Backstreet's back. All right.
I'm much more comfortable in my new job than I was when I last wrote. I know my way around procedures and personnel, and I've taken full control of a few projects. Hurray for time! That's not to say that I haven't continued to make blunders, but nothing that would warrant me getting fired. So that's good.
Many, many adventures were had in my absence from the web. During the last weekend in August, Yuval and I traveled to NYC via BoltBus (which made it in an illegal time of 3 1/2 hours) to meet my parents for a night. They put us up in the same hotel they were in, the Dylan Hotel, which used to be a meeting place for chemists until 30 years ago. They nod to their chemistry roots in every room: the glasses by the sink are beakers, the soap dish is a glass Petri dish. The best part was by far the blackout curtains--I couldn't tell if it was noon or midnight at any time, and that helped me sleep like a rock. I want some for the single small window in my room.
While in New York for the weekend, we visited the 86th floor observatory in the Empire State Building, took a carriage ride through Central Park, ate at a fabulous and tiny Italian restaurant, saw what we could of the under-construction Met Opera House, saw "The Marriage of Bette and Boo" as performed by the Roundabout Theater Company, and dined at a breakfast placed smooshed under a bridge near Grand Central Station. All in all it was a packed weekend that left me exhausted--although I'm tired all the time, so no real change there. While we were waiting to board the 6:30pm BoltBus back to Boston, a girl in line lept into the conversation Yuval and I were having when she overheard that I hate Apple. Apparently East Coasters see this as totally normal behavior (Yuval thought nothing of it), while my Midwestern etiquette wanted to know what the hell business this girl had interrupting our conversation. Anyway, it was clear she was an Apple fan girl by the way she dismissed my legtimate claims and focused on the fact that I also hate their "Mac vs. PC" ads. I wanted to take away the Shounen Weekly she was holding and punch her.
That week after we got back saw us playing in not one, but TWO kickball games. We had to make up for a Week 3 game that got rained out a while ago. We won both, because we're awesome like that, and now we're #1 heading into the divisional tournament this week. Our first match is tonight. Wish us luck!
And the fun with the kickball team was not limited only to games. Labor Day weekend saw our whole team travel down to South Harwich, Cape Cod to stay at the vacation house of one of our teammate's parents. Beer was drunk, beer pong was played, the beach was visited (in the dark and in the light), late hours were kept, and much grilled food was consumed. And of course, underwear was run up the flagpole in the front yard. A riotous good time was had by all, minus our disdain for this one obnoxious British kid that our teammate invited.
Tomorrow night we were supposed to go see a play at the Grand Opening of the Central Square Theater, but instead I'm babysitting Dylan because I love that kid (and I need the money). Then Mom is coming in for the weekend on Saturday morning because Delta decided to have a sale on flights between BOS and CVG. Yay! We were also supposed to attend a lamb roast hosted by the Shavit's Greek family friends, but it was cancelled because the sky is going to be shitting on us all weekend. But at least that means more time with my mom!
Now, for something that's really driving me crazy. If you don't like political rants, then skip down to the end of the post.
Sara Palin. Are you serious, RNC?
I've had a vendetta against this woman for a long time, long before her name was ever mentioned as a possibility in this presidential campaign. I'd written several letters to Congress and to the elected officials in Alaska regarding something that Sarah Palin holds near and dear to her heart: aerial hunting of wolves in Alaska. What does aerial hunting mean? Essentially, hunters are allowed to chase wolves with helicopters--sometimes upwards of 10 miles--until the wolves are too tired to continue. At that point, the hunters shoot them with machine guns mounted on the helicopters. They don't distinguish between males, females, pregnant females, or pups. Aerial hunting is something the people of Alaska have banned twice via voting, and Sarah Palin has been one of the key figures in the fight to overturn and reverse and sidestep this ban. Before the close of the 2006/07 aerial hunting season, Governor Palin put out a bounty of $150 for every severed left leg of a wolf killed by aerial hunting that a hunter brought her. The aerial hunting "season" goes until April 30, well into denning season when mothers are giving birth to pups.
She (and other proponents) claim that this is "wildlife management" and necessary to keep the wolf population under control. By "under control" they mean cutting it by 80%. And they don't even bother monitoring the population levels or keeping accurate records of how many wolves they kill. This summer, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game illegally killed 14 wolves and 14 wolf pups as part of their efforts to boost caribou numbers. They shot the pups in the head, point blank.
This is how I was introduced to Sarah Palin, someone who describes herself as merely a "hockey mom" and someone who the RNC is trumpeting as an agent of "real change." She's demeaned Obama's experience as a community organizer by saying that she was "a mayor, which like being a community organizer, but with responsibilites." To borrow directly from Yuval:
"...As mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire the town's librarian after asking her to ban books, that she asked the town's top officials to resign as a loyalty test, or that she wants to teach creationism in public schools. People should give her credit for reining in big oil in Alaska and cutting down on government spending, but those efforts came at the expense of nearly everything else, according to Gregg Erickson, a columnist for the Anchorage Daily News."
She's slashed funding for teen moms in Alaska and opposes comprehensive sex education in schools, but touts her daughter as an example of why choosing life is the right thing to do--never mind that Bristol's child will be well cared for and benefit from her mother's huge bank accounts. Sorry, Sarah, but not every teen mom is as lucky as your daughter to be born into a rich family, so please don't use this as an excuse for more "Choose Love. Choose Life," rhetoric.
And from Jezebel:
"In her speech last night, Palin said, "I signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids' public education even better." Her focus on public education in Wasilla really paid off when she was mayor: during her tenure researchers at Johns Hopkins deemed Wasilla High School "a dropout factory." Apparently 60% or fewer freshman who start off at Wasilla High go on to graduate. "
And the people calling her a feminist? Oy vey! For those (mostly Republicans) making the arguement that McCain's choice was anything but blatant pandering to Hillary supporters, I defer to the Grand Dame of Feminisim, Ms. Gloria Steinem. "This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need," Steinem argues in the L.A. Times. "Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere."
And then she gets up onstage at the RNC last night and delivers a well-articulated speech stuffed to the brim with outright lies.
I can't even articulate my disdain for the people who think her nomination is the greatest thing to happen to American politics in 30 years.
--------END OF POLITCAL RANT---------
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Haunted Knight by Jeph Loeb
Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis by Ali Smith
Death to Smoochy