Posts from October, 2008

The quick brown fox jumped over the good, but lazy Parker family.

some assembly (not) required

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

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well, i’m officially old now. interestingly enough, this realization didn’t come from a mortgage, or a life insurance that gives the lady sparkler financial incentive for my death, or from friends having wedding after wedding after wedding, or from going to a party and being the only one there without kids.

it came, instead, from pottery barn.

last week, we went anniversary present shopping and settled on a 33%-off console table to replace a piece of crap we bought at Ikea five years ago. it wasn’t in stock, but they had extras at the big, bad warehouse in the sky, and promised to ship one over to a store-near-us as soon as they could.

well, we got the call yesterday, crossed the bridge into rural Arlington to go pick it up. when we pulled up front, a very nice boy wheeled the box out to our car … and that’s when all hell broke loose.

the box was enormous. like really big. like “size of a piece of furniture” big.

there are apparently places in the world where you can buy furniture that doesn’t require assembly. more importantly, there are apparently places in the world where you can buy furniture which requires something bigger that a Volkswagen Jetta.

now, don’t get me wrong … i had heard rumors of such extravagance, but bushed them aide as if tales of the fortress of Atlantis, or a land filled with Unicorns, or a country of people who’d reelect some one from the Bush family. i mean, really … would would have thought such a place existed?!?

after getting a grip on our new found alternate reality, “very nice boy pottery barn boy” led us to the conclusion that the Jetta just wasn’t going to cut it (and we galloped off to rent a pick up truck from ZipCar).

but, let this serve as a cautionary tale for the youth of america. there comes a time when you will be allowed to vote, sent to war, drink, and afford to buy furniture that comes assembled — assuming that you catch a really good sale.

so, excercise your rights (responsibilities?) with caution …

married for:

1y, 0m, 24d

in mt. pleasant, dc:

1y, 3m, 11d

i love hope solo, and harry redknapp, and not necessarily in that order…

Sunday, 26 October 2008

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after a lovely Saturday of belated anniversary present shopping (we settled on a one-third off console table from pottery barn) the lady sparkler and I settled in for a long evening at home … watching two-month stale coverage of the Beijing Summer Olympics.

a couple things, looking back two months:

  • it’s been at least a week since I had heard any one say “michael phelps,” which made me wonder if he had fired his agent considering his best post-Olympic gig has been for Rosetta Stone.
  • It seems like (back then) John McCain actually ran ads that weren’t entirely focused on trashing Barack Obama. heck, August was so long ago that I didn’t even know that MILF had a political context.
  • I once again contemplated changing my celebrity exception clause to be U.S. Olympic indoor volleyball team silver medalist Logan Tom, but quickly realized I am already married to some one who can kick my @$& so what would the point be?
  • Whichever Olympic scheduler put synchronized swimming, canoeing, water polo, and rhythmic gymnastics in the same four hour block should be fired … or shot.

  • I got to thinking about politics, the economy and my 401k, and actually got nostalgic for a minute, thinking “wow. that was a simpler time, wasn’t it?!?”. yeah, way back in august.

so, back to the present. much of our weekend was spent on the couch watching soccer.

the taped USA vs. Brazil woman’s gold medal match was one of the best this year. goalie hope solo (I heard she is Han Solo’s niece) pitched a shut out over 120 minutes, making her world cup benching last year — and USA’s subsequent 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Brazil — that much more inexplicable.

but perhaps the best news of the weekend came from the English premier league, where my team (Tottenham Hotspur) finally won their first game after nine attempts (that, and the midnight firing of the entire management structure.) while the win wasn’t enough to get them out of last place, they are now just one win away from a once unthinkably-good 15th place. (weeee!)

to be fair, Tottenham could have actually been the second best news of the weekend … the best may have been the news that the Anchorage Daily News endorsed *Obama,* saying something about “putting her one … heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.”

in the words of conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan, the Anchorage Daily News editorial board is obviously filled with “goddamn East Coast elitist hippies.”


