Monday, January 19, 2009

A new era begins

On January 20, 2009, Barack Hussein Obama II becomes the 44th President of the United States. It is a truly historic moment - regardless of whatever background and political leanings you may have. This is a time to celebrate our new leader, and to celebrate America.

Here, we will reflect on this moment. Not only that, I have some friends and a sister who will be reporting from the scene in Washington, D.C. Continue to check here for the latest updates!

The audience reading this is going to be full of some die-hard liberals, and also some very devoted Republicans, and many who are in between. Many are friends of mine. Many are in my extended family. I'm personally an independent voter, with no true allegiance to either of the two political parties; and as such, I will aim to make this as non-partisan as possible.


"The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly," said John McCain during his concession on the night of November 4.

Yet how much of America truly spoke? Despite the all-important electoral process, the popular vote was divided more down the middle. McCain's remark was part of a very gracious speech - perhaps the greatest speech of his life - and he received applause from everyone, regardless of how they voted. (Nevermind those boos by some of those McCain faithful - even McCain himself was urked by that.)

This was some time after the countdown to the West Coast election forecasts that effectively put Barack Obama over the top. Where was I? I was sitting where I am now - at home - chatting with a friend of mine from Athens, Georgia. While pockets of people around town were counting down as if it were New Year's Eve, while University of Washington students gathered in Red Square were about to erupt in a spontaneous and passionate rendition of our national anthem - I was here just appreciating the moment, in quiet reflection.

But I decided to get out of the house to celebrate anyway. And there was much to celebrate. Yes, the candidate I voted for won, but even above that the process worked. As it did when George W. Bush won 8 years earlier (although the Florida debacle turned more than a few heads). As it did every time a president was elected. Maybe some presidents didn't turn out the way we would have liked, but the American people participated in the process and determined the outcome. That we can live in a democracy such as the one we live in, is a gift. Sometimes we take it for granted.

I arrived in Downtown Seattle, where cars were honking and places were still bustling with activity. I ended up shaking hands and hugging strangers - not just Obama supporters, but also McCain supporters who showed up to celebrate with everyone. That is something I will always take with me for the rest of my life - it is the America that I know lurks underneath some of the murkyness of foggy politics. At its best, the heart of America is still a beacon in that very fog.

I showed up at Ohana (a popular pan-Asian restaurant), where a hip-hop DJ was playing some beats, with Obama's speeches overlaid on top. I sat with a group of strangers who were, like me, enjoying the moment. Maybe I don't agree with every single detail that Obama brought forth in those speeches, but I agreed with the heart of it all.

Fast-forward to Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, a day before the Inauguration, and... it just happens to be Martin Luther King Day. Tomorrow, Jan. 20, part of King's "dream" will come true. For the mere fact that Obama is African-American is of less significance than his stature as a real American, true in his intentions, bold in his convictions, and anointed by our Creator to do some good in this world.

And so a new era begins. God bless America, and may He bless us despite ourselves.


As mentioned, I have some friends who are in DC at this moment, braving the cold and crowds. I intend to update this section with their updates, and I will also "interview" them throughout the process. Here's a list of the people I know who are there, and who will be reporting to me:
  • Theon - he actually lives there - he'll be reporting to me via text, likely
  • Sophie - a friend of mine from church - she'll be reporting to me via text, and she'll also be tweeting (#sophiakristina) and updating her blog (link below)
  • Rachel - my sister - reporting likely via text
  • Joe - another friend from church, reporting via text
Note: all times are EST (Eastern Standard Time or DC time), so subtract 3 hours if you want PDT (Pacific Daylight Time or Seattle time).

