china and jakeamasnake

i have to think about china's military capabilities and i'm not much in the mood for that. although i got my military assessment of iran back and it was a sound, thorough intelligence analysis which felt good. i'm not worried about the china thing, just not in the mood.

and i've been sporadically in contact with jake again which is lovely. he's in brooklyn. i've proposed that if i'm in romania and he's in lisbon this summer (honestly i thought he would have aimed for buenos aires, but i won't argue) we should meet up somewhere between those 2 places... maybe vienna? cologne? geneva? galway?

[sigh] back to work....

the kind of skin you can see through...

i've busted out an old favorite lately... belly's star to which i've not listened in years. and i had forgotten just how much fun "slow dog" is and how much it can pick up my mood! so, i need to stand up and leave the library (heck, this chair in front of this computer in the library) for the first time in 3 hours and put away the powerpoint project i've been formatting for the weekend, and bust a little "slow dog" and go somewhere outdoors and enjoy the lovely sunshine!

and prom was actually wicked fun. way more fun than the ex-bf's jr. prom i went to 11 years ago. and i never went to mine. it was weird at first - all these people i see every day dressed up, taking passed hors d'oeuvres, classical music playing... then the dj started playing the cheesy music, the free wine started flowing, and it turned out to be way too much fun. maybe the free wine had more to do with it than anything... but dancing to "toxic" is always ridiculously fun.

prom night

it's tonight.

i'm recycling my cocktail dress from the work party.

but getting a new pedicure.

however i have a class to go to and a migraine to kill first.

so i'm a busy monkey.


  • while i like the concept behind "nameless jay" it reminds me a bit of jay and silent bob. rowan, while a nice name i shall shy away from until i find out if anyone is naming their kid rowan in the immediate future. but since we've ventured into yarn territory, i'll entertain the idea of naming my iPod tahki. or maybe not. still entertaining suggestions. although i like the idea of naming my iPod something like bucko in memory of the crab who never had a chance.
  • nuts. the weekend migraine is back. if i still have it on saturday at noon, i'l ask for a ride to the hospital for the good stuff (i.e. schedule 2 or 3 narcotics). can't have the dilaudid get in the way of prom.
  • i have a new favorite russian verb. it is fun to say, and it means "i rest" which is fun to do. Я отдыхю. Ты отдыхаешь. (infinitive: oтдыхать)
  • Я елу университет сегодня.
  • (last russian bullet) I heard it! I finally understand the difference between ш and щ! and learned the fun word for thank you: благодарю and farewell: прощайте!
  • we basically have to redo our powerpoint on suicide bombing because the professor tore us a new one when we brought our tentative slideshow. WE FOLLOWED THE SYLLABUS TO THE LETTER.
  • i typed that last bullet originally with the French keyboard and it looked like this:
    "ze bqsicqlly hqve to redo our pozerpoint on suicide bo,bing becquse the professor tore us q nez one zhen ze brought our tentqtive slideshoz: ZE FOLLOZED THE SYLLQBUS TO THE LETTER:
  • i re-evaluated the situation and roses really DO smell like pooh, pooh, pooh.
  • okay, one more russian thing. i really need to learn how to read and write in russian cursive. i remember how much of a pain that was when i was 4, and now i have to do it again almost a quarter century later.
  • i love you oh, so well, like a kid loves candy and fresh snow.
  • no wandering in the woods whilst 9 months pregnant.

iPod update part 2

so, having converted most of the AIFF files to mp3 files (128 kbps), a about 2/3 finished with the conversions, my 1500 songs have gone from 31gb to 16 gb. hopefully it will be around 10gb when i wake up in the morning, and i'll be ready to upload the rest of my cd collection! (so that i'm all set to go to the balkans, you see!)

so exciting!

i'm taking a class next quarter that will, among other things, teach me how to plan and execute relief operations, respond to disasters, give me field medical experience (so, yes, should james the chick and i be stuck in the woods in mid-june with no one near by, i will know how to deliver bob. we can figure out why we were so foolish later), i'll be national disaster response qualified by the red cross for 5 different types of disaster, and know how to respond in a hostage situation.

the average humanitarian aid worker in the fields of water purification and food provision is over four times more likely to die in the line of work than an NYPD police officer. including the statistics from the world trade center.

