I gingerly held on to my seat as we bounced through marmot holes and over patches of grass, feet perched solidly on the footrests of my host father’s motorcycle as we sped through the night. The cool air soothed my skin, each molecule a reminder of the authenticity of the moment, and my very mortality. The motorcycle’s lone headlight danced its way across the steppe; I leaned back, resting my hands on my knees, and gazed up at the endless starry dark. My stomach full of боодог (boodog, Mongolian roasted goat), сүүтэй цай (suutei tsai, milky tea), айраг (airag, fermented mare’s milk) and архи (arhi, vodka), I smiled at the uniqueness and beauty of this experience, and drank in the Mongolian night.

[From Delgerhaan Homestay]

Reflections on Mongolia


With perestroika and the decline of Soviet power in the late 1980’s, Mongolia entered the first period of its post-communist development. This romantic period was a time of hope; Mongolia was to become the next Asian Tiger. Yet with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the halting of related aid money, newly democratic Mongolia was faced with an economic crisis of epic proportions. The fruits of democracy were enjoyed as well; newspapers sprang up, their variety reflecting the budding of Mongolia’s new multi-party democracy. Churches tripped over each other to send missionaries to cultivate her fertile sands, and Buddhism re-entered the public sphere. However, the lack of visible progress led many Mongolians’ to enter into state of now-familiar disillusionment.

Elections brought the young Democrats into power, who hastily implemented an intensely neo-liberal plan to shock the Mongolian economy into complete liberalization. Despite optimistic forecasts from policymakers, the life of the average Mongolian took a serious turn for the worse. Problems that had been forgotten during the times of Stalinist ‘utopia’ ravaged the country. Unemployment, massive inflation (as much as 350%), shortages of essential goods, and an almost complete collapse of the Mongolian economy were among them.[^m1] Social ills soon followed, with Mongolian males and their fragile egos faring worse that the women; alcoholism and violence, especially, spread amongst the growing population of unemployed young men.[^m2] Such chaos swept the MPRP back into power, beginning another dark era of de-democratization, though with some economic recovery.


Big Brother is watching, don’t say the

Wrong thing, look the Wrong way.

Traditional systems dis-

Integrate. Morals, ethics, freedoms and structures of life on the steppe.[^m3]

Continue reading “Reflections on Mongolia”

“Thinking Outside the Box” | A Yuletide Apocalypse

From my other blog; I thought it worthy of a repost here 🙂

The following paragraph (from this article) distills in a less ADD way what I was trying to say…
Although ADHD is still classified a disorder because of the challenges individual’s face with it, I’m more convinced everyday that it is a way of thinking and processing the world that is so beneficial to humanity, we must turn our attention to it. In many ways, our attention has been focused only on the disorder side of the condition, at the expense of the strengths, and science is just beginning to discover what those strengths might be. There is a popular book out right now, The Black Swan, about how all major changes come from ‘outliers’ in the world of ideas, the strange and misunderstood ideas that don’t fit into conceptual frameworks of the day but prove to shift humanity to new heights.

[From ”Thinking Outside the Box“, Creativity, Innovation and ADHD et al. | A Yuletide Apocalypse]

On Poop

There are some things people just don’t like to talk about.

No matter how close a friend or significant other, poop perpetually exists as taboo, reserved for only medical emergencies (or kinky sex? Let’s not go there). If it exists at all.

When a group travels beyond the realm of bacterial familiarity, into a land where gastrointestinal integrity is no longer taken for granted, a special bond is formed.

Anyone who has traveled to a distant land can attest to the magic that is travelers talking about their GI lives. At home, people talk about work lives, sex lives; but in Mongolia, we had whole soap-operas worth of material and drama pertaining to nothing more than diarrhea and its many relatives.

A: Hey Kevin, how was your day?
K: Good, but I haven’t shat in 3 days! I’m gonna go try now…
A: Damn! Well, good luck! Give ’em hell!

[10 minutes later]

A: Well?
K: Great success!!
A: Hallelujah!

Such a situation was quite plausible, if not normal. This extreme take on a traditionally sensitive subject (flexibility borne of necessity and increasing familiarity with said subject’s less desirable territories) exposes the opposite extreme in which we are perpetually trapped back in the 1st world. Sure, once a healthy rhythm is established, and things stop being interesting, it fades from view…

The Arrival of Winter

10/9/07, 9:24 pm:

UB is a different city now — the cold has arrived; there is snow by the sides of the street and blanketing the flanking mountains. the air is crisp, yet clean; not yet soiled by the sulfurous belching of the thousands of ger district stoves. We wear our wool hats, careful not to catch the wind — the one piece of Mongolian folklore that none of us dare scoff at, lest we be stricken with yet one more bout of Montezuma’s Revenge. Yet the Mongols carry on as usual. The vendors on the streets are now gloved, but the public seems dressed for autumn.

As winter begins to make it clear that no, she won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, the winter clothes begin to appear. Suddenly I am not the only one on the bus to be grasping the plastic hanging handles with gloved hands. My breath grows thicker by the day, and I begin to see and feel the first signs of smog, clouds hovering outside our front door, waiting to be drawn in. After a few weeks I have a smoker’s cough, nothing too violent; just a persistent aggravation. Even the night sky becomes clouded, and the familiar stars fade from above. And then a warm smile, Oh, but this is just the beginning! Winter doesn’t start until January, they tell me.

On Water

They can slowly grow from humble beginnings, like a forest of frozen dew crystals. Or catch experiences in mid-air, like the glistening stalks of grass along a frozen lakeshore — caught in the surf’s nightly descent into solidness. Or they can be free to meander about, a skin-tingling mist, pulling in passing rays and exposing their true colors.

And in a moment of beautiful creative mania, they come pouring out in a deluge as though from a ruptured vessel.

And yet, they are not so essential, as those life-giving molecules of neutral-clear tastingness.

Poems => Digital

Two poems I think would make interesting multi-media pieces:


An architecture whose elegance
Could only emerge from Time’s
Eternal forge, casting
Function, form, philosophy.

Swarms of flies, driven mad by midday sun
Melt silence into winged static.

His life stowed in ageless wooden chests,
The malchins’ mournful voice serenades his herd;
A wood-framed home in a woodless land.

Ode to Pepto

O Pepto, how gracious thou art
Calming the stomach’s sea
Thy fair complexion glows as a rose in Spring
Thy taste, as sweet as the finest chalk.

I continue to find myself drawn more towards the poetic form when considering how to approach multimedia work. I think my mind generally works more in the abstract, unless I can find a really “perfect” moment to capture, and remember/have recorded enough details to make it viable…

Creative Nonfiction: Bitter, Sweet


I say this reluctantly, but I must say it: He doesn’t belong here.

I know full well the fight song of parents of children with disabilities: My kid’s just like yours. But I can’t deny the evidence. The presence behind his slanted eyes. The invisible light that shimmers from his lips and fingertips. He is other-worldly, foreign, a stranger to things of this earth. If he were to disappear tomorrow, I would have no right to fuss, no ground to stand on as I petitioned the Universe.

You have no right to demand that he stay, the Universe would say. You know he’s just a traveler.

[From Creative Nonfiction: Bitter, Sweet]


From an incredible piece written by Kathryn Lynard Soper about having a child born with Down’s syndrome.