Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Day That Politics Moved Me

By now it's no secret that I am a student of government and politics. I've spent many, many years studying voting behavior, politics, policy, international politics, conflict resolution, name it, I've taken a class on it at some point. I have always been fascinated by politics and I have always loved the passion and the drama of the political scene ( did I mention I was a theater major too?)
But as much as I love these things about politics, I am hardly ever moved emotionally by the issues, actors or outcomes. I have always had an academic approach to politics; sure, I get fired up about issues, but (like a good student) my arguments and opinions always boil down to reason, to what "makes sense."
Two nights ago I watched the speeches at the Democratic National Convention. I have been thinking about this for a couple days now, but I finally have to admit that I have never been so moved about anything political as I was listening to Senator Ted Kennedy give his speech. (Yes, I was actually crying). This is a man who has seen it all. A man who's life and family had been ridden with tragedy. A man who has buried two of his brothers, both of his parents and become a father to all of his nieces and nephews. And while he was doing all this, never a day went by that he didn't spend serving someone: his constituents, his family, his country... This is a man who took it upon himself to carry on the legacy left before him ( a legacy which gave him some VERY big shoes to fill). As I was listening to him speak, and noticing how he was visibly not well, I became so overwhelmed with emotion and admiration for the work that Senator Kennedy has done. Work that began long before I was even born and the results of which will continue long after I am gone, I'm sure.
I think the most impressive part was when he vowed to be on the floor in January, ready to start a new term with a new President. The doctors have said that even just a few months will be a stretch for him, but every person in that room believed him. The statement was just further testament to the resolve of this man, his absolute unwillingness to give up until the job is done.
And it really reminded me that there are people who are in politics for the right reasons, even if it isn't always apparent (and yes, even amongst scandal). And then I felt lame for having removed emotion from politics for myself. Because while emotions hardly win arguments, they certainly keep them going. And if every important argument in this country (abortion, healthcare, social security) were ended by way of rationality, we wouldn't have gotten nearly as far as we've come. So today I salute Senator Kennedy. For his passion (and emotion), his service and his resolve to keeping fighting until the bittersweet end.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vote for Nobody

Whilst wasting time at work (again) with my favorite instrument of procrastination, StumbleUpon (thanks, Andrew), I found this on an Australian site, I think:

Don't get me wrong, I would never encourage people not to exercise their right to vote (and as the FAR lesser of two evils, I am supporting Obama), but even I have to admit that this message rings bitterly true. How cool would it be if everyone went to the polls in November and wrote in "Nobody"?! Of course I know it'll never happen (because I'm sure even if we were all somehow to agree to do it, there would still be one douche who votes for McCain) but a political science major can dream, can't she?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

WARNING: Shameless Gushing!

Last weekend we welcomed the newest addition to the Oot clan, Grace Marie. I booked it to Syracuse on Thursday morning even though I was pretty sure I would miss the birth. Luckily for me Grace is one of those chicks who just cannot be rushed (both mom and anxious waiting room denizens thank you, Grace). She took her sweet ass time arriving, finally "heading out" after 12 hours of serious labor. My trooper of a sister managed to get through about 8 hours before she gave up and asked for the drugs. I was impressed; I was damn near certain that she wouldn't last 3 contractions. Little Gracie arrived at 8:36pm and weighed 7 pounds and a few ounces (3 maybe? Sorry, Amanda!)
Anyhow, she's home now and SO cute (be honest, most newborns are fugly).

Both mom and baby are doing well. And Aunt Steph can't get enough of Grace, apparently Nate and Trev are old news :-) I still think they're the biggest hams I know, see?

When I got back from NY, Andrew had already left for Wyoming(the whole state looks like a postcard) so I had the house to myself for a week. This basically meant that I ate cereal for dinner and watched as much reality tv as I could cram into 7 days. It rained a lot so I got out of watering the plants on two separate days, which was cool. I don't mind watering the plants, but I do sort of get annoyed when I have to douse myself in OFF! just to spend 15 minutes outside in the yard (especially if its after my morning shower). Flipping mosquitoes! If anyone knows how to get rid of an entire yard of them, I'm taking all practical, outlandish and amusing suggestions!
Happy Hump Day!
P.S. Whatever time it says this blog was published is wrong. 4.5 hours wrong, to be exact. Does anyone know how to fix that?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

This blog is so boring

I am fully aware that no one reads my blog except for me and the occasional Facebook stalker. I want to change this, I really do. I just can't think of enough consistently interesting things in my life to blab on about. I read an article in WIRED recently on how to get "internet famous." (I can't make the links work, but its on their site)
It appears that shameless self-promotion is the best way to go. But the part that fascinated me the most is that some of the most famous internet celebrities aren't the Perez Hilton's (although I ADORE him) who embrace a particular genre, they're Plain Jane people! People who have hours to devote to cataloguing their lives: posting pictures of their pets, their gardens. Twittering (I still have NO idea what this is) every 5 minutes about what they're doing THAT second, reminiscing about how interesting the shit they took this morning was. Its fascinating to me! Gossip rags are fun (, and I read them religiously, but there is something in the disconnect that we as everyday Joe Schmos have with celebrities. I'm convinced that it's why we flock to these internet celebrities who write about buying groceries, work sucking and getting a run in your pantyhose 5 minutes before a meeting (in January)--because we can actually relate to them. Some of us, I would argue, actually find comfort in them. I personally, feel much better knowing that there are other chicks out there who only mean to have a glass of wine and drink 2 bottles and who would rather watch jeopardy in their pjs instead of go to a club. They're just like me, but more interesting. Maybe they're not. I dunno. But people are reading their shit, not mine. Prior to now, I have only posted blogs occasionally about things that piss me off. I think now I will try to post about regular everyday stuff. Maybe at least my family will read it?

Anyhow, here's some "everyday" stuff that I'm loving right now:

My new washer and dryer ...

pretty much kick ass. I know I'm approaching 30 because I'm excited about appliances. But they're energy efficient, front loading, and I don't have to even bend over to switch loads. Thing I did not love: installing the dryer vent (which involved crawling behind a wall with power tools) which basically runs the length of the house.

Skoy Cloths

These cloths are reusable and one of them replaces 15 rolls of paper towels. AND you can put them in the washer! Which is a direct correlation to another thing I love (see above).

Post Secret

Sometimes I feel a little like a voyeur reading other people's secrets, especially since I've never sent in one of my own.

Okay I think I'm done for today. But coming soon is a new niece and my 10 year high school reunion! Pictures and drama to follow, I'm sure...