Thursday, April 30, 2009

Capitol Hill Molly Moon's Ice Cream

I went this afternoon; I was in and out with a double scoop of Vivace Coffee ice cream in 17 minutes.

Re: Miss California's Response

As you may or may not know, the MISS USA® pageant was held on April 19th in Las Vegas, Nevada. During a round of questioning from randomly selected judges, Miss California Carrie Prejean was asked by celebrity gossip star Perez Hilton whether or not the states (in America) should legalize same-sex marriage. Her response:
"Well I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. Um, we live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage, and, you know what, in my country and in my family I think I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be between a man and woman. Thank you."
First off, I applaud her for stating her actual beliefs under pressure. I do not think people should be coerced to believe in something that you believe. She could have just as easily said she supports it, and not been true to herself; but she didn't, and she can feel good about that. She was righteous at that moment. Now, do I agree with her? Absolutely not, but I am not going to go around wasting my time bitching and moaning about how Miss California used her chance on stage during the MISS USA® pageant to promote bigotry. She didn't. She was asked a question, she answered it. Get over it. Furthermore, Perez Hilton is a douche bag.

The problem I have is with people, like herself, that do not give any substantial explanation as to why same-sex marriage should not be legal, other than "that's how I was raised". It becomes an even bigger problem for me (and others alike) when anti-same-sex marriage advocates use fear and misinformation to obtain their own ends. I cannot believe that we are still arguing about this non-issue. Church and State are separate under the United States Constitution.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
Prohibiting same-sex marriage, through legal means, is (quite obviously) respecting an establishment of religion(s). Can we make it any simpler?

And here is the new ad, released today, by the National Organization for Marriage:



Thanks for the heads up Slog.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This Is Not Humanity

Matthew Shepard's brutal and disgusting murder was not a hoax. The fact that this woman is an elected official appalls me. How dare you Congresswoman Foxx...how dare you.



Thanks to Slog (via AMERICAblog).

Today Is...

...President Barack Obama's 100th day in office. There are plenty of news sites that are covering this, but here are some to get you started: CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Newsweek, The Atlantic.

Further Proof That I Was Born Gay

From a personal letter (ca. 2003)*:
"I can remember all of the wonderful times that just you & I have had together. (Like me spilling the coffee on you at the Bittersweet). I remember you playing for hours making all of your little sounds building throwing tossing dismantling of things. You would play & all of a sudden you would stop run over to wherever I was & give me a hug pat my butt leg or shoulder, grit your teeth & then go back to your playing.

"There isn't much of anything I forgot about you & watching you grow from this little boy with hair that stood straight up dressed in your sisters clothes. I remember your temper tantrums. I remember teaching you how to pee standing up, how to dress buying your first jock strap. Coming outside & you had put on a bike helmet so you wouldn't get hit in the head when you tried to make a basket outside."
*Please note that I made no edits to the letter.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Miss Being A Cat Owner



Via Sullivan via McArdle.

Seen At The Office Today

I don't know who drew this, but it tells me only one thing: I work with a drugged up, cigarette smoking, non-shower taking, asymmetrical face having, thick necked, child molester -or- stalker. [The person in the drawing, that is; not the artist who drew it].

Thoughts Regarding (Specifically) Heterosexual Marriage

A friend of mine recently told me that her friend was thinking about calling off her own wedding. She has become unsure of whether or not it would be prudent to go ahead with it all. After some conversing, her friend decided to make this declaration: "well...if we do get married, we can just get divorced if needed". It was something to that effect, and I cannot verify that that was the actual quotation. Of course, this upset my friend, who then told me, which subsequently angered me. This is the part where I make my point.

If you are going to get married, and you even contemplate getting a divorce in the future, DO NOT GET MARRIED! Yeah, homosexuals are ruining marriage. Homosexuals. I'm calling bullshit on that one right now. Couples that treat marriage as anything other than a lifelong commitment should lose the right to marry. It's good to know that if and when I find the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, based on its legal status as of now, I will not be allowed to marry that person. But my friend's friend can get married at her leisure and break that marriage at her leisure as well. Ridiculous.

Photo from mississippifamilylawblog.com.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Buy The Book

This is actually a very heartfelt, albeit sad, story.

The Abysmal State Of Higher Education

From the NYT:
"Graduate education is the Detroit of higher learning. Most graduate programs in American universities produce a product for which there is no market (candidates for teaching positions that do not exist) and develop skills for which there is diminishing demand (research in subfields within subfields and publication in journals read by no one other than a few like-minded colleagues), all at a rapidly rising cost (sometimes well over $100,000 in student loans).

"The emphasis on narrow scholarship also encourages an educational system that has become a process of cloning. Faculty members cultivate those students whose futures they envision as identical to their own pasts, even though their tenures will stand in the way of these students having futures as full professors.

"The dirty secret of higher education is that without underpaid graduate students to help in laboratories and with teaching, universities couldn’t conduct research or even instruct their growing undergraduate populations. That’s one of the main reasons we still encourage people to enroll in doctoral programs. It is simply cheaper to provide graduate students with modest stipends and adjuncts with as little as $5,000 a course — with no benefits — than it is to hire full-time professors."
Since college, I have always held the notion that all original ideas (short of the insane) have been spoken for. The kinds of theories and ideas that graduate students base their theses on are quite often mere critiques of other critiques of an original source.
"...his best student was doing his dissertation on how the medieval theologian Duns Scotus used citations."
No one is going to come up with a new perception of Plato's dialogues or Kant's metaphysics. Those were the new ideas, and now we have reached the end of original thinking (see excerpt above) -- I am fully aware that I am making a very bold (and probably controversial) declaration on intellectualism. I think science is the only field in which there can be further discoveries and inventiveness. As for most other fields of knowledge, we are merely trying to perfect what it is that we already know.

