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Tuesday, November 25, 2008
This was probably inevitable. Here's hoping the university allows the annual tradition of lighting up Rudolph's nose to go on. I'd hate to see that supplanted by them slapping a big yellow "O" on the tip of his snout instead.
Let the Right One In
I saw Let the Right One In at Cinema 21 over the weekend and, let me tell you, when it comes to melodramas concerning teenaged vampires Twilight has nothing up on it. While the film isn't without its flaws and despite one fairly disturbing twist in the final act that no American director would ever dare put on celluloid, the creepy conclusion makes it one of the finest horror films of the past decade.
Part of the charm is that the ending and the movie as a whole can be interpreted a few different ways. LTROI sent a chill down my spine while several critics found it to be heartwarming. Honestly, I think they completely missed the point.
Here's Roger Ebert's more candid take. The film will be at Cinema 21 through Turkey Day.
Everything but the game
I was at the Rose Garden for last night's Blazers match-up against the Sacramento Kings. The home team held on for a one-point victory but you can read about all of that here. Instead, here's a slew of photos covering the sort of stuff that takes place center court when the cameras have cut away to commercial.
As with just about every professional indoor sport these days, halftime, gaps between periods and timeouts are filled with games and stunt-shows to keep the crowd from...presumably heading out to the concessions to buy stuff and support their local arena (?). With Civil War weekend fast approaching, the Rose Garden invited a few college students to serve as human bowling balls between the first and second period. Instead of one undergrad representing the University of Oregon and another for OSU, which would have made sense, they went with a "frat boy," a "sorority girl" and a "college dropout."
The frat boy managed to knock down the most pins and the dropout fell off his board at half court, evidently further proof that a lack of a college education won't help you if you ever find yourself participating in a goofy contest at an NBA game. The whole thing was obnoxiously staged and, yeah, pretty mean-spirited. Myself, I hold these sorts of things to a higher standard. Shame on you, Rose Garden. You should have just brought out the cheerleaders with the t-shirt cannons.
Another contest involved three people, a five-month pregnant woman included, running around with pizza boxes. The pregnant gal came in second.
And, of course, there was Blaze the Trail Cat who came out during the fourth quarter for a round of trampoline-fueled dunks. Blaze is far from being the NBA's most popular mascot and, with the Sonics now residing in Oklahoma City, the following question must be asked: does Sasquatch need a job and how quickly can he get to the Rose Garden from Seattle? Another job skill that might make him the perfect candidate to take over for Blaze? He's quite the drummer.
Important pie-related update
A few posts back I asked readers to decide what I should do with a leftover cheeseburger pie from Halloween. The majority has spoken. Because eleven random strangers voted for it, I guess I now have to find a spot to leave the pie in the middle of the Pearl District.
Obviously, this was the most daunting of all of the options and that's probably why everyone voted for it. Nonetheless, I do have a plan, although I don't know if I can pull it off.
Let me work on this.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
If the Goonies is ever remade I'm sure the producers will have to work in a kid obsessed with vampires
Geoff over at On Portland raised an interesting point about what impact the release of Twilight might have on locales around Portland. The Columbia Gorge's Viewpoint Inn is already hosting slumber party and prom-themed events based on the movie. Twenty years from now will Twilight fans one day trek out to its filming locations much like devotees of another filmed-in-Oregon cult classic?
I made a stop at the "Goonies House" in Astoria this summer and it's still attracting visitors. The day I was there three other groups of 20-somethings were having their photos taken in front of the place. It's a shame to think that the Viewpoint and Madison High might surpass the house as Oregon's premiere geeky cult movie tourist destination (or maybe Timberline Lodge, used as an exterior in The Shining, deserves top honors?). I'm biased though. After all, I did once break into the house with two strangers I'd just met from Kansas. Uh, it's sort of a long story.
Maybe it's time for the "Dorky Oregon Movie" torch to be passed. This Twilight thing is sure to make some major $$$ this weekend and there's three other novels in the series all waiting to be ground up into celluloid. I gave the first novel in the series a shot a few months ago and....yeah. You probably have to be a teenage girl to truly appreciate Stephenie Meyer's grocery store paperback-worthy prose. When it comes to the current vampire trend, I think I'll stick with True Blood and Let the Right One In (currently playing at Cinemas 21. Here's a link to the trailer).
