I AM Evil....and I Switched to the New Blogger

You Are 28% Evil
A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.


Merry Christmas!

We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer. Refrain

We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some, so bring some out here. Refrain

We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



Angie's over on her blog writing about important topics and here I am talking about multiplication facts and posting pictures of Fritz the Night Owl.


It makes me feel like I should be profound, but, let's face it, I am not in the mood for profound (but you should totally read Angie's).

Also, in absence of my profundity, you should also check out Rasti. It's a blog by a Kurd who blogs about Kurdish interests. He typically focuses on the situation in Turkey, but it's a fantastic read (in particular, his discussion of the Iraq Study Group Report). It's definitely not what you'll see on CNN or Fox.

As for me, things continue as they do. I am really looking forward to Christmas and New Year's. This Friday, Sis, Kate, Erin, Angie and I will be going shopping on Friday with all the crazies. That should be fun (and a little out of control, I bet).

Oh, and did anyone see SNL this weekend? It was hilarious. Even the "ok" sketches were better than their typical "good" sketches. Perhaps you'll all get a **** in a box for Christmas.

"I say we do how we do, yo!"


Up Late

I got off of work at about 1:30 am and I am still awake. I never feel like sleeping right when I get home which means that I am up late into the night. Er, I mean morning, I guess

Yesterday was Angie's and Kate's birthday. Kate turned 18 and Angie turned 28. Freaky.

For two underemployed people, Angie and I have been making the rounds at the local restaurants lately. We've road tested Mimi's Cafe, Stoney River and El Arapazo in a matter of days. And those are just the new joints. We can thank Vanessa for the trip to Stoney River. She gave us a gift certificate which expired on Wednesday. We went on the last possible day. The food was good, but expensive. In my opinion, it's not worth the price. Plus, I found out that they are owned by the same people that own O'Charley's and you know how I feel about O'Charley's!

Also, I should mention that we tried Coco's again. It's officially off the list of acceptable choices. I wanted to go again so that I could try the bulgogi. Bulgogi is Korean barbequed beef.

Coco's is clearly not a Korean restauant.

In fact, it's possible that none of the employees have ever actually tasted bulgogi before. It was just awful. I inadvertantly ate mom's eggroll and it was the highlight of the meal. Do not go to Coco's!!

In non-food news: It turns out that Kate and Angie share something other than a birthday. They are both terrible with math! A few weeks agao the three of us played a game called Stocks and Bonds from 1965. It requires multiplication and addition. basically, it's multiplication by factors of 10 and addition of up to four digit numbers. Both of them were using their cell phone calculators!

Well, today I tutored Sis' kids on multiplication tables (up to 12). I told Kate and Angie a story about how some of the kids really grasped the idea of multiplying by 12 using (x*10)+(x*2). I went on to say that some of them even used (x*11)+(x*1) which was cool because it meant that they remembered what I taught them last week about 11.

The important part of this story is that they were both like "What!?! I have never heard of this! x*12 is the same as (x*10)+(x*2)!?!" I mean it was shock and disbelief!

Better yet, they've both taken Algebra. I was like "Dudes, it's called the Distributive Property. Look it up."

Of course, it is possible that they both simply deny that 10+2 equals 12. That throws off the whole theory. Maybe they could use their cell phones.

It makes me feel good to tell it since I totally misplaced South Bend, IN a couple of nights ago. In fairness to me, though, I was only a few miles off. I guess it's technically in NW Indiana, not NE, and, technically, it's not closer to Ohio than Illinois. I did, however, correctly identify Indiana's Great Lake and the very fact that it borders one, a fact that was not agreed upon amongst my compatriots - who shall remain nameless. (But before she posts, Sis did not dispute the Lake).

Oh, and be sure to come to the Meeker Christmas Party on Sunday at 7:15 after "Carols and Candles" at the church!


Barzani criticizes study group for "failing to visit Iraqi Kurdistan"

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - The president of the Kurdistan region of Iraq issued a stinging rejection of the Iraq Study Group's recommendations, saying Kurds "are in no way abiding by this report."

President Massoud Barzani said Thursday that the report contradicts assurances given to Kurdish officials by study group co-chair James Baker before the report's release. Baker "assured us that the special status of Kurdistan was taken into account in the report," Barzani said in a written statement issued late Thursday.

Iraqi Kurdistan officials had "conveyed in a letter the Kurdish point of view," he said. "But the group did not attach any importance to the letter, and it seemed as if they had not read it at all."

Barzani said the Kurdistan officials believe the study group "made some unrealistic and inappropriate recommendations for helping the U.S. to get out of these difficulties."

"If under this pretext, these inappropriate recommendations are imposed on us; we declare, on behalf of the people of Kurdistan, that we reject anything that is against the constitution and the interest of Iraq and Kurdistan," he

Barzani rejected the study group's call for a "new diplomatic offensive" that would include discussions with all of Iraq's neighbours.

The leader's comments came on the same day Bush indicated that Iran and Syria might be included in regional talks about Iraq, if the countries meet certain conditions.

Bush met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair Thursday at the White House, acknowledging during a news conference that, "It's bad in Iraq."

Blair said the report "offers a strong way forward" toward success "because the consequences of failure are severe."

Bush said victory in Iraq is important to security in the Middle East, Britain, the United States and "the civilized world."

Barzani is standing his ground, however.

"We think that this is contrary to the interest of the people of Iraq in general and the people of Iraqi Kurdistan in particular, and also the territorial integrity of Iraq," he said. "It is also interference in the country's internal affairs."

He also said the report places emphasis "on strengthening the central government and weakening the regional ones."

Such a move would be "contrary to the principles of federalism and the constitution that forms the basis upon which the new Iraq is built," he said.

"Here we make it clear that federalism is the only way for preserving the unity of Iraq."

Barzani rejected proposals that seek to pull opposition groups into the government, saying they would amount to "rewarding those who are against the political process and have conducted acts of violence, by including them into the government and authority."

Barzani also:

* Criticized the study group members for "failing to visit Iraqi Kurdistan," calling that "a major shortcoming that adversely influenced the credibility of the assessment."

* Rejected the call for a review, with the help of U.N. experts, of the Iraqi constitution.

* Blasted a proposal to put "oil revenues under the power of the central government and redistribute it in accordance with the ratio of the population."

* Opposed any delay in implementing a constitutional provision in regard to Kirkuk.

* Stated that Iraqis should look first to national reconciliation before the nation's problems are solved by others.

* Said the democratic progress of Iraq and Kurdistan should not be put aside, recalling previous elections and the country's constitution, which "received the support of more than 80 percent of the people in Iraq."

Barzani said he would urge "all Iraqi groups, who believe in the political process, the constitution and a democratic federal Iraq, to take radical steps to solve these problems so that they can be freed from the solutions of the wrong recommendations of the regional and international countries."


Christmas, Christmastime is Here

I know you have all been laying awake nights wondering what you can get me for Christmas. Well, thanks to Amazon.com, you don't have to wonder any longer. They have given me a simple way to publicize my wishlist.

Check out the sidebar. Right under "I have Power Blogger" you'll see a link to my Amazon.com Wish List! They make it so easy! I wonder what they get out of it...?

I even pared the list down for you. I applied the if-this-is-all-you-got-for-Christmas-and-nothing-else-would-you-be-happy test to each item. Only the strong survive.

The All Request Hour

Remember when I asked for song requests a while back?

Well, here's the finished product. I did my best, but WebJay isn't perfect, so some artists are singing different songs and, in at least one case, I just settled for a song with the same title as the one requested. All in all, though, I think it turned out pretty good!


Not Stolen From Angie's Blog

Oh and in MUCH more exciting news! Angie and I have begun our support raising for our return trip to Iraq. Yup! It officially began yesterday when we sent our November Newsletter. If you would like a copy of it and didn't get one, shoot me an email and I'll make sure you get one. The highlight of the newsletter (in Angie's opinion)was our "Creative Ways to Give!" Over the next few weeks, we'll be sending out HUNDREDS of letter to people and churches across the country asking for their support, and while walking out the door the other talking about how we ONLY need 100 of those HUNDREDS to pledge $50 a month in order to meet our goal, it dawned on us that HUNDREDS of stamps are VERY expensive! At least, they are when neither of us are working steadilyy full time! We know that we will have to send to hundreds of people in order to gain the needed support, and we know that God will supply just what need in order to GO. BUT, we need stamps in order to do that! HA!

Well, stamps are no match for GOD, right!? So, stamps became a creative way to give to our ministry! I mean, we can totally believe for God to show a few people how THEY are TRULY supporting the work of our ministry by simply mailing us STAMPS, right? I'm not being sarcastic either! As we walked out the door and talked about it in the car, I think we had this moment (at least Angie did) where we remembered that it may be someone's joy to pick up an extra book of stamps at the Post Office, knowing that every 20 stamps mails out 20 letters which may yield another person's support for our ministry. It's strange how God works like that, right?



I wanted to update the old blog today, but I don't have much to say.

Some days I really wish I were still in IQ and I can't wait to go back. I've been feeling like that a lot lately, too.

And when I watch or read the news (and, let's face it, it's mostly read since TV news is too busy pandering to the lowest common denominator..) I can't help but think that the time to work in IQ is getting short, especially in the north. I wonder if the US pullout will see the Turks invade the north to stamp out the PKK. And what about Iran?

I pray that I'm wrong and the door that was opened following the Gulf War (and especially after the US invasion) will stay open forever, but it seems unlikely.


The Rest of the Story

On Wednesday I took a pre-interview assessment with the State of Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, or ODJFS for those in the know. I told everyone it was a civil service exam because that was easier to explain.

Anyways, I showed up at the proper place at the proper time. I sized up the competition and thought I had a pretty good shot. And then I saw the test. Like any good test-taker, I scanned all of the questions first. So, I knew I was in trouble right away.

I know nothing about state welfare laws. Turns out, though, that's a big part of the work at ODJFS. Who knew?

Really, though, these were tough, in-depth questions. This isn't the type of thing you learn, it's the type of stuff you pick up working the entry-level position and then use when you test up to the higher level.

So I answered the first five questions as I struggled to decide whether or not to waste my time with the exam. I mean, I didn't want to look like an idiot in front of the other testers.

The first five were based on a section of law which was included with the test, so I answered those and the multiple choice at the back (I mean I can take a multiple choice test on almost anything). So I had maybe 20 points out of 54 - assuming, of course, that I got 100% on the ones I'd answered. I needed 45 points to get an interview.

I decided to re-read the remaining questions. Once I had done that I decided to turn the test in and walk out. I had already wasted 30 minutes of my life, why waste an additional 2 hours making questions up for a job that I was clearly not qualified for?

I mean, what would I have done at the actual interview? Hard to tell.

I left the testing room and decided that I didn't really want to work for ODJFS anyways. The acronym is hard to type. Plus, why would I want to work for an organization that makes their employees jump through hoops?

I think it was the pay. Yeah, the pay is definitely the answer to that last question...


Jobs For Which I Am Unqualified

1. Neurosurgeon
2. Russian Spy
3. King of Spain
4. Ballerina
5. Human Services Developer 2. Apparently.


This Even Beats the Wicker Reindeer!

Sis and I discovered the most ostentatious house today. She, Angie and I visited it again later when it was illuminated. You can view the pictures over at Cinderella Jenkins.

Why is it that the poorer the neighborhood, the more inflatable decorations per capita? I think in Bexley the rate is .003 inflatables per person. On the Hilltop it hovers around 19.995.


I Want Panera


Did you know they sell giftcards.?


5 Songs

In an earlier post I mentioned my new favorite website, WebJay. It's a site that allows me to create an online playlist and share it with y'all. So far, I've made two playlists, one for Christmas and another with songs I like.

I want my next playlist to be songs submitted by you. So give me five songs (and artists) that you're listening to now.

Here, I'll start:

1. Where Does the Good Go? - Tegan and Sara
2. When You Were Young - The Killers
3. Beautiful Disaster - Kelly Clarkson
4. Snowden - Doves
5. Leaving New York - REM


Iran So Far Away...

So, what's the deal with Iran? Seriously.

Among other things - threatening Israel, meddling in Lebanon and Iraq, building a "peaceful" nuclear program - it seems that Iran has been shipping arms to Somalia. That's right, Somalia.

I'm sure the Somalis can do enough damage without Iran's help.

The following is from the BBC.

Powers 'stoking Somali conflict'
By Laura Travelyan
BBC News, UN headquarters, New Yor

Islamist militias control most of Somalia
Iran, Syria and eight other countries are violating a United Nations arms embargo to send weapons to Somalia, according to a UN-commissioned report.

It says Tehran and Damascus have links with the Union of Islamic Courts, a militia that controls much of Somalia.

The report, by experts monitoring the embargo, suggests that Iran may have tried to trade arms for uranium to further its nuclear ambitions.

Many of the countries named in the report reject the accusations.

Somalia has not had a proper government for more than 15 years.

The report says 10 countries are ignoring the arms ban. Ethiopia and Eritrea are named as the biggest violators.

Ethiopia is accused of sending weapons to the fragile government while Eritrea backs the Islamic opposition.


What is most striking about this report is the detailed links between countries such as Iran, Syria and Lebanon and the Islamic Courts Union.

For example, the authors say 720 Somali fighters went to Lebanon to help Hezbollah fight Israel in July.

Syria is said to have sent an aircraft full of guns to the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Iran is reported to have sent three shipments of arms to Somalia between July and September.

And one paragraph in the report says two Iranians were in Somalia looking into getting uranium in exchange for supplying arms.

No further details are offered. Iran wants uranium to further its nuclear programme, which it insists is peaceful, while western countries suspect Iran of wanting a nuclear bomb.

The UN Security Council is due to discuss the findings next week.

It seems to me that anyone looking for well-paying jobs with the US government should start brushing up on their Farsi.


We Need a Little Christmas

You can check out my Christmas Playlist over at WebJay.

While I was making it, I started thinking. What are your top five Christmas songs? And I don't mean generic songs, I mean song and artist.

Here are mine... I think.

1. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
2. Last Christmas - Wham!
3. All I Want for Christmas is You - Mariah Carey
4. Jingle Bell Rock - Brenda Lee
5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - The Carpenters


New Look

Angie created this new look based on my favorite game.

What do you think if it? I'm not changing it, I'm just curious.


Rock Out. Whatever...

So much going on with me! That's why I haven't posted too much lately.

Just kidding. Or simply "jk" to those in the know.

I have a part-time job now working nigh stock at Bath and Body Works. It would be a great second job, but as a first job it kind of sucks. Not because it's hard or terrible or anything, but because some nights I only work, like, two hours. That doesn't equal much cash...

This Saturday is my big Kurd Party. That's what I'm calling it at least. I hope people show up and are interested in hearing what I did and what Angie and I plan to do in the future.

Oh and I am p-a-l-e. But, as the pic suggests, pale is the new tan, so I must be the new cool.

Which is nice since I was also the old cool.


Ok, Ok, Ok

I changed back, but I will be trying new things in the future, so be ready for the excitement!



I am trying a new template here with the ol' blog.

Let me know what you think. I don't like that the links and profile are on the bottom, but maybe after a few weeks, I will grow to love it.

Maybe not. Who know?


Reader Submission

Joan submitted the following story. I thought it was fairly...awesome.

BELLAIRE, Ohio - An Ohio Valley football coach has received a threatening telephone call. According to a report from the Belmont County Sheriff's Department, Bellaire Football Coach John Magistro received a phone call from a man saying his team "better lose the game on Friday."

However, their game is on Saturday.

It will be the coach's final game on Bellaire's home field. Magistro is retiring at the end of the season.

The sheriff's department is looking into the call, which they say orginated in West Virginia.

Best line: However, their game is on Saturday. Booyah!

Do-Over Meals

Tonight, I went to dinner with Angie, Sis and Tanya. They went out while I went to orientation for my new part time job. I got finished early, so I called and met up with them at a Chinese place in Grandview.

Among other things, we discussed Do-Over Meals.

A Do-Over Meal is one that is eaten when your first meal isn't good enough. For instance, if you go to someone's house and they serve you pickle casserole and you eat a whole serving, but on your way home you stop at Taco Bell and eat again. You're eating again because the first meal was nasty and you deserve better, not because you're hungry.

There are numerous scenarios in which a Do-Over Meal may be eaten:

1) You eat granola for breakfast. Then you get a call to go out for waffles. You can't turn down the waffles.

2) You have a tuna sandwich for lunch. Maybe with chips and a cold soda. Then someone brings over Chipotle. You gotta eat the Chipotle.

3) You eat bean soup for dinner, which makes you feel sad, so you order pizza.

In each case, you had a meal, but ate the second, better meal as well. The second meal tastes better; that's why it's necessary.

I would say that a true Do-Over Meal more closely resembles the third example. In these cases, you consciously choose the second meal based on the horribleness of the first.

This is reason #4 that I am a little fat for hiking.


Ha Ha

Regardless of your take on the whole "joke" situation, this picture is funny.

It's especially funny if you think Kerry's a pompous ass, which I do. Haha.


For the Sake of Posting...

I don't have much to say, but I thought if I posted others might update as well.

I don't have any songs like the land of oz, no atrocious pictures like it's not the road... and no fun poetry challenges like Cinderella Jenkins, but what I lack I make up for with moxie!

I may have a job soon! That's exciting news. In fact, if I play my cards right, I may have two jobs soon! Won't that be fun!?! I will be able to buy Christmas presents...for myself...

I met with my pastor today and we had a really good discussion, which was great for me. I think you all know I've been harboring a little bit of church-related bitterness. I'm not saying I'm over it, but it is a step in the right direction.

Last week, I and a few others (ANgie, Sis, Brandy, Cristi and the mysterious Jessica) met with a representative from Community Refugee and Immigration Services or CRIS. It seems like a really great organization and I look forward to volunteering with them.

Hmmmm...what else?

Oh! Congratulations to Miranda for passing the Bar Exam!


The End

I couldn't let the end of Daylight Savings Time go unnoticed.
I hate to see it end. I have written a poem to mark the occasion.

