Friday, August 28, 2009

Last semester, and when will this stop?

How lucky am I to go to a school where the buildings all look like this? I have so many memories of this building, going back from when I was 7 and declared that I would be a Hokie, to freshman year when I sat on the steps out front to try and figure out if Virginia Tech was where I belonged, to sophomore year when Ian and I watched the ring dance fireworks from there, and then soon thereafter when we held candlelight vigils. This building holds a really special place in my heart, and when I am old and gray I will look back at my time here and remember Burruss Hall as my favorite building on campus, the one with the most meaning and the one that really represents what Hokie Spirit is all about.


I feel many different things about my time here, but in the end, it was the right choice. In my very being, I have always been a hokie. To go anywhere else would have been wrong, and I would have ended up transferring here if I had started out elsewhere.

Please keep in your mind/prayers the families of two VT students were found killed in the woods near VT yesterday, as they are no doubt suffering from severe anguish. As far as I know, there is no new news as to what happened, but I do know that the two were found shot in the Jefferson National Forest near our campus. Upon hearing about this yesterday, I felt pretty numb, and I then felt guilty because I don't like being desensitized to terrible things happening here. But then I woke up this morning with an aching in my soul not unlike the one I have felt on 3 occasions since I started here. My heart has broken once again for the young lives lost, this school, and our spirit. That said, please keep the VT community in your mind/prayers, as well. We are reeling from this latest shock, but there is no doubt in my mind that we will, as we have before, prevail. Keep faith, fellow hokies.

Monday, August 24, 2009


So, this post is a little late but my trip to Charleston SC was AMAZING, as I have come to expect from what is now one of my favorite vacation spots.

I went with Lindsey and Jess to visit Bryant, and we had a fabulous time...

This is the 4 of us outside of Taco Boy, which is where Bryant worked this summer. (Jess-Me-Lindsey-Bryant)

We all bought Taco Boy t-shirts, and we practically lived in them the entire time we were in town. Also, we lived in Taco Boy. I'm embarassed to tell you that we went there once a day. Here is me with Bryant, who is clearly just hoping that the 3 of us crazy girls will leave so his life can regain its normalcy:

In our 2 days in Charleston, we did a lot of fun things, including going to local eateries, spending time with Bryant's brother, sister-in-law, and their 2 adorable kids, going to the beach, and catching up with each other. However, the neatest thing we did was completely unexpected, and Bryant surprised us with it. Behind an old grocery store in Charleston there is a graffiti art gallery.

Here is Jess with a painting that I could never have done, and to make it more incredible, it is, of course, done with spray paint:

This one cracked me up, because it's clearly not supposed to be Harry Potter, but it totally is:

There were a ton more pictures but most of them didn't come out very well. It was a really neat place, and one that I never expected to see!!

So, we're already planning a Christmastime trip back to Charleston, do any of you have suggestions for new places to go and things to see?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Satirical Sundays: decriminalizing criminals

There is a new "trend" among lawmakers and rulebreakers- it's called "decriminalizing", and it's making illegal things legal.

On August 21 in Mexico, the government voted to decriminalize the posession and use of small quantities of marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. The official platform for this is that more resources will be available to bring down big-time drug dealers.

My question about this is, and the one I pose to you: if the government has decriminalized the use of these drugs, then how does that incline the drug cartels to stop selling? Those small amounts? Are a part of the big amounts.

But who knows: maybe this new law will boost tourism?

Another situation in which criminals are being decriminalized is in California. Right now, there is legislation going through that hopes to let out between 27-37,000 small-time (non-violent) criminals from state prisons. Ostensibly, this is to free up space due to overcrowding, but also to allow the state of California law-enforcement resources to be used on bigger time (violent) criminals, as well as to save a ton of money (between 524 million and 1.2 billion).

I think that letting out non-violent criminals just because they are non-violent sends out the wrong message. These things are against the law for a reason, and they carry jail time for a reason. It's not like they throw every 14-year old who steals lipstick into juvie. These are bigger law-breakers, they just haven't hurt anyone physically. And to let those people out before their time has been served in order to save the state money kind of makes California a criminal. Would you want to live in a state where law-breakers can say, "well, I didn't hurt anyone" and use that as their get out of jail free card?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blind Driver Challenge at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech is one of the best engineering schools in the country. While I am not an engineering student, I count myself among the lucky number who is fortunate enough to call some of these incredible students my closest friends. This video is about the Blind Driver Challenge, the design project which these students have been working on. BDC has introduced a new world of possibilities for the independence of blind people in the world, and as such, BDC has begun to receive a lot of national attention, including ABC, Fox, Wired, USA Today, and Popular Science. I know that this isn't my usual blogging subject, but I just wanted to let you guys know what incredible work is being done at Virginia Tech, where these, and other students, continually strive to Invent the Future.

You should definitely watch this video, which explains more about what BDC is working on and hopes to achieve.

The man in the passenger side at the beginning of the video, in the grey tie? That's one of my best friends, Greg Jannaman, who led the team this school year. At 1:37 in the driver's seat, testing out the vehicle, is Kim Wenger, another of my friends, who will continue on with the team during her senior year at Tech. How freaking cool are my friends?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Kristen's Palace Giveaway

Kristen over at Kristen's Palace is doing a really cute giveaway where the winner will receive a tote bag and makeup bag and they will be filled with 6 of your favorite things!! Head over to Kristen's Palace to get onto this train!!

