Monday, August 30, 2004

Blogging from a wireless location near you...

Can I say how much wireless internet rules? Cause it does. It rules.

Ever since Saturday, the end of my wireless virginity, I have been carting around my little iBook partout. And pulling it out everywhere and connecting to the internet, just cause I can. For example: the staff lounge, the courtyard, the student union, the library, etc etc etc etc.

I think we should just have a completely wireless world. Of course, our lives will be cut considerably short by an overdose of microwaves, but I almost think it'll be worth it.

Cat, cat, cat, cat, possum, ca--...possum?

So this morning I went for a walk around the neighborhood and was remarking to myself on the fair number of cats around...when suddenly I noticed a weird looking cat. Except it wasn't a cat. It was a possum.

I've never seen a possum before.

Well, no, let me clarify. I've never seen a possum that wasn't dead and on the side of the road before.

Nifty.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Hooray for Wireless Fun

Hold your breath everyone as I enter a new dominion: Wireless internet.

After a brief attack of panic and being incredibly pissed off at Apple (long story, but suffice to say that I was almost ready to run out and buy a Dell) I bought a third party wireless card and then found a loverly cafe that provides free internet access. An adorable MAC user came to my rescue in showing me how to set it up, and now I am online. For free. FREE my friends.

Yeehaw!

I feel like the world is my oyster.

Evil Evil Bubble Tea

Heaven help me, for I have a new vice.

So much chewy squishy goodness...You have created a monster.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Sons of B*tches

So 3 classes down, one more to go, and I will know how exciting this year will be.

So far so good, although I have to admit that yesterday I spent most of my syntax class thinking, "Huh?"

Fortunately, at the end I think I got it...and I'm hoping I'll "get it" the rest of the semester, or we'll be in trouble.

I just got out of morphology which was less of a "huh" than syntax, especially after class, when I asked one of my classmates what the hell such and such meant.

In spite of my state of "huh", I think I like my classes. I like learning about words and relationships and evolution, and all that fun stuff.

Today I'll leave you all with a point to ponder, as well as a story, both coming from today's morphology class:

Court's Point to Ponder
If we have a son of a b*tch here, and a son of a b*tch there, how many do we have? And what is the plural form?

Court's Story of the Day
What exactly is a cranberry? Do we really know?

Well, back in the day, these little red berries were on the preferred food list of cranes. Back in the day, we used to pronounce "crane" as "cran." And thus, we have cranberry, food of cran(e)s.

(cran-apple, cran-grape, craisins....)

Beware of Court, la seductrice...

Conversation between Court and fellow grad student:

Court: Blah blah blah blah blah...

Fellow Grad Student: Blah blah blah blah blah...

Court: Well, I'm heading in this direction (points left). Which way are you going?

Fellow Grad Student: I am actually not going anywhere. But you have seduced me into following you. I'm going back inside now.

Monday, August 23, 2004

With my own kind...

Hello again, and excuse the lengthy blogging pause. Have I mentioned how much I despise not having internet access at home? Because I despise it, I really do. Good news is I discussed with the housemate about getting hi-speed and I think she is fine with it. Yeehaw.

This weekend was fairly uneventful. Friday I went to a place called Vivos with my housemate and her friends. Quite impressive, from the loverly tropical plant garden that we ate in, to the ice chips and rose petals in the bathroom sinks, to the long stemmed roses you got on the way out. Oh, and awesome food too. Ironically, out of 8 people, my housemate was the only one originally from Texas. But that seems to be pretty common here.

This weekend I was really hit with the realization that I am a stranger in a strange land. Not that people aren't super nice, but I was really aware of the fact that it was the weekend and I knew no one to go out with. Which also strikes me as funny, because I never actually went out all that much when I was in South Bend and knew "everyone". But of course the grass is always greener.

Sunday night I was just about ready to go climb the walls, and my housemate invited me to join them at the movies. Hooray. The only thing was I was the only one not part of a couple. So that got a little awkward from time to time. But I'm not complaining. I was grateful just to get out of the house and stop feeling like such a loser.

