Friday, August 29, 2008

Democratic National Convention - Denver, CO

5 days in Denver, Colorado. Lots of democrats, lots of people in suits, hot sunny weather lots of traffic, some interested people, a few scattered interviews, lots of protesters.
That's my impression about the Democratic National Convention. It's tough to write on so many days, so I'll break it down for you.

Work: We worked 10-12 hour days Monday - Thursday. We put a lot of money into this week to get a parking spot and do a few events, but it did not pay off. Mostly there were just a lot of random people walking around. Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty busy, but Monday and Thursday were slow. We were right across from the Colorado Convention Center and about a half mile away from the Pepsi Center, where most of the big activities were. We had two press credentials so we could get into the Pepsi Center and into the media areas. So, two of us were there trying to get the press to write stories on us or to visit the bus and two of us were at the bus. I really can't think of too many highlights. I did meet Michael Dukakis on Thursday at the bus. I happened to be the only one there at the time, so it was cool showing him around. I also saw Mitt Romney and Al Sharpton. I watched Michelle Obama speak along with Claire McCaskill. The Pepsi Center was packed. It was pretty cool. Lots of excitement and buzz in the air. Mostly, though, we were pretty tired by the time the big speeches came around so I didn't go see them. I watched the Obama speech at the Hard Rock Cafe, even there people were clapping and cheering. That was pretty cool.
But overall work was disappointing. I did a few interviews, but nothing too great. I like the regular bus tour much better.

Politics - Obviously most people there were big democrats, but there are still a few things you can take from the Convention. I feel Obama's final speech was good, but a pretty typical stump speech. At the convention you want to get people excited, get people hype, and not give away too much to your opponent. I feel Hilary's speech and Bill's speech were actually better, and more important to the party. Dems need to get Hilary voters to back Obama. We talked to one huge Hilary supporter who said she will not vote for Obama. That seems crazy to me. She will not vote for McCain either, but she was still so upset that Hilary was not the nominee. The Dems are in trouble if that is the trend. My colleague Jon pointed out that during the primaries democrats were split on sex and race, something hard to reconcile over. If they were both white old men, there would be no trouble once one was nominated, all the other's supporters would just join on. Not the case here.
I like the choice of Joe Biden as VP. He brings what Obama us lacking. An experienced white man who is strong on foreign policy. I like his keep-it-real style. His speech was kinda disappointing, though.
I feel in this current political climate Obama should be smoking McCain, but that is not the case. It will be an interesting fall.

People- Lots of people around. Lots of people just looking for free stuff. Like usual, most people that take the time to listen to what we have to say end up really being fans of Project Vote Smart.
Lots of young delegates around, lots of African-Americans. Lots of vendors selling stuff.
It's cool to see the families and stuff, all interested in the political process.

Protesters- Abortion pictures are gross. That was the most common thing people were protesting against. Lots of riot-geared police around and lots of police in general. The perimeter around the Pepsi Center got bigger everyday. Long security lines. It seemed to me that the police had everything under control. The first night we were there we had to leave the bus and clear the area. Then we heard these booms and flashing lights. I guess the police were sending a message to any potential protesters with concussion blasts or whatever they are. Pretty cool.

Rock the Vote- Rock the vote is lame. They were parked right in front of us in the same parking lot. I mean, registering people to vote is great, but they really are far from nonpartisan. They have corporate sponsorship and seem to stress certain progressive issues. They rely on celebrity endorsements and corporate money, pretty much the opposite of PVS. The best they could muster up at the Convention were a few WWE "Superstars" who I never heard of and a couple American Idol rejects. Also their tactics are a bit sketchy. They knew they would register very few people, so instead they were looking for volunteers to go out an register people and in order to get a free T-shirt you had to "volunteer". Rock the Vote will then use these "volunteer" numbers when releasing info to the press, saying something like "800 people were volunteering to register voters all over the city", when in actuality, they just gave out 800 shirts.
Maybe I'm just a hater.

Buses- Buses seem all the rage this year. I saw a Daily Show Bus, a CSPAN election bus, a CNN Election Bus, Rock the Vote was more a truck, there was a Breast Cancer Awareness bus, a ONE bus, a American Stories bus, a Maker's Mark Rock the Vote Bus, a bus called the Bus Legacy, and a New Mexico Tourism Bus. Oh, and our PVS bus. Pretty much despite the huge media presence, there was too much else going on for PVS to get attention. Boo-urns.

