Sunday, April 29, 2007

an agenda I could really get behind

Stamp of approval, kachunk!

A Tale of Two Networks

BBC: Israel Troops Kill Hamas Fighters

Christian Broadcasting Network: Hamas Fires Rockets at Israel from Gaza

trauma, or insight? you decide!

Backstory: So my boyfriend and his family are friends with this other family (call them family X) that come over a couple of times a week. When I am also there I say hi; we are all on generally friendly terms. Except for the youngest son. This kid freaks out every time he sees me, usually running behind the nearest adult. I take this mildly personally, but what can you do?

Story: So family X was hanging out the other day, after the puppy arrived, and the puppy apparently freaked out at the little kid. Like growling and running away when he got close. Now said kid may have been a little rough with the puppy, as younger children often are. But for some reason this puppy appeared to take an active dislike to him, but was fine with everyone else.

The puppy has apparently taken the same attitude with me. It shivers and/or barks whenever it sees me. Even though they just got it, everyone else can hold him and play with him just fine. Me it seems to hate. This leads me to one of two conclusions.

Conclusion 1: The kid and I are considerably fairer than anyone else the dog comes into contact with. Perhaps it received some abuse from a white person and has now made that association.

I was leaning towards this explanation, but when I came home last night and told my roommate, "that dog really hates white people," he said, "well maybe he just really hates you." Hmm...

Conclusion 2: Dogs and small children really can see into your soul.

Friday, April 27, 2007

tag clouds

They are called Tag Clouds, and they analyze the number of words used in someone's speech and indicate what comes up a lot. Someone used this on the Democratic debates last night. I have no idea what the significance is, but it sure is cool to look at.

PS, I am clearly not getting distracted from my thesis and clearly not looking for distractions. Actually, I have been pretty focused for the most part. But whatever.


So the boyfriend and his family have a new Jack Russell Terrier. It is apparently an extraordinarily handsome dog (I will post pics, all circumstances and persons allowing). And he seemed so thrilled about it last night.

This morning, once it licked him awake and wouldn't let him go back to sleep and started chewing on wires in his room and demanding his undivided attention even though he was trying to talk to me and finalize a presentation for work...

not so thrilled.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

step two, check

Today, downloading Firefox so that I can link to things on the Mac.
Tomorrow, the world!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

the tao of time mismanagement

I am blogging in class. Because that's how I roll.

Staying up until five and then wanting to die in the class that I am currently in because I am bored and sleepy is also how I roll.


I am a graduation speech reject. They accepted 2 of the 4 who auditioned, and I was not one of them. I was even offered my speech back because "we don't need it anymore." Nice.

I wouldn't be quite so miffed about this if I didn't honestly believe that mine really was the best speech in the room. Then again, we are rarely good judges of our own talent, so maybe mine sucked too. To be French and pretentious, c'est la vie.

screw you, sleep!




Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Gonzales v. Carhart

So the Supreme Court has upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

On one hand, it does sound like a pretty heinous procedure.

On the other hand, why is Congress more suited to make that decision that individual women and doctors? They didn't take a stand on the nature of life (like that it starts at conception or viability), but instead hinged their case on the nature of the procedure. That sounds like a decision about medical ethics, in which case I'm not sure how or why Congress should be involved.

Apparently the Supreme Court is. They decided that Congress can make a decision when the medical community hasn't reached a consensus (in this case it was the lack of consensus as to whether this procedure was always harmful to the woman). None of the lower courts found that to be true.

Moreover, (via Balkinization, whom I can't link to because I'm on the Mac) according to Justice Kennedy, the possibility that the woman may regret this procedure constituted a ground for outlawing it. Because really, Congress and the Supreme Court know best and need to save poor little women from themselves.


Monday, April 23, 2007


I am auditioning for a graduation speech tomorrow. If I end up phrasing it this way at all, should I use "boyfriend" or "partner"?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

skills one ought to have learned in high school

I find that there are some things which I should really ought no know already, like how to balance having friends and a boyfriend. I manage neither of those spactacularly well on their own, but when I have both on top of non-relationship activities, I always end up feeling like I have screwed somebody over.
It's like an "I Love Lucy" episode. No matter how much candy I eat or wrap off the damn conveyer belt, I am never on top of it enough to have done a good job. Bah.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Now that I have figured out this (painfully obvious) linking thing, take this! And this and this and this and this!

(Each glorious in its own special way, though the last may be my favorite)


Just oy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

compassion, part two

What was a vaguer sense this morning has blossomed.

Following the Virginia Tech shooting, I have heard a lot of people talking about gun control laws. Or expressing sympathy. Or asking why more victims didn't stand up against him. Or speculating that he did it because of his girlfriend, or alternatively, that it was all her fault. Or that he was simply a bitter loner. Or that he wanted the attention.

In "Bowling for Columbine," Maralyn Manson is asked what he would have said to the people at Columbine. His response (roughly) was, "Nothing. Not a damn thing. I would have listened. And that is exactly what nobody did."

To have compassion, we must have empathy. To have empathy, we must be able to listen.