Fortunately today I got to meet the entire French dept and other TAs/AIs, so hopefully the social aspect will start picking up soon. Can I tell you how cool it is to be in a room of like-minded people with the same sort of interests? I feel like everyone speaks my "language", and I'm not talking just about French. Rather, all the things that I love about French and languages in general, and I'm surrounded by dorks who feel the same way.

Needless to say, I feel like I fit in pretty well. Everyone is really nice, in spite of the little rivalry between the literature and linguistics tracks (Battle of the Dorks). We all met for lunch a little while ago and tonight is happy hour at a place called Dog and Duck. Hooray for not sitting at home alone!

This morning I passed by a bunch of students carrying instruments, and realized that band camp was starting. Brought back some wistful (or not so wistful) memories.

I've decided that so far I love Austin. There is so much to do here. Shops, food, movies, etc etc etc.

Yeehaw.

Sweet!

You must all go see Napolean Dynamite. Now. Right now.

I don't remember the last time I laughed so hard at a movie. It is so freakin' funny I almost wet my pants.

GO! NOW!

Friday, August 20, 2004

Eh alors...?

So here's what I've accomplished so far:

Advised.
Registered.
Paid.
Got id.
Bought books.
Didn't get lost.

Whohoo!

Today was French dept orientation and I got to meet my supervisor as well as some of the other new TAs/AIs. We have two Frenchies an Indian, and a handful of Americans. And one of them is from Monroe! Small small world.

Everyone is so freakin' nice here it's unbelievable.

The orientation was mostly focused for the AIs, since they'll be the ones actually teaching classes on their own. Andre (from Bombay) and I are the only TAs, so we managed to not gloss over too much while they went through all the admin stuff.

This afternoon I managed to have a conversation in French with Helene, from Paris, who will be lecuring here. It was nice to discover that I have not lost my French, despite my earlier concerns of not having used it all summer. Whohoo!

My only fear now is that I big time need to review my grammaire...cause it's been awhile.

Tonight I'm meeting the roomate and her friends for Happy Hour at some place called Venos (??). I don't remember. Some Tex-Mex place, of which there are a million in Austin.

There is so much to do here that I feel overwhelmed...I want to do it all.

Now.

The Sad State of our Nation

Should this even be in the Guiness Book of World Records?

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Blogging from a lab in a French dept near you...

Well folks, I made it.

It took me 20 hours to get here. 20 looong, grueling, agonizing hours. My hand is permanately attached to my forehead in woe.

So. Other than the length, there was really nothing very eventful about the trip down. It's always interesting to drive across country and see the different landscapes, funny restaurants, buildings, landmarks, etc etc etc. Particularly in the South.

It's good to be back in the Dirrty South. Although I feel somewhat like I'm in a foreign country. In fact, I feel more in a foreign country than I did when I was in France. Go figure.

Here are the latest adventures:

Tuesday Evening

Arrive in Austin. Attempt to read directions to house while driving down I-35. Not recommended.
Take the correct exit, but fear I missed the correct turn for my street. Pull over in scary public storage place.
Call housemate.
Discover I have not gone too far, but not far enough.
Get back on access road.
Find street.
Continue reading directions in the dark.
Almost hit pedestrian and his dog.
Decide to pay attention.
Find my new street.
Cannot see to find correct house.
Go too far.
Turn around.
Begin rolling down steep hill.
Find my house. Complete with citronella candles on the porch and a big red glider.
Meet Kellie, my new housemate.
Explore new digs (which took all of 3 minutes).
Become entralled with house and new room.

