Monthly Archives: November 2008

Bewildered and Hurt

Today, my dear friend George Kelly wrote on Twitter:

“California voters who voted for Obama and voted yes on Proposition 8: I need to hear you explain why.”

I do know at least one voter who was passionate about both voting for Barak Obama and voting Yes on Prop 8. This person is an immediate family member.
After all of the conversations that I had with this person about why we were both going to vote for Obama, it was a shock last Sunday evening at dinner to find that this person was going to vote Yes on Prop 8. At the time, I felt betrayed and we talked about the Bible vs. discrimination and true love. My sister kindly brought up that we should not be burdening the State Constitution with non-structural/non-governmental moral issues.
But the person remained steadfast that it would be wrong for a Christian to vote No on Prop 8. I held my tongue after I made my arguments and walked away from dinner quite disappointed. A couple of days later, I had a long talk with Erika about the subject, as we are both Christians who were voting No on Prop 8.
Here’s my stance: I have wanted to get married since I was a little girl. I had hoped for years to find a man to love, to have, and hold who would also want the same with me in return. An equal in intellect, faith, reason, reading and passion for life to make a life with and have a family with. I now stand before you at age 40 and somehow by the roll of the dice of life, I have yet to meet such a man. I have yet to fall in love. I have yet to get married. I have yet to have children. And it breaks my heart.
Given this, I can not any way or fashion deny another human the desire to marry their one true love, I am too much of a romantic to do such a thing. I have for years joked that it is everyone’s right to get married, get a mortgage, and grow boring together. Everyone’s right.
Not just the right of the ultra-more-perfect-than-thou Biolan’s I went to college with who not only were virgins at marriage, but many of them were saving their first kiss for the wedding*. Not just the right of the folks who met their one true love and married them right away just after high school. Not just the right of middle class people from undivorced, unbroken homes**. Not just the right of the righteous.
Are you righteous? Are you really that perfect? Judge not, unless ye be judged.


Watching the Election Results Online

Since I choose to live without a TV, I am “watching” the online election results until 6:30pm when I go out for drinks with Judy and other friends, whereupon, I will start watching the mobile web results.
Here are the most entertaining results, commentary, and stories:
Twitter (I recommend watching Skeskali’s feed as she has took the day off from work, is on west coast time, and has started drinking Jack & Coke. Her tweets should get good in about an hour, as drunk tweeting is the best.)
The Daily Dish : Andrew Sullivan has been hitting the ballpark home all day with notes from his readers and links to other stories.
Making LightBruce Schneier
is guest posting as the election progresses.
FiveThirtyEight – a blog that is bringing the various polls together in a statistical manner.
There is also the Daily Kos map.
Various News Networks: CNN | BBC | MSNBC | LA Times | NY Times | The Guardian | NPR
And if you need a good laugh, Stewart & Colbert’s Indecision 2008.
California’s polls are open for another 2.25 hours, so if you haven’t voted, get thee to your polling station.

In Real Life :: Community & the Experience of it All

Tomorrow I will be voting in person at my local polling station. I did not vote by mail or via early voting in any one of the places that one could vote early in my county.
Early this morning on twitter, Dan Benjamin asked:

“For those of you who are voting but haven’t yet (neither early or absentee) I ask you: why? Is it the in-person/on-the-day thing?”

A bit later this morning I replied:

“@danbenjamin it is for me the vote in person at the poll experience.”

And just a couple of hours ago, I tweeted to the world:

“Tomorrow is going to be a circus, so I am going to line up to vote at the local poll at 4pm w/ camera & notepad in hand, then go to Walt’s.”

