January 29, 2009

Why can't I ever have a normal Governor?

I sit here writing as my state's governor and his hair are on trial for doing generally a-hole things. He's been on a media binge trying to prove his innocence and only making himself like look more of a slime ball. I haven't lived in Illinois long, but long enough to be proud of one of our politicians that made it out of the state level and on to the main stage. Just when we were all so happy to claim Barack, out had to come this Blago BS. I mean, no other state has their very own quiz on Mental Floss called "Illinois Politician or Sopranos Character?" (good find, Ryan)

This got me thinking... as a native of California, I'm no stranger to this kind of gubernatorial nonsense. I mean - hello - second ever recall of a state governor that resulted in the re-election of a foreign-born, weight-lifting, Danny DeVito-costarring, Kennedy marrying Terminator. Does YOUR airport gift shop have novelty tee shirts with your governor's face?!

SO. As I was saying... this got me thinking. And I started researching NORMAL governors. Yes. Some governors have been thrust onto the national spotlight because of the election year. We've met the governor of states like New Mexico and Alaska (*wink*), but what about "normal" governors?

I've been doing my research, and I'd like to introduce you the first in a series of profiles on "NOrmal GOvernors" - NOGO's.

First one down the pike: Brian Schweitzer, Montana.

Doesn't this picture just say it all? How wonderful and approachable he seems. Other pictures show him with a bolo tie. Swoon. He's a Dem, and chair of the Democratic Governors Association. He consistently has one of the highest approval ratings of any US Governor. He's married to a CANADIAN (eh) and they have three kids. He's got a background in agriculture and has worked abroad. SOIL! His lieutenant governor is a Republican. He's got a border collie named Jag that goes with him to work. I like this man.

Read more about this NOGO on his wikipedia page or in this article:


January 28, 2009


Joe and Jill stopped by the party... Barack and Michelle did, too. I know they've had a busy night, so I won't say anything about their fashionably late arrival...


Hi Johanna:
How was the Inauguration? Are you going to send a report?
Uncle Mike

Well... Inquiring minds want to know. Even my favorite Grand Old Partier wants to know about the big day... here's my report.

Hi Uncle Mike,

Sorry it's taken a while for the full report, but it took a few days to recover from the travel fiasco and i'm still recovering from the nasty, nasty cold I got from traveling/lack of sleep. This is pretty long, but I figured I owed you more content since the wait for it was so long. You get interest in paragraph form.

Well, it was quite the whirlwind, but well worth it. The constant theme throughout the entire experience was everyone wanting to talk to each other. They wanted to tell you where they were from, why they were there, what they were hoping for and hear about your experience too. Everywhere. At the balls, in line, at the airport - even prior to when I was in Macy's in Chicago shopping for a Ball dress, there were other women shopping for their own dresses giving each other knowing "oh, girl, I'm going too" type smiles.

I flew out of O'Hare after work on Monday. I expected my flight to be full of people doing the same thing I was, but it wasn't. It was a small regional jet that wasn't even full. I was expecting, especially coming from Chicago, the described "Air Force Obama" experience my friend had going out there the weekend before from California.

Flew into BWI and took a Super Shuttle into the city. Shared the shuttle with a couple with eastern European accents, a mother and 10 year old daughter from Arizona, and a retired history teacher from Stockton. I got in around 12:30 to my friend's apartment. People will still out and about in anticipation of the next day.

I got about 4 hours of precious sleep before waking up at 4:30 to head to meet my friend who had our tickets. My friend that made all this possible was my big sis from my sorority, Stina. She's currently working as Speaker Pelosi's district scheduler in San Francisco. She was staying over with a friend in Capitol Hill, so I planned to meet her towards the entrance of our gate on the lawn. I walked about 2 miles towards the mall and met her in front of Union Station. The sun wasn't even up and there were tons of people up and around, doing the exact same thing I was doing - trying to get in line as soon as possible. I had been walking briskly so I never really realized how flipping cold it was.

We were in the "Blue Section" that was, if you were standing looking at the Capitol we were to the right of the stage. We were so close that our view of the stands/podium/dais were blocked at an angle by the large press section.

We waited in line for 5 hours. It was cold. I couldn't feel my toes at several points. There was virtually no one doing crowd management that I saw. We kind of guessed where to get into the Blue Section line. Once we got up towards the security gate where we had to show our tickets and go through metal detectors the crowd really bottlenecked. There was a lot of pushing and people kind of all rushed to get through so that was the only part that was hasty. Once you got through security the mass of people really thinned out.

Once you were finally out of line, the mall had a very similar feeling to Grant Park on election night. It was almost eerie how peaceful it was. People were excited and hopeful and calm - or maybe the cold had just frozen their faces expressionless, I don't know. We filed in and found a good spot and though we were very close we ended up watching the whole ceremony on a jumbotron.

