October 2004 Archives


That's a lot of people in five block stretch of road. And that isn't counting the people who were watching from the buildings along the road: many people were standing on their porches and roofs, or hanging out of windows. Even more stood in the side streets, unable to get into the main, ticketed area. It was an amazing sight.

Admittedly, some may have come mostly to see and hear the Foo Fighters and Bruce Springsteen, but I think as many, if not more, people came for the next President of the Untied States. There was a huge amount of energy in the crowd.

I started out the morning with other volunteers from Planned Parenthood, handing out "Stand up for Choice" stickers to the crowd. I went through several rolls, and at times I couldn't hand them out fast enough for the demand.

A ground of Bushites showed up (I think they were from College Republicans) wearing giant flip-flops made out of pink construction foam, and shouting "four more years!" The rest of the crowd quickly took up the chant and turning it over, into "five more days!" Quite different from a Bush event, where you have to sign an oath of loyalty for admittance and can be kicked out just for politely wearing the wrong t-shirt.

It is an amazing feeling to be part of a crowd of 80,000 very excited yet peacable people, all gathered for the same purpose. And they were quite peaceful. Even as crowded as it was, there was none of the jostling and rudeness that usually occurs when you pack people close together. At least, there was none that I saw.

I hope this is in an indication of what is to come.

Tuesday. Tuesday. Tuesday. ...

A Good Day for a Rally

Details to follow when I'm not so damn tired.

Well, well, well.


Let's hear it for the Red Sox. Nice game, gentlemen. So much for that curse.

Now, maybe I can start to have some hope for my formerly beloved Brewers. I was a Brewers fan all through my growing up--I loved them when they were on a roll and I loved them when they were in the basement of the American League, but years of the Seligs eventually crushed my spirit. A Selig-free team might do the trick for me.

The year I was born, Hank Aaron still played for the Brewers. The summer I was six, the Brewers won the Pennant and played in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. In fifth grade, the entire city got free hamburgers at George Webb's, following a 13 game winning streak. When I was junior in high school, Robin Yount made his 3,000th hit. And through it all, I watched game after game, many of them in the stands of County Stadium. For me, baseball came with the sound of Bob Uecker's voice. And then...And then...

In 1994, at the very end of my senior year in high school, I attended my last ever game in County Stadium as I watched my team fall to the Texas Rangers. In 1996, Selig, Tommy Thompson, and some other fat boys demanded a new playground. "Stick it to 'em!" cried Tommy. In 1997, they switched to the National League, and broke my heart (and don't even think about lecturing me about the evil of the designated hitter rule--I will hear you not). In 2000, they tore down my stadium. In 2001, the new stadium was opened with Dubya on the premises. Will the man from LA be my savior?

My Brewers is County Stadium and Bob Uecker, Bernie Brewer going down the slide and "Bambi". My Brewers are Moliter, Yount, Cooper, Fingers, Gantner, Ogilvie, Thomas, Bando, Higuera, Money, Vuckovich... I know I'm leaving guys out, but that is the gist of it. God, I want my team back.


I've just discovered what must truly be the most annoying thing on the web: banner ads that make noise. Specifically, banner ads that make a really oud "cellphone" noise when your mouse drifts across them. Not good.

Tummy Trouble

I want to be confident that we will all wake up on the morning of November 3 to find that our four year nightmare has ended. At the same time, I have a terribly sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that the Republicans will do whatever dirty trick they need to do in order to win. Or "win".

Just over a week to go. Halloween is supposed to be the big scary day, not the day two days later.


I just a got a phone call from a woman asking me if I was going to be supporting John Kerry, George Bush, or Ralph Nader. Only, her vocal inflection indicated that she was asking a yes or no question, rather than for me to choose one. I couldn't help myself...I said "yes".

What bugs me is all of the Nader stuff this year. I don't know about everyone, but I know that for myself and most of the people I know who voted for him in 2000, we weren't voting for *Nader* but for the Green Party. Nader isn't running on the Green Party ticket this time, but on the "independent, I don't know when to give up" vanity ticket. The Green Party ticket this year is David Cobb and Patricia LaMarche. Plus, Greens for Impact is encouraging votering in swing states to vote for Kerry, while voting Green in solidly "safe" states. I don't think Nader will make a speck of difference this year.


