viennabelle: (Girl Reporter)


I'm back from Atlantic City...and Antiques Roadshow!

This was my second time going to the Roadshow. Some stats from the local paper: 6,000 are lucky to win the lottery for entry passes. 95% of appraisals are under $100 and only a handful of entries get filmed.

We lucked out. We got 8:00 am entry tickets. The box o' documents about slavery that I brought got a very high appraisal ($8-10k) but the auctioneer reviewing thought of trying to get me on tv, but the other assessors felt the collection was too broad to make it past the producers (though they urged me to submit it to the History Detectives).

As if that weren't amazing enough, the girlfriend who went with me hit pay dirt! She brought a book autographed by Walt Whitman, got selected for getting on TV and got interviewed by the Philadelphia Inquirer about the experience. So, I got the chance to hang out in the green room all day, which was pretty fun. The coolest part was that the executive producer came back for coffee and sat with me for an hour. I got him to tell about how he brought the concept to the US and how he transformed it from a snooty show appealing to the silver haired set to mass markets. It was really fun--and he gave me his card and shirt as a souvenir!

In the green room, we could watch the filming, which, interestingly enough, was edited as it was filmed (except retakes). Only people in the green room could see what was going on, though. Surprisingly, companions had the best situation--the folks selected for on-air appraisals had to stay seated at separate tables and could not speak with anyone. Companions were allowed to roam, talk and have fun. Since we were there for hours and hours (though we could visit the floor any time we wanted), there was this odd bonding experience--it was tons of fun.

The person who really seemed to hold the production together was the floor director, who has an amazing talent for putting guests at ease. The appraisers (who have to volunteer as triage appraisers to get the chance to compete to be floor appraisers--at their own expense--with odds against them for getting air time)--were mostly a very fun bunch (well, they were very happy if they got to the green room), though those new at it were very nervous.

Highlights from the show--the very adorable but nervous Jean, who called her miniature highboy chest a "highball" to Leigh Keno (to which her great niece, sitting next to me in the green room said, "after this, I'm ready to down a couple of those!"), the appraiser who looked like Mark Twain who valued a banjo and the fake--a guy who was sure his Chinese lantern was ancient (it was pretty obviously fishy--it looked like airport art).

So, it was totally a blast. I got home and zonked out, though!
viennabelle: (We're Right)
Late yesterday I got news about a friend who I've come to know as a fellow volunteer in my work with persons of disability. Friday he was laid off his job, after more than two decades of work for the American Bar Association. The part that is most difficult is the timing. He's got a particularly nasty kind of blood cancer and had returned to work after completing the latest in a series of treatments (small bone marrow transplants, which he has been responding to). He can manage without the job, but he can't carry COBRA and the components not covered by insurance for long.

So, losing his job ends up being a virtual death warrant.

This morning, I decided it's time to pull political favors that I've never used. I'm asking every lawyer I know to contact ABA for his immediate reinstatement for humanitarian reasons. So far, everyone is responding favorably. My network is largely Democratic, though a friend of mine who is a retired Republican Governor is trying to work his network, too.

So...if anyone reading this is a lawyer or has top legal contacts--PM me. I'll give you details.
viennabelle: (Default)
Here is something to smile about:




viennabelle: (Vote!)
Local committee members were tasked with removing leftover office supplies & furniture from our district's Obama offices before they threw them out. DH asked a couple of volunteers to head over. Mid morning one of them called me from Falls Church--they were not going to get much. Why? The Smithsonian was taking the main office area into its collection.

Look for it when the new African American History museum opens. It's the one with lots of homemade signs and barbers chairs. And maybe (since it tended to float to different rooms) one of my mother's old cast-off living room chairs!
viennabelle: (Vote!)
I haven't posted online for a long time--I'm a staffer for a Democratic legislator and we run district party operations in a critical swing district. Needless to say, life gets a little crazy in October. This week marked my organizing several major events--a fundraiser for local poverty relief (we raised $3000!), a child ID card drive (several dozen kids are a little safer now), and a Halloween parade unit (a fun time, though cold). With those behind me, inspired by this website, last night I took a bit of a mental break and let my creative juices flow...

