Created Equal

Mood: Convinced | Drinking: Diet Dr. P

hrc

Talking politics gets me in trouble, usually because of my horrid debating skills.

I can’t argue convincingly. I get weepy and incoherent. Arguments make me lose my head entirely and forget my original point. It’s not pretty. Just ask Boy. Or my sister.

So I’m not going to talk politics. Or argue. Or debate the pros and cons.

I’m just going to tell you why I care.

No one can argue with that.

Here in California, we have a hotly contested proposition on the state ballot — Prop 8, which, if passed, will eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.

The more paranoid proponents of this rights-elimination proposal say that all hell will break loose if the gays are allowed to be normal people with normal rights. Children will be forcibly taught that Todd can have two daddies, churches will be sued, and Armageddon will be ushered in, they say.

I call bullshit.

I voted early this past weekend, and happily checked the box for No on 8. First of all, we shouldn’t be eliminating rights for anybody these days. Least of all the rights for two consenting adults who love each other — and in many cases have been together for decades — to be legally recognized as partners.

Some of my friends were discussing this issue over the weekend, and one of my gay friends put it in very simple terms. He said, “I don’t care as much about being able to get married as I do that the government is telling me I CAN’T get married if I want to.”

Some of my closest friends are gay, and I’m feeling their anxiety very deeply as this election looms nearer. But I also have close friends who believe the Bible tells them that it’s wrong to be gay. They’re not fanatical. They’re not cold-hearted. They are intelligent and compassionate.

But, obviously, I disagree with their interpretation of the Bible.

Is a lesbian couple less legitimate than a heterosexual couple? Is a man less of a citizen simply because he wants to marry another man? Is the love between a woman and a woman or a man and a man any less real than the love between a man and a woman? No! No! No!

A vote for Prop 8 is a vote against equal rights. To me, equal rights ARE a moral issue. And it’s immoral to deny a people equal rights based simply on sexual orientation.

“All men are created equal.” Therefore, all rights should be equal, too.

It’s that simple. And that important. That’s why Boy and I have the Human Rights Campaign‘s symbol of an equal sign stuck to our car. Because we believe in equal rights for all.

After seeing the HRC sticker, my friend Michael said, “You guys are the gayest straight couple I’ve ever known.”

I take it as a compliment.

-Lo isn’t gonna back down.

Starting Over

startingover
Mood: Foggy
Drinking: Diet Dr. Pepper

Yes, I have been away. Far, far away. But I’m back now. That’s the theory, anyway.

June came bearing a brutal traveling schedule, and I went from home in California to Chicago, Illinois to Las Vegas, Nevada to Sayulita, Mexico in one trip right after the other, bouncing around North America like some sort of ricocheting bouncy ball.

I’ve finally rolled to a stop, however, and today’s my first real day back in the normal swing of things. It feels like I’m starting over. It’s all slow and painful with a lot of groggy reality checks: “So this is my life, right?”

It’s like riding a bicycle. Or something.

The rest of the summer promises to amble along at a much more bearable pace than last month, although there are some big events coming up:

** The SF Zine Fest is in two weeks. Kathy and I will be there with our table full of book wares.
(And speaking of Kathy, do check out her brilliant new blog, Imp Perfect.)
** Michelle and I are shooting a new cinépoem in August titled Homeland Security. We haven’t shot as many cinépoems this year as I’d like, and I’m very anxious to get this new one in the can. It should be really beautiful, and it will feature not one but two lovely new stars.
** A website overhaul is slowly but surely unfolding, complete with new photos, new features, and a new blog format. When will this all go public? Let’s be optimistic and say January, 2009.
** My training begins in earnest, pretty much starting right now, for the Nike Womens’ Half Marathon in October. Gotta get me some new runnin’ shoes.

Beyond that, I have to shake off the travel cobwebs and get down to business of getting back to reality.

Ugh.

-Lo, who could get used to going swimming every day.

It Was All Yellow

yella_cows
Mood: Chillaxed
Drinking: Sweet Tea

At long last, a new cinépoem has arrived.

Shot last November in the central valley of California (Pachecho Pass, Gilroy, Dinuba, Reedley, etc.), “Yellow” is a departure from the norm, if there has indeed been any kind of norm with our cinépoems.

It’s a mellow little fellow with more of an outward-facing perspective than most of my work, which tends to be introspective and more emotional.

Michelle and I tried to do something a little different with the visual representation of this poem to match the different tone of voice. We hope you like it.

Go get Yellow
YouTube Yellow

-Lo, who is quite a fan of roadside fruit stands.

Yellow

treeMood: Industrious
Drinking: Green Tea

even the dust here
is weary and
bored
covering the brown men
in their roadside shacks
with a visible layer of
despair.

dreams get smaller
in dinuba. children
hope for chicken nuggets
and plastic birthday
gifts. everyone goes to church
and WalMart on Sundays
to worship
in the air-conditioned aisles
of capitalism and canned ham.
the 24-hour supercenter
fills an entire field
where the transplanted
landscape palms
look dehydrated
and uncomfortable.
across the street, all the
stores stay closed, the windows
shuttered with yellow dust.

the air smells
of ennui and
nectarines. it is four
hours from home and
a wide world away where
all the bumper stickers
are redwhite and
conservative and the only time
brown and white ever mingle
is when money changes hands.

on the side of the road
I pay a brown man two
dollars for a box of bruised
purple plums. I plan
to say gracias instead
of thankyou but it seems
so condescending. when
the moment comes
I panic.
I keep my head down
and mutter merci
which helps no-one. I feel
exceptionally pale and
unaccountably guilty.
there’s nothing left to do but
drive away.

-Lo, who really is exceptionally pale.

Betty Blue, She’s So Fine

Mood: Anticipatin’
Drinking: Nu-uh

It’s a great day for a motorcycle ride.

And that’s just what I’m gonna do. What we are gonna do. And I’m not ridin’ bitch on the back of some boy’s Harley, either. (I’m not necessarily anti-Harley, but I don’t think that Harleys are the be-all end-all of cycles, either.)

I used to happily ride bitch. I few times I even fell asleep b/c the road was smooth and the sun was warm and the motor was purring and I just couldn’t help myself. So I’d nod off but somehow manage to hang on and it would freak the Boy right out. He used to joke that he was going to get himself one of those T-shirts that says (on the back) “If you can read this, the bitch fell off.”

But I soon got bored with the backseat. There wasn’t a whole lot to do except hang on, stare around and try not to clonk your helmet into his helmet when he came to an unexpected stop. So after awhile I stopped riding along and Boy got offended. He thought that either I had lied and didn’t really like motorcycles or that he must smell real bad. Neither of those are true. I just expected more from my motorcycling experience.

So Boy got all brilliant and signed me up for a motorcyle-riding class. At first I wasn’t that into the idea. I hadn’t seen many girls riding bikes and most of the ones I had seen fit more into the “broads” class. Their skin was more leathery than the fringed chaps that they loved so much. They were also unnecessarily into riding in bikini tops, wrinkled stomach flab hanging over and obscuring their turquoise belt buckles. No thanks.

But San Francisco is a two-wheeled town, the streets full of all manner of bicycles, scooters and motorcycles. So I decided that maybe I could be a scooter-girl. An Amelie in the driver seat. And Boy convinced me that the motorcycle class would serve me well as a Sassy Scooter Maiden. So I went.

First there was the classroom thing with the book-learning version of riding. (Here is the clutch, here is the throttle.) There were a few too many of the Driver’s Ed style videos with the horrible acting and violently grinning talking heads saying stuff like “Always wear your helmet. It’s the law in California. If you don’t wear it, the whole world will see the exact color and consistency of your brain matter as it smears across the pavement like so much cream cheese.”

I had never paid much attention when Boy was in the driver’s seat, and I had never ridden a dirt bike, so I had some trouble remembering to shift with my toes. So the first day on the driving range as 20 of us lined up in our jeans and boots and martian-sized helmets, I kept muttering to myself “Clutch on the left hand. Gas on the right.” And then the instructor pointed me to a little red Nighthawk and my Scooter delusions skipped right out of my head.

Even backseat bitches will tell you there’s nothing like riding a motorcycle. The freedom. The exhilaration. The power. Well, when you’re the one doing the actual riding instead of just sitting, you can multiply all that exhilaration by ten thousand.

From the moment I first rolled on the gas and leaned into my very first turn, I was a goner. I loved it. I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to figure out that I was a motorcycle rider. I couldn’t wait to get my license and hit the open road for real. And Boy, he knew it all along.

The day I finished my class and received the little white piece of paper that told the DMV to give this girl a Class M license, Boy picked me up in the Jeep, drove me home and rolled open the garage door to reveal a shiny blue motorcycle of my very own. It was better than Christmas.

She was so obviously a chick ‘cycle, so obviously meant for me. Tall enough to make room for my long legs, thin enough to let me lane split without fear of taking off car mirrors and blue like the blue of the morning sky on this fine motorcycle ridin’ day. I named her Betty Blue. (I name everything. Our Jeep’s name is Dana, and he’s a sexy gay man.)

Betty Blue is a badass bitch of a cycle. If she were a human she’d be a Betty Page in boots and garters. We’ve been together for nearly two years now. And when the rainy season keeps us indoors, I start to get an itch in my throttle hand and begin making random comments to strangers like, “God, I miss Betty!”

So when I woke up a few minutes ago and saw that the sky is the perfect twin to Betty’s gas tank, well, I started shinin’ my riding boots.

I’m going to let Boy sleep in but as soon as he’s up we’re going to fire up our bikes and head down Highway 35 through the mountains and the woods to Alice’s for a biker-sized burger. Then we’ll cut over to the Pacific Coast Highway and head back north along the beach, watching the sun turn the surf to liquid light and listening to the hum of our engines pulling us home.

-Lo, who is in no danger of becoming a gearhead.

The Perfect Drug

Mood: Shoulder to the grindstone
Drinking: Working on that recommended daily intake of water

It’s been a grey February. Not so much with the weather, although California has been drenched, dried off and then drenched again. It is the rainy season, after all, complete with landslides.

