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Thursday, January 31, 2008

blogging panel

Today I am moderating a panel for AAN about blogging. People keep coming up to me and asking me if I'm ready. and I say, "for what?" So, clearly not so much.
It's Ok because I am the moderator today so it's up to the panelists ot be interesting and I cna just sit here and look hot.
Or not.
The panel will be pretty basic. Peopel will explain their blogs and then they will run through some questions nad then there will be time for comments from the audience, except maybe not because all these panels aer only 45 minutes long nad I don't know how anyone can get anything done, but I shouldn't complain because richard karpel is standing right here and I shouldn't make fun of him while he's talking. I gugess.
WWe will be talking about best blogging practices and I will use my own blog as an example of one that doesn't follow any of the best blogging practices and I was going to play a video but there's no sound so I guess I won't. Ok, let's get started.

Room with a view

Apparently all I needed to break my three weeks of insomnia was fly to
san francisco and sleep in a nice hotel. Must make note for next time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

damn politicians

My big fear all week was that Edwards would drop out when it was too late to do anything about our cover package for this week. Which is basically what happened. In my imagination, he made the decision at the exact moment as the paper started rolling off the press. We had already had to adjust the chart at the last minute when Kucinich dropped out, but I was hoping, given that there wasn't that much for Dems to lose in Florida, that Edwards would stick with it. Particularly given that he seemed to be saying before today that he wasn't going anywhere. I believe i called Dave way too early this morning to complain about politicians vowing not to quit 24 hours before doing just that. Either, I think, they are lying, or capable of 180 degree changes of mind in 24 hours. Neither of which inspires huge amounts of trust, in my opinion. Oh well. I'm off to this convention, our election coverage is on the street. When I return, we will host an election-watching party at 7 pm until we can't stand it anymore on Feb. 5 at the Catamount. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

breaking the silence

I've been fairly hectic and crazy the past two weeks, trying to get as much done as possible, as I leave Wednesday for a conference in San Francisco. As it happens, I'll be moderating a panel on blogging and a great deal of the discussion will be about best practices. So perhaps I can use myself as an example of what not to do. As in:

!. Don't abandon your blog for a week
2. Don't return with a bunch of tedious excuses about dentists and plumbing as why you haven't been blogging.
3. Don't use the post to then talk about what you ate for dinner.

So the boy and I just had a rather mediocre Asian fusion meal. We had our hearts set on hot curry, as the boy is sick from sick people coughing on him at the hospital, and I have a massive headache from doing nothing but writing political coverage for our caucus package this week. Unfortunately, our restaurant of choice, which we habituate on Sundays, has decided to no longer be open on Sundays. The boy thinks there's a fairly good chance we should take this personally, as we are usually the only people there on Sundays. I got my curry elsewhere, but it wasn't as good and my head still hurts.
The weird thing about watching so much political coverage, even reading so much political coverage, is that there reaches this saturation point where instead of feeling like you know a lot, you feel like you suddenly don't know much at all. For example, one would think that reading through policy points and 35 point plans would leave one with lots of info. But instead I feel like all I know is that everyone has very elaborate plans and they all seem vaguely the same. I think I can be as much of a policy wonk/geek as the next, um, policy wonk/geek, but I need to focus on one issue at a time. When I start trying to absorb the policies and plans for 50 different social ills, I start to just blank out after a while. I also really don't believe people vote based solely on issues, at least not in the Dem race. For the most part, the candidates really do have pretty similar platforms. My prediction, which is an easy one, is that Hillary Clinton will win New Mexico; it's such a traditional Democratic base here and they do love their Clintons and Kennedys. But perhaps I will be proven wrong. I don't usually like being proven wrong, but there's nothing as fun as a political upset. Speaking of upset, I've been very psyched because allegedly Obama will be in Santa Fe on Feb. 1 and I was looking forward to seeing him, until I realized that I will be in San Francisco on Feb. 1. Why do these conferences always happen the one time there is something I want to do here? I mean, not the one time, but the times when there is something i REALLY want to do here. I missed MuzikFest in August due to a conference, the one I'm going to in Philly in June is during a friend's wedding here. Blah blah blah!
On the bright side, I've finally gotten it through my head how New Mexico's apportionment of delegates works here for our caucus, which was looking like it was never going to happen about 24 hours ago. I don't know why it seemed so confusing; I had it explained to me in 04 but I guess it didn't stick. I'm looking forward to voting. In 04 they had run out of ballots and all I got to do was write a name down on a scrap of paper, which was sort of anti-climactic. My vote tends to be the kiss of death anyway; no one I vote for ever seems to win (at least in presidential elections). Here's hoping '08 changes my losing streak!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

