This is Me Before I Come Undone

{March 14, 2016}   Parahoy 2! Videos, finally!

It only took two years, but Parahoy! was back!!!  Finally got all of my videos organized into playlists, and here we go!

Paramore Show #1:

Lights Show #1:


Paraoke Competition!

Lights Show #2:


Paramore Show #2:

Q&A w/Paramore:


Ping Pong w/Paramore:


Trivia w/Lights:

Musical Squares w/Paramore:


10 episodes of The L Word that put its importance before its imperfections

I wish I could explain to new baby dykes just HOW FUCKING EXCITING it was in 2002 when we heard (at Atlanta Pride, of course) that there was going to be A LESBIAN TV SHOW.  ABOUT LESBIANS.  OMG WHO EVER THOUGHT THERE WOULD EVER BE A SHOW JUST ABOUT LESBIANS?!?!??  Gay people couldn’t get married anywhere in the US yet… gay sex was still ILLEGAL in 13 states, for fuck’s sake!!!

Everything in this article is so true… especially the fact that no matter how much better the show could have been, the things it did do were groundbreaking and unheard of at the time, and no matter how much you liked or didn’t like the show, you WATCHED it… because EVERYONE ELSE was watching it (even if it was only so they could have ammo to talk about how much they hated it), and because there was undeniable excitement and this feeling that you were absolutely part of something historical and game-changing every time you went to a premiere party or a finale party or a lesbian bar or a big house party to watch each episode (because who on earth actually had Showtime?!??)  I don’t know if there ever has been or ever will be again a time when the entire lesbian community felt so… united? cohesive? familial?  I’m not sure.  We were all experiencing the same thing at the same time, across the country, across the world.  What else has ever done that??  When the show ended, despite how disastrous that final season was, I remember me and my best friend​ somberly trying to figure out what we were going to do with our Sunday nights from then on…

But yeah, despite everything else, the show attempted to tackle so many issues that it was absolutely impressive and exciting (remember when Tasha’s storyline actually happened right along with the momentum of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell getting repealed? Exciting.)  Not to mention that it attempted to tie together so many aspects of lesbian culture… all the way out to Olivia Cruises, Subaru jokes, and Tegan and Sara before anyone even knew who Tegan and Sara were (but I was SO fucking excited when they showed up in Season Three, Episode Eleven. Of course I remember which episode it was. Don’t look at me like that.)  Oh, not to mention the fact that Season Three STARTED with “So Jealous” playing in the background… and how exciting was that back in 2006 when no one knew who they were?!  Exciting.

I think I could probably have a million more thoughts and moments of nostalgia surrounding this… but for now I’ll leave it here, and with the statement that if you’re a baby dyke who hasn’t watched the L Word… you know what you need to do 😉

Tegan & Sara Dream Playlist, Last U.S. Con Tour, September 30 – October 19, 2008 – YouTube

HEYYYYY HOLIDAY WEEKEND!!!  Maybe it’s a good time to pull out a project I’ve been working on and am really excited about…

“Would you want to see a three hour Tegan and Sara show?  Oh my god, me too!!!

I made this playlist because Tegan and Sara’s brief three-week Con wrap-up tour in the fall of 2008 is my all-time favorite tour that they’ve ever done (with the spring of 2010 coming in second!)  Why, you might ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  B-sides.  Covers.  Demos.  New arrangements.  Switching up the set list every night.  Old (and I mean ACTUALLY old) songs.  Surprises.  Playing songs they SWORE they’d NEVER play again, because fans bugged them about it so much that they finally caved.  Guest appearances.  Matt Sharp.  Dallas Green.  Hunter Burgan.  Rambling incessantly without caring.  Fucking up songs without caring.  Saying the word “fuck” over and over without caring.  Swearing.  Swearing at each other.  Swearing at the audience.  Not censoring themselves for even a moment.  Talking about sex.  Talking about their sex lives.  Talking about their GRANDPARENTS’ sex lives.  Talking about drugs (often).  Talking about politics (even more often).  Talking about Sarah Palin (could we have gotten them to STOP talking about Sarah Palin?!)  Talking about being gay, and Prop 8, and homophobic fans, and about Dallas being their sperm donor (where I think Sara had one of the most inappropriate moments I think I’ve ever seen her have: “Too far?” “Too far.”)  And HUGGING.  Onstage.  At a time where they still pretty much still never touched each other!  This tour was only three weeks long, but I went to the first show and the last show and a couple in between and the whole thing can be described as nothing short of epic.  Thank god I skipped out of work a few times to go…  (And thank god I didn’t get fired.  And thank GOD I’m not in that job anymore.)

