Tuesday, November 30, 2004


There is nothing so unpleasant or stressful than moving. Except for moving during finals.

I have to magically figure out how to get my entire apartment packed and ready to be moved between Dec. 15 and Dec. 18.

Additionally, there is really no way to get a reputable moving company - since interstate moving companies aren't regulated in the U.S., there is no way to get a fixed price on your move or to get reliable movers who won't find a hundred and one ways to scam you.

In the meantime, I must get all my work done and try not to have explosions of stress on the moving front.

If anyone wants to take over the packing and moving from me (for instance, because they think it's really just the neatest, most fun thing to do) - please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to put you in charge.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Michigan goes to the Rosebowl

After an incredibly disappointing loss to the very mediocre OSU, Michigan will still be going to the Rosebowl, thanks to Iowa crushing Wisconsin. That makes both of Wisconsin's losses Big-Ten ones, while only one of Michigan's is Big-Ten. Hence - we get to go to the Rosebowl.

I'm doing a little happy dance at the moment. Even though it would have been nicer to actually beat OSU, we win the Big-Ten, and that's all that matters. Well, at least until the Rosebowl.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Hello? Mustafa?

So on Friday morning, I was rudely awoken by a phone call at 6:50 am. Now, no one I know, including my parents, calls me at 6:50 am. Ever. If they did, they'd get yelled at.

I groggily picked up the phone and said hello. The conversation went as follows:

Me: "Hello?" (half asleep)
Woman's voice with American accent: "Hello. Is Mustafa there?"
Me: (confused as all hell) "No, there's no Mustafa here. You must have the wrong number."
Woman: "Is this the American Wildlife Association?" (or something involving wildlife and America, I don't remember exactly)
Me: (even more confused) "Umm...no...I'm sorry."
Woman: "Oh, ok." (hangs up).

I have NO explanation for this conversation. All I know is that generally a) people don't call associations of any sort before 9 am, b) asking for Mustafa in that context is sort of strange, and c) my freakydar was beeping like crazy after this conversation.

By the time I woke up again, I'd had numerous strange dreams involving shady terrorist organizations led by people named Mustafa hiding under the front of the American Wildlife Association.

Probably all in my head. But still, very bizarre at 6:50 am on a Friday morning.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Parental visit

My parents are coming into town tonight to spend the weekend with me.

While I am very excited, this involves a little bit too much preparation to make me entirely comfortable.

I'm a fairly lax cleaner. I also have a cat. As a result, my apartment is fuzzy. Everywhere I turn (except for the kitchen counters which I clean regularly), there are fuzzy cat hairs. Particularly in the bathroom. So I've got to clean all the cat hair away before my parents come.

Additionally, I have a number of things to do on campus today, that require me to physically be there.

And finally, I'm planning to cook for my parents, and I can't just make them a simple casserole like my mom suggested - it's got to be good and relatively elaborate.

Yes, I know - I make trouble for myself.

Eh, whatever. As long as I make my parents happy. After all, they only come once or twice a year, and I haven't seen them since September.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Happy Birthday to me!

While it's still November 7, I'm going to wish myself a happy birthday. I'm officially 24 now.

I went to New York City to hang out with my friends yesterday. It was a nice visit. I can't wait to move - especially now that I've seen my snazzy new apartment.

Yes, I have an apartment in NYC - in Harlem, to be precise. It's great. I also can't wait to try out all the neighborhood fried chicken joints - there are a lot of them, and I am passionate about fried chicken.

This was the first birthday I've spent without getting presents from my parents. They're coming next weekend, though - so I'll get my presents then (and in the mail - I know they ordered flowers and Star Trek Vol. 2 on DVD).

Anyway. I'm catching up on studying. Reading some articles from 1951 and 1953 about Iran for my short paper on Mossadegh.

I love being me.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Passion of the Blah

Well, I finally sucked it up and watched the Passion of the Christ, just to see what the hype was all about. Was it truly so brilliant/evil/gory/amazing?