Wednesday, 22 October 2008


mmmmmm, beeer.

hung out with a great group of greens tonight, drinking beer and otherwise promoting “good will” among eco-tweeting hippies (jcolman, starfocus, KSuzJ, and salsus … with special appearances by beautifulthangs and holdie1).

all of this camaraderie should have amped me up to go to work tomorrow morning (and it did), but it mostly reminded me that i need to polish-up a presentation on engagement for the d.m.a. conference the first week of november.

got pleeeeeanty of material, just need the time to put it all together … and work on my jokes. (“if you’re like me, and i am ….”)

wedding of the century: international edition

Sunday, 19 October 2008


we spent the weekend in Dallas for a dutch-indo-pakistani-mexican-middle eastern-american wedding … oh, where to begin.

the weekend began with a traditional ceremony where the families exchange gifts, the groom is forced to pay-off the brides cousins (they hypothetically hold the groom down and demand money in small unmarked bills, though in this case the pressure seemed to be more mental than physical) and the ladies get henna tattoos applied (the lady sparkler included).

saturday saw two events, the “big one” early in the afternoon and then a formal dinner later that night. the bride had two spectacular dresses (see below), the first reception had a Mariachi band (which rocked the hiz-house), and the rest of the day saw us hanging out with one of the most spectacularly great groups of people ever assembled.

i always forget that good friends typically have good friends, but this was a special bunch.

explore the photoset:
hutchins/kazi wedding, dallas, texas

found photo: cotton bowl, dallas, texas

Friday, 17 October 2008

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[Longhorn, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas.]
IMG_0219, originally uploaded by [ecpark].

live: the final night of presidential madness

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


i’m desperately trying to come up with something else to liveblog tonight, mainly because i am struggling to come up with anything original that i could possibly say during another ninety minutes of political discourse.

sure, mccain could come out with some kind of plan, and sure, obama could suddenly start spouting in arabic about the downfall of the great satan … but i am thinking the odds of this are a little low.

I will say that there has been a lot of ink floating around lately which seems to be setting up nicely for an Obama win. The most interesting are from (admittedly moderate) Conservatives such as David Brooks:

He’s phenomenally good at surrounding himself with a team,” Brooks said. “I disagree with them on most issues, but I am given a lot of comfort by the fact that the people he’s chosen are exactly the people I think most of us would want to choose if we were in his shoes.

… and Andrew Sullivan:

… McCain would have to concede that he didn’t vet her, made his decision impulsively based on no real knowledge of her, and that his first serious judgment as a presidential candidate was so monumentally irresponsible that it doesn’t just disqualify her for the vice-presidency. It disqualifies him for the presidency.

This story line is the most interesting to me, as someone who was on the hill during the later part of Gingrich’s Republican revolution. I can say, the prevailing wisdom was that we had seen the death-knell of modern American liberalism, and that people we’re hoping that the Conservative lock on the halls of power would only be a couple of decades long.

Sure, I’d take an Obama presidency in it’s own right, but just the possibility that we haven’t become a country of one permanent majority party is what’s making me feel warm and fuzzy right now.