Monday, January 19, 2009
  • Sophie (9:08am/Twitter) - At baggage claim at IAD. Let the celebration begin!
  • Theon (12:05pm/Facebook msg) - As of now, I believe that I will be on the parade route tomorrow.
  • Sophie (2:11pm/Twitter) - Heading to Capitol Hill to drop off bags. Looks like we r camping out tonite!
  • Sophie (2:27pm/Twitter) - News out of DC says tomorrow's inauguration is being treated as the largest event in the nation's history.
  • Sophie (2:44pm/Twitter) - Circling Capitol. Will drop off sleeping bags, overnite bags and ballgowns to a church office where we will be spending the nite.
  • Sophie (2:48pm/Twitter) - Hungry. In the past 18 hours, ive had cereal. Ready for a meal.
  • Sophie (3:16pm/Twitter) - Just finished dropping off bags at the lutheran church of the reformation. Off to Georgetown to meet with Theon, Joe and Grace at Dumbar ...
  • Sophie (3:22pm/Twitter) - Driving by Potomac River to Georgetown. Its frozen over.
  • Sophie (4:48pm/Twitter) - Off to find food. Perhaps Cracker Barrel? MmmM!
  • Sophie (5:44pm/Twitter) - Sitting in traffic
  • Sophie (8:55pm/Twitter) - At Cracker Barrell in Manassas. Waiting for my chicken fried chicken, fried okra, sweet baby carrots and corn...mMMmm good
  • Sophie (8:48pm/Twitter) - Sleepy Heading to Capitol Hill now
  • Sophie (9:08pm/Twitter) - Heading to Capitol Hill via Metro
  • Me (9:32pm/Text) - [To Rachel] How's everything there? Do you think it will snow while Obama is sworn in?
  • Joe (10:01pm/Text) - [In response to my earlier question about spending MLK Day in DC]: Though it may sound cliche, I listened to people's stories and was reminded of how I share commonalities with people one may think are so different.
  • Me (10:04pm/Text) - [To Joe] Has it hit you yet that you're in the midst of the world's focus? I'm excited for you - and excited for our country.
  • Sophie (10:07pm/Twitter) - Night cap at firehook bakery & coffee house on Capitol Hill.
  • Rachel (10:07pm/Facebook Wall) - [To me] Probably not.. too cold n clear I think. We had light flurries earlier on monday but not much. It was more like dippin dots hail. Things r good though, we're near the capitol bldg.
  • Rachel (10:09pm/Facebook Status) - chillin (literally!) near the Capitol Building.
  • Joe (10:09pm/Text) - It has not fully hit. I'd been to DC enough for work. This time is wholly different. A sense of a challenge is before us--but now so is the sense of true hope.
  • Me (10:14pm/Text) - [To Joe] In what ways do you think you will be empowered when you return to Seattle?
  • Joe (10:19pm/Text) - Honestly, as a SW I was jaded until the Feb primaries. I went to the Key to hear Obama speak. I heard what he said and knew my career needed to change. It did!
  • Joe (10:24pm/Text) - Hope I don't sound cheesy.
  • Me (10:39pm/Text) - [To Joe] Nope - you sound encouraged and enlightened.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
  • Rachel (12:26am/Facebook Status) - Rachel is catchin some quick zzz's at a nearby UMC bldg.. the inaugural action starts soon!
  • Rachel (5:52am/Facebook Status) - Rachel is up for the inauguration.. it so cold!!
  • Sophie (6:42am/Twitter) - Getting ready to walk to east side of Capitol
  • Sophie (7:15am/Twitter) - En route to east side of capitol.
  • Sophie (7:34am/Twitter) - Feeling like Moses wandering through the wilderness.
  • Sophie (8:09am/Twitter) - At smithsonian. Ready to witness history.
  • Rachel (8:13am/Facebook Status) - Rachel is here at the inauguration with a million catrillion bazillion other ppl. COLD but excited!
  • Sophie (9:19am/Twitter) - Waiting for Sabrina and Brandon near Smithsonian Metro. I see flurries
  • Sophie (9:58am/Twitter) - Toes feel like they will fall off. 3 socks on. Obama just walked up steps.
  • Sophie (10:28am/Twitter) - Sunny but still freezing.
  • Sophie (10:53am/Twitter) - Arg with people with signs blocking my view trying to get on TV. Move!
  • Sophie (10:57am/Twitter) - Obama's motorcade coming up.
  • Sophie (11:02am/Twitter) - Members of Senate being seated.
  • Sophie (11:41am/Twitter) - 20 more minutes and a new chapter in our nation's history begins.
  • Sophie (11:52am/Twitter) - Here on the National Mall. Future generations will mark this morning.
  • Rachel (1:30pm/Text) - Now the crowds can't get out!
  • Sophie (1:34pm/Twitter) - Gridlock at National Mall. Too much pedestrian traffic. People getting stuck and not able to exit.

  • - my friend Sophie's blog about her experience watching the inauguration
  • Do you have a blog or website about the inauguration that you want to list here? Let me know!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Interview: Australia's Adele discusses her podcasting experience

An intuitive sense of audience, a sharp wit, tremendous timing, determination to capitalize, and vision of craft - Adele of Australia has all these, and more.

In just over 15 months, Adele has made her mark in the podcasting and blogging world. She co-hosts the hit geeky-girl podcast Three Chicks and a Mic (, as well as the Fringe Dwellers Podcast ( about the FOX TV series Fringe. She is the creator and host of The Sarah Dessen Diarist (, a podcast/blog about the best-selling young adult author. She also has a literary blog, Persnickety Snark (

Adele and I will be teaming up on a few things that we will remain silent about for now. In the meantime, what follows here is her very first media interview about her experiences and vision within the podcasting world.

DAVID WU: Adele, what drew you into podcasting in the first place?