Seriously… if you make it through this playlist, drop me a line.  I want to see if anyone actually accomplishes this!  (And then, if you make it, tell me what you thought of it, so I can edit if necessary!)  A few songs are in there twice, I know… but it’s either because the songs deserved it, the versions were different, or the banter before or after was just too good to leave out.  😉  And after all… I didn’t think anyone would really mind!  Click below to see the “set list”… I can’t believe they alternated between THIRTY-FIVE SONGS during this short tour!  Some they only played once and then not again! Read the rest of this entry »


Randomly… going to see this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!  Seeing Tegan without Sara was something else… I think that’s only happened like two (?) other times, and once was not on purpose!  Augusten Burroughs is a funny guy, and watching Tegan banter with someone other than Sara was hilarious… she was on a roll!  She seemed to be terrified of having all of the attention on just her for once while loving it at the same time.  Such a trip.  If you haven’t watched this one, it’s essential.  😉  (And for all the people commenting, “Who is that dude? He needs to shut up!” …if it weren’t for him, this event would not have happened, since they were there because he had asked Tegan to write a song for his audiobook for “A Wolf At the Table!”  Soooo… get off it!)

…like I haven’t felt it in a while. I don’t think I realized just how excited I was for Tegan and Sara to play not just one, but two shows at the 9:30 Club, a mere mile and a half from my house. Usually, for me, traveling to far and interesting places with new and old concert friends makes seeing shows near where I live feel downright anticlimactic. (Like, what kind of show is that when I don’t even have to go anywhere?? Haha…) But this time, I guess, Tegan and Sara weren’t playing at the huge Warner Theater or the huge and awkward Lisner Auditorium or the huge and even more awkward DAR Constitutional Hall or the ever-huger (ever-more-huge?) Patriot Center or Merriweather Pavilion (twice) or even the smaller Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore. No, this time they were playing at the 9:30 Club, a place that has become like home to me since I moved to DC seven years ago. I swear, I’ve seen almost every band I’ve ever followed there, and then some, including Metric, Hanson, Amanda Palmer, An Horse, Steel Train, Kaki King, Foals, Bloc Party, Cold War Kids, Citizen Cope, CSS, and the list goes on… I’ve even started a list of bands I’ve seen there before they blew up and got too big to play there, including Gotye, Mumford and Sons, Fun, Death Cab (though that was kind of a small-venue tour for them). I’ve even seen friends play there, including The Pushovers, who got me a press/backstage pass so that for once I could be on the other side of the barricades and see what the artists get to see. But I walk into that place and it feels like home. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a show there and biked (or even walked) through the quiet streets on a post-show buzz back to my house. I’ve had my camera confiscated by their security so many times that it almost feels like a fond pasttime. (Almost.)

But I thought that I had lost the chance to see my favorite band of all time ever play there. I knew that they had played the 9:30 Club before I moved to DC in 2007 (as well as DC’s smaller well-known venue, Black Cat), and when they came to town right after I moved here and played at George Washington University’s Listner Auditorium, I figured that I would never get to see Tegan and Sara play in that awesome, intimate venue I loved. When they came back in 2010 and played Warner Theater, I lost a little more hope. And when they started revealing their ambitious plans for Heartthrob, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d missed that era here and would never see it again. I could travel the whole world over to see them play, and yet never see them in the one place that felt like “home.”


