October 31, 2005

Carnival of Music

Buckethead has the Carnival of Music up and he has really outdone himself this time. Be sure to check it out in all of its Halloweeny goodness evil-ness.

(and just try to ignore that my submission has nothing to do with Halloween...)

Posted by Princess Cat at 08:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Happy Halloween!

I'm too busy to do anything fun for Halloween this year but if you haven't carved a pumpkin yet, you really should... and use one of these stencils...

Cuz pumpkin carving is COOOL!*

(Oh, and watch the cartoons on the site so that you get how funny the image is that you're slashing into the poor gourd)

I'll post the ones I did as soon as I find the pics

*view the stencils in IE

Posted by Princess Cat at 07:03 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 30, 2005

Dream Big

While I was away having a grand ol time this weekend, trying to forget my troubles, Buckethead (of The Ministry of Minor Perfidy) has been trying to put together this week's Carnival of Music...

After finding what I believe could be friends for life this weekend, I think this little inspirational ditty is a more than appropriate submission from me. Because you never know what you minght find behind just a little hope and a prayer ... or a leap of faith, if you will ... I know I sure didn't see it comin ...

See the "Dream Big" video (not firefox friendly)

When you cry, be sure to dry your eyes,
'Cause better days are sure to come.
And when you smile, be sure to smile wide,
And don't let them know that they have won.
And when you walk, walk with pride,
And don't show the hurt inside,
Because the pain will soon be gone.

And when you dream, dream big,
As big as the ocean, blue.
'Cause when you dream it might come true.
But when you dream, dream big.

And when you laugh, be sure to laugh out loud,
'Cause it will carry all your cares away.
And when you see, see the beauty all around and in yourself,
And it will help you feel okay.
And when you pray, pray for strength to help to carry on,
But when the troubles come your way.

And when you dream, dream big,
As big as the ocean, blue.
'Cause when you dream it might come true.
when you dream, dream big.

(Dream big.)
(Dream big.)

And when you laugh be sure to laugh out loud,
'Cause it will carry all your cares away.
And when you see, see the beauty
all around and in yourself, and it will help you feel okay.
And when you pray, pray for strength to
help to carry on when the troubles come your way.

And when you dream, dream big,
As big as the ocean, blue.
'Cause when you dream it might come true.
when you dream, dream big.

And when you dream, dream big,
As big as the ocean, blue.
'Cause when you dream it might come true.
when you dream, dream big.

--Ryan Shupe & the Rubber Band

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:11 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 27, 2005


September was a pretty rough month in my kingdom and this week was no walk in the park... in fact, I'm a little sick and tired of the random 3 minute crying spells... and if I wanted to deal with this crap I would, but clearly I don't - so stay buried deep down in the pits of I-don't-care-land where I left you!

Sorry, off topic there for a moment...

What does all the bullshit in my life mean to you, loyal subjects? It means you're going to have to fend for yourselves for the weekend. In the morning I'm going out of town... hopefully to have some fun and clear my head... and my regular guest blogger is unavailable.

You'll be unsupervised and unentertained for an entire three days. Try not to trash the place while no one's around, ok?

I'll be back Sunday to tuck you all in.

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Working Girl

I went to work today and I was just girl... not working girl... not go-to girl... not awesome intern girl... just girl.

My computer wasn't fixed yet...

Without the ability to save or e-mail files my hands are tied. I love computers but I really hate being so dependent on the technology. There was honestly no point in me going to work. And my poor boss...

This computer fiasco could not have happened on a worse week for him. He tried to quit smoking but I'm fairly certain that went out the very same window he keeps threatening to jump out of. People from all over the office and other departments keep throwing things at him to do - the majority of which he has had no involvement in until they ask for a final product. Now how are you going to expect someone to just toss together a fantastic final product if it has taken meeting after meeting to develop it and you haven't included him? Boss really needed the ability to hand me some data and send me on my way to work my magic on the numbers... instead they went on his to-do list ... a list that takes a little bit of his soul with every glance he takes at it....

All because I was useless without a computer...

I did manage to get my outline for class and a lot of catching up on world affairs done though.

I would have rather played with the numbers...

Posted by Princess Cat at 05:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 26, 2005

WTF Wednesdays

Today could not be more of a WTF Wednesday...

Last night I closed a chapter in my life that was a lot harder to close than I thought it would be when I started writing it.

I woke up this morning already in a funk from the night before, doing what I could to put it in a little box to be dealt with later. I got to work later than I wanted to. 30 minutes into being there, my computer managed to crap out and in the process take with it every single spreadsheet, data file, regulation book, and reporting tool I had worked on since I began working in the office. I went down to my supervisor’s office to tell him the terrific news, and I just couldn't keep it together. It's not like me to not talk - and he knew he was in for it as soon as he couldn't engage me in a conversation - I couldn't fight back the tears. Sitting there making my supervisor uncomfortable as I tried not to cry, I turned beet red wishing I weren't such a girl. I left his office and went to the bathroom where I silently sat in a stall and tried to get the crying out of my system. As I was washing up, someone from the office came in ... there was no hiding that I had been crying but thank god, she just let it go. I tried to go back to my desk to call the computer people but my security badge went Tango Unicorn Uniform, leaving me locked out of my floor. FINALLY, I got back in when someone opened the door but again, there was no hiding the red puffy eyes. I was hanging my head in shame by this point. Crying at work is just so unprofessional...

