Katie and I got up early so we could hit the polls first thing in the morning and not have to worry about whether we’d be stuck in an insanely long line at the end of the day, like we were in 2004 and 2006. The first thing we noticed was the sound of rain falling outside. Since we were expecting a huge turnout, I’d planned on walking, fearing we might have to park far enough away that we might as well have walked. Fortunately by the time we left, it had died down to little more than a drizzle.

We got to the polling place, an elementary school, about 7:05, just after it opened, found the right line (they had two precincts voting at the same location), and there were only about 15-20 people ahead of us. We got into a conversation with other people around us about the merits of early voting (one guy joked that he’d already voted for the 2012 election), exit polls, and the electoral college.

The poll workers were a surprise. Usually in this area it tends to be older people who volunteer to run the polls, but it seemed like 2/3 of them were in their late teens/early twenties. Katie figured it had to do with the economic slowdown: we know who’s out of work.

They’ve mostly worked out the kinks in the electronic voting system, though they’re now offering a choice of electronic or paper ballot when you sign in. You go through several stations, signing the roll of voters, confirming your address, and finally getting either a paper ballot or an access key for the electronic ballot.

I still don’t like the user interface on these voting machines — it’s a paddle wheel interface, where you rotate a dial to move the selection on the LCD screen forward or back, with buttons to check things off — but it does at least include a printed record. There’s a roll of paper in the machine with a window, and after you’ve confirmed the summary of your selections (with a big red button that says “Cast Ballot”), it prints them out, asks you to confirm the printout, then scrolls it out of view so the next person can’t see what you chose.

Anyway, the whole process took only 35 minutes from finding the line to picking up the “I Voted” sticker. Kids were just starting to line up for class. We went home, dropped off the umbrella (which we never actually needed), picked up our stuff and drove off to work only 15 minutes behind normal schedule.

(Cross-posted from LiveJournal, originally linked in the list below.)

  • It’s like raaaaaain/on Election Day. #
  • #votereport #good Only 30 minute wait, no problems with machine around 7am in Orange County, CA. No idea what it’s like now, though. #
  • Voting freebies: Might hit Ben & Jerry’s, but don’t see much point in a plain coffee at Starbucks. Maybe if they offered a mocha. #
  • Ah, this would explain the 4-hour delay on my “I Voted!” tweet. #
  • Wow… 38% of registered voters in Los Angeles County had cast ballots by noon. #
  • Deep pink clouds at sunset. Camera turns them orange. #

Update: It’s been a while, so I don’t remember for sure if this is the right photo, but the date’s correct and it fits the description.

Sunset clouds

  • WTF? Saw an ad saying “Support marriage rights” that’s in favor of Prop 8, which ELIMINATES marriage rights! Someone’s got things backwards. (discussion at LiveJournal) #
  • Last-minute review of ballot propositions. Are we there yet? #
  • Naming proposed laws after people whose cases (a) inspired or (b) are used to promote them has jumped the shark, #

Musician Tom Smith (author of the Talk Like a Pirate Day theme song and Girl Genius’ Transylvania Polygnostic University Fight Song, and a.k.a. filkertom on LiveJournal) is in the hospital after a nasty injury, facing expensive surgery and months of hospital bills…without insurance. And of course he can’t work while he’s in the hospital.

A bunch of other musicians in the filk community have put together a benefit album, “Mr. Smith Goes to the Hospital,” and are providing it as a download for people who donate to help him cover the bills.

What is filk music? There’s no solid consensus, but I think the simplest answer is: music about other media, by its fans. Songs about Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings, for instance. Sometimes with original music, often setting new lyrics to other people’s songs (“piggyback filk”). Most filkers just do it as a hobby (I’ve written a few filksongs myself, mostly back in high school and college), but some manage to eke out a living — or supplement one — by performing and selling recordings.

We’ve picked up a couple of his albums since we heard “Five Years” — a Babylon 5 filk to the tune of Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week” — at a Loscon a few years ago (back when we still went to Loscon).

(News found via Girl Genius. Cross-posted at Speed Force.)

So, the real cover for the upcoming Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 was revealed at Heroes Con this weekend. Things don’t look promising for Bart, especially since there’s a history of Flashes dying… but let’s remember there’s also a history of Flashes (and supporting cast) appearing dead on the cover, but still making it through the issue. The full cover—and more than 20 examples of dead Flash covers—appear below. Continue reading

Went to the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention on Sunday. I’d only been to one before, last June, and it was pretty pathetic. The dealer’s room was sparse, and hardly anyone was in attendance. Or maybe they were all in the movie (IIRC it was a Wonder Woman fan film). All this seen through the context of my search for affordable copies of 1940s-era Flash Comics led to me spending a grand total of an hour there before leaving.

In fact, I wouldn’t have gone back if it weren’t for three things:

  1. The writers on the new Flash series would be there, signing autographs.
  2. One of them posted a reminder on a message board that I frequent. (I would have looked at the calendar next Friday and realized that I missed it.)
  3. They were screening Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo, a full-length movie that will otherwise only be shown on Cartoon Network.

With #3, that meant Katie wanted to come along too.

So we got up early (for a weekend), went out to breakfast at Ruby’s and drove up to LA.

I was shocked to see a line to get in. And the place was comparatively packed. I could swear there were twice as many dealers, and 2 or 3 times as many attendees. My best guess is that a lot of people stayed home in June since it was only a month before San Diego Comic-Con.

I cruised the dealer’s room, found some comic book adaptations of The Colour of Magic (1/4) and The Light Fantastic (full set), and a couple of Elric books, looked at what I thought might be the autograph table to see if Bilson and DeMeo were there (the Flash writers), didn’t see them, and joined Katie as we waited for the movie to start.

And waited.

And waited.

You see, the actor who does the voice for Beast Boy was signing autographs (and using it as a way to collect money for PETA — you got an autograph by making a $2 donation). They wanted everyone in line to get an autograph. He wanted to keep reminding people that they really should pick up some of the PETA literature he had up front.

The movie was supposed to start at 12:30, and didn’t get underway until at least 1:00. Fortunately it was a lot of fun… until 45 minutes in, when the DVD started skipping and catching. And no one did anything about it. The guy sitting at the control table, as near as anyone could tell, wasn’t even trying to do anything. After a few minutes — yes, minutes — of this, people started leaving in earnest.

I decided to make one more circuit and see if I could find the main autograph table, and it turned out that it was the table I thought, and I just hadn’t recognized them (one of them did most of the talking at the Comic-Con panel I went to, and he shaved off his beard between then and now). I spoke to them briefly, got them to sign the new Flash #1 and the Flash TV Special from 1990. (They were really impressed at the condition it was in, and asked where I got it. I explained that I’d picked it up when it was new, and kept it that whole time.)

About this time the people running the movie finally got around to fixing, cleaning, or whatever they needed to do to the DVD, so we got to see the rest of the movie.

Trouble in Tokyo was very good. The story was a bit predictable in places, but it kept up a manic pace and had tons of humor. There was a travel montage early on that was just one joke after another, and some drop-down-funny parts scattered through the film.

The one that practically had us on the floor was in a sequence with a sushi chef trying to convince Cyborg to leave his all-you-can-eat restaurant by handing him ever-more-ridiculous dishes.

We still left after maybe 4 hours, but it was an interesting four hours!

(Originally posted at LiveJournal)