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post #289
bio: rich
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6/30/2003
11:23

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Scotland + groin thrusting + crackers

Scotland thanks
Last week I got lots of nice suggestions and ideas for my trip to Scotland - thanks for all the awesome info.

Right now this is our idea:
Arrive in Edinburgh. Hang out there for 2-3 days. Then pack up our little Ford car machine and drive west where we will stop off and look at the Stirling castle, and then onto the Loch Lomond area where we will be lazy, hike, ride bikes, drink whiskey, and look at castles if we can find any.

We wanted to go to one of the islands, but scheduling isn't permitting it. No big deal - we'll just have to go back again.
Looking forward to going back to the homeland* and proudly wearing my family's plaid**.

* by homeland, i mean having to go back like 300 years to find someone who actually may of been to Scotland, or had just seen a really nice drawing or painting of it.

** by "wearing my family's plaid", I mean, "not even touching my family's ugly ass orange, yellow, green, blue plaid"




This is the all gay robot journal

The gay agenda
That Supreme Court decision last week had Mike and I talking about all the republicans freaking out ("they'll want to have sex with OUR bottoms now and we won't be able to stop them") and how a lot of them are referring to the "gay agenda".
Mike and I decided to start blaming everything on the gay agenda ("the milk has gone bad - damn gay agenda"), and then we started wondering if there was actually a document stating their agenda - and if so, would it be in Word or PowerPoint?

By the way, I did the Robot Agenda in Word, due to the fact that I have no patience for PowerPoint.



The gay pride parade
We wandered through the parade yesterday on our way to Adorama. The fact that Mrs. Robot is a willing accomplice and partner in crime on my camera shop outings just makes me love her more, but that is another journal entry.
The gay pride parade is like a "normal" parade, except that there is more groin thrusting. Otherwise, next time you are at any other parade, just imagine the Shriners or the beauty queens wearing little shorts and thrusting their groins towards you and you'll get the idea.

It looked like a fun parade, but it did seem like every float was for some website. "Honey! Look! It's the 'Hispanic gay college soccer dot com' float!"



Flag Wars
We saw the documentary Flag Wars on PBS the other night. It's interesting - you should check it out when it plays on your PBS channel.
The documentary is about mainly white, gay men slowly taking over a poor, primarily African American neighborhood. The neighborhood is full of these lovely Victorian houses - I mean some of them are just plain gor-juss. But, sadly they are all mostly in disrepair, so the crackers are moving in to buy them real cheap and make them all nice looking - and they did look really nice when they are done.

The only thing that that irked me was how the city zoning board was kind of roped in after residents applied for historic status for their neighborhood. Now, granted I am not a home-owner, but I can appreciate zoning regulations. I just found it a little creepy that all these complaints were being filed with the city for the houses of the 'original' residents - residents who often did not have the extra money to either fight the complaints or to even fix them.
It just seemed like a pretty effective and almost guilt free way for someone (maybe a real estate person) to move out the old residents and to get the houses at cheap prices.

Good documentary, though.



Gentrification
Yuck. I just hate this debate.
The neighborhood I live in is being super gentrified, and in our case, I am not sure if this is necessarily a bad thing.
The main street in our hood was one that someone who grew up nearby once described as, "a street you just didn't drive down". When I moved into the area (shared a place with Mike, mentioned earlier) it was 1997 and the place was generally crappy. Lots of empty store fronts and barely had the basic neighborhood necessities. After 7pm, it was a ghost town which meant two things:
1. very quiet, so it was a nice sleeping area
2. spooky if you were walking around

Now it's all French, Thai, American high-end restaurants. Dumb little boutiques. Dozens of bars. ATMs (we didn't have ATMs for a really long time).
A cool video store.
Tourists and manhattan residents getting lost.
Cops wandering around bored. Dogs and cats hanging out. Hipsters doing their thing.

Yesterday, we noticed that the religious supplies store had closed and been gutted, which was sad. It was housed in this very bright green building. The green was so bright you could see it in aerial photos of the neighborhood (that is how we always found our street).
The building has been gutted and I bet they will paint over the green. It was a cute store with those glass Christian candles that we all used to use in our apartments after college.
The man who ran the shop was like 150 years old.

It was like one of the few old businesses that had somehow survived all the development on the street.

Because I am a white idiot, I commented as we looked through the dusty glass, "this would make an awesome restaurant - look! There's a garden out back, too."


i know it is a nasty debate, but arguing for or against gentrification is a little like arguing the concept of change in general. It will happen, constantly and is sometimes planned and sometimes not, but it WILL happen as sure as the downtown sections of smaller cities will decline (and later revitalize with mixed results). I almost think that it is the natural state. Economics are still a better impetus for change than two airplanes with great big religious chips on their wingspans.
»blaine ||  6/30/2003 ||  12:21:04 PM
The flipside and ironic part of the whole thing is when you have a great project like the HOPE VI project in Elizabeth,NJ which replaced older substandard public housing with new town house styled public housing communities and our beloved el presidente cuts the funding before it's completed... so much for doing the right thing by the underpriviliged
»ic ||  6/30/2003 ||  3:35:57 PM
Hey, "Flag Wars" was about a Columbus neighborhood -- I guess it really is the heart of it all.

Although I am in no way a supporter of gentrification, I actually don't object to the what has happened in the east side neighborhood portrayed in the documentary as much as the gentrification that's happening on the north side of town, near Ohio State. A buncha bigwigs affiliated with the university have spent the last few years razing buildings once home to bars and small businesses to make way for a mall. In the meantime, the area has turned into a wastland, a 3-block parking lot with construction equipment and rubble. It's awful to look at, the people living nearby are isolated from the rest of the campus area and a lot of the businesses that were displaced are gone forever.
»jenny ||  7/1/2003 ||  5:58:06 PM



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