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My job has been kicking my butt around the block lately.  It's that time of year where the days off are scarce, twelve hour days are the norm, my mind slowly turns to pudding and my body hurts everywhere.  I come home so wired that I can't get to sleep until 1 or 2 which makes getting back up at 6 loads of fun.   One of my cooks sells Herbal Life vitamin supplements on the side and he gave me some tabs meant to help me relax at night. They worked pretty well but the next day I felt like I'd had a stroke or some other sort of major brain impairment. - the kicker was when I was trying to multiply 10 times 20 in my head and then not being able to understand how come that didn't add up to 270, which was the required number of plates I needed for a banquet that night.  That Herbal Life shit is messed up.

Here is a picture of me in my new t-shirt I got from Kimdotdammit...it has some of her pen noise pictures on it and I like it a lot. My kid thought it was pretty cool and was making noises about borrowing it until she remembered that I'm about ten times her size. Zoe is tall but she weighs nothing; whereas I am tending towards the pear-shaped end of things and shop mostly in the Big and Tall section with the emphasis on the Big.  I took the pick in my downstairs bathroom which I think is one of the ugliest bathrooms I've ever seen, but I kinda liked it when I bought the place so I haven't done anything to it other than hang pictures.  The last owners really had appalling taste and were in love with wallpaper.  I think wallpaper is a crutch for the design impaired.  I took the picture to deliberately look like one of Kim's as she's rooting through abandoned buildings in the desert looking for ugly beauty....

On top of my day job - I work as a stringer for the local paper and an arts and entertainment mag.  I have two deadlines next week for columns.  Right now I have one of them nailed down in my head, but I have no idea what I'm going to do about the second one.  Initially, I like to write out my stuff by hand, then start working on it in the computer.   I like fountain pens or roller balls for this part of the process.  Lately I've been using a Mont Blanc my brother gave me because he didn't like the feel of it. The nib's not that smooth, but the barrel of the pen fits my hand perfectly and I can write with the thing for a long time without hand fatigue.  I have about 20 fountain pens.  Pens are sort of an obsession.

So, ironically, I watched "Restrepo" the night before they killed Osama and had the images from the movie replaying in my head during the massive coverage of the event....

I found "Restrepo" to be about what I thought it would be. I really didn't find anything remarkable about the film other than the usual things you come away with from this sort of documentary.  You are always struck by how young the soldiers are and how dedicated to the mission everyone is.  I grew up in a military family, my father was a 30 year veteran of the intelligence services and my brother followed in his boot steps. So watching soldiers set up a base in a remote location in the heart of hostile territory is almost like watching home movies. I can't figure out why this movie got an Oscar nomination.  Other than the Academy wanted to score some jingoistic political points of some sort. The one thing I noted was that the film left me with a deep dislike for our involvement in Afghanistan, which I suppose was the film maker's aim. The futility of some of the operations depicted reminded me not so much of Vietnam but of Korea. My dad is still bitter about the wasted lives, time and opportunities in the Korean war.  So much blood was spilled just taking strategically insignificant territory.  Afghanistan is like that only on an enormous scale. Every local we see in the film has absolute hostility in their eyes and nothing, but nothing we do is going to make that hostility go away except our leaving.  The soldiers, however, are committed to the mission of building trust through actions.  Hearts and minds. Only I fear we are discovering that this strategy means nothing, just as we learned in Vietnam that the Domino Theory was a mirage. The Afghan people's hearts and minds are not ours to win.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 5th, 2011 04:52 am (UTC)
The entire Soviet army could not tame Afghanistan. Why did NATO think it could do any better? It has been (next to Iraq) the biggest waste of money and lives. A horrible, horrible waste.
May. 5th, 2011 10:12 am (UTC)
I like the way that first photograph makes you look like an alien settling into human protoplasm for the very first time.

I used to have a rapidograph obsession. There was just something about the way they made my handwriting look. And I was obsessed with finding finer and finer points. But I don't write as fast as I think, plus when you want to waste time in front of a keyboard, there are still plenty of ways to do it. So eventually I trained myself to write completely on a computer. I use paper and pen now when I need to jump ahead of the text, thought bubbles for future movements as it were (in the musical sense of movements.)

Don't even get me started on Afghanistan. It was when Obummer when into Afghanistan that I realized I'd been had in that last election. I suppose I still believe in "good wars" -- World War II, right? That was a good war, right? -- although how do you know a war is good until years after? And of course you have to be on the side that won.
May. 5th, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
I wonder what was in those herbal life pills. I generally avoid most of that stuff. Just because it's "natural" doesn't mean it can't mess you up.

Edited at 2011-05-05 05:39 pm (UTC)
May. 5th, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC)
Around here the Herbal Life thing is like some kinda cult. You see posts on telephone poles touting miracle weight loss via Herbal Life. This guy at work claims it can cure diabetes, any number of food allergies, and even suggests it as a substitute for the drugs that keep bi-polar folks on an even keel. After my little bout with the stuff I told him thanks but no thanks and please don't hawk them in the kitchen to the other employees any more.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )