Saturday, May 29, 2010

Jay Rehearsing

Jay recently performed "Carmen" for the Grand Connecticut Opera.   It was the first time he's performed this opera live, for a paying audience.  It was a great time, and my only complaint was that his role wasn't big enough.  I'm only a fan of opera if someone I know is in it, so I fell asleep in some parts.  Brutal to admit, I know.

Here's a short video of Jay rehearsing for an audition next week - the audition is with Delaware Opera.  

Where has the time gone?

Lots has happened in the last month or so, and I'll get caught up soon.  For now, here's an interesting email exchange from a recent post I made on Fiverr.

H! (sorry I couldn’t find your firstname)
I need a quick video testimonial, just a few sentences,
for a new ebook called “xxxxxxxxxx”. (for senders privacy, i'm deleting name of book)
This is aFUNebook. (seriously! you’ll see in just a moment!)
Below is a quick summary of what’s in the ebook.
I’ll email you the actual ebookPDFwhen you start this project.
This is anEASYproject, plus you’re going to get
a great ebook (reg. $27) out of the deal !!!
You don’t have to show me proof that you’ve really done
the steps in the ebook… I"ll take your word for it ; – )
Please look over the info below and confirm
(a) when you can do this, and
(b) the type of location you might use.
© if you will do this outdoors, wearing the same clothing
and with the same background as in your profile photo,
then I’ll give you an extra Fiver. So you’ll get 2 fiverrs.
(plus, I’ll be able to give you 2 separate reviews—and having
several reviews can really help to get your future orders going!)

 And my  reply:

Hi, thank you for the email. I’m afraid that this is outside the spirit of my gig. My intention is to create product reviews of things that I actually use, and endorse (or use, and don’t endorse) such as a kitchen appliance, an electronic device, etc.. I am happy to read the book, but I have no intention of doing any kind of financial transaction in order to qualify to record and pass on a testimonial.

I understand what you are trying to achieve, and I wish you the best of luck, but I am not going to promote something that I have not vetted, and I am not in a position to deposit any of my funds into an account in order to grow those accounts as suggested by your email.

I bet you can find great people to do this on Craigslist. Good luck to you.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Door To Door Campaigning

I love being part of the election process, even though I can't myself vote.   I met someone else that couldn't vote yesterday - a felon!  It was weird how up front he was about it, just mentioned it matter of fact when asked why he'd say he couldn't vote - "I'm a convicted felon."  Oh.   I always expect convicted felons to have tears tattooed under their eyes.  That would be so convenient.   He didn't have any visible tattoos, but he looked fairly tough.  He also lives with his mom, and gave her a kiss as soon as he walked in the door, so he can't be all that bad.   I'm sure he's learned some crafts in the big house, I bet that he can make a candy dish out of an old license plate.  I should have suggested that he start a blog too, and I'd link to him from my blogroll.

Arrived at Union City First headquarters around 5pm, and it was packed.  People kept arriving until past 6pm.   Mayor Stack gave a rousing intro yesterday, then again handed it off to Chris Irizarry to translate.   We always laugh when that happens.  Mayor Stack will talk for ten minutes, then look at Chris as if to say "get all that?"  He always does though, and even thought I don't understand Spanish perfectly, I sense that he rarely misses any points.  Maybe he's installed a voice recorder app in his head, and he just presses play when it's needed.

I was out with Carolina yesterday, and we were able to get 7 posters up.  Since we're going to be starting a big poster push on Monday, I thought I'd start the documentation process.  I want to be ready to claim the title of "most posters plastered" or something.  

I also put the same poster up in my own window. I figure since I can't vote, I may as well shout out.

