Friday, October 31, 2008

Vote Early and Vote Often

I VOTED! I VOTED! I just could not wait until November 4th, so I went to my City Hall today for this historical election to cast my vote! Early Voting for 31 states began earlier than normal this year, October 9. Click image below to make sure you live in one of the 31 Early Voting states.

If you are excited like me or do not want to wait at the lines on Tuesday, consider Early Voting. It should be open this weekend and Monday as well. I was told in my county that they are counting the votes as they get them! The republicans have a website to help find Early Voting stations. It works for those from other parties too. Try it here.

My good friend, colleague and blogger of Mixed Messages, Jena (aka Dr. Vest), wrote up some facts about voting myths on her blog. Her 15 points are listed below:

1. It is NOT true that students have to vote in their home states. You can vote where you go to school.

2. It is NOT true that your driver's license address has to match your current address. You just need a govt. ID with a photo and a signature. Not sure? Call the Supervisor of Election in your county and ask before heading to the polls to early vote.

3. It is NOT true that the police will harass you, check your vehicle registration, or ticket you, etc while you are standing in line to vote.

4. It is NOT true that voting will raise your taxes or the taxes of your parents.

5. It is NOT true that you can't vote Democrat if you registered Republican.

6. It is NOT true that you will not be allowed to vote if you lost your house through foreclosure

7. It is NOT true that Nov. 5th is voting day for Democrats. yes there are flyers out there that say this). Nov. 4th is the LAST day to vote.

8. It is NOT true that if you show up to vote and you have outstanding or unpaid parking tickets that the police will be laying in wait to arrest you.

9. It is not true that being a resident alien disqualifies you from voting. All citizens, naturalized or natural-born can vote.

10. It is NOT true that you have to fill out a provisional ballot during early voting. If your right to vote is challenged, ask them what you need to do to make it right, get the situation fixed and then return to the polls before the 4th. If things seem fishy, call 1-877-235-6226 to report it and get help.

11. It is not true that you need a special voting ID or your voter registration card to vote. Some states require a govt. I.D.

12. It is NOT true that you have to commit to residing in the state after graduation in order to vote in the state.

13. Voting "straight ticket" will prevent you from voting for your presidential candidate. Don't do it!

14. It is NOT true that students who live in dorms cannot vote.

15. It is NOT true that you can vote by phone!!! (

Not that you would be fooled but many are, so, inform them. Be confident and polite when you go to the polls. It is your right to vote and do not let anyone take that away from you. Normally everything goes smoothly and it is a thrill, so don't fret.

If you do not already know, check beforehand where you are to vote here. Just in case your identity is in question, bring multiple forms of identification: driver's license, passport, social security card, birth certificate, etc. Also, bring along a couple of letters mailed to your address with your name on it. Lastly, bring a camera to document shady business. I had mine!

Have fun!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doin' it Doggie Style - Happy Howloween!

Oh, how we torture our pets for our own amusement. But, costumed pets are so cute. What will you and yours dress up as this Halloween? My Loki is pictured as a "Geisha". Yep, she was pretty miserable posing for me. At some point she decided to try to eat the prop. Don't blame her, at least she found a way to amuse herself. Check out the video below to see how others have humiliated their "best friends".

For those interested in a more R-rated discussion of HO-loween, check out my vblog here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Whassup Commercial - Throwback and Change

Hey, for you oldies but still goodies, do you remember the Budweiser "Whaaaaassssuuup" commercial from 2000? Well, check out the new and improved 2008 version below.

Sad but true. Sad but true. VOTE for OBAMA!

Check out the original add below.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Salsa by the Lake

Here's yet another reason to love Oakland -- we have Oaklandish Salsa by the Lake. Once in a while Salseros bring a boom box out to Lake Merritt, blast some music and wait for the crowds to gather for some dancing. Organized by Isaac, pictured wearing "Cuba" tee, I was lucky to get the heads up about today's social gathering where I ran into friends and acquaintances I met at previous Bay Area clubs, dance halls, classes...