I spend all day and most evenings in my apartment on my computer both for a living and for the pure, shear joy of my love for the internet. I, the borderline introvert/extrovert who needs both a couple hours every day to myself & time with folks, have had quite enough of being all by my lonesome and doing things “virtually”.
Early on in my freelance web design / development career, I discovered that the best way to keep from going completely nuts with feelings of isolation was to spend my mornings, when I had social energy built up, doing errands and then go out to lunch, and then to spend my afternoons and evenings working*.
To counter all this on the computer time, I have made sure that I talk to friends on the phone (not IM) or get together with them in person frequently, as well as attend all manner of fun community events – from the mundane (botany) to the cool (concerts) to the bizarre (house movings & demolitions) to professional events (SXSW and other conferences**) – in person and experience them with all of my senses and all of my person.
The very idea of even more time online or diverting communal activities in real life so that I have more time to “work” or be with my family is rather bizarre and revolting to me. Humans, be we introverts or extroverts, are social creatures. Getting out and about, even if only on a occasion is good. Different folk have differing needs for social activity, but I do think it is important that we gather together as a community more than once every four years or so.
Much as been lamented about the decline of civil involvement and civility, much has also been lamented about the decline of community involvement and the like. I get it if you don’t want to go to church/mosque/temple/whatever & teach Friday/Saturday/Sunday school on top of attending every other event on the docket. Neither do I. Or if after a long day of work or school, plus commitments to your family & friends, that you don’t have a lot of time to volunteer or attend civil / community forums every week. But I think it is important to get out and about and involved in the greater community, however you define it, at least a couple of times a month.
There is a good reason that we humans have, regardless of culture or religion, a wide range and a rich tradition of gathering together for festivals, holidays, elections, fairs, games, and sports. In these events, we bond in community and build culture.
I am not going to miss the community and spectacle that will be the election tomorrow. I want to go to my new polling place in Seal Beach, The Little Church (whereas our previous elections have been held in a living room on 15th Street). I want to stand in line. I want to participate in my community. I want to have a chat with the folks I know from our mutual dog walking. I want to be inconvenienced. I want to experience this once in a lifetime election viscerally, not virtually.
div class=”note”* If you have clients who have a strict 8am – 5pm schedule, it drives them nuts that I don’t get to my “desk” until 1pm at the earliest (one savvy client copped on to me and started calling me before he went to bed at 11pm to discuss what was needed before 8am the next morning).
** Much has been made recently about virtual conferences, saving the planet, reducing your carbon footprint (ie not flying), and attending conferences virtually. Did I mention that folks say that it is environmentally unhealthy to travel to conferences?
Ah… I don’t want to go into a long rant about carbon counting as the new puritanism, but folks, if you are already living in a good to moderate environmentally aware lifestyle*** then attending an in person conference or two or three per year will not kill any polar bears. The whole point of a conference is to convene with other human beings.
For all of the pro-polar bear smugness that can warm the cockles of the neo-enviro-puritan heart, I can’t get into the virtual conference experience. I recently was given a pass (thanks, Andy!) to attend the <head> conference. Basically, I didn’t like it. The speakers were good to great, but beh.
It was not a community event, it was a virtual event. Aral & Stephanie did an incredible job putting the whole thing together, of which I aplaud them for, but I really did not like the virtual conference attendance. If I am going to sit for multiple hours nicely and listen then I want the pay off of 15 minutes of socializing with real humans in between each speaker, not chatting on an im/irc/chat interface. bah.
Maybe if I had been at one of the in person, in real life hubs, I would have liked the head conference better. But maybe not, the very essence of humans from a variety of walks of life all coming together and the random meetings that occur in a real-life/meatspace conference can’t be replaced by the online experience. The only time that I can see this working for folks is if they are deep introverts for whom a regular conference is fraught with social peril and upset.
*** In case you are doubting my enviro-cred, while I am NOT a neo-enviro-puritan and I do have Hanen-Anti-Authoritarian rebellion issues****, I do my part to not buy into and live out the American Consumption Dream. I live in an 224 sq. apartment of which I neither run heat nor A/C, I own and drive a Prius, the meat in my freezer is locally raised by my cousin (grass-fed & no anti-biotics) and butchered locally, I buy local produce year around (w00t SoCal!), I recycle, etc.
**** My brother also has Hanen-Anti-Authoritarian rebellion issues and as a result is so sick of the neo-enviro-puritans that he goes out of his way to be as un-enviro-friendly as possible. This raises up another issue that I need to blog about, remind me to do so, but that the environment movement needs to get off its high horse and make it fun. At best, religion has proven that you are lucky to get anywhere between 10-20% of folk truly believing in a puritan movement (pick any historical movement of your choice) who may then bully the other 80-90% of the population into complying, but not for long. If we are to really and truly environmentally save the planet we need to take a moderate diet & exercise style plan that allows for occasional cheating and good dollops of fun.

A Bit Worn

In my last 1.5 years of university and the first year of being out in the big world, I purchased quite a few household items. I belong to the set of folk who would rather spend good money for objects that will last, rather than the purchase objects for as cheaply as possible at Walmart/Ikea/Target/Costco and then discarded a few years later when the object is unusable.
To that end, most of what I purchased in that time period, I still use daily 18-15 years later. My towels, my kitchen knives, my dishes, my Reed&Barton flatware, my Chantel blue enameled cookware, etc, etc, etc.
In the last year, I have noticed that my towels, which are lovely and don’t shed, are starting to fray. My good Gerber knives are now, even though I take them to be professionally sharpened, starting to have dings and dips in the blade and small rust spots are forming, although those are attacked with Bon Ami. My lifetime guaranteed Chantel enameled pans have a few dings in them, also with some spider cracks in the enamel.
Everything is still very usable and in good condition, but I will have to replace the towels soon unless I like having frayed towels hanging in my bathroom and getting stuck in the washer. I don’t mind the idea of upgrading my knife set to W├╝sthof or the like, but I do mind having to buy new towels.
New towels, no matter if you buy the cheap ones at Target or the more expensive ones at Macy’s, shed. They shed all over you when you are drying yourself. They shed when washed. Shedding of the new towels lasts for up to a year, though declining after each wash & dry.
New towel lint is more pernicious than Black Lab fur scattered around the house. I wish there were pre-washed, lint-free, 100% cotton bath towels available for sale.
Now I could only get an upgrade on the gray hairs that are breeding like rabbits on my head… I suppose I will shortly be forced to dye all my hair purple.