2007 AIDS Walk Poetry Book Raffle

I wanted to be creative when announcing the winners for the poetry book raffle, so I asked blogger friend Montgomery Maxton, who is always creating interesting Youtube clips, to create a Youtube clip to draw the winners for the contest. Being the great guy he is, he of course helped me out. Please click his name; give his blog some love. Here’s his video:

Funeral Today

Aunt Betty’s funeral was today. Her daughter, my cousin, asked my mother if I would be a pallbearer. Normally, I have a standard answer of no to the pallbearer question because I often find myself too emotional at the funeral of a family member. I thought of what Aunt Betty would say if she heard me answer no. She would have given me hell in her special and funny way.

I’m going to miss her presence at family gatherings– miss how she calls people out for BS, miss how she makes me laugh and smile with her honesty.

I am in such q need for a nap….. so it is about to be nap time. When I wake, I’m going to post a video made by friend and poet Montgomery Maxton announcing the winners of the poetry book raffle I conducted to raise funds for the 2007 AIDS Walk.

Presidential Hopefuls on Iraq


Please note: All information in quotations comes from the official web page of the Presidential hopeful pictured to the left of the statement.

View: There should be a timetable for the removal of troops.

“Starting Phased Redeployment within Hillary’s First Days in Office: The most important part of Hillary’s plan is the first: to end our military engagement in Iraq’s civil war and immediately start bringing our troops home. As president, one of Hillary’s first official actions would be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, her Secretary of Defense, and her National Security Council. She would direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home starting with the first 60 days of her Administration. She would also direct the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to prepare a comprehensive plan to provide the highest quality health care and benefits to every service member — including every member of the National Guard and Reserves — and their families.” (Click here to Clinton’s page on Iraq.)

View: There should be a timetable for the removal of troops.

“There is no military solution to the chaos in Iraq. Instead, the Iraqi people must solve the problem politically by taking responsibility for their country. By leaving Iraq, America will prompt the Iraqi people, regional powers, and the entire international community to find the political solution that will end the sectarian violence and create a stable Iraq. We must show the Iraqis that we are serious about leaving by actually starting to leave, with an immediate withdrawal of 40,000-50,000 troops and a complete withdrawal within nine to ten months. We should leave behind in Iraq only a brigade of 3,500 to 5,000 troops to protect the embassy and possibly a few hundred troops to guard humanitarian workers. ” (Click here to see Edwards’s page on Iraq.)

View: U.S. forces need to stay in Iraq for as long as it takes for Iraqi forces to take over.

“Rudy Giuliani believes winning the war on terror is the great responsibility of our generation. America cannot afford to go back to the days of playing defense, with inconsistent responses to terrorist attacks, because weakness only encourages aggression. Americans want peace. We’re at war not because we want to be, but because the terrorists declared war on us—well before the attacks of September 11th. Rudy understands that freedom is going to win this war of ideas. America will win the war on terror.” (Click here to watch comments from Giuliani’s page on Iraq.)

View: U.S. forces need to stay in Iraq for as long as it takes for Iraqi forces to take over.

“A greater military commitment now is necessary if we are to achieve long-term success in Iraq. John McCain agrees with retired Army General Jack Keane that there are simply not enough American forces in Iraq. More troops are necessary to clear and hold insurgent strongholds; to provide security for rebuilding local institutions and economies; to halt sectarian violence in Baghdad and disarm Sunni and Shia militias; to dismantle al Qaeda; to train the Iraqi Army; and to embed American personnel in Iraqi police units. Accomplishing each of these goals will require more troops and is a crucial prerequisite for needed economic and political development in the country. America’s ultimate strategy is to give Iraqis the capabilities to govern and secure their own country. ” (Click here to see McCain’s page on Iraq.)

View: There should be a timetable for the removal of troops.

