I guess I want to comment on this rumor about an Atlas Shrugged movie. I'm so not going to see it. I love this horrible synopsis of the book:
The Russian-born author's seminal tome, published in 1957, revolves around the economic collapse of the U.S. sometime in the future and espouses her individualistic philosophy of objectivism.
My husband came home ranting about this, saying that Hollywood types might be surprised to find that the "economic collapse of the U.S." isn't because of global warming or Bushitler's junta. This book is about the triumph of capitalism, so it's ironic that they're considering Miss UN for the lead role. Seriously, Angelina Jolie is a fan of this book? She can read?
And I'd love to see the trainwreck that is Oliver Stone's version of The Fountainhead.
Note to those who are moving: When they say that your unaccompanied baggage will be picked up any time between 0700 and 2100, they ain't lyin'. Nothing like giving you a 14 hour time window to sit in an empty house. Our guys showed up at 1800.
Second note to those who are moving: The vehicle registration office closes at noon the last business day of the month for inventory. That info would've been nice to know when we set up our car shipping appointment for the last business day of the month. They're also closed on German holidays (Monday's Communism Day, I mean May Day), so if we hadn't raced to get there at 1120, we would've been out of luck for clearing.
Third note to those who are moving: Don't get a billeting room with a kitchen when you're outprocessing. Your TLA is double! Woo-hoo. That will offset the money my husband had to shell out to CIF.
Thank goodness this week is over.
Well, the house is packed. The movers said they had never spent four hours packing a kitchen before. I guess fourteen boxes of dishes and kitchen stuff is a bit much. Our household goods are mostly dishes, yarn, and books.
I noticed one thing today. You'd think that people who design military housing would make it conducive to moving. Since people are always moving in and out, maybe twisty staircases and right angles in the hallways are not a good idea. I watched the movers bang my stuff a million times while they were trying to maneuver out the front door and down the huge step. These houses should have ramps!
Charlie Puppy made it off OK this morning. I think. He was crying up a storm when we had to leave him, but I think he was only crying slightly harder than I was. He still has another 11 hours until he gets to the Midwest.
We're getting ready to take apart the computer. It goes in unaccompanied baggage, along with ma games and trophies. (There's a little AFN humor for ya.) We're staying with Erin for two nights, so I might find the time to hop online at some point before we go.
Now I'm off to organize our school clothes, and maybe a winter coat.
Charlie just loves that big bear that his friend Lewis gave him. He drags it around everywhere with him, apparently even when he has to pee. Just a minute ago I heard my husband downstairs say, "Charlie, you cannot take that thing outside."
Tomorrow starts the big moving process. We take Charlie to the airport at the crack of dawn on Monday. Our phone and internet gets shut off on Tuesday, which is when the movers come, so I will probably be out of the blogging loop for a while.
Only nine more days until Dairy Queen.
Pixy saved the day again, it appears. I guess he changed servers for mu.nu and I didn't know to redirect my site. But now it appears to be working! If we ever have this trouble again, know that my site also appears at its home in Munuviana: http://tryingtogrok.mu.nu
Yesterday was Charlie's first birthday. He invited six of his closest friends over to the house. They had Beef Bacon Cheddar cake and Charlie got lots of toys and treats as gifts. And all his friends went home with party favors as well.
The party went much better than you might expect for inviting multiple dogs into your home. We videotaped the event, and this was the one screen shot where we could get all seven dogs in the picture. So here's Charlie being the center of attention...
And here's Charlie, worn out at the end of the night, playing with his new birthday bear...
Look at this bunny's feet! Happy Easter indeed!
And Kelly found the most wonderful project: The Binary Hat
I really enjoyed reading this blog post about teaching other people to knit. I have taught many people, and most of them have continued knitting. I love that. Erin and Kelly were the funniest though. They came to me and said, "We want to learn to knit. Teach us to make socks." Seriously. That was their very first project. No scarves for them. They didn't learn to purl or cast off for ages! Nothing like starting with the hardest project.
I've been thinking a lot lately about branching out. I've knitted English for nine years, and I really want to learn continental. But every time I try, it's so awkward that I just switch back. But all knitting is awkward in the beginning; I just need to push through the pain and learn it.
Then I could knit standing up!
Charlie likes to sit on our bed and look out the window. Here's an old pre-haircut photo of him doing it.
