Molt Be Blog

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Whoo hoo!

Resigned from the my job on Monday, so probably no posts for a while as I'll be looking for other work a lot. I gave two weeks' notice, so will be officially unemployed on Feb the 9th.

I'm actually really excited to have finally decided to get out of the unhealthy relationship I had with my work and have already had some pretty good interesting leads to shoot for.

More soon... including the background on why this all happened so quickly (i.e. before I found something else to go to).

For now, check out this blog post from my friend Meg.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Notes on the SOTU

The president gave his "most subdued ever" State of the Union address this evening. I nerdily took some notes:
1. Laura has definitely gained some weight... and her hair cut still looks like a helmet.
2. Nancy looks tight... botox tight.
3. Bush talking about curbing federal spending and
4. stopping all the earmarking. In fact, he specifically points out the excessive earmarking in 2005.... wasn't that when the repubs controlled it? Oh yeah! I guess the party's over now. McCain looks pleased!
5. Why do I get the feeling that every time he talks about small business owners, he's also talking about big business?

The Decider
The Decider

6. Why do politicians always bring up technology as the solution to everything? It's great, but Bush doesn't strike me as a big reader of Wired or even Popular Mechanics.
7. Border Patrol x 2 + IT = Safety!
8. Immigration "without animosity and without amnesty". Alliteration. Nice! Five bucks says a speech writer high-fived someone after he thought of that (I would have).
9. Republicans <3 ethanol because it means a good argument for corn subsidies... wait a second, wood chips?!? WTF? Oh... he wants to give logging companies access to National Forests. Now it makes sense. Or maybe, just maybe, he really cares.
10. Condi looks pissed... Klingon pissed.
11. "Don't vote for failure and SUPPORT OUR TROOPS." Bait and switch. Hiding behind the support of very troops he's going to put in harm's way.
12. Talks about increasing the number of marines by 92K. Camera cuts to marine. Marine looks around. Marine stands up. Good marine.
13. Mention of some kind of volunteer corps for civilians with the "skills" that could be needed in war to relieve the military. Is he talking about contractors? What laws would these people be subject to? Military? International? US civil?
14. The my-poll-numbers-suck-so-now-I-care mention of Darfur.
15. Stopping HIV/Aids in Africa... through drugs. Oh, and probably some abstinence and religion, too.
16. 1.5 billion for Malaria? Isn't that something like one fifth of what Bill Gates has donated by selling his nail clippings? Come on!
17. That's weird... 38 minutes in and he's barely mentioned the actual state of the union.
18. Dikembe Mutombo? Really? The one and only Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacque Wamutombo? Holy shit is he tall! Mutombo = Laura Bush x 3
19. Approval ratings low? Try an NBA star! Men love that. What else? How about the entrepreneurial woman who invented Baby Einstein videos and is now helping abandoned children? Holy shit! That just covered women with children, career driven women with no time for children and everyone who feels sorry for abandoned children (i.e. all those that don't know who the fuck Mutombo is). Is there any more? Why not "the subway hero" that I've never heard of who displays the apparently distinctly-American capacity of being willing to risk his life to save someone else. Wow! Only in America! Europeans watch each other die while drinking wine and twirling their little mustaches! Americans are amazing. Anyone else? Oh, a soldier who was riddled with bullets. Everyone on board? Great! Let's send 21,500 more to secure Baghdad!

UGH. Time to play some Wii and forget about all of this nonsense.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Weekend Wrapup (about me, not the world)

For not being a long weekend, we really mashed a lot in. My weekend really started on Thursday night. It was the boss' birthday as well as one of my coworkers, so six of us went to Benihana (boss' favorite restaurant). No one would to sake-bombs with me... at first. Later I managed to convince the scorpion and DG to participate. Scorpion probably had two sips of his (no chugging), whereas DG managed to get through two of them. Good man. Afterwards we headed to The Guards for a single drink before deciding that it was full of boring old people and that we should head to The Bottom Line across from the office for a few and then up to Lucky Bar wherein I realized that it was already 10:30pm and I had work the next day.
I realized I'd had a few drinks more than I'd anticipated when I caught myself walking home in the rain with an Empanada, half of which I saved for R... it was only slightly soggy by the time I gave it to her.