the city never returned my call about my frozen pipes, but I soon learned that pipes were frozen and bursting all over town, and the article in the new mex actually convinced me that I should call a plumber immediately, lest my pipes burst as well.
About the same time as I read the article and realized my pipes might burst, my neck and back went into seizure, a perfectly reasonable response to a problem: Trouble? Let's make it worse.
The first plumber I called told me there was no way he could send anyone but advised me to put a space heater on and blow it underneath my sink. The second plumber said he could come at 11 pm Saturday night (I swear to god I used to have a life). the last one came within about an hour after I called (which should have been seen as a blessing, but really just made me doubt his credentials). His advice was to just wait and keep blowing the space heater on the sink. He didn't charge me for the visit, which I found astounding, particularly given that the day before my doctor hadn't charged me a copay for my physical. The boy says I should look at these freebees as good things that have happened to me. But I suspect that either: a. I must be looking very sad sack indeed if doctors and plumbers are foregoing their fees for me and/or b. the universe has something really heinous in store nexxt and is just trying to keep me off guard. Clearly I am not and have never been an optimist. The plumber also advised me to keep the house warm, advice I've been waiting a decade for, as normally I live in a meat locker so as to forego sending PNM one extra cent for their CEO's outrageous salary (and because it's so damn expensive in the winter and they ain't giving away the power bars at Whole Foods, last time I checked). I spent most of the weekend on the couch, unable to turn my head, occasionally getting up to check the space heater and make sure it hadn't caused the particle board to catch on fire. I AM LIVING THE DREAM PEOPLE!
About 6 pm last night the water came back on, rather loudly. There is now a puddle in the kitchen, which I suspect means a pipe has indeed burst, although the boy believes there may just be a leak related to the refrigerator. I am determined not to call a plumber after hours and am just trying to think optimistic thoughts, a task that is definitely not helping my seized-up neck. On the bright side, I just had some dinner, my motivation being that I can't take my pain pills without food in my stomach. And I wouldn't even have pain pills for my aching neck if I hadn't gotten a huge prescription when I had to have my wisdom tooth extracted emergency style before New Year's. So see, everything happens for a reason.
So far, not super impressed with 2008.

Friday, January 18, 2008

imaginary conversation with the city

Me: "Hi, my pipes are frozen."
City water department employee: "Oh you poor thing. You just can't catch a break, can you?"
Me: "No, the universe hates me."
CWDE: "Oh Julia, the universe doesn't hate you. It loves you. And the city of Santa Fe water department loves you too. We are going to walk you through exactly what you need to do and everything is going to be fine."
Me:Thank you! I feel better already."

Actual conversation:
Me: "My pipes are froezn."
Most bored-sounding city employee to ever live: "Give me your number and our technician will call when he has time and we'll determine whose responsibility it is."
Me: "Um, OK, is there anything I can do?"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

4 degrees

I woke up late this morning, shivering in the 4 degree weather and realized that not only was I running late, but I had forgotten to charge my phone. When I checked it half an hour later, the boy had called several times. He now works nights at the hospital and came out to find that 4 degrees was too cold for his pretty, but old, car. Unshowered, uncaffeinated and with an unwalked dog, I battled across the morning school traffic to retrieve him, drove home (at the speed limit), flung myself in the shower, raced (at the speed limit) to the radio station, made my appearance on Honey's show, taped a promo for kbac and then raced (at the speed limit) downtown fo an eight hour business planning/budget retreat.
If you've never sat ina conference room fo eight hours with your fellow managers and bosses and discussed all the hard things you're going to commit to doing for the next year and then argued over what the money will be spent on, you are really missing out. For example, you don't know what it feels like to be completely ennervated, mildly depressed and 100 percent braindead. There is, sadly, some horrible part of my brain that actually enjoys the experience, the part that likes planning and decision making and goal setting. The part that is, therefore, responsible for me having a full-time job as opposed to being a waitress and living on the beach, which, frankly, doesn't sound too bad at the moment.
I came home, retrieved the boy, whom I had deposited, carless, at my house, took him to his car, which apparently needs a new battery, then to his house, then home, making a quick stop at the mailbox to retrieve a huge pile of bills. My current mode of calming activity is to knit, but I have managed to turn that into a compulsive activity as well. Case in point: I have found myself unable to knit a sock, despite watching videos, taking instruction and practicing again and again. At the moment, to my immediate left, lays my latest attempt, which is just perfect if you happen to have a one-legged child with a clubfoot. If so, please let me know, because I can hook you up. It is times like this that I wish I was a drinker, because a nice stiff cocktail seems in order. Alas, I'm not and there is no alcohol in the house except for some miniature bottles of flavored brandies that were a Xmas gift two years ago from one of the Reporter's owners, which I have yet to drink.
Tomorrow I have scheduled a physical, for the first time in ages, because I figure if I am going to feel old, which I do, I might as well act like a mature adult and make sure there is nothing wrong with me. Evidence of ageing: I lost a tooth, I want to move somewhere warm, and I get more phone calls before 9 am than after 9 pm.
OK, that's enough ranting. I am going to go beat myself over the head with an expensive shoe or something fun and see if I can possibly pass out and wake up in a slightly more optimistic frame of mind.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

proof the universe hates me

Thursday, January 10, 2008

he ran, he saw, he learned, he's done

Um, is the city required to remember to remove the snow from the streets then?

Residents are Required to Remove Snow and Ice from Sidewalks

When it snows, the City of Santa Fe asks residents and business owners to be helpful, responsible and aware of the need to remove all snow and ice from sidewalks. This is a friendly reminder that property owners are legally responsible for shoveling their sidewalks after each snowstorm. City ordinance (§23-1.8 Removal of Snow and Ice from Sidewalks) requires owners, managers or residents to remove snow and ice from the public sidewalks abutting their property to ensure safe pedestrian access. The City of Santa Fe sent a letter regarding snow removal procedures and responsibilities to all city utility customers in November. Enforcement of the snow removal ordinance will begin this week.
Please bear in mind that during continuous periods of snow, city snow plows may have to make several passes in front of homes or businesses. As a result, snow may be pushed onto sidewalks you have already cleared. We appreciate your patience during such circumstances.
To file a complaint about an icy sidewalk, please call the City’s Office of Constituent Services (505) 955-6949 or go online to and click on “One Click to City Hall.”

freedom to blog

This story about the judge ordering the man to stop blogging about his estranged wife is really wild. The guy is writing bitter, fictionalized (or disguised?) blog posts about his soon to be ex-wife. She complains to the judge, who orders him to stop, possibly creating an entirely new arena of Internet law (one, obviously, that will be very challenged), questions about free speech on the Internet etc. Seriously? If the law were to ban people from fictionalizing (or not) their woes against exes, 50 percent of the Internet's purpose would dry up. Throw in a ban against complaining against bosses, ex's exes and ex-friends, and you'd have almost no blogosphere left, except, of course, for the political blogs.
Speaking of which, I've been perusing all the various posts on Richardson's imminent withdrawal (favoring Heath's at the moment. But there seems to be general consensus on a few things:

1. Richardson wouldn't turn down an SOS or VP job (obviously and, for what it's worth, I've had more than two people tell me that Richardson has told them that directly).
Again, it's irritating to me that he denies all along that he's interested in that but, then, everyone knows he is. And it will be spun around as, "well he wasn't interested in it when he was running for president, but now that he's not, blah blah blah." Isn't there a fine line between political semantics and being full of shit? And shouldn't one just try to stay away from that line if they are running for office in a year in which people are decidedly unequivocally sick of politicans being full of shit? I'm just saying.
2. The guv may find the Legislature harder to control than when he left. If so, something tells me bullying the Legislature into line may be just the post-presidential-partum-pick-me-up old Bill needs.
3. Some feel the guv may support one of the remaining candidates, aka Hillary for the Feb. 5 ballot. Others believe he's screwed up too badly with the Clintons to do so. Some think he may still try to win on the NM Feb. 5 ballot (on which he will remain) to try to control ballots at the Convention. Others say this is too risky and will piss people off. I predict he will not, certainly, publicly endorse anyone, but everyone will know that he's encouraging people to vote for someone but then when you ask him or his staff they will deny it and say no comment. Even though everyone knows it's true. My money's on Obama at the moment. I mean, my imaginary money.
4. Some wonder if Bill will now run for Domenici's seat for US Senate. Others say there's no way he will do that because Tom Udall is running and Tom's daughter, Amanda, is a heavyweight on Bill's campaign (a heavyweight who doesn't return phone calls, I might add) and there's no way Tom would have run if Bill was going to. I believe that is true, although I doubt it would stop him if Richardson really wanted to be in the US Senate. Which I assume he won't if he can be the SOS or the VP. If those are out of reach, then who knows.
5. Some say Bill will be remembered for trying, others say he will be remembered for failing. Some say he ran a good campaign, others say it wasn't good enough. He had clever ads, was a sucky debater, made some really stupid comments, although I thought his last few public appearances were a lot better. He touted his resume early and then the campaign turned into one in which change and youth were valued over experience. But I personally salute him for a comment he made during one of the post-Iowa debates, when he was asked if he thought youth was a detriment for a presidential candidate. Despite his emphasis on his experience, Richardson said very clearly that he did not think youth was a detriment and he spoke about the fact that JFK was a political hero of his, and that his youth and energy inspired a nation. I thought, at the time, that it was a generous and honest comment. I believe he really felt that, and that he can recognize that ain't no JFK. Although, now that I think about it, I suppose it might have been a comment calculated to gain points with Obama. Or, perhaps, it was a lucky truth. I find it really obvious when Richardson is being himself versus when he's trying to be something he's not, and that moment struck me as very much of the former ilk.
What a year it's going to be.

