A Change of Heart
Friday, April 30, 2004 ~ 01:48 p.m.
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Perhaps I've been a bit harsh on Dubya. Maybe I just haven't given him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe all his rhetoric really does have a grain of truth.

As the President has said: "The people of Iraq are emerging from a long trial. For them, there will be no going back to the days of the dictator, to the miseries and humiliation he inflicted on that good country. For the Middle East and the world, there will be no going back to the days of fear, when a brutal and aggressive tyrant possessed terrible weapons."

Surely we can all agree that such a thing would be wonderful for the Iraqi people.

And when I see these pictures from the new free Iraq, it really hammers home the differences democracy has already made in their lives.

In fact, this picture in particular really seems to express the hope and freedom that our army has brought to the Iraqi people. Thank goodness that the days of fear and misery and humiliation are over.

No wonder they cheer us in the streets...just like Mr. Bush said they would.

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Humor for the Day
Friday, April 30, 2004 ~ 09:01 a.m.
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This is why I love The Onion:

Bush To Iraqi Militants: 'Please Stop Bringing It On'
WASHINGTON, DC In an internationally televised statement Monday, President Bush modified a July 2003 challenge to Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces. "Terrorists, Saddam loyalists, and anti-American insurgents: Please stop bringing it on now," Bush said at a Monday press conference. "Nine months and 500 U.S. casualties ago, I may have invited y'all to bring it on, but as of today, I formally rescind that statement. I would officially like for you to step back." The president added that the "it" Iraqis should stop bringing includes gunfire, bombings, grenade attacks, and suicide missions of all types.

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Linky goodness
Wednesday, April 28, 2004 ~ 04:45 p.m.
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My cousin Laura sent me a link to a very good article about the Pentagon's ban on photos of casualties. Go forth and read: "Don't Look Now" by Ellen Goodman. Thanks, Laura!

I recently tumbled onto to a new site that pretty much sums up my feelings about the upcoming election: JohnKerryIsADoucheBagButI'mVotingForHimAnyway.com. The guy who's writing for the site is actually very intelligent and the essay he has up right now is pretty damn good. The message overall: Yeah, Kerry's kind of a shmuck, but he's all we've got.

With the sudden rash of accidents, I wonder if any of us will survive until Friday. Ralph chopped his foot up on his one of his kid's toys. Todd got hit by a car on his bike yesterday - he's fine, somehow, and the guy's buying him a new bike today, but yeesh. I stepped in a friggin' deep hole out on a job today and twisted my knee. Several other people have injured themselves with varying degrees of severity recently. It's weird. Maybe it's an involuntary reaction to being stuck inside, whole and hale, when it's so beautiful outside.

Only 15 minutes until I get to go home!

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The Precious
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 ~ 09:59 a.m.
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I added a few more pictures to my pictures page this past weekend. Yay, pictures. I also found the camera that I am now lusting after: the Olympus C-750 Ultra Zoom, also know as "The Precious."

Yesterday, I left for Mississippi at 6 AM. I got back home at 11:30 PM. It took us 12 hours to do a job that in Alabama soils would only have taken 6. By the end of the day I was cold, tired, soaked, and covered from head to toe in sand and mud...and I was in good shape compared to the poor drillers. I hate Mississippi.

But still, it was better than sitting in the office, trying to focus on writing reports.

And for some reason, I'm craving coffee cake.

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On the road again...
Friday, April 23, 2004 ~ 02:14 p.m.
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First to Atlanta for Ryan and Laurie's wedding and back again, then on to Fulton, Mississippi on Monday. Yep, my little car is going to be doing a lot of running around over the next three days. Sad thing is, I'm getting to where I like traveling.

Kind of wish I wasn't going to miss Panoply, though. One day I'll actually spend a weekend in town. ;-)

I'm a little worried about leaving Lilo by herself this weekend. I know she'd be fine normally, but after what happened to Todd's dog after her surgery, I'm scared that something awful will happen while I'm gone. Eee.

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Let the others do the talking
Friday, April 23, 2004 ~ 09:59 a.m.
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Today's Quote of the Day is a special one. It comes from one George Bush Senior.

The following is an excerpt from the article "Why We Didn't Remove Saddam" by George Bush Sr. and Brent Scowcroft, Time (2 March 1998):

"We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome."

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The Memory Hole: 361 photos of caskets returning to Dover

Yeah, that guy really pissed in the Pentagon's cheerios. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that whole site is about two steps away from be declared a threat to national security. Good job.

And as if coffins weren't enough, here we have collection of stories from the wounded. He also has photos of some of them, now that they're home and recovering. Honestly, these bother me even more than the coffins. Mostly it's just a lot of arm and leg prosthetics, but missing eyes are pretty common too.

