24 April 2010

fearing the fsoa

in the coming weeks, i'm likely to bore y'all to tears with the acronyms that increasingly gain more relevance in my life (and i'm fer reals going to have to start a cheat sheet at some point), not to mention the fear of this "interview" process in getting my dream job in a "public diplomacy cone".

FSOA = foreign service oral assessment. think that sounds like a big deal? well lemme tell you, it's a big fucking deal. a big scary one. i've begun my preparation, prior to finding out if i've even cleared the PNQs (personal narrative questions), because, well, because i'll find out mid-june if i cleared that hurdle and will likely be invited to the OA in july. and it's probably a good idea to give myself a few months to prepare, as opposed to a few weeks.

the good news is that i know why i had that teeth-falling-out dream the other night. my subconscious was a few days ahead of my ego in getting its arms around the magnitude of not just the OA, but how scary it is to want something so badly, to see my destiny waiting for me on the other side of miles of hurdles that seem so long, so high, so out of my control.

so, in the next few months, in anticipation of my FSOA, i need to prepare myself for the GE, SI, and CM. guess i should start with figuring out what the hell those mean...


23 April 2010

an end in torment

for weeks, i've been riveted by lawrence wright's the looming tower, an incredibly well-researched and even more impressively written (see pulitzer prize) account of the rise of islamic terrorism and al queda in particular. i've had nightmares, chewed my fingernails to the quick, and relived moments of terror that truly will live forever in infamy.

i learned far too much about osama bin laden, those who came before him (sayyid qutb, ramzi yousef), and their misplaced, irrational even, hatred of america. and the more i learned, the less i understood. men from an insular part of the world, fanatically religious, separated from women, politically and socially oppressed, uneducated: with no plan, no valid worldview, surrendering to god via martyrdom, and twisting the quran to suit their moral depravity, with eyes set on destroying america because who else is to blame for their woes...

and the worst part is that we knew all this, yet foolishly turned a blind eye, in underestimating the power in devotion to cause.

we let 9/11 happen.

after the uss cole bombing in the port of aden in yemen, just under a year before the world trade center crashed to ground zero, the fbi had everything it needed to know that a larger attack on american soil was in the works. all's it needed to link the impending disaster to those set on carrying it out was the information the cia wasn't sharing. and they knew the cia had the info they needed. and the cia knew too. but they didn't share because, well, because no one wanted its toes stepped on.

on 12 september 2001, the cia handed over everything that could have prevented 9/11 had they turned it over on 10 september 2001.

i relived 9/11 today. the emotion. the anger. the sadness. the helplessness. but this time, i did it knowing it could have been stopped, knowing that but for big egos at the top of agencies that exist to protect us, the looming tower would never have been written, those planes would have landed safely as scheduled, and the terrorists on board would have been picked up long before that infamous day was carried out.

and still i weep, and weep harder still. for as senseless as war seems, even the just kind i support, it makes even less sense knowing we waited too long, trusted too deeply in ignoble egos, lost too much, and gave too little to still be stuck in the graveyard of empires osama bin laden sought to draw us into...


20 April 2010

the trouble with teeth in sleep

in light of the fact that most of my night terrors revolve around terrorists, being chased by monsters, and forcing myself to wake up just before freddy krueger plunges his knivey finger nails into my jugular, this latest sleep intrusion seems but a minor inconvenience. but i'll be goddammed if i'm not twisted into nine kindsa knots today after waking at 2am horrified that my teeth had fallen out.

seriously, i could go into the gritty details i remember spectacularly well (which likely make less sense on "paper" than the film that's been on replay in my brain all day), but the bottom line is that i dreamed my teeth were falling out, and i'm still reeling from the horror i felt at 2am.

i'm sure part of it's exhaustion, cuz it was near impossible to get back to sleep whilst so riled up. i'm sure part of it is type-a-insanity (i.e. "i wanna know NOW what it all means), and the rest is the confusion associated with why something as insignificant as a dream about my teeth falling out could have so much more of an impact on my day-psyche than being terrorized by the likes of freddy krueger.

and of course i googled it. apparently, this is the most commonly researched dream. freud would say it's punishment for masturbation (and i won't even go into what that says about freud), bible-thumpers think it has to do with me caring more about what others think than what god thinks (uh...not likely), others think i'm insecure or have trouble expressing myself (yeah, that's probable), or perhaps i'm "unprepared for the task at hand," whatever that is.

so... after my research and analysis, it turns out i still have no idea why i remain so stressed out about it or what the hell it means, but maybe it just means that it's time to go to the dentist...


18 April 2010

24 hours in vegas

yesterday afternoon, after spending the morning nursing a hangover the likes of which i've not known for days a plenty, i hopped a flight to vegas with six of my k street friends. for those of you who live lives absent lobbyists, you should know that they are some of the coolest, funnest, most interesting, lively people to ever walk the earth. fun is not only guaranteed when hanging out with lobbyists, but taken to a new level. so just think about what vegas must be like with the k street crowd...

we took a limo from the airport (awesomeness!) to the palms, and after dingdong debbie at the check-in desk finally figured out how to check seven people into four rooms, we walked the 4-mile hike to the other palms to get to our bad-ass rooms!

but picture this elevator ride. two of us were women (see young, fun, _hot_ women). the rest of us were old, white, married dudes, and whilst i love them dearly, they might, at first glance, seem a wee on the dorky side. anyway, we were all in the elevator with a hottie guy about my age, and when our boys departed the elevator on the 28th floor, young hot guy turned to my friend and me and said, "really? those guy?"

we were momentarily speechless. but it was fucking brilliant. and my girlfriend and i will laugh about it until the end of time. "really? those guys?"

for the next twelve hours, we had a BLAST with "those guys"! we drank entirely too much, ate entirely too much, and lost ourselves at the craps tables (where incidentally, some hot ass spent the whole night blowing me kisses and making somewhat inappropriate (albeit not unwelcome) comments about my own hotness). getting up this morning, knowing a flight was imminent, was, we'll say challenging; one whiff of the wrong scent and i woulda tossed my cookies from here to high hell.

but i'm home now, and walking out of LAX -from anywhere- remains one of the great joys of my life... all-in-all, the weekend was well worth the pain i feel today, and the attention from the fairer sex went a long way in my rejection recovery process.