Sunday, September 24, 2006

Aiding terrorists? no way...

Article regarding NIE report on the Iraq War: "WASHINGTON - The war in Iraq has become the primary recruitment vehicle for violent Islamic extremists, motivating a new generation of potential terrorists around the world whose numbers are increasing faster than the United States and its allies are eliminating the threat, U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded."

Regardless of your political position, it should have been fairly obvious to anyone reading the news in the past three years that fundamentalist jihadists were using the invasion of Iraq - and the flimsy reasons for that invasion - as a rallying cry. Except that the President argues otherwise in his continued effort to get the American people to support his efforts in the Middle East.

The report also emphasized the threat terrorism still poses to our way of life in the Western world. Hmm, people who embrace a cult of death and vow not to desist their terrorist activities until every Jew and American (and often Britons and other Europeans) is obliterated are a threat to our way of life?

Only a government produced report could end up saying so little with so many words, funded by tax dollars.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I watched the new Diane Lane/Ben Affleck/Adrien Brody flick tonight. I think I've watched more movies in the last few weeks than I have in the last two years.

It was alright, Ben Affleck was alright. The movie left me feeling slightly confused and headachy, although that may have to do with the fact that I was tired when I went in. Basically it's about George Reeves (first Superman) and his suicide - the circumstances, the people involved, and especially about the P.I. who investigates the death. Good performances, all around, but still a somewhat oddball movie.

Critics seem to be a little underwhelmed as well, with a B rating - still a good rating, but it seems they left the movie feeling much as I did. There were a lot of good performances in the movie, but it just seemed to lack something. If you have nothing better to do in about six months, rent the movie, but it's not the kind of movie that one must needs see in the theater. Do expect to see both Affleck and Lane continue to receive praise for their performances as individuals, but don't expect to see much for the movie as a whole.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cruise note

Mom recently (as in Saturday night) started her own blog. Her first entry is about how we very nearly missed the boat - literally - when we tried to go on our Alaska cruise. Anyway, it was a comedy of errors, quite laughable now, but not so much fun when we were in our mad dash to the ship. I had to put this on my blog, though, since I came up with it. It was slightly maddening to actually see the totals, but it's just too funny.

1 car ride & parking spot - $72.25
2 ferries - $14.00
3 taxis - $48.00
making the ship ... priceless

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Strangers Among Us

I found this interesting blog with photos of everyday people. Anyway, it's interesting - check it out.

Evil Washing Machine

While I was eating breakfast, I heard this strange rumbling start. It sounded somewhat like the garage door opening. Of course, this would be very bad because my cat was in the garage, and my mom and I were both in the kitchen. I, of course, allowed my brain to run away on very fast, scuttling little legs, and said, "What is that?!"

Mom looked confused for a moment, then caught on to my completely irrational worry and said, "I don't know!"

She went around the corner into the hallway, then came back.

It was the washing machine. Full of the load of laundry I had put into it not even fifteen minutes before.

I am an idiot.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ignoring the advice of others: leads to wars in the giant sandbox

"Bush defends terror plans"

This is the title of an article on MSNBC in which the reporter described how our dear President was attempting to justify his support of abrogating the civil rights of terror suspects. My favorite quote:

"Bush denied that the United States might lose the high ground in the eyes of world opinion, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell suggested on Thursday."

This would not be the first time President Bush has ignored the advice of Colin Powell, much to his detriment.

My other favorite recent article was a report by the IAEA blasting the recent House of Representatives report about Iran's nuclear capability, saying that it was ridiculous to think that Iran could produce nuclear weapons when they were most certainly not capable of refining nuclear-weapons grade plutonium and uranium, as the report averred. Let me say that it would be quite refreshing to intern for the UN (where IAEA is located) in Vienna. Oh, and the IAEA was also completely dismissive of the Bush Administration's argument about WMD's in Iraq.

This would not be the first time President Bush has ignored the advice of the IAEA, much to his detriment.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Crafty Stuff

Site has FAQs, free projects, and tips. Reason I went: Quilt as you go description, which I will be using to complete my grandmother's quilt.

Applique' square

Pieced square

The quilt is worked in alternating applique' and pieced squares. My grandmother quilted each block as she went, and thus the only thing left is to put the quilt together. However, it is quite large, about queen size, and I think it will take quite a long time to finish it. The quilt was made entirely by hand, hand-pieced and hand-quilted. My grandmother made it for my mom and dad, but she died before she could finish it.

