Thursday, June 28, 2007

You scratch my back....

Today, I was interested in an article entitled 'Edwards-Coulter spar' or something similar to that. I assumed that that this meant John Edwards, but soon found out that it was actually Elizabeth Edwards. From the number of articles on the subject, it appears as though this is a fairly large story right now.

For those who haven't heard, Coulter made a statement to the effect that whenever she referred to Edwards in the future, she would just say that she wished he had died in a terrorist assassination plot (because saying this is safer than referring to him as a faggot). This is in reference to a statement that Bill Maher made regarding Dick Cheney - if he were to die in a terrorist attack, fewer people would die, based on Cheney's influence in the current militant bent of US foreign policy.

Elizabeth Edwards called Hardball, where Coulter was making these statements, and implored her to stop the 'hate speech.' She compared Coulter's speech to racist language in the South.

The reason I find this especially irritating is this: political campaign contributions have increased to the Edwards campaign as a result, and Coulter's book sales have increased. Through this confrontation, both camps have gotten exactly what they wanted - more exposure to their base groups. One side can't exist without the other, really.

One of the things I always hated about listening to talk radio in high school on the way to jazz band with my dad - 570KVI for those in the Seattle area - was that we always had to listen to Kirby Wilbur, who had the 5-9am spot. To have enough to talk about each day, he would comb newspapers for controversial topics - paraphrase: "look! this Girl Scout troupe is selling thin mints at $2 higher than this other Girl Scout troupe! That's gouging! Call in and tell me how you feel about this awful situation" - that were usually extremely stupid and were brought up for the express purpose of drawing out idiot callers - paraphrase: "One time, a Girl Scout tried to rip me off, but I kicked her butt off my front porch. You can't let those little moneygrubbers get the one-up on you!" The caliber of caller was usually pretty low.

The purpose of these talk shows and tv shows are to appeal to the lowest common denominator in the American political system - the poorly educated, badly paid, easily persuaded American who is political for emotional reasons rather than logical or thoughtful reasons. These are the people who think it's funny that Coulter used a homosexual slur in reference to Edwards.

Normally, Democrats are about as culpable as Republicans in this sort of political sniping, but Ann Coulter really takes it up a notch. This, of course, helps her to appeal to those who may be interested in buying the tripe she calls her books. The most unfortunate part about all of this is that some people actually listen to what she has to say.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

big plans today....

Yesterday was our first full day here, so we all decided to make it a day of relaxation. We were outside in the pool for a while (it's only 1.2m deep, so I'm not so scared of it) and then we went shopping in the evening. We actually found an organizer that will fit over the bed, then the shelves will start, somewhat like those bathroom organizers that fit over the toilet. It will be nice to move my stuff out of the boys' room.

Today we start actually working, so the first order of business is to eat breakfast. Then, we'll do Kumon - a scholastic program meant to help their math skills. After that, we're going to write in our journals, and then practice piano. I think then it will be close to lunchtime.

This afternoon, we will be back in the pool, and tonight we will probably return to the mall to pick up the organizer. It's going to be a very very full day....

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's really hot here

and it's 2:30am. When we arrived, it was 85`F - at midnight. Tomorrow, I will be wearing a nice light summer dress and I will venture no further than the pool at the apartment complex.

A short description of my room - it is approximately large enough to fit a twin bed and a bedstand and a fan. That's it. So tomorrow or the next day, we're going shopping for wall organizers, since there is no space elsewhere in the room. But, it's my very own room, and that's what counts.

Right now, I'm thankful to have had a shower - anyone who has ever traveled transoceanic knows why - and to have my own bed and my own bathroom. Never mind that the whole bathroom also doubles as the shower. The builders of this apartment were apparently expecting a poor Filipina with two pairs of any clothes she might have, who would be delighted with the prospect of having her own shower at all.

Oh, and the toilet - there is a bidet, in case you were wondering. Or not wondering. I still don't get how those things work.

Tomorrow, we try some impronouncable Chinese dish that their father made. I have a feeling I'll lose even more weight here than I did living in Austria.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Shop is online!

Well, sort of. I only have one item listed thus far, but it will improve, I promise. :) Here is the one and only lone offering. I will have prettier and more fancy stuff up later, but this was a spur of the moment decision to make these while watching 'So You Think You Can Dance' last night.

You have to watch this

This is amazing. I had it on low so I wouldn't annoy my cousin or wake up her son, and it still gave me goosebumps. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Why I'm right - and you're wrong

I was recently referred to as a cynic. I take exception to this for a couple of reasons: 1) I think the daisy - especially the blackeyed Susan - is God's chosen flower; 2) I sing in the shower; and 3) one of my favorite pastimes is crocheting doilies. So, I do not consider myself a cynic. However, this claim was leveled at me while I was enumerating, for the millionth time, what things I find wrong, stupid, or just plain inefficient about the United States. I believe that part of this summation of my character is based on my love of finding fault with things around me.

