Friday, July 29, 2016

Excuse me sir, you're not racist are you?

I'll never know what it's like to experience life from a black person's point of view.

The closest I can come to understanding is through empathy and knowing how it feels to be judged by some because of appearances. Even though I'm white, I have long hair and dress more like a "rocker" that a clean cut business man.

I've been followed around stores by security who think I'm there to steal. I've had people cross the street when seeing me coming towards them. I've been told "I wouldn't want to run into you in a dark alley." I'm a bit gruff looking, have a beard as well. I can understand the feelings that come with being judged, the sting of people being prejudiced, but again, I don't know what it's like to be black. I've not had to live in fear of my life on a daily basis that cops might shoot me. Or the feeling of being monitored in a crowd or on the street because of the color of my skin.

I've walked to and from the grocery store the last six years in the Monterey area. It's a nice walk and not too far. But I do walk on a main road and almost exclusively after the sun has gone down. The biggest worry I ever have is that drivers aren't paying attention to the road. I use flash lights and reflectors, as well as red blinking lights. So I feel pretty safe most the time.

It's crossed my mind on several occasions that any time I've seen people walking to the store, it's either a couple (Male and Female) or it's a random guy here or there. A couple things I've never seen. A female walking by herself after dark and a black person. It occurred to me that of course it's not really safe for females to walk to the store after dark by themselves. I don't blame them. I'm a nice guy but I wouldn't want to stroll across me or any other guy at night if I were a female. It's scary. It's unfortunate but it's a reality.

I also recall thinking to myself a few times "You know, if I were black, or even darker skinned, I probably wouldn't be walking to the store after dark." It's true, I wouldn't. That's about the closest I can get to understanding what it might be like to be black in today's social climate. I'd be afraid. I'd be pretty sure that I'd be stopped by a cop patrolling the area -- simply because of the color of my skin. How scary, and unfortunate.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Is that a typo?

A while back I had to renew my ID at the Monterey DMV. The DMV is never a pleasant experience under the best of circumstance.  This time I was prepared with all the senseless red tape paperwork needed to easily get my ID and get the hell out of there. I was simply renewing my old ID which was issued in Connecticut. For the life of me I don't know why there are so many hoops to jump through for this. Especially when you are charged for something that you are required to have, and it's somehow considered a "privilege" (when it comes to operating a motor vehicle anyway). But that's a whole other story.

So I get to the DMV and wait in line to get my number. Yeah, I should have scheduled an appointment. Duly noted. After waiting for about 30 minutes I finally get my number called. I approach the counter, put on my best smile, try to act friendly etc. in hopes for this to go smoothly. To my surprise the lady that waited on me was in good spirits and was fairly friendly.

I handed over my old ID along with my required documentation. One of those documents was my "official copy" of my birth certificate. Now, here's something strange. I actually had my actual original birth certificate given by my hospital at the time of my birth - which they do not accept. I had an advantage though - I've dealt with this annoying situation before and this time came prepared - with a notarized copy of my birth certificate from a Montana court house.

As the lady looked over my older license and the forms I filled out, her face became a bit confused. She asked me to look at my old ID as well as the forms I completed. She then asked me specifically what my middle name was. I told her, it's 'Ralph'. My middle name is that of my Grandfather, although I've never been to fond of the name, it is what it is. The DMV lady handed me my "official copy" of my birth certificate and told me to read the middle name on it. I looked and it took me a moment, but there it was. Yep, a fucking typo. My middle name read 'RAPLH' (I hear it pronounced as rap-ll), not 'RALPH' (pronounced like the puke word).

Monday, July 18, 2016

Exit Citizen journalism site bails on users

Logo for logo
Until a few days ago I was a writer for the now defunct I realize that isn't really a huge thing to most people. Admittedly a lot of news writers on the site were horrible, while others gave way to posting click bait articles in order to garnish views.

Even then, not a lot of people made a ton of money writing for the citizen journalism site, but I'd guess that a few "National Examiners" made a few extra bucks. That being said, there were some passionate writers that graced the site and I personally enjoyed writing about the local food, music, art and film in and around the Monterey Area.

So what happened to and why am I here on Monterey Seth writing about it? During the week of July 11, the site simply shut down. No word to users. No warnings. Even searches about it on Google came up with barely nothing. Reports that showed up online said that the company decided to follow a different business model. Cool. Thanks. That happens to be a ticketing website AXS. So long, farewell, nice to know you I'm not here to really complain about it. I'm here to move my content, which will have to start anew, because my hundreds of articles written over the last 5 years on are now gone. Pages forwarding to the main page of Later.

That brings me to more about why I'm here. I want to continue writing reviews, news, thoughts and pretty much everything else a critic does concerning the Monterey, California area. I especially want to try some great local area beers and food to review. I want to continue to ingest music from the area. I like being a critic. I like writing down my thoughts and I like that I still have a place to do that.

So, that was my intro and a bit about why I'm going to start writing here on I'm going to be treating this as a general blog also. I think that will make a nice balance to the reviews and news about the Monterey Bay area. If you're reading, I truly appreciate it. If not, at least I'm getting my thoughts out there somewhere.