Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkeys in the mud

Obviously Thanksgiving was last week. We went down to Durango* to celebrate w/ Steph's family, and to meet our new 5-week-old nephew/cousin.

We started Wednesday, when we got off work and looked at the Thursday forecast over the south-eastern CO was s'posed to start raining/snowing early Thursday, so instead of driving through that we left at 7 pm Wednesday for the 6-7 hour drive to the far corner of the state. Steph did most of the driving, but I got to take over at the end when it was getting to be 2 a.m. and we were exhausted and ready to sleep. But we made it to the in-laws place at 2ish and conked out, waking up to lots of rain, which turned their entire property into mud pit for the following 3 days. They're off the grid out in the country, so there's a LOT of space for mud to develop. Thursday was the traditional way-too-much-food and then hanging out w/ family. Jeff and Kelly and their 3 came over and we spent a lethargic day hanging out.

Friday was relaxed as well, with necklace-making for the girls, fudge-creation, and swimming in the evening. Saturday we went to Jeff & Kelly's place, then hit the road to come back to Denver. There was a massive storm set to hit early this morning so we got out ahead of that one as well. The news today told us that was an excellent idea, since travel conditions were a complete disaster all over the state today. Getting back a day early meant we had time to de-mud some things and go into the week not completely behind.

That's all for now. I get to sleep in a comfortable bed tonight and I'm looking forward to that!

*I say "Durango," but technically we stay in Ignacio at the in-laws place...Jeff and family are in Durango-proper.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Realization weighs a ton

I don't really know where to start this entry. I spent the weekend in Miami at an investigator meeting for a new depression trial. That's only significant because this is the 1st meeting I've been to alone since the weekend of October 27, 2007. For that meeting we'd just gotten married a week before, we were both starting new jobs, and Steph hadn't been feeling well, so she stayed home and I spent the weekend wishing she hadn't. As it turned out that was the only weekend of marriage we had before the diagnosis, and we spent it apart.

This weekend I was alone again with lots of time to think. The weight of past year finally hit me. I spent most of the weekend anxious to get home and see my wife, while feeling completely overwhelmed with gratitude that she's still around to come home to. I hope I never lose that appreciation for this amazing woman who allowed me into her life.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The death of fear

First, a link to my uncle's blog post on this topic. It's good reading, and a lot of what I was going to say.

I wanted to add that this election was especially interesting to me in light of a couple of the more interesting books I've read in recent years. The first I'll mention is "False Alarm: The Truth about the Epidemic of Fear." It's not really a political book per se, but it's about how the constant state of fear inflicted on Americans is really not healthy, and pretty silly. ( many smokers ignore the odds of that damaging their health, while simultaneously panicking if a guy in a turban gets on the plane with them?) Fear is just such an innate, hard-wired response that it is incredibly easy to elicit and manipulate.

Which leads to the other book, "Conservatives without Conscience," which explores the right wing's assumption of the strong-leader role to play into the authoritarian sensibilities of their base.* For the last 7 years, the GOP has played up fear and claimed to have a monopoly on the answers to what scares you. In this election, Americans shook that off. Instead of giving into the fear of the "other" (which was the point of every whisper campaign against Obama), the majority of Americans went with Hope. That's a pretty incredible shift, biologically and electorally.

So in light of this...where does the GOP come from here? I'm going to stick with my pre-election prediction, that the GOP is going to be doing a lot of soul-searching, which is going to be quite confusing for their evangelical base.

And I thought I'd close with's one of my favorite pieces of multimedia art from the 2004 election cycle, when fear-manipulation was in full swing. (The original this was mixed from is "Pet" by A Perfect Circle.) Hopefully we can put this kind of thing behind us and get on with the future!

*This is a fascinating book and I've blogged about it before, but the gist of the argument is that evangelicals are primed to buy into an us vs. them mentality and the idea of a strong leader who has all the answers.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

America gets it right.

There are many people who will have more eloquent things to say about what happened tonight. I understand that. But this is my blog.

What strikes me most about tonight is that this was the Howard Dean campaign writ large and executed to perfection. It was the goal of Dean to run a campaign from the bottom up, to ask a lot of normal people to buy in at the ground floor, rather than relying on the powers that be to carry the day. Beyond the racial issue, this is the greatness of this election. Obama has proven that a Democrat can win across large segments of the population, and that Dean's idea of going into 'red' states has real merit. At the moment, the Electoral College vote is at 338 Obama, 154 McCain. There are more states undecided of course, but that's pretty incredible. The country was ready for change and we'll get it.

And Colorado? We're not red any more. 2 years ago we were a 3/4 Dem/GOP split in our House delegation. Perlmutter made it 4/3, Markey tonight makes it a 5/2 Dem/GOP split, and we flipped a Senate seat this evening as well so we now have 2 Dem Senators. Add to that our Dem Governor, state house, and state senate, and you'd be hard pressed to make a case that this is a red state.

Time to turn the TV off. Stay safe Obama. The country has said loud and clear that we need you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween and politikin'

Halloween this year was spifftacular. It was my first year with children...Adam had the kids last year. So this year was our turn and we got to explore our new neighborhood with the dozens of other wandering chilluns. The Bean had a Wonder Woman costume that she wore to school and to the party at Mr. K's school. Then of course she jumped in a mud puddle on the way back to the car and declared her costume unfit for trick-or-treating. Fortunately the Bean has no shortage of dress-up clothes, so she quickly reset as a fairy princess. Mr. K was a clone trooper, and his school costume parade had a plethora of Star Wars characters, with the odd Indiana Jones thrown in. It was weird seeing so many costumes that would have fit in perfectly with similar parades in my youth.

Trick-or-treating was great, with nice mild temperatures and only a few falls in the dark. We ended up with a TON of potentially-peanut-laced candy that Mr. K can't touch. You would think that with the growing prevalence of peanut allergies, some candy makers would start separating non-peanut items in the factories. They'd increase their marketability quickly. As it was, by the time the evening was over Mr. K was itching and needed benadryl and a shower before bed, just from leaked-through-the-package peanut exposure. I can't wait until somebody nails down the peanut allergy vaccine.

In political news, I was able to spend 3 hours volunteering this weekend. Still nowhere near 2006 levels, but that will never happen again. (Rightfully so...I have a happy life now.) Saturday I hit the phones for an hour while Mr. K was at a party and today he and I canvassed. We got a nice concise walk list (40 units in an apartment complex) and did the whole thing in just over an hour. Nobody was home, and the people that were tended to be the new tenants, since the people on the list had moved out. He claimed to have enjoyed it, though most of the time he could hardly hold still while waiting to see if the tenants were home. It was a good 1st exposure though.

In other political news, just a few more tidbits of stuff I find amusing. The 7-11 7-Election has ended, and Obama won handily. The 7-Election has predicted the last 2 presidential races accurately. No word from 7-11 if there was a cup-affiliated creamer preference (Obama cup=black coffee, McCain cup= creamer?) For the real 'official' poll numbers...Gallup released it's last poll prior to the election. Their national popular vote number puts Obama at 53%, McCain at 42%. (MOE=2%) That looks pretty darn good for Tuesday.

Just please...if you're reading this and you haven't yet, VOTE. Don't let anything stop you. When Obama wins this, you don't want to remember this as the election that changed the country, but you couldn't find the time to cast your ballot.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

More posts in my head

but for now I just wanted to share my favorite ad of the season so far: