Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Daily Democratic Action, Wednesday, February 1, 2017

First things today: call your reps and tell them to vote "No" on Jeff Sessions as Attorney General... before 10:30am Eastern Time (that's 7:30am on the west coast)! Use the DC numbers for your Senators and get on the horn ASAP. The Senate is scheduled to meet about a number of topics, including Jeff Sessions' confirmation, at 10:30 this morning, so jump on it if you can.

That, and/or...

Before the meeting that is scheduled at 10am (again, Eastern Time, which means 7am West Coast), hit up these Senators to encourage them to maintain the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. They are scheduled to meet at 10 to discuss, and I quote, the "Obamacare Emergency: Stabilizing the Individual Health Insurance Market." Here are the ranking Republican, then Democratic Senators sitting on this committee. Call em, get a person, and encourage them to maintain the facets of this, while obviously not perfect, massively beneficial program (subsidies, using the penalties to fund said subsidies, etc).

Lamar Alexander (TN)
Richard Burr (NC)
Rand Paul (KY)
Bill Cassidy (LA)
Orrin Hatch (UT)
Lisa Murkowski (AK) - who also opposes the immigration ban! Tell her thanks!
Michael B Enzi (WY)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Susan Collins (ME)
Todd Young (IN)
Pat Roberts (KS)
Tim Scott (SC)

Patty Murray (WA)
Robert P Casey, Jr (PA)
Michael F Bennet (CO)
Tammy Baldwin (WI)
Elizabeth Warren (MA)
Maggie Hassan (NH)
Bernie Sanders (VT)
Al Franken (MN)
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
Christopher S Murphy (CT)
Tim Kain (VA)


Then, this from "Your Daily Action"

Today's Daily Action is to call the Customs and Border Protection office at a randomly selected US airport to demand that they follow the law of the land (the Immigration and Naturalization Act) and fully comply with all of the judicial orders that have been issued about the recent executive order banning the entry of Muslims and refugees into the United States. 
Ask the officers point-blank if they are currently detaining any travelers.
Ask them if they have anyone in custody who does not have access to a lawyer (and report back on what you hear). 
They are probably used to fielding calls about package deliveries from FedEx and DHL—but let them know that there will be NO BUSINESS AS USUAL with so many lives as well as our core freedoms and values at stake.
To sign up for Daily Action alerts, text the word DAILY to 228466 today! To make calls without subscribing, just dial 844 241 1141 to be connected.


Senators’ Contact info
(Remember, calling is key! Emails and mailings are not as effective. Call until you reach a human being, and only call about one topic at a time. The calls are logged by topic, so keep the confusion low, even if that means calling repeatedly about different topics. I suggest saving these numbers, and your House Representative’s number, in your phone. A brilliant activist suggested making all of their last names “Reps” so that you can search them all together and go right down the line when calling.)

CA Senator Diane Feinstein
Washington DC 202.224.3841
Los Angeles 310.914.7300
San Francisco 415.393.0707
San Diego 619.231.9712
Fresno 559.485.7430

CA Senator Kamala Harris
Washington DC 202.224.3553
Los Angeles 213.894.5000
Sacramento 916.448.2787
San Diego 619.239.3884


Other Resources:

Your Daily Action
Daily suggested phone calls to make and actions to take to defend our Democracy

Committee Meetings and Hearings Schedule
Super important! This is where to find out what the Senate will be doing NOW. 

Pending Nominations in Committee
Find out what appointment nominations are still waiting for confirmation hearings and votes here

Active Legislation the Senate will be acting on

Committee Meetings and Hearings Schedule
Super important! This is where to find out what the Senate will be doing NOW. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Daily Democratic Action Comin' Atcha!

Well... I didn't ever intend for this blog to become a political page, but here we seem to be...

After three individual conversations today with teachers and performers who are, like many of us are, overwhelmed by the quantity and magnitude of problems being thrown at us by the new administration in the White House and who, due to this overwhelming tidal wave of executive orders, nominations, and confirmations, are frozen in confusion and fear, I realized that I might be able to help. At least one tiny bit.

So here's what's comin atcha!

I'm going to try to post something here every day. At least once. If there's an actionable item that we can do something about, it'll be here. Subscribe to get notified, share the links, etc. I'm going to keep things streamlined and focused to reduce the barrage to a stream so that we can try to dam up whatever we can before things get any worse than they already are.

