Sunday, November 30, 2008

Window frames

In our backyard we have a play house for the girls. It has been needing to make some improvements to it but have neglected to until recently. A few weeks ago I set installed carpet. Today I started building windows.
It already has holes cut, but there is no way to close the windows and so rain gets in. Today I started building a frame for the windows. I measured everything out and ran up to ACE Hardware and got some wood, nails, a hand saw, and some other materials.
Getting everything right is a lot of work. The measurements have to be exact and cutting without an electric saw takes a lot of effort. Especially if you are going to keep the cut straight.
This first frame is only half of what will be the first out of four windows. Another identical frame will have to be built and a glass pane glued in between them and nailed together.
These windows will be able to open out from the inside.
I have also bought some twine and beads to make a beaded entryway. I am looking for a cool pattern. I Googled for "Egyptian Pattern" and only came up with westernized patterns with Egyptian influence. I have asked Judith, Aurora's grandmother, for help finding something cool. She is a big math nerd and knows about all sorts of crazy mathematical patterns. I am excited about finding a good pattern and building it with the girls. Will will also eventually build a full door to keep the rain out that way as well.
The next job after that is to put in sheet rock and finish the walls. This should make for a really awesome play house for our girls and future children that may occupy our current residence after we have moved on.

Random Veggie Soup

I have been eating Tabatchnick soups for lunch at work for the last number of months. I have been wanting to make my own soups and today I finally took initiative to make that happen. I am starting off with nothing in particular. I simply boiled some water with some vegetable bouillon cubes. I added carrots, broccoli, yellow squash, brussels sprouts, asparagus, and a portobello. I then took all of the scraps and I am boiling them in a pan. Once the water has boiled in the flavor I will remove the scraps and add flour to make a sort of roux to add a little consistency to the soup.
I have absolutely no idea how well it will turn out, but I am sure it will be good. Next time I am going to try my hand at some lentil soup.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mystery Tea

A few weeks ago Kim found a red tin in our pantry that had a large bag of tea. The tin is completely in Japanese except. I have no idea where this came from. My first thought was that Aurora's aunt Morgan, who lives in Japan gave it to us. Kim doesn't think this is true, and I asked Judith if she recalls giving us this red tin when she got a shipment from Morgan and she said she doesn't recall getting it. I have not yet asked Morgan, but I will.
But, if Morgan did not give this to us then I don't know where it came from. The stuff is damn good. It smells great and taste just as good. There is so much I don't know how I could possibly consume it all in a reasonable amount of time. I still have three other types of tea to go through as well. I can at least count myself lucky to have a healthy collection of superb teas making residence in my pantry.
Many intellectuals pride themselves on their knowledge or wines, spirits and bears. Others love to talk about their extensive knowledge of cheeses from around the globe as well as various other foods. For me it is tea. Okay, I don't really know that much about tea, yet but it is my tunnel in to the world of snobbish knowledge about bland subjects, so there.

The first sign of Obama fail

I am very concerned with the number of Clinton-era officials that Obama is appointing. This troubles me because it was Clinton, not Bush, that championed overseas offshoring, giving tax breaks to companies that moved jobs out of the US. He also championed the so-called "free trade" agreements that pushed out fair trade and sovereign independance to developing nations. These free trade agreements made profit king and human rights took a back seat. Obama ran a campaign challenging these ideas, but is appointing people to his administration that sat in while all of this was being hashed out.
Another major problem that Clinton gave us is the beginning of what became the housing crisis. Clinton held on to this lofty idea that some how home ownership (as opposed to renting) instigated wealth. So the idea is that if I purchased a home instead of rented I would be more likely to accrue more wealth in the future. This is idea is completely unfounded in research and so there was never any really good reason to pursue this ideal aggressively. Clinton started it, Bush brought it to fruition. Do we really want Clinton-era politicians running our future economy and foreign economic policy?
I hope Obama brings in differing opinions that are able to guide is in a new more healthy direction.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reflections on a sugar free week.

