Friday, October 31, 2008

This Obama ad just made me happy.

And how often does that happen? Political ads aren't generally known for spreading happiness.

The serious part here is this:

Get out and VOTE.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mmm... iced voting. er... voting cream... um...

If you live in the US, don't forget to vote next Tuesday (or earlier), even those of you who got this flier from some troublemakers in Hampton Roads. (I cannot TELL you how much it irks me to have to link to the stupid Pilot instead of dad's paper, but I assume this was predominantly a southside episode.)

Voter fraud aside and regardless of your feelings about the health of our republic (or, for that matter, the health of ice cream), it's hard to say no to a free scoop of ice cream, no?

I just ran across this, and now I need to figure out where the nearest Ben & Jerry's is! I don't think they have a store closer than Rockefeller Center, and since we're having a party that night (you are coming, right?) that may not work, but I'm going to check. Details here. (And store locator.) I'm Sarah Gates and I approved this ice cream!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Best Toys Ever

There are lots of dumb toys you can buy for your rabbits, and rumor has it that they like hard plastic baby toys too, but my rabbits' favorite activities are practically free. They have a large cardboard box filled with crumpled, heavy paper, and they've gnawed their own entrance and exit holes for the box, so now Jupiter loves to go into the box. I think all he does anymore is just move the paper around, but it entertains him for hours. Juno's favorite is shredding. We gave her a phone book, but she mostly ignores it.

Juno prefers magazines. Newsweek is a particular favorite. Here she is, shredding Sarah Palin's face. (I frequently have this urge myself, but, not being a rabbit, I restrain myself. Sometimes with great difficultly.) 

It's amazing how fast one reasonably small rabbit can totally demolish a magazine. Honestly, if I had sensitive documents, I'd just hand them off to Juno. No one would ever be able to piece them back together - especially when you consider that every so often she eats some of the source material! Sometimes Jupiter gets in the game too, as I imagine all that tearing and clawing is nigh unto irresistible, but he's not the pro that she is. When she finished with Palin's face (and the rest of that week's Newsweek), Juno moved on, taking out a spread in Sports Illustrated about the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. (Hear that Phillies? She's totally on your side. Don't let her down.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Props on Prop 8 to Apple

Way to go Apple!

I gave Google a shout out when they came out against California's bigoted Proposition 8, so I can hardly do less for Apple, another California giant with products I really enjoy. (Have I mentioned how much I love my mac? I love my mac! Why did I wait so long?  And the PC really is happier as a Linux box...) Even if I didn't like a damn thing Apple had ever made, I like this stance.

From the Apple website, right under the fancy-pants new macbooks:

Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees’ same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry — should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8.

I know a proposition in California seems on the surface to have very little to do with me, a Virginian living in New York, but on issues of this sort, as California goes, so goes the nation. They've long been leaders in the fight for marriage equality, and to see Prop 8 pass there would give strength to bigots the nation over. It's embarrassing to me that Connecticut beat New York to the punch on this one, and even more so that my beloved Commonwealth of Virginia passed that abhorrent constitutional amendment - as far as I know, the most comprehensive of its ilk. I hope that Californians stand up to this and sent it down to a miserable defeat.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Michael Lewis's next book: Moneymedicineball?

I'm not sure I can stand a world where Newt Gingrich and John Kerry are co-authoring NYT op-eds. Unless they are joined by A's GM Billy Beane. Then, somehow it becomes almost farcical.

The odd trio actually has a good point, and I'd recommend reading it, but it's still odd.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Book Club?

Hey out there internet land!

I think it would be fun to have a book club. One that reads stuff I find interesting and then talks about it on my blog.

While I know I am not nearly cool enough for that sort of thing, I'm going to try it anyhow.

I'd like to start a book club here, reading mostly books relevant to current affairs. (No objection to relevant fiction, please note.)

Would anyone be into this? If so, what would you like to start with? I'm inclined towards Hot, Flat and Crowded or The End of America. I'm also interested in Depletion and Abundance, The Deserter's Tale or The World Without Us, and Jupiter seems to think we should start with The Audacity of Hope, or so I'm taking his chewing to mean.

A "stunt" I wish I'd pulled

I read a lot of blogs, most of them progressive, but I like to keep up with the wingnutosphere as well sometimes, just for the humor value, and today I read something I found offensive and just couldn't shake.

The right wing's wingnuts are claiming all sorts of nonsensical self-serving explanations for Obama's brief campaign suspension (note: not really a suspension if everyone else is still stumping, but whatever.) Some are humorous - the idea that he's actually going to Hawaii to deal with a lawsuit related to the old birth certificate nonsense, for one. But mostly they were cynical. The one that really got me was the claim that taking time off from his campaign today and tomorrow to fly back to Hawaii to visit his ailing grandmother is a stunt. 

A stunt?

A few years ago I was on tour when my grandfather, pictured here the previous Christmas, fell into his last struggle with cancer. We were incredibly lucky - he lived for much longer after the first bout than we had any right to expect, but when he was dying, I was on the road, and didn't have the chance to visit him. My tour ended just in time for me to fly home for the wake and the funeral. Fortunately, my grandmother, my mom and all her siblings were there with him, and mom says he might not have even known that I was there had I rushed back, but I still regret that I didn't just leave the tour to go see him - I thought I would have enough time, I thought the extra week wouldn't matter. It did.

