Sunday, August 30, 2009

We're in Arizona!

it is finally complete. well, actually it has been for almost a week now. julie & i have made our big move to the valley of the sun, phoenix!

we loaded up the penske moving truck at our old house in the nashville area, put my civic on the trailer, and made the 4 day journey via I-40 west to phoenix. our 1st stop was little rock, arkansas. we visited our friends jay & karen and their son quin right after a deluge of rain and had a great (but too short) time visiting them. after catching some shut-eye in little rock, we began our new day's journey that would end with a stop in elk city, oklahoma. never heard of it? that's ok, we hadn't either. after 8 hours of driving, as long as it had a hotel that allowed pets (since we weren't going to leave nashville without our cats panini and squigs), we were ok with the humble town of elk city. the downtown reminded us of the 1950s, with it's small storefronts and marquee theatre.

the next day we drove another 8 hours, which included my 1st time experiencing the state of texas. to me, it was a little exciting. since i had never seen it before. for julie and her parents (who were kind enough to fly to nashville & help us with the drive to phoenix), it was a little dull. we slept that night in albuquerque, new mexico. we were tired of driving by this point, but we were glad that we only had 1 more day left before arriving in phoenix.

we drove through more desert (which was pretty much the scenery we experienced since oklahoma), but after we entered arizona (yay!) we made a slight detour to the painted desert in northern arizona. one word: wow. the desert can be beautiful, and it is there. we drove through much of this national park, and at the end walked amongst the petrified wood. the painted desert marked the end of our 3.5 day relationship with I-40 west, since after that we used a few different county roads to head south to phoenix. it was a bit tricky for julie's dad to drive the penske truck (22 feet plus the trailer with my car in tow) through these 2-lane roads, but in the end he got it through and this exhausted crew of 4 was happy to see julie's parent's home at the end of the day. phoenix, here we are!

we spent the next couple days unloading the truck and generally arranging things. needless to day, it's a relief to have the big move done and to be (for the most part) settled in. it will take me a while to adjust to the heat. as of this week-end, the past 25 days were all over 100. julie & i also now have our official arizona driver's licenses and license plates. she happily purchased an arizona state univeristy plate, and i purchased a personalized plate celebrating my favorite football club, ajax amsterdam.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

the debate is getting violent

unless you've been hanging out in a cave lately, i'm sure you've noticed the debates that have been going on across the country about the healthcare reform president obama is proposing.

i don't know where you stand, but i am completely for healthcare reform. what that means to me comes down to several things:
  1. quality healthcare available to everyone, all the time. no exceptions.
  2. insurance providers that are care-based instead of profit-based
  3. no one gets denied coverage because the insurance considers the treatment "not medically necessary" or it's considered a pre-existing condition
  4. you have healthcare simply because you are alive, not because you have a job
i see it too often where i work where people are denied treatment for these reasons, and some others that are made up by health insurance providers as a method to deny coverage (that the patient is paying for) so they can increase their profits. i think healthcare is a human right, not a privilege only for those who can afford to pay for it out-of-pocket or for those who have jobs. you shouldn't have to be concerned about going bankrupt because of a complication during pregnancy or because you or your spouse gets cancer.

a lot of the talk about healthcare reform has been based on some people thinking the single payer option is "socialist". for that argument, i encourage you to look at this link. we're already close to it. i don't say that as a warning, but it's not as bad as people think. especially when i read a thread like this one on reddit that has people from iceland, france & canada chiming in about how incredible their healthcare systems really are. the US has the one of the worst healthcare systems out of all the developed nations. and we claim to be the best country to live in? if you're healthy, white and male...that's very true.

it's become really obvious to me that most (if not all) of the people who are protesting at these town halls and healthcare debates across the country fall into this category: white, middle class, and republican. most of them, from the points they bring up, have not even read the actual proposed bill and are only listening to people like rush limbaugh (and others who are only trying to push their own agenda) and are not listening to both sides. check out this interview with frank schaeffer (a christian activist) as he talks about this issue.

since a lot of this has become politicized, i encourage you to read the bill for yourself. i'm tired of hearing things like it has a "death panel" or other such nonsense. that was made up by a certain vice-presidential wannabe to get some press. be informed.

this post is my small effort to dispel some of the myths, etc that are being spread about this issue. i encourage you to honestly research this and what it could really mean for you. not based on fears or what someone else has told you. unless that someone else is an expert in this area.