Wednesday

Wake up with the horrified realisation that I need to unpack the car.
Begin unpacking.
Unload TV with Kellie and manage to scratch the bottom of the screen.
Dammitt.
Finish unloading and feel content.
Feeling of contentment dissipates when I realize I have to find a grocery store and Target, and most importantly, my way out of the neighborhood.
Leave house and manage to find way onto main road.
Triumphantly discover Subway and a grocery store down the street.
Find Target sans problem.
Begin buying little trucs for my room.
Get hit with the realization that I really am a poor college student again. This occurs somewhere between buying the stacking crates and plastic drawers.
"Don't have to live like a refugee" begins playing in my head.
Finish shopping, get to car.
Realize I do not know how to get back from Target.
Manage to find my way across I-35 and on the other access road.
Discover the joy that is HEB.
Buy go-ceries.
Find my way back to house without getting lost.
Set up room.
Call my cousin across the street to see if we can finally meet. Her 9 year old daughter answers and says, "OH! Are you the new cousin neighbor?!?!?!"
Too cute.
Meet the cousin (Denise) and her children (Alex and Eliana). Denise offers to drive me around campus and downtown.
Come back home. Spend the rest of the evening chatting and petting their dogs.
Yea for doggie fever.

Thursday

Wake up at ass crack of dawn to get ready for orientation.
Drive to UT campus and don't get lost!
Get a call from advisor asking if I can come in to see him.
Screw the orientation.
Meet the good Dr.
Agonize over classes.
Run to the Spanish dept.
Agonize some more.
Run back to the French dept.
Settle on what to do.
Discover there is a computer lab for French grad students. Whohoo!

Present Moment
Blogging

***********************************************************
So one of the French proffs just came in and said, "Vous etes Francaise?" (are you French?) Whohoo! Maybe I'm pulling off the whole looking French thing, I don't know.

Anyway, while I am in a strange sort of time warp, I feel amazingly at peace and relaxed. Everyone is so nice. So so nice.

On tap for the rest of the day is to register, get my student id, and get some info about internet access chez moi. Looks like hi-speed is pas possible, which is vraiment dommage, but I will be able to have it at schol at least. So hopefully I can handle the dial-in at home.

Stay tuned for the latest...

Sunday, August 15, 2004

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

Well, everything I'm gonna possibly fit in my car is in my car.

Unpacking should be a fun task. I need to hire some child slave labor when I get there.

But seriously I am so impressed. Almost everything I own fit in the car. I would venture to say that everything I own could have fit in the car, had I not decided to stick the TV in there. But oh well. I am tres happy. It was almost Harry Potter-esque...stuff keeps fitting in, no matter how small the space.

So here's the rundown on today:

I woke up early to start packing, started making red beans and rice part II, then went to Jimmy Johns (my new favorite sandwich place) to meet P-diddy for lunch. A shout out for his brand new car. He's been due a nice new ride for a long time, and has done well. A Honda Accord. It is bee-you-tee-full! And it has a 6-cd changer. Rowr. All the ladies are gonna be wantin' a piece of that action.

After lunch I finished packing, then had a nice dinner with Nance, Pat and Kack. We ate outside and had to wear sweatshirts. I swear to God, the apocalypse is coming. What is up with the cold weather in August??

Nanci surprised me with a set of demi-tasse cups--Those cute little tiny pretentious cups for espresso. I decided awhile back I'm going to start collecting them. They have little scenes of Paris on them and are just adorable. So now I can drink my express and stick my pinkie out and be cool.

I am all set. I'll see Drevs and Brigid one last time tomorrow morn, make a stop in Chicago to see my hetero life mate Meg, then it's Tex-ass here I come!

I'm scared. And excited. And sad to leave my "family" in South Bend. But anxious to meet the "new" family I'll meet find in Austin.

I will leave you with this link. I am "officially" on the staff of the UT French Dept. Stay tuned for my "office hours"!

Wish me luck!

Oh, yes, and Pat rules too.

Hooray! I can take my TV with me!

Wonderful wonderful Pat figured out a way to get it in there and still have stuff fit!

Now I can watch dvds and movies to my heart's content. When I'm not studying and writing papers of course.

Whohoo!

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Oh, yes, and did I mention I rule?

I have just successfully stuffed my trunk pleine des choses and there is still a little bit of wiggle room. I think I'm gonna be able to bring down a nice large chunk o' stuff, and that makes me oh so happy. Whohoo!

My last few days in the Bend are turning out to be very busy, but very nice aussi. I am much less stressed than I was around this time last year.

