succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, April 23, 2004

Nose ring

It's a term coined by one of April's friends and means a non-sexual crush, typically on someone you don't know very well, but would like to know better. Like a new acquaintance whom you find very cool and witty and hope will become a close friend. Or a professor whom you admire and hope will become a mentor. It's a terribly useful term. And it just occurred to me a couple of days ago that one of my professors might have a nose ring on me. And I think that's tremendously cool and flattering. At this point, let me stress the non-sexual part of that definition again (before anyone starts making fun of me like Carrie always did about Brian, who I now realize was a prime example of a nose ring). Anyway, I can't describe specifcally why I get that impression, it just seems like he thinks I'm smart and interesting and...I dunno, hopes I succeed or something. And I think he's interesting and he spent time in the epidemic investigative service, something I desperately hope to do some day, so he would be a good friend to have. And that's my story. I've hit a bit of a wall on page four of my influenza paper (not a bad start) so I'm vegging out with a dumb movie and good ol' George Killians in bed, hoping to start fresh tomorrow and pound out another 3-4 pages before dinner with TG and departing for the all-night bus ride to DC. Wish me luck!

One paper, one presentation, and one homework assignment down. On paper, one homework assignment, and two finals to go. Oh, and a trip to DC thrown in for good measure.

The Blogosphere

An interesting thing has been happening to me this week - I've been feeling very "plugged in." I've known about news stories before seeing them on cnn or the nightly news or good morning america. Which for me. Plenty of other people have commented on how the blogosphere is changing the way we get our news and whatnot, but I've always been just a bit hesitant to reference information I've gained from blogs in "serious conversation," mostly because I know a lot of the information available on the internet is unreliable. A lot of it is reliable too, but one has to do the appropriate amount of digging and fact checking and whatnot, so I understand when people are skeptical of "facts" offered up on a website being run out of some guys basement (figuratively speaking). Anyway, people have also been commenting that a lot of the work that should be done by the media has been somewhat taken up by bloggers (or other folks running websites of the blog-type). And this whole Dover Test/photographs-of-fallen-soldiers thing is just another example of that. As reported by Atrios, Russ Kick, who runs a website called The Memory Hole filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain 361 images taken by Defense Department photographers of coffins arriving from Iraq at the Dover airforce base. John Banner, the executive producer of ABC's "World News Tonight," admitted to not filing any such request because they had no idea these pictures even existed. No idea the Defense Department was taking its own pictures. As Atrios asks, "Uh, guys, maybe you could have asked?" You know, do your job as an investigative journalist? The more instances I witness of everyday people doing more and thinking more in their spare time than experts appear to be doing their jobs, the more frightened I become. i.e. Russ Kick should not have been the first person to obtain defense department photos. My friends, brilliant though they are, should not have more rational-sounding ideas about homeland security than the president. My professors, who specialize in statistics, not the military, should not have had more accurate predictions about the situation in post-invasion Iraq than the Pentagon. Of course, I get to have lengthy conversations with these folks about a variety of topics while I get mere soundbites from "the experts." So it's more than a little unfair to compare the two. But still...

Thursday, April 22, 2004

The woman who took the photograph linked to in my previous post has been fired (as predicted by atrios and others at his site). The Seattle Times article says, "Silicio was let go yesterday for violating U.S. government and company regulations." Somewhat weirdly, the article also states, "Maytag also fired David Landry, a co-worker who recently wed Silicio," but doesn't provide a reason why he was fired too. Anyway, I don't have any coherent thoughts on this, other than it's so obviously wrong. Tom Tomorrow points to the article too, as well as too examples of comics covering the war. Go check 'em out.

In other news, the March for Women's Lives was mentioned in the NY Times this morning. I'm not bothering to link to the article, because it isn't very good, but I suppose any publicity is good publicity. If you can't make it to DC, but still want to show your support, find out if local organizations are throwing bus send off parties this weekend and go cheer them on. Or go here and send a message to a marcher. Naral is collecting stories and messages to post in their action center and around other places for marchers to see them.

Monday, April 19, 2004


I mentioned last November that the Bush administration banned the Dover test, and I find that fact just as offensive today as I did several months ago. Yes, there are times when going to war is necessary. But I believe the public must face the human consequences of that decision. Such a decision must pass the Dover Test. I bring it up again because apparently someone broke the rule and published this photo. From a commenter at eschaton I was also pointed to this site, with an essay by someone who works at the Dover Air Force Base.

"It does not matter where somebody stands politically on the war, but I believe that all who have an opinion should know the cost of that opinion. When a soldier dies in a foreign land, his or her remains are returned to the United States for their final rest. The remains arrive in Dover, Del. without fanfare. No family member is present. There are no young children to feel sad or confused. Just a small group of soldiers waiting to do their duty and honor the fallen."


"The men and women arriving in flag-draped caskets do not deserve the disrespect of arriving in the dark confines of secrecy."