I'm also going to consistently share some particularly helpful links (like "Daily Action" and anything the ACLU might be throwing our way).

Oh - one other thing - I'm going to be focused on California since that's my state, but I'll do my best to include other resources for other states as much as possible.

Tune in tomorrow morning for some resources and action items for Wednesday, February 1, 2017!

(In the meantime, I'll be posting the following at the end of every post for ease of access to resources.)


Senators’ Contact info
(Remember, calling is key! Emails and mailings are not as effective. Call until you reach a human being, and only call about one topic at a time. The calls are logged by topic, so keep the confusion low, even if that means calling repeatedly about different topics. I suggest saving these numbers, and your House Representative’s number, in your phone. A brilliant activist suggested making all of their last names “Reps” so that you can search them all together and go right down the line when calling.)

CA Senator Diane Feinstein
Washington DC 202.224.3841
Los Angeles 310.914.7300
San Francisco 415.393.0707
San Diego 619.231.9712
Fresno 559.485.7430

CA Senator Kamala Harris
Washington DC 202.224.3553
Los Angeles 213.894.5000
Sacramento 916.448.2787
San Diego 619.239.3884


Other Resources:

Your Daily Action
Daily suggested phone calls to make and actions to take to defend our Democracy

Committee Meetings and Hearings Schedule
Super important! This is where to find out what the Senate will be doing NOW. 

Pending Nominations in Committee
Find out what appointment nominations are still waiting for confirmation hearings and votes here

Active Legislation the Senate will be acting on

Committee Meetings and Hearings Schedule
Super important! This is where to find out what the Senate will be doing NOW. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

We DID vote!

After the election, when many Americans were violently and sexually assaulted to the chanting of "Trump! Trump! Trump," were harassed in their places of work and in the classroom with screams of "build the wall" and "go back to where you came from," were told that their religion would not be tolerated by the American government or many American people because of the actions of a few, TRUMP. SAID. NOTHING.

Yesterday, when around 750,000 people marched against him in LA, over 500,000 people marched against him in D.C., and more than 600 "sister marches" sprang up around the globe in over 70 countries to oppose his assault on Planned Parenthood, his disregard and disdain for the LGBTQ community, his denial of the empirical problems we face as a species as a result of our impact on the global climate and everything else, TRUMP. SAID. NOTHING.

Today, after the pitiful crowd at his inauguration was dwarfed by the Pussyhatted protests yesterday, he finally had something to say. And the only thing he had to say was, well, "why didn't these people vote?"

Let us not forget this-
Let us not allow this to go unnoticed-
Let us not let this fact go unsaid-



And those 2.23 million Americans VOTED.

The evidence is there.

Clinton won the popular vote.
Russia hacked the DNC to sabotage Clinton and help Trump win.
The Electoral College's decision does not reflect the American public's choice for Commander in Chief.

So, Donny, when you say that you are "transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People," remember something:


The fact that you are in-office is the largest assault to American civil liberties, freedoms, and equality for all in recent history.

So don't you DARE sit there and stay silent while your supporters attack and harass people... Don't you DARE stay silent and ignore the million-plus people in America and around the globe who oppose you... Don't you DARE demean and disregard the people you claim to be so graciously giving this country back to while your ACTIONS REFUTE IT.

Where is the LGBTQ page that was on three days ago? Where's the Climate Change page? Where's your replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act that has given over 20 million Americans healthcare for the first time in years and which you're already dismantling? How exactly do you think you're going to force Mexico to pay for this great white wall of yours?

We are holding your greedy, petty, and entitled ass accountable while you LITERALLY sit in your tower, Donny. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Inauguration-eve 2017

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, I remember the night almost moment-for-moment. The streets of Seattle were filled with elated and uplifted celebration. Black and white, man and woman, brown and whatever-the-hell else came together and shared a drink, shared a hug, shared a high five, and when the cops told us to disperse, we did. And we picked up our trash on the way out.

When Donald Trump was elected in 2016, I remember less of the night. Tequila helped me through it, I'm only slightly ashamed to admit. But the truly upsetting thing was that the very next day, America woke up to actively violent assaults against LGBTQ, black, female, Mexican, and Muslim people... basically anyone not white and male, set to the ACTUAL chanting of "Trump! Trump! Trump!" [Just as a side note, this is not anecdotal. I was a part of those celebrations in Seattle and more than a handful of my personal friends were violently assaulted by people chanting "Trump! Trump! Trump!" within 48 hours of his election.]

