Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I Have No Game...

I realized last night that I have no game. Why you ask? Well, I actually found someone I might be interested in, which is, of course, jumping the gun...but it's more of a chance than I've seen in years and I thought to myself, "awesome!...now what?"

That's when I realized that I have no game and the dating skills of a 13 yr old. In fact, I might pull hair next time we meet...that's about how much I know about dating and the like.

James Carlson, the coolest guy ever, reccomended that I compile a list of good things people say about me, I thought that would be funny...like a resume. Maybe I'll build an interactive "I'm Cool...Really!" website where when you hover over a picture of my friends, they say things like, "Oh yeah, Adam kicks so much ass it hurts" and "He's probably the coolest guy I've ever known and you'd be dumber than Anna Nicole Smith to say no..." I think I'd be impressed if someone did that for me.

So, I've decided that pretty much barring someone else making the first move or me being really drunk, I wont ever move past...damn, this isn't even the batting box...I'm still in the warm up pit.

I Kick So Much Ass...

For real kids...

I had my second TEE today and walked out having abused it twelve ways from sunday...I don't think I've ever knocked a test out that well in my life. In other academic news, I got a freaking 100% on a paper for my IR class, which has the TEE tomorrow morning. Damn! That's my first 100% ever I think...I'm sitting in my room laughing and smiling by myself because I have never had a semester like this in my life...I probably wont again, but still...great GODDAMN it feels good...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Term End Exams...

Today begins my rolling TEE schedule...I have TEE's (finals) non-stop starting tonight. Environmental Engineering, Law tomorrow morning, Comparative Politics tomorrow night and International Relations tomorrow morning...after that, pack my bags for my friend's 21st and hop on the train to the airport. My flight leaves at 0500 on Thursday and I should be home no later than 0800...wish me luck, and for those of you blessed enough to be in SD, maybe I'll see you (especially if you're coming to the crazy cool party on Saturday).

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Bonfire and BBQ Sauce...

I got invited, last minute, to a bonfire to celebrate my friends birthday. I accepted as the alternative involved me looking at blogs all night again and no one has really posted anything new in a while (I need a car...or friends who live closer).

It wasn't until I was in the car on the way to the bonfire that I realized the conversation felt earilly (sp?) familiar. We laughed, someone sang some Adam Sandler songs and everyone introduced themselves very energetically. I was, as per usual, the only brown kid.

After a while, someone picked up a guitar and started making up songs about was going on around him...again, I thought, "This is oddly familiar, but I don't know why..."

Then I looked around, the furniature, the decor...the people. Then I saw it, in the entryway. How could I have missed it! A picture of the Mormon Tabernacle (DC)! That was it, I had reverted to my Mormon friends days!

We sat around having some wholesome fun, talked about missions (who went where, who is where now, where so and so is going next year), who got married and had kids and then debated which crappy PG movie to watch. I sat quickly brooding...

I got out ASAP and went to the store to get some grub since there was no food there. It was dark and all they had were old heat-lamped cheeseburgers, but I was hungry and grabbed two. I took em to the condiment bar and doused them in ketcup so I wouldn't taste the "meet". When I got back to my room, I opened it up, took a huge bite and realized I'd put piss tasting BBQ sauce all over my two cheeseburgers.

What a fucking bust tonight was...although, the trip down memory lane was a little...interesting, if not nice.

Friday, December 09, 2005


I read this article in the New York Times the other day and it really "made me think" (I use quotes because that's one of those things people say that has little to no meaning).

I have to say I admire hte Germans. Their history is so convoluted and horrendous, yet they have come to confront and embrace their history in a way that I don't believe even Americans have yet to do. Their transition from their Nazi past to what they are today is nothing short of amazing in what they've overcome, how much they had to do to reunify and how well they continue to do in facing their past and trying to learn from their mistakes. They haven't fallen into the trap of self-loathing nor of forgetting and I think the world could learn a lot from them.

What if the US did the same about slavery, or Native Americans? Instead, all we hear (most often at least) is that "things are better now" and we're told not to "dwell". It's funny how much I've been thinking about Germany and South Africa lately...two countries with such incredibly tragic histories which have, since, moved on to become leaders in the world in so many ways.


Every year, cadets have a dinner right before TEE's. The tradition dates back to when the first time you got to go home was Christmas of your Cow (Junior) year, so, the entire corps would sing the 12 days of Christmas and the Freshman would decorate tables. It was a bitchass thing to do...making people who wouldn't see their families sing and celebrate and decorate because they weren't going home...but they get to go home now and the tradition still holds. It's a matter of pride if your freshman decorate your table more extravagently than the tables around you and the decorations are amazing.

