Well, I’m back at school. Winter break flew by, but it was a decent amount of much needed relaxation. While I could always take another 3-4 years of relaxation, I’m glad to be back at school and have my mind on things other than “I wonder which episode of Law & Order: SVU will be on next” or “hmm… I should really go outside and do something…oh wait…another episode of Law & Order is on! Nevermind…” or my favorite: “Wow…I’ve been watching CSPAN for 6 hours now?! Where did the time go?!” Yeah… it was a pretty un-exciting break at best. I did get to see a few of my friends, enjoy the weather, and, yes, sleep. I’m not complaining at all though, it was fun being a couch potato for once in my life. Not something I’d consider as a career though.

I was utterly engrossed in MSNBC, CSPAN, and any channel that was playing Law & Order. I did the unexpected – I got interested in politics. I used to be the type to walk out of a room if people started debating about politics or different issues, but I think I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m not only interested, but forming opinions of my own about various issues. Some people start formulating their opinions much earlier in life, like when they first learn that there’s a difference between Democrats and Republicans, but I’m glad it took me this long. It gave me time to learn about different things and to have a more open mind, and to even have an academic backing behind some of my opinions. At any rate, I finally feel like I’m ready to participate in the political process. When I voted in the 2004 elections I paid attention to the issues, watched the national conventions, some debates, etc., but I never actually felt like I understood what was going on. This time around I’m not only more prepared, but more interested in general.

How could you avoid getting interested in politics in these past few months? It really could be one of the most interesting times, politically. President Ford’s death and all of the coverage that followed showed the nicer side of politics, the gentile, old-fashioned (not in a bay way) style. I obviously wasn’t around for Ford’s presidency, but based on what I learned through the various media coverage and some Google and Wikipedia searches, he really is the type of person that people today should aspire to be. I’m not going to bother going into his whole character, as I’m sure I couldn’t do it justice being a complete and total outsider, but his genuinely good nature, his strong values, and just the way he lived his live are really something to model.

Then there was Nancy Pelosi. Her election to Speaker of the House was what got me hooked on CSPAN as it was the only place I could actually watch the whole voting process and watch her take her seat and be sworn in. Another inspirational moment, especially from a female perspective. It’s just so cool to witness such a momentous time in American History – she’s the FIRST EVER female Speaker of the House. Our grandparents talk about buying their first television, or the day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, or Kennedy’s assassination, but now we, the younger generation have had the opportunity to witness something equally, if not more important. Of course, I had to watch the State of the Union just so I could hear my favorite line uttered this time with “Madame” instead of “Mister”… “Madame Speaker, The President of the United States”. It gets me every time.

And then there’s Hilary and Barack. This is probably one of the issues I’m most conflicted with at the moment. It’s a good thing I have nearly 2 years to sort it out. But think about it, we have what could be the strongest female and non-white, respectively, contenders for the Presidency in history. It’ll be exciting to see how it all plays out. How strange would it be to have Bill Clinton, former President, as the first ever “first man/gentleman”? It’ll make for some interesting introductions, that’s for sure.

But I digress (and yes, that was one heck of a tangent). I really started this blog tonight with the intention of bringing it up to speed with getting back to school. I drove back last Thursday and was greeted by some flurries which haven’t really stopped yet. It was 3 degrees this morning, with a -14 degree wind chill. I have one word for you: OW! It was painfully cold. I had about an inch of one of my fingers exposed today to hold my cell phone up and it actually hurt. Not fun. We’ve had about 2 inches of snow. I’ve missed it!

Classes have started, work has started, and TAing has started. I’m only taking 3 classes this semester. I’m TAing 3 again, but I’m taking more TA credits this time. My schedule seems pretty mellow so far, which is good. I’m trying to prune back my commitments and get involved in some new things – so we’ll see how that goes. I’m sure there was a lot more I had to say tonight, but this is getting long enough, so I’ll cut it off here. Hope you’re staying warm!

Until next time…