All and all it was an interesting week. I got to see a lot of things I've never seen before. It was hard work, sometimes fun. Denver was a cool city.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix was a lot like how the bus tour was a few months ago. Mostly, because we didn't have to drive super far and had time to go out in Phoenix. We parked in a nice downtown spot for our stop the next morning. Oh, and damn, it was hot! Over 100. We went to a sports bar/restaurant. It was pretty slow for downtown and mostly had older people. Drinks were cheap, and the bar tender was friendly. So it was ok. My busmate Jon said one profound thing about babies, something to this effect "The thing I don't like about kids is, you can change them, feed them, let them sleep - give them everything they want and need and they still f-ing cry" Yeah, thought I'd share that profound statement with. He also had another gem about Arizona and the climate and vegetation and people living there, but it had a few too many f-bombs to put on here.
The stop in Phoenix blew. It was one of my more boring days. I cleaned the bus in fact. We were parked outside the American Legion National Convention, but talked to few people. I even had to bus out the soccer ball I was so bored. And it was still real hot.
Grade: D (one radio station came)

P.S. That night sleeping on the bus was ridiculous. A few beers in your system and then 90+ degrees on the bus makes for incredible night sweats. It looked like I spilled an entire bottle of water on my bed. Pretty gross.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Most Obscure African Countries

Alright, here's a post for those of you that are not too into the bus tour blogs. I understand, sometimes they aren't too exciting. So, I decided to pull out another Family Feud category.
This one is tough. We are heading to the great continent of Africa. We are looking for:

The Most Obscure African Countries
(Criteria here for me is pretty much I've never heard of this place except when looking at a map of Africa, which I have done many times in the past. Really. So, no real soccer success, throws out Togo, no Genocide or civil war (or at least extreme, publicized genocide or civil war), sorry Rwanda, and I'm going for mainland Africa, so no Sao Tome & Principe.

8. ) Central African Republic- It is what it is called, just a country in the center of Africa.

7.) Malawi - I met a white kid from here in England. He was a bit weird, really funny, guess that'll happen being one of like 1,000 white people in Malawi. He told me his dad would give him as much money for an entire night out than he would give his servants for an entire year. Wow!

6.) Burkina Faso- Don't know much about this one. Very Poor. Weird name so people might remember it. Also saw it on The Amazing Race.

5.) Burundi - One of those countries by Rwanda and Tanzania. Maybe Victoria Falls is up there too.

4.) Equatorial Guinea - Yeah, real small one in Southern West Africa. Despite its name, the equator actually does not pass through.

3.) Guinea - Has a gulf, a few other countries, an Italian racial slur, and a pig named after it, but I couldn't tell you a thing about it.

2) Gabon - I'm guessing about 2% of Americans (too high?) know that Gabon is a country. But very not, Jeff Probst will be introducing America to it in the next volume of Survivor. Yes!

1.) Guinea-Bissau - Is that a person, place, or thing?

There you go kids, your geography lesson for the week. Now go find these places on your map.

Yuma, AZ

So, the election season hasn't really heated up (it should next week with the conventions starting), but the weather is. 108 degrees in Yuma, AZ and 110 in Phoenix, still 103 at 9PM. Really, that is just too hot. Why do people live here? How much money is spent to cool buildings and make grass green? Pretty ridiculous if you ask me.
But, Yuma is the type of city that PVS will get a lot of play in. We did a live morning show. They went live to us 4 times between 6:30 and 7:00. It was fun stuff. The reporter was quite cute, but has nothing on my girlfriend and is working in Yuma, so can't be too successful. I did two other interviews. Both were real quick. The morning people and the other two stations both said that I was a good interview, that I got out good sound bites and answered the questions well without them having to set it up. That was cool to hear. What can I say? I'm a professional.
Seriously, though, I'd take the cold over the excessive hot anytime.

Grade:B (not enough people in Yuma to go any higher)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

San Diego, CA

Yes, Spanish for Whale's Vagina.
San Diego was not bad. The weather was real nice. I woke up, went for a run next to the ocean, pretty great. We were at Ocean Beach. Lots of skaters, surfers, tattoo shops, and evidently, it's no longer cool to wear shirts. Lots of young people about. Lots of white people. The beach was cool, but I think Pacific Beach was much better. It's kind of funny I've been to San Diego twice this year. This time I didn't even feel the need to go swimming.
Ok, our stop was in the afternoon when the farmer's market just miraculously popped up. Three TV stations came to check us out, but none of them were from the major networks. Lots of attractive young ladies (Sorry Carla, I just call it how I see it). Apparently short shorts are still in style in San Diego and it's cool for them to be so short that your pockets come out of the bottom. Hmm. Lots of JB out there, so visitors beware.
People were generally not nice, seemed as though they thought they were too cool for voting. They just wanted to buy their vegan products. Also, they didn't even reserve a parking spot for us. There was this one member lady who came to help out, an man, she was annoying. One of those liberals who still brings up the 2000 election. And whenever we would get someone to come over to the table and be talking to them, she would just butt in and take over. Geez, I do this everyday. I think I can talk to people a little better than you.
But a fun day overall.

