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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Did you ever start a project (maybe one youíve been putting off for a very long time) and then wish you hadnít, because there wasnít enough time to finish it? Thatís the situation I found myself in yesterday, and then again today, on two completely different projects. I must have been out of my mind to get so deep into anything on the eve of my audit.

Let me start with a confession. Iím not much for filing. There has been a growing pile of paid invoices on the corner of my counter for more than two years, waiting for me to get the time (and, more importantly, the ambition) to put them in their proper files. Iím not kidding. At the bottom of the pile were invoices from 2004 (along with photos from the cruise, also from 2004).

I turned the pile upside down so I could start at the bottom, with the oldest. First I separated the invoices by supplier into broad alphabetical categories, A through E, F through J, etc. This might seem like an extra step, but I was working with limited space. If I wanted to sit while I was doing it, I had to use my dining table, and I had room for no more than half a dozen piles at a time.

That precaution didnít keep me from getting my back bent out of shape. I was aching by the time I got to the end of the day, with the job about a third of the way done. I managed to get far enough that I could make one big crisscross pile out of all the little piles, so that I could get back to them on another day, when I had more time. Putting off work, now that comes more naturally to me than buckling down and doing it.

Today I was puttering around the house, straightening the clutter so that the auditor wouldnít think my files must be in such an awful mess that he would have to look more closely. The other reason is that I have to be ready to host Christmas dinner in less than a month, and there are children coming here. The less attractive nuisances I have, the better.

For some reason it occurred to me that I need to reorganize my CD collection. Maybe itís because I have mounds of CDs here and there in every room. I can usually find what Iím looking for, but that doesnít mean the system makes any sense. Iíve had a rearrangement lurking in the back of my mind for a long time, with little time (or ambition) to get to it.

So I started. And within fifteen minutes I realized Iíd never get it done in any reasonable amount of time. So I kept working for another couple of hours, for no other reason than momentum. It takes me a while to get started, but then it takes me a while to get stopped. In the end I swept all the CDs into piles again and shoved them in various corners and quit. And once again, my back was aching.

19 November 2006

The steps in front of the Bank of America Building, San Francisco.

You canít really tell Iíve done anything this weekend unless you studied it pretty carefully beforehand. And nobody does that but me, so to most visitors (including, most likely, the auditor), itíll just look like the house of a single guy who doesnít get around to cleaning things up all that often. I guess I canít hide my true nature, no matter how much time (or ambition) I get on a rainy, lonely weekend.

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Is there any question that electronic voting machines simply donít work as they are represented? Even if there isnít any deliberate tampering (and Iím by no means saying there isnít), the machines sometimes crash or record votes for the wrong candidate. In Sarasota County, Florida, 18,000 votes in the Congressional race went unrecorded. Thatís a race that was decided by only a few hundred votes, so the discrepancy is glaring and significant. In three other Florida counties, 40,000 votes in the state Attorney General race were recorded as blank. In Benton County, Arkansas, one recount showed more than 100% of registered voters voting in some precincts. We have less than two years to get the system corrected in time for the next presidential election. Hereís a challenge the new Democratic Congress should be up for, considering how the party lost the last two times the presidency was in play. Paper trail, people!

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One year ago: Flight Risk
"They tramp back and forth through my yard most of the year, but theyíve been awfully scarce lately."

Two years ago: Time and Temp
"Itís so quiet it seems almost deserted, and I guess thatís what we needed this time. Thatís what I needed, anyway."

Three years ago: Crumble
"He made me want to go out and buy some quince (which is apparently related to the apple, if I understood him correctly)."

Four years ago: Mob Hit
"We smile at her, but she's too nervous to smile back. She takes the dollar and holds out the tray."

Five years ago: Not Sick
"I felt more and more as if I were trying to run through a wall of jell-o."

Six years ago: Homeward Bound
"I did have lots of help, even though it was no help."

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