November 3, 2008: First Work from Peekskill Day

18 Days to Baby Day! (37 Weeks and 3 Day Pregnant)

“Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom and have a longer blanket.” – unknown Ojibway woman in reference to Daylight Savings Time.

Happy Birthday to John Stephens!

Dominica was up and out of the house way too early this morning.  Oreo and I had the luxury of sleeping in until almost eight.  It is all grey and overcast this morning.  No sun but the grey makes for some gorgeous foliage colours at full saturation.

With the sun less than at full power today I am really noticing just how dark our new house is.  The deck hangs over the basement doors blocking quite a bit of light there and being a middle unit the house only has the small windows on the north side and the glass doors on the south.  The living room portion gets some light during the right parts of the day but the kitchen, for example, get’s almost nothing.

Oreo and I got up at a quarter until eight and headed on down to the basement to set up shop for the day.  I have him set up with his Star Wars pillow and a pile of blankets and a few binkies right by the patio doors so that he is close to me and has a view so that he can entertain himself.  In this new house we will often find him camping out in parts of the house where there are no people.  We are not used to him having enough space to really get away from us when he wants.  In Newark he would go into the bedroom in the afternoon to be by himself but that was very close to where we were.  Here he can escape to a completely empty floor if he wants to be alone.

So tomorrow is election day.  I think that most Americans have the impression that this is one of the most important elections of our time.  Personally, I think that this is the result of “election Christmas season syndome” – the beginning of campaigning far before we usually have such things (like playing Christmas music in Walmart on Halloween!)  People are so anxious to get George W. Bush out of the White House that they have upsold the election to a ridiculous extent.  In reality we are dealing with a relatively moderate Democrat (Obama) and a very left-leaning Republican (McCain) who really don’t differ from each other that dramatically.  In my opinion, with the information that we currently have at hand, this may be one of the least consequential elections of our time.  So many key platforms are simply “fix the mess that Bush has made and continues to make” upon which both candidates agree.  I’m amazed by how many people are passionate at all about the election.

Just so people don’t think that I am off hiding somewhere and avoiding the election entirely as I am not voting (for several reasons but the big one is the incredible hassle of changing voter registration while constantly moving – I am registering not that I am living full time in a single place in my home state so I will be voting in the election in two years’ time but not in this one and because I don’t see the candidates as being massively divided but mostly just two very luke-warm mediocre whatevers.)  As most of you know, I am a libertarian leaning conservative Republican (my key platforms about which I care are freedom of speech (which is my I lean to Obama because McCain does not support net-neutrality which without we could face a loss of our most important freedom), environment, economy and a color-blind government that does not sanction racism of any sort.)  Beyond that I prefer light government to heavy government and would prefer that the country divide more heavily towards fifty individual countries with a lighter central government (more like the EU) but, failing to do so, I support a reduction in state’s rights as almost no American has a clear concept of the division of state and federal power and do not identify strongly with their current state of residence and would be served better by consistent and consistently applied laws that are clear, discoverable, fair and understandable.

Given my platforms and their level of importance to me I was a Republican hoping that Hillary Clinton was going to win this election but, having already lost that option, I am leaning my preference towards Obama over McCain.  My key reason for this is his stance on net-neutrality and the fact that I think that Joe Biden is really the best of the current executive crop and promoting his career seems to be the best option at the moment.  McCain himself seems fine but his net-neutrality stance is a showstopper for me even if many of his other platforms seem to be slightly more favourable than Obama’s.  I just don’t see them as important to the long-term health of our political system and ergo economy.  I’m pushing for my children’s futures here and not for short-term financial bailouts or whatever.  McCain’s poor handling of the economy didn’t strengthen his image either.  If he doesn’t have a comprehension of something then he needs smart people to explain it to him.  It failed with net-neutrality and, apparently, the economy as well.