Grade: B+
One last side note, pretty much all the shops and restaurants had signs that restrooms where for customers only, and I had a little too much Mexican food, and like I mentioned before, no pooping on the bus, so suffice to say, I had to become a customer at a few places. Well, worth the cost, though

Los Ageles, CA

We took the bus to the big city of LA. Driving a 45-foot bus in LA traffic is not too fun.
We parked the bus at the Original Farmer's Market. And, it may have originally been a farmer's market, but now it's more of an outdoor shopping mall. It was near Beverly Hills. It was trendy, but not too trendy. It'd say it was a hodgepodge of people. You'd see a guy in a wife-beater and then a girl in a Prada dress. Every age and race, lots of tourists. You can tell you Europeans by the black socks. Not too many people were interested in Project Vote Smart. No media either.
Yeah, LA is ok. I think my few bus visits are enough, though. I know I'd never want to live there and I can think of many places I'd rather vacation to.
After the stop we stuck around for a while to avoid the worst of the traffic. Adjacent to the market was another outdoor shopping mail, with pretty much all the semi-trendy stores like Nordstrum's and Crate & Barrel . Apparently it is a big deal because it is one of the few places in the city with grass. (man that sucks) The have concerts and movies and things and a lot of nice restaurants. Lots of good looking people, lots of people in general, lots of disposable income. A cool place to walk around, but not the place for me.

Grade: C-

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

San Jose, CA

It's been a few busy days for us. Well, mostly for Jon the driver.
We had to drive 11 hours from Albany, OR to Sacramento. Then Sunday we started at 8:00am there and worked until noon. Then we had to drive a little under 3 hours to San Jose to work 3:00-5:00pm. Then after that we had to drive to LA, which should have been about a 7 hour drive, but turned into and 11:00 drive because I-5 was completely shut down for a short stretch. Yes, the entire interstate was closed. We didn't arrive until 5:00am and had to get the bus to the shop to get serviced at 8:00am. Man, life on the road. Don't feel bad for me, though. Feel bad for Jon the driver.
Ok, Sacramento was weak. We were at a flea market. About half the people there did not speak English.
San Jose was pretty good. We got the the newspaper out and 3 TV stations. About time. One of them was Univision and none of us could speak Spanish. The reporter could, but he wanted a Spanish sound bite and waited around over an hour to get one. I hope that worked out for him.
But, yeah, it was finally a busy media day for me. Good stuff. And, a former intern friend of ours came out. The bus tour is great for seeing people you normally wouldn't see. Pretty cool.

Grade: A- (Only two hours and lots of good media. That is the favorite type of stop for me.

Interesting picture. I look real confused. "Huh? Whaaa?" And like the other picture a few posts ago, I look super short. I mean, I'm short, but not a hobbit. It looks like this guy and the previous guy would have to throw me on his back to travel through caves and mountain passes and things. Not the best angle for me I guess.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Albany, OR

So, I think it shows from these blog posts, but this time out on the bus is much less interesting than my previous times. It's been slow. Not many people to talk about. Not much media either.
Yesterday we were in Albany, Oregon, a small town of 50,000. It was our busiest day yet. There were a lot of people there who were big fans of Project Vote Smart. The days are more fun and go by more quickly when there are people to talk to.
So it was a good day, but still, it was just Albany, OR.
Grade: B-

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eugene, OR

This is a Big Dunc Bus Tour Special Report. You get a little review of Eugene, Oregon even though we did not have a stop there.
We went there to visit a former co-worker of ours, Party Marty. The name says all you need to know. We went there Thursday night after Portland and we had Friday off. So, Party Marty showed us a good time.
I thought Eugene was a pretty good time. Lots of people were out for a Thursday night when school was out of session. Lots of dudes. Lots of designer T-shirts. Not many good-looking girls. But the drinks were flowing and the people were nice.
Friday we slept late, were lazy, got to chill in a house as opposed to on a bus, went swimming and got a nice home-cooked meal. No complaints, all and all a nice day off.
I definitely would give Eugene a higher grade than anywhere we've gone so far. If only we actually took the bus there.

