Posts by Karen Hester
Hard News: The next four years,
When I first arrived in the States, I glommed onto the NPR/WNYC radio show/podcast On The Media which reminded me of your (Russell) work on Radio NZ back in the day. Loved Bob's incredulity at how the media didn't back up CNN at the press conference. The impassioned argument between the two hosts over their role as journalists post-Trump was emotional listening.
On The Media's series on American poverty myths is particularly interesting.
I was knitting my hat for the DC march while reading this and of course messed up a couple stitches. Rosemary, the pussy hats come from Trump's "grab them by the pussy" line. It's a fun participatory craft thing, and we were worried DC etc could be freezing on march day (weather report looks good though!) I know it might sound a little cutesy, but it has been a fun experience.
The NYC march might be a mess - there are so many people that they required early sign-ups for staggered start times (that's what happens when you begin a march near the high-security UN.) I can't imagine everyone signed up ahead of time, so there'll be insane crowds, and many riled up after the march. Wonder if the city will completely close the streets around Trump Tower 5th Ave. Security had died down quite a bit.
I'm heading to DC, land of wide boulevards, and expect things will run smoother down there. Not sure if the vibe will be community and hope or anger and fear.
Hard News: Hate and guns, in reply to
Yes, the laws are confusing for travelers. Gun carriers visiting many Northeast states are suddenly acting illegally as soon as their car crosses the border. Some idiots even think their out-of-state permit allows them to carry at the 9/11 Memorial.
Law enforcement often throws out these cases.
Hard News: Disrupting the Television,
There was a good Studio 360 interview with Steven Moffat (not sure if it'll play in NZ; uncut interview further down page). He dismisses Americans downloading his shows after the British broadcast as greedy people not willing to wait, but I think there's more to it than that. Watching at the same time allows you to be part of a community.
Tom & Lorenzo (and latterly Amanda Marcotte) add to my experience of watching Mad Men, and then there's the fun of arguing over the show with other fans. Same with Dr Who, Sherlock, GoT... These conversations can be fun with friends and workmates, but it isn't enough if you're a fanatic.
There are large swathes of the internet you can't visit without spoilers. I don't want to avoid the best fan hubs because they're a season ahead.
And when it comes to competitive reality TV, you've got to be up-to-date. Latrice Royale posted to Facebook about her elimination from RuPaul's Drag Race before I watched it streaming on Logo's site, so my tears weren't so fresh. (Best Show Ever. Seriously.) Following the participants' facebook and twitter was an experience that you'd miss out on watching months later.
Oh, Swells, Steven Wells, that's so sad. His final bit of writing is
here. A few NME pals of his have left messages in the comments. They link to his longer pieces about the cancer.
Such a lively, warm and humorous use of swear-words. No one like him since. God he made me laugh, and so principled too.
My first US general election voting experience:
* Woke up this morning to NPR listing some early voting results, e.g. of all early votes cast in Florida, 33,000 more were for Obama (from my imperfect memory). Isn't it time they rethought announcing results early? It's not just an East Coast/ West Coast time zone issue. Early results will surely encourage some people, and others will not bother voting. When such a large number of people voted early, there isn't an Election Day so much as Election Month.
* It's weird that public schools are closed but it's on a workday. Yeah, great for working parents.
* You can only vote at one place, maybe because they can't handle duplicate copies of the electoral roll thingies which have about six names per page, with photocopied signatures.
* Within my voting school building, there was one table for my district and one voting machine for my half of the alphabet. The line went out the door and down the block. A friend found there was a back entrance with no queue, so we snuck around and only had to wait 50 minutes (erg) inside. If I had been in another district or had a surname M-Z, I'd have been out of there in half that time.
* Friendly chatty New Yorkers in the queue. The lady behind us flashed her hidden Obama badge after she'd sized us up, and we chuckled over the voting results of small New Hampshire towns. Many craft types have made cute Obama badges with sequins and pretty textiles.
* If someone doesn't know the alphabet backwards and forwards, they shouldn't have a job that requires finding names (many unusual) in an alphabetical listing.
* At your district's desk you sign beneath your signature in the roll and then are issued with a card with your name and a number to give the machine operator. The lady gave me someone else's surname (and didn't correct it when I pointed it out), and gave several of us identical numbers (maybe only one of our votes would have counted). There were more competent staff nearby, who corrected things when we pointed this out.
* You aren't allowed to bring an NZ friend into the voting booth with you to giggle over the decrepit machinery. They notice the extra pair of legs poking out beneath the curtain.
* In addition to the Democrat and Republican tickets there are other tickets like Independent and Family Whatsit and Socialist Whosits. Three of these tickets listed McCain and Palin for Pres/VP, and one listed Obama and Biden. Some of the parties didn't even have their own judges or other types running. If the only people on the ticket are from another party, how can the little party be considered to exist?
* The voting machine operator grinned broadly and shook my hand when I came out.
* Magical thinking may be at an all time high today. I've dedicated considerable effort to willing favorable results.
Hard News: Debate like it's 2008!,
As to the iTunes story, it's sounds less impressive in other articles:
A lump sum? Well, they're talking subscription plans too.
Free access for life? Maybe only for the life of the device or subscription. (DRMed to the hilt)
$20/$80? Some people say that's what Apple would pay the music companies; it could be a different charge to consumers.
And finally: how much of a premium would you pay on your iPod for free access, for life, to the entire iTunes library? The music companies reckon $80; Apple says $20. Emusic, as you might expect, smells an antitrust case brewing.
My experience in Greenwich Village, 1st time voting in the US (as opposed to Wellington) -
There were people outside of voting booths with signs for their candidates, trying to rope voters into conversation. Handmade "Hillary in the House 09!!!!" posters were plastered on the walls. Yeah, she's so urban.
"There's only been one Republican here this morning" said the man at the section 41 voting table as I signed my name. "Someone saw a limo pull over and went "Republican!"" joked the woman as she led me to the booth with black plastic curtains.
"Pull the lever all the way to the right, select your candidate, then pull the lever all the way back."
Yep, I can do this.
Or, maybe not. The machine is weird - huge old gray thing with heaps of empty space, small text, tiny little plastic levers and a two foot metal lever. All the Democratic candidates for the primary season were listed, past and present, so one could happily vote for Kucinovich or Edwards. They were labelled as President of the United States - huh? I don't think we're at that stage yet. Beneath some of the names there were heaps of delegates, also with levers. There were three sets of instructions, each varying slightly, in three different languages (so 9 sets total).
I followed the instructions at the top - select ONE candidate, pull little lever, get 'x' next to their name, then pull big lever. But I could have voted for all the delegates beneath someone's name, or a mixture of delegates from different candidates. Hopefully voting for a specific candidate implies that you want all their delegates.
If I had a strong opinion I'd have asked for help with the machine. But it had been difficult deciding, what with Hilary's huge support among swinging-voter Hispanics in swing States, and having seen Barack at Washington Sq give one of his inspirational speeches. My evangelical relatives hate the Clintons in a furious way, satan walking in the world etc, so it isn't just Obama supporters who note she's divisive. If I pulled the levers correctly, I went with OB, and if I didn't, I'm not fussed. I will now search out instructions on how to successfully use the beastly machines :)
Irrelevant clarification of random reason to be happy - The coast of Utopia is a trilogy in the sense that Trois couleurs is. Most people watched the three plays separately, often months apart, and at those prices many just saw one. Or none, if you're a cheap bastard like me. So not eight hours of dedicated watching.
Nonetheless, yey Stoppard for engaging our brains.
Legally Blonde the musical was nominated for 7 Tonys...