The other intern came over to talk for a minute, causing the whole story to spill, and of course, the tears to again start gushing. I could kick myself for being such a girl...

The computer people were nice, but less than helpful when I did finally talk to them. I have to wait until they set me back up again, wait to see if they can recover what was lost, and just wait until they get it done. I can access the net but without my computer working properly, I can't email or even print. I flat out can't do my job. No matter that I work for the Office Director's assistant...

At 2:30, I got a call from my academic advisor that I couldn't take because my phone doesn't work in my office. Too bad it was a phone appointment I asked to be scheduled for NEXT week. Why am I not surprised that the front office messed up?

And I still have to go to my least favorite class tonight...

I think Wednesdays should be un-invented.

Posted by Princess Cat at 05:35 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 25, 2005

Which Food TV Star Are You?

Paula Deen
Which Food Network chef are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

ROCK ON! I love Paula Deen!!

Posted by Princess Cat at 08:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

In the Digital Dumps

My digital cable has been a tempermental bitch the past day or so. Sitting there watching TV, the box just turns off and goes blank. It eventually comes back on, for a little while. Then it does its stupid song and dance again.

Its irritating to know I'm paying far too much money for a service that doesn't even work. Thanks a lot cable company...

But this experience has made me even more peeved than I already was over the congressional attempt to make all cable subscribers go digital.

I know, I know... there is a very noble logic behind their attempt... forcing cable to the digital realm frees up space in the analog realm usable by first responders, but I don't trust government to do this right.

What about the high cost to consumers of digital? What about the millions of Americans that don't have compatible equipment? How will the shift effect the entertainment, advertising, and marketing industries? Will product revenue fall if fewer Americans can afford to watch tv (and thus the commercials)? Will fewer Americans be willing to watch tv with the new cost?

I suggest you go put on something sexy, cuz I think we're all about to get screwed...

Posted by Princess Cat at 06:53 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 23, 2005

You're 5'9, Right? Good...

I was watching a really funny ... but strange ... movie tonight about a completely dysfunctional family that gets together for a funeral. One of the characters said the following line about her sister's lesbian wedding:

"It just won't work. Everyone knows that the only gay relationships that last are between people of the same height..."

Errr.... Whiskey . Tango . Foxtrot ?!? Over...

How the hell did that even make sense in her head? Like the similar height somehow better fascilitates lesbian hanky panky than it would between a pair of hot and sweaty straight people?

I just don't know...

And I don't about you, but the mental images from playing these scenarios out in my head has left me a tad hot and a smidge frustrated.

It's been a strange day...

Posted by Princess Cat at 09:31 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 22, 2005

National Nut Day

Today is National Nut Day.

I'm not sure if that means thank an almond ... the crazy lady talking to herself at the bus stop down the street... or the pair some of you are probably scratching...

Take your pick and celebrate the nut of your choice!

Posted by Princess Cat at 02:37 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Veal Dumpling Stew

Its a cold, rainy mess of a day here in my world. It is a perfect day for one of my new favorite stews. This used to be a Rachel Ray recipe but I didn't like it her way. I changed around a few things and now it is much yummier.

Veal Dumplings:
1 pound ground veal (or meatloaf blend)
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs, a couple of handfuls
1/4 cup, a generous handful, grated Parmigiano or Romano
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
Coarse salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, enough to cover the pot
2 carrots, peeled, diced
2 ribs celery and their greens, diced
1 medium yellow skinned onion, diced
Coarse salt and pepper
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
1 can green beans
1 (15- ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups beef stock
6 sheets of wanton wrapper, cut into 1 in squares

Crusty bread, to pass at table

Combine the veal and the next 5 ingredients. Then form the mixture into small meatballs, set aside.

Heat a medium soup pot over medium to medium-high heat. Begin to chop veggies while pot heats up: dice carrots into 1/4 inch pieces, chop celery and onion. Add extra-virgin olive oil to warm pot. Once the oil is warm, add the carrots. Turn carrots to coat them in oil and add celery and onion.

Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and a bay leaf. Stir vegetables and cook 5 minutes to begin to soften. Do not let vegetables brown, reduce heat if necessary.

Add the wine and cook for 1 minute.

Next, add chicken and beef stock, crushed tomatoes to the pot. Put a lid on the pot and raise heat to high. When soup boils, about 3 minutes, add 1-inch balls of veal dumplings directly to the pot.

When you are done adding the veal, drop in the wanton squares. Simmer stoup for 6 minutes to cook wanton squares and meat dumplings.

