Friday, February 29, 2008

I Voted.

I voted early today, since I could do it on campus after class. The line was a block long, all students as far as I could tell. That's a good sign, huh? Next Tuesday, we caucus. We get two votes in Texas primaries. (Even the votes are bigger in Texas.)

Wednesday night I went to a review session for my geology exam (I have three exams next week -- I feel like all I'm doing this semester is taking exams, and I'm not loving it) and afterwards I strolled over to the south mall where I thought I might catch the end of a Hillary rally where Bill Clinton was speaking. It was 6:40 and the thing was supposed to start at 5:30, but he was being introduced as I walked up. The crowd was small, I think, at least much smaller than I would have expected for such an event. There was a core of screaming kids near the stage, but most of the crowd was hanging back with their arms folded, obviously not there to rally for Hillary but to see what old Bill had to say.

The president of the student Democrats gave him a very strange introduction: "We know him from MTV! We know him from playing the saxophone on Arsenio Hall! He's the first rock star president this country has ever had!" My guess is that most of the audience, the speaker included, was about 2 years old in 1991. I doubt they even know who Arsenio Hall is.

Anyway, his speech wasn't particularly interesting. ("I love my wife. But even if she wasn't my wife and she asked me to stand up here and endorse her, I would do it. Because she's more qualified to be president than anyone I've ever known." What an idiotic thing to say. If she weren't your wife, she wouldn't be running for president. If she weren't your wife, nobody would even know who she is. And she is your wife, so how do you know how you'd feel about her if she weren't?)

I stayed for about 20 minutes and then went home. One thing struck me. Not really a new thought, but a clear example of why I don't like Bill or Hillary Clinton. He was talking about how one of the points that is brought up to argue against Hillary as president is that, because of who she is, she would stir up the Clintons vs. the Republicans fighting of the 90s. And Bill said (I'm paraphrasing), "I don't know about you, but I thought the nineties were pretty good. I don't know what's wrong with fighting. I'd like to see someone in the White House who's willing to fight. Fight for jobs, fight for prosperity," etc. Now, everybody knows that's not exactly the fighting Hillary's detractors are referring to. Sure, there was a lot of squabbling over real issues, over legislation, but the fighting that we're talking about is the personal, partisan bickering that colored every issue. Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky. Instead of either ignoring or addressing the real objection, he distorts its meaning and then responds to that because it supports his stance. All with a wide-eyed innocent expression. I guess you'd call it passive-aggressive behavior. It's insulting.

Maybe she learned it from him, but it's their favorite rhetorical tactic. It's not exactly lying -- though they do plenty of that as well -- but it's false.

J and I went to a neighborhood block party for Obama tonight. Free pizza. Kids. White people and black people, together. It felt like the future.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

La Tarea.

Here's a treat for my Spanish-speaking readers. La tarea de esta mañana:

El verano pasado, mi sobrino (el segundo hijo varón de mi hermana y su esposo) estuvo muy enfermo. Se contagió de E. coli. Primero, el tuvo un dolor de estómago. Por supuesto, con frecuencia los niños se enferman, así que mi hermana y mi cuñado no creían que era grave, pero un dia comenzó a sangrar. En ese momento, supieron que era grave. El pasó trés meses en el hospital. Sus padres pasaron todos los dias con él, y mis otros parientes lo visitaron frecuentemente. Yo no pude ir, pero mi hermano mayor (el otro tío de mi sobrino) podía visitar porque vive más cerca. Muchas veces, mi sobrino casi murió. Sin embargo, mi familia y yo nunca perdimos la esperanza. Finalmente recuperó y fue a casa.

(The assignment was to write 100 words about an important incident in my life. My friend Z, who, in addition to having vast knowledge of botany and horticulture and various other life sciences, speaks fluent Spanish, helped me with this.)

Double Life.

I arrived in New York for the reading in the nick of time. Actually I was a bit early -- my flight left on time, arrived early, there was no one in the taxi queue, and eerily no traffic on the BQE to Manhattan from Queens. We rehearsed for a little over 2 hours, which, even if you have nothing to compare it to, I'm sure it's fairly obvious isn't a lot of time, but all the actors were quick and focused and did a great job. It was rough, but we expected that. The reading itself was in a rehearsal space in Chelsea that I knew immediately I'd been in before, back in my rock and roll days, one of those big stinky band practice buildings divided up into dozens of little rooms that are never soundproof enough.

Afterwards T and I went to a bar nearby for drinks with the producers. We were happily all of one mind regarding what needs work: mainly two narrative holes, one in the first act and one in the second act. They're problems T and I knew were there, and we were waiting for the reading to see it from a wider angle. The producers are going to fly me to New York again in two weeks (my spring break) so that T and I can do some more writing together.

That evening and the next morning after the reading, feeling inspired, T and I hashed out some ideas. We're writing a new song for the second act, for the trial, which contains the climax of the story. I came home and -- instead of doing Spanish homework -- threw together a rough draft in GarageBand and sent it to T on Monday night.

Okay, now back to Spanish (and Geology and History...) for two weeks.