if i'm REALLY lucky i'll go to the balkans this summer and do a 3 week intensive simulation whereupon we are responding to disasters, making convoys, setting up refugee camps, simulate airdrops, set up air cargo in an airplane, jump out of helicopters, simulate disaster relief do medical triage, and yes, even be ambushed on the road at 3 am after getting no sleep for the previous 96 hours, taken hostage and interrogated. following that we'll do 2 weeks of humanitarian aid work (primarily in eastern european orphanages and pediatric hospices - SO up my alley) and then have a little time to travel.

the program is the only one of its kind in the world. USAID thinks that all of its volunteers should do that program before being deployed overseas. it's created between my school, the u.s. government, and the eastern european government that will host the summer session.

that being said, i hate being dirty, i hate not being able to take a shower, i hate sleeping on the ground, i hate camping in general. and i'll be living in a camp for 3 weeks with an intermittently working shower, compromised water supply, sleeping in the ground, having intermittent power sources.

the costs? 25% airfare. spending money. if i want to travel, those costs.

am i scared?

do i want to do it?
are you nuts? of COURSE I WANT TO DO IT!

in an effort not to get dooced from grad school

i won't tell you WHICH professor a friend compared to a golden globe because of the sheer amount of bronzer which gets all over the papers said professor handles during the course of a day.

and i accidentally outed myself as a blogger in class last night. i pretended my blog would be hard to find, but really, it's a 2-step process. so if you're from that class, welcome!

and when asked what rss stood for, i swear, all i could think was "really spicy sauce."

iTunes question

okay, i have a question for all you savvier than i people out there.

i just came to the realization (yes, i'm slow) that i probably only have 1500 songs on my 40gb iPod and am up to 30gb because itunes has been defaulted to save my music files in AIFF format, and NOT in mp3 format. is there a way to convert all these AIFF files to mp3s without

a) erasing all of my formatting of the songs (i.e. volume adjustment)? i realize this is probably not going to happen, so i'm sort of resigned to it.
b) copying all 1500 songs and saving them 1 by 1 as mp3
c) do i really need a c) criterion? i just want to know if i can buy more room on the 'pod without it being a major thorn in my side.

help appreciated and accompanied by the joy that this brings.

(cherz rocks in the wacky seafood department. oddly, this came the morning after my own traumatic seafood night at red lobster with crazy mara and yaymee... i'm just glad it wasn't ME who got a faceful of lobster water)

update: thanks cherz for the input. it also turns out i'm oblivious to certain things, like when you right click on a song, one of the options is "convert to mp3" and i can do that and take up less room on the 'podster. doh! (i spent, seriously, an hour going through iTunes and iPod help menus and came up with nada. the answer was right in front of me the whole time.)

at least i have the end of quarter punchies to blame.

well, hmm.

it's tuesday and i'm having trouble remembering that, and that it's not wednesday.

i'm evidently in a hurry lately.

it seems that it's also time for the well-loved END OF QUARTER PUNCHIES!!!

loopiness and general hijinks are sure to ensue.

winding down monday...

monday is finally winding down.

on sunday, except for about 90 minutes when i had to start on a mini paper that was due today, i was in bed for the whole day. i slept off and on, did some reading, called my mommy, listened to music from my very own bed from 11:30 pm saturday night until about 7:30 monday morning. 29.5 hours when you take out the 90 minutes i was out of bed. (of which i spent a good 30 minutes tossing my cookies)

so today was a quiet day. i went to class, finished my papers, and fiddled with powerpoint, registered for classes, went to class, went to dinner with yaymee and crazy mara, and now i'm home.

it's time for bed. i'm exhausted. although thte 29.5 in hours may lead you to believe the contrary.

oh yes, i also bought a new toothbrush today! that must be what did me in.


okay, when will i learn not to watch pieces on autism on the news? today is doing a weeklong series on it this week in the 8 am hour, and i watched the first installment.

they did a lovely job identifying the early symptoms, the need for early intervention, and all in all the televised parts did well. there's a photo slide show and article on communicating through music, which is nice.

then i went to the website, and read about established and experimental therapies, and clicked on music therapy. and it said this:

"Many people with autism respond favorably to music as a form of therapy. For example, in the Tomatis method, which is named for the French doctor who developed it, a loop of music is played for several hours a day with the goal of improving a child’s attention and concentration."

and that's all. well, dang, didn't I just waste the last 7 years of my life on doing music therapy and floortime, music therapy and discrete trial, music therapy and social interaction, and pure music therapy to help achieve goals ranging from gross and fine motor development, human interaction, communication, social communication, sensory integration, imanginary play development, and helping families interact with their children, sometimes for the first time through music therapy.

don't get me wrong, tomatis is an established form of intervention for autism. many people have done it and had wonderful results.

but it ain't music therapy if it doesn't focus on a therapist-client interaction.

sundays are...

migraine days...

