Saturday, November 10, 2012
Went to a concert last night and decided to get in on the crowd action rather than watching from the wings or balcony...now, the bands playing included Hatebreed, In Flames and Lamb of God, so the point of getting into the crowd was, in addition to having fun, to get what I call the heavy metal workout.
Even if you're unfamiliar with the metal crowd, you've probably heard of the moshpit, which is essentially human pinball. One flavor is the circle pit, where participants are running in the same direction, bouncing and getting shoved by the people on the edge of the circle. In addition to this localized action, the area in front of the stage is often a seething mass of humanity, propelled to and fro by people pushing and shoving, often in an attempt to gain better position, whether in terms of getting closer to the stage, or frankly, just stay upright. Now, there are a few rules, even in that scrum, cardinal among them the fact that if someone falls to the ground, you help them up. But past that? A ton of anything goes.
Honestly, it can be a lot of fun, trying to maneuver within that mass to get to where you want to go, or to deny some young punk from getting to where they want to go (ie take your hard earned spot). Given the fluidity of the crowd, and the fact that you don't always have a choice in which way you're heading, your relative position changes often, and in that fight to keep upright, and going where you want to go, well, let's just say it's a very sweaty endeavour. A good workout, if you can deal with a lot of hairy sweaty dudes around you, and the near certainty that you'll be going home with a few bruises.
The damage started early yesterday, with my first foray into the pit resulting in a busted lip courtesy of a guy's elbow. Giving Angelina Jolie a run for her money today, though fortunately all the visible damage is on the inside of the lip. Later on, there was the kick below the belt from a guy jumping up to go crowd surfing, the head butt in the pitt that oppened near where I was trying to get OUT of the crowd, and the mystery Charley horse that I hadn't even realized I had until I tried climbing down the stairs and found myself clinging to the barrister. Adrenaline, I suppose.
As suspected, I did emerge from the show with a good few bruises, in addition to the Charley horse and busted lip.and that's in spite of not making it all the way through Lamb of God's set. Four songs on, I bailed for the safety of the balcony. I made it through Hatebreed and In Flames in decent shape, but the crowd took things to a new level as we waited for Lamb of God. This crowd was moving and pulsing 10-15 minutes before the band appeared on stage. After a few songs, I had to escape. Maybe I'd just had my fill, or perhaps it was more brutal in there than during the opening bands. Don't know, really, but it was the first time in many years that I felt compelled by something other than the desire to watch the show to get out of the scrum.
Had a lot of fun, but paying for it in soreness today, and I suspect the next couple of days as well.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
...and infrequently at that, is the possibility that a typo might slip past you for a few days. Like the one where I apparently managed to rack up a thousand fitness minutes in the first four days of the month. Yes, I did a lot of walking over the weekend, but I didn't intend to log the actual amount of time spent, as that did not translate precisely in terms of exercise. Instead, I translated the mileage (or approximation thereof) to the 17 minute/mile pace I use for exercise purposes, and then mixed that with the distance to come up with an exercise minutes number. I intended to enter 140, but instead typed in 1140. Rest assured, I did not exercise 19 hours on Monday.
I've corrected that mistake, but I wonder how well the fitness tracker responds to such correction. Guess we'll find out.
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Ended up going to the local Dem watch party, aka Tammy Baldwin’s victory rally. Not that we were nearly as confident of that as we were that President would carry Wisconsin. As we wrapped up making phone calls all the way up to the 8 PM deadline for getting in line – at 7:30, new lists were distributed, of voters in a particular Milwaukee precinct where turnout was running behind norms, in an effort to scrounge up a few more last minute votes – one of the young women in the office professed to being nervous about the outcome. I caught up to her at the watch party a few hours later, and asked her whether she was feeling better, and…you should have seen the smile lighting up her face. Kind of said it all about how we were feeling at that event, watching the President win re-election, watching Tammy Baldwin’s numbers in the Senate race climb towards election, seeing Mark Pocan’s far more predictable win in his race to replace Baldwin as our Congressman.
I didn’t really know very many people there, as I haven't ever really gotten involved with local politics in the 9 years I’ve been in Madison. Kind of odd, as interested as I am in politics, that I haven’t participated before to the extent I did this time around. Far different vibe (obviously) at this thing, as opposed to watching returns on my own as I did in 2006 and 2008. I'm really glad I decided to join the crowd last night. I spent some time randomly talking to a few folks, conversations sparked by things flashing across the projection screens, and ended up hanging with my friend Dave (fellow food pantry volunteer) most of the night. As those rambling conversations borne out of waiting for something to happen (in this case, CNN or MSNBC calling the next state or race; no Fox for this crowd, which is ironic if only for the fact that that network declared Tammy Baldwin a victor an hour or more before other networks followed suit), we got around to the topic of vote margins, which brought up how dictators would claim ludicrous electoral wins, like Saddam Hussein’s 100% turnout, 100% of the vote claims.