If any publishers are reading and would like the poem for an anthology of some kind, please let me know. I can bang out more if you think a book of my own would be a bigger money-maker. We can also have lengthy discussions about my form and, of course, about the symbolism. I can talk about the symbolism for hours.

But only for money. I will not discuss my art for free. That's not how I roll.

I Hate EST and Poetry
I hate you Eastern Standard Time
more than I despise French mime(s)
If I hated mimes, I guess
They're just doing their best
Maybe I hate you like crime

And it's not just EST that I hate
I hate them all [CST,MST,PST] like mashed potate
os. I prefer Daylight time and more sun
Sun until nine! Sun until the fun
is over. SO maybe only until eight

That would do. I'm a little boring
I can't really fill the hour between 8 and
nine with anything exciting that requires sun anyway
blah, blah, blah
I hate Standard time like I hate
Poetry usually makes me cringe.
Mine! Haha. I hope you've enjoyed this
This note to mark the end of the all the fun

Thanks to Cinderella Jenkins for getting the poetry juices flowing...


Read This

Although I know no one will actually read this...

This is an interview with Camille Paglia. I think it's worth a look.



Bush signs Mexico fence into law from the BBC

Immigration is a key issue in the run-up to the mid-terms elections
US President George W Bush has signed into law a plan for 700 miles (1,125km) of new fencing along the US-Mexico border, to curb illegal immigration.
Mr Bush said the US had not been in control of the border for decades.

Illegal immigration is expected to be a major question in next month's US mid-term elections.

Mexican officials have opposed the fence, with outgoing President Vicente Fox calling it "shameful" and likening it to the Berlin Wall.

About 10 million Mexicans are thought to live in the US, some four million of them illegally.

An estimated 1.2 million illegal immigrants were arrested last year trying to cross into the US via the border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

'Nation of immigrants'

In signing the Secure Fence Act 2006 into law, Mr Bush said that his government would tackle illegal immigration by means of increased funding and numbers of immigration officials.

He said that remote cameras, satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles would also be used to create a "21st-century" border with Mexico.

"We're modernising the southern border of the United States so we can assure the American people we are doing our job of securing our border," he said.

"Ours is a nation of immigrants. We're also a nation of law.

"Unfortunately the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades. Therefore illegal immigration has been on the rise."

But Mr Bush promised to balance the tightening of the border with a temporary guest worker programme and moves to grant eventual citizenship to some of the illegal immigrants already in the US.

Many Mexican politicians are united in opposition to the fence

Those moves are opposed by many within his own Republican party.

'Not impenetrable'

The BBC's Nick Miles in Washington says that, though few US congressmen have questioned the need for some action to reduce illegal migration, many have queried how effective the fence will be.

TJ Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing patrol agents, told Associated Press that it would not be enough on its own.

"A fence will slow people down by a minute or two, but if you don't have the agents to stop them it does no good. We're not talking about some impenetrable barrier," he said.

Mexico has pledged to challenge the fence at the United Nations and on Wednesday presented a declaration against the policy to the Organisation of American States, supported by 27 other Latin American and Caribbean nations but opposed by the US.

'Unnecessary and offensive'

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy in Mexico City says the fence has united Mexican politicians in opposition.

Across the political divide, politicians have come together to condemn what they see as an unnecessary and offensive barrier, he says.

And they accuse the United States of hypocrisy for enjoying the benefits of cheap Mexican labour but not being prepared to offer Mexican people a chance to cross the border legally, our correspondent said.

Part of the funding for the fence is likely to come from the $1.2bn (£0.6bn) set aside for it in a recent homeland security bill, but the full cost may be greater and the source of the funding is still unclear, our correspondent says.


Target v. Wal-Mart

I found this post today. It is a list of ten reasons why Target is better than Wal-Mart.

I particularly like "Why did the 911 hijackers buy their box cutters at Wal-Mart? Why do serial killers featured on Court TV buy duct tape and rope at Wal-Mart? Because they feel comfortable there. They’re with their people."


Living Art

Today, I missed my chance to be living art.

Angie and I saw an ad on Craig's List to be a part of an art display at a local bar. WE e-mailed the guy and got some info and really planned to do it.

As the day drew near, I wanted to do it less and less. Yesterday, the artist called to tell us when to show up. He was really excited about his project and so I was a little more excited about it.

Well, we showed up at the bar today just after noon to try on our artistically painted jumpsuits as we were supposed to, but no one was there. It was empty and dark. So Angie and went and had lunch at the North Market and thanked God that we had an out...

(^^Not me^^)


Help Wanted

Good old Al doing what he can to help a brotha out.


Because I am Bored

Listen to other people's playlists



Back by Popular Demand

I found this video last December and today I found it agian. It's short and strange, but for some reason, I think it's hilarious.


Up to this point, I have never posted anything about the people of Thailand. I've never had a reason, although they seem like a very interesting people group. I have eaten Thai food and spoken to Thai people, sure, but I've never had a post-worthy experience or interaction.

Now things are different. I have heard a Thai-related story that deserves to be retold and discussed.

I heard the following story yesterday and I debated whether anyone else would want to know about it. In the end, I decided that it was hilarious, and everyone would be more complete if they heard it, too.

"just like i couldn't understand the people in the Thai restaurant in XX when i went and took a big dump, and the toilet almost overflowed. I didn't say anything b/c i was the ONLY person in the entire restaurant...and it was so embarrassing...plus, i didn't know if it was shameful to bring up the subject of poop to the Thai people...so i went and sat down for my meal...knowing what i had left in the bathroom, b/c there was no plunger..."

I refuse to divulge the name of the person who told me this story. Those in the know can probably guess who this was, but for his or her privacy, I've even removed the name of the stae in which these poor Thai people were so affronted.



Condi Rice loves Saddam.

"Thank you very much. I appreciate very much that President Barzani of the Kurdish regional government has welcomed us here so warmly. It's wonderful to be in Erbil again."

Deuteronomy 13:4

“It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.”



I have been having a couple of laptop problems lately. First, my trackpad no longer works. I am not sure what that's all about. Second, my music is playing all funky.

With the trackpad, I've tried reinstalling the driver to no avail, so I am using a wireless mouse instead. No real problem, but I had gotten used to using the trackpad, and now I prefer it.

The music issue, though, has been a real problem. Everything sounds all fuzzy and weird. My first thought was that my speakers and/or soundcard were giving out. Turns out that iTunes was to blame.

I had to revert to an older version and recopy all the CDs I had copied in the last few weeks. Now, my music sounds as good as it ever did. Crisis averted!

I know this isn't the most exciting post, but it's great news for me.

The interesting thing that's been going on in parallel to my computer problems is that I'm also having church problems. Believe it or not Angie and I went to tonight's service and walked out before Tom gave the message. She has a lot of bitterness (my word, not hers) about how she was treated when she worked there and I have a lot of bitterness about the way the whole missions council thing went down last summer (and how it's literally "gone down" ever since).

I guess I think it's based in seeing what could be rather than what is and wishing that it was something else. I won't speak for Angie here, but there are a lot of people in the church with talents that aren't being nurtured and utilized. And, yes, I mean me here. But also .... Oh, I can't name names here. I don't know how readily people want to be associated with this rant!

How do I maintain my place in the community of the church when I am increasingly unable to get behind the structure of the church? How do I stay involved when I had to walk away from the one thing that I wanted to be involved in?

I am still going to home group (and enjoying every minute of it, I might add) and I went on a "missions" trip, and I continue to follow what's going on in cross-cultural ministry at the church, and....

...but I feel like I have more to offer. But I don't know how to do that within the structure as it stands. I feel like that is closed to me now because I stepped down from the missions council position. I feel like I was forced out of that. So now what?

How much of what I'm feeling is real? How much of it is bitterness based in pride? I mean, I think that I could run the missions council better than it is being run now and I always could have if I had ever been giving the freedom to do what needed to be done rather than mimicking what didn't work. Is that pride, or is it the truth?

I think I know the answer to that. Hence the bitterness.

Bitterness isn't quite the right word, but I think y'all understand me.

But, on the brightside, I can listen to Goldfrapp again without distortion.


Welcome Back! (To me...)

Yes, the honeymoon was awesome. Thanks for asking.

And, yes, that's as much detail as you should expect.

I am taking a moment to post today because I have something very funny to share. I am aware that you don't know the context of the following, but it'll be funny to those who know some of the pieces.

This was sent to my sister, Brandi, and then edited by Vanessa. Vanessa was on a roll here. Everything is parentheses represents the actual meaning of the words had they been written by a certain ex who shall remain nameless here.

What are the elements of a long lasting relationship?:
A great, long lasting relationship is one where there is honesty in conversation (means: Even though you say you will never marry me, the voices in my head tell me to go get the engagement ring right now!), efforts in compromise (means: you will respect and let me wear my fanny-pack, plus adopt and love your own all lycra wardrobe), passion in feelings ( I can cry on every single date we have and you will think is because I am sensitive and not at all crazy), Trust in confiding in someone (means: I will tell people (other than yourself) how mean I think you are and to watch out), faith that you can go through any season of your own life, and they will be with you through it, because they care for you that much (means: When I am on trial for gunning down several people while screaming the name Brandi, you will meet me at the court and say "now I do love you").