Damn You Pelosi, You Make This Difficult For Me

From Politico:
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) promised to keep up the heat, telling reporters last week, “She and other leaders were fully briefed on all of these interrogation techniques. There’s nothing here that should surprise her.” Democrats dismiss such talk as a sideshow, arguing that the criticism of Pelosi is nothing compared with the long-term damage done to Republicans by the disclosure of Bush administration interrogation abuses.
And from CSM:
President Obama’s decision to make public four Bush-era memos authorizing “enhanced interrogation techniques” of terrorist suspects is now putting key Democrats on the spot, too. The top Republican on the House intelligence committee is calling for the release of the names all members of Congress briefed on these techniques, as well as the substance of those briefings.
I think what upsets me the most is that the democrats are firing back with a "well, torture is far worse than lying about it" tone. How have we not completely lost faith in humanity? This is not a game. This is not about winning or losing; it's about doing what is right versus what is wrong. Stop all this bullshit and get to work. There is so much that I have wanted to say with regards to all this torturing business, but it just makes my head hurt. There is nothing I can say that hasn't already been said by Andrew Sullivan. The case on whether or not to pursue prosecutions of Bush administration officials is closed here.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Many Faces Of Jon

Whenever I dig up these relics, people always have different reactions--shock, non-belief, annoyance, laughter. I react with a sense of pride. I have come a long way--in this case, I am speaking only of my physical health and appearance (clothing choice and style included)--and I still have a long way to go; but let me note that for me to think that I still have a long way to go is, to quote someone, "delusional". Well, all that aside, here are the former faces of Jon. If you want an extremely brief history of each, read below. Click on photos for larger view.





From left to right, top row: was trying to grow a beard, was trying to be uptight, was having a good time at Starbucks (enjoying a fatty beverage, no doubt).

From left to right, middle row: was trying to grow a mustache--marchstache 2009 was better executed, was just really fat*, was tired and post-shave.

From left to right, bottom row: was hanging out on a friend's porch--those were good times, was trying to "dress nice"*, was trying to make screwdrivers in my mouth--bad decision, ultimately.

*You'll notice in these two photos, respectively, that I had a Pizza Hut box, a McDonalds bag, and a Subway bag--how did that get in there?--and a poster of Christina Aguilera, which was in no way related to me being in denial of the fact that I was/am a pseudo-flaming homosexual.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Seen At The Office Today

Can someone please explain what this means? This is a picture I took of the item in question. It's a wall calendar--somewhat obvious, I know--and it has something written on one of the days. My phone does not take very good pictures, so here is what it says:
"Don't cross off days until they're over for everyone prease?"
What does that mean? Why is the 23rd not crossed off, but the 27th and the 30th are? Is there any special reason why the note was written on Holocaust Remembrance Day? Is someone further perpetuating the stereotype that Asians say "prease" rather than "please"? These are questions that puzzle me, and I'm afraid I will never find their answers.

Said To Me At The Office Today

In reference to this:

"I can't believe it! I can't believe it!"
"Believe what?"
"That you let yourself go that much."
"I'm still big."
"You're delusional!"

It's A Sad Day For The Old Vivace Location

Slog has the photo. It's a sad day in that I have so many good memories that took place there. Luckily for me, I've already had quite a few good memories at the new location near Mercer and Broadway.

Oh Yes I Did!

I said I was going to do it. And yes, I am fully aware that I am grinning like a complete jackass.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Would It Look Like If A Beached Whale Were Drunk?

Let's watch and see:

video

(Circa January 2005)

[Update: As I now recall, this was my new year's eve party for 2005. This, incidentally, was also the very first time that I got blackout drunk.]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Said To Me At Spin Class Today

"If I see your legs going too fast, I will come over and turn up the resistance myself."

If Gay People Are Allowed To Get Married...

I took the photo outside of my work--no, I do not work in a field. And notice my mad photoshop skills!

The New York Times Social Q's

A new friend of mine submitted a question for the New York Times' Social Q's column. It was featured in yesterday's paper:
Potted Neighbor

In our apartment building, a guy smokes pot frequently. In Seattle, where I live, pot has been designated a low priority for our police department.


I have nothing against it, but the constant smell is making me ill. Is there a polite way to ask him to stop?


Blaire Notrica, Seattle
Read the response here. Kudos to Blaire. And how apropos of today's celebrated activity.

To Be Found In Freeway Park

Absolutely beautiful.

Happy 4/20 Everybody

It is such a beautiful day out in Seattle, and I never thought a marijuana story would make me tear up. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Said To Me At The Office Today

"I'm sorry...I try not to laugh"
"About what?"
"Your face."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mad Lib Of The Day : Personal Ad

I enjoy long, gargantuan walks on the beach, getting spilled in the rain and serendipitous encounters with cupcakes. I really like piña coladas mixed with semen, and romantic, candle-lit hippos. I am well-read from Dr. Seuss to Walt Whitman. I travel frequently, especially to Istanbul, when I am not busy with work. (I am a pool boy). I am looking for board game and beauty in the form of a Peruvian goddess. She should have the physique of Ricki Martin and the senate meeting of Erin. I would prefer if she knew how to cook, clean, and wash my fishsticks. I know I'm not very attractive in my picture, but it was taken gazillion days ago, and I have since become more bloated.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's 7:08 In The Morning...