early morning jitters

I am having one of my intermittent bouts of insomnia, no doubt provoked by yesterday afternoon's visit to the dentist and the results thereof. I will spare you the gory details, except to say that it looks as though I am facing months of uncomfortable and expensive dental work, the prospect of which has clearly taken over the part of my brain that I have trained to allow me to sleep at least five hours a night.
I also made the mistake of making a cup of coffee before realizing it was the middle of the night and, thus, resigned myself to just staying up. Turned on the computer to do some non-Internet work, because I don't have Internet at my house, and discovered, for some reason, that I am online. I guess someone in the neighborhood got wireless. I suppose I am currently committing wireless theft, but it was unintentional and since the likelihood of my being able to afford Internet at my house with the pending dentistry work seems unlikely, I suppose I will take this small gift from the Universe, although, frankly, I think the Universe could do a little better by me, seeing as how I never kill spiders and try, in general, to be kind to my fellow man (at least outwardly).
I was a bit surprised to hear, yesterday early evening, that Richardson was dropping out of the race, but less surprised to read his campaign denying it. I think it's a fairly good flashpoint of one of the problems with Richardson's campaign. Just drop out and have your staff admit it. All of this, no he's not, yes he is, unconfirmed sources say, his campaign has no comment blah blah blah just translates as chaos. Chaos and pointless drama. Did Biden and Dodd have all this chaos when they dropped out?No, they just said, hey, we're dropping out. So why should Richardson be any different? And frankly, his campaign aggravates me with this stuff. They've been really non-responsive to us during the campaign and now all of this pointless secrecy. And it's not even secrecy. To say, if you're in charge of a campaign, that you know nothing of whether or not your candidate is going to drop out, is probably just not true. And if Richardson drops out today, as expected, I think it reflects poorly on his campaign that his staff was so disingenous when contacted by the media today (yesteday? This middle of the night stuff is making me confused about what day it is). And if you can't count on the staff to give you a straight answer on one thing, how can you count on them to give you a straight answer about anything?
For my part, I really thought Richardson would stick to it through Feb. 5. The thought of him dropping out before the Feb. 5 caucuses, of which NM is a part, when he will remain a candidate in that caucus even if he drops out (or so I understand), seems kind of at odds with my instincts about Richardson. But maybe trying to win NM isn't enough incentive, particularly if the money is gone. I wonder, as I often do, what it's like to live in the skin of a politician; I can't imagine anything I'd want to do less than run for public office. Wait, yes I can: spend the next six months getting dental work done. That sounds worse. Or maybe it's a draw.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

boo hoo

Everyone is abuzz this morning about Hillary Clinton crying on the campaign trail. Would it be different if she was a man? (That would be different; actually it would be kind of exciting to find out Hillary Clinton was a man...OK, you know what I meant, right?). Does it show she's weak? Was it calculated? (I can't believe I just linked to Fox News...I'm going to hell, for sure).
I have an entirely different question: How is this even characterized as crying? I've watched the clip about 10 times and I swear it doesn't look like crying to me. I cry harder than that in sad movies. I mean, come on! Three million stories because she got mildly misty? Who cares? She's not running for head robot.

Monday, January 07, 2008

This story is so horrible I can barely stand it. It's like the opening scene for a Six Feet Under episode. I thought the reader's comment about the adopted characterization was interesting. But, I'm afraid, what I really want to know is: Did the kitten die too?
Ugh, so tragic and terrible!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Raucous Caucus

I watched the footage from Iowa last night with Sonya, who is visiting, and who has been out of the country for the last six months, so she was actually getting acquainted with the race for basically the first time. I had been, of course, amped to see what happened in Iowa, but with a feeling somewhat akin to dread. I have not been excited about Hillary Clinton and, frankly, the novelty of having the governor running for president is wearing a bit thin, particularly considering the total lack of responsiveness we have gotten from the campaign staff whenever we try to cover anything. Plus, Richardson's campaign stresses out my armchair quarterbacking self because every time I watch him I think about all the things his staff should be telling him to do and say that he isn't doing or saying.
He was almost absent from TV coverage last night, so first thing this morning I looked for Terrell's column and was not disappointed. Steve answers pretty much any question one might have about what this means for Richardson, and provides a great sense of color and nuance from last night, so check it out.
But for me, last night was all about Obama. As many people did, I became excited about Obama after his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, but, as we've seen, he's been a bit up and down since then. Last night, his speech had that same effect on me, as it obviously did on others, this glimmering of hope that perhaps the next president could be a very difffrent leader, not to mention kind of person, than what we've seen in this country since its inception. I'm pretty jazzed at the moment, and can't wait to see what goes down in New Hampshire. Here's Obama's victory speech from last night if you missed it. And here are some other good links today:

John Dickerson's analysis on Slate of Barack's impact, and his support from youth voters.
I liked what Ariana Huffington had to say about the meaning of Obama's win.
And, Heath's analysis of Richardson's fourth-place showing and why the guv should drop out if he really cares about coming back to NM. (Except Heath doesn't use the word "care," that's me).