Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another photo from the booth

The things I need to work in the booth: my script, an icy cold Diet Coke, a pack of gum, a rubber band for my unruly hair, a coffee can full of pens and pencils, and a pink pearl eraser.

Does anybody know what the switch that's to the left of the coffee can is for? I have been dying to flip it.

Oh, and I left out: I also need the Post-its (you do not know how vital those Post-its are. Having them in the booth might be my very own innovation: I use them to mark the audio cues in the book so that I know what's coming up even if I'm not there yet). And I should've gotten a shot of the types of pens and pencils that are actually in that coffee can: most of them lack erasers (hence the need for the pink pearl eraser); some of them are grease pencils (cool! real theater paraphernalia!), some of them are huge gigantic Sharpies, and some of them are the mechanical pencils I brought from home.

I like these.

I don't know why I thought anybody would care, but there you go.

Finally: today I finished re-reading "The Mists of Avalon." I suppose I first read it when it first came out (wait, that would mean I was 10. I was an advanced reader, but I'm pretty sure my mother, who was relatively strict with my reading material until junior high, would've caught this one), well, maybe shortly after it first came out. I know also that I re-read it at least twice during my teens and early twenties (because that's what I do with books. I'm definitely a re-reader), and for a long time I got a lot of enjoyment out of it, and I know the reviews on it were always good and that Jean Auel thinks it's her favorite novel ever (then again, Jean Auel wrote all that soft porn caveman junk, so who really cares what she thinks*. And yes, I realize that is a simplistic criticism that can only be made by someone without a full-on college education who read some of those novels merely for the titillation. Yes. I was a fool. So were you, I would suspect) or something--but this time through (and I will admit I fast-tracked this reading; I think I started it on Sunday of last week and finished it today, after staying up until 3:30 this morning) because I was looking for the hook, the thing that made me love it.

I couldn't find it.

*Wikipedia tells me that Jean Auel is a member of Mensa. So she's way smarter than I am, obviously. Still, I do think "Clan of the Cave Bear" is an icky book.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I want (updated)

I want to listen to songs that have the words "I Want" somewhere near the front of the title. "I Wanna" counts, "I Don't Want (or Wanna)" doesn't.

So far I have the following songs on this playlist:

  • I Want To Hold Your Hand, by the Beatles
  • I Want You (She's So Heavy), by the Beatles
  • I Want Candy, by Bow Wow Wow (listen to that rhythm section!)
  • I Want Someone Badly, by Jeff Buckley (Jeff is the man. Or was the man, obviously)
  • I Want You, by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
  • I Wanna Be a Bear, by Descendents
  • I Want You, by Marvin Gaye (smooth!)
  • I Want To Tell You, by George Harrison
  • I Want You Back, by the Jackson 5
  • I Want You, by the Kooks
  • I Wanna Be Loved, by Ricky Nelson (wasn't he dreamy?)
  • I Want You Back, by Graham Parker
  • I Wanna Be Your Dog, by Sex Pistols (classic)
  • I Want To Take You Higher, by Sly and the Family Stone (my bad, skipping this one!)
  • I Wanna Be Adored, by the Stone Roses
  • I Want To Be the Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart, by the White Stripes

Songs not on this playlist, or any playlist to be created by me:

