Saturday, March 29, 2008

Epic Democratic County Convention Entry

Greetings from the Williamson County Democratic Convention. The SB and I got up this morning at our usual weekday go to work time and promptly got ready, loaded the car with a cooler full of snacks we haven’t eaten yet and it’s 10:40. We scampered into the Starbucks at 7:40 and got fuel, then made the short jaunt to Stony Point High School where there were still prime parking spots on the west side of the school.

At 7:50, we took our place in line. There was a computer glitch that caused our system to print out every name tag as a visitor. Ok, they fixed that. I didn’t notice it as an issue, I just figured we’d have to wait, just like my precinct chair had told us. That’s why I wasn’t surprised that I was still in line at 9:15.

Around that time, my precinct chair, in an effort to be democratic (yeah… well… that’s why we’re here) and helpful, joined us at one end of the hallway while we were waiting in line. The line that snaked around three hallways twice, btw. She made an announcement that had already been made toward the front of the line indicating that the line started at the other end of the building. She also noted that folks didn’t need to be in a group in line with their precinct, but they did need to have their driver’s license or voter registration. Finally she mentioned indicating presidential and sexual preference when we signed in. Well… at least I had both of those figured out.

Some time thereafter another woman joined us and said the same thing. She shouted, “I have a long day ahead of me and you need to be quiet so I don’t have to talk over you and lose my voice.” Also, she indicated she didn’t care if people cut in line. Sheesh! I can bet she’s not a supporter of my candidate. Really, suppose you were part of the 2/3 majority of the attendees here at the convention. Of course you wouldn’t care. But if you were in the 1/3, and you didn’t get to register because the bullish 2/3rds were being less than fair, when they didn’t need to… you might appear confrontational.

If I didn’t know what I was in for, it would have felt a little er… “Auschwitzean.“ Ten people at a time were allowed in the small gymnasium (which isn’t small) to be ushered to people using laptops where their credentials are verified. (I’ll mention here that originally, they figured they only needed one Dymo printer for the nametags for over 1300 people.) See, if we were willing to be microchipped like our furry friends they could’ve just scanned us and the process would have been much faster. Next, we were ushered to separate doorways for delegates and alternates. I went one way. The SB went another. I stood in one hall, she in another. Then a select group of volunteers brought us all big long name badges to wear. Yellow for delegates, white for alternates.

Ok, then we’re allowed in the big gymnasium. Alternates on one side, delegates on another. It didn’t work that way. You’ll hear more about that later.

Jim Mattox is yapping away for all he’s worth while registration still continues for over one thousand delegates and alternates.
Let’s see. Some math. We each represent 15 people. Nice.

As I understand it, the “Obama people” are “steamrolling” the process here at this convention. I don’t know about that, the folks I was in line with were exceptionally friendly and unimposing. Seems to me, if you’re an Obama candidate, that’s the way you ought to be. If you share Obama’s values, walking the walk here at the convention in the line to register, you ought to be friendly and unimposing. That’s a good model.

Ok, so I’m gonna go out to the car and snag a snack. Whew. Much better.

I admit. There’s nothing happening. It’s just getting more crowded. That’s all. Let’s see. It’s 11:50. We have not started yet. My ass is killing me. I’ve got two movies, and I haven’t explored the games available on my laptop. The six democratic candidates for various open seats for county positions have all talked, including the wacky Jim Dillon, who thinks Mexico is a wealthy country that is building an army to infiltrate Texas… or something like that.

OH! Hey, it’s noon, and we’ve officially STARTED! Wait, gotta do the pledge of allegiance, now the National Anthem. Ok, we’re taking nominations for permanent officers to the convention. Ok those are closed. Ok, now we can get down to business! Wait! We have to clear the floor for delegates only. There are a bunch of alternates on the floor. Man. Now it’s gonna get crowded up here at the top of the gym on my side.

Also, someone interjected a point of order that the rolls weren’t balance before we started the meeting, so, uh… that’ll take awhile.

No. Wrong! Oops. We just broke for lunch.


(Insert lunch break here)

Not that the Democratic County Convention officials aren’t good at what they do, but Pok-E_Jo’s BBQ is quicker to serve the 1200 people who are here today. And my ass is killing me again. Already.

WOOHOOO! 2:10, and now we’re going to upgrade the alternates.
Uh… we’re supposed to be done by 4, according to the agenda.

Ok, still balancing the rolls. J

I’m not complaining -- it ROCKS to have THIS many democrats together in this county -- where they’ve already decided to cite the party for illegal parking. It’s a red county you know.

I’m glad the SB wore a yellow cap today. I can see her in the crownd just under the “P” in “STONY POINT on the other side of the gymnasium. Teenagers have to navigate crowds worse than this in these halls every day. I did it too. How did we DO that?