This fascist, misogynistic, racist, dangerous card from the discard pile of humanity's deck was raised in privilege, has run countless companies into the ground on a whim, and has actively incited violence against the people of this country. He has sexually assaulted women. He has disparaged nearly every group of American society (aside from white men, of course). And he ran on a platform of building a wall around our country (cool idea, Berlin - I mean China - I mean Trump) and Muslim Registry (great plan, X-Men {the first film} / Nazi Germany). And he has threatened to use nuclear force against rebel and terrorist factions, most of which are impossible to precisely locate.

Tomorrow, this uncaring, unsympathetic, ignorant, volatile, childish, thin-skinned, child of privilege takes the keys to the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. This man who does not believe in scientific evidence... This man who can look at a video of himself speaking and immediately deny that he ever said those words... This man who has consistently lied to his constituents, has bought his way out of every lawsuit pending against him for fraud, sexual assault, and whatever else, this man who has done seemingly everything in his power to divide this country... will take control of it. With a no-conflict-of-interest clause to boot.

So whatever happens... Whatever shitstorm this brings down... However many people are hurt, put out of work, taken off of their healthcare, are murdered in hate crimes, are put in camps, or whatever else might happen... WHATEVER happens in the coming months or years before we can remove this tyrannical puppet-of-Russia from office... WE. HAVE. TO. BE. BETTER.

Those of us who get it.

Those of us who are "woke."

Those of us who are brown, black, female, queer, etc.

Those of us who don't buy in to the manipulative and impossible rhetoric.

Those of us who understand what legal fallacies are.

Those of us who are up on our Aristotle.

Those of us who know what EMPATHY is and who feel it.

Those of us who often don't fight for ourselves, but will fight for the "other."

Those of us who have given up on optimism and are barely holding on to hope...


We lost.

We lost this country.

We lost our safety.

We lost our peace of mind, our faith, and our trust in the Constitution that's doing its best to protect us.

But we have NOT. LOST. EACH OTHER.

We will not go quietly into the night. We will not give in without a fight.

Hold the line. Stay with me.

And now, my watch begins.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a Pussyhat to finish knitting.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"Don't Forget the White Men," a Thanksgiving Story

Once upon a time...

There were some people called Europeans and they wanted to find a faster way to get to India to expand trade routes.

Some of them went exploring, and those white men happened upon a place they called "The New World."

But that world wasn't really new. It was only new to them. There were many people already living there, who had lived there for centuries.

But the newly arrived white men wanted the land and the resources in this "New World." So those white men systematically slaughtered the native non-white population and made this "New World" their home.

Later, some more white men got tired of one particular white man - we'll call him George - telling them how to live and think and pray, so they left and went to that "New World" to get away from George.

But George, the white man back home, the one in charge, got angry and made harsher rules that he imposed on the people who'd gone across the sea.

So those people across the sea, now led by white men who had grown up in the "New World," who had colonized it and taken it for their own from the native (non-white) population, rebelled against George, their white ruler back home.

A great war was fought.

But in the end, the colonists won!

Now those white men in charge of the colonies became the white men in charge of what came to be known as The United States of America.

United. States.

We say it casually now - often only voicing the first letter of each word - but it carries weight.



Now, starting before the rebellion and carrying on into the early years of the United States, white men went back and forth between Europe, the United States, and Africa, kidnapping the native Africans and taking them back to the United States and other places to be slaves to white men.

(Remember, at this time, only men had full rights under the law.)

After a while, some people decided that it wasn't right to kidnap people from their homes, take them to someone else's home, and sell them like property to be used up until they died.

But many other people, mostly white men in the Southern half of the United States, disagreed. They thought that it was perfectly fine to enslave these people because, you see, the Africans weren't actually whole people. They were only part human.

So another war was fought.

Many people died, but in the end, it was decided that it was not okay to treat African people like property. It wasn't okay to sell or buy or slaughter them anymore.

It was even eventually decided that they were whole people!

But that didn't mean that they had rights like the white men did.

That had to be kept separate and hidden away, out of sight and away from the good white citizenry.

