Reason #5236 why I will miss Winona

Now that I have officially graduated college, I’ve moved home for the summer to work my part-time job. I’ve started unpacking, and the reality of it all is beginning to set in. Already, my friends who go to school or live around here are anxious to catch up and get together. Of course, I can’t wait to see them either, but lately I’ve been less than excited to actually get up and drive to see them, and the reasons behind my apathy have never made complete sense until today. Let me explain.

I’ve lived in Mequon my entire life. My parents built the house we live in a few years before I was born; it was all I knew before I packed up my life and moved to small-town Minnesota four years ago. My friends that I have here I made in high school; I got used to driving to school, to restaurants, to the mall, to their houses. That’s just the way things were. But studying abroad in Europe where I didn’t have a car and HAD to walk everywhere, combined with living in Winona, has really changed my perspective on that. More


Dear major news networks: You’re not losing to Twitter

The archenemy

Stop throwing darts at him and embrace him instead. If eight measly birds can do it, so can you.

I saw this article today, and every time I read these stories with such befuddled language towards twitter sprinkled with the slightest tinge of jealousy (“Twitter is once again being credited for outracing traditional news sources on a major story…” aaaand cue sympathetic violins) I have to laugh.

I can see all you news directors and producers, fuming in your newsrooms like a villain that got busted on Scooby Doo (“And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling Tweeters!!!”). Let’s face it, major news networks: You don’t want to admit it, but Twitter scares the hell out of you. You feel like you’re losing your audience to this beast, and you’re frustrated because you don’t understand how or why people actually trust or turn to Twitter to get their news. What does Twitter have that you don’t? Is it the 140 character limit, or that blasted fail whale with the gorgeous blue eyes?

While that adorable whale does hold a special place in my heart (even though he’s probably the bullseye of a dartboard you have hanging in your newsrooms), that’s not why I use Twitter. I was one of millions who heard the news about Osama bin Laden on Twitter before all else. I hate to break it to you, but I don’t watch the news every night; I don’t even have a television in my room anymore, and the number of times I’ve actually sat down and deliberately watched TV over the last few months are few and far between. I am the generation Y prototype who seems to have so much power, and who you feel threatens your very existence. I am the elusive college student who rarely reads the newspaper and gets all the day’s important news from aggregates like Google News, word-of-mouth on Facebook, and my News list on Twitter. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s convenient because, let’s face it: social media is my part-time job. I know that’s exactly the last thing you want to hear right now, but drag yourselves out of your corner of shame, put down your darts directed at the fail whale, and just hear me out. As a soon-to-be journalism graduate who knows a thing or two about this topic, here’s a few words of advice, direct from me to you.

There IS hope, O Disgruntled Mainstream Media! More

My religion: Astronomy

I think astronomy is the closest thing to a religious epiphany I’ve had in my lifetime.

I don’t remember when it started; I wasn’t always interested in space and stars. But somewhere in middle school, something just clicked with me, and I started to realize and understand how freakin’ huge this universe is. And how freakin’ awesome it is. Also beautiful. But that’s a sidenote.

I’ve never really jumped on the whole “life on other planets” bandwagon. Everyone seems to be so obsessed with martians and aliens and life in other galaxies. I think it’d be pretty cool to know that we’re not alone in this universe, but it’s never captivated me as much as simply looking at everything in the sky for the beautiful things they are and understanding the concepts behind them. Very un-scientist-like of me, I know, but I’ve always been more of an observer than a question-asker. Let me put things into perspective for you, how I’ve learned it and the way I see it. Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. More


Me in Madison this weekend

Had you told me 10 years ago that in 10 years I’d be out protesting something, I might have believed you.
Had you told me 10 years ago that in 10 years I’d be out protesting something because I was interested in politics, understood what was happening and was truly passionate about the issue, I may have found that harder to believe.

I’ve never been Nancy Politics. I’ve never been genuinely interested in social studies or history or government or economics or unions; I learned it because I had to, and that’s that. But when I read that Walker was planning on taking away collective bargaining rights from unions and wanted the bill passed in a week, something struck a chord inside me, and I was pissed. I did my research, made sure to read up on both sides. Posted on facebook, had debates with neighbors. The more news stories I read, the more interested I became. The more debates I had, the more fascinated I became. And it all culminated with me taking a trip to the capitol this weekend – to do a news story for senior sem, yes – but more importantly, to give Walker a piece of my mind. And it was fantastic.

I’ve never been involved in a protest before. Closest thing to it was the gay pride parade I attended in DC, which was also wonderful. But this was something different. This was democracy in action; this was what it means to be American. There was so much anger yet so much respect for one another. It was unity in its purest form. It made me proud to be an American and even prouder to be a Wisconsinite. This is MY state and I’m not going to let some idiot eff it up.

There were firefighters marching down the streets with bagpipes, showing their support for unions; there were doctors writing notes for teachers; I EVEN SAW MY SIXTH GRADE TEACHER AND GOT TO SAY HI TO HIM. I knew I always loved him :) Anyway, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was history unfolding in front of my eyes.

It was invigorating. It was enlightening. And I can totally see myself becoming one of those politically-obsessed people I used to hate. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but if I ever cross a line with any of you, please let me know. This is all new to me, and I still have so much to learn. But I couldn’t be more excited.

(picture is of me on State Street today in front of the Madison, Wis. capitol building :])