Minnesotan

I’m a real Minnesotan now. Not only do I vote there, but I just got my real MN driver’s license earlier this week. I love living in the Midwest and Minneapolis is a great city. I’m definitely enjoying this phase of my life 🙂 Minnesota feels more like home, more of a fit for me, than anywhere else I’ve lived since I’ve been 17. So while my driver’s license photo is horrific, it will be nice to fit in.

Ironically, I’m writing today from Iowa, where I’m spending Thanksgiving. I’m headed to Kentucky for Christmas though, which I’m looking forward too. One problem about Minneapolis is that it’s too far from my family.
In other news, Simon the Great sent me a great link from the New York Times today. If you want to chip in to buy a piece of the London tunnels, let me know. We currently have 0 of the required 7.4 million dollars.
Simon and I exchange an average of eight emails a day, many including exciting stuff like the link above. (Simon is the recipiant of all hillarious blogs that appear in my Google Reader. If there’s a piece about spiders lost in space or “Paula Deen is trying to kill us: Thanksgiving edition,” Simon will get it in her inbox. These inevitably lead to threads of emails about space spiders that will take over the universe and links to video of Paula Deen deep-frying cheesecake…just so you have an idea of our communications.) But Simon’s blog, when they write on it (they being Simon and Ivan, her partner in crime), is fantastic. So while I’m busy writing up some of my recent cooking adventures, hop over to her site to read a hysterical piece on alpacas.

Two Notes – Computing and Movies

First, on computing. I am 25 and I sit in my computer history class, twice a week, with students who are sophomores and juniors in college. I know that, computing wise, they are not from my generation. When I TAed a class for freshmen in 2007, they were noticably more modern than me. I was lucky. I had instant messenger in high school, after three years of email and telnet at home. They had had instant messenger in middle school and email all throughout their teen years. They started off on AOL or Compuserve, while I started using ERIC (educational resource information clearinghouse…real thriller material). Sometimes, however, knowing things doesn’t really sink in.

Today the prof was talking about the Lisa computer (see above). People were asking about the drives and the prof said they were 5.25″ floppy drives, and took the time to mention that they were originally called floppies because they were actually floppy…as in flexible. Well, yeah, I thought to myself. We called the 3.5″ disks floppies even though they weren’t flexible. Then it hit me, while I loved playing Monopoly off of 5.25″ floppies, most of my classmates didn’t ever use them. They only know the floppy that is 3.5″ and sturdy… It’s times like this when even being 25 feels old.
Movies. Tuesday night is girls night. Ben plays Xbox Live games with friends from undergrad and I go out with a friend, usually for dinner and a movie.  The movie usually is supposed to fufill two criteria. First, the movie should be one that we wouldn’t be able to get our boyfriends to watch. Second, the movie should be somewhat uplifting/funny/heartwarming/cheerful/not morbid and horrible.
So usual fare includes movies like 27 Dresses, Made of Honor, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Mamma Mia! Those are great movies and served their purpose well. The fall lineup has been less than stellar, however, and while we have some 2009 movies on our slate already, we had few fall movies. Two weeks ago, our choices was the swoony Richard Gere movie Nights at Rodanthe. Except for the fact that we ended up sobbing, it was pretty good. But we decided that we were going to ban depressing movies from girls night. Last week we skipped, but this week we were able to see the Duchess. I had thought, briefly about arguing for the British comedy Happy-Go-Lucky, but we wanted to see the Duchess for a while, so there we went.
And it was horrible. It actually made me hate Ralph Finnes. Not personally, but his character was the slimiest of all slimeballs (as the late 1700s went). The gist of the plot (based on a real story) is that a society girl under 18 is arranged to be wed to the Duke of Devonshire so he can bear a male heir. He is a non-speaking philanderer and is emotionally abusive to Georgiana, by never speaking to her or awknowledging her, except if he is trying to begat a male heir. It’s really horrible. While we weren’t crying afterwards, I think we were both pretty angry and the 1700s powers that be for being so useless for womens rights. While we can’t do anything to change the past, we have decided that we are no longer allowed to pick movies for ourselves. Obviously we are incapable of selecting light and frilly chick flicks. Suggestions are welcome. (Suggestions that obviously do not meet our criteria will be ignored.)

Praise of music

Here’s the sermon and the prayer from the 40th anniversary celebrations for Philip Brunelle at Plymouth Church. (Both links are pdfs) Or you can listen to the sermon here. Vivian has a strong Welsh accent and the recording isn’t studio quality, but it’s fun. See this post if you want more context. 

