May 30, 2009

TEH AWESOME

Today's must-read on granting the premise from Cassandra:
Staying on Message: Conservatives Should Play Offense, not Defense

(via WifeUnit, who leaned over to me and said I should read this.  I love that I have an in-person hat tip!)

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BOOK LIST II

Here are my short reviews for the next ten books I read for my George Bush 2009 Reading Challenge.  I got way behind on my reading when my mother visited, so I will really have to hustle later.  At this point, I am barely on track to beat Bush and clearly not able to beat Rove, but once my husband deploys, I think I can pick up the slack.  Previous books are included at the bottom.

MAY

20) How To Break a Terrorist  ("Matthew Alexander")
Meh.  That's really all I have to say about this book.

19) State of the Union  (Brad Thor)
AirForceWife introduced me to Brad Thor, and I mean that both figuratively and literally.  She and I went to his book signing, and since she already knew him from her SpouseBUZZ Radio interview, she and ol' Brad were like BFF.  I think he's in her five.  Anyway, my true desire is to read The Last Patriot, but I decided not to start at the end of the series, so I began at the beginning.  This was book three, which was as action-packed as the previous two, so now it's three more books until I can get to all the fatwa-goodness of The Last Patriot!

18) The Black Swan (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
This book had been on the card for a long time, but David Boxenhorn finally prompted me to read it.  I found many fascinating new ways of looking at success.  The more statistics-heavy parts of the book were a tad rougher for me to grasp: seeing as I don't measure anything in my own daily life against the Gaussian bell curve, I had a hard time truly grokking the superiority of the Mandelbrotian.  But the first half of the book was definitely worth reading.  Although the implication -- that success is quite often due to dumb luck -- is disquieting.

17) Bonk (Mary Roach)
I have read several books in the past two years about sex and fertility in the hopes of learning something new that would give me one more piece of the puzzle as to why things weren't working out for us.  I thought this was just another book like the others I'd read, but it completely wasn't.  I loved this book.  It reminded me of Assassination Vacation (without the Bush derangement) or a Bill Bryson book, only about the history of sex.  It was laugh-out-loud funny in places.  If you like Bill Bryson, you'd like this book.

APRIL

16) Hard Green (Peter Huber)
This book contained some good examples of why the "green" movement isn't actually that much greener.  I will have to use some of them on my eco-friend.

15) Is Your Body Baby Friendly? (Alan E. Beer)
I started this right after the third miscarriage; it was a gift from CVG.  It freaked me out pretty bad: it's a book about the theory that most miscarriages are caused by your immune system, and since my mother has Lupus, I was convinced that this was my problem.  Turns out it wasn't, but the book was informative and worthwhile nonetheless.

MARCH

14) Survivor (Chuck Palahniuk)
I had heard that this book wasn't as good as his others, but I still liked it just as well.  (But I like everything: the third Matrix movie, The Lady In The Water, etc.  I am pretty easy to please is something is sufficiently weird.)  And I always love how Palahniuk describes minutia so vividly in the middle of big action, like the porn titles while Tender fights his brother or the details of the mobile homes while they're on the run.  He's so good at that.

13) I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell (Tucker Max)
This book had some funny moments, but I seriously think I am too old for it.  I am sure I would've thought it was funnier ten years ago.  And for me, the best parts were the parts where Tucker got his comeuppance.

12) Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator (Arthur Herman)
I really knew very little about the details of what happened concerning Joseph McCarthy.  What I learned from this book was that "fake but accurate" didn't start with Bush's National Guard records.  The press lied and distorted everything he said and all the charges against him.  McCarthy was a blowhard and probably a very annoying man to be around.  But his accusations were never as sensational as they were made out to be, no one ever lost his job or went to jail based on McCarthy's investigations, and above all, he was mostly right.  The government was far too lax in its hiring and vetting processes.  There were Communists everywhere, hardcore and "soft."  McCarthy didn't deserve the bum rap he's been dealt by history.

