29 November 2006

here i dreamt i was a soldier.

Yours truly has officially been nominated for Peace Corps service. Things are still subject to change, and I have to be medically cleared for service, but if all goes according to plan, I'll be working on an HIV/AIDS education and prevention program somewhere in non-French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa (country to be determined). This is pretty much my dream program, and it finally feels like my life plans are falling into place. If you have any questions or doubts about why I want to do this, go watch the documentary A Closer Walk, then talk to me.

On the topic of foreign countries, I booked a plane ticket today. I'm really going to Jordan (and as many other countries as possible) and not coming back to America until August 13. Side note: I find it rather morbid that I need to prove that my insurance will cover "repatriation of remains" in the event I meet a gruesome fate overseas. Practical, sure, but it certainly conjures up some unpleasant scenarios.

In the meantime, I'll get a slight international fix with a pre-Christmas cruise with five of my favorite people in the world. Six over-achieving, ambitious, overextended college students set loose in international waters fresh from final exams. MTV's Real World, are you watching?

And for your daily dose of community service, I just discovered a less cliched and more practical way to "support the troops" than putting a yellow ribbon on your bumper. Any Soldier distributes care packages and letters to troops overseas, focusing on those who don't get mail from loved ones back home. Snacks and letters beat the pants off magnetic ribbons anyday. I'm putting one together with the girls on my floor as a holiday/service themed program so we can all go home for the holidays with a warm, fuzzy respect for those who can't.

22 November 2006

breaking news: condoms cause diseases.

The Onion is hilarious. What I wouldn't give for America's new deputy assistant secretary of population affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services to be an ironically funny Onion story, but sadly, it's reality.

16 November 2006

all politics is local.

While similar iniatives were shot down across the United States, South Africa, not historically regarded as a nation on the cutting edge of civil liberties, recently legalized same-sex unions, making it the first nation in Africa to do so. A provision allows religious leaders to refuse to perform ceremonies in the event of moral objections, and there is a concern that the move does not represent the will of the majority, but I say go South Africa! On that topic, my Peace Corps interview is next week. If things go according to plan, I'll be somewhere in East or Southern Africa when the World Cup comes to South Africa in 2010. Who wants to join me?

In other news, go watch season 7 of The West Wing. In addition to a young, female, Arabic-speaking top tier national security advisor working in the White House, a moderate pro-choice and eco-friendly California Senator runs as the Republican candidate for President and gets in trouble with the right for not attending church (swoon). He's not an Austrian body builder, but he is named Arnold. Is this our future? I can only hope - I'd love to see a win-win Presidential race in 2008.

13 November 2006

a perfect sonnet or one foolish line.

Pictured at left: one of the BBC.com's amateur pictures of the week. The echidna and platypus have always held a special place in my heart - something about freakish egg-laying mammals just speaks to me. Since Justin revived This British Life two months after actually moving to England (and removed me from his links as punishment for inactivity) and even Swamp Pundette returned, I felt compelled to at least make a brief appearance. Rest assured, I will be be back, albeit slightly less prolifically (brevity is the soul of wit, after all), once I relocate to Jordan in January, but in the meantime, rest assured I still have plenty to say.

At long last, the website from my May photojournalism trip to Berlin is up and running with the articles and photos from all of the students on the trip. Check out some fabulous student photography and journalism about my favorite city in the world.

In other news, the Middle East is as chaotic as ever, Joe Lieberman won reelection in Connecticut as an Independent, Donald Rumsfeld stepped down as Secretary of Defense, and Democrats now hold a majority in the House and Senate. I don't forsee a dramatic change in Iraq policy, but I'm feeling good about the squelching of a wave of conservative social policies. California and Oregon defeated parental notification amendments and South Dakota struck down its controversial abortion ban. Gay marriage bans did not fare as well, but you can't win them all, right? Perhaps even more exciting, Florida passed its amendment making it more difficult to amend its constitution, which could mean an end to pig and high speed rail amendments. Democracy at its finest!

...someone has a secret.