succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, November 15, 2003

I've been getting reminders lately to be there for my friends. Like tonight, at the club, when some guy wouldn't stop dancing with Ryan. We kept asking her if she wanted us to intervene, but she insisted she wanted to handle it on her own. Then I watched as the two of them walked off towards the back of the club, towards the bathrooms. I couldn't see where the guy went, but was pretty sure Ryan went into the ladies room. I tried to keep an eye on the door, to make sure she came back out and headed toward us. Then my phone rang. Ryan, "I need help." For 10 heart-stopping seconds Sanna and I ran to the ladies room. Ryan was fine. Just needed us to help her ditch the creepy guy. I couldn't help thinking, what if she hadn't been ok...what if I hadn't heard my phone? Perhaps it's paranoia, but I think it was the universe reminding me how important it is to be there for the people who matter to me.

Anyway, in other news, I walked past the club where two people were shot and killed earlier this week. And I felt ok. Not, ok, as in I didn't care that two people had died there. But ok, as in, I wasn't scared or freaked out. That's a long way from the weeks back at Case when I wouldn't leave a one block radius around my dorm.

Friday, November 14, 2003

More on the general disrespect this administration is showing our dead soldiers:

"One of the most enduring memories from the funeral of my friend Michael Kelly, who was killed covering the war in Iraq for Atlantic Monthly, was standing by his open grave in a cemetery in Cambridge, Mass., watching an Army officer in dress uniform make his way through the cold, persistent drizzle and up the small hill to Michael's wife and boys. He spoke to the family quietly and then got down on one knee on the wet artificial turf that had been placed there in a vain attempt to shield the mourners from the earth. He gave the boys a flag and a medal.

Michael Kelly was not one of their own. He was brash and brave, but distinctly unmilitary. Yet the Army took pains to make this simple gesture that drove home the way the military honors death: it endows that inescapable but inescapably tragic part of their lives with a sense of moment, of ceremony and dignity, and most of all it faces death squarely and honestly."


"The administration undoubtedly feels that showing coffins on television or having the president attend funerals would undermine public support for the war. (The ban on covering the arrival of coffins at Dover was in effect during the popular Afghanistan war, but was not enforced.) That seems like more of an acknowledgment of how fragile that support is than any poll yet taken.

The Bush administration hates comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam, and many are a stretch. But there is a lesson that this president seems not to have learned from Vietnam. You cannot hide casualties. Indeed, trying to do so probably does more to undermine public confidence than any display of a flag-draped coffin. And there is at least one direct parallel. Thirty-five years ago, at the height of the Vietnam War, the Pentagon took to shipping bodies into the United States in the dead of night to avoid news coverage."

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Amelia sums things up well today:

"here's something i believe: war is bad, always. here's something else: there are necessary wars, or at least wars that accomplish necessary things. they are not to be entered into lightly: to compound the horrors of war with the frivolity of ambition or politicking is incredibly dishonorable. somehow, that is exactly what our country has done. or rather, that is exactly what the forces of wealth and power that control such decisions in our country have done."

Monday, November 10, 2003

Rhiakath is your Vampire name.
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Sunday, November 09, 2003

What with the resurgence of Jessica Lynch stories and interviews, I thought I'd float a question I've been pondering for a few days - all the most recent publicity mentions Lynch's rescue as the moment that gave Americans hope. And while a courageous rescue, bringing home an injured soldier, is always a joyous occurrence, I remember being surprised hearing it referred to as a moment of greatest hope. Maybe it's just me, but I remember very clearly seeing the first pictures of Lynch on the news, and it bringing home how horrific the war was, and frightened and young she was. Perhaps it's just because I have this trouble imagining anyone being younger than me, but seeing that child's face...I thought, people younger than I shouldn't fight wars. I realize this is a fairly irrational...unrealistic thought. It's horrible when anyone is injured or killed, and trying to make the statement that it's somehow worse when they're young is as unfair as saying it's worse when they're female...I just can't help but remember what a searing impression those pictures made on me...and it certainly wasn't one of hope. Am I the only one? Was this the return of hope for others?

So I've managed to get lots of tedious little chores done this afternoon, while procrastinating homework. Even balanced my checkbook (found that missing $50 which resulted in a bounced check last week. Doh!). And almost settled on a schedule for next semester. Three biostat. courses, and two electives (health care policy/management and international health). Then skipped over to the undergraduate arts and sciences courses and found an english class on literature and culture which features a screening of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and the first two Terminators. E-mailed the prof. to see if I could sit in from time to time. I think attending an english class could go far towards keeping my sanity. Also found a philosphy class on the intro. to logic. I've always regretting not taking logic, and I definitely think it would round out my background nicely...but fear adding it to my schedule might be a bit over-ambitious. Played around with my remaining requirements and it looks like I might actually be able to finish up my coursework in two years, which is tremendously cool. Obviously, lots could change in the next three semesters, and a lot of it hinges on what my department decides to offer, but it looks like even worst-case scenario I could pick up one last elective while working on my thesis. So...with a little luck, can pick a topic next year and start working on it the following summer. I'm not in a huge rush to get out of here, but I keep hearing stories of never-ending research projects and I'd really rather avoid the 6+ year plan. In other news, I got a job! I'll be working 5-10 hours a week at the consulting center in our department. That paycheck should cover any leisure activities nicely. Currently, the stipend is covering the necessities without much trouble, but everytime I buy a little extra beer for a party or something I think, that means come end of the month I might have to eat more peanut butter sandwiches and mac-n-cheese. So it'll be nice not to have to make quite such a strict trade-off between fun and food. Not to mention tucking a little away each month for things like xmas presents and plane tickets. Anyway, enough about money. I'd better go start on my cooking for the week, I think the body is indicating that my caffine-to-calories ratio has gotten a little out of whack...