11) The Reader (Bernhard Schlink)
For whatever reason, I thought this book was just kinda meh. I also have no idea how they turned it into a movie. And, despite the fact that I love the book Lolita, I found the story abhorrent and chilling. So, hmm.



Previous post: Books 1-10

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May 29, 2009

MY BEANS

This week has been so busy, and I've barely been online at all.  I have no idea what's been going on in the world.  Did we pass the Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog legislation yet?

I'm off again today to Hill Air Force Base in Utah for another SpouseBUZZ Live event.  It's another gulch convention, and I'm happy.

The lame part is that I return Sunday evening, while my husband leaves Sunday morning for another week of training.  We said goodbye today until the following Saturday.  It's his last week of pre-deployment training.  Shortly thereafter, we go on block leave, and pretty soon the next round of deployment starts.

I am slowly figuring out the whole IVF/PGD issue.  In a nutshell, my doctor told me too look into "probes."  He said to call the IVF clinic and they could explain it.  I called and they had no idea what he was talking about.  Typical, right?  The genetic counselor called and when I asked her what he meant, she just laughed.  She said, "Sure, I know what that means, but why on earth did your doctor to tell you to figure this out?  Isn't that his job?"  Sigh.  But I am finally figuring this out and trying to get our ducks in a row.

I know my problems don't amount to a hill of beans, but as Frank Drebin says, it's my hill and these are my beans.

And now AirForceWife is in my living room and I need to get moving to the airport!

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May 28, 2009

AMRITAS' VISIT

I asked Amritas to write a guest post about his weekend visit.  He came through in spades, but trust me, we aren't nearly as cool as he makes us sound!  In fact, I feel like a d-bag putting such gushing about me on the front page, so click after the jump to read about our most recent blogger meet-up...
more...

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May 27, 2009

DREAM JOBS AND NIGHTMARE JOBS

I realized my dream job yesterday.  The yarn section at my work just got renovated, so I was hanging new signs, project sheets, and yarn swatches.  Hanging in front of the yarn is a sample of knitting so that customers can test what the yarn looks and feels like, something like this:



I had the thought that someone has to make all these little 4"x4" samples.  How fun would that be?  Dream job.

(I realize they're probably made by machine.  Humor me here.)

I also realized that my dream job is decidedly NOT to take all those little squares and sew them together into a big blanket.

Last November, our store collected rectangles for Warm-Up America.  It was then my job to single crochet all 56 rectangles together.  It took me forever to find the motivation, but the final product is pretty neat.



But definitely not my dream job.  I'll make the squares all day long, but someone else can do the finishing.

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May 26, 2009

CHURCH SUITS

There's a junky strip mall I always pass on my way to work.  There used to be a shop in it called Church Suits, a name that always made me smile.  It was a tiny shop, one of the only ones still left in that strip, and I noticed recently that they too had closed down.  I chalked it up to the economy and was saddened to think that I would no longer get to smile over the idea of Church Suits.

As I drove to work today, I was embiggened to see that Church Suits had not in fact closed; instead, it had expanded!  They had apparently bought the bigger store next door to theirs and tripled in size.

And they changed their name: Sunday Best Suits.  Still smile-worthy.

I don't think this story is a metaphor for economic upturn or anything.  It just makes me happy to know that if one so desired, one could still fulfill all his church suit needs here in town.

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May 25, 2009

MEMORIAL



On Saturday, we went to the local military museum and listened to a presentation given by Chester Biggs, a WWII POW of the Japanese.  The talk was very interesting, but I was disappointed that only a handful of people were there.  And the majority of the people in the room were his comrades.

You know who does not need to hear the story of a POW?  Other POWs.

At the end of his speech, after he had described four years in a POW camp as a PFC, someone asked him what he did after the war.  He said he reenlisted and then subsequently fought in Korea.  Later that night, my husband remarked that he was sure -- after hearing this apologetic man explain that he wasn't actually in WWII and had to learn about it later in history books -- that this man, a war prisoner, felt he hadn't done his fair share.

