06 October 2008

worldwide travels

these are the countries that i've been to...

i think i will make this a permanent top post, and just update below. you know, i really need to get a job that will let me float around the planet, because let me tell you, doing all of this on your own dime does in fact get expensive.

i have included three places that i have been under the age of 16; but all of the others have been after i left my first high school. rolling stone, not gathering moss, i suppose.

i'll update this when necessary.

you cannot be serious

so, i made the mistake of watching parts of the vice-presidential debate on a day that i actually had work to do.

i followed that mistake up by going to the alumni website of my high school and looking on the political fora.

for people reading this, i went to high school in central pennsylvania. i currently live in south africa. there may be a causal link between the two.

before i watched the bits and pieces [ok, the first 20 minutes or so] of the vice-presidential debate, i watched the saturday night live mockery of it. and yes, gwen ifill should not have been the moderator for the very reasons that snl pointed out. [that said, she also references colin powell in her book, but really. come on?]

i really didn't think that palin had done the things that her doppelganger had implied on SNL. but then i watched some clips from david letterman, who, if you haven't heard, is on some serious bitch shit after mccain stood him for when he "suspended" his campaign. that was the first sign of "are you serious?"

and then i saw parts of the debate, the real actual live debate, and spent most of the rest of the day in the fetal position. someone tell me why this election is so close. oh, right, he's a sekrit muslim ayrab nigger. because, you know, that's what it is. anyone who tells you differently is LYING.

i can't understand the american public's desire to have a president "just like them" um, no. i want my president to be ten times smarter than *me* [this requires effort.] i want him to be able to get by in at least four of the six official languages of the united nations so he can sit down and have a chat with various leaders, man to man without even interpreters in the room. i want him to be able to find the most capable people and line them up for cabinet positions.

now, with the above paragraph, note that i didn't say "for what kind of policies". if you want good, or evil, that's irrelevant. just give me COMPETENT. or, put another way, with the bush presidency, you still had to respect cheney's gangsta. but palin? um, no. not going to happen.

i just had a nice long talk with my favorite aunt [and i've got 8 of them that are still living, so i can pick and choose] and she doesn't want to vote for obama either, for many of the same reasons that i don't. [the short version, this is 1976 all over again.] she's going to vote. she lives in delaware, too, which is allegedly solidly blue due to the whole joe biden thing.

it's funny -- while she told me to make sure that i voted, she also said that furriners have no place telling americans how to vote [yup, she said furriners, just like that]. "all of their people are living here, and you don't see us running and diving and swimming to live there." she says this with zero trace of irony, in a mixture of english and spanish. i was amused, but i got her point.

it's a shame that condi was NSA during the first bush term. she would have been by far the better veep candidate for mccain -- or she would have run her own self. i'd have voted for condi. srsly. she'd have to explain why she didn't finish the course of invisalign, though.

i'm just tired -- and something else that is tiring me is the mouthbreathing contingent on the alumni website for my high school. ok ok ok, maybe mouthbreathers is too strong.

just dealing with them is reminding me of the unwillingness -- not inability, although i'm sure there's a lot of that there, too, but sheer unwillingness -- to critically think about this election. now, as some of you know, i've picked apart both obama and mccain on a few websites, but since the freepers from my highschool only choose to pick on obama, that leaves me with just mccain to pick on.

and, of course, i become accused of being biased and want to vote for him because i'm black. um, no. sorry, it's *because* i'm black i don't want to vote for obama. and because you're not black, you don't understand why. [my aunt, in less than a minute "i don't want to vote for obama because they're going to blame this man for everything and we'll never get a black president that can do things." my aunt doesn't really read in english and has thus not seen any blog posts i have written, yet has basically said something i have felt for a while now. hm.]

it's 4am. i need to sleep. i just can't beleive this shit. ugh.

04 October 2008

"working class" white people.

one of the things that i actually like about working class white people worldwide is that because, for some reason or other, everything doesn't go the way that it's supposed to go for white people that you see on teevee [hell, even roseanne won the lottery eventually], they tend not to hold their tongues and often say what they really feel. [not unlike black folks. hm.]

on the web community of people from my first high school, there are people who continue to insist that they are not against obama because he's black, and there is almost no one against obama because of his race.

we'll pretend that the many, many miles of newsprint in both liberal and conservative newspapers that have completely debunked that idea do not already exist.

but video is far more powerful than any bit of newsprint or cleaned up television interview.

check this out:

sadly, she seems reasonably well informed and seems to know shit that most of the rest of us don't know. maybe the black helicopters landed in her town and told everybody stuff or something.

