Since we've all forgotten, how about a walk down memory lane? This was an Osama bin Laden video aired in the run-up to the war in Iraq. My favorite part:

The speaker does not express direct support for Saddam Hussein and refers to his socialist Baath party as "infidels." The State Department defended Powell's position after the broadcast and said the tape shows bin Laden's support for Saddam.

I didn't get to ask out the woman visiting at the dojo tonight, which is sad: I don't think I had my heart set on a specific outcome, but I did have my heart set on actually screwing up my courage and getting some kind of feedback, whether acceptance, rejection, or Please Play Again. But, she was visiting to train heavily, so rather than be all stalkerboy and wait 2 hours for her to finish training after class, I did some extra training myself and then left. So I haven't yet been able to explain to her what a great guy I am. However, she did laugh when I said "Aikido is hard, let's go shopping," so that's quite hopeful.

Meanwhile I get to figure out why this makes me nervous, and re-focus and settle down a bit. In part it's that I will only see her once a week and that's my chance and I don't generally have much else to look forward to; I've dated beautiful, strong, talented women before, so that's not it. No, I think it's that my success rate in the past with women who have shown no interest in me at all has been...hmm...let me think...oh, right. Zero. And it's one thing to be rejected, and something else entirely to be simply ignored or unnoticed. But I have my own spirit and my own strength, and I think she's deadly attractive; and I want myself and my life to be different, so I'm not going to avoid asking just because I'm about 70% sure I don't have a snowball's chance in hell.

So there. RAR!

Thinking about job-hunting today, more seriously as I discover the large company several of my friends work for is hiring like mad, so I could work with geeky people I know. The cost is prohibitive, at least this week: discarding my personal commitment to stay at the current job for a full 2 years, and I wouldn't make any friends by leaving just weeks after my boss had his first child (making it a particularly bad time for him to have to train somebody new); plus a commute to Sunnyvale instead of San Mateo. Something to keep my eye on, though. Work is morphing, somehow; I can't quite tell, but I may slowly be getting more responsibility, and managing it okay. Which is great, but doesn't change the feeling of stultified security I get about the place, not helped by the relative slack of the past few months. I finally have a couple of meatier (and only informally specified) projects to work on, but I feel like I'm doing a lot of marking time, waiting until 5 PM to leave so I don't get shit from anybody, waiting until I've been there 2 years so I can show on my resume that I can hold down a job for 2 years. I know from experience how easy it is to unintentionally jump from one job into something much worse, though.

The quest to learn blacksmithing is driving me batshit. I'm not far from taking the weekend class at The Crucible, and if I like it as much as I think I will, going ahead and building my own damn forge. (This will be a fun project on its own; it's nontrivial, but not as difficult as you might think. A gas forge is essentially an enclosed flamethrower.) Also signing up for a metal-shop class at a community college. I don't know if this is a byproduct of unsatisfying work or what, but I feel like I'm not learning as much as I need to to be happy. And I like learning stuff that other people can't or won't do.