Bomb Throwing Pacifist

If you took that happy, smiling guy from the box of Quaker Oats, handed him a bottle of gin and a rifle, and pissed him off to a point where he decided he wasn't going to take it anymore, you'd get a little something like this.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Post-Christmas Edition

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas weekend and is enjoying their time off (or enjoyed it if they're back at work). Christmas was a nice, low-key event at the Lauterbach household. We did the family traition as usual: lit candles, listened to Christmas music (the traditional choral kind, not the crappy Rudolph-kind) and read the two traditional favorites: "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "Les Trois Messes Basses," the latter being a traditional French Christmas story involving a priest who tries to cheat God out of his three Christmas masses and gets his comuppances. Then we watched the Christmas Story, which is something we haven't done too recently.
Loot-wise, Christmas was good to me. In addition to the things on my list, I got some nice sweaters and a Montreal Canadiens hockey cap. As Dad said, I already have a cap for Toronto, the unofficial team of English-speaking Canada, so I figured I might as well have a cap for the unofficial Francophone team too. I also (finally) got my hands on the most recent edition of Warhammer 40K and some dvds I wanted: the Machinist (with Christian Bale) and the Jacket (with Adrien Brody and Keira Knightly). I watched the Jacket with Claire this evening and in exchange got her 28 Days Later on DVD. I also spent the evening setting up the new XM radio we got for Dad. The channels aren't coming in yet, but it'll take some time for it to get all set up.
Last night we went out to see "Breakfast on Pluto" at the Shirlington cinema. It's a movie about a transsexual growing up in Ireland in the 1970s and features Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea and Brenda Gleeson. At first I wasn't sure how much I liked it, but now looking back it was quite good. A little strange, but good.
Other than that, not much to report. It's going to be hard going back to work tomorrow, but that's life. I'm just not sure I'm going to be able to handle 25 years of work without the usual 4 months off I'm accostomed to ;) Oh well, no rest, as the good book says.
Marc with a C, 9:49 PM | link | 1 comments |

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Weekend

Office Christmas party was yesterday. Good times, good times. We went to the Chinese restauraunt in the USAID building for lunch and man it was good. All the food we could eat for free, plus lots of Tsing Tao beer to wash it all down. Not to mention that I got my first paycheck. $450 for 31 hours work! Granted, it was only $405 after taxes, but I actually am one of those few Americans who are thankful for what the govennment does for them and as such don't mind paying taxes or sharing the wealth. Not to mention that I got a $100 Hecht's gift card! :) It's great to work for a progressive company with good liberal values. Conservative business owners, take note: if you pay your workers better and treat them as if they're important (and believe me, they are), somehow they tend to work better and give you all that loyalty you all spend so much time bitching about. Just a thought.

Heather is visiting us for the next few days and my dad pulled off the impossible and scored an extra tickets to the Corelli/Charpentier concert tonight! Score. We watched most of Steamboy last night and of course indulged in the fudgies and cookies she brought along. Good thing she knows what my parents (and especially my dad) like ;)

On an unrelated note, here's a new memo to all those who care about what's happening to this country right now. From now all, all references to conservatives and GOP are henceforth to be changed to the term monarchists as that seems to be a more accurate definition of their political views. I mean, their dynastic dear leader even has the right name for the job: George. It's only fitting really since they seem to believe in basically limitless executive power, the function of the judicial and legislative branches of goverment (which they both control, btw) as mere advisory boards to the president, the divine right of kings (er-presidents) and that the constitution is just "a goddamn peice of paper."

Now someone did point out that King George the W doesn't actually have any male children (that we know of) and that the possibility of a female succession might split the monarchists before they really have a chance to coalesce, but its ok. In that case, the succession would pass on to Jeb and he definately has male children. Granted, they seem to keep getting arrested for drunken and disorderly conduct and drug abuse but it's ok. As the monarchists themselves have shown so aptly: nothing that happens to you in the first 40 or 50 years of your life are allowed to count against you in your policitcal career later in life. Unless of course, you're a Democrat.

