Tuesday, January 30, 2007

LotD

Do you have a secret? These people do. Some of them are funny, others are poignant, and they're all interesting. So what's your secret?

And Battlestar fans will like this gag reel from season 3. Minor spoilers (or a major one, but I'm not sure if it's an actual spoiler or a foiler), of course, but very amusing. Note: Bad language and a few very amusing shots at the President (and I don't mean Roslin or even Baltar).

Monday, January 29, 2007

Pass the envelope please...

The winners for the 10th SNW contest were announced earlier last week over here and I completely missed all of the excitement in the hijinks I call Real Life (tm). Trek people, you may see a familiar name or two on the list. I know there were at least a few people on there I was very happy for. Can we raise a virtual margarita for the winners? Hooray! I'm not in Trek fandom any more, but it's definitely nice to see this book come out, and not just a little sad to know it's the last one.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Nostalgia

Blogger's been a pain lately, but today I persisted and so here we are, the first blog entry in a while. I was going to write about politics some more and about how women are their own worst enemy and if Liberia -- LIBERIA -- can have a woman president, what the hell is the matter with us? But enough about politics, because that's the future, and I'm more into the past these days. Not into the past in that self-defeating, anxiety-ridden way I have about me, but more in that golden "those were the days" kind of away. Mostly this has been brought up by two songs I heard on the radio lately and now I'm dying -- DYING -- to get copies of, even though I know they will drive everyone nuts because that's the kind of songs they are.

The songs I'm thinking about, that have specific memories associated with them, are "(And I would walk) 500 miles" and "What's going on?" C'mon, you children of the late '80s and early '90s', you know EXACTLY what songs these are and I bet to this day, you can scream at the top of your lungs, "WHAT'S GOING ON?" and I hope that you have someone in your life you'd walk 500 miles for. But the point of this is these songs remind me of my swim team, of when we used to sit under a big tent at the all-day district event, waiting for our 30 seconds of race (or in my case, the occasional 8-minute race as I did compete on the district level in the 500-meter freestyle -- 20 laps -- and the 100-meter breast stroke -- 4 laps).

We used to be known as the team to beat until a private club came along with an amazing coach (who, incidentally, was responsible for my breast stroke, which I competed in at the state level). And so we'd sit there at the district meet, our tent next to the private club tent, and just to annoy those snooty rich kids -- some of whom used to be on OUR team -- we'd turn up the stereo and we'd scream "WHAT'S GOING ON?" And then we'd sing at the top of our lungs, "And I would walk 500 miles, and I'd would walk 500 miles," in that rat-tat-tat staccato rhythm. And we would sing those two songs over and over again ALL DAY LONG. Even though we'd lost our first place standing to the private club, we were bigger and louder than them and we were giving them warning: we're right behind you. Just give us time.

It was totally awesome. Annoying, but awesome.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Prediction

I meant to say this yesterday but Blogger was acting up, but my guess is that John Edwards will secure the Democratic nomination. He's not the front runner right now, but he'll probably be chosen on 'electability' versus Obama and Clinton. I've been reading some comments on Clinton and I've been aghast by some of the things people have been saying, like one person called her 'unladylike' for wanting power and someone else called her the not-so-nice 'c' word and someone else said something to the effect of "if she can't keep her husband in line, how is she supposed to be president?" Puh-lease. I won't deny that I'm completely in Hillary's camp. I wasn't a couple days ago, but now I am. She is a smart, independent woman who has won respect on both sides of the aisle and has worked hard during her time in Congress. She deserves the respect all of the other candidates receive (ha!).

And for something completely jaw-dropping, read Howard Kurtz's article about Obama's schooling at a 'madrassa' at age 6. Apparently FOX News was all over this story, even though the allegations were thinly sourced and completely irrelevent; CNN has debunked the story here, though I'm pretty sure people will say it's just the liberal media covering up for their own. I don't have a high opinion of FOX News, which despite calling itself "fair and balanced" is decidedly not so, but I did think they'd do better than pick up a single source story from a newspaper and report on it without confirming it.

Sometimes I can't believe I share a country with these people.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

LotD

Two semi-related LoTDs. First, apparently one can ignore the US Supreme Court's rulings; just ask the Texas Supreme Court. The second link is Dallas-based: Man exonerated by new DNA technology after spending more than half his life in prison. And people wonder why I'm against the death penalty...

ETA: Here's a phishing quiz offered by the WP. Can you tell a real email from a fake one? I wasn't quite as savvy as I thought I was.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sacrifice by any other name

I watched Jim Lehrer's interview with the president this evening even though I can't normally stand Bush -- either looking or listening -- but it's cold and icy here and I don't have cable and the Lehrer News Hour seemed like the appropriate thing to do while huddled under a fleece blanket on my futon. Plus, I was rather struck by President Bush actually admitting that things could have been differently and ::gasp:: taking responsibility for some of his actions. In fact, he wasn't as annoyingly brash and arrogant as he usually is. And then came this glorious, glorious piece of insight from our President. I still haven't picked my jaw up off the ground.

MR. LEHRER: Let me ask you a bottom-line question, Mr. President. If it is as important as you've just said - and you've said it many times - as all of this is, particularly the struggle in Iraq, if it's that important to all of us and to the future of our country, if not the world, why have you not, as president of the United States, asked more Americans and more American interests to sacrifice something? The people who are now sacrificing are, you know, the volunteer military - the Army and the U.S. Marines and their families. They're the only people who are actually sacrificing anything at this point.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night. I mean, we've got a fantastic economy here in the United States, but yet, when you think about the psychology of the country, it is somewhat down because of this war.