Benihana - Reach

Work on Friday was completely pointless as three other people on our six person team called out sick and Scorpion and Boss were too hung over to think. After I'd left at 10:30, the rest of the team had gone on to drink far too much more and get kicked out of at least one club. Nice work fellas! Being in his hungover state and it being his birthday, Boss eschewed doing any work at forced us all to leave at 2:30pm. Before we left work, my new scanner got delivered to the office. I'll be using this device to scan in a bunch of hard copy photos to put in the slide show that will be playing during our wedding in September.
Upon getting the scanner home, I decided that the current desk positioning wasn't really optimal for the scanner. This led to me wasting the 3 extra hours that I'd gained from leaving work early in trying to untangle and retangle all of the various wires for the computer, screen, router, etc. This is very typical of what my self-diagnosed ADD brain will do with spare time.
After R got home, I showed her how to work the scanner and she started putting in some pics. After I kicked her off of the machine I worked on a new web site that I really need to finish next weekend. At around 10pm we left to go see Asobi Seksu at the Rock and Roll Hotel out on H street. As we were walking to get a cab, we found a small leather bound book on the ground a few houses down from our place. Inside there must have been fifty different credit cards. The first page was various gold and platinum cards and the rest were store-specific cards: walmart, circuit city, home depot, every other store imaginable. Seeing as we had a show to go to, we hid the booklet in the corner under someone's stoop and reminded each other to pick it up when we got back from the show.
Alley off of N and 9th facing South

The show wasn't bad. I'd never been to the "H Street Corridor" area of DC before and was really impressed by the row houses, wide streets, etc. It looks a lot like what my neighborhood looked like 7 hears ago. We had to wait in line for what would end up being a sold out show, but had bought tickets beforehand. Once we were inside we realized that our shortness was going to prohibit being able to see much of anything on the stage, so I got a drink. The crowd seemed older and less "tight black jeans" than you'd get at the Black Cat (I'm still not sure if this is a good or bad thing). While we were there I also ran into a guy who used to come into the bar I worked at in college and has since been barred from ever reentering said establishment.
After we go back from the show, R was smart enough to remember the book of cards under the stairs down the street. After we got inside, I ran the guy's name through the white pages, got his number and had R give him a call. He was ecstatic to hear from us and agreed to meet us at the Whole Foods at 9am to make the exchange.
Of course, we woke up late on Saturday and had to run to meet the guy at the store, but he gave us a $60 reward for our trouble. R attempted the polite refusal, but we accepted on the second "but I insist." We grabbed a cup of coffee and headed home to shower before going up to R's parent's house to borrow their car to go see our friend who is a hair dresser at her salon in Silver Spring.
After hair cutting, we hung around at R's parents for a while before heading back into DC. Saturday night, we went to our friend E's birthday party and were there until 1am or so.
Logan Circle Snow - 1

Sunday morning, we woke up early and went with our friends Chris and Rob out to some Best Buy in Virginia because Chris had read on the interweb that they might have Wii's for sale. Chris and I waited in line as the temperature dropped from 34 to 27, but managed to be numbers 24 and 25 and both brought home the gaming system that we'd already wasted one earlier Sunday morning trying to get. This thing is incredible. I spent a bunch of time hooking it up when we got home, getting it hooked up to the internet (it has Wi-Fi) and having it download various updates. Before I could really get into it, R and I had to head over to take a walkt hrough of a space where we're going to have our wedding. At first I was going to ditch R and make her go by herself, but I ended up being really glad that I went as it turned out to have just started snowing and I love walking around in the snow. I also managed to get the other three pictures in this post. Even better, the space looked much bigger in the daylight (we'd seen it before at night) and we were able to make a final decision of "heck, yes!". It's awesome to have that out of the way. We've also got our catering all lined up, too and with a date of Sept 1 (write it down, kids) all that's left is for me to design the save-the-date cards, invitations, send it all out, get the cake situation resolved and buy a new suit.
I spent the rest of the afternoon playing with the Wii while changing laundry loads and having R get annoyed at the repetitive music of Zelda.

