A NEW DAY

January 22, 2009

JANUARY 21, 2009. 11:15pm EST

The first order of business today was to tell President Obama that we the people will not stand for him to have an actual salary during these rough economic times.  It was not a fun conversation and got a little tense.

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Later in the day, he was totally kissing my ass, so I played along.

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Other than that, the big event of the day was a visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl.

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Ben’s was opened in 1958 and is a DC institution.  It is located on the now hip and upcoming U Street which used to be known as the “black Broadway”. Ben’s was a local hangout of many of the local greats, like Ella, Duke, Miles, and it’s most famous patron, Bill Cosby. And, became a place of refuge the day of MLK’s assaination and the riots.

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This was a sign posted in Ben's. Obama had just visited 2 weeks ago.

It was a real party at Ben’s.  The music was bumpin’, the people were dancing and singing, the guy working the door stood there with a baseball bat. Not kidding.  A real local place.  And, there was even an iflateable MLK on top of the building. Awesome.

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Inflateable MLK.

Here are some scenes from around town today.

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Downtown

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This is where Etta James and Duke ellington first performed.

This is where Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald first performed and a venue for Billy Holiday, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong and more.

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this is a very scary pic of Barack

this is a very scary pic of Barack

 

So,with Barack as our new President, and inflateable MLK watching over us, it was a new day.

catch y’all back in LA.

AF

af-in-o

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JANUARY 20, 2009. 11:41pm EST

What a day…what a day.  It can simply be summed up in 2 pictures, scenes from a port-o-potty visit:

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An standard embossed logo on the door...hmm...

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And some George Bush toilet paper on the floor.

We woke up at 6 and were out of the door by 7am.  Our tactical Plan A to get to the mall, quickly collapsed into Plan B, which crumbled into Plan C, all in about 15 minutes. Plan C was to take the bus all the way in to the city-as far as it could go at least (many of the streets and bridges were closed already). 

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Us on the bus

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On the bus

The bus driver didn’t even know how far she could take it, but we all figured, as long as we get closer then we were, then we’re happy. To everyone’s cheer, the bus driver got the green light to go over the bridge into the city, so our walk to the mall was only about a mile. I love public transportation, I really do.

It was all fun and games, until we could see the sun rising behind the Washington Monument…that’s when the importance and the gravity of this day hit me.

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Walking into a monumental day

We walked to the Washington Monument (the halfway point of the mall), and decided that this was where we’d stay; Where the real fans are. 🙂 

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Walking to our spot

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I took this shot from Airforce One.

 

It had a decent vantage point of a big screen, and the front half of the mall looked packed already (about 8:30am). 

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the view from our spot

The sea of people on the mall were friendly, happy, and down right giddy. It was cold (about 30 dees grees)too, so it was totally normal to just start dancing or jumping every few minutes.  I noticed many people even had their own strange jingles to the words “Barack Obama” that would just come out sometimes. For the 2 hour waiting period, they replayed Sunday’s concert, and everyone was singing along to “American Pie” and jumping around to “Shout”; a real love in. We (and I mean we the people) could not wait. And the people just kept coming–that in itself was a sight. The anticipation was palpable.

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The sea of people behind us. We couldn't even see the sea of people in front of us.

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Now the good stuff.  At the first glimpse of Michelle, we all cheered. The first time Barack hit the big screens, we all went crazy.  There he was. Our man. The first time Bush hit the big screen, boos all around.  Cheney=moans, and jokes about his wheelchair (he messed up his back while he was moving).  And during the ceremony, when they formally announced Bush, the boos were all we could hear!  I don’t know if he could hear them, or if this translated onto the TV coverage, but it was about 2 million folks booing.  A guy next to us joked that our cover was “oh no, we were just saying boooooooosh”.  haha.  And then, in waves, we all sang “na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey hey he-ey, go-od-bye”. It was a regular Laker game out there. Not the classiest of moves, but damn, that guy really screwed us over. And he was in front of the wrong crowd, on the wrong day.

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Not the classiest move either--but funny shit.

We all laughed in unison about the way Bishop Gene Robinson said “May-LEE-ahhhhhh” and “SASH-aaaaaah”-that was just weird.

Aretha was the voice for the day. I wasn’t sure about that choice, until I heard her sing the first note–and then I remebered her voice and what she has seen and how her voice defines America and a movement. I still secretly hoped that SHE (not Garth) would pull the record scratch moment in the cafe, and start singing SHOUT!

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Another shot of the people behind us

And when he was sworn in, that is when the mall erupted. This was the moment we had all been waiting for. THAT was the moment.

Ok, the speech. This was the most anticipated part for me and here’s my untainted opinion ( I haven’t watched an media coverage yet): It was not the speech I wanted.  I was hoping for that sound byte kind of speech “ask not what your country can do for you…” “yes we can” style. I wanted the Obama I voted for: the charasmatic, likeable Superman with a smile.  What we got was a man in charge, the man with the plan; as my brother says “authoritative”. But, you know what-it was real, it was honest, and it was needed. And I am proud of his speech, because we have all already drinken the kool-aid.  We don’t need more. We have a catch phrase, a unity, a purpose. We need a leader we can belive in, and we need action, pronto. An action-figure we can believe in, as the box says.

