On Wednesday, I took a vacation day because the good Doctor Howard Dean was in town. He had two events to attend...the first was a surprise joint fundraising event for Bill Bradbury, who is running for Governor of Oregon. Last November, Nobel Laureate Al Gore appeared at a fundraising event for Bill Bradbury. This is what I call as a two-fer. Two major endorsements for Bill Bradbury over his main competitor for the Democratic nomination, John Kitzhaber, who had served as governor for eight years already (1995-2003). To me, these endorsements matter a great deal because I consider myself a Gore and Dean loyalist. In 2000, of course, I supported and voted for Gore and in 2004, Dean was my candidate. Its interesting that Gore had endorsed Dean for president in 2003, and both Gore and Dean had endorsed Obama in 2008. Now, both men have endorsed Bill Bradbury for Governor.
What does this have to Forrest Gump? Well...ever since that movie came out in 1994 and guys on my last ship in the Navy (the USS George Washington) often compared me to Forrest Gump, I have looked over the experiences of my life and realized that I do share an important thing in common with Forrest Gump. Of course, I'm not an idiot with a low IQ (though ideological conservatives like to think that I am), but I am a non-famous nobody that most people tend not to notice. I'm invisible in the social scene, and while that might bug some people people, I actually like it because I get to observe human behaviour and no one seems to notice me. I'd make a great ninja (if only I had "nunchuck skillz"!). I'm no dummy...for I know that many people don't give me the time of day for whatever superficial reason. And yet, despite this cloak of invisibility, I have probably met more famous people than most people have. I have also traveled far more extensively than most people and have experienced things that most people only dream about (being on a submarine 400 feet below the surface, living on an aircraft carrier, vacation to South Africa, White House internship, spectator at the 1996 Olympic Games, been to all 50 states, lived in Sardinia and Germany for six years).
My point? Well...life is what it is and when I think about all the people I've been able to meet (famous and not), places I've been, things I've seen, experiences I've had...there's no denying it. I'm living a Forrest Gump life and I love it. So many more people make way more money than I do (still hoping to break out of the below-$30,000 a year salary ghetto before I turn 40) but it would be a challenge to find many who might have done as much or seen as much as I have. I'm not trying to brag here...just recognizing the fact that I am PROOF that one does not need to be wealthy to experience a rich life. If anything, wealthy people are encumbered by their need for security to protect their lives and possession, whereas I have the freedom to move around without most people even noticing me and I'm not really into high-tech toys (still don't have an iPod or a digital camera and I play my music CDs in my TV/DVD player).
I may be frustrated in my never-ending job search, but one thing's for sure...there is probably no one in my office who has lived the diverse kind of life that I've been fortunate enough to live. How do I know? Through conversations, which developed friendships with the few who have also had interesting lives so far. These are people who have traveled outside the country or are a minority in some regard, or even interested in ideas. While my shipmates on the GW might have meant to be insulting by calling me Forrest Gump, I never found it insulting. Besides, Gump is one of the coolest characters ever seen on the silver screen. You can't go wrong by living the way he views life, even if he's a little bit more slow than the average person.
Now, about the Deanster...he was in town for the World Affairs Council speaker series, where he debates America's role in the world with the notorious minion of Satan himself, Karl Rove. A few weeks ago at the World Affairs Council -- Young Professionals discussion group, one of the guys there and I had a conversation after the meeting about this event. I was impressed that his view was just like mine. He wanted to go to hear Howard Dean but did not want to support a crook like Rove, who he believes (as I do) that Rove belongs in prison. I don't know who thought it might be brilliant to pair those two up, but there is no comparison between the two. Dean is a man of integrity who speaks his mind. Rove is a sneaky, dirty modern day Machiavelli-type. A better match for Dean would have been Mike Huckabee. Both have served as Governor, both ran for their party's presidential nomination and lost, and both were in other careers before they found themselves in politics (Huckabee a minister, Dean a family care doctor). There is no Democratic equivalent to Rove. Just like there is no Democratic equivalent to Rush Limbaugh.
Thus, it was an awesome gift by the Bradbury campaign to have an event with Howard Dean, where he gave a nice introduction to Bradbury and even cracked a few jokes at Rove's and Fox News' expense. After both men spoke and answered questions (which were submitted online prior to the event), I went up and met Dean for the fourth time since 2003. I wished him luck in the debate with Karl Rove. Since other people wanted to meet with him, that was all I had a chance to say. I decided not to bring up the Keb Mo CD, like I did last summer when he was in Portland. During his comments to the audience, he said that if he couldn't live in Burlington, Vermont anymore, he would live in Oregon. I don't think he was just saying that...for I have heard quite a few people compare Oregon to Vermont, though we fortunately have a milder climate than Vermont.
In the 2004 campaign, Dean was unfortunately character assassinated by the media for his post-Iowa Caucus speech portraying him as a ranting, angry man. In all the times I've seen him (not just in person, but on television), he doesn't give the vibe of angry. He has an awesome laugh and he seems like he's high on life. He seems like a happy person with a great sense of humour. If the media wants to know what an angry person looks like, all they have to do is check out Rush Limbaugh. That man is seriously not happy!
The photo above is of the inside of the Armory, a cool building in the Pearl District of Portland that was once a military armory. Now, its a theater venue that is currently showing the play version of Snow Falling on Cedars. Its a cool, modern-style building with a classic look on the outside.
In the evening, I was pleasantly surprised when Charlie Rose interviewed Sandra Bullock. I thought that was a cool bit of synchronicity...as my post for Wednesday was about Sandra Bullock. Even more interesting, she admitted that she didn't make wise choices in her film roles in the mid-to-late 1990s (exactly what I had written in my post!). Did she read my blog before the interview? (Ha! That would be cool). She told Charlie Rose that she resisted the role in The Blindside because she felt like she was not able to pull it off. She also talked about Oscar possibility, but appeared to be modest or afraid of jinxing herself (if you display too much eagerness in wanting it, you're likely not to get it). They showed clips of the movie and I was surprised how different she appears. My main complaint with Sandra is that she basically plays the same personality type (a sweet lady who surprisingly has difficulty finding a man) and when she tries to break out of that stereotype, she's mostly unconvincing (see The Proposal). Yet, based on the clips of The Blindside, Sandra is definitely in her "Erin Brockovich" role and I really hope she wins the Best Actress Oscar. In the interview, she comes across just as my impression of her has always been...she's smart, funny, sweet, and deep. I'm glad that she's finally making smarter choices. The rom-com ghetto is not where any good actor wants to be stuck in.
Back to the Gump...I'm still hoping like hell to run the hell away from here. My job has taken a turn for the worst lately and I've mentally checked out of here last year. I'm so ready to move on. Won't the universe finally bless me for the suffering endurance I've had to deal with for more than three years? I'm so ready to move on to better things, to work with a better class of people.