  • I Want To Know What Love Is, by Foreigner: I've got a pretty good idea of what love is*, and I have to say, I don't think having to listen to this song has anything to do it
  • I Want a New Drug, by Huey Lewis and the News: You might need drugs, after listening to this song.
  • I Want a New Duck, by Weird Al Yankovic: I was tempted to download this song. Something is seriously wrong with my sense of humor tonight.
  • I Want It All, by Queen: Cheese on a stick!
  • I Want It All, by Ashley Tisdale, et al, from "High School Musical": Not the same song. Not at all.
  • I Want To Break Free, by Queen: Clearly Freddy Mercury had many wants and desires; I, however, have no desire to listen to this song
  • I Want To Live, by John Denver: Jesus Christ, this song makes me want to slit my wrists and get it over with
  • I Want You, by James Blunt: A Bob Dylan cover. I want neither Bob nor James.
  • I Want You, by Third Eye Blind: Not now, not ever
  • I Wanna Rock, by Twisted Sister
  • I Wanna Get High, by Cypress Hill: I don't need the power of suggestion working on me
  • I Want Your Sex, by George Michael: this song just confuses me.
  • I Wanna Be Committed, by Sweet: hell, no
  • I Wanna Be a Cowboy, by Boys Don't Cry: too many weird memories with this one
  • We Want a Rock, by They Might Be Giants: Obviously doesn't fall within the parameters; good title, though
  • I Want You To Want Me, by Cheap Trick: I've heard this song enough times to last me the rest of my life. And the Dwight Yoakam version is just silly. We will not speak of the Lindsay Lohan version.
  • I Want To Be Alone, by Green Day: I don't get why Green Day was (is?) so popular.
  • I Wanna Be Sedated, by the Ramones
  • I Wanna Kill Sam, by Ice Cube: I'm just glad I'm not "Sam"
  • I Wanna Marry You, by Bruce Springsteen: this is a perfect example of why I do not like Bruce Springsteen
  • I Want To Take You Higher, by Tesla, Billy Hinton (WHO?), Brian Auger (see note for "Billy Hinton"), Elusions (?), Gougoush (??), John Scott Soto (???), Sonia Dada (great horn section, whoever she is)
  • I Want, by Face to Face: I knew somebody at some point who liked this band, but I don't know who it was, or why
  • I Want You, by Kings of Leon: I suspect that Kings of Leon is a band I would really enjoy if I would just sit down and listen, but I haven't gotten there yet.
  • I Always Get What I Want, by Avril Lavigne: if I were 12 I'd be all over this; also, not exactly working with the aforementioned parameters
  • (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea, by Elvis Costello: my favorite Elvis song, again, not fitting the rules, but man, what a great song. Maybe I'll do "I Do Not Want" songs next...
  • I Want To Be You, by Hamfatter: I had never heard of these guys until I started this quest, and just from the couple of songs I've heard, including "The Girl I Love" and "Do Something Stupid Tonight," I'm curious.

I will accept suggestions and/or requests. If you've got your favorite "I Want" song and it's not here, let me know, and I'll consider adding it.


I also wanted to mention that I just finished watching the two episodes of The West Wing that follow the episode where President Bartlet is shot (for some reason either Bravo didn't show that episode or the DVR didn't pick it up), and I sobbed like a baby when Toby came across Josh with that big ol' wound in his abdomen (later they said "chest" but he was holding his side, no?). Sure it was only for a second (my bawling), but still. Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman might be the perfect man. I don't know. I love him. See, Foreigner? I do know what love is.

*It's a nice tub of Ben & Jerry's "Cherry Garcia" ice cream, right?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Me, at work in the booth. / False ending

I know I've been mobile blogging a lot lately. I admit that it's easier to take a photo than to write something, right now.

There's probably more to this story.

Good night.


This post is going to be confusing. I sent the photo from my phone at 9:10 p.m. I wrote the words below the photo at around 12:30. "good night' is bullshit because I've been awake all this time, and now it's 2:06. Tomorrow I have to get up kind of early, but I'm not sleeping, yet.

I don't have much to say, but I can't go to sleep. Patrick went to Mr. T's Bowl tonight with his friends to see the band "Carnage Asada." I didn't go because of the theater, of course. I like Mr. T's Bowl - there's a great restaurant next door that I can't remember the name of. Anyway, he wasn't home, so when I got here from Santa Monica, I ate a late dinner. Oh, and I watched two taped episodes of "Celebrity Rehab." Dr. Drew had been getting on my nerves but these two episodes he was less sarcastic. They're an interesting group of people on this show. Amber Smith has some real problems, same with the girl from American Idol (I think her name is Nikki). Tawny Kitaen will probably be okay: she seems like she has it in her to get through this. Jeff Conaway and Gary Busey make me sad. Rod Stewart's kid needs to grow up. Rodney King is way more interesting than I thought he would be, and I hope he makes it (I hope they all make it). But the one I really wonder about is Steven Adler. I guess he was in a coma? Had some major health issues? And the stuff with his mother is really sad. Between the two of them, there are some serious problems. He seems very real, and very hurt, and man, I wonder about that guy.

It made me sad, for some reason.

Now I have to try to go to bed!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The fog

The scene on my way to work this morning.

