Saturday, March 29, 2008

Families for Obama fundraiser....and smoky bars

Tonight, the Gordons were part of the "volunteer staff" for a Families for Obama fundraiser at the Hayes-Taylor YMCA on E. Market St.in Greensboro. We got there at 5:30pm to help set up the rooms, decorate, prepare the dinner, and just all around be workhorses. The program was from 7p-9p with a high school choir, elementary school dance steppers, a jazz band, a county commissioner dignitary, an Obama DVD, and an auction. (We now have the BEST water bottle and poster money can buy!!!)


Kimberly helped in the "toddler room" much to her chagrin with her (our) cases of small child distaste. Luckily, there were more chaperones than kids, so she was able to bail and help Chris serve dinner to the 100+ people there tonight.


It was a lot of fun.


>


After we broke the room down and cleaned up, we went downtown to a smoky martini/cigar/liquor bar Churchill's on Elm Street because Jaybird (of greasy spoon Fincastle's fame) and his band "Soul Central" were playing.



So now it's 1:15am on a work night and Chris is blogging in a stench of smoke while Kimberly takes a slightly drunken shower. Good night! Tomorrow it's work from 8a-4p for Chris (actually 3p to get outta town a touch early) and then a 7-hour drive up to Duke's in Mount Vernon, OH for Opening Day weekend at Jacobs, er, Progressive Field for our annual fraternity brother get-together.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Official Guilford County organizational meeting tonight for Obama


Tonight saw the Gordons make their way over to Bennett College here in Greensboro for a 7:00pm meeting with official Obama campaign organizers to plan the next few weeks before our May 6th North Carolina Primary. The Obama office in Greensboro will open this coming Monday and the organizers and office holders are coming in from all over the country. Instead of a "top down" approach, this is a "bottom up" organization where the big shots ask us for our local ideas and then guide us to achieve our goals. It is impressive just how grassroots this whole campaign is. Really.

As you can see from the photo, many many many people came out to volunteer and work the pavement to get the good senator elected. It was yet another inspiring get-together of voters and folks who yearn for positive change.

The deadline to register to vote in the May 6th Primary is April 11th, so our main focus these next two weeks is REGISTERING PEOPLE TO VOTE. The Gordons will be hitting the ground running with voter registration forms to make sure people's voices will be heard, whatever their political affiliation.

These are truly exciting times.

"The Beer Hunter" would have been 66.



From an email received tonight from The Brickskeller in Washington, DC:


I'm sure most of you know who Michael Jackson, the BeerHunter, is. Perhaps you may not know today, March 27, 2008, would have been his 66th birthday. Michael was a great friend of the Brickskeller and one Diane and I are honored to have considered a good friend personally for 25 years.

I respectfully suggest you go to your favorite pub tonight and raise a glass of good beer to his honored memory. Understanding the short notice, if this is not possible I suggest you respect this as a special enough occasion to warrant the popping of a favorite top you've been stashing in your vault. I Emailed this to DCbeer this afternoon but for some reason it has not as yet been posted.

While Michael may have passed, his contributions to the world of beer and the foundation his writings laid for all writers to build upon and all brewers to aspire to will live and grow forever.

Happy Birthday Michael you are still dearly missed.

Dave and Diane Alexander, Brickskeller / RFD


The news of his death from last year can be found online here. Methinks a fine Trappistes Rochefort-10 will do nicely tonight in his honor; or, as he would say, his "honour". Cheers!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Enormous hands as soft as a baby's bottom

Hey wait, who's that stunning gentleman in the gray sweatshirt underneath the 'O' logo? Is that?... Hmmm...


But first, the story:

This past Sunday night, the leader of Triad (East) for Obama calls us to tell us that something big will be at Guilford County Democratic Headquarters Monday morning. Big. Barack Obama is confirmed to come to Greensboro and there will be a total of 2,000 tickets given away. By 9:15am Monday we have our tickets in hand:





Chris is off, and Kimberly works until 11am Wednesday. So the plan is this: Kimberly's seats down in Columbia were rather far away; Chris's seats up in Beckley were right up front. So, to be fair, Chris was to get to the Auditorium early and nab a close seat. Once Kimberly entered the Auditorium, she would take Chris's seat so she can see Barack up close. Then Chris would retire to the rear and watch the Town Hall from there. (There is no seat saving for these things, so that idea is right out in case you're wondering.)

Doors open at 11:00, so Chris gets there by 9:30 and is surprisingly about 350 people behind.


At least it's better than the line forming behind him, wrapping around the Coliseum:



And by the way, is it frowned upon to take a clandestine photo of a sniper?