Adjust seasonings and turn the heat off, then let stew stand a couple of minutes.

Enjoy with warm crusty bread and a glass of wine or a beer.

Note: If you make this a day ahead, refridgerate, and reheat the next day the stew will be thicker and the flavors will be much richer.

Posted by Princess Cat at 12:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 21, 2005

KFC to Be?

Since I went into work late yesterday, I had to wait around for the train for a few minutes longer than usual...

There were sparrows playing on the empty track, flitting between a hole in the cement and the rails on the ground...chirping and hopping without a care in the world. It was something really peaceful to watch.

And then I realized, they are landing on things very near the electrified rail...

It got me to thinking, have any of them landed there and instantly fried themselves to death... right there in front of their friends and everybody? You know a redneck sparrow would...

"Hey Frank, watch this..."


Wonder if a zapped sparrow gets pulverized by an on coming train or if it still squishes like a non-zapped bird...

Posted by Princess Cat at 06:06 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 20, 2005


October's end is nearing and all the attention it brings to breast cancer awareness is approaching sunset along with it. In fact, I am feeling more than a little guilty that I haven't done anything to celebrate my mom's survival of the horrible disease...but I don't need the calendar to tell me to do that, I should be doing it everday.

To start myself on the right path, I may go visit this event (if work allows)...

The mobile mammography unit operated by the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation, in conjuction with the George Washington Medical Center is launching tomorrow near the Foggy Bottom Metro. It offers screening to women without access to healthcare and guarantees their care under GW if anything is found.

As a major sponsor unable to attend, Dad has offered my attendance in his place as a representative of the company he works for. It would feel good, but we'll see... If nothing else, it would be nice to see the President (of the foundation) again.

If you are able, stop by and see what benifits sponsorship by evil capitalist corporations can offer to the community.

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Computer Crisis

Sheila (the computer) has been giving me fits when I start her up for a few weeks now.

When I turn her on, I get a black screen that says windows could not start normally. WTF is this crap about?

I used to be able to select 'use last known configuration' but even that doesn't work anymore.

I'm logged on to the computer in safe mode!!!

Poor, poor Sheila... can anyone help me fix her before she dies completely?

Please email me with any suggestions you may have... PLEASE!!

Posted by Princess Cat at 06:40 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 19, 2005

WTF Wednesdays

Good news: no class tonight so no irritatingly moronic line of questioning

Bad news: I still have a paper due for the class tonight ... and I haven't written it yet...

UPDATE - 4:10am
The book review I was working on - DONE, four hours late...

but I have a feeling I'm going to be late to work today...

Anyone who wants a copy of my review on The Coming Democracy by Ann Florini, let me know... it's a great 6.5 pgs of bedtime reading.

Posted by Princess Cat at 09:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 18, 2005

Tantalizing Tuesdays

We got to look at examples of different terrorist attacks from around the world in class today... it was really interesting stuff! I kept looking at the clock though, not because I wanted it to be over but because I wanted to know how much more I was going to get to see. I realized though, he probably thought I was bored...and it reminded me of a story back when I was teaching...

I told my students up front, point blank... (1) I would not take attendance, (2) anyone who would rather be somewhere else, is welcome to be somewhere else, (3) I only wanted people in the room that genuinely wanted to learn something.

The guy in the back though... perhaps he was hard of hearing...

One day he was fidgety and sort of noisy. He kept distracting me from my lesson and from the explanations individual students were asking for. Finally I noticed he was trying to find a clock - he was getting frustrated because the classroom didn't have one.

Unfortunately for him, I was having a bad morning...

I paused for a moment, looked down at my watch, looked straight at him, and said... 'There's no clock in here, but it's 10:20...which means I've got 30 more minutes to go, unless you have somewhere else to be...'

He squirmed a bit and turned sort of red, but remained silent.

Remember I said bad morning? It was a particularly bad morning...

I followed his silence with, 'No? Ok, good’ and went back to teaching my lesson.

I think it was a pretty good day after that...

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 17, 2005


Dad was in town one more night so of course that meant another decadent and delicious dinner in a restaurant I couldn't dream of affording. Tonight it was all about the seafood though... lobster on fava bean pre-dinner, Lobster bisque to start, halibut on crushed potato for the entree, and mixed sorbet with berries and truffles for dessert.

I'm fat and happy so I'm crashin out!

Unfortunately that means that the updates to the blogroll will have to wait even longer. I think we're looking at a Thursday kind of timeline since school wants to get in my way ... Sorry guys, I'll get you on there soon... I PROMISE!

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NLF: wk6

23-17, JAC - that's payback for beating my Chargers last week... I love you and all PIT but there is a price to pay...

21-28, KC - Good for the Chiefs... they don't catch enough breaks in this game if you ask me

27-14, SAN - In the words of Cartman... Na na na-na na na, Ha ha ha-ha ha ha... How you like that game you ghetto ass punks?

