How do you pack for Buenos Aires? Wednesday, Nov 26 2008 

Forget for a moment that I’m about to leave for my first solo trip ever.  Forget that I’m about to go to a continent where I’ve never been, a country whose language I speak badly.  Forget that I’m about to cross the fucking EQUATOR.

I’m terrified of one thing — of being in a city that’s home to such gorgeous people.

Portenos — as Buenos Aires residents are called — are notorious for their vanity.  Women and men alike are known to work out obsessively, and plastic surgery is RAMPANT, especially when it comes to breast implants and liposuction.  And everyone is beautiful and Italian on top of that.

As a result, most women larger than a size eight have trouble finding clothing in their size.

HOW AM I GOING TO SURVIVE IN THIS CITY?!?!?!

I’m going to be the fattest person in the city.  Morbidly obese.

Well, I just packed.  I filled my usual little red carry-on that has been useful for a weekend in Vegas or two weeks across Europe — then put it in the slightly larger suitcase that Beth lent me.  The shopping in Buenos Aires is supposed to be fantastic and cheap, so I plan on doing all my Christmas shopping there.

My Buenos Aires wardrobe: all of my best things.  LOTS of black pencil skirts and black minis.  Retro black dresses.  A few unique items, like my gold and leopard-print tank top and my black-and-red Asian winged top.  My black-and-white Native American-patterned strapless dress and my crazy Cavalli dress, of course!

And the Vegas items: fluttery halter tops, black satin hot pants.  Black leggings.  Four pairs of black heels and one pair of black flats.  EVERYTHING is nice, trendy and/or fancy, down to sleepwear.  The ONE casual item is my “Barack of Love” shirt.  I can dress it up.  And a pair of jeans for STRICTLY emergencies.

Have I mentioned that it’s going to be 92 degrees when I land?  😀

I’m excited.  And nervous.  And I have to say, I am SO glad that I’m doing this instead of a trip to Europe.  I love that I’m getting out of my comfort zone.  And it’s going to be great — I’ve already been invited to Thanksgiving dinner with several couchsurfers!

Wish me luck!  Follow me on Twitter.  I’ll have my iPhone and will be updating often.

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Mike Huckabee is a fucking moron. Saturday, Nov 22 2008 

Appearing on The View this week, former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was asked about his views on gay rights and marriage equality.

His response?

“People who are homosexuals should have every right in terms of their civil rights, to be employed, to do anything they want. But that’s not really the issue. I know you talked about it and I think you got into it a little bit early on. But when we’re talking about a redefinition of an institution, that’s different than individual civil rights. We’re never going to convince each other…But here is the difference. Bull Connor was hosing people down in the streets of Alabama. John Lewis got his skull cracked on the Selma bridge.”

There is so much I could say.  How to even begin?

I would like to see you look Matthew Shepard’s family in the eye and tell them that LGBT people haven’t yet reached the violence threshold. I’d like to see you say that to Larry King’s family.  Tell that to all the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one to violence and hatred.

Gay-bashing happens everywhere.  It happens, it happens everywhere, and it’s often underreported. The FBI estimates that 16.6% of hate crimes in 2007 were motivated by sexual orientation bias.

And yes, it happens here in Boston, too, a very gay-friendly city in an extremely gay-friendly state.  There was a gay-bashing in the South End this August (which was massively underreported).

To even suggest that LGBT people haven’t been through comparable violence is completely untrue. That is one of the most moronic excuses I’ve heard yet.

A few other points for Governor Huckabee:

  1. Using violence as a means to measure who deserves and doesn’t deserve rights is fucking stupid.  Come on.
  2. Is it about redefining the institution of marriage?  Well, we’ve done that already.  When Barack Obama’s parents married in 1961, they wouldn’t have been able to marry in a third of the U.S. states because they were of different races.  The parents of our PRESIDENT were not allowed to marry!  Marriage was redefined throughout the U.S. to allow people of all races to marry, and rightly so.
  3. For all the religious reasons you give — and it’s fine if you’re serious about your religious beliefs within your religious community — there is a separation between church and state in this country, a separation that many don’t mind seeing blurred.

Someone needs to tell the truth.  You can hide behind it in your religion as much as you want.  But I have trouble believing most people who offer religious reasons because they pick and choose which areas of their religion to follow.