Unfortunately, I can't say it's much of anything special.

Gore? Yeah, but after a few blows (which start raining down early on in the movie), I just tuned it out. Granted I like gory movies, and have seen my fair share of horror movies, so I didn't think it was that bad - but honestly - totally not as horrid as I'd expected - Jesus is so covered with blood by about 30 minutes into the movie (and this all happens rapidly) that you don't notice his further torment.

Religiousness? Eh. Not enough about Jesus's message and too much about his crucifixion. He seemed more human than divine to me, a man in pain, crying out to God just like anyone else would in that situation. He didn't perform miracles in this movie. The flashbacks were too few and far between to be effective in portraying him as the Son of God. The devil is hysterically funny - not even remotely scary, in its androgeneous guise.

Anti-Semitism? Well, it wins here. Yup, the MOST anti-semitic movie that I've seen...distinctly portrays the Jews as wanting his crucifixion and the Romans as being initially reluctant to do that to him. They continue to mock his belief in his messianic status throughout the movie. In short - if I didn't know any Jews and I watched this movie as a fundamentalist Christian, I'd think Jews were evil.

Finally, the worst part of this movie - Mary. Although I haven't read the New Testament in any great depth, I always sympathized with Mary. Not after watching this. She stands passively by, watching for hours as her son is beaten to almost to death, forced to bear the cross, and crucified. What kind of mother would do that to her son? Is this some sort of Abraham-Isaac take on the story of Jesus? Only in this version, the twisted God forces his own son to go through the suffering that he spared both Abraham and Isaac, while Mary stands idly by, uninterested in the fate of her son - acceptant of the fact that he has to suffer for the sins of mankind, since she is included in that group. Sure she cries...but that simply isn't enough. Her best effort is 'my son, let me die with you', but this is uttered after his crucifixion.

If there was ever a movie that pushed me away from Christianity, it is the Passion. Give me Ben Hur anyday, and let the fundies keep their pain-wracked, impotent Jesus all to themselves. The God of Christianity as portrayed in this movie seems to be an even more vengeful God than that of the Old Testament, taking it out on his only son. I didn't ask Jesus to die for my sins, and certainly don't want to be a part of a religion that thinks such suffering is somehow divine. I'll handle my own sins, thank you very much.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Post-election day - an optimist's view

Well, I drank some last night. Not too much. Stayed up late. Not too late. Came home, made a sandwich, continued to watch election returns. Suddenly started feeling much better (ok, fine...that was a partisan remark).

Why do I feel so chipper today, you may wonder. My candidate lost, conceded, and we have four more years of Bush.

But, the important thing is that people voted. I've believed all along, voting is the key to democracy. America has spoken, and while I may not fully endorse that speech, it isn't hate speech, but rather slightly incoherent mispronounced speech.

So for the next four years I will continue to do what I did during the previous four. I will not complain too much about the President. I will support the President because he was elected by the people. Basically, I'll be a Republican for another four years. Like a true Democrat, I flip-flop - turn in the direction of where the power is.

Lighten up America. All you gloomy Democrats out there, I hope it's because of your hangover and not because of your crushing pessimism about the future of America. Republicans - go ahead and gloat, just remember it was close.

As a final reminder of my sunny optimism and why I'm so happy - Go Bush!

See, it's not that hard. You try it now...

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day

I have never been so excited about an election before. I woke up on my own (sans alarm) at 7:15 am, after only 4.5 hrs of sleep. I'm so happy to hear that people are turning out to vote, particularly young people and minorities.

I will, however, be the only blogger in DC to refuse to comment on my political affiliation or my vote. Let it just be said that I voted 3 weeks ago, absentee Michigan.

Can't wait for tonight. Planning on getting together with friends, drinking a lot, and watching the results roll in.

Hopefully this will be the record turnout that it promises to be. Let's hear it for democracy in action.