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Wedding

What I wrote while waiting for my flight around 12:30 this afternoon:

Oof. Seriously rough around the edges this morning...afternoon. I felt much better when I woke up. Now, am definitely working towards a hangover. Hopefully, water and ibuprofen will help me actually get a little work done on the plane. I mentioned on the way here that my neck is a little sore and Jennings started rattling off all the possible causes: dancing with Kate to Prodigy, helping to carry a keg, not once, but twice, slouching awkwardly for extended periods of time in the passenger seat of his car, and falling asleep on the couch with Sara. Such good times last night. Will have to recount more of them once I'm feeling better.

So now I'm feeling better, although I have to admit also feeling a bit too old for weekends like this. If the recovery curve is this steep, I can't even imagine how I'll feel 20 years from now. Ah well. I flew to Pittsburgh Friday afternoon and spent most of the night hanging out on Jennings's balcony, drinking with his friends. I thought it was humorous that at around 55-60 degrees, it was one of the nicest nights they'd had in Pittsburgh in a while. I told him if we were back in Atlanta most of my friends and I would have already deemed it too cold and moved inside.

Drove up and down the same patch of route 2 through b.f.e. WV Saturday afternoon, then finally attended Nate and Reen's wedding. Two of her younger brothers were the ushers, and they were adorable in their seriousness and concentration on not messing up. Nate and the boys walked out, looking very nervous. Reen walked out looking radiant. Her dress was amazing. Beautiful bell sleeves. Spent much of the ceremony laughing at Kate, who was trying desperately not to laugh while standing up front with the rest of the bridal party. Spent the hour between ceremony and reception at the Lighthouse Grill with Jennings, Steve, Jen, Matt, and Big Geoff. Reception was lots of fun - one big Smith House reunion with a few new faces thrown in. Nate hadn't told the bar tender how to make Sandie's Pinkie Lemonadies, so during dinner I got him to write it down and the tender spent most of the rest of the evening perfecting it. The DJ wasn't very good, but what wedding DJ is? Eventually we started making requests, and Kate and I rocked the dance floor to Prodigy and Bad Touch. Even slipped in a little Country Roads for good measure. Made friends with the extremely cute bar tender (hey, it was an open bar, where do you think we were spending most of our time? by the end of the night I just asked him to make something up, and we all ended up drinking what I dubbed the Chris Tang). Asked him to join us at Nate's friend Ben's house, where all the reception leftovers were headed and we were post-partying, but he never showed up. Ah well. Unlike most other weddings I've attended, Nate and Reen stayed at the reception until the end, and even put in an appearance at the post-party, which I thought was awesome. Sara and I were more than a few sheets to the wind by the time we got the Ben's house, but that didn't stop us from deciding to help carry in one of the kegs. So we walk outside, I realize there's gravel between the end of the porch and the truck containing the keg, and I'm barefoot, so Sara gives me a piggy back ride. Everything is working out well until the family dog comes over and Sara decides to bend over to pet him. Fortunately she swung around and braced us against a nearby car before we both toppled over. We stayed at Ben's for a bit, his tremendously cool parents grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for us around midnight and I had some really great conversations with Kate and Sara. Drove back to Kate's house around 2 am, prompting a drunken post. The four of us hung out, and I plucked about a hundred bobby pins from Sara's hair. Eventually crashed on the pull-out couch in the basement with Jennings. Woke up the next morning and piled into bed with Kate (just like freshman year!) then drank lots of water and coffee and watched Spiderman cartoons before Kate had to leave for work, Sara for Cleveland, and Jennings and I for the airport.

So that was it in a nutshell. A beautiful weekend that flew by way too fast. I took about 40 pictures, which someday will be cleaned up and posted (once I figure out how to use the webspace Emory provides) but it's highly unlikely that will happen before the end of June, so if you can't wait, just send me an e-mail and I'll either send bundled attachments or burn a cd and mail it to you.

The only other things I have to add are:
1) because she's brilliant, Sara successfully defended her thesis and will be moving to NY and joining the working world of "real adults" which I think is tremendously cool. Way to go Sara!
and 2) just in case I didn't say it enough this weekend - Jennings, you are just about the best Plus One a gal could have. Thank you for driving me all over northern West Virginia and being the responsible DD and taking care of me and just being lovely in general.


I know the liberal section of the population has been throwing around the need/desire to impeach Bush on a fairly regular basis, but it's finally time to throw my hat in the ring too. This is unequivocally an impeachable offense. I hope someone latches on to this and doesn't let go:

“Gets to a point where in July, the end of July 2002, they need $700 million, a large amount of money for all these tasks. And the president approves it. But Congress doesn't know and it is done. They get the money from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, which Congress has approved. …Some people are gonna look at a document called the Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the treasury unless appropriated by Congress. Congress was totally in the dark on this."

From Bob Woodward interview on 60 minutes.

I feel the need to clarify my less-than-sober post from last night - I was not driving home drunk, Jennings was my very responsible DD. I'll try to post more about the weekend soon, but I've been such a slacker today and I have so much writing left to do....