From talking to people in the NYC area, most of whom are liberal Democrats – because that is the majority of the population here – I keep hearing the same few things over and over again.  McCain is so much a leftist that they aren’t that opposed to him, although they favour Obama.  I have heard a lot of disappointment that Hillary is out of the race.  But the biggest thing that I hear is that they are adamantly opposed to McCain’s winning of the election because they are afraid of Palin getting to the White House should something happen to McCain – which seems more than likely.  Few presidential candidates have so much tied to the quality of their running mate as McCain who seems so unlikely to last for one term let alone two.  Palin is the real polarizer in the election.  The mistake that I believe that McCain made was choosing someone as a running mate who only really solidified the votes that he was definitely already getting (the extreme right wing) but alienated a large section of the moderates who might have swung to the right in this election.  The rights were always going to vote for McCain and the lefts always for Obama.  Those are the partisan areas.  But a lot of us are moderates and actually do consider the merits of each candidate rather than simply following the party line – “party over country.”  I am very proud to be a Republican who cares more for his country than for his party.  But McCain sent the majority of those previously on the fence very solidly over to the Democratic camp with his choice of Palin.  Many polls that I have seen show her as being the decisive factor for the majority of undecided voters.

I also favor the Democrats winning this election (while it pains me to say it) because I feel that McCain, or any Republican, will fear using Bush as a scapegoat for the pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and will work to “improve the image of the party” rather than trying to fix the war situation.  Any Democrat can just point to the Republicans (I’m not blaming us, just saying let’s get over the blame situation and move on – I am willing to accept the blame if it saves innocent lives), afix blame, stop the war and move on.  I realize that it is not quite so simple but basically the principle holds true.  The Democrats can pull us out much more quickly than the Republicans can given the political climate.  It’s just the way it is.  Let’s move on.

Given America’s horrible international reputation at the moment it is also helpful to have a Democrat in the White House.  This is not because Democrats do the things that people in the international community (especially Europe and the UK) want us to do – in fact the population of the EU and UK, in my experience, actually really favour Republican ideals but are so mislead by the Democratic spin machine that they get upset if a Republican is elected.  So, while having a Democrat isn’t what they actually want, in general, it will make them happy because the Democrats just do a better job at cajoling and manipulating foreign populations into liking us.  Right now, we need foreign support even if we do it through marketing and spin and not through actions.

So there you have my 2008 US Presidential Election overview.  Here we go in what I dub “one of the least consequential elections of our times.”  (Seriously, to compare either McCain or Obama to an election for Bush is really insulting to either candidate, I hope.  The chance that either is anywhere near that bad is really, really low.  Therefore this election would appear to have much less on the line than the last election.)

I saw the mail come today.  One thirty.  Seems like a reasonable time to be getting the mail.

Oreo finally discovered the deer in the back yard today.  We have three deer who like to hang out in the back yard just beyond our deck eating in the late morning or early afternoon.  Today is the fourth day that we have seen them there.  Oreo has yet not noticed them but today I pointed them out to him from the basement rather than from the living room and he got quite interested, maybe because they were so much higher than him for a change.  He growled a little bit didn’t get off of his pillow.  They took no notice of him.

I found out today that Republican Congressional candidate Kieran Michael Lalor is one of our neighbours.  We are new to the area and obviously don’t know anything about the political scene here.  You can learn more about our neighbour at the Kieran Michael Lalor 2008 campaign site or on his blog.  It would be neat to have a congressman living on the “street”.

I learned today that North American, being the home to the world’s largest locust threat just 150 years ago, is today the only populated continent without a major locust threat.  The Rocky Mountain Locust which once had a swarm larger than the state of California, became extinct in the late nineteenth century without any warning or intentional human intervention.  The cause of the extinction is not well understood but there are several somewhat reasonable theories.  Most likely the extinction event was caused by the natural course of widespread farming.  Although complete extinction is a pretty dramatic result of some casual plowing killing grasshoppers in just a few years in the days before the tractor.

There is a theory that the locust still exists but only exists in grasshopper form because of its lower population density caused by human interference.  If this is true then somewhere out there the locust is just waiting to rise again.  (For those unaware, a locust is a phase of the grasshopper that only occurs when the insect exists in a large swarm.  Grasshoppers are individal phase insects and locusts are the DNA match swarm phase of the same insect.)

I managed to get tons of unpacking done while Dominica was at the office today.  The house looks completely different.  Her office is all set up in addition to mine – neither was set up this morning.  Now we are both able to work in the basement at the same time and both be productive.  This is a major step forward for the basement.  The only really big thing left to do in the basement is to get the shelving units bolted to the wall for safety and then fill them up with books.  The books represent the bulk of the items still unpacked in the basement.  Almost nothing else at this point except for the wire box which will remained boxed as that is just how we keep it.