On a slightly separate note, I feel like I'm getting to know some of the people around here, and I actually see some familiar faces when I walk around the city.  I saw a few campaign volunteers at the Job Fair the other day, and saw a few others at mass last Sunday.    My new friend Oscar has been a big help in the "who's who" - he's lived in Union City all his life, and knows everyone.  I'm constantly asking him who people are and what their story is.   In fact, he's the one that clued me into the background on these two huge hulking guys that I thought had to be police detectives.  They stand up super straight, I thought that must have been a habit from years of wearing guns on holsters.   They are not police detectives.  I'm going to call one a baker, and the other a tailor. Just for fun. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Learning Something New Every Day

Hey y'all! Just got back from Union City First, and I can't wait to start campaigning.

Today we learned how to do door-to-door campaigning, and I again am impressed with Chris Irizarry. He's a great public speaker and knows how to make an information session fun and interesting. I felt bad making him repeat some of the volunteers questions in English even though I completely understood the Spanish answers, but I think it's important for everyone to hear both replies. Obviously the demographics here indicate a heavily Latino population, but I find most people have a pretty good grasp of the English language (even if they think differently) and I think it's important for them to hear the same vocabulary in both languages. You never know what little bit they are storing away that might be useful down the road. Chris Irizarry is an asset to Mayor Brian Stack. I haven't had too much exposure to the other Commissioners, although they all seem completely dedicated and beyond competent.

I was sitting with my new friend Oscar, the fellow I met at the Campaign kick-off. Hopefully we'll get to work a neighborhood together. I'm not at all afraid of doors being closed in my face, or people being rude. From what I've experienced so far, there is tremendous support for Mayor Stack and the Board of Commissioners, so I'm sure any instances of negativity will be few and far between. Maybe I'll get to meet the guy who thinks Mayor Stack tore down his billboards. That will be fun, I'll ask him if I can take a picture with him and post it here.

The only slight concern that I have is that I am totally new to an American election process of any kind, so I hope I don't get out of my depth. Hopefully nobody will quiz me on any unfamiliar points, but if they do, I'll just have to defer to someone with more info.

I quite like the irony of campaigning for an election that I can't participate in - but hey, I pay taxes just like the next guy (reminds me that I have only a few days left to appeal my property taxes) and while I don't have as much say as a bona-fide citizen, I still have some say.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weekend Edition New York Times

My Saturday morning routine:

  • Get up, brush teeth and wash face and put on ratty bathrobe
  • Go downstairs and make big pot of coffee
  • Get NY Times Saturday edition from stoop
  • Pour a cup of joe and sit down at kitchen island with paper.
Read paper in following order -
  • Remove Automobiles, Sports and Classified - straight into recycling bin.
  • Read through entire Real Estate section and wonder weekly why I haven't contacted Vivienne Tam about *our* own interesting real estate story.
  • Then move on to Arts & Leisure. Read interesting articles and ignore stories about topics of no interest to me, such as the future of modern dance. See what movies are taking out the very expensive full page ads. Wonder at whether content drives ads (see "How To Train A Dragon") or placement of ads drives content.
  • Take out flyers, coupon books and Times Magazine from Book Review section. Go to junk drawer and get out chicken cutting scissors for coupon clipping. Look for coupons under $1 so I can use them on coupon doubling days. Read through Times Magazine and attempt crossword puzzle.
  • Now I'm warmed up and limber and can attack the more serious sections, so I'll move to Business section, then Arts and finally the first section.
  • Leave papers laying scattered on kitchen island for a few hours in hopes of finishing off scanned articles, and taking another stab at crossword.
     Around 2pm, get tired of seeing papers lying around and take entire paper and throw into recycling bin. This week, however, I may actually use the paper to make seedling containers.

    Friday, March 19, 2010

    Mayor Brian Stack Officially Announces

    What a blast yesterday! I went to Schuetzen Hall for the official announcement yesterday, and had a great time. I had a feeling it would be more party than meeting, so I arrived a bit early. The parking lot was already packed and almost every table was full. The hall was set up like a banquet with flower arrangements on the tables, tons of balloons and a cash bar at the back. Each table had a tray of sandwiches and a tray of finger foods. There was also a band playing, and they were really good. I'm going to have to find out who they were.

