Monday, December 11, 2006, 10:18 PM - Travels, Sex, Politics, Dancing, Snow, George, Friends, Food, Books, Technology, Art, Los Angeles
I've been terribly neglectful of this little enterprise post-election - mostly because the last thing I wanted to do was spend a single additional second looking at a screen. (I've read three novels and am reveling in Against the Day now, which will slow down my book-devouring rate considerably). The beginning of November was a frenzied adventure- although we were better prepared than in 2004, things as always slid just under the wire (on election day people were making 40 calls a second with our tools - it was amazing to watch people swarm through our lists)...then election night was blissful, and the morning after even better. It felt wonderfully fulfilling on 11/9 to come back from a run along the Seattle waterfront (the first sunny day since I'd arrived) and see Rumsfeld getting the axe. I'm sure that our program turned out more votes than the margin of victory in key races (MT senate, several house contests, probably VA Senate as well) - of course we were only part of a larger progressive effort, but it's exciting to know we had such an impact. I've been on an extended episodic victory tour - multiple DC parties, and little celebration cocktail evenings in SF and NY, which were all great fun. I've been to one disjointed, we-were-still-too-tired-to-think official debrief, and one enervating multidisciplinary free-for-all that was loads of fun. I'm back in LA, wrapping up my work at GCI - getting ready to dig into all the data from Call for Change as part of a team of people working for MoveOn to make sure we understand what we did and learn as much as possible for next time. It's always a little hard to go from being so thoroughly consumed by a project back to a more balanced life, and I'm a little nostalgic for that laserlike focus, but this is infinitely more sustainable. Dad came out and Angela and Erik and Aurora came down for Thanksgiving and we all had our first Angeleno holiday - lots of sitting in the sun and as many revisionist recipes as George would let us get away with. I've been rediscovering the pleasures of cooking and reading the New Yorker and spending whole afternoons with friends. It's nice to remember that I like to eat in fancy restaurants (have had tasty dinners at Frankie's 457 in Brooklyn and Joe's in Venice and Lucques in LA) and go see art. I have done some dancing, but I need more of that. There are, as always, intriguing new and resurfacing romantic possibilities, which will at minimum be interesting to explore. I hope to get into some of that abundant early-season snow soon, too. What I'm not particularly motivated to do is keep writing this - it's been quite enjoyable, but I'm going to keep my personal ramblings a little more closely held. I think it'll be healthy, although probably less entertaining for many of you. I'll likley start some sort of painfully geeky political data diatribe after the holidays, that only I'll read. And I'm sure there will be the occasional tidbit I won't be able to resist posting...we'll see. Love and mounds of appreciation for everyone who helped with Call for Change and let us all find out what winning an election feels like. I'll try and make sure we get used to it.

Campaign Update 
Saturday, October 21, 2006, 01:59 PM - Politics, Technology, Los Angeles
We had a huge night of phonebanking in LA on Thursday - more than 80 people in the office, so big we spilled out into the parking lot. There's nothing like processing a juicy voter file (I think it was CA_04) in the balmy night air. Rigging the random outdoor lighting system was the closest I got to Burning Man this year. It's been a very labile week - you'll notice the shameless product placement for my spiffy new core duo Vaio (good) but I have it because my old one fried on Tuesday (very very bad - thank god for ibackup). I lost about 6 hours, and a fair amount of composure and focus, which resulted in a (fixble) fuckup in part of our Ohio file, but hopefully no lasting damage. Happily, the project's made more than 1.5 million calls to voters in competitive senate and house races to date - how many calls have you made?? Call for Change.
Come down to the phonebank in LA (4929 Wilshire @ Highland, Suite 1060), SF (1366 Mission Street @ 9th), or Brooklyn (102 1st Place - first floor), but I can't promise you the picnic table unless you live in LA.

(btw, comments are off again for the time being, I don't have time to deal with the spam comments that have started popping up again).

Life on hold... 
Sunday, October 15, 2006, 11:52 PM - Politics, Friends, Los Angeles
I am not living a normal life these days - back in campaign mode: all work and little sleep. It's disturbing to dream about database queries and to have no real idea what day it is, only how many days remain until the election. I can't believe how well-positioned our project is to have an impact - something that is flexible, phone-based, and virtual is perfect for this opportunity, where more and more races are becoming competitive every day, and many will be decided by very thin margins. We were able to start calling into FL16 literally within a day of the scandal breaking (I downloaded the voters, ran our selection queries, sent them off to the academics to be treatment-grouped, and then off to the Walkers to get loaded into the online system, all within about 6 hours)... really quite astonishing. The project is far from perfect but it's remarkable to be part of shifting the way political participation can happen for progressives, and developing volunteer-driven GOTV work for the left.
I did, however, sneak off last night for a quick game of mid-October midnight naked water polo in the Hollywood Hills (and if that's not enough to make a girl realize she lives in Los Angeles, I don't know what is) (and no, it's not a euphemism for anything, it was a serious cutthroat game, and kicked my ass). Case hosted this unexpected romp and I guess we're both adapting well to this strange southern lifestyle. We may start plotting another round of Capricorn birthday world domination soon.

Friday White Lights 
Saturday, September 16, 2006, 03:36 PM - Art, Los Angeles
I think I've found my new local bar - it's called the Hyperion Tavern and it has pretty chandeliers, rough wood partitions, part of a law library, and beer in bottles. It's not open all the time, but I'm pretty excited about it.