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hate to Love

I hate to love the things that make me cry... but I love them so much!

...too often that means TV and movies that leave me in tears.

They are my favorite shows and my favorite characters, but they are an emotional rollercoaster I really don't need to be putting myself on day in and day out.

For years ER has managed to poke at the little pieces of emotional shrapnel embedded in my heart, sometimes twisting it enough to leave me with vision too blurred to see the rest of the episode and a pile of tissues I'm later too disgusted to admit are actually mine.

Sisters could get me once in a while when it was on the air... I think I've even fallen victim to the soaps a time or two...

Recently Grey's Anatomy has also taken up that role. So far it has just been a tear or two in the closing scenes, but I fear what could happen if the writers tap any farther into my bruised psyche.

This is one of those few times where damn, it sucks to be a girl...

Posted by Princess Cat at 07:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 16, 2005


For the second night in a row I've had a great dinner out. Tonight it was an incredible meal with Dad who flew in from LA on the early flight. It was hell on him getting to the airport that early but it was so nice to have him here mid-afternoon.

We went to Morton's Steakhouse for dinner (and ate way too much) and caught up on chit chat that we missed over the past few weeks with us both being so busy. The shrimp alexander appetizer was some of the most scrumptious shrimp I've ever tasted and the steak was rediculously delicious. Coming from someone who is a picky meat eater, that's saying a lot. Our wine was suprisingly inexpensive but I have not had a better pinot noir, hands down.

Dropping him off at the hotel was an adventure though - driving back we got a little geographically displaced... We found ourselves in a rather dark and sketchy and empty part of town at one point, and then accidentally driving into a secure parking lot at another... Eventually we got back to where we wanted to be though.

All around, it is good to have Dad in town... even if I will only really get to see him again for coffee before he leaves on Tuesday... damn business meetings keep getting in the way. It's not like the company paid for him to be here or anything... oh wait...

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Olde Towne Union Street

Last night was my first official blog-meet... It was fantastic.

Thanks go to John of TexasBestGrok for being the chief organizer. He was coming to town on business and with a few e-mails managed to round us all up for dinner. In attendance were Rob from Llama Butchers, Ted from Rocket Jones, The Maximum Leader from Naked Villainy, Goddess Dawn from Caterwauling, Lysander from Lysander of Alexandria, Buckethead from The Ministry of Perfidy, and Matt the Blog-less Wonder.

Thanks to Union Street for giving us a nice room to to chill in and for serving up some good food and some tastey beer.

The conversation was great... and funnier than I ever would have imagined it could have been. I found 3 new blogs to read and got to know a little better those behind the ones I already did. If this is what a blog-meet is like, count me in for many more.

I'd love to have a beer with any one of these bloggers again, any day of the week...as long as they can explain to their wives why they are having a beer with a grad student....

Posted by Princess Cat at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 15, 2005

Instant Rich Bitch

The first time I took this it said I wasn't worth jack... a big ol' $0.00 to be exact... but I went to Eric's and saw what kind of cash I come from and tried again...

Overnight, I'm worth a fortune!

My blog is worth $94,278.18.
How much is your blog worth?

The bums lookin for a sugar momma should be coming out of the woodwork any time now... maybe I'll go to Burger King ads in a skimpy bathing suit and get engaged to someone named Prince Cat too...

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:10 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 14, 2005

Puttin Memories Away

I threw our rings into a box
Filled with broken memories and fools gold
And I woke up again last night in this lonely bed without you to hold
And I walked around the house pullin' pictures off the walls
Just like I've done a hundred times before
Makin sure I've got 'em all

Makin sure I've got the hard to find
Little things that make me think about you
'Cause I'm tired if this house always breakin' me down, feelin blue
No there's nothing left to say
I'm puttin' memories away

Well, yesterday I found your dress
I guess there's some things I missed in our room
But it didn't break me down the second that I found it like it used to
With red wine and tears I've been gatherin' all the years we spent together
I need to move on
'Cause I know you're gone forever

Repeat Chorus

No there's nothing left to say
I'm puttin' memories away

-- Gary Allan

Posted by Princess Cat at 09:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Equal Right To Pee

Yeah, you read the title correctly... I want an equal right to pee...

I went to lunch today with one of the other interns and while I was waiting for my sandwich, he looked for a bathroom. The shopkeeper noticed and told him it was down the hall. So the dude left and came back with no problem.

I decided using the bathroom was probably a good idea. So when he got back I went down the hall myself. The door was locked, so I waited. I didn't hear any noise. Then I decided that if someone really was in there all that time, I didn't want anything to do with the bathroom after them... So I walked back down the hall.

On my walk back to the food the other intern told me that the shopkeeper told him women need a key to use the restroom. The shopkeeper angrily gave me the key and glared at me for needing to pee... WTF?

I just bought food from the dude and he's going to be a dick about me needing to pee? When I got back he flat out said, men ok...women no - use a key.