Yesterday Jackson treated me to a Starbucks in honor of my last day. It tasted almost as good as my own homeade espresso. Almost.

Last night I went to Kathie and Bill's for red beans. I am pleased to report that they came out quite good. The one thing missing was the Tabasco, which I completely forgot to buy. Fortunately, Bill found some other hot sauce, a gift from Joey, and entitled, "Da Bomb." Unfortunately, "Da Bomb" made the red beans inedible.

Note to self, do not consume hot sauce entitled, "Da Bomb."

After each dumping out our first serving and sucking on bread to put out the fire in our mouths, we took another helping and this time all was well. Dinner was topped off with Kathie's "Shoofly Pie" and Bill's infamous Kona Honey Macademia Nut coffee. Worth all the hype.

I love hanging out with K&B, because we can spend hours talking about everything and nothing. We ended up watching Roger & Me and talking until 3am. Ouch. Finally we called it a night, said our goodbyes, and then I managed to get lost in Bill's neighborhood on my way out. Just as I was about to panic I pulled out into Ironwood and all was well.

The big downer was that I had to get up at 8am today to go to Chicago with Nanci. We had an awesome time at the workshop though, and I got to say goodbye to even more folk.

Tonight I have been packing like a madwoman, and think I'm gonna head to bed tres bientot. I'm wiped. And have to get up early again in order to keep the panicking to a minimum.

On tap for tomorrow:

Wake up refreshed.
Pack.
Start making 2nd batch of red beans.
Meet P-Dog for lunch and goodbyes.
Meet Trish and possibly others for coffee.
Catch up with Brigid.
Dinner with Nance, Pat and Kack.
Last minute packing and panicking.

So that's that. Moving is so stressful. I hate the feeling of "forgetting" something. That's the worst part.

The nice thing this time around, however, is that I am not heading to a new continent. Just a short plane ride away. Or a two day car trip.


Friday, August 13, 2004

Shake it like a polaroid pictya...

Today's my last day of work! Whohoo!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

I should mention...

...that while I'm bitching and packing, I'm also making red beans and rice.

I'll actually be making rb&r twice this weekend--for Kathie and Bill tomorrow and Saturday for Nance and Pat.

So good news is now the house is full of the smell of the Court's Trinity (onions, green pepper and garlic), not to be mistaken with the Louisiana Trinity (onions, green pepper and celery).

Bad news is rb&r takes a looooong time to cook...so I'll be up late.

I'm not what some would call a "good planner." (imagine my fingers making the quote gesture...)

Bitch bitch bitch...

I hate packing.

I hate having half of my stuff in one place and the other half in the other.

I hate spending three hours being really busy but not really feeling like I've accomplished anything at the end.

Oy vey.


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

"It's, uh, sovereign...um, I mean a sovereign entity...uh..."

Heh heh heh...

Yale would be so proud. How would you like to have everyone in the room laughing at you? Ouch.

Click here to read more.


The Chronicles of Mr. Mistoffelees...

Once upon a time, there was a little black Honda that was so chiant, its owner was convinced it was possessed by the devil. The trixy false car-esses gave her more problems in a shorter span of time than any car is allowed. At night she could hear him cackling at her. One day the owner got so fed up, she decided to drive him off of a cliff to rid the world of its evil presence.

If only there was a cliff nearby.

Well, here's the latest--as of late, Mr. Mistoffelees has been making a sort of high-pitched whistling noise. At first, I decided to take the mentality of, "If I ignore it, maybe it will go away..."

It didn't. And since I'm about to drive it across the country, I thought maybe I should probably check it out.

So yesterday I brought my car to Basney for an oil change (and just as an aside, they remembered me!), and they told me it was probably the brakes (which I also thought, except for the fact that the noise was happening even when I accelerated), and it would probably cost $200 to fix.

Those jokesters.

So I said, "Hmmm, let me check my schedule and I'll call to make an appointment" just to save face, and then proceeded to dial up good ol' Rick, who's been my mechanic since the days of my Volvo. That's a long time.

In all honesty, I love the people at Basney, and I would love to have them fix my car, but I am not paying twice as much in order to say my car was fixed by a Honda dealer. That just kills me.

