The person giving the presentation tried to impress upon people the ease of use of the machine. Basically you cast your ballot on a paper ballot (filling in bubbles to indicate your choice). You then feed your ballot into a scanning machine which confirms that it read your choices correctly by displaying back your selections and allowing you to cast your ballot or to reject it — allowing you to fix any errors or to destroy the ballot and start over. Once your vote is cast using the machine, the ballot is digitally scanned then placed in a locked ballot box.
A second, related system allows a person unable to fill in circles on the ballot to use a computerized system to assist them in creating a paper ballot. Various accessible user-input devices are supposedly available to guide a voter to select candidates using visual and audio feedback.
The questions of the group that I was with had to do with assurance that their vote was counted properly. The representative pooh-poohed talk of "security" as a non-issue. I asked where I could see the schematics, engineering drawings, and source code and the representative said that they don't have them available at the time but that I could contact the Board of Elections.
I was glad to see a physical paper ballot system in place but I was concerned about the use of the machine as the source of the primary election totals. If it's true that the Board of Elections intends to use the counts attained by the machine as their first official count, then it would not be difficult to skew the results to favor one candidate or another by modifying the computer code. A manual recount, while thankfully possible under this system, would likely not uncover a problem in cases where two or more candidates were very close in vote totals.
I was very disappointed that the representatives on hand were strongly discouraging people from examining the voting machine on their own. I was told not to touch it, and that I should not be behind the machine. This implies to me that Sequoia has something to hide from the American people.
Sequoia provided information sheets that described the company's "lineage" back to Jacob Myers' United States Voting Machine Company founded in Jamestown in 1896. For anyone who has been with a company that changes names (to Automatic Voting Machine Corporation in 1925) or that has been purchased (by Sequoia Voting Systems in 1984), the concept of "retaining the values of the company" is worth about as much as the bytes to store it.
But let's get to the meat of it: what political parties does Sequoia make donations to? Who do they lobby in the Federal government? How much money do they spend on lobbying? These are the questions that define the values of a company, not its "lineage". And regardless, the mechanical, electrical, and programmatic design of the system should be open-source from the beginning. The idea that an "elite few" people in Sequoia are among those responsible enough to keep the secret data is a recipe for abuse.
And this is about our election system: the very foundation upon which we have a representative government. Once that system is overturned, we will be living in a dictatorship no better than any puppet democracy anywhere else in the world.
Ali and I went to The Little (240 East Ave.) to see Juno. We got there a bit early and ended up having some good (but a bit pricey) panini sandwiches at the cafe.
Anyway, the movie was really cute. It's about a smart, quick-witted girl who unexpectedly gets pregnant. She decides to put the kid up for adoption and finds the seemingly perfect couple — at least on the surface and through her myopic teenage eyes. It was really just a nice, light story that takes what would ordinarily be a heavy topic, and puts a bit of flair on it to make it quite palatable.
One of the complaints I had heard was that the title character Juno was too smart — too worldly for her age. Indeed she was awfully smart, but come on: have you heard teenagers talk? (And I freely include my own teenage inanity.) I don't think people would tolerate 2 hours of that. That said, they didn't do a bad job of giving Juno and her friends the pop-culture, repetitive patterns of teenage speech without making it irritating.
I went to the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see Dead Man. I convinced Ali to not see it with me because I was worried it wasn't her kind of movie — and with other options like food at her parents' house or the video shoot for The Lobster Quadrille also going on, I didn't want her to feel like she wasted her time. Now after the fact, I think she probably would have liked it. One of the things I really enjoy about the Dryden is how the introductions bracket the film — to give one a way to see it and understand it rather than to find no way to understand it and simply dismiss it (especially in a case like this).
Anyway, Dead Man is an excellent movie: a meditative cinematic poem about death on all sorts of different levels. All the actors in the film were stunningly convincing. The direction and cinematography offered a deliberate, steady pace with plenty of room to simply observe.
It's about a guy named William Blake who goes west for a job in the town of Machine. When he arrives, there is no job for him — and he had spent all his savings to get there. He meets a woman, but his bad luck isn't done because her fiancee returns and in a blur of passion, shoots her and Blake who in turn shoots him. Injured, Blake heads for the hills and is aided by a Native American named Nobody — who happens to be a fan of poet William Blake in a moment that transcends the "fourth wall" like none other. The fiancee happens to be the son of the brutal, sole industrialist in Machine and puts a bounty on Blake's head. Meanwhile, Nobody declares Blake to be a dead man and spends his time preparing Blake for his journey to the other side.
But that's not what the movie is about at all.
What I got out of it was that it was about the reality of death. Not the part that it's inevitable, that it's permanent, or that it's man's greatest fear, but simply that it was, is, and will be. The Europeans slaughtered the Native Americans, for instance; and no matter how good or bad we feel about that now, it happened and we cannot change it. There's a certain beauty to the notion of impermanent existence — that no matter what we do in life, we end up part of the same earthly goo from which we came.
I noticed the other day that one of my tonsils had become swollen and got some blotches on it. I didn't think much of it other than to keep an eye on it. It got worse over the weekend so first thing Monday I went to the doctor's office. Of course, I had to wait until the afternoon when they could fit me in and then sit around for 45 minutes for a 5-minute examination.
I thought I might have strep throat — the only problem being that I only had a mild sore throat and I hear that with strep it's the worst sore throat you've ever had. Well, I ended up getting diagnosed with a generic "tonsillitis" and prescribed heavy-duty antibiotics. As it turns out, the infection is really very bad. There's finally some improvement after a third of the antibiotic dose, but it's not pretty.
In any case, I really haven't been out much this week for that reason.
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Today at 4:30 p.m. at Lyell Branch Library (956 Lyell Ave.) is the unveiling of a dollhouse from China restored by Pamela Meyers. Here's the meat of the press release: "Approximately 90 years ago, the Pulaski Branch of the Rochester Public Library received a gift of a dollhouse from China. It was displayed there until the branch closed in 1990. The house fascinated many children and adults throughout the years."
City Hall press release]
The Little (240 East Ave.) will be screening Strange Fruit tonight at 6:30 p.m. then again at 3 p.m. tomorrow and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. As they describe it, "in 1937, after seeing a photo depicting the lynching of a black man in the south, Bronx-born high school teacher Abel Meeropol wrote a poem entitled 'Strange Fruit' that begins with the words: 'Southern trees bear a strange fruit / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.'"
Little Theatre calendar]
Tonight at 5 p.m. at The Storefront Anti-War Crisis Center (658 Monroe Ave.) is a presentation of A Year in Portraits: Rochester's Homicide Victims by Jeremy Oversier.
Today at 6:30 p.m., tomorrow at 12 p.m. and again on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at The Little (240 East Ave.) is a screening of July '64. It's about the three-day riot in the streets of Rochester, NY starting July 24, 1964. Note that tonight's screening will be followed by a discussion led by filmmakers Carvin Eison and Chris Christopher.
Little Theatre calendar]
This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do.
Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat."
Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed.
Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events.
I also tend to express opinions, review past events, make reviews, speak of philosophy or of a philosophical nature, discuss humanity and creativity.
Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.)
It's also not to be confused with
or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator.
While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, February 7, 2008 (Thu, Feb 7, 2008, 2/7/2008, or 2/7/08) Friday, February 8, 2008 (Fri, Feb 8, 2008, 2/8/2008, or 2/8/08) Saturday, February 9, 2008 (Sat, Feb 9, 2008, 2/9/2008, or 2/9/08) Sunday, February 10, 2008 (Sun, Feb 10, 2008, 2/10/2008, or 2/10/08) Monday, February 11, 2008 (Mon, Feb 11, 2008, 2/11/2008, or 2/11/08) Tuesday, February 12, 2008 (Tue, Feb 12, 2008, 2/12/2008, or 2/12/08) and Wednesday, February 13, 2008 (Wed, Feb 13, 2008, 2/13/2008, or 2/13/08).
indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.
indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.
links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.
links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.