Saturday, November 27, 2004

List: Rejection Sucks & Post-Thanksgiving Lethargy

This is mostly a bad-news post...but don't worry, I'm feeling pretty happy overall. The sun is shining here in Frisco, I've got Turkey Day leftovers in my belly, and Christmas is just 4 weeks away! I really am loving the holidays more and more as I get older, I have to admit--it might have to do with the fact that my birthday is also around this time of year: December 30th to be exact, but who's counting? ;-)

Bad news item #1: I didn't make it into Hedgebrook, ther women writers' colony I'd applied to. I really thought I had a good chance, but no go. My guess is that I'm not far along enough on my novel project for them to want to house and feed me for a month. Oh, well. I might take El Serenito up on that offer for a recommendation to an artist's colony in España--wow!

Good News #1: Although I was thoroughly bummed when I got the news on Wednesday--I think I didn't smile for like five hours afterwards--I got over it quickly, and by Wednesday night, as I was elbow-deep in Turkey Day cooking and cleaning, I had forgotten all about that pesky little rejection letter (I threw it into the recycling while I was cleaning, too).

Thanks to Leny and others for your support and encouragement, especially H. who has given me much comfort and encouragement. And Leny, I hope you get in!

Bad news #2: I gained three pounds in the last week, I'm guessing mostly from the grotesquely huge portions of butter- and fat-laden Thanksgiving food I've been consuming, and the glasses of wine I've washed it all down with. (Giggle) I love to eat, but I'm startin' to slow it down a bit. Damn, why does stuffing have to taste so good?

Bad news #3: This extra weight and all the sugar and alcohol I've been downing have made me feel really sluggish. I had planned to go to the gym yesterday with all the rest of the guilty, flabby folks, but I decided to give myself a day off from anything that could be construed as work of any sort. So aside from doing some lite Christmas shopping downtown amid the throngs of tourists, I didn't do diddly-squat--except eat more stuffing. ;-)

Good news #2: I made it to the gym today and worked up a nice sheen of perspiration, sweating off those pesky fat globules and pumping some iron. I know I'll be sore tomorrow but I've still got my endorphin high. Woo-hoo!

Good/Bad News #3/#4: I've got four Christmas presents down already--and just fifteen or so to go. ;-(


Thursday, November 25, 2004

Turkey Day

God I love this day. Been looking forward to it all week. Moist, delicious roast turkey, spiral-sliced honey-baked ham, garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie with freshly whipped cream--how could someone not love Thanksgiving?

Living in the Bay Area and having been part of the often insular, but nonetheless fascinating, world of radical activism for the past several years, I've learned how to navigate the sometimes-unpleasant waters of Thanksgiving politics. First, there is the fact that Thanksgiving represents, for some, the ironic celebration of 'friendship' between white European settlers and the friendly Native Americans who fed them and taught them how to survive in the wilderness, only to be almost completely wiped out over the next several centuries by those same settlers (or their descendants, at least). So, for those who want to 'celebrate' Thanskgiving (or 'Thanks-taking', as some call it) Day that way, there is the Sunrise Ceremony held annually on Alcatraz Island. The Island--aside from its history as a notoriously vicious prison back in the day--was the site of a dramatic (and somewhat successful) protest in the 1970 by American Indians, making it the perfect setting for this 'Unthanksgiving' Day celebration.

I've been to the Sunrise Ceremony once and it was very interesting. From the chilly creepiness of 'The Rock' (one of Alcatraz' nicknames) at 5am to the heartbeat-like drumming of the Native people opening the ceremony to the speeches by Native elders that often reminded me of those I've heard at political rallies, it was truly a study in contradiction and chaos. I highly recommend going at least once in your lifetime--that is, if you support Native peoples' sovreignty.

Personally, I don't celebrate Thanksgiving to commemorate the Native peoples solidarity with white Europeans. Come on, folks, they were largely masssacred and disenfranchised by them, why should we celebrate a brief time of peace and friendship--which white people then turned around on Native folks so that they could take their land and their culture away from them? No, I don't celebrate the traditional Thanksgiving way.