This year was no exception. Our plebes did an outstanding job and got cigars from the white house for us. After the 12 Days of Christmas, the whole Corps goes outside and smokes cigars. The following are pictures of the night along with a video. I'm going to do it play by play style, cause it's the easiest to do...

First, the Plebes go into the Mess Hall and decorate the tables. Some bring in full trees, some bring in inflatable Homer Simpsons...others made rubber trees (full sized trees made out of inflated condoms) and yet others went very traditional...it all depended on what they felt the upperclassmen would like. Here are some examples:

This one in particular cracked me up...A Festivus, for the Rest of Us!

Here is my table and all of us who sit there:

At dinner, I always use the santa goblet my mom bought me plebe year. When I had to decorate the table, I had one for each person at our table...all the people who sat with me still have theirs, and I saw three tonight...mine is special:

After that, we all sing the twelve days of Christmas. We lift the tables on "Five Golden Rings" and we stack chairs on the tables to make the person who sits at the head of your table taller than everyone else. So, we were standing on chairs, holding our table at our chests, and the table commandant was standing on a chair on top of the table. What you see is one fifth of the Mess Hall:

After that, we all went outside and smoked. Here are some pictures. The dude in the different uniform is from the Coast Guard Academy and he spent a semester with us...real good guy:

After the cigars, I quickly changed and went to the Officer's Club to have some beers where I met up with my best friends here...other then Troy, who had a project to do. Me, Davey and Doobie have been together for three years now. Actually, this is our second anniversary of being friends. We met studying for TEE's...History specifically, when we didn't like the study session we were in. We started our own and would have failed without each other, and we spent the next week eating, sleeping and studying together in an awesome cycle. We'd sleep on desks, in beds or on the floor and without a word, wake up and start studying again. They always said "cooperate and graduate" That's these guys...without them, I'd have failed, no doubt.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Jimmy Carter and Law...

There are two things I hope to talk about, so this may be a long blog...the boring political kind I'm sure most people who tune in, all six of you, begin to read and skip through until I mention something of interest...but here it goes anyway:

There is a Supreme Court case going on right now pitting law schools against the government. Without getting into the weeds about the case, basically, the government attached strings to federal money saying if you do not accept recruiters onto your campus, you get no federal money. At the same time, law schools (most of them) have rules against allowing any employer who discriminates by race, sex, religion or sexual orientation from recruiting on campus...thus, the military ban.

What I want to write isn't a legal analysis; it's my reasoning for agreeing the Court should side with the government. Legally, the government has a slightly better case (when it came to arguments, they had a much better lawyer...they posted the audio which I listened to). I think a quick anecdote will help explain the way I think about Law and the Judicial system (it's not that quick, but I'll make it as brief as possible):

My godmother was going in for an interview to intern for the LA public defenders office and the interviewer gave her a hypothetical situation in which, to get an avowed racist and homophobe off on what he was charged with (knowing he did it), would she allow a juror she knows shares his views about minorities and gays to sit on the jury. (what a long and awkward sentence) She said no, and the interviewer asked why she wouldn't allow someone to sit on the jury who would by sympathetic to her clients cause and she replied that Justice is only just if it is applied fairly, and that to subvert the law, even if it is in your own favor, in the long run does not do justice and hurts the public in general.

I agree (and I should mention she was offered the position). While I may wish the Supreme Court would back the Law Schools in their decision to not take the federal money, to do so would be subversive to free speech and law as we know it today and could make it more difficult to use federal funds to enforce anti-discrimination laws (I know, seems counter intuitive doesn't it?) So, while I think eventually, justice and civil rights will win out, this particular case, to be settled legally and justly, must be decided in favor of Rumsfield.

Now, on to Carter. Carter's book is amazing...I read it all in one sitting (admittedly, he's a very simple writer and the text is big). I have never read someone who had such a simple heart, a true understanding of the compassion of Christ and applied that to his political life in a way that was both true to his faith and valuable in his profession. He manages to discuss current politics, the state of polarization and the differing agendas of the right and left in a way that makes Christian compassion seem like such an obvious answer to the questions posed (the concussions he reaches may be a surprise to anyone familiar with typical religious right rhetoric).

He was President at a time when Fundamentalists were taking control of both their own churches and the government as a whole (thank you Mr. Newt Gingrich) and is able to point to changes in society and culture that only someone in his position would have been able to see. He synthesizes his faith and his political ideas in a way that makes it both inspiring and tragic. The world he knows and the world he wants have diverged so far in such a short time it is truly sad.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Jimmy Carter...

This morning, we had an early breakfast because Jimmy Carter was signing his new book Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis at the book store and he wanted to address the Corps and eat with us.