Portland, OR

Portland, OR aka Hippie-land.
It was 95 degrees in Portland Oregon. We again went to a Farmer's Market. And dang, there were a lot of neo-hippie liberals there. I may have mentioned it before, but I am weirded out by hippies.
The stop was weak and boring, so I'll just make some observations about the people I saw.
Ok, these farmer's market patrons are weird to me. They seem to hate socks. They seem to dislike bras. They seem to dislike face-was and antiperspirant - lots of Sweaties out there, but maybe that was just due to the heat. Lots of women who appeared to be in their late 30's and maybe 40's had babies. The food their is expensive. There are massive amounts of self-satisfaction when a purchase is made. These people just love the fact that they are buying from the farmer's market. I bet they are just like "Yes! I bought local."
But, maybe I just don't understand that lifestyle. Maybe it's great.
Grade: D+

Olympia, WA

Last stop in Washington. This one was pretty boring again. We started hitting the farmer's market circuit, similar to the college circuit in the spring. We were about a block away, and not many people ventured our way. The market was pretty busy. One newspaper came. A good amount of hippies about. The stop was again organized by the League of Women Voters.
I got a free sample of a smoothie. That was probably the highlight of the morning. Yeah!

(Steven M. Herppich/The Olympian)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tacoma, WA

uAnother day in Washington State. We were parked in Tacoma Central Plaza. I thought it would be like a downtown park or something. I should have know better. It was just a strip mall with a Target, Pet Smart, and Office Max. Suffice to say, it was VERY slow day. One reporter from a small radio station in Seattle came out. She was straight hippie and loved Project Vote Smart.

This was the second stop in a row put together by the League of Women Voters. These women are interesting. I've put together my observations on them in my dealings with them on the bus and planning the bus. They are interesting. Never under 50, very upity. I put them into 3 categories.
First, old women who are now widowed. They no longer have husbands to care for and go gung-ho into the LWV. Two, old women who were to needy to ever get married. They were most likely independent when younger and didn't feel the need to get married. Probably, about 50 years later they realized they wasted their lives and become married to the League as some sort of consolation. Three, younger old women whose children have moved out, probably far away and are now bored, thus join the League. Sorry if I offended any League of Women Voters supports with these incredibly overarching, judgmental conclusions.
Moral of the story, the League of Women Voters is much less cool than the Justice League.

On a positive note, a League member from the first category, took us out for a free dinner. Yes!
She was pretty funny and talkative. She took us to her house, to dinner, to pick up blueberries, to see mural, ad showed us the city. She knew we were interested in very little of this, but did it anyways. It was a fun time, or as fun as being kidnapped by two old ladies in Tacoma, WA can be.
Oh, and a semi hit our trailer, so we had to fix that during the day too. All in a day on the bus.

Grade: Being able to see Mt. Rainer raises it to a D- , free dinner raises it to a D

Yakima, WA

There's a reason why no one has ever heard of Yakima, Washington. There isn't too much going on there. It is in the middle the state and not the most exciting.
We parked the bus outside a grocery store. And talked to very few people. We did make the newspaper and one TV station came out. That made it an ok day.
That is about it.
Grade: C+

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fantasy (English) Football

So, last year my friends and I started an English Fantasy Football League. It's tough to find a good fantasy league for the English Premier League, so my friends and decided to make our own. It's pretty easy. Teams are 16 players, 11 starters, 5 bench, playing a 4-4-2 system. You get points for goals, shutouts, assists, team of the week and negative for goals against and red cards.
Sunday we participated in our second live draft. Unfortunately the draft took place in St. Francis, WI and I was traveling through the mountains of Idaho at the time, but I did my best nevertheless.
Below I will assess my draft as well as the league. Hopefully you will find this interesting.

Round 1
1. Christiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)- obviously the best player in the league, no question on who to pick. I guess you could compare him to Tomlinson in his best years.
2. Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal)- I had him rated as my top striker. The player with this pick loves Arsenal and obviously was going to pick an Arsenal player and this was the best choice.
3. Fernando Torres (Liverpool) - Top quality striker. Pretty risk free pick, will score goals and looked great in Euro 08
4. Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal) - 2nd best midfielder on my board, will produce goals as well as assists with a high scoring team.
5. Carlos Tevez (Manchester United) - Maybe a bit high. I don't see Tevez as a league leader or even challenging for the league lead in goals. Will get a lot of time with Rooney out, but we'll see what kind of rotation they will have with Berbatov coming over to Man. U.
6. Santa Cruz (Blackburn) - I don't like this pick. Santa Cruz had a surprise great year last year, scoring 19 goals and was not even drafted. But, I don't see a repeat this year. He loses one of his main servers in David Bentley and also I see Benny McCarthy having a much better year.
7. Wayne Rooney (Man United) - Due to injuries and red cards, Rooney never really puts up amazing fantasy numbers. He is a top player, don't I don't see him leading the league in goals or anything like that with such a stacked scoring team.
8.Frank Lampard (Chelsea) - Good pick. He could have went as high as #2 in some drafts. Barring injury, will be a high scorer.
9. Dean Ashton (West Ham) - Definitely a homer pick here for West Ham fan Joe. A quality striker, but team and injury history make him a second round pick at best.
10. Dimitri Berbatov (Man U)- Definitely right on at pick # 10. Move to Man U will be interesting
11. Didier Drogba (Chelsea) - Quality pick. Could lead the league in goals.

