Print Story Okay, what was I up to, anyway?
Family
By ObviousTroll (Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 06:02:34 AM EST) (all tags)
Answering Sasquatchan's questions for 7 years longer than Bob Abooey.



Update Added the epilog. Fixed a pruf redding eror.


So, I promised that I would explain how we managed to avoid any number of mass activities while in DC, so here are the stories.

Where were we during the Cherry Blossom Parade?

8 weeks ago: The kids complain, again, that we haven't gone "anyplace for vacation" in years. (Apparently camping trips with the telescope do not count.) SWHTL and I decide we should go to DC instead of, say, Disneyworld because it's in driving distance, we used to live there, we liked the museums and it would be ejumakashunal which would be good for larning the chillens. We decide to go while the kids are off school for Easter which, oddly, we don't realize is the same as "spring break." The kids actually get really excited about going.

Despite choosing a what we thought was a cleverly designed gap in everyone's schedules this immediately causes conflicts with everything from the Masons and Clowns to SWHTL's new part time job. Schedules are massaged. Being a geek, I am told I am perfect to help with incredibly important electrical repair jobs at the church, scheduled for the morning of the day we're supposed to drive to DC. No biggie, we didn't plan on getting there until the evening of the first day anyway, right? Just do a bit of soldering, change some light bulbs, berate the people who originally wired the church in nineteen ought whatever and drive on!

4 weeks before departure: turns out one of the clown teams I work with is in the Cherry Blossom parade. Great! Except the parade will be at the same time as the incredible important repair job. Whoops. Guess I won't be going, seeing how pushing the departure time back wouldn't work with anyone else's already mangled schedule anyway.

1 week before departure: Boss schedules important all hands meeting for during my vacation. Won't tell me what it's about.

Day of departure: Wearing my casually nice clothes I show up for unspecified incredibly important electrical repair jobs. Head of trustees explains that the list of jobs has changed and leads us up to the top of the church, out an access hole, in through a crawl space window into what could, charitably, be called a crawl space. It has no floor, but it has lots of fiberglass insulation. Someone needs to lower, by hand, each and every light fixture to the floor of the sanctuary to be checked, repaired and upgraded with florescent bulbs. Candidates for this task include:

  • the 6'4" dude who struggled just getting through the window.
  • the 70+ year old dude who had to be helped up through the access hole.
  • my 13 year old son.
  • me.
Guess who won the election?

I swear, I'm going to have dreams about this job. Just the atmosphere of being in this space, the risks of manually attaching the winch, unhooking the chandelier, cranking down while trying to hear the faint cries of "OMFG! STOP!" (and I did almost lose one, it got hooked on a piece of ceiling and unhooked from the winch, but I was able to get the winch hook back on it before it fell.) The fiberglass dust was worse than I expected; they had to send me up a dust mask by attaching it to a fixture - but most of all, scrambling from beam to beam  surrounded by 100 year old wood, 50 year old electrical wiring and 20 year old HVAC duct work was just... funky.

It was also filthy. I mentioned the mask. That was my first clue that the place was worse than I realized. As I squatted, crouched, leaned and contorted, things kept falling out of my jacket pockets - like my phone - and my glasses fell off my face into the insulation, and so on and so forth.

By the time I came down, I looked like a coal miner, so we had to go back home so I could wash and change and my amazingly dirty and fiberglassy clothes could be bagged and tagged for later destruction washing. It was at this point, I discovered the fall into the fiberglass actually scratched up the lenses of my glasses. I have optical coverage, but not for a second pair in the same year. Sigh.

So, anyway, that's what I was doing instead of having my clown makeup wash off my face by parading in the rain down in DC.

Immigration Protest

I'm still not sure exactly what these guys were actually protesting. The idea that we should enforce our borders? The idea that all men have a right to risk death in the desert in order to be treated like slave labor for bad wages in unsafe conditions?

Somehow the idea that there is a human right to be screwed over by corrupt employers just eludes me.

But, be that as it may, we caught the very edges of the protest in DC and I was impressed lots of people who obviously came from south of the border, tromping down to the mall holding American flags of various sizes. I didn't see a single Mexican flag or "whitey go home" sign, such as those reported at other protests. They might have been there, but I didn't see them. We didn't go down into the protest, despite my curiousity because, frankly, having experienced DC protests back in the 80s I had no desire to get my family into a fight because we didn't fit the target demographic.

But what about X, Y or Z?

