Chris' Journal

Thursday, February 5, 2004

3:00AM - Moving away

From now on, personal journal here, political one here

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Sunday, February 1, 2004

3:28PM - Super Bowl prediction

Patriots 23 - 13 Panthers

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Thursday, January 8, 2004

6:39PM - New journal

I created a new one over at Live Journal, it can be found here. This one will still exist and continue to function, I'm just splitting my thoughts up, one political, one personal. Not sure which will be updated more, but I thought both are worth the read, obviously. ;)

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Monday, January 5, 2004

1:23AM - One thought

You know that home isn't really home anymore when anytime you answer the phone everyone on the other end instantly assumes it must be your brother.

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Friday, January 2, 2004

1:16AM - Daily dose of pissed off for the day...

Heck, this one is going to be hard to top for the year, although since it's an election year it will probably happen at some point.

Young America's Foundation names gender blind housing for transgender students its #1 campus folly of 2003.

Do I even need to explain why this is hateful and discriminatory? How it's a slap in the face to young people who have probably dealt with enough shit already and are just getting something to accomodate them?

For the record, Macalester is now considering having some gender blind housing itself, which may be partially why this hits me so hard.

Conservatives have already done quite enough to get me hard-set against them, they really don't have to go around pissing me off to boot.

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Friday, December 12, 2003

2:00AM - Movies galore

Seeing as I've now seen three movies in theatres in the space of 5 days, it seems only right to put down a few thoughts.

Bad Santa: A lot of the humor comes out of the movie ruthlessly stomping on Christmas and all the feel good stuff that normally goes with it. Santa urinates in his costume and beats a styrofoam reindeer to pieces in the eyes of kids, and just watching the reactions to this grotesque behaviour is definitely a big part of the laughs. Some people think you have to hate Christmas to enjoy this, but I don't think so, you just need to have a morbid fascination in watching traditions get stomped on. The movie also has an odd sort of sweetness to it when all is said and done, not blissful happiness by any means but a quirky tongue-in-cheek optimism that worked for me. Pretty enjoyable.

In America: Will be in my top 5 of the year, I think. Centers around an Irish family of 4 (5, but the youngest child dies) that's just coming to New York to try to settle in the States. In the end, the movie is really all about the deceased boy, it seems to me. The mood goes up and down but ends up being about redemption, and the characters are all very engaging. I wasn't quite a fan of the very end, which was done in voice over, but when you see that the movie was written by a family who really did lose a family member named Frankie, it works better.

Mona Lisa Smile: Hopelessly formulaic. Liberal teacher comes in, and her fairly one-issue students each explore their one issue and learn important lessons about art and life. An outstanding cast puts in a great performance, but that wasn't enough to really make me feel like I cared about the characters, who were generally too flat. One person that did jump out at me was Maggie Gyllenhaal who played the bad girl of the group, and now that I've looked her up I suspect that she played the masochist secretary in, well, Secretary. I'll be officially on the look-out for her from now on. As far as this movie goes, I'm afraid I can't really recommend it. Some people may be moved by it, but not I.

Current music: Jewel - 2 Become 1
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12:43AM - This is for you, Mr. and Mrs. Bad Movie Watcher!

If you're out there, please identify yourself so you can get a good bitch slap or two. You qualify for the position if any or all of these categories describe you:

1) Asking what someone on screen just said. Sorry if you weren't paying enough attention, but that's no reason to interrupt yet more dialogue for you and others by trying to keep track of every little detail, when if you just sat there and actually paid closer attention you could probably understand the flow of the scene anyway.

2) Asking who someone is/what his name is/who belongs to that name that was just mentioned. See 1.

3) Making comments to the person you came with about what just happened on screen. "Ooh, he's having an affair!" No shit. If they really wanted that to be spelled out for us like that there would be someone on screen to say it.

4) Related but not quite the same, saying things like "Oh my God" or "Awwwww" when a character does something mean or something sad happens, or whatever. These aren't natural reactions like laughter, and are just distractions for everyone else.

5) Cell phones -- I do have some sympathy when this happens to people, as it's always a careless mistake and they're generally embarrassed to have it happen. It even happened to me once, I must admit. However, when there's someone in front of the theatre door reminding you to check it, and it happens to you anyway, we have a problem.

These are all the really annoying things I can think of at the moment, and every single one of them was breached by people directly to the right of me tonight. Eventually, I got so sick of it that an unhappy noise or two escaped my throat, and that annoyed THEM. Darn the luck.

(Vikki, sorry if you read this again and were bored, but it's what's on my mind tonight so it's getting posted here too!)

