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Osama bin Laden

I have been struggling all day with finding the right words to explain how I feel about the news last night. There are warring factions inside of me when it comes to the death of Osama bin Laden. My patriotism, humanity, and intellect are all vying for attention; the end result being that thinking about it leaves me emotionally drained and overall apathetic.

There is a part of me that is glad that Osama has been taken out. This is the part that feels empathy for the survivors of 9/11, the citizens of New York, and the brave men and women who responded to the crisis. This is the part of me who was watching CNN at the moment the second plane hit and at the moment when the towers came crashing down. This reaction is a dichotomy of a primal nature within me that seeks vengence for such actions, and the caring side of me who's heart still goes out to everyone who was directly impacted by the tragedy.

The pleased, primal, side of me is not alone though. While I can aknowledge a side of me who seeks justice at all costs, my humanity and compassion keep this away from the forefront. I cannot rejoice over this news. I cannot even smile at this news. The targeted killing of any person, whether within war or with out, no matter how justified, does not - in the end - ellicit any joy from me. Nor do I believe the death of any individual ever should.

Osama bin Laden was a mass murderer and a terrorist. He played a role in orchestrating an atrocity directed at my fellow Americans; victims whose sole transgression had been to go to work that day or to walk a certain sidewalk. Despite this crime though, Osama bin Laden is not and has never been the problem. He was a symptom. The death of that man, heinous though his crimes, brings us no safety. It brings us no security. Celebrating the death certainly brings no virtue to us as a people, as a nation, or as human beings.

The events of 9/11 have shaped my life, frames of reference, and thought processes in ways that can never be undone. The ripples from that day affect mine, and all Americans', lives in very tangible ways to this very day: in ways that go beyond the emotional, the intellectual, and come into our daily lives through security theater and the loss of our own liberties. I can dream that the death of Osama bin Laden closes a chapter in our collective lives. A can dream that, with a sigh of relief, the end of this chapter brings with it an end to aggressive nationalism, racism, religious intolerance, zealotry, narcisism, and transgressions against human rights in the name of safety from terrorism. I can dream of the abolishment of the patriot act, the closing of Guatanamo Bay, the return of our troops, and the powering down of body-scanners.

None of these dreams will come to pass though. Just as Osama bin Laden was a symptom of a greater problem on the international scale, so to are the problems listed above symptoms of ailments within our own society. Perhaps in my life I will see us, as compatriots, band together to cure the sicknesses that cause these. I will smile at the death of these injustices, but never at the loss of a human life.

Me??? Chef????

Alright, so I wanted to make a goulash type dinner for my day to cook:

Last night I  browned 1.5lbs of ground beef
chopped 2 onions
sauteed onions in butter and wine
put in crock-pot with 4 cups of beef broth

added the following ingredients:
garlic powder
worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper
caraway seed
chili powder
mustard powder
4-5 shots of bourbon

The meal cooked all night in the crockpot and for the entirety of today.  It smelled wonderful.

I wanted to thicken it up before putting it over noodles.  I took a cup of the stock and stirred in 2 cups of flour.  I added this back to the crockpot but it didn't thicken.  So, I did the same thing again.  In frustration, I dumped the remaining 2 cups of flour into the crockpot and stirred but it never thickened.  So, I called my mom to get a recommendation.  

She explained that 6 cups was an insanely huge amount for what I was trying to do.  She also said that I needed to bring it to a boil for a couple minutes to get it to thicken.   So, I strained the stock from the crockpot and let it boil.  After about 10 minutes I gave up and called mom again.  She gave me some recommendations but I decided to ignore them and just poured the stock back into the crockpot.  

I cooked the noodles and added them to the "goulash."  Mithrana and I had some but I wasn't much of a fan.  It just wasn't what I had expected.  When valda got home she felt the same way.  I complained to her about the trouble I had had with it and then we started watching a tv show.  

About 10 minutes later valda starts lauphing from the kitchen.  She found the empty container of powerdered sugar and figured out what my problem had been.  

A chef I am not...

how natural are the cliches?

I just had a conversation with my office mate about recent movies and it got me thinking.  When, in the Star Trek movie, a cliche from the original series was thrown in it didn't bother me.  I wasn't disturbed by Kirk being with a green skinned woman, him being chased by the alien, or any of the accents etc.  However, when I cliche was thrown in from another of the terminator movies in the recent Terminator flick, I groaned and thought it was a poor choice.  For example, I can't believe they threw in the, "I'll be back" line.