To me, Thanksgiving is just another version of the age-old harvest festival that is celebrated in cultures all over the world. Whether you call it the Harvest Moon festival in China or the Yam Festival in West Africa or Holi in India, harvest festivals have been part of human civilization for countless generations, when we come together to celebrate another gathering of crops for food, thank the Spirits for our abundance and prosperity, and EAT!

So that's what I'm doing today, folks--giving thanks for all the blessings I have in my life, hanging out with family and friends, cooking some yummy food, and eating 'til my heart's (and my tummy's) content.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

On the Other Side of the World

My partner H. and I took a romantic mini-vacation this past weekend: a scenic drive North to the Wine Country; a one-night stay in a quaint boutique hotel; wine tasting; spa treatment; the works. We both needed this--and so did our relationship, which has been straining a bit under the weight of our individually accumulated daily stresses, as well as the general malaise that has hit so many of us post-November 2.

When I woke up in the hotel, I reached for the 'light' reading I had brought with me ('light' in the most literal sense: five pages of material printed from our computer): a news report and an editorial about the recent massacre of peasants at Hacienda Luisita in the Philippines.

It didn't seem odd or cruel to choose this as my morning reading for my bucolic getaway. Life is inherently a mass of contradictions, is it not? And in some way, it eased whatever guilt I had about spending money I don't really have to pamper myself.

I'm not very educated about current events (or even long-ago historical events) in the Philippines, but I'm on enough email lists to get wind of the big news stories. And this one is both telling and tragic. I can't say much about it that hasn't been said, except to add my voice of mourning and protest to the existing chorus, both in the PI and stateside.

It's so confusing at times to be here, in the U.S., the belly of the beast, and to not have a grip on what's happening 'back home'. Reading news reports and editorials--no matter how well-written--only take me so far. And although the PI is on the other side of the world, I still know that what happens there affects me here, somehow, sometimes more tangibly than others.

I think about the violent 'dispersal' (always so euphemistic how they talk about state-inflicted violence against poor people in any media) at Hacienda Luisita, which killed at least 7 peasants, including at least one child, and then I think about the recent ending of the lockout of hotel workers in San Francisco. Many of those hotel workers are Filipino, many recent immigrants, I'm sure most sending money back home to help buy food, clothing, medicine, survival.

Yes, the struggles are similar but definitely not the same. The SF hotel workers could demonstrate and picket for weeks straight in front of the Hilton and the Hyatt and the Four Seasons and the St. Francis hotels, and not get arrested, or tear gassed, or killed. But it took many decades of labor organizing to win that right. I only hope and pray that we can support a democratic movement in the Philippines that can ensure that very basic human right for workers there: to gather, to organize, and to fight for our very survival.


Thursday, November 18, 2004

"Busy Little Bee..."

Anybody who knows what movie the above quote comes from gets a batch of my special-recipe chocolate chip cookies. (Hint: think togas)

I haven't been posting lately because I've been busy, busy, busy. Started my round of meetings with other writers to help me figure out my path--to MFA or not to MFA? It's been quite intriguing. I spoke to my friend L. who has chosen the non-MFA track, and also just finished up a residency (and her novel) at the Cottages at Hedgebrook, to which I've just turned in an application for a month-long stay of my own. New acquaintance J., whom I found via Chatty and the Flips email list, gave me his take on New College's Writing and Consciousness MFA program. Very interesting stuff. Also, it's great just to connect with writers and talk about our work, our processes, etc. Feels real good, especially after my (somewhat negative) past experiences with less generous and more insecure artists/writers.

I'm planning to meet with a few other folks and to start visiting campuses to meet staff, faculty, students. My shortlist right now includes Mills and Antioch. If any of you out in blogworld would like to share your comments on these schools, please do.