Frankly, we didn't stay long enough. We originally planned to see a ton of stuff we didn't get to, despite staying in a hotel that was practically across the street from Union Station. Each museum took up 3-4 hours which meant we didn't even get to all the museums we had wanted to see. The lines to get into everything was a shock, since we didn't remember ever having lines when we lived there - apparently the security at the entrances really slows things down. We didn't get into the Capitol or the Washington Monument because I couldn't get SWHTL or the kids (especially the kids) out of bed early enough to get the free tickets. We didn't get to Mt. Vernon because by the 3rd day we starting applying triage and the museums won out over driving anyplace we didn't have to - driving in DC is nobody's idea of vacation.

What can I say? We'll just have to go back next year.

Epilog

The all hands meeting was rescheduled for this Friday because of too many vacations. As I write this, I can't find a single bad thing that happened while I was gone. Very suspicious.

< Ninety-eight degrees in the shade. | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Okay, what was I up to, anyway? | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Shorter immigration protest by cam (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 06:13:20 AM EST
"STFU US Government we like it how it is now".

And they right, this wasnt an issue except a government is in trouble domestically and seeking some nationalist issue to pull people back to them. They used to use 9/11 and Iraq, but they are so incompetent that those have been poisoned as nationalist issues. So, bash the Mexicans.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

No, this was an issue before 9/11. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 06:23:03 AM EST
Bush was pushing immigration reform; but the 9/11 hysteria made him put it on the back burner.

What I find insane is the way people argue that a guest worker program would abuse workers.

What, you mean it would abuse them worse than the current situation does?

BTW - did you hear about the Baltimore trio who just pled guilty to felony counts of using illegal labor and basically treating them like slaves?

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
The political rhetoric that came out by cam (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 06:29:59 AM EST
was Lou Dobbs style. Suddenly there was nationalist (Statist) fervour over only flying the US flag. This would not have happened if Bush could beat on Iraq and 9/11 to bind people to government.

This administration and congress has serious trust issues. I suspect the rallys were as much about "leave us alone, we dont trust you" as it was cultural pride.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Oh, you find that everywhere these days by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 06:38:52 AM EST
On the space flight sites you can still find people smarting from the way their dreams are being crushed by opposition - not opposition to space flight, but opposition to anything George Bush endorses. Not to mention Social Security reform.

And the same thing happens the other way, as well, if I harken back to the days of Clinton.

Interesting note: at the American History Museum, there were presidential buttons and magnets for only 3 presidents: Kennedy, Bush II and Reagan. No Clinton, nor even FDR. Also, while there were equal stocks of democratic and republican underwear, there were only republican mouse pads - either because democratic ones don't sell or because they were sold out, take your pick.

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
When your polling is in the toilet by cam (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 07:11:20 AM EST
that happens. Clinton's were too in his second term. It isnt partisan when only 30% or so of the population dont trust a President. It generally means they are fucking up, and fucking up good.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
No, I think it's become more than that. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 07:15:31 AM EST
I mean, the Bush hatred began before he was even installed in office, and the Clinton bashing before that began with Vince Foster's "alleged" suicide.

People in both parties are convinced that the other party is evil. Not misguided, not mistaken, just evil. It's apparently the only way they can rationalize being disagreed with.


--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
That is a minority though by cam (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 07:20:26 AM EST
the partisan ass-hats, while often shouting the loudest on the internet and in the media, are a small minority. When polling gets down to 40%-30% it is a majority of the general population that have lost trust. It could be even more on special interest stuff like the immigration thing is.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
I used to think that way. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #29 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 02:28:41 PM EST
Nowadays, I look at Kos, Talk Left, My Due Diligence and so on and all I find is that anyone who votes republican is a crypto white supremicist.

Given the financial and media resources that blogs like those can draw upon I can't believe that they are a minority.

How many hits does Free Republic get in a day? Last time I went there, I noticed one of their most popular tags was "homosexualagenda". I didn't bother to read a single article after that.

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
Really though by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #19 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 08:28:31 AM EST
The GOP has to look in the mirror if they wonder why so much "Bush is evil" sentiment is out there. Sure partisan politics has always lead to polarisation but they are the ones who raised the bar when Clinton was in office, they took it to the next level with him.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

[ Parent ]
Clinton by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #27 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 10:53:04 AM EST
Clinton's poll numbers were in the toilet in '94. They were high all during his second term. (i.e. over 50%.)
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
This is a much better story by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 06:17:21 AM EST
than could have been told in a comment as an answer to my questions ;)

Now, if only that abooey character would take note.

Driving in DC is insane by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 06:23:21 AM EST
one lowlight on the trip two years ago was buying gas near Catholic U at a station that did not have a credit card reader, only accepted gas behind a six inch thick plastic window, and cheated us of a gallon or so.