Maybe I should just be happy I got the right to vote but you know, I think I deserve to pee just as much as a man does. I was so bitter over the deal I'm damn near ready to boycott the place all together.

Posted by Princess Cat at 06:31 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Building Character...

...and becoming more distinguished... At least that's the nice way to say some dude's getting older.

Today, it's none other than Blog-Dad, Eric.

Go wish him well, and send him some CDs... Fiona's been taking over the car again...

Posted by Princess Cat at 05:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 12, 2005

Olde Towne Meet

Just as Rob of Llama Butchers is advertising...we have finally got ourselves a DC blog-meet.

Other DC/NoVa/MD folk are welcome to join us

We're planning to meet at Union Street Public House in Alexandria on Saturday, October 15 at 6:30ish. If you're in the neighborhood, you're more than welcome to stop by. ... Stalkers and moonbats need not apply. But groupies are always encouraged.

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Perfect Bed

My last apartment in San Diego had the perfect place for me to put my bed. It fit in the 'nook' under the window where I could gaze down to the courtyard on a sunny day or nap in a sweet breeze. It was a peaceful, safe, sanctuary that both calmed and inspired me. It also gave me a place to hide my magnetic poetry ... below is what one special afternoon inspired ...

warm balm
cold spring sky
evening song


summer breath
celebrating spirit
shadow dance


long winter
sleeping universe
perfect secret

Posted by Princess Cat at 07:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 11, 2005

Tantalizing Tuesday

If there is any question about why I so enjoy my Tuesday night instructor, just read his piece in the Washington Post about the media and terrorism (I've posted it below the fold) even if it is a few years old. I think he's trying to start a new reality show, "Who Wants To Be My New Hero?" A little wordy but I think he shows promise as a contestant.

The piece is a little old but it is no less true today than it was in the year following 9/11. He calls for what some people say is censorship of the media - he says it is common sense. And I for one think he is right on the money. Report the news but can you guys please start leaving out some of the specifics? Tell American's that their freight system might not be as secure as they'd like but leave out the specific company you interviewed/researched, the specific location, and what the guard staff normally does with their time! For christ's sake... that's just common sense people.

If the military can function and communicate within the limits operational security, I think the media can get on board with the same concept without short changing their overall purpose or the public interest.

Read for yourself and decide. Nut-job or sensible individual?

They Heard It All Here, And That's the Trouble

By Dennis Pluchinsky
Sunday, June 16, 2002; Page B03

I accuse the media in the United States of treason.

I have been analyzing terrorism for the U.S. government for 25 years. My specialty is "threat analysis." This is a rather difficult field that requires the imagination of Walt Disney, the patience of a kindergarten teacher, the mind-set of a chess player, the resolve of a Boston Red Sox fan, the mental acuity of a river boat gambler, and the forecasting ability of a successful stock market analyst.

While the media have, over the past several weeks, written extensively on alleged intelligence "failures" surrounding the events of Sept. 11, I want to address the media's common-sense "failures." As a terrorism analyst, I am both appalled and confused by many of the post-9/11 articles published at home and abroad, in newspapers, news magazines and academic journals, as well as on the Internet.

Many of these articles have clearly identified for terrorist groups the country's vulnerabilities -- including our food supply, electrical grids, chemical plants, trucking industry, ports, borders, airports, special events and cruise ships. Some of these articles have been lengthy and have provided tactical details useful to terrorist groups. No terrorist group that I am aware of has the time and manpower to conduct this type of extensive research on a multitude of potential targets. Our news media, and certain think tankers and academicians, have done and continue to do the target vulnerability research for them.

Imagine that you are a supporter or sympathizer of a terrorist group and you have been tasked to identify and collect tactical information on potential U.S. targets. Consider some of the following headlines that have appeared since 9/11: "Private Plane Charters: One Way Around Air Security," "Suicidal Nuclear Threat Is Seen At Weapons Plants," "Priority Required for Protecting Utilities," "NRC Warns of Missing Radioactive Materials," "Freight Transport: Safe from Terror?" "Chemical Plants Are Feared As Targets," "America's Roads May Be Just As Vulnerable As Its Skies," "Study Assesses Risk of Attack on Chemical Plants," "Terror Risk Cited for Cargo Carried on Passenger Jets: 2 Reports List Security Gaps," and "Truck Terrorism Possible, U.S. Says: Investigation Finds Lack of Licensing Safeguards."

I do not understand the media's agenda here. This country is at war. Do you honestly believe that such stories and headlines, pointing out our vulnerabilities for Japanese and Nazi saboteurs and fifth columnists, would have been published during World War II? Terrorists gather targeting information from open sources and field surveillance. What other sources do they have? Do they have a multibillion-dollar intelligence community with thousands of employees? Do they have telecommunications satellites to intercept communications?