I've also had more work-stuff lately because we are in the process of choosing a new Executive Director. And while the process has been long, it has not been arduous, because I and the rest of my co-workers know how important this decision is. This is definitely the healthiest and most productive ED search I've been a part of, and we are very lucky to have some great candidates to choose from.

Lastly, I've been writing a lot, too. I finished up (finally) a solid outline / list of chapters for my novel--a sci-fi/fantasy book with lots of gender-bending and queerish stuff--which makes me feel very hopeful about moving forward. I've got about 120 pages of a first draft right now and have a ways to go still, but glad I have my handy road-map/outline to guide me through.

And H. and I are planning a little getaway soon--to refresh our spirits and spend some romantic couple-time together. We both really need it for our own well-being, and our relationship could use the boost that only some R&R in a beautiful place, away from our ordinary lives, can provide.


Sunday, November 14, 2004

Argentino Graf

Originally uploaded by mandirigma9.
From Chavajero, who's in mourning over the results of our Presidential election way over in Argentina, a visual:

It feels soooo good to know that the rest of the world is in agreement with me and all my other progressive/radical/liberal friends in the U.S. No, folks, we are not crazy. The world is with us.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

Goodbye to a Revolutionary

Rest in Peace, Rest in Power, Yasser Arafat, guerrilla fighter, "father of a nation" that many do not even recognize as a nation, and leftist revolutionary.

My heart and eyes are heavy with sadness. A generation of radicals is (and has been) passing over into the eternal, and while I mourn their deaths, I wonder: is our generation truly ready to lead? Does it matter? With the deaths of our role-models and forebears occuring more frequently these days, can we step up to the plate and carry on their legacies? Will we do justice to their memory?

In Struggle,

More MFA Mindbuzz

So El Serenito thinks I should pursue the non-fiction creative writing MFA because there's more $ in NF. I agree. I have bought and read enough non-fiction in books and magazines myself to prove it. But, a small part of me demands, you've spent a long time doing what is 'practical' or what could be seen on the outside as ambitious or successful--becoming an Executive Director (before I was ready, perhaps), making fundraising my non-profit career, getting on boards of orgs (partially to boost my resume wattage). What about your heart? What does your heart want you to do?

Well, that's where it gets a little confusing. I've loved writing and reading fiction since I was a child. I wrote my first 'story' when I was about six (maybe younger?), a hand-stapled, crayon-and-pencil affair that told of a (surprise) six-year-old girl's daily adventures. But isn't that, in a sense, a work of creative non-fiction? Sure, the girl's name wasn't Rona and I did make up some things, but she was still based on me, a real person. And while things have changed a lot for me creatively--I'm working on a fantasy/sci-fi novel right now and have started a few other stories that are mostly fictional/fantasy--I still feel that my writing is strongest when I'm writing from an intimate place of knowledge, about my life, or the people I know.

I may have only just realized it this week, but I've always loved non-fiction. And I've always loved fiction. So which one do I choose? Practically speaking, the non-fiction MFA would probably prove more lucrative in the long-term. But will it nurture me more as a writer and an artist? Or would learning how to craft really fine fiction be just as practical in the long-term, even if I end up writing mostly non-fiction? These are some of the questions I intend to pose to the MFA grads, candidates and other writers I'm hooking up with in the next few weeks, and to the program staff themselves when I do my tour of the schools I'm thinking of applying to. They may not have all the answers for me, but hopefully they can give me some information about their own processes which will help me find the key to my own creative longings.

And, of course, there is still the 'no MFA' route, which Bino and many, many others whose writings I admire have taken. I mean, could I really deal with being in school again after 10 years of being out? Will I find a program that is supportive enough of my needs as a writer of color (or at least a program where there are enough supportive students of color)? It's all still up in the air for me.

And through it all, I'm still writing, and writing, and writing. Can't ever stop writing, 'cuz that's what it's all about.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Recovery, What's On, MFAs?

I'm feeling much better today. Thanks for the commenters who expressed concern about my vertigo. I did a bunch of self-healing, therapeutic things last night (like I said I would, eh?): massaged the bone behind my bad ear with warm sesame oil (it made my whole ear feel warm and tingly); gargled with hot water with salt; drank cinnamon/chamomile tea, an Ayurvedic remedy for tinnitus; worked on some pressure points in the back of my head; etc.

And, hey, it worked! I woke up this morning with almost no ringing in my left ear and very little vertigo. Success! But just to be safe, H. told me to stay home and rest up some more. And you know that I ain't tryin' to get vertigo on BART on my way to Oaktown. What a mess that would be!

I spent most of today resting up, reading a bit, and doing more self-healing techniques for my ear. I also watched an opera film on video--Mozart's Don Giovanni--just out of curiousity (my local library has a great video collection); some of the music was stimulating and beautiful, but I have to admit I fell asleep about 40 minutes into it. And then I watched another installation of the Ken Burns Jazz documentary series, which put me in a jazz mood. So now I'm listening to Jeff Chan in Chicago, a solid album put out by Asian Improv Records, which also puts out Vijay Iyer, a fresh jazz pianist.

And I spent some time today starting to fill out applications for MFA programs in Creative Writing. I'm still toying with this idea, despite my friend J. clowning me a while back about my anti-academic sentiments. Part of me really wants to do it, feels like I really need the structure to kick-start my writing career. I've been fairly disciplined in my writing practice, but haven't sent much out for publication.

Part of me wants to follow some advice that Bino Realuyo gave me a long time ago about taking a different writer's path, without--as I think he put it--the 'crowning glory' of the MFA.

And then, I've started to wonder whether, if I do go for the MFA, I should do a concentration in fiction or creative non-fiction? The latter I've mostly thought is a trendy thing, not a serious literary concentration. But I'm starting to have different thoughts now. Writing this blog has made me realize that I like writing non-fiction; and even my poetry and fiction is, at its best, non-fiction of sorts.

Any advice from out in blogland? What do you all think?

Oh, no, I can hear the ear-ringing returning...keep sending those healing vibes my way.


Monday, November 08, 2004

Rant: Vertigo SUCKS

I officially have vertigo, which I didn't know until yesterday just means 'dizziness'. I always liked the sound of the word, and thought it had something to do with fear of heights. But it's just plain dizziness, having your equilibrium off, etc. And I've got it. YAAAAYY.

Some of you in blogland know that I've been having ear problems for about a year now, and this is just the latest in a series of symptoms that have been, at turns, irritating, barely noticeable, non-existent, or downright painful. Well, now I'm at a new level of this ear-problem-business: this vertigo thing--oh yes, and the ringing in my ears (known in medical parlance as Tinnitus that feels as if one side of me attended a four-hour Def Leppard concert while the other side stayed home--is irritating, painful, frightening and just plain weird.

It's weird to get up from putting a houseplant on the floor and feel as if I've just had the wind knocked out of me. It's weird to have to sit down and then lie down, and then doze in and out of sleep for the next four hours because every time I just move my head the room starts to spin around me and then I get nauseated. It's weird to feel seasick when all I'm doing is laying in my own bed. Yes, the vertigo thing fuckin' SUCKS.

And the tinnitus is just as bad. There's this constant ringing in my left ear, louder than the ringing I hear when I've just left the club, and it just doesn't stop. Sometimes it gets a little quieter, sometimes louder. Certain external sounds help drown it out a little. But get something with a bass tone to it around me--from hip hop music booming in a car driving by or the sound of my upstairs neighbor's heavy footsteps pounding the floor/ceiling above me--and the ringing reverberates in my brain like a big brass gong. Yes, this tinnitus thing sucks too.

Okay, enough complaining. I should be doing some positive affirmations and healing visualizations and blah blah blah. And I will, of course, 'cuz that's the kind of boho-alternative-healing-therapies kind of girl I am. And on Wednesday I'm going to my acupunturist whose treatment and herbs will probably make me feel much better than the doctor's prescription medication will. But I had to get this off my chest. So thanks for listening, and I hope to God/dess that you never have to deal with this shit. As I said before, it SUCKS.