ADELE: Buying an iPod. Sounds lame but before August 2007 I had a very rudimentary knowledge of iTunes and didn't even know what a podcast was.

I am a huge television and movie fan so I started seeking out info on them, came across podcasts and started checking them out. My first was Starkville's House of El (a Smallville-based podcast) that has amazing production values and entertaining hosts. I became friends with some of the people on their forum boards and got invited to guest host on someone else's podcast because they thought some international flavor with a bent sense of humor would benefit their podcast. I loved it.

Soon after, I started Three Chicks and a Mic (3CM) with two other girls. Soon after that I was guesting on lots of other podcasts. Then Fringe started getting buzz and Jen and I teamed up.

I love the buzz of recording and the feedback. I hate the sound of my laugh and complain way too much about editing but the truth is I love it.

DAVID: When did 3CM start?

ADELE: Around August last year I read a book called Twilight. The dialogue was corny as all heck, but the story was very involving and I became a tad obsessive. I recommended it to my friend, Jen from Philadelphia, and she read it and got obsessed. I was in one of the SHoE chat rooms when Jen, Crystal and I started talking about Twilight and decided we would start a podcast. Within a hour, we had a podcasting account, a blogsite and an email address.

We loved having an avenue to talk about geeky things. Many podcasts are hosted by geeky guys and we wanted to put out own spin on it. We talk about whatever we want, post irregularly but weirdly, the listener base is the most enthusiastic of all my podcasts.

DAVID: How long did it take to set up?

ADELE: I think the first episode was up within two weeks. Both of the other hosts are American which makes it difficult with the time zones so we have to record on weekends.

DAVID: That makes sense. How long do you see 3CM lasting? Any long-term goals?

ADELE: 3CM is a podcast that is always in flux. It's released infrequently with different combinations of the three chicks and/or our mates. I see my involvement ongoing. It's the podcast where I get to be myself the most - a little sarcastic, a little cynical and I call a spade a spade. It's the runt of my podcast children, I might kick it around a bit but I love it anyway. (I don't actually kick animals or podcasts - no hate mail please!)

DAVID: Regarding the Fringe Dwellers Podcast (FDP), I remember, you started this podcast long before the pilot even aired. What was it that drew you into the series in the first place, and what compelled you to follow through with a podcast?

ADELE: Jen and I were recording Greek Speak (a now defunct podcast regarding the ABC Family show) and heard about Fringe. He asked if I would want to do it with him as we had got chemistry. I said, Josh Jackson's on it? Sure!

No, I am a long time JJ Abrams fan. I still love Felicity with a fiery passion; I watch my series DVD set all the time. I trust in JJ implicitly in the material he chooses, and the premise of the show really intrigued me. Jen and I recorded in June (I think) an intro to Fringe Dwellers about what we had heard and what we wanted to achieve with the podcast. We got heaps of downloads straight away so we knew that the show would definitely have an audience and we might have a listenership of our own.

My faith was paid off in the pilot and every episode since then. I have championed the show and feel that my loyalty is really seeing results.

DAVID: What was the most profound moment of the FDP so far - would you say, the Chance Kelly (who plays Agent Loeb) interview?

ADELE: I probably wouldn't call it profound but it has definitely been the high point along with the Round Table podcast. We were both so excited to have an interview, but understandably I was a little disappointed as I couldn't be involved in it. The Round Table was fantastic, talking to people doing the same thing as me, and comparing our theories and opinions was so much fun. I hope the listeners enjoyed it as much as I did.

DAVID: Besides that interview, what do you think are the FDP's biggest accomplishments?

ADELE: I would say that I am a pretty collaborative person and our podcast has been able to involve other people besides Jen and myself. Whether partnering up with you to have the Fringemunks tracks as our spoiler divide music, listening to John Ellsworth's voicemails, or having John Bailey's superb intro - we have a little FD family.

Fringe fans are a motley crew. They are incredibly intelligent, observant and generous. I feel confident that the fan base of Fringe will grow and perhaps Fringe Dwellers might gain a few listeners who like some laughs, some discussion and an Aussie co-host.

I have been lucky to form relationships with Wayne from Wayne's Take on Fringe, Dennis from and yourself. That's all because of podcasting - I say this podcast biz is a big win-win!

DAVID: Podcasts are a relatively new medium and phenomenon. How do you see this medium evolving in the future?

ADELE: I try not to think about it too much! Seriously, I am still trying to improve my editing and presenting. I think podcasts will eventually be recognized to a greater degree. Most people I speak to here in Australia don't even know what they are.

I told my mom about what I was doing, explaining it as an online radio show. She pointed at her sound system and asked, "What's the frequency?" So I think a greater awareness of podcasting is inevitable. I think there is a place for audio and video podcasts but I see the latter going somewhere that I can't imagine in terms of creativity.