Funny to a Few

I got the above from a friend in Iraq. He says:

"you know electricity is terrible now we only have it 6 hrs a day since we don't have enough electricity we have a new Iraqi flag here it is you can see it...."

6 Hours of electricity!?! That's like slow torture. Imagine if you only had electricity for six hours. It's not fun.

Angie, imagine planning the wedding on 6 hours of electricity...

Important Directions:

Rehearsal Dinner
1189 N.Wilson Rd
Columbus, OH 43204

I-70 to Wilson Rd.
North on Wilson
Minnelli's is on the left.
If you get to Trabue,you've gone too far

Wedding Ceremony
Trinity UMC:
8530 Lilly Chapel-Georgesville Rd
London, OH 43140

I-270 to Georgesville Rd.
South on Georgesville to Norton.
Left on Norton Rd.
Turn right onto Bausch.
Bear left onto Alkire Rd
Bear right onto Lilly Chapel-Georgesville Rd
Grove City Vineyard
3005 Holt Rd.
Grove City, OH 43228

I-270 to Georgesville Rd.
South on Georgesville to 1st light.
Left on Holt Rd.
Church is on the right at the corner of Big Run


Another Open Letter

I just returned from Shepherds and I will have much to write about, but this first.

Before I begin this letter, I must remind everyone that I wrote the original open letter (the one to my mother). It wasn't Angie and her letter to her intestinal malady. Just FYI.

Dear Alcohol,

How's it going? I have some bad news for you: you will not be allowed at my wedding.

You know we've never really been friends, but that's not why you'll be absent. It's just that you are forbidden. Verboten. Eyba. Sorry.

We've come a long way in our relationship, though. Remember when I thought you were evil? Yeah, me too. Those were funny times. I have to admit that I still blame you a little for the demise of Native American culture. I know, I know. You didn't act alone and it wasn't your idea, but that doesn't excuse your behavior. I know that mostly it was peer pressure, though.

I know we'll never be more than passing acquaintances you and I, but I wanted to send you an invitation, I really did. I thought you would have had a good time.

Unfortunately, my church said no. You must have made a bad impression on someone recently. I remember certain sermons which seemed to suggest that we, as Christians, were free to be your friend. I mean no one was suggesting a co-dependent relationship with you, but I thought you were acceptable. Turns out I was mistaken. I must have misheard something along the way.

I even thought you were appropriate at wedding receptions. But then I recalled that Jesus turned you into water at a wedding feast to save everyone from your bad influence.

Wait a second. That's not right at all is it? No. Jesus turned water into YOU. Hmmm. That's odd, Alcohol. The church has either forgotten our Savior's first miracle or decided to ignore it. I hope it's that they've forgotten it.

But maybe it's because you sometimes make stains. Carpet is expensive to clean and or replace. And I don't see Jesus turning anything into carpet.

Knowing you like I do, Alcohol, I bet you're laughing at this. Imagine me defending you. I never thought I'd be in this position! I just hope there aren't any hard feelings.

Keep on truckin'





I have been struggling with the notion of "church" lately and specifically my relationship with it. I won't go into that now, but I have been reading a book written by the pastor of The Church Under the Bridge in Waco, TX. In the book, the author brings to light the things I've been thinking about since I went to Iraq.

I read the following quote yesterday and I wanted to share it here. It goes along, I think, with what my small group discussed Wednesday night (and Thursday night, and what Rob said on Thursday and Carol today...)

Servanthood is basic to understanding Christianity. When we surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ, we choose to become a duolos (servant), willing to do His bidding. In fact, the biblical word for worship, means to "kiss the ring" of the king with unfettered allegiance to him. Rightly understood, obedience to God is worship

-Trolls & Truth: 14 Realities About Today's Church That We Don't Want to See

I have felt a certain emptiness from "church services" lately and I think it's based on the fact that on Sundays "service" is always passive, but I won't offer any analysis here. That's up to you.


Watchin' the Kids

Today is day 4 of watching Vanessa's children. They've been pretty good today. We took a walk and played outside and took long naps...

Now we're at Angie's visiting and Angie is trying to make Hannah drink straight lemon juice. I don't know why Angie's so mean, but now Hannah's pretending to like the lemon juice. I don't know who's crazier...

Wedding plans are falling into place. We have a church and a pastor and wedding clothes and people who love us to attend the ceremony. And invitations and everything.

We're still working on the reception. I mean, the wedding ceremony is the important part and it's totally ready to go. But we're trying to put together a party for the 125 or so of you who have RSVPed already. Even if we end up at the Moose Lodge eating gummy bears and drinking water from dixie cups, you know we always have a good time.

Ain't no party like a westside party cause a westside party don't stop.


Chicken Fries Commercial

I have been trying to explain this commercial for weeks now. I finally found it. So, here ya go!


Of Kurdish Superstars and Pie...

I spent the last couple of days in sunny southern California helping the next team to Iraq learn Kurdish.

Which makes sense given my superior fluency with zimani kurdi...

I got to visit the family I lived with last December. It was pretty sweet. The first night we went to a fundraiser where Kurdish singing sensation Chopi performed. I did not get to meet her.

I spent the next two days between training and visiting all the while being surrounded by Chopi rumors. On Monday night she was to come to Nancy's house to say good-bye. I tried to mill around long enough to meet her, but she never showed.

Or so I thought. She showed up 20 minutes after I left!! I did not get to meet her. Again.

But that night we did go buy pie for Nancy's son, Tad. Tad loves pie. Pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, apple pie, pecan pie, banana cream pie. He loves pie.

Well, they went to the store and came back with no-sugar-added apple pie. As he got back in the car, he showed it to me and said "Tryin' to watch the old waistline."

He also said the following earlier in the evening:

"I never drink anything yellow. There was this guy who bought a Mountain Dew once. You can guess what happened next."

Honestly? I had no idea what happened next. I laughed and told him so. He laughed and then told me that he didn't eat or drink yellow foods because they could be pee and he wouldn't know. I imagine that was the point of the Mountain Dew story, but with Tad you can never tell.

I hear Chopy's coming back to California for a big Kurdish New Year's celebration. Maybe I can meet her then.


Joan in da House

I don't know at what point Joan ceases to be Joan and becomes her real self again. Maybe she'll never be that other person again.

Regardless of what you call her, she's here in town now. We had a little get-together for her last night. It was pretty fun. I even made Kurdish food. (Doris, I did a pretty good job, but I needed more salt. I may be ready to step up to something harder now.)

I am traveling to Phoenix tomorrow for "debrief" whatever that means. Then I will go to San Diego to help with training. Along the way, I'll get to visit Lucy - the person, not the dog.

Wedding plans are coming along. E-invites have been sent out to people for whom we had e-mail addresses. Paper invites are probably going out later this week.

All in all, not to bad for someone with no job and no money!


Why, Exactly, Are There Snakes on This Plane?

This morning from 11:00 am to approximately 12:59 pm, I was a part of the year's most exciting- and aptly named- motion picture experience.

That's right. Snakes on a Plane.

I give it 4 and a half out of 5 stars.


Too Slow

Angie beat me to the punch on two posts: the church and the van, but I'll post anyway.

First: The van.

Angie is now the proud owner of a 1991 Plymouth Voyager minivan. If you've ever seen Brandy's van, then you know what I'm talking about. Only it's maroon.

It's nice to have wheels again, and it's always nice to get a free car.

Second: The Church.

We have an official wedding site! Isn't that great. This is a picture of the church.

See Angie's blog for more exciting details on both the van and the church.


Primarily Comfort

I decided to add another post here. Partly to prove that I am doing things not related to television. Unfortunately for me, I left the television on (tuned to music videos, of course) and I saw something that could not go unnoted.

Josh Gracin has new teeth. Not only that, but he took the Hilary Duff route which means that he looks like a completely different person. Or like a horse of a different color, if you will.

Key word horse. Nice choppers, Josh.

I came back tonight to post a link to the Soma Digest. Soma is an English-language newspaper from Kurdistan. It mostly focuses on Sulemania and Erbil. I was excited to remember it and to be able to check it out again. It's pretty good and it's an easy way to keep up on those crazy Kurds.

I am most excited by the advertisements on the site. They're mostly for places I know and, in some cases, people I've actually met. Also, they're pretty funny.

Welcome home, Lucy and Stanley!!

And Now... A Twist

I am well aware that the following post may only strengthen the perception that I am not doing anything but watching television, but I can't help myself.

As you may know, Erika won HoH on BB7 on Thursday. Following Kaysar's eviction, things were looking bad for Janelle. But, thanks to technical difficulties during Thursday's HoH competition, it had to be replayed. And Janelle won!


Oh, and wedding plans are moving along well. But those are secret. Sorry.


Nicaragua in the House

Team Nicaragua is officially home, so welcome back! Right now the Brandies are sharing heart-warming stories from their 10-day visit to the Arms of Love children's home in the NIC.

The most important story that I've heard so far (because it relates to me) is that Doug reads my blog! Hey, Doug!