Wish me speedy healing and good vibes-

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Can we, please? Pretty please?

Gura M. posts this funny map of the 'real' United States...can we do this, please pretty please? I'm sure Canada wouldn't mind having California's economic power--5th largest economy in the world, with a larger gross product than the GNPs of Canada and Mexico combined--as well as that of New York City. And what could we get from merging with our neighbors to the North? Free health care, gorgeous natural landscapes, state-subsidized alternative media, Mounties in cool retro uniforms, and more...and maybe we could get them to stop saying 'aboot'.


Thursday, November 04, 2004

Enter Oya, Exit Bush

Yesterday was one of the most depressing days of my year (so far), and that's saying a lot. There have been so many ups and downs for me emotionally during this election season. I told my co-workers yesterday--who commiserated with me as only those whom you've worked on elections with can do--that I felt as if I'd been beaten up, robbed, with no legal recourse. I never expected Kerry and the Dems to give up so damned easily. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised, and neither should all of you.

Although I felt lethargic at work all day, I knew something was brewing inside me--a sense of hopelessness and pain, yes, but also a deep anger that had been frustrated for too long. And mixed with the anger, an even deeper sadness, knowing that this country now has a population that is 40% evangelical Christian and that that vocal constituency has flexed its powerful muscles once more, and delivered a killer blow to the liberal and progressive elements of our society. Feeling that it doesn't matter what we do on the left, no matter how hard or long we work to build our base, grow our movement, figure out strategy and move everyone forward, these Church-going folk (and I don't say that in a sarcastic way at all, just a descriptive way) can blast us out of the water because, let's face it folks, they are more ruthless and probably more organized than us. And they believe that God is on their side.

I was born and raised in a fairly strict Catholic home. I went to Mass every Sunday, sometimes more during Holy Weeks. I went to Catholic school (including all-girls high school) for 11 years, and at one point in my life I wanted to be a nun. Spirituality and religion have always been an important part of my life, even during the few years that I considered myself an atheist of sorts. I can argue Bible verse or faith with any missionary that dares to knock on my door. Not one to be content with a purely Western (and patriarchal) religious tradition, I've also studied (and practiced aspects of) Santeria and Ifa (religions descended from the West African Yoruba peoples), Buddhism, yoga, Filipino indigeneous creation myths, European witchcraft and mysticism, Native American sacred traditions, the Tao and even a bit of Sufism. I believe that all Gods are one God, and that all faiths are different manifestations of an overarching Divinity that encompasses us all. I also believe that human beings can, have and will continue to twist belief in that Divine Source into something ugly, intolerant, inhumane and downright evil.

I've known a few born-again Christians in my time, and they are all decent, loving people who have an unshakeable faith in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. We have talked about our favorite Bible verses and what we liked about Jesus' teachings. We can sit at the same table and feel as if we are kindred spirits. And we are.

But it is in fundamentalist Chritians' intolerance of other belief systems, in other religions' right to exist and thrive, that I take issue. Partially because I am a secular liberationist, partially because I personally derive so many blessings and insight and power from my non-Christian practices. Last night provides a good case in point.

As I said, I came home sad, frustrated and angry. I picked a fight with H., who was also in no mood to bear the brunt of my anger. To make a long story short, we got into a huge shouting match, hurling hurtful words to each other like the thunder and lightning bolts that had torn the sky earlier in the day. And words weren't the only things thrown (but don't worry, we didn't hurt each other). At the end of our 10-minute fight, our apartment floor was littered with the contents of an overturned box (my bead collection, some art supplies and old Duran Duran collectibles), half a dozen pairs of shoes (all H.'s, of course), and some jackets that I pulled down from the coat rack in the hallway. It looked for a moment as if a small tornado had blown through our home.

H. and I settled down, the anger leaving us and the sadness that was underneath it all pouring out in sobs and apologies. I had let my anger get the best of me, yes, but I also knew that I needed to let it out, that all the politicking and mental masturbation during the day could not adequately express these powerful and deep-seated feelings. But throwing books and clothes onto the floor could, and did. I felt better afterwards, if not a little ashamed for causing such a scene.

In my study of Santeria, I have found a great affinity with the Orisha (force of nature/deity) Oya, who rules the tornado, the lightning bolt, revolutionary (rapid) change. The tornado of emotion that had passed through H. and I and our small apartment was clearly the expression of our Oya energy. I was moved, immediately after our argument, to build an altar to the fiery warrior-Orisha, who is the equal to her mate, the Orisha Chango, in battle. She is known for her volatility and bursts of anger--behaviors I have been known to exhibit myself.

I had been planning to build an altar to Oya for a long time, but kept putting it off because I didn't have time, was too busy, didn't feel like it, yadda yadda. But Oya was clearly more than ready to have her altar made. She demanded it of me. And so I set about, at 9pm on Wednesday night, the day after election day, creating what is now a beautiful altar to Oya next to my bookcase, to honor my revolutionary-warrior spirit, the volatile and powerful force of nature in me and in all of us that demands justice, that demands all that we can give to make this world a better place.

I called H. over to look at my altar after I finished it, and he gazed at the purple silken cloth covered with a medallion of St. Theresa (Oya's Catholic counterpart), a garnet and sterling silver necklace, various river rocks and other objects that reminded me of Oya's energy. He stared at the new altar with a look of wonder on his face, as if to say, 'You made this just now?' It was a moment of healing for both of us, and I feel that having this new sacred space in our home will help us heal whatever hurts remain within us after this crazy election season, and will give us the strength, courage and power we need to get through the next four years, and to make sure that in 2008 we elect a President who will truly serve the people and not just cater to the lowest-common-denominator fears of an ill-informed and increasingly intolerant populace.

In Hope and Struggle,

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

List: Is It Really Over?

Is Bush really our president again for the next four years?
Did Kerry really call to concede?
Why am I still having dreams about propositions and Schwarzeneggar and going to vote in my pajamas?
Will life ever be the same?
Why have so many states passed laws banning gay marriage?
Am I crazy?
Is it crazy to think that a country that calls itself the land of the free and the home of the brave should not tell people who they can and can't marry?
Is it crazy to want to live in a country that does not wage war on poor people in the name of some abstract, twisted notion of democracy?
Is it crazy to want the right to have an abortion in the 21st century?
Is it crazy to think that people of all religions and faiths can get along, and not pit themselves against each other in the name of a vengeful God and a fear of armageddon?
Am I really insane?
Should I move to Canada, or France, or Spain, or Cuba, or somewhere where people are intelligent enough to see what a disastrous choice Bush is for the White House and the world?
Should I stay?
Should I just put up with all this insanity?
What the hell is going on?
And what the hell are we supposed to do now?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

More Shady Sh*t in Ohio

This just in via my email box from the League...

"Voting rights violations are already happening around the country - and more are on the way.

In the wee hours of last night, a federal appeals court cleared the way for political parties to challenge voters' eligibility at polling places throughout Ohio, ruling that their presence on Election Day was allowed under state law. 

This is the first time that political parties will be allowed to apportion partisan challengers by precinct instead of by polling site - thus increasing the number of challenges at Ohio polling places.

Sign up for text messaging to be alerted about voting rights violations, voter intimidation, and other sketchy bizness at the polls - plus November 3rd actions in case of election theft."

Essentially what this means is that the Republicans can send their goons to polling places in Ohio to challenge anyone they suspect of not being a legitimate voter--i.e., anyone who is a Democrat or who they think will not vote their way. Legal voter intimidation, that's what this is folks. Believe it, it's happening.

This can't be a democracy if all people aren't represented, folks. Don't let this election be stolen.


