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.

Astounding generalist or scattershot waste of talent?  
Wednesday, October 25, 2006, 07:19 PM - Sex, Politics
Really, what am I? Sometimes I look at people who've been in the same career since college (Leslie/ Amy) and I'm so envious - they've built up a level of professional accomplishment and reputation that I haven't. I mean, it's my own fault for jumping ship from public health just as I was starting to set myself up with an academic rep, and I don't regret that in the slightest - this is a million times harder but much more engaging (and hopefully impactful). I guess there's starting to be a part of me that wishes I had been a little more directed, sooner - although I wouldn't trade my random raver Latin American 20s, now that I think about it- and several people seem to think my current gig is a dream job. I can't complain about being part of a project that just might reshape progressive national political engagement by leveraging a combination of technological innovation and traditional organizing. When I have 2 minutes to think about it, it's kind of amazing. Today I edited an op-ed that Eli/dhp and assorted others of us underlings are writing, and then I ran far too many queries and got WA08, NH02, and 3 MN districts through the various stages of processing that are needed to get them into our calling tools. I guess I should be proud that there likely aren't many people who'd be good at both those things, and they were both definitely needed today. Perhaps I'm inching towards being able to focus all this random capacity into a more coherent project.... and then of course I started thinking about how the whole generalist thing kind of applies to me as far as relationships, too (lots of breadth, not nearly the depth I like to think I'd be capable of). Do you think I'll ever be a specialist? As always, I'm doubtful with a stubborn core of optimism. When will I ever learn?

Weditorial Successfully Delivered! Lizbet and Louise en route to Bora Bora!! 
Monday, October 9, 2006, 12:27 AM - Sex, Politics, Dancing, Friends

By all accounts it was quite well-received. I managed to make at least 3 straight (or at least married) men cry, as well as all the NC Republicans laugh (twice, and only once at my own expense). Even the guys in the band liked it! (Yes, we did second line up from the garden after the ceremony, parasols in hand, dancing behind the brass band and the beautiful brides.) The wedding was amazing, I feel so lucky to have been part of it. Rosie (the minister) who has officiated at >30 weddings, thinks I may have contributed "weditorial" to the lexicon, so I thought I should get it up on the blog. A couple of people asked me to post the text, and although I spoke from an outline, I think I've written out more or less what I said. I wish more straight couples had weditorials, but then I guess we'd be closer to not needing them... In case you missed it:

Thank you for participating in Lizbet and Louise’s wedding. I want to talk to you briefly about four aspects of marriage:
- Legal and political
- Linguistic
- Emotional
- Celebratory

Although it’s tempting to want to ignore the political context in which this ceremony occurs, it’s important to acknowledge the legal realities for Lizbet and Louise. When we were discussing their plans for the wedding, Lizbet said she was happiest when she could forget that their marriage was any different from any other. Last night, at dinner, surrounded by so much love and support from friends and family, we were all wonderfully able to forget that there were any obstacles to Lizbet and Louise as a couple. Today, though, we must acknowledge that they cannot legally marry in California. We are in the middle of a profound social change – we’ve had legal setbacks this week, but we are moving in the right direction. It may take a while for us to reach a condition of full equality, but I wanted to remind you of what is possible.

I’m going to read an edited excerpt from Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the decision allowing people of the same sex to legally marry.

“Marriage is a vital social institution. It nurtures love and mutual support, and brings stability to our society. The benefits accessible by way of marriage are enormous, touching nearly every aspect of life and death. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. The Massachusetts constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens. A person who enters into an intimate, exclusive relationship with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership in one of our community’s most rewarding and cherished institutions. That exclusion is incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under the law.”

I saw one of the greatest concentrations of happy people in one place on February 14, 2004, at San Francisco City Hall - the city had begun issuing marriage licenses regardless of the gender of applicants. I heard people call their families, and I remember one woman in particular, and the wonder and joy in her voice telling people “we got married.”