Anyhoo, by 11:10 or so the line begins to move. Kimberly calls at 11:20 to say she is leaving the hospital. It appears that, regardless of ticket in hand, she may in fact NOT get in by the time she gets here (40 minutes or so) as the line is enormous.

Chris makes it through security, and as he is getting his phone, camera, and keys back into his pockets and his campaign buttons back on his "Hope" sweatshirt, he overhears, "Oooh, that guy in the sweatshirt. He looks like a good one!"

Crap. What now? A woman briskly walks up to Chris, presumably a reporter of some sort to get a sound bite of a "man on the street" quote.

"May I bother you, sir?"

- Sure.

"What is your name?"

- Chris.

"Would you like to sit onstage behind Senator Obama?"

- HOLY CRAP, WOULD I?!?!?!?!? Lead the way, fair maiden!

She walks me past the line to get in, down a side entrance and down the aisle. It feels like royalty. The upper crust bypassing the minions. In a matter of minutes, Chris is onstage behind the podium.

Freakin' SWEET!!!


Needless to say, a call was made to Kimberly to inform her that we would in fact NOT be trading seats. She did in fact make it in. She witnessed some who did not. But her seat was the third row from the top in the balcony. JUST made it. But at least it was closer than her seat in Columbia, SC.



It was absolutely AWESOME. It's funny how the seating occurs behind a candidate. Not only were people picked to get a good balance of demographics, but our actual seating in those three rows of seats were meticulously selected to maximize photo ops from any angle. Every picture view was to get the proper amount of whites, blacks, young, and old. Fascinating.

We had EXPLICIT instructions while onstage. No picture taking while he was talking. Do not shield your eyes from the hot bright lights. Do not cover your face. Do not look sad. They did not want any photo op to include a stage person with their faces covered. Interesting.

So now, Senator Obama comes out, and shakes the hands of the first two rows of folks. Hey wait! Chris is in the THIRD row! Hold on here!



Pardon the bluriness. Between his quick moves and Chris's nervousness, the camera was not cooperating with me.

Here's a better photo from online. (Notice the smashing fellow to the immediately right of the Senator's left knee.)



He spoke for about 35 minutes, and took questions for about an hour. Incredible.



So then, as he exits, he returns to the 3 rows of seats on stage and says, "I got the first two rows coming in. Now I owe the last row."



"I owe the last row." Are you kidding me? Chris is speechless and stammering like a little girl. The Senator takes Chris's hand and Chris virtually tearfully exclaims "Thank you, sir. THANK YOU for all you do." It was thrilling. Exhiliarating. Numbing.

(By the way, not to be a stalker, but he has enormous hands that are baby soft and smell like cocoa butter and baby oil.)

Unreal. Surreal. Life-altering. To personally shake the hand of someone who could conceivably be President of the United States.

Awe-inspiring.

So then, in thinking that afterward he may hit a "greasy spoon" to get a feel for the populace, we hit Fincastle's downtown for a greasy burger, greasy onion rings, delicious fries, and the popular concoction "Green Drink".


To no avail, no candidate sighting at our favorite greasy spoon diner. Damn.

In closing, check out this video on YouTube, especially at the 2 minute 17 second mark:

Wow. Just, wow.



[edit: We found more videos of the Town Hall, in three parts.]

Part one (with props to the best volunteer group of them all, "Triad for Obama"):



Part two:



Part three:


Sadly, the conversion is complete.

From this:


To this:


And I am sad.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy 100th birthday, Katie Casey!


The year was 1908, and lyricist Jack Norworth scribbles a song onto a napkin during a train ride into New York City. The rest, as they say, is history. Ironically, Mr. Norworth does not go to his first baseball game until 1940 at age 69. Odd that.

So to ring in the new year of baseball glory, enjoy:

Katie Casey was base ball mad.
Had the fever and had it bad;
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev'ry sou Katie blew.
On a Saturday, her young beau
Called to see if she'd like to go,
To see a show but Miss Kate said,
"No, I'll tell you what you can do."

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names;
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."


(By the way, the term "sou" was defined during that era as a low-denomination coin. Carly Simon's version in the Ken Burns 1994 documentary Baseball, reads "Ev'ry cent / Katie spent".)

Opening Day!

6:00am Tuesday morning, the defending champion Boston Red Sox take on the Oakland Athletics in baseball Opening Day festivities. 6:00am, you ask? Why's that?

They are playing in Japan.


We pony up the coin to have the MLB Extra Innings package on the dish, and Chris has to get up early anyway to take the Jeep in for some expensive A.C. compressor replacement, so the game will in fact be ON in The House of Gordon at that time.

Another year of hope begins.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Come on over next Sunday!

Enjoy the front and back of a flyer that is about to be tacked to everybody's mailbox in our development:

More bloomage


Ahhh....NC springtime. The crabapple tree in the front yard is a-bloomin' now. Enjoy your cold weather wherever you may be.

Doubt


Saturday night was the next performance in our Triad Stage season pass, and it was the play "Doubt" by John Patrick Shanley. This play has won both a Pulitzer and a Tony award. It was just 90 minutes with no intermission, and was truly one of the better plays we have seen at Triad Stage in some time.

Doubt. How does one accept doubt in their lives? How does one react with instances of doubt? Does one tackle the underlying fear, or do they stubbornly reject any doubt and blindly drudge on? This was the story of a New York Catholic school in 1964. A progressive priest longingly looks forward to the radical changes of Vatican II, opening up the church and school to the community. A gruff and "old school" nun principal clings to old time beliefs and regimens, holding on to isolationism. A young new nun teacher struggles with her own zeal for teaching and her superior's requests to become more rigid and cold. The mother of the school's only African-American student just wants her son to "make it until June" to graduate and make it to high school.

The prinicpal doubts the motives of the progressive priest. The young nun doubts her skills as a new teacher after repeated interactions with the principal. The priest doubts the principal is adept to lead the school into a new era. The mother doubts whether or not her son has been taken advantage of by the priest, the only man who has acted as a mentor to him.

The only one without doubt is the principal concerning the suspected priest-child sexual liaison. Or is she indeed as doubt-free as she thinks she is?

This was great. The four actors really excelled in their performances; so much so that it inspired us to contact Triad Stage and let them know that this play was one of the best ones we have seen there. Outstanding.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"The fierce urgency of now."

We had sadly missed out on an Obama event down in Charlotte this past Wednesday. What was originally to be a private gathering of folks who had donated a total of either $1000 or the max of $2300 (we're not there yet) had turned into a public event. Tickets, albeit free, were given out in record time. By the time we had heard about it we were too late. Damn.

Anyway, it just so happened that Chris had this past Thursday the 20th off from work. A day free with just minimal chores to be done. The daily check of Obama's website Wednesday night resulted in a shout of glee. Apparently, the senator from Illinois was to have a Town Hall event in Beckley, WV at 4:00pm. Beckley? We drive through Beckley on the way to Ohio. Beckley's just 3 hours from here. Gas up the Cherokee, Chris is driving to Beckley, West Virginia Thursday!

10:23am - Chris hits the road with an iPod loaded with an eclectic mix of Weird Al Yankovic, Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Blind Melon. A turnoff on US-52 in NC gives us this view of Pilot Mountain:



1:15pm - Chris arrives in Beckley off the beaten path of I-77 down some local streets. The only place to eat is a Captain D's Seafood, so that's what it'll have to be. Inhale it quickly, there's line-standing to be done!

1:30pm - Chris arrives at the Armory & Convention Center in Beckley to wait in line for the free general admission tickets. 2 & 1/2 hours before the event, and he's still 200 or so deep in line.



3:45pm - the secret service has gone down the line giving us the gameplan, and the doors open.


4:13pm - Chris makes it through the metal detectors and guard dogs.


4:20pm - Chris takes his seat: an AMAZING 9th row center. Giddy!!! A non-zoomed photo from my seat:

5:05pm - Chris texts Kimberly in the O.R. to say that people are STILL filing in.


5:15pm - West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller speaks.


5:25pm - Illinois Senator Barack Obama arrives on stage to thunderous applause. He makes a 30-minute speech, then takes questions for a good hour.

video














7:00pm - the crowd makes its way towards the exits, fired up and inspired!!!!


7:30pm - Chris has sat in the Cherokee in the parking lot for a solid 20 minutes without moving.


7:30pm to 9:00pm - Chris drives the 40 miles of WV freeway. WVDOT has nicely reduced I-77 southbound to one lane from Princeton (exit 12) to the Virginia line. Chris averages 5mph for over an hour straight.

10:30pm - Chris finally crosses the VA-NC line.

11:35pm - Chris stumbles upstairs to bed after a 13+ hour day of travel and hope.

The local newspaper in Beckley had their story here:
Obama decries Iraq war, addresses specific issues
http://www.register-herald.com/local/local_story_080234556.html


What a day!!!! Kimberly obviously got to see Obama 3 hours south in Columbia, SC when Chris had to work. And now Chris was able to see Obama 3 hours north in Beckley, WV when Kimberly had to work. One day I'm sure we'll be able to see him together! Truly an awesome, awe-inspiring day.

