Friday, July 30, 2004

Just in time...

First read this [TPM].

Then read this [TNR].

Then read this [Yahoo].

(Sadly, an update to the TNR article gives away the punchline)

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

TV, the DNC and Barack Obama

We don't watch much TV these days. The TV is really only there so we can watch DVDs and videos. But with all the hubbub of the convention going on practically in our own backyard (and the constant reminders from the traffic displays warning about the closed roads and impending traffic, which thankfully never materialized), I figured I had to see what the Democratic party had to say.

And what I heard gave me hope; or rather, it gave my hope new life, new energy. They may have been preaching to the choir, but it was good all the same, and what I needed to hear. For the last few months, I've basically tried to reduce my brain allocation for politics because it was just getting me too depressed. But I have been reminded that there are people out there who are standing up for the things I believe in.

Monday's headliners were all great: Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton. Omigod, Bill Clinton. I don't remember him hearnig him speak when he was in office (just the soundbites in the news during the F'ing Lewinsky BS), but his speech was just incredible.

And then I heard Barack Obama.

I've been hearing about Barack Obama here and there. Ok, pretty much everywhere. They were really talking him up at all the pre-game stuff, he was in the news, on NPR, and all over the web. An Illinois State Senator that's running for the U.S. Senate. A rising star. A rock star. Sorry? A what?

Ok, so I just saw his keynote address at the DNC, and HOLY CRAP, he's a freakin' rock star! If you don't believe me, check out dKos, Amy Sullivan (guest writing at Washington Monthly) or Andrew Sullivan (a Republican) for starters. Or just see for yourself. (Or listen here)

"Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America—there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the UNITED STATES of America."
Yeah, man. You go.

Check it.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

L.A. observations

We've been back over a week and many of the images are already fading. I figured I'd catch a few observations I made during our short jaunt out to the west coast:

  • the sweet smell of honeysuckle. We have honeysuckle out here, but it seemed like it's everywhere when I went on a run the first morning we were there. I miss the jasmine and gadenias, too. We don't have them here, outside of the garden store.
  • there are no annuals in L.A. That is, things don't really die off in the winter. (although I guess some stuff dies off in the summer because it's too damn dry/hot.) It was weird to discover a bed of ground cover that turned out to be a huge patch of morning glories spread thick like ivy.
  • the sound of running water. Running down the gutters on the steets that follow the contour of the canyons into the valley. Strange because L.A. is a desert, not to mention that it's 100°F in the middle of summer. I always noticed the water running down the street but never really thought much of it. What's the deal? Then I heard it: a rhythmic chk-chk-chk-chk up in the hills. Right. Sprinklers.
  • We rented a convertible while we were out there. We ended up with a Chrystler Sebring; it was a boat ("Hop in my Chrysler, it's as big as a whale and it's about to set sail..."), but the top did come down. It also had a temperature gauge display option built into the dash. The first day out, we drove from the valley to the Santa Monica Pier and we watched the temperature go from 97°F at the parental homestead to 91°F at the top of the Sepulveda pass to 88°F when we got to the west side descending steadily into the low 80's when we hit the 10 until we reached the coastal area of Santa Monica where it dropped suddenly to 64°F. It was completely overcast at the beach, while there hadn't been a cloud in the sky a short 20 minutes and 40+ degrees earlier.
  • I have to say, I forgot how hot it gets in the summer. It's been a while since I've been back this time of year. In the last several years, I don't think I've run the A/C as much, other than on a trip to the Mojave in late May two years ago.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Inner Statistician

I first noticed this when I flew United over the holidays. I was munching on pretzels out of one of the foil snack packages they always give you with your drink when I was struck by a moment of confusion. I could have sworn I was eating a snack MIX. A quick scan of the packaging confirmed that I wasn't crazy:

So did I just miss the sesame sticks and cashews? I was eating them somewhat absentmindedly after all. Curiousity got the best of me, and I inventoried the contents of the subsequent package: 6 pretzels, 7 sesame crisps and 1/6 of one cashew. (Hey, so at least the crisps finally came out to represent.) So now several months later, we're flying to L.A. on United and we get the same little snack mixes. So what's the verdict?
14-1/2 pretzels, 3 sesame crisps and 1/2 a cashew. The SOOTTAD fared better with an even 7-7-7 split.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Before we're off...

Things have just been totally crazy over the last few weeks -- our annual summer blowout BBQ/party, "camping" weekend with the frisbee team, and it seems like there's even been something going on every weeknight. This past week it was two frisbee games and two birthday dinners. And this afternoon, we're flying out to L.A. for the week. We're ostensibly heading out for a wedding, but it's also an excuse to take a few days off from work and spend some time with friends and family. And the SOOTTAD is looking forward to the opportunity to sample some of the fine culinary delights that are more readily available in southern California. She's already put together a list of places that well exceeds the amount of time we have -- I'm gonna just put it in neutral and let her lead.

So yeah, I probably should be double-checking my packing list or something right now. Maybe I'll get around to writing about the trip or some the of the stuff that's been going on when we get back. Maybe not. After all, that's what summer is all about -- being active, going out, doing stuff, appreciating the weather before it's gone too soon. Living. (No poker!) Save the computer time for when the outside is less hospitable.

I'll just leave you with a few pictures from the beginnings of the summer harvest: