It does appear to be time zone related.

My ec2 ubuntu instance has the same time zone for the machine and
rails
root@domU-12-31-39-00-7D-E5:~/tester# ./script/console
Loading development environment (Rails 2.1.0)
>> Time.zone
=> #<TimeZone:0x8f9bae8 @name="UTC", @tzinfo=nil, @utc_offset=0>
>> Time.zone.now
=> Tue, 22 Jul 2008 12:12:17 UTC +00:00
>> Time.now
=> Tue Jul 22 12:12:19 +0000 2008

My machine has EST local time, but Time.zone was set to UTC by
default.
[dusty@dustylaptop:~/tester] $ ./script/console
Loading development environment (Rails 2.1.0)
>> Time.zone
=> #<TimeZone:0x11d3548 @tzinfo=nil, @name="UTC", @utc_offset=0>
>> Time.zone.now
=> Tue, 22 Jul 2008 12:12:40 UTC +00:00
>> Time.now
=> Tue Jul 22 08:12:42 -0400 2008

However, changing rails to EST, doesn't seem to help.  I'd guess its
because rails stores it as UTC in the db.

>> Time.now
=> Tue Jul 22 08:17:35 -0400 2008
>> Time.zone
=> #<TimeZone:0x11d3a5c @tzinfo=#<TZInfo::DataTimezone: America/
New_York>, @name="Eastern Time (US & Canada)", @utc_offset=-18000>
>> Time.zone.now
=> Tue, 22 Jul 2008 08:20:14 EDT -04:00
>> Bj.table.job.last
=> #<Bj::Table::Job bj_job_id: 4, command: "ls", state: "pending",
priority: 0, tag: "", is_restartable: 1, submitter:
"dustylaptop.local", runner: nil, pid: nil, submitted_at: "2008-07-22
12:17:16", started_at: nil, finished_at: nil, env: nil, stdin: nil,
stdout: nil, stderr: nil, exit_status: nil>
>>

Setting my system clock to UTC, fixed it

>> Bj.table.job.last
=> #<Bj::Table::Job bj_job_id: 4, command: "ls", state: "finished",
priority: 0, tag: "", is_restartable: 1, submitter:
"dustylaptop.local", runner: "dustylaptop.local", pid: 2453,
submitted_at: "2008-07-22 12:17:16", started_at: "2008-07-22
12:22:53", finished_at: "2008-07-22 12:22:53", env: nil, stdin: nil,
stdout: "README\nRakefile\napp\nconfig\ndb\ndoc\nlib\nlog\npublic
\nsc...", stderr: "", exit_status: 0>

>> Time.now
=> Tue Jul 22 12:24:28 +0000 2008

I would prefer to be able to keep my laptop at my local timezone,
though.  Is there a workaround yet?  I could also try to come up with
something.  Perhaps a hint at where in the code to look around at, and
I'll see if I can come up with something.

Thanks for the response!