Meanwhile, many, many years later, women in the United States realized that it seemed silly that they weren't allowed to vote for the President, the Senators, the laws that would rule over them, or anything at all!

Many women felt like the white men in charge would see their point and agree that they had been silly to exclude women, around half of the population of the United States, from having any say in the laws and elected legislators of the country.

But the women were wrong!

The men in charge did not think that it had been silly to exclude women. In fact, they thought the women were being silly to even bring up such a silly topic!

Silly women!

But the women, we'll call them Suffragettes, fought and protested and rallied until finally, after a long struggle, it was decided that it was silly to exclude women from voting after all!

From then on, women were allowed to vote for all kinds of things!

But then another war came and times got hard.

And times also got scary.

The United States tried not to become embroiled in the war that was sweeping across Europe, but it was no use.

The Japanese airplanes flew into a place called Pearl Harbor and killed many, many people.

This frightened the white men in charge of the United States, and a man named Franklin, who was in charge of all the people of the United States, said that anyone who was Japanese and inside the United States had to go into what were called "internment camps."

These were places where the white men could safely keep an eye on all the Japanese people at once. That way, none of the scary Japanese people could hurt any more people in the United States.

The war continued and several countries called "The Allies" eventually defeated the Japanese and the Germans, freeing the Jewish people in Europe from the camps that they were kept in, and using a new weapon against Japan called the "Atom Bomb."

Franklin had two Atom Bombs dropped onto Japan and killed around 200,000 people.

That put an end to the war for good!

After that, Franklin decided it was probably time to let the Japanese people come back out of the concentration camps in the United States, so he freed them, too!

But even after all of that, there were still many people in the United States who were not happy with how they were treated every day.

First, after a long, hard, painful struggle, black people in the United States were finally allowed to be in the same places as the white people and were no longer forced to keep themselves separate and hidden away!

Then, there was a new law called "The Civil Rights Act" that said no one in the United States is allowed to be discriminated against based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin!

That meant that all women, all Japanese and black people, even all Latinos, Muslims, Jews, and anyone else were all equal under the law of the United States!

Well, almost...

Many of the southern United States didn't like this new law. They created sneaky ways to keep black people from being allowed to vote in elections! They used taxes, tests, even violence and other tricks to make sure black people didn't vote.

But then, a new law came called the "Voting Rights Act" that said that all these tricks weren't allowed anymore, and the white men who were being so sneaky had to stop that and let the black people vote because, remember, no one in the United States could be discriminated against based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin!

It wasn't long at all before women, and even people of different colors, races, national origins, and religions began working in the government!

People of color were elected!

Women were elected!

Several people with non-heterosexual orientation were elected!

It took a while longer, but eventually same-sex couples were even allowed to get married!

But uh-oh! We've forgotten someone in all of this celebrating.

We've left someone out, someone who's been oppressed all this time and has not once been helped by anyone else.

We've excluded one group from getting to have everything they want realized!

White men!

Oh no, oh no, oh golly gosh no!

After all of these trials and tribulations...

After freeing blacks from slavery...

After granting women the right to vote...

After freeing the Japanese people from the concentration camps the United States government put them into in the first place...

After disallowing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin...

After allowing same-sex couples the same rights in marriage as every other type of couple in the United States...

After electing a black President of the United States twice...

The white men have truly been left out.

How can they feel like they're being heard while all these people of color are screaming about racial injustice when a white cop guns down an unarmed black teenager?

How can they feel like they can protect their homes and families from Israeli extremist terrorist factions when the United States government says they can't own guns that have an ammunition capacity capable of wiping out a kindergarten classroom?

How can they feel equal when a black man tells them that they have to make health insurance available to their employees?

So as Thanksgiving draws near, take a moment think back to the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims (right before they annihilated the native population of this continent and later tucked them away in designated land separate from the rest of the population) and remember to be thankful to all the white men who remind us daily through sexual assault, public harassment, and political euphemisms that they, too, deserve to have an equal chance to make everyone else subordinate to them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

V for VendetTrump

Anyone else remember the graphic novel "V for Vendetta?" No? Just me. Okay, how about the movie? Yes? Most everybody because Natalie Portman + Hugo Weaving = amazeballs? Rad. Okay, so: V for Vendetta.