It kind of makes me regret the harping on and on about BB7. But, let's face it, not enough to stop. I mean did you see the last on? Kaysar instead of James! Crazy.

Speaking of overseas readers, I hope that the Chandlers are still checking in! Hey, Neil and Clare!

And speaking of the Chandlers (the world's greatest hosts), Joan is on her way to London. Stanley, Lucy and Joan all left IQ today. On Sunday they'll reach London where Joan will spend a week. Stanley and Lucy will continue on to the states.

Welcome home Stanley and Lucy!!


Quoteof the Day

"No. We are not going. Because it's three dollars. AND there are no real freaks in it.

Escept for a 27 inch lady. And that's like 2 feet."

- Kate


The Power of Janelle

There's a lot going on in my life, yes. And there's a lot of sitting around as well, but I have two bits of info.

1) Janelle totally won POV tonight. I am so glad I'm home for this.

2) I washed my ipod shuffle over the weekend. That's right. I put it in the washer with my dirty laundry. When I took it out it wouldn't turn on or anything. No surprise, right? Well, the surprise is that today it totally flickered to life!!! I charged it, loaded songs and it totally works now. Just as if it had never been run through the washer.

Ok, so I am reading what I wrote and thinking, how sad that this is what my life has come to...

But then again I have a resurrected ipod and Janelle is in the house for another week, so I can't be too sad.


Surprise! It's a Computer...

Yeah, I guess that would be nice, but this is neither a surprise nor a computer. Mostly it's rambling. Which is better by far.

I added Angie's blog back to the list on the right. Since she stopped posting satellite photos of my house in K'Stan (Dear Mr. Terrorist, My boyfriend lives here. Oh, and he's an American. I know how you like Americans.), I decided to restore her linking privileges.

I tried a new restaurant today when I visited Katja and Julie today. We went to Oodles. It's an Asian noodle bar. I have been waiting for a quality noodle bar for years. This one's pretty close to quality and closer than most others around town - and by others I mean the millions of Chinese buffets. Check 'em out at www.gooodles.com.

I'd also like to give a shout out to Nikki and Miranda who I saw on Monday. The gave me a hard time for not being active on MySpace.com. I'll try, ok? Miranda is using it to look up the retarded kids we went to High School with and then she dates them. And yeah, Miranda I know. They're not really retarded. The proper phrase is now "Mentally Disabled."

Angie and I registered for wedding gifts, too. No, we don't have a church officially, yet, but we have officially put in our request for the Jack Lalane Power Juicer...

You can check us out at Crate & Barrel, Target and Sears. (That's right. I said it. Sears.)

Angie said that old ladies like to buy towels and I said that old ladies like to shop at Sears.


So What Now?

Now I'm home in the great state of Ohio...

Everyone asks me if it's great to be home and it is. Sort of. There are things I like, things I love and things that I really hate about living here. And by here I don't mean America. I'm not going to post an anti-America anti-materialism rant here. That's not what I mean.

I mean I like seeing everyone and hanging out and going to church and (obviously) seeing Big Brother and As the World Turns.

But...it's kind of boring here. And I need to find a job and earn a living, and blah, blah, blah...

I don't know. There's a lot of good stuff coming up (wedding, sweetcorn blackberry ice cream, that kind of stuff), but I miss Iraq.

That's right, I said it. I miss it. I miss Joan and Lucy (both of them) and Doris and Wally and Stanley and Ernie and Todd. I miss doing work that I really liked.

On the flip side, I do not miss 4 hours of electricity per day or the black wind. Or the honking!

I don't really have any profound insights on my transition. I'm just keeping the blog up-to-date.



Whoever is responsible for the decision that I Angie and I would stay with a family in London instead of a hotel was a genius. I will pretend that it was me, so I can take the credit.

I will write more later, but I am having a great time. We had a BBQ yesterday and I ate more food than I've eaten at one time. Perhaps ever.

OK, OK. That last bit isn't true and Sis knows the truth....Vegas buffets...

But it's great to be in London and it's great to be staying with great people.


Almost Over

I was chided twice today about not keeping up with the blog this week.

"It seems that if you're going to have a blog, you should make an effort to post somewhat regularly..."

Well, I haven't written anything because I'm tired of reading. I want to spend the rest of the post writing about how we all spend too much time talking and not enough time doing, and that, if we were busier doing the work of God, we wouldn't have so much free time to analyze our part in it or to judge the others doing it, or to come up with theories to justify our inactivity.

But I won't. I don't really feel like it, and, honestly, you'll all do what you want anyway.

I've been really busy this week planning and executing the work here. We finally have a project that I am really excited about and another in the proposal stages.

But, I'm leaving.

And the projects will go on without and the work will be fine. No problem. And I'm going home to good things, I know. But a little (Ok big) part of me will miss this place. And these people. My life will never be like this again. On Thursday morning I'll say good-bye to a life that I'll never have again. It's not like the good-bye in January; I know I'd have that again.

And I know that there are parts of this that I am happy to leave behind. But it's weird to think that when I step out the door Thursday morning, it's over.

Even if I come back here, it won't be the same. Pieces will be missing. Maybe it will be better, but it won't be the same.

I'm not complaining, I'm just a little sad to see it go.


Happy 4th of July

Not much to report, but we did have barbecued chicken, baked beans, macaroni and cheese and applesauce for lunch. Plus a dessert called peach kuchen. We renamed it Peach Freedom Cake to keep things American. No German desserts for us, no sir.

The only detraction from the meal was the presence of the Kurdish salad (aka tomato and cucumber chunks), but I suffered through it. Oh, and, of course, the meal ended with little glasses of tea.

But, then again, maybe you will all have little glasses of tea following your holiday lunch. I don't know.

Also, just FYI, I was going to add pics here, but I don't really have any that are internet ready, so you'll have to wait.


Introducing Lucy

Yes, I know this blog already has one Lucy, but now there are two.

One day I hope to write about the cultural significance of this picture, but for now enjoy this picture of a dog driving a car.


More From Joan w/pics

Joan's Class - 07/01/06 - Massage Me, Baby (One More Time)

  • 8:26 - Joan requests the "baby doll" for massage practice. She is given the two creepiest dolls in Kurdistan (and, perhaps, all of Iraq)
  • 8:27 - I take a picture of Joan and the creepy twins
  • 8:30 - Joan puts one of the creeps on the floor with all of the "dirt, dog and spit"
  • 8:31 - Class begins like a lion. Will probably end like a lamb
  • 8:32 - No, that's March... class begins, nonetheless
  • 8:34 - Joan decides to practice first, which means I have to leave the room. But then come back for Joan's lecture. Joan sucks
  • 8:40 - Look at my calendar
  • 8:45 - Make a to-do list
  • 8:46 - Read a book
  • 9:02 - Class begins again
  • 9:03 - Joan draws a row of teepees. Oops, I mean a spine. A spine.
  • 9:05 - I don't think anyone's paying attention today. It is very hot.
  • 9:06 - Joan's baby has Torticollis
  • 9:07 - I think about writing a book: "Effleurage and the Spastic Child." Maybe Mamosta Karim will help me publish it.
  • 9:14 - Still hot
  • 9:15 - I think on day 6 we should all know that, if we work the front of the legs, we also work the back of the legs. I know this information. Why am I the only one?
  • 9:18 - Joan makes the baby dance
  • 9:20 - Something is happening that I don't understand
  • 9:24 - Not all therapies will have the same results with every patient
  • 9:28 - If your face is paralyzed, you must tap it. Vigorously
  • 9:30 - Student asks for a free massage

That's the end of Joan's class for the day. I spent this afternoon at a Kurdish friend's house trying to watch the rest of the film Troy. We started it yesterday and had to stop when the power went out. We didn't finish today either! I am looking at a third day of the movie. And it's crap! Why can't Brad Pitt act? I saw Fight Club. Good. I saw Twelve Monkies. Good. His Achilles is painful.

Perhaps he should massage it.


Back By Popular Demand

Well, at least Lucy is enjoying my daily updates from Joan's classes. Which, by the way, will become three on July 12! Congrats, Joan.

But before I start, if you didn't go to cbs.com and vote for Jenelle, you cannot read on...

Joan's Class - 06/27/06 - Review and Trigger Point a go-go

Special Note: Call Ernie at 9:15
  • 8:30 - Joan begins lecturing students
  • 8:31 - Why do we do massage? Because Joan makes us do it, that's why?
  • 8:32 - Think about taking picturses. Realize that I just wrote "picturses." Ponder likelihood of dyslexia, probably don't haev ti.
  • 8:34 - Whoa! Slow down, Joan. You are moving way too fast! Haha, you said spasticity.
  • 8:35 - Joan draws her own colon this time. Notably inferior to mine.
  • 8:36 - OK, 8:35 was mostly bitterness. I never even saw the colon picture; Joan stood in front of it.
  • 8:37 - Yikes! That colon is hideous. Whew, Joan erased it.
  • 8:43 - Fascism is like Saran Wrap
  • 8:44 - Dang, it is hot today.
  • 8:50 - Remember to take deep breaths
  • 8:51 - "When you are holding pressure on the Trigger Point..." Joan never gets to finish this statement
  • 9:00-9:30 - Text message Ernie and Lucy.