But I was wrong. When they released these past tour dates, I couldn’t believe it. And when DC was one of the only cities with two dates AND one of the only cities to sell out the shows, I was so proud of this place I love! Walking into the Canadian embassy, which is only two blocks from my office, I felt so excited to have them playing somewhere so familiar… and walking into the 9:30 Club that first night for the soundcheck, I felt positively giddy (which maybe you can tell from watching the soundcheck video, since I usually try never to talk while I’m filming and almost never talk TO them while they’re performing, but this time I just couldn’t help myself… *embarrassed*) It felt amazing. It felt like they might as well have been playing in the living room of my house. It felt like all of the pride I have for living in this awesome city and all of the excitement I always have for seeing them live kind of collided into this feeling of like wanting to drag them around like a little kid drags their parents to see their paintings hung up in the classroom in kindergarten, like, “Look! Look! This is MY place! And this is MY desk!! And these are MY things!!!” (I mean obviously I didn’t, but that’s the only way I can think to describe that feeling, haha.)


And then the shows were fantastic! Seeing them play at the Canadian Embassy, which I walk by almost every day but have never been inside of, was so cool (and being lucky enough to have a friend take me along after he won tickets was even better). Having them sing two songs to us while sitting on stools in the balcony of the 9:30 Club with just Ted playing an acoustic guitar to back them up because their bus had broken down and their equipment wasn’t set up yet, was maybe the most awesome, most intimate “performance” I’d ever been part of (even if it was an accident!) I got to introduce them to MY sister (who makes them look like elves) and to take a silly photo like the one on their tour merch and to see them try to crouch down in the front of a picture with Canadian military guys (why?? Did they think those guys couldn’t see over them?!) I was beyond excited, all over again, to be lucky enough to be front and dead center for my first time seeing them in this place. And they didn’t let me down, not at all. All of the shows on this tour have been exciting and energetic in a way that I feel they haven’t quite been in a while. Maybe it’s because it’s their first real headlining tour since they started touring for Heartthrob. Maybe it’s because Tegan and her super-confident awkwardness with the wireless microphone (and Sara’s apparent apprehension of her wireless microphone, lol) can’t fail to make anyone smile, even the friend I took last night who didn’t know any of their stuff. But it was great. Sara was on top of her inappropriate banter in a way that has been rare in the past few years. Even Tegan participated in the inappropriate banter, which is even more rare, haha. Tegan danced around like an idiot and totally knew it, which made it even better. I had the angle for their cover of Let My Love Open the Door that I’ve been dreaming of since the first time I saw them perform it. Tegan brought a terrified young fan onstage to play the tambourine for Sentimental Tune. Sara stuck up for Tegan while the audience was talking, and then Tegan let the crowd (badly!) sing Nineteen for her. The Courtneys were great. Lucius kicked ass like usual, and I got to record them from the best angle ever. I met a bunch of new people and came across some old friends and had a great time seeing everyone. And to top it off, I got there early enough to get one of the BEST CUPCAKES ON THE PLANET. Both nights.


And so now, two days that I didn’t even realize I was looking forward to quite so much are over, and I’m almost disappointed to have a holiday weekend stretched out in front of me with nothing to do. Someone suggested trying to make it to some of the shows coming up in the next week, but that’s not even it. I feel like I felt when I was in elementary school and planning my birthday sleepover for months and now it’s over and everyone’s gone home and I don’t know what to do with myself and my house is quiet and empty and Tegan and Sara aren’t hanging out in my living room anymore. I’m sure I’ll be fine after I’ve caught up on some sleep here and start to look forward to the next shows I have coming up… but for now I’m going to hope that I was able to take some good videos for you guys so that you can see what I saw and feel what I felt. It was a really special week.




{December 27, 2012}   TBOA and UFLO are Awesome.

Someone asked me recently when the last time was that I’d heard T&S play anything from their first two albums.  I really had to think about it, because I know it’s a pretty rare occurrence since they pretty much say they’re mortified by their oldest stuff… and I can kiiiiind of understand that with the demo cassettes and definitely the Plunk stuff (lol), but UFLO and especially TBOA are *good* albums!  I don’t know why they think the stuff they wrote back then was so horrible.  Well, I understand their points about feeling like they don’t identify with the songs anymore or feeling like they are more skilled songwriters now and those songs are juvenile, but still, they were talented and that stuff *isn’t* horrible!  Not to mention that it’s just THEM, in the raw, not overproduced and polished or overthinking things… it shouldn’t be a mystery to them why we still love those albums.

Anyway, from my recollection, I’ve only heard a handful of songs from those albums live:

Not With You – So rare!  The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD 12/14/10  That second verse… oh Sara…

This is Everything – Also at The Tivoli in Brisbane, on the same night!  I’d heard them play This is Everything a handful of times in 2005 but had a crappy camera, and they also played it at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on 2/15/10 (which was SUPER exciting), but in Brisbane they did it on the fly, by request, which never never never never happens, and so it was AWESOME.

The First – Reworked for the Fall 2008 tour as a slow acoustic version and played with Dallas from City and Colour.  Have to admit that the original is one of my very favorites, so I didn’t love this quite as much, but was still super excited that they pulled it out to play at all!

Superstar – Also reworked for the Fall 2008 tour.  After Tegan swore up and down that she hated this song and would never play it again, she endured playing it for three whole weeks.  And miraculously, fans actually stopped screaming for it after that.

My Number – They’ve pulled this out a lot over the years so it’s not *too* rare, but still, who doesn’t love hearing them play it?

Divided – Also not uncommon, but so poignant.  I mean, the first song on their first album about how they almost didn’t do music… watching them play it now just kind of tugs at your heart with how far they’ve come.  Not to mention the literal meaning of it in that they were supposed to be one person and ended up being two… it’s just kind of perfect.  Also, that song is not complete for me without this introduction, which was at one of the very first shows of theirs I ever saw, and I had *never* seen musicians talk like that onstage and was just like, “Holy fuck!!! …I need to see these people again.”  And so it went…

If I could make them play “Come On” for me – the first song of theirs I ever heard – my life would be complete.  😉

I love Tegan and Sara to death.  Obviously.  But sometimes… I wish they’d be a little more like this.  Sometimes I feel like they’re going off into big-label oblivion, opening for the Black Keys and the Killers, while Amanda Palmer’s new album is debuting at #10 on Billboard BECAUSE she chucked ALL of the big-label bulls*** and put her entire career in the hands of her fans… and they paid her back ten-fold.  Two (well three) artists I love, going in drastically different directions with their careers… and, well, neither way is for everybody, I know that…but…one way makes the fans feel important and involved and well… part of the success!  And that’s really remarkable.  And the other way, well… it doesn’t.


Cross-posted from my blog.


hola dear comrades!!

it’s been a week since my cell phone rang backstage in NYC on the opening night of the Theatre is Evil world tour. on the line was a NY times journalist I’d never spoken to. what followed has been a week-long fervid – and…

And I love THIS.  Because I’ve spent the last seven or so years kind of being part of “the media”… without really ever even thinking of it that way.  And I love Amanda Palmer for making me think of it that way.  I mean, it makes me think that I’m not just “recording concerts.”  It makes me feel like I’m actually doing something *real.*

{September 26, 2011}   A Tangent from 2007.

Yesterday, someone asked me: “So, if you were going to give someone a mixed CD of your favourite songs, and you could choose ONLY TWO (don’t ask me why; I’m arbitrary) Tegan and Sara songs on the CD, which ones would you choose?”

The answer got so long, and after hours of watching Glee with my roommates I feel so oddly emotional, that I decided to just post it on here.  So here goes:

I love making Tegan and Sara mix CDs for people (if they let me… heh).  The first thing I do is put the first song from each album on it in chronological order, starting with “Divided” (except for “The Con”… for that album I put “The Con”… just feel like it’s so much more representative) so that the person can hear what a crazy progression they have made over the years.  It’s amazing to me to listen to it like that.

If I had to pick two songs… wow… hmmm… damn, it’s hard enough to pick like, only three songs from each album for a mix CD.  I remember back in the day when the world was on LiveJournal and I was a part of the Tegan and Sara LiveJournal community, and they would play “album survivor,” voting off one song per day from whichever album they were focusing on at the time.  People would get so torn!  Someone said it was like being asked to kill off one of her children.  Ha.

But I guess the easy first choice for me for one of my two songs would be “The Con”… that song still tears my heart out every time I listen to it (which is mostly why I don’t).  The album leaked three months before its release date, which was totally a bummer… Tegan and Sara (Sara especially) seemed pretty upset about it, and I felt like it was wrong to listen to the album before it was released, out of respect for Tegan and Sara.  (I actually started a petition for people pledging not to listen to it until the day it was released, which actually spurned A LOT of backlash against me, which led to the not-too-eventual demise of my membership in the Tegan and Sara LiveJournal community.)  Anyway, people were gushing on and on about how amazing the album was, and I just couldn’t get my head around it, because I loved all of their stuff already, and I was sure the new stuff was going to be good, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to be *THAT* much better than all they’d already done.

