Thursday, May 31, 2012

Maiden, NC in the News

Growing up close to Maiden, they were notorious for their football team, led by legendary coach Tom Brown. Football was a tradition in the town, coach Brown always got the most out of his players and they were perennial winners. Now, they are known for an outspoken pastor who wants to surround LGBTs with an electric fence and feed them until they die out. Pastor Charles Worley made these bigoted remarks, causing outrage (and very rightly so). 

On the other hand, a vital Apple Data Center that allows its most notable features also calls Maiden home. According to a CNN report, the voice powered SIRI inquiries go to this data center! Yes, the hotzpacho reminders go to the technical hub of Maiden, NC. 

Apple Data Center
The small town of Maiden, tech hub and home of a homophobic pastor.. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Amendment One: The Aftermath

Naturally, the passage of Amendment One was disappointing to a minority of voters. However, those very same opponents make up the majority of my social networking surroundings. Here are some images and tweets regarding the controversial referendum:

Only NC counties that voted against Amendment one had universities

Amendment one opposition watches as party leaders concede
We will see how the opposition moves to repeal Amendment One.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

NC and Amendment One

May 8, 2012 was a big date for The Old North State. North Carolina is headlining national news with a controversial referendum commonly referred to as Amendment One. It appeared on the ballot as follows:

"Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts."
From my observation, those who support the amendment look to preserve the sanctity of marriage and to prevent a liberal judge from suddenly allowing gay marriage in North Carolina - it is already illegal here. The other side look to promote equality and not allow the government to take their rights. In addition, they fear that this amendment would harm children and prevent those in a non-conventional legal union to receive benefits. 

By being around my usual crowd in Charlotte who tend to be liberal, this amendment seems like a piece of backward and hateful legislation that only promotes the ideal christian household: a married man and woman. When I went to visit my parents and was dragged to a conservative, southern baptist church - the legislation was a step in restoring America's ever-decaying values, and as expected the kind pastor referenced Soddom and Gomorrah. The pastor also mentioned that it protected them from legal action when they refused to marry a same-sex couple, which actually made sense to me except that is already illegal in NC.

Overall, I was torn in what direction I was going to go. I want equality for all but at the same time, I have religious convictions but then again there's the separation of church and state.. I haven't decided on what I am, what I believe in and was not convicted to crusade for either side. Is it a fear of having to stand up for my beliefs against loved ones? Am I spineless like Mitt Romney? To keep myself sane a week from the polls opening, I decided not to vote and declare my ideological leanings later.



As of 10:45 PM EST on May 8, 2012, it looks like the conservative vote prevailed, the bible belt remains firmly buckled. 61-39 win for the supporters: the amendment trailed in metropolitan areas, with the exception of Charlotte suburbs. So it looks like marriage remains a union between a man and a woman, and state support of other legal arrangements will begin to decline. The majority of my facebook timeline seem to be disappointed with the outcome, a handful were not surprised and another handful who thanked those who participated in the democratic process regardless of choice. 

And surprisingly, I decided to participate after all. I braved a five minute drive from my house to Precinct 145's voting area, endured a grueling two-minute change of address process and was unlucky enough to be last in a line of three to the polling machines. Sigh, the price you pay for democracy, I deserve an award. The process was too quick, I had hoped it would take an hour so I could clear my head while waiting in line.. -but the tooth was pulled before the dentist counted to three! Would I choose the compassionate road of equality? What about the beliefs I've clung to since the age of 5? The voting site was a baptist church, was that a sign from God? And would I have voted differently if I had the same voting site I had in 2009, a masonic temple? 

In the end, I was at peace with my decision and I did what was right. What I did required conviction - I exercised my civic duty to participate in the democratic process

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Photos from Vancouver

I finally made it to the Pacific Northwest! A friend had a free room in Las Vegas for a conference and coincidentally, I had some frequent flyer miles.. However, I could not justify using up my entire stash of mileage on Las Vegas (bah), so I took a trekked to the Great White North to Vancouver, BC to check oot (jab at Canadian accent) one of the most livable places in the world. 

Vancouver has great public transport and you can purchase an all-day bus pass for only $9 CAD, and I was very fortunate that the weather was sunny. I walked, biked, bussed and was there mostly to take in the breathtaking scenes: skylines and snowcapped mountains. So here are some photos, all taken with the iPhone 4S' industry leading camera.

Along Stanley Park's seawall

Dreary first day
Lionsgate Bridge

Thought about walking across it, heart was willing, feet were not

Famous totem poles at Stanley Park

Iconic of Vancovuer

Checking out some local art

Symbol of Vancouver, BC

Great time to be in Vancouver, this is the 4/20 festival. Locals were openly selling and indulging cannabis downtown, cops were there, it is illegal but not criminalized

Appalled at how marijuana was being consumed and sold in public

Vancouver, as harmonious with nature that any large city can be.

Instagram'd: titled "nature and industry"

Had to check out Timmy Ho's while north of the border.

I felt less guilty having Tim Horton's compared to Starbucks

More posts about Vancouver later.