Friday, October 20, 2006

If I Ever Meet You, I'll Ctrl-Alt-Del You

Wow... that took a lot less time than I had expected. I've been living in California for just over a year, and already I have lost my hardy Midwestern constitution. Lately I've been waking up when it's around 45 degrees outside and thinking, "Gosh, it's cold!"

I distinctly remember my amusement soon after moving here last year. I was constantly hearing complains from native Californians: "Oh, it's so hot!" "Oh, it's so cold!" As a lifelong resident of states where winters regularly dip below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and summers can easily reach 100 of the same, the idea that anything within the 40-to-90-degree range was a trial was simply laughable. I took quiet pride in the fact that I never turned on my air conditioning for the first 10 months I lived here, and very rarely indulged in the heater.

And now I've lost it! Sigh. I haven't actually turned on the heat yet, but it's probably just a matter of time. Once I do, I will have admitted defeat, and my inexorable move towards becoming a soft and pampered Bay Arean will take another step.

Other, unrelated thoughts:

The November elections are coming up soon! The races I'm most excited about are elsewhere in the country. Most of my family is elegible to vote in the Tammy Duckworth - Peter Roskam race. Duckworth was actually my least-favorite of three Democrats in the primary, but I like her more and more as I find out more about her. She would be a really solid choice. On the downside, I'm pretty sure that the Earth will start rotating in the opposite direction once DuPage elects a Democratic representative to the House, so I suppose there are risks involved in both ends.

I'm delighted by the prospect that we will soon have a Senate without Santorum. He has a permanent seat of my personal list of Five Least Favorite Senators*, and the benefits of his removal are myriad: better policy, more civil debates, and fewer public insults to my religious beliefs.**

For the nation as a whole, I dunno... it's amazing that the Democrats have made such huge strides in catching up, and I will be thrilled if they actually pull off a big enough win to recapture one or both Houses. If they do, I hope that Howard Dean gets the credit he deserves - almost all of those wins will be in places that traditional Democrats had given up, like Tennessee and DuPage County. I'm not holding my breath, though. The GOP is great at playing hardball, and I won't be at all surprised if we see slime flying fast and furious in the next few weeks.

Closer to home, I still haven't decided who to vote for as Mayor. I think Cindy Chavez is closer to my political beliefs, plus she has a get-it-done attitude that, for better or worse, will keep things moving in San Jose. Still, I really do like Chuck Reed, and despite some recent mini-scandals I think he is the more ethical candidate. (As usual, both sides are exaggerating - neither is corrupt - but Reed has shown a deep-seated tendency to playing it by the book.) Plus it seems like he's the more cautious on growth, which may be enough for me to tip my vote his way. Honestly, whatever endorsement the Mercury News makes will probably be a huge factor in making up my mind.

(As an aside: Cindy, you aren't doing yourself any favors with all the glossy brochures attacking Reed that you're stuffing in my mailbox. It just makes you look mean, and does nothing to erase questions about your own conflict with openness. Focus on selling yourself, not smearing your opponent.)

There are too many propositions for me to keep track of. I will probably do the alternative energy one, and just check out the endorsements on the others. Oh, and I'm supporting Measure A, which adds more controls to land use in Santa Clara. As you know, I'm all ABOUT protecting our pristine hillsides.

I'm even more embarassingly uninformed for the smaller local races. City council, stuff like that. I always try to read as much local news as I can, but even so, it's hard to remember who's who.

In the other direction, pretty much everyone knows about the governor's race. I'm almost certainly voting for Angelides. Schwarzenegger is almost certainly going to win, and honestly, that scares me much less than it did a year ago. He has proven himself to be the consummate politician since his initiatives went down to defeat, strongly allying himself with progressive causes supported by most Californians, and as a result will most likely get another four years at the helm. Plenty of people decry him for cynical political posturing in a blatant attempt to win votes. I'm actually inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. After six years of Bush, it's quite refreshing to hear a politician say, "I was wrong, I hear what you are saying, and I will work to make it right."

I miss Westley. And Pandori. Kind of depressing that, in a mere eight years of voting, I've assembled such a long list of favored candidates who didn't make it past the primary.

Final unrelated note: like a lot of folks, I've listened to White And Nerdy way too many times recently. Oddly enough, though, the song has not gotten stuck in my head. What's constantly running through there instead is his excellent It's All About the Pentiums off the great 1999 album Running With Scissors. This earlier song is, in summary at least, virtually identical to White And Nerdy: Both parody aggressive hip-hop songs by changing the perspective to that of a technology-obsessed nerd. Both are also extremely funny, and I see nothing wrong with stealing from yourself. I've also been reminded of some of the amazing rhymes off that first song:
Hey Fella,
I bet you're still livin' in your parents' cellar
Downloadin' pictures of Sarah Michelle Geller
And postin' "Me Too" like some brain-dead AOL-er
I should do the world a favor and cap ya like Old Yeller
You're just about as useless as JPEGs to Hellen Keller.

In a 32-bit world, you're a 2-bit user
You got your own newsgroup,!

Good times. I'm amazed and delighted that Weird Al's career has lasted this long. He was the first popular musician I ever liked, and to this day far too many of my brain cells are devoted to retaining the memorized lyrics of virtually every song he has done.

* It's a rotating list, but currently, in addition to Santorum, it's Lieberman, Stevens, Cornyn, and Coburn. Wait, I take that back... Coburn gets off the list for the work he's doing with Obama on the deficit. I'll award his seat to Chambliss.
** As a Christian, I cringe every time Santorum's twisted views are depicted by the media as being representative of my faith. I imagine Muslims probably feel similar when Farrakhan is trotted out.

UPDATE 10/24/06: ... and, yesterday, I received a similarly distasteful mailing from Mr. Reed which brings up the Tropicana controversy and falsely implies that he has the Mercury News's endorsement. (Which he actually does, as of this morning, but that's not the article showing on the mailer.) The same rules apply for Reed: I know it's hard, but stop slamming your opponent and give me positive reasons to vote for you. If the two of you don't knock it off, I'm turning the election right around and voting for Pandori again.


  1. Want a weird factoid? White and Nerdy is being played at brother's almost nightly as far as I can tell. I keep thinking that its the real song (Ridin' Dirty) but then I'll hear "I edit wikipedia" and realize my mistake. Its a crazy world, brother.

  2. Haha, that's awesome. It's a longstanding problem I have with Weird Al songs, especially since they tend to nail the opening.

    I didn't hear Ridin' until about a week after White And Nerdy, which means I'm continuing in my grand tradition of not hearing the original until after I have burned the parody into my mind. I've heard the Weird Al version first for most of his songs. It's not even close.

    Incidentally, if you haven't already done so, check out the video of Ridin'. It's pretty good, but more importantly, it makes the parody roughly twice as funny once you understand why certain things are staged like they are.

  3. " Tennessee and DuPage County."


  4. Heh... well, I didn't mean that in the sense of Tennessee being the same as DuPage county, just I can imagine McAuliffe saying "We need to focus on electing a representative from DuPage County" as much as I can imagine him saying "We need to focus on electing a senator from Tennessee".