Notes on migrating three quarters of a mile

So we moved. And by “moved,” I mean we loaded our stuff into a truck and drove less than a mile to an apartment with more space, less drunk people throwing up next to our bedroom window (so far), and far more sanity all around us.

The state of our new living room as of a night or two ago:

A portion of our possessions

Yes, we did this with a seven-week-old in our arms the whole time, for those of you taking notes.

Many thanks to all the friends who lent a hand or a back over the weekend.

And thanks to my bosses who resisted the urge to insist that I work today. (We sent an intern to the illegal fireworks at the beach with a video camera – I’m banking on greatness.) I can hear all the action from our dining room table, now that we live on a block that’s actually above sea level.

One of the fun parts about all this packing and piling has been reading Grapes of Wrath in the middle of it all. The Joads just got to California, and they’re hanging out by the river near Needles waiting for the sun to go down so they can cross the desert.

Our short trip wasn’t quite so dramatic, but it was worth it.

Happy Independence Day.

I got cheated out of my I Voted sticker

…because I was thrown off by California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson and wife stepping into the room to cast their votes.

It was sort of pleasant to see them, seconds after voting for his opponent, and it was certainly amusing to overhear the conversation among the poll workers and his handlers (?) just before he walked in.

Something like, “Oh, he wants to use the touch screen.”

There was, yes, one touch screen, and although it wasn’t offered to us, I would have politely declined anyway. I like my thick perforated voting receipt, thank you very much.

And then a photographer from the paper I’m working at took my picture as the nice poll worker lady fed my giant ballot into the giant machine. No, I’m not tech-savvy enough to stick a piece of paper in a machine by myself.

Apparently, the photog didn’t recognize me in my SJSU sweatshirt and jeans. I’ll try and get a hold of that one later when I get to work. It looks like a different one is running online right now. Good call on that, eh?

The Internet is for democracy

The Center for Citizen Media has lifted the curtain on what it’s planning to do with a Sunlight Foundation grant.

It’s a political transparency project, with the goal of gathering everything there is to know about this year’s race for the 11th congressional district here in California, featuring incumbent Richard Pombo (R-Tracy).

All nonpartisan caveats aside, the presence of Pombo will make this a great example of what can be done with online tools when citizens decide to make a difference.

Why? Because Pombo has Jack Abramoff connections and favors the always-popular-in-California duo of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and undercutting the Endangered Species Act.
It should be an interesting, well-funded, moderately ugly election campaign, which makes for good copy and better research.

The kicker for me, of course, is who is going to be managing the whole online citizen-reporter shindig:

“The material we collect will be posted online. The site will be designed, built and initially maintained by the students in an online journalism class (J298) this fall at the Graduate School of Journalism, University of California, Berkeley. Assisting the students will be co-instructors Dan Gillmor, director of the Center for Citizen Media, and Bill Gannon, editorial director at Yahoo!, as well as Scot Hacker, webmaster at the journalism school.”

That’s right, the Berkeley online journalism class will be playing with real live political information, audio, video, and most certainly databases.

Sounds like fun.

All We Ever Wanted

Vacation starts tomorrow. We’ll be gone for the week in Yosemite and points East, South, and West.

For a vague idea of what we’re seeing, check out the Flickr tag for Yosemite. We’ll be bringing back photos (digital and film) and possibly some video. Check back here in a week for that.

Have fun, and if anything important happens, be assured I’ll be staring at something far more beautiful than a 15.4 inch widescreen laptop display.

More staged media with the Governor Schwarzenegger

I know I’m late, but the long weekend swallowed up most of my political anger/impatience/responsiblity.

So, last Friday’s San Francisco Chronicle has this story of a completely, 100% staged media event featuring the Governor of California, who happens to be Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A work crew dug a pothole out of a San Jose street, and Arnold showed up later to fill it.

I am not making this up.

Apparently, there were no actual convenient REAL potholes to fill? Are you kidding me?

Anyway – Schwarzenegger’s press-riggers appear to have given the event the importance of, say, Bush’s Thanksgiving Trip to Iraq.Bush Turkey Iraq Action Figure

From the Chronicle:

“Media advisories for the morning San Jose event were not issued until two hours before it started, and — in an unusual move — reporters were not provided with a location, but told to assemble in a parking lot where directions were distributed.”

Apparently, all the stealth is an effort to avoid protesters. Heh.

For more on Gov. Arnold’s penchant for staging the news, check out this entry in SJSU Prof. Dennis Dunleavy’s blog.

Noticed via BoingBoing.