Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fun with Verizon Wireless

When you search for help on, your query is used as part of the navigation eyebrow. Like this:

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Las Vegas

I don't know if I've mentioned how much I hate Las Vegas, but it's almost all-encompassing. I've been staying at the Mandalay Bay in preparation for my session at Windows Connections. (Trivia fact: Mandalay is the only hotel on the Strip that's named after a male enhancement creme.)

I spent a couple of days in the glorious perma-twilight of the big hotel, prepping and praying. I was actually happy at the way my session went off. I spoke clearly and slowly, I didn't repeat too much, and I gave some good examples. I had 40 or 50 people hanging on my every word. I ended a few minutes early and even got enough Q&A to go past my allotted time.

I've been suffering from some sort of sinus infection, which was nice enough to hold off while I spoke. After I stepped off the podium, it started to get worse. I also had to check out of the hotel today - Mandalay went from $200/night to $489/night because The Who are playing there on Friday. I've moved to the Orleans, which went down to $89/night because Suzanne Somers is appearing there.

I spent the late afternoon chasing the sunset up at Valley of Fire, where I took a few nice panos. Dark fell pretty quickly, and left me realizing how easy it would be to hide a body in these parts. The one vista I want to figure out for next time is the view of Vegas you get when you drive back south through Apex on I-15. You have a pitch-black valley with the city lights outstretched beneath you. It's pretty cool, but I couldn't figure out where to go for the best angle.

Of course, all the fresh desert air did nothing for my sinuses, and I collapsed in a pool of crud at the Orleans. It's surprisingly run-down for a ten-year-old hotel. Not that it's in tatters, but it feels dated and cheap. Across the street is a porn emporium where you can get your porn 24/7. Up the road a bit is a billboard for a Chinese restaurant that shows a scantily clad waitress and the slogan "Nice Dumplings." There really is very little to recommend this city.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Almost a clean sweep

Well, the elections are finally over. I took a little break after the stunning victory for the forces of good.

I was out at 5 AM, putting up Mejias signs around polling areas in Suffolk. I got to my polling place at 6 AM sharp, and already several neighbors were lined up.

I volunteered to canvass at the polls, but I ran into some difficulty. The law states exactly where you can stand - 100 feet from a polling place. The first place I tried, a crusty old man started in with me about how I was breaking the law. I pointed out that I was standing on the other side of the "No polling past this point sign" but I went inside to make sure I wasn't violating any rules. The supervisor was already walking outside to yell at me, and told me that they just put up the signs at a convenient location, but the REAL line was way out in the middle of the muddy field contained on all sides by the parking circle in front of the school. That wasn't going to work.

I went over to a polling spot in Babylon and asked the supervisor where I would be allowed to stand. He seemed to be a Dem, and told me that pretty much anywhere past the signs was fine. The signs were about 10 feet from the door. He said it was fine for me to stand across the street at the entrance to a parking area.

What struck me was how many people took real offense to my presence. Another old guy, who was trying to look like ex-Army, puffed up his chest a few inches away from me and started lecturing me about how I had to stay 150 feet away. I corrected his poor grasp of New York election law and pointed to the signs across the street. He demanded my full name, and I told him he didn't need to know my name. Then he asked me who I was campaigning for. I replied that I was working for Dave Mejias. He glared at me and said "You've got just as much integrity as your candidate." I honestly still don't know what that means - was there ever some question of integrity with either of us? Was it just that the guy had a limited vocabulary from his years of listening to Hannity?

I decided that my presence was doing more harm than good, because people on both sides were having negative reactions to my presence. I waited for the grump to come back out and drive off, so that he wouldn't think that he had scared me off, and then I left.

I made it to JFK in time for my flight to Vegas. I booked JetBlue specifically so I could watch the returns and have a mini party on the plane. The results didn't disappoint. I flipped back and forth all night, from the great commentary on MSNBC to the balanced commentary on Fox (Michelle Malkin, Fred Barnes, Brit Hume). You could actually watch the faces on Fox News melt as the night went on, like they were stuck in the Devil's Rain. At 11 PM EST I switched over to WNBC, and found out that Pete King had won. Which sucked.

But it was an incredible day anyway. We made King spend all his money. He couldn't help other candidates. He had to actually campaign, and lots of people didn't like what they saw. Best of all, he lost his Homeland Security chairmanship. Which is a great thing, because he was singularly unserious about doing anything but parroting Bush's crap about Iraq and accusing anyone with brown skin of being a potential terrorist. And his reward for clownishness was a lost of 40% of our region's security funding. Full of crap AND powerless - a great one-two punch for Long Island.

Monday, November 6, 2006


I dropped by the Mejias HQ this morning, and things are buzzing. They have over a dozen people doing phones and lit counts. They didn't need any help on the phones! The polls are within one point, which is remarkable against an opponent (Pete King) who generally wins by a 2 or 3 to 1 margin. Mejias has taken in more money this cycle than King. And since it's so close, get-out-the-vote efforts will be key tomorrow. King has no apparent ground support. He has a campaign office that's nothing but a closed storefront on Rt. 109.

I was hoping against hope when we started this thing, but Mejias has a real chance of winning this. I'll be out at 5 AM tomorrow, putting up signs and handing out lit 100 feet from the polls. This is the first time I've done this much for a candidate, and I am crediting my own work for the shift in polls.

One last day of campaigning

The Republican town clerk's people were outside Stop & Shop a little while ago. As I walked out, they collared me and asked me to vote for their candidate. I replied, "I would, but I still have too much pride in my country to ever vote for a Republican." The woman I said it to looked taken aback, and said "I'm sorry to hear that."

I think they're trying to build a constituency of people who are no longer proud of the country. Oh well.