Other lowlights included insane traffic jams in the Baltimore area.

Next time we stay in a cheap hotel near the Metro.


Yes. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 06:25:03 AM EST
This time, I went for 1 hotel room for the whole family, so we could get a place right on the mall - but it was tiny and the kids are too big, so next time we get something further out by a metro stop.


--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod
[ Parent ]
Speaking of vacation by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 07:48:03 AM EST
rather than use our income tax return to pay down debt, we may head past your nieghborhood to the shore, the cheapest places on the ocean within ten hours drive are South Jersey and Maine, and the water is warmer in South Jersey.

We reckon the kids are young and fun now, and it just won't be the same in five years when we have a sullen teenager and preteen.


[ Parent ]
Yup. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 07:53:52 AM EST
Our 9 year old was high-on-life the whole week. The 14 year old appeared to barely tolerate the experience - although at the end he admitted he didn't want to go home.

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod
[ Parent ]
DC and NoVA traffic by cam (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 06:31:35 AM EST
is getting worse month by month too - not year by year.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
I wonder how long that will be sustainable by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 07:45:51 AM EST
$4 a gallon gas, $5, $6?

I hope I never have to drive the Beltway again. I f I have to go to $corporate_training_center near your house again, I plan on taking 15 straight down, it's about 6-7 hours (according to Marine major who was doint that on weekends since 9/11), comparable with flying + security +  Beltway traffic, and lower stress.


[ Parent ]
Judging from the legend of SoCal by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 07:59:17 AM EST
people are willing to put up with quite a lot of traffic without even considering moving or public transit.

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking pricewise though by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 08:05:03 AM EST
how many $100's a month does your average commuter pay in gas bills until they won't take it anymore.


[ Parent ]
So, which way do you think it will go? by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #18 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 08:11:03 AM EST
Telecommuting, or the Death of the Suburbs?

Interesting, if obvious, thought: Expensive gas hurts the west coast more than the east coast. The old cities were designed for foot traffic. L.A. would be unsustainable if gas were $6.


--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
Until we get matter replicators by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #21 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 08:48:31 AM EST
death of the suburbs, you can't tele-grocery shop or tele-clothing shop.

I can see fresh fruits and veggies in the winter becoming much more expensive, too.


[ Parent ]
IMO commerce will come to the suburbs by cam (2.00 / 0) #24 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 09:20:08 AM EST
Route 7's commercial buildings are coming west, following the workers.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Yeahbut by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #25 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 10:46:26 AM EST
if the cost of driving gets to expensive, people won't be able to get to those strip malls and light industrial parks.

The old cities are really the only ones that are laid out for foot traffic.

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
Of course, but when the nearest grocery by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #26 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 10:48:56 AM EST
store is 5 miles away, the nearest $mart is 3 miles the other way, and gas is $6 a gallon, how attractive will that house be?


[ Parent ]
5 miles isnt much, even in cars that do 10 miles by cam (2.00 / 0) #28 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 11:42:03 AM EST
to the gallon. Spending $6 to go and buy groceries isnt a big deal. If you are commuting 60 miles a day though one way. That will hurt. Since I moved to VA is havent worked more than 3 miles from where I live. Now I work from home. So it is possible. In this town too, I have three malls all within one mile, plus a downtown area that I can walk to. Alot of these developments have hubs to them as well. All the developments have some kind of small strip mall in their center.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
15 is becoming a traffic trap too by cam (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 08:03:04 AM EST
They are putting developments all up it to Maryland, and there is only a N and S lane. It will back up from Leesburg, VA all the way to Point of Rocks, MD in rush hour.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
What they were protesting by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #20 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 08:43:00 AM EST
The House immigration bill. It would have made illegal immigration a felony. No guest worker visa. Deport 12X10e6 people.

Last week the governor of Arizona (IIRC, may have been New Mexico) started deploying the National Guard to the border. Lots of irate registered voters in border states who want illegal immigration stopped NOW.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Except, I thought that bill was already dead? by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 08:55:20 AM EST
I was under the impression that bill was dead on arrival in the Senate, and the Senate version had already imploded before the compromise.

Was the troop deployment in response to the (possibly imaginary) flood of new illegals that were expecting an amnesty law to go through?

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
They want to keep it dead. by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #23 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 08:58:03 AM EST
I think the troop deployment was a response to the locals in the border regions travelling about heavily armed, because the illegals (or the "coyotes", anyway) are also heavily armed

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Okay, what was I up to, anyway? | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback