Friday, February 29, 2008

Eating Out

Last night we went to dinner as a group to Les Bains. Essentially all of the conversation was in French; I ate what was ordered for me (salad, goat cheese, a rice with sauce concoction in red pepper skins, roasted tomatoes, and other vegetable matter I couldn't identify, but ate anyway). All in all a weird experience; I was totally out of my league.

Tonight Shyam and I want to Le Shiva, a nominally Indian restaurant. The food was distinctly Frenchified, but at least I could more-or-less recognize what it was. We conversed in blessed English. The food was affordable, if strange.

I think this is going to be a long trip.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Back on the road - and out of my depths - again

I'm again out of the country, this time in Montpellier, France, working with a benchmarking group at IBM's Products and Solutions Support Center. I left Boston on Tuesday evening (the 26th), transferred to another plne in Paris, and arrived in Montpellier at 9AM Wednesday. In spite of flying business class, I arrived fried; the guy in the seat next to me stank (cigarette smoke, B.O. and killer farts...) and snored, and so I got very little sleep.

Getting to IBM's office was painless; hail a cab, point at the address, and arrive 15 minutes later. My badge was activated and I began meeting the people I'll be working with. I managed to hang on until about 1PM. When the rest of the team broke for lunch, I walked to the hotel (Suitehotel Montpellier Antigone), checked-in, and crashed for a few hours. I woke up about 4:30 and spent the next hour or so fiddling with the Wifi service from Orange; it basically works, but I can't get the VPN domain name resolution to work with IBM addresses, which seriously crimps the usefulness.

I eventually gave up and started thinking about dinner. After some Googling, backed by infromation from the Lonely Planet guide, I settled on Tripti Kulai. I walked there, and in the process discovered that this is a very beautiful city. After eating, I wandered my way back to the hotel very indirectly (with the GPS running); the Place de la Comedie area I was in is chock full of restaurants and bars. I won't have trouble finding food. The track is a bit sketchy; there are a lot of seriously narrow urban canyons here, which give the GPS fits.

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I'm trying to learn at least a little French; the waitress at the restaurant seemed very pleased that I made the effort, even if we mostly used English.

This is in some ways more foreign-feeling than Hyderabad; superficially it looks like the U.S (well, a really nice place in the U.S....), but then there's this massive language barrier. Hyderabad was just so obviously bizaare that I didn't expect to be able to manage well.

Sleep. Must get sleep.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

An Obama/Richardson ticket?

If Barack Obama manages to become the Democratic presidential candidate, who will be his vice-presidential running mate? Hillary Clinton seems unlikely, and I don't think it would be a good combination in any case. John Edwards has stated that he has no intention of being a vice-presidential candidate again.

How about Bill Richardson? He offers complementary experience, as a governor, to Obama's legislative background. I believe that Richardson demonstrated in the campaign that he could be a good president if something happens to Obama. He comes from a different region of the country, and his Mexican roots will help the ticket with Hispanic voters. This could work...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Superdelegate resources

I've been spending this morning noodling around on the Web looking for information about the so-called Democratic superdelegates, and who they're supporting for the presidential nomination. If neither Clinton nor Obama has crossed the delegate threshold by the end of the primary season, these delegates will control the nomination. I've decided to contact any of those delegates with whom I have some connection, and encourage them to withhold their decision at least until the primaries are over.

My list of delegates includes, of course, the members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, but also the delegates I've supported via Emily's List. I've been contributing to Emily's List and its candidates since 2005 (to the cumulative tune of over $1000).

SO - I've had to track down some information about all these folks, like their mailing addresses and which candidate, if either, they've already stated they support. This eventually led me to these resources:

Superdelegates I supported via Emily's List:
  • The Honorable Maria Cantwell
    511 Dirksen Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510
    announced for Clinton

  • The Honorable Amy Klobuchar
    302 Hart Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510

  • The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand
    120 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515-3220
    announced for Clinton

  • The Honorable Gabrielle Giffords
    502 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515-0308

  • The Honorable Mazie Hirono
    1229 Longworth House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515-1102

  • The Honorable Betty Sutton
    1721 Longworth House Office Building
    Washington DC 20515-3513
    reported to be leaning towards Clinton

  • The Honorable Allyson Schwartz
    423 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515-3813
    announced for Clinton

  • Governor Chris Gregoire
    Office of the Governor
    PO Box 40002
    Olympia, WA 98504-0002
    announced for Obama

  • Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
    P.O. Box 30013
    Lansing, Michigan 48909
    announced for Clinton
I'll try to keep this updated, but no promises...