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January 16th, 2004


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12:03 pm - interview meme
There is a long running meme that I find fairly interesting. To participate, on makes a post not unlike this one; they answer a set of questions posed by another member. It continues with the proposal that if you would like me to interview you, all you have to do is ask below.


From ommkarja

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:

  • My father said it is better to hold a job a year too short than a year too long.
  • I don't intend to just stay in Pittsburgh, that has never been my plan. I don't dislike Pittsburgh, I'd live here again.
  • I never did a study abroad like I had intended to. I still don't speak a foreign language.
  • I'm too comfortable here.
  • I feel like there is this path one gets on, when sufficiently smart and resources permitting. You graduate highschool, then go to a good college. You graduate college, and you either start your career, or more likely, you go to graduate school. You necessarily know why you went to grad school, but that's where all the interesting problems lie -- either in academia, the only life you've really known, or in industry. You know interesting, often obscure, problems are the only thing that (motivate/are worth your time/you can do). You graduate, and you go to industry or academia. And in a short while you realize you are no longer young, you no longer have a flexible livestyle -- either invested time, or familia/financial commitments. One either continues, or panics. I'm too risk-happy for that, but it is a really powerful force. I cite my job. I don't think I can get the proper perspective of what I really want to do until I have stepped off the track in an unalterable way.
  • I don't know.


  • 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
    you 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?

    (5 comments | Leave a comment)

    Comments:


    [User Picture]
    From:zare_k
    Date:January 16th, 2004 10:12 am (UTC)
    (Link)
    [Anyone want questions?]

    Yah, sure.
    [User Picture]
    From:daemonv
    Date:January 26th, 2004 08:26 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    1. Why did you study Chinese, and do you have any intentions other
    than enhanced tourism?

    2. You get very irritable when confronted with a competitive challenge
    of skill which you are not above average at, despite a lack of
    skill-building experience. Do you feel this will inhibit your
    future skill development now that you are mostly out of "training
    ground" environments?

    3. Without considering how you could live their lives and positions
    better, would you rather wake up as:
    Scott McNealy or Richard Stallman?
    Angelina Jolie or Lucy Liu?

    4. If you could change three things about yourself physically (anything
    from gender to your misshapen left middle toenail), without any social
    consequence to the change (that is, the changes would not change how
    your friends, collegues, etc thought of you, the changes would be
    retroactive indefinately if you wanted), what would you change?
    Mentally?

    5. Is information decision sciences a science?
    [User Picture]
    From:karmen
    Date:January 16th, 2004 05:15 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    oh what the hell go ahead ...
    [User Picture]
    From:daemonv
    Date:January 16th, 2004 08:16 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    1. If Canada could have any piece of geography, what piece of geography would you want it to have?

    2. At what point is a marriage started -- the proposal? when you've told someone else? when you both show up on the wedding day? when the official says so? the day /after/ the wedding?

    3. Would you rather be able to fly, or speak to animals?

    4. If you could communicate -- fluently -- for a day with any person, animal (mineral, etc) living or dead, who/what/where would it be?

    5. Hypothetical Situation:
    Greg becomes dangerously allergic to cats... :)
    From:maryneedssleep
    Date:January 17th, 2004 06:24 am (UTC)
    (Link)
    I'd like questions. :-)

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