"We cannot afford to wait."
video

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The beauty of living in North Carolina

As some of our Ohio friends email us pictures of their snowy homes in March, just yesterday Chris serviced the mower (air filter, oil change, spark plug, the works) and mowed the lawn for the first time in 2008. Afterwards, he took these snaps to share with those in the cold snowy climes of the north. Enjoy.


Our Bradford Pear tree:


Our peach tree:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Guilty Pleasure, season six

We pause LIVE! during a break in tonight's premier to extoll the virtues of ABC's Dancing with the Stars. O wonderful night! Sequins and skin and smoothness with the occasional oaf. The Gordon TiVo is warmed up and ready to go to record some of the best television on earth.

Watch it!!!

The Bank Job


Sunday afternoon, after doing some time at Walgreens, the Gordons hit the moviehouse again for some mindless popcorn fun. The Bank Job is based on a true story: a 1971 bank robbery whose bounty has been rumored to be more than The Great Train Robbery. We squeezed in quite a bit of entertainment today: work, movie, dinner at Bert's Seafood in town (to properly compare & contrast with an upcoming revisit to 1618 West Seafood Grille this Saturday), and then home to catch up on the TiVo'd miniseries John Adams.


As always on our little bloggish sector of the interwebs, here's the trailer:


A caper. A heist. Some skullduggery. But all in all, the story is quite predictable. The twists and turns are rather straight and narrow. Think Ocean's Eleven (or 12, or 13) with all British accents. Fun, but minimally quirky. Please leave your brain at the door.

Our score? A meager yet popcorny "Matinee" rating from The House of Gordon.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

John Adams


When David McCullough's book was released, Chris was instantly all over it and consumed its pages with reckless abandon. You see, early American history is one of Chris's addictions (for proof, see the sidebar of foundations, etc. we donate to). So when the news hit that HBO Films was producing an 8+ hour miniseries based on the book, WHOA! Stop the presses! This is monumental!

Well today, the day is finally here. Tonight's the night for the start. Chris shall be parked on the couch in rapturous glee. Here's the trailer:





David Bianculli of NPR's Fresh Air reviews it here.

The New York Times thought a different lead actor would have been a better choice.

When the latest issue of The New Yorker arrived in our mailbox, the review was the first item read here.

Regardless of critics, this is one miniseries that will absorb, captivate, and engross a certain pharmacist in residence.

The Other Boleyn Girl


Saturday, whilst Chris toiled at the local pharmacy from 2p-10p, Kimberly took in some cinematic entertainment in the afternoon: a film that she knew Chris had no desire to see. So, after her Obama for America duties at one of Greensboro's YMCAs registering people to vote, she plopped down in a darkened theater for The Other Boleyn Girl. Here's the trailer:





Upon asking Kimberly how the movie was, so I could include it onto our blog as part of our movie critques, she responded,

"It sucked."

Um, OK. Care to elaborate? I can't just type "It sucked" onto these pages.

Apparently, the reason it sucked was that she had dropped the coin only to hear the dreamy Clive Owen's velvety voice. Sadly, Clive Owen does not appear in this film. Unbeknownst to Kimberly, he plays Sir Walter Raleigh in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age". An altogether different film.

Against his better judgement, Chris chuckled heartily.

A House of Gordon recap? A stern Clive Owen-less "Avoid" from Kimberly.

Tee hee hee!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ouchie.


We had neglected to mention that our stoic patient is indeed home (surgery Monday, home Wednesday) and doing quite well. Weight-bearing is occurring and twice daily walks for physical therapy seem to be agreeable. A follow-up appointment is scheduled for this Tuesday, so hopefully those stitches will come out.
"Bionic Maxie" as the vet techs call her is doing just fine.

Our one and only DR video

Enjoy these brutal Dominican waves via our digital camera:

video

Friday, March 14, 2008

Another Dominican blog


One of our cohorts in the Dominican Republic, Louis Frazier, a starting offensive lineman for Wake Forest and a giant with an infectious laugh and a heart of gold, has entered a bloggish diary onto the interwebs as well as Chris. You can see his perspective and adventures of our February trip to Barahona here:



Make sure you watch all the videos he's uploaded onto his blog. They are hilarious.

I'm insanely happy for him that he will be starting medical school at Wake this year, but consequently quite sad he won't be able to make any upcoming DR trips for 4 years or so while he's a tad busy with school.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We shall only answer to "Madame Vice Chair" and "Mister Precinct Captain" from now on

Tonight, March 11, was the night for Democratic Party Precinct Meetings at locations all throughout the country, and at our local polling place Kimberly was voted "Precinct Vice Chair" and Chris was voted "Precinct Captain".