Y'all remember the plot? Spoiler Alert:
The government starts conducting experiments on people to create a super bio-weapon which, under the leadership of a few select wealthy businessmen who are invested in the pharmaceutical company carrying out the experiments, it then unleashes on three sites within the country itself. One man appears who galvanizes the nation using the fear created by the outbreak and death toll to turn the national fear into national rancor, which he directs at Muslims, blacks, gays, and anyone "undesirable;" using his omni-directional hatred of anyone "other" to fly his banner of "I'm the only one who can save you from this terrible threat!" He's elected amidst the crackdown on those said groups, he creates a new title for himself, and suddenly - nay, miraculously - a cure for the virus is "discovered" and he saves the day (spoiler alert 2: the company making the virus also made the vaccine. WHAAAAAT? And that man, the one now running the country, was the ringleader of the whole thing. WHAAAAAAT? It was so he could take over the country. And be in charge. And kill anyone in his way. I know, it's complicated...). Then he turns the nation into a totalitarian state with curfews and secret police and people being disappeared day and night.

Okay so CAN WE TAKE A SECOND to look at the rhetoric being used at the Republican National Convention this week?

Barak Obama is a Muslim and ergo a terrorist who has deliberately weakened the country. We need to build a wall between us and Mexico to keep illegal immigrants out because they are systematically murdering our citizens. Hilary Clinton caused the Benghazi attack and, therefore, is personally responsible for American deaths... it goes on.

So, looking just one layer deeper than Melania's blatant plagiarizing (sorry, that's unfair. Melania's speechwriter's blatant plagiarizing. Let's give credit where credit is due. That lady doesn't say one word unless someone else has already composed the sentence for her), one layer deeper than the fact that Soap Opera stars and underwear models are the ones championing this presumptive nominee, one layer deeper than the fact that, with a 70%+ disapproval rating among ALL women, Trump has turned to using personal stories of mothers whose sons have been killed by illegal immigrants to prove he has an empathetic side... looking one layer deeper than all of that, what is the resounding camp slogan?

Not: Make America Great Again.

Not: Make America Safe Again.

Not: Hilary for Prison.

Not even: Build The Wall.

But: YOU, fellow white, male American... YOU and YOUR CHILDREN are under attack. Your values and rights to indignation are under attack. Your very SAFETY is under attack by TERRORISTS, and those terrorists are called Muslim... are called Mexican... are called LGBTQ... are called OTHER. And I, DONALD TRUMP, AM THE ONLY MAN WHO CAN SAVE YOU FROM THEM.

Know who else (not from a graphic novel / film franchise) gained a leadership position by turning the national unrest and fear loose on one particular group who he subsequently systematically blamed for all the trouble in the nation, rounded up, and murdered?

(If you don't, please don't vote, mkay?)

I'm not saying that we should just have wide-open borders for anyone to come walking in. But are we feudal China? (No, seriously, are we? I can't tell anymore.)

I'm not saying that Clinton has the best track record of foreign relations, national accountability, or personal moral grounding (because, wait for it, she doesn't).

I'm not saying that this country doesn't have problems (#Dallas #BLM #BatonRouge...).

But what Trump and his camp stand for is not our SAFETY.
It is not our SECURITY.
It is not our MORALS.
It is not our Police, our citizens, or our fellow man, woman, and child.

What Trump and his camp stand for is VIOLENCE.
It is FEAR.

And by promoting an atmosphere of "fear of the other," he has turned too many in our nation toward "hatred of the other because they're obviously the ones to blame."

And frankly, as Yoda (and Sun Tzu's Art of War and the Buddha) said: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.

Trump is rallying fear, anger, and hate. He has actively incited and promoted violence at his rallies. He continues to blame anyone he fears for any problem our country faces, regardless of logic or empirical evidence. He is unscientific, he has no experience in a political arena, and he has proven himself to be nothing but a frightened, quivering, short-fingered, spray-tanned, vain little boy who happens to finally have a giant bat made of gold that he will gladly swing at anyone and everyone who he perceives has ever picked on him.

He's the schoolyard loser who got big one summer and has turned to maliciously seeking vengeance on anyone in his sights.

He believes we should ban Muslims from entering the country. Do you think his racism and bans will stop there?

He believes we should build a wall around our border with Mexico. Do you actually think that will do anything except escalate an already volatile situation (with a fence, there's violence. A wall is a bigger fence. This is Newtonian. Every action and all that)?

