The world probably celebrates New Year's more than any other holiday because it is completely secular and artificial. It goes beyond nationality and religion, and because of the Gregorian calendar, it has no astronomical significance other than it shows up some ten days after the Solstice.
I think the universality of the holiday makes it, in my book, one of the least interesting. All that happens is that people drink fizzy alcohol, festoon themselves with conical headwear, and, if they aren't single, make out in public.
From this point on, however, New Year's will be one of the best.
My Rancho Cordova posse, the Super Seven, began breaking up when I moved to Oregon. Wade followed me later after he met his bride. There's still five here in Rancho, and I try to connect with all of them whenever I'm here.
For New Year's Eve, I visited Steve Holtam's family and visited with them, Brandon and his girl and Wayne. I thought I'd bring up the subject of cell phones because there were enough technogeeks in the room, and within seconds, both Steve AND his wife Suzie had given me their old, unused phones to take away!
So I'll be going to Iowa with cellular phone in pocket. I started service yesterday and I have to say, it's kind of a blast. I felt much more mainstream today as I circled Sunrise Mall engaged in telecommunications, noting that there were several other guys on the same cell phone pedestrian track as me. Now I too can be in a room full of people, all of us talking to people not there.
On New Year's Day, David Chan of the Dean campaign called from Des Moines and I made arrangements with him for my Iowa stay. I also talked to Rog Borsellino and it looks like they're going to want me to do some volunteer team leadership for some of the "away teams." Sweet.
Later that day, we drove to Circuit City, looking for a cable to connect my phone to the computer. Dad pulled into a parking spot immediately in front of the door. It took about 45 seconds to learn that no, they carry no such part. Mom then suggested we spend more time in the store so to not waste such a good parking spot. So we wandered, and soon thereafter I heard Mom asking, "Would you LIKE one of these digital cameras?"
Being the good and wholesome son that I am, I answered honestly, telling nothing but the truth. So now I'll be going to Iowa with Sony PowerShot 72 in pocket. Thanks, Mom! I'll be spending a portion of the train trip rebuilding these chronicles to accept photos from the road--when I'm not taking pictures of the Rocky Mountains.
Yesterday I met with Greg, who I haven't seen in half a decade due to a believed but unverified rumor that he had skipped town. It didn't take long for the awkwardness to vanish and the normal conversation to resume. As usual, we talked about everything under the sun with a special emphasis on popular culture and psychology. He gave me his new CD (his band is now "Hive Collective") and I also scored a second copy that I'm going to mail to Jesse. I was glad to have Greg back in my life and I just feel so blessed to have so many fabulously good friends.
Last night, I visited Chris and he showed me his extensive Star Wars prop and costume collection. Turns out that Chris, not me, is the REAL Star Wars freak, the kind of guy that goes to the sci-fi conventions dressed like Boba Fett. I had no idea; I thought I was the crazy one.
Steve then broke out Conspiracy and Wayne, Chris and I spent the evening trying to knock off his spies. There were several times where I was a little confused about when I was, because it felt just like The Old Days, except there was an obnoxious three year old running around shrieking like a banshee: Steve's daughter Abigail. Now THAT was different.
Dad leaves tomorrow for Texas and I depart for Iowa on Tuesday. This phase of the adventure is wrapping up and I'll soon be undebarking in Iowa, doing what I can do for Dean's Iowa win. After the caucus there on the 19th, the plan is to return by Amtrak to Sacramento to begin phase three: east-coast remote job search. But I'm going to stay flexible with my two bags and my cell phone, and if I learn of some opportunity while I'm in Iowa, I'm going to pay good attention.
I'll finish up this entry with a bit of Uninformed Republican mail I received from Mark Madach, who I believe might be a Bike Friday customer, along with my reply. I had fun. Hope you do. See ya.
From: Mark Madach
Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2004 9:27 AM
Subject: howard dean
I'm embarrased that a commie draft dodger wants to be commander in chief. How can he lead with his resume?
From: Steve Ransom [SMTP:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2004 10:14 AM
To: 'Mark Madach'
Subject: RE: Howard Dean and George Bush
Hi, I don't remember where I know you from... did you just find my Web site and decided to let me know what you think? If so, I'm a little confused.
When you say "commie draft dodger," are you referring to Bush or Dean? I can't tell, you didn't specify.
Dean was deferred from serving in 'Nam due to a back injury.
Bush, scored 25 out of 100 in 1968 in a qualification test for the single pilot spot in the Texas air guard. He was able to leap over the heads of thousands of more qualified pilots with a little help from his rich daddy, Senator George Bush. For a confession from the guy who made the call, see http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=240&row=4.
My dad served in Nam in the Air Force and he agrees with me that a back injury is a better reason for dismissal than having a rich daddy.
Mark, also take a look at how Bush treats our military. He says "support the troops" but then he cuts pay to troops, cuts travel benefits, cuts the VA. He hands more and more money over to the giant contractors to make things we don't need. (Look up the Virginian class submarine if you want.)
Dean has promised to keep military spending levels as high as they are now... which is quite a lot. He just intends to get the money back into the hands of G.I. Joe, rather to some cigar-smoking military contractors who overcharge on every turn.
Thanks for your opinion, but I still think I'm making the right choice.
Redefeat Bush in '04!