It looks less mysterious in the photo than it did at the time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I saw this on my way to Culver City tonight, off the 10 freeway around Hill Street

What are "A-shirts," I wonder?

Also, totally unrelated: I started to realize just how crappy the economy must be when I went to Target in Culver City and there was nobody in there.

Also, and again, totally unrelated: while shopping at Target, one person I did see, a woman about my age or older, who was pushing her young child in the Target shopping cart: she had some kind of elaborate quilt thing that her kid was sitting on. Slightly padded, yes, but I think rather than being concerned for her kid's comfort, she was more concerned that her kid didn't have to have the cold and hard plastic seat come into contact with his/her skin.

Look. I know it's a new day and that parents don't do the dumb-ass things they did when I was an infant. Yes, I grew up in the fucking dark ages: it was a time when mothers smoked in the hospital while holding their newborns and fathers allowed their kids to ride in the bed of the pick up truck on the freeway (what? like that was just my family?). But I do not understand this quilt-y thing. In fact, this woman, who purchased some sort of organic cleaner for her bathroom and Frosted Mini Wheat cereal, seemed like a nice lady. But come on. Use the 21st century wipes they have at the front of the store and get over it. I once almost lost a finger riding in the shopping cart, and at Pic N Save, not fancy schmancy Target, and I made it this far just fine.

Finally, one other thing, yes, totally unrelated: I know I mentioned some grumpy thing earlier today about the weather and seeming pissed off that I can't wear my new coat because it's so damn hot. I wrote that and about one second later realized that, thanks to this weather and the fires, many people in Southern California right now don't have a lot of things. A useless winter coat is the least of their problems. So yeah, I felt like a creep instantly after writing that. Making a donation to the American Red Cross helped alleviate that feeling, well, slightly.

You don't need to feel like a jerk before giving to the American Red Cross - that really only works for me. To make your own donation, click here.

Adventure at the post office

At lunch today I went to the local post office here in East Los Angeles...
  • There were many, many people in there getting passports. Most of them were teenagers.
  • I've never seen anybody selling socks and various household items from a shopping cart in front of the post office before.
  • The older, cranky woman in line in front of me, who dealt with the Asian lady I eventually got, was very funny. She kept making fun of the way the postal lady spoke (which was actually quite clear), and even said at one point, in her awesome thick ELA accent, "Me and you don't communicate, do we." (I wish I could fake that accent. It's totally cool.)
  • They were out of the flat rate Priority Mail boxes. Another clerk gave me an empty box that previously held some sort of postal supplies, which was nice of her. I had brought some bubble wrap with me, so I wrapped the piccolo up in all of that (it looked like a very fat box of See's Candy). The box had some empty areas, though, and I wanted to fill that space with popcorn or newspaper. The post office had neither. Not even for sale.
  • I went outside and found EIGHT different newspaper machines, but they were all empty (one was for free porn or something; that would've been interesting packing material, esp. since the guy who bought the piccolo got it for his young daughter), so I went to my car, expecting to find a magazine or a newspaper... except I cleaned out my usually dirty car of crap yesterday.
  • I ended up using a bunch of Google maps that were floating around under the passenger seat, some empty plastic bags, and a paper J. Crew bag I've had in my car for years (I usually use it for my dry cleaning). Pretty much cussing the whole time (yes, I know I said I cleaned my car: I meant I cleaned it of reading material).
  • Because there was no parking at this post office, I was parked about a half a block away, which isn't a big deal, except that it's unseasonably warm in Los Angeles, and I wore a sweater today because I am willing it to get cooler with my winter clothes (dammit, when do I get to wear my new winter coat? Will we ever have a winter? Is this why that $400 coat was so cheap at Macy's?). It's November and 84 degrees outside, and that's just wrong.
  • I went back to the post office, and expected them, because they were the ones who didn't have the right (free) supplies, to charge me for the flat rate box, but no: clearly I was dreaming. I had to pay $3 more than I charged the guy I was shipping to (and did he have to live clear all the way across the county? Really. There are high school piccolo players in LA County, aren't they?), which made me kind of mad. Not hopping mad, no. Just kind of mad. But the Asian lady, who smiled all through the cranky woman's teasing, could've cared less. At this point I had been in and out of the post office for the past 45 minutes... I just wanted to go.
  • If not for the beautiful and cheering smells emanating from the panaderia next door, I would've been a lot more grumpy.