Why the difference?  

The only thing I can think of is how "forced" the line or event is.  Did kirk with the green alien do something for the plot or give new-comers insight into the character?  Yes, I think so.  That seems to be the difference...  Any thoughts?

Lego creation

rebelowl42 threw down the gauntlet recently with his new Lego project.  I have decided to rise to the challenge.  Unfortunately, I am anxiously awaiting a few shipments that will allow me to work on this more.  The vessel will be a 3 masted ship with 1 complete gun deck.  As the Owl pointed out, it should be similar to Jack Aubrey's "Surprise" from the Master and Commander series.   

Due to a lack of parts I have only been able to build up the stern of the vessel.  I have gotten it to the point that I am building out the captain's cabin.  The walls and roof of this room are not complete yet, but I wanted to show off what's going on thus far.  The family has been very patient and helpful with the project. 

The pictures are available here, but I'll show off a few:

Port side of the vessel - two gun ports are visible.  I need to get covers for the ports when the cannon aren't rolled out.  Also, the rudder hasn't even been built yet.

Here is the captain's floor with desk/drawers, stool, lamp, and bed.

The hold and gun decks of the stern of the new ship - secondary wheel visible in the hold along with the canon tracks on the gun deck

This is the rear of the vessel.  The two rear cannon are visible low, along with the windows for the gun d eck.  The walls for the captain's cabin are still under construction.

Now the floor is in place - only 4 pips hold the entire 12x12 floor down, so it is easy to break away.


The story of Aiden's birth

For those that are interested, I am posting the story leading up to Aiden's birth.  Cut for friend's page friendliness...

Read more...Collapse )


How I spend my days

I spend my time now-a-days doing one of a few things... Sometimes ostensibly at the same time...



Reflecting on life

Watching Babylon 5


Some of these things deserve to have something said about them; the most important ones in particular.

Sleeping - I certainly don't get enough sleep lately.  Perhaps it is an attempt to claim every moment I can as my own before the birth of my son.  Perhaps it's because I'm stubborn and lack common sense. 

Watching Babylon 5 - I missed this series when it was airing originally.  Mainly because I'm a Trekkie and had no interest in this wanna-be.  Also partially because I had trouble wading through the deluge of *horrible acting* and cheap sets.  However, I've gotten through the muck and am now enjoying the series.  'nuf said.

Working - Eh, I do what I gotta do...

Reflecting on life - There have been a few big things I've been thinking about lately.  Partially about the "hermit" like way that I live my life... partially about the lack of social contact that we have as a household...  Partially about Polyamory and our society/family...  And I find myself being very self-critical lately...  At the same time, I'm thinking a lot about life-lessons; things that I have learned and things that I want to pass on.  Today's topic: regret... regret...Collapse )

The computer is silent



Imagine those words coming from Jean-Luc Picard, James T. Kirk, et al. without any response; the familiar beep followed by a female's voice that we all recognize.   That's what has happened as of today.  The wife of Gene Roddenberry, Majel Roddenberry, has passed away.  In addition to notable roles throughout the various incarnations of the Trek 'Verse, she has been the voice of The Computer in every Star Trek series.  She has passed away today at the age of 76...


I'm a consumer, and can slide down walls

Alright, alright...  I get it.  The economy is shitty.  I've been saving too much money (ha!) lately.  If I really want to be an American and not some terurist, I should go out to dinner every night, go on thousand dollar shopping sprees, and do my part to jump-start our economy.  So, with that said, I do not feel the least bit guilty about having gone shopping last night.  The guilt may kick in when the mortgage comes due again, but until that time I will be happy.  Of course, come December 1 I will probably slip into a vodka induced coma...

We went to the mall yesterday.  I was *dragged* kicking and screaming by the ladies.  By *dragged*, I mean, I agreed because it meant that I got to go to the lego store.  Yes, the mecca of nostalgia and overpriced plastic injection molded blocks that have no real purpose other than to sit in a container and await my choosing to directed creative energy at it rather than at a gaming console/computer. 