03 October 2008

le vieux, c'est le nouveau.

what's old is new.

i dunno where that title came from; i've just been thinking about random things lately.

something random that just popped into my head is that how much i really miss my old passport.

the picture in that passport broke the ice with customs and immigration agents around the world, because i stopped sporting a curly fro about two weeks after i had the photo taken. since then, i've either been bald or plaited or balding. but passport photos stick with you for ten years, and whenever i travelled... people just stared. and giggled.

and then they let me in their country. [i actually ended up going on a date with the guy who stamped me in the weekend i arrived in johannesburg in november 2001.]

however, the antepenultimate time i used this passport almost turned out to be a disaster. i popped to the dominican republic for a few days, as you do, because i wanted to be out of dc for memorial day weekend. that's "black gay pride" weekend, for those that don't know. now, i'm extremely proud to be black, and can't imagine myself to be anything but gay [even though i can say with some certainty that i've been with more women than most of the "straight" men reading this], but at the risk of sounding homophobic [and to be honest, i don't particularly care if i sound homophobic, but still], i'm not a big fan of large numbers of feminine and effeminate men in one place. sorry. that's just not me. so during the estrogen invasion, i normally leave town.

so, like i said, i popped down to santo domingo for a few days to just chill. i get to passport control and the lady says, "lo dudo" which means "i can't believe this mofo is trying to come into the country on some doctored shit" of course, she lets me in, doesn't say anything to me, and i go off to my hotel. she was asking me all types of fucked-up questions, too. i knew my hotel had a bit of a reputation for being where rich westerners picked up young locals, but it was cheap, so that's why i was staying there. instead of writing the name of the hotel down to get out of her disapproving gaze, i had written down the street address of the apartment building across the street and said i was going to visit some friends from high school. saying [$HOTELNAME] would have been saying "i'm coming down to the island to have some hot sex with lots of random bredrins" -- which is what i was there to do, but this heifer didn't need to know it.

anyway, a few days later, i go to leave the rep dom, and i get pulled over and taken into a small room, where my mother, race, and family are being insulted, but in spanish -- dominican spanish -- and my spidey sense says that i should pretend that i don't understand them. then the guy says to me in english that there was an issue that they thought my passport was fake. i already knew this, but i turned into super gringo. but it was a really bad time to show that i could speak a little bit of spanish.

i guess it would have been good if i spoke spanish like a gringo or a gallego instead of, well, with a clearly caribbean lilt. i would still be in jail today if i had done the latter.

but yeah, i'm glad for the digital passports. i'm not feeling the rfid ones, though [mine isn't, but my mother's new one is.]

still catchin up; responding to racial foolishness...

i have had a really rough week. work on top of work on top of work. i think i might end up solving many of my financial woes due to a) the world's refusal to let the dollar fail [much in the same vein that the US congress is not going to let GM fail ] and b) the political shenanigans here in south africa. when i got to this place nearly 4 years ago, the exchange rate was flirting with R5.85 to the dollar. when i bought my house 2 years ago, it was roughly R6.25 to the dollar. at the moment, as in, as i've started this missive, it's 8.5 to the dollar. this means that selling my house is a bad idea at the moment, but it also means that i should be able to pay my mortgage. with my breakup, it's been hard to do over the past 12 months or so.

a lot of time i spend "working" i'm actually looking at a lot of other blogs, and making comment on various issues around the world as well as those pertaining to both south africa, and latin america. in fly brother's blog, i came across an answer in ernest's post that was so spectacularly full of fail i just sat and stared. i mean, this man was just full of the dumb if he believes what he has written. and if he really does believe what he has written then i can pretty much outline his family history without guessing all that hard. this guy, while a "black englishman" [which, by the way, in these parts is one of the greatest insults you can hurl at someone] has basically drank somebody's line that britain is all one good multi-culti kum-ba-ya. [or, if you like, hillary clinton's lambasting of obama's cheeriness -- i heard that obama himself was cracking up over that.]

it was a short response, but it was so full of fail that i just can't let it go. perhaps it's because, being a dark-skinned black person who actually likes to be around dark-skinned black people that i've gotten into a lot of SHIT while living in europe. since i'm harping on this dude's britishness, i'll talk about the UK. so, the first time i live there by myself, which is in the early 90s for about 8 months or so -- i went back for nearly 3 years later on -- i had just gotten out of uni, and a few weeks after i'd gotten there, i had a hot zambian boyfriend [who is still there and for some reason now sounds more english than the queen], and two really cool mates [one black and kenyan-born, french-raised british citizen, and the other a black nigeria born and raised british citizen] who ended up dating each other. i lived in a trendy flat that was practically in zone 1* at age 22. imagine. hell, all of us were 22 at the time. now we're all middle aged. blah.

so we're heading back to my krib from stoke newington where chukwu lived, we get pulled over by the entrance to the rotherhithe tunnel. chuki's tax disc had expired. the police took that moment to try to cause DRAMA. chuki and sanj were just sitting there, taking it. mwangi was in the country on fake papers so he wasn't saying shit. i was like, "blah, i had to put up with this shit in france and i have to do it here, too? um, no." i said to the officer in my best american accent, which is an effort when i've been drinking: "please don't tell me this is going to be another black boys on mopeds incident. because that would just not be cool" they turn paler than i thought possible [white people in the british isles are so translucent that even their halfies come out damn near white] get a *good* look at my passport and let us all go. i was furious. i hate having to go nuclear, but i only save it for the police.

