### A caucus for us

Erin, Owen and I participated in our first Democratic caucus tonight. And let me tell you, we caucused the s**t out of that place (where s**t = snot. This is a family blog after all).

One of my office mates works for the Obama campaign and she told me to show up 30 minutes before the doors were scheduled to close at 6:30 pm. It turns out that we could vote even though we weren't registered in the state of Hawaii. In HI, you can caucus as long as you are (1) eligible to vote in any state and (2) haven't yet voted in another state. I looked up our caucus location on the nifty Barack Obama website and made plans to meet Erin and Owen at Nishi Moncho Ramen at 5:30 so we could fuel up for a night of democracy and Change. Shoyu yakisoba noodle plate? Yes we can!

We arrived at Manoa Elementary school at 6pm to find the main playground packed with about 1000 people. There was a full metric shload of people there to vote.
We were instructed to wait in a succession of lines. In the first line we had to fill out two forms: one to register to vote and the other to figure out our precinct. Erin will have to fill in the details here because I was chasing Owen around the basketball courts. The second line was for a couple more forms, again I'm hazy on the details. But while we waited in the lines, the length of the lines doubled and then doubled again. The turn-out was amazing. Say what you will about the current president, but you've got to admit that he's done wonders for the voter turn-out!

After standing in line for 2 hours, which was 1.5 hours past when the doors supposedly closed, we waited our turn to get into the cafeteria where we would cast our votes. Erin went in first and I stayed with Owen. After about 5 minutes, an older gentleman grabbed the microphone on the stage and announced, "OK. This is crazy. At this rate we'll be here until midnight. I'm making an executive decision here. You no longer have to find the table representing your precinct. Just sign the attendance sheet, cast your vote, and get out of here so more people can vote! Vote and move people!"

Owen promptly started to melt down since it was fast approaching bed time and he hadn't taken a bath or read a single book. Plus mommy had been gone for 5 minutes while we stood in the middle of a crowded, extremely noisy hallway. I decided to run in and vote with Owen flopping around in my arms. It mostly worked until he got free, climbed onto a table, screamed "MOMMY!" and threw his shoe. I grabbed Owen, the shoe, my ballot and in one motion cast my vote and exited the gym. Erin came out a couple minutes later, flustered and red-faced and said, "I didn't even get to vote. Let's get out of here!" Apparently the people at the other end of the cafeteria--where Erin was trying to vote--hadn't heard about the change in procedure. So while I was executing the express vote-n-scoot plan, Erin was being bogged down in an additional layer of paperwork. Total pandemonium.

I wasn't about to go through all that we went through without Erin voting. So I grabbed her ballot, ran past the guy manning the door and tossed Erin's vote into the ballot box. Hopefully my act of voter fraud wasn't captured on tape. But just in case, we made a beeline for the car and got the frack out of there. After he was in his car seat, Owen said, "Owen have fun caucus!" We laughed and sighed our agreement. The night was pretty fun, despite the craziness of it all. Sensing that our defenses were down, Owen then asked for ice cream. Mommy and Daddy couldn't help but concur that ice cream cones were most definitely in order. We grabbed 3 small soft serve cones and enjoyed the ride back home.

UPDATE: As of 4am EST, Obama is running away with the race, garnering 73% of the vote with 25% of precincts reporting. Go Barack, go!

mama mia said…
grooming good citizenship at the ripe old age of 2...Bernie would have loved it! Never too early for some civic responsibility and ice cream!
erinjohn said…
with 100% of precincts reporting, obama had 76% of the vote. the caucuses were prepared for 17,000 voters... over 37,000 turned out! rock the vote!
Amy Van Hook said…
Wow...my IA caucus experience was tame in comparison...still disorganized, but amazing. Si se puede!
Amy Van Hook said…
My IA caucus experience seems pale in comparison. Still chaotic, but not quite as much as yours. Si, se puede!!

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I started by downloading a stock photo of J.J. from NBA.com, which I then loaded into OpenOffice Draw:

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…