Yep, that's the stuff we're not supposed to see.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't oppose the war because people are getting killed. It's a war - that's what happens. What I DO oppose is people dying and being maimed without cause because of the administration's lies. And even more so, I resent the government's attempts to keep the reality of the cost of their lies under wraps.

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That pesky reality again
Thursday, April 22, 2004 ~ 02:34 p.m.
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You know, we're not supposed to see these kinds of pictures. It's not an accident that we haven't seen or heard a thing about returning dead and injured. Hell, we've barely heard about the returning uninjured!

I guess it's hard to keep up the image of the noble American soldier liberating the thankful Iraqi people to bring democracy and peace, when said thankful Iraqi people keep sending our troops back home in flag-draped boxes.

I've been meaning to post a quasi-rant for a while, starting with the outcry over the pictures of the American "contractors" that were killed in Iraq. First off, I think we need to applaud Michael Fancher (editor of the Seattle Times, the newspaper that printed the above picture) for refusing to allow the government to dictate what he can and cannot print. Then, I think we need to think very very hard about why it is that he's the first one to do so.

RANT

Personally, I think that pictures of war casualties should be given equal time on our front covers with the other images of war. War is gruesome. It's ugly and terrible and bloody. No matter what the reason for fighting - no matter the cause or the justification - the consequences are there and we can't turn a blind eye to them. You can support the war all you want, but you had better look unflinchingly at every single casualty. And if you can't say, "Yes, it was worth it" to every single face, then you should really reconsider your vote.

You can support the war or not, but no one should ever decide without seeing the entirety of the consequences. And if Americans are uncomfortable with seeing the end result of their Fox News-driven opinions...well, they should be.

/RANT

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Blah blah blah
Thursday, April 22, 2004 ~ 12:38 p.m.
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In case you hadn't already noticed, I hardly ever have anything interesting to say. I pretty much only post these days so that people know I'm still alive. Sorry to Jen, Kim, and Jo and everyone else who hasn't heard from me 4 or 5 months. I'm not dead yet!

So anyway, right now, things are good.

Lilo is doing much better. I felt terrible Monday when I got her home from the vet, because she looked awful. It turned out not only was she pregnant, she was very very very pregnant. I wish they hadn't told me, because I cried over those kittens, but I guess things worked out for the best. She was too little and starved to have given birth easily, even if I could somehow have taken care of four cats. Now she's jumping around and playing and seems to feel fine.

Things went rather differently at last night's meeting than I'd expected. Robert's going to be president next year (the poor bastard) and I trust him not to screw things up. He'll handle the stress and the responsibility very well and I know he won't quit at some critical moment, which were my two biggest fears with Amber. So everything on that front is okay.

As far as work goes, they're sending me back to Mississippi next week. Here's hoping I'm not confronted with any more starving, hurt animals. The last one's caused me enough trouble. ;-)

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You're not a particuarly cute mouse, are you?
Monday, April 19, 2004 ~ 09:28 a.m.
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Quote of the Day: "I will only say this once: You mess with me and I will mail your ass back to you in a Pringles can." - Friday's Get Fuzzy

Well, the FE was painful. I figure that they can't really beat us with sticks as a rite of passage, so instead they beat us bloody with the FE. Personally, I'd have opted for the sticks, given the choice. There's just something ugly about a test in which you literally guess on 46% of the questions. I've never felt so stupid in my entire life.

On the upside, it's over...at least until October. I don't really feel relieved yet, but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

ASCE is still a real problem. More specifically, Amber, my so-called secretary, is the problem. She's done nothing but fight me these last few months and it's getting worse. She gets mad when I insist that our paddlers come to practice - she doesn't think I should ask them to do anything they don't want to do. She gets mad when I ask her to do her job as secretary. She seems to have forgotten that she's secretary of ASCE, not president of the steel bridge club. She gets mad when we ask her to help out with fundraising or when we tell her that people might have to pay a little bit for Nationals. We have elections this Wednesday and she's planning on running for president. I plan on cutting her off at the knees. I've worked too hard on this club to let her destroy it next year...even though I'm starting to hate it.

I keep telling myself that it will all be over July 1st. After that, it's smooth sailing for Sarah.

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Just all kinds of joy coming my way
Tuesday, April 13, 2004 ~ 03:16 p.m.
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*sigh* And it's back to Mississippi. Tupelo proper this time, on yet another hospital job. Apparently this one doens't want us drilling during the day, so we're stuck with early morning and after-dark. Or that was the word yesterday. Today, who knows? All that's certain is that tomorrow I'll be heading back to Mississippi for another day or so. Lovely.