Round 2
12. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) One of the most consistent Premier League players of the past 5 years. Will get lots of points.
13. Robbie Keane (Liverpool) Good pick, scores lots of goals no matter where he is or how much he plays. Should fit in nice in Liverpool.
14. Ashley Young (Aston Villa) Great pick. I had him rated as #9 on my board. One of the best young players in England playing for on of the highest scoring teams, and he is listed as a midfielder when he is almost a striker.
15. John Terry (Chelsea) - First defender or goalkeeper taken. Nothing wrong with this pick. Should have lots of clean sheets and a few goals.
16. Vidic (Man U) - It's obvious there are only 4 teams you can count on for consistent shutouts and know they will never give up a large amount of goals (Chelsea, Man U., Arsenal, Liverpool) and each of those teams has only 2 or 3 players you can always pencil in the starting lineup. Vidic is one of those players, defenders are at a premium.
17. Reina (Liverpool) - First goalkeeper taken, maybe a bit early, and interesting to take Reina over Van der Sar or Cech.
18. Stuart Downing (Middlesboro) - Good midfielder, but more of a 4th round pick than a 2nd.
19. Yakubu (Everton) - "Feed the Yak and he will Score" Scouting reports say that Yakubu is fat, but on a team playing one striker, with such a quality midfield, he is bound to score goals.

20. Jermaine Defoe (Portsmouth) - Was the forgotten man at Tottenham, but played brilliantly when transfered to Pompey. Can he keep it up?
21. Michael Owen (Newcastle)- Seems a good pick for late 2nd early third round. Injury history is dense and plays for Newcastle
22. Michael Ballack (Chelsea) - Came on strong in the second half of last season and looked good in Euro '08

I won't go any further into the entire draft. I think the first two rounds give a good sample of how things go. Here are my picks:

1 (4) - Fabregas- I was hoping that I might be able to snag Adebayor at this pick, but that didn't happen. I had to decide between Fabregas, Lampard, and Drogba and went with Fabregas because I believed he was most consistent.
2. (19) Yakubu - I needed a reliable goalscorer and got it in Yakubu. And it doesn't hurt that he plays for my favorite team.
3. (26) Deco-Mid -Chelsea - Transfer from Barca. Transfers from other leagues always have some risk, but I see quality in Deco, especially in the middle with Lampard.
4. (41) Boswinga - Def- Chelsea - Another Portuguese transfer to Chelsea. This one was risky, as Chelsea has a lot of quality defenders, but I see him getting into the starting lineup a majority of the time.
5. (48) Theo Walcott- Mid- Arsenal- I see this guy having a breakout year. He is another midfielder on the boarder of being a striker. Produces whenever he is in the game. I like this pick.
6. (63) Andy Johnson - Striker- Fulham - Maybe a bit early for this pick, but I needed another starting striker. There were many still available, but I see AJ having a year similar to his one back at Crystal Palace
7. (7) Aaron Lennon - Mid - Tottenham - Another strong midfielder. I feel this is a very high quality pick for round 7
8. (85) Gary Neville - Def - Man U - This has the potential of being a very bad pick. I do feel he is better than Wes Brown and will be a starter.
9. (91) Ryan Nelsen - Def - Blackburn - I feel this pick was a big mistake. I could've gotten a Blackburn defender 6 rounds later. Should've taken a Villa defender and taken GK Robinson a few rounds later. This has the potential of ruining my team. Not smart drafting.
10. (107) Scott Carson - GK - West Brom - Another poor pick. I could've gotten Carson or a similar keeper much later.
11. (114) Robinho - OK. so this guy isn't actually in the league, but it rumored to go to Chelsea. Thought I'd take a stab. If he comes, great, if not, I don't feel someone I could've gotten in round 11 would be much better than players I could get in round 12 or 13.
12. (129) Tom Huddlestone - Mid- Tot - I felt at this point, there were much fewer fantasy scoring midfielders around than defenders, so I went with Huddlestone,
13. (136) Leighton Baines - D - Everton
14. (151) Ben Haim - D - Man City - hoping he starts
15. (158) Steven Pienaar- M - Eve
16. (172) El Hadji Douif- S- Sunderland

I'm feeling pretty good about my team with the exception of rounds 9 and 10. If Deco preforms, Boswinga usually starts and Gary Neville starts I will be money. If Robinho comes to Chelsea even better. I also have a few transfers in mind which will make my team even better.

A few other notable picks.
Martin Petrov was a pretty good pick in round 6 as was Darren Bent
Nicky Shorey and Luke Young both good picks as Villa defenders in round 9. I see them and Brad Friedel helping Villa's weak D
Good picks for Junkie in rounds 7 and 8 with Defenders Carragher and Richards, but questionable with Anton Ferdinand in round 5
Good picks for Serg in rounds 9 and 10 with Joe Cole and Benjani (looking much better than last year)
Joe had some good midround picks with Phil Jagielka (7), Anderson (9) who I look to break into the starting line-up over Giggs and Scholes and Croat Corluka (10)
I'm impressed with the overall quality of Dustin's line-up. GK Gomes in round 11 could be a great pick along with defender Kaboul in the final round. If he starts over Campbell, that is a very nice pick.
Worth also looks good getting Friedel and Carvalho in rounds 7 and 8.
For Tyler Samba in round 13 and McCarthy in 11 are steals.
A few interesting (bad) picks - Danny Higgenbottom, Eddie Johnson, Steven Ireland, Liam Lawrence and Freddie Adu.

Overall I like Tyler's team along with Dustin and Worth's. If Arsenal is great, BJ will do great.
I don't see Raubert and Jesse doing as well as last season.
Well, hope I didn't bore you too much with all that.
Big Dunc!

Olympics - Part II

Well, another downer in my Olympic coverage. Last time it was no cable TV. This time it is the fact that I am on the west coast. So I believe Eastern and Central time get primetime Olympic coverage live (morning in China). But it is delayed 3 hours on the West Coast, so it says live, but is actually not. So anytime I go online or see ESPN at a restaurant, I already see the results. So, that awesome men's 100m relay, I already knew the result.
Good news, I won my bet. Romanian's women's team handball team won $1 for me.
In the next round of bets - Men's Water Polo. I had US over Italy, which won me a Choco Taco and Montenegro over Canada, who is currently leading 12-0, so it looks like another $1 for me. Yes!

The other cool story I saw was Togo winning their first ever Olympic medal, a bronze in whitewater kayaking. Pretty cool. The guy was born in France, and something makes me think that this isn't going to bring a slew of kids in Togo to the sport. I could just see the movie of the week, a young boy rises from the slums of Lome (Togo's capital) to the elite world of kayaking, while an entire nation cheers him on. Ok, maybe not. But, still very cool for Togo.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Spokane, WA

First stop for me on the bus this leg, Spokane Washington. Nothing too exciting, but it was my first time in Washington, well other than the airport.
We were at Washington State University-Spokane. School wasn't in session, so it was a pretty boring day. 1 TV station, 1 radio station and 1 newspaper came out. I had my colleague in our Montana office call the school's office who set up the stop to come down and check out the bus. They came like 20 deep, and we were busy for like a half hour, right when the reporters were there, so we didn't look too bush league, looked good in fact.
The people we did talk to were all real nice.
The city itself seemed like a midwest city, nothing to upscale or commercial, but a good place.
Not much else to report, but the Project Vote Smart bus is back on the road.

Grade: B

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympics - Part I

Well, the Olympics have begun. Most of what I saw of the Opening Ceremonies was at a bar with the sound off, but it looked cool. I enjoy all the outfits and love the countries with only one or two athletes. It was cool to see everyone so excited and the little boy with Yao Ming was nice.

Now on to the sports.
Let's see, yesterday morning saw some women's team handball. France vs. Angola. Big Rivalry.
Also saw women's Volleyball US/Japan and mens v-ball US/Venezuela. Yes, all classic match-ups.
Today was Redeem Team against China. It was entertaining. Lots of dunks. Really, I think the work has already been done. Just practicing and taking it seriously should be enough. All the players wanna play and win the gold. I don't see that not happening.
Also saw beach volleyball in the pouring rain, cycling in the rain and some swimming. Good day.

Unfortunately, I am on the bus right now and can only watch what is on NBC. Boo-urns. The plethora of Olympic coverage on MSNBC, Bravo, and all the rest is not available for me. Dang. So sorry, you won't get updates on random sports.
I did make my first random Olympic bet, though. I have a bet on Women's Team Handball China vs Romania. I took Romania and am not to confident with my pick.
C'mon Romania!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Blog Improvements

I need some feedback. I am attempting to improve the settings of this blog - appearance, url, etc.
I'm thinking first about changing the url, basically getting rid of the blogspot portion. This will only cost $10 so I don't mind. Unfortunately, is already taken. I could go with or Do you think either of these would be better than the blogspot one?
Second, I think I need some sort of logo. Anyone have any idea how to do that? Also, I might put some ads up and other search feature on the right side. Basically, I'm trying to take this blog out of the minor leagues. I feel the content is strong and we need more readers.