We’re about to witness a transformative linguistic event – through the words they’ll pronounce, Lizbet and Louise will bring themselves into a new state. The importance of language to this marriage is paramount – and not just because the brides are such accomplished academics. Because Lizbet and Louise don’t yet have the legal underpinnings of marriage, the language we use as we participate in and describe this ceremony is incredibly important. Through referring to them as wife and wife, we help make their marriage real. Please think carefully about this when you’re home, and describe this experience as what it is – a wedding. A marriage.

In our culture, marriage has evolved to celebrate profound emotional connection. One of the reasons I support marriage rights for everyone is that I can’t imagine a better couple to be married than Lizbet and Louise (of course, that might just be because I’m single and still profoundly idealistic about marriage). They’re the couple whose relationship I admire the most. They have an amazing level of mutual respect; they’re intellectually well matched; they provide each other with unquestioning support, but have fundamental autonomy. They are full of love, joy, sensuality, desire and integrity. They are with each other through the saddest and happiest of times.

This is one of the happiest of times! We’re all lucky to share in this beautiful afternoon. Marriage functions because our community supports and acknowledges the union between two people. Especially in the absence of legal recognition, Lizbet and Louise’s marriage is brought into being by our participation in it, as much as by their love and commitment. I want to thank all of the family and friends who are here to be part of the wedding, and who are showing the brides so much support. Through the physicality of our participation, we’re bearing witness to their marriage. We’re privileged to be part of these women’s lives – but just like with marriage, this benefit comes with responsibilities and obligations.

I think we have two responsibilities - first, to work to make marriage possible for everyone. That involves not only the way you talk about this weekend when you go home, and how you refer to Lizbet and Louise from here on out, but also in the way you vote and who you give money to. (Remember, there’s a very competitive House race in North Carolina this year).

Our second responsibility is to celebrate their marriage as fully as possible. Just as Lizbet and Louise are engaged with each other through intellect, heart, and body, we should celebrate their union with our emotions and participation. If people don’t dance at your wedding, you’re not really married. Soon we’ll have the opportunity to dance Lizbet and Louise into their new life, and I encourage you to do that as fully and joyously as they will....

(Yes, I really did start with an outline, and although it was kind of an inside joke, it made it feel formal and deliberate, just like I wanted it to be. And I think everyone could tell what a huge fan I am of their relationship, which was the thing I most wanted to come through. I'm not quite sure why a perenially unboyfriended person like me should be speaking publicly about marriage and relationships, but I'm claiming the title of best strapless-dress weditorialist in Boonville...)

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...

My next personals ad 
Thursday, August 10, 2006, 02:27 PM - Sex, Technology
OK, this is from a proposal that was submitted to me today for an IVR (interactive voice response) project I'm scoping out, but I really think I should post it on Nerve with "Wanted:" in front of it and see what I get:
Flexible, future-proof architect[ure], facilitating standardized integration, real-time modification, easy access to additional capacity, and support for advanced speech plug-ins.
Maybe a certain blond Silver Lake designer's card should read "future-proof architect"? I am such a geek.
OMG, it gets better - there's also
"No excuses" support, "best in class satisfaction", and "disaster recovery capability".
Maybe I should put out RFPs instead of going to parties....

Bridgeport Ho! (what do you think - is that a better name for my blog than Fierce Piece?) 
Thursday, August 10, 2006, 01:20 PM - Sex, Politics
This Connecticut girl wanted to post about the Lamont victory last night, but I was too exhausted - now I'm glad I waited until this morning, since the outlook is much rosier since the establishment Dems are lining up behind his campaign. I'm profoundly relieved that they're forced to acknowledge the power of an antiwar candidate/ message. (Now we need Bill to get Joe to drop out - most importantly so that he doesn't screw up the Dem challengers' chances in the 3 CT house races that are up for grabs.) I hope candidates learn what they should from the Lamont victory - that a strong progressive stance on a key issue will be essential to winning this fall. (interesting article from the Greenberg camp on how issue motivation and candidate selection should play into messaging decisions). The Dems need to acknowledge that the anti-war left is the best source for energized volunteers and leadership now - they're our answer to the religiously-motivated right. 78% of CT dem primary voters were anti-war (Times exit poll) - what pushed primary turnout to unprecedented levels, and what we need to tap into this fall. Lamont's task will be to make sure that enough of the CT electorate sees Iraq as the primary issue to put himself over the top (and it's our job with Project Red-Handed to make sure that incumbent Republicans are seen as bought and paid for by corporate interests). MoveOn members made about 80K calls into CT for the primary, helping put Lamont ahead.
(and yes, the post title IS what the snobby boys from Greenwich used to call me in high school - but that didn't stop me from contributing to Lamont's campaign - it shouldn't stop you either.)
(Gossipy update: Leslie tells me Becca Lieberman got married today - very small ceremony (Sunday 8/13). Can you imagine the things that got said on THAT receiving line?)

