in a usual crawl, but I would usually end up at the Nordic.
Although US uniformed soldiers weren’t supposed to drink, you’d usually find some lurking in the shadows, being hospitably ignored by the rest and left alone to nurse their cans. Otherwise, the rest of the Americans two-stepping with one of the few girls on camp, playing pool and darts or just rowdily swapping war stories of various veracity were contractors. Usually military, these hardened characters had found they weren’t much suited to civilian life and had joined up with private companies to do logistics, training or IT in warzones for eye-wateringly high salaries.
These southern boys didn’t have much regard for my nation (“How’s the United Queendom, these days, Ruth?”), my profession or my liberal feminism, but if we kept away from sex, religion or politics, they were probably the best drinking buddies I’ve ever had.
Many of them were pilots or aviation mechanics and were helping train the Afghan National Air Force to conduct missions. The ANAF’s air assets consisted of a few helicopters left over from the Soviet occupation - the MI-35 attack helicopter and the MI-17 transport helicopter - and a sad old, non-functioning L-39. The Americans wouldn’t step inside the MI-35s (they had Czechs and Lithuanian soldiers to do that), but they did fly around in the MI-17s.
After a particularly rowdy night, I woke up with a banging hangover to my phone beeping. I checked it out to discover that one of the boys, an English language instructor to Afghan pilots from Oklahoma, was following up on what I had assumed was a drunken invitation to fly that morning. Apparently we were still on.
Shaking off my headache and donning combats and polo shirt - the unspoken uniform of contractor acceptance - I trundled downstairs to be picked up by him and his Afghan interpreter, who we shall call Aziz.
Although the Afghan wing of the military airport was alongside the ISAF base, there was so much mistrust of our Afghan allies that we had to drive our armoured Land Cruiser through a baffling network of checkpoints and roads before we reached the Afghan side. It probably took 30 minutes of driving to advance a quarter of a mile.
We drove to a hangar, where American mechanics were doing pre-flight checks on a MI-17. There were no Afghans to be seen. “It’s Friday, their day off”, said my friend. They were at the mosque and with their families. “No war today”, he smirked at me.
The mechanics nodded gruffly at me without interest. I was motioned onto the MI-17. At this point, I thought it was probably a good idea to ask where we were going. I’d brought my camera to get some aerial shots to use in future stories, but if there was going to be an actual story, then that was a bonus. I asked the nearest crew member to me - a young-looking gunner in civilian clothes, who was fixing a long belt of rounds to the door-mounted machine gun. He sussed me out and said, warily, “test flight. Maintenance.”
It seemed that was all I was going to get. I plonked myself down on one of the seats that ran along the inside of the aircraft and pointed my camera out the window as my friend and Aziz climbed aboard and the pilots fired up the engine.
Aziz looked pale and unsure. “First time on a helicopter”, my friend shouted to the gunner. They both laughed, knowingly.
We took off and were soon over the mountains encircling Kabul, flying worryingly close to the peaks. Having spoken to a few pilots about this technique that is suppose to make it harder for rockets or small arms to hit, many said that the margin for pilot error or loss of power at that height creates far more accidents than being shot down. At that early point in my Afghanistan career, I just thought flying that low was great fun and brilliant for camera angles.
Once over the mountains we started descending. I craned my neck and caught sight of a behemoth of a military base up ahead of us. It rose like a beast from the desert. Only a few minutes out of Kabul - it must be Bagram, the home to 20,000 US forces and many more auxiliary workers and contractors. I motioned with my head towards my friend. He misunderstood and thought I wanted to move up into the cockpit. Before I could shake my head, he’d spoken to the gunner and I found myself seated uncomfortably in the engineer’s seat between the two pilots. Awkwardly placing a radio headset on my bonce, I tried to make idle chatter. “Is this Bagram, then?” They looked at me as if I were an idiot. “Yep,” said the co-pilot. “And that’s where we’re going to land.” Again, the look of pity and disgust, “yep.”
Once we landed, in a far away corner of the runway, it was a long, long walk to the main base. I followed in everyone’s trail, trying to understand where we were going and what mysterious mission had brought us here. I passed huge cargo planes, evil-looking attack helicopters and sexily slim-lined jets. We walked and walked. Finally, we passed off the flightline and turned right onto a main road, which a large street sign proclaimed was called Disney Drive.