1/7th of my life for the past 10 years where i'm virtually useless. there have been some reprieves here and there, but usually sunday is also virtually useless.

i should stop planning on using sundays for homework.



i have to do homework all weekend - except for tomorrow afternoon and evening when i'm gonna help bake a cake for fritzie's birthday party and then go to the party.

i almost forgot about my paper due monday - i really have to work on that.

note to self: even if there's free wine at school, don't drink it before the really loooooooong seeming class - 'twill just make you sleepy.

in other news, someone in portland threw a shoe at a republican. james the chick, do we need to chat about appropriate behavior in public?

She'd have kittens if she heard that!

i love dual interpretation article headlines.

since i am aware that sarah has been a busy little monkey for this pregnancy i'll cut her some slack.

Other favorites:

  • Include Your Children When Baking Cookies
  • Drunks Get Nine Months in Violin Case
  • Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
  • Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
  • Miners Refuse to Work After Death
  • If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
  • Typhoon Rips through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
  • Stolen Painting Found by Tree
  • Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
  • British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands
  • Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
  • the best one of all: Female Panda Pregnant After Watching Panda Porn so that's where baby pandas come from...


there's a serial rapist in denver. he's attacked 5 people since friday - three of them were a grandmother who was babysitting her 2 granddaughters.


when i was leaving, allegedly is when he escaped, so i'm glad he didn't try to hitch a ride with me.

i'm so glad i didn't know about this until this morning.


this weekend i went shopping. i spent 3, yes 3, hours at old navy looking for the perfect jeans. i had replaced my old favorite jeans when they tore beyond decency with the same jeans. and i hated them, so i needed new ones to replace what should have been my new favorite jeans.

and i looked through every piece of denim they had until i found 2 to meet my exacting criteria:

1. they had to fit right and not squeeze anything
2. they had to be even a tiny bit on sale because why pay full price for anything - especially at old navy where everything is on sale sooner rather than later and later is obscenely on sale.

and i found not one, but 2 pairs after all this looking. all in all, i did pretty well:

$100 for 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of cords, 1 pair of work pants, 1 shirt, and 1 coat.

today i'm wearing the work pants ($7!) and see that after walking around in them for about an hour, they're vaguely too big and show my tushie more than i usually do at work. i hope i don't run into a nun.

today... off to a strange start.

after bringing the beastie home from his surgery (they have to send the tumor to histopathology to assess the nature of it - not as good as having it be a blatantly benign tumor, but not bad news yet), he was a strange little monkey. this was probably from the anesthaesia and not having eaten since sunday morning. but he wouldn't leave my side, poor creature, and was already on his second bandage, having removed the first while waiting for me to pick him up yesterday.

(random funny dog story: the vet brings her dog to work, and has just bought him a new anti-bark collar that sprays a short blast of citronella in the dog's face after barking to condition the dog not to bark so much. ernie was in his cage, and the vet's dog ran up to ernie, and ernie, being a dog-hater, barked at the vet's dog, setting off the vet's dog's citronella collar, and frightening the poor vet's dog so much he ran away and hid under the vet's desk for the next hour)

this morning, he was MUCH perkier, but his foot was 3x the size of his other front foot, and his toenails were purple. so i called the vet at 7 am and asked if it was likely due to the surgery or the tightness of the pressure bandage. she asked me to bring him in, i did and they rebandaged him more loosely. however in the office, he was jumping around so much he squished the swelling out of his foot and they thought i was batty for thinking it was swollen.

today, i must finish my grant proposal, get my work done, iron MORE clothes, and hope that it stops snowing because it makes it annoying to get to school to turn in my paper for class. but i don't need ironed clothes for class.

note to self:

even if you are running late, and don't really care what you wear, check the calendar anyway to make sure you're not the doofus wearing the pink shirt on Valentine's day.

hey, at least it's clean.

listen... do you smell that?

it is so weird being home right now... it's quiet. even with the tv and a radio and random computer noises, it's very still in my house.

the crazy mutt isn't here. of the 5 years we've co-habitated, possibly i have spent a total of 4 days when he was not home. about 20 days apart in toto.

he's having expensive surgery. to remove a lumpy thing from his leg. i've been calling him lumpy, pointing and laughing at him. the mutt doesn't seem to mind the taunting much.

but although i need to clean my house (and i really, REALLY need to clean it) i have so much school work to do instead.

so i'm off to school.