This no sugar thing turned out to by much more difficult than I had thought. Sugar is everywhere in our food and drinks. An ounce of katsup has four grams of sugar. An eight-ounce glass of juice has thirty grams of sugar.
I didn't get around to making a gallon of tea Sunday night, and I didn't find a glass of water for the morning so bad. At work I still drank a lot of sugar-free Indian tea. I had a cup of sweet tea with my lunch. Someone left out some chocolates and I had two.
I don't think I have anything great to take away from this except a newf ound dis-appreciation for the amount of sugar that we inundated with in everything we consume.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Last sugar free day

Today I complete my sugar free week. Yesterday started off prety tuff. We went to the fair at night and I thought that would be hard, but it really wasn't. As much as I love elephant ears, I just didn't have a hard time turning them down. The big difficulty was sweet tea and juice again. I think I am getting used to water in the morning. It still doesn't hit the spot like juice or tea in the morning, but it's not so bad. I have been wanting to get back into drinking mainly water for a while and I think this little exercise may be the key to that. I will makw some tea tonight to enjoy tomorrow morning, and see how easily I am able to convince myself to choose water primarily while the tea sits in the fridge.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

You know you're a nerd...

...when you are reading a web programming book and can't help but to shake your finger at each line of code in the book that is not written properly.
Example from the JavaScript book by Wrox Press I am currently reading.
<h2 align=center>Online Book Buyer</h2>
This should read like this.
<h2 align="center">Online Book Buyer</h2>
But it would be much more proper if done like this.
<h2 span style="text-align: center;"> Online Book Buyer</h2>
Another example is as follows.
<img src="pro_asp.jpg" border="0" onlick="return showDetails('pro_asp_details.htm')">
This is how it should look.
<img src="pro_asp.jpg" onlick="return showDetails('pro_asp_details.htm')" style="border: 0px">
<br /><br />
I think it is unprofessional to teach beginners bad practices from the start. I am hesitant to purchase thier XML or CSS books because I am not strong in either of these (hence why I would purchase the book in the first place) and do not want to learn bad practices from their books.

No sugar diary

Oops, it looks like a missed posting yesterday. Thursday I ate some noodles with sauce that has nine grams of sugar per cup. I probably had a half cup to three quarters cup of sauce on my noodles. everything else has been completely sugar free.
The real challenge for this sugar free week has not been food. Sure, my has browns this morning would have been better with katsup, but that's not where the temptation has lied. I really just want to drink sweet tea and juice. This desire has permeated my being all week long. This is what it must be like to be a junkie on detox.
Yesterday I ate at Bandido's Burritos with Aurora and Joe Brightbill. Without thinking I ordered myself a soda. When I started to pick out a drink I realized my mistake. Luckily Joe ordered a water. I offered to swap cups and he was happy to oblige.
On the plus side I have been drinking a lot of my specialty teas and have been really enjoying them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No sugar diary

My Internet was down last night so I had to wait until today to give an update.
Each day it is getting harder and harder. In the morning I really like to have a half cup of juice or sweet tea. Water just does not do it first thing in the morning.
For cereal in the morning I use soy milk. The soy milk I am using has seven grams of sugar per cup. I probably use about a cup and half for a bowl of cereal. I am pretty sure that the soy milk was my only source of sugar for all of yesterday. The soup I ate was completely sugar free. I went to the Subway at TCC before my class. They do not have water. It is either soda or nothing. The TCC food court has a water fountain nearby, so I was able to use that, but it is not as enjoyable as having a cup of water at your table while you eat.
According to Subway's Nutrition information, the twelve inch Philly Cheese sub I had had ten grams of sugar. The site does not list the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. I only had jalapeƱo peppers for my toppings.
Today's soup has a total of six grams of sugar.
According to the Honolulu Advertiser a gram of sugar has about four calories. The article also recommends one only consumes forty grams of sugar a day. I am definitely going well under that each day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The maturing of computer technology.

I am not one to make predictions about the future of technology because most any attempt at this effort is in vain. Technology usually advances much faster and in different ways than can be foreseen. Nonetheless, I would like to make a very general and subjective prediction about technology.

Within the next five years we will finally see a real maturity in technology.

I have long held that in all of our technological achievement in the area of IT we have been living in immaturity compared to what computers are really capable of. I think that era is finally coming to an end.
There are three hurdles that need to be overcome before technology can properly mature. First, computers need to be fast and cheap. This is quickly becoming a reality. For stationary computing this is already a reality. My brother built a decently spec'ed PC for $250. I think it has a 1.7Ghz processor and 1 Meg of RAM. The system is very responsive and does everything he needs a computer to do. This sort of power at a low price point needs to migrate to the portable space.
Internet access must be cheap and ubiquitous. Technologies the WiMAX are starting to make this a reality. The FCCs approval to use the "white space" freed up by the soon migration from analog TV airwaves to digital is also a huge push in this direction. Soon we will never have to worry about being in a coverage area or near a hotspot to get Internet access. The White Space Consortium (which consists of players such as Google and Microsoft) claim they can bring free broadband to 95% of the United States.
Standards must be universal. In today's world proprietary protocols are standing in the way of innovation. To understand this, look at the Microsoft Word format. It can only be reliably read and written to using Microsoft Office. Office, while not a bad product, is very expensive and exists with pretty much no competition. There are other document processing software solutions on the market, but nobody is using it because the need to be able to read and write in the Office format is crucial because everyone uses it. Another way to look at this is the Internet. The Internet has had a set of standards to operate for a long time, but because for the longest time everyone used Microsoft Internet Explorer, and it was designed to force developers into using non-standard code that could not or would not interact with other web browsers. This lock-in resulted in large amounts of web pages running on poor code that wouldn't work anywhere else. The success of Firefox has changed this. In Internet Explorer 8 Microsoft is committing themselves to web standards for the very first time. It is important that regardless of where you are bringing up a web page, on your iPhone, Playstation 3, or Mac that the page renders properly. This sort of interoperability is only possible through open standards. Consumers should not care about what hardware or software is powering their devices. It should be immaterial to them. Consumers should be able to reliably send data to each other without any thought at all as to whether the recipient will be able to receive that data properly. Software engineers should be able to design and implement systems that will naturally work across devices. They should not be forced to rewrite code for every piece of hardware and software in the marketplace.
Once these three challenges have been met, and I think we will reach this within the next five years, we can start to fully unlock the real potential of computing. It will only then be on the software engineers to write the applications that will make it happen.

I believe there are also some more specific predictions that I think are likely to be true, but are more likely to just be words.
I think in the coming future the desktop will be meaningless. We will all carry around a PDA. This device will be very similar to what the iPhone and gPhone do now. Through a limited interface you will be able to do most of the same things you do on your personal computer. Like the iPhone they will not just be really small computers, they will also be a phone, GPS device, and support other technologies.
When we get home we will simply plug this PDA in to a base station which will provide us with a full sized keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, etc. When we plug it into our TV it becomes an IP-TV device and a full gaming system. On an airplane we simply plug it into the back of the seat in front of us and we will again be presented with a full sized keyboard, mouse and monitor. In fact, everywhere we go we only have to plug our PDA in to the provided base station and we have the experience of full computing. Even at the grocery store we can simply plug this device into our cart and know what groceries we need to buy.
Another powerful feature of this device is that it only really acts as a gateway between yourself and the Internet. It will not actually store much of anything. All of your data and services will reside on the Internet. All of your work and/or school documents, pictures, phone list, etc. will be on a web server somewhere. If you don't have your device with you, you can simply borrow a friend's and login to your web services and you won't miss a beat. The same thing is true if you lose and/or replace it. Even the video games you purchased will only physically exist somewhere on the Internet. You will never have to worry about losing or breaking any of your information or digital services. Data recover will become obsolete for the average consumer.
There are two problems I foresee. The most obvious problem with this scenario is security. Once our data is online, it only takes a smart hacker or a simple security flaw for our personal information to be made immediately public. The issue is that currently the average user is personally controlling the security of their own data, and they are not doing a very good job at it. By placing the onus of security on highly paid experts we may actually be more secure in this situation. Better encryption and security models will have to be developed to ensure that these experts don't make serious mistakes that potentially threaten the data security of millions.
The second problem I foresee is privacy. The consumer must trust the company hosting the data to be honest with that data. I think this will be real problem. ISPs are already writing EULAs that essentially give them full reign over the data that their customers transmit over the Internet. They are following this up by taking that data and selling it to third parties that implement data mining to build maps about consumer habits that they can then resell to advertisers. I believe that this dangerous financial scheme will hit the online data storage service market in full effect. There is too much money to be made for this to not happen.

So that is where I see the future of computer technology to be headed. Time will tell.

Chomsky and Nader on Obama

I voted for Nader in the last two elections. I have also seen him speak and met with him shortly. I really like Nader.

Chomsky is a legend in his own right. Nothing more than that needs to be said.

I have been following Obama since before he announced his candidacy and he was not yet a household name. I was consistently impressed by him up to his vote for telecom immunity. That vote spurred a lot of reexamination by the progressive movement. Arianna Huffington properly summed up the progressive view on this vote, though I cannot find the article.

So what do I make of Nader and Chomskie's opinions on Obama. I think I mostly don't disagree, but I don't completely agree. Obama is not going to be the progressive savior that we wanted. But, then again he never sold himself to be as such.
On specific foreign policy I disagree with Obama. We need to start working with the leaders in South America that are stabilizing the region, not fight with them on minutiae, creating advisories where it is unnecessary. I would like to see him put a stop to the drug war, fight for stronger state power and smaller national power. I would like him to fight the corrupt patent system we have in place. I don't expect him to take a lead on any of these issues, which are very important to me. However, I do expect him to end the war in Iraq, stabilize or economy and return stop our military from acting like a terrorist organization (i.e. torture.)
While I do not think that the progressive movement should vote for the "lesser of two evils" by trying to elect someone like Al Gore who made his last name a household world for Metal Heads by working diligently to demonize (no pun intended) artists and scare parents into believing that Metal was the cause of all of their children's problems. Nor should we be supporting Clinton, who was one of the most rationally thinking conservatives of our time, or Kerry who is just another politician. None of these three men come close to supporting progressive values.
Obama is a little different. I think of him as being "good enough." Obama's mantra goes beyond "vote for me to initiate" and extends to "go out and make change happen yourself." He calls on us to do what's right, not asking us to trust him to make things right.
I see him as being a road map to having progressive politics a part of mainstream America. If his ideals and values can succeed, then we can take it further. If he can show that making peace with Iran is a successful policy, then maybe it can be shown that working with Venezuela is also good foreign policy. If a rational scientific approach can be brought towards stem-cell research, maybe it's not so crazy to do the same towards medical marijuana research. If sustainable energy power plants can produce the power we need to power our houses, maybe a sustainable policy towards manufacturing goods, such as buying hemp products instead of cotton, can also work for us.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No sugar diary

Yesterday I desired sweet tea more and more as the day drug on. I stayed this off by drinking a lot of Darjeeling Tea, but the desire for sweet was pretty strong. Today I had a smoothie, but I'm pretty sure that it was very low in sugar. Oulong tea was my drink of choice at home. I am making some chili. Sweat tea and chili go great together.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sugar Free Week

This week I am going to cut out as much sugar as I can. The most drastic area this will affect is my sweet tea drinking. I easily drink gallons of the stuff every week. I will instead be drinking some specialty tea from Darjeeling, India. Sodas are out too, but I don't drink much soda. Foods that are high in sugar, like barbecue sauce will be a no go as well. I will not be paying attention to foods that turn in to sugar after digestion, such as rice.
My intent is not a long term sugar-free diet, but it is just a go at paying attention to how much sugar is in the different foods I consume.

