Sep 302004
 

Not much to write about lately since the LAN party. This week has gone by really fast; can’t believe it’s Thursday already. Been busy all week, mostly after work. Class on Monday, studying for our first test on Tuesday; class and test last night; plus running before class.

I think I did ok on the test, but there’s definitely things I screwed up. Couldn’t remember the verb “to dwell” (wohnen) for one thing, but luckily we had some extra credit dictation that should make up for it. Funny thing is, I’m having no problems translating German to English, it’s taking an English sentence and making a German one out of it that trips me up, whether I’m writing it down or trying to say something.

Bought Sims 2 the other day but haven’t had much time to play it or anything else. So far I’ve gotten my two gay boys engaged, but have discovered I’m no better at virtual home decorating than I am at the real thing. Hmph.

 Posted by at 12:27 pm
Sep 262004
 

The LAN party last night was quite a success. Thanks in large part to _kosh_‘s help and hardware, we managed to cram 11 geeks and their computers into the condo for about 12 hours of gaming. People started showing up around noon, and everyone was packed up and headed home by about 3 A.M. I overestimated everyone’s stamina, but afterwards I was kind of glad it didn’t run on through today like I originally planned. I got about five hours sleep, then _kosh_ and I tore everything down and packed up. Followed him back home to drop off his new folding table, returned the empty bottles, hit Costco for gas, then came back and started cleaning. Now I relax, do my German homework, and maybe take a nap.

We mostly played UT2k4 and the desert combat mod for Battlefield 1942. Onslaught mode for UT is a blast, but I suck at deathmatch. Morme and _kosh_ kicked everyone’s ass repeatedly at deathmatch, and everytime I died and respawned Morme seemed to be the first person I ran into when I was armed only with the assault rifle. Mike Carey never managed to get UT running on his computer, so he got into the basement bar instead and fell asleep on the couch for awhile. After staring at the screen for hours at a time, after I went to bed and closed my eyes I was still seeing afterimages of UT.

I bought way too many munchies, and we ended up eating about one bag of each type I bought. Evil _kosh_ bought two boxes of Krispy Kremes which didn’t survive the night, and everyone chipped in for Cottage Inn pizza. We did more drinking than eating, and went through a 12-pack of Labatt and a 12 of Smirnoff Ice, a 6 of Bacardi O3’s, and liters of pop.

From left: John Haynes, Kevin Warda, Andy Kalat (standing), Morme, Mike Carey (facing away)

Kevin Carpenter and _kosh_ on the end, with agent00groovey‘s loud shirt in the lower left

Basement dwellers Sebastian Azieren and Mike Norton wave hello

 Posted by at 2:59 pm
Sep 232004
 

roadster_guy came home a few minutes ago and told me to read this column by Susan Ager in the Detroit Free Press.

This quote really summed up the same thing I’ve been feeling. It’s nice to know I’m not alone, and to hear a journalist say the same thing.

“…One madman in jail. Anguish in the families of more than 1,000 dead American soldiers plus murdered civilian workers. Anguish in the families of tens of thousands of dead Iraqi citizens. America’s reputation in the world blown to bits. And a looming dread of worse to come.”

 Posted by at 6:37 pm
Sep 212004
 

Here’s why.

Strange coincidence that I read this today right before reading beeftenderloin‘s entry The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round, wondering why the world seems to have gone crazy, as if the wheels have come off the bus. Well, one of the lugnuts holding that wheel on has traditionally been objective journalism, and over the last ten years or so that lugnut has gone bouncing down the highway. Mr. Pitt’s article is a disturbing explanation which spells out clearly something I and some friends have wondered about for awhile: Why is the mainstream American press so slow to criticize government and big business? I’ve learned more about what’s really happening in America, and why, by reading independent news sources like truthout.org and international news sites like BBC and the Toronto Star than I ever have by reading CNN, MSNBC, and the like.

Like beeftenderloin, I’m increasingly distressed and depressed about the direction my country, and the world, is headed. How did things get this bad, and what can stop it?

– Iraq is a disaster, with no end in sight. The US and Iraqi death toll is going up, and the deaths of so many Iraqi civilians are creating more terrorists in the surviving family members, determined to avenge their deaths on Americans.

– Vladimir Putin is consolidating his power in Russia, and well on his way to turning Russia into a police state, or worse: back into the Soviet Union. I got the same chills when that man became president as I did when W became president.

– North Korea is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons, and has been loudly proclaiming that fact for awhile. Iran is very close to their own nukes as well, and rather than deal with those REAL threats Bush went after Saddam, and weapons that never existed. Look what that got us, and now the higher-ups are drafting plans to possibly use “coercive measures” against Iran, North Korea, and possibly Syria to stop their weapons programs.

It’s a little late for that now, don’t you think? We’ve nearly used up our military against Iraq and we’re still stuck there. We’re even pulling troops from the DMZ in Korea to shore up the forces in Iraq.
In 2003, General Eric Shinseki testified before Congress that an additional 50,000 troops would be needed beyond what the Bush administration said would be necessary to stabilize Iraq after the invasion. The President ignored him. Now it’s obvious to even the most die-hard war advocate that we’re stretched too thin and we need more forces. Where do you think those troops are going to come from? Hint: five letters, starts with D.

Where does it end? What happens next? Make no mistake, it’s going to get much much worse before it gets better, if it ever does. We are way past the point of quick fixes and easy solutions. I keep hoping in vain that something will come along, perform a little “deus ex machina”, and make everything all better. I also wonder if the removal of certain key people – the anchor points that support this web of insanity – might defuse all these situations, and give sense and reason a chance to prevail. Unfortunately I don’t think anyone is going to come along and remove them, so I guess we’re pretty much stuck.

 Posted by at 10:37 am
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