November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day 2008

I was re-reading some of my older posts the other day, and found a piece that summed up my feelings this Thanksgiving Day. While the names have changed (as have the circumstances of my current life) I thought it worth editing a little and re-posting today.

Life in Chesapeake has been good. I can't believe it's been six months since my exodus from country life in Toano. My work here and the volunteer things I do on the side keeps me out of trouble. My new friends here and my work family make all things that transpired this past year more palatable...

My children, two in Miami (30 and 28) and two in Richmond (22 and 20), are my legacy. They are each challenging in their own way. Some talk to me regularly, some don't. I am thankful that they are mine, and hope that they all know how much I love them...

My Mother and two brothers (and their respective families) who I don't speak to enough, are always in my thoughts. My Mom is my inspiration and more than likely is where I got my optimism from. Thanks Mom, I love you! Thank you Skip and Pat, I know you have had to deal with alot from your older brother these past years, I love you guys, your wives, and my nieces and nephew...

To my new found Pop and his family in the land down under, I am glad you came to visit, I am glad you have someone special in your life, and I am extremely glad to know you!

To my blogging and HROC friends: You all have made my journey this past year so enlightening. It is so nice to know that complete strangers can connect and impact the lives of each other in such a positive way sometimes... What a lucky man I am to know all of you! Thank you for your input, your comments and your support of "My New Life" and me personally...

You know I am not much into the "prayer" thing, but I do send my best wishes and thanks. This video kind of says part of how I feel towards you all (Celtic Woman's The Prayer):

There are many others in my life that have supported me and continued to care for me through all my ups and downs. To all of you: Thank You!

I will be thinking and thanking everyone for a wonderful year and life, as I spend this Thanksgiving Day...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Over and "Out" from Chesapeake, Virginia, USA

November 21, 2008

My First Snow in Chesapeake

I woke up a little late this morning. As I was doing the morning routine and started the coffee, went in to relieve the overnight bladder, turned on GMA, then opened the blinds in the living room, I realized it was snowing outside!

My first snow living down here. I am excited and I love snow.

Mind you it wasn't sticking to anything and it phased from a sprinkle to snow off and on, but it was beautiful. I went out on to my front porch and just took it all in...

This summer and fall reminds me a lot of the first year living in Virginia, back in 1999. I was told by most of my colleagues at Circuit City (the company that relocated me from Miami) that it rarely snowed in Richmond, and when it did, it rarely lasted long. The summer that year was hot and humid and the fall very short lived, not unlike the seasons we just experienced. That winter became the most extreme one in years. The first snow was in mid November (sound familiar?) and the unusual thing was that it stuck AND accumulated. The whole city seemed to close down for three inches of snow. And that was just the start...

We had more accumulating snow, two ice storms, sleet, and freezing rain that year than we have had any year since. I got a taste of winter and snow that first year that I actually enjoyed and kind of expected from that point forward... Each winter since has been a little different with a lot less precipitation. Although I have also moved closer to the water over the past few, first from Richmond to Williamsburg, and then from the "burg" to Chesapeake, so I suspect the chance of a "white Christmas" will be somewhat diminished.

None the less... We got snow this morning and I loved it!

Over and "Out" from Chesapeake, VA

November 20, 2008

The Prop 8 Song

I am not all that fond of rap, but listen to the words:

Over and "Out" from Chesapeake, VA

November 17, 2008

Join the Impact in Norfolk

The Hampton Roads folks did their part on Saturday!

11-15-2008 - 13 News - Join The Impact Protest - Downtown Norfolk from coolasbluefire on Vimeo.

Only wish I could have been there,
but someone had to mind the store!

Over and "Out" from Chesapeake, VA

November 16, 2008

In Someone Elses Words...

I know I have been slow to post in here, and no, that doesn't mean anything other than I have had little to say after history was made earlier this month...

I did receive an email from a friend, that after the nation wide protests that took place yesterday against Prop 8, seemed enlightening and appropriate:

"The California Supreme Court did in fact rule, for the first time, that Gays are not just another minority group, but a “suspect class” of minority. This status has only previously been extended to race, sex, and religious minorities. This means that discrimination against a “suspect class” triggers “Strict Scrutiny” on the part of the courts, and this analysis requires the government to come up with a “compelling state reason” for the discrimination. Historically, once a minority group has attained status as a “suspect class” discrimination against it has always been prohibited because the government has never been able to come up with a “compelling state reason” for the discrimination.

This analysis will survive Proposition 8. Gays are still a suspect class and the government will have to come up with a compelling state reasons to justify denying them fundamental rights including marriage.

This means several things; The court may rule that the California Constitution cannot be amended to take away fundamental rights from a suspect class by a simple majority vote. They may well decode that a constitutional convention is required to take away fundamental rights. This requires a two-thirds vote of the state legislature.

A writ has already been filed by a collection of civil right’s lawyers (moi included) seeking to obtain such a ruling. If so, the election could be tossed out and the homophobes left with having to get two-thirds of the legislature to agree to a constitutional convention.

Lots of luck.

This would mirror the Federal Constitution which cannot be amended without two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress plus ratification by three -quarters of all the state legislatures.