Joan's Class II - 06/27/06 - Groove is in the Heart, but it's probably just referral groove.

  • 10:00 - Surprise! It's Helga!
  • 10:07 - Class begins
  • 10:08 - Joan draws a man on the board. I think, from the looks of him, it was his colon in the first class
  • 10:15 - Take more pictures
  • 10:22 - Joan pulls out the Saran Wrap again
  • 10:25 - Realize that Joan put an "x" on each of her drawing's butt cheeks
  • 10:30 - Almost fall asleep, but then I don't
  • 10:35 - This seems to be going well
  • 10:38 - You always "wanna work the hips."
  • 10:43 - Ernie asks a question as if he were a real student
  • 10:46 - Joan puts Ernie on the message table and exposes his stomach. He is embarrassed. I take pictures.
  • 11:04 - I don't know what hypertonic means
  • 11:11 - We move rooms. Helga leaves
  • 11:30 - Ernie and I go to the Chai Xane while Joan and the Therapists practice messaging one another
  • 11:50 - Class ends
  • 11:52 - Student asks for a free massage

Joan's Class - 06/28/06 - More TP Practice

  • 8:24 - Joan calls the child volunteer "him" when the child is clearly a "she." Realize that the Kurds don't know the difference
  • 8:25 - Joan tries to eat the child volunteer
  • 8:30 - Class starts as Joan tries to massage child volunteer. "He" screams. I think about taking pics, but no one wants pictures of crying babies.
  • 8:33 - Kid stops crying. I take some pictures
  • 8:40 - Practice, practice, practice
  • 8:41 - Mr.Muscle diagram gets passed out. Finally. After 18 weeks.
  • 8:42 - Effleurage sounds like a type of plant. As in: "The effleurage around the mailbox is dry and brown. Poor effleurage.
  • 8:50 - PTs begin to practice massage. I read a book.
  • 9:15 - Pause in my reading to make this note
  • 9:19 - Class is over. Joan is a nice teacher for letting them out early.
  • 9:50 - I'm sitting in the CRC waiting room. At present no one is crying, but lady with a wicked mole walked by and gave me the evil eye. I deflect the evil eye with the "watchoo lookin' at" eye.
  • 9:52 - Wonder to myself whether Joan is helping to massage children or if she's sitting out a tennis match with her grandkids...


An Hour in the Life

So, Joan started a class at the Children's Rehabilitation Center teaching massage to Physical Therapists. I go along to these classes because Joan can't travel alone. I also take detailed notes of the class.

I thought I could share these notes with you all here and you'd know how I spend my days.

Joan's Class - 06/21/06 - Abdominal Massage + Stuff
  • Attendance = 0
  • Poor Joan!
  • 8:35 - Pass out colons
  • 8:36 - Remember that I forgot to write: "8:35 - Have Kurdish corrected because @ 8:22 - didn't know the word for adult and made one up."
  • 8:37 - Joan puts a Kurd on the massage table
  • 8:39 - Joan massages a man with a spastic colon
  • 8:41 - He dies
  • 8:42 - just kidding. Also recount class. Attendance = 10
  • 8:45 - Lady with great teeth comes in late
  • 8:49 - Joan gracefully answers insulting question
  • 8:55 - Joan passes out
  • 8:56 - I mean paper: Joan passes out paper
  • 9:00 - Realize class is half over. mourn rejoice
  • 9:01 - Split class to practice massage
  • 9:03 - Sit outside where it is hot and watch men massage each others' stomachs
  • 9:15 - Fall asleep
  • 9:20 - Define "millennium"
  • 9:23 - Explain that, no, I am not a physical therapist, but an office administrator
  • 9:24 - This is met with "thank you," which is a pleasant surprise
  • 9:25 - Come back into classroom
  • 9:26 - Joan says "any questions?"
  • 9:27 - There is much Kurdish chatter, but no actual questions
  • 9:30 - Student asks for a free massage

Joan's Class - 06/24/06 - Trigger Point Introduction

  • 8:25 - Draw face on Joan's handout. Starts as an attempt to cure baldness of the Trigger Point head, but ends in "Japanification" of Trigger Point head
  • 8:29 - Draw yet another colon on the board; also draw a semi-colon
  • 8:30 - First student arrives
  • 8:30(2) - Joan asks me to make a note to check on elbow replacement
  • 8:34 - Joan ruins my colon picture with a giant circular squiggle (aka: blight) meant to represent the belly button, but which actually represents her disdain for my artistic endeavors
  • 8:38 - A previously unseen student straggles in on day 3 (DAY 3!)
  • 8:39 - Notice that "Teeth" isn't in class
  • 8:40 - Class gets off to a roaring start
  • 8:45 - Joan's diagram complains of shoulder pain. Joan says that this is due to Trigger Points. I think it's because he doesn't have any arms.
  • 8:50 - Disagreement on inflammation and the use of ice and heat causes Joan to use the word "spastic" in its proper usage and by its clinical definition
  • 8:51 - Lost my pen!
  • 8:54 - Learn that the first step in Trigger Point massage is to find the trigger point
  • 8:55 - Agree to make a note to remember the muscle diagram for Tuesday
  • 9:00 - Find pen during "Are we going to the clinic" debate
  • 9:02 - Make a note to remember the muscle diagram for Tuesday (see above)
  • 9:05 - Realize that I haven't been paying attention to Joan's lecture since 9:00 when I found my pen. Feel a little guilty, but not very much really.
  • 9:10 - PTs want to massage burn and fracture patients. Desperately. Next may want to massage people with fevers and open sores. Also, probably, leprosy
  • 9:12 - I am on page 3!
  • 9:14 - PTs like to get off-track a lot
  • 9:17 - Joan uses "speed bump" analogy which I think was appreciated
  • 9:19 - Joan starts touching people
  • 9:21-9:24 - Everyone feels volunteer's shoulder "bumps"
  • 9:26 - Better or worse are both good apparently
  • 9:28 - Everyone fermu danishes
  • 9:30 - Joan passes out papers and is tewaw
  • 9:33 - Just kidding, not tewaw
  • 9:34 - Really tewaw

Joan's Class II - 06/25/06 - Introduction to Massage. etc.

  • 10:10 - Class officially begins. I think Joan is worried about filling two hours. Sidenote: the lady from the Maternity Hospital is kind of annoying
  • 10:15-10:20 - Take pictures. Get off my back, Joan
  • 10:20 - I got nothing here...
  • 10:25 - Adult Rehab Center = ARC, Children's Rehab Center = CRC
  • 10:29 - Joan decides to teach massage in the context of back and shoulder pain. I hope she needs to practice. On me
  • 10:34 - I am tired. I need to take a nap
  • 10:35-10:43 - Take more pictures. I hope they turn out
  • 10:45 - Why is today's list/notes so boring? Don't know, but vow to find out
  • 10:53 - Person on bench turns around to view muscle diagram; accidentally makes a "fart" noise at which point Joan goes silent. Coincidental, but humorous
  • 10:55 - Tennis Elbow discussion. Joan asks "Well, are they really playing tennis?" I think "No. They had better sit this one out..."
  • 11:00 - Joan ends class
  • 11:01 - Student asks for free massage

There you have it. Three hours of my life in summary form.

By the way,

fermu danishe = welcome, sit

tewaw= finished


Every Vote Counts

OK. Now's the time!

Vote for your favorite Big Brother All-star.

Seriously. Do it.

Vote for Janelle or Will or Janelle and Will if you so choose.

But, if I catch you voting for "Bunky," Ivette or Mike "Boogie," I will hunt you down. I mean really, grown men calling themselves Bunky and Boogie. It's just not right, people, it's just not right.

And don't get me started on Ivette...

Is it sad that I'm so excited to watch this show this summer?

Eight Days

Exciting things that have happened in the last 8 days (in no particular order):

1) Went to the bazaar in the mid-day sun and almost died of heat exhaustion (thanks to Lucy)

2) Went with a Kurdish friend to talk to another Kurdish friend's father about the latter Kurdish friends desire to marry his dad's new wife's sister; mostly "listened"

3) Was bitten by first Kurdish friend in #2

4) Said "Xwa Hafiztan" to D and J who left the country and headed back to the USA

5) Drew picture of the human colon for Joan's class

5) Was introduced to a Kurd who told me that people say "F*** your mother" to him all the time because he wants to be a rapper, found it very hard to believe

6) Had some saffron ice cream

7) Spent a whole day in bed thanks to #1 and the effect #2 had on my beauty rest

8) Celebrated Ernie's birthday

9) Bought some new shirts at the bazaar (see #1)

10) Made a list of things I did over the past eight days

11) Watched a little World Cup

12) Checked my e-mail

13) Did not go to Vegas with my family

14) Began reading Arabian Nights

15) Visited one of Saddam's prisons here. "Drove" a tank


Shattered Dreams

I think that this picture clearly represents Chicken fingers, no? And when hung above a restaurant one would assume that said restaurant served chicken fingers, yes? Why else would a restaurant hang a picture of chicken fingers above their counter?