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Tuesday, December 9, 2003

9:15PM - All of the death, none of the skill

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/09/opinion/09PACE.htm (May require registration)

This fall, more than 10 million Americans went hunting. Some met with success, maybe even managing to bring home some ducks or geese or a deer. Of those who returned empty-handed, many did so with the knowledge that a fair hunt comes with no guarantees.

A growing number of people, however, are embracing a different set of rules -- they're taking part in hunts that are largely rigged. In the United States, there are at least 4,000 "canned hunting" operations, where people may pay thousands of dollars to pursue trophy animals that have little chance to escape. Bird-shooting operations offer pheasants, quail, partridges and mallard ducks, sometimes dizzying the birds and planting them in front of hunters or tossing them from towers toward waiting shotguns.
...
But canned hunting is more than crass -- it's cruel. Animals are sometimes drugged, shot in their cages or at a feeder, or killed slowly with spears.


"Guess what honey? I poked a drugged animal to death today! An exotic one!"
"Oh dear, the manly way you kill defenseless creatures makes me so hot! Take me now!"

Unfeeling bastards. Let's try that on you and see how well you like it. I wonder how all the hunters from my days at high school would feel about this. I'm hoping they'd be as disgusted as me.

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2:49PM - Appetizer before the main course

There have been some ads floating around campus recently, proclaiming things like "EARN AN EXTRA $2000 - $5000 PER MONTH!!!" Thinking "yeah right", I decided to go ahead and check two of them out. Here are the results: http://www.findfreedom.com/timeismoney and http://gathermoreinfo.com/moneyforlife. Two immediate thoughts:

1) They look like multi-level marketing "scams". Click the link to read up about that.

2) How freaking similar are those two sites? Seeing the two of them side-by-side completely destroy the personal "let us tell you all about us two unique people and our home business". Watching one minute of the video presentations on the sites should also give nearly anyone a good idea that they're dealing with snake oil, not a true independent small home company.

There have been a few contact slips ripped off on those ads, and I'm a bit worried about that. It's ok to be curious, obviously, that's what I did, but I hope no one actually goes through with it. The lure of money could blind some to even the most obvious BS scheme...

Current music: Patty Griffin CD - A Kiss In Time
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Thursday, December 4, 2003

4:20PM - So you change, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh...

Or do I? This is a question that I've been pondering the past couple days, and I'm really not able to come up with much. Rightly or wrongly, I always got the impression that college should be a time of boundless personal growth (now that I think about it I'm not sure where exactly I got that impression from), but it doesn't really seem to have happened.

If anything, I guess I've become a bit more mellow about myself. Mood swings still seem to happen with some regularity, but the lows aren't quite so low anymore. Instead of lying fitfully in bed tormenting myself, I'm at least able to brush it aside and keep functioning. However, even though this is certainly a positive change, it's not exactly a pro-active one, which would most likely have been preferable. It's like suppressing flu symptoms instead of actually attacking the disease. I'm still one of the most socially inept people around, and I fear that that is something that will haunt me well after I'm out of Macalester. I am unable to make friends in my own right. Any that I have here I have because of circumstances that I had no part in initiating, that happened around me and so managed to encapsulate me with no effort on my part (most if not all of this being due to my first roommate). This passive way of letting things come to me doesn't work great as far as quantity goes (not the quantity is necessarily something to be worried about, I still think it can be), and this tactic would almost certainly be less effective outside of an environment like this one. With anyone besides these people, anyone else I want to talk to I rely strictly on coincidental meetings, a few words for a minute or two before ways part. I suppose this may work if all I'm going for is to have people remember my name, but anything past that and it really doesn't do much good. Haven't been on a date for 21 years and going on 4 months. As the time to actually get a job nears, I realize how much of what I previously thought was ambiguousness on what I wanted to do is closer to apathy. I have no particular ambition or lofty goals, the only thing I really want is to be able to come home at night without too much fuss. All this contributes to me not always having the highest opinion of myself, something else that hasn't changed to much in these four years.

A few things that have changed, maybe:

- Have discovered an affinity for a bigger city, something I always suspected that I had since I was in no way fond of the small town countryside, but now know it for sure.
- Have discovered music and actually bought some
- Have discovered soccer and the joys it can bring (this one and the one previously, as above, can be mainly credited to first roommate)
- To go along with the big city, have also found an interested in being at live gigs, having first-run movies just a short distance away
- Have discovered in some part the joys of travel, LA and the UK being the conquests

Current mood: not even sure
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2:49PM - So you change, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh...