Blogging from the Great Beyond


Dooce is gone, and she's blogging from the grave.

THAT is dedicated blogging, people.

prom nite 2005

It's official.

I'm Crazy Mara's date for GSIS Prom. She bought the tickets yesterday.

Although Jill suggested dismembering corsages to wear in our hair, I think we'll go corsage-free. And limo-free. I feel obliged to say hotel room-free.

Aw, monkeys! I need to buy another dress...

what i think is random about the internet

you can know one person in "real life" and then you get to recognize people from that friend's "real life" whom you don't know. then you start to recognize their people from their real lives.

then suddenly, you're playing Guess the Dictator or Sit-Com Character

(thanks to axis ost for the link-a-rino)

The Kiss

Christmas of 2000, I was living in Athens, GA... I had a very unattractive, yet happy house to live in... (unattractive because it was painted teal with pink and white trim, and had a brown and black velour couch with peacock and turkey feathers, happy because i loved it, and the couch was SO comfortable...but I love my bordello red happiness much more...).

'Twas the mutt and myself scampering through the open design loft apartment (no, get that NYC loft image out of your head and think a living room with a ladder going up to a glorified shelf where my mattress was), and the Gap Christmas commercials for that season started playing. And one of them stopped me in my tracks. There was a soundstage with fake snow swirling about and two improbably lovely people walking toward each other and culminating in a kiss. Whatever. The arresting thing was the song that was playing.

I emailed numerous people in the Gap hierarchy, and finally someone told me that the commercial was called "The Kiss" featuring "The Shining" by Badly Drawn Boy. From their album (with possibly the best album title ever) The Hour of the Bewilderbeast. And I went right away to the local record store (dang, I miss Athens for its AMAZING live music and music stores) and realized I had no money to justify buying a new cd... a state I have been in many, many times.

Last night, a full 4+ years later, scuttling around the amazon site, I found this:

Free Legal Download of Badly Drawn Boy's "The Shining" from The Hour of the Bewilderbeast.

And, yes, it's every bit as amazing as it was then.

Update: Okay, I can't seem to let this go. This song makes me so happy. Not because it's a peppy happy song, but because it's the muted sort of joy tinged with just enough sadness that you remember not to take it for granted. And the muted joy that makes you smile behind your hand with your eyes closed briefly. Like The Little Prince's love of sunsets when he is sad.

It's even making the fact that I've been stuffing folders for the past 3 hours more tolerable.


it's ash wednesday.

i work in a catholic hospital so i slipped in for mass.

and i have ashhead now.

get it out, get it out, get it out!

I have a single line from "Afternoon Delight" stuck in my head and it won't stop!

Skyyyyyyyrockets in flight, afternoon delight!

That's all that I keep hearing. None of the rest of the song, just that...

Skyyyyyyyrockets in flight, afternoon delight!
Skyyyyyyyrockets in flight, afternoon delight!
Skyyyyyyyrockets in flight, afternoon delight!
Skyyyyyyyrockets in flight, afternoon delight!
Skyyyyyyyrockets in flight, afternoon delight!
Skyyyyyyyrockets in flight, afternoon delight!

Please make it go away...



You're a winner!

this winningness in no represents any tangible or intangible prizes to come. this just means that you get that silly, tickly, nervous-like feeling when something really good happens.

I am not proficient at writng gobbledegook.


Originally uploaded by swandive00.

So my school is having the GSIS Semi-Formal. We're HAVING PROM??? In grad school? This is SO weird...

