Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Emergency Dental Floss

I just realized this fact in a time of urgent something-is-stuck-between-my-molars-and-if-I-don't-get-it-out-I-will-need-to-go-home-early need: In a pinch, you use use a teabag for dental floss. 

I Choose Two

On Sunday, I decided to it was time to step in and support for my chosen presidential candidates. Candidates, you ask?

Yes. I have chosen two. One of each.

I have selected Barack Obama as my top choice for President. After observing closely for the last year, I strongly want Obama to be the Democratic nominee over Hillary Clinton. While the two top Democrats have similar platform positions, I believe that their actual results would be quite different.

  • Hillary's unfavorable ratings are so strong that she has a very good chance of losing in November to the Republican candidate. In contrast, Obama's negatives are very low. He appeals to moderates and independents (like me), and that is a winning formula for the general election.
  • The right wing noise machine is already well rehearsed at attacking the Clintons. I do not want to go back to the animosity of the late 90s. If Hillary is the nominee, the tone of the debate will be stuck in the mud. Obama is fresh and inspiring. Limbaugh and O'Reilly will have to come up with new material if he is the candidate.
  • Obama has shown a strong ability to inspire and unify the people. Watching Barack Obama speak after his commanding victory in South Carolina inspired me.
On the Republican side, there is only one option. If you read my earlier post, it will not be a surprise that I support John McCain. He stands head and shoulders above all of his Republican competitors.

  • John McCain listens to reason. It is clear to me after watching McCain twice on Meet the Press (last Sunday and a few months ago, both available on MSNBC.com) that he will chose the well-reasoned position over towing the party line.
  • John McCain stands up for cutting spending to back up tax cuts. Any conservative who funds tax cuts with deficit spending is not a conservative.
  • Last week I was chatting with a coworker and she posited "what if Gore had won in 2000?" While that is an interesting hypothetical, I realized a more intriguing one later that night: "What if McCain had won in 2000?" Seriously. I believe we would have executed the War on Terror and maintained our high stature as a nation in the world community.

So why two candidates and why now?

I feel very strongly that each of these two candidates is the best choice for America among the contenders within their own party. In strong contrast to other parings, an election between Barack Obama and John McCain would be an elevated and civilized debate, focused on real issues that are actually affect America. I believe of both of these candidates will bring reason and vision to the Presidency and restore the stature of the United States back to the level of respect and envy we held for most of our nation's history.

There are basically three things I can do to help my candidates win (ordered by direct-to-indirect, and in reverse order of when the choice becomes available).

  1. Vote for them. In your local caucus or primary and in the general election. In my case, living in Washington state, our party caucuses fall on February 9. "Super Tuesday" is on February 5th, so by the time I get to caucus, the nominee may already be crowned. This makes it all the more important that I use my other options well.
  2. Give them money. This helps the candidate get their message out to other people, particularly those who get to vote before I do. On Sunday I came to the conclusions I wrote above, and decided it was time to act. To back my chosen candidates, and help them secure victory within their own parties, I went online and contributed to each campaign. If you feel like I do, you can [Donate to Barack Obama for President] or [Donate to John McCain for President]. While I do not plan to share the amount I gave, I will say that $J = $B/2.
  3. Spread the message to other people. I do this every day when talking to friends who like to talk politics. And I'm doing it right now.
And before I wrap this post up, here's Obama delivering Letterman's Top 10 last week:

#2 became even more relevant when in his "Greatest Hits"-style State of the Union address, President Bush mispronounced "nuclear" again.

Bonus Trivia Challenge: What is the significance of the song that Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra play as the outro of the clip?

I'd like to know what you think, blog readers. Leave me some comments and try and guess the trivia challenge.

Hint: You would need to know the name of the song.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse, originally uploaded by Sage Kitamorn.

This is my first try at Chocolate Mousse. The sauce is black cherries reduced with tawny port. I got the idea while shopping for wine with Kayla back in Texas.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Counting Homophones

Forty percent of the first ten counting numbers are homophones.
One = Won
Two = To, Too
Four = For
Eight = Ate
After we won the game, we went to Gatti's for pizza, which we ate.
This could be a fun little encoding for a Puzzlehunt puzzle. 

Presidential Candidates

Last weekend, a few friends gathered over at my place for a presidential debate watching party. We cooked up some home-made pizzas and settled in for a great night of politics. For your reading pleasure (yes, you future Sage), here are my thoughts on our candidates.

According to this 2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz, here are my candidate matchups:

86% Barack Obama
85% John Edwards
84% Hillary Clinton
84% Bill Richardson
[Check out this massive discontinuity...]
37% Rudy Giuliani
32% John McCain
28% Mike Huckabee
24% Ron Paul
22% Mitt Romney
16% Fred Thompson

I've deleted those candidates who have already dropped out, and those who are polling so low that they were not included in last week's ABC News/Facebook Debates.

So percentages are cute, but what do I really think?

The Democrats:

  • I am on board with Barack. He is an inspirational leader, is full of positive energy, and has great ideas.
  • Edwards doesn't excite me. I would still vote for him over most any of the Republicans if it came down to it.
  • I agree with Hilary on most issues - she and Obama have very similar policy positions. However, I'm not sure I like her yet. Seeing her cry was a nice touch of pathos, though.
  • Bill Richardson was originally my first choice. He is by far the most qualified if this were a job interview. After the debates, I feel that he lacks that certain quality of a leader which is the undeniable charisma that makes people want to follow them. Bill, if you end up dropping out tomorrow as the early reports say you will, thank you for running a great campaign, and I hope there is a deserving spot for you in the administration of whoever wins.

