Monday, September 22, 2008


Today in class, we were talking about mnemonics, and I used the example of "My Very Educated Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas" to remember the planets' names in order. The students had never heard that. I thought maybe it was because they didn't learn Pluto as a planet, but they said that changed after they learned the planets. They also said that they never had to learn the planets in order. What are they teaching kids these days?

I feel old when the students and I don't even have mnemonics in common.

But, turns out Frank doesn't know it either.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Canvassing for Obama

You know me, I'm not very political. But, my good friend Joe (see below) needs some support in SW VA. (My sister had forgotten than I know Joe, so this picture is to remind her. I wish I had brushed my hair that day.)

Canvassing is just talking to potential Obama supporters (determined by data mining voter registration databases, I think) and finding out if they've decided who they're voting for and, if they're voting for Obama, find out if they need help getting to the polls.

So, my friend Katherine and I went to Buena Vista. Katherine had done this before and assured me it wasn't too bad. We went to the first house, and a man answered. We could tell he wasn't quite right--kind of talking low and shifty. Katherine asked if he knew who he was voting for in the presidential election. He said he can't vote because he's a felon. Katherine informs him that he can get his rights reinstated. He repeats that there's no way that he could get reinstated--he's a murderer and rapist. Katherine insisted that he could get his voting right reinstated. (By this time, I was running half way up the street.) He mentioned that he's on house arrest. Katherine thanked him for his time, and we moved on to the next house.

Reflecting, Katherine thinks maybe she talked to him for longer than maybe she should have. She was on autopilot and wasn't in a groove yet. My parents wanted to know if he was pulling our leg. I believed him. My dad asked, "Katherine wanted him to join 'Murderers and Rapists for Obama'?"

None of the other canvassers could top that for their first house/encounter.

We talked to one man who seemed to want us to leave--by being really short with us--but also seemed to want to talk. He talked about being undecided and being really confused, but by the end of our conversation (and I don't think we said much in terms of platform--just a little bit about Obama and his support of the middle class), the guy said that he's going to vote for Obama. The personal touch really can make a difference.

I'm not sure if I'll canvass again. I don't like bugging strangers, and the rejection can be hard to take. It was fun when we found supporters. It was tough when we talked to Undecideds because we didn't want to push them, but we wanted to let them know if they had any questions, we could try to answer them. McCain supporters weren't too bad. It stung a little bit (makes me nervous about November), but then we would just check the appropriate box, and no one from the Obama campaign would bug them again.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sprenkliest Trip To England Ever

My first trip to England, and I stayed across the street from Windsor Castle:

I couldn't find anyone to take my picture. Not too bad on a few hours sleep.