Monday, 27 October 2008

the long days really begin...

... got home at 4am this morning and back at work by 8.30. We're pretty much going to be here now until at least midnight every night now and pillows and a duvet have been brought into the office.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

words fail me - this is so amazing!

"I Didn't Vote For Obama" by kentuckyscott
Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm a middle-class white guy living in Jacksonville , Florida . I've got a wife and two kids. Because the kids had no school today, I took a vacation day from work, and took the kids downtown to vote early. Fifty-nine inutes later, two smiling children and I proudly sported "I Voted" stickers.
But I didn't vote for Obama.

I voted for my ancestors, who believed in the promise of this country and came with with nothing as immigrants. I voted for my parents, who taught in the public schools for decades. I voted for Steve, an acquaintance of mine from Kentucky . (Killed by an IED two years ago in Iraq ). I voted for Shawn, another who's been to Iraq twice, and Afghanistan once, and who'll be going back to Afghanistan again soon -- and whose family earned eleven bucks a month too much to qualify for food stamps when the war started. I voted for April, the only African-American girl in my high school -- it was years before it occurred to me how different her experience of our school must have been. I voted for my college friends who are Christian, Jewish, Mormon, and y es -- Muslim.

I voted for my grandfathers, who worked hard in factories and died too young. I voted for the plumber who worked on my house, because I want him to get a REAL tax break. I voted for four little angels from Birmingham . I voted for a bunch of dead white men who, although personally flawed, were willing to pledge their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, and used a time of great crisis to expand freedom rather than suspend it. I voted for all those people and more, and I voted for all of you, too.

But mostly, I voted selfishly: I voted for two little kids, one who has ballet in an hour, and one who has baseball practice at the same time. I voted for a world where they can be confident that their government will represent the best that is in this country, and that will in turn demand the best of them.
I voted for a government that will be respected in the world. I voted for an economy that will reward work above guile. I voted for everything I believe in. Sure, I filled in the circle next to the name Obama, but it wasn't him I was voting for -- it was every single one of us, and those I love most of all."

Monday, 20 October 2008

turning 30, reflexions and what's next...

... my 20s were amazing. I've had a great 10 years - it's been hard in places, but I've got to a point where I not only like who I am, but feel like I have the ability to do anything to which I set my mind. I have some amazing friends and my relationship with my family is better than it's ever been. This is all good.

this year in particular has been better than I could have wished but, after the last couple of years, I've really just been getting through each day at a time and haven't had the ability to think about the future and make plans.

being here in Chicago and working on the campaign has made me remember how much I love politics, and turning 30 has led me to think about my long-term career goals. These things are linked. I've been saying for a few years that my dream job would be Communications Director for the Labour Party, and I now feel like I'm at a point where I can start planning how to get the experience to get there. Living out here, even for such a short time, has also solidified a thought I've had for years about working and living in America at some-point properly.

so - here are some of my goals, in no particular order, for the next 10 years:

  • study for a degree - probably in Politics and Communication
  • network more at home, both business-wise and politically
  • get my EMBA, hopefully at LBS
  • live and work in America for at least a year
  • get more involved in the Labour Party
  • see more of my friends, keep the ones I have and meet more
  • build on my career successes this year
  • spend time on me and keep myself healthy

it's funny - because having written the above list, I've noticed that meeting the right guy and having a family are not there. I do want to do these things, but feel that if I spend my time focusing on the things I can affect, then these things will fall into place. This reminds me of the Serenity Prayer:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

that's me right now. Life is good, it will continue to get better and I'm looking forward to the future in way that I never have before.

Sunday, 19 October 2008


... the Sunday rush has slowed down a bit now (we had 90 people show up in the first 2 hours!). It's still busy and hopefully we'll break our record from last Sunday of 10500 calls. Yesterday was amazing - 243 people making over 18000 calls (and nearly all the data was entered as well, which is even more amazing.

My birthday was fab - we didn't end up going out - at 9.30 it became apparent that we didn't have all the data we needed for Saturday (which meant that we needed to wait for it to arrive and then packet it all up) so Jessey and I popped down to White Hen, bought lots of beer, wine and vodka and had my celebrations in the office whilst paper-clipping things together! When I got back to the apartment there were flowers from Swirral and family and after speaking to her, I got to bed at about 2.30am. Yesterday, my body reminded me that I am, in fact 30, and not 16 as I may have acted on Friday night - the hang over was not pretty. (the day ended on a lovely note though as my present from M&D had arrived!).

