31 days in Iraq


I saw this image on my parent’s computer at home and it really got to me. I know I haven’t really posted much about the political situation in the US – but after seeing this I just had to share. I had to keep on reminding myself that this was just from the past 31 days… I can’t imagine what this graphic would look like taking in account the 2260 that have died since 3/19/2003…

In January more than 800 people — soldiers, security officers and civilians — were killed as a result of the insurgency in Iraq. While the daily toll is noted in the newspapers and on TV, it is hard for many Americans to see these isolated reports in a broader context. The map, based on data from the American, British and Iraqi governments and news reports, shows the dates, locations and circumstances of deaths for the first month of the year.

Given the fog of war, the information may be incomplete. Nonetheless, it is our effort to visually depict the continuing human cost of the Iraq war.

MP3 Tags


(engage geek mode) Once upon a time a bunch of us gathered our computers, CD collections, and a keg of beer for the weekend to rip and encode our entire collection of CDs. Since then, the collection has resided on a bunch of different hard-drives, until recently, where they all found their home in one place. About a year ago I purchased my first dedicated MP3 player which, unbeknownst to me, relied exclusively on ID3 tags to organize the music. Unfortunately, when we ripped and encoded our music, we didn’t create tags for the files. This put me on a quest to not only fill in the missing tag data but to clean up tags from other music that we had acquired over the ages. I tried just about everything I could get my hands on and settled on two pieces of software that could do just about everything I needed.

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On Teresa’s recommendation we saw 2046 tonight. Not at all what I expected. Still letting it sink in. If you want a thought provoking, beautifully shot, and well executed movie to put on your short list – this one is it. Its one of those movies that you have to see more than once.

It is also Teresa’s second to last day here in Chicago. She heads for Baltimore on Wednesday and then off to Spain for a semester a bit over a week afterwards! Color me jealous! Ok, so I can’t complain as I was trekking through europe myself this past summer – but 4 months! With her permission, I’ll try to link a few pics here and there from her adventures!

Bon Voyage Teresa! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!

Innocent Voices

Innocent Voices

I met Louis Mandoki (the director of When a Man Loves a Woman) last night. I didn’t actually know I was going to meet him, I just knew that my mom had a pass for a screening of a movie downtown. I had no idea what the movie was about or what to expect. I think it was almost better that way.

The movie Innocent Voices is a true story about the life of a 11 year old boy in El Salvador. His struggle for survival in a country racked by civil war (backed but the US, of course), growing as a child with explosions, bullets and death as an integral part of daily life.

In El Salvador in the 1980s, the government’s armed forces are already recruiting twelve year olds, rousting them out of their classes at the local middle school. If he is lucky, Chava has just one year of innocence left, one year before he, too, will be conscripted to fight the government’s battle against the peasant rebels of the FMLN. Chava’s life becomes a game of survival, not only from the bullets of the escalating war, but also from the dispiriting effects of daily violence. As he hustles to find work to help his single mother pay the bills, and experiences the pangs of first love for a beautiful classmate, Chava’s tiny home village becomes both playground and battlefield.

The movie itself left an incredible impression on me and all of those who where there to see it. But what left an indelible mark was meeting afterwards with the director as well as the screenwriter Oscar Orlando Torres – the man who put his own experience as a child on paper and then on film.

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