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Lady Crimson Tide

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Voting! [nov. 5-a, 2012|11:33 pm]
Lady Crimson Tide
We did Drink the Vote again this year, although it was very impromptu and with very few people.

The results are here (yes, I know):
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Four Months Already? [mar. 4-a, 2012|05:00 pm]
Lady Crimson Tide
Good grief, time passes quickly when you're busy!

We're settling in here, although we have not yet finished all the unpacking. In particular, we have no idea what to do with the books; our new house does not really have room for them.

The cats like the new place; Izzy occasionally gets into arguments with other kitties in the back yard but on the whole he's happy. Jane has opened up a lot more, she'll actually come out into the livingroom and stare at people when there's other humans in the house, as long as no one is walking around (footsteps are apparently the scariest noise in the universe).

I like the new job. I'm super-busy, and hiring is going more slowly than I'd like (anyone knows good unix sysadmins in the Bay Area or Chicago, point them my direction) but senior management is pleased with my progress, my coworkers seem to respect me, and I get the support I need to do my job well.

The one sour point is that we still haven't found renters for the house. Erich can't stop working entirely until we get a little income coming in to offset our mortgage costs. If you know responsible people looking for a place to live in Pasadena, point them our direction. It's a 3-BR with a huge yard, and we're allowing both pets and children. In the meantime, our property management company HAS managed to find an indy film company to rent the place for a few weeks, so that's kind of fun knowing. It's called "Brahmin Bulls," and is about a guy who's a doctor in the US and his relationship to his dad who comes to visit from India.
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Moving To-Dos [okt. 14-a, 2011|02:28 pm]
Lady Crimson Tide
This is a bunch of stuff I need to get done soon. It is probably boring to anyone but me and maybe Erich.
* Confirm meeting time with property managers
* Get phone number of junk removal people
* Make appt with junk removal people
* Confirm with tree removal people
* Set up quote visit with Northstar

* Send out final timing announcement for all parties
* Email Redjenn
* Book travel for kitties
* Vet appt for kitties
* Book travel for me and Erich
* Book hotel for me and Erich

Got it all done!

I feel like I'm missing something here.

House things to fix:
* screen door
* leak in tiki room
* sand and paint both bathrooms
* paint hallways

... oh, except for all four of those things. ..
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On the Move [okt. 4-a, 2011|02:40 am]
Lady Crimson Tide
Yes, it's true! erich_schneider, me, and the cats (Izchak and Jane Earl Jones) are all moving to the Bay Area. The lease on our house in Redwood City starts Nov 1. I have already begun my new job in Palo Alto, but am working from home until we move, at which point I will be in the office probably 75% of the time. If you haven't heard through the grapevine who the new employer is, ask me privately or ask the grapevine. :) Erich is planning to wind things down at work, then enjoy some well-earned time as a gentleman of leisure.

More details when I remember to post again!
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Maybe It's a Gift [jul. 15-a, 2011|03:50 pm]
Lady Crimson Tide
There is something about me that strangers on the street find approachable. My family has noticed it; traveling companions, in other countries, have noticed it; it's a me thing. I think it's because I look people in the eye as I walk down the street, but it often happens even without that eye contact. People gravitate to me.

Sometimes I am just super blasé about it. I mean, it happens: what do you mean, it's not part of everyday life for strangers to hand you notes for no reason? Or to tell you about their deepest personal secrets?

Go to "Chinese Gov Official Website" ie google science.  About 3-4 weeks ago, the gov. Said it wanted to increase the citizen's knowledge of science to 5% of the population by the year 2020

Now 3.27% -- about the same as rest of developed world.

Yeh science, go.

That's the text of the note the older gentleman handed me as I sat at the table in Mi Piace today enjoying my chicken piccata. He said "I like your shirt."

I don't know why he felt the need to give me the note. I will admit that at first scan, I thought maybe he was the "Leave the Moon Alone" dude, but on second glance, his note is surprisingly coherent and non-crazy.

