Archive for January, 2003

Jan 30 2003

Feeling kinda bad

Published by under The Fam,Work

Warning, freaking boring entry ahead. But I felt like writing.

The title is pretty descriptive — I am feeling a little under-the-weather today. Nothing majorly serious, just a bit of an upset stomach and so on. My throat hurt when I woke up but that went away pretty quickly. Just the normal smoker’s morning throat I guess.

I have a meeting in a half hour with my team, our boss, another team and their manager on a joint project. I hope everything stays relatively calm because the last meeting we had on this almost self-destructed.

I got my woolen pants from the Gap’s online store and they actually fit. I am still waiting on my shoes and long wool skirt to arrive. The shoes are in transit, but I don’t think the skirt has even been shipped. Bugger.

Everything seems to be moving in slo-mo today. It’s a slightly interesting effect but the really strange part is that to me it seems like I’m the only thing moving in normal time. Kind of trippy.

I talked to my dad on the phone last night. I was worried because he hadn’t responded to my last e-mail and he hadn’t called recently. He said he was fine, just holing up because it’s been so cold lately that he can’t really go anywhere. My dad doesn’t have a driver’s license, so he rides a bike, which is usually okay seeing as how he lives in Florida, but lately the south has been mighty chilly. So he’s reading a lot and dinking around with his computer and mourning the loss of his pepper plants, which froze. He sounded pretty good. A few years ago every time I called he was either really bummed out or he seemed angry, but he seems to have reached some kind of equilibrium. Which is kind of relieveing.

Still haven’t joined the gym. I keep forgetting to. Probably the next time Vicki and I go out and do something I will ask her to swing by there so I can check it out and see if it is what I am looking for. If not, I’ll check out the one in the next town over. I still need to get exercizing. I can’t just let myself go any more.

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Jan 29 2003

State of the Union

Published by under Current Events

I did not watch the State of the Union address last night. I can barely stand to listen to Mr. Bush under the best of circumstances, and I was fairly certain that I would not like what he had to say last night. Instead, I read the complete text of the speech at the BBC’s website. I am not going to comment on every topic in the President’s speech, because it would take too long, and to be honest, some of the stuff I just don’t care about or don’t know enough about. But there are a couple of things that I wanted to speak my mind on. All quotes are taken directly from the address:

“Tonight I am proposing $1.2bn in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles. “

It is about time. Granted, I think we could put a little more money towards this research, but the fact that it is being presented at all is really gratifying to me. Cynic that I am, I have to wonder if the President would even care about this if we weren’t actively engaged in pissing off the Middle East. Regardless of the reason for the proposal, I am down with it. I want my very own Mr. Fusion on the back of my car.

“I propose a $450m initiative to bring mentors to more than a million disadvantaged junior high students and children of prisoners. Government will support the training and recruiting of mentors, yet it is the men and women of America who will fill the need.”

Well. I agree with the need, certainly. Mentors are good. I’d like to know what the government will be training these mentors to do, and what the criteria are for becoming one before I give it my full backing. Here’s my cynicism at work again: I just can’t trust any feel-good program like this that is backed by right-wingers. I always fear ulterior motives, such as adding religious overtones to the mix, or pro-life propaganda. Will atheists and pagans be given a chance to mentor a young person, or will they not be “moral” enough to serve as a role-model?

“I ask you to protect infants at the very hour of birth, and end the practice of partial-birth abortion. And because no human life should be started or ended as the object of an experiment, I ask you to set a high standard for humanity and pass a law against all human cloning. “

Well, amen. I am pro-choice myself, but partial-birth abortion is a hideous, barbaric practice that should be stopped at once. I mean, come on. If you can’t be bothered to get an abortion in the first trimester, or the second, then you might as well carry the baby to term and put it up for adoption. I fail to see how collapsing the baby’s head once it emerges from the womb is abortion just cause it’s torso and legs are still inside.

And cloning just scares the crap out of me.

“And to meet a severe and urgent crisis abroad, tonight I propose the Emergency Plan for Aids Relief – a work of mercy beyond all current international efforts to help the people of Africa. This comprehensive plan will prevent seven million new Aids infections… treat at least two million people with life-extending drugs… and provide humane care for millions of people suffering from Aids, and for children orphaned by Aids.”

And again I have to say it is about time. These people have had no health care or access to drugs for years. It’s about time that we gave them a leg up and at least the same chances to fight AIDS that the rest of the world has. As far as I’m concerned, if the treatment is tested, proven, available, and not exorbitant (ie most of the world has access to it), then there is no excuse for an entire continent to be left behind just because they are poor. We are not poor. We can spare some drugs and education for Africa. Rock on.

Now we get to the scary stuff. . .

