Copyright

All blog posts, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted to the Author (that's me) and may not be used without written permission.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And Gone

M is mid-flight, somewhere along the way to SJ. United and Air Canada-- please take good care of her. She's a very special cargo to me. Make sure she arrives safely.

Thoughts on this--
  • It shreds the emotions to get together, have some incredibly lovely days together, and then be ripped apart because one of us has to go.
  • It is very hard to focus at work when you are emotional.
  • We must get some resolution soon, as this is tough. Tougher than tough!
  • She's a much better packer than I am.
  • I have the benefit of a full wardrobe at her place, so can generally take just a carry-on with me.
  • St. Cecilia's is the best Catholic church we have found here. More traditional than any of the others.

We did manage to spend 4 incredible days together. I took her to my home town and showed her what a small desert community is. I think she was shocked, surprised, and a little overwhelmed (or maybe underwhelmed). It is a quiet place, hot, with just over 26k people in it. We saw all the sights I could think to show her in under an hour (not including the National Park-- which is just more desert).

We discussed our current situation in detail and have some plans of actions and some resources to search. We also came to a decision on the cat. We have had some movement with the lawyer and with a possible job that I can do from Canada, so our fingers are crossed on both fronts. But we still seem to have many miles to go before we sleep. *sigh

The countdown is now on for (American) Thanksgiving (she comes back and we can hopefully visit some more people this time). And then again for Christmas (I go there).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

She's Here

M has arrived, safe and sound.

Random Thoughts (9/21/06)

  • I need M here. And these four days will be nowhere near long enough.
  • I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.
  • I hate working on Data Dictionaries. I know these are important to programmers, and even sometimes to clients, but I hate, hate, hate formatting, rearranging, and putting them together. I have another one lined up, though. *sigh
  • We need parents to be parents. When they are not parents (whether trying to be our friend or otherwise), they are not performing the proper role. It is okay to be friendly with your parent, but they should always act like your parent. I’m lucky in that my parents have always fulfilled their role.
  • We still have no accountability in this country. We need people to just step up and say, “I was wrong. It is my fault. I am accountable.” How refreshing would that be?
  • It is obviously a behavior issue and my behavior modification attempts are not working. What else can I do?
  • I miss the days where I could just quietly color in my room. Even when I do that today, there are always other pressures weighing on me or other concerns about which I must take action.
  • So Cal, and all of America, really, needs to learn to slow down and breathe.
  • I am utterly amazed at my boss. She has lost around 200 lbs through force of will, Weight Watchers, and exercise. You would not recognize her if you haven’t seen her in the last 2 years.
  • Banking should be easier than this; especially with all the technology today.
  • I am really looking forward to Issue 8 of CoH and to NWN 2. I hope both live up to their FAQs.
  • I am getting tired of the new Mac commercial. Other than being out and out lies, they are also very deceptive. Especially the new one, where they claim that OS X is immune to viruses. Apple/Mac only has about 3% of the total PC market—it just isn’t worth it to a hacker to write a virus for that small an impact.
  • President Bush seems to have the exact opposite problem of the guy in Memento—our President cannot form long-term memories. How else do you explain the utter surety with which he completely contradicts everything he has said in the past?
  • It is utter nonsense to believe that if the Democrats win the House/Senate/Oval office, they will just pull our troops out. So stop saying that, Republicans.
  • Hoover Dam is truly a marvel.
  • Jericho surprised me. However, I think it has limited directions it can go without turning into melodrama and then getting cancelled.
  • It will likely be just as surprising for me to go back to 29 as it will be for M. I haven’t been in town for a few years now. I hope I am well enough to do that trip—she needs to see where I come from. It explains a lot about me.
  • With the way that Linden Avery was using both the Staff of Law and White Gold at the end of Runes of Earth, I am anxious to read the next novel.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Mixed Blessing

Today is the 5th anniversary of that tragic event, and it seems a good time to look at how our country has responded.

9/11 has turned into a double-edged sword for America. It has drawn its people closer together and has allowed people to honor our military for their contributions. But it has also divided the country, mostly when the President chose to abandon his pursuit of the perpetrators of 9/11 and go after Iraq for what has turned out to be no reason at all. Now people still want to honor our men and women in uniform, but they also do not want to fight what has been categorically proven as an unjust war.

In the years since 9/11, our government has done many things to try to protect its people. However, once again, those actions have two sides. On the one side, 9/11 taught America how vulnerable many of its infrastructure is to outside forces. However, so many planes, trains, and ships are loading, unloading, and moving freight around this country that it is impossible to check them all. Its borders are so vast that they are nearly impossible to patrol. However, the proposals and the tightening of restrictions on its nearest neighbors have done nothing except alienate America's allies and point out problems in the immigration process (and with illegal immigration).