What is interesting is that I tried to kind of brush it off, but the two women next to me, as well as my server, were like "Do you know him? What was in the note?" I shared it with both groups, and they were all surprised by my "This sort of thing just happens to me" approach. The general attitude was "Well, that was indeed strange, but what a gift to have people just want to meet you -- by the way, I was actually thinking about talking to you, I don't know why...". I think they were concerned that he had upset me; on a bad day, yes, I would have been freaked out, but today was a good day and frankly the concern of other people helped me feel non-creeped by the interaction

And, it's true. It is occasionally annoying, strange, creepy, or frustrating, but generally speaking, people's affinity for me is a gift. I meet tons of people all over the world, and we enjoy talking to each other. Today, as a result, I met two women with some kind of networking feminism group, a woman who loves Hello Kitty stuff(seated on the other side of me from the two ladies), and a man who cares a lot about Science Education in China.
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I got an iPad right after Christmas, also, I am sick. [jan. 5-a, 2011|04:55 pm]
Lady Crimson Tide
So, eBooks are kinda bullshit, right? Because anything even remotely modern costs the same as hard copy, only you can't just chuck it around or leave it somewhere because of the couple hundred dollar "I just lost/broke my fancy device" surcharge. I mean, I'll soak an $8 paperback in the tub without worrying, but my $808 paperback isn't going anywhere near water! Oh, and, PS, seriously, publishing world, you want me to pay the same amount for a trade paperback EBOOK as for a trade PB? Get stuffed.

As an aside, we're not gonna talk about how if the eBook were free, I'd not worry so much about dumping the whole shebang in the tub. I don't pretend to be entirely logical here. I'd still be sort of grossed-out by taking it into the potty.

Anyway, I've got a humdinger of a cold, and I'm out of books. That *is* something eBooks are good for, even if it means you can run up $40 in trashy novel charges over the course of two days. Shut up. I've also watched "Spy Kids" 1, 2, and 3. Totally worth it, just for the cameos, so there!

Because I realized I was spending too much on pretend books that I can't read in the tub, I started trolling the free sections of the Kindle and iBook stores. My first score: BALTIMORE CATECHISM! Dude, you can't buy that in a bookstore. Who made this book free? GOD made this book free. My second score: a crapton of Oz books! There were a bazillion of these in my elementary school library, each one more insanely bizarre than the previous. Sure, reading these on a little computer screen isn't as good as reading 'em on that thick, nubby old-school paper in the giant books with the awesome artwork, but it's not bad when you're sick!

THANKS PROJECT GUTENBERG! I'm off to see if you have Nancy Drew novels, or, better, Rick Brant Science Adventures!
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Pretty Good Weekend! [nov. 27-a, 2010|02:35 pm]
Lady Crimson Tide
It's only Saturday, but tomorrow I have actual work I have to work on in preparation for my final week at Linden, so I feel OK doing a roundup now. It's been really relaxing and nice not having to worry about upcoming work days. I think part of that is because while I'm still technically on-call, the Tech Lead of my contractor team has actually been stepping up and kicking ass in that regard. He's really awesome, and is one of the many people I'll miss working with when I go.

Thursday I got up and drove down to my Mom and Dad's place in Long Beach. Mom's had some serious knee problems and can't really walk these days, but Dorothy and I are both at high-stress job points, and Adam was spending Thanksgiving with his wife's family. So Doaf and I went to Mom's place and made dinner. Erich and I got there about 10:30am; Doafy and Lance showed up about a half-hour later.

With most of the family sous-cheffing for me, I got the Turkey in the oven around 11:30am. We all decided to eat the Macaroni and Cheese Dorothy had brought as Brunch. It was super-tasty, everyone had seconds, and then I licked the cheese out of the baking dish. Lance took a hilarious picture; I think that was the first point of many in the day where everyone in the room was laughing so hard we couldn't even talk.

We sat around the livingroom and chatted about perimenopause for a while (whut, that's not what YOUR family discusses on Thanksgiving?), then decided to play a game. I crushed everyone at Ingenious. I'm really good at games that involve spatial-numeric reasoning; it's the only category of game wherein I can safely bet on dominating. I was a poor winner and totally did a victory dance, which luckily resulted in more laughing.