Mr. Biggs was one of the lucky ones to make it home...and allowed to collect his per diem of "$1 per day of imprisonment for failure to receive sufficient quantity and quality of food" under the War Claims Act.

Many of his comrades didn't make it home...

Today is a day to remember them.  And to realize that we need to take advantage of any opportunity we are afforded to gain perspective from someone like Mr. Biggs.

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May 23, 2009

HAHA



I wish I had made that caption up, but it actually came with the article Sobbing Kindergarteners Snubbed for Steelers?.  I got a screenshot because I thought it was too funny to be true.

Keep it up, Obama.  Keep making the people who voted for you mad.

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May 21, 2009

'TIS THE SEASON FOR AWESOME ACTION FILMS

I'm looking forward to seeing Terminator Salvation soon, despite the fact that Cracked is right: it doesn't make any sense.  I also loved their calling it "Terminator Salvation (aka Terminator With Batman and Transformers!)."  Heh.  Whatever, I am still watching it.

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May 20, 2009

A GROKKING POST

I like when other bloggers write about their grokking process.  Rachel Lucas is never embarrassed to say, "Hey, I finally get this," and I enjoy reading her for that very reason.  She has a new post up about the differences between American and British government.  It's a grokking-type post, and I liked it.  The comments are worth reading too, I think.

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May 19, 2009

CELEBRATE HOMOGENY

I got an email from an old real-life friend about my Done Waffling post.  This friend pointed out that we had a diverse friend group in school, to include Hindus and Muslims, and that exposure to diversity is beneficial for a growing mind.  It's a fair point.

My response to that is that no one from our friend group supported honor killings or jihad or shariah.

Look, you all know me by now.  You know that I am not really a person who "celebrates diversity."  I married someone whose only difference from me is that he likes to sleep.  I want to live in a gulch surrounded by people who all think exactly like I do.  I don't know if that's an appropriate worldview, but that's who I am.  I celebrate homogeny.

But these friends of mine, these other kids who helped make me who I am, they were Americans.  Sure, they had a different religion than most of us and they did funny things like fast during Ramadan or not eat beef, but they weren't fundamentally different in value systems than the rest of us.  Their families were in the US because they wanted to live under the freedoms and opportunities that the US had to offer, not because they were trying to subvert the system from within.

In short, I don't lump old-school American Muslims in with the ominous groups portrayed in that video.

You don't have to be a WASP to be part of my tribe.  But we do have to have common ground: tolerance, respect for the Constitution and institutions of the United States, and an ability to live and let live.  Those are decidedly not mainstream beliefs in the communities from whence Muslim immigrants are flooding Europe.

My goal is not to outbreed American Muslims.  My husband and I are close friends with two Muslim families that are perfectly lovely, normal, non-terrorist people.  My kids could play with their kids any day.  And my hope is that their kids will also act as a counterbalance to the extreme Islamofascists' progeny.  I consider their kids as part of our American birthrate, not the scary Muslim one depicted in the video.

My goal is to fill our gulch with more like-minded people, to pass on a love for our unique country and all she stands for, and to raise children who can recognize the fundamental difference between the cool brown-skinned kids in their class and the scary enemy. 

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WHY DOES HE GET TO MEET NETANYAHU?

Yesterday, presented Rachel Lucas style:


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CLEANING

No blogging today.  Instead, I've been Facebook updating all day about my cleaning activities.  I'm trying to get the house in order because there's a big Blog Meet-Up this weekend: Amritas is coming to visit us.  I've known him now for nearly six years, but we've never met in person.  It should be a hoot.

I had really let the house go, so a guest is good incentive to deep clean.  I even scrubbed the top of the refrigerator...

