OK, unlike last time, this blog won’t be 100% Carcassonne related. Just a little bit.
We’ve now had two Presidential and one Vice Presidential debates to watch, which Randi and I have only got through with help from virtual Catherine and real-life Chloe and Amanda as watching partners. They generally leave us somewhere on the spectrum between incredulous and upset, but it’s especially annoying for me since I don’t actually get to vote at the end. So I was very pleased to be able to play my small part for Hillary by joining a virtual phonebank organised by Randi’s friend Debra.
We weren’t calling to persuade voters: these were from a database of likely Hillary supporters, and the aim was to sign up volunteers to help register new voters before the deadline closed in a couple of days. What is really striking is how almost-obsolete phonebanking (and by implication, telephone polling) feels: the vast majority of people simply don’t pick up. I certainly wouldn’t, and simply making contact felt a lot rarer than when I last did this in London in 2008. Nevertheless, I did successfully sign up one woman to volunteer, so I have contributed! On the other hand, I also generated the angriest (and most hilarious) voicemail I’ve ever heard. The man was not having a good day, and curious readers should drop me a message if they want to hear it 😉
The other big thing to mention is our whirlwind trip to San Francisco last weekend! The first order of business was to see Jamie and Paul and to meet baby Lori for the first time, which was as wonderful as you’d expect. (She’s just turned one, and is magically starting to walk.) With the beautifully sunny weather we were able to just chill out together in their garden, talking and watching their cat unsuccessfully hunt gophers, before getting lunch nearby.
The primary purpose of the trip was the wedding of Brett and Courtney – Randi’s family friends – which was held inside San Francisco’s magnificent City Hall. Spending time with her family is always great, and (amongst many other things) the wedding itself set a very high standard for the quality of cheese on offer. I don’t mean kitsch, I mean literal cheese. I think this will become my barometer for all future weddings.
Wait, who’s that? Is it Robert Dietz? Indeed so, back in Chicago two weeks ago for work stuff but thankfully amenable to watching one of the tense Orioles vs. Blue Jays games in Toons with Todd and Carolyn. Later in the week we had drinks with Alex during one of her brief jet-setting interludes, and also ended up in a bizarre bar watching Otis Wilson of the ’85 Superbowl Bears compete to see how many beers he could pour in two minutes. (These details don’t mean much to me, but I dutifully wrote them down because it felt like good Americana for this post.)
Randi and I also had drinks with James and Lauren and saw Sam Hicks star in The Rhode Island Chapter: a play about a community of New England zombies. It was part of a weekend festival of back-to-back sci-fi and fantasy short plays which I would certainly check out again next year. Prior to Sam, we also saw Worrier and the Not about a robot couple struggling with their (optional) human emotions.
Finally, some updates to previous posts:
- Remember my dentist? Well, the ratcheting effect over two subsequent years has now resulted in a Bluetooth-connected toothbrush which partners with my phone to nag me as I brush my teeth. I know, I know.
- Remember Jimmy Savile? Louis Theroux’s 2000 documentary has always stuck in my mind even before the full revelations came out, so it was doubly fascinating to watch his self-questioning follow-up about failing to get to the truth.
- I did promise some more Carcassonne, which has continued to spread through my life. Since last time, Randi and I have played in real-life with Alec, with Emilie (both of whom were frustratingly good, although only Emilie brought delicious French cheese) and with many others over the iOS app. You should join us!
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