As we finished up the game, the turkey suddenly went from 150F to 170F, which meant a bit of a rush to get the side dishes finished up. I had expected it to be finished around 4pm or 4:30, and instead it finished at 3:15pm. I always forget how much cooking time the foil tent shaves off -- who knew we could get a 16-lb turkey done in 3 hours! I wanna give a shout out here to my awesome digital thermometer, which has a remote you can carry around and check. I didn't have to get up once to check on the turkey before it was done.

Dinner made it to the table just before 4pm, and we all sat down to eat and enjoy the food. We had a great conversation at the table about how nice it is to be able to largely do what we want and what we like, whether it's being weird or being a scientist or whatever. Then there was some very funny conversation about refrigerators in the bathroom at Spacex.

Mom and me and Doafy and Erich all watched the Huell Howser piece about Mount Wilson while Lance and Dad did some dishes. Actually, Doafy and I watched it while Erich and Mom fell asleep on the sofa, which was hilarious to watch. Mom has been falling asleep sitting up on the sofa for like 30 years now -- but at least she owns it these days instead of pretending she was "resting her eyes!"

We had pie, and headed home.

Friday Erich had to work. I tried to sleep in but I only managed to make it to 9am. I discovered that the TV had taped the Twilight Zone marathon on Thursday. Me and Jane Earl Jones sat on the sofa and vegged out to the TV. Eventually I bathed, but then I took a nap, because, hello, VACATION DAY. Plus, I knew I'd be going out later on to Das Bunker.

I met up with Brad, Sarahliz, Doc, and Jolene at the local Eagle Rock Brewery Taproom, which is AWESOME. The beer is great, the atmosphere indoors is friendly and cute, and the outside is like a speakeasy. They have this great cucumber soda (Mr. Q Cumber) which was also tasty! Mike Hell and his girlfriend Jolene showed up for a little bit, which was a welcome surprise.

Erich and I went home, I took another nap (look, I'm old! And on vacation!), then I got ready and headed out to Das Bunker. It was great! I always forget how much fun dancing to old-school industrial is, but I really do love it. I got to see lots of old friends, which never hurts. The most amazing thing there was seeing "Little" Mikey Hell, who has got to be like 7 feet tall. He's so grown up now! He's turned into a smart, articulate, passionate ... well, still a kid, but definitely headed toward adulthood. He does lights and sound at his high school, and makes neat technological stuff for fun.

I danced until the wee hours of the morning, came home still wanting to dance. Instead, I went to bed around 4am, and managed this time to sleep until 11am. Today Erich and I will be skating at Space is the Place, and with luck Mike, Jolene, and the kids will show up again. Apparently Max and Mike have the same stompy-boot skates I do!

Tomorrow I have to pack and prep for my final work trip to SF. It'll be fun, productive, and more than a little bittersweet.
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An Internet Book Survey. [nov. 23-a, 2010|12:32 pm]
Lady Crimson Tide
As lordjulius points out, this list has clearly been fan-edited as it makes its way around the internet (check out the pairings of 14 vs 98 or 33 vs 36). Nevertheless, it's amusing to fill out. Some folks on facebook have tagged me so I thought I'd go for it.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazu Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
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Too Much Awesome. [nov. 14-a, 2010|10:43 am]
Lady Crimson Tide
Dude. Crickett and I (and Hunter and Angie and Jonni and Larry and Sean and Lessa) went to Disneyland yesterday and we were making fun of the DCA evening attraction "elecTRONica" all day long. Of course we had to go over and check it out, though.

Holy shit. We were wrong. I am *definitely* not too cool for that. When the lightcycle took off around the building projections, I lost my shit right there in the middle of the street. People, including my friends, laughed *at* me, not *with* me, that's how excited I was. I believe there was a lot of incoherent "ZOMG," screaming, pointing, and gibbering.

I won't even talk about the Recognizer, except to say that it is *so* *cool*. I actually missed it until Crickett pointed it out.

You can play the new Tron game, projected on a building.

