Thursday, November 27, 2008

MEXICO: DINERO TALKS, MUCHO THANKS



Happy Thanksgiving! After an amazing drive through California and Arizona yesterday/night, I made it past the Mexican border around 11:30pm, just 30 minutes shy of them closing for the night. I have to say - for all the talk about Border Patrol, there really wasn't much security. I was basically just waved along through. I guess there aren't a lot of people looking to flee to Mexico, though.



The night took an interesting turn when I found myself LOST in the small border town of Sonoyta. In case you were wondering: it actually is a third world country. At least, this part was. Not many street signs, paved roads, or lights of any kind. You know what they do have? Crooked cops.



After speaking to a rude non-English-speaking motel clerk to try and get directions to my actual hotel, I was turning around in the parking lot when I saw flashing police lights. It turns out that in my frazzled state I forgot to turn my headlights on for those whole 4 seconds, and I was now facing ARREST. Thankfully one of my co-workers advised my prior to my departure to play their game, should I ever get pulled over. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly?) - it worked. I gave the snarky cop all the cash I had in my wallet ($12, don't worry) and he sent me on my way. It was mind-blowing not only to try something like that, but even more so that it actually worked.



So there you have it. One night in a foreign country and I've already bribed a member of law enforcement. On the lighter side, the pictures in this post are of my hotel, the Vina del Mar. Nice place, overlooking the ocean here at Rocky Point. Say what you will about my first night, but when I finally arrived at my hotel several hours later, all was right in the world when I discovered they had wi-fi. And to that, I am thankful. That, and the fact that I live in America and not Mexico.

Now it's time to relax and enjoy the scenery - Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

¡MÁS ADELANTE, PERRAS!



Later this afternoon I begin my road trip - or "viaje del camino" - making the approximately 10-hour drive from Los Angeles to Puerto Penasco, Mexico. I've never been after all this time, and Thanksgiving seems like as good a time as any! My new laptop (Big Daddy) is coming with, so hopefully I'll be able to throw some updates online over the course of this long weekend.

Wacky adventures south of the border, here I come!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

REMEMBER, REMEMBER, THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER



Last night was the massive protest in West Hollywood against Proposition 8. We heard from members of various religious faiths, the head of Equality California, leaders of the No on Prop 8 campaign, and many more. The message was simple: We are angry. What started as an already considerably-sized rally turned into an enormous march on the streets of West Hollywood, Hollywood, Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. Literally thousands upon thousands of protesters filled the streets (at many points with cars still in them) to show that - as one sign said - "This Isn't Over".

I personally believe that last night was the beginning of the real movement towards equality. It's not going to be an easy road...there will be tough times ahead. But we will succeed. We're just getting started! Below are photos I was able to snap during the march, which lasted around 4 hours.


Rally at San Vicente Blvd, in between Santa Monica Blvd & Melrose Ave in West Hollywood


Several miles later, we arrive at Hollywood & Highland


Police stand-off with the LAPD at Hollywood & Highland


A few people were arrested during this stand-off (note the LAPD's riot gear)


Police barricades at Santa Monica Blvd and La Brea Ave, heading back into West Hollywood


Filling the streets on Santa Monica Blvd at Plummer Park, back in West Hollywood


About 95% of cars were honking and cheering in support

FYI - there is another protest this afternoon at 2pm, at the Mormon Temple on Santa Monica Blvd. Unfortunately I won't be able to make this one, but I did get confirmation that a large group of protesters proceeded in that direction last night, after the initial march. What do we want? EQUALITY! When do we want it? NOW!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

EXERCISING OUR (REMAINING) RIGHTS



There's a storm coming.

So Prop 8 has (technically) officially passed, meaning that there will now be a amendment written into the California constitution banning gay marriage. This also means that it will retroactively wipe away all the same-sex marriages that have been performed since it was legalized.

I'm not even going to get into how awful this is and how disappointed I am in such a large segment of the CA population. Instead, I'm taking action:



*************SPECIAL BULLETIN*************

Proposition 8 Protest Rally & Street Closures
Wednesday, November 5th

As deeply disappointed as we all are that California voters passed Proposition 8, we must not allow that disappointment to linger. This vote is a temporary defeat in the long march toward equal rights for all citizens in America.

Please join me for a protest rally tonight at 7 pm on San Vicente Blvd between West Hollywood Park and the Pacific Design Center (647 N. San Vicente Blvd. West Hollywood CA 90069) as we move forward towards restoring equality for all in California.

San Vicente Blvd, between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue will be closed tonight starting at 6 pm. San Vicente south-bound traffic will be directed to make left or right at Santa Monica Blvd. Signs have already been posted to help divert traffic.


The time for passivity is gone. I am ready to fight. What happened last night is going to create an entirely new subset of the population (gay and straight) that - some for the first time in their lives - are going to stand up, protest, and rally. They are going to voice their anger, outrage and demand for equal rights. Something has literally been taken away from me, as well as countless others. So from this moment on, I join the "New Activists" as well as those that have been fighting for my rights for years now.


To the Mormons, the Repubs, and anyone else who supported this proposition based solely on and encouraging hate...well, I hope you're ready for the fight of your lives. We're not going away, we're not giving up, and we're not backing down. The civility of lawn signs and phone banks is over.

Welcome to the new frontier of civil rights.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ELECTION: VICTORY!

After watching the most incredible speech that I may ever see in my lifetime, I am overcome with joy and also a sobbing mess. Change has truly come to America. YES WE CAN!

WELL DONE, SISTER SUFFRAGETTE!



Today is a big day. Bigger than big, actually. Today is HUGE. Today we will elect a new leader. Today is the day we take our country back. After 21 months of campaigning, it all comes down to this. I spoke to my mother last night, and we were talking about the concept of a "private ballot" election, which this one (technically) is. A lot of people in the conservative Massachusetts town I hail from don't talk about who they vote for. I guess I wouldn't either, were I to vote the same way a lot of those people do, though...



That I being said, I have to respectfully disagree. This is an exciting time in our nation. After 2 terms under a [blank]ing [blank] [blank]head - feel free to fill in the blanks however you'd like - it's time to change the shape of things to come. And you know what? I'm PROUD of my voting decisions. In fact, it's with overwhelming pride that I'll share with anyone who will listen that I voted for Barack Obama. He is powerful, empathetic, intelligent and a real stand-up human being. This man will change everything.



While electing Obama is obviously priority one, there's another big issue that I've been rallying for. Proposition 8 is a ballot measure that - if passed - would eliminate the right for same-sex couples to marry in CA. This is 100% unacceptable. I'm not generally a very political person, but when someone starts infringing on my (or anyone's) rights, I come out fightin' like a wildcat. A couple weeks ago I organized and hosted a "Vote No on Prop 8" phone bank in my home, and it was a great experience...when it was over. During, it was especially nerve-racking and horrifying. Most people were very nice, though. And you know what? I'm confident that in just making those phone calls and speaking to people, the 8 of us involved helped make a difference. The ads say it all: Unfair. Wrong. Equality For All!



And since I've already given my endorsement for Obama and No on Prop 8, I figure I'll go all the way and share my endorsement for Election Night Viewing Venue. Even though all the West Hollywood bars are offering a place to join the community and watch the results, I've decided to go to The Abbey with my crew. There's going to be a drink special for every blue state won...not to mention that The Perry Twins will be spinning! Anyhoo, I'll hopefully be doing a mobile post or two during the course of the evening.

In the meantime, make sure you VOTE! The polls here in California are open til 8PM. No matter what anyone tries to tell you - EVERY VOTE COUNTS!