Runcible Blog

lost my breakfast

Yesterday morning I woke up to what I thought were the usual cramps and felt bloated. I was a little queasy at work but figured I'd feel better in a while. Then at about 11 (while a computer virus was surging through the company), my stomach decided to reverse its direction. I hurled my breakfast into a barrel near my desk in a glorious stream of orange juice and bits of Apple Jacks. Yes! Just when I thought I was in the clear, I had contracted the dysentery which had been going around my family for a couple weeks. So, I took the rest of the day off. too bad I didn't get that computer virus instead.

For much of the day I made frequent trips to the toilet, expelling all sorts of fun stuff. Eventually my digestive system ran out of material to eject. I tell ya -- with stomach bugs like that, it's a war of attrition, and thankfully I don't usually have a large appetite. I ate a couple light things last night and drank a lot of ginger ale, the classic panacea. By the end of the day I had lost more than 5 pounds, I think.

This morning I weighed even less, but I'm going to defeat this thing one way or another. I had a couple pieces of raisin bread at 12 and an oatmeal cookie at 6. If my starvation techniques don't get rid of the virus, hopefully my tapeworm will. It's a good sign that I haven't hit the toilet yet today.

well, that's my latest sickness story.


REMINDER: register to vote!

Here's a last minute reminder for the millions of Massachusetts residents who read this blog:

Today, February 11 is the last day to register to vote before the primary on March 2.

You may register to vote:

  • in person or by mail, by completing a mail-in registration form and delivering it to your city or town election office, or
  • at any local election office in any city or town in the state and at any registration event you encounter anywhere in Massachusetts, or
  • when applying for or renewing your driver's license at the Registry of Motor Vehicles or when applying for service at a designated voter registration agency.

Registration forms are also available at all colleges, universities, high schools and vocational schools.


baseball and politics analogy

I don't like baseball, but I just thought of this analogy:

If Kerry gets the nomination, it'll be like the Yankees/Marlins world series all over again. It'll be a predictable, dull race which many people will tune out.

On the other hand, a Dean vs. Bush race would be like the Red Sox vs. Cubs series that everyone hoped for -- a real match.

Oh well, it's looking less and less likely now. pity.


Dean autopsy

My broham pointed me to an article about Dean's stumbling campaign. What I found more interesting was an article linked from it entitled, Exiting Deanspace by Clay Shirky. Although I disagree with some of his theses (read the comments on his entry), there are a couple observations that I think are worth looking at.

Prior to MeetUp, getting 300 people to turn out would have meant a huge and latent population of Dean supporters, but because MeetUp makes it easier to gather the faithful, it confused us into thinking that we were seeing an increase in Dean support, rather than a decrease in the hassle of organizing groups.

That's something I hadn't realized. Everyone was talking about Dean's wide support and pointed to MeetUp for evidence, but could it just have been that the few supporters were able to meet more easily? I can't say one way or another, but it's something to think about.

My one experience with MeetUp last week was positive. I was surprised to be the second youngest person there (an 11 year old politics buff also attended) considering the stereotypical Dean supporter demographic is under 30. I got a sense that although these were hardcore supporters, they'd pretty much written off Massachusetts as Kerry country but would still halfheartedly try in their spare time to get a few delegates. I could be wrong though.

Another Shirky observation:

In Is Social Software Bad for the Dean Campaign?, I suggested that Dean had accidentally created a movement instead of a campaign. I still believe that, and this is one of the things I think falls out from that. It's hard to understand, when you sense yourself to be one of Mead's thoughtful and committed people, that someone who doesn't even understand the issues can amble on down to the local elementary school and wipe out your vote, and its even harder to understand that the system is designed to work that way.