Well, I can tell you that there are no chicken fingers in Kurdistan. None. Zero. In fact, these three lame little fingers are the only three in the whole of Iraq. Unless the US military is serving them, and they are certainly not serving them to me.

I didn't really expect chicken fingers from this restaurant, though. I know better than to believe the pictures on the signs. I learned this lesson the hard way from the restaurant with the picture of the shaved turkey bagel sandwich on it. Yeah, no bagels in Kurdistan either.

That one stung a little I have to say. I asked "do you have what is pictured on the sign!?!" "Oh, of course we do! I'll bring it right to you."

Apparently by "bagel", they meant bun and by "shaved turkey" they meant weird chicken sausage.

I keep asking my friends if bagels exist here and they all say no, but I keep plugging away at it. How does a civilization make it this far without bagels?

But, back to chicken fingers. I knew that chicken fingers were too exotic to be found here, but I wanted to take this picture to share with you all at home. So next time you are enjoying chicken fingers (Nikki), think about me. In Kurdistan.

Licking the chicken fingers sign.


For Kate

This one is for Kate. I stole it from the same website as yesterday's post:

Fruit by the Foot
Submitted by Michaelanne Petrella
The new Fruit by the Foot variety pack has three kinds in one box—strawberry, berry tie-dye, and "color by the foot." Each piece has a serrated "squiggly fun" line down the center, allowing you to pull the fruit (fruit? i guess it's fruit) in half and eat each side at different times. Color by the foot is a bad name for a flavor—it sounds like I'm eating foot-flavored crayons—so they put an asterisk next to it on the box that tells you it's "naturally rainbow punch flavored." I've never had rainbow punch, but I'm guessing that it consists of cherries, bananas, star fruits, raisins, peanuts, and onions. It looks trash-colored and makes my teeth hurt. I ate four boxes in two days.

And, in real news, it is exactly 4 weeks from tomorrow that I head out of town. Back to the USSR, so to speak.

Well, that really doesn't make sense, now does it? I mean, I've never actually been to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and, let's face it, I think my chance has passed.

So pretend I didn't use that poor pop culture reference and insert this where that was: Born in the USA. I think Springsteen will make everyone forget about the other one.

Oh, FYI, we moved a refrigerator into our office today because we are hillbillies. I think in Kurdistan, they call the "hillbillies" Arabs, but that just seems mean. I would rather degrade the hillbillies.

I've never actually met an Arab but I think they consist of cherries, bananas, star fruits, raisins, peanuts and onions.


Worthy of a Post

So, I haven't posted in a week. Yeah, I know, I know. You are all desperate to read about my exciting life and I am letting you down with my slothfulness.

Well, read THIS to tide you over. I think you'll all enjoy it, but especially Sis and Vanessa. So, I hope you're reading, Sis and Vanessa!



10 Reasons why living in Kurdistan is better now than it was in January:

  1. White Cheddar Cheez-Its
  2. Applesauce
  3. Heinz ketchup
  4. Apple Biskrem
  5. Bakery cookies that taste like cookies and not like stale biscuits
  6. Log Cabin freakin' maple syrup!
  7. Butterscotch Snack Packs
  8. Tuna Fish in brine versus sunflower oil
  9. Rainbow chip frosting
  10. Locally bottled bottled water (see? I support my local economy, too)

I'm not all about consumerism, but, dang, America. Get on the ball. There are stores full of German, Turkish, Chinese and Iranian crap here. Where's the American crap?


Kurd Kills Employer

Oops. Did I say kill? I meant "helps."

The above photo is of our very own cook, D-Dog, giving a massage to one of the American ladies here. I won't publish the name of the victim - not even the fake name - to protect the innocence of the victim, but the story goes like this:

"One minute she was standing by the chair giving me a 'massage' and the next thing I knew she was up on the chair. I just kept thinking 'this can't last forever.'"
-The Victim

The other two ladies on the team saw this all go down, so, of course, they came to the victim's aid.

Lady #1 laughed so hard she almost peed herself, and Lady #2 took the picture you see above.

As for me, I must have been napping or something because I missed the whole thing!


Party Like It's 1999

So, here’s the story on this:

I saw this on a Angie's blog today. You go to Music Outfitter's site, type in the year you graduated into the search box, and it will pull up the top 100 songs for that year. Strike out the ones you didn't like, bold the ones you did, ?? the ones you just don't remember.

Angie stole 1996, so I did the year I graduated from OSU the first time, 1999. Plus it was the summer I was in Europe. My only confusion is: “Where is “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65?

1. Believe, Cher
2. No Scrubs, TLC
3. Angel Of Mine, Monica
4. Heartbreak Hotel, Whitney Houston
5. ...Baby One More Time, Britney Spears
6. Kiss Me, Sixpence None The Richer
7. Genie In A Bottle, Christina Aguilera
8. Every Morning, Sugar Ray
9. Nobody's Supposed To Be Here, Deborah Cox
10. Livin' La Vida Loca, Ricky Martin
11. Where My Girls At?, 702
12. If You Had My Love, Jennifer Lopez
13. Slide, Goo Goo Dolls
14. Have You Ever?, Brandy
15. I Want It That Way, Backstreet Boys
16. I'm Your Angel, R. Kelly and Celine Dion ??
17. All Star, Smash Mouth
18. Angel, Sarah McLachlan
19. Smooth, Santana Featuring Rob Thomas
20. Unpretty, TLC
21. Bills, Bills, Bills, Destiny's Child --- Can you pay my automo-bills?
22. Save Tonight, Eagle-Eye Cherry

23. Last Kiss, Pearl Jam ??
24. Fortunate, Maxwell ??
25. All I Have To Give, Backstreet Boys
26. Bailamos, Enrique Iglesias
27. What's It Gonna Be?!, Busta Rhymes Featuring Janet

28. What It's Like, Everlast
29. Fly Away, Lenny Kravitz
30. Someday, Sugar Ray
31. Lately, Divine ??
32. That Don't Impress Me Much, Shania Twain
33. Wild Wild West, Will Smith Featuring Dru Hill and Kool Moe Dee
34. Scar Tissue, Red Hot Chili Peppers
35. Heartbreaker, Mariah Carey Featuring Jay-Z

36. I Still Believe, Mariah Carey
37. The Hardest Thing, 98 Degrees
38. Summer Girls, LFO
39. Can I Get A..., Jay-Z Featuring Amil (Of Major Coinz) and Ja
40. Jumper, Third Eye Blind
41. Doo Wop (That Thing), Lauryn Hill

42. Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...), Lou Bega
43. Sweet Lady, Tyrese ??
44. It's Not Right But It's Okay, Whitney Houston
45. (God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You, 'N Sync
46. Lullaby, Shawn Mullins
47. Anywhere, 112 Featuring Lil'Z
48. Tell Me It's Real, K-Ci and JoJo
49. Back 2 Good, Matchbox 20
50. 808, Blaque – yeah, that’s Blaque spelled like plaque
51. She's So High, Tal Bachman
52. She's All I Ever Had, Ricky Martin
53. Miami, Will Smith
54. Hands, Jewel
55. Who Dat, JT Money Featuring Sole
56. Please Remember Me, Tim McGraw
57. From This Moment On, Shania Twain
58. Love Like This, Faith Evans
59. You, Jesse Powell ??
60. Trippin', Total Featuring Missy Elliott
61. If You (Lovin' Me), Silk ??
62. Ex-Factor, Lauryn Hill
63. Give It To You, Jordan Knight
64. Black Balloon, Goo Goo Dolls – Baby’s black balloon makes her fly…
65. Spend My Life With You, Eric Benet Featuring Tamia
66. These Are The Times, Dru Hill
67. I Don't Want To Miss A Thing, Mark Chesnutt
68. I Do (Cherish You), 98 Degrees
69. Because Of You, 98 Degrees
70. I Will Remember You (Live), Sarah McLachlan
71. Chante's Got A Man, Chante Moore ??
72. Happily Ever After, Case ??
73. My Love Is Your Love, Whitney Houston
74. All Night Long, Faith Evans Featuring Puff Daddy

75. Back That Thang Up, Juvenile Featuring Mannie Fresh and Lil' Wayne
76. Almost Doesn't Count, Brandy
77. Man! I Feel Like A Woman!, Shania Twain
78. Steal My Sunshine, Len
79. I Need To Know, Marc Anthony
80. So Anxious, Ginuwine ??
81. Faded Pictures, Case and Joe ??
82. Back At One, Brian McKnight
83. When A Woman's Fed Up, R. Kelly
84. How Forever Feels, Kenny Chesney
85. Amazed, Lonestar
86. Sometimes, Britney Spears
87. Ghetto Cowboy, Mo Thugs Family Featuring Bone Thugs-N-Harmony ??
88. Out Of My Head, Fastball
89. Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem), Jay-Z
90. Jamboree, Naughty By Nature Featuring Zhane ??
91. Take Me There, BLACKstreet and Mya Featuring Mase and Blinky Blink
92. Stay The Same, Joey McIntyre
93. Lesson In Leavin', Jo Dee Messina
94. Iris, Goo Goo Dolls
95. Satisfy You, Puff Daddy Featuring R. Kelly ??
96. Better Days (And The Bottom Drops Out), Citizen King
97. Music Of My Heart, 'N Sync and Gloria Estefan
98. Write This Down, George Strait
99. When You Believe, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey
100. God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You, Alabama Featuring 'N Sync

And to complete the internet fun roundup for the holiday weekend:

I am only 25% geek and
I am only 16% nerd


He's Got the Crazy Eye

Did you know that you could wash your floor with a T-shirt-on-a-stick and Dove shampoo?