Image from
For cereal I have Kashi's 7 Whole Grain Puffs, which is completely sugar free. For lunch I will continue to eat my Tabatchnick soups.

Image from
Today's soup is the Tuscany Lentil Soup which has 3g of sugar. This is about par for Tabatchnick soups. Dinner will probably prove to be more difficult and I don't have any plan yet. I should probably run up to the grocery store tomorrow and plan out the week.
I will be posting each day about how things are going. So far I have only had about a quarter cup of apple juice. Everything else I have consumed has been sugar free.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Dream of Bowie

I had a pretty strange dream last night. I had met David Bowie and become friends with him. He took a picture of himself holding Arianna, and then hand knitted a hotpad with that picture in it and gave it to us as a gift.

Relating to the conservatives

Image from
In the wake of the Obama victory the far right is really reeling in pain right about now. They feel that The USA has been played for the fool. The fear that terrorism, Satan and Karl Marx have jointly achieved a large victory.
On Tuesday The United States of America rejected fear, divisiveness, prejudice, and the status-quo. There seems to be a recognition by most that the time is now for our country to move forward in making important decisions that will determine our place in an increasingly globalized world. There is little doubt that our international stance is slipping fast (Bush openly rejected raising our stance in the international world in the 2004 debates) and that our current policies will only make it worse.
So in light of the major victory that we have gained by electing Obama it is easy to criticise and attack those who are scared by this new presidency. I think I may be able to relate to what they are going through.
In 1999 when Bush won I was shocked. This man had failure written all over him. Aside from his many failed attempts as a business man, he put a higher value on nationalism than patriotism. This guy represented the many kids I despised in grade school. He came off as an arrogant bully that thought that not only where his values and culture better than everyone else's, but that action needed to be taken to demoralize those who where not like him.
So when he was put in the oval office I was devastated. I could not imagine a worse person to lead our country. This was a rejection of all my values. How could my country be so stupid? It was inconceivable.
It turned out that Bush was much worse than I thought. I thought he would be bad, but I just didn't fully comprehend the scale of destruction he would institute. Torture, false wars, economic failure edging on the scale of the great depression, illegal domestic spying followed up by retroactive immunity, the destruction of the constitution, "with us or against us" politics, abortion rates go from declining to stagnating, etc. I just thought his policies would fail, I didn't realise they would destroy.
So now we have Obama and the religious conservatives are beside themselves in national disappointment. If Michelle Obama is proud of her country for the first time, they are disappointed in their country for the first time.
The USA didn't just reject Bush, the accepted a man who's pastor said "Goddamn America!" His wife was only recently proud of our country "for the first time." He sat on a board with a man who blew up domestic building in the sixties. His name is not "American." He is an advocate for the "Pro-Choice" movement. He wants to "spread the wealth around." Worst, he may be a Muslim in disguise, might not say the Pledge of Allegiance, and is probably being guided by Satan. He belongs culturally to the humanist atheists.
This is what the religious right is having a problem with. They don't see politics and people as nuanced. Sure, life has its curve balls, but problems are as easy as using as what they see as God's way to solve them. You do what you are suppose to and then you pray that the rest is just sorted out on its own.
The religious right will not do a self examination because they don't believe they where ever wrong. Sure, Bush had his problems, but overall he was pushing us in the right direction. He appointed two judges to the Supreme Court that bring us closer to overturning Roe V. Wade. The war in Iraq may have been mismanaged, but the ideal of bringing American (i.e. Christian) values to them with a gun and bomb was the right choice, even if the execution was less than stellar. They see this as God's country, and any efforts to build a pluralistic, inclusive society are dangerous. They don't see what good there is in compromising with the Pagan east.
For them these values are good, have been good, and always will be good. The see the last eight years as being great spiritually. They do not view the problems we face as being necessarily Bush's fault, and those that are do not trump the issue of abortion or unifying inclusion of those that do not agree with us.
Having had their values rejected is hurtful. Of course they are angry and baffled. I have been there too. My only hope is that Obama is able to use all of his talent and intelligence to bring about economic, social and global prosperity. I hope that in four years from now people are able to look back and say, "Thing have been going pretty good. I am happy overall with the direction of this country and optimistic about its future."
Four years is a short time to reverse the problems caused by the last eight. Destruction is much easier than construction. I believe with the right tone and the right policies Obama can do good and even make believers of his detractors. I hope this not because I want Obama to be glorified, nor because I want people to accept my point of view. I hope he does this because I want our country to succeed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Day for the Books

