Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's Vacation Week... Oh, Shiney!

The countdown until vacation is in the single digits, and I'm just not sure I'll be able to keep a thought in my head for more than a moment until I am in the airport. My brain is a jumble of unrelated (mostly vacation-focused) randomness.
  • Can I make it 11 days with no internet, no phone, no GPS, no email? Sure, I can.
  • Will it cause a panic attack at some point. Likely, but it will probably be as I board in Houston, then I'll be fine.
  • Will we be able to see the oil spill from the plane? We depart the USA from Houston, but I'm not sure of the exact path of the plane. I find the possibility simultaneously fascinating and heartbreaking.
  • Even if we do our dead set best to NOT DRINK the water, will we still get sick? I give myself even odds, John's odds probably aren't as good.
  • Will we like the rest of tour group? Will they be fun? Will we be the only non-AARP members? Hopefully, fingers crossed, and quite likely.
  • Will the dog miss us? Will she even care if she's at my mom's house? Which is sadder?
  • Can we really pack for an 11 day trip in a carry-on suitcase each?
  • Will doing laundry from the road suck the fun on a daily basis?
  • Will we get the whole Egyptian tipping thing down? Seriously, a tip for opening a door or pushing the elevator button? Geeze. How many 5 cent bills am I going to have to carry around?
  • That's right a nickle bill. Man, if euros were confusing at times, this is going to be downright ridiculous.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Egypt Here We Come

Last year when we visited Ireland, we heard over and over again, "That's the trip of a lifetime!" Well, we've decided that we should take a "trip of a lifetime" every year. This year it's Egypt, and we're finally getting close enough that it's starting to feel real.

I've been planning for months, but I've been disappointed in the amount of information on modern day Egypt. This trip is sure to be filled with surprises. There are tons about ancient Egypt, but just not that much (comparatively) for today's traveler. I guess not too many people actually go there. You'd think it would be more popular. I mean, it's Egypt! Who wouldn't want to go? Sure, it's part of the middle east and it's hot enough to kill you, but they have pyramids. We're talking the real deal. John and I are going to see the last standing wonder of the world.

If we thought Ireland was a culture shock, this is going to be a full-on culture stroke. I can't wait. Bring on the strange food, signs I can't read, baffling customs, marketplace bartering, and neck-to-toe cover ups in 120' heat. My world view is ready for it's next adjustment.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How a Politician Gives You the Bird

A few weeks ago, a candidate for House District 31 stopped by the house. She missed us, but left a handbill with a handwritten personalize sticky note. "{phone} {email}Beautiful orange door! Sorry I missed you. AJ Jones."

I'm impressed. We are more politically active than your average family (not hard!), and John and I know firsthand how hard it is to walk the ward much less the district. So I take a look to learn more.

AJ bills herself as a "Common Sense Conservative." Um, what does that mean? Are you a democrat or a republican? In Oklahoma "Common Sense Conservative" could mean either. I keep reading.

On the next page, there is a typo that is so bad I honestly didn't understand the sentence. And the kicker: the longest bullet on the entire handbill describes her husband. Evidently, he is proof of her "values." All this tells me is that she values her husband's qualifications over her own.

Ok, so I'll go the website to see more about her. Only, there is no website. The first day I checked, there was only a hosting page that stated the domain was purchased. A week later a "Coming Soon" splash image appeared. As of this writing, the page is still coming soon.

Then this shows up downtown:

Are you kidding me? This billboard is in the historic district! I soon learned I wasn't the only one annoyed by this. I explained this to AJ in an email on May 31.

People in Guthrie are talking, but I doubt it's in a way you hoped. Everyone is intrigued by your campaign. You've been out in the neighborhoods--I know you stopped by my home--signs are starting to go up, and I've even heard Chuck introduced you to some folks at the coffee shop.

The only problem is the very, very large sign--more of a billboard, really--right smack dab in the historic district. I'm not the only person upset by this. One of our civic leaders has already spoken to the city attorney about this. It seems since you are political candidate, your sign is somehow exempt from our historic preservation regulations. So no one will force you to remove the sign on the White Rock Cafe. That is until the sign ordinance our city council has been working on for more than a year passes this summer.

Our beautiful Victorian downtown is our number one attraction and we are heading into tourism season. If you would like to impress the people of Guthrie, please have some respect for the integrity of our historic regulations and the community itself.

Bonnie Ann Cain, APR (registered Republican)

I received no automated response. The next day, nothing. The next week, nothing. Maybe Team AJ is as good at checking email as they are at updating the website. But, today I got a surprise. She wrote back. Here was her response:

Dear Ms. Cain:
Thank you so much for your thoughtful concern about our beautiful town. I too love our Victorian downtown. I apologize for not responding to your e-mail sooner, but I was researching and conversing with some people regarding your concern about my campaign sign. I have made every effort to ensure that the sign is only temporary. It will be removed after the July 27 primary. In making the decision to use the sign, I sought several people's opinions. They assured me that since we are in the political season, the temporary sign would not be offensive. They pointed out several other signs which are larger and have permanent placement. Again, thank you for your concern. Please do not hesitate to phone me or e-mail if you wish further information.
AJ Jones

Now that is how you give someone the bird. At least she's got one thing down.

I'm not sure who these people she talked to were. I'm guessing it wasn't the code enforcement office, or any downtown business owner who has struggled to remain in compliance, or the economic development office. And I thought I'd made it pretty clear the people I've talked to do find the sign offensive. As for taking the sign down after July 27, I'm hoping she won't have a need to campaign after that day.

And what are these larger permanent signs? Is she talking about these?

These couldn't be it. These are actually adding to the historic district. But these were the only other billboards I saw in downtown. Maybe I'm just so used to these other larger permanent signs I've tuned them out.