Whatever. It's mailed. We are once again a one piccolo household. All is right in the world.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Left turn

Taken at the corner of Lakewood and South Street. Trying to get to the post office by 6:30 - didn't make it.


I'm a cow, I'm a cow, I'm a cow-cow-cow, I'm a cow, I'm a cow, I'm a cow...


Feeling slightly less self-condemn-licious, and maybe just a little bit silly:

I'm a poi, I'm a poi, I'm a poi-poi-poi, I'm a poi, I'm a poi, I'm a poi...

Monday, November 17, 2008


On Saturday, I had an acupuncture appointment. I've started up again, and I love it. My acupuncturist is an RN with a PhD in something, and she rocks. She always starts out my sessions with asking me how I'm doing, and if I feel better since my last meeting with her. On Saturday we were talking about my weight.

See, I'm up about 10 pounds from where I had gotten, thanks to Weight Watchers. I stopped Weight Watchers a while ago, and had kept off the weight somehow, but in recent months, I've gained back some of what I had originally lost. And even then, 10 pounds lighter, I still had a way to go. Lily asked me (and by the way, I always trust people named Lily/Lili now. I've had good luck with them) how I feel about my weight, and if I wanted her to target some area on my body that helps with suppressing your appetite. I told her that I know I need to lose weight, but that I haven't really changed anything that I'm doing yet. She said, "Oh, you're not serious about it yet." She didn't say it meanly, just - Okay, you're not serious.

After she inserted all the needles and hooked me up to the machine (I've forgotten already what the machine is called, but it stimulates the needles for some sort of added benefit), Lily left the room. So I layed there and thought about what she had said.

It's true. I'm not serious about it yet. I guess I would prefer to talk shit to myself than actually do something about it. I left the following message for my friend Bo (I leave weird messages for Bo all the time; a couple of weeks ago I sang "Like A Virgin," and told him it was part of my "Praise and Worship Series" because the week before I sang "Like A Virgin," I had sung an old hymn we used to sing at the wacky church my mother attended in the 70s): (Imagine the following sung to the melody of The Who's "I'm A Boy") "I'm a cow, I'm a cow, I'm a cow-cow-cow, I"m a cow, I'm a cow, I'm a cow..."

See, that might be funny. In fact, I know it's funny, because I laughed about it. But it's probably not a good idea. And the really bad part is, that's the least of it. I mean... I've been having some pretty bad conversations with myself about this.

I'm not sure why I'm doing that. Oh. That's a big fat lie: I know exactly why I'm doing it, and I know I need to stop it.

I'm going to try!

(Nice Dream) - Last one

Even though the week is over and so technically I am not required, by my own rules, to share with you any more dreams, I thought in order to make up for the couple of days last week when I couldn't remember (or didn't have any) dreams, I'd give up one last silly example of what goes on in my mind when I'm not controlling it:

Last night I dreamed that Patrick and I were in the White House, cleaning out the refrigerator.

I guess this is what comes of watching so many re-runs of The West Wing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Bourgeois Gentilhomme



Because of the way the schedule with Charles has worked out, though the show is now in it's second weekend, last night was my first night in the booth. The photo above was taken with my phone - for better pictures, to read the excellent reviews, you can of course visit the City Garage website.

So, in the foreground there is my book - it has the entire script in it, and my cues and notes. This show is fairly simple, technically, and fun for me, because I have a lot of time to watch.

Friday, November 14, 2008

(Nice Dream)

It's finally cold enough for the flannel sheets, and I have to tell you, the bed is now my favorite place in the house. It feels like I'm enveloped in a nice toasty warm grilled cheese sandwich (I've given up cheese. I don't miss it at all. Can't you tell?). And all that cozy sleeping apparently means I'm having strange dreams. So let's do this on a daily basis this week, shall we?

Sunday night: I can't tell you what I dreamed about.

Monday night I thought I had lost the keys to my office's vehicle (long story... we're remodeling, and I remembered putting the keys in my pocket and walking around with them for most of the day, but it wasn't until 6 a.m. this morning when I woke up from the dream I am about to tell you about when I remembered that I had given them to Janet to keep safe in her desk drawer. Janet's cubicle is getting moved next week), I dreamed the following dream (and no, you can pretty much rest assured that this dream isn't going to change anybody's life):

I was hanging out with some of the females of the cast of The Bourgeois Gentilhomme - these are lovely ladies, with terrific personal style - and they were giving me a makeover.