But the grey that’s been hanging around has been more of the mental variety. I have two very dear friends who have been going through some incredibly dark times, sometimes barely able to keep themselves from going under altogether. Sometimes I’ve woken up terrified that one or the other of them might have finally given in, let go, disappeared from the face of the earth altogether. Thus: greyness.

But both of them are stronger than they look. Stronger than they know. And they are fierce fighters. So now that they both have their feet set on the road to wellness, I’ve been laughing a lot more. Laughing with relief, with hope, with the lovely realization that sometimes you can actually write a whole long list of reasons that you’re glad you are alive. And *that* is saying something. Because sometimes when the Bell Jar descends, you’re hard pressed to come up with even one thing to write down, one thing that makes dragging your carcass out of bed worthwhile.

So, to celebrate, I spent the weekend in SoCal with Boy & Dog and my sister and her newly-adopted beast of a dog. In spite of the thunderous deluge that spanned most of the weekend, we managed to find a few pockets of sunlight during which we raced down to the beach for some surf and sand. I spent most of the weekend laughing. Really hard. To the point that my stomach now hurts because my laugh muscles were so out-of-use.

In the two years since we’ve adopted the LeeLoo, I’ve discovered that dogs can bring out the best in people. I’m an admitted misanthrope, and usually stalk around town without really looking at people. I have an aversion to talking to strangers that borders on phobia. But when I’m with LeeLoo and meet up with another dog owner, I’ll stop and chat. We’ll let the dogs do the butt-sniffing thing and have a completely pleasant conversation, then go on our separate ways feeling better about the world in general. It’s really weird how that works.

It may be that LeeLoo makes me laugh more because she’s such a clown. Boxers are known to be dorks of the dog world. Their monkey faces and childish antics make them great entertainers. And this weekend, wandering around my sister’s neighborhood with my little brown LeeLoo and her fat white Yoda, we spent a lot of time doubled over with laughter.

First, you have to understand that I am a DORK when it comes to my dog. I have been known to dress her in ridiculous outfits (and I know my friend J is HORRIFIED, absolutely horrified, if he’s reading this). Dogs in clothes are just unacceptable, I know. But. So. Funny. I’ve created a profile for LeeLoo on dogster.com, because I’m that much of a dork. And so it has been with a great sense of satisfaction that I have watched my sister (who used to ridicule me constantly) become a dog dork, too. The day she created a dogster profile for Yoda was a great day in sister history. (See LeeLoo on dogster here.
And Yoda here.)

My sister has wanted a dog for a long time. We grew up with Beagles and Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels all over the place, so all those in-between years of college and roommate housing sans dog were just kind of missing something. Once she and her boy got a place of their own last year, they began their dog search and eventually found Yoda’s sad story on Petfinder.com.

(Note: If you’re bored now, you might as well just skip on over the rest of it, because it’s just dog, dog, dog and more dog.)

Yoda, who is part Boxer and part American Bulldog (a big boy), fell on hard times over two years ago when his owner died suddenly of a heart attack. The Yodes was so upset, he lost all his hair. His deceased owner’s family didn’t want to pay the vet bills to get Yoda better, so they dumped him at the pound. He was scheduled to be put down when some people from a Chihuahua Rescue found him. I don’t know why they decided to take a 90-pound naked pink dog when they were really looking for tiny teacup-sized pooches, but they did and in doing so, they saved his life.

Unfortunately, nobody who comes to a Chihuahua Rescue looking for a waif-like Bit-Bit or Tinkerbell is interested in a big white brute who looks nothing like his greenish Jedi namesake but is instead polka-dotted with crusty bald patches and suffering from a severe case of doggie depression and really sour farts. So Yoda languished in the rescue kennel for two long years. And then my sister came along. And after much patience and paperwork on her part, Yoda had a new home.

And he’s loving it. He eats up the attention and is starting to drop a few pounds now that he has a girlfriend (that would be LeeLoo) and gets regular exercise. He’s made friends with the grannies and grandpas in the senior center next door and is proving to be excellent company for my sister.

So you put this big sweet nerd together with my little drama queen and you have a Vegas-level show on your hands. And all you can do is laugh.

Everything they did was funny. Sometimes it was the way LeeLoo got jealous whenever we paid too much attention to Yoda and so she would start doing all her tricks in a row on the other side of the room, as if to say, “Hey! Look at me! Over here! Look what I can do! Stop playing with that fat bitch and come over here and rub my belly!”

Other times it was the way Yoda snored like a fat old man. Or the way he tried to “romp” at the beach but ended up looking like an epileptic rabbit. It was the way LeeLoo shot Yoda incredibly dirty looks whenever he would stick his nose in her ear, which he did every five minutes or so, with loud and long snorting sounds. It was the way Yoda consistently poops in a perfect circle, looking over his shoulder to make sure he’s doing the job right.

It was ridiculous. It was stupid. It was perfect. The best kind of medicine for a weary and grey psyche. Double-dog therapy. I should do it more often.

-Lo, who knows she’s a total dog freak and refuses to be embarrassed about it.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started