Friday, August 29, 2008

The anti-vote system!!

I want to take a moment to put down in to words a new voting system theory I had in the last presidential election (Bush/Kerry 2004). The 2000 election brought about a new word to me - disenfranchise.

A definition that I like is this:
Disenfranchise - "deprive of civil or electoral privileges"

I thought that I felt disenfranchised in the 2004 election. I did not have my voting privileges taken away, but I felt like I was not given choices I believed in. Therefore I had a moment of genius (in my own opinion) and thought of a new voting system I call "The Anti-Vote".

I'll explain by what I see as current problems and the compare as to how the anti-vote system addresses them.

Problems with current system:

We are stuck with a two party system. The Republican and Democrat parties are the only parties with enough money and numbers behind them to have the power and resources to launch a major nationwide campaign.

We realistically have no other choices except the two main front runners - Democrat and Republican. Other people (independent or in other small political parties) who want to run either don't because they have no way of overcoming the strong party candidates. We, the people are given only two choices - two choices often in which we like neither candidate.


The anti-vote. You still would have only one vote, but you can cast a normal (positive) vote OR an anti (negative) vote toward a candidate. If you don't like any candidate, then you can anti vote the candidate you distrust the most.

How does this help?

Now, the major party candidates will have many anti votes cast for them as well. This will bring their vote numbers down significantly. Not only will the United States citizen feel better for having the ability to vote their conscience, but the numbers could come down enough the small independent candidates or candidates from smaller parties actually may have enough votes to be a true contender in the election. If potential candidates with smaller backing have a better chance of winning, then as time goes on, more and more independent/non-Democrat/Republican candidates will run giving us a wider selection pool.

It seems a win/win situation to me. We, the voters have an outlet to vote our conscience and in the long run we will get a larger pool of candidates to choose from. With Republican/Democrat candidates not being "a given", they will have to work harder to gain our trust and possibly provide better candidates in the future.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Trip finally over and Hope is here!!

A quick "highlights only" version of my road trip across the country.

The plan

Fly out 2:30p, arrive 12:30a, sleep, get up early am and leave.

Quickly stop by to see my new niece and then be on road by 10am or so.

Then drive back to Seattle with only standard bathroom/food/sleep breaks.

Her two cats came with us. They would be kenneled all day in car and kept in bathroom in hotel each night.

Arrive Monday early afternoon, take Tuesday off as rest day, go back to work refreshed enough to function on Wednesday.

The reality

Flight out of Seattle delayed due to smoke on plane. Ended up sitting in Seattle airport for 12 hours before going which also delayed the stat of our drive. Instead of jetting by to see my new niece around 8am and being on road by 10am or so - I didn't get to airport until almost 12p. Went straight from airport to see niece and did not get on road for drive until 4pm or so.


Drive out of FL was very slow because we were going through very heavy rain courtesy of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Fay. Only made it about 60-70 miles in to Georgia 1st day. I started trip DEAD with NO ENERGY thanks to Air Tran's fun experience from hell.

Drive was slower going than when I did it alone last year, mostly because Hope's car does not have cruise control and struggles in the mountains.

On third night she let one of her cats out because she couldn't bear hearing her cry a bit in bathroom. It turned out not to be a big deal, Maggie (the cat) enjoyed exploring the room and did not fight in the morning to go back in to kennel. The other cat, Miles, was so freaked out he barely ate or drank the entire trip and even when locked in bathroom would hide in the back of the kennel.

That third night we stopped at a beautiful place (Canistota, South Dakota). It was a tiny little town with a great friendly "small town" feel and atmosphere. We almost turned around as it was further off the expressway than we thought and were afraid we may end up side tracking or getting lost, but it was fine. It was this beautiful old hotel built in like 1929 or so and still had the original working Otis elevator. It was only about $45 for the deluxe room which had a huge bathroom and even a recliner in the room. The lady that ran the desk was dressed like a Quaker but was real nice. In the morning we ate at the small restaurant in the hotel and they asked "are you the strangers that stayed on the 2nd floor last night?". about a small town.

Stopped and side tracked to Mt. Rushmore as it was only about 25 miles off expressway. No big problem travel-wise, I did the same thing when I did this trip myself last year. We also stopped for lunch and did a little shopping in Wall which is kind of an old town that tried to keep it looking like it was 100 years ago or so.

Last night was in Missoula, Montana. Hope (my g/f) thought the skiddish cat, Miles, was too afraid to run, so left the bathroom door open while doing food/water dishes. Miles darted out of bathroom and ended up being a free cat that night in room too. He was a bit difficult to catch in morning and Hope got some nice cat claw shaped memories on her arms and stomach because of it.