It's rather telling that the makeover consisted of hair and makeup, and these clothes:

a pair of black tights, a black skirt, the raddest black boots I've ever seen,
in a dream or otherwise, and a big black sweater.

Dreaming of a makeover that includes an all-black outfit (one that I could pull off now, should I find those awesome boots) seems a bit... boring.

Ah, well. It's the dream I can't tell you about that was interesting. Some things are just for me.

Tuesday night: Obviously I didn't think this through very well, because I have no backup plan should I wake up and can't remember my dream at all. We got in bed a bit earlier than usual - I was reading something and Patrick was watching television, but we were in bed before 10 p.m., which is quite a feat for us. I think I turned out the light and put in my earplugs around 9:45. Then I went to sleep, and I'm sure there was some sort of dream in there but I have no idea what it was.

I can say that I woke up with "Why Are Babies So Wise" by Bow Wow Wow in head for some reason. I heard that song on my way home from work on Monday night, and it's been percolating in my brain ever since.

Wednesday night: Last night's dream was kind of long and disjointed and I'm not sure how much I accurately remember that makes sense. I remember this: I was staying in some kind of homeless shelter that vaguely reminded me of the house my Aunt Esther and Uncle Tony lived in when I was really small. That house was a rambling, one-story, dark and cool house. I don't know why in my dream I was homeless. My friend Paul was running it. I haven't seen or talked much with Paul lately, but in the dream, he was letting me stay there for some reason. I got into a fight (verbal) with a couple of guys, and was so indignant about the way these guys were talking to me that I called for him. "Paaauuuuulllll!" I even noticed how ridiculous it sounded in the dream.

After that, I was somewhere else entirely: walking through a beautiful park or something - I was outside, and there were lots of hills and streams and beautiful places, and people were camping and hanging out in hammocks and stuff.

There was one more bit that I remembered in the shower but have totally forgotten now.

Thursday night: Well. We stayed up super late last night, and even after I got in bed at 12 I kept reading for a bit. Patrick stayed up, too. I don't remember what time I went to bed, and I don't remember my dreams. I only know that when I woke up at 10:30, the dog(s) next door were barking. Now, 30 minutes later, they're still barking. Usually on Thursday nights I try to remember to wear earplugs but last night I forgot. So I awoke to the longest doggy conversation ever. I don't remember my dream, but I think there might've been dog barking in it. What could they possibly have to bark about? Are they telling me it's time to get up?

Friday night I dreamed that Patrick and I had moved into a new house. It was a pretty cool place, bigger than our current house, which is a two-bedroom, 1-bath. Our house is cute, but tiny. The dream house, which isn't necessarily my "dream house" was still nice. The style, which I've been having a hard time describing, was sort of "refined log cabin." The whole dream was Patrick and I walking through, looking at it and deciding what we wanted to change, if anything.

Saturday night I had the high school dream again. Except, this time, instead of me being 16 or whatever again, I was my age now. A couple of weeks ago they had their homecoming game, and I had been invited by a current member of the marching band to go. I say "I" but she invited as many band alumna as she could. I wasn't able to go because it was opening night at City Garage. I guess I wished I had gone, because here comes this dream, right? Anyway, I have seen photos of but not actually heard the 2008 Culver City High School Centaur Marching Band, and in the dream they were small but mighty-sounding. They were still playing "Minnesota Rouser" as their fight song, but I suspect that's been changed in recent years. Culver City, for those of you without a map, is nowhere near Minnesota.

They're way more casual than we were - I don't think they wear anything close to the dorky uniforms we wore (polyester. Bell bottoms. Furry hats. Epaulettes). Anyway, the dream was about the game, and the band, and I think I might've had fun if I had been able to actually go in real life, which is funny, when you consider that when I was in the band I used to think the alumna band members who came to homecoming were old, losers, and total geeks.


Stay tuned for the rest of the week's night-time private movies.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

...doesn't mean it's fair...