Or do I? This is a question that I've been pondering the past couple days, and I'm really not able to come up with much. Rightly or wrongly, I always got the impression that college should be a time of boundless personal growth (now that I think about it I'm not sure where exactly I got that impression from), but it doesn't really seem to have happened.

If anything, I guess I've become a bit more mellow about myself. Mood swings still seem to happen with some regularity, but the lows aren't quite so low anymore. Instead of lying fitfully in bed tormenting myself, I'm at least able to brush it aside and keep functioning. However, even though this is certainly a positive change, it's not exactly a pro-active one, which would most likely have been preferable. It's like suppressing flu symptoms instead of actually attacking the disease. I'm still one of the most socially inept people around, and I fear that that is something that will haunt me well after I'm out of Macalester. I am unable to make friends in my own right. Any that I have here I have because of circumstances that I had no part in initiating, that happened around me and so managed to encapsulate me with no effort on my part (most if not all of this being due to my first roommate). This passive way of letting things come to me doesn't work great as far as quantity goes (not the quantity is necessarily something to be worried about, I still think it can be), and this tactic would almost certainly be less effective outside of an environment like this one. With anyone besides these people, anyone else I want to talk to I rely strictly on coincidental meetings, a few words for a minute or two before ways part. I suppose this may work if all I'm going for is to have people remember my name, but anything past that and it really doesn't do much good. Haven't been on a date for 21 years and going on 4 months. As the time to actually get a job nears, I realize how much of what I previously thought was ambiguousness on what I wanted to do is closer to apathy. I have no particular ambition or lofty goals, the only thing I really want is to be able to come home at night without too much fuss. All this contributes to me not always having the highest opinion of myself, something else that hasn't changed to much in these four years.

A few things that have changed, maybe:

- Have discovered an affinity for a bigger city, something I always suspected that I had since I was in no way fond of the small town countryside, but now know it for sure.
- Have discovered music and actually bought some
- Have discovered soccer and the joys it can bring (this one and the one previously, as above, can be mainly credited to first roommate)
- To go along with the big city, have also found an interested in being at live gigs, having first-run movies just a short distance away
- Have discovered in some part the joys of travel, LA and the UK being the conquests

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Tuesday, December 2, 2003

1:28AM - Annoyances

1) People that have not only left the bathroom windows open when it's bloody cold outside, but also actually go through the bother to open them again and again after I close them! Asses.

2) People that vomit on the floor of the bathroom and then just walk away, leaving someone else to clean it up and the rest of us to suffer and avoid it all in the process! If you don't respect yourself, can you at least respect others a little bit?

3) There's a guy in my English class that always has one knee of his jeans (I think it's the left knee) torn out so that the skin shows through! Every single day, it's blue jeans with a knee showing through! Weird weird fashion statement.

4) Yesterday saw someone go up to a door marked "Please do not open", pause and read the sign for a minute, then go ahead and open it anyway, when there was a perfectly fine door one step to the right of him. More respect issues!

5) Myself. I should stop getting so moody when things are perfectly fine.

6) Myself again. Why haven't I hung up the posters for my room? It's been months!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2003

3:19PM - Unschuldig!

Just went through a game called Alibi in German. Two people are accused of a crime, and have to go out and work out their alibi and have it match when interrogated by the rest of the class. I was one of the accused. Remarkably, we managed to work it out well enough so that we were declared not guilty in the end. There was one close call, where I was asked a couple things about a person we supposedly met up with that we hadn't actually gone over, but I managed to guess right so it was all ok.

Also, our professor was rather amused by the film we said we went to see, which is good cause I thought it was a somewhat clever thing to think of. It was Die Katze in Der Mutze, aka The Cat in the Hat.

In other news, I once again managed to get an analytic English paper done just minutes before I had to leave for the class. Either I've got the timing down pat on those or I'm incredibly lucky.

Current music: Michelle Branch - Everywhere
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Friday, November 21, 2003

10:43PM - On a more personal note...

The math test wasn't *quite* as disastrous as I thought. Before I got it back, I set an upper bound, what the grade couldn't possibly be higher than, and sure enough it was right at that upper bound. I guess I should be sort of happy about that, it's still rather low though. B is still in theory possible, so we'll see.

As part of German class today, went to a lecture from a man who had deserted the US Army during the Korean War era to live in East Germany, because the government was after him for signing a document saying that he didn't belong to a list of left-wing organizations, when he actually did belong to some of them. The whole thing was apparently labeled unconstitutional later. It was pretty interesting for the most part, his perspective really illuminated how the Cold War was never really good v. evil, although the Communists certainly had more than their share of problems. Interesting points about how West Germany was ruled by former Nazis, and the East was run by Nazi opposers, among other things. However, it then got bogged down by too damn many questions at the end and I was relieved to see it finally come to an end.