...and I felt like Googling myself.  Does anyone else find it peculiar that this image would come up under the search?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Dictionary Entry

Blaire Paradox, The n. - The (actual) possibility of two adult males to have a perfectly enjoyable date and for one of the involved parties to not be interested in the other party.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Over Heard/Seen In The Office Today

[Tosses hair across face] "Hi...I'm Zac Efron. I need a microphone and two cheerleaders."

The Most Ridiculous Idea Of The Day (Corrected)

This one is courtesy of yours truly Kristin, Jess, and myself. What are the two things that people love the most? Camping and flavorful pork. Well, this aspiring genius has the perfect business startup that will incorporate both of those things. We would call them "Free-Range Pig Camp Grounds". The model is quite amazing. Let me lay it out for you.

You want to go camping? Great. Book a date and time for your camp ground area. When you go to the grocery store to buy all the necessary provisions, get as many delicious tasting items as you can. Be sure to bring a large hunting knife. That is very important. After you're all settled and ready for bed (let's assume you at something prior to your arrival at the camp ground), leave all of your delicious food items out (convenient, eh?). When you wake up, you will notice that a pig has ravaged your food supply, and you are now shit out of luck. Or are you?

Remember that large hunting knife you (hopefully) brought with you? You're going to want to grab that and hunt down that son a bitch pig that ate all of your food. If you forgot to bring the knife, you're going to have to spend about 45 minutes strangling your pig to death. This is not a pleasant experience; the pig will not go quietly. Okay, now that you've slaughtered and skewed your pig, you're going to want to jam an apple it its mouth and roast it over an open fire until its meat is cooked and filled with the delicious flavors of all that food you brought.

Repeat as necessary. Enjoy!

Ice Cream Worth Waiting For

I'm not usually one to be out and about on a Saturday night (mostly because it's my Tuesday), but I had the opportunity to be so last night; to bring my evening to an end I stopped over at Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream in Wallingford (on 45th between Woodlawn and Densmore). The line was out the door. I believe it took nearly 40 minutes from the time of arriving to the time of departing. But it was well worth the wait.

I've seen this place always stuffed to the rafters with people no matter what day of the week it is. They pride themselves on good service and amazing ice cream. Some of their unusual, yet delectable, flavors include: Maple Walnut, Balsamic Strawberry, Honey Lavender, Mandarin Chocolate Sorbet, Thai Iced Tea, and of course, Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla Bean. The one that I had my heart set on was Vivace Coffee. Vivace Brix is usually where I spend a few hours of my time every Thursday, so I had to know what my favorite coffee in ice cream form would taste like. It was absolutely delicious. The best part of it was that the coffee grounds were in the ice cream as well. However, considering I've been avoiding caffeine lately, this may not have been the best decision at near 11 o'clock at night. As such, I give this establishment my seal of approval.

Photo from slog.thestranger.com.

Some Things Never Change

The NYT reports:
The Obama administration said Friday that it would appeal a district court ruling that granted some military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to file lawsuits seeking their release. The decision signaled that the administration was not backing down in its effort to maintain the power to imprison terrorism suspects for extended periods without judicial oversight.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Don't Support Gay Marriage, But Not Sure Why?

You're in luck! The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has written up some helpful "talking points" to let you simply repeat over and over what it is that a select few in that organization want you to say. Do not think for yourself on this matter. Do not attempt to defend your views no matter how convoluted they may be. Just memorize some simple sentences and a few key talking points and you're ready to defend marriage. From their website:*
I. THE MOST EFFECTIVE SINGLE SENTENCE:

Extensive and repeated polling agrees that the single most effective message is:

"Gays and Lesbians have a right to live as they choose,
they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us."

This allows people to express support for tolerance while opposing gay marriage. Some modify it to “People have a right to live as they choose, they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.”

Language to avoid at all costs: "Ban same-sex marriage." Our base loves this wording. So do supporters of SSM. They know it causes us to lose about ten percentage points in polls. Don’t use it. Say we’re against “redefining marriage” or in favor or “marriage as the union of husband and wife” NEVER “banning same-sex marriage."

This is so laughable. This information is on a publicly viewed website, when it seems almost as if it should be spoken behind closed doors to those who are about to stand in the public spotlight in defense of being against same-sex marriage. This seems rather prevalent in the line "they know it causes us to lose about ten percentage points in polls" and everything thereafter. There is no explicit statement denying that they want to, in fact, ban same-sex marriage. There is, however, a tacit implication that these people will not sleep until there is a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. In fact, I don't think it's even fair to call it "tacit". At least that's how Iowa State Representative Steve King feels:
Now it is the Iowa legislature’s responsibility to pass the Marriage Amendment to the Iowa Constitution, clarifying that marriage is between one man and one woman, to give the power that the Supreme Court has arrogated to itself back to the people of Iowa. Along with a constitutional amendment, the legislature must also enact marriage license residency requirements so that Iowa does not become the gay marriage Mecca due to the Supreme Court’s latest experiment in social engineering.
Perhaps, rather than spending millions of dollars on trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist, these anti-gay groups should spend money trying to fix the problems that do exist: poverty, homelessness, starvation, etc.