Today was weird! I felt rushed, frantic at times, behind on things, and forgetful. I don't know why - it was all foreseeable, none of it should've been a surprise... yet I found myself taken aback.

Yes. I was taken aback.

Last week they remodeled my half of the office, and this weekend they're doing the rest of the work. They didn't exactly complete the work on my half, either, so there's more shit they need to do. Mostly it looks nice, but it's been hard to tell. I still have boxes in my cubicle, and this big ass pale of filing, and they left off a shelf they're supposed to install, and a couple of file cabinets were ordered incorrectly... so the people who were supposed to be packed up for today either neglected to pack up the communal stuff in our office, or they didn't know they were supposed to, or they expected me to do it.

I'm not sure which it is. I only know that I had to pack up about 8 boxes of someone else's crap.

But the thing, I think, that got me off to a bad start was that I had forgotten that I was scheduled for 3 hours of customer service training in the morning. I had a shitload of stuff to do and while the training (mandatory) was actually interesting, it totally fucked my morning.

Then, as the rest of the day went on, I just found myself in the middle of projects, then asked to go in a million other directions, and I just never got caught up. Usually I can roll better than this, but today was just hard. Then, I had to drive to Culver City, which went a little better than usual (took 45 mins. instead of an hour), which meant I had time to get gas before flute choir (instead of after). At the gas station (which was the cheapest station I know of) some weirdo guy on roller blades (hey, even beggars need wheels) asked me if I had any money, and instead of giving it to him, I turned around and looked at the moon.

That was pretty cool.

I even had time to go to Mi-T-Mart (seriously: I do not care what the new owners call it, it will always be Mi-T-Mart to me) and buy my water, a pack of gum, and a banana.

But once flute choir was underway, it turned out to go the same way the rest of the day went: I felt scattered, unfocused, and impatient.

And of course the drive home was typical Thursday traffic. I honestly do not understand why there's so much weird traffic at 9:30 on Thursday nights. It was all bunched up again, and people were all over me, one guy was playing psychological games with me (the blinker as a huge mind-fuck), and I just wanted to get home.

So. Now I'm home, watching the Tonight Show with Patrick, and I realized something that's kind of ironic, considering all that I've just said:

I've decided that the reason I like staying up at night is... it means the day will never end.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Great Yard Sign Robbery

If you, having not visited me in awhile, were to stand in front of my house, you might not realize that things look slightly different. Actually, when I came home today from lunch at Souplantation and errands, I didn't notice things looked slightly different either, but that's because I was thinking about cleaning my car of some of the junk I've been lugging around for a couple of weeks, and because I saw that Patrick was standing on the driveway talking to our neighbor Ron. I didn't look very carefully at the front of the house.

After Ron and Patrick finished their conversation, and Patrick helped me bring in the bags from Target, he asked me if I had taken down our Obama yard sign.

I didn't.

Someone STOLE our yard sign.

Fucking sore losers.

Patrick thought we should put up the other signs we have, but I said no. We can rest easy that Barack will be in the White House soon. That's vengeance enough.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post-election recap - UPDATE

Yesterday I worked again as a poll worker. This time I signed up to be a clerk - last election, I was an NVC director, which required me to direct voters, within one voting place, to the correct table. That was pretty boring, though I did get a pretty cool map and stuff. This time I worked with a woman named Nidra, who was awesome. I was in the same neighborhood as before, which, well, let's just say is not my neighborhood. Everybody was super nice, and Nidra, who kind of bribed us with donuts, pizza, and ice cream, knew her stuff. She was also funny.

The day was mostly smooth, and my fears - that we would be overrun with voters - came true, but the part I didn't consider was how easy it could be with a well-run team. There were again, three precincts in our location, but our table easily had the most voters all day. At 6:45 we were told that there was a line around the block, which scared me, but once we got started, people mostly were patient. There was some grumbling but people react well to a smile. I had a good time.

