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05 November 2008 @ 07:11 am
My family's email list has exchanged a round of email about the election. One of my uncles emailed everybody to celebrate Obama's victory, one of my aunts replied, basically, to say "Congratulations, and I hope you're right," and my dad responded like so:

Hi, y'all.  Maybe it's because I've been sick since Friday, and I'm a bit of a curmudgeon anyway but it appears to me that nothing has been won yet.  

President-elect Obama now has the privilege of negotiating a troop withdrawal agreement with Iraq, a country now perpetually on the brink of civil war, managing a worsening conflict in Afghanistan, repairing relations with erstwhile ally Pakistan while not offending India, dealing with the worst economic crisis in our lifetime.....well, you get the picture. 

What I saw in this election that worried me the most was the deep distrust and fear that many Americans had toward each other.  Although I have to admit I am pleased with his election, I'm not breaking out the champagne (right now, it would be water and dry toast anyway--ick!) until President Obama does something President Bush (and many others) never did--pick a Cabinet and policy initiatives which reflect the diversity of the country and lower even a little the level of distrust and fear. 

Other than that, enjoy the moment!

I had a thing or two to say about that. Because I am apparently too sleepy to make an lj-cut work even when I copy the code verbatim from a previous entry, here's my response in its entirety.


Clearly President Obama (man, I love saying that) will face staggering challenges as he takes office, challenges that won't be resolved for years to come. But the fact that he was elected at all is cause for celebration--first, because I believe he is almost infinitely better equipped to face those challenges than Senator McCain, having demonstrated the ability to inspire a broad spectrum of the American people, articulate a path for them to follow to a better tomorrow, and surround himself with the sort of expertise that Democrats have so sorely lacked in recent years; and second, because, as you say, this election exposed some of the worst fractures in American unity and some shameful attempts to play on the fears and doubts about one another that still divide us--and it didn't work. The cries of "Country First" and "Drill, Baby, Drill" were not just ignored but shouted down, by a decisive margin, and this country spoke loud and clear that you've got to do more than scare us to get us to vote for you. This election is a referendum on failed lassez faire economic policies, failed imperialist foreign policy, failed corporate welfare policies--on the failure of the politics of fear and division (as Obama named them), at least for now. It's a clear signal to the Republican party that they are going to have to do a heck of a lot better than stale talking points, stupid buzzwords, and transparent bids to appeal to both sides of their unnatural, (finally!) fraying coalition between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. I even dare to hope that some good, faithful social conservatives (hi, Aunt Carol!) will notice that only one presidential candidate in this election is a regular churchgoer and devoted parent who's never been divorced, who sounds a whole lot smarter and more substantive than the token social conservative on the Republican ticket.

Speaking as someone who has spent his entire political life under the thumb of a president and an administration I don't like, trust, respect, or support, who has had his patriotism questioned for arguing for what's right, who has seen inspiring figures like Howard Dean and the John McCain of 2000 thrown under the bus of party machinery and sound-bite "journalism" in favor of safe, dishwater-dull failures like Kerry and puffball politicos like Bush, who is deathly sick of seeing good people in both parties lied to by their leaders, I can't express how exhilarating it was to vote for someone who genuinely inspires me and to see that person take the stage as president-elect with (at least) 62 million other voices behind him--no half-percent margin, no stolen states and ugly lawsuits, but a clear and resounding victory and an electoral map noticeably different from the one I'd come to take as a given. Even if both sides of the debate have been a bit insubstantial at times, it's a nice change to see words of hope triumph over words of fear.

Yes, this is all awfully naive of myself and the other young people who helped elect Obama, who haven't seen so many other political hopes dashed. Yes, there's a real possibility that his best intentions and efforts will not succeed, that the challenges facing him are out of his control, that four years from now things will be worse instead of better, that we will once again elect those who cynically exploit power for the benefit of their own interests. Yes, there certainly is still cause for worry, fear, and doubt about the future of this country and the debate about its direction.

But for the first time in (at least) eight years, I'm excited, rather than scared, to see it all unfold.

