Caroling, Trees, Elections

Been busy these last few days. Last night, several people from our church got together and went Christmas Caroling. It really is quite fun, if you come prepared for the weather. This year, the wind let up for most of the night, and it really wasn’t that cold. A good experience all around. A lot of the people we caroled to don’t get out too much, and this is a real experience for them. It really makes their Christmas. We had a group of 25 or so, plus two young ones that ended up falling asleep in the car. (we carol mainly to people from the church, so we have to drive to the houses, and the whole affair takes 2 to 3 hours.)

It was actually the second time I’d been caroling this week. At school, during finals week, it is quiet hours 23 hours a day. That leaves one hour (9-10pm) for ‘blowout hour’. Sunday they had an eggnog chug, and other assorted activities. I missed that one, I can’t remember why. Monday, there was the “Fr. Brad Social’, where the pastoral resident (Father Brad) hosts a social in his room. It’s just two doors down from me, so I decided to wander down and see what was up. They were serving root beer floats, and there were a lot of people there. It was proposed that we should go carol to the girls in Mehling, the nearby all girls dorm, and about 7 of us decided to go. Michael, (the guy who thought of caroling) had prepared a songsheet with 3 songs, and had the chords for hi guitar, so we had accompaniment. So off we went. Of course, I realized when we got over there that I’d left my wallet in my room, and didn’t have my ID, required to check in. So I just hid out behind the group, and ended up getting in without checking in. (That’s not really kosher, but don’t tell anyone, okay?)

We began caroling on the first floor, and as we passed the first three doors, two of them were slammed shut. We were wondering if we could really sound that bad. Actually, though, the girls really seemed to like it, several running to get cameras for scrapbooks, or other stuff. We went from one end of the floor to the other, then up the stairwell to the next, singing one song per floor. The three songs were: The First Noel, O Holy Night, and What Child is This. Despite O Holy Night being a hard song to sing, I think we actually sounded pretty good at it, and it was our favorite of the three.

By the time we got to the eighth (top) floor, it had been almost half an hour, but we were doing pretty well. There were four or so girls working on homework or something in the little lobby area outside the elevator, and so we ended up singing out whole repertoire to them, as well as being photographed about 10 times. Then we rode the elevator down, singing, and stopping on every floor, for a few seconds. We actually picked up a passenger or two on the way down, who didn’t really know what to make of the situation. Then we sang a carol in the lobby, and made out departure, with about 5 minutes to spare before quiet hours resumed, at 10.

Tuesday was the RA Balloon Launch, where we got a slingshot, and the RAs stood at the end of the field, and we launched water balloons at them. They were not allowed to duck out of the way on an incoming balloon. None of the RAs got hit square on, though we got several hits in the shins, and one that was just barely over one’s shoulder. I got a few good pictures. I may decide to post them later, but I don’t feel like uploading them to my computer resizing them, and then uploading them to the net tonight.

The Saturday night before finals, I was in my room and heard a loud sound come from the basketball courts below the dorm. There were several people gathered down there, I saw out my window, so I went out to see what was going on. Turns out, they had an old computer, and two monitors, and were smashing them. This was put on by Ryan Hendricks, as an official activity. The idea being to let us take out frustration and stress on the computer equipment. The bang I heard was the first monitor exploding. They had an aluminum baseball bat to hit the stuff with. The computer case was strung up to the basketball hoop with a power cord. By the end, the stuff was pretty much destroyed. I didn’t think to get my camera until after the smashing was over, but there was some videotape taken, so it’ll show up in the end of the year video. I got a few pictures of the cleanup, but nothing too exciting. I salvaged a computer chip from the junk pile, but I’m not sure what it belonged to. It’s not the processor, but other than that, I’m not too sure. But it’s kinda cool.

We put up our Christmas trees yesterday and today. We have two, a fake one downstairs and a live one upstairs. The stove is in the room downstairs where the tree goes, so a real tree would dry out way too soon there. Michelle and I decorated the fake tree with all the glass and other nice ornaments, the tree upstairs will be decorated with all the ornaments that have been made over the years. My mom crochets ornaments, and my Michelle and I have made our share of ornaments over the years, in school and whatnot. Dad lit that tree this afternoon, and will decorate it tomorrow, I think. He’s off until after Christmas, now.

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow, and a haircut on Wednesday. I should be all ready for the holidays. We’re having the annual get together for my Dad’s side at our house this year, on Sunday. It’s tradition to do it after Christmas, so that we can spend Christmas at home. We’ll have four of the five siblings here, the last lives in Boise and doesn’t always come. It is a long trip for them, well over 6 hours of driving. My aunt from Puyallup, (outside of Tacoma) is coming down, and will be spending the night here. The other two brothers live in Portland, just an hour away.

In other news, I’m finally getting a newspaper again with some regularity, and have discovered that the Governor’s race here in Washington is still as undecided as it was the last time I heard. Except that there are now more ballots in dispute. For those not following WA politics, the current Governor, Gary Locke (Democrat), chose not to run again. The race was between Christine Gregoire, the current Attorney General, a Democrat, and Dino Rossi, a former state Senator, and a Republican. The general consensus was that Rossi was really a long shot, and that Gregoire would win easily. But Rossi did well. Washington law allows ballots postmarked on the date of the election to count, so many ballots arrived after the election night, and they didn’t have an official total for a long time. When they did, Rossi lead by about 200 votes, out of about 2 million cast. That triggered a automatic machine recount, and Rossi came out of that with a lead of 42 votes. A hand recount is now in progress, and with all counties except King reporting, Rossi’s lead has increased by eight votes.

But it’s not quite that simple. In King county, last week, they just happened to discover 576 absentee ballots that had been erroneously rejected due to mismatched signatures. Apparently, something had been done wrong when the signatures on the registration forms were scanned into the computer. Of course, King county is the county where Seattle is located, the most liberal (Democratic) county in the state. Something tells me that these ballots will tip the election, if allowed to stand. Then last weekend, they discovered another 150 ballots that had been rejected incorrectly. Republicans sued to stop the ballots from being counted, and last I heard, the court agreed that it was now too late to be adding new ballots to the count. King county, and presumably the Democratic party are appealing the decision.

I should note that the discovery of the ballots probably isn’t as suspicious as I make out. Apparently, a county executive somehow discovered his name on the list of invalid ballots, and this led to the discovery. But it was convenient that they found these extra ballots when they did. Another day or two, and the count would have been certified, making it official.

The whole mess has been going on for quite a while, and now the former Sec of State is calling for a new election, as we really don’t know who was elected. I understand that the legislature could order a new election, as could the State Supreme Court. We’ll see how this one turns out. We may not know till after February who the new governor is.

Enough for one day, even though I didn’t write this all in one sitting.

And guess what I just discovered! You can’t dial a connection when the phone cord is not plugged into your computer! It only took me a few minutes to figure it out, as I had the same problem yesterday. Wake up!


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