A few quick updates.

#1) I'll be back on the bus starting tomorrow. Yes! Provides for more work, more fun, more blog potential.

#2.) Olympics- yes I guess the opening ceremonies have already happened. And sports, or at least soccer started a few days ago. I've seen a lot of bloggers out there hating on the Olympics, but I for one love them. Once every four years I will watch swimming and track and field. And if you stay up late at night, you'll catch the occasional field hockey, water polo, or team handball match. Oh, and don't forget about Lebron, Kobe, D-Wade, Dwight Howard and the rest.
3.) Brett Favre - So I believe the saga is completed. Brett Favre is a member of the NY Jets. Weird.
But I am ok with it. It'll be much like Montana on the Chiefs might do ok and even make the playoffs, but as Montana is always a 49er, Favre is always a Packer. I wish he would of stayed retired, but this might be the best solution after the way things have gone down the past month.

See ya'll on the road!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Biggest Movie Douchebags

Alright, I've decided to put together a list of the biggest douchebags in movies. It's a tough list to compile. For one, it's sometimes hard to define a d-bag, and two, there are so many of them out there in cinema. For my purposes, a douchebag is a jerk and an a-hole with a horrible personality that somehow thinks themself awesome and superior to everyone else.
So you'll have some characters that are jerks and awful and you totally hate, but they aren't really d-bags, sometimes they are even worse, but not D-Bags. Think the Nazi guy in Schindler's List, Commodus in Gladiator, and and Bob Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird. Horrible characters and fit some of the criteria, but something else more complex is going on there.
The D-bag is also pretty formulaic. They usually aren't in great movies, but comedies and sports movies where you need a super hateable villain.
Make sense? Oh, you know what a douchebag is.

Honorable Mention: Joey in 10 Things I Hate About You, the Black Panther Boyfriend in Forest Gump, the towns people in Hoosiers, Remember the Titans, and Radio, the owner in Major League - gosh, why would you not want your team to win, and the crazy badass Indian in Last of the Mohicans. That guy was such a douche even his fellow Indians called him out. Ouch

15.) Old Mom - Goonies

Um, I heard someone say women can't be d-bags, but I think not. Have you seen this movie? She is a d-bag. Just hateful, super unlikeable. Horrible mother, wants to kill young kids. Her two normal sons obviously have some emotional problems, possibly slight learning disabilities. Her other son, possibly with some physical abnormalities/hideous disfigurements is locked in the basement. Wow, that is horrible. And she is u-g-l-y.

14.) William Tavington/Lucius Malfoy- The Patriot/Harry Potter

I went for the Jason Isaacs double here. He is very good at playing a douchebag. Lucius Malfoy is obvious, but I think the role in The Patroit is even better. He is such a dandy! and you hate him so much for killing Mel Gibson's kids. Gosh. I'm getting fired up just thinking about it. Congratulations Jason Isaacs, you are a douchebag!

13.) Captain Bligh- Mutiny on the Bounty
Well, I watched this movie on Sunday. I was hoping for the Mel Gibson/Anthony Hopkins version, but ended up with the Marlon Brando version. Either way Captain Bligh is a huge douche. Man. What a dick! Just not a nice man, horrible leader, and just bad on all accounts. Watch the movie if you can, either one.

12.) Biff - Back to the Future

The classic bully-douchebag. Man this guy thinks he is so cool, but really sucks. Even as like a 90 year-old man he is still a huge douche, and when he was rich, man, even worse, killing Marty's dad and marrying his wife. D-B Hates manure.

11.) Prince Humperdinck - The Princess Bride

Yes, a classic d-bag. A dandy indeed. Steals a woman he wants. Lies to her. Kills her true love.
Tries to marry her real fast. Lies to her some more. Jerk,

10.) Italians - Breaking Away

Italians are douchebags, it is true. Haha, not always, but at least in this case. For those of you who haven't seen Breaking Away, it's about a cyclist, who idolizes Italian racers. He learns Italian, sings Opera, even shaves his legs to be like the Italians. Then the Italians are coming to his home area and he is SUPER excited. He is doing great in the race. It's just him and the Italians in the front and they jam a metal rod into his spokes and he crashes like crazy. Man, totally dreams lost. D-bag Italians, just like almost dying from a headbutt.

9.) Eric - Billy Madison

Yes, another d-bag I love.