If there's one thing terrorists have been open about, it's their reliance on open information. In the mid-1980s there was a Belgian left-wing terrorist group called the Communist Combatant Cells, or CCC. At the time, it was carrying out a series of bombings against American targets in Belgium. The media there were speculating that the CCC had plants or spies inside various Belgian agencies to be able to carry out attacks so efficiently. "NATO Pipelines Sabotaged: Military Secrets in the Hands of the CCC?" read a headline in the Dec. 12, 1984, edition of the Belgian newspaper Le Soir. Finally, in a written communique disseminated in April 1985, the CCC explained how it acquired its targeting information. The communique stated: "Being methodical types and having considered the relative accessibility of the pipeline, we consulted the top-secret telephone book where, under 'Ministry of Defense,' every pumping station in the entire country is listed. We drew up our lists of all the towns these stations were located in, and decided to explore them during long walks in the countryside."

Terrorist groups continue to rely on open sources to come up with targeting ideas and tactical information. This is why the Internet has become so valuable to terrorist groups. Richard Clarke, head of the White House's Office of Cyberdefenses and probably the most knowledgeable high-level government official on terrorism, testified to Congress on Feb. 13 that, based on evidence found in the caves of Afghanistan, al Qaeda "was using the Internet to do at least reconnaissance of American utilities and American facilities." Furthermore, he noted, "if you put all the unclassified information together, sometimes it adds up to something that ought to be classified."

So why do the research for the terrorists? For example, "vulnerability" articles appearing in the media always contain interviews or comments from three or four experts or specialists. It could be the former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an American Trucking Associations official, a union leader, technician or consultant. These experts will talk to reporters. None of them would ever talk to a terrorist. Therefore, if not for the media, terrorist groups would have no access to the insights and wisdom of these people. What also infuriates me is when the media publish follow-up reports noting that security measures or procedures around a specific target or system still have not been implemented. Not only do the media identify potential target vulnerabilities for the terrorists but they also provide our foes with progress reports!

In a war situation, it is not business as usual. Use some common sense. Certainly, if a reporter or academician believes that he or she has discovered a vulnerability or flaw in one of our sectors or systems, it is important to let others know. It seems reasonable to me that a process should be established where such articles are filtered through a government agency such as the proposed Department of Homeland Security. A skeptic would call this censorship; a patriot would call it cooperation. This type of cooperation existed during World War II and believe me, this current war is a "world war" also.

I also am concerned about the many articles detailing how the 9/11 terrorists were able to come and live in the United States. These articles have noted which mannerisms of the terrorists aroused the suspicion of their landlords, acquaintances, neighbors, flight instructors and others. Articles have pointed out what mistakes the terrorists made and how we failed to pick up on those mistakes. Al Qaeda terrorists now know to pay a speeding ticket promptly. They now know not to pay for things with large amounts of cash. They now know to buy some furniture for their apartments or rooms. They now know that they have to act friendly and not surly or antagonistic in their dealings with neighbors and other locals. They know now that they should have a phone installed in their apartments or rooms.

The U.S. media's autopsy of the movements and interactions of earlier terrorists may have helped the 9/11 hijackers and others seeking to come to the United States to do us harm. In a March 23 article entitled "The Jackals of Islam" that was published on an Islamic Web site, Abu-Ubayd al-Qurashi, believed to be a close aide to Osama bin Ladin, commenting on the 9/11 operatives, stated that "the suicide hijackers studied the lives of Palestinian Yehiya Ayash [a Hamas bomb maker who was himself assassinated] and Ramzi Yousef [operational planner of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing] and the security mistakes that led to their downfall while they were preparing for the September 11 operation." How did al Qaeda know about the security mistakes that led to the death of Ayash and the capture of Yousef? The media, at home and abroad.

Courtrooms can also give terrorists windows into our thinking and methods. In the 1980s when German terrorists from the leftist Red Army Faction (RAF) were tried in Germany, the prosecution had to detail all of the evidence, including how they linked the terrorists to specific attacks. Forensic experts from the German BKA (comparable to the FBI) described in the open courtroom how they extracted fingerprints from items left at the attack sites. At the time, there were RAF sympathizers and supporters in the courtroom who took notes. It did not take long for the RAF terrorists still at large to change their methods -- wearing gloves and spraying their hands with latex so that they would not leave any fingerprints.

The U.S. media are providing a similar service for al Qaeda. I am sure that al Qaeda will fix its mistakes and mannerisms before its next attack in the United States. I say the following with a heavy heart, but if there were an "Osama bin Laden" award given out by al Qaeda, I believe that it would be awarded to the U.S news media for their investigative reporting. This type of reporting -- carrying specifics about U.S. vulnerabilities -- must be stopped or censored.

I propose that the Department of Homeland Security establish a program where academicians, reporters, think tankers or any citizen could contact the department and inform them of security vulnerabilities. If the department determined that these vulnerabilities indeed existed, then it could award "Homeland Security Protective Security" certificates to individuals or "Homeland Security Gold Stars" to newspaper or Internet sites that put the country first during a time of war. If displayed on its banner, this star might increase circulation.

