Archive for September, 2008

Know Your Candidates 2008

September 27, 2008
For those of you voting in Arlington County this November, be aware:

United States President and Vice President (no incumbent)

Obama/Biden (D)

McCain/Palin (R)

Baldwin/Castle (IG) ~ really the Constitution Party ticket

Barr/Root (L)

McKinney/Clemente (G)

Nader/Gonzalez (I)

United States Senate: Virginia (no incumbent)

Mark R. Warner (D) (former VA governor, 2002-2006)

James S. "Jim" Gilmore III (R) (former VA governor, 1998-2002)

Glenda Gail Parker (IG)

William B. Redpath (L)

House of Representatives: 8th District

James P. "Jim" Moran Jr. (D) – incumbent since 1991

Mark W. Ellmore (R)

J. Ron Fisher (IG)

Arlington County Board

Barbara A. Favola (D) – incumbent since 1997

John G. Reeder (IG)

Arlington County School Board (both endorsed by the Democratic Party)

Libby T. Garvey – incumbent since 1996

Emma N. Violand-Sanchez

Open Question

Is there a need for the redevelopment and housing authority to be activated in the County of Arlington? (Y/N)

There are also four municipal bond issue questions on the ballot, a yes or no decision on each, that total $170 million for mass transit, community infrastructure, water and sewer upkeep, and the school system. I haven’t been able to find a link to this outside of the county’s sample ballot. Historically, nearly every bond on the county ballot each election gets passed with at least an 80% margin. It disgusts me that there doesn’t seem to be any public conversation about this volume of spending. Once the bond issue leaves committee, there doesn’t seem to be a single online whimper of dissent to this commitment of tax funds.

One last note for Arlington County residents: This year you have the option of using the WinVote electronic voting machines that the county has been using since 2004, or you can use a paper ballot. If you are not initially offered this choice when you arrive, you can request a paper ballot, which must be provided in any precinct.

If you’re not in my jurisdiction, the presidential election alone will probably pull you to the ballot box on November 4th. When you get there, you will be presented with the obvious decision you went there for, but also confronted with state and local positions that might be unfamiliar to you. Know your candidates, be informed, and do your own research! Voter awareness, participation, and education are the linchpins upon which the fate of the republic hinges. If voters fail to do their civic duty, then democracy will fail, too. Make sure you are registered to vote, if there is still time.

There are 38 days left until the election… are you ready?

P.S.: Glassbooth might help.

P.P.S.: Here’s my similar post from 2006. See any familiar names?

Nifty Wikipedia Thing: Marree Man

Movies I’ve Seen:

So Mort It Be (2004) ~ budgetless goth-fueled monster/horror flick, good only for tasteless laughs

What I’m Reading:

"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand (56.2%)

"Dave Barry is From Mars and Venus" by Dave Barry


BrickFair ’08 (and laser tag)

September 10, 2008

BrickFest returned to DC this year, two years after the last one, but with a name change. This year it was BrickFair 2008, due to the BrickFest’s decision to cancel the official east coast Fest this year. DC Lego fans rallied together and formed the Fair to keep their community strong and active.

Since it was a regional event rather than national, this year’s BringThing was understandably underwhelming. The Great Ball Machine appeared again, this time in its own room. There was another multi-story crane, Brick City setups and railraods, lego art and sculpture, and robot sumo wrestling. And yet, despite the smaller evnt, the crowds were easily two or three times as big as they were in Twenty-oh-six. Just like last year’s Solar Decathlon, I found myself worrying less about the event and more about how to beat the crowds at the next one.

We took our friend CSO to see it this year, and we ran into ChaliceChick there. After we slogged through the convention floor and the smaller showrooms, we rendezvoused around the cafe table and shared our photos and experiences:

  • "Did you see the Connect Four robot?"
  • "Did you see the Monastary?"
  • "Did you see the tire fire?"
  • "How about the bucky-ball?"
  • "Check out this awesome photo of the Making of Episode One diorama"

All these things are in the photo gallery I’ve set up for BrickFair 2008. Did you spot the monkeys climbing around?

UPDATE: If you’re on Facebook, you can view ChaliceChick’s photos here.

It was dark, and quiet… too quiet. i heard only the distant drumming of running feet. I expected fog, but there was little of that. I heard someone approach from around the corner. Would they be friend or foe? My rifle was ready. My ammo was loaded. I was ready for anything,… except getting shot in the back by a ten-year-old kid. Down for the count, I slunk off to a dark corner, waiting to re-energize.

I played laser tag for the first time. On the red team, we dueled in the dark against the Blue Meanies for fifteen minutes, running around in the darkened labyrinthine arena, wearing a vest lit with bright red targets and with a rifle the size of a loaf of bread tethered to it. FortiesGirl and I were each other’s favorite target, oddly enough. We all got scorecards at the end, and it was fun to share stats with former competitors. I don’t get to say this often about physical endeavors, but.. I didn’t come in last! In fact, I was in the middle third.

Golf is a sport of two talents: good eyesight, and a "who can walk around outdoors longer" endurance match. Golfers even wimp out on that latter part since they use electric carts. Duck hunting uses both talents, and more so than golf does. The duck is a spontaneous moving target, and the outdoor terrain is generally more rugged and unpleasant than the manicured fairways of golf. In fact, golf and duck hunting are opposites of each other. The goal of one sport is to precisely hit a stationary object and make it fly, while the other sport’s goal is to precisely hit a flying object and make it stationary.

Unrelated thought: I’ve always wanted to drop a box of ping pong balls down a stairwell.

Nifty Wikipedia Thing: The Iron Pillar of Delhi

Movies I’ve Seen:
The Mark of Zorro (1940) ~ grand silver screen fencing duel
Dead Calm (1989) ~ psycho sailing suspense sans slashing
Good Night and Good Luck (2005) ~ 21st century black and white
Thank You For Smoking (2006) ~ Spin never dies, just relocates
La Gran Final (aka The Great Match) (2006) ~ Mongols, Tauregs, and Amazonians love soccer!

What I’m Reading:
"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand (52.4%)
"Dave Barry is From Mars and Venus" by Dave Barry