Before that there was the Bubbles opening at Materials and Applications which had beer in cans and undulating inflated orbs. Kind of 'Prisoner goes to Burning Man'. I liked it.

Betch Birthday 
Saturday, September 16, 2006, 03:11 PM - Los Angeles
OK, there have been far too many serious entries on this fundamentally fluffy outpouring recently. Perhaps you've seen the Shoes video? My Thursday night coup, at darling Chad's 27th birthday, was that I presciently arrived just in time to see Kelly perform 'Shoes' live. And my Silver Lake fact of the week is that El Cid was originally the studio where Birth of a Nation was filmed...

Space, Focus 
Wednesday, August 23, 2006, 11:55 AM - Sex, Friends, Food, Los Angeles
The combination of 14-hour days and some (necessary and wrenching and resolving) emotional turmoil has left little time for writing lately, and I fear that it will only get harder to have the space and focus to be coherent as election madness descends. An old high school friend found his way here - so I got to see his new baby's pictures and find out another friend is on his THIRD baby; a reminder that it's worth it to maintain this. I wish I had more time to chronicle all my new favorite Los Angelesness - thai massage minutes away (it DID leave me in a state of indulgent!), squash blossoms at Grace, cinnamony (greek style?) al pastor at Midnight Tacos, the fact that there's a fig tree (with green but growing fruit) in my backyard (I guess a reminder that I'm not paying attention - at least in an arborial sense - as much as I think), outdoor yoga, sea salt caramels from the local cheese store, and how happy it makes me to swim in the ocean...

I realize I need a Los Angeles category.... 
Sunday, August 13, 2006, 06:18 PM - Dancing, Los Angeles
Friday night I went to see a band called Very Be Careful - they were described to me as a postmodern rock/ Latin fusiony mix of things (I was hoping for a local Cafe Tacuba -who are always close to the top of my 'favorite bands ever' list). VBC is in fact totally straight-up cumbia (or vallenato, to be more precise) not in the least de/re-constructed - and also super super fun. The crowd was almost all english-speaking 2nd+ generation Mexican hipsters from East LA (as were the folks who invited us)- at least until the bicycle pirates showed up (don't ask). The floor was too crowded for real cumbia, but that's eminently forgivable when the whole crowd is dancing and happily watching the band get plastered as their set progresses. The show was in this old school Mexican bar downtown (all red and mirrors and Xmas lights and a wondrously-lit stage) and it was one of the first nights I've had since I've been here that couldn't have taken place anywhere but Los Angeles...good restaurants and hipster bars and parties are great, but with my multi-coastal life it's a treat to find something that is thoroughly rooted in my new place. We almost went to see Diplo/ CSS instead, and I'm so glad we ended up where we did.

LA food 
Monday, July 17, 2006, 09:32 PM - Food, Los Angeles
My dear epicures, I have been neglecting you. Iíve sampled several of the tastiest parts of LA, and havenít been writing about them at all. Here is your belated roundup:

Zankou Chicken: the perfect picnic for outdoor films at Hollywood Forever cemetery. Great dolma, too, for nongreeks.
Ford's Filling Station: superlative duck confit flatbread, and the best west coast fried clams Iíve run across. Went for a birthday party, and a post-gallery opening dinner. Trout and lamb both delectable. The chef/owner is easy on the eyes, unsurprisingly (itís LA, so yes he is the son of Harrison).
Edendale Grill: Iím not exactly sure why youíd go here instead of Blairís, except for the sweet patio in the back for a cocktail. Food was fine, but my fried green tomatoes were awfully red. Jonís steak was really tasty, but Susieís risotto cakes were too lemony, even for me who loves lemon most of all.
Blair's: you guys know this is my favorite place in LA so far, right?
AOC: I do love to support the women chefs Ė and sitting at the cheese bar is sweet. Morel special was divine, if a bit sandyÖ other plates were not quite as inspiring, but Iíd go back. And I did, and the tomato salad made me very happy, but not as happy as the brioche made my dinner companion.
Water Grill: only had very brief pre-Opera oysters and raw fish treats, but they were superb. Made me curious to try more downtown places.
Los Balcones del Peru Ė down home ceviche and that fully addictive hot green salsa are now sourced locally, which makes me feel calmer.
Geisha House: Slightly overbearing preparation, but very nice fish underneath all the flashy saucing. I get way too much of a kick out of the tacky hollywoodness of these sorts of places. Will remember fondly scenes of de-vegetarianization that transpired. Great cocktails.
Square One: went for lunch yesterday Ė some innovative touches, but I hear brunch is the reason to go.
Yamashiro : amazing location/ views, food was fine but not outstanding. Probably somewhat compromised by how strange but pleasant it was to be dining with Matt Stahl again after so long.
Dusty's: best brunch Iíve had yet here, both times. But Blair's is starting brunch soon, I hear.
Ciudad: the food is good, but it always feels a little soulless and corporate to me.
New Gelato place on sunset: Red plum/ gran marnier was the best sweet thing Iíve eaten in a long time.
Table 8: solid and delicious but not fascinating. Angelís calamari was great.
Guelaguetza strange herbs, tasty goat, and the best black mole ever smeared across a tamal.

Still on the list, and feel free to make suggestions:
Philippe Beacon Chameau real sushi places Jar Brandywine R23 Cobras y Matadores Josie Mission 261 dim sum GraceÖÖ.