Thursday, December 30, 2004

Moving to NYC

This will be my last post from Michigan for a while, and possibly my last post for 2004 (although I will try to post tomorrow). Tonight, I get on a plane and move to NYC until at least the summer. Christmas was fun, my furniture was moved to New York without incident in my absence (although the piano wouldn't fit and is being shipped to Michigan), and I did absolutely nothing except for read books, eat, and play video games. Oh yeah - and sleepy about 14 hrs per day.

Hopefully I'll be able to find a job soon. I have an interview at a temp agency on Monday, and some other leads that I can follow.

Anyway. That's all for me for the moment. It's been a dull but enjoyable break. Next up, New York.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Grosse Pointe, MI - bastion of conservatism

After a rather long absence, I am pleased to announce that I finally finished packing all of my stuff, the movers came to take it, I made it back to my parents' place in Grosse Pointe, Michigan on the evening of the 17th, and the furniture should be shipped to NYC by the 23rd. We'll see if they can get the piano up.

Grosse Pointe never ceases to amaze me. As much as I hated it in high school, where the only things to do were to sit in chain coffee shops or hang out in people's basements, that's how much I love it today.

Yeah - I'm a grump. I hate crowds, high school kids, political correctness, artsy-fartsyness and unkempt lawns. I love conservatives, people who still celebrate Christmas in public, old farts, depends, tiny shopping districts, and lovely houses with lovely lawns. Kercheval, the main shopping street in Grosse Pointe is renamed 'Christmas Street' for the holidays. That makes me warm and fuzzy. As I cruise down the boulevard, I cruise at 5 mph, stuck behind a tiny, shriveled little old lady driving a big Lincoln Continental and wearing tons of jewelry. That normally makes me angry, but since I don't have anywhere to go, that again is warm and fuzzy.

Grosse Pointe is nice, serene, and somehow unreal. Of course, there's still high school kids running around, but I just avoid them. If they come near me, I'll just hit them with my handbag, or start muttering about how 'in my day we weren't allowed to run around in packs, like little hooligans.' But overall, Grosse Pointe is part of a dying archetypal breed of American suburbia, one filled with cocktail parties, chain-smokers, chicken salads, and roast beef. It's a land where until the late 1970s, minorities were only found as help, and whose diversification is creeping along at a ridiculously slow pace.

I love being home. For ten days or so. Then I'm ready to head back to the real world, refreshed by the oasis of OLD republicanism (not neoconservatism) that Grosse Pointe offers. And Grosse Pointe is changing - of the five Grosse Pointes, the one we live in, Grosse Pointe Park, voted for Kerry in the last election. This would have been unthinkable a mere 10 years ago. So I guess Grosse Pointe is slipping.

Now I'm going to get back to my home activities - namely reading books and playing video games. Did I mention how much I love Grosse Pointe? Yeah, I don't really leave the house much. It's a little too weird out there.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


I just returned from the last exam of my Master's career. Yes. I am done. For the first time in my life, I'm also not currently enrolled in school. What a strange feeling. In a few short weeks, I won't be going back to school.

Of course, in a few short months I will be.

And now I need to get down to serious packing. Whoopee! One day to pack my whole house. Even bigger whoopee!


Sunday, December 12, 2004

How to change a sanitary pad

This gem comes to you thanks to Totalfark. I'm stupefied by it. Mind-boggled. Flabbergasted.

Here's the ultimate retro educational video on what a period is and particularly how to change a sanitary pad.

Oddly enough, the video appears to feature a very small girl with Downs' syndrome. She is told by her older sister to practice wearing the pad (after an extensive lesson on menstruation) for when she eventually gets her period. She seems to be about at least five years away from getting to that point.

Another classic moment in the video is when the girl, Jill, her mother and her sister, Susie are all discussing menstruation and the father comes in.

'So girls,' he asks, 'what have you been talking about?'

And the response from Jill - a priceless moment in film history - 'Periods, daddy.'

At this point, if I were daddy, I would start drinking heavily.

But it gets better. Later in the video, when our little starlet returns from watching her sister change her sanitary pad and learning how to put one on, she runs to her father and tells him all about what she learned. At which point her father asks 'what do you do with the used pad?' And Jill answers (part of her lesson from her sister). Her father expresses his approval of her proper knowledge.

Now, there are several things wrong with this. First of all, what father knows what to do with a sanitary pad? Second of all, why would he be discussing this with his small retarded daughter?

Personally, if I were daddy - I would have turned around, walked out, and never looked back. Maybe traveled the country a bit - found myself a new family - a nice, normal, non-bleeding one this time.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The end of Estonian democracy - follow-up

It must be the Christmas season - a miracle is occuring, one that is more believable than immaculate conception. The miracle? I'm posting twice in one day. This hasn't happened in months.

The reason? Someone actually commented on my blog, and asked a question. Comments are like getting presents when it's not Christmas or your birthday - totally unexpected, and I don't get them a lot.

The response to the question (which had to do with the end of Estonian democracy) - Estonia signed a mutual friendship treaty with the USSR in late 1939. This was the death-sentence for Estonian independence. The Soviets took this opportunity to effect changes in the Estonian government, influencing policy. In June 1940, the Soviets invaded. There was no coup. There was no massive uprising against the Soviets.

The main point of paper, in fact (and I'm quoting from my paper) is this:

The reduction of democratic freedoms in Estonia acted not as a catalyst for the Soviet takeover, but rather as a sedative, permitting a relatively smooth transition away from independence without any significant protests from a population already unaccustomed to the freedoms of speech, press and organization.

In short, Estonian democracy ended not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Monday, December 06, 2004

General Laidoner, term papers, packing, and insanity

At 9:30 pm today, I finished one of my three term papers. This was a major accomplishment, but in some way I'm sort of sad that it's done.

See, this was my pet project - a continuation of my paper from last semester on Estonian democracy from 1920-1924. This was about the decline of democracy in Estonia and the rise of authoritarianism from 1924 until the Soviet takeover in 1940.

The pet part of the project was this it was entirely done based on archival material from the State Department archives. And there were some fascinating details that supported my hypothesis more accurately than any secondary sources could possibly have done.

And it involved my favorite guy - General Laidoner, the Estonian military hero who crushed the attempted Communist putsch on December 1, 1924.

Anyway. I'm rambling.

I also packed 8 boxes up this weekend. Yay me. Unfortunately for me, it doesn't seem to have made a dent.

Oh, and I'm insane. Completely, totally and utterly. No one can do all of this and not go nuts. Seriously. I should win a nobel prize or something. Really...