Sunday, November 2, 2008

CO the Engineer part II

If you're already reading the Dish, then you've seen this article about how canvassing affects a white banker in North Carolina. His wife made him go and his experience was about as astonishing as mine, granted I didn't have as far to go and was already feeling the love before I started.

I've been wickedly impressed with the ground operation here. Our local Obama central yesterday made almost 6000 calls to swing states. Whoo hoo! (I'm so looking forward to the party they're having on tuesday!) We had more than 150 people in on saturday and from what I saw today, they would probably have 250 if they had a dozen. I took a picture of cars lining the street around the house. We overran the call center. We ran out of call scripts. The homeowner thanked me again for the pumpkin, although how she recognized me in that sea of faces I'll never know. Can you imagine, 150+ strangers trooping in and out of your home in 2 hour intervals, your sun room wired to the rafters with computers, people hauling snacks in and garbage out, and she thanked ME? Gracious.

Today, however, I think they were a little overwhelmed. We kept switching from phone lists to automated dialers, and around 2 o'clock central command had us spinning in circles IN, no FLA, no MO, no... On one hand we were very nimble. On the other hand, we had people there to help with nothing to do for longer than I'd seen before. So I hope people took away from today the sheer volume of people who turned out to help, rather than the trivial amount each of us did. Because even if we all (assuming 250) made only 4 calls each, that's still 1000 calls more than if we'd just stayed home And we all made more than that. So it was good. But I don't know that I want to call anyone anymore.

I was calling Missouri today. That was fun because I watch Missouri - it's the state that's the most like aggregate America. And it is too close to call. I got one lady who plans to get in line a half hour early. I got one guy with the accent I identify with my grandparent's town in southern IL who was relieved I wasn't another McCain robocall.

A lady calling near me took to starting with "I'm a real person!" before introducing herself. I wondered if I could do something similar to make me sound different from a robocall, so I started introducing myself as CO the Engineer. Because hey, why not? (Later I told another caller and she started introducing herself as "L the Homemaker." :) My last call I got, "What kind of engineer?" was the response. I was actually talking to a MechE who works in, get this, renewable energy. He was soooo voting for Obama. I mentioned that our factory is doing energy audits and are having trouble finding a single source auditor - everyone specializes in HVAC, lighting, water, but no single source. So he gave me some references and I decided to end there on a high note. Besides, my phone got so hot I couldn't hold it to my face anymore.

I finally felt like I'd done "enough" with last night's stairmaster and thespian session and two days of phone banking which is quite wearying, even with satisfactory moments. I took in a movie. I have the sense of humor of an adolescent boy, so I went to see Zack and Miri make a [dirty movie]. Surprisingly enough, the people sitting in front of me were adolecent boys, there with their mom or much older sister. WTF? Although ever since I read an article that made sense to me about sex and nudity being more appropriate than violence since you eventually want your kid to grow up and have a healthy sex life, but not necessarily need to fire a gun, I tried to not be judgemental. Just seemed odd.

If you do see Zack and Miri, the grand finale is halfway through the credits, which were mercifully about 14 times shorter than the Harry Potter credits with the Marauders Map and 14 times more entertaing. As expected, it was funny and gross and snarky. People were mean to each other but it bounced off everyone, kind of like when my old college buddies and I greet each other with cries of "how are you, ya rat bastard?" I liked it. It was not particularly sexy but there was parity full frontal nudity in secondary characters. Elizabeth Banks looks so much like the Elizabeth Shue of my memory that it was a little distracting. I have no idea if anyone else will like it, but it's better than a poke in the eye. Or, it might be a bit of a poke in the *#%@, wink wink nudge nudge, but I'd recommend seeing it if you like snarky comedy or ever saw a Kevin Smith movie you didn't hate.

Breaking news - I'm finally seeing a NO on 8 Ad saying Obama, Schwartzenegger, Feinstein and teachers all say NO. Even with my understanding post from a couple days ago I say it's About. Damn. Time. Although props, so to speak, to Feinstein for laying it on the line many days ago.

So thats three happy things for today, right? Engineers in MO voting for Obama; Fun movie; the big guns on prop 8. That would be enough but it was also a fabulous dry 70F southern California day, so I drove down to Malibu taking in the scenery while chatting with my 92 year old grandma who is relieved that she retired from working the polls as an election judge 2 years ago because she suspects this coming Tuesday will be a long, long day.

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