Hey out there. I've been reading my referral logs, and it seems that it do have some regular readers...more than just those who are related to me. <faints in shock> So, care to check in and say hi? My comments rarely get used, and I'd be interested to know who's reading.


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Last night, around this time, my dad had a heart attack. It was severe enough that when he went into the emergency room at the hospital in Beaver Dam, they med flighted him to the UW Hospital here in Madison.

Fortunately, as I was told this morning, he is ok. I went in with my sibs to see him around noon today. He was still in the ICU and hooked up to various machines (though they had just taken away the oxygen tube from his nose) and he looked like hell. Still, he was in good spirits and able to joke around about the situation. When my sister remarked that with all the wires, it almost looked as though we could send a fax from my dad, he answered, "Yes but not in color." We stayed to about an hour, and then he needed to sleep a bit.

Back in July, he had serious chest pains and went into the emergency room, thinking it was a heart attack. The doctors decided that it was actually severe indigestion, so he was given meds for acid reflux and told to watch his diet. Last night, he had the same pain as during the summer, and all the acid reflux meds did for him was make him throw up. When it became evident that the situation was not improving, he went back into the hospital. I am so glad that he did, and didn't try to tough it out. I'm fairly certain that while he may *also* have acid reflux, what he had during the summer was probably also a heart attack--possibly just a milder one. But I'm not a doctor, so I wouldn't know.

I'll be stopping back in tomorrow to see how he is doing.

Wake Up Call

Any phone call that starts out with "Your dad is all okay" is never bringing good news. Especially one that comes at 7 AM.


All good things must come to an end, including my weekend in Pennsylvania. All of us who had stayed at the hotel gathered on the patio to enjoy the continental breakfast together. The bride and groom also stopped by to eat with us and see us off.

A. gave me a ride to the airport, though once I got to the gate I discovered that I'd left my cell phone in her car. I think it fell out of my bag. She'll be mailing to me, bless her heart.

Harrisburg to Detroit was uneventful and pleasant. I was a little worried about the bouquet and airport security, because there are stickpins holding it together, but they said it was ok. In fact, the whole day I got smiles and compliments because of the flowers. Once again, I had a seat by the window, over the wing, although this time I had a seat mate. She read, I stared out the window. We disembarked at the C concourse, and I had to walk through a different section of the airport from the last time. The tunnel between the concourses was amazing. Colored lights drifted across the walls in changing shapes and patterns. Rather relaxing and impressing. I took some touristy pictures of it, which I will post if they turn out.

When I got to the A concourse, I found that my original departure gate (A11) was being moved to a new gate (A19). I headed to the new gate and settled in to wait. Then they announced that the flight was overbooked, and that they needed several volunteers to get bumped. They assured us that there was another flight to O'Hare leaving 5 minutes later, and that we could definitely have seats on that. I decided to go for it, and was given a $300 travel voucher with Northwest for my trouble. Score!

I headed to my new new gate (A21) and settled in once more. Just as the final boarding was called for my old flight, they announced that my new flight had mechanics on board the plane to deal with a problem with the pressurization system, and the estimated delay was about a half hour. I was a little bummed, but not terribly worried, since I didn't have a connection to make. Then I heard my name being called back at A19, along with several other passengers.

I got to the counter, where they took my new boarding pass for the delayed flight, tore it up and gave me a pass for my original flight. I got to keep the voucher. Bonus!

From O'Hare, I was catching a bus to Madison. Let me just say that if I can avoid O'Hare in the future, I will. What a ghastly place, especially after the classy airports to which I had just been. I was certainlu glad to be out of there.

The bus ride home gave me a chance to nap, since I no longer had my nose against the window the whole time. And now here I am, back home and thinking about my next trip. (I'm pondering getting to in Minneapolis in November, especially if I can find anyone to go with.)


The plan was for the bride and groom and a group of their friends to go out the dinner and a bar in the evening. The groom's best friend runs a limo company, and there was going to be a little bus to pick us up and shuttle us around. There was no lack of "short bus" jokes in the time leading up to that.

Needless to say, we were all quite flabbergasted when we left to hotel to find waiting for us, not a bus, but a stretch Hummer. It was the very definition of ghettofabulous. Sure it only did ten miles to the gallon (gasp) but we did have 15 passengers (and could fit 5 more) plus the driver, so I like think of it as 160 people-mile per gallon (listen to me rationalize). There were little lights in the ceiling that changed color periodically, and neon near the floor. Several mini-bars lined the sides, interrupting the seats. The windows were darkened and the sound system was booming the booty-bass. It was like a disco on wheels.

We stopped first for dinner at a sports bar, and then for drinks at a cooler-than-cool downtown bar called Mars. So cool, in fact, that while there was a DJ spinning very danceable tunes, we were the only ones willing to dance. Still, the best part of the evening was riding around in that chariot of bling.

The Wedding

We were all up bright and early the next morning, around 7. Of course, this was earlier for me than for the rest of them, as I was the only one who wasn't already on Eastern time. To me, it felt like 6 (not that 7 wasn't pretty darned early after the late night). However, the hotel's continental breakfast helped wake me up. Donuts and danish can do wonders.

After we were all gussied up, we divided into two cars and drove in to downtown Harrisburg to the lovely old church. I really do love old church buildings. Modern churches don't look anywhere near as fine. In the church, we met some of the girls who hadn't been at the hotel the night before. There were more smiles and hugs.

The ceremony was both beautiful and brief. The groom was grinning from ear to ear and the bride was absolutely radiant. In a nice touch, there were two ministers performing the ceremony. The ministers from both the bride's and the groom's home churches shared the duties.

After the ceremony, we gathered outside the church to blow bubbles at the happy couple as the left the building. Fun and soapy.

Then we all headed out to Mechanicsburg for the brunch reception. It was held in a large tent on the grounds of a golf course. The day was mild and the colors were coming into the trees, making for a captivating setting. The food was absolutely scrumptious, though I got carded when I asked for a glass of wine at the bar! No one else got carded, as far as I could see. Not only did I have to go get my driver's license (glad I though to bring it) but he then quizzed me on the dates. What is it with me and getting carded at weddings? That is twice now. Everyone tells me that I should be flattered, but I find it more annoying than flattering. At 28, I much prefer it when people can tell that I am the age I claim to be.

There was a three-piece band playing cover tunes. Not a stellar group, but certainly serviceable. Our table sang along with a number of the tunes they played.

When the time came for the bride to throw the bouquet (there was no garter toss) I was the only single girl in the whole place to stand up. Eventually, the bandleader cajoled the rest of the table into joining me (though we were still the only ones). The others crowded around behind me, as though the bouquet was a grenade and I was a human shield. That didn't last long, as they were herded out into a reluctant semi-circle, and the most reluctant one of all was pulled up front. They didn't spin the bride around the way I've usually seen it done, and I think she was sort of aiming for Miss Reluctant. However, Miss R. dodged out of the way when the bouquet came flying, and everone else stepped back. It landed with a thud and an explosion of rose petals on the floor in front of me. When it was clear that no one else was going to go for it, I scooped it up. I can't really claim to have "caught" the bouquet, but I got to take it home. It is an elegant combination of read roses, some sort ofsolid ready berries (almost like rosehips, but not) and something that looks like mistletoe, though I'm not sure what it is.

The wedding cake was one of the most delicious that I've ever had. There were three layers, with white frosting. The bottom layer was chocolate with peanut butter filling, the middle was lemon with lemon filling, and the top was vanilla with vanilla filling. Very delectable.

As the reception wound down, we posed for group pictures with the group and the bride. Then we drifted back to the hotel to rest up over the afternoon.


I was traveling to Harrisburg to meet some friends, and attend the wedding of one of them. Now, when I say "meet some friends" I mean that literally. We are a close-knit group who met on an internet message board, and have been close friends for several years now. However, while some of them have been able to get together in person at least once, I had never meet any of them in person. I was a wee bit nervous, but not terribly so.

One of them, C, was waiting for me in the airport. Her plane had gotten in just a little while earlier, and we shared a cab back to the hotel. We were very dissapointed that our friend AV, who was supposed to meet us there as well, had been screwed out of coming. Her United flight from LA had been delayed, so that she would miss her only connection to Harrisburg in Chicago. The wedding was in the morning, so by the time she could have caught the next flight out, she would have missed it entirely. Faced with that choice, she stayed in LA. We all missed her greatly, and will be boycotting United Airlines, who were incredibly dicks to her at the airport about her situation.

The culture shock was mild, but hapened almost immediately. The woman at the cab stand asked where we were from, and when I said Wisconsin, she asked how cold it was there. I told her that the weather was actually about the same as it was in Pennsylvania...mild Indian summer. She told me that she just thought of Wisconsin as a place full of snow. And beer. (I had to restrain myself from starting to sing a Lou and Peter Berryman song). I replied that we did indeed have good beer, good cheese, and good frozen custard, but that we didn't always have snow. She replied by asking what frozen custard was. Poor dear.

Our cab driver was certainly a character: an older black woman who kept crackiong jokes and offering us "grandmotherly" advice. While we drove, I was amused by the friendly little highway signs. "Merge safely" and "Beware of agressive drivers" put me in mind of someone's mom standing at the side of the road and telling you to be careful.

When we arrived at the hotel, most of the other girls were already there. The bride had already come and gone, since it was rather late, but everyone else was drinking champagne and enjoying the snacks that the bride and her mom had graciously left--pretzels, chips, applebutter, snickerdoodles, and a huge bag of Hersey Kisses and miniatures. The atmosphere in the suite was a little like a slumber party. One more guest arrived shortly after us, having driven in from Ohio.

Besides bringing snacks, the bride had also left each of us a little presents--we each got a gift bag with a pretty pair of silver earings. Mine had garnets. Lovely. I was touched that with all the other things on her mind before the wedding, J had taken the time to play hostess with those lovely gifts.

Travel--heading out

The last (and only) time that I had flown was over ten years ago, on a family trip. I was just a teenager, and didn't have to deal with any of the arrangements. All I had to do was show up with my bags and have fun. So, I was a little bit nervous when it came to getting a plane from Madison to Pennsylvania for a friends wedding. It wasn't the actual flying that worried me, but the paperwork and bureacracy. From purchasing my ticket on Orbitz to checking in and getting my boarding passes, to going through security...I was positive that something would go wrong.

Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. Nothing went wrong buying the ticket. I got to the airport and got my boarding passes without problem. I was one of the random passengers selected to get felt up...er...go through extra security. (I can understand that searching everyone would be a difficult thing, time and moneywise, however, I don't see it as a deterant. Given that terrorists are willing to die for their cause, I don't think it that far from a possibility that they'd be willing to play the odds about being screamed. Get someone (or several someones) who doesn't "look Arab" to carry the stuff, and figure that not all of them will be searched. The ones that do get searched would be willing to suffer arrest, or even suicide, if caught.) I had no problems there, though my CD Discman that had tested fine the night before was no longer working after I went through. I think they spilled water from my water bottle onto the battery case.

The Dane County Airport is fairly pleasant. I'm sure it will be even more so when the remodeling construction is done, and one need not walk half a mile for the bathroom.

The plane for the first leg of my journey was a little regional flier. The seats were one across on the left, and two across on the right. I was on the left, right behind the wing. Though the wing blocked part of my view, I did get to watch the flaps go up and down. I watched with my nose practically pressed up against the window pretty much from takeoff to landing. What a neat feeling and view! I don't understand how anyone can get so blase about air travel that they don't even look. The only times I looked away where when the clouds obscured everything.

When we touched down in Cleveland, I only had time to stop at the restroom before heading to my next gate and reboarding, but what I saw of the airport was very nice. I don't think I'd mind future layovers in Cleveland.

This plane was a little larger than the first, with two across on the left, and three on the right. Once again, I was right behind the left wing. No one sat next to me, so I had both seats to myself. The jump from Cleveland to Detroit was quite brief. It was good that I'd already heard most of the pre-flight spiel earlier. The head flight attendent had a heavy Japanese accent, which combined with the distortion of the overhead speakers made her fairly impossible to understand.