More often than most you meet someone really cool. On this perfect Oakland afternoon, I chatted with Gilberto, pictured wearing an aloha shirt, sharp blazer and winning smile, dancing with me. He was sitting alone, tapping his vintage Air Jordans, and smiling pensively. I asked him to dance and he coyly claimed he's not that good. But, if I know anything about dancing, I know the best dressed guy in the room is always the best dancer. I was not wrong. Gilberto cut the concrete with his smooth moves. I came to learn that his wife passed just ten months ago and he's tentative about returning to tango which they went to frequently before she passed. In his words, he was "looking for something to fall in love with again." Well, salsa is an excellent candidate.

Also present was my very cool and very hot salsa instructor, India. She was pleased to see me considering my salsa partner, Peter, and I took a break because of my bum knee and his busy schedule. I was happy to report we'll be picking things up with her again. Man, that woman can really shake her stuff. She's pictured in the black tank dancing with one of her former students, Eric, who she described as, "he's no longer a student, he's just a great dancer now." I dream of the day she says that about me.

Then there's Andrea, pictured in a white tank dancing with Kat. She's the one who told me about today's event. She's also a part of my Gold's Gym salsa crew. Our gym's top secret is we get the best salsa instructors in town. So far we've had amazing Cubanos, Yismari and Leyder; the awesome stylist, Seaon, and local favorite, Juan. So here's a quick shout out to them and their loyal followers/students.

I leave for you here some images of the salsa dancing and a video of the rueda de casino with Isaac as caller. In the future I'll review clubs, websites, blogs, and instructors for you curious folks. Salsa, I must say, is great great great!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Don't Kill Obama

At recent McCain and Palin rallies, audience members have screamed out, "Terrorist! KILL HIM" in reference to Obama. These sayings were met with laughter by others in attendance and drew smirks from the Republican candidates themselves. When these incidences were brought up at the last presidential debate, true to McCain's nature, he did not fully take responsibility by condemning such outbursts but rather went into a rant about how Obama was being disrespectful to vets and mothers of soldiers that attended McCain rallies. Yeah, it makes so much sense. Like I said before, even when McCain was told of the historical wrongs of using the word, "gook," we was unapologetic.

In a time when some of our greatest Black leaders were slain, it's not remotely amusing to threaten Obama, not even in jest. The Black community is very worried about the welfare of our next president. They see assassinations very differently; for example, many African Americans believe JFK and Bobby Kennedy were slain because of their strong stance against racism and for civil rights. In general, it's not altogether paranoid to fear for Obama's life. The fact that no one would dare to or even want to for humane reasons, wish McCain dead, just says a lot of the supporters of each candidate.

I fear for us all.

Update: Here's another planned attempt on Obama's life. Not the first and certainly won't be the last. Keep safe, Obama.

Friday, October 24, 2008

President Palin

Palin has been under fire this week for two things: using tax payers' money to fund travel and accommodations for her family during "official" governor business; and receiving from the Republican National Party in excess of $150,000 for complete make overs for her and her family. It included shopping binges at Neiman Marcus and Sac's Fifth Avenue where the vast allowance went. The remaining $4,716.49 was absorbed by hair and make-up.

This is my thinking, it's great that it's legal to fund "first families" to join their mothers or fathers on trips extending beyond a day. It's an unhealthy society that does not account for family in our daily lives including work that require 24/7 attention. As for the $150,000 make over bill, heck, it's the prerogative of the RNP to spend where they feel fit. Unlike Michelle Obama who pulled off gracefully a "Narciso Rodriguez–esque" H&M dress, some people have to pay for style. Let's face it, hair scrunchies and mules are not the chicest accessories. Yes, it makes Palin a hypocrite because most hockey moms don't get such royal treatments. That's the rub, huh, Palin.

Anyway, if you want her to be your vice president and most likely president if anything were to happen to McCain, more power to you!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Futurama is My World

Oh, it was a good day when Comedy Central decided to relaunch my beloved, Futurama. Matt Groening (of Simpsons fame) and David X. Cohen created this Emmy-winning animated science-fiction comedy show which takes place in the year 3000. The antics of a delivery crew, including; a dude from the 21st century; a cyclops Rambo girl; a decrepit old mad scientist; a sleazy boozing robot; a shallow surfer girl; stick up the ass accountant; and incompetent doctor, is non-stop laughs. There are plenty of overt racial stereotypes but no one group is targeted so it's equal opportunity hazing. They reference current societal events and all sci-fi flicks that came before. Drool city for geeks.