Now once more, with feeling. (Sung to the tune of "My Country 'Tis of Thee")

God save great George, our King,
Long live our noble King,
God save the King.
Marc with a C, 10:14 AM | link | 0 comments |

Merry Holiday Season!

I say there, Ikimbi, where the devil are you? No no, it's quite all right, eh what? I don't need my safari boots polished again. Just fetch me another gin and tonic if you would be a good chap eh? Ah, thank you Ikimbi.

You know old boy, it's at times like these that I like to sit back in front of a nice roaring fire, polishing my elephant gun, sipping mixed drinks and reflecting on life. I mean, its not like this happens every day and all. As a matter of fact, Ikimbi I think that at times such as these, it's important that you also take the time to reflect and be thankful for what God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit to give you, primitive and inferioir though you may be. After all, you know, not everyone gets to be Lord Bradley Newton Fitzhugh McGillycuddly III, O.B.E.'s native guide and gunbearer, you know? I mean, it is at times like these that should really give one pause and take time to think.

Why, it almost brings a tear to my eye just thinking about the time we first met. Ah, I remember it well. Winter of 1839 in the northernmost regions of Blogistan. My old public school chum, Donald Basingham, were feeling a wee bit under the weather and as such had decided to put ourselves in a slightly more jubilant holiday wood, you know. After all, as enjoyable as it all may seem, being HRH's official envoy to the subcontinent and all that, sometimes it can be quite tiring you know. All those tiresome cricket matches and hobnobbing with all the Rajas, filthy blighters to a man. No offence intended there Ikimbi, I'm sure you understand.

In any event, we had gone on safari to the Undu Kush mountains in search of some fun when Donald and I spotted that great white stiped Marupilami ahead in the Jungle. Well, not wanting to let that blighter Donald outdo me, I immediately gave the hue and cry and dashed off after it, half a regiment of Her Majesty's 17th lancers in tow. Of course, it did turn out to be a cuning blighter and it would be most of the afternoon before we were finally able to corner it in your village and burn it out into the open where we were able to finally shoot it down.

Granted, it was a pity what happened to all your family, friends, and relatives, being ridden down and burned to death all in the name of sport, but I like to think it had some positive end result, eh? I mean, if I hadn't accidentally sabered your mother as we galloped down the village street and if Sgt. Newton hadn't mistaken your cringing father in the bushes for that beastly Marsupilami and shot him dead on the spot, why then you never would have had all the wonderful opportunities you have today as my orphan gun bearer, eh what? Oh well Ikimbi, this is what the season is for, eh? Being thankful for the small things in life. Now if you would be so kind, please fetch me another gin and tonic, and some fresh rags for my gun. Or, alternatively, a pair of your trousers would be fine as well. There's a good chap. Merry Christmas to you, you cunning dog!
Marc with a C, 9:50 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Ok, lots to report

We've got a lot on the table here folks, so here's what I have down so far. I apologise in advance if I don't get to everything or don't hit up on a lot of detail, so bear with me.

First week of work went well. I'm really enjoying the job and the pace is starting to pick up. Wrote my first report for my supervisior on Thursday and she loved it, so I guess I'm doing ok so far. Other than that, not much to report there.

Jacket: The Belgian jacket is DONE!!! :) I went into the store today to pick up some buttons. Got some flak because apparently I was supposed to work on Sunday, but noone called me or anything like that so I don't really feel too bad. Besides, they should have called me if they wanted me to come in, and not just assumed I'd show up. Oh well, got some really nice frosted black buttons to match the sweet black and white herringbone fabric I used. Let's just say the end result is very nice. Claire and Mom are even hinting that I should make them one, but I digress. I'd be happy to, but I have other projects to work on and as such am not going to spend too much time banging the drum (though if they buy me the fabric for it, I will be happy to do so).

Orks: The final nob is done, varnished, and in the cabinet with the rest of da broot sqwad. I'm working on the warboss now. He's cleaning up pretty nice, although I must say I wasn't sure how much decoration I should give him color-wise. I figured orks might not like that, but then I remembered that that's just the Goffs. All the other Orks really dig loud colors, such as the Bad Moons (black and yellow), the Deathskulls (paint themselves blue), Evil Sunz/Kult of Speed (red makes 'em go fasta!) and the Bloodaxes with their neon "Kammyflage." As such, it's really only the Goffs who think that bright colors are unorky, and the rest of the klanz tend to view them as unsophisticated tools. But I digress.

Sunday: Went to the Langly Hills fellowship meeting (ie. church service to you non-Friends out there). It was really moving, I definately plan on going back. The worship style was so unlike anything I'm accustomed to: just sitting around quietly, waiting for inspiration. While it involved much less singing, standing and praying in the traditional sense, I somehow felt much more active and involved. Not to mention that the pews are all arranged in a circle and there's no pastor,priest, or minister. Reminds me of the Billy Bragg song: "We work we eat together, we need no swords/We will not bow to the masters nor pay rent to the lords/ we are free men, though we are poor/ you diggers all stand up for Glory, stand up now!"

Went to the Game Parlour in Chantilly this afternoon and got some Osprey books: namely, Marlborough's Army 1702-1711 and The Landsknect 1486-1560. Both look very itneresting as the Landsknecht book also talks a fair bit about the Reislaufer, or Swiss counterparts to the Landsknechts who were fairly distinct from their earlier Communal/Confederate armies in terms of organization and clothing styles. Of coruse, they did end up losing, but I always have been interested in what happened to the Swiss during the latter Italian wars (post-1496), especially when they began to encounter stiff competition from the Germans as the primary infantry in Europe. Also got Dad's Christmas present at B&N, which is good as now I just have Mom left to get.

On Saturday night we went over to the Frosts' and had a dinner party with the Loudises and the rest. It was a good time. We watched Jon Stuart clips downstairs in the basement and watched him ream Tucker Carlson on Cnn's Crossfire (which incidentally was suddenly cancelled a few days after Jon Stuart appeared on it). The best part by far? Tucker Carlson going off on some rant against JS and JS interrupting him asking "How old are you?" A stunned Carlson responds "35." To which JS incredulously asks "And you're still wearing a bow tie?" :D Great stuff. You can catch the whole thing here: http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2652831

Well, that's it from me. Work starts early tomorrow and retirement seems further and further.
Marc with a C, 9:00 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Snowy Day Shimmy

Not a whole lot going on here today. Work has been starting off kinda slow, but I suppose that's a good thing. I kinda feel about about surfing the web and such so much, but then again what else am I supposed to do? I've asked for more work and volunteered my services to other people, but it seems slow in coming. Eh, I'm so new, if I joined in any additional projects I'd probably be more of a hinderance than a help in fact. And in any case, it's picking up, like I said.

So far, two projects are in hand. The first is the MOD-9/SEOWs project. Basically, the Dpartment of Health and Human services decided it wants to give big bucks to state governments to establish workgroups that will be in charge of data collection and analysis with regards to substance abuse and mental health. However, this is apparently too big a task for the U.S. government to handle on its own, as so Synectics has been brought in to make the project happen. Not that I mind of course...if we didn't do it, some lower-level government functionary would. I'd rather be a government bureaucrat, but then again, I'd also rather eat than starve.

The other project they have me on are the short reports, or DASIS reports which we publish for the Dept. of Health and Humans Services. Every two weeks we publish a 4 page folio of number crunching which relates in some way to mental health or drug abuse. However, considering the fact that these take about 4 months to publish...I'm the new assistant coordinator/taskmaster, designed to provide another set of eyes and to help make sure everyone stays informed of their job and on target.

