11 September, 2006

Don't ever forget this day and the people taken from us.

I live in Alexandria Virginia, about 2 miles from the Pentagon. The morning of 11 September 2001, I was at home in my apartment, getting ready to go to work over the river in Maryland. I also had a dental appointment that morning, and I was thinking about staying home until the appointment, then going into work afterwards. I dithered around, finding little things that didn't really need to be done, but were ways to take up time. I finally ran out of the little things to do, and was walking out the door of my apartment when my phone rang. I use my answering machine to screen out sales calls, but I decided to listen to see if there was a message. The call turned out to be from my friend Speaker, who said something like "not only have they attacked the World Trade Center, but they attacked the Pentagon, too."

Now, I didn't have my TV on, no radio, and wasn't surfing the Internet all morning, so I closed my door, turned on the TV, and saw a split screen of the Towers burning, and the first pictures from the Pentagon fire. I picked up my phone to call him back, but got absolute silence. There was no dial tone, no static, nothing. At that point I knew I had to find some way of letting my brother and my sister know that I was safe. I tried about 8 or 9 times, and finally got a dial tone, and immediately called my brother. Both he and his wife were at work, so I left a message on their answering machine, and hung up to call my sister. It took another 8 or 10 tries before I could get another dial tone, and I got hold of my brother-in-law, and told him I was okay and to tell my sister.

After I hung up, I got a call from my dentist saying that he was cancelling all his appointments, because everyone there was watching the news, and that one of his staff was concerned because her husband was at the Pentagon. I also called a friend who was working with me at the same place and told her that I wasn't going to try to come in. Since they were closing all inbound roads into DC, and I live near two of those roads, I told her I might not be in the next day or so, depending on what the officials decided to do. I felt that the DC area was going to be going on a war footing, and the last thing I wanted to do was to be driving around, possible interfering with any emergency vehicle traffic.

My usual way of getting to Maryland was to drive up Washington Boulevard, which runs right by the Pentagon, to connect to the George Washington Parkway up to Maryland. That morning, if I had left my apartment when I had originally planned, I would have been driving near the Pentagon on the side where the plane hit, at around that time. If I hadn't been procrastinating, I would have been caught up in either the crash, or the traffic jam afterward, or would have had no way to get home due to road closings that were happening all day. I'm grateful to my friend John (Speaker) for calling me and telling me, too.

I watched the TV all day, and I don't really remember anything about what was said, what inanities the coiffed talking heads blathered about. I remember the images, and the feeling of numbness as I tried to grasp what had happened. It wasn't until a few days later, when I was able to read about the passengers on American 77, that I was really hit with grief and anger. It was when I read about Charles Falkenberg, who was flying with his wife Leslie Wittingham and their daughters Zoe and Dana, that it became real to me. I can't feel the deaths of 3000, but I can feel the loss of a family. I remember thinking that at least the family wasn't separated, that they were able to be with their children and comfort them and love them until the end. The anger and hatred for the inhuman bastards that saw this family as nothing, that saw their love and ignored it, that saw their fear and relished it, the anger came rushing in along with the grief.

I have no words that can say how angry I am at them, at the mentality (I won't call it a "religion") that encourages and praises people to treat "nonbelievers" as nothing, as less than dirt, that spits on human decency and love and calls it worthless. That some people claim the terrorists "don't represent 'real' Islam" means nothing, because I've read some of the verses that tell how to treat nonbelievers. If there are those who want to reform Islam, to make it more responsible and respecting of people who choose not to believe, then more power to them. Until that reform happens, until the "moderate" Muslims start actively rooting out and destroying the "radicals," I will stay angry at them. If that makes me a "racist" or "Islamophobe" then so be it. I know who the enemy of civilization is, who the enemy of humanity is, and I don't back down from naming them.

One last thing, I spoke of the media blatherers before. One phrase I am sick to death of hearing is that we "lost" all these people in the "tragedy" of 11 September 2001. We didn't "lose" anyone, those people were taken from us in a deliberate act of murder. That's what we all need to remember, to keep the proper perspective. A "loss" is something that happens in an accident, in a tragedy. We must remember that those who were taken were murdered, deliberately and in the coldest of blood. That's why remembering this day is important.

05 September, 2006

Free Agent again!

Well, as of last Wednesday, I am once again between contracts. Now I'm in that edgy yet enjoyable time, when the only pressure I have is to get those things done that I've been putting off due to work, and finding the next contract (or job, I ain't picky!). Another pressure that is still a zephyr by comparison is preparation for Nerd Tour 2007:Japan! beginning August 2007. At least, for now it's set to start sometime in August, schedules tend to be a bit fluid this far in advance. I'm still taking Japanese classes at George Mason University, just started JAPA 330. じゃ、このクラスはとても大変ですが、私は日本語を習っています。でも、それをもっとゆっくり習っていますよ!

My friend Speaker-to-Animals and I are going to Japan together, but he's taking a more laissez-faire approach to learning Japanese, mainly "Ah, I'll read a book about it on the plane on the way over!" I have this feeling that we're going to be re-creating some kind of "Road to" movie, like Bing Crosby and Bob Hope! Or Abbot and Costello, even! Poor Japan, they have no idea what's about to hit them! :-)

11 January, 2006

Humming along

Well, looks like I managed to make another entry. Writing about myself is uncomfortable, and I never know exactly how to write what I'm thinking. I also don't really have a direction for this blog, I imagine it'll just be a random collection of messages like this, until I can figure something out. One thing I'm sure of, I don't want to create another political site, I'm sick and tired of politics these days. I'm politically conservative, but not partisan, if that makes any sense.

Maybe I'll just write some things that have happened to me, or that I'm concerned about/amused by/pissed off at/astonished by.

I'm getting ready to take one of my Christmas presents in to work, it's a really neat thing my sister's kids got for me. It's a digital picture frame, that can hold 40 or so pictures in JPEG form, and displays them on an LCD display. It's very Star Trek like, and appeals to the deep geek in me!

10 January, 2006

Kicking things off...

Well, let's see how well this blog thingy works here...

Since you're reading this, it obviously works, so I guess I'll try this for a while. I have another blog I started when I took my month-long drive around a big chunk of the US back in 2003. I think I'll use this spot for something different, if I can get off my butt and actually write something regularly! No promises, though...