8:54 PM just heard five minutes on CNN where I couldn’t make out one pundit making one discernable point. it’s going to be a long, long night.
8:58 PM tired of hearing deal people talking about real problems. can we have some fake voters talking about some artificial problems?
8:59 PM john king: “john McCain is George bush’s older brother.” ouch!
9:03 PM the candidates almost hugged. what are they up to?
9:06 PM mccain has now started two-thirds of the debates with a hospital update about a prominent political figure. some one needs to explain to him that the demographic he should be targeting isn’t exactly on hospital watch.
9:10 PM schaeffer: “senator mccain, would you like to ask a question?” mccain: “um, no.”
9:11 PM obama: “senator mccain has obviously been listening to his own ads … now, let me tell you what I’m *actually* going to do.”
9:12 PM eating 53-week old wedding cake. third slice. it’s *that* good …
9:13 PM this is much more socially awkward that usual, and i honestly didn’t think that was possible.
9:18 PM McCain shouldn’t talk about the Depression era like he was there. Oh, wait. He *was* there.
9:20 PM I wonder if there is a “debate moderators” support group, where they go through therapy as a result of the candidates refusing to answer their questions.
9:21 PM Ooo, McCain is getting feisty. “I’m not President Bush. If you wanted to run against him, you should have run four years ago.”
9:22 PM … and he just tanked the rest of his response. a promising attack, snuffed out in its youth.
9:27 PM multi-tasking. just posted pictures of a weekend of hiking in sky meadows state park, virginia.
9:29 PM wow. jesus. finally. mccain brought his “a” game to this debate. him looking so hurt about the john lewis thing kinda made him look like a wuss, though.
9:31 PM it seems like a slippery slope for either of them saying that the other one is going too “negative.”
9:32 PM i’ve decided … these two need marital counseling.
9:36 PM mccain pressing how he has been treated by the obama campaign is a bold gambit. i wonder if it pays off … or makes him look completely unfocused on the issues.
9:40 PM obama: “I think that your focus on [Ayers and Acorn] shows more about your campaign, than it does about my campaign.”
9:41 PM okay kids. that was fun. can we get back to the issues the rest of us care about now?
9:48 PM i wish i had more to live blog, but nothing terribly original is happening … other than the rising levels of condescension.
9:50 PM i wish the campaigns would watch the stupid little audience response graph on cnn. talk about issues? graph goes up. talk about each other? graph goes down. how hard is this to understand?
9:52 PM the lady sparkler and texas in africa said within minutes of each other that this debate is waaaay too inside baseball.
9:53 PM tee-hee! i’m going to start playing the “drink everytime McCain slips an attack in on Obama” game. think i will make it through the next 3 minutes?
9:55 PM you know, we were *just* talking about how much better a model that Peruvian free trade pact was over the Columbian one. like, last night over dinner. this is the best debate ever!
9:57 PM the lady sparkler just broke out the vodka. i was going to avoid telling you that it’s lemon vodka, but that tidbit was just too tasty.
9:58 PM obama: “i was just talking to a couple of women who had to be in their mid-50s…” i hope they don’t turn out to be 40, because he may have just lost their votes. thank god he didn’t guess their weight.
10:02 PM if mccains smile becomes any more forced, people are going to think he died.
10:05 PM why does Joe the Plumber get all the love??? how about Evan the Fundraiser, or HGM the Freelancer, or Texas the Professor? oh, that’s why. we’re the white intellectual elites. damn.
10:07 PM HEY! mccain is a self professed federalist. dig out those papers, kids!
10:09 PM john, saying justices must strictly adhere to the consitution *is* a litmus test.
10:11 PM I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of televisions cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
10:12 PM we have to change the culture of america, john? i thought america was the most perfect country around. you can’t change it! that’s un-american …
10:16 PM that stupid little audience response graph just went through the roof when obama started talking about education, and working to reduce the demand for abortions.
10:16 PM last question! oh, thank god …
10:21 PM i love soldiers too, but making them all teachers without requiring certification? i’m not sure that is such a great idea.
10:25 PM the CNN pundits’ scorecard is currently 46% mccain, 54% obama.
10:29 PM john mccain’s closing statement was perfect. it’s a damn shame (for him) that the rest of his campaign hasn’t carried out that theme …
10:31 PM go vote now, it will make you feel big and strong …
10:32 PM cindy needs to adjust her vertical hold, or her white balance, or something … i mean, daaaaaaaamn girl.

final thoughts

the pundits are saying that mccain was great out of the gates (agree) that it was mccain’s best debate (agree) and it wasn’t obama’s best (agree) and that obama was on the defensive for the first third of the debate (agree).

but they are also saying that mccain let obama back in the debate by dwelling / looking emotionally disturbed by the ayers / john lewis thing (agree a hundred times over). mccain looked angry. obama looked like an academic. wonder how all this translated into the masses …

after the last debate, there was a lot of conversation about how mccain’s window was closing, and that this closing window means he would have to take larger risks (attacking obama) and those risks would have a greater chance of backfiring.

i certainly think that mccain has either slowed or stopped the hemorrhaging, but did he fundamentally change the course of the debate? dunno, but my guess is no. and i am certainly not going to loose any sleep about it.

speaking of which, good night. god bless. i’ll most likely kill you in the morning.

i’ve been working on this post for 12 days…

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

i normally draft blog posts by revision. each post that goes up has probably two hours of typing through a dozen or two versions. i write like a talk, and i have to talk a *lot* before it sounds very good.

the focus of the effort? trying to codify why mccain’s selection of palin has shoved me over the ideological edge.

i fervently believe that the once great republican party has been hijacked by a small group of people who are squandering it’s reagan-era “big tent” appeal in order to further their own shallow, limited political motivations. a lot of people are turned off by palin for a lot of reasons, but this anti-intellectual chauvinism (from the party that brought you lincoln, no less) is the big one for me.

so, i completed 20+ drafts, but i could never get the tone right … i could never scrub my progressive perspective from the piece, and there is such a fine line between constructive and destructive criticism anyway.

then, after all that work, i read this piece by david brooks, a conservative commentator for the new york times … and in 800 words said what i had been trying to say for the last 12 days.

it kills me to compliment a conservative, but this one is worth it … *sheesh.*

year-old wedding cake

Sunday, 12 October 2008

it’s amazing, but eating year old wedding cake really isn’t that bad … granted, the lady sparkler spent twenty minutes, a box of aluminum foil and a box of saran wrap getting the cake ready for the freezer, but when it came out it was all yummy goodness.

married for:

1y, 0m, 7d