Here's a partial list:
1) Public transport in the United States SUCKS. Royally. I recently read a figure in Newsweek that 2/3rds of Americans wouldn't ride a bus even if they could.
2) SUVs are stupid. Hummers are even more stupid.
3) Two party systems are stupid. They get you what we had from 2000-2006, with a Republican in the executive, a Republican dominated legislature, and, after 2004, a conservative leaning judiciary. Inefficient government is less capable of doing harm.
4) Americans are, by and large, convinced the rest of the world likes them and enjoy learning English.
5) American food is absolute garbage.
6) Did I mention the food?

While I termed this partial, these are my favorite subjects, especially the transport and food subjects. Everyone has to have their pet peeves, right?

I believe the only reason to hold an opinion is because you think it's right. Why bother espousing an opinion you yourself believe to be nonsense? That's essentially making yourself a waste of good oxygen. Thus, I see nothing wrong with complaining - sometimes loudly - about the problems I see around me, and attempting to offer solutions. While I do feel that offering solutions is important, I rarely hold out hope for an improvement to the situations that I see as stupid around me. I do not think this makes me a cynic, but rather a pragmatist.

So, to sum up - my criticisms are based on careful thought and consideration of the issues (read: many hours spent on public transport in Austria with nothing better to do) and I offer solutions, albeit ones I think most Americans will not find to be amenable. Therefore, and this is directed to the defamer of my character - you know who you are - I am not cynical.

So there.

Arty and stuff

My brother has taken some pretty neat pictures since he discovered how much fun using a good camera can be. He was messing around tonight and got this. He also got my fun fish gutting experience, which I have also graciously included in today's post.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Farmers and Fishes

Last night, my Aunt Tina (who is two whole years older than I am) invited my brother and I for an evening of fishing and fun down at the banks of the Missouri, which runs through the family farm in Montana. We decided to go fishing, which was okay with me, because I never catch anything. At least, not since I was 8 years old and I caught a foot long trout. That is my one and only fishing story.

So, it was getting cold and I wanted to put away my line - I had successfully caught a couple of stray weeds during the evening - and go sit down, so I picked up my pole and realized that it wasn't right. By right, I mean that it felt like something between a snag and nothing, so I thought that maybe I had a nibble. So, I jiggled the pole a little, just to test my hypothesis, and let out some string to see if it would unravel and it did. Then I got a little excited but kept my mouth shut, because one does not want to get excited about getting a fish, then pull out a leather boot or something similar.

I ended up with another foot long trout, and he was a rather scrappy little bugger. They have sharp little teeth. After we took it back to the house, Alan, Tina's boyfriend, helped me cut it open, then I gutted it and washed it out. It is currently sitting in the freezer, waiting for tonight's bbq bash at Aunt Loretta's.

Gotta say, that was some of the most fun I've had in a really long time. I will post pictures as soon as my brother can download his pictures at home. He also got a video of me gutting it - which was rather gross - but pretty cool, too. Plus, I left the head and tail on, so it looks super cool. :)

This morning, we went to a Farmer's Market in Great Falls. Lots of nifty stuff, had some strudel, bought some mustard, a necklace, some cherries, the various random things one buys when one goes to a farmer's market. Right now, we're waiting for the storm to finally burst (there's a tornado warning, apparently) and then going over to Loretta's for bbq. I intend to fully enjoy my fish!

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I don't really have much to say today. My universe has shrunk considerably since I came back, since I have no car. I must go with my brother, my mom, or take the bus at the same time as the commuters on weekdays. It's a Sunday, so I'm not quite certain how I'm going to make it to church from the boonies where my mom lives.

Yesterday during my run at the SK track, I decided to go stair running. I only did a little, but realized that it's quite possibly the most amazing workout ever. I also thought my heart would burst after running up the fourth set of stairs in a row. And these were stadium steps - twice as tall as normal steps, and I'm not exactly tall. It was fantastic - I think I'll do it again tomorrow.

I haven't really started thinking about my trip to Singapore yet. It still seems a bit far away. I keep hearing conflicting reports about how much 'fun' I'm going to have there. My favorite line that I heard was that I would have a great time looking at all of the clothes that are too expensive for me to buy. :) Should be a blast....

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Coming soon to a town near you: me!

Tomorrow, I head to Vienna, then on Tuesday I am (hopefully) flying back to the United States. I hope and expect to hear from my vast quantities of readers when I do - but be quick! Because I'm flying to Singapore on the 24th of June. I will be in Eugene from the 21st to the 24th, and by turns in Washington and Montana before that.

I have had a wonderful time keeping my Vienna blog - which will now be turned into a scrapbook, along with other stuff from my year abroad - but I will be removing it from the blog-o-sphere within approximately a week, for anyone who happens to have a link to it on their site.

Hope to see everyone soon!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Irish lace!

I had a brain storm - Irish lace! Almost no one actually knows how to crochet Irish lace anymore, not as though many people care to anyway. But, there is nothing more beautiful, in my humble opinion, than an Irish lace veil. This picture is an example of typical Irish style crocheted lace. I have looked online, and have seen these kinds of veils (appliqued Irish lace onto a tulle veil) going for around $300 a pop. Based on the amount of work it takes, it seems fair enough. I also noticed that very few people are in this business - probably because no one knows how to do it anymore. So, this is the big plan for using my spare time in Singapore. :)