Green Voicemail

Friday, July 30, 2004

It's New Toys Time!

And new toys all around. The first of the new toys is using the "compose" function in Blogspot. No more slogging through HTML code that seems to differ from browser to browser and web site to website. We'll try the WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") editor and see what happens.

Visited my favorite spots today at Tradesports and at Election Projection. For those not inclined to visit, EP has Kerry over Bush 275-263 in electoral votes and 50-48 in the popular vote. Tradesports has Bush over Kerry 274-264 in electoral votes, but surprisingly enough, Kerry beats Bush in the popular vote by approximately 53-46.

(I keep telling you, we need to prepare for another situation where Bush could get the Electoral College vote but lose the popular vote. Anyone have any ideas, besides, "Hail, Bush"?)

However, I found my newest of new toys at This site rocks. What you can do is generate an election prediction map of just about any kind! Do you want to include the Nader factor? Reject it? Think Zogby is too conservative? Want to block Zogby results from the generator? Then this is the thing you've been looking for!

Oh, and their prediction? Kerry over Bush, 306-232 in electoral votes.

But you really don't need complicated polls to predict the Election. Mark Shields from
CNN explains:

Here is the secret decoder ring of 2004 presidential politics. Recall that the 2000 race between Democrat Al Gore and George W. Bush was about as close to a dead-heat finish as possible.

Here are questions you simply ask yourself between now and Election Day: 1) How many people do you know or meet who voted for Al Gore in 2000 and who now say they intend to switch and vote for George W. Bush in 2004, and 2) How many people do you know or meet who voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and now intend not to vote for him in 2004?

From my own limited and admittedly unrepresentative samplings, the second group -- with six months still to go in this campaign -- is larger than the first group, and if that turns out to be the case, then John Kerry will be the first former naval officer from Massachusetts to win the White House in 44 years.

Try it for yourself, and let me know what you find.

posted by Green Voicemail 7/30/2004 12:51:00 PM

All She Wants For An Anniversary Present Is A Blog

Well, my wife and I are down to sunny Atlanta for a celebration of our two year wedding anniversary. Two years...who would have thunk it?

What are our plans? My wife will get to do what she likes to do best -- shop. And I will get to do what I like to do best -- watch baseball, Braves vs. Mets, in the cheap seats.

Oh, yeah, and one other thing my wife wants...a blog. A political blog. No joke. I'm assuming that it's going to be a left of center blog, just not as left as I'd like it to be. No big whoop. I like what my wife said about my quandary regarding political blogs/personal blogs/anything. She said, "Hey, they're not paying you, so it's not like you have some sort of obligation to keep the blog up to date, anyway."

So, in the interim time, I might set my wife up with a blog. How she wants to run her blog in blogland is her business. Just opinions are NOT my wife's opinions. And my wife's opinions are not MY opinions. I'm surprised that with that many couples and married people that populate this great big world, that there are so many people out there who can't tell the difference.

posted by Green Voicemail 7/30/2004 11:45:00 AM

Sunday, July 25, 2004

The New Civil Service

A friend of mine is planning on going to Iraq. Voluntarily. No shit.

I point you out to the Job Search Engine at Halliburton, Inc. This will give you a list of all the positions from KBR (Kellogg, Brown, and Root) which are hiring. In Iraq.

I talked to my friend today. Apparently, his brother had lost a sales job and applied on-line with KBR and is now in Iraq. My friend's brother has talked him into applying and going.

As far as I can make it out, here's the deal. You go to Iraq. You work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. You work for four months at a time. At the end of a four month period, you get a two week vacation. Then you come back and complete the cycle until a year has passed.

At the end of this time, you get $150,000. Tax free.

My friend has serious medical problems -- not anything that stops him from doing what he wants to do, but enough to require a lot of medication. Furthermore, he has a mortgage to pay. He sees this as the solution to his financial problems. So he's going. And he's trying to convince another mutual friend of ours to go as well, so that she can pay off her student loans.

And all you have to do is go to Iraq and live on a military base. While the soldiers making a quarter of that -- if they're lucky -- have the 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job of protecting you.

It's a shame these are the choices being offered to people in need. It really is. May the Atheist God keep me or my family from ever having to consider such an offer.

posted by Green Voicemail 7/25/2004 08:39:00 PM


My wife wants a blog entry. So I'm going to give you a blog entry, about political blogging, personal blogging, and the "change of life".

Mark Twain never believed in the statement, "never put all your eggs in one basket". Instead, he wrote, "put all your eggs in one basket...and WATCH THAT BASKET!" He had the kind of concentrated effort that I approve of.

One of the reasons I don't write more -- either for my wife's pleasure or my own -- is because my effort, so to speak, is like a sawed-off shotgun, little pellets flying off in multiple directions. Right now, I have a) the political blog, Green Voicemail, that you're reading here, b)a personal diary blog which is even less populated with posts than GVM, and c) participation in an on-line fandom which, no matter how hard I try to get away from it, keeps pulling me back in if only to read about all of the dysfunctional personalities there. Add to that little computer games, television, and...well, that leaves about, oh, just enough time per week to write this blog entry here.