Today has been a momentous day for our country. The world has been watching us.
This morning Kim and I started by dropping Arianna and Athena off at daycare and then heading to the polls. We arrived shortly after the seven o'clock opening. There was probably around fifty people already there. The wait was not very long.
On accident I voted against Amendment One, which I felt pretty dumb about. Amendment One was to remove a provision that allows the legislature to discriminate against the property rights of legal aliens. The reason it is not a big deal is that Florida has never used that power, and it is very unlikely it ever will. It did not pass anyhow.
Kim cast her ballot first and then I cast mine. The ballots where paper scantrons. You simply bubble in the name and put it through the machine. When I put mine in the machine read that the ballot was read, but jammed. The lady with the key to clear the jam took her time to clear it and a line quickly formed of voters who had voted and needed to submit their entries. Finally the jam was cleared and my vote was in the system.
The act of filling in the bubble for Obama seemed very powerful, yet very simple. I knew that the moment I cast my vote for him I was fulfilling a broken promise of liberty for all Americans. The reasons for this are many. The most obvious is the strong movement forward this is for a mostly stagnant civil rights movement. The gravity of this action goes beyond that. It is a small part of a larger change of the direction of our country. Bush's presidency has been more disastrous than any hardcore liberal ever dream. He didn't just work against liberal values, he systematically worked to destroy America from every facet. He used fear and blind nationalism to destroy our credibility as a free and far country. He destroyed our economy, fought to institutionalize and legalize torture, recklessly gave to the wealthy while leaving the poor to defend for themselves, and worked against any and all positive values of conservative ideology. He was an ideologue and crony. More on all this.
Aurora cast her ballot for Obama, and I think she was pretty proud to.
The event was just surreal. I had voted for Nader the past two elections, and did not expect myself to actually be in a position where our country had a democrat on the ballot with values similar to mine. Growing up in the middle of all the racism I encountered as a grade schooler, I didn't think our country had it in us to nominate a black man with a funny name.
All day long I was giddy about the prospect of the nights results. I was just feeling good all day.
We had dinner tonight at Sue's. Kim and Katie made some eggplant Parmesan that was awesome. At seven, the time of the first poll closing, I turned on the news. It was useless like usual, but my excitement to start consuming election data had to be quenched.
At home we do not have TV. Fortunately the Internet has matured such that one does not need the TV. In Firefox I had, at minimum, the following websites opened in tabs:







I also had NPR streaming in Firefox.
McCain's speech was very good. McCain began by highlighting how important this event is for the hopes and dreams of many who have fought hard for civil rights. This received what seemed to be earnest applause from the audience. Then McCain went on to say that we have to move forward and that he would work with Obama to bring about the policies our country needs to strengthen us. McCain's crowd went from gracious to mean spirited. They were interrupting him and being very disrespectful to what must have been a very difficult time for McCain. Many have commented that they wish the McCain that delivered this speech was the McCain that ran for president. This sentiment was echoed across the political spectrum. I mentioned it before I read anyone else said it, so it must have been a universal thought that crossed most people's mind.
Shortly thereafter came Obama's acceptance speech. I discovered C-SPAN's live video stream and watched it, with what was probably a thirty-second delay, streaming on to my computer.
Everything about the speech was good as far as acceptance speech goes. He highlighted his call for change and action. You could tell the crowd was beside themselves in joy. The camera showed Jesse Jackson and Oprah a lot. You would have thought their first daughter was getting married by the look on their faces.
Tonight has been a moment of history. Obama has four years to tackle some very difficult problems. It is probably unreasonable to believe he can tackle them in only four years, but it is his assignment and he fought hard to be assigned the task. I believe if anyone can do it, it is Obama.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Biden campaign