I hope that Barack Obama's grandmother lives many more years, but if not, I'm glad that he has his priorities straight. 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Summer's End

It's 4:07am and I've just gotten home. I've been dragging my heels ever since the last out of the Sox ninth in Tampa Bay. It's as though, by arriving home and calling this day over, I am tacitly acknowledging the end of the summer. The end of baseball.

I didn't leave the bar, instead sharing a shot of Jameson's "to next year" with my friend Mel and our newly acquired friend Patrick and then settling in to a protracted discussion of the season so newly past and the one ahead with Patrick over several more Guinnesses.  We only left when Chris asked ever so politely if he might close out our tab. Then, instead of taking the arguably faster L, I walked from 2nd Ave clear across to 8th Ave to catch the E home, and even after a half hour on the train, continued to take my sweet time with the walk back to my apartment.

I just don't care if the Phillies or the Rays-formerly-known-as-Devil win the World Series. It doesn't matter. For me the offseason has already begun, bringing with it the cold wind of winter. 

Someday I'll learn to care about football. Or maybe hockey.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We don't need no stinkin' omens...

I got a text tonight from a friend who said that she thought the fire at Fenway's Citgo sign today was a bad omen. The Boston Globe seems to agree with her.

To that I say, bah. What it really means is that our bats are going to be ON FIRE for game four!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Where's my sticker?!

There are a few things that are less satisfying about voting absentee. For one thing, I don't get a sticker.

For another, one of the coolest things about voting in my home district in Virginia was always how the poll workers who checked my name off on the list would always tell me which other members of my family had already been by. Not that I'll get that when I finally accept that I might actually be a New Yorker and register here, but it did always make me proud to be a part of the process, and a part of my family.

One thing is just as much fun though. The ballot. The act of voting. When you vote absentee in Virginia's first district, you get a big fat envelope with a bunch of other envelopes in it. The ballot is sealed into one of them, and when you have your witness to hand, you open it, unfold the big scantron sheet and use your trusty #2 pencil to fill in the dots for the candidates you like. Then you refold the ballot, insert it into the smaller envelope and ask your witness to sign it. That assembly goes into yet another envelope, pre-addressed, and you stamp and mail. The whole process gives me great joy.

But I still wish I got a sticker.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Melting Point of Aluminum

In case you were curious, the melting point of aluminum is 933° Kelvin. That's 1220° F, or, for my Canadian friends, 660° C.

Why do I know this, you might ask?

We've had an interesting day here at the closing show of Fela! Everything was fine until about one hour, when I came down to the backstage area after dropping the queens mics on 3B, but I walked in and started to unpack my computer when I smelled something oddly like burning. I stuffed the computer back into it's bag and went out onto the stage where there was a group of people clustered around the far wall where the hazer is stashed. With a fire extinguisher. And a lot of smoke. Danny was climbing up into the wall and Jon had seen actual flames, as opposed to the last time we smelled smoke (battery pack under the stage for an effect that had been cut) when it was just smoke. The hazer, the clear source of the problem, was excavated and rushed out to the street, but there was still smoke and a concern that the fire had spread, so they called for the fire department and evacuated the building (including the full house for the show in one of the other theaters.) Many of the crew hovered around the still smoldering hazer, Mel (who was only in for the one show, covering for Dave) with the fire extinguisher close to hand, until the house staff shooed us across the street with the patrons. I still hadn't seen the queens come out of the building, so even though the building is a big concrete box and I knew the fire was small and localized, I wasn't totally comfortable until I started to see the wardrobe crew spill out the far doors, queens in tow.

While we stood about blocking traffic, four fire trucks showed up, and the firemen rushed in to check it out. Someone jokingly gave a fifteen minute call around twenty til our three o'clock curtain. The audience members from the other show saw us hanging around and acting like we had somewhere to be, so they thought we might know something about the cause of the fire and started peppering us with questions. We had nothing useful to tell them however, and I was reluctant to give them any information.

One of the engines that showed up had lettered across the windshield "NEVER MISSED A PEFORMANCE", which, while not terribly surprising since we're blocks from the whole Times Square mess, did strike us all as quite funny, still wondering if we would be doing our closing show.

We got back into the building, no real harm done, around 2:45 and put it around that we were aiming for a 3:30 go, in an attempt to hurry the actors along a bit and actually get a 3:45 curtain. The women were largely ready by then, and I went downstairs as soon as they were all out of the dressing room, hoping to catch the lead before he went on, as stage management was anxious about having an audio sub responsible for his mic. No worries there. Amazingly, we were still waiting for the house. Honestly, if you're showing up at 3:45 for a 3pm show, you deserve to miss some. (Looking at YOU, Chelsea Clinton.)

We found out in the middle of act one that the heating element in the hazer had malfunctioned severely enough to melt the aluminum, which leaked out, extremely hot, to start the fire. How hot?

That's why I happen to know the melting point of aluminum today.