Carl: I ate some Triscuit crackers in the car, you should have had some.
Eric: Well, maybe if you told me they were delicious Triscuit crackers I could have enjoyed them with you.
Carl: I'm sorry.
Eric: Well, "sorry" doesn't put the Triscuit crackers in my stomach now, does it Karl?

Priceless. Plus the weasel laugh. Gotta love it. And the weird balls, and going crazy over business ethics.

8.) 0'Bannion - Dazed and Confused

The stereotypical high school d-bag. Good role for Ben Affleck. Paddle and everything. Got the paint in the end.
Also seems so much more of a d-bag because Matthew McConnaughey was so cool.

7.) Deans - Animal House and Old School

This may be an injustice to dean Wormer, but Jeremy Piven's character is obviously based on him. These guys are both definitely haters. What's wrong with fun. Both got theirs in the end, but the one in Old School's wife did not sleep with one of the students. Dang.
P.S. I also considered Craig Kilbourn's character from Old School, definitely a d-bag, but I kind of liked him.

6.) Principal - Ferris Beuller's Day Off

Seriously, what did this guy have up his ass? Why did he have such a hard-on for Ferris? Man, you are the Principal Rooney, worry about your school and not just one kid. Thanks to Charlie Sheen for Ferris's sister not being on the list.
P.S. I believe this guy (the actor not the principal, well, maybe him too) is a sex offender now.

5.) Warden - Shawshank Redemption
This guy my not seem to much like a d-bag on the surface, but he fits the bill. Stealing tax money, turning a blind eye to all prison abuse, putting Andy in the hole for refusing to work for him, and worst killing the young prisoner that could've proven Andy was innocent. He stayed true to his d-bag ways until the end and did not even take the rap for what he did. Instead, he killed himself. Douchebag.

4.) Cal Hockley - Titanic
Look at this mutherfucker. You can already see douchebag. And his name pretty much lets you know the deal too. I don't remember too much from the movie except for him KIDNAPPING A BABY to get onto a rescue boat. Damn d-bag.

3.) Family - Million Dollar Baby
These people made me angry when I saw the movie, might not be d-bags by definition, but I really wanted to punch these people in the stomach. First off Maggie's family didn't really care for her growing up. And two instances were pretty horrible. One when Maggie bought her mother a new house and she pretty much told her she hated it because of all the taxes and wow, sucked. And two, when Maggie is paralyzed and depressed in the hospital, her family only visits her for 5 minutes, all decked out in their gear from Disney World. Dang, I've done a horrible job describing these events, but if you saw the movie you should hate them too.

2.) Sensi - Karate Kid

Wow! This guy is great. Such a huge douchebag. A great movie character. There is potential from a number of douchebags in Karate Kid - Johnny, Tommy, Dutch- but they all get it from this guy. True colors are seen when Daniel wins the tournament and Jonny congratulates him and John Kreese, that's his name in the movie, punches out two windows. Yes.

Kreese: Fear does not exist in this dojo, does it?
Karate Class: NO, SENSEI!
Kreese: Pain does not exist in this dojo, does it?
Karate Class: NO, SENSEI!
Kreese: Defeat does not exist in this dojo, does it?
Karate Class: NO, SENSEI!

We do not train to be merciful here. Mercy is for the weak. Here, in the streets, in competition: A man confronts you, he is the enemy. An enemy deserves no mercy.

Kreese: What do we study here?
Kreese: And what is that way?
Kreese: I can't hear you.

This is a karate dojo, not a knitting class. You don't come into my dojo, drop a challenge and leave, old man. Now you get your boy on the mat, or you and I will have a major problem.

Kreese: Bobby - I want him out of commission.
Bobby: But Sensei, I can beat this guy!
Kreese: I don't want him beaten.
Bobby: But I'll be disqualified!
Kreese: [icily] Out of commission.

1.) Walter Peck - Ghosterbusters
"It's true, this man has no dick."
I believe Walter Peck's sole purpose in the movie was to be a d-bag. He has all the criteria, an asshole who thinks he is better than everyone else, and causes harm to the leading characters for no reason. This guy just epitomizes douche. Man, the suit, the language, the arrest of the ghostbusters and busting out of the warrent, taking his job WAY too seriously. Man. You hate him from the instant he is on the screen.

Walter Peck
: Hold it! I want this man arrested! Captain, these men are in criminal violation of the Environmental Protection Act! And this explosion is a direct result of it!
You hate him so much you gotta love him.

In the end was doused with scalding hot marshmallow, was probably funny in the movie, but looking back in it, he was probably very badly burned.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Michael Dukakis

I like Michael Dukakis. He scored me credentials for the Democratic National Convention. (Don't worry, as this is a completely non-partisan blog, I will also be attending the Republican National Convention.) And he is a handsome man.