He believes that Hilary should be in prison for lying. WHAT THE F$%^ WAS HE DOING WITH TRUMP UNIVERSITY?

This man is a menace. He is not a leader. He is a dictator, a tyrant, and a danger to the safety of every American and every person on the planet.

Just... one last little thing to think about: You know how nuclear fallout doesn't actually go away? And how wind can carry it? And how if a nuke goes off at location X, location Y, Z, R, and Q will all be affected over time?

Do we really want a man who has bankrupted his companies with fatally dangerous gambles in charge of the largest nuclear arsenal on the planet?

(Sure, that's hyperbolic, but so is everything else about him. So why shouldn't we be concerned?)


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pokémon Go-And-Do-Something-Productive-With-This-Game, America.

After a little more than a week of Pokémon Go’s existence, I think it’s time for a brief recap of my experience so far.

Let’s, for a moment, put aside the sporadic reports of teenagers riding their bikes into curbs or walking into traffic and ending up hospitalized. Let’s, for a moment, turn away from the two grown-ass human beings who broke through a fence to climb onto a cliffside marked as unstable and unsafe in order to catch a Pokémon only to fall around 80 and 50 feet respectively down said cliff. Let’s even, briefly, disregard the story of the ex-serviceman who drove his brother’s car into a tree while chasing a Lapras. Let’s set that all aside, just for a moment, and take a look at just my experience with this game.

So, the Facebook posts started rolling in about Pokémon Go (about which I knew practically nothing before downloading it). I clicked-on my WiFi and downloaded the app. The Sign-Up screen loaded and I got chills.

My childhood came flooding back to me. Opening those small, square presents on Christmas or birthday mornings… Seeing that red or blue or, better yet, yellow beneath the wrapping paper… Those little brown instruction manuals, at whose sight I still get a tingle of elation… All of it came back in a tidal wave of childlike (childish? Maybe) excitement. I pressed the “Login with Google” button, inputted my email address and password, and was prompted to create my username.

I typed, pressed “Done,” my chest tight with anticipation…


Oh. Okay. Well I’ll just try my name.


How about this one?


Um… old AIM screen name?


Old email address from when I was eleven?


For fuck’s sake, a string of random letters and numbers?


Oh fuck this.

So I gave up for the rest of that day.

The next day, I returned, determined to gain the app’s approval (REALLY starting to feel like I was back in middle school again). I typed one in…

Name not available.

YAY! NOT AN ERROR! So I tried one I KNEW would work…

Name not available.



I’M IN! OH HOLY SHITSNACKS I’M IN! And then came the warning screen that everyone’s been talking about…

“Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings.”

And having laughed at the notion of Americans (or Canadians, or anyone else, but especially Americans) heeding any kind of warning regarding their own or other peoples’ bodily safety, I was in. I was now, officially, in real life, a Pokémon trainer! (Just like the 10-year-old children who wandered off into the woods alone with the blessing of their mothers in the cartoon show!)

Now came unanticipated hurdle number two… How the fuck do I use this game?

After unwittingly catching a Sandshrew and a Doduo, I did what any self-respecting adult of the Millennial generation would do: I consulted Google.


Google patiently explained to me how to find, catch, and battle my little monsters and I was off.

Now at this point, being me, I immediately became bored.

Let me explain: I hate walking places. It’s too slow. I like being outside, I like that it’s some form of exercise, I LOVE not being in a car, but it is so goddamn SLOW. So I figured, well hey, why not just run? So, like Gump, I just started running.

Now here’s where the true beauty of this game revealed itself to me. I can sprint pretty fast. And my average miles while running are sub-8’s. So I rapidly determined that I could use this game as interval training; running as hard as I can for as long as it takes for a critter to appear in my area, then stopping in some shade, respectfully stepping off the sidewalk or running path, capturing the little bastard, then getting back to sprinting. Tracking these runs, so far, I’m splitting 4:something’s while sprinting interspersed with stationary rest breaks and it’s great! I’m already, in this last week, running more than I probably ever have in my life. So bully for Pokémon Go on that front.

So here’s where it gets interesting. On this first day of testing the proverbial waters, I started jogging around the neighborhood, feeling out this system of sprints and poké-stops. It was within my first solid hour of gameplay when I took a residential street to nab a little extra shade on my way back to my apartment, when a car came by me that sounded like quite the ruckus.