So I brought Mr. Mistoffelees into Rick's today, warned them about his bad luck, and Rick himself gave me a ride home. They're nice peeps too.

So we'll see how much this one is gonna cost. Counting up all the money this GD car has cost me, not to mention worry and stress, I could have just kept my Toyota. I wish this evil spirit would just leave my car alone! Perhaps when I'm in Texas and not driving it, he'll quit giving me problems. Then again, this is Mr. Mistoffelees.

I wonder if they'll perform exorcisms on cars?...

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Picture of the Day

Special thanks to Oz for the giggle...
001condi
Originally uploaded by verretc.

WTF?

People are weird. Just plain weird.

Grinning Idiot

So I was just outside making a phone call and my friend said something that made me laugh.

Evidentally this laugh caused a big smile to break out on my face, which in turn caused a random passerby biker to smile largely back.

It took me a minute to figure out why.

I guess this could be a nice "smile pass it on" story, but quite honestly it just sort of embarrassed me.

Punaise, c'est chiant!

Maudit bouchons.

Last night we had a huge storm and lots of power outages. This a.m. everything was fine and dandy, I left for work at my normal time, pulled out to 31, and then proceeded to get stuck in the longest bouchon in the entire world. Hooray for more power outages.

Some might disagree with my "longest bouchon in the entire world" description, but since it's all about me, I'm going to classify it as such.

I don't think I got out of first gear once.

Stupid Mother Nature.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Shout-out to Marilyn

Let's here it for my mum, who was just offered a position teaching French and Spanish at Louisiana Tech University!

Notable LA Tech alumni include Terry Bradshaw and Karl Malone. And possibly other famous people, but I don't feel like looking it up.

Yea Marilyn!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Old Friends...

I am feeling so sentimental tonight.

It's funny how much things change as time goes by. Starting new chapters of your life is very intense. Doing it two years in a row is even more intense. And what's weirder still is when your friends are doing the exact same thing.

Tonight I got together with some old friends from WSBT. It was so nice to see them again, and yet so sad because things have changed a lot since I was there, and things are changing still because they are all leaving--either going to school, moving away, or starting a new job. And while I am ecstatic for these people and what they are moving on to, I am sad, because the world as I've known it is changing. Again.

It's one thing for me to change, but when stuff that I've counted on also starts to change, I get a little freaked out. I guess it's like when you move out of home, and you come back and your parents have turned your bedroom into an office. Fortunately Marilyn has not done that to me yet, but I am waiting for (and dreading) the day. It's that whole, "there's no coming home again" thing.

This summer back in South Bend has been really weird. As I've mentioned before, it's been sort of like a safe and comfortable womb. Maybe it's because I got sentimental while I was away, maybe because it's summertime, maybe it's because I've been a lot more social than before, but I've just felt really sad about saying goodbye again, and have started planning my trips back. The thought of staying here has fluttered in my mind more than a couple times.

But then I am always given a stark jolt of reality, like tonight for example, and I see other people in my life moving on, and I know that I need to do the same. I don't want to get left behind.

I think actually that I've done a pretty good job of not staying static, but it gets tiring sometimes. And I'm sure when I finally do "settle" down, I will be bitching and moaning about how bored I am.

For now though, I will let myself feel the sentimentality, enjoy my last week in South Bend, and prepare myself for Austin.

But I can't help but think that this whole saying-goodbye-to-South-Bend thing would be so much easier if it was winter.

Packing Hell (mais il fait beau le soleil)

Well go me, cause I got a lot of work done yesterday.

Granted, I am now freaking out over all the work I still have to do, but at least I have decided to quit living in denial and face it.

I spent all day yesterday moving boxes out of my friend's house. I hate going up and down stairs anyway, and yesterday I had to do it with big gigantic boxes in my arms.

I really think at some point in my life I should ask someone for help, but don't know when that day will come. I hate asking for help. Hate it hate it. I will do it myself, even if I break my back in the process. Stubborn and hard headed, that's me.