The government instituted tough new strategies for airline security to “keep 9/11 from ever happening again.” However, most of those strategies cannot be fairly implemented or are too prohibitively expensive to implement fully. So, instead, there are procedures that do not make Americans any safer (as the constant stream of reports about people flying with unsafe items can attest to) and only serve to anger the population and slow the primary means of transportation.

The Department of Homeland Security was created. Another mixed blessing, as this office created incomprehensible warnings and issued statements that were vague and fear-driven. However, this office pointed out inconsistencies in our information gathering groups (CIA, FBI, et al) and was used to consolidate much of that into one, more streamlined organization. But, on the other hand, most of the best information received has come from other countries’ espionage groups (like Scotland Yard, Interpol, etc.), which begs the question—how good is America's information and is there more that can be done to make this on-par with our allies?

Lastly, all of these trials have created new paradigms for racism and hatred in the country and toward Americans in other countries. Anyone who looks Arabic in any way (including Seiks, people from India and neighboring countries, and others) is still feeling some of the heat from 9/11, right or wrong. But, because of America's foreign policies since that event, many countries are looking at America as, at best, bullies, inconsiderate, belligerent and, at worst, as terrorists and warmongers. At the same time, these racist tendencies are being discussed more openly and honestly than at any other time in our history. Carlos Mencia, and other comics, are constantly pointing out and providing forums for Americans to discuss racism. News resources have started asking tougher questions and delving deeper into these areas. The immigration issues have come to a head and are on the front burner for many states.

So where is America today? Even after five years, it may be too soon to tell. The country is not where it should be—the light and the hope for the world. It is not noticeably safer. Politically, it is more divided than ever. Yet there are bright spots. America seems to be back on a good track. Its people are honoring those in the military and other protection services (Coast Guard, Fire, Police, etc.). Americans are questioning their government and asking questions that require hard answers.

It may not be until the next Presidential election that America sees where it stands. If Americans re-elect the party that has led it to this point, it will say that the majority trusts where the country is and the direction it is going. If Americans elect the other party, it says that people need change and a new outlook and will take time to see where that party leads the country and if that party can mend some of the fences with foreign countries that seem to be strained now. If Americans elect an unusual person or party (whether it is a woman or ethnic President/Vice-President, a third-party candidate, or something entirely new), it will indicate that the people need massive change and are willing to look at fresh ideas for them.

Until then, give 9/11 a moment of silence, think about the world as it is now and how it was before, and think about the future and what each person can do to move America forward.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

RIP Crocodile Hunter

Steve Irwin’s enthusiasm and energy were infectious. Audiences could readily see that he cared for the critters with which he worked, and his boundless energy made him entertaining to watch as he ran, dove, leaped, and climbed his way after animals. But, while it made him a great host for wild life specials, those personality traits were also what led him to such dangerous antics when dealing with these creatures.

No amount of expertise is a balm for the recklessness that he displayed on camera. No other wild life expert prior to Irwin acted and reacted around these dangerous creatures like Irwin. It was just a matter of time. Anyone who watched any of Irwin’s specials had to come away with the idea that this man was going to die out in the field at some point. Unfortunately, since he was so successful and brought so many more viewers to wild life channels, many of the modern animal show stars now follow in his footsteps.

For some reason, audiences primarily gave Irwin a free pass on his dangerous behavior. No one deplored him when he appeared to tease the crocodiles in their habitats or when he would jump headlong into dangerous encounters. The only time any negative press came his way was when he was in on of his crocodile enclosures carrying his newborn baby. And even then, more rancor was shown to Michael Jackson’s baby dangling incident (when it was clear that Jackson was trying to set the baby on the window sill and just missed) than to Irwin for feeding crocodiles while carrying a live, defenseless, human baby in one arm.

We should honor Irwin’s contributions to animal research, preservation, and understanding. He was also an incredible ambassador for Australia. With his unique style of hosting and animal interaction, he brought new viewers to wild life programming and instructed while he entertained. And, it seems certain, Irwin would likely have wanted nothing more than to go out like he did—interacting with his critters, enjoying the job, and living life to the fullest.

However, I also think we should reevaluate how he interacted with the creatures and how close he came to these dangerous animals to avoid an accident of this nature happening again. Irwin always seemed the most interested in people learning from him. I think we can—both from the incredible job he did educating people about animals, and from the tragic but avoidable way in which he died.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Agassi's Farewell

Here is a transcription of the speech that Andre Agassi gave on the court after losing his match to Becker.

"The scoreboard said I lost today, but what it doesn't say is what it is I have found. And over the last 21 years, I have found loyalty. You have pulled for me on the court and also in life. I've found inspiration. You have willed me to succeed sometimes even in my lowest moments. And I've found generosity. You have given me your shoulders to stand on to reach for my dreams, dreams I could have never reached without you. Over the last 21 years, I have found you and I will take you and the memory of you with me for the rest of my life. Thank you."

And thank you, Andre, for always being entertaining, for your growth and maturity as a player and person, and for the many wonderful sports memories you leave behind.