*You can read what other talking points and frequently asked questions they have on their website.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An End To The Culture War

Again, in a conversation with a friend, I contemplated what might deliver the coup de grâce to the religious-right groups that are fighting day and night to continue their marginalization of the homosexual populace. As I see it, there are three distinct groups in this culture war:
  1. Homosexuals and heterosexuals that support same-sex marriage rights.
  2. Social conservatives that oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds.
  3. People who are religious but support same-sex marriage.
The first two groups are outspoken. If the third group were to give themselves a public voice, this so-called culture war would be over. They need only create a television ad with something to the effect of, "I am [insert religious denomination] and I support gay-marriage." The end.

Personal Safety On The Street

I've always taken my personal safety for granted, but that has (now) twice put me in a dangerous circumstance.  Most of my readers already know that I was short of being attacked after leaving a friend's apartment near Spring and 14th near the Seattle University campus.  I was merely walking down her alley, turned the corner, and noticed two guys walking towards me a block ahead.  They immediately stopped what they were doing, and began to yell profanities at me.  I was afraid, and managed to walk around them (by going into the street), but one of them followed me, and then shoved me, at which point I took off running.  I ran the few blocks over to Seattle U's public safety office and explained what happened.  I was fairly shaken up, and my roommate had to come and drive me home.  That was probably about two years ago.

Last night, I was walking home from my bus stop at 3rd and Pine.  I decided to catch the Metro 49 up to Boren and Pike.  From there, I usually walk up Minor to University, and then a block east to my apartment building.  As I turned the corner on Minor, there was a gentleman loitering near the entrance of that low-income housing building.  I saw him and he clearly saw me.  I walked up the street, on the opposite side, and he slowly started to follow me.  I kept looking back, and soon enough, he was on my side of the street continuing to follow me.  Rather than continue up Minor, I walked over to and up Union.  He was still following me.  As I got to Summit, I sprinted through the gravel parking lot, and then speed-walked to my apartment.  As I was about to go inside, I noticed that the guy was walking up the street towards me.  I was inside a gated and locked building.  I was safe.

Do I know for sure if he was following/planning on attacking me?  No.  But something about it didn't feel right, and I think the fact that two people were out walking their dog may have helped my situation, if indeed, he was intending to attack me.  Am I paranoid?  I don't think so.  Just cautious.  The Central District News reports that according to the Seattle Police Department's (SPD) East Precinct Captain, crime is down.  Read the (short) statistical report here.  It also points out that "iPod headphones make you a target on the street.  Consider walking sans-tunes."  I was, in fact, wearing my headphones.  I guess there is another luxury I have to give up if I want to remain safe walking the streets.

We All Knew This Would Come

It's funny how social conservatives are running scared, and doing everything in their power to frighten people into believing what they want. This video was on Slog today.



If you look at the bottom of the screen, you'll notice this: "The stories these actors are telling are based on real incidents." So these people that strongly oppose gay marriage, or whatever (they never actually say anything in the video), are too afraid to actually show their faces and beliefs in an advertisement? This is so fake. It's only about marketing a product: opposition to gay rights. And in response to these claims from the actors:

You're afraid. Why? Some advocates of same-sex marriage have taken the issue far beyond same-sex couples. In what way? They want to bring the issue into your life? How so? You're freedom will be taken away? Explain. You have to choose between your faith and your job (as a doctor)? Isn't your job to help sick people regardless of sexual orientation (or any other demographic, for that matter)? The government punished your church group? By doing what, exactly? You're helplessly watching public schools teach your child that gay marriage is 'okay'? Shouldn't you, as a parent (and a human being), be teaching your child love rather than hate and alienation? The advocates of same-sex marriage want to change the way you live? How? Why? You will have no choice? That's it? To what are you referring? You have a coalition coming together "in love" to protect hate and discrimination? Wow.

These people say absolutely nothing. Do you know why? Because there is no longer any reason to deny same-sex marriage rights. The only reason is that it goes against a religious belief. The separation of church and state is fundamental, and in the U.S. Constitution. It's called the establishment clause. Look it up.

Update: Slog posted some more news pertaining to this here and here. Watch the MSNBC debate between Maggie Gallagher (President of the National Organization for Marriage) and Joe Solmonese (President of the Human Rights Campaign):

Musical Of The Lambs

This is hilarious and creepy all at the same time:



Via Slog.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

On The Future California Supreme Court Ruling Regarding Proposition 8

As I posed the question to a friend of mine:
"Well, now that these victories have come, and in such a sweeping manner, you think the court will continue to draw their decision out until the very end, or come to a conclusion and announce soon, only (hopefully) further adding to the victories at hand?"
The victories of which I speak are, of course, the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling same-sex marriages legal in that state, the overriding of Vermont Governor Jim Douglas' veto on same-sex marriages in that state, and the approval of the D.C. council to recognize same-sex marriages. The court has just under 60 days remaining to make a ruling on whether or not Prop 8 should be upheld or overturned, and whether or not the several thousand same-sex marriages performed prior to the election should be nullified.

A Return Trip Home Through Freeway Park

I haven't walked through Freeway Park in months, mainly because it was dark when I got back from work. Now that the days are longer, and the sun is out until near 8pm now, I can feel safe walking through the park on my way home from the bus stop. The park was lacking two things, one of which I was happy to not see there: trees and unemployed hippies that play their acoustic guitars and with their dogs. I'll let you figure out which of those I was happy to not see.

