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Archive for October, 2002

homeland?!

Thursday, October 24th, 2002

I heard an ad on the radio today for a company looking for computer people from “the intelligence community” who currently have a Top Secret or higher clearance. The thing that disturbed me about this ad was the way in which the term “homeland” was used. They said; blah, blah, “continue serving the homeland,” blah, blah. Now does this strike anyone else as a bad thing? To start to refer to the US as “the homeland” scares me. It sounds like “fatherland” or something from Nazi Germany or Communist Russia. I have thought it before, with Bush’s warmongering and Ashcroft trying to suspend civil liberties but does anyone else smell nationalism here with shades of Europe in the first half of the 20th century? I don’t want to live in Fascist America under Herr Bush and Kommandanten Chaney and Ashcroft.

voyeuristic orgy

Monday, October 21st, 2002

I know the manager of the Ponderosa where the latest shooting took place. I worked for the Ponderosa in C’ville when I was in high school and the same guy owned both of them—and the same guy managed both of them. Glad it was not him who got shot, sorry for the guy who did get shot.

The whole sniper thing is upsetting but I find it more so with the media—as usual the media has turned the whole thing into a “bread and circuses” voyeuristic orgy. I turn on the TV to get the news and all that is on is sniper this and sniper that. I find the reporters so annoying and ratings driven that I end up getting my news from the ticker at the bottom of the screen and muting the idiots. They attempt to make hour-long dialogs and interviews about every fact. God forbid that one network talk about something as inane as the type of trees in the “wooded area” and the rest not do it—I REALLY DON’T CARE WHAT THE LATIN NAME OF THE TREES IS!

The media in America has gotten way out of hand. They turn everything into a spectator sport. It is the media that has driven the salaries of professional athletes into the stratosphere (anyone who disagrees with that should look at the average salary of a NBA, NFL, NHL or baseball player and the salaries of, say a soccer player in the US.) Then we had all the 24 hour financial channels pumping the markets—which lead to every Joe Schmo being an expert in the stock market and pumping the markets more. Just as there are athletes willing to stake steroids and cheat to get ahead there are unscrupulous people in the business world who are willing to lie, cheat and defraud the rest of the world to make money by making their company look better than it is. (We won’t even mention the fact that for more than a year while consumer confidence was high and the economy was still fine—not much growth, but stable, these idiots on the Finance channels screamed “Recession, recession!” 24 hours a day and somewhere along the line enough people hear it to believe it and WHAM! It’s called a self-fulfilling Prophecy look it up.) Anyway, the new fad this summer has grown out of the Enron/Tyco/WorldCom/Et al scandal meets reality TV. The voyeuristic coverage of the child abductions and shootings this summer was disgusting. You could not have the TV on for half and hour and not hear the same info 30 times.

I don’t know what you could do about any of this. I just can’t stand the media anymore. I don’t know what came first the media or the voyeuristic addiction to it that seams to have gripped most of American. I think that deep inside much of America is suffering an existential crisis and is trying to live vicariously through all the drama on TV and scripted drama just cannot compete with the news. If more people took up bungee jumping would all this still be a problem? Would CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News still have enough people willing to sit and drool over the next piece of “in-depth reporting” about everything and anything to support them?

housing update

Sunday, October 20th, 2002

So, I got my apartment. Just four blocks off of DuPont Circle. The apartment is a little funky on the layout, but c’est la vie. It comes with a nice size kitchen—a must since I love to cook. And a full size washer and dryer! Yea! I have to go up and get the keys, then begins the process of moving in.

The big issue with moving in is I have nothing. I sold everything I owned to pay off loans two years ago figureing I would get a nice job when I graduated. HA! Well, I have a good job but not so much spending money right now. So, it may take a few months to get stuff like a tv and nice sofa but I’ll deal with it.

So… J——- and S——… get ready for some D&D!

apt search update

Thursday, October 17th, 2002

I spent a couple of days looking for apartments online, in the newspapers etc. Most places around Dupont where too expensive or already gone but I found a few places that looked good on paper and I set up an appointment to go see one of them at 10am yesterday. (The realtor said it was open from 10 to 11 anyway.) So I got up at 5:30 to drive to DC. I left home at 6:00 and made it to Gainesville by 8:00. At this point I hear on the radio that there is congestion on 66 west of Vienna because of an overturned car. No shit, I’m sitting in the congestion all the way back at Gainesville. It took over an hour to get to the Vienna metro station.

I got on a train at 9:15—now you know it takes forever to get to Dupont from Vienna by Metro, especially in rush hour traffic. So I got to Dupont at 10:00 (which amazes me!) and get out of the station into a downpour. No problem, I have my newly re-waterproofed Nautica jacket. So I quickly pass the guy selling umbrellas thinking back to being in Venice when I bought one from a street vender and still got completely soaked by the rain! Anyway, the apartment was about a 10 minute walk from the Metro station. I figure no problem the guy said he was showing the apartment between 10 and 11, if I am a few minutes late he would still be there anyway. At this point I notice that the rain has stopped beading up on my coat and is now soaking into it—Shit. By the time I get to the address of the apartment I am starting to feel the inside of the coat get wet.

