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Posted by: Serena | 30th Sep, 2008

Politics invade UMW!

It’s been a busy week, what with stock market disasters, presidential nominees visiting campus, and hilarious CBS interviews with a certain governor from Alaska. Normally, I’d say that students here are mildly interested at best (completely apathetic at worst), but there’s been a huge spike in campus political involvement. Much of that may have to do with Obama’s recent visit, but UMW students–like most of the country–seem much more fired up about this election than has been the case in past years. Students here are actually watching the news, debates, and speeches… and not just for class!

The first sign that something was afoot came from (unsurprisingly) Facebook, and amused me much more than it probably should have. I glanced at the ‘groups’ page only to find these two randomly placed side-by-side:

Next up was the appearance of an obnoxiously large McCain banner hanging down the side of someone’s balcony in the UMW apartments, facing William Street. (According to university policy, it’s also a fire hazard. This hasn’t stopped them.) The night before Obama visited campus, someone painted “McCain” on the construction wall across from Ball Circle, where the rally was to be held. Or at least, he tried to, but left out the second “c”, so the lettering read “McAin”. It was soon painted over, though whether it was corrected by an Obama supporter or a spelling enthusiast will probably remain a mystery.

Enmeshed in a lengthy group project (which resulted in the mashup in my previous post) and with no intention of attending the rally, I briefly emerged from my apartment on Saturday afternoon. I was greeted by a line stretching all the way down William Street, around the corner, and along Sunken Road. Curious to see how far it went, I grabbed my camera and started following the line down Sunken.

The line curved around to the left, vanishing into the distance.

Selling t-shirts...

A family waiting in line.

A family waiting in line.

McCain supporters walking down the line

McCain supporters walking down the line.

The line on Sunken Road.

The line continued on Sunken Road.

So at this point, I was practically in the center of campus, because I’d followed the line to its end behind Monroe Hall. I continued along campus walk to see how many people were already in Ball Circle, and ended up standing in a flowerbed taking photos of the crowds.

My (disappointing) view from atop the flowerbed.

My (disappointing) view from atop the flowerbed.

Gosh, Janet, Im so glad that we have these fancy cameras and can use them as an excuse to get a clear view of everything. Imagine if we had to take photos from atop a flowerbed, through tent canopies and annoying tall people.  <br>Haha! Oh, George. You do say the funniest things.

"Gosh, Janet, I'm so glad that we have these fancy cameras and can use them as an excuse to get a clear view of everything. Imagine if we had to take photos from atop a flowerbed, through tent canopies and annoying tall people." "Haha! Oh, George. You do say the funniest things."

Impatient crowds.

Impatient crowds.

Still waiting...

Still waiting...

Best view in the house.

Best view in the house.

It was just at this point that the weather got sick of waiting, and dumped buckets of rain on us. I rushed my camera back to a friend’s dorm, and kept waiting. Obama arrived eventually (after a bizarre sermon, a campaign recruiting speech, and several loops of the same irritating playlist), and delighted the crowds with his ability to create elaborate, weather-appropriate metaphors. I saw his arm at one point (between the media tents and the tall guy in front of me) and his whole torso on the screen of a TV in one of the media vans. (Professor Anand Rao, who was lucky enough to snag a spot in the second row, has some amazing shots of Obama on his flickr page here.)

I dragged myself, soggy and exhausted, back to my apartment, where I discussed the rally with my housemates, also soggy and exhausted. Since Saturday, the rally has been covered in various publications, and my new favorite pastime is spotting friends in the AP photos. Campus is still recovering from the 26,000 people who invaded over the weekend, and Ball Circle will likely need reseeding. And I may never break the habit of glancing up at the roof of Ball Hall to check for Secret Service guys.

Posted by: Serena | 26th Sep, 2008

Two fourths of July ago…

…otherwise known as one-half of July ago.

4/8 ==> 2/4 ==> 1/2
(Four-Eighths) (Two-Fourths) (One-Half)

I haven’t been voted Miss Congeniality in the Senate, or managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in a brazen fashion, but I can simplify fractions!

And an orgy

of spending.

Also, Henry Kissinger: Henry Kissinger.

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