“All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. And many others have met a different fate. Let’s put it this way, they are no longer a problem for the United States and our friends and allies.”

WARNING! WARNING! What the hell is that supposed to mean? My lord, that scares me, and I’m about as far from a terrorist as you can get. Some “suspected” terrorists are “no longer a problem” for us? Hello? That’s real nice and all that the government is working to protect us, but uh. . . how can I say this. . . are we going to find some suspected terrorists bobbing down our waterways sealed up in oil drums?

All About Iraq

OK, there’s too much here. I can’t quote everything that I earmarked. Let me sum up: OK, I got part of what I wanted. President Bush outlined all of the things that the UN was expecting to hear about from the weapons inspectors, and he pointed out where Iraq has failed. That kind of softened my stance a little bit. All I ever hear on the news is “He’s not cooperating”, but in his speech Mr. Bush pointed out exactly how Iraqi officials are not cooperating. I can see that there is a problem there. But. We have given Iraq and the inspectors what? Three months? Three whole months? OK, we’ve been waiting for 12 years making vague threats in Iraq’s direction and not following through. I think we need to be a little more patient now that Iraq has taken a step. Three months does not damning evidence produce. Nor does it mean that things are not going to improve. I wasn’t aware that there was a “You get one chance to get it right” stipulation on the UN resolution. Maybe I’m just a big old softie, maybe I don’t want war, maybe I’m scared, but I think that getting all hot and bothered at this stage in the game is not going to do anything good for us or the world.

“Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?”

OK, granted. Score one for you, President Bush. I’m with you on that. But something is bothering me here. It is a practice that I have noticed and that is the overuse of the word “terrorism”. Everyone we don’t like, or whose policies and politics we don’t agree with suddenly is a “terrorist”. Well, I don’t know. I think “jerk” might be a better word, but one can’t really go on TV before America and the world and say “We need to go to war and remove Saddam Hussein from power because he is a jerk”, can one? No, because while everyone would agree with you, no one would go to war over a jerk. We have to use a meaner word, and you can’t get much meaner than “Terrorist”.

“We seek peace. We strive for peace. And sometimes peace must be defended.”

*snort* Yeah, right. We seek peace. Sure, sure.

“If war is forced upon us, we will fight in a just cause and by just means – sparing, in every way we can, the innocent. And if war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United States military – and we will prevail.”

Buh! Excuse me? No one is forcing war upon us. I see no enemy battleships lining our coast. I see no one parachuting down into our countryside. Make no mistake, if anyone’s doing the forcing, it’s America. I don’t see anyone other country (besides Britain) lining up saying “Dammit, we are going to war with you or without you, so you’d better fall in line.”

I don’t know. Our country’s foreign policy frightens and confuses me. How the President can talk in one speech about our mercy and compassion towards the impoverished nations of the world and also talk about how our mighty military will not hesitate to decimate one of those impovershied nations (for it’s own good, of course), well it’s beyond me. A lot of what our government chooses to do is beyond me. I just don’t like being told to “trust the government” and that they can’t reveal information or they have to restrict our rights or do other things that I basically don’t like for “national security”. I’m down with national security, but sometimes you just have to wonder how all of this stuff is helping. Personally, I have no idea.

Oh, and one more question: What ever happened to Osama bin Laden?

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Jan 28 2003


Published by under Dreams/Nightmares,The Man,Work

Well I woke up at 5:30 AM from a rather disturbing nightmare in which my dad and my ex-stepwitch were trying to kill me by cutting my head off. They had me in a helicopter over Lake Huron, and they were going to cut my head off first so that it fell into the lake and then push my body in after it. I was screaming at my dad, asking him why he was doing this to me, and he couldn’t answer, he just said that it had to be done. I jumped from the helicoptor and swam to my grandmother’s house, which was on the shore. She was understandably in a panic to see me soaking wet and when she heard my story she called my uncle to take me “on the run” to hide out from my dad. I went upstairs to my old room to get some clothes, and there were two beds. Clothes folded on each. I turned around for a minute to get a duffle, and when I turned back, the clothes and some stuffed animals were all stacked up strangely a la Poltergeist. I knocked the stacks over and they reformed while I was watching.

That’s when I forced myself to wake up.

I don’t like having nightmares (who does?), but I have them so rarely that when I do have a scary dream it freaks me out ten times more and stays with me so much longer. I can’t get the look on my dad’s face out of my mind. He was alternately crying, as if he didn’t want to kill me, then he would get this really psychotic grin on his face. Tres frightening.