Barack O’ Lantern or Jack O’ Bama? )
So, tonight we got back to business while a gazillion kids came and trick or treated. We've lined up most of the poll gaps we know of (we are responsible for 23 polling places). We are just about ready for an avalanche of Get Out the Vote (GOTV) canvassers this weekend. The house is somewhat in order, we have boxes of miscellaneous campaign materials squirrelled in almost every hiding space. This evening when we started running low on candy, we cut back on distribution and started offering kids campaign stickers. They loved it.

With the end of the campaign so close, I'd like to ask a few favors, particularly of fellow Obama supporters...

First, please vote--it really does matter. Second, if you are within driving distance of a swing state, please get involved this weekend (pm me if you need info). Third, if you feel generous, consider a donation to our local district Democratic committee (a donate button is linked on the page). We don't get money from the campaigns or larger party organizations, so we pay--mostly out of pocket--for all the materials we use/distribute for campaigning--including brochures, yard signs, buttons, etc. It's something we do out of love, but now that we find ourselves at the frontlines of the most critical swing area (Obama will end his campaign here), we need to provide much more of this than ever.

Finally, let's look at ways we can use whatever results come out of this election to rebuild America. The anger that has come out in politics is reflective of real issues that cause deep concern, often in conflicting ways. As citizens, we need to urge our leaders after the election to make rebuilding our economy their highest priority, regardless of political affilliation. Ultimately, it won't be a matter of standing against each other for what we believe differently, but standing together to accomplish what we really need.
viennabelle: (Harem Girl)
 I went to Michaels today and found some cool mini statuettes in the Halloween section for only $1.99 each. Staff say they are flying off the aisles, so hurry! Styles vary from crows to vampire girls to Frankenstein. These look really cool...

viennabelle: (Frustrated!)
Well, this weekend got quickly busy after my lazy Saturday!  The weather was perfect and we had super crowds at our local community festival. I had a fun time staffing our booth and even got some time to do a little shopping (and managed to pick myself up a cute little handmade 1 liter oak barrel). I even got almost all the handsewing complete on my 18th c. caracao!

However, never underestimate my powers to embarrass myself spectacularly.

I needed to find my boss on short notice, so I started wandering and scanning the crowds when I couldn't reach him with my mobile.  Wandering around, I failed to notice a large power cable--and felt myself going airborne. I managed a full point launch, done right in front of the town stage, the mayor, town council and the first aid tent. I performed a perfect skidding touchdown to the asphalt, leaving minor scrapes to my knees, elbows and face. They were shallow abrasions, nothing deep, but I looked ready for the casualty unit. I was immediately rushed to the local rescue squad, who not only treated my wounds, but insisted on a full health check. I now know that this incident did not impair my heart, my vision, my mobility, my blood pressure or concuss me. Loss of dignity was a different thing. However, I feared they would call in an ambulance!  Clearly, they hadn't had much business...so I rolled with the situation. I asked for a back massage and a tattoo while they were at it. They realized I wasn't seriously hurt and released me, albeit looking like a mummy. 

So, I finally found the boss (and generated great sympathy from him), headed home, covered the facial scrapes with makeup and put on a long cotton dress that covered the other wounds. On return my rescuers were a bit surprised ("keep it covered" apparently didn't mean makeup, lol) but the sole woman in the rescue squad gave me thumbs up.  Funniest part was that since I had such a big crowd and generated such a big fuss, lots of folks from the community came by our tent to check up on me--and were surprised that my wounds weren't visible!

Well, I must get ready. Verizon comes to install FIOS (fiber optic phone, tv, internet service), meaning we will have television service for the first time in almost two months (our ancient Tivo died and we had no alternate receiver for TV)! I haven't missed it too much, but it still will be nice to have it available again! Plus, we'll get premium cable through the end of the year!

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