Rep. Thelma Drake loses reelection

Thelma Drake, a republican congresswoman, lost her bid for reelection this week. I’m happy about this, but not for the reason you may imagine.

Rep. Thelma Drake late Thursday night conceded the election for the 2nd Congressional District to political newcomer Glenn Nye after a bitterly fought race.

With a small number of absentee ballots still being counted, Republican Drake released a statement saying some voters waited in line for hours and many troops serving overseas, including Iraq and Afghanistan, sent absentee ballots.

“Those ballots have been counted and the voters have decided,” she said, congratulating Democrat Nye.
Daily Kos

I search for my name all the time. Not because I’m self-centered, far from it! Not that I’m less than spectacular…

I search for my name when testing search engines and the latest startup concepts. I know what is a decent result (anything that features myself prominently).

No, I’m just tired of articles for Thelma and her gun club popping up in “Ted Drake” search results. It’s a small, but annoying thorn in my side. Hopefully in a few years these results will disappear and I can bask in the glory of an all-Ted result page.

It’s a good thing I am so modest.

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My Paris Photos – a photoblog

Three tombs in Montmartre

I’ve started yet another web site. Somebody stop the madness!

I’ve uploaded 5,000 photographs to my Flickr account. Almost half of those photos were shot in Paris, France. Hidden amongst the snap shots and bad food photos are some really good photographs. is my new web site. It’s a photo blog that lets me highlight individual images. I’m still working on some formatting stuff, but it’s ready to be seen.

Another day, another flight to Paris

I’m writing this while flying from San Francisco to Paris on Air France. I’ve flown this route several times in the past year, but never with such “flavor”. This trip is only half way over, yet the memorable events just keep piling up.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like this flight has been bad. There are no singing nuns, deadly snakes, or poisonous entrees. No, this flight has been filled with those little experiences that make me say to the little gremlin on the wing: “Did that just happen?”

Setting the stage

The flight started off fairly normal. I’ve got a great seat, 32G – a bulkhead aisle seat. The seat next to me is empty and a lady with her toddler sits on the other side of the vacancy. On the other side of the aisle are a couple of elderly women. One of them is frail, the other is quite sprite. Directly behind me is a French couple taking self portraits while strapped into the seats.

The rest of the plane seems to be comprised of inbred American teenagers on at school trip to Paris. No, seriously, they all have this common pie shaped, dough colored look. There is a really ugly set of patriarchs somewhere in California.

Oh, my seat is also a mere 4 feet from the restrooms/self-service area. I’ve got a steady stream of traffic to the right of me.

Hello Mr. open fly

I was treated to several visits from Mr. open fly. We’re not talking simply unzipped. I think this guy thought he was in an adult bookstore and was letting people sample the wares. He paraded up and down the aisles with the fly well open.

It reminded me of a little kid I went to  elementary school with. One day he wore overalls to school with no drawers. He delighted in letting the other kids check the contents of his pockets, hint hint, nudge nudge.

Naturally, I didn’t tell Mr. open fly that the corral was open and the horse was ready to escape. Why spoil such pregnant expectations?

The community television screen

I don’t know how we survived without individual television screens on airplanes. God bless jet blue for introducing the masses to such luxuries. Now we can fly blissfully around the world without having to share the joys of Everyone Loves Raymond with a planeful of idiots that actually think its funny.

No, we now have the ability to watch our own selection of movies, tv shows, and other special visual treats. It’s even possible to spend 9 hours watching movies without seeing Owen Wilson’s stupid nose, a “cutting” sitcom with laugh tracks galore, or the standard educational documentary featuring animals tearing each other to pieces.

No, that’s what the community screens are for. Scattered around the plane are little televisions displaying safety messages, animated stewardesses serving scalding hot coffee, maps of the world with the progress of our plane, and a disturbing collection of entertainment. I hadn’t really noticed these television’s content until this flight.

If it bleeds, it leads

I haven’t been watching the screens consistently. I’ve been trying to watch movies on my little personal slice of video heaven. Once in a while, my eye will be distracted by something twittering on the community screen, which sits about 4 feet away, next to the toddler’s suspended bassinet.

piglets photo on flickr
Piglets photo by ynskjen on Flickr

The first scene that grabbed my attention was a group of playful piglets trying to jump out of their pen. The pens looked like an farm from an old vampire film: dark shadows, low angle, carefully placed detritus, and a sanitary suspense. Ah look at the cute piggies.

Bam, cut to a butcher’s knife chopping through some anonymous chunk of animal corpse. One second cute piglet, next second a farmers market and dinner for some family.