Crocheted doily, made ~2004
Link to Patricia Kristofferson's website:
Her books have the most beautiful crocheted doilies and lace I've ever seen in them. However, they are quite difficult, so only experienced crocheters should take on most of her designs.

Madonna and Child based on a Renaissance painting (more like inspired by Renaissance style, but who's being picky?). Worked on silver-gray linen.

Design up close

This is a Mirabilia design (, #79 on the website. This design took me about a year to complete, worked mainly during the summer as there was little time even to breathe during the school year. These designs are all quite beautiful, but they are complex and take a great deal of time to complete. They are not difficult, however, as long as you follow the directions, anyone who has cross-stitched before would have no difficulty working this design. Note: if you haven't worked on linen before, make a small project first to accustom yourself to the different feel of linen as compared to Aida counted cross-stitch fabric.

BBQ University with Steve Raichlen was one of my favorites on OPB.

Of special interest are his tips on how to set up a charcoal barbecue. Briquettes often have many chemical additives (these mostly burn off), but it is quite unsettling to think of the chemicals that may be cooking into your steak or hamburger. Instead, buy natural charcoal, distinguished by its irregular shape, looks like burned wood - surprise, surprise - at a natural foods or barbecue store. Rather than using lighter fluid which will make your steak taste somewhat like the muffler on your car, use a chimney starter, available anywhere charcoal or grills are sold. Simply load the chimney starter with charcoal, and light firecubes or newspaper in the bottom to light the charcoal. When the charcoal is glowing and ashy, it's ready for the grill. Also note the
"three zone" system for barbecuing.

Caprial and John's Kitchen.

There was nothing that they made that didn't look tasty and yummy - and expensive. But it sure beat looking in my freezer for something yummy.

Last night's dessert - bananas, pineapple, grapes, strawberries and raspberries topped with vanilla frozen yogurt and chocolate sauce.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I'm happy to see that there are now four former UO'ers writing blogs now. Crapademia is fantastic name for a blog. :)

I still have not received my Sherpa bag for my cat and I fly out in one week. I must say this is rather alarming because I paid a significant amount for it, and I will be paying a significant amount for Caesar to be a carry-on passenger (it cost twice as much for him to be in the cargo part of the airplane), I would really rest easier knowing I had that ready to go. For some reason, he's being very sweet this evening. I can guarantee that will not be the case when he has finished his three plane rides with me to Vienna next week.

I was thumbing through this month's Perspectives magazine and was pleased to note that there are four positions open for Early Modern Europe, all of them continental, two of them central Europe specifically. If I do go back into academia, it's somewhat comforting to know that I wouldn't face quite as much of an uphill battle as my colleagues in the US Women's History field.

I think I'm going to hold out for international relations, though. The world is changing at an alarmingly fast rate, and I want to see things changing up close. I'm currently reading a book about how the Foreign Service works for America (cheesy title, but apparently it sells well), and the job descriptions they gave are fascinating. Never a dull moment, and in interesting places all over the globe. Unfortunately for me, there are a number of qualified and capable people out there who also happen to think the FS would make a great career choice. :)

My life consists of packing and repacking the same things over and over and over again

I was bored this evening - big surprise - and decided to look up ESL jobs around the world. There are some pretty darn good opportunities out there! I don't think hardly any of them will help me make enough money to pay back my student loans, but one never knows. With my nifty little certificate, I'll have the paperwork necessary to get a "high-paying" job in China. Basically, you get paid about the same as you're paid in the US, but you live and work in a place with a much lower cost of living, so you make bank. Could be interesting.

Not much going on today. Or any other day this week really. Packing up again for my move to Austria. I bought a full bag of OTC medicines at Rite-Aid - it was kind of fun to buy the 250 capsule bottle of Excedrin. :) Speaking of OTC medicine, has anyone else noticed that pseudoephedrine being behind the counter no longer seems to be an issue? There's this new stuff called phenylephrine. Haven't used it yet so I don't know if it works very well. I've never heard of it before now, so one might think that's because it's significantly less effective than pseudafed, but who knows? I wonder how long it will take for someone to figure out a way to make this new version into a nasty drug or a bomb?