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THE YOUTH VOTE

Lawrence Auster got an email that's too good to not be read in its entirety.  It's another exchange about not granting the premise, but it starts from a point I never thought to explore:

What an upside down world we live in. Once upon a time, village elders were revered because they had lived long enough to know a little bit about life and propriety. Even in the era of democracy, seniority systems abounded. It's hard to imagine Grover Cleveland campaigning for the "youth vote." But today we're told that the least experienced voters are the ones we should be listening to, even as we worship our least experienced president.

(Via Amritas)

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May 17, 2009

DONE WAFFLING

I spent all day yesterday waffling on the baby issue. Deep down, I don't feel that confident about going forward.  I know you all say that babies are better than dogs, but I just don't know how to believe you.  A year ago, I said this:

And I was never one of those women who loves babies or wanted to be a kindergarten teacher her whole life. This may sound terrible, but there's a part of me that's ready to throw in the towel because the more elusive it gets, the less important it feels. The less emotional it feels. I think human beings ought to procreate, and I think that people with stable, loving homes like ours are a good place for kids. (And Mark Steyn makes me think I need to have ten of them, to shore up our numbers.) I was always fairly matter-of-fact about having a baby anyway, and this year of over-thinking it hasn't helped any. My husband re-convinces me every day to keep trying, because I'd love to abandon hope and forget about it.

And now that even more time has passed, and we're looking at pain and money coming into the equation, I feel even less motivation.  My husband says it's his job to force the issue and make it happen, because I keep changing my mind. He says doing IVF is my own personal deployment of sorts: no one truly wants to deploy, but they do it because it's the right thing to do and it's part of who they are and their value system.

This morning I found a video via Up North Mommy that stopped my waffling.



It reminded me of a major reason why I wanted to procreate in the first place: to create more humans with my value system. To make more Americans.  I don't know how it sounds when I say things like that, but I mean it from the depth of everything I believe in.  I'm not just being xenophobic or anti-Muslim; it's the loss of my own culture that motivates me.  I'd like for there to be more people in this world like my husband and me, more people for my tribe, more people for our gulch.

And I'm now ready to spend $12,000 to make it happen.

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May 16, 2009

INTERESTING

An interesting tidbit on Pres Obama from an old Christopher Hitchens article:

[David Freddoso's book] has the fairly easy task of showing that Obama comes from a far more “left” milieu than any Democratic nominee before him. I believe I could prove this by my own unaided efforts: when Newsweek’s Jon Meacham asked both presidential candidates for a sample of their reading matter, he got back a fairly strong list from each. Obama gave John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle where someone else might have been content to put The Grapes of Wrath. Whereas the latter is about suffering and stoicism, the former is about how the field hands finally rebel, and how the “organizer” helps them to do so.

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MOTHER FAIL

OK, this probably makes me a terrible person, but I think this is hilarious and if one of my nuttier readers got it for my kid, I would totally crack up and let him play with it.  (I can see AWTM's husband or Chuck Z buying it.)

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Found by Wife Unit, who totally groks my brand of quirky.

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SWEEP THE NATION

Still the Biggest Missing Story In Politics:

A fiscal conservative, who was perceived as a fiscal conservative running against a fiscal liberal, would win a landslide greater than any in the history of these two political parties.  A candidate perceived as both a social conservative and a fiscal conservative would win one quarter of the Democrat Party vote, if the Democrat was perceived as a liberal, and sweep the nation easily.

I believe that could be true.  I think Republicans lose because they try to out-Democrat their opponents.  I think a real, true conservative who stayed on point and principle, who didn't try to beat Democrats at their own game and instead stopped granting them their premises, would take the nation by storm.

John McCain lost fairly narrowly, and do you know anyone who really wanted him as our candidate?

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May 15, 2009

FROM CRUSHINGLY DOWN TO RELATIVELY ASSUAGED

When I first found out about my balanced translocation, I was so happy to have a reason.  I felt this weight lifted, that now I finally knew why I was doomed to so much sadness.  I was happy knowing that there was a plan and a way to solve our problem.