Then, a while before the album was released, Tegan and Sara put the track “The Con” up on their Myspace page (I told you it was back in the day) and so I listened to it… I won’t ever forget what it was like to put those headphones on and to be alone with that song in my head.  The beginning just tugged at me, and by the time the bass came in on the bridge I was just consumed.  I’ve always said that my favorite genre of music is “upbeat depressing,” and to that point, Tegan and Sara had excelled at that.  For example, when I first played The Con around my mom, she told me to put on something happier, like that older song she liked so much… and I was like, “what, the one that starts with, ‘I am disappointed every morning that I wake up??'”  And she was like, oh… I didn’t know that… Because yeah, I love tough, depressing, emotional, complicated lyrics… but only if the song doesn’t *sound* depressing, and *FEEL* depressing.  Then, I can’t handle it, it’s too much, and I can’t be alone with it.  Give me ironically happy, bouncy pop music that goes along with lyrics singing about pills and alcohol and “sad, sick people like me.”  And this was the first time I’d ever heard Tegan and Sara sound truly depressing.  But not soft, wallowy, teary depressing… no.  This was a dark, intense, sinister, devastating, completely crushing kind of depressing.  And I just understood that all too well.

I think when the song was over I just sat there and stared at my headphones.  I was totally overwhelmed.   It is so clear in my mind that I even remember what I did next… I put on my purple adidas shoes and grabbed my light blue hoodie and ran out of my room because I was late to meet my friends at the lesbian bar in Atlanta (ironically called My Sister’s Room).  But more than anything I just needed to take big deep breaths and clear my head and separate from that song because it just seeped into my body.  I had just moved in with a friend after my girlfriend of three years, whom I had bought a house with, had kicked me out of our house so that a new girl she had met could move in.  Somewhere in there I dragged myself through law school finals, and tried to deal with the bad flashbacks the breakup caused to how devastated I had been when my very first relationship (of four years) completely melted down when my girlfriend’s mother committed suicide.  I was emotionally wrecked, flattened, for months, and that song was just too much… it was too good, too intense, too perfect, too cutting.  I hadn’t seen Tegan and Sara at all in 2006 or the first half of 2007, they were recording and I was working on the difficult relationship I was in.  My girlfriend didn’t like me seeing them all the time.  She didn’t like that I liked them more than she did, even though she had been the one to introduce them to me.  But, by the time they posted that song on their page, she was gone, and I was alone, and I figured there was no point in giving them up any longer.  At that point I’d only seen them a handful of times.  I didn’t have any friends who liked them (or even knew who they were) and I hadn’t really made friends with many other fans…I’d only ever gone to shows with my girlfriend.  And I listened to that song, and it was like opening a window… and I just knew everything was going to change.

And yeah.


…what was the question again?

{June 30, 2011}   Australia, Same-Sex Marriage, and Why the U.S. Immigration System Can Go Fuck Itself

As many of you know, I traveled to Australia for the first time a little over a year ago, and met Kirsty, my wonderful girlfriend.  Ever since last winter we’ve been trying to figure out how to get her into the country so we could finally spend more than a few weeks at a time together.  We thought it would be difficult; after all, the U.S. immigration system is notoriously difficult.  What we didn’t realize is that it would be nearly impossible.  We didn’t know that you could have a decent, valid, legit job offer here, with an employer who was willing to do all of the proper paperwork, and have literally NO VISA you could apply for that would allow you to come here and take it.  But that is the case.

On Tuesday night, the attorney we’ve retained notified us that there is no way Kirsty can be eligible for the visa we were trying to get for her.  That leaves very few options, and none of them are all that great.  By way of background, Kirsty is a bicycle mechanic.  Out of high school, she did a four-year apprenticeship in bicycle mechanics, and has spent nearly ten years in the industry.  She can build wheels from scratch, while I can’t even manage to inflate my bike tire without something going horribly wrong (exploding the tube, ripping out the valve, I’m serious…it’s not possible).  Her bike, which she built for herself, is worth more than my car several times over.  In short, she knows what the fuck she’s doing.