And there is no one there. I wait. And there is no one there. I gave up after waiting 45 minutes. Now quite wet and cold I head off to some of the other places I had to look at. Over the course of the day I looked at 20 or so places. Some were too expensive, a lot where shitty, and a few where no longer available. I did find one place about 5 blocks from Dupont Circle that is the right price and location—the apartment is nice, though a little strange shaped. It was not until 6:00pm that I got to see it which means that the realty office was closed so I could not just go turn in the paper work yesterday. Now I need to take the paper work back to them tomorrow because they won’t process it without the application fee so there is no point in faxing it to them!

If I don’t get this place I may have to swallow my desire to live in Dupont and get some place in Reston or Vienna for a year or six months. I would really like to be in Dupont, but I need a place now since I start work in a week. What’s the moral of all this? I should have bought the stupid umbrella!

housing search

Tuesday, October 15th, 2002

Ok, got a job. I start the 28th of this month, which leads me to I NEED A PLACE TO LIVE! I don’t think commuting from C’ville to DC is a viable option, it takes, at least, two hours both ways. Now the problem is finding a nice place takes time. I don’t have time. Everywhere I have called so far was full, or only had two or three bedroom units. Anyone know where there is a nice one bedroom for rent in DuPont or Adams Morgan?

reviews section

Saturday, October 12th, 2002

I made some changes to the site. I have upgraded the “books” section to the “reviews” section. I entered some of the old books into the new interface which is based on Movable Type so that you can all comment on my reviews. I will add the rest of the old books as soon as possible and *hopefully* add many more books—and cd’s and movies. Enjoy!

The Brothers Karamazov

Saturday, October 12th, 2002
Author
Fyodor Doestoevsky
Translator
Richard Pevear
Larissa Volokhonsk

The Brothers Karamozov

I have heard a lot of people refer to Brothers K as author:Dostoevsky’s crowning work, and it is a great book, but I liked Crime and Punishment more.

The Brothers Karamazov is a massive book filled with Dostoevsky amazing insight into human nature. Dostoevsky uses the novel to attack everything from Utilitarianism to Christianity and all things “Russian” or at least all things “Russian” he takes issue with. Ivan, Dmitri and Alyosha are some of the most complex characters I’ve ever encountered. The three of them form a kind of id, ego and super ego of Dostoevsky’s Russian any man.

The Brothers Karamazov is a must read in Dostoevsky’s canon, and one of the best books ever written. It helps cement Dostoevsky’s place as one of the best novelist of all time. However the sheer expansiveness of the Brothers K works against it for me and I think Crime and Punishment [confusion.cc] is a better, perhaps the best, novel.

Crime and Punishment

Saturday, October 12th, 2002
Author
Fyodor Doestoevsky
Translator
Richard Pevear
Larissa Volokhonsk

Crime and Sartre’s Age of Reason are my favorite novels. The writing is absolutely amazing, even in translation it flows effortlessly along carrying the reader slowly at first then quicker, eventually building to a fever pitch. Dostoevsky weaves a timeless tale of guilt in Crime and Punishment because he focuses not on the crime but on the criminal’s state of mind. Raskolnikov may be an anti-hero, but the reader is drawn to him and feels his suffering. Dostoevsky’s insight into the mind of Raskolnikov keeps the reader turning the page, wanting to know what he will do and think next. Crime is an amazing insight into the strange in irrational behavior of man.

On Amazon.com

A Hundred Years of Solitude

Saturday, October 12th, 2002
Author
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Translator
Gregory Rabassa

This book won Marquez the Nobel Prize for Literature. It’s that good. It follows the rise and fall of the Buendia family and the village, Macondo, which they founded. Along the way there is incest, gypsies, insomnia, civil war and true love. Marquez magical realism shines through and somewhere along the way the reader forgets the distinction between the magical and the real. Characters pass in and out the the narative as the world around passed in and out of Mocondo. The main conflict of the book, civil war, seams to be Marquez’s comentary on the state of his homeland, Columbia.

On Amazon.com

Invisible Man

Saturday, October 12th, 2002
Author
Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man on Amazon.com

Invisible Man is still as powerful and elegant now as it was when I first read it in school. I understand it better now that I am a bit more mature. I understand it better reading as an outsider looking back on my homeland. I understand it better as a member of the minority in my chosen home. I understand it less and less as a human.

Less because I cannot fathom the reality that lead to the situation Ellison’s nameless protagonist finds the world in. The idea of slavery, Jim Crow and everything about it causes me to question the human race.

Why? How? To what end?

It’s not a good feeling. Because looking back at history it is obvious that, in fact and despite what we want to think, slavery, Jim Crow and segregation are the norm. Humans are vicious and brutal to everyone who is not a member of their tribe… be the tribe based on race, religion, creed, nation, gender, sexual orientation, political views, the size of ones nose, the size of ones breast or any other trait, physical, mental or metaphysical two humans might differ in.

Invisible Man does not renew my faith in the human race, it destroys it and forces me to go out and seek to rebuild it on my own. To surround myself with like minded people. To attempt to do good in the world. To live an ab-normal life.

On Amazon