The sun was setting as we landed in Detroit, but there was still enough light to look down and count the swimming pools and baseball fields below. The Detroit airport is super cool. (I'd say it was the bomb, but you don't say that word in airports.) I will happily make plane changes in Detroit again. Clean, beautiful, and well-laid out. I had enough time between planes to catch the moving sidewalk down to a McDonald's to grab some "food". As I walked, I admired the architecture, the hustle and bustle, and bright, candy-apple red train that frequently drove by over the gates.

The plane to Harrisburg was the same type as the one from Cleveland. This time, I was on the right side (once again, behind the wing). There was another person next to me, but only one, and we had an empty middle seat between us. Night had fallen, and the ground below us looked like a field of stars. Even the rural areas were speckled with lights. In fact, from our lofty perspective, it all looked as though it were one vast city. Here and there the lights would pool thickly in the more settled areas, and between them they thinned to a sprinkle, yet it all semed connected. It was one of the most beautiful things I've seen. And again, I was amazed that more people didn't turn off their reading lights and stare out the windows. Can such a sight ever become run of the mill?

The Harrisburg airpost also seemed fairly friendly, though I was a little wierded out when I left the security area to approach the baggage claim and saw, much to my surprise, a large collection of rocking chairs, many with people in them, facing the exit from the terminal. It just seemed a little incongruous at the time.


I just discovered two new pieces of comment spam. They were both attached to the post in which I was pondering whether or not to reopen the comments, or whether I'd just be hit with spam. Harumph.

Leaving on a jet plane

I am just about to head to the airplane to catch a plane out of town for the weekend. This is the first time I've flown since high school (and that was only one trip) and the first time on my own. Here's hoping I don't screw up and miss a connection, and that my baggage arrive with me and in one piece.

Twelfth Night

American Players Theater's closing production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night was up to the company's usual fabulous standards.

I won't summarize the plot, but for those who are unfamiliar with the the tale, it should be known that it involves shipwreck, disguised gender, a love triangle, misguided wooing, outlaws, mistaken identity, comeupance, reconciliation, and promises of revenge (not to mention singing, dancing, and a fight or two).

Colleen Madden's Viola makes a passable boy as Cesario (the audience, of course, sees right through it, but one can see that the other characters would not). I was not very taken with either Jim De Vuta's Duke Orsino or Tracy Michelle Arnold's Countess Olivia, though I have yet to put my finger on why. I am also a little unclear as to what was going on with Sebastian (Shawn Fagan) and the outlaw sea captain, Antonio (Marcus Truschinski). I believe I will have to reread the play to sort out that part of the storyline.

The show was stolen by the servants, clown, and second-tier nobility. Sarah Day was wickedly funny as Maria, urging the men around her to hilarious mischief. Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Jonanthan Smoots and Mark Corkins, respectively, played off each other in ever greater feats of drunken folly. At one point, I believe that Corkins cracked up not just the other characters, but their players as well with his antics. Fabian (Wayne T. Carr) and Feste (C. Michael Wright) completed the circle of rascals and jokers. The butt of their jests, Malvolio, was played by the wonderful James Ridge. Through the course of the play he moves from officious and puritanical to foppish and obsequious to confused to vengeful.

The play ended rather jarringly, but that was the work of the playwright, not the players. The usual comedic happy ending gets a bit of a twist, as no one seems entirely happy with their final situation. It leaves a lingering feeling of "What was that?"

There couldn't have been a lovelier night on which to end the APT season. After a summer plagued by frequently cool and rainy weather, the October evening was clear and mild. As the autumn sun faded from the sky, the warmth of the day faded with it, but not by much. We were quite comfortable in the audience, and never distracted by shivering. Also, the bugs of summer had mostly disappeared, so it was the best of both worlds. Driving back to Madison following the performance, we were treated to a great, golden moonrise.

And now it is time to start counting the months until the next APT season.

Time time time

I'm having a pretty good week. Unfortunately, I have no time at the computer to write about it. I'm trying to take mental notes for later.