So far life is good. While I do enjoy working here in some respects more than working for the federal gvmt (stuff gets done on time and we have a large amount of supplies, coffee, and support), they do seem to lack the intrinsic framework of the federal gvmt. With the feds, when you sign up, you're trained from scratch and everything is done on a timetable and follows a pre-set plan. Here, I'm learning as I go along. I personally would prefer it to be a bit more structured.

In other news... Christmas shopping is coming along well. H's presents came in the mail yesterday. Claire is taken care of, still need to shop for Mom and Dad, but those should be easy. Or Dad will. Mom is still up in the air.

Belgian jacket is coming along ok, though it's too big and will have to be taken in considerably. But then again, can't get bent out of shape over a project that isn't complete yet. On the other hand, the Ork army painting is coming along well. The Nobz look really good if I do say so myself. Until next time!
Marc with a C, 12:11 PM | link | 1 comments |

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Work, etcetera (etc., &c.)

Started work yesterday, and on the whole I must say I am very impressed, if a little overwhelmed. I came in to work at 7:30 yesterday only to discover that noone was in. Since I didn't have a key fob yet I spend some time standing in front of the door waiting, although Jesse showed up before long to let me in (he was just stopping by for some hardware before heading to Rockville for training). So I spent the better part of two hours reading Ian Mcleod's "The Light Ages" while things came together. However, now I have a desk, a computer, a phone, and some missions and tasks to accomplish so I can't complain there.

For lunch some of the boys took me out to Witlow's on Wilson over in Clarendon for half-priced burger Monday. Food was good and relatively cheap (only about $5.00 for an entree). GOod bunch of guys, I'm looking forward to getting to know them.

Other than that, not too much new. Home e-mail is kinda down so I'm trying to get it back up to speed. Began sewing the jacket together and got the backs, center backs, and center fronts sewn and flat-felled. And let me just remind everyone: flat-felling, although pretty, is a pain in the ass to do. However, it does appear to be coming out nicely so far. I also sewed in smore more eyelets on my herrigbone Breughel doublet and started to feel the paniky strands of imperfection whispering in my ear. However, I like it, and I think I'm just being paranoid. It fit me fine and comfortably before, so there's no reason it shouldn't now. Ok, back to work.
Marc with a C, 11:06 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Short Post-Weekend Update

Williamsburg was really nice. It was good to see H again and take some time to get reaquainted after nearly 6 weeks apart. And all I have to say (other that I love ya hun) is the fact that they STILL haven't managed to repair the ceiling in Old Dominion since I was last there in October. I mean, I know that money is tight and that we've been hurting ever since the days of good old governor "Happy" Gilmore, but for crying out loud...don't tell me they couldn't scrounge up a few hundred dollars to patch a leaky ceiling. Oh well.

Stopped by the Groovy Gecko while in the burg. Said hi to Kelly and the ladz and watched a 750-point 40K tournament in progress (or not...they had just finished their first round and had gone on a pizza break when I got there). Gave me new impetus to get da boyz painted and on the table. Models-wise I could fully field a 1500 or even conceivably a 2,000 point army, but I'd rather not as I'd have to use unpainted figures and sub in Imperial Guard tanks and halftracks to represent looted tanks and trukks. Still, theoretically doable, especially since once the three remaining nobz and the warboss are done, all that's left are vehicles, and those tend to go pretty fast (1 full trukk and full buggy to do from scratch, and another trukk and buggy to repaint from Gorkamorka into my 40K army's colors). But at 750, I could be really dangerous...

In other news, cut out all the pieces of my Belgian short jacket. Still need to cut out the peices of interfacing, but that won't take long. After that, the fun begins!!

Still no word from Iraq so we don't know if they've executed Tom Fox or what. He hasn't turned up yet so they probably haven't decided to release the hostages, but we shall see. I pray and hope that the captors will see the folly of what they've done and release these men who have done nothing but help the Iraqis and muslim people since arriving in the middle east. They were after all some of the first to document the scandals going on at Abu Ghraib prison.

Oh well, I could type more, but I'm tired. New job starts tomorrow so I actually do have to go to bed at the ungodly hour of 10 pm (or so). Night folks.
Marc with a C, 9:57 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, December 09, 2005

Notes from the Front

I had another interesting dream last night, but once again spent too much time dilly dallying and have now mostly forgotten it. I think that it was another Battlefield 2-type dream and that it somehow involved driving voer sand. Perhaps a beach? In any case, no matter.

Last day of G-Street work will be tomorrow. I'm sad in a way, but not overly so. The people were cool and it was fun playing with textiles, but the job itself was only marginally interesting and the pay was crap. As such, while I will miss some of the people from an emotional point of view, work has little hold on me.

The Belgian jacket is coming along nicely. I finally finished redrafting the pattern onto butcher paper so I can keep the original in all its sizes while at the same time having a useful pattern to work off of. Tomorrow I will pin out the pieces and cut if I have the time before heading out to visit Heather, although the weatherman said snow and as such there may be some difficulty. We'll have to see. I also found some nice buttons to go with the jacket: black with frosted white centers. I'm not sure what they're made of, but they are very cool looking and fit the jacket perfectly (or at least as perfectly as we'll get without going fabric-covered, which I'm not sure I wanna get in to).

Had a bit of a difficult philosophical moment today. Basically in a barrage on e-mail being sent out with regards to my Quaker friend being held hostage in Iraq, my local meeting is going to be holding a vigil with a local Muslim group, the All Dulles Area Muslims (ADAM). In the e-mail they mentioned that the two groups have worked together before, especially after the mosque was vandalized on 9/12/01, 9/11/02 and 9/11/03. But they also mentioned that the Quakers had come to the defence of women who were the victims of hate crimes for wearing the headscarf. And for me, that was somewhat problematic as it reopened old wounds left over from the Franco-Muslim situation I've been struggling to come to grips with.

On the one hand, I must say that I loath the veil from many different angles. I find it offensive to my liberal, secular traditions. To me, it is an overt expression of conservative religiousness on the same level as that shown by Christian fundamentalists- pompous, prudish, and alien. Likewise, it also offends my feminist side as it is to me a symbol of oppression of Muslim women. Yes I know some apologists would take isue with me over that, but I feel that I have resolved my view there strongly enough to withstand academic criticism (sure, some women WANT to wear the viel, but that doesn't change the fact that they have to wear it because they are women and not men, thus resulting in an inherently oppressive situation unique to their sex). And there's the fact that I just get into too much trouble with vieled women at the store. Always trying to haggle and bargain, although to their credit, that's mostly Indians and Bengladeshis and Pakistanis, and as such not really a truely Arab thing.

On the other hand, I know in my heart that I should be tolerant. Hate is always hate even when it is directed at something you find repugnant. Many times the women didn't choose to wear the viel but were coerced into it. Even if they weren't and do choose to wear it, it's not like the choice was truely free. It's part of their culture and they no more chose to wear the veil in many respects than I chose to wear a tie to work or wear socks with my shoes. I mean, I could chose not to, but I'm already prejudiced towards due to my upbringing.

Furthermore, even if they did chose to wear it, so what? As repugnant as I find their religious traditions (many of them anyway) it seems to me that they are just expressing their free exercise of religion and as such should be free to do what they choose. I don't mind the Amish or the Hasidic Jews (that much ;)), and even us Quakers were once pretty well rescricted to simplicity of dress and speech, marking us out as different. I imagine part of it is just deeply-ingraiend prejudice on my part left over from my pre-epiphany days. I mean, after all, what am I going to say? "Screw them muslim women with their headscarves. I think hate crimes should happen to them and go unpunished as they deserve it?" Hell no. I mean, the dark, twisted, beast inside of me says so, but deep down I know that's wrong. They are free to wear their headscarves and as much as I dislike it, I feel that it is important to protect them for exercising their religious traditions, as much as I dislike them.