But today reality set in, and I feel despair.

I met with the doctor today to discuss IVF.  As usual, this man channels my inner Mrs. White.  And I left in a daze, not knowing whether I was more disturbed by the flames on the side of my face or by the lump forming in my throat.

Call me naive, but this process is going to cost far more than I anticipated.

All my initial ballpark figures I'd been working with, supplied by people who've done this here in town before and the genetics counselor, well...they doubled today.  The PGD that I was told would be around $2000?  Nope, it's $5000.  Oh, and we have to pay to freeze sperm, since my husband will be deployed.  And then we have to pay for the more expensive, extra special IVF that they have to do with frozen sperm.  The numbers that I had in my mind of how much all this would cost was half of what it really will cost.  And that's even with the sizable discount we're getting because we will be using a military doctor.

And that's per month.

The sick thing is, we have the money.  We could pay cash tomorrow for this and not really blink (especially in this absurd economy, where money ain't worth the paper it's printed on).  But that's the rub that makes the choice kinda rough.

The local clinic said that they've never had anyone do PGD.  The receptionist said that the pricetag scares people away, so no one has ever taken them up on it.  And if we didn't have the money either, we would have to resort to good old trial and error: keep on babymaking at home and hoping that we flip heads instead of tails one month.  The choice would be made for us by the fact that we had no option to do the expensive treatment.

But it's a bit harder to have that choice to make.  It's hard to know that you could just keep flipping that coin for free and eventually end up with a baby, and conversely to know that we could spend many thousands of dollars and still end up with nothing.  There are so many ways this hinges on luck.  The doctor said that he could probably get 15-20 eggs from me.  He said usually about 80% will fertilize.  So on the low end, that means 12.  Statistically speaking, half my eggs should be duds, so if we could get six good ones, we'd do the first try with three.  If we get pregnant, hooray.  If we don't, we have three back-ups to try again another month (at a decent-sized repeat fee, of course).

But that's statistically speaking.  Of all the eggs I was born with, half should be good.  But all those eggs is a far bigger sample size than what they can extract.  Heck, we've already flipped three tails in a row.  A small sample size of 15 eggs is not necessarily going to break down 50/50, just like 15 coin tosses won't either.  (To illustrate: my father is one of 13 children, 7 girls and 6 boys.  But I also know of another 13-child family with 12 boys and 1 girl.)

What if we only get one good egg?  And what if it doesn't take?  What if we spend all this money and come out with nothing in the end?  Could I live with that?

Could I live with not trying for it in the first place?

My husband got home from training while I was writing this post.  I hurredly cashed today's chips and told him how stressed I was about the whole thing.  My husband, the stingiest man on the planet, waved off concerns of money and said resolutely that we are going to go through with this.

Oh, but we can't even begin to get these ducks in a row until at least September.  So I had asked the doctor about babymaking at home for the two months until my husband deploys.  I asked: if we got pregnant and we had another miscarriage, would that prevent us from going ahead in September?  It shouldn't.

So I asked my husband if he wanted to try to take the cheap way out, if he wanted to take another gamble at home and try for a healthy baby the old-fashioned way, to see if we could get away with not spending those many thousands of dollars.  He vehemently declared that he is done with babymaking at home and does not want to spend our last weeks together fussing over basal thermometers and pregnancy tests.

My husband managed to take the edge off over this whole thing.  I feel much less panicked now than I did when I sat down to start this post two hours ago.  (He also said he doesn't want me stressing our for the next few months each time I want to buy a ball of yarn either, because he is the most fantastic husband on the planet.)

So I guess we're going to do this.  I think.  My husband said, "We paid $500 for that ol' dog, and look how much joy he brings us.  The baby will be even better."

Someone with kids assure me that a child is 24 times better than a dog...

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SCARY

Want to have a heart attack about what's in our future?  Check out McQ's charts (via CG).

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