Plus, Bill the vampire from the HBO soap opera? He could totally kick the ass of that pretty undead punk from Twilight, despite his recent relationship troubles with Sookie. The season finale for True Blood airs on Sunday. It's really getting to be a Country Vampire Weekend Jamboree around here.
On a related topic, if you didn't see last night's episode of South Park it had some hilarious things to say about all this bloodsucking business. You find the entire thing online here.
I'll end this meandering blog post with a paraphrased quote from The Lost Boys: "[Pop culture] wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for all the goddamn vampires."
PS: Have a happy and safe Vampire Weekend, everybody. If you're heading out be sure to pack plenty of Clamato.
Obligatory Coraline post
Despite the bad feelings surrounding the takeover of Will Vinton Studios by Phil Knight and his kid, I guess I'm rooting for the success of Coraline. Slated for release in February of next year, the animated movie from the since dubbed LAIKA Entertainment looks pretty solid. The latest trailer was released this week and I've got to admit that it looks a thousand times better than Madagascar 2 and a million times better than that last Shrek movie. Plus, wouldn't it be awesome for Portland to serve as the home of an animation studio producing films good enough to rival those of Pixar?
There's one problem with the new trailer though: it reveals far too much of the plot.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Help choose this pie's fate
For a family Halloween get-together last month I slaved over a hot oven and prepared three cheeseburger pies. While they were obviously feats of amazing kitchen engineering and proved to be fairly photogenic, they didn't go over so well. Why? Because each chewy, gooey pie packed around 1 million calories. Seriously, they were like that magical elf bread in The Lord of the Rings. A single bite could keep the appetite of the average hobbit sated for a week.
One remaining pie has been sitting in my freezer since Halloween and I don't know what to do with it. I can't convince anyone I know to come over for leftovers and it would take me until New Years to eat by myself. So I now turn to you for advice.
What should I do with this thing?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Another historical moment that will live forever in Portland history
Since no one around here is interested in learning from the mistakes of a hoity-toity metropolis like Seattle, Portland's first automated public toilet is scheduled to start "accepting donations" on December 8th. City Commissioner Randy Leonard will take the first flush in what is sure to be a well attended unveiling ceremony at 11 AM.
Like everything related to Portland bands, Blitzen Trapper didn't register on my worthless music radar until after they reached the national spotlight. They received a two-page spread in a recent issue of Rolling Stone and appeared on Late Night With Conan O'Brien last night.
I recently gave their latest release Furr a shot and it's been stuck on repeat on my iPod ever since. While it may not have been the band's intent, the album embodies many echoes of some timeworn Northwestern cliches. At times, Furr is reminiscent of Twin Peaks and oozes a David Lynch vibe like sap from a fir tree that's just been hit by lightening. The title track? A sweet ballad about a young love affair.
Let me be a little more specific: a young love affair involving a teenager that wanders off into the woods and becomes a weredog before being seduced into becoming human again. For those of us who consider True Blood quality television instead of an embarrassing and misguided replacement for The Sopranos, this stuff is Grade-A background noise.
The rest of the songs on Furr concern broken hearts, bandits, cowboys and serial killers, you know, because everyone in Oregon is broken-hearted, an 19th century horse thief or, yes, a teenaged monster. The lyrical odes to Bob Dylan are obvious but the music itself fits more comfortably in a spot between Beck and Wilco. I can't think of a more perfect soundtrack for driving around Portland, especially during this time of year when the sky has cut to gloom, there's a chill in the air and fallen leaves are backing up nearly every storm drain in town.
As of October 29th, the album became officially Pitchfork-approved and therefore worth your valuable time. Blitzen Trapper plays the Wonder Ballroom on December 4th. You can also click here to listen to that creepy song about the werepooch.
The Great Parking Ticket Adventure
Last week I wrote a post about receiving a parking ticket from an overzealous Lewis and Clark campus cop. I made a phone call and submitted an appeal to contest it. While the fine print on the school's Department of Parking and Transportation website clearly states that I would have to wait four to six weeks for a response, I decided to trek over to their office on Monday.
My home is about a five minute walk from Lewis and Clark so I set out on foot, naively expecting that the office would be conveniently located right next to the law school. Er, nope. It actually sits on the other side of SW Terwilliger on the opposite side of the main campus.
I hadn't set foot on the main campus in nearly a decade and, if you've ever been, you know that Lewis and Clark proper is a maze-like cacophony of winding cobblestone paths, Victorian-inspired buildings, gardens, hills and old growth trees that block any architectural point-of-reference. While the views of Mt Hood are worthy of a postcard, it's easy to get lost and parts of the campus, especially those statues in front of the art gallery, look like they're straight out of Pan's Labrynth.
I half-expected a mysterious goat creature to burst out of Tyron Creek and start babbling at me in Spanish about a magical underground realm buried beneath the West Hills. Plus, I'll be honest: I wandered in circles feeling like an interloper among hoards of undergrads trucking from campus to the residence halls. They could see right through my parka and messenger bag and tell that I was not one of them. The fact that I'm ten years older than them didn't help.
Anyway, the Department of Parking and Transportation sits in a corner near a parking lot tucked behind a row of dorms. Inside, a clerk was yelling at her computer, further contributing to my Lewis Carroll-marinated impression of the campus. She calmed down when she spotted me on the other side of the counter. After apologizing for the outburst and the ticket, she vowed to add my car into a database of ticket-proof neighborhood vehicles.
Total time investment to get there and back? Nearly ninety minutes but it was totally worth it, especially if it prevents any future tickets.
Monday, November 17, 2008
The new Powell's Books?
Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....nope. I can't say that I like it.
This proposed redesign for the main entrance of Powell's Books is currently in the planning stages and looks, let's be honest here, very Pearl District-y.
It makes sense that Portland's premiere "retail attraction" wants a facelift that reflects its surroundings. Nonetheless, when you toss out the admittedly interesting art cube concept, this facade wouldn't look out of place on the side of a Borders Bookstore in midtown Manhattan. It's cold, sterile and very blase, in a corporate chain sort of way. The current entrance of Powell's reflects Portland's funky charm, or what's left of it anyway. It's a shame that the designers couldn't have drawn up something more classic. Or, to put it another way, grubbier.
Plus, that cube will waste a lot of potential retail space that might be better filled with, you know, books instead of what is sure to become weather-beaten modern art. If Portlanders want that, there's that odd sculpture across the street. You know, the one local grade schoolers refer to as "the Bouncy Pee-Pee."
The trials and tribulations of the Oregon Duck
Last Saturday's Oregon vs. Arizona game at Autzen Stadium was an emotional roller coaster. Or at least an emotional Tilt-a-Whirl. After leading by four touchdowns, the Ducks nearly blew their lead and the entire game in the second half. The team's near collapse probably had the most profound effect on the Oregon Duck himself. At several points during the fourth quarter, it seemed as if his Disney-branded heart was going to burst out of his chest and run laps around the field before collapsing into a pool of self pity on a bar stool at the Cooler Tavern across the street.
I was at the game along with my Canon camera and its not-so-awesome zoom lens. Have a look:
Here's the Duck in the student section during the first half, er, living it up with two shirtless fratboys. Going into halftime the Ducks were leading 45 - 17.
Then....tragedy. With six minutes left in the game, the Ducks lead had dropped to a measly three points. See how sad the Duck looks? Even those shirtless fratboys could do little to console him.
Arizona's mascots weren't about to offer him any sympathy, let alone an explanation for what they were doing at Autzen in the first place. Isn't there an NCAA rule that prevents team mascots from attending road games?
With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, many of the fans sitting in my section had begun booing the Ducks. I don't think I've ever witnessed a crowd jeer their own offensive line but the same thing happened last week too. Despite their decent record, the Ducks just can't seem to catch a break with their fans this year.
Then with 3:38 on the clock, LeGarrette Blount pulled off a 40-yard touchdown run. The boos turned into woos as disaster was thwarted. The Duck danced, the two Wildcats cringed and....
...according to the dictates of tradition, the Duck had to pull off 55 victory push-ups.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I caught a segment about this on KGW earlier today. A school in east Portland is considering a name change and a few students have suggested renaming the building after Barack Obama. Like many liberals in the US, my head is filled with visions of Camelot 2.0 sugarplums and I'm overjoyed that in a few months we'll have someone in the Oval Office that can form complete sentences.
Nonetheless, the celebrations and talk of establishing a national "Obama Day" remind me of the sort of revelry that typically follows the ousting of a third world dictator. Before we start renaming things and setting up national holidays, perhaps we should all wait until Obama actually gets a chance to, you know, do something. The challenges he faces as president are impossibly daunting. I get the feeling that, no matter how hard he strives, Obama will never be able to live up to the sky-high expectations set before him.