Anyway, after moving the boxes into my car, and then moving them into Nanci's living room, I tried to hurry and move them down the stairs again into Nanci's basement so they wouldn't freak out.

All I can think of is "Oh Dear Lord I have a lot of crap."

But I did accomplish quite a lot, and as a reward to myself, last night I went to the Firefly Festival to see Beausoleil. This Louisiana group is pretty popular around the Cajun music circuit, if you're into that sort of thing (and why wouldn't you be?). I owe a huge shout-out to Trish and Eric, because not only did they get me free tickets, they got me FOUR free tickets, and I was able to spread the love around. Kathie, Jeff and Barbara were the lucky three and we had a ball. How could you not?

I was especially impressed that people went down toward the stage to dance. This is South Bend after all...but then there's something about Cajun music that just does something to you.

The evening ended at Zehner cinema with Terminator 3. Some of you may know what a huge Terminator fan I am...if not, ask my mother about it. Because when I was around 12 or 13, I went through a stage where I rented the movies every weekend. Literally. It was mostly because I had a crush on Edward Furlong, but they are pretty good stories. Because of my sentimentality, I went to see the third one by myself last year, because no one else wanted to go.

Anyway, it was rather fun to see it again. And since Nance and Pat have the whole Terminator set, I am seriously considering a marathon before I go.

I wonder what Edward Furlong looks like today?

Friday, August 06, 2004

Heheheh...


bushcheney
Originally uploaded by verretc.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Et la piece de resistance...

There's even a porch with a glider!

Ah, I can't wait to get back to the dirrty South. Home Sweet Home.

the front porch with the lovely new glider
Originally uploaded by verretc.

Presenting...my soon-to-be new digs!

So here you go! This is where I'm going to be living in Austin this year! Whohoo!

Special thanks to my cousin Denise for taking pictures!

house
Originally uploaded by verretc.

Can we say Freudian Slip?

"Plain Spoken"... There's a good PR term...

****************************************
New 'Bushism' Born at Bill Signing

WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) offered up a new entry for his catalog of "Bushisms" on Thursday, declaring that his administration will "never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people."

Bush misspoke as he delivered a speech at the signing ceremony for a $417 billion defense spending bill.

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush said. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

No one in Bush's audience of military brass or Pentagon (news - web sites) chiefs reacted.
The president was working his way toward a larger point. "We must never stop thinking about how best to defend our country. We must always be forward-thinking," he said.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush's misstatement "just shows even the most straightforward and plain-spoken people misspeak."

"But the American people know this president speaks with clarity and conviction, and the terrorists know by his actions he means it," McClellan said.

bush
Originally uploaded by verretc.

Geniuses, the both of them

DAVENPORT, Iowa (Reuters) - Competing for votes in corn-growing Iowa, John Kerry (news - web sites) waved to crowds with one ear in each hand. Not to be outdone by his Democratic rival, President Bush (news - web sites) ate one raw.

Cultivating the corn vote is serious business in the battleground Midwestern state, where the rival presidential candidates converged on Wednesday. Bush lost the state to Democrat Al Gore (news - web sites) in 2000 by just 4,144 votes, or roughly two votes for every precinct. Polls show the 2004 race is another dead heat.

Iowa is the No. 1 corn-producing state in the nation, and Bush and Kerry are campaigning here with promises to help the state's farmers.

Kerry declared his enthusiasm for corn by sticking his head out the window of his campaign bus. He waved both hands with corn (dumbass).

After their simultaneous rallies in Davenport in eastern Iowa, Bush stopped at a farmer's market in nearby Bettendorf and bought some ears of sweet corn. The president took a bite of one on the spot. "Oh yeah. ("...you're supposed to cook this first...")You don't even have to cook it. It's really good," Bush declared (all the while thinking, "How can I swallow this without making a face???").

Raw corn is typically fed to livestock (this one is just too easy), but Irvin Anderson, a professor of corn physiology and biochemistry at Iowa State University, said some people liked it raw.

"Most people will boil it and put butter on it. But you can eat it off the cob raw. It has a sweet taste to it," he said.