Good luck!

Owning up to my name

So, since "politico" is, in fact, in my blog's name, I figured that once a week I should do a political blog. We're gonna call it Satirical Sundays, because let's face it- I'm pretty sarcastic. Also, most of the time I don't take what the people in Washington are doing too seriously- otherwise I would drive myself crazy.

My hope is that these posts don't offend, and I will always try to be diplomatic. I like to be as objective as I can. I will make fun of things that I find silly, but I also know when to be serious. I'm not trying to lose readers here: I'm trying to educate myself and learn to formulate my own opinions.

This week, let's talk about an event involving that president of ours, Barack Obama. The event was called Beer Summit. Apparently, there were no keg stands, but I can't help but imagine Obama doing one. Obama conducted a gathering between himself, Henry Louis Gates (The Harvard professor who was arrested for trying to break into his own house) and the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley.
Leading up to this were Obama's comments during a press conference. Obama responded to a question about the arrest by saying that race played a role, and that African Americans and Lations are stopped "disproportionately" by law enforcement, which got US law enforcement pretty upset. To make amends, Obama decided to use this as a learning experience and get the two together for beers to discuss what went wrong, how it could have gone better, and probably to apologize himself for making comments like that to the press.
A press conference held after the event led to both men saying that race should not be an issue, that Obama is a wise and kind person, and that they hoped this experience would lead to education. On all of these points, I agree. Race is still an important issue, and one which I am glad Obama responded how he did, by using these mistakes as a learning experience for the US.
Many don't appreciate what Obama did. I've been on the fence about how I feel about this event, because on the one hand it was a great learning experience and gave visibility to an important issue and is likely to have a large effect on interracial relations in the long run.
On the other hand, he's the president- shouldn't he be doing big things, like getting the war taken care of, working on that health care project of his, etc.?
But then I realized that he's the president. It's his duty to better the nation so that the United States can benefit from his term in office. And his job is to fix the big problems. And in one single afternoon, he did much more than share a beer with a professor and a cop. It was so simple, but led to so much visibility for a problem that I think has been neglected lately, which is equality for all Americans, regardless of race.

Now, this was the first edition of Satirical Sundays, and I would like to know what you want to hear about- whether it be an event, a social issue, anything. I also want to know if you want more or less of my opinion, or if you just want me to tell the story and present facts, or anything you think of.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


My apologies for not blogging lately, but I just got back from Boston. Read on...

One of my friends, A, from study abroad lives in Boston, so me and another SA friend, S, decided it was high time for a visit.

On Tuesday, we went downtown and had verrrry interesting experiences. It all started when we got on the T (Boston's subway system) with about 40 screaming YMCA children. Then on gets a short man who came up to my friends' chests. Then he proceeded to talk to them, and by "them" I mean "their chests".

We finally escaped, and walked part of the freedom trail, which took us to Boston Common (a park), the Old South Meeting House, and the Boston Massacre site. Here is me and S on the freedom trail: I really wanted to do a duck tour but then we ran out of time because we were heading over to Fire and Ice for dinner with my friend (I guess you could say we dated?) from HS, who also lives in Boston. Here is the chef, A, me, and S at the grill: Me and my HS friend talk to each other a lot, but we haven't seen each other for awhile. Me, A, and S had prepped for every awkward situation we thought might come up, as they so often do in these situations. Well, let me tell you...what we were not prepared for was him bringing his new girlfriend to dinner! Luckily, at Fire and Ice, you get time away from your table because you go up to a bar to pick out your food and have it cooked. When we sat down with our 2nd plates, everything was completely normal. He could have told me, so I could have gotten a table for 5 instead of 4, which led to us all awkwardly standing around while the hostess found us a table. I didn't mind her being there at all, I just would have liked to have been informed before I saw them walk in the door.

Sometime during our post-dinner conversation, A goes to put her cell phone in her purse...which we discover is MIA. A staff member comes over to ask us if she is missing her purse, because they found one in the bathroom, and a really sketchy woman was just seen fleeing the restaurant. A's wallet was gone! We had taken our purses up to the bar with us to avoid this very thing, and it was taken while we all sat right there! Luckily, there wasn't a lot of cash in it, and we were able to cancel all of her cards before anything was stolen. She said the worst part was feeling violated because someone had her ID, which would really bother me as well.
The manager comp'ed our entire meal, and my buddy and his GF eventually made their leave. We left the restaurant and called the police to make a report, and A was in better spirits as we head back to the parking garage at the Prudential Center. We headed out of the city, and fell asleep, exhausted from our long day.

The next day, we went shopping at a ginormous outdoor outlet mall, then went to see the Hangover, which is about to eclipse Harry Potter as my favorite summer movie. Then we went to sleep very sad because we would have to say our goodbyes in the morning )c:

All in all, a really fun trip. It was nice to see my friends, both old and new, and it was really fun to see a new city! Some awkward moments, some upsetting moments, but mostly just a lot of fun.