It's after 8, I just got home, I'm tired... but sometimes very random things cheer me up. For example, the last 24 hours of tweets from @MayorEmanuel. It's a touching, surreal story of a vulgar man getting in touch with the city he's trying to win over. (It's a story about hide-and-seek, fermented baby food, a tower of dibs chairs, and the disembodied heart of Studs Turkel.)

Really, it's a good thing most of the other candidates have been kind of unconvincing because the Cult of Rahm produces some very entertaining stuff, and I hope to see it continue. And the best part is that Rahm actually sort of endorses it (and I mean, what else do you do with a reputation like his?) In fact, he offered to donate to the writer's charity of choice if they revealed themselves (most people think it's someone within his campaign, though, so he might just be looking to show them some stabs for making people think he hangs out with a duck).

Definitely the most entertaining local election I've ever been witness to, though. Did I mention one of our candidates calling someone a crackhead? Oh Illinois politics. I ♥ you so.
I don't even know where to begin to start. Did I even mention I was going to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear? I probably didn't. It kind of didn't register in the midst of the giant Thing that was the Paris trip, and then the middle of October went pchoooo and suddenly I was on a bus populated by Redditors and hippie liberals. (Now with pictures!)

So maybe I should start there, at the beginning, with the bus. )

tl;dr I hitched a ride with the internet.

A brief interlude at a rest stop McDonalds )

tl;dr Some guy threw my french fries on the ground in an attempt to flirt at me.

But let's get to the important stuff! The rally! )

tl;dr Rally was good! And freaking Generation Y, how do we work? (At least we're fun to watch?) (Are we Generation Y? I kind of forgot to keep track. Interesting side note, though, is that there seemed to be a lot of 20-somethings and a lot of people in their greying years, but not a whole lot in between.)

Also, since I'm here: Happy Halloween, guys!
So guys, the British elections. I don't know if any of you are odd and/or bored enough to have watched the returns come in, but I was. And it turned out to be a pretty great use of my Friday night. I don't know much of anything about British politics, and I think all I knew about this election was 1) it happened to be going on and 2) apparently the Doctor, in at least two of his incarnations, supports Labour.

Important part being, I had no idea that all the candidates have to stand up on a little stage in front of their constituency while the vote count is read out. I'm used to there being crazy candidates on ballots, but I never get to put faces with the names and the parties. Then the coverage switched to Gordon Brown's victory speech (most relevant at about the 1-minute mark), where in the background you can see one of the Elite Beat Agents (actually from the "Land is Power" party) and an actual Scottish Highlander (kilt and tie. I didn't think that combination ever existed). And behind David Cameron was a fine gentleman from the Monster Raving Loony Party, among others whose pictures I can't find (one of whom appeared to be dressed like Jesus, and was holding a sign). And I got to thinking, man, how much more interesting would our elections be if we could do this? Sure, it'd take a while for us to cement a proper tradition of electoral irreverence (and I don't think we'd ever involve Marmite in things), but elections would be much more entertaining, in a properly surreal way, rather than the horrific reality TV way. I'm generally jealous of people with parliamentary governments because they seem to erupt into fisticuffs and/or japery far more often, but this is just unfair. Darn our whole "Being America Is Serious Business"...ness.

And then one of my friends linked this bit by Nick Clegg today, about his literary hero. Taking the whole electoral surreality thing to another level, his hero? Samuel Beckett. He says, and I quote: "The unsettling idea, most explicit in Godot, that life is habit – that it is all just a series of motions devoid of meaning – never gets any easier. [...] If the traditions and meanings we hold so dear turn out to be false, what do we do then?" Could a politician, much less a leader of a party (pretending we had an even remotely viable third-party option), ever say this here? Ever? I mean... One: Pretentious French literature? Two: A reasonably thoughtful interpretation of pretentious literature? Three: Existentialism right before an election! I could just see the news reports here. "Elitist MP reads French and has existential crisis, says traditions are false. Is he fit to govern?! More at eleven, but first: here is a cat eating spaghetti."

