May 2008 Archives

Running the Election

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Exciting news! As of last night, I'm officially certified to work as a precinct clerk during this Tuesday's election!

I sent in the application earlier this week, and they booked me for one of the last training classes before the election. For an hour and a half, I learned about the procedures to open, run, and close the polling place, and how to properly account for ballots and voters and all that fun stuff.

So look forward to hearing more about my patriotic service. And if you're in Contra Costa County Precinct #258 (it's in Moraga), come say hello!

Major props: Uniting for Darfur

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You can also click here to visit the page that describes the announcement. Regardless of my negative opinion of two of the current presidential candidates, this was a super-classy move for all of them, and I'm glad that they chose to come together and pressure the status quo to change.

Strange, though, that Sen. Clinton seemed to be over-rehearsed and reading from cue cards, and Sen. Obama looked like he was making it up as he went along...

ETD Popsicle 2008: This whole rave thing is pretty cool!

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The rave was to begin at 6 p.m., so we left the east bay around 5:30. Upon arriving at the Cow Palace, the lower parking lot was already nearly full, and the entrance line extended past our parking spot. By my rough estimation, thousands were already waiting, and what a sight to see!

The entire line was dressed in the most outlandish costumes I can imagine! It was as if someone had said, "Pick out the most mismatched set of clothes you can find, in the brightest colors, then add the weirdest jewelry ever." They call that jewelry "candy," and it includes elastic bead bracelets, necklaces with things liked stuffed bears hanging from them, and all sorts of hats and masks. The idea, I'm told, is to increase the vibrancy of the rave's sensory experience, adding of course to the loud music and entrancing beats. But we were in for a surprise once we got inside!

After sliding through the "VIP" back door, (as press we got to skip the huge line and go directly in), we were immediately bombarded by the most intense audiovisual experience I've ever felt! We hadn't even made it to the main stage, and already it was all crazy. Each of the smaller stages was decorated with a series of screens, on which were projected a constantly changing series of psychedelic designs, switching off with live video of the performing DJ. Each stage also had an assortment of lasers and colored lights, which danced around to add to the effect.

The Cow Palace was set up for five stages: the main stage, inside the arena, which was billed to play trance music all night, and four smaller stages in the Palace's north and south buildings. The smaller stages were billed to play "house," "breaks," "hardcore," and "drum and bass" music. I suppose that a connoisseur could distinguish between the different styles. They all sounded great, and were really easy to dance to, but I couldn't hear any variation. Nonetheless, I did particularly enjoy the hardcore room, in which a crazy-sounding guy was - no joke - singing along with some particularly noisy and upbeat music. It was super-fun to dance to, and my friends and I stayed there for a while, listening to that MC. Of all the music I heard at the event, hardcore was by far the most captivating, and the easiest to just stay still and dance and absorb.

The intimacy of the smaller stages was certainly nice, but it couldn't compare to the thrill of the main arena. Especially later in the night, after 9:00 or 10:00 pm, the floor started to fill up, and nothing compares to the exhilaration of many thousands

Gone Ravin'

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About a week ago, my good friend Cameryn called me up and asked if I wanted to go to a rave on Saturday. "That sounds like fun," I replied, never having been to one before. "Tickets are 80 dollars," she said. As the fun level plummeted in my head, I wondered if maybe we could experience the rave without having to pay.

Inspiration dawned. We could attend the event as reporters for the Noahblog, and spread the good word about raver culture to our vast readership. Skillz DJ Workshop, the event's organizers, loved the idea, and agreed to provide Cameryn and me with press passes to attend the event.

So, we're off to the Cow Palace tonight for this year's ETD Popsicle rave. Ticketmaster says that the Cow Palace's capacity exceeds 20,000. Exciting? Quite, because who doesn't love to dance? Stick around for a follow-up post soon after the event!

Theme of the Day: Rushing ≠ Energy

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I had the privilege of observing today's Wind Ensemble rehearsal at South Salem High School, and Director Mrs. Boderman said many things that made me think, but the point which most stood out was her admonishment that "Speed does not energy make." They were playing Peter Mennin's Canzona, a piece with a rapid middle section, and she went on to explain that increased volume or speed is not an adequate substitute for energy.

I realized that I could apply Mrs. Boderman's proclamation to my own life as well. Just because I'm rushing around and doing a million things at once, I'm not necessarily getting a lot done. Sometimes it pays just to sit still and do one thing really well, and finish it in one go.

Prof. Linsell, Willamette's director of bands, made exactly the same point in our Commencement Band rehearsal later that afternoon. We were probably playing David Holsinger's Fantasy on a Gaelic Hymnsong, and we were probably speeding through the breakdown to give it extra character. If I recall, Prof. Linsell actually wrote "rushing ≠ energy" on the whiteboard, and I got really excited that I'd heard two different people say exactly the same thing (ostensibly without consultation) on the same day.