The trees were actually removed a while ago due to them being overly excessive in height. Hence, you will understand why my pictures look so devoid of much nature. Click on the photos to view them in their full size.



Why Condoms Do Not Work

I was referred to this by a friend, and via Sullivan:

>

Um...right.

D.C. To Legally Recognize Other States' Same-Sex Marriages

This was in the Washington Post today, as well as in an email from a friend:
The D.C. Council voted today to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, on the same day that Vermont became the fourth state to legalize same-sex unions.

Domestic partnerships are already legal in the nation's capital. But today's vote, billed as an important milestone in gay rights, explicitly recognizes relocated gay married couples as married.

The initial vote was 12-0. The unanimous vote sets the stage for future debate on legalizing same-sex marriage in the District and a clash with Congress, which approves the city's laws under Home Rule. The council is expected to take a final vote on the legislation next month.

Iowa, Vermont, and now D.C. There really is no telling how far this will reach. As I mentioned to a coworker today, given all these remarkable gay rights victories, I almost feel a bit cheated with the domestic partnership bill in the Washington state legislature. But, as she said, "you've got to start somewhere," and we're doing just that.

A Historic Day In Gay American History

I started writing this around 8:30 this morning:

I'm currently on the bus, running late to work, and in checking my email i received a breaking news report from the Washington Post with the headline that Vermont Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage in that state after both the Senate and House voted to override Governor Jim Douglas' veto. This now makes Vermont the fourth state in the United States to legalize same-sex marriages. Furthermore, this is the first time in which the law was passed in the legislature. Iowa's supreme court last week ruled that it was unconstitutional to disallow same-sex couples to marry, effectively making Iowa the third state to legalize same-sex marriages.

The Washington Post reports
The issue is also advancing in New Hampshire, where it has passed the state House and is awaiting action by the Senate, as well as in Maine and New Jersey, which are debating same-sex marriage legislation.

New Jersey, which now allows civil unions for gay couples, is a particular prize for advocates because of its large size, and they are hoping for action this year after a commission in December recommended making marriage laws gender-neutral. Gov. Jon S. Corzine has said he would sign a same-sex marriage bill.

New York recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states, and Gov. David Paterson has said he supports full marriage rights for same-sex couples. And sometime before early June, the California Supreme Court must decide whether Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the Golden State about five months after it became legal, was a valid use of the referendum power.

The action Tuesday in Vermont came swiftly, surprising even some of the proponents of gay marriage who were still celebrating their victory last Friday, when the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages could go ahead.

The two houses of Vermont's legislature voted last week for a same-sex marriage bill -- four votes short of a veto-overriding majority -- and Gov. Jim Douglas (R) vetoed it Monday. But Tuesday, several house members who voted against it last week switched sides to support the override, making gay marriage law.

The final vote was 100 to 49 to override the governor's veto. The initial vote last week was 94 to 52. Vermont has no mechanism for a citizen referendum to override the law.

As a personal side note, this is the first time in my life that I was so overwhelmed with joy that I broke down in tears, and on the bus no less. As several people have mentioned, it is only a matter of time now. Other states will follow. There is no going back on these giant steps of progress. And to update you as to the status of the domestic partnership bill in the Washington legislature right now, as of today, the bill was referred to the Rules Committee for its second reading. I believe that after that it goes to its third reading for a final vote, and then to the governor for its signing into law. At this point, it is (seemingly) going to pass without hesitation.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I Have A Newfound Obsession With Ducks

There are several ducks that hang out near this little river by my work, and I am always delighted to see them. I'm not sure if they are being hostile or just communicating to me, but when I try to get close they kind of walk up to me and make a quacking noise in rapid succession. I managed to snap some decent photos of them today before I headed home for the day. Click on the photos to view them in their full size.




And you should check out the Hen Cam too. My coworker, Rene, has me hooked on it.

Sunshine, Water Taxi, Longboard, Alki

Today was one of the most beautiful days, so far, this year. I was tired from work, but I told myself that it was too damn gorgeous outside to just stay in for the rest of the night. So I convinced myself to grab my longboard and camera after I got home, and head down to the pier to catch the King County Water Taxi across Elliot Bay to Seacrest Park. I longboarded from the park all the way west on Alki, and then back to the park. I took some photos along the way. Click on the photos to view them in their full size.






The bittersweet moment came when I returned to Seacrest Park and discovered that I read the schedule wrong. The water taxi would not be coming back. So I had to longboard all the way back to the opposite end of Alki to catch the Metro 56 bus. On the plus side, I got to enjoy the sunset and add two additional miles to my longboard run; I longboarded a total of six miles. Damn I felt good after it all.

Also, I would appreciate it if people would understand that the walking lane is for walking, and the speed lane is for cyclists, longboarders, skateboarders, skaters, and runners.

