May 31, 2004

In Honor of Memorial Day

In honor of Memorial Day, and at my aunt Lil's request, I am posting an essay that I wrote during my first semester at George Mason (dated October 5, 2002) for my America in the 1960s class. The assignment involved synthesizing primary and secondary sources to answer a historical question regarding the Vietnam veteran.

Why was the Vietnam veteran perceived as uniquely troubled and scorned? The media was responsible for the creation of this image. The media used short-term problems the Vietnam veterans were faced with as a backdrop. Long-term problems that were later employed, by the media, gave new dimension to this image. This image was on display far too long after public sentiment had already been swayed of its own accord.

The media compounded and distorted what inevitably were short-term problems giving them the appearance that they were long-term problems that extended to all Vietnam veterans. The print media quickly latched on to the fact that 12.4% of returning Vietnam veterans aged 20-24 were jobless. This was compared to the national unemployment rate of the time, which was 6%. The television media also focused on jobless vets, most especially their protests. Popular perception conformed to this image. O'Brien and the main character in his story didn't have trouble finding jobs and they were not the only exceptions. The television media, in specific, pointed out that Vietnam soldiers and veterans were additionally plagued with a drug epidemic. Despite studies that showed their drug usage was comparable to that of civilians, this component nonetheless also became imbued in the national conscience as a result of the media's liberal use of fact. Countless articles in the print media insisted that the Vietnam veterans had not been welcomed home. In O'Brien's piece, Speaking of Courage, Norman Bowker didn't want fanfare in honor of his return and, according to Dean's essay; he is not the only Vietnam veteran who felt that way. Books like First Blood (Morrell, 1972) reinforced this collective image that was readily accepted by a majority of the American people.

President Ford declared an unequivocal end to the Vietnam era and the media seemingly discarded the image it had created of Vietnam veterans being uniquely troubled and scorned now that all of the short-term problems were successfully resolved. About the same time the media at large had dropped this subject, Bowker wrote his letter to O'Brien. This letter later became the basis for O'Brien's short story. In this letter, Bowker explained that he wanted to talk about his problems, but just could not. This was due to the popular effect of the media. They had created an archetypal Vietnam veteran and Bowker became a victim of it. Society had come to suspect all Vietnam veterans were damaged goods, and certainly Bowker was to some extent damaged, but by the time the media was finished with him and other Vietnam veterans (temporarily, anyway) he thought himself unrecoverable and ended his own misery. In a sense it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. What is particularly interesting about this story is that Bowker and O'Brien were involved in the war together and their lives ended up very differently.

When the long-term problems of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Agent Orange, and a supposed high rate of suicide in Vietnam veterans began to surface, the media conveniently dug the old image out of the trash. The majority of these long-term problems were thought to have stemmed directly from the old sentiment that these heroes had not been honored properly. Old myths certainly reinforced this image of Vietnam veterans not receiving the attention they deserved. The Hollywood media portrayed veterans of other wars as having received more fanfare upon their arrival back home than did veterans of the Vietnam War. The problem thus re-entered the national conscience as more of an effect of the media's renewed interest than anything else and the populous again scrambled to rectify this problem.

Despite all that was done over the years to atone for the Vietnam veterans' plight, the media still continued to portray them as uniquely troubled and scorned individuals. In 1980 and 1981, conceivably when the film version of First Blood was being put together, Hollywood was still trying to present the old view that not only were we not paying proper respect to the Vietnam veterans, but also that we were in effect pushing them increasingly further astray from readjustment by not doing so. The media was slow in keeping up with popular sentiment. Ten years separated the publication of the novel First Blood from its movie counterpart's release. It was as if they took the old story from 1972 and in 1982, when the film was released, substituted a newer (but not current or representative) stereotype for the old.

When the plight of the Vietnam veteran had taken hold as a matter of national concern the media did much to reinforce and embellish stereotypes that had originated from within it. The media distorted problems they brought into public awareness and made them seem as though they afflicted all Vietnam veterans alike, when it was more the exception than the rule. After the end of the national campaign to atone for the Vietnam veterans' maltreatment the media was still stuck on its old archetype. In effect, the media was still feasting on its own myth when the public had already excused themselves from the dinner table.