Flynn's Arcade features two Space Paranoids games, which I did not play. I did play Robotron 2084, Qix, and Missile Command. For a quarter each! For the record, I still suck at Qix, the Missile Command trackball is still too slow, but I'm better at Robotron than I used to be. "So, I could stay here all night playing these games but if you guys wanna go somewhere I'd better rein it in now."

There's a lot of cheese, too, and raver kids to laugh at. I was denied a Digitini because I didn't have current ID on me. A Digitini is a lemon drop in a blinky light-up glass. YOU KNOW YOU WANT ONE TOO. There is a DJ, and he's playing raver music, but it's raver music designed to have cross-generational appeal, IE, mostly remixed hits of the 80s and 90s.

It's so awesome. So. Incredibly. Awesome.

It's at DCA tonight, and then Nov 19 - 28, and then during a bunch of December. Who wants to go. ZOMG I wanna go again. I was thinking Nov 21 or 22 would be good days, unlikely to be crowded. The 22nd works better for me.
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Drunk Voters' Guide [nov. 1-a, 2010|11:29 pm]
Lady Crimson Tide
Feel free to link to this.

Once again, some friends and I got together, got drunk, and discussed the voter's guide.

PROP 21: Raise taxes $20, to go directly to state parks
YES: 9, NO: 2, MAYBE: 2, Me: Yes
The arguments for and against this measure all say the same things would happen -- more money would go to state parks than goes now, and the existing $250 million could be used for other things in the state budget. Opponents at the table note that this is a flat tax, and therefore regressive, ie, it hurts poor people more than it hurts the rich. Also of concern is whether specifically legislating how to spend money is appropriate, the fact that this amount is not inflation-indexed, and the fact that trucks and other non-residential vehicles would still have to pay entry and parking fees (the bill specifically says that parking will be free). Proponents at the table note that state parks are closing and this doubles their existing budget, also, it's a rare piece of legislated budgeting that actually creates a tax to pay for itself. All the yesses were "sure why nots" rather than "hell yeahs."

Edit: Dana points out below that pickup trucks do in fact gain the benefits of the tax.

PROPS 20 and 27 (Constitutional Amendments):
20 - Puts districting for federal positions under control of the Citizens' Committee that was formed for states previously. YES: 7, NO: 9, MAYBE: 2, Me: No
27 - Repeals Citizens' Committee districting that was formed for state positions. YES: 1, NO: Everyone else, Me: No

In 2008, Prop 11 established a citizens' redistricting committee to draw districts for state offices. Prop 20 would have this apply to federal offices as well. Prop 11, and now prop 20, attempt to solve the problem of gerrymandering, and cause districts to more accurately reflect geographic and social boundaries rather than just defining who gets seats. This is, essentially, an experiment. Breaking ground like this could lead the way to leading other states away from gerrymandering, or it could backfire horribly and reduce California's voice at the federal level. In general the room agreed that the existing situation should be given a chance at the state level (ie, no on 27), but was split about continuing the experiment at the federal level (prop 20) until we see how it pans out at the state level .

PROP 22: No borrowing state funds (Constitutional Amendment)
YES: 1, NO: 9, MAYBE: 9, Me: No

People in favor of this believe it will help lead to a balanced budget, and also keep state budget problems from filtering down to municipalities and counties. The existing situation also caused schools to lose money in the short term. People against this point out that legislating how the state could spend its money is part of how we ended up in a budget crisis, and that current law requires borrowed funds to be paid back within three years. Steve additionally points out that the law prohibits the state from using money collected for transportation to service transportation debt. Ady notes that the more legislation you make about how money can be spent, the less flexibility your government has when they find themselves in a bind.

PROP 23: Suspends air pollution penalties until unemployment is reduced
YES: 0, NO: Everyone, Me: No

The room agrees this is a transparent attempt by the oil companies to get people to let them off the hook. Unemployment has rarely been as low as this proposition wants it to get, and furthermore, what does unemployment have to do with air pollution? Linking the two is idiotic.