Waiting For The (Bus), Part 6

Alaskan Way & Seneca Street (Pier 55)

*I was actually waiting for the King County Water Taxi to take me across Elliot Bay.*

Waiting For The (Bus), Part 5

Summit Avenue & Seneca Street

*I was actually waiting for my awesome coworker, Rene, to pick me up from my apartment. Aww...Mondays.*

Orcas On Buses

No, it's not what you think. Orcas are not riding around town on our public transportation. However, there's one thing that has peaked my curiosity for months: what are those little electronic boxes on the bus that display information relating to zones and times, and have an "Orca" logo on them? Well, I finally found the answer here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Waiting For The Bus Explained

I've started this pseudo-photo series to show all the times where life appears to be still, calm, and solitary. That probably sounds rather dreary, but I can assure you that I intend for it to be more moving and thoughtful than that. In Part 1, I was waiting for the last bus of the night, and it was near 11:30 pm on a Sunday. There were always a few cars driving past, but I felt so free and open. It was as if I could do anything and no one would see or hear me. That's what these photos illustrate. There will, of course, be photos where I am surrounded by people (downtown). These, as well as all the photos as a whole, are indicative of moments in my life where time is wasted in order to be used. Departing. Arriving. These show the in-between moments.

Waiting For The Bus, Part 4

Meridian Avenue North & North 107th Street

The Weather Gods Are Against Me

I made this conclusion after viewing the weather widget on my phone. The weather reports for Seattle are as follows:
Sunday - Sunny - 65 degrees
Monday - Sunny - 70 degrees
Tuesday - Sunny - 68 degrees
Wednesday - Rain - 55 degrees
Thursday - Rain - 50 degrees
I work on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday; there will be warm temperatures and sunshine on those days. I do not work on Wednesday and Thursday; there will be cold temperatures and rain. The weather gods hate me.

Book Review

My manager reviewed this book, "Out of My Skin" by John Haskell (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), and handed a free copy off to me, claiming that I would really like it. I did. Although after reading the book, I am rather suspicious of why my manager would have recommended this for me. From the publisher's website:
Los Angeles. A would-be movie reviewer, looking for romance, takes an assignment to write a magazine article about celebrity look-alikes. After getting to know a Steve Martin impersonator, the writer decides to undertake his own process of transformation and becomes not Steve Martin but a version of him—graceful, charming, at home in the world. Safe in the guise of “Steve,” he begins to fall in love. And that’s when “Steve” takes over. Set in the capital of illusion, this is a story of one man’s journey into paradise—and his attempt to come out the other side.
One must read the relatively short novel below its surface and understand what it is that Haskell is trying to do here. That is, how do we reconcile with who we are, and when we become someone else, how do we find the way to return to our original self. I guess the more concise and simplistic way of describing it would be to say it deals with issues of identity. One thing is determinate when I try and write reviews, and that is that I cannot write reviews.

The story reminded me that life is about taking risks; every encounter is an opportunity to learn and grow; don't be afraid of trying something new and unexpected. I am currently one chapter deep into his previous novel, "American Purgatorio", which met with rave reviews.

*Photo from us.macmillan.com/FSG.aspx

Saturday, April 4, 2009

UK To Phelps: You're Not Welcome Here

I came across this interesting news piece from the UK's The Sun, which reported on February 18th that Fred Phelps (bat-shit crazy) and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper (just-as-bat-shit crazy) were denied entry into the UK by order of the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. Thank you Ms. Smith. If you're not familiar with the Westboro Baptist Church, here is what they believe: God Hates Everything. Gays, Catholics, Irish, Kittens, Smiles, Love, Nike, Track Lighting, Humans, Shellfish, George Clooney, Bubble Gum, Baseball, Vampires, Books, Literally Everything Except The Members Of Westboro Baptist Church.*

*The first two examples are true; as for the rest...well, I'm sure they hate all those things too.

The Fate Of Humanity As We Know It

These are excerpts from a (October 2004) article: "School's Out - Will The Rainbow Bus Take Our Kids To The Land Of Diversity?" by Ed Vitagliano, in the American Family Association Journal.
Transvestite teachers. Boys kissing boys in restrooms. Teens taught about anal sex. "Gay" fairy tales for children.

Could these things actually become a reality in our public schools? The speed of change in our society thus far, driven by resolute homosexual activists, indicates that the answer is most assuredly yes.

In case some people think such projections about the future are a hunk of homophobic hooey, they might want to consider the fact that, in some parts of the country, these things are already happening.

So what changes can be expected, and what would life in our public schools be like if homosexual activists win the culture war? The following are predictions based on current trends.

For more than 30 years, homosexual activists have been demanding that our Judeo-Christian culture capitulate and embrace their view of human sexuality, marriage and family. If Americans ever accept these demands, they can expect to live in a culture that will be turned upside down — literally unhinged from the sane moorings instituted by the God of heaven.

Harvey’s prediction is of a grotesque culture that includes: "Lesbian bride dolls. Fourth grade ‘gay’ clubs. A king and king at the high school prom. Dating tips for same-sex teens. Bathroom ogling — and sometimes quick encounters — in the middle school boys’ restroom."

Fortunately, while the groundwork for these changes has been laid, it is not yet a done deal. But Americans who believe there is something inherently abnormal, unnatural and immoral about homosexuality had better stand up right now.

If the public schools are lost to homosexual activists, our children and grandchildren will be thrown into a queer new world. And there’s nothing gay about that.

This is pure homophobic, sensationalized, and arrogant bullshit. I would like to think that I would have "come out" far sooner had I been more aware of my place in the world as a gay man. But let us remember that this was written four years ago. Have their predictions come true? I think not. In fact, these people are quickly becoming the minority opinion holders.

