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Saturday, November 6, 2004

It’s kind of depressing to realize that the days are still getting shorter. Already, the shadows are growing longer and the dusk is looming heavier way too early in the afternoon. For someone who likes to sleep late on a Saturday, this phenomenon foreshortens the usable part of the day and forces me to make uncomfortable choices. Do I try to get through the work I put off for the weekend? Or do I sit by the window and read? I think you know what choice I made. Working wouldn’t have made me uncomfortable, just frustrated.

Okay, it’s not kind of depressing. It is depressing.

It seems unfair, somehow, to those of us who don’t spring out of bed at full speed as soon as the first rays of light creep over the eastern horizon, that at the same time the quantity of available sunlight we get each day is diminishing, the period when the sun is out (if it is at all) is shifted (by government decree, no less) to the earlier part of the day, when we’d rather be sleeping (or when we’re probably trying to sleep, whether that is our preference or not).

Take today, for example (please). I was up until after three in the morning, but I almost made up for it by sleeping until eleven. (Decadent, huh?) By the time I was fully awake, it was time to go to the post office, and by the time I got back there was about an hour and a half of daylight left. I read for half of that time, and then my eyes got tired. Only forty-five minutes of reading. That’s very nearly a wasted Saturday.

But I did get some work done. The Boss had requested several cost reports, and I told him yesterday that I’d have them by Monday. Then it dawned on me that I could do them by Monday only if I put in some time over the weekend. But after darkness fell (oh so early), I remembered that my computer will do something my radio can’t do. It can tune to KQED-FM, and it can get a clear enough signal that I can listen to “A Prairie Home Companion” from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. I spent those two hours listening and doing the cost reports.

In the end I could say I spent enough time working to make up for all the time I spent sleeping and reading and staring vacantly at the air in front of me.

2 November 2004

Cloudy sky.

This situation requires compromise. A couple of days ago I went rooting through the boxes in the loft, looking for an extension cord. I found two of them, one too long for my purpose but the other much too short. I used to the too-long one in the living room, and now I can move my floor lamp back and forth from its usual spot overlooking the dining room table that I use as a desk to a spot behind the recliner where I can read in the evening after the sun starts to slink behind the Sebastopol hills. I prefer to read by natural light, but obviously I’m not entirely against compromise, at least when it suits my purposes.

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You know, maybe the election wasn’t stolen by tampering with voting machines. Maybe the head of the company that makes the machines didn’t “deliver” Ohio to Bush, as he promised last year he would do. Maybe every single exit poll by every reputable professional pollster was wrong by just enough to turn a few hundred or a few thousand blue votes red. Maybe we can trust the count to be accurate, even though there’s no way to prove it, ever.

But I think if I were a Kerry voter in a battleground state, I’d be wondering about it. And I think I’ll be writing to my representative in Congress to insist that the government act to bring back accountability to the election process.

In fact, I’m going to insist on my right to a paper ballot every time I vote, for the rest of my life. You know, something that can be counted, and recounted if necessary, until everyone is sure the count is correct. That way, we wouldn’t have to wonder if the “mandate” were real or manufactured.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Disappearing Act
"We're leaving just after noon tomorrow. I'm taking everything I own with me, so it doesn't matter if everyone knows that I'll be gone."

Four years ago: Margin of Error
"I'm pretty sure California and Texas will end up different colors, and I'm at peace with that. Florida should give us an early idea of how things are going, but it won't be definitive."

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