In much finer fettle today and ready for the crazy which is happening around me (you want proof of the crazy? I started writing this post at 2pm and it's now 3.50pm...).

thanks to everyone for the messages, texts and calls from everyone - it was so lovely that so many people were thinking of me.

Friday, 17 October 2008

happy birthday me!

(well, in the UK time - it's a couple more hours here!)

first of all - apologies to everyone to whom I haven't replied in the last couple of days - it's been pretty crazy and I've been crap at responding to emails... will try and be better from now on.

the plan for tomorrow is that we close down the office on time, get out by 9.30pm and then go for some food and some drinks (not too many though as I think I'm running one of the phonebanks on Saturday which will mean an 8.30 start). I'm also going out for lunch with Reem which will be lovely!

I have to say - I'm loving Chicago and am looking forward to coming back here often (although I've been told by Jessey that I'm not allowed to move here any time soon or she won't have anywhere to stay when she comes to London!).

can't quite believe that we now only have 18 days left (as of tomorrow) - I'm getting flash backs to 1992... It's great that we're ahead in the polls, but my fear is that people are getting complacent and we need to make sure that people actually turn out to vote... all the work we're doing now though is focused on GOTV and getting our supporters in Illinois out to the battle-grounds for November 1st - 4th.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

it's been a long day...

...left the office at 10.30 last night and then worked the whole today from 8.30am till 9pm. My brain crashed so much that I only got around to ordering take-away about 20 mins ago.

tomorrow should be easier - I have a lie-in as the office doesn't open till midday and then going to Tara's in the evening to chill with lamb stew, good sci-fi and some beer!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

a night of Chicago blues and David Owen...

...well, not together, but within a day!

yesterday was a crazy day - was in the office from 9am till 10pm - it stayed pretty busy all day and lots of running around happened. Afterwards went out with Melissa to see a great brass blues band (the tuba is the new double bass), had beers and was home at about 2am!

today came into the office in the afternoon (after lots of sleep) and it seemed like a normal day. Then David Owen walked into the office to get things for his wife (who is American). He's completely lovely, very polite and I've given him the details of the Obama campaign in London and I think that his wife is going to be going along to the rally on Saturday in London. I got very star-struck and am still a little dazed by the whole thing. People here didn't really get it, but I tried to explain that whatever you think of his politics, he is an elder statesman of British politics and it was a BIG deal!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


... really interesting - whenever Obama mentions change in Washington, the lines (green for men, red for women - undecided voters in Ohio who are sitting, watching the debates with dials) go up, when McCain mentions it, they go down... good? We'll see in the polls afterwards. Interesting? Definitely.

btw - am also following on BBC, CNN and FiveThirtyEight - all worth looking at.

UPDATE: The only phone calls into the office in the last 40 mins have been press - I've given them our Comms Director's details and they've gone away!

UPDATE 2: Sorry was that McCain just saying that we need less money coming in from lobbyists? I think I must have mis-heard him. Fortunately the dials seem to respond pretty badly to that.

UPDATE 3: Really interesting - McCain has just had his best dials of the evening and that was talking about Russia and preventing another cold war. When talking about actual war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even Dafur, Obama's dials were so much better than McCains. Wonder if this is people connecting the cold-war to times-past and seeing McCain in the same vein?

UPDATE 4: Nearly over now, and I think it's pretty much a draw. The good thing to take away from it is mainly that Obama's dials on foreign policy and military action have been better than McCain's across the board. This is one issue where you would expect McCain to do better.

UPDATE 5: Final question - What don't you know and how will you learn it? Great question by the way. Obama makes a joke about asking Michelle, then goes to his family history and makes the point that the American Dream and the ability of people to be provided for so they can succeed is the thing that enables you make decisions in situations you haven't been in before. His final point is about change and our need for it right now.
McCain talks about the things that no-one knows - the unforeseen challenges in the world, he also focuses on his family history. He mentions that he knows how to succeed through hard times and have to rely on others for support in tough times. He talks of the honour he's had in serving so far. He finishes with the "needing a steady hand at the till" line.

Debate over and I think it will come out a draw which is good for us, but watch the polls!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

oh my God, I am so unfit...

