Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Results and Exit Polls

I spent part of the morning today, the BIG DAY, making telephone calls to college kids in my precinct for Obama. Most of the people in my neighborhood have already voted, and it's mostly the kids who are waiting until the last minute. It was good to talk to so many, all of whom said they were going to vote or had just returned from voting.

This afternoon, I'm going to be watching the polls for Mahalo.com. We have a network of people set to track polls this afternoon and evening, folks all over the country, with separate pages for each state and we will be watching and getting the exit polls and results listed.

Here's the main pages:

Election Results
Election Exit Polls
Presidential Polls

And I'll be tracking
Iowa: Exit Polls, Election Results
Minnesota: Exit Polls, Election Results
Oklahoma: Exit Polls, Election Results
Illinois: Exit Polls, Election Results
Nebraska: Exit Polls, Election Results
Oregon: Exit Polls, Election Results

And I'm going to be watching these as they change, because I can't miss a battleground state, not one.
Pennsylvania: Exit Polls, Election Results
Florida: Exit Polls, Election Results
New Hampshire: Exit Polls, Election Results
Virginia: Exit Polls, Election Results
Nevada: Exit Polls, Election Results
Indiana: Exit Polls, Election Results
Georgia: Exit Polls, Election Results
West Virginia: Exit Polls, Election Results
North Dakota: Exit Polls, Election Results
Ohio: Exit Polls, Election Results
New Mexico: Exit Polls, Election Results
Missouri: Exit Polls, Election Results
Montana: Exit Polls, Election Results
North Carolina: Exit Polls, Election Results
Colorado: Exit Polls, Election Results

Please feel free to join me. The champagne is on the ice, which we have planned to use as celebration or solace, but --- dare I say it? we are hoping for the former!

Go Obama!

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Week in the Life of Mahalo

Working for Mahalo.com is a kick.

One skill I have is synthesis. I can read a bunch of varied resources and synthesize a general public article on archaeology very quickly and, if I do say so, adroitly, pointing it towards an educated adult crowd. But, lately I've wondered if I didn't specialize myself into a corner, by choosing archaeology as the sole topic to write on. Archaeology is really not that marketable---I find it fascinating, and there are several hundred thousand people on the planet that find it fascinating, too. But today there are hundreds of writers and bloggers who write about archaeology, some even more specialized than I am. My archaeology synthetic skills are probably not as useful as they were a decade ago, now that there is Wikipedia in the world: but you do what you do.

Or so I thought. I was a little leery of Mahalo.com, where you must synthesize information on everything from software to celebrity gossip to world news to the financial crisis to the latest bizarro murder case where Mrs. x is stuffed into a suitcase and left in a forest. I've never had to read and synthesize data so fast in my life. Safe to say it's really honing my skills. Here's a list of all the pages I developed in the last week:


And compared to many of my colleagues at Mahalo.com I'm a piker!

Oh, I'm not giving up archaeology. I have too much invested in it to just abandon it, and there are still stories I want to tell. But... how good it is to know I don't have to rely on writing about just archaeology to make a living.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mahalo, and Thanks to You, Too!

In August I started working part time for Mahalo.com (in addition to the About.com gig), partly because I needed a new challenge and partly in these tough economic times I needed the dough. So far, it's fabulous: I recommend it as a resource and as a job. Here's why:

Did ya notice how impossible it is to find the important bits of a story? You know, there's a news story going around and hard as you try you can only find bloggers of one slant or another ranting about the issue or the same news report published in a dozen different newspapers with slightly different titles. Drives me nuts.

Well, Mahalo has hired a bunch of us to do that research for you. So that, whether you need to know the latest poop on the mortgage bailout crisis or what David Letterman thinks about John McCain bailing on him or if David Blaine is cheating or what Bill Clinton really said on The View, or even who Clay Aiken is dating, somebody at Mahalo has already done the digging for you.

As a place to work, I'm nuts about it. The work is challenging--you have to stay neutral no matter how much of a wonk or wonkette you are--but it's also exhilarating.

So--that's what I've been up to lately. More later...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bernard and Doris - Movie of the Week

Doris Duke Display Gardens, New Jersey

Bernard and Doris is a fictionalized version of the last six years of the life of billionaire Doris Duke and her butler Bernard Lafferty, to whom she left control of her fortune. Directed by Bob Balaban and starring Susan Sarandon as Doris and Ralph Fiennes as Bernard, the movie is shot primarily from Bernard's point of view.

The movie is supposedly set in her New Jersey mansion, although Balaban says the building is a stand-in: Duke also had mansions in Newport, Hawaii and Beverly Hills, as well as apartments and estates and a jet to take her around the world. Several scenes are set in a greenhouse; Duke was a collector of orchids and established the Doris Duke Gardens at her New Jersey estate, now closed to the public.

Plot Points

Bernard was a gay Irishman, who previously acted as butler for Elizabeth Taylor and Peggy Lee--with Duke making an interesting trio of powerful famous single women. When we first see him, he is driving down a leafy road on his way to replace the previous butler, fired for the crime of serving too-chilly melon. Bernard is obsequious with Doris but commanding with the rest of the staff of maids, cooks and chauffeurs, which is how he survives through the first few months.

Doris meanwhile consumes quantities of alcohol and quantities of young, talented, buff men with a gray insouciance. At the same time she is shown to have been an intelligent investor and donor, tight-fisted with a nickel and yet generous with her charitable donations. She is emotionally connected to no one, and spends much of the movie as a disembodied voice on the phone barking instructions to support her upcoming itinerary.

Together they make an odd pair, Bernard living for the time when he can serve Doris and be her alter-ego, and drinking his way through the months of loneliness between her visits; Doris, when she's around, is alternately connected to him and distant. Ultimately they are in a chilly conspiracy of two.

Bottom Line

Bernard and Doris makes for a sad, if not totally engrossing story. The movie is dreamy and slow, and although that's probably not to everyone's taste, I think it's an intended slowness, illustrating how Balaban imagines life must have been for Bernard, a few weeks of heady involvement serving Miss Duke followed by months and months of solo drinking, waiting for her return.

Extras on the DVD are limited to choice of language, scene skip-through and Balaban discussing the real Duke and Lafferty.

IMDb: Bernard and Doris
HBO Films: Bernard and Doris
PriceGrabber: Bernard and Doris

The photo is of the Duke Gardens, one of several gorgeous photos taken by Nathan Siemers.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Update for Nobody

Well, it's been over a year and a half since I posted here. How weird. In the meantime, started a herb garden (presently sitting on our living room floor because of a late spring freeze last night), joined Linked In and started Twittering.

What's new with you?