Sunday, February 10, 2008

Week in Review: Life ain't just Commuter Cam

The last couple weeks on this blog, I've pretty much been obsessing over the whole Commuter Cam thing, so you might be inclined to believe that I haven't been up to much else.

And, you'd be wrong, punk!

For example, just yesterday Sarah and I flexed our respective democratic muscles, and attended our very first caucus! And, it was hot. Literally. With all the people jammed into the Seattle Labor Temple, things got a bit stuffy. But, beyond that, it was a pretty interesting and impressive experience. Here's sort of a blow-by-blow summery of how things went:

Once there, we went into a large room where there were a number of tables with numbers for each district posted above them. We checked in at our districts table, and they have you declare whether you are for Obama, Hillary or uncommitted. We declared Obama, which we'd both been leaning to recently. After milling around for a bit, a woman got up on the stage, introduced herself to the crowd, had everyone do the Pledge of Allegiance, and explained how things would work.

Then each district got into a small group, with our district having somewhere around 40 people there. The district head (who, like Sarah, had apparently been fighting a cold all week) then had every one who was for Obama stand on one side of him, everyone for Hillary on the other, and uncommitteds stand in the middle.

There were about 30 Obama people, about 10 Hillary supporters, and a couple uncommitted. Then, each side got to pick one person to get up and give a one minute speech about why people should pick their candidate. After that, we had another 10 minutes to mingle... which basically turned into about half the people swarming the uncommitteds and trying to convince them to join their side. This was possibly the most interesting part, since from where I was standing on the Labor Temple stage, I could watch people jockey for position in front of the one or two undeclared people, the whole time declaring that the people representing the other side were full of crap.

After the 10 minutes were up, the district head asked if the uncommitted had decided, and if anyone wanted to switch sides. One went to Obama, one to Hillary, and one Hillary switched to Obama (I think, it was actually really chaotic).

Our district sends 9 delegates on to the next stage, the Legislative District Caucuses, which is in April. Based on the number of votes, our district is sending 7 pro-Obama delegates, and 2 pro-Hillary delegates.

I'm actually an Alternate Delegate... which is sort of like being Assistant (to the) District Manager.

Here I am, mentally preparing for my duties as Alternate Delegate of the 2795 District.

Anyhow, the whole was really cool actually. It was a lot more hands on than your typical voters booth or mail-in ballot. It was great to see "democracy in action" in sort of an old-fashioned way, and to see the motley crew that makes up Democratic votes in my district... for example the seven foot tall guy in a cowboy hat and duster that literally looked like the love-child of Blade and the Saint of Killers from Preacher.

I mean, imagine him...

...mixed with him.

But, it hasn't all be politics for me over the last couple weeks. I've also recently been diving back into music quite a bit recently too. As I mentioned in my last Week in Review, two weekends ago, Sarah and I went to Easy Street Records on lower Queen Anne to try to sell back some old CDs and get some new ones. In the end, we could only sell back one CD... but ended up picking up about a half dozen.

I've been listening to KEXP off an on at work, and kept noticing when they played music by the Seattle-based hip hop duo, Blue Scholars. I've always been a fan off good hip hop, but having neither grown up in the ghetto nor had an abnormal amount of bling, I often have difficulty finding stuff that I relate to. But, the Blue Scholars music instantly grabbed me with the regular name dropping of Seattle landmarks and locales. Their latest CD, Biyani, features a ton of smart and interesting rap songs, including a surprisingly effective song about the WTO riots.

(For a sample of their music, check out the remix of their song "Inkwell" where they rap over Modest Mouse's "Float On" on their website.)

In addition to picking up Biyani, we also got Vetiver's self-titled album. We actually initially bought a copy of this for my brother for Christmas, but after giving it a listen realized we wanted a copy for ourselves too. Vetiver falls into the rough catagory of "freak folk" that I generally have problems with. But, as a band they seem to have dialed back the weirdness and created something understanded and wonderful.

Also, we picked up Magnetic Fields latest, Distortion, and Chad VanGaalen's two CDs. We've been fixated on Magnetic Field's 69 Love Songs for some time now, so it's of little surprise that we've rapidly warmed to the feedback fuzz of the new album, and both of Chad's albums were ones I enjoyed when I had my Rhapsody subscription and which I'm happy to have finally gotten copies of four our CD rack.

Also, last week, we caught the Decemberists live at the Moore Theater. The Decemberist are a band that I've been slow in warming to. I think that there earlier music was just a little too, um, pirate sea chanty (if that's possible!) for my tastes. But, with their most recent album, Crane Wife, I've rally taken a shining to them (even putting Crane Wife on my>Top 20 of 2006 list). There live show was actually really entertaining and surprisingly funny, with the lead singer making wisecracks between each song (something few musicians can actually do well). Toward the end, the show got a little to jammy for my tastes, but still a great show and the best I've seen in over a year... though, then again, it was the only show I think I've seen in the last year or so.

The Decemberists: Making songs about double suicides fun for everyone!

Then, again, today we found ourselves at the West Seattle Easy Street, and buying a couple more CDs. The first of those, Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut, is the type of album that has so much internet buzz and such a cheap price ($7!) that I found myself buying it without ever really having listened to. And, I'm glad I did. Sonicly, it seems to live somewhere between New Pornographers and the Strokes. About halfway through the first listen, I found myself musing, that it's almost the musical equivalant of a Wes Anderson film: Whimsical and effortless seeming, with a quirky Eastcoast private school vibe, and a fair share of both effective and affected moments. Good stuff that proves how easy it should be for the music industry to produce pop music that isn't, well, stupid.

We also picked up Mano Chau's Clandestino. We mainly icked this up because of our experiences in Vietnam. While there, Sarah and I took a motorcycle tour of the central highlands. During our tour, my driver, Dao, was constantly playing Manu Chau's "Bongo Bong" on his cellphone. And, as a result, that song will be forever linked with our journeys there, so when Sarah noticed the CD in the store, we had to have it. It's probably a little affected to come back from travelling and suddenly start listening to something like Manu Chau, but it's a great song with wonderful memories attached, so we don't care.

Thanks Dao!

(OK, this entry has already run out of control, so I'm going to end it here. Hopefully, later this week, I can do another entry detailing everything from my recent comic purchases to our surrent obessesion with the 3rd Season of Lost... no one tell us what happens in the 4th Season!)


ambika said...

Sounds like you guys have had an eventful couple of weeks. Ben & I keep meaning to stop at Easy Street but I get lazy because I'll download just enough to tide me over and Ben just gets lazy.

Loving the new Radiohead in a way that I haven't enjoyed them in years. Same with Interpol.

Also, we need to have you guys over to watch season 4 of the Office. Ben's downloaded it and it's awesome to see what happened after the cliffhanger of season 3's finale.

The General said...

Sarah and I would love to come over and watch the Office with you sometime. We actually watched the first episode on NBC's site... but it was slow, painful going as the computer continuously buffered... so we'd even be interested in watching that again.