Archive for November, 2004

A reminder to visit

A 1/14th scale remote controlled Hummer H2?

I guess that makes it about the size of my Kia.

Julia Roberts annoying even when she’s not there

When I was flipping through channels this morning, I noticed that all three morning news programs (GMA, Today, and whatever the third one is) were interviewing people about how Julia Roberts gave birth to twins over the weekend.

How could they need to interview anyone over this? Seriously… does anyone really care? Unless she gave birth out of that gigantic mouth of hers, a quick “Hey, she’s a mom now” news item would have been just fine.

Fray Day 8 – Fredericksburg

Two years ago, I volunteered at Fray Day 6 in DC (well, VA, but same difference). It was a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed listening to other Fray events, so this year I decided to participate. Fray Day 8 DC was on a weeknight, deep in the city so I opted to head down to Fredericksburg back to my alma mater for a separate event on Saturday night. It was very sparsely attended and held not in a coffee house, but in a classroom. Nevertheless, the performers were good and it gave me a little practice for my first attempt at open mic storytelling.

I ain’t very good at it, though. Lots of “uhs” and a definite problem with intonation. Despite all that, I decided to record myself with my Muvo so that I could post my “performance” here.

So, take a listen to Dut Dut – A Fray Day Story. Be kind.

New York trip report

(Sorry so late with this… funny how a three day trip can put one a week behind.)

Can I reiterate about how much I love New York City? And there’s still so much of it I still have to see.

Read more…

Random Drunken Girls

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail that was clearly intended for someone else. The message contained pictures from what looked to be a fun, drunken party. Therefore, I felt compelled share them with the world.

Flickr: Random Drunken Party Pictures Sent to Me By Mistake

Beefy jerk

Half Pint’s show in DC on Saturday’s been canceled. Boo.

I’m glad now I planned that trip to New York.

I’ve got this laying on my desk right now, begging to be eaten. I’m trying to hold off until it’s time for my mid-afternoon snack, a few minutes before my mid-afternoon tea. Nothing like faux beef jerky and tea.

Here I come, NY

Cripes, it’s been busy. I’m about a month behind on pictures to post (sorry, Stace) and haven’t blogged nearly as much as I like to. Life goes on, just slightly less documented than usual.

And it’s not looking any less busy as the month goes on. This weekend, Pint‘s coming into DC for a show with the mighty Sly & Robbie and Tony Rebel. Then I follow them up to New York for a pair of shows, one of them a big ass festival with Maxi Priest, Luciano, Bunny Wailer, etc. and then a show at B.B. King’s. I’ll be sticking around New York for a few days to hang out in the city since it’s been four years since my last visit. I’ve been frantically figuring out how much I can pack into two-and-a-half days of city time.

Also coming up: my high school reunion. I’ve decided to go. I could have come up with any number of excuses (it’s too expensive, I see everybody I want to see now, etc. etc.), but a number of friends will be going so I’ve decided to go as well. What the hell, you know? I’ll also be headed to Stacey’s for Thanksgiving, which will make for one weekend with a lot of driving.

Oh, and my car wouldn’t start this morning. Oy. Fortunately, it’s a minor job for the shop and I should be all set to go for the drive to NY.

Huyen’s headed to San Diego this week. I won’t get to be part of the naked pillow fights this year.

Found out another close college friend got married. Can’t say who (have to double check that it’s cool with him to divulge), but congrats to him.

I was interviewed for the Chicago Tribune this past weekend about a subject for which I am the world’s foremost expert. I will, of course, post a link once the article hits the press.

Stills from Return to Sleepaway Camp, where yours truly “plays” (well, acts as an extra for a few seconds) a camp counselor. Due out in 2005.

I’ve been running some more. I’m not ready for a marathon like Meg, but I’m hoping to do a half-marathon by next fall. You should see me in my Underarmor shirt and tiny little running socks. Hot to def, fo’ rilla.

Hope everyone is doing splendidly. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen most of you. Let’s get together soon, yes?

Nothing Compact About These Discs

We’ve been moving forward and talking to a few different people about custom designing a CD storage solution for our house. Huyen had a meeting this morning with one designer who she really liked. The woman, who represents an established custom closet/organizational unit company with 100 locations worldwide, told Huyen that they’ve never been asked to design such a large storage solution for CDs. She said that if we go with them, they might want to photograph it and use it as a model in their catalog and as a base for similar future requests.

And she liked the cake I baked the other night, to boot.

I always like when I can make someone who you think has seen everything say the equivalent of, “Good God, how many CDs do you need to store?