We walked away from the lego store with some more cups of blocks and a very cool lego bank.  This lego mechanical "piggy" bank (really, it's a "dragon" bank) is teh awsome!  Maybe I'll post a picture of it after we build it tonight.  I also got some new shoes and the ladies got some clothing.  No, these weren't from the lego store, they were from a department store elsewhere in the mall.  That does give me some ideas about another direction that Lego could take it's lineup....  I imagine it would make bras a little easier for nervous geek boys to undo :)

I also got one other thing...  a new PS3 title, "Mirror's Edge."  I played it for an hour last night and am just floored by the graphics and the sheer intensity of the game play.  I am worried that I may not be able to keep up with the intensity, and perhaps won't play it as often as I hope...  But I'll cross that bridge when I get there.  It's a game that takes place in a near-future dystopian city that has seen the erosion of almost all civil liberties and privacy.  A sub-culture of "runner" has developed that move freely above and through the city to deliver messages, items, etc, that the "powers that be" would be interested in.  Basically, if you have a message that you don't want to deliver over a controlled medium, you get a runner to handle it.  The gameplay itself has an interesting perspective.  It looks like a 1st person shooter, without the weapons, and without any sort of HUD.  Moving away from the normal FPS taboos, you can see your arms and legs as you move about and interact with your environment.  As you move about the environment it becomes apparent (at least to me) that this is more of a physics game-play experiement that has the potential to  be enjoyable as a "toy" in the vein of "Katamari Damaci." 

With all that said, it is damn intense sliding down the sloped glass exteriors of high-rise buildings, grabbing a zip line, dropping on another building and jumping from ledge to ledge to escape the pursuing officers. 

wonderful weekend

Boy, was this a great weekend.  I have neglected to post about it until now, but to celebrate LJ being back up (and giving me something to do while waiting on hold with coworkers) I'll give the rundown.  Spur of the moment on Saturday morning we decided to attend the anti-Proposition 8 rally that was being held downtown.  We called around and got

maera_danann  to join us there after picking up kommie .  It was enjoyable.  There were a few good speakers, and some rather moving moments.  All in all, I'm glad we went and will be happy to show our support again in the future. 

After the show we went to Best Buy to look around and discovered a whopping pile of 50 Wiis right in the front of the store.  kommie saw this as his chance to finally get one.  Unfortunately, that means that he'll get to practice on his own and I won't be able to kick his ass any more at tennis...  At least he hasn't bought Mario Kart yet.

Saturday evening wyvernmoon came over to spend the night with a baby Robyn in tow.  With her hubby out of town, we invited her over so that she didn't have to be lonely and could have some help from friends keeping an eye on the little one.  I kicked ass at getting the baby to fall asleep - I guess I just have a penchant for getting women into a comatose state.  The house quickly became filled with friends as we hung out and then sat around watching Gettysburg.  kommie and I made it through the whole movie, but most of the others either passed out or bailed out at various times.  Kudos in particular go to tashar for making further than most of the others. 

On Sunday kommie and I took valda793  's parents their scooter from our garage and disposed of an old recliner so there would be room for it in their living room.  I was actually rather disappointed in The Salvation Army because they turned down the donation.  The guy working the donation site said the arms are worn, and thus would need reupholstered before they could sell it.  I disagree, and think that this was a perfectly fine second-hand chair.  Eh, hopefully someone will rescue it from next to the dumpster.

Hmm, what else... what else... Oh, I spent some time building an Amazon wishlist.  I always feel crappy making something like this, but I'm getting past that.  Actually, the past couple days I have added dozens of items to it and really hope I make friends with a millionaire that can afford to buy all the lego sets that are on the list.  If you know any millionaires that are lonely, let me know .

Oh oh oh oh oh, I almost forgot.  Congrats to valda793 for her induction into the honor's society on Friday evening.  We are very proud of her.  it was also fun giving the small digital camera to her father so that he could take pictures at the ceremony.  He really was enjoying using it, and it's nice to see him get excited about something.



Friends rock

Last night's performance was enjoyable. I wish that there had been more rehearsal time with the brass quintet, but all in all I can't complain. Actually, to the contrary, I can rave about how happy I am about last night.  tashar , soonerfan645 , and maera_danann showed up for the performance and suprised the hell out of me when I was helping to strike the set.  We chose not to stay for the second half of the show but instead met valda793 and mithrana at Chili's for some yummy deserts. 

Valda793 has her induction ceremony tonight into her sorority, and after that our schedule is finally going to slow down a little bit.  We've all needed a little break from the sheer insanity that has been the past few days weeks months. 

I had a few realizations last night that I'll post more about later.  I am beginning to reexamine my reasons for leaving UH and abandoning my Masters program.