(no subject)

I feel like I ought to say something, but I'm not entirely certain what to say. To deny that this is an historic occasion would be ridiculous. To claim the challenges of the age are monumental is, perhaps, an understatement.

Unless you are somewhere where I maintain a constant online presence (AIM or IRC), or possibly even there, you probably haven't heard me mention too much about my politics. Which is strange, because in those venues I talk about them constantly, so it feels like I have been suffused in the politics of this debate for years now - which I have. I don't want to get into a policy debate here, however. There's plenty of time for that in the future. Suffice it to say that I voted for Obama in this election.

I was up late last night; first watching McCain's eloquent, cordial, and above all gracious and sportsmanlike concession speech (do not get me started about his crowd, however), and then watching Obama's rather down-to-earth speech as president-elect. As Kitty will attest, I was rapidly flipping channels between CNN, MSNBC and Comedy Central (once they started their coverage). I had a bottle of 10-year-old Laphroaig, because one way or the other, I was going to need it. In the days prior to the election I have been hovering over with my finger over the F5 key (despite them only updating daily). Statistics and opinion polls have pretty much been my lifeblood. So to say I am feeling withdrawal today is a slight understatement.

Until the actual number crunching occurs, the best we have to go on for things like voter outcome or demographics are half-baked exit polls and speculation. I was reading through the summary of the election results on Wikipedia - so you know I was hard-up for reading material - and I hit the international reaction article. Reading the opinions of the leaders of other nations around the world, I have to admit I actually got teary-eyed. I'm not entirely sure why; it may have been that the enormity of the election - of the groundbreaking historical choices and decisions on both sides - finally struck home, or that I at last let myself be relieved... about a great many things, not all of which were related to who was elected. The acknowledgment on the global scale of what still feels a little like last night's dream reached inside me and moved aside my incredibly overgrown cynicism for a moment. It was like Christmas, only Santa brought democracy instead of Legos.

It's not even that the comments are a parade of thumbs-up for America. Indonesia, Iran, and Canada to a lesser extent do not let political niceties stand in the way of delivering a message to the new leader. On the whole they're positive (the Philippines' response is probably my favorite), but who's to say which ones are entirely heartfelt? It's unimportant in the long run - the world watched while America took hold of itself and began to change, and they're just as hopeful and anxious as we are that the change will take root and the country will flourish. I don't believe that America was ever perfect, nor do I believe that it is a state we can ever reach, but I believe that the message of optimism, of hope, of rising expectations reached more people last night than it has in a long while.

Ladies and gentlemen of America and of the world, we are in the future. We are living in the future. We have arrayed before us tools of science, tools of knowledge, tools of hard work, tools of unimaginable power and effect. If our ancestors could step up and take the New Deal, if our grandparents and great-grandparents could step forward and sacrifice for their country, we have within us the strength to step forward and take up these tools, and remake the world into something better. It takes the strength of vision to see a brighter future, and it takes the courage of sacrifice to work towards it. To enact this change - this Change, to take hold of the promise we extended ourselves last night, we must stride towards it with the determination and grit of a people united in motive. This election must not end at the ballot box; it must instead continue on in our hearts and minds, and it must empower us to be our own change. To act differently and think differently in the service of Tomorrow.

The results of this election do not "fix" America. America cannot be fixed, like a broken clock - it is amorphous and above all human. If anything, the results proved that America is not broken, that it can stand up and react when staying the course will send us off the edge of the world. The best we can hope for is that the direction we have pointed the wheel will send us out into sunnier skies and calmer waters. But for now, the wind is at our backs and it feels alright to finally breathe for a while.

So there's the something I felt like saying.
End of line.

Road Trip 2008

kitsplut and I are off on a wild journey across these United State.

Itinerary is roughly:
  • July 2 - Columbia, MO
  • July 3 - Terre Haute, IN
  • July 4 - Indianapolis, IN
  • July 5 - Columbia, MO
  • July 6 - Back in Omaha, NE

We'll send postcards. Or something. We'll also have internets, and my cell phone if you're lucky enough to have the number, so it's not like we'll be totally out of contact. But I'm going to try to divest myself of the Wubtertubes as much as possible.

falcon815: If your phone number has changed at all let me know. Otherwise we'll probably call you on the 3rd or early on the 4th.

See you sometime.
End of Line.

Pressured to meet my basal metabolic goals

So it's been a while since I've posted any appreciable content, hasn't it?

I might as well take the small shards of my life that are interesting (in a non-schadenfreudal manner) and smack them up here in the hopes that they will form an impromptu mosaic of glassy brilliance. Unlikely, but the hope exists.

Thusly, I reveal: I am on the fifth day of the South Beach diet. Phase one.
It's going well, so far. I think. It's rather hard to tell these kinds of things, even over the timespan of weeks. I've lost mere shreds of weight, but then I rather expected the claims of the first phase to be overstated. I am, however, certain that something biochemical's going on Down There.

If you're unfamiliar with the diet, let me explain briefly. Dr. Agatston, the diet's progenitor, is of the opinion that easily-digestible carbohydrates - i.e. sugars and heavily processed starches - are for the most part to blame for the current "obesity epidemic" and the rising rate of Type 2 Diabetes. That's not a horribly implausible claim, though I'm not certain the whole of the medical community is behind him on this. Certainly, I can see the benefits of altering my diet to include more whole grains and less processed, well, anything. My general trend in diet had already been towards that direction; for the past several months I've tried hard to cut out high fructose corn syrup (Note: This is extremely difficult to do).

So, in phase one of the diet, you eliminate carbs entirely, for at least two weeks. He says this is to remove your body's resistance to insulin. That may be so, but I also believe it causes you to drop water weight and possibly enter a state of ketosis, like the Atkins diet does. More important are the psychological benefits - two weeks of successful restraint and a corresponding weight loss (however contrived) are a powerful conditioning tool. The simple action of getting used to no longer eating piles of pasta is something I should probably have been working towards for a long time, but stress and my basic tendency to spread my limited quantities of Caring towards other goals prevented me.

The first three days were rather like breaking a caffeine addiction. Headaches, general muscle pain, crankiness. Most of that's gone away - I think part of it was exacerbated by a lack of water. Other than that, though, I'm doing fine with it. I feel like eviscerating the people quoted in the book, who have a tendency to say things like "And I never had any cravings for carbs at all!"

This is absolute madness. I want a plate of pasta with piece of garlic bread so badly I'd kill a man for it. Still, two weeks isn't too long, and if I can manage it, hopefully the results will bear out the effort. I'll try to keep people posted.

End of Line.
hate, totoro

(no subject)

To The Universe It May Concern:

Coming out of work the other day, I heard something I hadn't in years: echoing off one of the construction trailers, coming from the direction of the practice fields for UNO, was the sound of a drumline warming up with eights.

I'd like to exchange the ensuing hour or so of nostalgic depression for my usual post-work malaise, thanks. I'd become used to the latter and missed its comforting indifference.

Inescapably Existant,