My boyfriend and I, while at the Tang center, started talking about the Virginia Tech shooting. He seems to think that gun control laws would help with something like that. He compared America to Singapore in that respect. I thought that I remembered something about how gun control laws don't correlate that well with gun safety among various countries. The memory is fuzzy; I can't really vouch for its accuracy. It became quite a debate between us.
But I digress. It was obvious how bothered he was by the incident, which makes sense since he works with kids and I still go to college. This made me consider my own reaction, or rather, my lack of one. Even now, I don't really feel bad about it; I think its tragic, I wish the families well, and I hope the victims (and the perpetrator) are at peace, but I don't feel much of anything. If I were personally connected to anyone there at all, I would probably be feeling terrible, but after nearly constant news about Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, not to mention the human rights violations in China, Iran, and implicitly the dozens of other places I can't think of or don't know about, I feel strangely desensitized.
It seems strange, and even insensitive, to measure one's personal reaction against something like this. I realize, though, that it is all that I have. My grief won't help anyone, although I would probably want others to grieve if something like this happened. I am powerless to help them; and even saying that just brings the thing back to me. Yet even feeling bad itself seems almost sacriligious, as if I had a right to think or feel anything for people that I wouldn't have noticed otherwise. I think tragedy as I understand it is always personal. Me intruding into the lives of victims with my own emotions feels just as insensitive as not showing any emotion at all. Moreover, I feel like it is a pre-packaged grief that we are handed to process in a certain way. Newscasters change their tone, the media reports on it exclusively for two or three weeks, and then slowly people lose interest. And the people left behind still have to pick up their lives.
Even so, I sometimes wonder at my own lack of compassion. I can feel very deeply for someone, even a complete stranger, if I am together with that person at the time. What I lack is that ability to feel generalized concern for a large number of people with whom I share no personal connection. While this is a personal failing, it seems like an understandable one for anyone who ever listens to the news or watches TV. Still, I find myself wondering if that is something that I will ever be capable of. And I wonder if I am a fool simply to frame all of this in terms of myself.

ah, surveys. you do my heart good.

I was in the Tang center today to check up on my heart. (Everything is fine, but I will have to go for an EKG tomorrow.) Sitting in the waiting room with my boyfriend, we started looking at the pamphlets on the wall. It was really pretty remarkable how many of the items we could check off in the survey for "partner abuse." Then again, it's remarkable how many of the boxes I could check off for kidney stones or anorexia, so it all comes with a grain of salt.

random conversation

me: how do you feel about abortion?

random person I was talking to in a conversation where that question made sense: oh, I am so against it. I have a beautiful baby girl and nobody can tell me that I should have aborted her.

me: (wow... way to not get that issue...)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

on cartoons

Many of the people that know me know that I have a (slightly unhealthy) obsession with a cartoon called "Avatar: The Last Airbender." But when people ask why I like it so much, I have a hard time explaining. Here are my thoughts.

Part of it is that I like cartoons. They're relaxing, fun, and remind me of being a little kid. Fine, go ahead and judge, but we all have something like that.

At the same time there is something really cool going on with this particular cartoon, which I think boils down to this: it is a very conservative cartoon with a very progressive message. It is conservative (in a classical sense) because there is a single world order into which everything fits. There is a preset natural balance, a preset social structure that favors some people over others, and a savior figure to make sure that everything stays that way. If anything changes, the world is thrown into chaos.

At the same time, the plots are quite progressive. They suggest characters who overturn convention when it will benefit someone, and who think far outside a standard "good vs. evil" dichotomy. It's a little bit as if the characters from "Boondocks" walked into "Lord of the Rings." How they are going to resolve that is fascinating to me.

my professor thinks my thesis is publishable


in which I acknowledge being the worst basketball player of all time

I appear to have a singular knack for throwing something into the trash from one to two feet away and missing.

Am I being rediculous, or do I just lack the hand-eye coordination of the average banana slug? I wonder.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I'm a bad person.

I was in Longs today, and I noticed that the person who was helping me was named "Aurora." I always thought that was a pretty name (even though I'm the only one who seems to). I told her that was what I wanted to call my daughter. She looked surprised.

Her: How old is she?

Me: Um... two.

Her: You seem awfully young to have a child.

Me: I guess.

Why do I tell people that I have two-year old daughters? Now I can't go in there with my boyfriend without her wondering where the baby is. It just seemed easier and more interesting to say "two" than to explain what I meant. Ah, well. I go to that hell for people who lie casually to strangers.

Monday, April 2, 2007


I had a really busy, intense day, culminating in a meeting with my thesis advisor where I learned that I have a ton of shit to do.

Then I had a pleasant conversation, a nice dinner, and heard from my boyfriend that the insurance will cover almost everything for his accident.

Followed by a really intense, harrowing counseling session at the clinic. We're talking epic, here.

Followed by a calming conversation and some good job leads for next year.

Cue incoming meteorite in 3, 2, 1...

Dammit, life!

So my boyfriend got in a car accident this weekend. Which is to say that he is perfectly fine, as is the other person, but large repair and/or insurance bills are looming on the horizon. One downside to driving a damn nice car, I suppose (the upside being that it has kick-ass safety features which make it totally worthwhile).
The other down/up side is that while he is feeling miserable, I get to be there and comfort him. Which makes him realize how much I actually care, as opposed to just saying that I do. Which draws us closer together, in the end, even though now he still isn't feeling so great.
And who knows? Maybe this will motivate us to finally get some of our long-term plans of the ground so that we can make a little extra money, pay off some debts and maybe even have something left for security.
But that doesn't mean that things don't suck for now, especially for him. Poor guy.

in which I make a God-like proclamation

Cucumbers are now officially a sin. I've decided.