Works Cited

Dean, Eric T. Jr. "Myth of the Troubled and Scorned Vietnam Veteran."Journal of American Studies 26.1 (1992) 59-47ISSN: 00218858.
O'Bien, Tim. "Speaking of Courage," Things They Carried Houghton Mifflin/Seymour Lawrence (1990) 157-182 ISBN: 03955198X.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 12:19 AM

May 30, 2004

Internship @ Georgetown

The other day I mentioned something about interviewing for an internship at Georgetown. Well, it wasn't an interview as much as it was a meeting, per se, but I'll get back to that. I told my next-door neighbor, Hemana, that I was interested in finding an internship for the summer. She asked if I would like to work w/her at Georgetown in the Neuroscience dept. and I said, "sure." So far I had only submitted my resume to one other organization, The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). The communications position that they were offering seemed like a very good fit for me, but there was no response from them yet. I really wanted to refine my resume before giving it to Georgetown. A few days later (on Monday) Hemana came to my door and asked me if I still wanted the job because her boss was reviewing resumes from other candidates. I said, "Yes, of course." She told me that she had put in a few good words for me and that her boss was interested. She also explained that Georgetown prefers to hire in-house or through employee referrals and that I would just need to go through the normal process. I asked her if I could come along with her to the campus the following morning (Tuesday) to go over to HR and she said that was no problem.

I woke up on schedule, got dressed, but not in my suit because I didn't figure that I'd be interviewing that day, and I e-mailed NSCS to confirm that they had received my resume and to see whether or not the position had already been filled (I had waited a week from receiving notification of the position before submitting my resume.) Hemana rang promptly at nine. We rode over and she dropped me off in front of HR. I asked and she said it would be alright for me to meet her boss afterward. I went inside and told the woman at the desk that I was interested in an internship and that a friend was referring me for a particular position. She told me that I needed to call and make an appointment and pointed out a telephone over by the waiting area. I called and was informed that I needed to first apply online. I hung up the receiver and was reaching to retrieve my cellular from my bag when the woman asked, "So, what did they say?" I told her and added, "But I don't have access to a computer here so I'm going to call my friend to let her know." At first she pointed to the computer not far from where I was seated and indicated that I could use that one, but she changed her mind and asked me for more specific information about who it was that wanted to hire me. Good thing I had Hemana write down all of her and her boss's contact info before we left my apartment. The woman xeroxed that piece of paper, along with my resume and references. I asked, "Is that all that you need from me?" Much to my surprise the woman said, "Yes." You see, I had interviewed for Georgetown once before, when Andrew and I first moved to this area. Of course I didn't know anyone at the university at that time and so I had no one to vouch for me or my abilities. I filled out a stack of paperwork, took a few computerized tests, provided references and they did not call me back. The process was infinitely easier this time around.

Once I said good-bye and got out the door I called my friend to let her know that I was all through. She hadn't even made it up to her office yet. Directing me to the building to where she works, over our cells, we met in the middle. In the hallway we passed by the copy room where Hemana's boss was using the copier. Hemana introduced us and Donna and I shook hands. We talked for about a minute and she seemed very pleasant. Donna said that she wanted to speak to me some more and that she needed a few minutes to finish up what she was doing. Hemana and wandered over to the water cooler at the end of the hall. By the time we made it to her office Donna was inside waiting. She asked me to sit down and I did so. I handed her my resume and references. She looked them over and immediately got down to the business of explaining what the position was and what all it entailed (general office work). When she paused I asked her if she wanted to know something about myself. She said yes and leaned forward in her chair. I told her that I'm detail oriented, well organized, efficient, an over achiever, etc. I explained that I'm currently a full-time student at George Mason University, majoring in English and concentrating in linguistics. I said that I was just looking for internship for the summer and that it had been two years since I last worked. She inquired as to when the fall semester would start up. After I gave her my best guess she counted the months I could work on her hand. I interpreted that as a strong inference that I would be given the job, but I assumed that was contingent on all of my paperwork being in order and my references giving positive reviews of my past performance since I had been told earlier by Hemana that I needed to go through the normal process. Unfortunately, nothing was "normal" about this process this time around. Donna said that she would contact Phyllis at HR. I wasn't sure who Phyllis was, but I put that thought aside for the time being. We ended our meeting and shook hands.