(For example, I have never seen or heard of an anti-abortion activist protesting invitro clinics. THOSE are where most of the embryos in this country are!  They are created, and they get thrown away!  Yet do you ever see anyone protesting these clinics, whether in person or through petitions or in government hearings?  Nope.  Never.

I’d like to add that I’m proud to have attended a college where Students For Life spent as much time protesting the death penalty as they did protesting abortion.  I respect their consistency.)

Tell the truth.  The thought of seeing two men kiss freaks you out.  And you can’t say that without looking like an asshole, so quite a few of you say it’s for religious reasons.  Never mind that the same religious book you follow forbids eating cheeseburgers, wearing clothing of mixed fibers, touching women who may be menstruating, and shaving your face. Never mind that the same religious book insists on the stoning of adulterers.  Never mind that it sanctions slavery.

The fact of the matter remains that the gay rights movement is the civil rights movement, just a few decades later.  And same-sex marriage WILL become legal in every state.  It will take us time to get Utah and Oklahoma, but it WILL happen.  It WILL happen.  And a generation from now, people like Mike Huckabee are going to look like George Wallace.

Get happy. Monday, Nov 17 2008 

I had a great day today.  Following my terrible Saturday and an all-around tough week, I needed a good day.

It was simple, but fun: Sars and I took a long walk (to her chagrin, in the cold weather) through Symphony and Northeastern before arriving at Tremont 647 for brunch.  (Very good brunch — I had gingerbread pancakes with lemon coulis and walnuts, while she had biscuits and gravy.)

We then walked through the South End and up to Marshall’s with the goal of buying home stuff.  I bought her a bust of Beethoven that she really liked.  We made a few stops down Newbury — H&M, American Apparel, CVS, the hardware store, Urban Outfitters.

We then got home and started CLEANING like CRAZY.  God, we needed it.  We’ve neglected cleaning our place, but now it’s sparkling.  For the most part.

And I did cut my finger pretty badly — I sliced it open on a piece of jagged tile — but hopefully it will be better within a few days.

I also sent out several couchsurfing requests to people living in Buenos Aires, and I’ve got a bunch of people to hang out with when I go!  I’d love to have a packed social schedule when I arrive.

It’s all about keeping a packed schedule.  I feel myself getting depressed again when I’m sitting on the couch or surfing the web, especially when it comes to politics, because there is NO NEWS anymore!!  I am going to have something planned for every night this week.  That will hopefully help.

Election Withdrawal Saturday, Nov 15 2008 

I haven’t gone grocery shopping in about a month.  That means that there are days when I eat only sunflower seeds.  That’s actually true.

The grammar blog?  I couldn’t care less.

I can’t tell you the last time I spent time with my core group of friends.

And I’m not even looking forward to my Buenos Aires trip in less than two weeks.  Part of me is even thinking about canceling it, saving the money.

There is only one thing that I get excited about: checking CNN.  Checking the Huffington Post.  Reading Newsweek.  Going home and turning on MSNBC for a few hours.

I should be at my friend’s birthday in Connecticut and here I am, at 5:30 PM on a Saturday, still in my pajamas, cruising YouTube to relive the best moments of the election.  I’m not there, and I should be there, and this event will likely brand me an unconscionable asshole in my friends’ eyes, and I don’t care.

Then it hit me.

I’m in election withdrawal.

I’m sure this is normal and expected for someone who was as invested in the election as I was.  But it’s so hard to dig myself out of this vast unhappiness.  Under normal circumstances, I have occasional bouts of depression that I slug through and get through within a few days.  Now, it’s nearly constant.

This isn’t right.  I’ve been spending every weekend like this — never getting dressed, never eating, doing nothing all day, barely even going out to clubs.  (Oddly, I do a LOT more socializing during the week than on the weekend, particularly with coworkers, and it usually ends up with me consuming far too much alcohol.)

At the moment, I’m trying to convince myself to make the five-minute walk to Starbucks.  It’s so difficult.

I know what I have to do.  I have to plan my day, get OUT there, do something different.  But it is so DIFFICULT.  I can’t describe it.  If I could, I would plan an entire day out in blocks, a new and crazy activity for every hour.

But unless something is forcing me to get up, I can’t.  I can’t get up.

President Obama Wednesday, Nov 5 2008 

I can’t remember the last time I was this emotional.

