Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Overseas Voting Questions and Answers

I just got this email from OVF:

Overseas Vote Foundation
Be Prepared: Read the Answers to these Top 5 Ballot Questions
  1. What if my ballot is late?
  2. How can I get my ballot back in time?
  3. Is my ballot on the way to me now?
  4. Can I still request my ballot?
  5. Where can I get more information?

Ballot Question #1: What if my ballot is late?

If you don’t have your ballot by mid-October, OVF can provide you with one.

OVF’s new Vote-Print-Mail Ballot system automates the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) process. Dynamically-generated candidate lists allow you to point, click, vote, and then PRINT your ballot and send it to your election office.

Watch the Video: take 3 minutes to learn about the new Vote-Print-Mail Ballot system from OVF and you’ll have your back-up ballot plan in place.

Note: The following states: AZ, IA, MT, ND, NE, OR, SC, and WA will accept the FWAB as a simultaneous voter registration application and voted ballot; or have no voter registration requirement.

Ballot Question #2: How can I get my ballot back in time?

Express Your Vote – OVF’s new ballot delivery solution supported by FedEx® Express will get your ballot back in time to be counted. Highly-discounted rates or even free shipping for overseas and military ballots - brought to you by Overseas Vote Foundation.

Express delivery service, low rates, ballot tracking and automatic confirmation of ballot delivery are key benefits of this special program. Available now. Visit: www.overseasvotefoundation.org/expressyourvote.

Ballot Question #3: Is my ballot on the way to me now?

Your election office sends your ballots. To confirm the status of your ballot request, please look up your election official in the OVF Election Official Directory. Contact them directly to confirm that you are on the voting rolls and when your ballot will be sent.

If your ballot is still not with you by mid-October, refer to Questions #1 and #2.

Ballot Question #4: Can I still send in a ballot request?

Check the OVFState-specific Voter Information Directory for the filing deadlines in your state and get going! Remember you must PRINT and send in the Registration/Ballot Request Form that you generate from the site.

Ballot Question #5: Where can I get more information?

The OVF Voter Help Desk provides instant answers to your questions. Check out the updated Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot section today.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Time to look for your ballot!

Hey, you, American overseas voter. Remember that country you're from? Well, you should be receiving your absentee ballot very soon; and you should turn that baby around quick! Can't get it counted if it doesn't get there in time! Check with your embassy, will they send you ballot home via the much more reliable embassy mail? Do you live in a country where Fed-ex will send (AND TRACK) it back home for free? Is the ballot not showing up and you need to use the emergency Federal Write in Ballot?

Check on all of these things, plus, find the phone number of your local polling station to call and ask questions at the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Quito Fest

Last weekend we made our way out to Quito Fest in Parque Ichimbia. The concert is exceptionally well run, safe, good volume, tent full of CD's and t-shirts, and great bands. It happens every year, so keep your eyes peeled next year. Friday night was thrash metal, Saturday was rock, and Sunday, my favorite, funk, and hip hop. Que chevre!
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Osprey Packs

Look for us in an Osprey catalog or add coming soon to a gear store near you.
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What's the old rule about chainsaw length and safety? It shouldn't come above your hip...or, was it your neck? Shit, I forget.
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Pig on a Leash

Pig in a blanket? Nope, pig on a leash.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Flowers and Voting

Here's a little slideshow from some photos I took while hiking in Cajas National Park this summer with Luke and Erin. Cajas is one of the treasures of Ecuador, as is the town that borders it, Cuenca. Unfortunately, rain was the norm this summer, but that just gives you a better chance to take some pictures of the vegetation without the equatorial sun bleaching out the pictures. Our new Olympus 1030 SW camera also has a handy led light that provides just enough light for a macro shot, without the intensity of a flash. Cool huh?

Also, the new Ecuador Reporter is out, with an article on voting overseas. It's not really typical stuff for my column, but if you live overseas and are trying to register to vote you should check it out here. What can I say, I've felt moved this year. If you just want the quick link to the Overseas Vote Foundation, you can check them out here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The many faces of Justin "G" Kleiter

We met Justin in Nicaragua several years ago. Since then, "G" has joined us on several adventures. Most recently, he and his girlfriend, Leila, visited us in Ecuador for a month. Justin is a great guy, with a gregarious personality that suits itself well to the camera (and playing with his food)...witness:

Drinks at Uncle Ho's
Shrimp head at Noe Sushi (yes, he ate it):

New T-Shirt, at, of course, Uncle Ho's:

Riding on top of the truck, four-wheelin' outside of Quito:

Clubbing at Aguijon in Quito:

Underwater at Papallacta Hot Springs:

Devouring a meat platter with Luke Stollings(whose blog you should check) in Cuenca:

I think we'll end it on that note. See ya, from the beautiful town of Cuenca!