Since Hemana's cubicle is just outside of Donna's office I grabbed her and we went outside to smoke a cigarette. We decided that I'd hang around campus and wait for her to go on lunch break. We figured that we'd go somewhere to eat and then she'd take me back home. When she went back in I stayed outside seated in the shade on a bench while I read my book (I had Fast Food Nation w/me in my bag.) After a couple of minutes Hemana came back out and informed me that her boss had just gotten off the phone w/Phillis and she didn't know who I was either so I needed to go see her at the HR office on M Street. My reaction to that was something to the effect of, "Huh?" We discussed how to handle my getting there and decided that instead of going immediately out to lunch we'd drop by there first to fill out still more paperwork. With our plan in place Hemana went back inside to let her boss know our intentions. I guess it was about an hour later that I got a call from Phyllis, asking me if I was coming in or not. I explained that I would around 1:30 w/Hemana.

The sun moved and I went in. I sat on a bench by the door. At one point I saw one of Hemana's coworkers walk by. Neither of us said anything. I kept my mouth shut and my eyes lowered to my book because I didn't want to draw attention to myself because I thought it might look strange that I was hanging around. At another point Donna walked right past me and out the door. We didn't speak to each other either. Hemana came out and we decided to take off a littler earlier than we had planned. She went back to her office to grab her purse or whatever and Donna returned. This time she greeted me. Hemana came back out after Donna went in and we left. We arrived at HR about an hour early. I was given a stack of papers to complete and was showed in to a little room with a wrap-around desk w/a terminal on top of it. There was another girl in there I assumed she was already an employee, but it turned out she was also an applicant because eventually someone set her up on the terminal to take some tests. I finished filling out the papers and gave them to Phyllis. She reciprocated w/some more to take home and read. I asked her if that was all she needed and she told me yes. I was happy that I didn't have to take the computerized tests only because I never do well for any sort of test I can't prepare myself in advance for. Phyllis didn't say that I had been given the job and I didn't expect her to at that time.

Hemana and I went over to Ruby Tuesday (ironically enough, where I last worked as a hostess and a waitress the summer before I started at GMU.) Afterward, Hemana took me to my apartment. Later that evening I went to see if Hemana knew anything more about whether or not I had the job. She said her boss really liked me and that I should get a call soon. The next day (Wednesday) I received a reply from NSCS stating that they had gotten my resume and that they would decide who to interview soon. I got a call from Phyllis on Friday. She said that I could report to work on Tuesday at 8:30. She didn't specifically offer me the job so I couldn't really mention that I while I wasn't turning it down I was still leaving myself open for another one. I just didn't anticipate everything moving so quickly w/Georgetown. I figured that I would have more time to give NSCS to get back to me. Now if NSCS calls and asks me to interview I'm not sure what I'm going to say to them. Andrew and my aunt Lil are of the opinion that I should do it if only for the experience of interviewing. I don't want to screw anything up w/Georgetown should NSCS not work out. Ugh. Why do things have to be so complicated???

-- CrystalShiloh @ 10:42 PM

Upgrades to

You might not have noticed, but there's been some changes made around here:

  • Andrew has gone back through and caught up on linking all of my old entries, from the end of September on. Thanks! Luv ya ;)
  • We upgraded to Movable Type 2.661.
  • Added a reading list to the sidebar and shuffled things around in there a bit.
  • Fixed a rather annoying scrolling problem and added an established date to the description in Movable Type.
  • Fixed the scroll bar CSS so that now it is pink and blue as it should have been all along.
  • Added a link in the side bar to the Metro Blog Map.