(how could I NOT go to the GSIS prom? besides, crazy mara said she'd buy my ticket and be my date as long as we didn't do corsages.)

treatise on dog poo

dog poo is indeedy gross. no one likes to pick it up. however, it's so much worse to not pick it up. and SO much worse to step in it...

the people who live upstairs from me got a puppy about a month ago. she's cute, she's spastic, and she reminds me all the reasons i'm glad ernie's not a puppy anymore. sometimes, the people upstairs leave her outside in the yard. because of the crappy condition of our fence, they leave her on the lead that i leave ernie on occasionally.

and she, being a dog, poops when outside. granted, i don't pick up the yard after each poo (i don't have enough baggies, usually i pick up the previous 3 with the current one in a single bag). but my front door to my apartment is in the back yard of the house. so sometimes when she poops in the backyard, not being conscientious like my puppy that only poops on grass, dirt, or other yard materials, she poops on the sidewalk leading to my door.

and on my front doorstep. and it takes them a week to pick it up. one week the dog poo would sit o n my front step waiting for me to step in it on one of my midnight doggy trip to the facilities.

that is if i didn't pick it up for them.


whining ahead

Today is Friday.

  • It's going to be a long, boring day at work.
  • I have a bit of a headache.
  • I wish I were asleep.
  • Tonight is a birthday party for a friend. (In theory, it's a surprise, but he's known about it for ages. We all still call it his surprise party.)
  • I really hope I want to go to it because I've been an antisocial monkey lately.
  • It's going to be a long night, I'm sure filled with drama (the reason I've been an antisocial monkey lately)
  • It's starting at Crazy Mara's house and then going to Park Tavern (where it always seems to be 2 for 1) at 11th and Ogden.
  • We made him an apron and a visor last night with puffy paint. But decided not to go too over the top, because if they were tacky, "he might not wear them."
  • Then fell down with the ridiculousness of that statement.
  • But I need some excedrin and a sodapop... oooh, cherry pepsi sounds amazing....

What should I do, Mommy?

What should I do if there's a terrorist attack?
Where should I go?
Should I call someone if we don't all meet up?
What if I can't find someone to help me?

This reactionary TV commercial brought to you by our Department of Homeland Security. To find out more, go to!


will someone please bring me some brunch since i missed breakfast and by now won't want to eat lunch?

thanks. if i'm not there, just leave it at my desk.


Thanks to semaphoria, particleman and moocow for giving me some of the most surreal thesis topic ideas ever!

Now, all I have to do is figure out the thesis topic that involves sea monkeys, borscht addiction, and Dr. Seuss...

(by the way, my biggest problem with Eastern European Small Arms topics is I have the most unfortunate visual image of Eastern Europeans with teeny arms, much like those found on tyrannosaurus rex)

(I think I finally have my thesis topic narrowed down slightly but not enough to post yet)

ask the internet: I NEED A THESIS TOPIC!

I've been googling search strings for weeks and weeks and still not happy with my choices... So here are my areas of interest:

Post-Soviet bloc
arms control
weapons of mass destruction
chemical and biological warfare

I'm not terribly interested in small arms and light weapons, but that's a significant problem in Central and Eastern Europe...

I also can't get over how I am interested in WMD, CBW, and arms control...

mid-quarter crisis

the dinner party is done. and suddenly, the blinders i've been wearing to the schoolwork i have to to just fell off... and oh boy is there a lot of it...

in the security program, security classes are heavy on the group projects and powerpoint presentations... and i have 3 powerpoints, 3 group presentations, 3 major research project all due within a week of each other, and i have to come up with and declare a thesis topic by next tuesday. i kinda sorta know what i want to theoretically do for a thesis topic (i'm undecided as to whether i'll actually write a thesis; it's optional in my program) but i don't really know the security related issues or know if i have the resources to pull it together in a week (and a teeny 5-slide powperpoint for thesis topic presentation).

so if the words "suicide bombing," "multinational terrorist organization," "small arms smuggling," "russian-irish technological espionage," "chinese economic security threats," "cross-strait relations," or any other phrases that seem like nonsequitors in the middle of a seemingly non-international security conversation, it's because i'm subconsciously writing papers in the back of my head while i'm talking to you.

in other news, since cutting back the dairy to almost nil (i haven't really been involved with cheese lately either!) last week with the sinus infection, i've shockingly become fond of hazelnut soy lattes... the soy milk is so sweet and nutty in of itself, however, that i usually ask for 1/2 of the amount of hazelnut just to give the impression that the sweet and nutty is from that and not the soy milk, because i still think soy milk is nowhere near as tasty as milk or rice milk...

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erratically updated for food, yarn, or other nonspecified reasons