He entered and there was a fanfare and some other pomp associated with former Presidents and then he spoke to us breifly. As soon as possible, I threw on my jacket and bolted out of the messhall to get to the bookstore as I have a second hour class and had to be at the front of the line in order to get him to sign in time to make class. When I got there, I was the second cadet...but there were about thirty officers (most of whom are teachers here) all of whom had three or more books. One had ten in her hands...bitch.

When I finally got to the head of the line, President Carter said, "Thanks for coming down," and gave me a very genuine smile and some man with a camera took a picture of me.
I look forward to reading this book as I've read some of his others. This one, it seems, is far more political than any other, with chapter titles like, "Worshiping the Prince of Peace, or Preemptive War?" "Attacking Terrorism, Not Human Rights?" "Would Jesus Approve Abortions and the Death Penalty?" and "The Distortion of American Foreign Policy."

Sure, he wasn't the greatest modern President, but his character is unimpugnable. Moreover, it's nice to hear a religious point of view that is tempered with common sense, history and faith instead of dogma.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Bleeding Machine...

I gave blood today, plateletts to be exact. There is this crazy machine that takes your blood, spins it around a little, takes out what it wants and repumps the blood back into the same vein. It's crazy, and you can feel your blood flow change slightly as they pump the blood back into you.

After the guy stuck me and moved the needle around trying to get it set right and continually asking, "does this hurt?" (to which I wanted to reply, but refrained, "No, you're just moving a Goddamned needle around inside my arm!") he left.

There were two machines, one was spinning still, but there was no patient around, and the other was mine. The second machine made a noise like it was dropping its transmission and then sputtered to a stop. I looked at it wide eyed as a trickle of blood began to drip out of the bottom corner. Suddenly the two bags of IV fluid, which I'm pretty sure was just saline solution, drained at a rapid rate and were empty. I looked back down and suddenly it looked as though this machine had been shot...

Thick red blood began to pool underneath it and was dripping from all kinds of crevices I hadn't even seen. The guy who had poked me noticed it and opened the machine which looked like the back seat of the car in pulp fiction...there was blood everywhere.

He grabbed some paper towels and began to wipe it up...suddenly I realized how futile it would be to try and clean up the blood if I were to shoot someone...that crap is thick as hell and leaves all kinds of stains.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Judge Roy Brown...

Judge Roy Moore, if anyone outside the Bible Belt remembers him, is the Ex-Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who put the multi-ton monument to the ten commandments in his courtroom, was told to remove it by the Supreme Court (US), refused and was subsequently removed from his position. Unfortunately, he is a West Point grad and is positioned to become Governer of Alabama on a platform of (*suprise) Guns, Gays and God.

He has sponsored a bill for the US House that attempts to not only limit the jurisdiction of the US Supreme Court to bar it to hear any cases regarding the establishment clause (which protects the wall between church and state) and would also force the Court to make decision based only on the text of the Constitution...no more referring to precedent set by other cases, treaties, executive orders, international agreements or anything else that the Constitution specifically states "under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby"

These people, like Judge Roy Moore and others, are so desperate to try and fix religion in the government, they are willing to thrash the entire legal history of the United States and the Constitution itself, refighting battles they lost at the writing of the Constitution (to include God as our source of Law and institute a Judeo-Christian form of governence). The sad part is, the majority of Americans don't know the history, don't understand the legality and simply hear the rhetoric that those of us who believe in the freedom to worship as we see fit are "god haters" or athiests whose sole purpose is to destroy religion in America.

I tend to believe like Roosevelt (both of them), Jefferson and others who felt that the intertwining of religion and politics was not only bad for politics, but for religion as well. For examples, see the Catholic Church in all it's glory and misery over the years. Anytime the Church aligns itself politically (in the sense it becomes the established doctrine) only bad can come of it. When, however, it works to change politics from the outside, it can work and the Church is stronger for it (see Poland).

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...

  1. Army lost...no, we didn't lose, we got our fucking asses handed to us, yet again, in football. This is the fourth consecutive loss to Navy who, en masse, are the most arrogant and useless of "military" types I've ever dealt with and watching them win over us is like watching your drug addicted cousin hit your mother in the face...it's that insulting. No one in their status deserves the pride, pleasure and credit for winning, especially considering they're not even that good...we're just that bad.
  2. I talked to a friend who quit and is now going to BC where he works for a refugee resettling NGO. He's happy, he's fufilled and he's better looking than me. Bastard.
  3. This is the only thing that made me feel a little better tonight...

I know, I know...not all that impressive. But still, I made him bleed and they had to stop the fight (if you listen closely, you can hear his corner guy say, "Oh shit...he's bleeding.")