In the coming months and years it will be interesting to watch his approval ratings and how quickly the country will forget about the bad ol' days of GW. Here's hoping Obama doesn't become a despised scapegoat for the mistakes of Bush and that the accomplishments of his administration, rather than premature speculation, will land his name on federal buildings and schools across the country.
A hedonistic cartoon cat's thoughts on Portland...
"Hey, hey, HEY, people of Portland! Man, the timin' of this blog couldn't be any better, because I just got back from the PDX (home of my gracious host this week, Powell's Books), and I got to tell you that your city cold rocks a man. From all the rose gardens (just kidding) to the mad-crazy legislation you got which makes every block illegal if it ain't got a bar with dancers (Holla, Kimmy H at Nightstalkers! Way to compliment my hair, girl!), it is a little city where every night sprawls large. Let me love you one more time."
More can be found here on the blog for Powells Books.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
What would Monica Lewinksy do?
There are several drawbacks that come with residing three blocks from a small liberal arts college/law school/state park. I currently live three houses down from a psuedo-frat house that hosts bonfire parties every few weekends, objects ranging from plastic beer cups to street signs to live coyotes to abandoned cars routinely wind up in my bushes and, with all the undergrads zooming around on bikes, driving through the neighborhood can be more difficult than an Olympic biathlon. On top of all that, now I have to contend with campus meter maids overstepping their bounds.
Here's at least a few reasons why this ticket should have never wound up on my windshield yesterday afternoon:
1. I am not currently, nor have I ever been, a student at Lewis and Clark College. No markings on my vehicle suggest that I'm a student. In fact, there's even a University of Oregon Duck sticker on the back window. Does L and C even have a mascot?
2. My vehicle was parked directly in front of my residence where I've been living for over four years.
3. If I'm not mistaken, the school has no authority, legal or otherwise, to issue parking tickets at an off campus location on a public street located several blocks off....wait, wait. Hold up.
Actually, according to this, Lewis and Clark does have some level of "author-a-tah" to patrol the surrounding neighborhood, slapping tickets on "student" cars with what at least appears to be reckless abandon. Worse yet, they can boot vehicles and even have them towed. Yikes. What good can come of this?
I've put in a call and I've submitted an appeal to the campus' Transportation and Parking Office. Unfortunately, according to what's printed on the back of the ticket, I could wait four to six weeks for a response. In the meantime, who knows how many more times my poor, widdle car is going to be ticketed?
The last thing I want to deal with is a fleet of campus meter maids backed by the state's most well respected law school. Maybe I should just park on my lawn for the remainder of the academic calendar year.
Monday, November 10, 2008
"Let's not repeat the '90s...
...with the exception of the 'peace and prosperity' part." Cut to the 3:30 mark in this clip for a fairly brilliant bit of political punditry. I don't think anyone in this country wants to see Kenneth Starr's career resurrected at any point in the coming future.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Of course I voted
This photo would have been more relevant three days ago but....meh. For the record and amazingly enough, this year marked the first time I've sent in a ballot with pint-sized ring stains on it. Hooray for democracy! Also: voting is much more fun in a pub.
Next week: posts that have nothing to do with politics.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Palin faked the whole thing....
She's secretly a British hacker and Obama's really a jewel thief and...I won't ruin the rest of it. Click here to watch last night's fairly brilliant episode of South Park.
I'm now convinced that the show's staff must use some sort of magical stopwatch in order to crank out satire so quickly. On the other hand, I guess it wasn't so hard to predict ahead of time how both sides were going to react to Obama's inevitable win on Tuesday.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
The crowd that was standing around the Benson Hotel last night? Well, instead of starting a conflict with the police, they hung around for a few minutes, waived a few signs and marched back down to Pioneer Courthouse Square to sing "The Star Spangled Banner." It at least felt like the last two minutes of Return of the Jedi. Sure, no gigantic space stations blew up but, hey, some of those people in the crowd kinda resembled Ewoks.
Outside the Doug Fir
The crowd's reaction outside the Doug Fir after CNN announced that Obama had won the presidency.
Last night in Portland
Scenes from around town on Election Night '08:
A group of people watching Obama's victory speech in one of the Doug Fir's side rooms.