And while this is a victory, it's the beginning of a journey, not the end. There's no sense from where I'm sitting that now this is over and we can all go home. Instead, there's a very real feeling that when the celebration is over, it's time to roll up our sleeves and do the work it will take to make this country great again. And, from where I'm sitting, that is a strange, wonderful, singular thing to feel.
Current Mood: excitedexcited
27 July 2008 @ 08:34 am
I'm in Champaign-Urbana through Wednesday, then in Chicago for Magic's U.S. Nationals through Monday.

Drop me a line if you're around!
12 June 2008 @ 08:21 pm
I haven't decided yet whether the song means anything or just sounds like it does, but the video is freaking brilliant regardless:

Tally Hall's Good Day
18 May 2008 @ 12:01 am
 rebeccafrog  is out of town, so no Friday BSG and no corresponding cooking adventure. Instead, I had another solo tour.

Last Wednesday, we made something she called savory bread pudding, and the Friday before that we made delicious crepes with two kinds of sauce. The bread pudding was from the Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers cookbook, as was my previous cooking adventure. It's a great cookbook. It knows rather more about cooking than I do, but it does a great job of explaining what needs to be explained most of the time while leaving enough unsaid that it isn't cumbersome and that I get to discover some interesting things for myself.

astridsdream and I went out for breakfast, recharged our batteries in the sunshine, then spent all day cleaning my apartment (so that she can pack up her apartment and keep most of her stuff here in the month or so that she'll be living here before we're ready to move into a new place together...). I have a clean dining room for the first time ever. The price is that my bedroom is now a wreck, so that's the project for tomorrow. For tonight, though, we had made plans to have mad_willy over to my newly shiny apartment for delicious foods and Magic. I perused Simple Suppers while sitting in the parking lot of Fred Meyer at the start of our shopping trip and picked the first recipe that caught my eye:

Oh, and I won the post-dinner Magic game. And my apartment's clean, and I feel exhausted and productive, and it's only Saturday! (Well, it's Sunday now, but the main point is that tomorrow morning isn't Monday.) It's been a good weekend so far. For now, the beer and cheese are making a pointed argument in favor of sleep.
17 May 2008 @ 12:14 am
Finally saw it. It was awesome. Some great acting, some great action, some intriguing political metaphors, and of course the standard dose of arc reactor-powered suspension of disbelief.

Great fun, and I'll be watching with great interest to see how Marvel handles its unfolding and intertwining line of superhero movies. I have this hunch that the great golden age of superhero movies is just beginning.

(I'm exhausted, so I'm going to bed for now. Interested in hearing more of my thoughts about the movie or about Marvel's big plans? Let me know, and I'll post more! Unless I don't.)
07 May 2008 @ 11:22 pm
Of late I have been serving as rebeccafrog's kitchen apprentice (after quickly graduating from the post kitchen monkey, which just tonight was retconned to the superior "kitchen imp"), primarily to feed our Wednesday gaming group but increasingly for Friday Battlestar Galactica and whatever other opportunities present themselves.

You can read about our joint culinary adventures, as well as the weekly challenges we're basing them on, in her LJ. Last night, though, I borrowed one of her cookbooks and struck out to feed astridsdream and myself all on my own. The next day, I discovered that I had just independently completed this week's challenge: a soup from the Moosewood Restaurant's Simple Suppers cookbook.

She and I are going to do something exciting with mushrooms and asparagus on Friday. For now, I decided to tackle something simpler:

Italian Bread and Cheese SoupCollapse )

Meanwhile, tonight at our gaming group, we baked and ate a pesto lasagna with hazelnuts that rebeccafrog and I prepared on Monday after cooking and eating dinner (mango salad; good, but way outside what I'd ever prepare of my own volition). The lasagna was delicious. On the car ride home we agreed that sharper cheeses and more garlic would have been an improvement, and I felt that the pesto and cheese flavors could have blended better. What would have happened if we had mixed the pesto and cheese together before applying them on the two bottom layers? Disaster? I am curious. All told, though, no complaints--just opportunities for further experimentation.