The important point is that Dean created a movement and stressed progressive change in the country perhaps more than he should've promoted himself. You can argue about whether it was a good strategy for a presidential campaign or not, but I think most would agree that the "movement" he started has invigorated the spineless Democrats. (we'll see what happens to the momentum if Kerry is nominated. my prediction: much of the momentum will fizzle)

Personally, I've always believed in voting for the candidate you most agree with rather than choosing the lesser of two evils. Kucinich had a great response when asked about his "electability" -- "I'm electable if people vote for me!" I think caving in to the Right time and time again with the dubious belief that it'll lead to more votes only proves the point that Democrats have no spine. When was the last time you heard of a Republican who agreed with gay marriage because he hoped to pick up a few more votes from the fabulous wing of the Republican party? (it might happen, who knows?)

So, if it comes down to Kerry vs. Bush, neither Bonesman is getting my vote.

Anyway, back to the Shirky article. What bugs me lately is the rush to explain "what went horribly wrong?". I think just the day after Iowa, even kos (big Dean supporter) was talking about how doomed Dean was and seemingly getting ready to jump on the Kerry/Edwards/Clark bandwagon. I would say that although the analysis is often on target, it points to the need for people to feel that they were right about something. In other words, those Dean campaign coroners are coming out and saying, "I was wrong for miscalculating Dean's frontrunner status and his candidacy in general, but, dear reader, I'm definitely correct in my analysis of everything he did wrong. told you so." Everyone wants to be the first one to explain why they were all wrong, and hence the first one to get something right.

Finally, I'll agree with Shirky about this moment:

The moment for me, and I think for many of us, when we realized that Dean was sunk was on Wednesday after New Hampshire, when the press reported that he’d spent most of his $45 million war chest already. The obvious question, “How did he think he could do the rest of the campaign on a few million dollars?” has an obvious answer: “He thought he’d raise more, when Iowa and New Hampshire anointed him frontrunner.”

When I heard of his financial problems, it was quite a downer. I contributed after Iowa, but after New Hampshire and since, it's hard to break open my wallet. I know a lot of supporters continue to fork over their dough, but I'm going to wait a little while to see if he hangs in there.

reminds me of The Holy Grail scene:
Dean: I'm not dead!
"the media": Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.
Dean: I'm getting better!
"the media": No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.


work takes the life out of living

I'm coming up to my 1st anniversary of working at the Eagle-Tribune, and I have to say that I'm surprised I'm still employed there. What I said when I started working still applies today -- I would rather be doing something to help others in a meaningful way.

But it's funny how being employed for a while tends to distract people from doing what they really want to do. How many times have you heard of someone who's worked for decades doing the same job but hasn't had the time or energy to pursue their dreams? What I didn't anticipate about working (this has been the longest job I've had [well, really just my second job]) is that the day-to-day rat race has a way of draining my time and squelching my motivation. It's not that I lack energy; I have too much energy at the end of the day because I sit in a chair endlessly at work. But somehow, when I get home, I'm not motivated to do anything productive other than maybe catching up on the news or watching TV. It's sad, really. And the time I spend at work isn't particularly productive since I'm basically self-managed. I've certainly learned a lot about programming, web technologies, and junk like that, but what good are those skills? All those jobs are experiencing a mass exodus. (actually, I saw an ad for a "senior engineer" programming PHP stuff in India for $2,500/year. I semi-seriously thought about applying since it must be a cheap place to live, filled with exotic sights and interesting people. BUT, I don't think I could stomach the food.)

I don't have an answer to my lack of purpose. I think I've gotten over feeling defensive when people ask me about college. At least I know what I don't want to do...But I've thought and looked into classes on journalism and writing (not to mention photography), however the night school offerings are either silly or nonexistent.

It seems like I go down this road often. I probably sound like a broken record, "what to do, what to do, what to do...."

I haven't forgotten about my idea for a local newspaper of sorts, but I'm so out of touch with the community that it seems like a monumental effort.

Probably the best thing about this blog, for me, is that I can look back at the ideas I had and the promises I made (to myself, mainly) and kick myself for not keeping them. cause no one else will.

hey, I'm still a vegetarian after 8 months -- I'm serious about keeping promises.