Archive for July, 2013

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During it wasn’t funny, but after, I got a laugh

Here is a partial transcript of my interview with conservative talkshow host Jesse Lee Peterson. We got into a “sparring match” due to my piece about Homophobia. If you haven’t read it, please do yourself a favor and check it out. I wasn’t able to remember everything, so I just listed the highlights. Thank you again to JLP and his team.

So I had my interview with the Rightwing/Homophobic Radio host Jesse Lee Peterson in regards to my anti-homophobic article that has been making it’s rounds on the net. Before the interview, I did my research on Peterson and found that he was Conservative Christian who has Tea Party leanings, so I knew what I was getting into. I don’t know if the interview will be available for download, but here are the excerpts:

In the begining of the conversation –
Jesse Lee Peterson: Are you a Christian?
Me: I am baptised Catholic
JLP: Do you agree with Gay Marriage?
Me: Absolutely
JLP: Do you believe in abortion?
Me: 100%. I believe that the government should not be able to tell a woman what she can do with her body
JLP: So you think that she should have control over her body?
Me: Absolutely
JLP: Did you learn that from the Catholic Church? (obvious shot)
Me: No
JLP: (In so many words) So you think that abortion is moral?
Me: Well moral changes. What is moral for some folks, it may not be moral to another. Morality is dynamic

Talking about the article –
JLP: In your article, you say that in the Black community the man has to be very masculine and strong..
Me: Yes. I feel that coming up you have to fit in a very linear box of what a man is. But Black men come in all flavors..
JLP: It is interesting that you say flavor (he laughs – obvious shot)
Me: Well what I am saying is that we are all different. We can show emotion..
JLP: You think that is okay, to show emotion?
Me: Yeah. Every Black Man doesn’t have to be a Ray Lewis kinda of guy. He can be smooth and calm like Eric Holder or artistic like Basquiat.
JLP: You know who I think is girlie? Obama, he is a little soft. Michelle is more of a man than him..
Me: Come on fam, really?
JLP: Oh yeah.

Towards the end of the conversation (he is playing Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out and Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall – obvious shots)
JLP: Where do you live?
Me: San Francisco
JLP: (laughs) Oh boy, your in the wrong part of town
JLP:Do you think it is okay to be Gay?
Me: Yes. People should not be ashamed of who they are. One’s sexuality is a very small part of who they are.
JLP: Well if it is such a small part of who they are, why don’t they keep it to themselves?
Me: Some are much more feminem than others and cannot help it.
JLP: It says in your article you go to Gay clubs. Have you?
Me: Yes?
JLP: Why?
Me: To hang with my friends
JLP: Do you dance with men? (obvious shot)
Me: No
JLP: Do you have a girlfriend?
Me: I am dating?
JLP: Do they know about this?
Me: Yes and some have came with me too.
JLP: Are some of them Lesbians?
Me: I have Lesbian friends, yes.
JLP: (groans)

Christian Caller –
Caller: Do you think Homosexuality is a sin?
Me: No I do not. People are born Gay. You cannot help who you are.
JLP: There are no studies of that.
Me: And you think those, “Pray the Gay Away” camps work?
JLP (backing up): Well… the only way that someone can be “born gay” is if the woman is a single mother who is hateful of the man and then passes that spirit to the child.. (I hold the phone and start to bug out laughing)
Me: Do you think someone wakes up and says, “I want to make my life harder?” Come on man, people can’t help who they are. I bet almost every Gay person has wished to be straight at some point because they knew how hard it would be.
JLP: People can be delivered from that…
Me: And I bet those folks are in pain everyday struggling with who they really are.

That was pretty much the highlights of the conversation. I thank God for talking with him because it has prepared me to debate with people of aposing views on a national forum.

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Andrea, 36
Caucasian, straight to the point, teacher

I feel that we need to stop treating kids
like babies because they know a lot more
than we think they do.

I don’t know how to bullshit, never learned. I have been teaching for nine years, and it’ll be ten years if I can get a job (laughs). I taught in Chicago for five years and out in San Diego for four years. I have a Masters in Reading Specialist, but I never had a position that validated it. I have worked in charter schools and public schools.

There are parents that come into report card meetings clearly high or reeking of alcohol. I have had a lot of kids that were crack babies and have been taken away from their parents because of drugs. Things like that I have dealt with. Some of the kids who had graduated to the sixth grade are friends with me on Facebook, and they have a marijuana leaf on their pages. Sometimes I don’t know if they are trying to be cool or if they are smoking it. They know all about it so………

One of the reasons why I think kids know so much about drugs at that age is music, TV, and the media in general. (points to the TV playing Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow music video) Wiz Khalifa (laughs) being a great example. I think that is a huge portion of it and everyone in their neighborhood, it’s the same thing you know?