Guess what though?  In order to get a work visa in the United States that lasts more than a few months, you have to have a college degree.  That’s right, if you couldn’t afford to go to college or thought some other career path was more interesting or a better move for you, we don’t want you.  If you’ve somehow managed to work 12 years or more in a “specialized profession,” that can substitute for a college degree, with every three years of work “equaling” one year of college.  What counts as a “specialized profession?”  One that usually *requires* a college degree.  Knowing how to assemble hydraulic brakes?  Apparently THAT’S not “specialized” enough.  And so we were told the other night that Kirsty’s four years of apprenticeship work, certification in two countries, and ten years of experience was not worth enough to equal what is often, in the United States, a totally worthless piece of paper.

There are a ton of work visas, it seems.  However, all are so specialized.  The H-1B is the aforementioned “specialized profession” visa, that many people (with college degrees) use to work in the United States.  The process to get one is long (around 4-6 months) and expensive (up to $2,000), but with our limited lack of options is looking pretty ideal right about now.  The E-3 visa is like the H-1B visa, but JUST for Australians.  In fact it’s one of the ONLY work visas that is country-specific, and it proves how much we like Australians around here: It’s faster (1-2 months), cheaper (around $400), renewable INDEFINITELY (even the H-1B doesn’t do that), and the cap is almost never met (the cap for E-3 visas is 10,500.  Only about 3,000 have been granted per year.  To give you a comparison, the cap for the H-1B is only 65,000 granted per year, for ALL OTHER NATIONALITIES IN THE WORLD.  You can bet that is usually met).  We were trying to get that one for Kirsty, it would have been awesome.  However, you already know the problem.

We’re left looking at all the things we can’t have.  “L” visas are for people transferring to an American branch of their company.  “J” visas are for au pairs, students working over the summer, or recent graduates working right out of school (since Kirsty graduated over three years ago, she’s not eligible for these).  “O” visas are for “aliens of extraordinary ability” (I’m not joking) and you can get one if you’ve won an Oscar, a Grammy, an Olympic medal, or a Pulitzer Prize.  “P” visas are for “Internationally Recognized Athletes or Entertainment Groups” (if you ever wondered what T&S or An Horse or any other band has to do to be allowed to tour in the U.S., there you go).

We have only three options for Kirsty: an H-2B visa, a K visa and the visa waiver program.  An H-2B visa is for “Temporary Unskilled Nonagricultural Workers.”  To get one, you have to PROVE that the employer couldn’t find an American to hire instead, which requires you to jump through all kinds of fucking hoops.  You also have to prove that there is some extenuating circumstance creating this need for foreign workers within the company.  You also have to prove that the need is only *temporary* (e.g. you’re not going to get here longer than a few months).  We are probably going to try again for this one… we started the process back in April, when she was first offered a job at a shop here, but we made mistakes and have to start over.  Now that the summer bike shop “peak season” is wrapping up in a few months, we might have to wait until next spring to even try it again.  I was hoping she would be here in July of this year.  March of 2012 doesn’t really cut it.  😦

“K” visas are student visas.  You know what you can’t do on a student visa?  Work or support yourself at all.  You know what else you can’t do?  Get any federal loans or grants, because you aren’t a U.S. citizen.  So what does this mean?  You have to prove up front that you have all of the money to support yourself for the entire length of your visa, or that you have people who will sign an affidavit pledging how much they will give you to support each year.  Plus Kirsty doesn’t even know what she’d want to go to school for, and she’d never really planned on going back at all.  She doesn’t see it as an awesome option to have me completely supporting her (provided I could even do that on my salary, though I think I could) or to take out tons of private loans to not even know what course she wants to study.

Then there’s the visa waiver program.  It allows people from certain countries to stay in the U.S. for up to three months at a time, until U.S. Immigration catches on to what you’re doing and won’t let you back into the country.  You know what you can’t do on the visa waiver program?  Work or go to school or do pretty much anything at all that would let you lead a productive life.