Writing GVM would be a lot easier if only two things were true:

a) There weren't so many good political blogs out there already. I mean, just about everyone that's a featured blog on the right hand of this page is a "good blogger". In particular, Steve Gilliard, although I think Steve has an advantage over the rest of us (except for maybe Mustang Bobby) -- I suspect Gilliard was at one time a professional writer, or tried to be. As a result, he has a wonderful concentration of effort that results in him writing great posts where he hits the target just about all the time. When your read Gilliard, you feel like you're watching an All-Star. Whereas, when I read my own writing, I feel like I'm a phone call away from playing in AAA. I'm beginning to sense an unnecessary duplication of effort here.

b) There weren't a slew of changes in my life that I still haven't come to terms with. Not yet, anyway.

I'll explain.

I've always loved computers. Have been a big fan of computers, and when I graduated high school, I wanted to major in computer science. However, there was also a college I wanted to go to, and as it turned out, there was no major in computer science there. So I majored in mathematics, minored in computer science, and prepared myself for a career in mathematics -- which, unfortunately, didn't turn out the way I had planned, since I could just squeak through with my natural brilliance in college but had to STUDY in graduate school. So I was hopeless, and abstract algebra was something I couldn't quite wrap my mind around. To top that off, the first pangs of depression I began feeling in college flared up into a full-blown episode in grad school.

So I kicked around in the wilderness for about three years after three years of grad school and no degree to show for it. I got a degree in nursing out of sheer desperation. Hated the subject. Studying for it was horrible; it was as far removed from mathematics as the Boston Philharmonic is from a two year old banging pots and pans together. Somehow, I perservered and am a registered nurse; have been for almost ten years now.

My love of computers, however, remained strong. Somehow, while at the community college which served as a nursing school, I found the Internet in 1993 or 1994. Whenever I wasn't studying (and I forced myself to study, somehow), I was on the Internet, floating around. I finally graduated with my RN degree, passed the state boards and by October 1995, I was finally a thirty year old man with his first REAL job, besides working at McDonald's during the wilderness years.

With this sudden windfall of money, my first major purchase was an IBM Aptiva in December 1995. I discovered a Play-By-E-Mail (PBEM) roleplaying game devoted to Star Trek, and...I was off, full gallop. Real life was just something to fit in outside of my computer time. I roleplayed, surfed, found Internet porn. It was all good.

It got better when I found who I call "the Ex" in the online roleplaying community. She lived in Pennsylvania, I lived in Kentucky. So we did the long distance romance thing, then she moved to Kentucky, and then, when she got a job at the United Nations, we both moved to New York.

Now mind you, I could spend a LOT of time on the computer. So could the Ex, as a matter of fact. We each had our little computer, both were hooked up to the Internet, and we would both type away furiously. When the Ex and I finally decided to call it quits (after a lot of pyrotechnics), I moved to Queens, but I still had my friend -- my computer.

During this time, I was involved in a second on-line community as well. Since I didn't want to be drinking at the same lake as The Ex, I left the old community and picked up on the second one...where I found, guess what, ANOTHER Internet romance. Disaster Lad strikes again!

Only this time, no disaster, no Disaster Lad. This was the future Mrs. Tinheart.

Mrs. Tinheart and I decided mutually that the only people in the world who understood each other were each other. This was serious, a lot more serious than the Ex, if only for the simple reason that the fiery crash of my relationship with The Ex made me ten times more aware of the pitfalls of a real relationship. So we bided our time, very carefully, to see if there was going to be anything that either of us couldn't stand about the other.

With that in hand, we got married, and Mrs. Tinheart went right after me like an episode of Queer Eye. Lots of repair work was going to be done. The furniture went out the window, the underwear and socks were condemned to death. I was re-dressed. I would get good haircuts. I would get my teeth worked on. I would get away from hospitals and nursing homes. I would get treatment for my depression. So sayeth Mrs. Tinheart.

And lo, it was a good thing.

Now, here's the problem. I still love my computer. But I love Mrs. Tinheart, as well. I realize that a relationship has to be maintained. You can't spend all day in front of the damned computer!

My problem, as it were, is that I'm still thinking like I'm a thirty-year old man with no responsibilities to anything than paying the bills, eating frozen pizza and playing games on the computer. I'm still thinking that I have all the time in the world, when I don't. That I can spend 16 hours on the computer every day (don't laugh).

The problem is, I'm not that person any more.

So what goes?

Do you give up the on-line diary? Or do you combine the diary into Green Voicemail? Or do you stop working on the magnum-opus-to-end-all-magnum-opuses that you've been working on for the past few months in the on-line community (it's really annoying because I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel)?

Where do those eggs go? Which basket do you put them in?

Is there really enough interesting going on my life to warrant an on-line diary?

Does the world really NEED another left-wing political blog?

Will you finally be able to break away from that on-line community or will you sucker yourself back into it?

Because right now, I'm doing three things and I'm doing them at less than one-third speed each.

And now, all of the readers of Green Voicemail are finally aware of the dice cup that is my mind.

posted by Green Voicemail 7/25/2004 04:09:00 PM

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