Logan Circle Snow - 2

"Doesn't that get irritating for you? Hearing that same sound over and over?"
"Umm... No. Maybe it's not annoying if you're the one playing it?"
R's company holiday party was at 7pm, so we started getting ready around then and took a cab over at seven-thirty. With faux-gambling, a good DJ and a (somewhat) open bar, the party was leagues better than the one my company threw. After losing all of my faux-money at poker, eating a bunch of sushi and getting hit on relentlessly by one of Rosanna's many gay coworkers, we left at around 10:30pm.
And that's that. Here I am at work. R goes on a trip to NYC next weekend with some of the girls from work and I plan on spending some quality time with the Wii. We're going to see Camera Obscura tonight at the the 930 club, so I probably won't get in an adequate amount of Wii... it's quite sad really, as this article informs me that I can probably cancel my gym membership.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Newsish Things

I couldn't agree more: article.

One of the most incongruous sights of the globalised age - the Starbucks coffee shop inside Beijing's Forbidden City - could soon be a thing of the past after a furious online campaign for it to be relocated outside the palace's 600-year-old walls.

In response to this latest demonstration of “netizen” power in China, the guardians of the ancient site have announced plans to review the presence of the Seattle-based coffee chain...

Despite lowering its profile with the removal of its trademark signboards, opposition has never been as focused as this week. The trigger was a blog entry posted on Monday by Rui Chenggang, a TV anchorman, who called for a web campaign against the outlet that, he wrote in his blog, "tramples over over Chinese culture".

And, this blog entry by Harper's Ken Silverstein gives further information on how Paul Bremer is to blame for a lot of the problems we're seeing in Iraq. That guy should be indicted.
The second thing that needs to happen, he asserted, is the death of Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who heads the formidable Mahdi Army, because there is no chance of stabilizing Iraq as long as he is alive. As an eldest son, Sadr inherited his title and authority from his father. The cleric has no children and hence, in the event of his death, power would devolve to an uncle. “I know [the uncle] and have worked with him,” the former officer said. “He's completely different from Sadr; he's focused on the economic side, on reconstruction, and on improving the lives of the average Shiite. If Shiites were working, religion would be a secondary issue instead of the only thing they've got.”

U.S. forces, said my source, twice had the opportunity to kill Sadr, first in 2003 after his supporters killed Abdul Majid al-Khoei, a British-based Shiite Muslim leader who had returned to Iraq to work with Coalition forces, and again in 2004. “His mother dimed him out that time. He was in Najaf, and we couldn't pin down his location. She went to a member of the family who told us where he was. You know the guy is bad news when his own mother wants him dead.”

Both times, my source explained, Paul Bremer—who was then the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority—blocked the possibility of targeting Sadr, over the heated objections of CIA officers. “We should have killed him a long time ago,” said my source. “There was going to be blowback, but he was a problem that wasn't going to get any better. And now we're at the point where we are today.”

(Bremer's CPA is also cited repeatedly as one of those behind the selling of Iraq and it's tranformation into a "neocon utopia" in this fantastic article for Harper's by Naomi Klein.)


