Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ways not to win my heart

I'm falling asleep reading a book on the beach last Saturday afternoon when I get a call from this man:

Well, it was actually just a voice recording. And Bonnie, on the towel next to me, received the same call 12 minutes later. Bernard Parks is trolling for votes in advance of the 3 June elections. I received two more phone calls from him over the next 48 hours.

While using phonebanks is a really cheap way of reaching potential voters, it's also pretty ineffective for securing additional votes, as studies have shown (Mr. Parks, you would know this if you'd taken Dr. Rhoad's class on persuasion and influence!). My anger at this annoying violation of my Saturday afternoon nap extends to a moody gstatus message - something about how i'm going to HUNT HIM DOWN if I get one more call. This prompts friend Scott to write an email to Bernard:

Subject: You called me at 7:30am Monday morning...

...and have subsequently lost my vote. No one wants to be woken up that early to hear a recorded message on their cell phone when they think it's probably an emergency. Congratulations on alienating your constituency.


Los Angeles Voter

Scott shared Bernard's response:

SCOTT, I am sorry for this inconvenience to you. My campaign received your number from the public files of the county's voter registration records. This the (sic) most common way all campaigns receive voter contact information. I will request that you be removed from my campaign phone call system. BCP

I wrote a similar message to 'BCP' and got this in return:

Thank you for your email. My staff and I will take a look at your message... and do our very best to address your concerns. Thanks, again. Councilmember Bernard C. Parks

Thanks, Bernard. If you hadn't already lost my vote for the series of annoying calls, you'd be losing it over your crappy punctuation.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


if nothing goes awry:

6 June. Sana'a, Yemen
10 July. Lebanon (if things calm down)
17 July. Damascus
back to Cali on 16 Aug.

standby for further details after Monday...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

may the 4th be with you

Sundry items:

1. I should not be writing this blog right now. It is a deliberate technique in procrastination when I have at least 57 (not kidding) more pages of writing to finish by next Monday. However, I just opened my front door to change some laundry and found a beautifully wrapped package left by none other than The Cupcake Bandit. You can guess what was inside. The note mentioned that my attempts to not have fun (in a rare display of extreme but necessary discipline) before 12 May had officially been foiled. And indeed they have, as I sit here writing, with chocolate frosting smeared indelicately across my face. Thank you, Bandit.

2. At church today, a girl sitting behind me asked me to stand up so she could see the sleeves on my dress better. Perplexed and suddenly self-conscious, I acquiesced, but requested clarification. She explained that she'd heard that I tended to do funny things with my dresses sometimes, like wear the same dress 4 or 5 weeks in a row to see if anyone notices (it's true) - so she thought she'd be super-observant and see if I'd done something weird with my sleeves today to test the latest observation powers of my church-going peers. Turns out that wasn't the case this time, but I commended her on her sharp eye. What a reputation I have going...

3. I was in the Utah last week. Good times were had. Good times began with a trip to Pirate O's with the Maxes. Pirate O's is a Draper, UT knockoff of our dearly beloved Trader Joes's. Its presence near Salt Lake was meant to be a sort of moving-to-Utah consolation prize for the gourmet food loving Maxes. Before their move last month, we checked out the Pirate O's website with great anticipation - only to find that the ONLY item they sell online is their Roasted Rasberry Chipotle Sauce. Just try and buy something else! Just try! We were pleased to find that the actual store does have more than just the chipotle sauce in stock...but I fear nothing will ever quite match TJ's for variety and price.
In addition to time with the Maxes, I hiked and hot-springed in Diamond Canyon with friends, then spent some quality time with the grandparents in Orem (introducing them to the art of fine self-portraiture):

Similar story with my brother, sister-in-law, and their puppy Juno:
and later with Ryan in the Maxes' brand-new kitchen:
Playing with the Maxes is always fun. You might say they're the best.
And because I failed to photograph their child whilst in the Utah quadrant, I submit to you a picture of the lad plus Kat and I on their moving day. Just look at that sneer...

And now...back to tales of Orthodox brotherhood and its impact on Russian foreign policy toward Serbia in the 1990s. More fun tales when I surface again in a week.