Earthquakes and electronics–hooray for portable solar power!

You get used to thinking about emergency preparedness in regards to earthquakes. I’m so glad to work in an environment that creates a plan for this–stored clothing, food, and water for three days. It makes me feel a lot safer, considering that I may have to stay there while my wife is at her job as well.

But it was Wess who got me intrigued about electronics and power outages. He showed me his Solio a few weeks back during his trip to Quaker Heritage Day and I didn’t really think too much about it. Seemed kind of gadget-y and, to be honest, I thought it wasn’t really all that important. Living in an urban area, you take power access for granted, really. Then it hit me–it’s for juice in any situation for any device that has, more or less, become part of my life.

Having a cell phone-only house, we’d need power to communicate to our families we’re okay during an emergency. It’s a great way to take care of my equipment while traveling–to another country, where the power sources aren’t matched up with my equipment, voltage-wise. It’s also a hit when camping or on the road. Stuff the car-charger! Hooray for solar!

Holds @your library vs. private ownership

I’m waiting just like everyone else, apparently, for Battlestar Galactica Season 2.5 at the Peninsula Library System. It’s got 20 holds on the next available copy, sheesh. I’m all for being patient, but I think the fourth season will start before I finish the second and that just doesn’t seem right.

Enter iTunes. Over my sick-break six weeks ago, I got addicted to BG and have been trying to kick the habit. It’s scary how much serialized t.v. I can watch in one sitting. So I took it easy, I just downloaded one episode per day (at $1.99 each) and figured, hey, when I get well, I’ll go to the library and get the whole season. And that’s what I did–bought four episodes, then went to the library. Now, it seems, everyone is onto my plot–no more available copies. I even went outside the SFPL system and paid $0.75 for the hold at PLS just to get it more quickly, and now I’m down to number 20 in the queue. Is it back to iTunes, or patiently wait like all the other library users? Either way, I still owe $0.75 for placing the hold…

Obama in Oaktown

So, I’m cashing in my chips now…I’m going for Obama. I’ve already read his book, I’ve viewed his webcasts, read his policies, and particularly focused on his views on religion which I found surprising and, gasp, refreshing. He’s an exciting speaker–eloquent, disciplined, with clear leadership qualities. What I think he has going for him: internationalism (he’s lived in more time zones than I have), youth and freshness (and the clear eyesight that precludes doctrine we’ve witnessed for the past seven years), excitement (the youth vote), and potential for greatness. He lacks the baggage, packs the credentials to handle the job.

The obstacles: see the above, and add a few more, such as the curse of “Senators never win” (with the exception of JFK), a Democrat not from the South (again with the exception of JFK), and his, yes, sense of humor. I wouldn’t say he’s got the “gosh, gee” factor down that I usually associate with the “average Joe” vote that Bill Clinton captured (Big Mac, his favorite food, and oh, that Southern charm and wit), but he seems more like a composite of Carter and JFK–clear and focused, attentive, yet strong and decisive, and, to boot, he has served on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, not too shabby. And check out his “Floor Statement on Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007”. You could call him opportunistic, if it wasn’t that he was never for the war in the first place.

Why am I convinced so early? I’m not sure–he just has all the qualities I’m looking for. What about experience? To wit: didn’t they say that about all the Democrats who’ve been elected since 1960? And they won.

So, he’s in Oakland this Saturday and I’ve volunteered to help him do it–am I too soon? Obama in ‘08


Permanent resident

When my wife finally got her date for citizenship, it was a big deal. I really didn’t know what to say…after living together for two years, then being married for three years, it seemed like she was already a citizen to me. So when we went to the Masonic Auditorium a few weeks ago for the ceremony, it was cool and I thought it would be interesting but I had no idea how emotional I’d get.

Seeing 1,214 people gathered from 99 countries along with their families was just plain awesome. To know that each one had a different story on how they came to be there that morning–from as far away as Eureka, 300 miles to the north–just to say the words of the oath, seemed impossibly joyous. And the host of the ceremonies, a man from the Office of U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services, was a wonderful host.

CitizenshipOne of the most breath-catching interjections he made during the ceremony came when he discussed the significance of the certificate of naturalization they would all be receiving to certify their citizenship. He kept saying over and over, “Do not give your certificate to anyone…do not mail it, do not carry it on you. If an officer of the law stops you, from now on, all you have to do is say, ‘I’m an American citizen,’ and that’s it.” Breathtaking to think of the power of simplicity in that statement which I take for granted every day, but which instilled fear in the hearts of many during every hour spent here.