Monday, November 01, 2004

Movement, Movement Everywhere

This year's crazy-hyped election--and it's really not all hype, peoples, this is truly a high-stakes election, with a disastrous war, our economy, affordable healthcare, LGBT rights, access to legal abortion and many other issues up for grab both locally and nationally--has turned out thousands, if not tens or even hundreds of thousands, of people who have never done much more than shrug at the TV news into out-in-the-streets or in-front-of-the-computers activists. And even though a large number of these may be folks on the far right, overall I think it's a beautiful thing, because Movement, dear friends, is what it's all about.

I wrote a post a while back about how we don't live in a real democracy, and our historically low voting population is part of the reason I believe that's true. The other part of it is that folks living in the US--not just citizens/voters, either, but the general populace--don't participate in any form of civic action in general, and that civic action (whether it's voting or getting involved with your child's schooling or being a union member or whatever) is a crucial ingredient to a vibrant and healthy democracy. So is dissent, which is where the corporate-ruled media comes in, squashing any possibility for a mass media that encourages healthy debate that includes more than just the two parties.

Movement--getting folks out talking to their neighbors about how their city is run, getting high school students on the phones to get out the vote in poor communities, etc.--is essential. And I finally got my own butt moving these past two weekends helping to coordinate some get out the vote (GOTV) efforts with my organization, Californians for Justice.

H., V. and I (and about 10 other volunteers who came out at 10am on a Saturday morning to do their civic duty) had a grand old time, dropping literature for the 'Yes on Prop 72' and 'Yes on Prop. 66' campaigns in five precincts in Oakland's Fruitvale district. It's always good to get out into a different community, to talk to folks who are often deeply impacted by policies that they have no real say over, except perhaps through their vote. And it's always important to help dispel the myths about voting and the issues that TV commercials and confusing ballot language help create.

Being out 'in the field', trying to use my busted-up but earnest Spanish to conversate with the occasional talker (we weren't trying to talk to folks, just dropping literature, unless they had questions for us), showed me again how strong we could be on the left if we truly engaged all the dispossessed, marginalized and disenfranchised peeps out there whose values are in line with ours. They don't want to see their sons and daughters go to war against other poor people, they want affordable health care and less violence, they don't trust cops who don't come from their communities and they are tired of politicians lying to them. It was also great for me to be able to work on this election without having to posture as if I actually like John Kerry (although I am going to vote for him--whilst pinching my nose of course), but at the same time knowing that getting out voters for Props 66 and 72 would also get out the Kerry vote.

On the Western side of the bay, I'll be walking my precinct today for Norman Yee's school board bid. I met Norman salsa dancing and then through my work at the Youth Empowerment Center, and I'm glad to know he's got a good shot at winning. If you live in Frisco, also make sure to vote for stalwart progressives Mark Sanchez and Eric Mar for school board as well.

On a less positive note, however, I got this article in my email today from the League of Pissed Off Voters--which is putting Eminem's sick Mosh video into real-time action by turning out thousands of young voters to the polls tomorrow (St. Petersburg is in Florida, btw):


Elections supervisors are warning voters: Be alert for attempts at fraud and
by David Karp, Michael Sandler and Tamara Lush, St. Petersburg Times
Published October 29, 2004

When Dolores Cuellar of Orlando opened her door and saw a woman with a clipboard, she didn't hesitate to say which candidate she preferred.

"Not Bush," said Cuellar, 42. "The other one."

The woman told Cuellar she didn't need to bother going to the polls. She would mark Cuellar's vote on a piece of paper right there. And while she was at it, she also would record a vote for Cuellar's 18-year-old daughter.

Cuellar, who had never voted before, said she mistakenly thought she had just voted.


It's hella deep, folks, and it's still not too late to get out there and do something to help build a true democracy in this country--my buddy Oscarchoy is in Ohio right now and offered to pay for my ticket out there but I decided to stay home and fight the good fight here. I may be a jaded activist, but I'm not without hope. Go to: League of Pissed Off Voters, Election Protection, Count Every Vote or