Maybe the kid who are not graduating are hanging out in the streets listening to that type of music, thinking that it is cool. They see their family members, cousins doing it then it must be okay. A lot of peer pressure? Oh yeah.

A lot of times with the drugs in the home, there are a lot of mental issues that go along with it such as anger management. For other kids, the parents are not around to fulfill their educational needs or their emotional needs. They can’t even have a house clean, so when they go to school with dirty clothes, it definitely affects them.

To date, I have not encountered a kid that has said, “I have tried A,B,C,” you know. But then again, this is my first year teaching fifth grade. Recently I went back to Chicago to visit and I checked on some of my former students in the eleventh grade. I definitely think they are curious about getting high.

Do you think that it is the school’s responsibility to sway kids
away from drugs?

Yes and No. I don’t think that we should promote drug use. But I will be honest and say I feel hypocritical and say don’t do it (sighs). I just think that they should wait until they are older to experiment. So yeah I do think that we do need to tell kids not to do it. I mean we are raising them basically. We are with them more than there parents are sometimes, so it is partially our responsibility. We have a zero tolerance stance on drugs, but last month a kid brought a bullet to school and nothing happened so (laughs).

I am definitely weirded out by the legalization of marijuana. I’m for it but… it’s, I don’t know. I mean I have smoked pot before, many of times, but I wouldn’t consider myself a pot head (we both laugh), but I don’t think any one would (laughs). I don’t think legal marijuana is a bad thing. There are a lot of great use for it and when used properly, there is nothing wrong with it. When used as a recreational drug or for medicinal purposes, it’s fine.

I feel that we need to stop treating kids like babies because they know a lot more than we think they do. I had a first grader in Chicago tell me that his Mom had a pile of white stuff on the table, and that she would have friends come over. He never touched it though. I thought that this was something that I could call Child Protective Services on but they could not do anything. There was nothing to investigate because he did not get into it. So I think by keeping it real with them, showing them what everything is…. I remember growing up and seeing all the videos of people getting super sick off of heroin and it scared me. It made me not want to do drugs. By showing real crackheads, I think kids need to see it. They need to be introduced to people who have been there, who are still using. Kind of like the Scared Straight thing from prison. Also, I think that they need to know that drugs and alcohol are an escape from reality, and that they would have to deal with their problems sooner or later. That connection should be brought into it.

For more, pick up, “Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture at Amazon.com NOW!

A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go

 

There is a saying that I found a long time and use quite often: Everything runs it’s course. It is one of my go to quotes that I use for just about anything that has lost its use in my life as well as others. It is succinct and straight to the point. How my favorite phrase and I met was around when I decided to stop sleeping around.

 When I was younger I never felt good enough. I wouldn’t think I was smart, handsome, cool… any of the qualities that a young person wanted to possess, I wasn’t it. And around women, sheesh it was worse. I was mad arkward, had this (kinda) huge head, and a little stutter that would come out when I was interested in someone. When I would see a young lady I liked, I would get a bit nervous and would not know what to say. I smile and laugh about it now, but smooth and I never went together.

 As I got older, I guess the looks kicked in, I started to leave my surroundings and gain culture, and confidence. But I still did not have a strong self-esteem. I still did not like “me.” So to fix this, I started hitting the bar scene with friends and trying to “get some.” Night after night, us guys would go to club after club, picking up women, trying my charm and whatever I had to get them to go back home with me. Doing this I thought to myself, “They are feeling me! Women like me! I am special. I am the man.” And by getting this kind of gratification, I continued and even ratcheted up the amount of times I went out. I was feeling good about myself, thought of myself as a “Lady Killer” and had fun. I didn’t have any of the insecurities of not being special, because I was out there. I would meet a woman, figure her out, tailor my approach to her, apply it, hang out, then move on. Then I met her.

 Christina was a young lady that I met a grocery store. She was medium height, had this long black curly hair, a bit curvy but had a fantastic figure, great lips, clear porcelain like skin, and spoke with this sweet, sweet voice. I was taken aback by this combination of beauty, brains, and elegance. We talked about music (she liked RHCP), travel (fan of Paris), food (loved sushi), and sports (big basketball fan). Christina had class and up until that moment, I had never met a woman that possessed it. So from then on, I went to work, trying to create a plan to get Christina. But every time I would try and get this girl to go out with me, she would say no or say, “You’re not serious.” I couldn’t figure it out. This girl denying me? Awh heck no, let me try another way – shut down. Christina had mad defense and it would totally frustrate me, but I would not give up. She was a challenge and I loved game. Yeah I was still seeing others on the side, but Christina was the main prize.

 A couple of months passed and I was talking to a neighbor and he was excited about this young lady he had met. Ryan, a very nice guy who really did do a lot and wouldn’t hardly ever go out, had met someone. He wasn’t interested in meeting scores of women like myself, just one and I was very happy for him. One day while drunk on the Plaza with a buddy of mine, I ran into Ryan and his date, Christina. Yep, that Christina. They were just coming from dinner. I was surprised and had a “WTF” moment, but I tried to play it off. I later saw Ryan and we talked. He didn’t know that I had feelings for her and said that he meant no ill will. Hey, Ryan was a friend and I totally understood that. The thing that I didn’t understand was why not me? I was nice, handsome, funny, and we had a good time. Later I realized that Christina didn’t want the party guy, the person who was going out all the time, chasing (fill in the blank). She wanted to be with someone who was going to dedicate themselves to her only.

 I would continue on this path of partying and women for a while, but slowly but surely I started to run out of gas. First it was, “I am going to do this to make myself feel better,” then it was, “Wow I am really good at this.” That turned into “Man this is kinda lame, but I don’t know what else to do,” to finally, “I have got to do something else.” I can’t remember when the breaking point was, but I remember feeling burnt out. Like this wasn’t getting me anywhere. I was in my early 30’s and still sleeping around. Yeah it sounds cool. At this time I was in California and that reset my “adult clock” back four or five years, but I was bored. I saw many of my friends settling down. It wasn’t even about getting married, it was just getting into a monogamous relationship. So I tried (unsuccessfully), got out of that, and attempted to jump back into being a player, but it didn’t fit anymore. I knew that I was done. It had ran it’s course

 With the help of a few really good girlfriends such as Cin-Cin, Sun-Sun, Frosty-Flakes, and taking stock in myself, I realized that I didn’t need to sleep around to make myself feel better. I didn’t need the outside affirmation, I was special on my own. My self esteem and worth had gotten to the place that it should be. I don’t regret the casual sex, but at the same time I wish I wouldn’t had spread myself so thin, because I realize ( I am gonna get way sappy here) how important it is. Plus I am lucky – clean and no diseases, and that was something I was starting to worry about. I also have another saying, “Sooner or later, the house wins.”

 Dating at first was a bit weird because I was so used to jumping from A to Z real quick like. I didn’t know how to court women and I would get so frustrated and pissed that I would say to Sun-Sun, “You know this shhhh was easier when I was out there F’in around.” She would reply, “And you were so happy then right? Come on LeRon, this aint easy.” I didn’t get it and had to darn near retool my approach to women. I was so used to relying on my looks, wit, and charm that I didn’t realize you had to actually have something of substance to bring. Go figure right? Slowly but surely I got the hang of it and instead of thinking, “How long is it going to take me to sleep with her,” it is now, “What place can I take her next.” I was on the road to a new beginning and I was happy about it. A couple of relationships later and I started to get the hang of dating.

 Sometimes I think about Christina and what she is doing. Last time I heard she moved to Florida and Ryan was going to be following her. I hope they are still together. Christina got the right guy at the right moment in his life. Now I am at that moment. Only if I can find someone, hmmmmm.

 

What I Did Last Summer pt 2

Posted: July 8, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

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When you are anticipating something, when you are anxious about something, when you can’t wait for something, you… normally don’t get a lot of sleep because you are so excited. Thats how I felt the night before. I maybe got five hours of sleep and then I was up. Tired but energized, I got my stuff together, did I last minute check for everything, lugged my heavy pack, read the sweet note that my awesome friend left for me, and headed for my cab. The cab driver and I chatted for a little bit, stopped at the 7-Eleven got a chicken biscuit sandwich, and headed for my train to LA. I always chose to fly from LAX because it was cheaper and most of the time, when heading internationally you would always have to fly through a major hub anyway. And to be honest, the less flying I am doing, the better you feel?

 

Landing in San Pedro Sula, I thought to myself, okay this is it, the start of my journey. The airport I remember was unremarkable, nothing special. I got my bag and grabbed a cabbie who wasall immediately on the hustle. Homes tried to charge me 50 dollars for a 15 dollar cab ride. I was like, “Come on my G?” Really? I aint some new cat, I know the exchage rates. So after letting him know that I wasn’t a sucker, he took me to my hostel. Walking out of the airport, the humidity of the air hit me. I wasn’t surprised about the humidity, because being in Panama (which is still the most humid place I have ever been) and Central America, I got used to it. On the drive to the hostel, I remember seeing how decrepet the buildings were. Being in a poorer country, you immediately notice the differences. The roads, homes, you take it all in.