It was great and the most overwhelming part was when they would show pans of the crowd on the screen. You were like, woah, I'm one of those little blips. Part of something really big. It was nice to get in, we could hear everything just fine, there was such an array of people. Everyone was mostly congenial except for the one, how do I say this nicely, Jerry-Springer-Guest-esque family next to us. (You can see his elbow in some of my pictures, wearing cammo hunting gear, obviously) Let's just say he was very disrespectful to the outgoing Commander-In-Chief to the point that he was upsetting even the most liberal of attendees. I would like to take this time to thank him for ruining the perennial favorite "Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam, which should have remained in its proper place - karaoke bars, not at the Inauguration of the US President being shouted by some tone-deaf country bumpkin.

The ceremony was nice, people were quiet through the entertainment (I WANT ARETHA FRANKLIN'S HAT!) and the swearing in and the President's Inaugural Address. It was very cool to see that many people rapt all focusing on the same thing.

After the ceremony we headed over to a reception for Congresswoman Anna Eshoo that my friend's old coworker had organized at the Library of Congress. We warmed up and enjoyed the well-picked menu of comfort food and hot chocolate. After that we headed back to Stina's friend's house on Capitol Hill. I stayed there for a while to warm up then walked the 2 miles back to my friends apartment though booth after booth of Obama-centric merchandise. There were so many vendors selling calendars, posters, tee shirts, stickers, buttons, watches... you name it Barack's name and face were on it. This went on for blocks and blocks.

We watched news coverage of the parade while we got ready for the Western States Inaugural Ball back at my friend's house. We attempted to take a cab over to the Washington Convention Center, but ended up walking in our evening dresses and strappy shoes half the way there. The balls were much easier to get into than inauguration itself. The Western States Ball was pretty tame. I think the Neighborhood Ball or the Youth Ball would've been much more hoppin as far as the VIP/Social/party scene. The coat check was a mess, the food was crappy and drinks were overpriced and not worth the wait in the TWO lines (you had to get drink tickets THEN get in line to get your beverage) - but it was still exciting to be there - to know that you were at an Official Inaugural Ball.

Weren't as many celebs as anticipated. I saw Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, got to meet Congresswoman Lynn Woosley (who a fellow Alpha Phi alumna) as well as Dolores Huerta, and Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez performed. Oh, and I got to see the Vice President and President. ;-) They came in briefly, I was much closer when Biden came than when Obama came. Had a few cocktails, boogied to a great cover band from Atlanta, waited in line for an hour to get my coat and called it a night.

Traveling home the next day was a big mess. Transportation getting out of the city was so crazy that I missed my flight out of BWI at 9:00 and was only able to get on another one out of Dulles at 5:00 PM. Planes, trains, and automobiles that day. And buses. And Metro trains. Yikes.

Well I'm still sniffling, but I have the pictures and buttons to prove I was there. So glad I got to go. Wish I would've taken more pictures but my camera was on the fritz!

Hope this wasn't too extensive. HOpe all is well!


January 14, 2009


Oh... hey! Hello there! Welcome to my innagural blog... blognagural? No? No. Ok.

I used to have one of these puppies, but out with the old and in with the new. So hey. Here we go. Purpose of this is to enjoy the non so exploitive exploits of yours truly. I'll pretend that this is to serve as flypaper to catch the delicious and hilarious nuggets that come out of this old skull here and to follow me on the escalator to stardom, when really we all know that this is just in place to satiate my need for a perpetual soap box and keep me from stabbing pencils in my eyes due to extreem boredom at work. Blogging at work? No. Never. I didn't mean that.

So let's get this party started.

Started my day off like any other. Did my morning routine. Get to work, take off 7 layers of winter gear, settle into my chair. Sip on fountian diet coke and/or venti unsweetened iced green tea, check weather (think to myself, hmm, yes, it does feel that cold outside), quickly glance in my personal inbox. I've made an effort to crack down on the bulk in my inbox so the only things I get daily are my Daily Candy emails. Today's was about some printmaker or something. Daily Candy is in the new habit of hyperlinking throuhgout their posts that link back to archived posts. So I click on one of said hyperlinks. Only to come upon this.

Yes. A Smitten. A few things...

1) Thanks for rubbing it in. Seriously guys, seriously? Becasue single people aren't already aware of how very, very alone they are. You have to draw attention to your untion by putting a big fleece beacon on it. Shut up.

2) What about your other hands? Don't they get cold? They only sell the one smitten! Do you have to keep them free for writing sonnets and releasing doves?

3) What man in his right mind would be alllowed to be seen in one of these things?! Seriously! I mean unless man in question has a bondage thing and this is the closest he can get.

Ok, that is all for now