Random: International Affairs, Business, Grad School, Me

Tattoos and Me

I got a second tattoo in as many weeks. This one is the “eudaimonia” in Greek that I mentioned earlier, running down the length of my left arm. It appeals to me because it’s clearly visible and attracts attention, unlike my other tattoos which are covered up much of the time except for summer. That it is a very visible reminder of a desire to live a life of happiness in the contented sense of the word is important to me. A life just pursuing money and spurning family and intellectual development while most of all not fulfilling a responsibility to the world as a whole and to those who need help is the unexamined life that Socrates would not approve is worth living.

Next week I get the outline on my back of Alexander the Great, Zheng He, and Saladin filled in so that it will look like a stencil.

I have photos and I could post them here but I want to encourage you to sign up for a free account at Flickr, a photo-sharing site, to see them. On Flickr my account name is TreyDanger and I keep all my photos private to friends and family only. Sort of a reflex to that whole Army-doesn’t-want-you-posting-shit episode. =P

Speaking of tattoos, I made the header for my girlfriend’s web site, skydramini.com, incorporating the beautiful tattoo she has on her back as the theme. I think it could be better but then again that’s the internal conflict a designer will always feel!

I also sent her my old red DS phat along with Animal Crossing and Nintendogs so that she can play it and so that her daughter will be indoctrinated into Nintendo. The DS seems to be just sweeping up the world everywhere. It particularly is popular for older people who haven’t played video games much previously. This is consistent with Nintendo’s new strategy to actually market non-gamers. I think when Christmas comes around, all the gift-giving recommendation lists out of the mainstream news magazines will recommend DSs and Nintendo’s upcoming console, the Wii.

And considering I bought another 350 shares of Nintendo today to round my total up to 1,000, I’m hoping to cash in on the resulting rally of the stock. =P

Grad Schools

And while I’m on the subject of magazines, I just found a pretty good new one at the PX called “The American Interest”. This one is great. It is extremely interesting and well-written, as well as being pretty even-handed politically, in its treatment of international affairs issues. What I found most interesting about the latest issue is that it has an article on the anthropology of the Iraqi insurgency and how recruiting young males is key. It also has a symposium on the American image, consulting regional experts from all of the major countries in the world on how Americans are perceived in those countries. It was interesting to me because it covers the unique backdrops of American perception within those countries, and how they see us within their own contexts.

Give this mag a shot. I also bought the consistently informative “The Economist” and picked up “Foreign Policy” for its article about the Israeli Lobby, which I’ve been seeing mentioned in various places.

As a result of my research into grad schools, I seem particularly more interested in seeing where speakers and authors and such are from. For instance, since Comcast for some reason took away CNBC (I’m probably the only person who watches it here since I think most of the rednecks here on post probably only watch OLN and Orange County Choppers for their news coverage — we already don’t get that liberal commie channel MSNBC =( ), I was watching C-SPAN this morning (I know, I’m a total nerd now) and it had Michael Scheuer, author of “Imperial Hubris” and former head of the bin Laden unit (recently disbanded) at the CIA. He wrote a must-read scathing critique of the Clinton and Bush administrations’ refusal to not only pursue bin Laden early on but later to perceive and understand the specific threat of Al-Qaeda. He believes as I do, that the CIA is the most important arm for combatting the terrorists, as it is primarily an instrument of direct executive foreign policy action. He believes that we have mistakenly reduced our fight against terrorists to a defense of our freedoms, and not rightly as a revelation of foreign reaction to our abysmal American foreign policy.

Anyway, as it turns out, Scheuer serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown, one of the schools I’m applying to.

I’m totally stoked about grad school now. For instance I will also be applying to Johns Hopkins, which basically revolutionized American approach to medical practice and scientific experimentation processes. Prior to Johns Hopkins, American medical knowledge could be best described as quackery. The international relations arm of the university was started after World War 2, as the US realized that it would have to take a greater interest in the rest of the world, and sought to figure out what subjects its students would have to know about in order to practice and apply sound theory in the new real world. That is, the university attempts to teach students how to actually do something with what they learn, which I whole-heartedly approve of over a purely academic pursuit of international affairs. I went to their web site and watched the Open House video streams they had, one of which involved members of the faculty and one which had graduating students answering questions. It was quite informative. One of the members was Francis Fukiyama, who is pretty well-known through his foreign affairs and international economics essays and lectures. Anyway, I had known him best through the grilling his theories got from Clive Hamilton in his book about hyperconsumption, “Growth Fetish”. But he seemed like a pretty cool guy. When he announced that he had to leave early though, I could tell he was “one of those professors”.

I can’t wait to see how I do in getting into these schools! My girlfriend, parents, and MonkeyPope tell me that being an Army linguist in special ops airborne would put me far above my competition, and the diversity of my background and GRE score would help confirm that. With great recommendations and a stunning statement of purpose that I have planned, I think I’m in good shape.

I stay awake some nights thinking about how exciting it would be to get accepted to these schools. It will be a true test to me of my personal development. I mean, I could be interning at some institution like the World Bank or the State Department next year!

In the back of my mind, I am dying to work on the two business ideas I have, the book idea I am trying to expand upon, and an artistic mini-idea I want to make public. I need to get at least the business ideas out soon before someone else figures them out. It makes me antsy and anxious.

This may all be facilitated by my attempts to convince my bosses that I stay on rear detachment during my unit’s next deployment. Everyone seems receptive to it, knowing I’m getting out soon and thinking it pointless to send me over, especially when I can actually run some ops from here once my clearance is sorted out. That said, it still is pending my sergeant chain of command’s decision. So we’ll see, soon.