1. What is one sight or experience from your recent trip to Ukraine/Russia that made a distinct, lasting impression on you?
There are many, although I don't know how lasting any will be; there are experiences I no longer remember from previous trips (but remember thinking this will stick with me for a while). Various beautiful, or spiritual, or intellectual sights. But I'll paint a particularly vivid picture.
From right to left, we see Elena, Elena's husband, and Andre. Andre is the nephew of Olga, who is a customer of Danielle. We are located in the first McDonald's in Moscow. We have just spent the last hour negotiating the details of the sale of Vlastelin Udachi (Vanya, Wonder Borzoi). Neither Elena nor her husband feel comfortable speaking in English, so they haven't been. And Elena's husband has demonstrated himself to be the greater fool, and threat, to the operation -- it becomes clear he's had little to do with the dogs, but now that there is money and interaction with Rich Americans, he feels like he has to protect his wife. He has made himself feel very clever with a bizarre mechanism for non-escrowed contract signing. Andre and I arrived here after spending the previous hour or two in an obscure underground restaurant dealing with a bottle of vodka (one for one shots, about 5 each). Nominally, this was to warm us up, having walked around, outside, Moscow for the day (Andre acted as tourguide for my father, sister and I). The vodka definately took the edge off the negotiations, too. (The dog was supposed to be three hours from landing at JFK at that time, but of course it wouldn't be shipped for another three days).
2. You've recently been talking about seeking work or educational opportunities outside the Pittsburgh area. What factors motivate this?
A preemptive strike on a journal entry I've intended to write. Good good. I'll give a brief overview here:
3. What part of owning corvisdog do you find most rewarding? What is the most difficult?
I took my job with the intentions of getting a dog. This was selfish, but in a way I am not ashamed of: I know dogs are good for me. Amber was the reason I failed to commit suicide in middle school. Taking on the responsibilities of another creature with which I fully bond (as opposed to, say, my lizards or plants) helps with perspective. The commitments and responsibilities of responsible dog ownership have a dramatic impact on one's lifestyle. These are not bad or good. It has been rewarding to have a dog that is clearly becoming less crazy, more calm, more respectful. Difficult has been getting there.
4. If you were required to practice some currently recognized religion, which would you choose and why? Note that /belief/ in the system in question is not per se required, but regular attendance at services, observance of holy days, adherence to the religious law, etc etc would be.
I have seriously considered spending time as a Monk of New Skete. Their work and discipline is amazing.
I would tend to favor a less verbal religion; weddings and bar mitzvahs tend to cause frustration at how much they have to say about their deity and their feelings. It seems to disconnect from what they say and what they feel. Without full qualification, I would suspect that I could buy into Buddhism faster. But if I were required, I could probably hack most recognized religions -- I just don't feel compelled to at this time.
5. Consider the following scenario:
President Bush is re-elected this year. In addition to continuing our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, he elects to pre-emptively invade
Syria and North Korea. This overtaxes our military forces to the point that the draft is reinstated. Your number comes up in the lottery. Assume
that your life situation remains roughly similar to what it is now (e.g. you can afford gas to drive to Canada if you wish, but don't have
sufficient connections to get a cushy post with the National Guard; you might be in a relationship but don't have 10 kids, and so on). What do
In which I consider making this entry friends-only for the sake of a future political career. Ha.
I am not convinced I know the right answer to this question, where right means what I would do. I'm of two minds, to the possible shock of many of my old friends. One side has no difficulty with running away -- to Canada, or equally possible, hopping in my car and driving to South America. The adventure alone would satisfy my needs, as well as disrupt the things that have been bothering me lately. The other solution on this side of my mind, if it still exists, is whether academic waivers still apply -- I think they've been patched, but if not, that seems a possible out.
On the other hand, there is something enticing about the Military that I can't explain. It has definately been increased from knowing ROTC folks, but also reflection. Why should the military only be staffed by those who can't avoid it? And the structure, the experience -- these are somewhat compelling. But I don't think I would just be drafted; I think if it became clear that I might be, and I was still of this mind, I would try to sign up for officer training. I'd rather be in a program that could more effectively use my education than go for a faster out.
I think a bit has to do with my feelings on the conflict and a lot on how I feel about who I am.
Anyone want questions?