Coming soon:

  • A few new pictures will be added to the ALD section.
  • An image interface (I'm not sure what else to refer to it as, but the image directory should fit in a lot better w/everything else when it is completed.)
-- CrystalShiloh @ 08:02 PM

Domestic Goddess

I just baked a batch of peanut butter cookies... I'm feeling so domesticated ;).
Peanut Butter Cookies.jpg

-- CrystalShiloh @ 03:55 PM

Pictures of Rand

Here's a couple of shots I just took of Rand getting comfy on a pink chenille blanket that my aunt Lil sent to me. I had been snuggling under it with The Joy Luck Club (by Amy Tan) earlier and excused myself to eat some lunch and she stole my spot.

Rand Pink Blankie.jpg

Rand Pink Blankie 2.jpg

-- CrystalShiloh @ 02:41 PM

May 29, 2004

New Clothes!

I decided that I was going to try for an internship this summer and that of course entailed getting a professional wardrobe...

Crystal Merona Linen Suit.jpg
I needed a suit to wear in the summer time. This one is 100% linen and it is by Merona.

Crystal Merona Linen Suit4.jpg
Same suit, w/o the jacket. Camisole by Xhilaration.

Crystal Merona.jpg
Black capris w/a 3/4 sleeve pink-striped embroidered shirt by Merona. I wore this on Tuesday when I applied for an internship @ Georgetown. I'll get around to explaining that eventually...

There's more to come, but I need to run a few errands right at the moment.
La la la la la...
Ok, I have returned for the moment and I have a couple of minutes I can spare to finish this up.

Crystal Merona 3.jpg
Black capris w/a 3/4 sleeve pink and white striped shirt by Merona.

Crystal Merona 4.jpg
Light blue capris w/a 3/4 sleeve blue-striped embroidered shirt by Merona.

Crystal Merona 7.jpg
Light brown capris w/a 3/4 sleeve pink-striped shirt by Merona. Bag by Life.

Crystal Merona 6.jpg
Light brown capris w/a 3/4 sleeve gold-striped shirt by Merona.

That's all the time and pictures I have for now!

-- CrystalShiloh @ 12:21 PM

Pictures From Last Weekend

Last Saturday Andrew and I walked over to the new WWII Memorial. We wanted to see it before all the tourists descended on D.C. for Memorial Day. It should be pretty packed for the dedication ceremony scheduled for today.

This is a shot of Rosslyn (a neighborhood in Arlington where I reside) taken from the D.C. side of the Memorial Bridge.

Washington Monument.jpg
The Washington Monument viewed from the north side of the Lincoln.

WWII Monument.jpg
Facing north, inside of the WWII Memorial.

WWII Monument 2.jpg
Facing northeast.

Washington monument 3.jpg
Facing north.

Andrew Bucket Hat.jpg

Crystal Bucket Hat.jpg
A very hot (and not in a sexy way) Crystal.

As you can see from the pictures, quite a few people were splashing around in the water. Andrew and I were not among them. I think that was highly disrespectful on their part. This monument is supposed to serve to represent the selfless souls who sacrificed their lives and there's all these fu©kheads swimming around in the pools. *Sigh*

-- CrystalShiloh @ 11:08 AM

May 27, 2004

I Failed to Mention (Until This Moment)


  • ...I turned 26 on April 19th.
  • ...I finished up the spring term with an A in Reading/Writing About Texts, an A+ in Intro. to Creative Writing, and an A in Intensive Elementary Spanish (this was a six credit course the other two were worth three credits apiece.)
  • GPA for the term is 4.0.
  • cumulative score is now at 3.961.
  • ...I discovered who it was that nominated me for The National Dean's List when my official paperwork arrived: Donna Fox, the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and adviser to Alpha Lambda Delta.
  • ...I finished reading Piers Anthony's And Eternity. Right now I'm finishing up Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation (approx. 40 pages remaining) and after that I will have nine books remaining on my list. I'm making progress!!
  • ...some @$$hole that lives in our building stole our shiny new grill!!! And we only got to use it two times!!
-- CrystalShiloh @ 12:03 AM

May 19, 2004

She wore an...

Crystal in the Mirror.jpg
itsy bitsy teeny weeny red polka-dot bikini...

