Monday, November 19, 2012

The Electrical College

You must love this country more than I love a cold beer on a hot Christmas morning.
-- Homer to Apu, "Much Apu About Nothing"

I honestly haven't been able to think about the election again until now. Not after the toll it took on all of us, and that night, and the nastiness involved. The stress. So glad it's over. I won't talk about my political beliefs because they are irrelevant. Just know that I voted, and I voted by mail, and that I think voting is very, very important. Yay voting! Anyway, I'm not here to talk about that.

I'm here to talk about my electoral college map.

In 1992, I had to color a map like this for school. It combined several of my favorite things (maps, coloring, geography, politics & watching the news) into one super-mega-awesome activity! Even so, I didn't decide to pick it back up again until 2008, when I realized a few things:
  1. Coloring is NOT AT ALL JUST FOR KIDS! And it's a huge stress reliever!
  2. Maps are just as informative when you are an adult. 
  3. In our modern world, where all the fun is squeezed out of elections ... this map allows an individual to recapture it, along with the childlike joy of coloring. 
What's not to love?! 

I loved doing this in 2008, and I waited patiently for 4 years to do it again. This time, though, I had the magic of Facebook and Instagram and friends egging me on and demanding that I live-tweet the event. How hilarious! I hope at least one other person did it along with me, but I honestly don't know. I think someone's son might have. Regardless, it was an entertaining night that had me outlining and shading furiously, then ... well, you know. Waiting for Florida. Hahaha. It was great and I suggest you do this in 2016, whether or not you have children of your own. 

Here are a few of the pretty random points I wanted to make about my election day:

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the finished 2012 electoral college map, also with updated electoral numbers (changed from 2008). 

Things started off innocently enough, as they usually do. Shortly after I began coloring, though, I remembered what made my 1992 and 2008 coloring experiences wildly different from each other: now, states are being called every .00008 seconds, by crazy technology, and Wolf Blitzer's head is about to spin on its axis, and John King is showing us "where the people are" and projectionsbreakingnewsohgod! There was no way I could keep up, not at that frenetic pace. And before long, you get to talking about the candidates at home, and the pundits bitching at each other in the "situation panic room" distract you with their hysteria, and suddenly you're dozens of states behind and the cats need to be fed and you haven't started dinner:

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Everything is going great! Gee, there sure are a lot of states in this country! Ow....
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After the first pass -- wine glass empty, hand hurting, an over an hour later

To make things worse, my election buddy that night wasn't Scott, but this:

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Zeke had a decidedly pro-nap agenda
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Around 1:00am ... I finally finish, except for, well, you know, FLORIDA
My "coloring hand" is still sore. Just kidding ... but man, kids must get a workout from coloring! I don't remember having my hand cramp up like that when I was a kid obsessed with coloring books, though ...

Anyway. It's not because I'm getting old and my body is falling apart or anything silly like that. Nope.

I stayed offline all day (until 6:30pm) on election day, which I fully recommend all of you do in 2016 -- because I got to avoid all of the inane, mean-spirited and just plain stupid comments everyone was making on social media. But at the same time, it's not as if I was able to avoid the election completely. There was a palpable tension in the air everywhere I walked, and I came across situations like this:

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hippies & cops: together again
I happened upon this scene as I walked to the BART station from work: two hippies in a "Yes on 37" car (ie, a beat up old Jetta with an enormous ear of corn strapped to the top) were driving through Berkeley chanting on bullhorns. While driving. That there is a bicycle cop letting them know that it's not actually legal to drive and use a bullhorn at the same time. Imagine that!

As usual, the election was a mixed bag for me, but I feel more positively about it than I have after past elections. Most of all, though? I'm thrilled it's over! Now, let's not start another 4-year election cycle now, mmmmk? Humanity is better for it. My sanity is better for it (not to mention yours). Let's just all go back to living our lives, and hating each other for other reasons, like sports teams.

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