Two minutes ago he was sitting on our bed like this and caught sight of our neighbor going out to her car. He barked once and then leapt towards the window, crashing into the glass, nearly impaling himself on the window handle, and falling to the ground.
Sometimes I think he's brilliant, and other days I'm not so sure.
Mark Steyn on Iran:
You know what's great fun to do if you're on, say, a flight from Chicago to New York and you're getting a little bored? Why not play being President Ahmadinejad? Stand up and yell in a loud voice, "I've got a bomb!" Next thing you know the air marshal will be telling people, "It's OK, folks. Nothing to worry about. He hasn't got a bomb." And then the second marshal would say, "And even if he did have a bomb it's highly unlikely he'd ever use it." And then you threaten to kill the two Jews in row 12 and the stewardess says, "Relax, everyone. That's just a harmless rhetorical flourish." And then a group of passengers in rows 4 to 7 point out, "Yes, but it's entirely reasonable of him to have a bomb given the threatening behavior of the marshals and the cabin crew."
My mom was having a hard time getting into my website over the weekend for some reason, so she googled my site to try to access it that way. If you've been following my site for a few years, you may remember the day I got Lefty-lanched, when hundreds of people came to my website to tell me how dumb I am. My mom ended up back in the middle of that mess via google, and what she found really surprised me when she told me today.
Someone didn't like a blog post I wrote. They thought it was dumb and mathematically unsound. So he wrote a post about what an idiot I am. I personally think that's in very poor taste, but whatever, it was his choice for his hate-filled website. But his comments section went too far. Apparently some commenter published my name, address, and phone number, and the contact info for my parents as well. Thankfully, other commenters thought that was a low blow and the owner of the site took the info down. But, man: I just realized that two years ago I was personally attacked for something I said online. People who disagreed with me seriously meant to hurt me. And I didn't even know it until today.
It's funny because at that time, I got some really hateful comments. This site had nasty comments too -- including the ones that said that my husband left his wedding ring home from Iraq so he could get laid -- but this other blog owner also got a handful of comments defending me. It was nice to read this comment:
I saw all of this via cruel.com, and really don't get why everyone piled on. It didn't seem to me that she was doing a stat analysis so much as making a (not very carefully worded) point about reporting bias highlighting certain aspects of a poll already suffering from several questions that presented insufficient response choices to options that begged other questions.
I was not under the impression that she literally thought that only 615 people in the entire United States responded in a certain way to question quoted above. In fact, it was obvious to me that she wasn't. To think that's what she meant, you'd have to assume an almost non-functional level of stupidity. I guess the assumption of simple-mindedness was in place because of the general trend for lefties to view righties as intellectually inferior, for the simple thought crime of not being lefties.
Coming from cruel.com, I'm used to good quality links of people making asses of themselves. I'm still waiting for the punchline on this one, and I can't tell if the intended stupidity was supposed to be the original blog entry on tryingtogrok or all of this odd, over-the-top follow up.
Now that's some common ground I can enjoy! (emphasis mine)
I've been thinking a lot about comments these days. Lots of the big right-leaning sites don't even have comments sections, and I can completely understand why. Charles Johnson has to answer for everything that's written on his blog, when he himself only posts links and pithy snippets. But he's a "racist" and a "fascist" because of his comments section. I've often wondered how Markos Zuniga lets people post the crazy things they say under the umbrella of his site. No one takes note of the diarist; they just attribute the whole thing to Zuniga.
So what's our relationship to our comments? The other day I somehow managed to get a comment from a White Power site. I don't know how they found me or what they thought they read in my words, but there they were. Does it make me a white supremacist because someone thought he had identified me as one? Am I a religious fundamentalist just because Will Sommerset called me one?
A lot of times I've just considered shutting my comments section down. But I guess I've grown accustomed to the noise.
Erin asked me if I was going to write a post about Easter today. My day started out great, with the last Sunday Knitting Club at my house. But it was all downhill from there. My husband needs a military vehicle early tomorrow morning, and we spent over two hours driving all over Bavaria trying to find the soldier who has the TMP keys in his pocket. At that point we were both already quite grumpy, so after dinner we sat down to watch a movie and relax. Of course it didn't help our mood when the disk started skipping and we had to restart the DVD player five times. And then Charlie nipped my husband's hand while they were playing and got him pretty hard on the finger, and I cut my hand on the medicine cabinet and started bleeding myself. We gave up and came upstairs to go to bed and forget about today.
But Happy Easter anyway.
The Girl finished her first major knitting project. It looks so nice. And she made up the cable on the sleeves herself! Her brother's baby will be so cute in it.
If it's at all possible, never arrange to move the week when your husband has finals for his MBA classes and when he's acting commander because the real commander is on leave. That's a scenario to avoid.
I'm working on a basic sweater right now. I've made this pattern as a pullover, but now I think I'm going to try to convert it into a cardigan. Anyway, here's the beginning of one of the sleeves.
And The Girl wants to learn to do entrelac. I had never done it before, but I remembered seeing this pattern on Knitty. So I made myself a little swatch. Entrelac is actually pretty fun; it's like a knitting puzzle. I couldn't imagine it by just reading, so I grabbed some junk yarn and saw it come together before my own eyes.
Wanna read some absolutely depressing stuff about immigration?
No easy answers on immigration conundrum
I was thinking more about that AFN commercial and I found a military compensation calculator that lets you see the equivalent civilian income that relates to the same standard of living you live at in the military. It doesn't work well for overseas because they don't add anything for housing, but try it with the CONUS average and see where you're at. Heck, this is the main reason we're not getting out of the Army anytime soon.
As we get ready to move back to the US, I have started thinking about our European experience. Lots of people who live here put up photos of the places they've traveled. I started thinking about our collection of travel photos. My husband and I don't travel much, and when we do, we're always alone. We've gotten pretty good at taking our own photo. In fact, when we were in Prague, someone offered to take our photo and we turned him down! We've got quite a running gag going of us in front of foreign stuff. And so I present to you our travel photos.
First of all, us in front of our house, right when we moved here
Garmisch for R&R
Mulhouse for the Tour de France
and finally Prague
I think it's hilarious that all of our photos end up looking about the same. I love that. I can't wait to add similar photos of us in front of places like Mt. Rushmore, the Redwood forest, and Busch Stadium.
A woman in Riverrim's knitting club just lost her son to the War on Terror. This woman was making an afghan for her son, one square for every month he was away, and now the afghan will join him in his coffin. This story rips my heart out and the knitter inside me is weeping.
I really like these new AFN commercials where a talking computer compares military benefits to the civilian world. I've seen ones about pay raises, vacation days, and medical care. I think it's important for soldiers to know how their benefits compare to the outside world because it's easy to gripe about the Army, but another job might not be any better.
But what I don't like on TV is being lectured to, especially by an ex-stripper. My husband and I watched the "Secrets and Flies" episode of CSI last night. The story revolved around an organization that finds mothers for abandoned embryos. The woman who was killed was a single Christian mother who adopted a leftover fertilized egg from a fertility clinic because she believed that every embryo is a baby from the minute it's fertilized in a laboratory dish. And the CSI cast openly rolled their eyes and scoffed at this organization. Catherine, the ex-stripper, pulled out all these quotes about papal precedent to argue with the head of this organization. The beat-us-over-the-head Message on the show was that pro-lifers are complete nutjobs, and all the CSI characters agreed. There was no inter-office discussion of the matter; it was just settled and blatantly woven into the script that this was insane.
Cop dramas have been doing this for a while. I wrote a while back about similar propaganda in Law & Order. I'm tired of shows painting right-wing ideas as looney. I honestly don't think this "embryo adoption" thing is that weird. If a couple is willing to give away their extra embryos and someone is willing to take them, then everybody's happy. But you should've seen these CSIs' faces: they were completely disgusted by the whole thing. I don't understand why.
I'm not 100% sure what my view is on abortion. I struggle with one fundamental paradox: If an unwed teen gets pregnant, then we start talking about "at what day is it actually a baby", but if a happily married couple gets pregnant, it's obviously a baby from day one. I know when I get pregnant that it will be a baby from the beginning, and I don't care what day the heart starts beating or the blood starts circulating. So if it's a baby for me, I should see it as a baby for everyone. But I still can't say that abortion is absolutely murder. My thoughts on the topic are kind of messy, and thank goodness I've never had to really work through them.
