Monday, April 30, 2012

my first council election

Today's soundtrack:
Party election broadcasts

This will come as a shock to no one, but I'm a bit of a political junkie.  Devoted readers will remember my elegy to Canadian elections, in which I lamented losing my right to vote when I've lived abroad for five years.  While I'm still bothered that I won't get a chance to vote PM Harper out of office, I discovered that I can vote in elections here in the UK.  This has required a crash course in all things British, Scottish, and Fifeish?  Fifian?  Fifer?  I should probably check on that.

As a Commonwealth citizen with right to remain in the UK, I can vote in local, Scottish Parliamentary, UK Parliamentary, and EU elections!  That's one more than Miguel, who as an EU citizen, cannot vote in the UK Parliamentary elections.  Finally I've got something else out of the Commonwealth aside from all the 1994 Games memorabilia.

After a quick perusal of the four main parties' websites (all of which were severely lacking in platforms and candidate information), I decided to take a look at their party broadcasts on the BBC.

First up, the Scottish Liberal Democrat party broadcast: 

The worst production values of the lot.  Compared to the more polished Scottish Labour and SNP, the Scottish Liberal Democrat video looks more like a high school student council campaign.  Interestingly, both the Scottish Conservatives and the Scottish Liberal Democrats claim responsibility for Aberdeenshire's prosperity.  It's like watching Clegg and Cameron but with Doric accents.

Next up, the Scottish Conservative party broadcast: 

Another great example of deer-in-the-headlights interviewing of "random" people on the street.  However, credit where credit's due:  both the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Conservatives lay out their successes, goals, and platform.

The Scottish Nationalist Party broadcast...

... is bewildering.  I'm not sure, but I think the SNP wants me to get a mortgage and to live on the whitest street in Scotland.

Lastly, the Scottish Labour party broadcast: 

I'll be honest - it doesn't matter what party policies are presented in this video.  My lasting impression is "holy crap!  It's David Tennant!", which I don't think is what Scottish Labour wants voters to take to the polls.  Or maybe they do.  Maybe this is all a secret Time Lord plan, but that's suspicious in itself because that Rassilon was nothing but trouble.

Miguel and I have been pouring over the election leaflets pushed under our door; however, this examination has only resulted in the discovery of various typos and a debate over the various demerits of using Arial.  At this moment, it appears that typography is the deciding factor.  If you use Helvetica or Arial, you've been warned.


And I've just realized I can change the font for this blog!  Brilliant.  Alright typography nerds, time to vote:  Georgia or Trebuchet?  Leave your choice in the comments.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

one year on

Today's soundtrack:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Just a quick note.  Yesterday was our first year anniversary of living in Scotland.  Miguel and I went out for a celebratory fish dinner over at the Anstruther Fish Bar.  It's hard to believe we've been here a year already.

It still feels like we just arrived the other day.  Everything has just gone whizzing past.  Thinking back to how I felt about moving and living in Scotland this time last year, I think I've acclimatized rather well.  Sure, I still don't really understand Scots (aside from scunnert, droukit, and crabbit), but I understand the accent a bit more.  I think joining the Anstruther Philharmonic Society helped a fair bit with that.  At the very least, I learned how to roll those "r"s.

But then I look at the Ivory Tower calendar and realize we've had so many people come to visit us over  the past year.  Nothing worked so well to make me feel like I was already home than people coming to stay.  So thanks to Shivaali and Maddy, John and Kristy, Yvon and André (and Jaan!), Kathleen, Sean, David, Ángeles and Miguel, Sriram, and Helen for visiting us in the funky blue house.

It's hard to say what is the Scottish highlight of the year for me, although nothing was more hilarious/traumatic/educational than Louis the Lobster.  Other culinary experiments have been more successful, aside from the bread disaster, which is handy since two friends will soon be coming to St. Andrews to study and will likely be in need of a good supper now and again.  Be warned, Shivaali and Uta - I'm playing around with North African cuisine now and I make a mean tagine.

Not sure what we have planned for this coming year.  BFF Lindsay is coming over in June and I've promised to help her harass Campbells (I'll be the one on the kazoo) up in the Highlands.  I hope to get over the Isle of May again, visit Kellie Castle and the Secret Bunker, and perhaps venture up to Inverness to visit the transplanted and gainfully-employed Kristen.  I've slowly realized, however, that I don't need to do everything in a year as we're going to be here for a while... although most days I still wake up in disbelief that I live in Scotland.