If A "Cat Bandit" Were To Ever Sneak Into My Apartment

According to some (you know who you are), if I put the toilet paper on the roll going over, rather than under, I face the consequence of having all of my toilet paper unraveled onto the floor if a cat bandit were to sneak into my apartment. However, judging by this video, I think the over vs. under argument is pointless. Cat bandit in the bathroom equals disaster either way.



As an interesting side note...
68% like to hang toilet paper with the first sheet going over the roll, while 25% prefer to hang the first sheet under the roll.

Waiting For The Bus, Part 2

Woodlawn Avenue Northeast & Northeast 71st Street

Waiting For The Bus, Part 1

Bothell Way Northeast & Northeast 170th Street

Re: Waiting For The Bus, Part 3

I've been standing at this bus-stop since 5:22 pm. The bus was supposed to come at 5:27 pm. Either it never came or it was 10 minutes early. I've seen three ST 522 buses drive by (going north) so far. Zero buses have come my way (going south). Sound Transit, I hate you so much.

[Update: The bus finally arrived, rather full of passengers, at 6:32 pm. I arrived downtown, at 6th and Union, at 7:02 pm.]

Waiting For The Bus, Part 3

Bothell Way Northeast & Ballinger Way Northeast

Friday, April 3, 2009

Gay (Civil Equality) Victories In Iowa and Sweden

On May 1st, Sweden officially becomes the 7th nation in the world to grant gay marriage. The BBC reports
Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to recognise same-sex marriage, becoming the fifth country in Europe to do so. Sweden was one of the first countries to give gay couples legal "partnership" rights, in the mid-1990s, and allowed them to adopt children from 2002. The new law lets homosexuals wed in either a civil or religious ceremony, though individual churches can opt out. The law was passed by 226 votes to 22 and will come into force on 1 May.

Norway legalized gay marriage, officially, on January 1st, making it the 6th nation in the world to do so.

In other good news:

"In a unanimous decision, the Iowa Supreme Court today held that the Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution"

Andrew Sullivan makes a succinct point on the matter here. Thanks to Slog for the link.

Bittersweet news from Vermont:

The Vermont House of Representatives approved a bill legalizing gay marriage Thursday, a divisive measure that now faces a veto from the state's governor.

The Democratic-controlled house voted 95-52 in favor of the bill, which had already cleared the state Senate in a 26-4 vote. The state's Republican governor, James Douglas, says he now plans to veto it.

Good news from Maine:

With just over three weeks to go before a hearing on a gay marriage bill in the Maine Legislature, both proponents and those opposed to the measure are urging people to contact their local legislator.

LD 1020, "An Act To End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom," will be heard before the Joint Judiciary Committee on April 24. So many people are expected to attend the hearing that it is being held at Cony High School in Augusta instead of the Statehouse.

The bill seeks to give homosexuals the right to marry legally in Maine.
And good news from New Hampshire:
After two days of debating, the New Hampshire House voted for gay marriage 186 to 179 after first voting against it, 183 to 182.

The first vote against equal marriage was so close that a representative asked for it to be reconsidered. After a few minutes of intense personal lobbying on the floor, it passed.

The bill next advances to the state Senate. Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, is opposed to gay marriage, though he has not indicated whether he would veto the bill.

New Hampshire approved civil unions two years ago and were signed into law by Lynch; they went into effect last year.

It's only a matter of time at this point. This shouldn't be about winning and losing, it should (and is) about human beings trying to get the equal rights to which so many people are already entitled. Having said that, the social conservatives are losing (and will continue to lose) this fight.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"The Informers" Has Finally Arrived

Bret Easton Ellis, an author whose work I've enjoyed, but has left readers wanting more--he's only published one book in the past 10 years--wrote a collection of short stories (interconnected and published as one book) called "The Informers". That was 1994. The book consists of 13 chapters with different narrators, usually being cycled in from the previous story. It's typical Ellis subject matter: glitz and glammer in the '80's. They've been trying to make a film adaptation of it for many years now, and it has finally made its way to the big screen, albeit for limited release (on April 24th). I was surprised to find out that Brad Renfro has a starring role in it. If you do not recall, Brad Renfro played many troubled characters in the films he acted in, and he was troubled in his actual life as well. He had a terrible drug addiction, and died from a heroin overdose in January of last year.

I once knew a guy that absolutely loved this book. In fact, he is the one who introduced me to Bret Easton Ellis (not personally, but his work). He suggested I read "Glamorama" and try to explain any of it to him. I couldn't. Although, we only met once, and then never really spoke to each other again. Such is life. Here is the trailer for the movie. I didn't really enjoy the book, and the movie looks just as bad. Your thoughts? [Note: the trailer is explicit].


*Photo from en.wikipedia.org.

Film Review

After my usual Thursday outing to Vivace Brix, I decided I wanted to rent a movie. I dropped in to the Blockbuster on Broadway and perused the various new releases. I came across the Coen Brother's "Burn After Reading". I've been wanting to watch it for a while now, and even though I heard it wasn't spectacular, I still decided to give it a shot (no pun intended).

[Spoiler Alert] I liked it overall, and I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of it all. All this trouble befalls so many of the characters, and in the end, for what? Some government subsidized plastic surgery operations. Hilarious. The briefings between the CIA chiefs were the best parts. The fact that they really had no idea what was going on (they're in the intelligence business!), and their complete sense of apathy towards it all was perfect for the movie. I have no rating system that I use systematically, but for now I will give this movie a 3.5 out of 5 star rating. It's still a Coen brothers movie.