Brb, guys, moving to the UK.
evilhippo: hippo (2 [politics])
( Mar. 21st, 2010 10:04 pm)
Well, it appears that we have passed some form of health care reform. In the future, depending on how this all goes, I will probably want to look back on this, so I just want to remind myself that at the time I was sitting on the floor in the middle of my apartment correcting foreclosure complaints. Next time something important happens, future self, I sincerely hope you're doing something better than that.

Go team socialism!
evilhippo: hippo (97 [one of those days])
( Jan. 24th, 2009 03:46 pm)
I forgot how excruciating it is to write an essay. I think I just knocked my solitaire win percentage down by about 25%. And now I'm all frustrated because I'm hinging too much on this thing.

In other news, this article about ingrained grammar nonsense and the inaugural oath flub is the first thing in a while that's properly tickled the grammar geek in me. I wish I could point to that for every time I've had to explain to someone that I don't particularly care for the Chicago Manual of Style (though it still wouldn't help me get copy editor positions). Also, it's really cool that someone would even think to trace that to legal style manuals, rather than writing it off as nerves or a bad memory. I love complex, reasoned excuses for things (especially when they're full of pretentious, underhanded snark, like that article is).

Now I'm off to unilaterally amend me some constitutions. And by that I mean get away from my computer and go grocery shopping.

Actually, let's make today I Read the New York Times to You Day! WTF IS THIS?! You... you... “I never agreed with the idea of the fairly stuffy Edwardian-type gentleman,” Mr. Wigram said. “It wasn’t my idea of Sherlock Holmes.” THAT ISN'T HOW IT WORKS. Freaking crap. ... I know I'd still go see the movie, but... umm... Wryyyyyyyyyyyy? The sheer whatthecrap of any sort of "Batman Begins-esque" Sherlock Holmes is just... I mean, look, I can read about Sherlock Holmes and Cthulhu. I can read about Sherlock Holmes in which he is an amnesiac who ends up possessed by some kind of strange ancient malevolent ghost and is, in a way, basically a clone of my homunculus!Hughes. But Action Hero Sherlock Holmes? That... will require a very healthy suspension of disbelief. Especially when someone finds it necessary to imply that... oh gosh I can't even describe this properly. When someone finds it necessary to imply that they didn't have the technology to describe action scenes in books when Doyle was writing them. Seriously! (“So many of the ideas that Conan Doyle had took place offstage in his books,” Ms. Downey said. “We have the technology, the budget and the means to carry them out.”) I know I'm protective of my literary heroes (I also bristled when they mentioned Jude Law was reading a book about Hamlet), but this is seriously whatthecrap, right? I mean, I totally agree that pop culture has got Sherlock Holmes largely wrong (in fact, the best Sherlock Holmes is probably House. So obviously other writers have got the archetype down.), but that doesn't mean he has to be an action hero. Though it is Robert Downey Jr., so maybe I can pretend it's an Iron Man sequel.

All this and he doesn't do cocaine anymore, either.

What the crap.

It's going to take me days to get over this. I mean, my goodness guys, we are SO LUCKY that screenwriters have the WORDS these days... these MODERN, MODERN WORDS with which to PORTRAY ACTION SCENES. Dear goodness. I hope that book about Hamlet mentions how he would have also been an action hero, if only Shakespeare, in his infinite cunning, had had the technology to think up words for ACTION HEROING.
evilhippo: hippo (107 [snob])
( Jan. 18th, 2009 10:18 pm)
1) I crocheted a small bee today, and he has tiny plastic eyes and he is staring at me all doleful-like because I don't have yarn for his wings. Like, he knows I'll give him wings eventually, and he's hopeful, but the look still makes me sad because the poor bee is wingless! I am so pathetic even yarn can boss me around no wonder I've been bullied into working late these days.