Friday, January 12, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

(1) Wake up before 7am every (week)day to do something productive (i.e. exercise, look for sweet jobs, work on design projects, read the news).
(2) Start bringing my lunch with me to work at least 4 days a week..
(3) Take the GRE.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Down an Alley in Plombieres Les Bains, France

R and I went to France this past weekend for the wedding of Alex and Christophe. I took at least 500 photos and have been trying to delete the bad, keep the OK and upload the great ones. As far as great ones, this is the best that I think I found so far, so I thought I'd upload it immediately and wait until I've finished going through to upload the rest. A full story on the mini-vacation is forthcoming... for now, I need sleep.


Here We Go Again

I can remember being in Barcelona when we first went to war in Iraq. The president of Spain at the time, Aznar, was a supporter of the war, but I guess a lot of people were back then. I was busy reading all of the liberal rags I could. All of the reports in the Guardian and blogs saying there were no "weapons of mass destruction" and that the war itself was based on hidden agenda. Or the Status of Nuclear Inspections in Iraq report from before the war began saying that

Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents - which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger - are in fact not authentic. We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded. However, we will continue to follow up any additional evidence, if it emerges, relevant to efforts by Iraq to illicitly import nuclear materials.

Being overseas, I wasn't caught up in the fervor that was going on over here in US. I remember coming home at Christmas and being stunned that so many people were already convinced that war was inevitable. Hadn't they been reading what I was reading? Why was everyone so scared of someone who hadn't attacked the US; who was too busy trying to milk money from UN programs and oppress his own people to care about us?
R and I went back to Spain and I can honestly say that I was surprised when Bush issued his ultimatum and we actually started bombing Iraq 50 hours later. The political climate in the Barca was staunchly anti-war. R and I participated in any way that we could. We walked in marches for peace and we all banged pots and pans out the windows at 10pm on set days to protest the war. Part of this was because we were so against what was going on, but another part of it was to try to prove to our Spanish neighbors that not all Americans were fools.
I noticed a definite difference in my students' attitudes towards me after the war moved into full swing. They started asking me more and more if I agreed with what was going on in Iraq, if I thought all Americans really wanted the war. I had to defend myself and my country. I didn't tell them that Americans were stupid. Instead I tried to explain what I had seen when I went home: that the government and the military industrial complex were spoon feeding the media and they in turn were convincing the public of complete and utter lies. That the debate had been set as "war now or war later" and that they probably would have felt the same way had they been under the same media pressure as other people in the US.

Bush gives a speech tonight wherein he'll ask for a troop escalation of 21,000 men and women. According to this article in USA Today "President Bush will acknowledge in an address to the nation tonight that U.S. policy in Iraq has failed and will send in 21,500 more troops to try to quell sectarian violence and bolster the Iraqi government, according to a senior administration official."
But according to another article of theirs summarizing the Iraq Study Group report: "The commission recommended the number of U.S. troops embedded to train Iraqis should increase dramatically, from 3,000-4,000 currently to 10,000-20,000. Commission member William Perry, defense secretary in the Clinton administration, said those could be drawn from combat brigades already in Iraq."

I'm torn as to whether more troops are a good idea or a bad idea. I suppose it's best to turn to the experts in situations like this, since I'm not much of a military planner. Of course, it doesn't give me a great deal of hope Bush is "pulling away from his generals" or that the Iraq Study Group report talks about more troops to train the Iraqi army, not for combat.

How about the Op-Eds? What do they have to say? Let's see:
Washington Post - Froomkin says that Bush isn't changing strategy by sending 20,000 troops, just changing tactics.

Guardian - Like a deluded compulsive gambler, Bush is fuelling a new cold war: With air strikes on Somalia and a surge in troops in Iraq, he is staking everything on a finale he can call victory.

Post again - Cohen explains that Bush is the decider and that
And so those who have decided otherwise -- a couple of four-stars, maybe the chief spook and all those awfully smart people throughout government and academia -- are ignored and/or are heading out the door. Bush listened to them when he agreed with them and refused to listen when he did not. A so-called surge is a-coming, an escalation all decked out with an Orwellian-sounding name. An edifice built on a wobbly foundation -- a profound and enduring ignorance of Iraqi society -- will be patched up, but really, the whole thing is a tear-down. It will collapse no matter what we do.