*Photo from en.wikipedia.org.

Good Morning, New Resident, Remembrance Of Things Past

Yesterday was my Saturday and I had plans with a coworker (Erin) to drive down to Rattlesnake Ridge (near North Bend) and make the two mile trek up to the top. The day did not turn out as such. I needed to pick up my sister's car from Edmonds, which requires that I take three buses to get there. My bus pass works for the first two, the last one costs me $1.50.

When I left my apartment that morning, I walked around the corner to the elevator where my neighbor in 513 was already waiting. She said good morning (previously, we've exchanged words maybe twice), and immediately urged me to talk to management about moving into her soon-to-be-vacant apartment. It has two windows and a different layout. She also mentioned that the location of that unit's mailbox was good. It was a fun conversation to have either way, and I headed out.

I needed money for the bus later, so I walked over to the QFC on Harvard and Broadway to pickup a SmartWater and a New York Times. After that I walked down to sixth and Pike for the Sound Transit 522 bus. That took me north to work, where I would be catching my second bus Metro 331 to the Aurora Transit Center. I hand a craving for a Top Pot Chocolate Glazed doughnut, so I purchased two at the Starbucks near my work. I stopped in to say hello to a fellow coworker and to check when the next bus was going to arrive. I caught the Metro 331 and then immediately ran over to catch the Community Transit 131 to downtown Edmonds. I got off at my stop and walked up the hill to my sister's condo. I needed to blow my nose, so I went upstairs to get some kleenex.

When I walked into the condo, I noticed that there was much more stuff than there was the last time I was there. It appeared as if someone had moved right in. I yelled out "hello?" to find out if someone was there, and also in an attempt to not scare her if she was. The condo was empty. I went to the bathroom, blew my nose, and grabbed some kleenex. I headed downstairs to the garage, got the car, and headed towards the freeway. However, I did feel a little hungry still, so I stopped at McDonald's to get two Sausage McMuffins with Egg. I immediately regretted the decision. Traffic was terrible because it was pseudo-snowing, and no one knows how to drive in that weather condition (apparently).

I picked Erin up at her place in Ballard (near Crown Hill), and told her that we would be driving around and looking at fun stuff (notably places that were in some way tied to my growing up). We drove down 15th, across the Ballard bridge, past Magnolia, the now-dead Seattle P.I. office building, and took the viaduct over to West Seattle. We drove the entire length of Alki, all the while I was not paying attention to my driving. It was a good thing that nothing jumped out in front of us. I showed her where I used to live on Alki. We talked about life and the need to be more pursuant in our endeavors. We drove past Lincoln Park, where I used to have cross-country practices. We then got lost in west Seattle. My iPhone came in handy at that point. I showed her my high school, and then we headed down to Kent to show her my old house.

This is where the story gets interesting. To keep a long story short, let me just say that this was the house I grew up in, and for a very stupid reason, the house was lost to foreclosure. That being said, I fully appreciated the sick sense of irony I discovered taped to the front door. As we drove up and around the cul-de-sac I noticed a big white piece of paper was taped on the front door. I really wanted to know what it said, so I asked Erin to run up and check it out. While she did that I snapped the photo (above) of the house. When she returned to the car and told me what it said, I immediately ran over to verify that she wasn't lying. Here is what it said:
SHERIFF -- KING COUNTY
WARNING
ALL PERSONS ARE NOTIFIED THAT THE PREMISES LOCATED AT:
[ADDRESS OMITTED]
WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF AN EVICTION CARRIED OUT BY OFFICERS OF THE KING COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE ON OR AFTER THE DATE OF: 4/2/09 8:00AM
  • Any person remaining on these premises after the above date will be physically removed.
  • Any person who interferes with or obstructs Sheriff's officers in the performance of their duties will be arrested.
  • All possessions and property will be placed on the street or public right of way regardless of weather conditions!
  • Animals found on these premises will be taken to the local animal control shelter.
  • You must vacate these premises at once!
  • No further warning of notice will be given.
I was semi-tempted to try and go into the house if the front door was open, but Erin protested, suggesting that perhaps there are people in there armed to the teeth just waiting for the Sheriff's office to come and try to remove them from the house. Interesting thought nonetheless. From there we drove to downtown Kent, which is not such a bad place anymore (not in terms of crime or the like), and went to one of my favorite places to eat when I was growing up: The Bittersweet Restaurant. I think we were a bit out of place for the time of day, considering we were the only people under the age of 65 there (excluding the staff, of course). I was doubly singled out as the only male-under-65. We both ordered soup and sandwiches. Erin very much enjoyed the cream of broccoli soup, although you wouldn't believe it with the shirt that she was wearing (below).

After that we made our way back to I-5, and nearly getting killed after some jackass drove right through a solid red light and would have side-swiped the passenger's side had I not noticed that the guy was not going to stop. I'm not talking about the light turned red and he sped through it, I'm talking about how the light was red for a while at that point, and he just didn't want to stop. We took the express lanes through Seattle, got off at Northgate, and I dropped Erin off at Value Village (her home away from home) before venturing back up to Edmonds to catch my three buses home. I was tired after it all, and fell asleep around 7:30pm, and woke up around 8:00am this morning. It was some good sleep. This has been a very long post. Thanks for reading. *As a special side note, we ate at the exact same table where my mom spilled a hot cup of coffee in my little boy lap. Ouch, and oh...the memories!*