... just taken my first pilates class over here and it was hard! My classes at home are about 1 hour 20 long and the pace is relaxed, even though we work hard. Here, it's pushed down into 55 minutes, with almost no rest! I'm looking forward to taking more classes and building up my stamina, but I think I'm going to have to deal with feeling like a beginner for a few weeks. It also didn't help that almost all of the choreography was completely new to me as well, so I was having to focus on learning the exercises as well... At least I can only get better!

the office has been manic for the last couple of days, and general anxiety has increased - 29 days left feels really scarey. The polls are looking good, but on Friday our numbers were the same as Bush's lead over Gore in 2000 the week before the election so nothing can be taken for granted. There are some really great statistics on fivethirtyeight that I'd recommend looking at.

as for all the negative stuff that the McCain campaign have been throwing - I was scared most by Sarah Palin's inability to distingish the singluar from the plural - she used the word terrorists to refer to a single person! Also - if you haven't yet seen the SNL VP debate - find it on youtube or somewhere - Tina Fey has Palin down so amazingly - it's on a par with Rory Bremner's Bush!

anyway - I'm going to spend a couple more hours feeling completely physically pathetic and then go to bed!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

chinese take-away, let me count the ways I love thee...

... well - arriving would be a good start...

today has been mixed. Went out the suburbs again this morning to pick up a boxing thingy for Melissa, for Edgar, which was cool as I had time to finish The Graveyard Book (it's very good - I recommend that everyone reads it. Now). Went into the office to get shouted at by another volunteer (she's normally like this to everyone which I can handle, but she did it in front of other people today and my blood boiled), came back to the apartment and then met Scott for a beer which was nice. We pretty much talked politics and religion all evening, so the normal conversation!

am now back at the apartment and, as the blog entry title may suggest, am waiting for my Chinese to arrive (note to self - drinks are generally doubles here so going out without eating - not so smart). Current delivery estimate is 11.34pm - what I would pay for it to arrive sooner? Probably my first-born at this point.

Friday, 3 October 2008

happy fangirl, going to bed!

well - today has been fun - went into the office for a few hours this afternoon (working on work work stuff this morning) and then headed down to the 'burbs to watch Neil Gaiman do an amazing reading of Chapter 3 of The Graveyard Book. It was followed with a new trailer from Coraline (and also some never-before-seen shots from the film - it look so cool and creepy), a Q&A with Neil and then Stardust!

met a fab new person, ljconstantine, just before going in, and met her again at Union Station on the way back - we then wandered for a while, stood in the street talking for quite a bit more and then came back here for coffee. She just left as we suddenly realised that it had gotten to 2am! I've been invited to hers though to see her flat - where she has many books (I've told her about PirateGrrl's library and she'd very jealous!

will now watch the VP debate, but from what's been reported it looks like Palin had a better than expected evening (nothing surpising there - I don't think she could actually have met expectations, what with them being so low and all), but that Biden won overall. I've got a feeling that this might be the way that the debates go this year - pretty much draws all round. I don't think that this would be a terrible thing as Obama is considered the front runner at this point and any draw normally counts in the favour of the person in front. I'll post more though when I've had time to watch them, think about it and some such.

tomorrow I'm doing more trekking out of Chicago - have to go and pick up something for the office from a place called Geneva - about an hour on the Metra out of Ogilvy. Should give me plenty of time to think about work work and finish reading the Graveyard book!

anyway- bed now (after debate watching) as I have to get up in about 7 hours... a late night, but a great evening.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

first proper day...

... well, at least the first day where I actually set an alarm clock for 7am and had to get up! It's been pretty crazy today - we got more chum in (otherwise known as loot, but I like chum - it's the stuff that they throw to sharks to get them into a frenzie, which in an acurate description of what happens when buttons and t-shirts appear in the office!). We've actually had to shut the main office door to stop people just coming in and grabbing stuff!

there's also been a fair amount of crazies in - one guy was convinced he was from the CIA - Scott stepped in front of that crazy-bullet - I had the Canadian on the phone who was certain that Obama's policies where all drawn up because he'd rung in 3 months ago and told us to do things!

In other news, I've discovered (which is just like urbanbite) so I can now order sushi online - yay!

gonna stay here for a couple more hours and then head home for some food. Tomorrow I'm here and then going to see Neil Gaiman at a reading in Downers Grove. I know that it's the VP debate, but I figure that I'm going to be watching it online about a dozen times anyway, and this is my one chance to see Neil on this book tour (plus, I have tickets so it would be a bit churlish not to go). Am really looking forward to seeing Sarah Pailin "debate" though - her ability to sting cohesive sentences together is not her strong suit!

right - lull seems to be over, so going to get back to work now. also must remember to call my relatives and let them know I've arrived at some point!