-- CrystalShiloh @ 05:41 PM

May 18, 2004

My Day

I woke up at noon w/quite the caffeine headache. That was the latest I've slept in since exams ended, a week ago as of Monday. After I drank some coffee and had a little breakfast, I took Darwin down to the Marine Corp Memorial. I walked and the iguana rode along in my gray Hello Kitty canvas bag that reads, "Smile! Pass it On." I found us a spot on the clearing, behind the monument. I had bought Darwin a harness leash the other day and it worked out pretty well. For the most part Darwin just crouched in the grass, a little wary of all the people. I tried to read a book I had brought with me, but I was too excited having Darwin there in the park with me for the first time ever. At one point I laid down in the grass and pulled her on top of my chest and we sunbathed like that for a long while. Darwin rested her head on my chin. The sun started getting to me and I stood up. The iguana crept a few feet in the direction of a woman who was sitting not far from us, but closer in relation to the trees. She asked, "Hey, is that an iguana?" I said, "Yeah. Would you like to pet her?" Her response was sure so I put Darwin up on my shoulder and we walked over. We humans got to chatting while Darwin considered climbing a tree. She began to literally pull me toward them and I picked her up a couple of times and tried to get her to calm down. Eventually my conversation with Susan ended and I walked back over to where my things were. Darwin settled down when I put her back in the grass. After I made a phone call I packed everything up, including Darwin, and we left.

Later in the evening I went Target with Andrew to exchange a pair of black linen pants. I ended up getting Alanis Morrisette's new CD and 2 two-piece Issac Mizrahi swim suits, one with a solid pink halter top and a pink and white stripped bikini bottom and the other a red halter top with white polka dots and matching boy shorts. These are the first bathing suits I've bought in something like seven years. I don't know if I'm daring enough to wear them out in public. I've lost a lot of weight, but I'm still out of shape. I generally eat right, but I've been thinking about starting to work out since it is the summer and I don't have a solid excuse not to. Maybe I'll even start tonight...

-- CrystalShiloh @ 11:45 PM

May 17, 2004

Summer Concerts

Earlier this year Andrew and I saw They Might Be Giants perform at the 9:30 Club w/ a friend. When Lisa Loeb and Dweezil Zappa came to town we caught the show. I managed to get autographs from both Lisa and Dweezil. This summer we're looking forward to seeing:

on August 10 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.
Barenaked Ladies Alanis Morisette.jpg


on the following day, August 11, at the same venue.


August 20, same venue
Norah Jones.jpg

Our tickets are for the lawn. We've never been to the Merriweather Post Pavillion before so we're not sure if we should plan to have a picnic.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 12:21 AM

May 16, 2004

My Weekend

Last night Andrew and I went over to our friends Paola and Yadira's place for cena (which is Spanish for a light meal that is eaten in the evening.) Paola cooked chicken and a tortilla with potatoes. We brought frozen yogurt and blueberries. Where Paola is from, Argentina, it is a tradition that when invited to someone's home for cena you bring a dessert. Yadira is originally from Colombia. Both girls are currently learning English. As you prolly already know, I'm learning Spanish. Andrew had four years of it at the high school level something like ten years ago. This makes conversation a bit challenging at times. At one point in the evening, Paola attempted to convey "Teflon." She didn't know how to say it in English and neither Andrew nor I could comprehend it in Spanish. I finally figured it out for the both of us. One point for Crystal :).

Today was pretty laid back. Andrew and I had talked about seeing an exhibit called "Caliphs and Kings" at a museum, but we decided to just hang around here instead. I straightened the apartment while Andrew worked a little on adding some links to one months worth of my old entries (he completed September, in case you are interested in checking it out.) I saw my first cicada today... it was brown in color and it was still in it's nymphal stage. At the time it crawled into view Andrew and I were out in front of our apartment building trying our hands at charcoal grilling some free-range hamburgers (free-range simply means that the beef comes from cows that only consume grass and not grains) along with some peppers and onions on kebob sticks. The hamburgers were excellent!! We must not have used enough charcoal because by the time we got to the veggies there weren't any flames left. Well, I guess we know better for next time.

