Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Wanderings

I've had a good few days since my last post. I finished up a project that's been in the works for two months. It was a decision brief on two alternatives for a construction project. Took me a while to figure out what I was talking about, then another while to really understand the two alternatives. Anyway, it's done and gone to our high mucky-mucks so they can make the decision I'm telling them to.

Today I finished up a training course. It was a computer-based program about overseeing contracts. It was about as exciting as you're thinking it was. What is it about these courses done on computer that is just so boring? I'd much rather have a hard-copy text in front of me and a bright yellow highlighter. That's the way God intended courses should be taught.

Tonight I got to spend some time painting. Normally I don't let people see a work in progress, but tonight I'll make an exception. Here's my "hooch studio" with a painting on my "easel".

My easel, in this case, is also my chest of drawers for my clothes. My palette is a white plastic plate that I stole a bunch of from the DFAC. My studio is the walkway between my desk and the bathroom. And my hooch smells like linseed oil and really stinky turpentine right now. Ah, eau de studieu!

So while I've been busy in my own little world, lotsa stuff has been happening all over the world. The Iranians are having a major uprising. Looks to me like the ayatollah's really blew it. They rigged it in the same heavy-handed, non-sophisticated manner that the Soviets rigged theirs for so many years. It was so blatantly obvious, yet they insist that everything was perfectly normal, even though there were more votes in some districts than there were registered voters. So the ayatollahs have shown their true colors to their people at last. I don't know if they'll stay in power or not ... the world is full of repressive regimes that keep their hold on power for years. Cuba, for example. But sooner or later they all fail. Strong men don't live forever, and eventually the population will throw them out. Let's just hope it's sooner.

Baghdad seems to be getting edgier as we count down the days to June 30th. That's when all US troops are supposed to have pulled their bases out of the cities. Everybody, Iraqis included, seem to think that our troops will be out of the cities, period. Not true and it never has been. The agreement is that our bases will be outside the cities. Our troops will still make patrols inside the city limits, alongside their Iraqi counterparts. As one said, "nothing will change except our commute to work will get longer". But you can expect to hear a lot of noise in early July about how we're violating the agreement because our troops will still be seen in the cities. The noisemakers will be either ignorant of the agreement or willfully misrepresenting it. You choose. We're hearing that Maliki is going to declare a national holiday on June 30th. I can't begrudge him that, really. He's a politician and has to make the most of whatever good news he can. Meanwhile, the insurgents are making the most of it, too, with bombings all over Baghdad. We'll see how long that streak continues. Actually, when you look at the figures, the violence is really not that bad. The troublemakers are just making a few high-profile hits these days, rather than lots of smaller ones that don't make the evening news. Yes, they're waging their war in the international press as much as they are in the streets.

And that's the news for now. Time to hit the rack, breathe turpentine fumes, and dream of more pleasant things.

No comments: