Sunday, January 20, 2008


reno, NV. jan 15-20.

Alex's mom drove us to a nearby town so we could take a greyhound bus to Reno. We got a subsidized casino rate, bought the most watery hot chocolate I have ever tasted, and set sail. On the bus, I delved back into Kerouac, reading of his adventures through Reno on his way to the bay area. Surrounded by old ladies looking to gamble, we were on a mission to get a man elected.

We got there late, checked into our cheap -- but also clean -- motel 6 and went to sleep. Early the next morning we strolled into the office, feeling a little overwhelmed by the chaos that defines political campaigning, and were introduced to Mike from Santa Cruz, whom I now know as one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. We were tossed into a car, after a brief overview of ideas and facts we already knew, and headed with Mike over to Kathy's house -- our home base for canvassing.

Canvassing is the process by which you knock on potential caucus-goers' doors in order to remind or persuade them to caucus for your candidate. We spent the majority of our time in Reno doing this, with intermittent assembly-line tasks in the evening. Our organizer, Roger, just graduated also and chose to commit the next year or so of his life supporting the political aspirations of Barack Obama. Alex and I came for a week. Roger is from New York and was assigned to Reno back in June or July. Since then, he has been working 80 hour weeks as an unpaid intern and then was offered a staff position as the fall rolled around. He hasn't got much sleep since he started, but is by far the most capable and fearless and dedicated 22 year old I have ever encountered.

I won't delve into the details, but suffice it to say that my hope in politics is beginning to be restored. I met dozens of people who gave up large chunks of their life to commit themselves to the future of our nation. I saw the nastiest of tactics by the Clinton camp and the apathy of the electorate. I saw numbers and polls and I watched the sadness and disappointment in the eyes of believers. This week has sparked joy and excitement and connection with the people I've met and hatred and apathy and anger with many I haven't. I am beginning to see my place in the whole, and to understand how I am being molded by the hands of this experience.

in and out

sonora, CA. jan 14.

Ricky went back to Alameda last night, and now I am here with Alex and his mother. Alex and I ran some errands, registering to vote and getting slippers at walmart and buying some milk. We took a trip out to see his uncle about 20 mins away and talked politics and adventure and society and responsibility. Back to his mom's house where we chatted about anything and everything. I already feel at home here.

Tomorrow we leave for Reno, NV to work for Senator Obama in his race for the presidency.

intentions of youthful hope

san francisco, ca. Jan 7-13.

When I first stepped off the plane and into the open air I felt the cold breeze and the warm sun of california. here I am. My brother Ricky came in a bit to get me and then off to his apartment and immediately his roommate Nolan pops home, gets in the shower and we're off to the city to watch a football game. San Francisco is a small and strange city. The bar we were in had some after-work executives, street people, hipsters and me and the two military boys.

The next day I woke up alone, and ventured into the city the same way. I felt the artificial woosh of the electric train and it seemed like home. I had forgotten to bring a book so I popped in a store and bought Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Great choice. I went over to SF Moma and was there too early so I find a close cafe and a warm cup of fluid and delved into the story. Ostensibly, Kerouac is taking the same courageous and youthful trip that I am currently on. There is something about the wide spaces of the west that fills up the intentions of youthful hope, and I am beginning to find that here. I am deep into the story and someone comes to share my table and interrupts my thoughts, so I head over to the museum. I was struck particularly by the Rothko that hangs in SF Moma, the indigo and orange reminding me of the gluttony of sky that exists above california. I then head into a movie, Sweeney Todd, which I liked and then loved the second time I saw it. Something about the brutality and humor in growing old and bitter struck me, plus the songs were catchy. I finished out the day with a trip to a yuppie neighborhood for taco tuesday's with Rick and a few of his buddies, and I found out that Obama lost New Hampshire to Clinton narrowly. I then tried to make polite conversation with strangers, but felt a distracting sick regret for the rest of the night.

I spent a couple more days in San Francisco distracting myself, spending some quality hours with my older brother, and convincing Alex to come out. He agreed, eventually, and I went to get him in Ricky's car. He lives about two hours from the bay area in a little town in the foothills of the Sierra's called Sonora. We went straight to Berkeley and saw There Will Be Blood. This film is not for the faint of heart, but one of the most brilliant and extraordinary that I have seen in recent memory. We spent the entire next day watching films and eating and strolling, I rushed back to go to a party with my brother's Coast Guard friends. I made a few new friends, drank some wine, but eventually the night degenerated into a frat party somehow and I found myself playing flippy cup and getting sick from drinking the beer. So silly.

The next day Alex and I bummed around the city until Ricky woke up and then we shipped out for the mountains. We got to Alex's house late, went directly to sleep, and got up bright and early to hit the slopes. I haven't skied since I was 9 or so, but it came right back. The sun was bright and warm and the snow was soft and fresh. The conifers stood as an army in the bright white blanket, and I was sitting on a chair tethered to a rope getting pulled up a mountain. Flying down the mountain, the wind beat my face and my legs shook for fear of falling but I was thrilled. My brother Ricky, Alex, me and Alex's Uncle Osty shared smiles and laughs and cheers all around. I slept soundly.