2) I spent part of today searching eBay for an appropriate helmet that I could modify into something along the lines of the Great Machine's. (That picture is totally cheating for reasons I am not apt to explain at the moment, because it's about as misleading as they come but it amuses the crap out of me so it's the one I'm linking.) It's not often a super hero satisfies both my slight tendency towards the steampunk aesthetic and my political bent, but Ex Machina does so you know, if any of you are looking for something to read (and you aren't reading it already, because I'm perpetually behind on everything), I totally recommend it. (Those links are also cheating, but the latter is pretty much the reason I ended up picking up the series curse you, [ profile] scans_daily. Plus they're not spoilery. In addition to being amusing, it's good. And I ♥ Kremlin.)

3) I am having a hard time not making a giant political post. Things lately have been giving me warm-fuzzies, what with the train trip and all the snazzy waving. It makes me feel, I don't know... historically relevant. I'm also infinitely sad now that I'm not in DC (that I basically turned down a chance at tickets to the inauguration, though they were a long-shot and I'm still not sure I'm big on huge crowds and I know I couldn't get the time off work). And I'm sad that I'll be at work on Tuesday and not even able to watch the inauguration (unless I take lunch super-early and find some place that might be showing it). As far as I can tell, there isn't even a big shindig in my neighborhood and I freaking live in Hyde Park guys. How can this be? If nothing else, I will dance happily in the streets. ... As long as they're not still covered in ice.

4) I am slowly nursing a plot bunny. I'm keeping it in an incubator, in the hopes that with enough attention it'll turn into something. They're so rare these days, I'm surprised I haven't resorted to digging for mosquitoes in amber that might contain plot bunny blood. I'd take plot bunny Jurassic Park over complete lack of plot bunnies. (I remember when my mind was more like plot bunny Jurassic Park, and things were much more fun back then. And I was a better writer.)

5) I miss college, because then I'd have someone to geek out over this stuff with, rather than sitting in my apartment hoping someone out there in the ether is listening (not that I haven't always been shouting at the ether, but usually there've been other outlets). On the other hand, this build-up may be what's pushing my writing muses back out of their dusty little emo corners, so staring down the real world by my lonesome most of the time isn't all that bad. But I'm so bored.
So, this is my boilerplate attempt at writing down my thoughts on the election. They're important mostly to me because I feel like, living and working around the people I do, I have to justify everything, and this is a way to get my thoughts in order for arguing with them, and also to rant a bit about what isn't clicking for me in their arguments. And writing is my way of sorting out what's going on around me...

On voting cynicism )

On nonpartisan philosophy )

On affirming my worldview )

On the 'liberal' media )

On Hyde Park/Kenwood as a tourist attraction )

This post will be subject to many edits, because I'm still thinking a lot, but this is a start.
evilhippo: hippo (76 [bubble])
( Nov. 5th, 2008 12:58 am)
I should really, quite seriously be in bed right now, but while this is fresh in my mind, I have to write about it. I have a few pictures up on my flickr page, which really don't do the event much justice, but provide some backdrop, at least. I was in Grant Park from 5, when I got off work, to midnight, when Obama finished his speech. I don't even really have words for the experience. My feet hurt, I didn't realize how starving I was until I got back to my apartment, but more than anything what's sticking with me right now are the high-fives I shared with everyone in reach at 10:00 tonight, the amazing, amazing way the crowd behaved (I have been to rowdier concerts, guys, and you know what kind of wuss music I listen to), and the crowd on the way out. I have never, ever experienced anything like that. The speech ended, we all all stood there for a while, taking it all in, and then we turned around and headed out. Peacefully, casually, but punctuated with cheering and we filled up the streets from Michigan over to at least Dearborn for the full expanse of Grant Park blocks. That's just a huge chunk of downtown. And we were cheering, shouting, people were up on the concrete barriers taking pictures, people were waving and cheering from windows. It was... it was something very seriously important, and I can't express what it means to have been there. To have seen it, and been with all those people (most of whom I wanted to hug, including the police, who were all working 12-hour days and who I hope have the luck to not have to deal with any major troubles. But I mean, seriously, I got my bike (in a crowd of tens of thousands of people my bike was not stolen from the streets, even though I have a craptacular lock), I got on a bus, and I got out of downtown in no more time than it takes me to get home after work. Chicago rocked on organization tonight.)

And so I will leave you guys with this link. I am by no means a videographer. In fact, after the countdown the video quickly turns into a Blair Witch-style jumble while I give people high-fives and scream (the hesitation there, between the cheering and the all-out cheering, is the difference between our "Yay, CNN projections!" and "HOLY CRAP, THE ELECTION!" cheers). But this is the big moment of the night, at ten when we all knew it was coming: The Grant Park Victory

I'll think more deeply about this later. For now... HOLY CRAP. And also I need sleep.

P.S. HOLY CRAP. And yes, I was wearing my arugula.
Lately, as this political season is finally coming to its end and the rancor among my coworkers becomes evermore biting and sarcastic, I've been finding myself more and more tempted to break with my "Silent Bob" approach to the workplace. This is, in part, because I've found myself tagged as a sort of one-dimensional character who somehow represents the whole of liberal thinking. No doubt my silent resolve to grit my teeth and get through the day with as little drama as possible is seen as some kind of carebear "Love everyone, even those who take advantage of your work ethic" mentality. I managed to stop myself from dressing up on Halloween as "Me, as you imagine me" with hippie pigtails, birkenstocks (I've been meaning to get a pair anyway), and a petition to rename Michigan Ave "Barack Obama", explaining that 1) I wouldn't ask them otherwise, but my signatures were due on November 1 so we could rename it before inauguration, 2) I was working for ACORN and would be paid by the signature, and 3) "And isn't it cool that we're just going to name it 'Barack Obama'? Really, we think that the word Obama will come to mean a path toward hope and the future, so it doesn't even need to be a street or avenue. It can just be an Obama." Thankfully I realized that the glee I would derive from them believing me, though wonderful, would quickly be followed by despair at them believing me. And then one of them would probably get me fired.

So now I'm sitting here with a bag of arugula in my fridge, and thinking "Wouldn't it be a great idea to bring it in to work on Tuesday and offer some to everyone?" I'd already planned it as my victory arugula, but I keep thinking that I need to get that jab in against them, just to prove that I've been listening to their nonsense and am perfectly prepared to counter with some of my own (and I think it's about to go bad so the sooner I use it the better). It's just... irony. Victory arugula is ironic, especially on Tuesday (I can't let myself have confidence yet, it'll jinx things). And there are approximately two people in the back office that would understand. So what do I do? Do I make the joke that gets me antagonized more as it sails over their heads? Or do I just sit quietly and continue to be the one-dimensional hippie Obama-worshiping liberal? (... I mean, truth is the only word that doesn't technically apply there is "worshiping." I think I'm just offended that they think I've put so little thought into my decision, and so my response to social adversity, as it always is, is to make fun of myself and them.)

Dear 2008 Election,


[ profile] evilhippo

P.S. Even if I fail to be ironic at work, I am wearing some of the arugula in my hat when I go to the rally Tuesday night, and nothing is stopping me. Except maybe security, if they find leafy vegetables suspicious.
I've decided I'll know it's time to move out of the city when I find myself as amazed by the ridiculous amount of open space here as I am amazed by the ridiculous amount of stuff crammed into small spaces in Chicago. Right now, I'm just amazed that I'm not amazed by being surrounded on all sides by trees. I guess growing up around that means it never leaves you. Which isn't to say it's not nice to see all the fall colours in bulk, rather than here and there along the streets.

I voted today. It was actually the first time I voted in person, and I was delighted to see that the election bureau was full of people. There was a line, and it's still just a little less than two weeks until the election. I remember the last two elections here, when all the yard signs were pretty much Bush. Now, nearly every yard between here and Youngstown has a sign in the yard. Out here it's predictably McCain, but there are yards other than my parents' that have Obama signs. That's pretty amazing in itself. The suburbs are like a competition between neighbors, kind of in the same way they try to one-up each other over Christmas decorations. One yard will have a huge Obama sign, so the next one over will have five McCain signs in a row. Youngstown is pretty solidly Obama, plus or minus the weird house on the West side that used to always have a confederate flag out front. Almost everyone has a sign though, which is just cool. And the best part is the unexpected shows of support. As we were driving out to vote today, we passed a guy on the outskirts of one of the suburbs who was getting into his rusty old pickup truck. He was wearing a cowboy hat, and had taped signs to the side of his truck. And as we passed, we saw that he had the Obama O emblem on the front of his hat, and the signs on his truck were for Obama. There's something very endearing about finding an Obama cowboy out here.

I'm getting pretty sick of all the Obama ads on TV, though. They're not obnoxious and negative like the ads in the past two elections, but they're constant enough, and they're running pretty much unopposed. I'm starting to fear some sort of backlash with all this saturation.
Let this first line stand as a warning that this entry is going to be rambling and probably very pretentious.

I mean, okay, I don't even know where to start. I got most of my massive brain farts out of the way in a massive e-mail to one of my friends (we have a habit of exchanging pages-long e-mails every few days). But... I mean... holy crap, guys. Even looking forward from a week ago holy crap. What are we living through? What is going on? Maybe I'm feeling this more acutely because my job ties me so closely into this, but, um... wow. I knew we were in a mess. I'd felt the rumblings of it (or what I assumed were the rumblings) more than a year ago when I started searching for a job. But that may have just been Chicago being its dumb self.

I guess, to step back... the massive world financial system, built on shouting, pieces of paper, and misplaced trust, is crumbling around us and taking everything down with it, digging long claw marks into the drywall. We're swinging strongly towards electing our first black president,a man some people still believe is a Muslim (like that's a bad thing, anyway). Our government is turning "socialist" and possibly buying ownership shares in our banks. And small-town people are shouting "terrorist!" about things people did forty years ago and threatening death for those who don't share their ideals because some of them think gay marriage and not overturning Roe vs Wade will destroy their way of life (somehow moreso than unregulated financial systems and corruption). Our current president is a complete lame duck that can't get his own party to vote with him. His party's successor candidate doesn't agree with them at all, yet lets the party run his campaign into the ground. His running mate is a power-hungry/power-abusing wolf-shooting Alaskan, whose fans are working to reclaim the phrase "Caribou Barbie" from her detractors. The underdog in this election is a freaking old white man career Senator from Delaware. It's mind-boggling. It's unimaginable, looking through the lens of the Bush era. And yet here we are. And where the heck are we going? And what will it mean for the optimism of so many if Obama is unable to make a dent against this wall?

Maybe I'm just seeing this as a sudden change because I've started reading the New York Times regularly (curse you, liberal media!). The world stock markets kind of imply something different, though. Suddenly masks are falling off everywhere, and we're staring at a world that's pretty scary, but a world we might be able to start pushing in the right direction, now that we've got a better look at it.

And, oddly enough, there's something kind of comforting in seeing the kind of chaos I've been encountering in my directionless post-college wanderings reflected in the world at large. Something is going to change. Something has to change, and something is changing. (I'll say I'm not really big on another Great Depression, least of all because then we'd have to rename the first one and all, just like we did with the Great War.) It makes me more comfortable with pursuing the sort of change I plan on pursuing. Getting out of the country seems less like a safe bet, since everyone is in this mess together now, so I feel less like I'm selling out by fleeing, and more like I'm going off to see other things (which is what I'm doing... unless we elect McCain. Then I'm just plain fleeing, but without selling out.) And teaching, at least for a while, seems more like something that can be done with noble purposes in mind, because now is a time for noble purposes. It wouldn't just be about passing the time until I figure out my purpose. (At this point, I'm starting to think my purpose is more to do as much as possible, and amass as much experience as possible, and become some sort of maverick jill of all trades... which really isn't going to make me more employable, but at least I'll be more interesting.)
evilhippo: hippo (40 [ellipses])
( Aug. 30th, 2008 12:31 am)
Apologies for my only post in ages being about politics but, um... Wtf, McCain? (Surprise, I guess I'm feminist enough to be offended by this nonsense?) )

La la la politics. Also I'm moving this weekend. It's crazy.


evilhippo: hippo (Default)


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