Monday, November 08, 2004


dawn over east bay

philadelphia stack

a week later

a week later, and i'm still kind of hoping that it was a bad dream that i have not woken up from. there was a point where i was certain, a certainty perhaps that i did took for granted until I began seeing lots of red.

the worst moment of the election though - 'cause honestly I was too tired to process much worry over the outcome - was when i happened to take the call for a different adrian; an adrian that was supposed to pick some volunteers up from god knows where in pennsylvania. i wasn't able to do much, no one was forthcoming with any numbers that they felt were any help, and I had to let him go... half of me wants to call and see what happened, half of me keeps thinking about what else i might have been able to do (not much i don't think given how well my brain was working then)

election day for the most part passed in a dull haze where the only challenge was staying awake. by the end of it i wish i had obsconded for a while and slept a good sleep, but alas.

tb and i were the first there and the last to leave, we worked late cleaning up and trying to take down some of the work we'd done, helped move some equipment to the hotel, went to the hotel party in a daze watching the place packed with chatting democrats looking around for people we knew, stopping to watch the not quite promising results appear on tv screens. PA goes blue and everyone is ecstatic. we leave the party just as california was called for kerry to wild cheers. we pick up our stuff from the office and are the only ones there. seems a wierd and anticlimatic leavetaking.

we head back to tb's house and fall asleep watching returns come in. i sleep blissfully.

the next day we know it is lost but have a pleasant day wandering around a bit, having lunch, we bump into the deputy political director who notes that despite the loss he feels reinvigorated, he was taken by surprise by the life in politics in Philadelphia, compared to the jaded eyes of New Yorkers.

I bump into another fellow volunteer trying to buy my train ticket, she was one of the get out the vote phone bankers and remembered me, and helped my find my way from the uncooperative ticket machine to an actual person. a nice little peice of serendipity to end my stay.

By the time I'm in Chicago though -- a long three hour layouver -- i realize a cold is coming over me. Unavoidable, I thought. I knew the moment I walked in the Democratic HQ I knew it was my destiny. Lots of viruses running around there.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

honking poll

it is a slow day today (so far!) so I took a walk. Our IT staff has been mostly sitting hunkered over laptops pouring over election stories. It's a beautiful day and the streets are alive with Kerry supporters calling on drivers to honk -- and more often than not they seem to be responding in one way or another.

A Bush supporter stands at the corner where our building is and tries to hand out leaflets. He looks a little forlorn and I almost feel his pain enough to take a flier from him. He smiles nervously as people walk by eyes gliding away to avoid eye contact like a homeless person.

I sit on a park bench a while, taking in the sun on the falling leaves, and nod off a while, tempted to just lie down and let nature take its course. Instead I get up and find a Colombe a coffee shop a friend recommended and wander back to the office the long way.

People by and large look happy (though some look annoyed at the honking), an african american guy gives me a broad grin and says "It feels good, I think we are going to win today." The Kerry supporters looked pysched. I hear snatches of election conservations everywhere, thought with a large hint of concern about fraud ("i'm going to vote twice today" "oh yeah a long hallowed, Philadelphia tradition").

It's hard not to be optimistic -- but alas there are still reasons for pessimism (esp having heard some person in WI slashed tires of some vans to carry Republican volunteers to the polls).


i've been up all night setting up a small office of phones and computers so that volunteers can arrange drivers for people without the means to get to the polls. it highlights what is awesome about being here... at 6:30am a dozen people trooped in, rolled up their sleeves and got to work making calls; they are led by an elderly couple who are an old hand at GOTV phone banks; half the computers they were using were donated by people who couldn't otherwise participate, one guy bought a new computer and had it delivered here as a partial excuse to buy a new laptop; the it staff, except for the top manager (whom we never see, and only occassionally consult on cell phones) is all volunteer, and top notch; one of them purchased a ton of equipment that he can use in his business, but lease to the campaign for a couple days; there are volunteers who've been here for months who seem to contain much of the institutional knowledge (the button volunteers); the staff are respectful and welcoming -- it would be hard to imagine the state of the computers and phones in this office right now without the 7 or 8 volunteers who take the time to come in (not to toot my own horn or anything).

But there are large stretches where I really don't think about the election at all. In fact, I've probably thought less about Bush and the state of the States in the past 3 days then I have in months. However, the worrying about the state of computers and phones can be as stressful.

Monday, November 01, 2004

fire drill

literally. the fire alarm went off around 5 and they even managed to drag a good percentage of the office out of the building... hmmm just a tad suspicious -- but maybe we were all being paranoid.

out on the street, a republican bedecked, loudspeaker blaring republican get out the vote SUV, gets heckled by 4 floors of democrats (3 state hq and 1 local candidate). The driver grins but bears it.

today is crazy


twixes come in handy

twixes come in handy of course because tension reigns. each group (GOTV, advancement, phone banking, press, political, compliance) has its own problems and desires and often think that they are the most important people in the operation. most people get along pretty well, but there is a lot of snapping going on as things invariably go south (an event where the venue decides they don't want to host the event(danny glover! christie brinkley!)). sometimes i'm not sure if people are just jokingly laying into someone or they really are being mean.

today there were definitely some mean points. but people are trying to avoid killing each other. today there were some flash points like one user pulling out the chord that connected a whole bunch of people to a GOTV database. and she was mad at me for interrupting her phone call.


surprisingly i've not eaten a bite of pizza yet. i've in fact only seen 2 pizza pies my entire time here -- which by now seems like a week or more of time. yesterday the webmaster, who is a total foody, ran out with a bunch of others to a gourmet market and bought food for the IT group; LB brought us chili on saturday night; for our second dinner that night - a wealthy donor in oregon bought dinner (sandwiches and salad) for all the swing state HQs; last night i went to dinner with LB and TB's parents, TB was too busy planning today, at Django a place in Queen's village - precious lovely plates of food. There is, of course, a lot of halloween candy floating around; a republican voting for kerry sent over a ton of apples; brownies; and starbucks on the first floor of our building of though I'm not felt free to get away, so it is only my breakfast; and then of course the pickings from a fabulous coworkers fabulous care package (one of the twixes came in handy during a crisis, and made my coworker's here much much happier).