This is fun, and like all my favorite activities, it represents a telescoping rabbit hole of ever-increasing, ever-unfolding depth and complexity. I'm constantly learning, there's always more to learn, and there always will be. I do believe I could get used to this cooking thing. (Insert sound of astridsdream cheering me on in brazen self-interest a heartwarming show of support.)
Current Mood: accomplished
27 April 2008 @ 02:32 am
So… It’s finally happened, though I swore it wouldn’t. I’m on Facebook.

Sleepy musings on the implications of this below the cut.Collapse )
18 April 2008 @ 12:42 am
I want to get back in the habit of posting here, but in the meantime, you should really go read this discussion thread about some instructional videos posted on that site I edit.

If you're interested in Magic, and especially if you're planning on attending the Shadowmoor Prerelease, you should definitely watch the videos as well.

But even if you're not interested in Magic, haven't watched the videos, etc., you should really go read the thread. Skim for the bits about Brandon. That'll lead you to the bits about me. Then keep reading. It gets worse.

When I saw Brandon in the office this afternoon, he said, "So. Jello wrestling." I said, "Let's do this." Alas, no jello.

Then tonight at the employee prerelease, the Rules Manager, Mark G., saw Brandon and started gushing about, "Oh my gosh, it's you! You're the hot guy from the web site!" When I, sitting right behind Brandon, turned around and smirked, he actually jumped up and down exclaiming, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! It's both of them right next to each other!"

And that pretty much sums up my day.
12 February 2008 @ 07:35 am
Hey everybody! Just a heads-up that I am leaving in a few hours for sunny, tropical Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I am inoculated against mysterious tropical diseases, I'm scheduled to stay a few extra days, and I'm ready for an adventure.

Over Valentine's Day. Work travel this year will also claim Memorial Day and Halloween. Does that seem right to you?

Anyway, I'm on this luxurious 18-hour Singapore Airlines flight where I'll be able to plug in my computer, so that Serenity session script should actually materialize. Of course, I also pulled an all-nighter last night after sleeping four hours the night before, so maybe I'll just spend those 18 hours sleeping.

The time zones weird me out. Malaysia is 16 hours ahead of Washington, which means that in Kuala Lumpur, it's eight hours ago tomorrow.
05 February 2008 @ 09:48 am
So, I overslept and I'm running late for work, but this had to be documented. If my interpretation is correct, this morning I had a dream so stupid I woke up in self-defense. The following is somewhat reconstructed, but I swear it is true to the dream.

It was about some stupid cartoon animal scientist-type (who, if he wasn't Mr. Peabody, was at the very least an alumnus of the same stupid cartoon animal graduate program--even the animation was the same) who had been hired to invent an outlandish device.

It seems a famous opera singer (a big, bearded man who stood on his tiptoes) was having trouble with his voice and had been told to take in the ocean air. He was a busy man, however, and didn't want to spend a lot of time at it. So the stupid cartoon animal scientist-type invented this flying machine--which looked like a barrel with lots of extraneous tubes, and maybe wings--so that the opera singer could zoom over the ocean, taking in lots of ocean air very quickly. But it gets worse.

He gave it a name that was some torturous, excruciating pun involving the word "pod" (playing off of iPod, which I'm fairly sure Mr. Peabody never got the chance to do). It didn't involve the phrase "highPod," which would at least let me imagine one of the silhouette people from the iPod commercials smoking a joint. No, this was Much Dumber Than That. I don't think it's even a pun in real life. It was that dumb. There was something about "undersea" in it, which doesn't make any sense.

So the stupid cartoon animal scientist-type is explaining the device to his stupid cartoon kid assistant type, correcting his pronunciation with yet more awful puns, when the opera singer comes back. The stupid cartoon animal scientist-type asks him how his flight was, and he says it was good, "but..." So they do a Q&A routine that's obviously a throughline for some awful joke. Finally the opera singer gets to it:

"Eef zees eez one of your 'pods,' zen where are ze headphones?!"


...It was my last dream of the night, and I swear it woke me up. I woke with a start, thinking, in sequence, "That was really stupid!" and "Wait, what time is it??"

I'm not sure whether to give my brain a cookie for finding a way to wake me up, or to scrub it with bleach for inundating me with that level of pure dumbth.

Maybe I should give it a bleach cookie. That'll show it.