I got an internship at NASA at Kennedy Space Center in May. Here’s a video clip of me in a technical speech presentation describing how it happened: https://www.flickr.com/photos/13606204@N04/shares/2ra1t8
Since I started working full-time, my free time is much more precious on weekdays. It’s difficult to devote my time to causes like the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy workbook I perhaps should be working on when I’m obsessed with planning my Trans-Mongolian Express trip from Beijing to Moscow in December-January. I’m thinking the Russian invasion of the Crimean peninsula and Chinese occupation of the South China Sea (sounds ironic) may preclude the closing of diplomatic relations with the U.S., so I’m trying to get visas to and visit both countries before that may happen. Or maybe that’s just my excuse to visit countries that seem forbidding, but not too terribly deadly to visit or overtly hostile to U.S. visitors. Or maybe they are. I’ll find out. I doubt it.
This is my three-year visa to Russia. Luckily, they gave me three years to spend in Russia 180 days at a time just based on a “letter of invitation” for a tourism visa I got from the Hilton Leningradskaya hotel after I reserved a room. This gives me a bit more confidence in my ability to get a ten-year China visa. A salesman from the tourism company in China I was trying to get to buy my train ticket for me ahead of time (CITS) told me I can’t buy a train ticket until November. So I’ll have to wait until then to buy one and hope I can use the confirmation of that purchase to get a China visa. It seems insane to me now how I’ve spent hours and hours trying to get a “letter of invitation” from CITS the past few weeks sending e-mails back and forth instead of just waiting until November. I think my subconscious mind might reinforce the idea that whatever journey I’m taking in the future will be my ticket to happiness. Reinforces it with images of sexy Russian women falling in love with me without all the weird consequences of that even if that happened like odd cultural misunderstandings that would make communicating precisely what we have in mind very hit-and-miss. More likely, I’ll drink too much and hopefully not make a fool of myself or end up in some nightmarish gulag prison; try not to make eye contact when approached by prostitutes or pressured into buying knock-off junk in Beijing.
My brief self-righteous political rant: I don’t know how my co-workers and other people on social media can be so self-righteous about their own choices in politics. But here I am being a hypocrite too. It seems everyone forgets every national election year how little they participate in local politics and how futile it is voting for the next plutocratic/kleptocratic/soulless-attorney President. I’ve thought it might be better voting a general like Eisenhower into the presidency, but even if the war they fought isn’t a fight for control of petroleum reserves like the “War on Terror”, you sell maybe no less of your soul ordering men to sacrifice their precious lives for a few yards of soil. I guess someone has to do these dirty jobs. I’m just not sure what the reward should be for that, if one is warranted at all. Maybe just acknowledgement of the disillusionment that is involved with sacrificing more priceless lives for someone else’s misguided ambition. And obviously enduring the raw horror involved in warfare. Facing our own brutality. And wow, are we capable of being brutal to one another.
I slept over ten hours yesterday. Maybe it’s because I stopped taking Prozac. My doctor weaned me off it in anticipation of trying a new anti-depressant called trintellix. I faxed the pharmaceutical company that makes it (Takeda) my 2015 income tax form indicating spending $320/month on antidepressants is not a trifle. I think I qualify. I need to call them tomorrow and ask if they got the fax. Thanks for the reminder, me.