Watching: The Gift. Okay, creepy. Cate Blanchett was really very good, her Southern accent is flawless. Keanu Reeves was surprisingly horrifying as a wife-beating redneck. And I'm not at all surprised that the story came from Billy Bob Thornton's brain. I know he's kind of a freak and everything, but he will always have a little spot in my heart for Bandits. Which Cate Blanchett was also in. I have a little bit of a girl crush on Cate Blanchett. There, I said it.

Hearing: Bombs going off last night. I swear, I thought there were bombs going off, until I remembered it was Flag Day, an occasion which apparently calls for firecrackers. Who knew? (Flag Day also happens to be my mother's birthday. Happy birthday, Mom! Not that she reads this, but whatever.)

Cleaning: My bedroom. There are portions of my bedroom floor that had not seen the light of day for months. It was out of control. It's still pretty bad, but I have made progress. The closet, I think, is a lost cause. It's this really odd-shaped thing that is not conducive to actual hanging of clothes, so it becomes a depository for crap I don't want to deal with. (When it comes to clothes, I'm much more of a folder than a hanger anyway, so I hang what I have to in the closet in the guest bedroom and all is well.) But every once in a while I do think about how embarrassed I'd be - theoretically - if I died suddenly and someone had to clean out that closet.

I've lived here a year, but sometimes it's hard to tell. (Don't ask what state's license plates are still on my car.)

For example, I have no blinds anywhere upstairs, not in my bedroom, not in the guest room. I don't know why the guy who lived here before me took them, but he did. (He left the ones downstairs, which is nice, because there are five huge windows and it would have been wicked expensive to buy blinds for all of them.)

Anyway. One of the windows in my room faces out to forest, as does the only window in the guest room, so I never really worried about those, but there is another window in my bedroom that you could conceivably see into from the building next door. For a while I changed my clothes in the hallway unless it was completely dark, but then I realized that I can't see anything in the windows of the other building, so I just figured I'd take my chances. It's not like I'm one to wander around the house naked very much anyway. Getting blinds up became one of those things that I would think about doing over the weekend from time to time, and then, you know, not do.

(Honestly, I think it also has something to do with the fact that Home Depot is an incredibly depressing place to go if you are a single woman in your thirties. I think Ikea wins that particular race, but Home Depot is a very close second.)

Well, I got a notice last week that they are going to start painting my building tomorrow. This finally motivated me, because while I don't think the people in the building next door can see in, I'm pretty sure some guy standing on a ladder will have a fine view. And while I wouldn't be doing anything untoward while they were out there, I'm not really comfortable with the idea of them staring in at my bedroom, even when I'm not there.

After trips to two different Home Depots (including the sniper Home Depot, woo), do I have blinds up? Sort of. Not really. I have paper peel-and-stick blinds on one window. I tried to install the real ones, I really did, but I think there is going to have to be a drill involved, and I am just not up for that.

So, as another part of the effort to prove to myself that I actually live here, I registered to vote. Got my card in the mail last week and everything. I missed the local elections last month, but I'm good to go for some stuff this fall, and of course the presidential elections next year.

Now, the question becomes who to vote for.

Democrats have been pissing me off of late. That hullaballoo over how much it cost for Bush to land on an aircraft carrier made us look like a bunch of sissy whiners. And don't get me started on people who are still talking about how we actually won the 2000 election. I could sing to you all day long about how Bill Clinton would have won a third term in a walk, but wishing the 22nd Amendment didn't exist doesn't actually make it go away. We didn't win in 2000. Get over it.

(A tangential piece of 22nd Amendment trivia: someone could actually be president for a total of ten years. If you are Vice President and become President in the middle of a term, and that term is over in less than two years, you can still have your two subsequent terms.)

We're obviously lacking party leadership right now, which is why I think nine people decided they have a serious shot at the Democratic nomination. I doubt we'll find another WJC among them (hey, it's about time for a new president to be known by his initials, don't you think?), but we might be able to find someone who can be smart enough to continue a trend of one-term President Bushes.

(If it interests you, The Washington Post is doing a series on the candidates, profiling one each Sunday. Two weeks ago was John Kerry, last week was John Edwards, and today was Joe Lieberman.)

A lot of my friends are supporting Howard Dean, and I can understand why. He was against the war, he signed civil unions into law in Vermont, he's a dedicated environmentalist, he's not a lawyer. He could be a little stronger on gun control, but he's a bit of a devolutionist, and that's not such a bad philosophy these days. The only problem is that he seems to feel that policies he put into place in a state with a population of 608,000 (of which almost 97% is white) can be easily extrapolated to a racially diverse nation of 280 million, and I'm not sure that's the case.

The other guy I like right now is John Edwards. He's a wealthy trial lawyer from North Carolina, so you have quite a few humps to get over at first glance, but after that, I like what I see, particularly on education. I wish he had opposed the war, but you can't have everything.

I think I'm having a hard time figuring out who I want to support because I've become something of a cynic, and my bullshit threshold is very low. If you say you're going to do this and that and the other thing, but don't give any indication of how you're going to pay for it, you might as well be blowing smoke. You can have all the grand ideas you want, but you have to show me just how you're going to make it happen, or I'm not going to believe you.

Also, part of me wishes there were a strong, non-political-joke third-party candidate. I voted for Nader in 2000, in part because I really believe we could get a lot more done in this country if we break the two-party stranglehold.

Having said that, I'm also a pragmatist, and developing a viable third party is going to take some time. For now, I'll keep paying attention to Dean and Edwards and see where we go. And just so you know that I have put some thought into it, here are my informed and educated opinions about the rest of the candidates. (The links will open in a new window. After all, they're the ones I don't like.)

Dick Gephardt has crazy ideas. An international minimum wage? What the hell is that? Whatever. Anything he can do, Dean can do better, and cheaper.

John Kerry is a bit of a freak, and rather unattractive, and married to a ketchup heiress.

Joe Lieberman is a Republican. Also, at the risk of getting hate mail (go ahead, I never get hate mail!), this country will not elect a Jewish president at this particular time. Plus he said he knows he could beat George Bush because "Al Gore and I already did." No, you didn't, so shut up.

This country will eventually elect a woman president and it will eventually elect a black president, but it won't do both for the first time at the same time, so no Carol Moseley Braun.

This country will hopefully never elect a raving lunatic, so no Al Sharpton. (By the way, I couldn't find an Al Sharpton for President website, so I linked the next best thing. Go look at it, seriously.)

Bob Graham looks like a televangelist. That's pretty much all I know about him.

Dennis Kucinich? Who is he? Someone with an unpronounceable last name, so no. (It's the same reason I'll never be president, either, at least not while I'm single.) (Well, one of the reasons.) He's got his thumb on the pulse of the hot issues, though. For example, he devotes a portion of his website to his stance on Genetically Engineered Food. (He believes it "represents a challenge to freedom of choice and freedom of expression.") And he's from Ohio. Need I say more?

Perhaps the most important thing about having my voter registration card is that I am now free to ride your ass about it. You really, really ought to vote. I used to use a recycling analogy for people who claim their one vote doesn't make a difference. (Your one aluminum can doesn't make that much difference either, but when you combine it with everyone else's can, look what happens.) But frankly, I don't think I need it anymore. We did indeed lose the 2000 election, but not by much. How much more proof do you need that your vote counts?

Yes, I believe I will settle into this soapbox quite nicely...

(Don't be afraid, PVS is a non-partisan kind of thing.)

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