Only a handful of boxes left anyplace but in the dining room where we staged everything.  The kitchen is down to two partially completed boxed.  Ditto for the bedroom.  Living room is done and the basement is, as I said, at a stand still.  We now have telephones on each floor as well which is awfully handy.  And wireless so that we have Internet throughout the house although we are anxious to get the place wired.  Right now we are stuck with a rather dangerous CAT5 running across the middle of the basement.  We don’t have any way around that one unfortunately.

We found a sideboard (a.k.a. lowboy) at Target today which is very inexpensive and appears to match our furniture motif.  We are going to have a sideboard beside the dining room table where we will keep the alcoholic products like red wine and mixers.  Beside it will be the wine fridge once that arrives from dad’s house.

The next item that we need is our kitchen table.  We are going to be looking for a small, round cafe table maybe as early as this weekend if we get a chance to go hunting for it.  Something really small and cute that will be useful and still unobtrusive in the kitchen.  Just two chairs for the kitchen table.  The eat-in kitchen area is tiny.

It was a quarter to seven when Dominica finally got home after having left the office in Totowa, New Jersey at five this afternoon.  Talk about a long commute by car.  Only one more day though and then she will be home in preparation for the baby.

We went right out to New City Diner to get some dinner.  We were both really tired and just wanted to get some food and then to get to bed.  Dominica had the fish’n’chips which is pretty funny as at least one person has gotten the fish’n’chips at New City Diner every meal that we have ever eaten there starting with over a week ago when we went there with Katie (I got the first fish’n’chips) and continuing through every meal eaten there while my dad and aunt were here and still today.  Crazy.

It was eight thirty when we got back from the diner.  Tomorrow is another really early day for Dominica and early for me as well. We have to be out the door around six twenty which is crapily early.  I am going to attempt to catch the 6:42 train into the city.  At least I will get a jump on the day.

This week is going to be very painful for me.  My final is due on Friday so I am working on nothing extra but that for the rest of the week.  Today I had to get my office set up so that I had some ability to work on the final paper from home.  There is just no way for me to work from the laptop because I need so many different applications running all of the time.  There just isn’t the screen real estate necessary to stay productive nor is the keyboard conducive to a lot of writing.

Dad received my massive paycheck today that included the week that was lost prior to the house closing.  One less thing to worry about now.  Now we can pay any lingering bills like the electric bill.  Someone remind me to do that tomorrow.

Dominica and I are trying to figure out how we can handle getting out to Elmira this weekend for papa’s funeral.  The funeral is on Saturday morning.  There is no way for us to go early since my final is due on Friday night and every spare moment that we might have had to get a jump on it was used up in the move and, to be fair to us, I did not get my draft approved until late last night so we were reticent to have me doing any work on the paper if my direction was not sound.  Now I have my direction and I have an office from which to work.  Now I can get to work on the paper.  I have only four days in which to write a thirty-ish page paper and get it into “final” status.  This is going to be a tough week.

Given that we can’t work around the final our plan is tentively to have Dominica get tons of sleep on Friday (she doesn’t work Wednesday, Thursday or Friday) and to then get up and have her drive us out to Elmira extremely early on Saturday morning.  I will be far too tired to drive safely at that point.  Then we might stay out there or come back that night.  I have no idea what the plan will be from that point onwards.  My only concern right now is the tactical planning necessary to get my paper completed and turned in.

At this point we have all but decided that I am not going to be taking a class this semester.  There are too many unknowns with the baby coming the first or second week of the semester to take that much risk.  Best to just save the money and have some time to be home.  We don’t want to sacrifice my collegiate career just to save a single quarter’s worth of time.  Penny-wise, Pound-foolish.

It is almost nine o’clock and Dominica went to bed at least fifteen minutes ago.  I wrapped up some stuff for the office and am on my way to bed myself.  Oreo is anxious for a late night snack before bed.  Tomorrow will be an exciting day for the markets as well as in politics.  I keep forgetting that it is election day.  That shows how disconnected from mainstream media I am.

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