Oh yeah, I finally finished reading Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. That's one down and 11 more to go. I may finish Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser next or And Eternity by Piers Anthony, not sure which I will feel like later on tonight. Right now I'm going to finish my wine cooler (my second one of the evening... estoy una poca borracha) and answer some e-mail.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 11:21 PM

May 14, 2004

Academic Goals

Apparently one of my professors nominated me for The National Dean's List. I received notification of it today by mail. I wonder who it was. No doubt I left an indelible mark on his or her memory - I'm a very memorable person and of course it is always fun to throw the word "indelible" in there when and where you can.

I've been thinking a lot about my goals lately, mainly the academic ones. Rushing through my education is definitely not one of them. It looks like I will need another two years or so to complete all of my under graduate work. I generally aim to take just twelve credits each semester because I find that to be the most comfortable. Next semester I will be a junior. I'm already registered for classes. I'll be taking Science Fiction (fulfills a three credit non-canonical literature requirement and should prove interesting), Geology I (three credits) and the accompanying lab (one credit), and the last installment of intensive Spanish (six credits.) If I can make it through fall w/my GPA relatively unscathed I will be asked to join Golden Key, another honor society. If that happens, I want to run for one of the officer positions. I've joked a little with the incumbent president of Alpha Lambda Delta (whom I ran against for that office) about running against him a second time. I'm not sure that I want all of that responsibility, though. As always, my studies come first.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 12:37 AM

May 13, 2004


One of my grades posted online yesterday... in fact, the last one I expected to because I only just finished the final for it this past Monday and none of my other grades are up yet. In Reading/Writing About Texts (ENGL 201 - 011) I made an A and I'm not at all surprised. At the end of the final, my professor informed me that I had the highest percentage of anyone in the class and that I could make a C on the exam and still earn an A in the class. I wish she hadn't said that, even though at the time it was a weight off my mind. Not knowing definitively does turn me into a compulsive neurotic, checking and rechecking constantly, but what is much worse than that is I tend to get depressed when there aren't any grades left to worry about. In case you were wondering, my cumulative GPA is now at 3.953. I *should* see it go up some more. Oh, and it turns out that Andrew made an A in his class, too. I'm very proud of him because it was not easy for him in the least. He has completed two classes thus far and he has a perfect 4.0 cumulative GPA to show for it. Way to go Andrew!!

-- CrystalShiloh @ 10:10 AM

Pictures of our office

Mac 1.jpg
The new machine.

Office 1.jpg
My PC is on the right of the Mac.

Office 3.jpg
Essentially the same shot just angled a little further down.

Office 2.jpg
Andrew's desk is to the left.

Calder Mobile.jpg
Mobile that hangs between what we consider to be the livingroom and our office.

Calder Mobile 2.jpg
Shot of the mobile taken angled toward my desk.

Calder Mobile 3.jpg
Another of the same mobile, clockwise from the last. Notice the other mobile in the corner, it is titled "Science Fiction" and was created by Swedish artist.

The entire office as seen from a postion in front of the sofa.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 02:02 AM

It's Official, We've Gone Mac

Andrew and I recently purchased a Mac.

Hardware Specs:

Software Titles:


We also got a .Mac account, but haven't done anything with it yet. I suppose I could have included our iPods underneath accessories, but we've had those since Christmas. They are both third generation. One has a 20GB HD and the other a 40.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 01:50 AM

May 12, 2004

Summer Reading

I've been looking over the last couple of entries that I wrote before the spring semester started up. I had been reading Smoke and Mirrors by author Neil Gaiman. I never got around to finishing it. School has this way of putting everything else in my life on hold. Last night I picked the book back up and I hope to complete it within a few days. I intend to do a lot of reading this summer, as I am not taking any classes. On the tentative list are:

There might be time for more, but I don't know, we'll see...

-- CrystalShiloh @ 10:13 PM

May 11, 2004

Estoy Libre!!

Ok, so here it is, nearly 3 months later... The semester officially ended the Monday before the last and finals were over for Andrew and I as of yesterday night. We stayed up late and slept in. Andrew didn't go in to work at all today. Earlier, we watched The Triplets of Belleville. It was interesting, to say the least. It is hot as heck in this apartment and there is not much I feel like doing, including writing this entry...

-- CrystalShiloh @ 03:40 PM