As you recall, the last gasp of the Federal Religious Right attempted such an amendment in Congress on this very issue and they failed to get even a simply majority of either the House or the Senate let alone a two-thirds majority.

So the argument goes: California’s Constitution must reflect the Federal one. It can only be amended to take away fundamental rights by a Constitutional Convention which requires two-thirds of the state legislature.

This battle is far from over.

Thanks (Joe) for forwarding me the above!

Over and "Out" from Chesapeake, VA

November 6, 2008

In my own words...

I am thrilled about the outcome of the Presidential, Senate, and Congressional elections... I just heard on the news that North Carolina's results are finally in as well!

In addition, the Hampton Roads OUTReach Center had two major events this past week... Carnivale, on Saturday night and our own Post Election Party on Tuesday... The turn out to both was HUGE!!! Much more support and participation than any of us ever anticipated. Thanks to all who volunteered and came out to join us...

We all had a blast, which is quite evident if you go through the pictures and videos on our website Who says you can't have fun while making money for a good cause?

Check out the calendar of events on the website if you missed the last ones... Oh, and yes that might be the beginning of a blond go-tee, not sure if it will last...

Over and "Out" from Chesapeake, VA

November 5, 2008

Change has come to America

This two minute clip says it all...

Over and "Out" from my corner of the United States of America!

November 1, 2008

Trouble at the Polls?

Election Day in the 2008 Presidential race is less than one week away and early voting is already underway in 31 states. I urge you to exercise your right to vote by going to the polls this year. Every vote matters. Voting early may help you avoid the lines on Election Day and your vote counts the same as voting on Election Day.

Believe in the importance of voting and believe that it makes a difference in the work for Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender-Questioning equality. People in elected offices make decisions that directly impact our ability to pass legislation that will protect you against discrimination and seek to decrease the violence our community faces. GLBTQ people, however, sometimes face discrimination at the polls. In order to help you exercise your right to vote, NCTE has reissued a Guide to Overcoming Voting Obstacles to help you overcome any barriers to voting that you encounter. The Guide also addresses additional challenges that some transgender voters face, such as racism, felony conviction and homelessness.

GLBTQ PEOPLE AND OUR VOTES. You have the right to vote! You are only required to provide enough information at the polls to prove that you are the person listed on the voting records; many states only require identification for first time voters. Note that in 13 states, there are more restrictive identification requirements, but even in these states, you should not be afraid to vote. If you live in one of these states (AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, MI, MO, NC, OH, PA, TX, VA), you can find specific useful information for your state from People for the American Way at

If your current appearance or name does not match the name listed on the voting records, bring copies of your current and old IDs, any court orders changing your name and gender, or physician letters. Do not provide more information than is necessary. You may be more comfortable voting early, where it is available, because the polls may be less crowded and you'll have more time to speak with poll workers about your particular situation. See the Guide to Overcoming Voter Obstacles for specific information and contact one of the hotlines below if you encounter problems.

YOUR RIGHTS Remember that you have the right to: Vote for any candidate you wish to. Get additional information, such as viewing a sample ballot and receiving instructions on how to vote, be assisted at the polls by the person of your choice if you need assistance in order to vote. Vote by provisional ballot if your name does not appear on the poll list or if you are denied a ballot; you are also entitled to written information about how to find out if your provisional vote was counted. A replacement ballot if you make a mistake or damage the ballot. Vote if you are in line when the polls close. In some jurisdictions, you are also entitled to written information and assistance in a language other than English.

VOTER REGISTRATION STILL OPEN IN SOME STATES. It's not too late for voters in some states. You can register at your voting place on Election Day in Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming. No voter registration is required in North Dakota, just go to the polls and vote. Registration is still open in Montana (deadline: November 3 or at the polls), North Carolina (deadline: November 1 at One Stop Voting sites), and Wisconsin (deadline: November 3 at 5 p.m.). Contact the Secretary of State's office in your state for additional information.

IF YOU ENCOUNTER A PROBLEM AT THE POLLS: If you are not on the rolls or are denied a ballot for any reason, request and complete a provisional ballot before leaving your polling place. The non-partisan Election Protection Coalition has a free hotline to provide you with assistance (administered by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law). 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-866-687-8683, Contact them right away for assistance. The Election Protection Coalition is made up of a wide range of groups including the NAACP, ACLU, American Bar Association, Asian American Justice Center, Common Cause, Native Vote, National Coalition for the Homeless, the National Council of Jewish Women, National Center for Lesbian Rights, United States Student Association and many more. If you have difficulties due to language barriers, contact: For assistance in Spanish, Llame a la línea de Protección de Elección: 1-888-Ve-Y-Vota or 1-888-839-8682, , administered by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund. Assistance in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Khmer is available from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund hotline at 1-800-966-5946. If you have difficulty voting because of a disability, you can contact 1-800-776-5746 (voice) and 1-800-781-4546 (TDD) for help and information. Another resource is: The US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Voting Section, can be reached at 1-800-253-3931. Please feel free to pass this resource along to anyone who may need it. Encourage your friends and family to get out and vote this year.

See you at the Polls Tuesday!

Over and "Out" from Chesapeake (near Norfolk) VA