Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Diebold Lets the Cat Out of the Bag

Sometimes the timing is too perfect. Check out this news report on Diebold.

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The San Diego Primaries

Well. I did my civic duty a few weeks back. It may even have counted. But with the electoral system out here in California, I have no great confidence. Time for a briwei rant on primary day in San Diego...

Last time I voted, we had those Diebold machines. You know, the ones that tell you that you voted, but offer no evidence that the votes you cast are what was recorded? Well, those machines were decertified for a wide number of reasons. Apparently, when an independent team was allowed to attack the system, they were able to corrupt the election database without needing access to the voting machines at all. Oh, and Diebold changed the software weeks before the election without informing the Secretary of State. So, we were back to paper ballots, which was fine with me. I feel qualified to color in an oval fully. I didn't know how it was going to play out until I got to my polling place. There's the background and now the rant.

The first thing that is ridiculous out here is how our polling places work. A cynical man might think it was designed to suppress voter turnout. Oh, wait. I AM a cynical man. My polling place was in someone's garage. Not a mechanic type garage either. This was a single-family residence two-car garage cleaned up for the purpose of hosting voters. There is no easy way to know where your polling place is and it isn't always the same place. The signage pointing out my polling place was poor, especially at night, but I found it anyway.

I walked in and got my ballot. As a voter unenrolled in an party, I was given the choice of American Independent or Democratic primary ballots. I could also have skipped the primary altogether and just voted on the ballot questions, but that is a whole other rant. I took a Democratic ballot while commenting that the Republicans didn't want my vote in the primary. They only wanted it in the general election. So, they don't want my opinion. Only my vote. This rankled the poll worker. "The Republicans aren't the only primary you can't vote in. You can't vote in the Green, Libertarian, or Peace and Freedom either." Excellent. So, we are putting the Republicans on par with those? If only. "That may be true. But of those, only the Republican candidate has a shot at being President." She grumbled a bit, but left me alone while I filled in my ovals.

While I was doing that, someone else asked about the electronic voting machines. She gave them a form they could fill out to submit to the registrar of voters requesting they bring the machines back. There was no form to request they be kept out. I chimed in. "I'm glad they're gone. I'd rather have a more secure and accurate way to vote." I think I pushed another of her buttons. She proceeded to proclaim loudly how insecure our votes actually were currently and how much more accurate the Diebold system was. It was on.

"Accurate? How accurate is a system that had precincts with well over 100% turnout during the last election?"
"That's because of provisional votes. Those have to be counted somewhere. This way they are securely recorded."
"Ah, yes. Our votes would be much more secure in a hackable, proprietary voting machine."
"It's not hackable!"
"Sure it is. There are plenty of examples of people who were able to pop open the back and hack them."
"Ah, but you need ACCESS to do that."
"Psh. Access is easy..."
"People don't have access!"
"They do if they have the machine before the morning of the elections, which is standard practice around here."

At that point she decided she was not going to convince me and I might sway others, so she shut up. When last we had paper ballots, I remember feeding mine into a machine that scanned and counted it. The people present had no way of opening the box. That was not the case this time. She took my paper ballot. She could have looked at it if she had wanted. Then it was stuffed into a slot in a cardboard box. Diebold may have been more secure than THAT, but that is not how we did it previously. I wonder if the system was intentionally made insecure to make us want to go back to the corrupt machines.

By the way, I don't buy that whole 'provisional vote' crap. For that to be true, the precinct would have to have close to 100% turnout AND have a large number of provisional ballots turned in there. That is beyond statistically improbable. As to the access question, I think I covered that two years ago with an article about No Sleepovers. In short, she's a partisan hack trying to influence electoral policy from her post as a neutral poll worker.

But don't worry. That wasn't the only questionable thing we encountered on election day. She-who-got-pretty-darn-frustrated didn't know where our polling place was. She saw some signs not too far from our house pointing to a polling place, so she naturally assumed that this must be ours. It was the polling place that was the shortest drive from our house, but the neighbor's garage may have been closer as the crow flies. There were three problems with this place. The first was that it was not her polling place. The second was that nobody there could help her find her actual polling place. And the third was that it was a church! So much for separation of church and state, eh? WWJVF?

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Monday, February 25, 2008

I Accidentally Pooped on My Toe

Sometimes, it is good to be on crutches. Of course, it is even better not to be home. That was the case last night. I was at a theater meeting leaving she-who-says-I'm-no-help-on-crutches-anyway to get the kids through the tub and into bed. As such, this is a retelling of the tale I was told when I got home...