During World War II, there was a security slogan thatwent: "Loose lips sinks ships." Maybe the current security slogan should be: "Prolific pens propagate terrorist plots." The president and Congress should pass laws temporarily restricting the media from publishing any security information that can be used by our enemies.This was necessary during World War II, it is necessary now. These restrictions were backed by the American public during World War II, and I believe the public would support them now.

As for "treason," well, maybe that accusation against the media is not justified. Webster's dictionary defines treason as violation of allegiance toward one's country and lists one of its characteristics as "consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies." I know the media have not consciously and purposely aided al Qaeda. Therefore, J'accuse the media of lacking common sense. As a concerned terrorism analyst, I say the following to the media: You are making the jobs of terrorism analysts, intelligence officers and law enforcement officials very difficult. Help us, don't hinder us from defeating our enemies.

Posted by Princess Cat at 07:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

NFL: wk5

None of my teams won this week... And the Steelers winning doesn't count because they beat my precious Chargers. Apparently someone missed the memo on how that one was supposed to go ...

So, I can either cry in my beer about it or keep em coming until I forget this week's games ever happened.

Option two sounds nice...

Posted by Princess Cat at 06:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 10, 2005

I'm Racked...

...with guilt...

Since I started my internship I have been terrible about keeping my cell phone charged. The building I work in saps the battery but I continue to leave it on, just in case. If I'm not at home, it doesn't get charged. This weekend I simply forgot to charge it and the battery went dead. During the time that it was off, a dear friend I haven't heard from in a long while called...

...from Iraq...

I feel just awful that I wasn't there when he wanted to talk to someone back home, some touch with normalcy, or worse...what if he needed some kind of comfort?

The only good part of the phone call was knowing he's ok. During his last deployment I was able to stay in touch via the internet. This time I have heard from him only twice. The last time he messaged and said the truck he had been riding in was part of an IED attack. The time between our communications has been so long that I find myself checking the casualty list for his name at least a couple times a week.

I can't even tell you ... I feel just terrible ...

Posted by Princess Cat at 05:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Does Your Bank Suck Too?

I've never used Wachovia bank so I can't say from personal experience what kind of service they provide. Based on this, I'm guessing it's not so good...


Location: A sign shop on a main road known for slow commuter traffic

The lesson? Don't piss off a sign shop or they'll make a sign big enough for everyone stuck in traffic on their way to/from work and everyone out doing their errands on Sunday afternoon to see...

Posted by Princess Cat at 12:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 09, 2005

Blogs Are Good...

After all my troubles with the head of my department and this blog, another faculty member has published an article espousing the benefits of blogging. This professor is a representation of the opposite side of academics publishing their opinions than the one I have previously blogged about here - He has a point, he argues it articulately, and maintains professionalism throughout. I am proud to say he is representing our institution in the public eye.

The article itself references the importance of academic blogs in multiple disciplines and closes by saying blogs should be embraced wholeheartedly. Here is the link so you can read for yourself what he has to say.

Posted by Princess Cat at 12:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 07, 2005

The Rain

It's raining out right now...

Well, actually... it's more of a downpour right now...

A persistant, unrelenting, ever flowing ... constant...

I know that there is noise as I click the keys and the TV rambles on in the other room, but I can't hear anything over the millions of drops hurling to the ground only to splash away and become part of something new.

Some of those drops will become a puddle for little feet to jump in ... some of them will become mud as they saturate the earth ... some will cling for hours to a window until they are knocked down by another wanting to take their place ...

The wind is playing too tonight...

It has broken umbrellas and teases the blinds ... patiently waiting to guide the rain through the skies as it falls...

Or is it just raining here tonight ... ?

Posted by Princess Cat at 06:27 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 06, 2005

The Joy of Thursday

For a long while, Thursday was my favorite day of the week. It was always the day I was most tired, most burned out, and most ready for the week to end. I grew addicted to ER and made Thursdays my mandatory lazy night of the week. I refused to write papers, I refused to go out, I refused to do laundry, and sometimes I even refused to just plain cook. Thursday was MY time and Lord help anyone that got in my way.

During my "work?-wtf-is-work?" period I forgot about the simple joy of Thursday.

But first week of doing full time school and full time job, I remember Thursday. And tonight I jumped straight back into it like a fat kid in a pool full of pudding... no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, no papers (although one is due tomorrow), no work, and no cell phone. Just some salad, some pizza, a stolen cookie, the Apprentice and ER. Life is good...

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 05, 2005


I had a lot of things I wanted to write about today but they are just going to have to wait...

a full day of work
paper writing in the library
the class from hell (in which I almost started a riot tonight)

I had planned on taking a bubble bath but after getting home at 10pm and prepping my clothes ready for tomorrow, I'm just too damn tired to do anything. And for some reason, my stomach is killing me. No more fun for me tonight.

More on the makings of the riot later...

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 04, 2005

Women's Shoes

Whoever is designing these shoes... I hope you die a slow, painful death at the hands of your own torture devices. And I can think of a million and one ways to use these things as torture devices, let me assure you.

After two days in the wonderfully cute black heels that I thought fit so well I am damn near in tears at even the thought of having to wear shoes. By lunch my toes were literally bleeding.

At the expense of a paper due tomorrow I am desperately trying on every shoe I can find in the house to see if I can get my toes in anything without crying. I'm not having much luck...

With no less than 5 band-aids on my feet, and one injury left uncovered, can I call in sick because I can't walk?

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

And You Do What Again?

Since I found out about this internship I have been pestered by family, friends, classmates, and anyone else who knew about it with the inevitable... "So...what exactly will you be doing during your internship?" I always had to come back with either the truth (I didn't know), or something witty, yet believable like, "My job will be to save the world from idiots like your ex-girl/boyfriend."

But today I found out what I'll actually be doing instead...

Re-writing/updating procedural manuals, developing quality assurance procedures from existing metrics, and overall making the assistant to the head of the office look good.

Not exactly what I had in mind when I signed on, but better than the call center I thought I was going to be sitting in.

Humorously enough though, I have already managed to put my foot in my mouth. In trying to characterize myself for the boss I managed to say... I'm an anal fixer ... before I realized how it would sound out loud. Perhaps the words perfectionist or detail oriented would have been a better fit...

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 03, 2005

Mish Mash Monday

Hallelujah! Four weeks into this course and the flashing fluorescent migraine maker is finally fixed.

Unfortunately, that little God-send did not improve my ability to concentrate. The instructor got knocked off his agenda by a student induced tangent and once he was of, it was clear that the derailment was fatal for the lecture as a whole.

Poor little agenda... he never even had a chance...

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Intern: Day 1

Wow...It was a really full day! We showed up at the ungodly hour of 8:30a to get pre-screened and collected in a conference room by 9:00a. Ice breaker games and chit chat lasted for almost half an hour, but then it was down to serious business.

What came next was aboslutely grueling work...an hour and a half spent having paperwork explained, blanks filled, and signatures checked. My brain was truly taxed...

At 10:30 we were sent to find ourselves some lunch. Which made us happy since 10:30 is a much more reasonable breakfast time than the earlier 7:15 when I had a piece of toast. I ended up leading a posse to Starbucks and then my office mates to a courtyard. I parked myself in the shade, sat up on a cement call, kicked my shoes off, and enjoyed my iced americano & turkey sandwich. You know, we felt a little rushed though... only three hours for lunch! You can't fit food and a decent map in that time... I mean, I'll do my best to try... but I can't make any promises...

So... disappointed with the medicore lunch plans ... we trooped back for our last brief of the day. Boy, we sure exherted ourselves on that one, I tell ya... and after being sent to an office that turned us away, our day came to a close at the late hour of 2:30p.

I know it's going to be tough, but I made it through the day so I know I can make it through those that come after. The first step is always the hardest...

But I think I can do Federal work...

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

We're On a Break

Don't worry if you don't see me around as regularly as you usually do... the blog and I have not broken up, we're just on a break.

Ok ok... I admit it... I'm having an affair!

Or at least I will be ...

My internship starts in a few hours with an official orientation at the main department building downtown. From now on my days will be spent working for the man, and for free no less...

I will still be sharing lots of stories (hopefully more than usual), I'll just be slamming them down Bou-style ... several at once for those that are unfamiliar.

See you again soon!

Posted by Princess Cat at 12:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

NFL: wk4

41-17, SAN - Happy dance? No, this calls for the booty dance... Awesome work, Chargers!

17-20, WAS - Good job local boys...

13-19, OAK - stupid Raiders...

37-31, PHI - I'm sorry to have missed this game. It was on in the background while other things were getting done but truthfully, I missed it. Get some rest next week Chiefies... so you can come back in 2 and show the local boys how it's done.

No Steelers this week... and they play my babies next week... Sorry PIT, but I'll be hoping to see you go down in flames when you get back. Being a Charger fan just flat trumps being a Steelers fan in my house.

Posted by Princess Cat at 12:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 01, 2005

Horoscope Be Dammed

Well, I don't actually know what my horoscope for this month says but from where I sit today, October stands to be a much better month than what September was.

After two consecutive weekends of trying on every pair of pants in each store I walk into and coming home in tears empty handed, I have found pants that fit my body, fit my personality, and fit in the workplace.

The second hurdle to overcome was shoes. Unfortunately, as I have mentioned before, my feet are massive. While I didn't come home with boots to wear with skirts, I did come home with a pair of cute black heels and some classy grey heels. Two pairs of shoes for these feet in one day? I can't argue with a day like that...

Oh, and I got a great new bag to take to work since my old messenger bag is showing its several years of wear.

In the end, my credit card is tired, my feet are sore, and my mind is mush, but I have had a rare happy shopping experience... and that is enough... for now...

Posted by Princess Cat at 08:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack