Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Duck Cam (And Other Tales)

Spring has sprung and in Spokane, that has begun to mean one thing: duck nests on the side of the bank building!

Yes, it appears that the mother duck from last year, who built her nest on the window sill of the Sterling Savings Bank building, is back. I wrote about the circumstance here, and how one of the employees ended up saving the babies as they dropped out of the nest by catching them in his hands, and then helped the mama duck get her babies to the Spokane River a few blocks away.

This time, everyone is ready.

And we now have a duck cam to monitor every move.

This is true. The bank let the newspaper (Spokesman Review) set up a camera and stream live video. There is no chance that even a single moment - precious or otherwise - will escape film. I've watched a couple of times. Must say, the mama duck appears to be fairly low key. Presumably things will become a bit more active once the babies hatch.

(UPDATE: The babies have hatched! The Duck Cam is no longer active. But here are some links to the hatching story with a video slideshow. And here is a link to the mama duck's facebook page (she now is named "Amelia Duckheart"). Also, one of the local television stations provided this video.)

The ongoing camera action reminds me of an event from last fall. As Obama fans may recall, Obama signs were very hard to come by at that time. A woman in Oregon for sure will remember that, because she would obtain one of the coveted signs only to have it stolen from her front yard. After the second sign disappeared, she resorted to making a handmade sign and then told her 16-year-old son to set up a spy camera so this third sign would remain (or at least they would catch the thief on camera). Her son took his assignment a step further and set up the camera as a video stream on the Internet. This video stream became the sixth-most-watched stream in the world. The help in watching for thieves spanned to places like Belgium, Sri Lanka, and Australia. Because the viewers were able to comment, an odd sort of club formed. The house (and the sign) were in a quiet neighborhood. Nonetheless, the obsession stuck. As noted in this article, one telling comment was "I need to go to the bathroom. Call if anything happens." Also in the article: "Each time a car passed, viewers posted alerts: 'Car. Carrrrrr' and when a garbage truck stopped within view in the early hours, the site went wild."

As one blogger from the Mudflats site (out of Alaska) put it:

We've seen squirrels, neighbors, passing cars, suspicious kids on bikes. The wind has blown, the rain has come. The sign has been covered in Saran Wrap before our very eyes to shield it from the elements. We've seen the family cat. We've chatted and laughed. And occasionally we've been inundated by trolls. All in all, a very entertaining evening....staring at a sign.

Well, and one more sign story. I can't provide a link, and I don't think it's up anywhere anymore. But from my memory... This guy somewhere out east (I think he lived in Virginia) was a big Obama supporter in a mainly McCain neighborhood. He put out his Obama sign. It was stolen. He asked around, if anyone knew what happened. He had a description of the potential culprit. The neighborhood became very upset that his sign had been stolen. We're nothing if not Americans, with the right of free speech, you know? One of the staunchest McCain supporters from this guy's neighborhood went down to the local Obama office and bought him a replacement sign. Ultimately, the presumed culprit (another neighbor) showed up at the Obama guy's door to apologize. Apparently he had heard from more than one neighbor that he had to.

That stauch support for the political process - regardless of political affliation - is something I experienced often when out campaigning for Obama last year. There were many times that I knocked on the door of the house of a McCain supporter, who would laugh and tell me my error. As I would leave to go to the next house, though, often that person would stop me and thank me for what I was doing. "You are the democratic process at work," they would say. I sure do love this country.


Anonymous said...

Great stories!

Regarding signs... well in '04 I figured General Wesley had the only shot at defeating an incumbent president in the middle of a war (occupation actually, but anyway). And I liked his policies which were some of the most progressive.

So I went to New Hampshire for about a week and volunteered about two weeks before the primary. Stayed with some folks from DC who I knew from on-line Clark supporting.

It's absolutely crazy there in NH. Everything was very organized however. Went door-to-door campaigning and really enjoyed it, tho the temps were in the single digits. People (citizenry) are INTO it there. Went to a HUGE rally right after Michael Moore endorsed Clark.

Clark was surging in the NH polls, was in second below Dean at that point. Then, Iowa causes happened, Kerry won in an upset, there was the Dean Scream, and EVERYTHING changed, you could see it in the faces of the Clark staff there. (A good friend of mine, from Spokane, recent Notre Dame graduate, was Clark's NH scheduler.)

One night, we caught some Lieberman supporters, RED-HANDED, stealing Clark and other candidates signs. We were able to block them in until the police came, and they got busted. Got along fine with folks from all the campaigns, Edwards, Dean, Kerry, Kucinich etc. All BUT the Lieberman folks. I'll NEVER for that experience.

Back to signs, they were READILY available in New Hampshire, we'd been trying to get some from the campaign, for free, in Spokane but no luck. So I brought back a half a suitcase FULL of Clark '04 signs to Spokane. Another Clark supporter and I paid to have the wire sign holders made at a local place. And then put up about a hundred Clark signs right before the WA caucuses. Found out later I put a few too close to caucus locations and such, oh well. It was all great fun, and I still believe Clark would have been the only candidate that could have beat Bush in '04. And like you, I got lots on compliments from supporters of other candidates, just for participation in the process.

Beth Bollinger said...

Oh my gosh! What a story. To catch them red-handed. And I did the same thing - getting personally involved in getting signs to people. A woman locally was making Obama signs. I bought a bunch and sent them (along with the "H" stands, which made the package very heavy) to my friend in North Carolina who had all these people who wanted to put up signs but couldn't get access to them. An expensive endeavor, but worth it.