Now, here in Washington when I say, "What do you mean by that?," they say, "Well, why don't you raise their taxes; that'll cause there to be a sacrifice." I strongly oppose that. If that's the kind of sacrifice people are talking about, I'm not for it because raising taxes will hurt this growing economy. And one thing we want during this war on terror is for people to feel like their life's moving on, that they're able to make a living and send their kids to college and put more money on the table. And you know, I am interested and open-minded to the suggestion, but this is going to be -

I'm sure Al-Qaeda is quaking in its boots now that it knows the American people are sacrificing 'peace of mind'. And I wonder how the military families feel about the statement that the vast majority of Americans are moving on, sending their kids to college, when they're sending their kids to fight in Baghdad. Just. Wow. Full transcript from the interview available here.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Musical blog

This is post 1,928. Wow. And to celebrate, I'm sharing one of my favorite songs with you: Life for Rent by Dido. Usual rules apply. The song is available for 7 days from today and after that, it's completely unavailable (no, I will not email it or re-upload).

You can find the song here.

Enjoy!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Hurts so good

Today I added 5 kg to my bar in body pump. I already fell asleep for three hours after the class and now that I'm resurfacing, it's a little like being a jellyfish underwater -- that's how intimately I'm conversing currently with all body muscles. I want to say I like it, but I find it difficult to think or move and boy, the kitchen in my little apartment seems sooooo far away to go for a cup of tea.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blue jean baby queen

I had a really insightful blog thought today. Sometime during the day, I had a thought and then I thought some more and then I thought, "Wow, I should put that in my blog because that's really important and exciting and interesting." And now, fast forward many hours from when all that thinking was happening and after a long day of meetings at work, after a workout at the gym, and dinner and a couple of household chores and episode of THE BEST SHOW ON TELEVISION (tm), I am drawing a complete blank. I really hate that. How can I possibly be taken seriously as a blogger when I don't even remember what it was I was supposed to blog? ::sigh::

Meantime, I heard a rumor about President Bush admitting that the Iraq policy of the past year has not worked. I say 'rumor' because I refuse -- REFUSE -- to hear that man's voice or see his face in my house. But apparently, he did say it and there's something about 'surge' and 'accelerate' which I really think means 'escalate' and please, does he think we're so stupid that we need a "Wag the Dog" slogan for every piece of strategery he comes up with?

Also, I'm not enjoying IE7. Mozilla died on me today and so I'm surfing with the spawn of Bill Gates and holy Mother of Tom DeLay, if it isn't slow and tedious. I take back my lukewarm review from the other day, because tabs glorious tabs or not, I'm not a big fan of the "click and we'll maybe show you your page 20 minutes later" school of browser.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A start

Schwarznegger is talking about universal health care in California. I'm glad to note that my home state of Vermont already has it. I don't know if a system like Canada or the European countries is the way to go, but something has to be done to take care of the 40 million people who lack even basic care, not to mention the skyrocketing premiums for those of us who do have health insurance provided by employers. I don't know if Schwarznegger's plan is the solution, but at least he's taking action.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Write in it

A friend recently asked why I don't write as much anymore and I was pretty stymied by the question because I do still like to write, I just... don't. Part of it is a discipline issue. I don't have the discipline to sit at the computer any more after being at work all day and typing and researching and writing. I used to think I'd never get sick of the computer or the Internet, but there you have it -- there are some nights when I come home and don't even turn on the computer (hence the lack of bloggity lately).

But I think a lot of my non-writing has to do with the lack of community. When I first got online, I found the Story Exchange (Hi Harry!) and there was a vibrant community and lots of talent and sparkling wit and just a lot of support there. It was a lot of fun to login into the site, read the new stories, discuss them, and talk about writing-related matters on the forum, as well as esoteric topics like spumante. Then there was ASC, Trek fandom's gathering place (or at least one of them), and there were tons of very cool people there, and again, vibrant community with lots of ideas flying back and forth. It's easy to write in an environment that's full of energy and ideas. And honestly, I wanted nothing more than to be a part of those communities and for membmership, I had to write.

These days, the writing forums I used to frequent are dead or close to dead. Many of the people I used to talk to have moved on to other things or have changed their pennames and left no forwarding addresses. My RL is also a lot busier and I don't have the time or patience to be online for hours anymore doing the work required to establish a presence and personality in an online forum or develop online relationships beyond the ones I already have and maintain. And so I don't write as much because the motivation I had -- to be part of a group -- has essentially evaporated and the intrinsic motivation has all but disappeared.

But I have been feeling the urge to write again more and more lately and there are a few non-fiction essay ideas ruminating in my head. One of these days, I'll just force myself to sit down and write them down. I've found that the hardest part is just getting started. Once I get past the first few paragraphs, it's a little like flying and the words and ideas take over and there's no feeling quite like it in the world. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

LotD

Here are the allocations for DHS' funds. So are you a top tier terrorist threat too? (Say that 10 times fast!)

Friday, January 05, 2007

LotD

I don't agree with neocon Charles Krauthammer that often, but I think he articulated the reasons why Saddam's execution is a complete disaster perfectly.

I also think Newsweek summed it best in a story in its latest issue (the one with Gerald Ford on the cover) when they wrote, from a historical perspective which does not sugarcoat any of Saddam's atrocities or crimes: "... what Saddam achieved for his country came at a terrible cost, and of the countless problems he reated and perpetuated, his death solves none."