Description 60 - Vote Early, Vote Often

Two countries, two elections, two advance polls, two sets of dorky commercials and two chances for me to screw something up (which I do). Features music by Laura Barrett, golf pencils and defiant envelope-licking.

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Associated links
The previous election episodes: Description 11 and Description 26
Elections Canada
Conservative Party of Canada (boo!)
Liberal Party of Canada
New Democratic Party of Canada
Bloc Québécois
Green Party of Canada

Earth SciencesLaura Barrett
"Deception Island Optimists Club" (mp3)
from "Earth Sciences"
(Paper Bag Records)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at Amazon MP3
More On This Album

(that up there is the snazzy thing IODA has me do.)
Other Laura Barrett links: @myspace, @CBC Radio 3 and @Zunior
Federal Voting Assistance Program
The Democratic Party
Republican National Committee (boo!)
Ashtabula County Board of Elections
Presque Isle Downs

The Congressional candidate I voted for is named Bill O'Neill, not Dick O'Neill. Maybe I had too much dickishness on the brain after watching all this U.S. election stuff for a few days. >;-)

There was a lot of editing in both of those election scenes. Voting in Canada took about 15 minutes, while voting in the States took about a half hour. Listening back to the one in Jefferson, I think I sounded like a bit of a jerk, not just laying out my whole situation right off and later sticking in that thing about getting the wrong ballot in the mail previously. But then when I did get around to explaining, the woman at the counter was shaking her head through the whole thing. So I guess we both loosened up.

Now for crossing the border. Since I sold my car in the spring (more on that in another episode), and I'd be home longer than would be thrifty for a rental, I took the bus to Buffalo, then caught another one to Erie, where I'd be picked up. At the U.S. border at the Peace Bridge, the passengers get off the bus, go through the immigration part, then pick up any luggage they have and go through the customs part. Even getting to the point of getting off the bus took about an hour in line, which I later learned was a result of not only neglecting to bring in more staff for a long weekend (in Canada), but deciding it was a good time to bring on trainees.

Once I got to an immigration person, I gave her my one-way bus ticket (since Dad was having surgery, I wasn't sure when I'd be able to travel back up) and my Canadian passport which says I was born in Cleveland, U.S.A.

"Do you have an American passport?" she asked.

When I said no, she gave me one of those lectures-trying-not-to-sound-like-a-lecture saying that a Canadian passport listing my birthplace in the U.S. is not good enough proof of my U.S. citizenship, and that and a one-way bus ticket does not prove I have the means to go back to Canada. She was letting me off this time (you can feel a finger wagging, can't you?), but suggested next time I also bring my birth certificate, so I could have what she termed as "the best of both worlds" and be questioned as an American.

Thing is, a U.S. birth certificate doesn't prove my citizenship any more than the designation in my passport does - it only proves I was born there, not that I've retained my citizenship since then. Of course I didn't tell her that, or question whether she thought my Canadian passport could be bogus. I just smiled, nodded, thank-you'd and shuffled off to my suitcase, which went through customs very easily. This gave me the chance to sit in the bus for another hour as my multicultural brethren went through. The last of them was part of a small group of women (one of whom was in front of me in line) who were dual citizens like me...only they happened to be Canadian and Iranian, which meant they had to fill out a separate form. I guess it was some "Axis of Evil" form, which so far, we Canadians don't have to fill out yet.

And with that in mind, we Canadians humbly remind we Americans to please vote November 4th - or anytime before that...
GoVoteAbsentee.org / learn how to vote absentee!


Description 59 - Montréal Avant Podcamp

Before attending the first big social media "anti-conference" in Quebec, I buy fabulously unhealthy food, sit on a very high balcony and celebrate how Everyone In Montreal Is Cooler Than Me. Features music by David Usher and a last-second cameo by Julien Smith which emphasize this last point.

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Associated links
The other Montreal episodes: Description 28 and Description 29
Podcamp Montreal
Gare Centrale @Wikipedia
Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana
History and various versions of O Canada
Les Halles de la Gare
Première Moisson
A recipe for Feuilleté au jambon (but keep those mushrooms out!)
David Usher: official site, myspace, Maplemusic, CloudiD (his tech/social media blog) and the Podsafe Music Network
Six Pixels of Separation by Twist Image (Mitch Joel)
McGill Station and Place-des-Arts Station
Place des Arts
Le site officiel de Youppi! (I keep forgetting he's mascot for Les Canadiens now.)
Trylon Apartments
Katherine Matthews and Rob Lee
A recipe for Tarte au Sucre
And where I ended up.

Those murals at Gare Centrale weren't even remotely trompe l’oeil, which I reminded myself later is an artistic technique of making two-dimensional things look like they're three-dimensional. I then wondered if I meant clin d'oeil, but that seems unlikely (though any Google research is overwhelmed by the fact Clin d'oeil is a huge women's magazine in Quebec). I was trying to come up with a style of French design typified by dark blue details against a stone/bone-coloured background - and even then the colours in the murals were reversed! Argh. Here's an example of those murals. I should've just said Art Deco and shut up until I had a chance to watch more HGTV.

I didn't go out and say that David Usher is a resident of Montreal, so I'll say it now. He's bounced around various places throughout his life, but had lived in Montreal a few years ago, and is now back - again, when he's not touring. More consistently from Montreal is Julien Smith, pretty much the first podcaster in Canada (Bob and AJ are the cause of me putting that "pretty much" in there) and not surprisingly one of the brilliant organizers of Podcamp Montreal. You can get an idea about this guy from watching his Podcamp presentation, which is still available (as of post-time) via the Ustream Podcamp Montreal channel. While you're there, check out the presentations I attended by fellow organizer Sylvain Grand’Maison and previously-mentioned "standard bearer" Scarborough Dude. They really aren't too inside-baseball, but just very engaging talks by very intelligent people.

And here's the view of Montreal from my 18th-floor balcony:


Again with the Nuit Blanche?

Yes, it's time (a little late) for the third edition of Nuit Blanche in Toronto, which was the subject of Description 25 and Description 45. It's an exception to my unofficial rule to not do shows about annual events every year, maybe because each year is different, and also because I've experienced it at different times in its 12-hourish overnight time span. Since I went through it early in the first year and late in the second year, this time (tomorrow) I'm trying to go for something in the middle. Of course, much of it depends on how well I do at staying awake. If a show comes out of it, it'll probably turn up some time next month (after at least one other episode).

Regardless of any of this, if you're in town, go yourself! It's fun - seriously! It's three zones of a bunch of pieces of contemporary art, presented in ways that are accessible to everyone (even, as Stephen Harper would say, "ordinary Canadians"), no matter what your feelings are about Contemporary Art. (I can vouch for that - I'm more of an Impressionist fan myself.) Check out those podcast episodes and see what you think. Then if you dig it, dive into a pile of guides for info: there's the official site, Torontoist's guide, NOW Magazine's guide, eye weekly's guide and a brilliant Google Map mashup from BlogTO. And if you see someone walking around pretending to talk on a cellphone and wearing a little white mic clipped to her purse strap, say hi.