EDIT: i just came across this post from Tim Wise on facebook about the whole healthcare as an equality issue.

Things to Ponder

A friend's facebook status had this quote on it:

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost. I am an unapologetic individual.

The philosophic side of me completely agrees!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ode to Phoenix

In less than two weeks, Brian and I will be moving to Arizona. We are thrilled to be moving and starting a new chapter in our lives. We are also excited to be closer to my family and their love, encouragement and support, although we aren't excited about Jay and Joely and Jalen moving to OK rather soon after we arrive. We do know this is a good and exciting chapter for them in their lives as well. We will DEARLY miss them.

As Brian and I have been physically and mentally been preparing for the move, we have been making a mental list of all of the things we are excited to see, do, experience, etc. upon our arrival in Phx.

Here is a short list of those things in no particular order:

  • being close to my family, especially my grandparents
  • reuniting with old friends and making new ones
  • being in the desert climate
  • being in the "west" where we can find solidarity with those who have more progressive views of life than the south
  • attending ASU football, Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona Cardinals, and maybe MLS games
  • showing Brian all of the houses I lived in while growing up
  • showing Brian the different schools I attended
  • attending performances by the AZ Ballet and Phx Symphony
  • having a strong support system
  • spending time with my best friends
  • spending time with my siblings
  • swimming in my parents' pool
  • exploring various parts of AZ
  • exploring other parts of the west such as San Diego, San Fran, Anaheim, Portland, Seattle, Vegas
  • taking Brian to Disneyland- the happiest place on earth and IMHO, much better than Epcot
  • spending time in Sedona again
  • hot air ballooning in Sedona
  • helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon
  • escaping the humidity of TN
  • riding the light-rail
  • going to SupperThyme/Dinner-a-Fare
That's all for now. We're counting down the days!!!

Picking Cotton

I recently read this book and was captivated by the story of ultimate forgiveness and justice. It's an amazing story about how one own's perception can be self-deceiving and how grace and persistence can be redeeming.

One very small part in the book talks about when the prisoner befriends a small cat for a while. While it breaks my heart to hear of the fate of this kitten, it also makes me think of a story I heard about on Oprah. Glenn Close helps support a program where puppies are trained by inmates to become assist dogs to wounded soldiers. The dogs not only learn crucial skills but the hope and encouragement and love to those who are often told that they are unworthy and lost causes. Amazing.

Aug. 6, 1946

Reflecting on this day...


... to Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor. I am pleased that the senate confirmed her nomination although it was to be expected that all but 9 of the republicans voted against her. It sounds like the republican party is losing many of the hispanic voters as well. Esp. Sen. John McCain (Rep. AZ). I'm not excited about him being my senator again. Read more here.

...and on a related note

this, my friends, is why i love the interwebs. i love learning about new things, especially when it comes to music. and especially, especially when it's about some long-forgotten part of music.

i came across this post this afternoon. it's about the blues before it became, well, the blues. it talks about how white america stepped in, with the influence of rock & roll, and changed the course of the blues forever. it talks about the original intention of the blues not being something you can dance to, or even sing along to. it was something to listen to. to take in and ponder. to absorb, and make part of the very fabric of your being.

i think this is why i am drawn to the blues. that even today it still maintains that essence of pondering life's deeper meanings. that's something most of today's music isn't able to do.

on a somewhat related note (but not entirely), i also came across this video of ray charles doing a cover of johnny cash's "ring of fire". it has ray's touches to it, and is a nice little display of his many talents.

Monday, August 3, 2009

blues legends

sirius/xm sent me an email today announcing the launch of their youtube channel. i've been a subscriber of satellite radio for a few years, and i enjoy the music, news and comedy it provides. in my opinion, it's a lot better than local radio. not to mention that it provides the american public the only soccer radio shows the U.S. has to offer in world soccer daily and the football show.

as i looked over some of the videos, i came across a couple that immediately caught my attention, 2 videos involving blues legends buddy guy and b.b. king. as a music geek, i love interviews like this. i love hearing the behind the scenes stories about the life of musicians, especially coming from icons like b.b. king and buddy guy.