All was fine until Idaho (last state before home). It was raining and some older guy was passing me on the left (I was going slow due to rain on roads). He wasn't speeding, but was going the full speed limit (75 mph) on the wet, curvy, mountain-sloped road. He hydroplaned and lost control, spun around once or twice and ended up in ditch between eastbound and westbound lanes. I stopped to help. He was OK and car looked like it was probably OK too except for a flat tire. I left as help was coming.

Finally rolled into the driveway around 4:00pm on 6th day. Thankfully, the house/dog sitter was great and took good care of the dogs (Ammo & Solomon) while I was gone. The boys and the house were fine.

Hope and I chilled with pizza and TV for a few hours and I hit the sack about 8:30 or 9:00pm.

So much for the day of rest. I didn't want to take another day off, so I came in to work today. I won't be getting much done though - too tired.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I am a monkey's uncle!!!!!!!!!

I just got the text from Matt, my brother.

"Ur Niece is here! Holly Sue"

Yeah!!!! I'm an uncle!!! I knew she was coming today (scheduled c-section), but got busy and forgot about it (which is probably I wasn't "waiting and anticipating" all day).

For those that don't know, our mom died in '04 and her name was "Sue". The "Sue" in "Holly Sue" was named after my mom.

I can't wait to see Holly Sue. I'm flying down tomorrow and should get a short time to see her before driving back toward WA with Hope. :)

Here comes Uncle Chris, Holly Sue. :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

My old ball park is going to Little League World Series!

So there I am Saturday morning with breakfast in hand and thinking, I'll watch a little TV while I'm eating breakfast. So I flip through the channels and see that Little League baseball is playing on ESPN2. It was a regional championship game.

Now, back up and let me state that the Little League baseball games of the Little League World Series is probably the ONLY sports event I typically watch - ever! So I tuned in and watched the game.

Note: LLWS is not one game or series of two teams like in Major League baseball. It's the final round of championship games of the US and International teams. 16 teams, 8 US teams, 8 International Teams.
LLWS Team Breakdown

I noticed the Northwest regional championship game was that evening, so I decided to tune in to watch that. As I was watching they showed a list of teams that already made it into the Little League World Series. I noticed that Tampa, FL (where I moved here from last year) was in the list. What do ya know? My old home town has a team going to Williamsport, I thought.

Now remember, I was also tuning in to watch the Northwest regional game. It turns out that a Washington team that was pretty local won the NW regional game and their trip to Willaimsport as well.

So, I was in a dilemma. Do I root for Tampa, FL or Mill Creek, WA?

Just for grins, I decided to look on Little League's website ( Little League Home ) and see if I could see what part of Tampa the team was from. I stumbled across this page:
CPLL going to LLWS


Not only was a team from Tampa going, but it is a team from *MY* old baseball park. Citrus Park Little League is the park that *I* played at for all my youth. I played there for about 7 years. OMG! That's so cool.

Well, no question on who I'm rooting for now. MY park is in it!


Well, the story could end there and still be cool, but it turns out there is even more. I look up Citrus Park Little League's website ( CPLL ) to see if there is any info about it. Nothing, really. So I email the website info email link and friendly suggest maybe they could add a little guest book page or some venue to allow people to wish the team well and give motivation.

I get a response from the website admin guy who sends me a blog link ( CPLL Blog ) and tells me that not only did CPLL send a team to the Little League World Series, but the Big League Softball World Series also has a team coming from CPLL. They have TWO teams going to their respective world series'.

This is the coolest thing since sliced bread!!!!

I don't know what to say, other than CPLL Little League baseball and Big League softball teams - YOU HAVE A FAN IN SEATTLE!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hope's "stuff" has arrived...

No turning back now. *wink*

The movers came yesterday with Hope's furniture and boxes. I'm glad that it turned out to be less than I feared. The movers were a couple of guys from Hungary, who were really cool. It took about 2 hours to unload the furniture and boxes into the house and garage.

It was funny, I spent weeks getting the garage all cleared out to make sure there was enough room and in the end, it all fit up in one corner of the garage. About half of what I was thinking would be there.

Her big blue chair, though, is now a HUGE addition to the living room. The LR is now difficult to navigate coming in the entryway because of the tight fit. OK, its not thaaaat bad, but it definitely is a bit more crammed than it needs to be.

At least that's one stress that's now behind us. All that's left to arrive now is her and the cats. I'll be flying down to drive back up with them in about 3 weeks. :)