Rolling by slowly, the person in the passenger seat was having one hell of a party. Screaming, banging the top of the car, hand waving out the window, struggling against the driver’s hand that was holding onto her- wait, what?

I watched and listened as this car rolls past me and I could clearly make out that this driver, a male, was fighting to keep a grip on his passenger, a female, who was banging the roof of the car with one hand, struggling against the driver with the other, and shouting, very clearly, “help help somebody help me.”

I freeze. Like a damn closeup shot in some NBC procedural I freeze and try to process what is happening as fast as I can. Before I know what I’m doing, my fingers are dialing 9-1-1 and I’m walking, ever faster, toward the car which has now been stopped at a stop sign for far too long, the driver obviously unable to drive while also restraining the woman in the car with him.

I make out a few letters and numbers of the license plate as I get closer while the hold-system on the phone tells me that an operator will be with me shortly-

“9-1-1 what is your emergency?”

And the car takes off. Fast.

So, so do I.

I am sprinting faster than my body can handle, tearing around corners to keep this car in sight.

I’m panting into the phone, explaining the situation, my mind racing even faster than my legs so my mouth can clearly elucidate the current maneuvers I’m taking, my location, direction, intersection, condition, and observations.

A car is approaching me perpendicularly as the attacker’s car makes a right onto the main road. I pump my free hand at the oncoming vehicle who stops well behind the crosswalk to let me cut through the road. (To that mysterious driver, thank you, by the way.)

I haul ass as the assailant and victim make another right back into the residentials around a blind corner and then a wave of terror suddenly hits me.

What if this guy has a gun?

What if this guy has spotted me (which I’m sure he has by now), and has pulled around this shrubbed-up corner, stopped the car, turned around out of his window, and is just waiting for me to come running around so he can end me?

What if I’m literally running into a trap?

I freeze at the corner, continuing to describe the situation to the 9-1-1 operator, and creep around the shrubs staying as tactically hidden as possible.

They’re gone.

I finish the best description I can muster for the operator. She asks if I want to leave my information. I decline as I have nothing left to offer. She thanks me for my call and hangs up.

I sit in the dirt under a tree in the shade and pant. My entire body is shaking, my heart is pounding like it wants out, my mind is racing, and all I can think is, “god I hope I was fast enough.”

I stand up, brush myself off, open up the stupid little pocket monster game because what the hell else am I going to do on my way back to my apartment otherwise, and I start jogging.

Not a minute later I hear the familiar thump-thump-thump-thump-thump of helicopter rotors as an LAPD chopper beings to circle the neighborhood directly over where I’d last seen the car. I stare at it for a few seconds and hope.

So yeah, this game is dumb. It’s asinine, juvenile, and potentially dangerous when played irresponsibly. But you know what? It’s also fun. It is getting some of the pastiest-ass motherfuckers I’ve ever seen in my life outside, into the sunshine, walking around instead of sitting on the couch playing Minecraft or WoW or some other bullshit, expensive game. And if one or two incidences can occur in which a player actually IS remembering to stay alert at all times and paying attention to his or her surroundings, like the two ex-servicemen who were playing in a park and reported a man who was sexually assaulting a child, only to discover, when this assailant was arrested, that said assailant had a warrant out for his arrest for murder, then so-poké-be it. 

I’m gonna keep on playing.

Am I going to use up every spare second of my time to wander around in circles like a senile golden retriever trying to lie down? Probably not, no. But am I periodically going to take a break from writing or editing or whatever else I’m doing to, instead of just looking at something ELSE on the same screen, go outside, maybe to a park I’ve never been to before (like how I discovered Barnsdall Park and the copious Dratini occupying it), and perhaps make some new friends as a result of this weird little game (like the trio I met outside the porn store / strip club the other night)? Yeah. Yeah, I am.

And in the meantime, can we all “remember to stay alert at all times” and “pay attention to [our] surroundings?” Hell yes we can. And if used responsibly, if not played while driving or biking or skateboarding or hover boarding (for fuck’s sake), if used with awareness, maybe more positive than negative CAN come out of this odd little game.

So you know what, world?

I am a Pokémon trainer.

Now if you’ll excuse me…