You can put lipstick on a pig...

...but that still doesn't change the fact that while you were busy talking about beauty products for a pig, both Venezuela and Bolivia cut off diplomatic relations with the United States, kicking out ambassadors, and creating something near a crisis in the barn right next door to this funny farm. No big deal? Venezuela is American's fourth largest supplier of crude oil.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Foreign Policy Blog

My sister introduced me to the FP Blog, one of the best, quick, pieces of reading I do every day. Today there was a note on interesting research being done on the albedo, or reflectivity, potential of white roofs in off-setting CO2 emissions. From the blog:

Stop the climate negotiations. There's a better answer. Two words: white roofs.

If stats from a paper by Hashem Akbari of the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory are correct, re-roofing 100 global cities could stop 44 metric gigatons from entering the atmosphere -- more than all the countries in the world combined emit now.

A white-out never looked so cool.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Close Encounters

I remember, when we first moved to Boulder, we were immediately star-struck. All the skiers, climbers, riders, and for that matter, places themselves that we had been reading and dreaming about for years while sequestered in the rainy South East were suddenly a reality. When we first got to Boulder, Erin, within a month had already nearly sealed the deal on an internship with Freeskier ski magazine; and was out rubbing shoulders with Glen Plake and the like in downtown Denver. (If I can dig up the picture of little Erin and mohawked Glen, I'll post it later) For my part, my job at Chilis was not as glamorous, but just going to the climbing gym or Eldorado Canyon and hanging out with the hero's of my high-school-climbing-mag-romanticism was enough to make me feel a bit of the red carpet.

It's one of the things I truly love about the climbing world. If I was a basketball player of average ability, there is no way I would ever find myself eating breakfast with Michael Jordan...but, even though I'll surely never grace the cover of Climbing or Rock and Ice magazines, I have managed to climb, befriend, and even dine with at least 6 people who have! (Our own Katie Girl Blue is one, and my long-time friend John Heisel is another.) But what happens when you move away from Colorado, the Hollywood of the outdoor world? Well, you still meet amazing people.

This summer, an Ecuadorian climbing partner of mine called me up to attend a party for Ivan Vallejo. We went to the local sports bar and gobbled up free wings and beer while Ivan spoke about his recent conquest of all 14 8,000 meter peaks. Being only the seventh person to climb all 8,000 meter peaks without supplementary oxygen, Ivan also did so without any of the media glory and sponsors (Rolex!?!) that climbers like Ed Viesturs are lucky enough to have. It was humbling just to be invited to attend his party.

Another Ivan, Ivan Kashinsky used to be our neighbor when we lived in the bohemian Quito neighborhood of Guapulo. Ivan is a modest guy, a surfer and photographer who just finished shooting a full spread article for National Geographic on the female wrestlers of Bolivia. He and his wife, Karla, are now planning a photography tour to the southern tip of South America. Grab a National Geo and check it out!

Finally, we come to my favorite kind of celebrity...the cooking kind. Ever since my trip to Peru in 2004, my mouth has been watering for both the Cordillera Blanca Mountains and the Thai food prepared at Siam De Los Andes by owner and chef Naresuan. As the guidebook says, it's acclaimed across the country as the best Thai in Peru; and this is no exaggeration. While back in Peru this summer, Erin and I found time to visit Naresuan and his family, and it was just as I remembered it...fresh, spicy, balanced, rich, and perfect. But the real treat? Last week Naresuan was in Quito, on his way to his summer home in Columbia. He stopped over at a friends house to stay the night, and to blow our minds with a Thai feast beyond description. That night, devouring my third dish of red-thai-curry, I looked around the table of amazing people gathered for Naesuan's gift of food and realized that you don't have to be in Boulder to meet great people, you can be starstruck wherever you go.

Naraseuan and me at our friends' house cooking up some down-home Thai.