spreadsheets are so sexy 
Thursday, August 3, 2006, 03:00 PM - Sex
When the editor of "Horny? Los Angeles: A Sexy, Steamy, Downright Sleazy Handbook to the City" says:

PS: The fact you work for MoveOn, so freaking hot....

I suppose he should know what he's talking about, right? Should I be leveraging my incredibly geeky (though admittedly fairly amazing) job to pick up chicks? If I play my cards right, will I end up with spreadsheet groupies? More importantly, can I take the fact that everyone wants to talk endlessly about my job as a sign that we'll win in November?

I hate clauses. 
Wednesday, August 2, 2006, 02:31 PM - Sex
Perhaps it's karmic punishment for my tendency towards overly florid sentence structure; my relationships come with too many clauses. I'm really tired of having the conversation that goes "you are the most amazingly fabulous creature ever!!!" followed by a tragic conjunction. Yesterday it was me who added "but it doesn't really matter how fabulous I am if you're not sure how separated you want to be from your wife." With the Republican it was him: "but you don't fit some abstract idea of what my partner is supposed to be like (oh, and did I mention I just don't think you're that hot?)." There have been some hysterical ones: "But you're just not geeky enough. Could you dress up in a Battlestar Galactica outfit?" and my new favorite "but you live in Chicago, why even bother?" I think I'm capable of being part of a relationship that can be contained in simple sentence structure. I hope I'm getting closer to figuring out what to do to make that happen. I definitely have to start being as picky about whether people are really available/ feasible as I am about how smart they are and how much I like them.

Mission Expat  
Saturday, July 8, 2006, 12:18 PM - Sex, Friends
At Dengue Fever at Tangier on Thursday I could almost pretend I was back at the MakeOut - a big red room, a Dieselhed alum onstage, lots of friends and fellow Mission refugees in the least one I had no idea was down here (Jeff Palmer). I still can't confirm the rumored arrival of Case Hudson but I hope to spot him soon. I was terribly happy to have a small coterie of new LA friends to lounge around with...
This photo (thanks Betty!) is
a) surprisingly nostalgia-producing (I miss the feta)
b) slightly inaccurate - I'm a greek Mission export now I guess
c) wicked clever.

Karaoke Catfight Narrowly Averted 
Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 06:31 PM - Sex
I seriously considered starting a melee at my dear friend Jennette's karaoke birthday party last weekend... I am slightly wistful that I didn't take advantage of the low lighting, orange walls, sake bottles that could have gone flying, microphone cords that were just begging to be wrapped around someone's neck, and utter ridiculousness of the situation. You'll be relieved to know that one well-placed dirty look did the trick, but I was secretly disappointed. It's been ages since I've been in the middle of a good scene. NEXT time I get invited to a private karaoke studio I will have been practicing a couple of pointed 'keep your hands off my man*' songs. It could be a flawed plan, since much as I'd like to pretend that my life is Bollywood-esque, I'd probably lose any objectively-judged idol-style competition.
* do let me know if you can think of songs that might be particularly appropriate in a 'keep your hands off my man, who's actually married to someone else, so obviously not exactly mine' sort of context. (did I mention the ridiculousness of the situation??) At least life is interesting.