*italics and additional commentary were added by me. Duh.

From the makers of Punk'd...

Don't get Bush'd!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Testin'

So I just found out how to post pictures from a Mac to my blog. Or, I should say, a more efficient way to post pictures from a Mac onto my blog.
This is a picture of my lil' cousin Viv.

Let me know if you can't see it...

Princess Viv
Originally uploaded by verretc.

Huh.

Interesting that I found this the same day I found this.

I always wondered about my two female dogs.

Huh?

I would LOVE to see this.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Reports That Led to Terror Alert Were Years Old, Officials Say

Case in point. I'll take a "political waffler" over someone who invokes fear to control the people he "leads" any day.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 -Much of the information that led the authorities to raise the terror alert at several large financial institutions in the New York City and Washington areas was three or four years old, intelligence and law enforcement officials said on Monday. They reported that they had not yet found concrete evidence that a terrorist plot or preparatory surveillance operations were still under way.

Click here to continue reading...(free registration required)

Food for Thought

Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer Transcript
Governor Dean joined Wolf Blitzer this Sunday, August 1, 2004. The following is a transcript of the broadcast.

Joining us now from Vermont, the former governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, joining us live. Governor Dean, thanks very much for joining us.
And I want to immediately get your reaction to both of these developing stories. First, the decision by the federal government, the Department of Homeland Security, to increase the threat level here in Washington, D.C., from yellow to orange, from elevated to high. What do you make of this?

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF VERMONT: It's hard to know what to make. None of us outside the administration have access to the intelligence, which led to this determination.
I am concerned that every time something happens that's not good for President Bush he plays this trump card, which is terrorism. His whole campaign is based on the notion that "I can keep you safe, therefore at times of difficulty for America stick with me," and then out comes Tom Ridge.
It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there's some of both in it...

BLITZER: Well, when you say that, that's a very serious allegation, that the federal government, Tom Ridge, the president of the United States, may be playing politics with the whole issue of fear and terror threat levels. And I want you to explain specifically, so there's no confusion, what you mean by that.

DEAN: What I mean by that is the president himself has played politics with it. The president is basing his political campaign for re-election on the notion that he ought to be re-elected because terrorism is a danger, and his case to the American people is, "I'm the only person who can get us through this." So of course this is politics.
The question is, do I believe this is being fabricated? No, of course I don't believe that. But I do think that there is politics in this, and the question is, how much is politics and how much is a real threat?
I have no doubt there's a real threat here, but I also -- this is a long history of orange to yellow, yellow to orange, orange to yellow without a lot of explanation.
I find that the warnings -- watch out for somebody walking into buildings, watch out for somebody driving cars, watch out for somebody driving a truck -- that's not very helpful in New York City. It would be very helpful if the federal government would be much more specific about exactly what they'd like to us watch out for as they're raising all these levels.

BLITZER: But isn't it important that if there are serious indicators of a threat out there, that the federal government at least notify those who may be in harm's way to be a little bit more vigilant?

DEAN: Yes, it is very important. And one of the things about this warning, which is different than the previous many, many, many that the Bush administration has given us is they've given us specific cities and specific targets.
The usual pattern of the Bush administration is just come out and tell everybody, "We have chatter, we have chatter, watch out, watch out," and that is totally unhelpful. This at least confines it to a geographic area, and I think that's an improvement.
I think, frankly, that this is an area which I think John Kerry would handle much differently. I think John Kerry would probably wait until he knew exactly what the situation was.
He's also said that he would hire more special forces people, and that's going to be the key to stopping this. We need to stop these people in their own lands, not when they get to ours.

BLITZER: Governor Dean, you were governor of Vermont when Tom Ridge was governor of Pennsylvania. You clearly know him. Is he the kind of man who would play politics with this kind of sensitive subject?

DEAN: Look, I like Tom Ridge. And I knew George Bush, and I like George Bush.
The president himself has said he is playing politics with this. The president himself has said that he ought to be re-elected because of the terrible terrorist danger. I don't see what's the big deal about this. I mean, it's obvious politics has something to do with this.