Josh has been battling a cold all week, but looked to be on the upswing. He was having his bath when he realized that he needed to use the potty. He made his move for the seat of honor. Did he make it? Well, Josh made a very matter of fact pronouncement from the bathroom. "Mom? There's an emergency." She-who-was-trying-for-a-moment's-peace called back. "What kind of emergency?" After all, when you are 7, there are emergencies of different scales. For example, "I can't find my special face cloth" might constitute an emergency for him, but not for us. "I accidentally pooped on my toe," was what he actually responded with. I don't know what visual this conjures for you, but I imagine him making it to the throne and having a minor mishap while wiping or something equally minor. Still, this was enough to get Mom to come investigate.

If there was an award for understatement, Josh would win it in a landslide. It was true that he had, indeed, pooped on his toe. However, he neglected to mention that in order to do that he had hit everything between his butt and his toe. He also got the rug, the floor, and the tub. I, too, can understate things by saying that his stomach was a little upset.

It was all cleaned up by the time I got home, so I was spared most of the experience. The only part I got was the good part. The story.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oops, I Did It Again

This is NOT a post on Britney. This is a post on where you can find your gastrocnemius. It's also a post about my skills at basketball. Mostly, it's an opportunity for you all to mock me again...

I have a bad history with basketball. I seem to get hurt playing more often than I ought to. On one occasion, I broke my hand without any contact from anyone. I was running, stumbled, and fell. I tried to catch myself with my hand, but didn't place it well. I rolled forward over it and *snap!*.

She-who-is-not-to-be-trifled-with wouldn't let me go to the ER and get X-Rays until I had helped my sister with her resume. After all, I had invited her and she had driven and hour. In fairness, I think she was more angry about the fact that we were moving in less than a week and it meant she had to drive the U-Haul. And lift the boxes. And do the unpacking.

So, what does that have to do with today? Well, we are going to Playa Del Carmen in a month. And I played basketball on Tuesday. And the wait at the ER was 3.5 hours. The middle part? I missed a rebound and the action was heading the other way. I landed, turned, pushed off, and tried to run. I heard a popping sound and it felt like someone pelted the back of my calf with a tennis ball. Then it became really hard to put pressure on it.

My friends all weighed in with their opinions and it was decided that we had no clue what it was. Since I could move my toes, we ruled out broken bones. I could squeeze the Achilles with no pain, so we ruled that out. I iced it for 20 minutes and once of the guys drove my car back to the office. Why didn't I go get it looked at right away? HMO. Since I was capable of driving, I had to go to my after hours care facility. Thankfully, it was my left leg. So, I made the 40 minute drive to the disease factory. The lobby was full of flu victims.

I was told up front the wait would be long, but I got a pleasant surprise. She-who-is-full-of-surprises decided to meet me and help me through the process. I'm not sure how I would have done it without her. She got me things from the car. Questioned the staff on my behalf. She even took the sweaty sneaker and sock off my foot so the nurse could make sure my circulation was OK. Now THAT is love.

After my X-Ray, they were nice enough to let me wait in the hall outside radiology and away from all the flu cases. After that it was just waiting and icing and waiting and shifting position. I finally got to see the doctor and got my diagnosis. X-Rays were clear and there was no reason to believe I needed an MRI. The verdict? A partially torn gastrocnemius muscle. For those who don't know, that is the larger of the two calf muscles. My left calf looks like Popeye's forearm.

The big surprise was that my treatment was NOT to involve ibuprofen or other NSAIDs. Apparently, medial calf injuries are prone to bleeding and they don't want me to get a hematoma. I've been prescribed R.I.C.E. That's Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. I have to stay fully on crutches for one week. Then I gradually put pressure on it for another week. Then I slowly work up the activity level and am back in business by the Mexico trip. This is good news as it means my injury is not life-threatening. If it had impacted the vacation, my life would have been threatened. ;-)

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dim Sum is People!!!

If you have never gone out for Dim Sum and are culinarily adventurous, I recommend it. I am not, but she-who-deserves-a-night-out is. So, I thought I'd see what I could find that was to the North of us. I know what is to the South and wanted something against the flow of traffic. Here is an unedited snap of a section of my search:

Note the first entry on the map search and tremble.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Surprise! I'm a Nerd.

Hat tip to barbie2be for the quiz, even though she only rated as "kind of nerdy". says I'm a Dorky Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!

I may be a nerd, but I'm NOT a loser.

I am 5% loser. What about you? Click here to find out!

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