Now we’re handling business on registering members at large and balancing the delegate numbers. It must be handled before we can move on. I think I will investigate the games on my new computer.

Now we are going to take the time to allow precincts who do not have a delegation chair to elect one.

My ass is killing me.

Heh. The wireless network available is named “donkey.” It doesn’t work. Would that be ironic to a Republican? If I was a Republican, I’d be blogging at home.

Aghhhh… there’s a precinct that doesn’t have ANY delegates at all.

I MUST interject here, that there are LOTS of uninformed people here serving in positions of precinct chair. Our precinct chair was GREAT about informing us about the process, the way to vote, our strategy.

So, I should say here, that whatever you might have thought the popular vote was in your precinct and at your caucus, it is changing at the speed of light at this very moment, right in front of my face. The bleachers for the alternates are wearing thin. Again -- the Clinton delegates in my precinct is in great order. I’ll probably still be sitting here, amused until we vote.

It really is exciting for all the waiting.

My ass is killing me.

3:20. Still waiting.

3:45 Still waiting. Haven’t played Mahjong in awhile. Now I have.

3:50 Meeting called back to order. 3:51 Back to waiting

4:10 Had a snack, a sparkling water, went to the bathroom, more Mahjong, proceeded to a Photshop tutorial. Can’t ever get enough knowledge on Photoshop.

My ass is ok.

4:30: We’re down to business. The rolls have been returned. And… Beast boy needs to be picked up. I have to leave. Sigh.

Maybe I won’t miss the voting.


Ok, Beast Boy 2 deposited safely at home. I’m sitting in the bleachers again, and yes even when my ass was on a comfy car seat, it was hurting. I feel it worth it though. Across the gym from me, and here’s the part where I feel so important -- is my precinct, voting for their candidates.

Here’s how it turned out at my precinct caucus:17 for Obama and 9 for Clinton. You see, no matter what, if we all vote for one person, that one person WILL be a delegate to the convention because we’re a two delegate, two alternate precinct. The Obama team was down by two when the day started, so they put two alternates in then. Here it is at 6:05 and the rest of their alternates -- as far as we could tell, have been seated as delegates. See, that’s some democratic process at work, no? They have 17 delegates and 17 alternates but the total number of people left supporting Obama at the end of the day could be as low as 15 or more. We still have 9 and we’ve sent in only 1 alternate, and Clinton had 9 and 9. We had one delegate back out and we seated an alternate while 5 of our 9 alternates showed today.

Forgive me for throwing Strunk and White to the wind by not spelling out all numbers under the number 10. Or, ten.

So back to strategy. The idea the Obama people *should* have implemented (and we thought they *would* have implemented) would be to attempt to get the Clinton delegates to vote first so we would be forced to vote our 9. If we could see how they were going to vote, then we could vote 8 and 1. Then we would stand a chance at sending an alternate. Have I made sense? Ok, let’s make it more interesting. If they vote … wait, wait, wait. This is funny. The Obama people are being democratic. Well ok, that’s what we’re here for… but, uh, strategy? Did they have one? Am I missing something? Did our whole team miss something? They’re nominating more than three people. What? Ok, It took me two years to finish four years of algebra in high school but I’m going to go ahead and say it: You do the math. If they nominate more than two people and give those three people the majority of their votes from highest to lowest they’ve now divided their 17 no matter how you slice it, in a way that leaves us an open door for an alternate AND a delegate. We had a meeting Thursday night and voted on who we were going to vote on. What a pile o’

OMG!!! They just announced the nominations committee in San Antonio is still checking credentials. You’ll remember from this epic blog entry of mine that we finished that at -- let me check… 4:30.

Can’t tell if my precinct has voted. SB tried sign language but it looked like it was in Swahili to me. OH. OH! B-E-E-R.

…and guess what! My ass is killing me!

6:40: The chair is waiting on three packages. One of them is my precinct’s. Wonder what’s happening over there.

LOL! They’re tearing down the decorations around me.

Hm. Looking forward to letting you know what happened with our precinct’s voting delegates.

I'll have to do it in past tense. My battery is going D-E-D.

7:15: My district finally signed off on the elected delegates.

7:20ish: The floor opened for any comments desired. A lesbian woman spoke of her experience of Williamson County. It was totally positive. She had lived in Travis County for a very long time, and moved last year to Williamson with her partner of twenty years. They had some reasonable trepidation. So did I when I moved here. She said she wanted to thank Williamson County (well, us I assume) for welcoming her, and urged us to continue to stand up for the unconstitutional, illegal discrimination we experience as gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered. That was good to hear. The positive cheers and applause she got was great to hear too… yes! In Williamson County!