Yeah, me neither, but you totally can. I learned that from D-Dog today when I noticed a familiar smell in the office. I thought, "Certainly she's not using my shampoo to clean the floor..."

But she was. Last week, she took my soap out of the shower to wash her hands in the kitchen, which wouldn't have been so bad except she hid it in an old can and I had to search for it so I could bathe myself. And, today it's my shampoo. I told Lucy that I was charging my next bottle of shampoo to the office.

Last week, I went to Hewler, the capital of this crazy land and took the picture posted here. I know that it has nothing to do with D-Dog and my shampoo, but I liked the picture of Mr. Crazy Eyes, so I posted it.

I'm not sure who Mr. Crazy Eyes is, though. I think he may be an important poet or historian or something like that. There was a sign posted in the Kurdish script, so who know. I've gotten pretty good at reading Kurdish script, but I still don't know what any of the words actually mean, so I have to just make up most of the information....

Oh, and on a different note: Thanks for nothing everybody! I had to find out on my own that the "New Casey" was only a stand-in Casey and not a replacement Casey. You act as if you have better things to do than to keep me up-to-date on ATWT when I know that can't possibly be true...



Make that, Big Brother news.

I just read that the next season of Big Brother begins on June 21 with a casting special and the series begins airing July 6. That means that I will only miss two weeks of the season!!!

Of course, that's not counting the casting special. But who counts a casting special, right? Not that I don't fully expect it to be recorded, Sis.

I have been worried since December that my stay here in Iraq would somehow hamper my access to BB 7 much like my experience with American Idol 5 (and, yes, I know Taylor Hicks won, but who is this Taylor Hicks? I will never know him like I know Kelly, Reuben, Fantasia and Carrie...) was ruined. But, I have nothing to worry about!

The only downside is that season 7 will be an "all-star" competition which has potential to be exceedingly lame, but I can hope for the best. And, I guess Julie Chen will still be the host, so there's that drawback...



So, I’m listening to my As the World Turns podcast and thinking…

In 8 weeks I’ll be home watching this on TV. Live!

Well, not live. I like to DVR it and then fast-forward through the commercials, but that’s neither here nor there

The point is that I’ll be home. And that’s a lot to think about. I mean, am I looking forward to going home? Of course I am. But, am I a little sad to leave Kurdistan? Yes.

But more importantly, as I told Angie earlier, I have 8 weeks of work left here and 5 people to whom I’ve committed that time. 5 people who have become very important to me, too (as much as I’ve tried to stop them!!) I can’t just spend the next two months thinking about home and give up on my life here. It’s not like everything ends when I leave. Certainly not here in this city, or even this office! And not for me…I don’t really know what my future holds, but the ending of this is just the beginning of things. The first day of the rest of my life, so to speak….

And I can’t spend the next eight weeks wishing for the beginning of new things! These things now are important.

Not to mention the Kurds. And those relationships are the tricky ones. Will I ever see these people again, or is it eight weeks and then never again?

I’m tempted to ask myself: “what would Paul Ryan do?”

PS to those in the know – what’s up with the new Casey? Replacement or stand-in? I’m a couple of weeks behind…

And the Survey Says...

the Cutting Edge

(57% dark, 46% spontaneous, 21% vulgar)

your humor style:

Your humor's mostly innocent and off-the-cuff, but somehow there's something slightly menacing about you. Part of your humor is making people a little uncomfortable, even if the things you say aren't themselves confrontational. You probably have a very dry delivery, or are seriously over-the-top.

Your type is the most likely to appreciate a good insult and/or broken bone and/or very very fat person dancing.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: David Letterman - John Belushi

The 3-Variable Funny Test!
- it rules -


A Couple to Start

Connection is too slow tonight to add more.

Back from the TKY

Here's a list of reasons to visit Turkey:

  1. It's gorgeous
  2. They have a "riviera"
  3. Olympos
  4. The Chimeara (but don't touch the rocks - they're hot)
  5. The Turks have a latinate alphabet - that's right, Kurdistan, I'm looking at you
  6. Lemon Tutku!
  7. Fig Biskrem...at least I hear they have them, Joan ate all of mine...
  8. Speaking of Joan: Sea Kayaking
  9. Russians like it so it must be good
  10. Trendy Jeans
  11. Turkish "pizza"
  12. Did I mention it was beautiful?
  13. Turkish airlines
  14. It's close to Iraq
  15. Johnny Cash

Those aren't the only reasons but, it's a start.

Hopefully, I will have a faster Internet connection tomorrow and I can add more pictures.

Oh, and congrats to Kate for the great ACT scores!!!!

I expect to see prom pictures in the next 48 hours. Or else...


Quiz for my Peeps

So, Angie posted this on her blog yesterday. Apparently there's some fun floating around the internet. You put your music on shuffle, copy the first line to the first 25 songs and then challenge people to name that tune.

Well, I did this, but, as I looked over my list, I knew none of you would know any of the songs. So I cheated and listed the first 25 songs that I knew you all would know.

But then I realized that 25 was too many. No one reading this blog is going to think about 25 songs...so I cut it down to 15. Which is probably still too many...

But here it is anyway:

1. I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day
2. …, …, …, …, I’m begging of you please don’t take my man
3. You’ve got your ball, you’ve got your chain tied to me tight tie me up again
4. Comin’ out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine
5. Here’s the thing: We started out friends but it was all pretend
6. If you change your mind, I’m the first in line…
7. You say I only hear what I want to
8. Eddie waited till he finished high school. He went to Hollywood, got a
9. Shorty get down. Good Lord.
10. I know your eyes in the morning sun. I feel you touch me in the pouring rain.
11. Just like the white-winged dove sings a song
12. If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?
13. Well, on a cold and gray Chicago morning another hungry baby child was born…
14. … falling on my head like a new emotion
15. Girl, I must warn you. I sense something strange in my mind.



Silently Stalking Other Bloggers


I am slowly stealing your life, so watch out. I am not a little fat for stalking...

Everyone else,

I did not steal the following from OTRGirl. I think she pre-stole it from me.

1) Pandora.com: You put in a song or artist and it generates a stream based on that. It's pretty cool. Jem's "Come on Closer" resulted in Hilary Duff's "Hold On," which is not an indictment on Pandora's system, but it's a little strange. They're lucky I secretly love Hilary Duff with her new giant horse-teeth.

Oh, and, no Sis and Vanessa, I don't mean that Jem...

2) The following is an ABC list of stuff. I think it's self-explanatory, so don't ask any questions...

ABC meme

Accent: I have no accent. I stand by this statement. I was, however,recently roundly mocked for my use of the phrase "That light needs fixed." I contend that "to be" is implied, as in "the car needs washed," or "the floor needs swept." No one agreed with me, but Joan did defend me with: "Oh yeah, they say that all over the Ohio Valley." Which lumps me in with Wheeling !?! Thanks for nothing, Joan.

Booze: Everyone knows I'm a teetotaler...

Chore I hate:Easier question: Chores I like, Answer: None

Dog or Cat: People with cats push them around in strollers, so, dog.

Essential Electronics:iPod. Oh, and my Palm now that I can track my finances appropriately!

Favorite Cologne:Der, GoldenSpy...

Gold or Silver: Silver unless we're talking bars, then it's gold all the way.

Hometown: Columbus. Reprazentin' for the 614!

Insomnia: I'm awake right now, so...

Job Title: Office Operations Director or, more affectionately, Ood.

Kids: I don't have any, but I see them on the street sometimes. And, yes, sometimes I kick them.

Living Arrangements:3 guys, one house, no rats. Allhamdulillah

Most admirable traits:Umm. All of them? Really, I would say that I know when to be quiet and I get the job done

Number of Sexual Partners: People, this is a family website. This question will offend the children. But if they complain directly, I will kick them.

Overnight Hospital Stays:None that I can remember, at least not any where I was the one in the room.

Phobias: I am afraid of roaches, but I wouldn't say I'm phobic. I just think they're going to eat me. Seriously.

Quote: "People in Hell want ice water"

Religion: Christian. Yay, Jesus!

Siblings:4 sisters, two older and two younger. And, no, I don't need your pity.

Time I wake up:Let's see. The morning meeting is at 8:30, so...8:27

Unusual Talent or Skill: I know all the words to "Careless Whisper" by Wham! and I can sing it in the grocery store.

Vegetable I love: Does corn count?

Worst Habit: I don't really pay attention

X-rays:I have always been pro X-Ray. Some of my best friends are X-Rays.

Yummy foods I make: My pea dumplings are TDF

Zodiac Sign:Aries, or, if your Chinese, Horse. Or, if your fundamentally against this type of thing, I don't know my sign. I don't follow that kind of thing...