The FE is looming. Really really looming. I have two reviews this week, tonight and Thursday from 7 to 10 both nights. Then the real thing on Saturday, all day long - 8 hours of engineering test. Gaaah. Next week is going to seem like heaven.

The Honors Convocation seemed even more pointless this year than it has the last three. I was glad my family got to come, but I'd rather we'd just gone straight to lunch. Again, I wonder why they even bother to praise people with a major in worthlessness (read: philosophy) for choosing a worthless (read: worthless) career. That sounds harsh, I know, but if you're going to lose four years of your life to school, at least lose them learning something you didn't already know how to do. The least you can do afterwards is attempt to contribute something meaningful to society. I mean, we need every burger-flipper we can get.

Bah. It's cold and that makes me mean(er).

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Cats: The gift that keeps on giving
Monday, April 12, 2004 ~ 01:32 p.m.
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"When you get dressed in the morning, you're really making a decision as to how you're going to behave for the day. Putting on flipflops is really saying, 'I hope I don't get chased today. Be nice to people in sneakers.'" - Demetri Martin

Well, it was an uneventful weekend. I spent most of it in a food-induced near-comatose state. The most thought-intensive task the whole two days was deciding whether or not I could eat just one more roll. I tell you, that's the good life.

In other news, I have a horrible suspicion that my newly-adopted cat is pregnant. I keep hoping that she's just a pig, but her increasingly-larger belly just doesn't really look or feel like fat. I have to find time to go to the vet to clear up the issue, one way or the other, but it can't be this week because of the FE. I keep telling her that she'd better not be pregnant, but I don't think she much cares what I think.

Friggin' Mississippi.

UPDATE: Well, the cat has her "no-kittens-for-you" appointment scheduled for next Monday. If only it were that easy to revoke a human's right to reproduce. There's a couple people I can think of offhand who'd be in for priority surgery.

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Seldom do I see something so disturbing...
Friday, April 9, 2004 ~ 02:40 p.m.
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Sweet cracker sandwich, that is DISGUSTING! Friggin' Netherlands - I think the cold must have gotten to their brains. These insane people have started implanting eye jewelry.

That's eye jewelry, people, as in JEWELRY in your EYE.

I'm sorry, but JEWELRY was never meant to go in your EYE!

Jeff, you'll have to make sure to forward that one on to Susie. I'm sure she'll get a kick out of it.

Eww. Just plain eww. *shudder*

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Sanctioned Stupidity
Tuesday, April 6, 2004 ~ 12:40 p.m.
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The topic of this article is retarded beyond words.

I'm sorry, but granting any kind of legal status to an illegal immigrant is kind of...well, stupid. You should have to be a legal citizen to be entitled to legal documents. Seems to me, INS should just hang out at the DMV and snag them as they come in. I mean, if we're going to go through all the trouble of having immigration laws, why the hell would we actively subvert them by turning a blind eye to KNOWN illegal aliens?

Bah. This whole tendency of the Bush children to write laws subverting other laws *cough* Patriot Act *cough* is getting to be somewhat annoying.

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Work work work
Monday, April 5, 2004 ~ 09:39 p.m.
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I like my job, but this constant uncertainty is annoying. Right now, I don't know if I have to go to Tupelo this week or not. If I do, it'll most likely be "the end of the week" which means Thursday and Friday. That sucks because I was hoping to go home a little early on Friday for the Easter weekend. Instead I get to leave Tupelo at 7 for a 5-hour drive to Nashville. *wince* I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things in Mississippi will stay delayed until next week, especially since I'm already behind at the office.

I'll be glad when all I have to worry about is work, but with the canoe that's not going to be any time soon. It's one thing to have five people carry a club on their backs to Regionals. It's another thing entirely to expect them to handle a National competition.

I could really use a vacation.

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It's already April?
Friday, April 2, 2004 ~ 02:15 p.m.
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It's hard to believe I've been out of school for three and a half months now. It only feels like a few weeks, and I keep expecting to have to go back at some point. I guess it's because I've been so busy that I haven't really noticed time passing. I'm just now starting to realize how long it's been since I've seen half of my friends!

The work situation is starting to stabilize. I've been very very busy, but at least I get to go home to MY apartment and MY bed instead of some random hotel room. Lilo is doing well, having finally come home from Todd's, although she has developed the peculiar habit of attacking my socks - with my feet still in them.

The FE is in two weeks. I've missed all but four of the review sessions and I have never felt so unprepared for anything in my life. The problem with being tested on the fundamentals of engineering is that I forgot most of those years ago when I stopped using them. In fact, since I graduated, I haven't used hardly ANYTHING I learned in college. It's a big scary mean test. I feel like I should hide or something.

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2003 slyflame. Header image Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.