“So why don’t you just get married?!” everyone asks me, “It’s legal in D.C.!”  Ah, right you are my friend.  However, you forget that immigration is a federal issue, and the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages at all, let alone for the hotly-contested purposes of immigration.  I wish it were so easy.  If we were a straight couple, we could get married now and she could start the process to gain U.S. citizenship.  Or, we could apply for a fiance visa, which would allow her to be in the country immediately, provided we got married within 90 days.  Go ahead and argue if you want that that process isn’t necessarily “easy”… but let me tell you that it is easier than NOT having that option.

You know, I was never overly concerned with the same-sex marriage debate.  Yes, it is a hugely important issue and one that I support with all my heart.  However, as I saw it, we are on the right side of history.  The wheels are turning slowly, but they are turning.  In the end, we are going to prevail, no matter what the other side says or does.  There WILL be a time where people look back at this time and can’t believe the debate was as fierce as it was, or even that it existed at all.  THAT TIME WILL COME.  I have no doubts.  But for me, marriage wasn’t in my foreseeable future, and I was (reasonably) content with thinking that if it DID end up in my near future, I could have a commitment ceremony, or get married where it was legal, and be perfectly happy with that, at least until the laws changed.  Well… as is always proven, some things (everything) changes faster than laws do.  Did I expect that I’d end up meeting someone from the other side of the world, and suddenly have the marriage debate, and even more pointedly, the immigration debate, apply directly to me?  Not so much.  But here we are.  For the first time in a long time, things feel truly unfair.  In the next month I will go to two weddings, and instead of being bitter about being single — as I have usually been at weddings — I’m going to feel bitter that I have no power to get my partner here like they could if they needed to.  I’m looking at straight unmarried couples with one non-American partner and thinking that at least they have an out.  I didn’t plan on marrying someone so soon after meeting them, as Kirsty and I have only been together a little over a year… but I’ve thought about it and without a doubt I would, if it meant that she could be here with me every day.  I was explaining the situation to our receptionist the other day, when up on CNN flashed the headline “Green Cards Denied for Same-Sex Couples” and it just felt so ironic.  We are so new to this issue and this problem, where there have been people dealing with it for years, fighting in court, being deported.  The more I think about it, the more I think that it is one of the cruelest effects of the ban on federal recognition of same-sex couples in this country.

So, back to the drawing board.  “What about doing it the illegal way?” people whisper to me, “People do it all the time!”  I know they do.  But do you know what happens to them if they’re caught?  Stay in this country for six months before being caught, and you are BANNED from the United States for FIVE YEARS.  Stay for a year before being caught and you’re banned for TEN.  Can I imagine what it would be like if for TEN YEARS Kirsty couldn’t see my family, stay at my house, live where I live?   “Okay, maybe not,” people whisper back to me.  “Can she marry a man?”  Well, she could… we have several male friends who I bet would do it, who have even offered.  But do you know, in this post-9/11 world (oh how I hate that phrase) just how much you have to prove to establish a relationship worthy of granting the foreign partner a green card?  Do you know what the punishment would be for attempted “marriage fraud” for the purposes of getting someone into the country?  I’m not entirely sure what it is, but I’m thinking a ten year ban from the country would probably be lenient.  The federal government does not like being tricked.  Especially while it’s supposed to be all busy protecting us from “terrorists” and “illegals.”  Not to mention that trying something like that would mean that the guy who tried to help us — and probably myself as well — would go down too for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and all that jazz.  Not a great move for the career of a lawyer.

A law firm I know put a program a few weeks ago called “Immigration Options for Same-Sex Couples.”  I wanted to go because at this point, it seems like our best “immigration option” is for me to move to Australia.  And I want to move to Australia, just not right this moment… the plan was for her to live here for a few years and then for me to go live there for a few years.  It made sense — she’s lived in Brisbane, and with her parents, for a long time and is ready to try something new.  I’ve just started my first real, permanent job out of law school, which actually pays well and would let me put her on my health insurance.  Her parents typically visit the U.S. every year and could come see her, while my parents couldn’t do the same.  Not to mention that with an American law degree, moving to Australia for me would mean at least another year of school in order to practice there, which would come with a price tag of at least $23,000 just for tuition.