Hrm... maybe the editors at the WS Journal can do better:
If the stakes in Iraq are as great as Mr. Bush says--and we believe they are--then he should commit whatever forces are needed to achieve success.
Now that's more like it!

Or how about the Weekly Standard?
This week the president will set forth his proposal. We hope and expect it will include a clear articulation of a new strategy for Iraq--a real effort, based on classic counterinsurgency doctrine, to secure the Iraqi population, first in Baghdad, and then in Anbar, along with substantial aid for economic development and jobs for Iraqis. This will be supported
by a rapid increase in the size of the force in Iraq by around 30,000 troops, and will signal a sharp departure from the failed Rumsfeld-Abizaid-Casey minimalist approach.

Oh well. I can't say that I agree that sending 20,000 more troops is going to help. I think that, had there been more from th beginning; had we not used Rumsfeld's strategy of having a smaller more agile force on the ground, things would be different now. I also think that we never should have gone there in the first place... but it's all together too late for that now.

The saddest part of all: there's nothing that anyone can do to stop "the decider" from deciding. He'll send however many troops he wants until congress does something drastic and that's that. I think I'll write my (non-voting) congresswoman.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Check out the various companies listed in CNN Money's list of the 100 best companies to work for.


Holy Crap do I want an iPhone

Me and everyone else. From Engadget:

Capping literally years of speculation on perhaps the most intensely followed unconfirmed product in Apple's history -- and that's saying a lot -- the iPhone has been announced today. Yeah, we said it: "iPhone," the name the entire free world had all but unanimously christened it from the time it'd been nothing more than a twinkle in Stevie J's eye (comments, Cisco?). Sweet, glorious specs of the 11.6 millimeter device (that's frickin' thin, by the way) include a 3.5-inch wide touchscreen display with multi-touch support and a proximity sensor to turn off the sensor when it's close to your face, 2 megapixel cam, 8 GB of storage, Bluetooth with EDR, WiFi that automatically engages when in range, and quadband GSM radio with EDGE. Perhaps most amazingly, though, it somehow runs OS X with support for Widgets, Google Maps, and Safari, and iTunes (of course) with CoverFlow out of the gate. A partnership with Yahoo will allow all iPhone customers to hook up with free push IMAP email.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I need to finish reading this article:
Young Turn to Web Sites Without Rules

So where do the young thrill-seekers go?
Increasingly, to new Web sites like, which is building a business by going where others fear to tread: into the realm of unfiltered live broadcasts from Web cameras.
The site combines elements of more popular sites, but with a twist. In addition to designing their own pages and uploading video clips, its users broadcast live video of themselves and conduct face-to-face video chats with other users, often from their bedrooms and all without monitoring by any of Stickam’s 35 employees.
Other social networks have decided against allowing conversations over live video because of the potential for abuse and opposition from child-safety advocates. “The only thing you get from the combination of Web cams and young people are problems,” said Parry Aftab, executive director of the child protection organization “Web cams are a magnet for sexual predators.”


Monday, January 01, 2007

H-a-p-p-y New Year!

Happy New Year everybody. R, her cousin A and I brought in '07 working the coat check at R's hotel and watching kids get obliterated and walk into walls. There was plenty of drama: cut feet on broken glass, lost coats, trashed rooms and a lot of unfortunate clothing. I also learned that, in general, women do not tip at the coat check.

This year's resolutions:
1. Find a better job or go to grad school.
2. Eat sustainable food (thanks a lot, The Omnivore's Dilemma).
4. Hit the gym and get back to being able to run 2 miles in under 14 minutes (it could happen!).

I think the first step on the road to resolving these resolutions is to buy a new Macbook Pro... after whatever sweet announcements are made at Macworld Expo, of course.

Also, I'm going to try to be more nerdy...