BLITZER: Well, as I said before, that's a very serious charge that you're making against the president.

DEAN: I don't think it's a serious charge. It's something the president himself has acknowledged.

BLITZER: Well, when you say he's acknowledged, he says this is not...

DEAN: The president's campaign is based on...

BLITZER: Well, let me just say, he says that what he's doing is trying to protect the American people when he and his intelligence community, law enforcement community sense there are threats out there.

DEAN: I have no doubt that the president is trying to protect the American people. That's his job. And I think that's a good thing. I think that's good. That's what he should be doing.
However, when you're going to run on inspiring fear in American people, that's politics.
And there's no way you can get out of accusations and discussions about the relationship between politics and protecting us against terrorism in an election year when the president of the United States is avowedly running his political re-election campaign on the notion that he can protect us better from terrorism than John Kerry can.

BLITZER: Let's move on.

DEAN: I happen to disagree with that. But the president himself made the choice to inject politics into the campaign on terrorism. That was his choice. He's now going to have to live with the consequences.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Oh Dear Lord

Why do I have so much crap?

I took the day off work to get started on the "packing", thinking that it would make me feel better about leaving, more organized, etc.

WRONG.

Now I am more freaked out than ever before, because I have no idea how in the HELL I am going to get all this sh*t down to Texas.

GAH!

Sunday, August 01, 2004

A nice set of HOOTERS

My freshman year at SMC, I traveled with the Notre Dame marching band to the lovely city of Pittsburgh for a football game.

That trip stands out in my mind for several reasons. First, I was delighted at the concept of the "stipend." Second, it was the first game we managed to win all season. Third, I got to eat at Hooters.

Being one of three girls in a trombone section of 27 guys had a little bit to do with this restaurant selection. It was all in the name of bonding of course. And the food was actually pretty good.

Well, while I was in France, one of the new business developments in South Bend was the construction of our very own Hooters, out on the infamous Grape Rd strip.

Tonight happened to be "Biker Night", and since Nanci and Pat are bikers, they decided to go with their biker friends, and invited me to come along.

I thought, "Why not?"

I might be a liberal feminist, but I am not too uptight to enjoy breasts and thighs (Chicken! I'm talking about chicken you dirty minded pervs!).

Unfortunately, our waitress, while certainly looking the part of a good Hooters girl, did not seem to be very good at actually waitressing. In fact, a few times, I wanted to blow in her ear and say, "Refill!"

But we eventually got to order, and we eventually got our food, and we eventually got the correct food, and we eventually got utensils to eat it with, and we eventually got the bill, and we eventually got it split, and we eventually got it split three ways and we eventually got it split three ways correctly, and we eventually got our change.

So it all worked out in the end.

I would like to propose my own restaurant theme...with Chip & Dale style waiters, and I want the place to have a rooster theme and be called "Cocks." Or "Pecks." Does that exist already? If not it should.

I'm not picky.

Summa Thyme

I love summer.

More than that, I love the stress free lazy days that go along with it. And the Country Time lemonade commercials.

Since I've been back in the Bend, I have suddenly had this amazing boost to my social life. I really don't know what this is all about. Perhaps it's all the getting back and seeing people I haven't seen in 9 months thing, along with the hurrying up and seeing people before I leave in two weeks thing.

Whatever it is, I like it.

Yesterday, I went out to Lake Michigan with my friend Jeff. I have not been out there in years, since college actually, when HAS-y, Bridge and Davah the Divah used to go out on the weekends. It became a little haven for me, and most notably served as my stressed out nervous breakdown destination site.

Good times.

Anyway, we hung out there the entire day, and I am pleased to report that it is still as nice as ever.

Today, after sleeping in, I snatched up the paper, went to Martins, had lunch and drank coke for about 3 hours. Not a care in the world.

I spent the rest of the day reading and napping.

This might sound like utter laziness, but quite honestly, I am going to enjoy this while I can, cause it's all going to come crashing down in about three weeks.

Back to school, back to school (so dad doesn't think I'm a fool...).

I don't wanna think about it.