[and believe it, my black ass did this like a champ in brazil, despite not needing subtitles to watch either cidade de deus or gabriela, cravo e canela. i *only* spoke to the police in english in brazil, even if they couldn't understand me. fuckers are still shooting brothers for sport. but this is about england, so i'll save that rant for later.]

anyhow, back to "i'm a black englishman". lolwut. now, okay, i know people who refer to themselves as such, but not in to the degree of pomposity that is so naked in his response. i mean, if he had said something analogous to the reason that why mark lewis-francis chose not to run for jamaica in the olympics [before he got injured], i could understand that. but there was none of that. [mark lews-francis is, like another one of my exes, from wolverhampton. jamaican while in the uk, british while outside of it. hm. i have another story to tell...]

i would have been willing to let "paul" off the hook, had he not continued with the stupidity. to wit:

Furthermore, the thought that hailing a taxi on a London street would be easier if I asked a white female companion to do it would be easier, seems preposterous to me. Maybe this says a great deal about the difference between African Americans and black British.

say what? you're kidding, right? my body cannot begin to contain the lolwuttery and general state of fail that you are presenting to me.

and, honestly this:

I just assume I will be charged more because I'm a European.

is "i speak spanish like a gallego." that is what it says to me. s00? ernie? folaji? que opinan? i mean, if you were a new yorker of colombian parentage or, as e-money did, faked the san andres funk, your accent would probably be much, much different. shit, you still could *fake* it. really. "my mother is colombian but my father is gallego," or the other way around. so yeah, it's a fair assumption to make. but, to be honest, and i hope you are really thinking about it -- because your whole demeanor in your post is totally giving off the "i'm a european, and i'm in a third world country; i'm better than them." it reminds me of this "brother" that i had to school when i was on holiday in gambia.

i could be wrong. but, like i said, your choice of words? i don't think i am.

i mean, either you're in denial or you were, how should i put this, not really raised around black folks in england -- which is fine, but like i said, i'm guessing the latter. from from what your response is giving me.

i mean, i've had more than a small number of incidents in england, france and spain over my black ass being in the "wrong" place or going to the "wrong" neighborhood. [i actually gave up my french passport, partially in protest. BIG MISTAKE, but anyway.]

but, the post that ernesto writes that inspired all of this? i can relate to it -- while living in england. in most of the jobs i had while i lived in the uk [or france. or south africa. or holland.], i was the only black male, if not the only black person, who was working in the building that was not CLEANING it. and in my first job there, there were just no other non-white "staff" -- now there were non-white faculty, and there's a reason that people called my place of employment "School of Patel" but negroes on the payroll? it was just me. hell, even when i worked in washington, dc, i was one of only two black males at my law firm that wasn't working in the mail room when i started -- and depending on the kind of day i was having, i would either politely or impolitely tell some dumb white person that, well, just because i'm in the mail room filling out a slip for some copies to be made does not mean that i work in the mail room. the mailroom guys ended up barring me from the place, for fear i would end up fired. people were wondering, especially in washington, why i would be so willingly underemployed for my education level. [the answer: legal secretaries with 10 yeas of experience at big law firms get paid more than college professors throughout the dc metro. i don't seek status; just show me the money.]

but, overall i was okay with workplace or academic situations of being the "only one", considering that for most of my life, i'd almost always been the only black male in my academic classes: a notable exception was my chemistry class in tenth grade, which had this guy in it -- but he was the only other black male in that any of my academic classes in three of my four years of high school, and he was the only black male in his graduating year who was college preparatory. university? no other black people in any of my non-gym classes until i was a SENIOR. but i grew up in a world [ie related to] of a lot of accomplished black people; seeing them when i got home for vacations or reunions was just as normal as not seeing another black face in my classes. [the first time in my life when i *didn't* have a black primary care physician was when i moved to cape town 4 years ago. go fig.]

so i'm not saying it's just a UK thing or a latin america thing. i'm kinda used to there being no other black people around in the intellectual circles that i ran in -- but my social circles more than made up for the lack of color. [which is where i think pablo -- or his parents -- has dropped the ball.]

oh, and to the people whose blogs i've been peeping lately... welcome. i'm not normally this militant. i'm usually worse. lol.

anyway. i think i'll stop there -- there is some work i want to crank out before i go to bed.

*thames tunnel mills. in the attached photo, that is the building on the right. second to right is the mayflower pub, which, as its name implies, is the original mooring for the mayflower. yes, that mayflower.