Chuck has set the bar:

  1. I will keep my mother happy, especially keeping her from being frustrated by her computers.
  2. I will keep my room clean, my bicycles and car well-maintained, and my house clean.
  3. I will schedule all of my daily activities and refrain from wasting time.
  4. I will not start unscheduled activities without good reason.
  5. I will keep a budget, record my spending without relying on online banking, and stick to my budget.
  6. I will pay off my student loan.I will maintain a prioritized list of research activities and meet deadlines to demonstrate progress to my advisor.
  7. I will not be dependent on my advisor for direction and motivation in my research.
  8. I will find a girlfriend who I will care deeply about while keeping my life balanced.
  9. I will read non-engineering material every day for half an hour.
  10. I will do the exercises every day that are supposed to straighten out my back.
  11. I will start my homework on the day it is assigned, and finish it no later than the day before it is due.
  12. I will bike to and from school every day, regardless of the weather, and decline rides unless my immune system is lowered.
  13. I will climb at least twice a week, run 6 miles at least twice a week, and bike 50 miles or do an equivalent activity every weekend.
  14. I will use computers efficiently, being careful to differentiate work activities from learning how to use new software for fun.
  15. I will drink either in frugal moderation or heavily but responsibly, as is warranted by the occasion.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Liberals at West Point??

My friend Amit is really into this girl he met. She, however, is dead set against the military and has strong reservations about even setting foot on a military post if not to protest it. He and I have been talking for hours on how to validate our lives to her, at least enough that she'd feel good about being a part of his (which, I think, should be sign enough for her that, job or not, this kid is damn near in love with her to go through all this). So, one day, he comes into my room and says, "can I borrow your books?" I said "sure" without questioning because, one, people always borrow my books and two, I was asleep.
Turns out, he had an idea...he wanted to take some pictures of himself in uniform with "thought books" as in, books that prove people here do think for themselves. I guess he could have used this one from last year with me and Kyle:

Instead, Amit went for this one he took of himself:

That book on his left, our right "The New American Militarism"...great book. I highly reccomend it. It's written by a West Point grad, and I have a signed copy. I email the author occassionaly and he's been gracious enough to write back each time when I have questions or thoughts.

Focus on the Family (and fuck the world)...

I am beginning a new start here, following (again) in Alex's lead. I think I'll post both here and Myspace for a while, see how I like it (even though Dan says Myspace isn't a "real" blog).

Anyway, I just read this disturbing transcript from Focus on the Family's radio broadcast on the Huffingtonpost, something I read more because I love Arianna than I actually consider it real news:

JIM DALY: He's [Bolton's] a good man. I mean, everything we saw of him in that almost hour we met with him...he's just a solid pro-life gentleman and uh, certainly more meek than what the Democrats portrayed. He's a nice guy.
JAMES DOBSON: But we had an opportunity to talk to him about the possibility of Focus on the Family working with the United Nations. That really did excite me.
DALY: Absolutely. I think what came across in the meeting is that he [Bolton] is pro-life and pro-family and he gave us an invitation to work with him in setting some policy there at the UN that would support the values we believe in.
DOBSON: Now we're finding out why the Democrats didn't want him...
DALY: It had nothing to do...
DOBSON: He's [Bolton's] pro-life, pro-family, pro-morality and sees things the way we do regarding condom distribution and abstinence and other things.

Right right...so it's not enough that these assholes have inroads into the White House, we really want them running our UN policy? And, with our supposed commitment to fighting AIDS in Africa, now we've got the religious nutjobs who brought us "signs of homosexuality in your children" pushing an agenda of no condom distribution? Nice...nice.

Just in case you might think that all Republicans are crazy, here is a quote from the former Ambassador to the UN, a former Senator (R):

"When government becomes the means of carrying out a religious program, it raises obvious questions under the First Amendment. But even in the absence of constitutional issues, a political party should resist identification with a religious movement. While religions are free to advocate for their own sectarian causes, the work of government and those who engage in it is to hold together as one people a very diverse country. At its best, religion can be a uniting influence, but in practice, nothing is more divisive. For politicians to advance the cause of one religious group is often to oppose the cause of another....
As a senator, I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around."

In other happenings, if you read my post about the Taps vigil the other night, today was yet another sobering day. My friend was his neighbor and today they had to clean out his room...as daunting a task as any. Apparently, his parents were much older than he and his brother was so much older during the funeral, he asked some cadets what his brother was like. His company, the people who have lived with him for the last three years, are putting together a video of pictures and remembrances by cadets to send his parents. The person who hit him was a drunk driver, three previous DWI's who is a lawyer. He was out celebrating the purchase of his new Jaguar...the one he then drove head on into this cadet.