So now our schedules are being cleared for the following "things to do":
1. Guilford County Convention - Saturday April 19
2. Jefferson-Jackson Democratic Party dinner in Raleigh (with a rumored pre-NC Primary appearance by Senator Obama himself!) - Saturday April 26
3. District Convention - Saturday May 17 (but we'll have to miss this one as we already have tickets for Savor - an American craft beer and food experience in Washington, DC that weekend)
4. North Carolina State Convention - Saturday June 21
5. and then there's the possibility that we may be elected to be delegates to the DNC National Convention in Denver, CO this August

You may now officially count us amongst the species known as "delegates".

Monday, March 10, 2008

Newsflash: Obama is in first place, idiots.

From The Daily Kos: State of the Nation, here's a memo to MSNBC:

Attention MSNBC
by BarbinMD
Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 05:22:59 PM PDT

We ask so little of you; to keep us informed on the custody status of Britney's kids, to let us know, assuming she's white and pretty enough, that somewhere a young woman was tragically killed, and of course, updates on just how often Roger Clemens used steroids. And to your credit, you are all over these vital stories that affect millions of Americans, so kudos for that. But just one small quibble; could you take some of the journalistic zeal and attention to detail that you invest in those stories and use them in your reporting of the 2008 presidential primary race?

This morning, MSNBC's political reporter John Yang was asked what was next for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, following Obama's victory in Wyoming. Said Yang:

And what happened in Wyoming means that Barack Obama is again adding to his delegate lead, his lead in the delegate count, and erasing at least some of the gains that Hillary Clinton made in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island last week. And that means this see-saw battle is going to go on.


First of all, Obama gained more delegates in Texas than did Hillary. Second, a see-saw battle would imply that the lead keeps changing hands. It hasn't. Obama remains ahead in the pledged delegate count by approximately 100 delegates. Third, the only way Hillary will be able to overcome that deficit is if Obama falls victim to the old, "found in bed with a live boy or a dead woman." So please, get over your dream of an epic battle to the convention and report the facts. Oh, and by the way, John W. McCain is not a straight talker, FYI.


On athletes and ACL's

We have a purple martin birdhouse on a tall 30-foot telescoping pole in the backyard. We also have a variety of vermin who live in and around our backyard: i.e. bunnies underneath our shed and squirrels in our trees. Sam and Maxie so enjoy chasing these creatures in hopes of catching them for our dinner...to no avail. The rodents know juuuuust when they need to run away under our fence and not get caught.

One brazen squirrel has taken it upon him/her/itself to completely destroy our neighbor's patio furniture cushions. We've seen the thing scurry across our yard with a mouthful of foam and stuffing. But where did he/she/it go with it?

Sections of our purple martin house innards (room sections and walls) have been seen thrown about the backyard lately. Perplexing. It seems that the squirrel has taken it upon him/her/itself to move in to the purple martin house. Pretty bold to scurry up a metal pole 30 feet into the air to make one's new home.

So one Friday, Maxie and Sam tear off from the back door to net them some squirrel meat for our evening dinner. Kimberly calls them in, and Maxie is limping. No weight on her rear right leg. Crap. NOW what did she do? By Saturday morning, she continues to refuse to put any weight on her leg, so Kimberly took her to the vet. Guess what? Torn ACL.

You've got to be kidding us.


In 2004, she tore her left rear ACL during the athletic process of falling ass first off the ottoman and twisting funny. So at least in 2008 she tore her other one in the act of hunting lower mammals on the food chain.

Monday morning Chris drops Maxie off at the vet for her procedure. They call Kimberly during the day to keep us updated: anesthesia is fine; surgery went fine; she woke up just fine. Kimberly was able to visit with her tonight and Maxie is doing AOK, albeit a bit drowsy. She'll stay the night and (hopefully) come home Tuesday night.

Maxie bounces back quite well after all her procedures and surgeries, so her recovery will go just fine. In fact, in 2004 Maxie was our vet's first patient during a "new" ligament repair procedure that he just learned at a conference: no immobilization of the leg with a different type of surgery. She performed splendidly then, so this time we're expecting the same.

Sam on the other hand, is a basketcase without her and will be a whining white puffball all night long for us. For as much as they "fight" and argue as "brother and sister", when they are separated they are miserable without their respective partner in crime.

So to recap, in the first 2+ months of 2008, we've had Sam's expensive bladder surgery and now Maxie's expensive ACL surgery. Ahhhh...to own older dogs where "pet insurance" was not an available option when they were still puppies.