 

The hostel was a tad on the shabby side, but hey, I wasn’t looking for four star accommodations. The thing about staying in hostels, is that you don’t look for it to be fancy, you just want somewhere to crash, and you look to build with fellow travelers. That is thing about backpacking: You connect with folks who are on the road. Y’all share stories, swap tips and tell each other, “Don’t go here,” or “Try this,” and “This place is good,” and the hostel had plenty of folks.

 

Exploring San Pedro Sula was a trip. It was hot, a little on the grimy side, and there were HELLA guns. Look, I am a hood cat and I am used to people carrying and hearing gun shots and hitting the ground. Heck, my Grandfather taught us how to shoot when we were eight (Did y’all catch the Mobb Deep reference?), so guns have never been nathan new to me. But the amount and type of guns tripped me out. People were just walking around with machine guns and all kinds of fully’s. Matter of fact, when I went to a fast food place, the guard was standing at the doorway with a double barrel shotgun and bullets strapped to his chest. Crazy right? Turns out, San Pedro Sula is considered to be one of the most dangerous places in the world. But the thing about me (whether good or bad) is that I was ignorant of that, so I explored the city. The downtown was similar to Mexico: lots of shops, people selling their wares, socializing, and going about their day. So besides taking pictures of everything, I also got a chance to sample some of the street food. One of my favorite meals were Balleatas, a Honduran specialty that (I think) is a tortilla, cheese, egg, and beans. The kid was eating those like everyday. One of the great pleasures of traveling is eating the local food, breaking bread with the locals you dig? And I have to tell you, for the most part street food has always been good to me.

 

After hanging in San Pedro Sula for two days I was itching to leave because although I am a city cat, I came to Honduras for the beach. Now most people land in San Pedro and travel to either Copan (which was really cool) or to The Bay Islands, a small group of group of islands that people like to venture to. Of the most popular – Roatan, Cayos Cochinos, I chose Utila, a small island that many young cats and kittens like to visit to get their diving certifications or to just disconnect.

 

Utila is a very small island, maybe about two to three miles big at the most with one long road, about a mile long going through the town. Everyone walks, rides bikes, scooters, motorcycles, and golfcarts Yes, golfcarts. I think I saw maybe two cars while I was there. Crazy, but good. As I said earlier, most of the people here came for their diving certifications, and there were plenty of diving schools. Hostels also littered the road, offering deals between $5 for a bed, $10 for a private room, and $15 to $20 a day for rooms with A/C, and staying in Utila, you needed A/C.

 

Island life is interesting, because everything is so confined to that one space. There is not a lot to do other than swim, drink, play in the sand, sleep, and eat, so I had to make up my own routine. I would get up around 7 or 8, head straight to the gym and work out quickly to avoid the heat, run back to the room and take a cold shower, grab breakfast and a banana and peanut butter smoothie, write and study for a bit, then finally head to the beach and jump in the water. I did this all with expediency because around noon, it gets super hot. This heat was a mixture of humidity and just sun beating down on you and you had to get in the water just to deal with it. Around 3pm, the heat would subside and I would lay on the sand and just think about things – God, my family, San Diego, my ex, writing, just any and everything. I have not always considered myself a beach person, but I understand how calm it is. You just lay out and become one with nature and all that you have are your thoughts. Being on the island gave me a lot of time to think and I am really grateful for that. Now laying on a beach for hours may sound super duper awesome, which it was, but the mosquitoes and sand flies were fierce! They would eat me up on the regular. Matter fact on some real talk, I may have been bit 15 to 20 times a day. It would get crazy to the point that I would have to jump back into the water.

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Another cool thing about Utila is that everyone knew everyone. It was cool to walk down the road, wave at the guy running the cafe, the young expat girls getting their diving certs, or the pretty cook making the empanadas (which I ate, a lot). What was really interesting is that all the bars had a special everyday of the week, so many people would get together and go to the bar that had the tequila specials on Monday, the bar with the cheap beer on Tuesday, and so on. It was a really cool community feeling. The only part I didn’t like was the open drug use, but hey, I aint knocking it, I just don;’t rock like that.

 

 

While I had a great time in Utila, I knew I had to leave because one week would have turned into two weeks, and yada yada. Island life is intoxicating because in an ex girlfriends words, “It is so easy,” and it was. I had my routine down, there was no stress, pretty ladies, good night life, and I was feeling good. But, I had to go. More things to see, people to me, and adventures to experience.

 

Next: Nicaragua, great food, getting sick, volcano surfing, and the love of solitude.