Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Two Six in Ought Seven

I had a great birthday yesterday. I know I saw a lot of you out for drinks at Pontiac -- if not, hopefully you can make a trek to Des Moines in the next 5 months or so. Thanks to those of you who made it out. If any of you have pictures, send them my way.

Mary and I caught the Cubs game, which they lost on some spotty relief pitching in the 8th. Bonds was booed mercilessly in his lone at-bat, which warmed my heart.

I head back to Iowa tomorrow. It's almost harder going back than it was to leave in the first place. It's tough to come back and get just a taste of everything I love about being in Chicago, only to be thrown back to the mercy of the campaign, knowing I likely won't be back for several months. I love what I'm doing out there and the people I work with, but it's also the hardest thing I've ever committed myself to.

I know I mentioned it last night, but know that there's an open invitation for any of you to come out to visit.

Monday, June 25, 2007

No Pressure...

...but if I can out-fundraise all my co-workers before the filing deadline (June 30), Barack will personally record my voicemail greeting. Donate to the campaign at my page.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Walk for Change

Just wanted to link my work-related Obama blog. I don't put up much there, but this weekend we canvassed in Indianola, so I put something up. Check it out.

Monday, May 28, 2007

"A Hot New Quarry of No-limit Fun"

I don't know how or when it started, but my friends and I have grown into avid Big Buck Hunters.

Collaborate and Listen

Vanilla Ice paid Des Moines a visit last night. I was able to get him to sign a Supporter Card for Barack Obama. Worlds are colliding out here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

MO town

Michelle Obama visited yesterday in one of my counties and I was able to organize two groups to meet with her. She gave a great speech about her relationship with Barack, and at times you'd forget that she wasn't the candidate herself. That's not to say she sounded like a politician -- just that she was extremely convincing in discussing his politics and integrity. Obviously her appearance and advocacy of his candidacy makes my job a lot easier, but she really was incredibly impressive in her own regard.

Fortunately, it got a lot of great media coverage. (I even ended up in the background of one of the photos that ran in today's Des Moines Register (above), which has me feeling a bit like Ricky Gervais in that first episode of Extras.)

Other pictures of the events are here.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Check it out...a picture of my volunteers at an event in Indianola last Thursday with the boss ended up on the front page of the Iowa Obama website.

Eat that, Sam Donaldson.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

JP on the Square

If there's one thing I've learned about Des Moines in my 2 months here, it's that the Urban Planners and Modern Artists dominate the agenda for this town. There are parks in the middle of otherwise crowded city blocks and large, strange, unmistakably Midwestern works of public art everywhere.

The large trowel (left) is two blocks from my apartment. Everytime I get a chance to go for a run, I head in its direction and find myself doing a few laps around the park in which it rests. I did a little research on it the other day and learned:

Claus Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen have struck again...It looks perfectly at home on the lawn in front of the Meredith Corp. headquarters downtown. Meredith is a media conglomerate that publishes many well-known magazines, so perhaps the handtool is a sly reference to one of its most famous, "Better Homes and Gardens."
Their library, from where I'm currently writing, is also a testament to the contemporary art that Des Moinians seem to appreciate with an uncanny fervor. There are large windmill-like metallic structures on the west and north sides of the building, and the intererior is full of leather couches and gray overhanging fluorescent lights that would make, well, Claus Oldenburg, proud.

I believe former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack was instrumental in getting new libraries and improved facilities across Iowa to raise literacy rates across the state. I may vehemently disapprove of the seemingly quid pro-quo endorsement she and her husband gave last month, but you can't argue with that kind of work. I also met her a few weeks ago and she's quite possibly the nicest woman of all time.

Anyway, the town loves its art and its parks and the merging of the two.

I bring this all up because on Friday night a group of us watched Jurassic Park out in the field behind my apartment on a big screen with a couple hundred other people (pictures here). Every Friday night in May they'll be playing movies there, all for free. There was something extremely satisfying about seeing Dr. Grant and co. frantically escaping while stretching out on the grass with a cold beer on a warm spring night.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bring on the Butter Cow!

One of my towns had a "Loyalty Day" parade yesterday. Fortunately, I contacted the VFW and they let us have an Obama truck in the parade.

I brought a group of my fellow organizers with me, and had a
good time. I sent all my pictures off to the writer of the official Iowa For Obama blog, so keep your eye out for them there. While you're there, check out the pictures of the art teacher who painted our office -- he definitely outmoded our meager attempt from my first day on the job.

Other than that, life's good. I went to a Cinco De Mayo street fest in West Des Moines last night and manned the Obama booth while eating delicious, delicious taquitos. I can't tell you how ready I am for the onslaught of county fairs, festivals, parades, and the second biggest state fair in the country.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Office

This was taken on my first day of work, a few weeks ago. I drove straight to the office, having nowhere else to go, and I was immediately put to work painting the walls of the entrance. Fortunately the lettering had already been stenciled in (5 points for whoever spots the typo); all I had to do was fill it in with purple paint.

But it's not all paint-campaigning all the time.

A group of us went to the Iowa Cubs home opener on Friday night. Pictures are here. They won.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bear Down, Chicago Bears

As sung by Chicago Lyric Opera's Bryan Griffin. Hat tip Rich Miller.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Good Housekeeping

I went on an unplanned break there, but now that I've switched over to the new version of Blogger and did something of consequence over the weekend, I felt like coming back.

First, an order of business. I changed the template once again (marking a fourth change for me in nearly five years of blogging). Sure it's a bit 18th century in its drabness, and a bit reminiscent of my Up A Gum Tree template, but no one's here for the aesthetics, right? I may be changing the site even more, or possibly changing the URL/permission feature that's available. I've probably lost some loyal readers in the interim here, and would lose more if it was an invite-only kind of thing, but whatever.

Last night, Mary and I checked out Dave Eggers at 826CHI. He spoke about his new book, What is the What, alongside the book's subject, Valentino Achek Deng. Deng is one of the Sudanese Lost Boys and he talked at length about the conflict in southern Sudan and the ongoing war in Darfur. His fluency on the issue, along with his incredibly hopeful attitude, were something to behold. He witnessed countless friends and family die in the genocide, and through Eggers, retold his story in What. Mary bought me a copy for Christmas; I'm only a hundred pages in, but I can say at this point that it's worth a read.

On another morbid topic -- I watched the movie "The Killing Fields" over the holidays, which is about the story of a New York Times journalist and his interpreter in the midst of the Cambodian massacre in the fallout of the Vietnam war. It won four Oscars in 1985 and it was nominated for Best Picture. I only had a loose knowledge of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime, sussed out through a few news pieces and word of mouth while traveling northern Thailand; this movie filled in a lot of the gaps, as did its Wikipedia stub. Definitely recommended.

On a lighter note, the defense/Robbie Gould OT field goal in yesterday's Bears game goes up there with the Illini's comeback victory against Arizona in the '05 tournament, Kerry Wood's 20 strikeouts, and Paxson's three against Phoenix as some of the best theatrical moments in my sports-viewing history. Grossman was mediocre, which I can be happy with, if only the rest of the offense would catch the ball when he actually hits his target. And the Tank fiasco seems like ancient history by now, no?