Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jay Smooth explains it all

As usual, Jay Smooth says it best.

YouTubing: My two new favorite phenomena

Firstly: Is there some sort of cute tomboy ukulele thing going on? you've already met Molly the ukulele girl.

But now I've also found Julia the ukulele girl.

My heart is torn.

Secondly: random people getting down to "Single Ladies" by Beyonce. (Or is it the Beyonce alter-ego on account of the robot hand? I'm so out of touch.)

I would pay money to be able to shake my ass like that. Seriously.


I love it. You go, internets.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My O-naugural Adventure

Let me start out by saying that D.C. is a lovely, historical town. The culture is a weird combination of Southern Hospitality and New England Practicality that I really appreciated.

I don't think I would appreciate the Obama inauguration quite as much if I hadn't been there. It was as close as my non-believers heart will come to going on a pilgrimage that I suppose I'm going to get. But I met a lot of people there during my long cold march to the National Mall that had been there at MLK's original March on Washington and it was very touching, to use a trite turn of phrase, to see them there again.

Also, the reality of slavery as an integral part of the history of this country is physically real in a place like D.C. in a way that it isn't in New Mexico. If you go into Virginia there are houses with courtyards where slaves were auctioned, tunnels still visible where slaves were led from the docks into town, and various other physical manifestations of slavery that I'd never really seen up close that made it all so real and haunting and creepy for me. I got a little teary-eyed on a few occasions, to be honest.

Here are some key moments from my trip. One of the first days we were there we went down to Union Station to watch the crowds arrive and ran into Code Pink.

Yes We Can block a stairway!

That same night we wound up in Georgetown, where I got a glimpse of the famous "Exorcist Steps" and also some baklava at the King of Falafel and Cheesesteaks, which I think is the randomest two things to be king of.

obama inauguration 043

Then, the Inaugural Day!

So, I'm sure you saw on the news, but it was cold. Really, really, really cold. I really can't emphasize how cold I was that morning. Anyway, I set out from the place we were staying to a friend's office very close to the mall, one street over from the place where cars were no longer allowed to drive. This was only like two blocks from the National Mall, so I was expecting a really short walk.

However, what no one told me was that it was blocked off for a good long way so what started out as a short jaunt turned into a two-hour long march in the freezing weather which redirected 2 million people down towards the Washington Monument. Once I got *there* there were so many people packed into the place you literally couldn't move forward any more. This was "crush capacity" defined. Also, I got separated from the people I was with and was mildly lost. Somehow I found myself almost down to the Jefferson Memorial (which is far, and cold) before I was able to escape the crowd and move around freely again. I turned around and started walking back, totally bummed that I would apparently be missing the big event.

Parked in front of the Holocaust Museum, however, was a big black SUV outfitted with TV screens facing into the street. The guy inside turned on the screens at like 11:45, just in time for me to walk by and catch the ceremony! A crowd formed around the car that had to be, like 200 people eventually. And this is how I experienced this totally historic moment.

Not what I was expecting, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I felt totally connected with the strangers all around me. I laughed, I cried, I froze. I heard a few other similar stories, one where I guy realized he wasn't going to make it though the crowds in time, called his friend back home, had him hold his phone up to the tv, cranked the volume on his speakerphone and let strangers crowd around him to hear. It's funny the ways people express charity in situations like that.

Anyway, after the big moment, I found myself back to the place where I was supposed to be and went to a nice party at a friend's posh apartment on the waterfront where I had some seriously delicious barley and mushroom soup while watching the various balls on tv.

Later that week I did the monument twilight tours. Did you know that on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King said "I have a dream," it's carved 'I have a dream?' Well, it is.

obama inauguration 144

I had no idea, and literally stumbled across it. That was pretty awesome.

Anyway, I did a bunch more stuff, but not everything I'd hoped to squeeze into the trip. There's so much stuff to see you'd need a month to get it all in. I'd love to bring Abbie back to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, which I got to duck in to for about 45 minutes and was totally entranced by. I also had a half-smoke at Ben's Chili Bowl, which was worth the hour long wait outside in the cold.

So that's my Obama Adventure. I'm glad I went. It made it so much more meaningful than I think it would have been otherwise, to be in town for a historical moment where so many other historical moments have already happened.