PROP 24: Repeals legislation allowing businesses to lower their tax liabilities.
YES: nearly everyone, NO: 1, Me: Yes

The bill essentially allows businesses to go ten years into the past, and 20 years into the future (until the recent law, they could only go 10 years into the future, and not into the past at all) to find losses to offset their tax burdens. It also allows them to use out-of-state losses for offsetting. In general this does not benefit small businesses but rather only MegaConglomos, because it will essentially allow big businesses to never pay taxes. Isa and Steve both say that although they are small business owners, they are voting yes. Adam points out that while businesses definitely come to California because of our awesome way of life, they should have to pay taxes to support that way of life.

PROP 25: Changes budget legislation to require only a 50% vote rather than 66% (Constitutional Amendment)
YES: Many, NO: 1, MAYBE: 2, Me: Yes

California is the only state with legislation requiring a 66% vote for both new taxes *and* a balanced budget. Others with these sorts of constraints only have one or the other. This would reduce the minority party's ability to stonewall the majority at no loss to themselves. Beth says she wishes the state would just fuckin' figure it out and issue her checks on time. Jarvis is opposed to this one, the League of Women Voters is in favor.

PROP 26: Requires environmental fees to get a 66% vote (Constitutional Amendment)
NO: Everyone, Me: No

The room quickly conluded that this is another attempt by big oil to get out of paying taxes, and asked could we please talk about weed now.

PROP 19: Legalize it
YES: Many, NO: 1, Me: Yes

Don, the "no" vote, did not like the possible implications this could have at the federal level. A straw poll of the room revealed that a far smaller number of my friends smoke pot than you might think (approximately 20% of the room). I'm not going to revisit all the reasons people gave for voting yes on this law, but the room spent approximately 20 minutes vehemently agreeing with itself.

Whitman - 1 maybe, Wells - 1 maybe, Brown - everyone else

Cece doesn't like the way Whitman seemed pro-fucking the little guy. Adam doesn't want his state run like a business, he wants more compassion. I like the way Brown tried to reduce spending (not taxation, that's different) during his run as governor.

Newsom - everyone

Someone notes that Maldonado did at least attempt to vote in the budget as a Senator. Crickett says, re: Newsom, "Viva Los Homos!"

Everyone: Can't we just vote "no?"

Fiorina is running on her credit as a businessperson, yet she drove HP into the ground. Also, she's endorsed by Sarah Palin. Nobody likes Boxer, but we like Fiorina less. A few folks might go for Lightfoot or Roberts.

Bowen - everyone

I make an impassioned plea that Bowen has proven that she understands that computerized voting is horribly open to fraud, and has actually forced us back to paper until we can come up with a more secure solution. Someone says that Dunn's candidate statement makes him sound like a dumbass.

Chiang - everyone

The room likes that Chiang took Schwarzenegger to court to keep him from docking state employees' checks.

Lockyer - most; Teyssier - a handful

The room largely splits on party lines for this one. Folks like that Lockyer took being insurance commissioner seriously back when he had that job. Mimi Walters' statement makes it look like she doesn't understand the job.

I didn't take a straw vote here. Most people seemed pro-Harris.

Adam expresses concern that Cooley is a former prosecutor. Everyone notes that Cooley doesn't state a position on 19; we wish he'd have the balls to say he was against it. Sarahliz says Harris has been working very closely with Jerry Brown to enact pro-environment law.

Jones - everyone

All the third-party candidates had really weak statements. Villines sounds OK, but we wonder what having three kids has to do with insurance. Some people say they've heard of Jones' work to stop unfair health insurance hikes. The room generally likes the concrete numbers put forth in Jones' statement.

De Baets - most of the room

There is no Republican candidate for this office and the Democratic candidate could not be bothered to give a statement. Of the two statements in the voter's guide, we find it hard to choose between them for awesomeness. Nancy Lawrence (Peace and Freedom) just says "Tax the Rich!" which is kind of an awesome one-line statement, but then Peter "Pedro" De Baets beats her with is one-line statement: "www.VoteForPedro.com."

We were all bored and tired at this point. We talked about it a bit, then gave up and decided to go with the LA Times recommendations. We did discover Judgepedia in the process, though.
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