Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Important research

So there I was, minding my own business online...

I was trying to find more information about the mini earthquake they had recently in Montenegro. There wasn't much available, so I clicked on this* site since it looked vaguely promising. And Oh. my. goodness.


You just never know what you're going to find online. This site happened to be an 'end-of-the-world (no, for real!)' site and it was pretty much everything you'd expect/want it to be.

Exhibit A: the Categories list

(How on earth did they think of 3092 unique things to say about society's collapse?!)

Exhibit B: the Sponsors of the site

Paintball = the end of the world. I knew it.

Exhibit C: the sense of impending doom
'(redacted) has obtained information that an event of unknown severity may occur within the coming hours or days'
Direct. Quote.

Exhibit D: Countdowns
There is a section devoted solely to the countdown to December 2012 (450 days 3 hours 35 minutes and 19 seconds!) and the countup(?) of the national debt.

Exhibit E: There is a place after each post to mark your reaction. I'm thinking of including this in my blog now. [Do you find youtube videos -important -eye-opening -scary -sad?]

Exhibit F: The survey in the sidebar?
War with china... inevitable, won't happen, probably, or necessary?

Well, I could go on, but I should stop. This is probably a good time to link to a particularly funny site I found last week full of zombie apocolypse-preparedness plans. It's never to early to start planning.

*I'm not posting a link to the site because I'm actually opposed to the message they are sending, but if you want to search it out for yourselves I am sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hidden talents

Imagery Analysis - it sounds boring, but this quiz I found is kind of fun.

I took it the other day when I got sidetracked trying to write a paper on GIS and imagery analysis for humanitarian response. (It was riveting, believe me.) I discovered that I have a hidden talent for imagery analysis, so now I know what to do with myself if the whole foreign service thing doesn't work out.

So in case you would like to discover your own hidden talents, you can visit the website here

Friday, September 16, 2011

You should totally go to this.

The Kennedy Center and Washington National Orchestra (and the ballpark I guess?) are teaming up to host Opera in the Outfield. Basically, they broadcast a live performance of Tosca in the ballpark and I think they even let you have a picnic on the field. It's once a year and, sadly, I can't make it. But you, faithful readers, should definitely go. I'm sure it will be awesome and edifying and plus someone has to go so they can tell the organizers that no one can do that kind of stuff on a Thursday night!!!

So anyway, have fun. I'll be having fun in class. Maybe I'll make the 5th annual next year when I'm in A-100.

And while I'm on the topic of cultural events, the National Book Festival is rolling back around. It's on the 24 and 25th (that's right people, a weekend, as God intended) on the National Mall and it's free.

I'll let you know what it's like if I manage to break away from writing papers, but no promises.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's making me happy today

Watching football online!

For those of us without TVs - a growing number I'm sure - and for those who live overseas and only get the local channels, football is hard to come by. This has always been sad to me because the fall football season is one of the things I'm most nostalgic about from my childhood. I love the whole feel of it. Tailgating, little kids with their faces painted, the marching bands, the obnoxious crowd chants. It just isn't fall without football.

But now I've discovered how to watch it online and it is uncanny how much the sound of it in the other room transports me back. I can almost smell the cut grass, the leaves, even the grills. I'm feeling particularly nostalgic because I picked a university without a football team.

I know. I didn't even know they had those either.

Anyway, if you'd like to watch football online too, just go to ESPN3 and scroll to your sport of choice (football, naturally). They do live games too, but I'm not sure how that works, so you'll have to figure it out on your own.

*Disclaimer: I'm not getting paid by ESPN to write this. And if this doesn't work overseas I apologize for getting your hopes up.

Happy fall!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why I strongly dislike health insurance

I was going to make dinner tonight. And finish some reading for class. And maybe catch up on my emails.

But no.

Instead I spent all afternoon on the phone with my insurance company, on hold, stating my name and birthdate and zipcode etc. and repeating my story until I was blue in the face. Squeezing in bites of eating cheese and crackers when I wasn't busy digging through stacks of insurance nonsense.

This is about the 20th time I've had to do this, all for the same claim. I cannot imagine how people who are also dealing with a major health crisis would ever make it through this process. Or people with small children. Or elderly people with hearing problems. Or people that have to work two jobs.

Utterly unacceptable.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

For the architecture geek in you

I found an interesting site online a few days ago (though of course the site is acting up this afternoon). Check it out if you are into architecture.

Sadly she doesn't seem to have covered one of my favorite movies houses, the one from Life as a House.(Can't find a good pic.)

And of course, Edna's house from the Incredibles was pretty good.

Oh yeah, and the crazy aunt's house from A Series of Unfortunate Events. (Right at the beginning of this clip there's a good shot.)

Hmm... maybe I should be a contributor to the blog.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Settling in to the new job


It's been ages since I posted, I realize that. But it's all for a good cause. I think I mentioned before that I've got a new job. (right?)

Anyway, it's absolutely great. I like my coworkers, I have lots of time to do readings, and it pays more than they advertised - which is weird, but who's complaining?

My only problem is converting my brain and body back into crazy mode, where I work from 8-5 then immediately rush off to class for 2-3 hours. I'm not sure how all the Type-A's do it, but for me, there isn't really a lot of brain function going on after a full day of work. I've taken to writing down potential comments for class while I'm at work and still capable of rational thought.

So as you can imagine, I haven't had much time for blogging. Or visiting the sites of DC, or reading edifying literature. My only remaining hobby seems to be cooking. And with all the rainy weather I've mostly been wanting to cook cold-weather foods. I made moroccan food the other day and except for mixing up cucumber with zucchini it went well. (They really do look exactly the same to me.) Next week maybe I'll make some chili, or mashed potatoes or something. If I do cook anything good I'll make sure to post a picture.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

So far, so good

Today is a good day, but unexciting day. I bought ink for my printer (which is still giving me the 'no ink' message, sigh), I did a few readings, I cooked... nothing much. I'm a little swamped with work already, but I can't shake the good feeling that I have about this semester.

Reason #1 I got myself a good job at a Latin American NGO in town. The people seem nice, the pay is pretty sweet, I can walk there, and it sounds prestigious when I tell people about it. All important qualities in a job. I had planned to apply for another internship at State, but they didn't post the positions in time. Sorry, State! You snooze, you lose!

Reason #2 I like my classes this semester about 100% more than I liked my classes last year. It could be that I have more realistic expectations this year. Or it could be because these classes are 100% better. We'll have to see. But so far each professor has impressed me. One reminds me of an old spy movie, and tells good stories, which I feel is a good sign. One has a nice British accent and is very witty, also good. The third seems a bit dull frankly, but has made the wise decision to be an easy grader to make up for it - I can live with that. The fourth I haven't met yet, so I'm withholding judgment, but I have high hopes.

Reason #3 It looks like I'll be getting the chance to focus more directly on my two areas of interest. In one class I'll be doing research using original sources from my target regions - the Balkans and South America. And at work I'll be focusing on Latin America and interacting with Spanish speakers on a regular basis. So I'm hoping for an amazing boost in my language skills and a moderate boost in my international affairs knowledge base. ;)

Okay, back to work!