Fox had canceled this brilliant show which ran from March 28, 1999 to August 10, 2003 (five seasons and 72 episodes). But, thanks to the fans that watched it in syndication on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim late-night schedule, bought up the DVDs like crazy and wrote all sorts of letters to anyone that would listen, Futurama was brought back in on cable TV 2008.

The series began its comeback in 2007 with four straight-to-DVD films. Comedy Central then brokered a deal with 20th Century Fox Television to syndicate the existing episodes and air the new films as 16 episodes of season 5. The "films," "Bender's Big Score" about time travel and "The Beast with a Billion Backs" about inter-planetary love already aired to my delight! You can never see an episode just once; there's too many cool references you can miss.

To get your geek on, visit Futurama's official site or their fan site.

Shame on Proposition 8 - Don't Hate on the Gays

I love Oakland, and I always thought Oaklanese can do no wrong; however, the other day I saw the most despicable thing in this city ever! Families (actually only one extended Pacific Islander family, from the looks of it) of color were out on my street corner with Proposition 8 signs saying, "Yes on 8 Protect Marriage". This proposition is about protecting marriage as much as the misleading prop 209 was about fighting for civil rights -- ZERO.

Prop 8, if passed, will take away the legal rights of same-sex couples to marry, a law that passed in California just months ago. I live in the lesbian capital of the Bay Area and across the bridge from the gay capital of the world. I cannot imagine the hate and ignorance that has reached these shores. I cannot believe such attitudes exist in Oakland.

Well, since I could not honk in protest (honking is perceived as supporting) when I saw the prop 8 supporters, I instead rolled down my window and yelled, "Shame on you, shame on all of you." Indeed, shame on anyone who would perpetuate lies in order to take away the rights of Americans.

As you can see from the video, the second day I got bolder and screamed, "don't preach hate, no on 8!" during a "drive by". The "Go Go Go!" comment was meant for the anti-prop 8 folks but came across sounding like I was telling my driver to speed away from angry chasing pro-prop 8ers. I just forgot to add, "punch it, Chewie."

Madness aside, understand the gay marriage law has nothing to do with what will be taught in the schools and what kind of government funding goes to churches. Nor does it mean your kids will turn gay or gays will attack your butts. Don't use the children and your own bigotry to justify undemocratic behavior. Get informed and vote NO NO NO on prop 8.

Aha! I thought it was odd that a Pacific Islander family or group would protest in Oakland for prop 8. Turns out the Mormon church invested heavily into the prop 8 campaign and called their congregations to publicly protest for 8. Coincidentally, due to the extremely effective Mormon missionary work in the Pacific, a good number of Islanders were converted. So, put 2 and 2 together and you have Pacific Islander families out in the streets of Oakland campaigning for prop 8. Read more about it here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Phone Banking for Obama

If you've wanted to help Obama get elected but didn't quite know how, be aware there are Obama Phone Bank Parties all over the nation right now. They are targeting calls to the "swing states". Click here for details of the parties and put in your zip to find out the parties closest to you. Organizers are even putting together carpools to drive supporters to those iffy states to make sure it moves towards the "blue" color. Click here for carpools. I'll be at a phone party calling Florida this weekend!


Japan Street Fashion Fall 2008

Fashion in Japan this season was eclectic.

But unlike years past when numerous styles of various periods would make one outfit, the fashion seemed much more defined.

I cannot decide if I prefer this well put together look versus the manic styles I'm use to.

Needless to say, it was a joy to observe and shoot pictures of.

The many looks included what I'd describe as:
renditions of the French maid look, rainbow cool, cosplay, urban edgy, good school girl, neo-punk, neo-bohemian, and neo-goth.

And not only the girls decked out; there were plenty of men abound with a hard case of style.

Most notably, there was the return of plaid for
Northern Exposure Chic.

Over all, the fashion in Tokyo was
hot hot