School's started now, so blogging may be scarce. But I wanted to get this out.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Still in DC

Hitting the Smithsonian today now that most of the mad crowds are gone.
Back soon!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Our Long National Nightmare Is Over

I'm trying to get psyched up for a long day in the cold cold cold

I miss my husband and daughter terribly.

I fear a little less for my daughter's future.

I'm cold and sleepy and miss the warm snoring plane of my husband's back
beside me.

I'm feeling the excitement of 3 million happy people who can barely
believe what is about to happen.

I'm feeling something like the ghosts of the dead slaves whose blood and
sweat stain the white edifices of the myriad landmarks that surround

I'm feeling something like the ghosts of the dead Iraqi and Gazan and
Afghani civilians whose blood and tears stain the white hands of the
President leaving office.

I'm tired, I want to sleep with no nightmares.

Friday, January 16, 2009

In DC for inauguration!

I'll have limited Internet access (I'm sending this via phone) but will
post if anything interesting happens. As it is, I'm just really fricken
cold. Really. Seriously cold.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Arrest made in Oscar Grant case

Let's hope for justice.
A former transit police officer accused of shooting an unarmed passenger in the back on an Oakland, Calif., train platform on New Years Day has been arrested on homicide charges, police said.
Photo: Former transit police officer Johannes Mehserle, accused of killing an unarmed black man on an Oakland train platform has been arrested on a murder warrant in Nevada.

Johannes Mehserle, 27, was being held without bail in Douglas County, Nev., pending his extradition on a California fugitive warrant, according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.

Mehserle was arrested Tuesday night near Lake Tahoe. He waived his right to contest extradition and will be transported to California today, the sheriff's department said.
I wonder how this is going to play out. I'll say honestly I wasn't expecting an arrest so quickly.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So that last post was a little heavy.

Today Abbie and Brian and I went to the Natural History Museum to learn about dinosaurs. There was an exhibit discussing how the toe bones of one species was found in the abdominal cavity of another. Since then, all day it's been, "Mama! Dinosaurs eat toes! Toes, Mama!"

Like, dude, they ate toes, man! They just, ate them!

Also, I have fallen in love with Molly the Ukulele Girl.

Can you blame me?


And why not, let's celebrate me getting an A in my math class last semester with this math-related song of awesomeness.

Monday, January 12, 2009

On the expendability of brown people

This will probably seem very stream-of-consciousness.

I've started and deleted about seven posts about both Israel's completely disproportionate, fucked-up moral calculus invasion of Gaza and (especially) the murder of handcuffed, face-down, goddamn-white-cop's-knee-on-his-fucking-neck, shot-in-the-back Oscar Grant, and I can't complete them, because I get too angry and I forget about the good stuff in the world, and I'd rather be playing with Abbie.

Last summer my stepbrother told me about several incidents in which the LA cops openly harassed him while riding his bike home from work. I'll give you three guesses what my stepbrother looks like.

There's a reason young black people are so angry.

There's a reason young black people are so angry.

I AM SEAN BELL, black boys speak from Stacey Muhammad on Vimeo.

"How many times are they going to reload next time?"

I'll be in DC all next week for the Obama inauguration. Remember that happy, hope-change feeling?

I have to say, my heart is heavy and confused.

I don't even want to talk about Gaza even a little bit. I want to go back to my happy place, where an adorably urchiny and precocious two-year-old made out of a little bit of my self and a little bit of the man I love sings along to German electronica from the 70s, then snuggles into my arm to take a nap.

I wish Oscar Grant's 4-year old daughter, and all those boys who are also Sean Bell, and all the children of Gaza, and those Israeli children who have also suffered could join her.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A few days late on these, but

RIP to former Rhode Island Sen. Claiborne Pell. I know that Pell grants, for me at least, have made the difference between being able to afford textbooks (and don't get me started on what a complete racket *that* bunch of nonsense is) and well, not being able to afford them remotely. So, thanks, Senator.

Also RIP Majel Barrett Roddenberry. Oddly, like Bettie Page, she also shaped my performance of gender and sexuality. (Geek, I know.)

I mean, check her out as Number One.

And this, I love it.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Racial profiling

Alive and well in the American subconsciousness.
A U.S. airline apologized yesterday to nine Muslim American passengers from the Washington area who were removed from a flight out of Reagan National Airport, but a Muslim civil rights group said it intends to press a discrimination complaint against the airline for its treatment of the passengers.
No kidding. If this were me, I'd be suing for Abbie's college fund right now.