This documentary then cuts to a pleasant Asian women talking to to the camera. There’s no sound, so she could be discussing the future of world peace in Africa, the art of Owen Wilson films, or the joy of slaughtering piglets. Frankly, I am assuming it is the latter. We continue to watch more scenes from Chinese markets as mysterious chunks of creatures are pulled out of woks, women plucking birds, and dogs running around scavenging for snacks and litter mates, sometimes both at the same time.

Keep in mind this is displayed on banks of televisions scattered around the plane. It’s also on some kind of demented loop. I’ve caught this documentary several times.

The broadcast hits keep on rolling

There was one particular stretch of joyous images that occurred during our meal time. Which reminds me of a particular Thanksgiving memory at the Drake house. We were gathered around the table waiting to dive into the feast.

Naturally the television was  on and for some reason it was tuned to a surgery channel instead of the normal Three’s Company marathon. Just as the food was starting to be dished out, a doctor cut open a tumorous organ and a gallon of black bile poured onto the surgical table. Yum, pass the gravy.

So, while I’m diving into my vegetarian in fight meal, the community televisions start displaying a series of bloody images. Tibetans were getting slaughtered, cartoon detectives were shooting bad guys, piglets turned into meat chunks, and the toddler next to me is making his toy ambulance crash into his toy cement mixer. “Would you like some bread with your meal?” You betcha!

The long trip to powder the nose

The frail older lady next to me needed to powder her nose a couple hours ago. This procedure involved several people as we jockeyed positions to make sure she had a clear shot to the bulkhead. Her companion assisted her. Just as she finally gets out of her seat and is heading towards the powder room, passengers from the forward section jump into the toilets and she’s forced to wait for an opening. One of the stewardesses assisted her to the premium lounges. She made it back in good shape and is now sleeping soundly.

And then Little Betty died

Little Betty is the name of my new laptop; a tiny toy of a thing made by Asus. Unfortunately, the battery died mid flight and I wasn’t able to finish documenting this flight. There were several inbred teenagers that liked to hangout at the free sodas in front of my seat. I could describe them for hours. Alas, my post-flight haze is kicking in and they’ll have to escape the brutal knife of my razor sharp wit.

Toronto Time

I’m in Toronto this week working with the Canadian folks. We’re trying to work oot some bugs on a new Yahoo! property.

toronto nightToronto is a big city, and when I say big, I mean big stuff. Things are spread out, a city block is probably two city blocks in San Francisco. There are big trashcans on the street (that separate recyclables and trash), a big phallic symbol, big signs in the subway, very big drag queen hair, and the list goes on.

There’s one thing here that’s no longer big: the American dollar. That damn bush has even killed our dollar against the Canadians! I have visited Canada several times over the past 20 years and it’s always been a shopper’s paradise. But noooooo, now the stuff costs the same as the US. What’s the fun in that.

Joe ClarkI haven’t taken very many photos of Toronto. It’s not very photographic for me. That’s not to say there aren’t interesting things, the interesting things happen too quickly and you’d miss them with a camera in your face. The people are interesting, especially in the Village. It’s much more fun to sit back with a coffee, tea, or something and enjoy the atmosphere.

I visited with everyone’s favorite gay vegan Cannuck accessibility guru: Joe Clark. I’ve experienced the city via his photos on flickr and his many blog posts about the trials and tribulations of a Toronto life. I always enjoy seeing a new city with a local friend when I travel. Joe’s CN Tower at nightjourney was quite the jaunt.

We talked about homosexualist web developers and the lack thereof, politics local and global, cars, music, and other butch things. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to see the storied Leslieville or the infamous street-trashcan-furniture pieces. We did see some great examples of signage gone bad in the subway.

There’s a great farmer’s market in Toronto. It’s been around longer than California. Well, at least the Americanized California. I’ve tromped my ass through those stalls looking for some delights. The food was unfortunately only mediocre and the coffee even worse. However, I did find a European/Ukranian stall that made an amazing roasted eggplant with mayonaise, tomatoe, and cheese. I know, it sounds like a train wreck but it was delish!

farmer's market in TorontoI’d love to buy some of the local cheeses, berries, and such. But they won’t make it through customs without me throwing a hissy fit, and I’m just not in the mood to ruin my makeup.

Today’s my last day here. It’s time to pack up the old suitcase and head off to the airport soon. Don’t worry Toronto, I’ll be back again. I missed Niagara Falls this time, so save some water for me.