DAVID: Do you plan on integrating podcasts into your teaching career?

ADELE: Yes, especially into my teaching of English. Using technology to improve my student's literacy, IT skills, speaking and listening skills. The possibilities for podcasting and blogging as an application for learning is limitless.

DAVID: Really - so your students can take your lessons home with them, and this can increase their flexibility and tap into their potential. That's brilliant!

ADELE: Why thank you! In terms of the TV industry I think they will continue to realize the importance of fan labor and hopefully become more supportive of it. Some show and networks really support the endeavors of their fans to spread the word of their shows. Some don't. I think I would like networks and show creators to further capitalize on viewer's curiosity in this field.

DAVID: What's the story behind The Sarah Dessen Diarist?

ADELE: I was incredibly lucky as I joined Twitter as myself and as the Sarah Dessen Diarist. I asked to follow her Twitter. Within two days of blogging, my responses to the first two chapters of Lock and Key, she had mentioned me as a Twitter status and a day after that wrote about me on her blog complete with a link. Needless to say I got lots of hits!

The blog is me reading a chapter of one of her books and discussing it and how it reminds me of things in my own life. I started the blog immediately as I recognised that there really wasn't anything out there like this (unless it was Twilight or Harry Potter based). I read my responses, talk about the latest news on the author or something on her blog as well as what I am geeking out about at the moment. Doing it solo is a little confronting at times.

I get great emails, mainly from teen readers. Downloads range from 350 - 1100 downloads per episode which is fantastic. The best thing has been corresponding with Sarah a little, getting to interview her and the day that a package arrived from the USA filled with signed SD novels.

I know that she listens to the podcast while she does her errands. She has gone above and beyond in supporting me and I can't say how exciting that is. It's something I want to share with my students so I working on something new at the moment that we can do together.

DAVID: How is the buzz for Along for the Ride (Dessen's forthcoming ninth novel) so far?

ADELE: Amazing. I get the majority of hits on my blog due to my posting about it. The story sounds intriguing, it will undoubtedly be a great read and I am just plain excited.

DAVID: Are you going to buy it at midnight when it is released in your country?

ADELE: Well I have done that before - I am a little book mad! The SDD started as an attempt to break up my crack-like addiction to the screen and contribute something with regards to literature. I am crossing my fingers that Penguin will send me an ARC (advanced readers copy) but we'll see.

DAVID: What's your favorite book by Sarah Dessen, and why?

ADELE: Just Listen. The protagonist and her sisters are not people I can relate to. The story isn't something that has necessarily impacted my life but teen bullying is universal and there was a time where I felt terrible alone and isolated like Annabel. But i like that Sarah shows that friendship can come in the most unlikely of places as well as showing the healing nature of music (in this case very left of center music). I have to admit to crushing on Owen a little too, one of the main characters.

I love that she is so open with her readers, she blogs regularly and has done for years. She is involved with online communities like readergirlz and is establishing her own online community with her publishers at the moment for the release of Along for the Ride later this year. She responds to emails, geeks out over Friday Night Lights and loves Ben Lee's music - what isn't there to love?

DAVID: Seems like she loves the contact with her readers, and enjoys the community.

ADELE: Yeah, she's an inspiration in that regard. I love responding to email and chatting with listeners. Of course the big hope is to eventually get published myself and meet her.

DAVID: That's a noble goal. Have you started?

ADELE: Nope. Establishing this new project is a little time consuming. I will though. I am closer than I have ever been.

Feel free to edit out what isn't necessary. It's pretty long.

DAVID: It's like a Sarah Dessen novel!

ADELE: See, once I start my book, I won't stop.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Let's start off the year with a blog entry, shall we not

I've had this blog up for a while, but I haven't been utilizing it. It has been collecting dust. Having said that, I have a lot to write about, and a few things already planned - so, expect some sort of resurgence of this. But who is the audience?

It's a challenge, being that this blog is a subsection of the overall website, and no one seems to be visiting this blog too much. That's OK - a challenge is good.

What's the point of this blog? To rant and rave about music. And hopefully be of some worth to people, enough for people to visit - even on an infrequent basis. One day this blog WILL be an integral part of both the website and my musical endeavors. Oh, if you have the heart, please follow me (see "Followers" on the right, and also see video at the bottom of this post). Let the Spirit move you.

A concerted effort filled with "Pardon me sir/ma'am ... I have a blog and I link to yours" seems almost pathetic and laughable by age 30. But also, knowing myself, and knowing how great I can be when it comes to self-promotion (as supposed to how it used to be: overly passive in regards to asserting myself), I'll do it. Value can overcome desperation, and I know it.

OK, so here's the game plan: 1) somehow get people to click into here, and 2) provide substance. And 3) know that an audience is out there, waiting to be.