Hours later, after Baldwin gave her victory speech, we were sent to a nearby venue to watch Obama’s acceptance speech. En route to the new site, I was walking beside a woman who was hailed by a tall bearded guy, who started talking about numbers in some random race. Unsure if I’d heard the numbers correctly, I asked the guy to repeat them, kinda butting into the conversation, and then asked whose race he was talking about. “Why, mine,” he replied…apparently, I was speaking to the newly elected District Attorney for Trempealeau County in western Wisconsin. And in response to the quizzical looks I got about my laughter, I told them about the earlier Saddam Hussein conversation. Because the election numbers he was excited about were just as comical, he won his race 10,024-56. Looking it up just now, I see the guy was apparently unopposed on the ballot. That certainly does make it easier to win!
A few favorite moments from the evening, besides the DA’s 99.444444 percent win, included that moment when MSNBC called Ohio for the President, and declared that Obama had won re-election. A bit of a primal roar through the crowd, a chill up the back…a great feeling. Then there was Baldwin’s acceptance speech, especially, for me, when she was recounting how kind her defeated foe, Tommy Thompson was to her when she was a freshman legislator and Thompson was Governor of Wisconsin. Apparently, Thompson had known Baldwin’s father (who had since passed away) in college, and shared memories with her every time they ran into each other back then. I’m not going to forget Mark Pocan’s acceptance speech, either, partly because he was someone I’d actually met before. He went up on stage with just one other person in tow, who I figured was a campaign manager or something. The guy kind of looks like John Oliver from the Daily Show. When Pocan got done thanking others who’d helped him get to Washington, he introduced the guy behind him as his husband, and leaned over for a quick kiss. A sweet little moment. You know, unlike that earlier (no less fun!) moment when I made a call at about 7:45 and the guy just said, “I’ve already f***ing voted,” and hung up on me! I got a kick out of that one…I mean, what if I’d been calling him to tell him he’d won a million dollars??!
To top it all off, when I hopped on the scale this morning, I was down a pound from the last time I’d checked (5 days…longest I’ve gone in a long time without hopping on the darn thing!) Guess all that walking around knocking on doors did pay off a bit. But I need to get back to the gym, otherwise, I’ll never get enough facebook check-ins to get the free t-shirt.
And now, back to rarely mentioning politics in this space.
Monday, November 05, 2012
The President was in Madison this morning to start the last day before election day, with Bruce Springsteen along to warm up the crowd. I was definitely warm, but that was because upon waking at 5 AM, I rolled back over and went to sleep.
I'd planned to volunteer for the rally, but canvassers were needed last night at the same time as the volunteer meeting, and I ended up doing that instead, and that probably helped shape that 5 AM decision, as well as the fact that Obama came to Madison a few weeks ago, and I got a chance to hear him then.
The day before the election is door hanger time, campaigns trying to give one last nudge to supporters to get out to the polls, and so I was back out in the 40-45 degree weather for another 5-6 hours. I did remember to take along my pedometer today, and by the end of the second tour, it registered 8.4 miles. Over the past three days, I estimate 15 miles of walking, so I better see some benefit the next time I hop on a scale!
Since I'm being all political, here's my guess for the main event: Obama retains the presidency 290-248, outside the margin of Ohio, close enough that it might be a late night tomorrow. Guess we'll see. Trying to decide if I just want to hang at home and yell at the TV by myself, or attend some event, maybe even an official results watching party. Then again, as the Wisconsin Senate race has been rated the tightest in the country, that might be even more nerve wracking. Might have to flip the coin on that tomorrow (assuming that's open to the public).
Sunday, November 04, 2012
Spent all Saturday afternoon knocking on doors, participating in the get out the vote operations. Got to meet the guy who'll be the next Congressman from this district....but if only I'd volunteered for the 9 am shift rather than the noon shift... Minnesota Senator Al Franken apparently stopped into the office where the gotv headquarters was, to rally the troops, to help support our Senate candidate. Mark Pocan (the next congressman) seems like a nice guy, but, well, he's never been on Saturday Night Live.
5 hours of wandering around in the 40 degree temps counts for exercise, surely, but probably doesn't begin to counteract the pizza and butterfingers that are the mainstay of the weekend's diet so far. Not sweating it, at least not until I go to the gym tomorrow.
Sunday plans include waking up, more political volunteering (thinking phone calls this time, avoid the cold for a day), and the gym, and that's about it. No noon shift tomorrow, since that's when the Packers play, and political campaigns in Wisconsin know better than to disturb people trying to watch the green and gold play.
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