Sudafed without pseudoephedrine?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Thoughts on 9/11 - O Brave New World!

Since it is 9/11, I thought I might write a post that had something to do with that event since it's managed to completely transform the world. It's just too depressing, though. The fact that there have already been two movies made about it is also depressing. It's still too soon to pay money to see the suffering of others, people you know full well are quite real and not the invention of a particularly clever screenwriter.

I was wondering today how, in 100 years or so, President Bush will be seen by history. Will he be seen as the great prophet of the new world order, the only one who saw that fundamentalist Islamists, or Islamo-fascists, or whatever he's calling them now, were the greatest threat civilization has ever faced? I somehow doubt it. In fact, I think history will show what a nincompoop he has proven himself to be.

But who knows - perhaps the Bush-ites will win if there are more douchebag lotion bombers, more Theo van Gogh killer wannabes, more suicide bombers. The Bush-ites (and Blair-ites too) make life worse for those who are already in dire straits, and the fundamentalist imams take advantage of the situation thus helping to introduce more hate and violence into our world.

I make reference to a previous blog in which I quoted Gil Grissom from CSI: "Even if there is someone else out there, they probably have the good sense to stay away from us."

I wonder how long it will take to make a movie about the Israeli-Lebanon conflict? After all, there is still money to be made in the midst of tragedy! In fact, there's even more money to be made if one is willing to trade on the misery of others.

Miranda, of The Tempest:

"O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beautious mankind is!
O brave new world,
That has such people in't!"

Alaska and the Crocodile Hunter

Alaska is beautiful. In fact, if I don't end up gallivanting about the globe elsewhere, Alaska would definitely be in the running for a place to live. It has everything I love about the Northwest - the trees, the rain, the water, the mountains - but more of it! Plus, there are glaciers! Not for long, at the rate they're receding, right? Catch 'em while you can! The Mendenhall glacier outside of Juneau receded 600ft last summer alone. Pretty crazy... I think going to Skagway was the highlight of the trip though, history nerd that I am. I signed on for a hike partway up Chilkoot trail just because I thought it was so totally awesome to be on the same trail the Klondike Gold Rush stampeders took in 1897-99. The famous picture of the Chilkoot trail is actually on some of Alaska's license plates. Plus, the yellow raft ride back down the glacier-water river was pretty awesome too. Water was about 34`-38`F.

One part of my trip that wasn't so much fun was finding out on the first day about Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. When my family and I went on a cruise (I was protesting the whole way last time, too hot) to the eastern Caribbean five years ago, the only non-objectionable TV fare was the Crocodile Hunter and the other guy, so we ended up watching Steve Irwin for a week straight. He was a really nifty guy, and it's so completely strange that of all the ways he could possibly have left this world, it was by the barb of a stingray. I mean, people go on excursions during cruises to snorkel among stingray and pet them. They're usually pretty much harmless. So odd that after years of taking on deadly reptiles, he's felled by a relatively harmless aquatic creature.

I just hope his work doesn't die with him. He spent so much time working so hard for the animals he tried to protect. Life's just not fair when Cheney can talk about how invading Iraq was the right thing to do and not get struck down with lightning from heaven, and the Crocodile Hunter gets a random stab to the heart courtesy of a - noramlly - relatively harmless stingray.

Friday, September 01, 2006

No job, nothing to do....

Two days to Alaska... I doubt I'll ever have such a completely wonderful few weeks as I have had and will have in the next few weeks. No work, no worries, and vacation. That, of course, will all change when I have to grow up, face the real world, and pay back my school loans.

I'm taking an online TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course, and it's rather helpful. I decided to go with ITTT because it seemed to have a good reputation and a good price for their services. I figure, I'll have experience teaching TEFL, I might as well have the certification as well. Teaching English around the globe would be a great way to accomplish my real world goal of paying back my student loans. This course is a good option because they will help place you with a potential employer when you complete your certification.

I hate moving. I finally finished the last stage of my two week long move last night and threw out my back carrying all of my boxes around. Next time, I'll be sure to lift with my knees... But, when all is said and done, the point is that I'm moved, I'm done with Eugene (except for one day in September to get my pretty little pottery pieces), and I'm on to newer, bigger, better things.

Carpe Diem!