I was fine through most of the day.  Well, to be accurate, I was shaking through most of the day.  I ate nothing but chocolate and free tall coffees from Starbucks.  My stomach ached, my eyes were wide, and I couldn’t stop the nervous tremors in my fingers.

Tonight, Beth and I watched the returns together.  And even though the results seemed bad at first — take the early results of Virginia, which heavily favored John McCain — I was normal.  I was average.  I smiled, reviewed the results methodically and calculated in my head, figuring out every possible path to victory.

As soon as we won Ohio, I knew we had it.  The math made it impossible for John McCain to win every other way.

I opened a bottle of champagne — Beth and I had to Google how to do it correctly — and I danced around my tiny kitchen, singing, “President Obama!  President Obama!  President Obama with a baseball bat!”  I was happy, but calm and collected.

We won.

I knew it.

But it didn’t hit me until 11:00 PM on the dot, when the west coast closed its polls and Wolf Blitzer promptly announced that Barack Obama had won the presidency.  I started sobbing — and laughing at the same time.  There’s only one other time that I can remember doing that.  (Winning Dramafest for Le Bossu after the pre-lims when we were sure we would be eliminated in the first round for the first time in years.)

I couldn’t stop crying.  I couldn’t stop laughing.

I had to grab a dish towel.

All the work I had done for Obama converged upon this moment.  Every call I made to New Hampshire paid off as we won New Hampshire early in the night.  Every call I made to Ohio paid off as we clinched the presidency with the win in Ohio.  Every call I made to Virginia was magnified as we won Virginia.  And of course, after calling Washington, I was thrilled that Washington went blue, even though that was no surprise.

I also made calls to Indiana.  We’re still waiting for the official results on Indiana, but of the four states remaining (Indiana, North Carolina, Montana and Missouri), I think it’s the likeliest to go blue.  It has a VERY slim Obama margin with 98% of precincts reporting.

Every call I made, every word I wrote, every bit of merchandise I bought, the incredible New Hampshire rally I attended.  Every dollar that I donated — $310.00 in total.  More than anything, every word that I read, and every word upon which I obsessed.  The newspapers, the blogs, the magazines.  Watching leading conservatives David Brooks and George Will and Christopher Buckley gradually move over to Obama, in particular, was a moving point in history.

It all converged in this night.

Barack Obama is my president.

In the beginning, I supported him wholeheartedly but assumed that Hillary would be the nominee.  Well, it didn’t happen that way.  History will tell that Hillary Clinton should have run in 2004 and John McCain’s was the best candidate for 2000.

This was Barack Obama’s time.

I always believed in him, and it moves me so deeply to think that my wonderful country has elected him president.  We MADE this happen!

Part of me wants to be juvenile, especially towards those who believed every ridiculous rumor about Obama, those who deserted his campaign, and even my black friends who swore up and down that a black man could never be elected president.

That’s not necessary.  We have seen the good in Barack Obama — we know that he is the best person to deal with the financial crisis, fix our healthcare system and win the war in Iraq.  The number-one issue for me is still America’s stature in the world, and I know that Barack Obama will do his best to repair the relations that were frayed by our current president.

I am so happy.  I’m still in the laughing/crying phase, more than two hours later.  I imagine I’ll be like this for the next few days.

I plan to be retro and bring back the trend of having a framed picture of the president in our home.  Not FDR, not JFK, but Barack Obama.

I am so proud that he is our president-elect.

This is it. Monday, Nov 3 2008 

Tomorrow is election day — the most important election of my lifetime.

It’s going to happen.

It’s actually going to happen!!!!!

I think I’d like to slightly tweak my predictions from before.

Obama wins 352 electoral votes, including Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, either Indiana or Missouri, and either North Dakota or Montana.

McCain wins 186, including North Carolina, Arizona, either Montana or North Dakota and either Missouri or Indiana.

Percentage: 52%-47%, with 1% for third party candidates.

I am nervous.  But also, I’m so happy.  I’m so proud of the candidate behind whom I threw my support at the very beginning.  This is my generation’s Kennedy, my generation’s FDR.  But beyond that, there has never been a candidate before like Barack Obama.

Let’s get out and VOTE tomorrow!  I’ll be at my polling location — Boston University — at 7:30 AM!