I got shipping confirmation on two of the things that I ordered, so they should be here by next week at the latest. That’s very cool. I am so down with having new shoes and clothes, but I have a feeling that the skirt and pants are not going to fit properly. That means that I will have to wait to wear them until I can trim some fat off of my hips and ass. *sigh*

I am not feeling very contemplative or deep today. I am trying to get in gear to dig through some system documentation, but alas. . . it is a trial. All I need to do is finish the last section of this module and I will be DONE DONE DONE until it’s time to train this system.

I’m kind of hungry, but not enough to do anything about it. I really need to go to Target and pick up a scale and some cotton balls but I am too unmotivated. I am really in a slump lately with doing things and getting jobs done. Probably it’s winter working it’s evil on me. Humans should hibernate like bears, that’s my contention. Winter makes me sleepy, dry skinned, cold, and depressed. I look forward to winter every year, but by the end of January I am burned out. I need sunshine. I don’t even need heat all that much. Just longer days with more sunlight. That’s all.

Today I am wearing my contacts and I have my hair up in a ponytail. I look young. Mostly because I trimmed my bangs too short a week ago and they haven’t grown back in yet. I feel like a little kid.

Stylin did not come to work today — out sick again. He just needs to stay home until he is over this cold or virus or whatever, but he keeps coming back into work while he’s all fried and I’m sure that’s not doing much for his immune system.

I have a real attitude problem today. I do not want to take crap from anyone. Fortunately, no one’s given me any crap yet. Pretty weird that I feel so bad, since I woke up in a pretty happy mood. I was awfully smily this morning, which was a stark contrast to Grumpy Bear Boy who was not pleased when I woke him up.

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Jan 27 2003

Paths life takes

Published by under Introspection,The Man

The other night The Man and I were having a little conversation while outside smoking. . . it started out as something completely inconsequential (whether or not your spleen was a vital organ — don’t ask) and ended up getting me thinking. I had said that I didn’t think the spleen was all that important because my mom’s fiance had had to have his spleen removed when undergoing chemo, and it didn’t seem to affect him. That’s what got me thinking. See, my mom’s fiance died from Hodgekin’s when I was young, about 11 or 12 years old, I don’t remember. And I started thinking about what my life would have been like if he hadn’t died. For one thing, we would have moved down to Brighton (near Detroit) so I would have never met Vicki or Mackers, my two best friends. I might not have gone through my horrifying freshman year of high school, or I may have had a worse one. I would have never met The Man. I wouldn’t have the same stepdad. I wouldn’t have the same step-siblings. I would probably not be working in the telecommunications industry. I would have probably finished college. I might be dead. There is no way of knowing. But my life would be radically different from what it is now.

It’s strange to look back at things that had a major impact on my life, and try to follow down those trails to the alternate realities that I didn’t get to explore. I have often thought about decisions that I made, that I would make differently if I had it to do over. But now, thinking about it, would I really? There is no telling how a decision impacts your life as a whole. If I had done one thing differently, would I still be right here, right now, the person that I am today? Would I go back and change any of it, knowing that every change could possibly send me into a different world, one that may be completely unwanted and unfamiliar? I don’t think so.

“I gave my life to become the person that I am right now. Was it worth it?” – Richard Bach One

Are there alternate realities and parallel universes? I don’t know. I think so. I think that somewhere, in another “dimension” so to speak, there is another Jasina who is living a life that is similar, but in so many ways, very different from mine. I don’t envy my other selves one bit. I love my life, and am thankful for the experiences that have gotten me here, even the painful ones. I have had to learn a lot of lessons that I might not have chosen to learn of my own free will. That’s what I think is interesting — the lessons that you would not have chosen to learn often end up being the most valuable.

Well that was my existentialism for the day. Do with it what you like, but hopefully I got someone thinking. So many times I read strangers’ journals and they are going through a hard time in their lives. . . things that they are obviously not happy to be going through. But every thing that happens to you happens for a reason. In several years when you gain some perspective, look back. Was it worth it? Would you change it?

No one likes pain, but pain is oftentimes what makes us grow as a person. Happiness is fulfilling, but a life with no pain and all happiness contains no lesssons. No learning. No growth. It’s hard to be grateful for sorrow and heartbreak, betrayal and loss. But these are the vehicles by which we can become better people, if we apply the lessons wisely. Too often people allow pain to send them down the path of bitterness and hatred. It’s an easy path to follow. But if you take the high road, it’s so much more useful. Don’t allow those who give you pain to make you small. Use your pain to make yourself stronger and wiser, so that you can help someone else when it’s their turn to grow.

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Jan 24 2003


Published by under Current Events

The only time that I was really big on world news was when I was required to read Newsweek every week for my Government class in high school. As soon as I was done with that class, I stopped caring about the news and just went on with my life. However, The Man likes to listen to NPR and the BBC World News every day on the way into work, so by default I have become somewhat up-to-date on what is happening around the world. And the personal conclusion that I have come to is that America as a country is nothing more than the big schoolyard bully.

