Tuesday, April 26, 2005

It's mad - completely documental

I've just seen two interesting documentaries:

  1. Control Room follows the Al Jazeera satellite news network in the leadup to and during the US invasion of Iraq. At the same time, we also meet Marine Captain Josh Rushing, a press officer, and a couple members of the Western press. Al Jazeera has been called "the mouthpiece of Osama bin Laden" and otherwise accused of hideous bias by members of the Bush administration. The documentary shows that, indeed, they are biased, but based on what we see, no more so than Fox News. More interesting are the contradictions or surprises seen in the individuals: the senior producer at Al Jazeera who resents US arrogance, but who dreams of sending his children here to study; the Marine who recognizes his own bias and hatred of war; the cynical Al Jazeera reporter who is convinced that America (the people) will stop the aggression of America (the political leadership). It's a good reminder that, even at the heart of a polarizing event, individuals are more complex than the positions they espouse.

    SAIS hosted a screening and panel discussion - including now former-Capt. Rushing - of the film in March. I don't know how long it will be available, but currently you can hear the discussion online at the SAIS homepage.

  2. Genghis Blues was a surprising treat. Chris had recommended it to me years ago, but I've only just now gotten to it. The film tells of Paul Pena, a blind American blues musician, who travels to Tuva to compete in a triannual throat singing symposium. I won't try to describe any more than that. I'll just say that it is a delight, offering:

    - throat singing, which sounds unbelievable
    - some moving moments of pain, fear, and loss, even in the midst of a triumphant/fun-loving road movie
    - beautiful scenery of central Asia
    - scenes and history of Tuva and its people
    - Richard Feynman
    - sheep sacrifice

    Surely something in that list appeals to you.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Coruscant Today

USA Today's cover story today is about Darth Vader. Good heavens, what's next? A CNN exposé on snowblowers? Oh, wait...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

"Working Man"

1. In 1974, Rush were still considering becoming BTO.

2. I got a job. I'll be working for a project finance advisory firm, currently focusing on oil and gas. You needn't bother looking for it on the Internet; it's a new firm, recently formed by my finance professor and two of his colleagues. Strictly speaking, it is a temporary job; I've got two months to determine that it is a place I'd like to keep working, and to convince them that they'd like to keep me around. I'm optimistic, though. I had a very enjoyable conversation with the three founders yesterday, and I felt like we connected well. A small, private-sector firm will certainly be a departure from my work experience to date, but I feel ready for the challenge.

I still marvel at how this came together. At 0600 last Friday, less than a week ago, I was thinking that, if I was going to pursue any alternative to Alliance to Save Energy, I should get on the stick. By 1300 I had had a phone interview and scheduled a live interview, and now it's done. Even more, things I was a bit nervous about - start date, compensation during the first two months - were painlessly and favorably resolved. All sorts of pieces fit together, even mistakes from previous interviews I didn't repeat this time. God has given me a wonderful opportunity; I resolve to make the most of it.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

April in Elkridge

Chestnuts may be in blossom. I'm not sure; I'd only know a chestut if it fell on me, and my noggin's been un-struck for a while now.

But as of this weekend, all the plants are on their way back. Not everything is blooming, but everything's at least got buds, shoots, and the like. And the weather this weekend has been idyllic: low 70s, clear blue sky. I know this is a flashback to February for our southern readers, but it's a delight here, now.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

All our fondest memories are of the past

If Yogi Berra didn't say it, he should have.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Emotions hedged

I’m too clever by half. In my entry to the NCAA pool, I picked Duke to win it all. I didn’t want it to happen, but I figured they’d be facing UNC in the semis, and if the Heels lost, being right in the pool would offer me some consolation. Then Duke went and lost too soon, so I sunk my entry for nothing.

But yay Heels for winning it all. Congratulations to “seattle feets” Dave, who also won it all (in the aforementioned pool), and to Kerry for guessing her way to third place. (Curse my Y chromosome. It has a paltry collection of genes, and it doesn’t even confer superior knowledge of sports.)

I’ve got just under five weeks until my last school assignment is due. It’s all writing and presentations this semester; my only exam is my final oral, sometime between 11 and 23 May.

As for post-graduation, the only news is that I’m interviewing at the Alliance to Save Energy this Friday.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Those wacky Googlons

or maybe they're Googlites, or Googlizens. Anyway, their wackiness is on display for all to see at http://www.google.com/googlegulp/index.html.

Run, don't walk to check it out. I wouldn't expect to see it tomorrow.