I’m trying to post more frequently, but its obviously not working that well.

Reminiscing about Voting

My family is fairly good about not assigning gender roles. Both my parents cook, my brother and I both play legos, and I’ve never owned a Barbie (yes, that would be funnier if my brother had, but he hasn’t). Yes, there are some things that we only did with one parent. (Mom went swimming, ice skating, and canoing while dad went fishing and float-tubing.)


My bro and I – Barbie free for 21 years when this photo was taken

But most indoor things could be with either parent. Since my mom was a homemaker when I was little, she was more likely to volunteer at my school or go on field trips.


Mom and Dad

Voting, however, is something I do with my dad (at school). My mom’s a Canadian citizen, so she can’t vote. That comes in handy when dealing with political phone calls.

I remember going with dad once, when I was little. They were doing a kids election while the parents voted. The local polling place was my elementary school library, 1.5 blocks from our house. This was probably the 1992 presidential election (I have vague memories of Perot and Clinton) so I would have just turned 9. Dad must have stopped by the house after work, since it was dark. Being November, in Alaska, it was also snowy. A time where it felt, at least to me, like we should be curled up with a book, inside, not headed back to school. Both of us voted and got stickers and I remember it being very exciting. Obviously it was more exciting to me, since my dad has no memory of this.


Our old house, by the school

It was ten years later before I’d go to the polls again with my dad. This time, he picked me up from the dorms around 6.45 or 7, to get to the polls when they opened and to vote in time for him to get back for an early lecture. My first vote being a midterm election, as a liberal in a red state, it wasn’t all that thrilling, other than the part where I was part of the process. And there was the cool feeling that this was something that only my dad and I were qualified to do. No matter how much they wanted to, mom and my brother couldn’t vote.

In 2004, the process was repeated, only this time I took it more personally. I’d spent the primaries in the UK, watching the bizarre show from abroad, not fully understanding how, when I left in January the nominee was bound to be Dean, and when I returned in June the nominee was Kerry. The day of the elections, I spent the evening in my room, watching returns online, constantly pressing refresh and hoping the map would change. A family friend was running for a state Senate seat in Alaska, and when the electoral math, sans Alaska, was computed, I couldn’t bare it. I decided to wait up for the Alaska returns. Hoping, against all hope, that our friend would win, and while that wouldn’t make up for map of red, it would at least feel like a small victory. (Sidenote: I like living in a state that votes my way or makes me feel like my vote will count. Polls show Obama with a significant lead in MN, but the Senate race between Barkley, Coleman, and Franken is a true toss-up).

But Gini lost, getting only 31% of the votes. (And yes, this was in Sarah Palin’s ‘hood, so to speak, and Gini’s opponent had been in office since 1995.)

I woke, in the morning, to a bunch of elated classmates. I had one friend to commiserate with, but that was it.

This year will be different. I am more excited than I can ever recall being for an election. I was trying to describe it to my friend Simon who I primarily communicate with online. I’ve called her three times in the four years I’ve known her. The first two were when I was on the train to go visit her. But the second was when I called her on my way to go see the Faith Healer with Ralph Finnes. I had to share my raw excitement about seeing Ralph Finnes with someone, and she was the perfect person. She shared my enthusiasm and understood why I’d called. Today, I almost picked up the phone to call her again about how excited I was. We are both die-hard West Wing fans and I was trying to explain that I was almost as excited as watching the show (yes, that sounds pathetic, but in Hollywood they weren’t letting voters decide it all, it was the liberal writers…) Her response: “Yeah, I think “Ralph Fiennes excited” about sums it up…”


Ralph Finnes

So here I am, 17 minutes from a day that will define my generation. Many of my classmates from 2004 now have status messages on Facebook supporting Obama. I’ve donated money to the campaign, passed out voter info flyers, and proudly worn an Obama button (or two, or three) for several weeks. This is an historic election. An election in the internet age. An election where millions have voted early. An election where either ticket, God forbid, will be a first.

So I’m voting. I’ll get up in about in about 7 hours and walk a block to my polling place, where I assume I’ll stand in lines for a while. I did my research on all the other candidates and initiatives on my local ballot tonight. (There are 18 choices to be made, plus numerous uncontested seats.) I’m voting for myself, I’m voting for my mom, I’m voting for my international friends – both in this country and abroad. I’m voting for my cousin’s kids and my future kids. I’m voting to make the world a better place for everyone. And that’s really why I’m excited.