I looked around at the scores of uniformed soldiers driving up and down in golf carts, walking in pairs with flourescent belts tied round their middles licking ice creams from the DFAC and stepping aside for US Marines in tiny PT shorts running to cadence. It seemed almost delightfully cynical that they should name the main drag of this mega-base, this detention centre of Afghans where waterboarding is not a sport after the theme park. Imagine my disappointment much later when I learned it was named after a dead soldier.
Disney Drive is so long that it has several bus stops along it. It is also a window display of the international contingents posted to Afghanistan. We walked past an Egyptian field hospital, a South Korean clinic, Jordanian soldiers, a Polish barracks and several Filipino workers giggling amongst themselves. Another sight was the intriguingly named, “Tuna Bridge”, a tiny walkway over a ditch, named after the incorrect detection of an IED, which turned out to be a tuna can.
After a good 20 minutes of trudging, we suddenly turned off and into a ramshackle outdoor mall, where Afghan shops sold crummy trinkets and soldiers could choose from an impressive (for Afghanistan) array of fast food - Burger King, Orange Julius, Pizza Hut and Dairy Queen.
But none of these were part of our mission. The boys made a beeline for the last shack in the line - Popeye’s Fried Chicken. The queue was immense and, when we finally reached the counter, the boys ordered pretty much the entire stock.
The pilot and co-pilot, who had ignored me to this point, finally acknowledged my existence, by handing me four bags of fried chicken.
Loaded with thousands of greasy calories, we marched back Disney all the way to the flightline. I was still intrigued as to our mission, until we boarded the helicopter and the crew started pre-flight checks again.
I turned to my friend, “the chicken was the mission?”, I asked, incredulously. “Yep,” he grinned. “Enough chicken for the whole of their division”.
And it was a mighty pile of chicken. Boxes upon boxes sat in the middle of the MI-17, lashed down with straps. The smell was unbelievable. Part hot, partly rancid grease, mixed with dead flesh with a little of old crotches thrown in. I have a famously strong stomach, but even I sat myself near the open window of the gunner. Poor Aziz looked even more pale and miserable than before.
Around ten minutes after take off, as we were once again passing over the mountains, the gunner motioned for me to put on a radio headset. “Hey, wanna shoot the gun?” He motioned to the large machine gun in his hands. I replied with the answer that got me to Afghanistan, got me on this flight and in most of the trouble/fun I’ve experienced throughout my life - shrugging nonchalantly, “yeah, alright then”.
I sat down on a small stool and placed my hands on the handles. The gunner guided my finger to the trigger, placed the belt across my lap and told me to take care of the spent cartridges flying back into the aircraft. That was the extent of my instruction. I had never fired a weapon before. Not even a fairground rifle.
I drew on my only experience with any sort of gun, my late night Call of Duty sessions. Aware of the horrible irony - soldiers frequently mock civilians who ask if battle is like the popular video game - I aimed the sight at some large rocks and squeezed the trigger.
The gun juddered into life and a ribbon of dust flew up from the mountainside. I let go. This was easy. There was no recoil, no resistance. I fired again, longer this time, at the same enemy rocks. The sandy plumes where my rounds hit seemed to be utterly dislocated and isolated from my actions. I forgot I was on a helicopter, I forgot I was in Afghanistan. To my shame, I started to believe I was playing a video game.
The gunner told me the pilots were going to circle for a while for me to really destroy the offending metamorphic protrusions. However, after the fourth short burst (even I was not so gauche as to use up the entire belt), I signalled that I had finished. In my first outing with a gun, it seemed classier to shoot in moderation with a blase air of having done it all before. I’m sure nobody was fooled.
Sitting back in my seat, the scent of gunpowder reached my nostrils, mixed in with chicken grease and another new, acrid scent. I noticed the gunner was laughing. Turning round, I saw poor Aziz finally lose his stomach into the nearest receptacle he could find - a Popeye’s Fried Chicken box.
When we arrived back, the timbre of the crew towards me had changed. Apparently by carrying chicken and shooting a machine gun, I had earned some sort of acceptance. They patted me on the back and asked me for some of my aerial footage before dropping me back at my hooch. They even offered me some of their fried chicken. I politely declined.
That wasn’t the only time I shot a gun, but it was the only time that involved a helicopter, fried chicken and vomit.