    I wandered around looking for familiar faces, but didn't see many - it was actually a bit dark, and too crowded to do much walking around, so I made my way to a table of nice old ladies and asked if I could join them. They had all come in from North Bergen, and all of them knew Mayor Stack from when he was a kid.

    After sitting and getting my bearings and meeting my tablemates, I walked around again to take some photos. Of course, battery failure right then so I only took a few shots, none of them great. While I was walking around, I saw a woman standing around the bar looking lost, so I went up and introduced myself. Turns out she was feeling a bit lost, not having anticipated a party, expecting more of a town-hall meeting. She stood out a bit in the mostly Latino crowd, being quite tall, thin and very blond. She came over and joined us at our table and we had a chance to chat. The funny coincidence is that I had noticed her on the street a week before. I was standing at the bus stop and saw her taking her kids to the car, and said to my husband - look! Another Manhattanite has just moved in. I was wrong, she's from Hoboken, but close enough.

    We were also joined at our table by a nice man. I didn't catch his name, but I think I've seen him at Union City First. He's a radiologist, and he works in Hoboken. He's also involved with St. Augestine's Church in Union City.

    By this time, the band was done and the procession music started. A bit corny, but fun. They played the theme from Rocky, and everyone stood up and starting cheering. A bit of a let down when nothing further happened, but the crowd didn't care. Every stayed on their feet for the next song - We Will Rock You by Queen. At this point, the mayor and his entourage started making their way in, but it was slow progress. I wonder if he felt like Lady Gaga? He couldn't walk with the cameras in his face and everyone reaching out to him. More cheering and thunderous applause as Mayor Stack and the Board of Commissioners made their way down the carpet. The balloons didn't quite release, and the carpet was a bit too crowded to let everyone get through well, but small details slightly grating to my production background.

    The panel of dignitaries was introduced and I can't remember everyone. I know that the Hoboken Mayor was there, the North Bergen Mayor, Police Chief Everett, the first Latino state Senator, and a bunch more. Everyone had very good things to say about Mayor Brian Stack. After the dignitaries came the Commissioners and I saw not just a rising star, but someone who will be a force. Chris Irizarry is headed for big things. That guy is such a great public speaker and so charismatic. He is also funny, especially when he's speaking in Spanish rather than English. From what my tablemates told me (the North Bergen ladies posse) he comes from humble beginnings, and has been mentored by Mayor Brian Stack. Good for him, I'm excited to follow his political career.

    Mayor Brian Stack finally took the stage, and I thought the roof might come off the hall. The only reason that it didn't is that his mic gave out a few minutes in, and there was a delay while a working mic was found. Again, the kind of detail that would make me crazy. I would have tested and prepped a round of backups. Mayor Stack spoke very well, and had the crowd totally behind me.

    By this time, I was starting to get a bit claustrophobic and hot, so I invited my new friend Rachel to stop by for a drink on our way home. She only lives two blocks away, so we made our way out of the hall and back to real life.

    I'm really proud to live in Union City, and I'm really proud of Mayor Brian Stack and the commissioners. They work very hard, and you can't deny their enthusiasm for the tough job at hand. I'm already anticipating crap posts from the Hasta La Vista blog. I wish I could meet that dude and say - if you have a problem with Mayor Stack, give him a call and talk it out. I'll even dial the number for you! No city is perfect, and politics is a messy business. But I say you either put up by running yourself, or jump in and try and make differences where you can.

    But then, as the theme of this blog says - I'm a Canuck living in the US. Canadians have a different sensibility when it comes to opposition. We oppose, but we don't have the mindset of smear. We have the mindset of 'if you think you can do it better, have at 'er!'

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Rainy, Windy Saturday

    It's an awful day today. Heavy rains, crazy winds and chilly.

    Earlier this week was much better, so I'm going to focus on the beautiful days we had this week.

    I did some clean up in the yard and was happy to see new growth. Here's the aster bush with new buds on it:
    And a picture of new growth on the chives:

    And finally, a daffodil shoot trying to come up through the dirt:

    You can see how badly we need to fertilize and mulch....