The Republicans:

  • It's unfortunate that we have our two party system, because it forced Giuliani to sell himself out to try to win a nomination from the Republicans. His biggest flaw is his willingness to abandon well-principled positions (pro-choice, pro-gay, etc.) to pander to the right. For this reason (among others), he does not have my support.
  • John McCain is a great man. He stands up for what he believes in even when it's unpopular among Republicans - including sensible immigration policy and not torturing people. I trust John McCain. If I lived in New Hampshire, I would have voted in the Republican primary and voted for him. While we don't agree on many issues, I would be proud for our country if he were our president. His recent appearance on Meet the Press helped solidify this opinion.
  • Watching Mike Huckabee on Leno helped me notice that he is a really nice guy. That said, the reason for his recent popularity (similar to Fred Thompson a few months ago) is primarily because Republicans see him as the candidate who fits the mold of the Reliably Conservative Electable Evangelical Christian, despite the fact that he is far less qualified than his peers. His foreign policy chops are very weak. This guy is not for me.
  • Ron Paul is willing to speak the truth and he is correct is most of his criticisms of the current administration. He is very well intentioned, but his vision is not in touch with reality (he advocates returning to pre-WWII isolationism and abolishing the income tax.) His appearance on Meet the Press made me lose any confidence I had in his ability to be president.
  • Mitt Romney said "double Guantanamo." I could stop right there. He would make a great president on Fox's TV series 24. I would not trust Mitt Romney to water my plants.
  • Fred Thompson: see "Mike Huckabee".

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper Fountain, originally uploaded by Sage Kitamorn.

I'm not a real big fan of soda, but when I do feel like one, I usually feel like a Dr Pepper. It is discouragingly difficult to get fountain Dr Pepper here. Since I've been in Seattle, I've replayed this conversation way too many times:

Waitress: "Would you like something to drink besides water?"
Me: "Yes, a Dr Pepper, please."
Waitress: "Sorry, we don't have Dr Pepper. Would you like [insert one of the following: Root Beer, Cream Soda, Ginger Ale, Sprite Zero...]

This photo was taken at a partcular BBQ place in Texas. This is what I was raised on. Seattle restaurants, please take note.

For training purposes, here's how a TTT (Typical Texas Transplant) would expect to conduct the beverage conversation:

Waitress: "Would you like a coke?"
Customer: "Sure."
Waitress: "What kind?"
Customer: "Dr Pepper"

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Year in Review: 2007

I got this set of questions from my sister, who makes it part of her routine to answer every new year.

What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Led a project at work
Bought a new car
Got pulled over for jaywalking
Worked an 80-hour week

Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any last year. I probably won't make any this year either.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Did anyone close to you die?

What countries did you visit?

What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
For an elite unit of female commandoes to repel down my building, crash in through my window while I am sleeping, and then **** ***** *** **** **. That was my birthday wish in 2006 and 2007, and it hasn't come true yet.

What date(s) from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 6, 2007. This was the day we released the beta of Microsoft Search Server 2008 to the world.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Project driving and releasing the beta of Microsoft Search Server 2008.

What was your biggest failure?

I tried to karaoke Good Hearted Woman by Willie Nelson. That song goes about one or two notes lower than I can comfortably sing, so it was not too good.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

What was the best thing you bought?
A car.

Where did most of your money go?
Into my 401k.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Making and eating this pizza.

What songs will always remind you of 2007?
Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John

Compared to this time last year, are you...

i. Happier or sadder? Happier

ii. Thinner or fatter? The same

iii. Richer or poorer? Richer

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Casual dating

What do you wish you'd done less of?
Wasting time writing limericks for and about friends on Facebook

How will you be spending Christmas?
With my family in Austin, TX

Did you fall in love in 2007?


What was your favorite TV program?
30 Rock!

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

No. I don't hate anyone.

What was the best book you read?

Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Seeing Dave Matthews live at The Gorge over Labor Day Weekend.

What did you want and get?

For Alberto Gonzales to resign as Attorney General.

What did you want and not get?
To see Scooter Libby go to prison, Dick Cheney to testify, and for Patrick Fitzgerald to bring charges against Carl Rove.

What was your favorite film of this year?

The Departed

What did you do on your birthday, and how old?

Held a joint party with Shawn, the September Birthdays Tournament of Champions. I turned 25.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
For the Democrats in Congress to actually have a backbone and stand up to the President. Except for Chris Dodd, who is a hero.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

Warm, colorful, and purchased within walking distance of my apartment.

What kept you sane?
My palatial office make over, and the fact that I got my own office in the first place.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Tina Fey.

What political issue stirred you the most?
The idea of giving immunity to telephone companies who were complicit in the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.

Who did you miss?
Jackie. Heather.

Who was the best new person you met?

Mary Michele!

Was 2007 a good year for you?
Absolutely yes.

What was your favorite moment of the year?

Reading on the sunny porch with Jennifer while drinking hibiscus iced tea.

What was your least favorite moment of the year?
A particular IM conversation and phone call I had in August.