A photo of the lingering crowd at the Oregon GOP's party for Gordon Smith at the Benson Hotel.
Meanwhile, the scene outside.
If you squint you can see a few Republicans peering down at the crowd from the second floor.
And here's one of the "Barack socks" up for grabs in the main hall of the Convention Center.
More photos from last night can be found in this Flickr gallery.
Hooray for democracy
The scene in the basement of the Doug Fir Lounge tonight. More photos and videos tomorrow. Time to go pass out.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Election Night live blogging from Portland
Midnight - Things are dead at the White Eagle. The band stopped playing about ten minutes ago. I'm about to clear out my tab and call it a night. Whatever ever happens tomorrow. Whatever happens in the next four years. Everything in America right now is golden. I want to hang on to this as long as I can. I haven't felt any semblance of pride in my country for far too long. Here's hoping the afterglow goes on for a good long while. We all need it. My laptop battery is dead. Good night and good luck and all that, USA.
11:00 PM - Things were dying down by the time I got to the Oregon Democrats' party at the Convention Center. The doors were open and no one asked for a ticket. The Merkley room was cleared out and a few hundred people were still lingering in a gigantic convention hall. The size and scope was immeasurably huge in comparison to the tiny setup the GOP had at the Benson this year. I'd hoped to grab a "President Obama" sign but they were gone. There were plenty of $10 "Barrack socks" still up for grabs though.
10:00 PM - The crowd set up shop in the Square. Someone started a spontaneous rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner." More tears of joy and some members of the crowd tried to start a dance circle. The sound of cars honking in the background was constant. America had just won a political World Series. Cops stood on the edges of the Square, smiling.
9:45 PM - Back outside, a large crowd behind a group of drummers marched down SW Broadway. I watched them pass and followed them as they made their way to the Benson. Shouting and raising their fist in the air, I had no idea what was going to happen next. Were these people going to storm the hotel and Smith's shindig? There was a definite French Revolution-vibe in the air or at least a vague resemblance to a regular season European soccer riot. A bald guy with a "Hope" poster jumped up on the front steps, leading the crowd in a "yes we can" chant. On the upper floors, women in cocktail dresses peered out of the windows, some with their jaws dropped, others took photos with their cell phones. The potential for class warfare was offset by the crowds decision to head down to Pioneer Square instead. Somewhere in the fray, a grandmotherly women held up a Barrack button while shouting "HISTORY, IT'S HAPPENING!"
9:15 PM - I waived goodbye to my colleagues and headed downtown in search of the GOP party at the Benson. In the sitting lounge on the second floor a group of teenage girls in dresses were camped out and bored out of their skulls, their parents still probably living it up elsewhere. Everyone inside a banquet hall covered in Smith and McCain/Palin signs was focused on the Smith/Merkley race, which is too close to call even at this hour. Women wearing furs were mingling with men in grey suits. Martinis and an open bar. Did I feel completely out of place? Uh, yeah. I hung around for about three minutes and turned down the (presumably) free booze on hand.
8:30 - More tears of joy and shouting inside, only interrupted by McCain's concession and Obama's powerful victory speech in Chicago. A woman to my right kept us updated on the Smith/Merkley race. No idea where she was getting her information from. Among the decor: a "Bush bitch box," a countdown to his days left in office and a "Pin the Arm on McCain!" stand-up. A drunk guy from Columbia kept yelling "SI SE PUEDE" during any pause in Obama's speech. A very earnest guy from Florida loudly professed his love for his home state and its decision to swing blue this year. Meanwhile downstairs, a few hundred hipsters all danced their asses off to Journey and Bruce Springsteen.
8:00 PM - We wound up inside shortly after CNN declared victory for Obama. Couples kissed, girls cried, everyone hooted and hollered, someone fired a bottle rocket that almost flew from the sidewalk and towards the crowd but was deflected by a bush. Love, joy, hope, all of it was in the air.
7:30 PM - My small group encountered a long line snaking around the Jupiter Hotel at the Doug Fir earlier tonight. Some short guy, dressed as Hunter S. Thompson, buzzed around the porch constantly sucking on a cigarette holder as we waited to get inside. Facing a long wait and cold temperatures, we were about to bag it when a guy in a suit, carrying an American flag, decided to jump a fence and, well, landed on his crotch. He crumbled in pain but quickly pulled himself together and headed back inside for another drink. If he wasn't willing to go home after landing a blow like that then how could we wuss out?
It's now past 11:30 and it's over. Barack has won and I'm listening to a funk/jazz band in a back booth at the White Eagle as I type this. A small, mellow crowd is still lingering at the bar. Everything above doesn't qualify as "live blogging" but, eh, here it is anyway.
6:59 PM - Things seem downright subdued at the Convention Center. All I could see from the outside was a few people milling about in the hallways and a bunch of balloons tied to a parking sign. Had to park ten blocks from the Doug Fir. Wonder if we'll even be able to get near the place.
6:34 PM - OHIO! OHIO! OHIO! YEAAAAAAH! Thoughtful political analysis is likely to only descend into further "woo hoo"s and "YEAAAAAH!"s from here on out. Go, Obama go!
6:26 PM - Heading out the door here in a second. The plan is to meet up with people at the Portland Mercury's shindig at the Doug Fir and see where the evening goes from there. I wasn't sure how to dress for this so I'm going with a pair of slacks and...an old t-shirt. That might not fly at the Benson so I'm packing my black wool jacket and a sweater to use as a disguise. Maybe a shirt and tie would be a smarter move. We'll see. Updates may be spotty for the next few hours but I'm hoping I'll have access to an iPhone. Photos to come...
6:22 PM - CNN: 174 Obama, 69 McCain. One pundit on CNN just made a mention of Gordon Smith using Obama in his ads instead of McCain.
6:13 PM - Aha! Via KGW I finally figured out where the the biggies from the state GOP are hanging out tonight: "Oregon Republican Party will host Senator Gordon Smith, Allen Alley, and area Republican legislative candidates at the Benson Hotel 309 SW Broadway Portland, Oregon."
6:07 PM - Blogtown's coverage of Election Day only goes to show that I was looking for craziness in all the wrong places this afternoon. One bit from the blog: "'I saw Gordon Smith shaking hands in a MAX station today and all these people were scurrying away from him!' said a woman..." More here.
5:57 PM - Bob Packwood, Tonya Harding, Neil Goldschmidt and now Phil Busse. Can the Beaver State ever land national attention for anything besides debauchery and the occasional tourist section spread? Supposedly, Busse's lawn sign stealing crime spree cost him his job and landed him on the Drudge Report earlier today.
5:46 PM - Gaffe time. A political analyst on Northwest Cable News just said, "The state of Georgia hasn't gone with a Democratic candidate since Reagan." Whoops!
5:42 PM - Looks like Pennsylvania is swinging blue. Don't call it a blowout just yet...
5:37 PM - If I'm going to do this whole live blogging thing up proper I should probably be offering "analysis" instead of eating cupcakes. Er.....ummmm....working class voter turnout in....uh...let me get back to you on this after Chuck Todd on NBC explains everything to me.
5:30 PM - Mmmmmmmm.....nonpartisan Election Night cupcake....or is it? Can I trust that peace symbol?
5:14 PM - "Realism is the best way to describe the mood at the McCain camp in Phoenix tonight." So says a CNN correspondent. Things look downright somber down there. Meanwhile, the crowd is already enormous at Grant Park in Chicago.
5:10 PM - Here's a handy widget:
5:00 PM - Florida is swinging blue so far? Awesome.
4:53 PM - I spent part of the afternoon on NW 23rd. The only sign I could find that there was a major election going on today was in the Starbucks on NW Overton. A lot of people were heading in for those free cups of coffee. I wonder if the staff would have given one to a 12 year old if they'd claimed they voted this afternoon. I still haven't heard if the whole promotion actually breaks the law. I headed home along SW Broadway, expecting to see Merkley or Smith supporters waiving signs at passing cars but things were pretty quiet down there.
4:40 PM - A friend of mine works for a company that has put together this "data visualization tool for election-related Twitter conversations." It's sponsored by Tropicana and, so far, it seems like most of the users following Election Night are using the words "rally" and "war" the most so far. Weird.
4:28 PM - Ok, off I go. It's been a while since I last did this sort of thing and I think keeping everything in a single post might be the way to go. I'm currently sitting in my living room but I plan to head out in search of Election Night parties around 6. I still hope to find a way into the Oregon Democrat's stronghold at the Convention Center.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Live blogging on Election Night?
I had planned to spend Election Night much like I did in 2004 and live blog the whole thing like some kinda wannabe journe-mo-list. Sadly, it looks like the party the state Democrats are hosting will be a "ticketed volunteer appreciation event." I don't think that constructing a hideous Palin pumpkin will be enough to land me an invite. Do they give out press credentials for serious *ahem* bloggers like me?
Meanwhile, I can't find any mention of a party for the state Republicans on their website. The Portland Mercury has an interesting thing at the Doug Fir planned though and I hear talk of an Obama Victory parade on the eastside.
Eh, I'll figure something out.
Election Day Eve
Four years ago I spent Election Night buzzing around various events arranged by the state's political factions. I remember walking into the Marriott on Naito to discover a long line of Republicans trying to squeeze into a celebration in the basement. Sometime later, across the river, things were taking a sad turn in the Convention Center. I was standing in a large banquet hall with a few hundred Democrats when it became obvious that Kerry had lost his bid for the presidency. The organizers decided to drop a batch of victory balloons on the lingering crowd anyway. Depression quickly turned to anger as the everyone in the room, kids and elderly pensioners alike, started jumping on them. It was an ugly scene and one that, honestly, still haunts me. Especially after all that followed in American politics.
I think it's safe to say that if anyone is going to take out their frustrations on inanimate objects tomorrow night it'll be members of the state GOP. Knock on wood. I was convinced that Kerry had the election in the bag right around this time in 2004. There was simply no way that America could be naive enough to elect a Republican into the Oval Office for another four years.
Even if Obama wins in a landslide I can't help but be pestered by the nagging feeling that somewhere, right now, a group of key Republican strategists are all twiddling their fingers and doing their best Mr. Burns impressions. The economy is in the tank and the federal budget has been raided by Wall Street. War profiteers, oil bandits and various other forces o' darkness have made a killing in the past eight years. Now it's time to go back into hibernation like that mountain-sized demon at the end of Fantasia, count up the profits and kill a decade or three before they can safely pull a full-scale con on the electorate all over again. Let the new guy clean up this mess.
Still, if he wins, I'm sure the mud-slinging starts Wednesday at dawn. A colleague in DC who works in public relations for various right-wing factions tells me an Obama victory will be great for business. It'll energize the GOP but I wonder if they'll break out the same witch hunt tactics they unleashed on Bill Clinton. Is a scandal on the level of Whitewater or a stained dress enough to fire up Republicans after the full-scale, nightmarish bungles of the Bush administration? Oh, wait. What am I saying? These are the people who scream "terrorist" when they see a politician who once spent a small amount of time with a guy like Bill Ayers.
In less than 24 hours this will all be over (please, no repeats of 2000). God help whichever candidate wins tomorrow night. They'll be accepting one of the greatest "crap gigs" in the history of all mankind.
The anti-climax in Clackamas
My current work schedule allows me a three-day weekend. Unfortunately, these three days are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I can't say I'm overjoyed with it but this does free me up to do super exciting things like...drive to Oregon City with my sister on a Monday afternoon.
She didn't receive a mail-in ballot despite updating her address twice earlier this year. A lost mail-in form prevented her from voting in the primaries and a second attempt a few months ago also failed to sail through the proper channels. Was there some sort of malicious conspiracy at work to keep a young Democrat like her from voting? Had the McCain campaign arranged some sort of botched diabolical plan to destroy ballots in Ohio but somehow confused that state with Oregon? Or was a series of boring office snafus to blame? Whatever the culprit, with a day to go until Election Day and no ballot, she only had one option if she wanted to vote: making a trip to the Clackamas County Elections office.
I went along expecting to get an anecdote (and a trip to Dutch Brothers) out of the whole thing. Given the state's mail-in ballot program, neither of us had set foot in a voting center before. I figured we'd encounter a chaotic line snaking around the block or at least a few overly-earnest volunteers running around in Uncle Sam hats but there was none of that. There were only a few people waiting ahead of us and we were in and out of there in under ten minutes flat. After jotting down her new address and a short wait, she was handed a ballot. Interesting side note: no one asked her for ID.
All things considered, this was probably a lot better than spending a few hours standing in the rain. Plus, I scored a free and completely worthless copy of Oregon's 2008 Recall Manual. Also, there was the minor thrill of taking the photograph above, which I'm at least 10 - 12% breaks some sort of law. Hoorah for living dangerously.