CLICK PLAY BELOW TO WATCH A QUICK VIDEO CLIP I TOOK:

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Cheering to the big screen. The capital is really far away--behind that tree in the middle of this pic, tiny.

Rev. Joseph Lawry’s ending of “black to get back, brown to stick around, yellow to get mellow, red man to get ahead, man, and white to get it right” was one of my favorite moments.

OK, and now here’s where the levees broke. It took at least an hour to get off of the mall…

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This is our view when leaving the mall. Daunting.

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Really? How are we going to get out of here!?

Our feet were frozen from standing int he cold for hours.  We were hungry. and tired. The crowd was still fun–but the spirits were waning.  There were some folks who decided to traverse the crowds by walking on the roofs of the port-o-potties; they got big cheers.

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The port-o-potty ninjas.

 And when Bush’s helicopter flew out over the mall–everyone waved and started singing “na-na-na-na…” again.  classic. Good times, but really just a few fleeting moments for us to forget that were freezing and stuck.

We finally made our way to the wharf, to get a bite, and were were like the 1000th poeple with that idea. So we went for the metro, and not a chance in hell was that going to happen. The crowds were large, tired, annoyed…I think I heard that the metro was not working (which made sense becuase people were just stopped), and all the roads and bridges were still closed; so basically were were all trapped.

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This was the entrance to a metro station-presumably, per rumors, service stopped for a while.

And by “we were all stuck”, I mean probably close to a million people.? We heard that people were being treated for hypothermia-and that there were many. We stood in line for 45 mintues for a hot dog, and cradled the warm foil to warm our hands.

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Our saviour-the hot dog cart. and Obama.

 This is about 2pm now. This is TWO hours after it was over, and not near the parade route. These people are trying to get out!  The district’s planning and communication of the plan seemed to have melted down.

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We made our way into the Air and Space Museum, just to get some warmth, and it was like a shelter. People were sick, cold, and tired. 

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Scenes from the refugee camp, I mean the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

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"so, we can put a man on the moon, but..."

So, we all just camped out on the floor. I took a  couple of disco naps.  By about 5pm, the metro seemed to be flowing, and we made it home by about 6:30. 

The banter on the metro ride home was comforting and refreshing. People were sharing opinions of the day “it’s nice to have a president we can be proud of”, more jokes about Cheney-being Darth Vader like, talk of Obama’s jump shot and Michelle’s brother, the comment that there was a time where we would have not been allowed to have this conversation we were having, seat offerings to the elderly–all perfect strangers, of all races from all places, sharing thoughts about our common thread of Obama, and the big day. Ah, THESE were the soundbytes I was looking for. hmm…  This is why I like public transportation–it is common ground, and it keeps us human.

To end, the amount of lost gloves on the streets today was astounding. They were all over, all day. And once we were stuck in DC, I decided to pass some time and started taking pictures:

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Kind of sad, like an unmatched sock. And you imagine each person’s reaction when they realized they have lost a glove. But today, I think it is best to think that they are all waving goodbye to Booooooooooosh!

Congratulations to all of us!

AF

OBAMA FEVER

January 20, 2009

(THE DATE ABOVE IS WRONG! THIS IS REAL: JANUARY 19, 2009. 10:40pm EST)

Dude, seriously, this town in going off.  There are people everywhere, most of them in good moods, and there is a very high amount of horrible Obama themed photoshoped tragedies for sale.  On just about every street corner, there is a folded card table set up with wickedly bad T-shirts, calendars, buttons, bejeweled beanies, scarves, hoodies, etc. 

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You can even get an Obamalette at the Silver Diner

I take pride in knowing that I have purchased the best of the best, including, an Omaba hand puppet, comic books, air-fresheners, playing cards, mints and action figures. Most of which will be doled out to all of you fine people.

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Obama hand puppet!

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Paul-make room for your new toy!

 

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comic book

 Here is the chaos inside the one of the big souvenier stores:

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 Today, we didn’t do to much other than take the metro into the city (the trains were crowded, but running at high frequencies), walk to the mall, and go to the National Portrait Gallery to see the original HOPE painting by Shepherd Farey.

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This was really cool:

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read the plates-each from a different state.

 FYI-It was in the mid to low 30’s today, so cold, but apparently not as cold as it was a few days ago. I guess I brought some sunshine with me. Or maybe the yeti gods are being especially nice today.

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Here are scenes from the mall today–will be interesting to see how this will look tomorrow.

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Well, tomorrow is an early start-6am wake up, a hearty breakfast, and then off to brave the day.

Stay tuned for more updates tomorrow night!

AF

P.S.-Los Angeles, represent.

representin

P.S.S-Montoya, this is for you:

chipotle

Welcome to my Inaug-O-blog!

January 17, 2009

Greetings Friends, Family and Complete Strangers.  Welcome.  Catch all the up to the minute (not really) haps from this historical event!  I will be posting pics, notes and tales from D.C., Sunday Jan 18 – Wednesday Jan 21, 2009.  Feel free to share this link.

YES YOU CAN! If you have thoughts and/or comments to share, you can!  Just look for the “leave a reply” thingie below-I’ll screen your comment irst and then publish it to this site for all to read. Your email addy will remain anonymous, but the name you enter will be published.

Cheers and Enjoy!

AF