As we left I got the lowdown on what happened with my precinct. Some sort of strategy did prevail. We wound up voting the 8 and 1, and not the full 9 in hope of also getting an alternate to state. The process was taking so long thanks to my team’s strategy of slowing down the Obama people by asking for a roll call vote, then a stand up vote to vote for the roll call vote and other things that confused both me and apparently the Obama people. Eventually, the other side got confused and wound up using a roll sheet that had the precinct voting in alternate order (Obama, Clinton, Obama, Clinton) . They just about had our strategy figured out when the precinct chair voted for the woman designated to become our alternate, were we to win one. BTW, if you tie with a delegate choosing the other party, Texas Democratic Party rules state that the seat is left to chance. That’s right. Draw straws. Pick a number closest to the number I’m thinking of. Yep.

At 7:40 we drug ourselves out the door, ventured to Taco Cabana, and then home.

We were greeted by Beast Boy 2 feeding the dogs -- Zeta was particularly happy to see us! SB had a bath, and I followed suit, leaving her to read this blog on my laptop.

I found her asleep in the same position I left her.

Zeta climbed in my lap for a visit.

My ass is still killing me…


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Puns at The Expense of Others

Found this piece on the web a couple of days ago. Doesn't seem respectful to be clever at times like these, does it?

Suicide at Mel Gibson's Place

A construction worker who worked in the movie business committed suicide at one of Mel Gibson's homes.

It happened at Mel's Agoura Hills home -- near Malibu. Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, 48-year-old Michael John Van Dyke hanged himself on one of the structures under construction on the property. He was discovered early yesterday morning by the job site foreman.

A rep for Mel tells TMZ the actor feels "terrible" that someone committed suicide on his property. Mel has never lived in the house and has no current plans to move in. The home is less than a mile from The Holy family Catholic Church, founded by Mel. It's where his daughter was married back in 2006.

We're told Mel did not know Van Dyke, although Van Dyke has worked on a number of movies as a set construction foreman, including "The Matrix Reloaded," "Dr. Dolittle 2," "Star Trek: Nemesis," and "Karate Kid."

Sources say Van Dyke was on the ropes after a messy, prolonged divorce a few years ago. He was having intense financial problems.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ohhh yeahhhh...

I took a few delicious photos of the Sexy Beast this weekend. We found an abandoned house with windows and doors in the most perfect of places at the most opportune time of the day. I do plan to return there -- with further subjects.

Just look at the Sexy Beast! That light! That woman! She's beautiful!

Election Day!!!

How freekin' exciting! It's after 11:00 -- we were caucusing until 9. The SB is a delegate to the county convention -- I'm an alternate. There were 288 people who caucused in our precinct.

I've been watching the returns -- too close to call in Texas.

I'm so glad we matter. It's very exciting to be a part of this!


Monday, March 03, 2008


Can we talk? Just a little thing really, as I gratefully type on my new laptop? I really should think about this before I say it.

It's petulant, somewhat...

especially since I'm grateful, really for all the discomfort I've avoided this year -- and how I am and was so well taken care of while I was out of work this summer and I didn't suffer -- which is different from being grateful for all I've received, which is a lot mind you.

Ok, oh, alright, I'll make a list.

I drive weekdays to a job, which I didn't have in the summer in a car that I have salary enough to pay for. I work for a company that has profit sharing, paid vacation, sick leave, insurance...

On weekends I sleep in on Saturdays, and sometimes I have a meeting or work on a set, or rehearse for either my theatre company or someone else's. Often, I go to the theatre, dinner, a movie or any combination of the above in the same weekend. On Sundays, I actually have to warn the youngest beast boy if we're not going to church so that he won't be surprised and terribly disappointed. I annually tithe to my church more than a middle class family makes in a year in Singapore -- and after placing my check in the offering basket and enjoying the music from some of our city's finest talent, I usually go out to lunch.

On weekends I also do portraiture -- using my not so cheap camera and lighting equipment and while my fees for one session would feed a child for a year in Bangladesh, they're very reasonable here in our country.

I am grateful for a frankly, huge, HDTV and the other tv's in two of our three bedrooms in a house on which there is no foreclosure. Everyone is healthy, and even though I've got palpitations caused by anemia... well... we're pretty sure there's a very manageable fix for it.

By most of the world's standards , my car is a honker -- a Mazda6 with a V6 engine that I am able to fill up twice monthly with exorbitantly priced gasoline that is made from a world resource that the next generation may not get to use.

I have satellite, high speed internet, wireless, food in the fridge, heat when it's cold and air when it's hot (which in this part of the world, at this time of year, happens in the same day.) Two dogs that are fed very well -- go Zeta! -- wonderful clothes to wear...

A loving friend, partner and Sexy Beast, and Beast Boys who have never had to, out of necessity, go hungry, without clothing, shelter, or warmth.

I am blessed with friends galore, a loving community that accepts me as I am, and a family that does, too.

Why am I so freekin' pissed that I have to pay the IRS $38???


...what IS that???