Oddly enough, I don't feel the same way with regards to Sikhs or other turbaned men...just the women for some reason. With regards to the men, I'm very protective of them and would kick the living shit out of anyone attacking a "diaperhead" or "sand nigger." Yet with the women...I just don't know. I guess it's a terminal case of "Damn it woman! Why don't you free yourself and do what you want to do?! Take that viel off." Oh well. Like much in life, the answer isn't always easy or pleasant. I just need to take a deep breath, open my heart, and see the light in everyone and let go of whatever anger or grudges I may feel. It just isn't always that easy. I'm just sad I'm not a better person.
Marc with a C, 12:47 AM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I think I'm starting to get the hang of this...

To be honest, I never really thought I would publish a blog, but oh well. Times change I guess, no need putting my finger in the dyke forever to hold back the nigh-unstoppable tides of the internets. Problem is, I'm finding that it's far more addictive to switch journal templates and tinker with Fireworks and Dreamweaver than it is to actually post anything here. On well, I will try to keep things brief.

Life Developments (Professional)

* My last day of work will be this Friday, ending at 6 p.m. I have enjoyed working at G Street Fabrics, but I have bigger (and tastier) fish to fry at this point. I will miss the store I suppose, along with the 25% employee discount, but that's ok. I know people. They know people. Those people know people. Any more details than that, and I'm probably breaking some kind of law ;)

* First day of work at Synectics will be Monday December 12th. I'm excited. It looks like a totally chill place to work. Not to mention decent pay, great benefits, and best of all, work in my field of expertise! Who'd have thunk it, what with my pitiful little BA in a Master's-plus field.

* I many have one or two more commissions coming up. I will have more details as they become available. Right now it looks like some curtains and some skirts. Plus various presents for people and stuff like that.

Life Developments (Personal)

* Starting work on a new sewing project today. It's a Folkwear pattern of a Belgian military chef's jacket. Double breasted, relatively tight fitting and shot. I really like the lines. In either a solid color with bright buttons or a nice houndstooth or herringbone, it'll look swank.



* Finishing up on previous sewing project: A short peasant doublet from Breughel suitable for a more urban, sophisticated person than a simple peasant. I'm thinking of "Peasant inducted into the Sea Beggars" or urban-laborer type look. Just need to finish the lower 4 eyelets on that. It'll take a while but *sigh* what can you do? In any case, it looks vey nice- dark brown and tan herrignbone wool and a black suit weight wool lining. Definitely Sunday garb ;)

*Started Christmas shopping. Need to get a move on that if I ever want it done in time

Life Developments (Recreational)

* Going to see Heather this weekend in the 'Burg. Not a moment too soon either. It's been well over a month and I miss her. Plus it's Yule log. I'm not a huge fan, but it's her last so it'd be nice to go. I'm not sure how it'll turn out without Timmy J though.

* Got Battlefield 2 for my cpu. Surprisingly, it runs pretty well at lower graphics levels and on smaller maps. I find that the middle eastern maps work best, but I think that's because the sand storms help cut down on visibility, making it easier on my pc.

And I think that's about it. And I leave you this this little cartoon. I thought it was appropriate.

Marc with a C, 1:08 AM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dreamscape Escapades

Interesting dream last night. Guess I've been playing too much Battlefield 2. I was in some vaguely Middle Eastern city with a squad of soldiers, only the city was more or less deserted a la 28 Days Later. We sequred this huge tower-like building that might or might not have been used for Saddam Hussein's WMD projects. The longer we stayed there, the spookier the place got, with people falling ill and strange locked doors that we couldn't access. Later on the city became more populated and the violence and kidnapping started up. I went to a gun store to buy some self-defense and offered to pay the manager in South African Rand instead of dollars and he said he'd give me a good deal. Shortly thereafter, I awoke.
Marc with a C, 1:52 PM | link | 0 comments |