On Sunday Joe Biden held a rally in front of FSU's Doak Campbell Stadium. I met up at Joe Brightbill's house and we walked to the stadium. There was a long line that took about twenty minutes to get through. At various points in the line there where members of the Obama campaign recruiting volunteers. There was only one person that approached us to sign something pledging to do something green, I don't remember and I didn't sign.
The entrance had metal detectors and secret service checking each person and their belongings. The area was covered in police cars, and some uniformed men where standing watch at the top of the stadium. The event was held in front of the stadium, not inside the stadium.

There was easily a few thousand when we arrived and probably about another thousand entered after we did.
The music at the event was a rotation of more-or-less bad songs with the exception of about two oldies. Brooks and Dunn's "Only in America" was also heavily in rotation, which was hands down the worst song they had on their list. Waiting for the event to start was similar to purchasing a car. You are made to wait and wait in what seems like an obnoxious amount of forever.
While waiting I discovered I was standing next to Mary Rozofsky, friend's mother. She is an exceptionally nice lady and it is always nice to meet up with her.

After long amounts of waiting people stood up and start cheering. Then nothing for a long time. Finally some people came up and started talking. One lady was some one from congress I think. The next was an Obama volunteer that packed up and left California to fight for Florida. She spoke about the importance of volunteering these last two days to make sure Florida goes blue this cycle.
Once they where done it was more waiting. Joe's dad, David, gave up his spot in a comfortable seat to come stand with us.
During the wait they had people they selected to sit behind the podium and cheer. Someone down below had them practice different chants. This would later be put in action to create some video camera magic for the news.
David and I had a long talk about computer and technology such as the EEE PC, I-Phone, G-Phone, Linux, Mac, etc. David also has his own audio-cast and blog at He had his camera and handheld audio recorder. Each time people stood up and cheered for what turned out to be no reason, he would start his recorder and then turn it off once we realized there was no action yet.
Finally Senator Bill Nelson, Jill Biden and Joe Biden took the stage. Bill started off and gave some forgettable speach and then introduced Jill. Jill gave a quick synopsis of Joe's past and current life as a senator and then brought him to the podium. Joe's speech was exactly what you would expect from any person running as the Vice President under the Democrat ticket.
Sitting just outside of the blocked in area where just under thirty McCain supporters. Their presence would have otherwise all been in good political sport, except someone brought a siren with them that the blasted during the whole speech. I thought they where being very childish in their disrespect. Thousands of people came to see history in the making and some sore losers found it their duty to do what they could to ruin it. The more inevitable the Obama win looks, the more desperate the other side becomes. On the positive side, at least we don't kill each other in events like this, such as what happens in too many other countries.
Joe did have one good line. The first time the siren went off I think most of us assumed it was an ambulance. The second time the blasted it Joe said something to the effect of, "At first I thought that siren was an ambulance, but now I see it is just some people on the edge whining." That evoked some good laughter.
The most interesting part of the whole event was the crowd seated right behind Biden. There was a person running down below camera level telling this group when and what to chant. These people where on mic so it came out loud through the speakers. I can imagine that from the point of view of the camera's the crowd was cheering Joe on. In reality, most people listened silently and the vast majority of cheering came from those behind Joe. I guess it looks good on camera.

I was pretty glad when Joe was done speaking. My legs hurt and most everything about the event was, well, non-eventful. Joe and I walked back to his house, eating at a place I think was simply called "burrito" (my treat) on the way. He treated me to a rib sandwich later on so it was all good.

Events like this usually make better stories than they do make for good experiences. Standing for hours to have a politician make a very canned politician's speech isn't really all that exciting. I wonder how running around a state and giving canned speeches to groups of people already in agreement with you inspires anyone that is undecided, or leaning the other direction to vote for you.