I am so tired of the image that we project to the rest of the world. I am tired of people just trusting that if the President says we need to go to war, then we need to go to war. I am tired of listening to the news and hearing the British and the French and the Germans and the Danes basically saying that America isn’t playing fair. I’m tired of it because it’s true. These countries are supposed to be our friends. And whether our war-mongering government likes it or not, we do not rule the world. Other people live on this planet. These people and countries are deserving of the same amount of respect and consideration that we demand from them. We have to stop walking all over other nations and we have to stop doing things our own way. We need to stop demanding and threatening and start asking. No one will respect us less. On the contrary, they will respect us more.

No one likes it when their child comes home from school with a bloody nose and a black eye, crying because a bigger kid knocked him down. In that instance, most parents go to the school. They demand action. They call the bully’s parents and holler about how their poor, defenseless angel was tromped upon. I listen to Americans whine and cry about the violence in schools, the violence in the streets, and the fact that ordinary kids are not guaranteed a safe environment to live and learn in. Then I listen to the news and I hear that as far as the world is concerned, we are the bullies knocking smaller nations down and bloodying their noses just because We’re America and We Don’t Have to Take This Crap From You. Everyone hates bullies.

There is a big emphasis within America to teach children how to settle their problems peacefully, without the use of violence. Teachers and parents are stressing communication as a way of resolving conflict. Being able to see the Other Guy’s Side is an admirable trait. Considering Other’s Feelings is even more admirable. We teach these things to our children, but we are not practicing what we preach.

French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, responding to comments from US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “We are no longer in prehistoric times when whoever had the biggest club would try to knock the other guy out so he could steal his mammoth skin.”

Instead, we “elected” a loud-mouthed president with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. George W. Bush is out for blood. He doesn’t want to talk to anyone. He doesn’t want to listen to the concerns of our friends and neighbors. He doesn’t want to try to speak rationally and settle things without the use of bombs, guns, tanks, and human lives. Instead, he wants to fight. And he’s taking the rest of us along for the ride.

He was persuaded to wait to see if Iraq complied with the latest UN resolution allowing weapons inspectors back into Iraq. He complied, sulkily. And now the weapon inspectors are in Iraq and they haven’t found anything very momentous in the way of evidence that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. But he doesn’t care. He is going to war, with or without the UN, with or without France and Germany, with or without the consent of the American People. It seems like every day on the BBC I hear the anchorperson say “. . .and the Americans state that they have evidence that Iraq is in fact producing and in possession of weapons of mass destruction.” Period. That’s it. No indication of what the evidence is or where “the Americans” got it from. I don’t think anyone knows. I don’t know if there is any evidence. I’d like to believe that our government isn’t making this stuff up, but how can I honestly believe that? Every message our government has sent to the world since Sept 11 has been in tones of war. Against anyone and everyone.

“I will propose to meet with Chairman Kim Jong Il even if I lose face in the eyes of my people because I value dialogue and think dialogue is the key,” — South Korea’s President-elect Roh Moo-hyun

The thing with North Korea really ticks me off most of all. The two nations who should be most concerned and defensive, South Korea and China, are instead trying to be concilatory towards North Korea and her leader. The BBC reported today that the South Korean leader is attempting to open dialouge with North Korea, even if it means that his own people don’t respect him as much. Because he knows that war would be very bad for the Korean Peninsula. I have to respect a guy like that. He is trying all approaches to a peaceful resolution before resigning himself and his people to war. What is our own fearless leader doing? Banging tables and stomping his feet, throwing around words like “evil”. I can’t take that. Has anyone looked into the possibility that our President needs to be medicated to deal with all this extra anger he’s carrying around?

Look, I’m not saying that America should just roll over and take crap from whoever wants to dish it out. But we have got to learn to moderate our stances a bit if we’re going to live in this world. Yes, we are the Big Superpower because we’ve got a great military and top of the line weaponry and technology. So what? Schoolyard bullies are taller and have bigger muscles. That doesn’t mean that they should get their way all the time.

And something else that our lofty elected officials seem to be overlooking: eventually, the weaker kids always grow up. And sometimes, they grow up to be bigger than the bullies. Europe is unifying. Korea has been working towards reunification for years. NATO is losing favor. In 25 years, is America going to still be the front-runner? We can sort of afford to bluster and wave our arms and threaten now, because really, we’re Bigger. But there is no guarantee that we are always going to be bigger. Wouldn’t it be nice if, when that happens, other nations still respected us because we had built our reputation on being diplomatic and having an open ear instead of bulldozing over everyone in our path?

“Small nations, when treated as equals, become the firmest of allies.” — Alas, Babylon

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