Post-election day sleepiness is setting in

I was going to write a “Dear Mr. President” post this morning, but you know… I’m just too frustrated. I’ll just say that based on the last four years and the prospect of another four years following the same self-destructive path, I’m genuinely scared for the future of our country. For the last four years I’ve felt more disconnected from our president and government in general than ever before, as they couldn’t possibly be any further from representing what I value and believe. And with crap like this on top of it all, I’m feeling more and more alone in my beliefs. Who wants to move to the unclaimed-Caribbean-island-I’ll-call-Ryanland with me? No, wait, don’t answer that.

So right now, I’m spent. I’ll stick to talking about my experience working the polls yesterday (aside from a quick link over to the Political Bumpers page, where the final numbers are in).

I was up at 4:30am yesterday (after only four-and-a-half hours of sleep) and at the polling place by 5 helping to set up. The crowds started flooding in at 6 and until 6:45, the line stretched down the long hallway of the middle school. I handed out the paper ballots and perfected my speech as I gave them to each voter: “This is your ballot. It’s two-sided. Fill in one oval for each section using the pens that are back at each of the stations (pointing). Then, feed it into the black machine in the back corner of the room (pointing again).” A few people needed a little more guidance (the elderly because it was hard to see the ovals next to each name and first-time voters because they were a bit overwhelmed by the process), but for the most part everyone was OK.

Throughout the day, we had a few moments where we had to go back and recheck numbers in our books to make sure the numbers of ballots cast equaled the number of voters that came through the door. We remained relatively accurate only needing to find our errors a couple of times. There were no major incidents, though there was one elderly couple that came in and made a lot of noise as they yelled at each other at the voting station. Oh, and the moment where I got in a bit of a debate with one of my co-workers about people that didn’t speak English as a first language. After she made the comment that if someone couldn’t speak English, they didn’t deserve the right to vote and didn’t deserve a ballot printed in their own language, I pointed to this question and said, “Come on now. I speak English as a first and only language, and I speak it pretty well. But this question–one paragraph that’s really just one long sentence–doesn’t mean a damn thing to me. Imagine what it’s like for an ESL speaker.” She had no response.

Other amusing incidents: one man came in with his fly down and zipped it up right in front of us as he signed in. One man complained loudly that “the Democrats are giving out filled in sample ballots outside!” The thing is, so were the Republicans. It’s a normal practice. Another couple, wearing bright red sweaters, yelled at pollsters because one woman, just a regular citizen coming to vote, came into the polling station carrying a Kerry/Edwards sticker that was handed to her outside; it was only partially visible from under her paperwork. “That’s ILLEGAL!” the couple repeated numerous times. The thing is: people were walking in all day with Bush/Cheney stickers on and I’m pretty sure it’s perfectly legal for citizens to wear ugly flag shirts, stickers for candidates, or a top hat with a picture of their favorite third party candidate as long as they’re not actively encouraging anyone else to vote a certain way.

We also dealt with contractors that installed carpeting nearby which flooded the cafeteria we were in with a nasty glue smell for six hours. We were all buzzing from the fumes by 3pm. And then as night approached, there were no lights–not a single one–on outside the school (nor the other nearby school that was also a polling place). No one could come and turn them on for us, either. It was pitch dark outside and there’s talk about lawsuits because voters may have thought that polling was closed and not come to vote. Should be interesting to see how that shakes out.

By the end of the day, 1814 people had voted in addition to 245 absentee voters. That made voter turnout around 76% of registered voters in the precinct. Not bad. Predictably, Bush lead the precinct by a 5-4 margin. The Constitution party got five votes and the Libertarians got four (or the other way around). Surprisingly, Wolf clobbered Socas in the Congressional race. All of the amendments and bond issues passed easily. I was more focused on the write-in votes, though. I hoped for some real creativity from seriously disenfranchised voters, but honestly, I would have taken a Mickey Mouse or two. Unfortunately, the write-ins were underwhelming: only 3 out of 1814. Two for John McCain (one of them listing Rudolph Giuliani as his Vice President) and one for Ralph Nader.

It was a long, long day–just shy of 16 hours–but it was definitely worthwhile and I appreciated the chance to see all the work and the very detailed processes that go on behind the scenes at a polling station. The group I worked with was great. They varied greatly in age and political persuasion and I really enjoyed my chance to chat with them throughout the day.

Oh, and to the three people that specifically thanked us for taking the time to work the polls: thanks for the thanks. It’s a tougher job than one might think and we all greatly appreciated the recognition.

Huyen and I fell asleep on the couch last night as CNN continued to report the results. I slipped in and out of sleep, with many election-related dreams that were guided by the discussions and numbers reported on the TV. I woke up at 3 feeling disappointed and an odd feeling of disconnectedness that I don’t expect to disappear for, oh say, four years.