That said, I respect people who do think that it's murder, and I admire someone who might consider adopting an embryo to give every baby a chance. I certainly would never roll my eyes at her or argue with her about what the pope said in the 16th century (which is what the CSI did). All other things being equal, I respect the right-wing position on abortion more than I do the left-wing position, even though I fall somewhere in between. So why is it obvious that the message on TV is that the right-wingers are nuts?
Found this on a knit blog and immediately wanted to do it.
Name 5 of your favorite books:
The Cornish Trilogy
The Power of One
What was the last book you bought?:
The First Three Minutes
What were the last 3 books you read?:
War of the Worlds
Just a Couple of Days
Gates of Fire
List 5 books that have been particularly meaningful to you:
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
To Kill a Mockingbird
Stranger in a Strange Land
Skinny Legs and All
Name 3 books you've been dying to read but just haven't gotten around to:
Taking Science to the Moon
Up From Slavery
The Soul of Battle
My husband and I did some final unpacking from Iraq last weekend. His tattered, dirty, torn copy of Atlas Shrugged fell out. I had promised it to Erin since Amritas gifted me a nice new copy, but when I saw it and thought of how it had kept my husband company for so many hours out at that stupid bridge over the Tigris, well, I just couldn't part with it. I'm buying Erin her own copy.
When my husband left for Iraq, I started a patchwork quilt. That was two years ago. Sewing it all together was fun and easy, but as soon as it came time to actually quilt it, I thought it was too hard. The quilt sat on a shelf for over a year, but I knew I had to finish it before we moved. I finally finished this week; it really wasn't as hard as I thought, though of course there are all sorts of mistakes that I just whatevered and kept going. I tried to take a photo of the finished product today. Naturally, everything in this house belongs to Charlie, so he grabbed it and ran down the hall with it.
Charlie has chewed on some valuable stuff in his lifetime, but this might take the cake. Unless you count the envelope of $300 I wrestled away from him on Monday.
Yesterday I actually sat and watched an entire hour of Al Franken. It wasn't as torturous as I thought it would be. I thought Tim Russert did a great job of keeping Franken honest, and I would love to see Russert interview someone like Ann Coulter the same way.
At one point, Al Franken said that what he'd really like to see is for Bush and Cheney to come clean with the world. He said they should give a "six hour long speech" (wow) in which they delineate everything they did wrong in Iraq. He wants their mea culpa to include everything from inaccurate pre-war intelligence to not stopping the looters after the fall of Baghdad. Franken said that after Bush and Cheney admitted they had been wrong about everything under the sun, then the international community could forgive them and the Democrats would gladly sit down and draft a bipartisan plan for Iraq.
I started thinking about transparency in government. The husband and I have been watching 24 recently. "President David Palmer" is probably close to everyone's ideal president. He went straight to the media when he learned his son might've killed someone. He ratted out his campaign contributors when he figured out they were dirty. And he divorced his wife during the primaries because she became too power hungry. In watching 24, you can't help but think that if all politicians had half of Palmer's integrity, the world would be a better place.
But if everyone wants Mr. Smith to go to Washington, why does it never happen in real life?
There are things that Bush and Cheney could've done differently with Iraq. I'm sure they know this. But I honestly don't think that it's appropriate for anyone to give a six hour apology while the war is still going on. And I honestly believe someone would still find something that Bush left out of his six hour speech to complain about. Lord knows there are times when I wish for more honesty in Washington (Would someone please step to the plate and call Cynthia McKinney a race-baiting bitch?) but I don't expect it to ever happen. Politics is a tricky game, and any one thing you say can haunt you for life (see "Read my lips", "I did not have sex with that woman", and "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.") No matter what Al Franken says, I don't think a big apology would make any of his opponents respect President Bush more, and I guarantee something from his apology speech would become a soundbite in the next election.
I often think I'm too thin-skinned to blog, so I know for sure that thin-skinned people certainly can't get into politics. I lie in bed worrying about how President Bush sleeps at night knowing his face is superimposed over a swastika; I'm sure he must be the type of man who waves it off and keeps going. We need our politicians to be thick-skinned, aggressive, and tough. We need them to play the game at the level that everyone else does, like it or not. Mr. Smith really wouldn't last long.
We may think we want Bobby running Ewing Oil, but in a world of dirty dealers, JR's the man for the job. Sad as that may be.