Monday, October 20, 2008

A busy weekend

I'm recovering a bit today from a whirlwind of a weekend, even by my own standards. Aside from following the case of the missing 6-year-old boy who happily was found late Saturday -- necessitating my attendance at a 12:30 a.m. press conference on Sunday -- I also had to go cover President Clinton's Vegas appearance. I didn't write anything for that because it was more of a babysitting job, but here's Molly Ball's account from the R-J. Since he made no gaffes and offered just the predictable campaign rhetoric, it wasn't worth a national story.

But there's more! First, on Friday night, my friend Trevor and I dined at the new Dal Toro restaurant at Palazzo. It was a tasty meal and the outdoor seating was particularly charming. While out there, look what we saw floating above the Treasure Island across the street?

Yep! It's the M Blimp. And suddenly I got it. It's not just about raising awareness for people who are in Vegas about the hotel-casino that opens five months from now 10+ miles south of the Strip. It's also an irresistible photo op for tourists. They snap it, show their friends, put it on their blogs, etc. Awareness raised. Ta-da.

Anyhow, on Saturday, after recording three new Petcasts and handling the missing-kid beat while he was still missing, I scooped up my Little Brother, Jamie. (LB as in Big Brothers Big Sisters.) He's now 18. He was 6 when we met. He's about to enlist in the Air Force, which is freaking me out. There's wars on, y'know. But he scored high on his tests and seems to have a path through the military in a technical or computer capacity that should keep him out of harm's way. Still, I worry. Oy.

We had two tasks Saturday: Voting and pumpkin carving. I wanted to be there both for his first adult civic act and to remind him of the joy of a childhood fast slipping away. Here he is at the Albertson's where the Early Voting booths were set up.

And here he is doing the deed. It was cute when he got a little confused as to how it works. The kid can play any video game there is and those consoles have about 15,000 buttons, but the touch-screen voting booth was confusing. Ha!

I won't discuss his or my vote, but I am proud to say that between his 18th birthday in August when he was basing his decision on The Daily Show and Saturday, when he voted, he seemed to be up to speed. He even watched two of the debates, which floored me. Maybe this military thing has him paying more serious attention to the political world or, perhaps, he's just as sucked in as the rest of us to The Greatest Reality TV Competition Ever. Either way, I was glad he had more substance upon which to make his conclusions.

A funny anecdote: As Jamie and I headed into the supermarket, sample ballots in hand, an older woman stopped us. "Oh, it's just so nice to see the young people coming out to vote," she said. Later, at home, I relayed this story to Miles. Miles' answer: "You think she was talking to you, don't you?" Frown Face.

Voting at the grocery store is very convenient, by the way, when you're also shopping for pumpkins...

We picked up six and headed to my friend Natalie's place to carve with her two young boys and one of their little friends. To be honest, Nat's kids lost interest around the painstaking clean-out-the-gourd phase, but Jamie was on task...

While Jamie and I used an image on a trace paper from a book, Natalie did a nice job freehanding...

And Natalie's kids' friend really did a neat job carving Trick or Treat into his...

How did I do? Well, I'm not much of an artist, but once we lit up the one I did from trace paper, it actually looked about right. That's the one on the left. The demented one on the right below I did quickly with a large knife just to get it done and Miles likes it more. I think it's sort of looks like Dick Cheney.

Oh! Did I mention who else helped?

Natalie has a 2-month-old long-haired Chihuahua named ... uh... well, I thought it was Paquito but that's not coming up in the English-Spanish dictionary and I remember Natalie saying it was Spanish for "little one." So maybe it's Pequeño? For half the time I was there, I thought his name was Mojito. That's a fun name for a dog, no? Anyone know if pumpkin guts are bad for little Mexican canines?

On Sunday, in addition to spending a couple of hours being interviewed by a reporter for Q Vegas for a forthcoming profile of me and handling that Clinton non-thing, I also made two varieties of pumpkin seeds, salty one from this recipe and a salty-sweet one from this one.

They're already gone.


ChrisR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ChrisR said...

I still DON"T get whats wrong with simple paper and pencil voting that the UK and Canada uses : it's traceable, it's simple and votes take less than 6 hours (give or take a few remote areas) to count up, verify and publish.

Electronic voting seems to be a way of complicating a simple process, with no pluses.