There was, however, one interesting moment. I think I mentioned how, during my training, they mentioned electioneering? They emphasized to us the importance of not allowing voters wearing buttons or pins into the polling place, or to ask them to remove their campaign items. During kind of a slow period, a Hispanic guy and his girlfriend walked in and were talking to one of the clerks at my table. I noticed his t-shirt right away: it had a huge, bigger than life-size photo of Barak Obama's head on it. The guy himself was slight - he was shorter than me, younger than me, but he had a hard look. I walked over to Nidra and said, "Nidra, there's a guy over there wearing a big ol' Obama t-shirt!" I hoped Nidra would say, OK, I'll be right over, but instead she said, "You can ask him to take it off." O-kay... so I went over, and explained to him that campaign items weren't allowed in the voting area. He agreed to go outside and turn it inside out (he had another t-shirt on underneath), and then I noticed that his girlfriend had one on too. Hers was different, and I didn't realize at first what it was - his was more obvious. So I stood there for awhile next to Tracy, one of my co-workers, who was answering his questions, and he still didn't leave. Then he goes, "How come they didn't tell me outside?" (there were poll workers stationed outside the room to help the flow and answer questions). I said, "Maybe they didn't notice it." He looked at me like I was crazy, but eventually they left and came back in with both their t-shirts on inside out.

They voted, and when they left, he passed right by me, gave me a big ol' smile and waved good-bye. Everyone was all, "Ah, that's your new best friend, Irene." I said, "He probably thinks I'm a Republican!" Not five minutes later, he returned (with shirt turned right side out) and gave Tracy a pen. He said, "Oops, I stole your pen!"

I'll give him an A for effort and execution. He played us very well.

After the day was over, and I came home to watch CNN with Patrick, I can only say that seeing all the people come vote (the father who voted early in the day, and then returned a few hours later with his entire family, including his young sons who were obviously voting for the first time; the little old ladies; the guy in a wheel chair with an oxygen tank; the gay and lesbian couples; the hip 20-somethings - we had over 500 voters in our precinct) was pretty inspiring. I've worked elections where not even 100 people show up. It means something. It makes me proud.


In my super positive mood, you know, when I was feeling all joyful and hopeful for my country, I neglected to mention the following things. Now that I've started menstruating, however, it seems appropriate to tell you:

1. At least three people who voted in the middle of the day reeked of alcohol. We're talking, before 5. Before 3.

2. One lady got down the line to the kid who was handing out the ballots, and she goes, "I'm just voting on one thing! I mean, I don't know about the propositions!" The kid, who was raised well and was polite, said, "Me neither!" Then the lady said, "I mean, doesn't Yes mean No and No mean Yes?" The kid looked at me all terrified (he obviously hasn't read 1984 recently) and mumbled something about not really thinking so... I told him later he should have asked her if 2+2=5. He laughed but I'm not sure he got the joke. I suppose I could've hummed the Radiohead song.

3. Many people came in prepared to be treated poorly. The news made it sound like they would have to wait hours to vote. Except for the very early morning (7 a.m.) there was only one other time during the day where we had a line (around 4 p.m.) of more than 10 people. We worked fast, and pushed them through. But lots of people were grouchy or pissed off, without anything we did. They were just expecting to be hassled.

4. I know it's the law that you don't have to show ID at a polling place, but everyone who didn't have their sample ballot (name and address and table on the back) had theirs out ready to go. I felt uncomfortable with it, but it really did speed up the process. And many people who said they registered a month ago weren't in the roster. Someone told me those rosters are printed up 4 months ago, which surprised and perplexed me. That timing seems silly.

5. Speaking of silly: those stupid ballot readers. What's the point? They're supposed to read the ballot and let the voters know if they over or under-voted, or made an error, but the voters are suspicious of them. Even the Inspector at my table was suspicious of them - she thought maybe they were counting the actual votes and reporting back somewhere throughout the day (via undercover Wifi, obviously). Sure, knowing if the voter fucked up before they walked away seems like a good idea, but the kid who was feeding the ballots into the machine told me that everytime an error message popped up, the voter elected to override the error and vote that ballot anyway. What's the point? Technology is cool but this seems wasteful. Stupid, even. What happened to our touchscreen technology? How much money does the County spend each year on new stuff? I don't miss the hanging chad controversy, surely (and every asshole who made a joke about it yesterday thought they were the funniest thing in the room), but come on. There has to be a better way. Voting by mail gets my, ahem, vote. I did it two weeks ago, and I had time to make my choices patiently and thoughtfully, in the comfort of my own home (I did it at work, whatever). Slap a stamp on it and I'm done. Only flaw: no "I Voted" sticker. I got one yesterday. So that's easily solved, right?