Lastly, class registration time is upon us. I pondered taking another math course for the coming semester, but decided that I'd have to be a right idiot to do that, so went for the 2nd semester of German and two poli sci foundations courses instead. Feels like the right choice, I still have a bit of time to think about it and change my mind though.

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10:12PM - Energy bills and the fools who vote for them

Let's start out in blog fashion today. The big Republican energy bill, discussed in this
article
, fell victim to a filibuster today, 57-40. All there is to say to that is thank goodness. Chock full of Repub special-interests with just enough thrown in for farmers and such to make the Midwestern Democrats afraid of standing against it. Exactly that happened with Mark Dayton, local Minnesotan Democratic senator, and probably Max Baucus too, though I haven't been able to confirm that. But there were just enough outside-the-box Republicans, led by John McCain bless him, to quash him.

But really the vote was altogether too close and underscores the danger of having the Repubs in control of EVERYTHING. Come on, 2004 election, give me something I can use!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2003

11:02PM - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:

*This Saturday I attended a meet-up with a few people from around here that are all part of an online message board community. Went pretty well I think, all of them were at least 10 years older than me and I was my normal quiet self, but I enjoyed it. Plus, it was at O'Gara's, an Irish place, so there was Bailey's involved. Mmmm, Bailey's.

*Almost by accident, I picked up a couple of erasable ink pens last week. They don't write quite as clearly as normal pens do, but sometimes it's quite nice to be able to erase a mistake without having to worrying about lead breaking off like with pencils. Doesn't quite erase as well as pencil lead, but it's good enough for me.

The Bad:

*Even though I feel completely over the rather annoying cold I had awhile ago, congested nose just won't stop! I still have to blow it at least twice a day. It's the cold that keeps on giving.

*I've been getting a lot more spam than usual at my Hotmail address recently. Could it be that a spambot picked up my e-mail address from this site and entered it into an evil database?

*I was doing my laundry the other day, and after activating the dryer I wanted to add another 15 minutes to it, which costs an extra 25 cents. So I go to punch this into the machine, but it already booted me out. So I swipe my card again to get back in, and it tells me my balance is too low, no sale! Now, the balance was too low to activate a new machine, but I had more than the 25 cents needed to add a little extra time. But nooooo, the machine refuses to acknowledge any such possibility. What really bothered me about this was that someone somewhere when making this program must have inserted this line -- if balance < cost of activating dryer, refuse the card. Completely unnecessary! Why not just do that at the step after I tell it what I want? Thanks a lot, jackass. Joke was on the school in the end, turned out the standard 60 minutes did the job nicely, so they lost themselves a nice shiny quarter.

The Ugly:

*Getting the test from hell back tomorrow. We went through the correct answers Monday in class, which gives me even less cause for optimism. Number of questions full credit given for --- zero. Number no credit give for -- quite possibly more than zero. I've been playing around with the numbers for the past few days trying to figure out where I stand. A low B may still in theory be possible, but that final exam is taking up way too much importance now. Argh.

*It's essay-writing time again in English. Problem is that this time, one of the two books to get subject material from I found absolutely dreadful to read, much less reexamine for relevant points. I could write about just the other one, but that would mean that I'd be forced to write a comparative essay over the final two books (at least one essay in the course must be comparative), and that seems like a gamble. But right now, the pros of never having to pick up the boring book again seem to be the overpowering force in my head. Maybe inspiration will strike me for the last two books, but right now this sits as another assignment worry.

That's enough for now, off to do some assignments.

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Thursday, November 13, 2003

4:44PM - Doors and assignments

The two have nothing to do with each other, except that they're both in this post.

Yesterday I was going out the door of the science building, and another student was on her way in at about the same time. I got to the door a little sooner, and of course pushed it open. As she was passing me going in she said, "Thanks." Maybe this is just me, but I don't see that I particularly deserved a thanks in this case. My opening the door only helped her out by pure coincidence, so I don't deserve any gratitude. And perhaps I should put "helped her out" in quotes, because I really think a whole unnecessary politeness system has formed around doors. It almost annoys me when someone pauses to hold a door open for me that I could have just stuck my hand out and pushed to open if it was closed. Stop wasting your time! It's not polite, it's condescending! I do like it when it's one of those many locked doors that I have to fumble around to get the key every time, but other than that, don't bother.

On to more important things. I got an A- today on my midterm for the highest level math class I'll ever take, yee-haw! I thought that that was the grade that I would get in the most optimistic of circumstances, but now looking at it I can see that without one fairly small misunderstanding on one question it would have been a straight A. So that's generally encouraging.

Other classes...American Voices seems to be moving along ok. First assignment in there got an 80-ish grade, was not too happy with that and really didn't agree with it but tried to conform to the suggestions in the next one, which appears to have been moderately succesful. I'm probably looking at a B in the class right now, which I believe I can count on being knocked up at least to a B+ because I seem to participate more in class than the average student, which should work in my favor.

In the stats math class, there's a take home that I suppose I must do tonight, but I dread even looking at it. Somehow I never get anything lower than 95 on the homework, but I don't trust that that carries over to the midterms by any means. Gotta face the music I guess.

German is German. Heading for an A- or B+ there for sure.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2003

11:18PM - Color fiddling

I think I've finally managed to get to the point where I'm satisfied with the color arrangement for this new creation. Yesterday, it was technically functional but really quite an eyesore even by its creators standard, but today I like what I see when I call it up on my screen. Feel free to disagree and tell me how I should fix it.

A couple links today. Firstly, I saw Matrix 3 on Sunday and was going to review it, but then stumbled across a great article whose main points almost completely agree with mine. So, for those who have seen it or just don't care about spoilers, look here to read more or loess my opinion.

And secondly, today was Veterans' Day, and the New York Times printed a list of letters from some of the soldiers recently killed in Iraq. That can be found here, but since registration is required I'll produce one below in full:


Excerpt of an e-mail message to his wife, Theresa, from Army Master Sgt. Kevin N. Morehead, 33, of Little Rock, Ark., who was killed Sept. 12 during a raid on enemy forces. The message was sent July 7.


Hey Baby,

I do enjoy planning for the future. It gives me a lot of hope to be able to plan for our success. Sometimes I think that maybe I wouldn't come up with these plans if I wasn't deployed. Being here focuses my attention on home and I have time to come up with lots of avenues for us. It has been one blessing for me being here. I think if we can get the things done that I have come up with we will be able to have a prosperous life ahead of us. I don't want you to worry about how we are going to make it after I get out. . . . I want us to be able to enjoy our life and do things that we want to do.

I think after we get these bills settled and get on track this winter with the property and the house, next spring I am going to get us another boat. We had a lot of fun when we had a boat. I remember when me, you and Jesse used to go to the lake and camping. Those were really fun times. I would eventually like to get a camper or an R.V., too. . . . I know how you like to have a nice place to stay. If we got a nice camper, then it would almost be like staying in a hotel room with A.C. and a private shower and a queen size bed.

I love you very much. I can't wait to get on with our lives. I really look forward to our future together.
Kevin


Being in Iraq helped him plan his future, but then it took away that future forever. Quite depressing, really.

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Monday, November 10, 2003

11:40PM - Meta-journaling

So this begins an experiment with moving my journaling section out of my own webspace and into a site that holds many journals. This is being tried for several reasons:

1) I've been neglectful again, and this is a way to jump start it.
2) It should be easier to update, thus cutting down on the neglectful thing.
3) My Macalester account will expire in a few months, this shouldn't.
4) Much easier to update when not on the school network.
5) The commenting ability is rather nice.

So in honor of this first post, I'm going to relay a few thoughts of mine about this thing's creation. For awhile I toyed with the idea of making it limited access, that is, no link from my main site and only a select few getting told the address. It's simply inevitable that the wider the readership, the less open a journal can be. Knock people off one by one, and you're able to discuss things about them that you may not feel they should know you're thinking. Knock off everyone, and you're completely free, say whatever you want without betraying any confidences and without fear that anything you write will cause a rift. With that thought, the reasnoning behind private diaries dawned on me. I'd known it on some level, of course, but had never really confronted myself with the thought of what it would be like until now.

On a similar point, the person who led me into trying this also has one, and is also affected by the openness/viewership dilemma. There is at least one person who I think it's fair to say just shouldn't read it. How this relates to me --- does this mean I need to keep her as removed from it as possible? Not having any mention in the Friends section, always have her either comment on entries not at all or anonymously? Well, I don't think so. The possibility of the wrong people being bothered to go to my home page and follow all the links necessary to see what's off limits is remote, almost 0. So I'm not worrying about that. But under different circumstances, I would have to. Cloak and dagger all, God forbid everyone knows what people *really* think of them, what an awful world that would be.

So, I may experiment with a bit more openness in here. If I do, I may ask certain people not to be offended and not to talk to me in person about what I write. It's unlikely it will be a problem, but we may see.

The grand opening! Yay!

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