Hurray for APT

Saw Twelfth Night tonight--the last performance of the year. The night was gorgeous and mild. The show was amazing. I will try to get a more nuance review of it all in a day of so.

Mainly on the Plane

Today I saw two planes flying above Madison, pulling advertising banners, and I had to wonder if that is at all a worthwhile use of advertising money.

It made me remember when I was very young and living in Milwaukee. Before the 4th of July fireworks (and perhaps on other nights, though that is what I remember best), after the sky had begun to darken, planes would cross the sky with ad text scrolling across their wings on LED signboards which was all you could see of the planes. At the time, I didn't understand the signboards, and since the message would scroll and repeat I thought that the planes were round. I visualized them as large, flying spinning tops, with light text on the edges. They seemed to roll across the night sky and so that is what I believed they did. I couldn't figure out how they managed such a feat, since I hadn't seen planes such as that at any other time, but I thought they were marvelous.

Fall Gallery Night

A cold, dismal rain did little to dampen the spirits on Friday as all over Madison, people strolled from gallery to gallery, and in and out of artists' open studios. This evening, my companion was someone who had never before attended a gallery night.

Our first stop was Studio Paran, where we watch one of the always fascinating glass-blowing demonstrations. ("Woah! They have wine and snacks," said my companion. Yup, welcome to the world of gallery events. There is usually a 90% chance of alcohol and munchables.)

As we listened to a CD of Rosemary Clooney singing "Mambo Italiano", a large vase was formed from two fragile lumps of red-hot glass. Fortunately, they got through the entire process without a mishap his time around. Part of the excitement of the demonstrations is in waiting with baited breath to hear the sudden clatter of shattered glass. Also enjoyable is the friendly way that the artisans engage the watchers and both invite and answer questions about the studio and the process.

Once the vase was successfully into the cooling oven, we ventured across the street to the Winnebago Street Studios. Usually a favorite stop for me, this time the joint was less than jumping. Many of the studios, including some of my favorites, were not open this time. The crowd of visitors was rather sparse (though the refreshment table was rather abundant). A quick walk-through and we were ready to move on. I do hope that next spring's Gallery Night finds those spaces back to their usual hustle and bustle.

Braving the chilly rain, we ventured farther west to the Art Beat gallery on Williamson Street. If the Winnebago Studios were empty, this was quite the reverse. Buzzing with the low hum of many conversations, the place was literally wall-to-wall people. The light and the noise and warmth were a welcome change from the chilly downpour outside.

The wine and the food were both plentifu and delicious. The art was even better. As a collective show, the art ranged from ceramic mugs (some with a rather suggestive shape), to black and white photography, to collages and assembleages, to paintings, to sculptures and dolls. Some pieces were for sale outright. Others could be won by purchasing one of the raffle tickets that were being sold to help support Art Beat. I obtained a ticket, and put in for a small, red photograph that seemed to be of a firework or a flower. Whether I shall win still remains to be seen.

Eventually, it was time to go, and we dash back through the rain to our parked car. There is never time on Gallery Night to see everything, but what we did see was grand. I look forward to spring, not just for the obvious reasons of more light and warmth, but for the next episode.

Hard Work

Having watched Thursday night's debate, I am amazed that anyone can say that Kerry didn't walk away with it. The gulf between thoughtful and articulate speech and the clamorings and yammering of memorized catch phrases has never seemed so wide.

Tell, if one is consistantly wrong, is consistency still a good thing? " A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Inaddition, while I have never been a big Kerry fn (having voted for Dean) and was never in favor of the war, I have to say that there is a difference between voting for the war outright and voting to give the president authority to use force should it become necessary and all other options fail. Of course, it was not necessary, and other options were still available.

Just watch the Republican spin, spin, spin. Karl Rove is like a little Rumplestiltskin, spinning the straw of unntruth into fool's gold.


If there has ever been a piece of music that could totally sweep me away, it is Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No.3 Opus 36, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. Hearing it swell from almost inaubilbe celli to Dawn Upshaw's soprano voice soaring over the whole orchestra always gives me shivers.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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