(click the picture above for the high definition video - but also click YouTube for me!)
uploaded 07.14.06 - YouTube link added 01.31.09
11:25 PM, Wednesday, July 12th, 2006:
I have done everything in my power to seperate the two situations that are occuring simultaneously, but it's literally impossible at this point. Everyone in the family knows about the competition and it's literally the only positive thing we talk about in the midst of such an incredibly emotional period watching the passing of my grandmother which we've been told is now any hour. Everyone has this beautifully positive spirit about it going as far as saying: "Her star will fade right as yours takes off..." I cherish their optimism, and am so happy they have something to be excited and happy about at this time...but the magnitude of it now is unbearable.
To many of them, this is the first big break... to all of you reading, it's one moment in a long line of so many heartbreaking moments that we've all grown accustomed to. You don't say that now though... you enjoy the smiles it brings to their faces when you tell them what's happening and what a win tomorrow morning will mean. They even took turns voting last night on a computer in the hospice. They want this so bad it brings me to tears as I'm typing this. Every time there's a lull in the converstion, another member of the family will ask me about any tiny nuance from the competition they may not have understood. The look in their eyes is... whew - you can literally feel how much they want this. The situation with my grandmother was so rapid, so unexpected that there's this shellshock amongst us. Instinctively your spirit just gravitates towards positivity, light...and the timing of this with the competition has now merged into one incredibly emotional moment that is touching many people's lives. And my how you all have touched mine...
Your support throughout this has been overwhelming. I love you all dearly. It means so much to me that so many of you would take the time to set up your computers (many of you for 52 hours straight) just to help me out. At one point we had over 50 computers running the "bottle bot" at once. That's outstanding.
I kept an incredibly detailed spreadsheet of all of them and my estimations (including time off for many computers during the day) was at the very least over 6 million votes. We had a huge obstacle in our way and we all came together to fight it.
I made a point of taking a picture at every place I set-up as well, it's just so funny to me how we all found different things to hold the key down with. I found a stapler worked the best in almost every scenario...
It seemed the stapler was the perfect balance and a nice even amount of pressure on the key without fear of it coming undone, although Jess found out kitties sure like knockin' it over (if I lose it's your fault Bob).
I was just so knocked out at everyone's willingness to help. There is a marked difference between Columbus and LA. There isn't a chance in hell I could have done what I did these past two days in LA. And certainly no way I could have pulled off this:
The computer lab worked perfectly. Ben and I were able to set up 13 computers and when I called him 24 hours later all but ONE was on the entire time. They all kicked butt for 45 hours registering nearly 2 million votes by themselves. This alone should win me the competition. Ben, you absolutely rock, I cannot thank you enough. Go Vikings. :-)
Here's the rest of the pics I received and/or I took from my journey throughout Columbus the last two days:

Simply spectacular. I'm am so proud of all of you and feel so blessed to have your support. I completely believe we will not only win, but can't imagine how they'll come close. Even with 17,000 strong behind them, I doubt many people would go through so much to support a rock band. Then again you really never know and that's what scares me. If we lose (yes, this is completely a "we" now) it just feels like it'll be devastating.
Anyway - I've been up for exactly 40 hours on the dot and have to shut my eyes before the announcement in 8 hours. I believe with all of my heart that we have pulled it off and can't wait to hug my family for something other than devastating sadness.
No pressure there...