Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Adios Austin

Yesterday, I closed on my house in Austin, officially marking an end to a wonderful chapter in my life. I moved to Austin in July of 1997, to work for Trilogy. Fresh from Ithaca, I can safely recommend that one NEVER move to Austin, TX in the summer. But summer heat aside, Austin is an oasis in the Texas desert.

For 7+ years I lived in Austin and enjoyed all that it had to offer. Some of my favorites include water skiing on Town Lake, bike rides to Salt Lick, dinner at Curra's, and morning runs around the lake. Austin offers so many wonderful outdoor activities, great live music, and fabulous restaurants.

In August of 2000, right at the height of the boom, I plunged head first into the world of home ownership. 2409 McCall was where I hung my hat, in the heart of Tarrytown. My little 3 bedroom 2 bath was perfect, except for the lack of a deck in the backyard, which I immediately added.

Now, after 4 years of home ownership, some fun improvement projects including painting and lawn work, and many memorable gatherings of friends, I've relinquished the keys to new owners. I can only hope they enjoy it as much as I have, and have many great years calling it "home".

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Every vote counts

Today I had the opportunity to exercise my right as a citizen and vote in the national, state, and local elections as a California resident. Another of the many conveniences of living in an urban area, is that my local polling location was conveniently location on the next block over from our aparment in the local fire station. My voting experience was a very pleasant one. I had my morning cup of coffee and stood in line for about 30 minutes waiting for my opportunity to cast a ballot. While in line, another fellow American and I traded news headlines and discussed the process. It was good to meet some of my "neighbors" in the area.

Once inside the firehouse, I was greeted by amazingly friendly and helpful poll workers who were doing a great job at keeping the flow of people moving. They were also extremely skilled at keeping the mood calm and light-hearted. When it was my time, I walked up to the small portable 'vote-a-matic' stand and started filling in my ballot. The ballot in San Francisco was four pages including the presidential race, US Senate, state races, state propositions, and local city propositions. Five minutes later, I had successfully completed all the right arrows with the black 'magnetic pen' and it was time to take my ballot to the largest portable scan-tron ever made. Another few seconds, and my ballot was cast!

Overall, I thought the voting experience was an extremely positive one. It was good to see so many people interested in the electoral process, and everyone seemed good humored about the whole thing. It should be interesting to see how the day/night unfolds.