People ask me all the time whether it would be easier for me to go there.  Hell yes.  Unlike the U.S., Australia isn’t completely retarded, and even though same-sex marriage isn’t legal there, all you need to do is to be in a relationship with an Australian citizen for over a year in order for them to sponsor you as their de-facto partner.  You don’t even have to have been living together.  How is that for a step in the direction of equality, and not just for same-sex couples??  Quite apart from that, as an attorney, I could probably quite easily get a work visa, even if I couldn’t practice, and of course a student visa wouldn’t be difficult either… except for the aforementioned $23,000 (and I’m not even going to tell you how much debt I already have in the way of student loans).

So here we are, our options next to none, and our hopes of getting her here anytime soon pretty much smashed.  Again, I can’t say enough times how ridiculous it is that you could have a perfectly fine job offer here, and have no visa that would allow you to come and take it.  That your only options would be ones that wouldn’t allow you to financially support yourself.  What kind of system is that?  I agree with Obama on that one: A broken one.  People wonder why there are so many “illegal immigrants” and “undocumented workers” in this country, but I’ll tell you why: Because it’s fucking impossible to do it the right way, and after spending months of trying to do it the right way, you’re ready to opt out of a system that pretty much encourages you to do so (and to say “fuck you” on your way out the door).

And I think of the marriage debates and I think of the immigration debates and I look at the picture of me and Kirsty that I have on my desk, and wonder why something as simple as us could be so impossible.

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

{May 6, 2011}   OCD 101 (or, Map of Concerts I’ve Been To)

So, several weeks ago, I stumbled across this website while trying to build a map for a project at work.  I had (way too much) fun making what I needed to make (which is here, if you’re interested… I’m actually quite proud of it!) and when I was done with it, my mind instantly went to what else I could make maps of!  I made a few of places I’ve lived, places I  liked in DC and Atlanta, and then I couldn’t avoid the thought:  one of all of the Tegan and Sara concerts I’ve been to.

My co-workers called me a total nerd for my complete enjoyment of making the maps, although I more attribute it to my obsessive love of detail (if only my life could be as organized as my YouTube channel…), my preference for having everything where I can see it all at once (hello law school finals flow charts…), my affinity for rainbow colors (my bedroom WAS done in rainbows when I was born), and about 30 free hours with nothing to do while my girlfriend was on a plane back to Australia via Korea.

So.  I’ve never summed up everything quite like this, and I wasn’t even entirely sure exactly how many shows I’d really been to.  Luckily my YouTube channel *IS* the most organized thing in my life (apart from my Flickr page), so that helped tremendously.  I also dug back into the Flickr pics for the first few shows I didn’t take video of, and, as for the very first show, where I don’t even have pictures, well, I had to dig into the online archives for that one.

And so here we have it.  I never meant to publicly admit to exactly how many shows I’ve been to, but after holding on to this for a few weeks I decided that I had too much fun making it not to share.  (Plus, everyone is forever asking me how many shows I have been to, so here, all of you, there you go!)

When you open the map it will at first show just tour routes and the markers for the first shows I went to in 2004.  If you click on the boxes next to the little colored markers on the top right hand side, you can add the markers for 2005, 2007 (nope, no 2006 shows, that would have been the “making of The Con” hibernation…), 2008, etc.  I already had the one show I was hoping to hit so far for 2011 up there, however, my cousin just put her wedding on that weekend, so we shall see.  I may soon be posting hoping someone needs an extra ticket to that one.  😦

Second, go to the “Tour Routes” tab on the bottom left, and you can click on the boxes next to them to make the lines on the map disappear… or you can check out the details of which shows I went to on that tour, the order of the tour, how far apart the shows were, all that good stuff.  🙂

Third, go back to the “Concert Locations” tab, and if you click on the name of each venue, it will bring up a bubble with the details of the venue, links to my YouTube videos and Flickr pictures from that show, and a picture from that show (would have added more pictures, but damn I could have gone on forever).  Also in that venue bubble, you can comment on that particular show (there’s an “Add Comment” link!) or you can comment on the map in general at the bottom of the map.  (I like comments.)

Finally, you can zoom way in on the map to see all of the different venues in each city (think I’ve been to six or seven different ones in NYC, for example).  FUN THING: bring up just the green 2009 markers, click on “Hollywood Bowl” on the left, zoom in until you’re like three bars from all the way in, and click on “Satellite” in the upper right hand corner.  Wicked.




et cetera