Obama has a plan to immediately begin withdrawing our troops engaged in combat operations at a pace of one or two brigades every month, to be completed by the end of next year. He would call for a new constitutional convention in Iraq, convened with the United Nations, which would not adjourn until Iraq’s leaders reach a new accord on reconciliation. He would use presidential leadership to surge our diplomacy with all of the nations of the region on behalf of a new regional security compact. And he would take immediate steps to confront the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Iraq.” (Click here to see Obama’s page on Iraq.)

View: U.S. forces need to stay in Iraq for as long as it takes for Iraqi forces to take over.

“Across the nation, there is debate about our future course in Iraq. Our desire to bring our troops home, safely and soon, is met with our recognition that if Iraq descends into all-out civil war, millions could die; that Iraq’s Sunni region could become a base for Al Qaeda; that its Shia region could be seized by Iran; that Kurd tension could destabilize Turkey; and even that the broader Middle East could be drawn into conflict. The possible implications for America and for American interests from such developments could be devastating. It could mean a future with far more military involvement and far more loss of American life. For these reasons, I believe that so long as there is a reasonable prospect of success, our wisest course is to seek stability in Iraq, with additional troops endeavoring to secure the civilian population. (Click here for Romney’s page.)

A Tribute to My Aunt Betty

What the World Should Know:

Aunt Betty was fierce and a fighter. She battled leukaemia for a number of years, but sick or not she worked in her vegetable garden, canned food, and worshipped her grandchildren. She loved and took pride in her garden and shared her canned goods with people who fell on hard times and included a homemade cake. If you asked for the shirt off her back, she would give it to you and two more from her closet.

Aunt Betty said what she thought at all times; she had absolutely no qualms or fears when it came to expressing herself. She never backed down no matter how much of a ruckus it caused within the family. I admire her greatly, honestly more than anyone will ever know, for this quality.

Aunt Betty was accepting. Unfortunately, a number of my aunt and uncles carry lots of prejudice ideals, but she didn’t fit the category whatsoever. All Aunt Betty required was that you be yourself. If you were fake, well, God help you then– Aunt Betty didn’t care for fake people. When one of my cousins “came out,” he father disowned him. Once the news made it to Aunt Betty she called her brother to tell him how stupid he was being, that he needed to realize nothing was different about his son.

I will always remember Aunt Betty as someone who would stand up for the underdog and spoke her mind so you always knew where she stood. I love that she’d tell a person in an instance to be his/herself and recommend to that person to tell everyone else to fuck off if they didn’t like it. Oh yes, she’d drop the F-bomb—she always said what she thought– I mentioned it before but I’ll mention it again: that quality is something I dearly love about her. At times you never knew what would come out of her mouth, but you knew it would be from the heart or her brutal honest opinion.

Aunt Betty fought a hard battle Tuesday morning and showed she wasn’t leaving very easily. She coded four times and recovered successfully; however, she wasn’t able to recover after she coded for a fifth time.

Rest in peace Aunt Betty. Lots and lots love.

Positive Thoughts, Vibes, & Prayers

Please send out positive thoughts & vibes and/or prayers for my family. We had an unexpected death in the family—one of my aunts passed away at 3am this morning.

The ICU staff at Emory Crawford Long Hospital deserves recognition for their excellent and unbelievable bedside manner. I don’t think I have ever experienced such a dedicated and sincere staff.

AIDS Quilt — 1 of 2

Ok. I feel worse than yesterday, but no time to whine about. This entry contains some of the pictures I took while viewing the AIDS Quilt; I have more pictures that I will post later. I don’t know if I can accurately describe all the thoughts and emotions I experienced as I viewed the quilt; however, I know the first emotion that hit me was an overwhelming sadness. The short life spans seemed to leap from the quilt as if they were in 3-D, so many people were robbed of long lives and dealt exit cards in their 40s. Chris, who always adds rational to my emotional, reminded me to look at the years these people were born, which was typically the 50s, 60s, and 70s. He reminded me of the progress that have been made in the medical field, but it was hard for me to concentrate on what he was saying. I mean, I know that these days in pharmacy school and med school HIV/AIDS is taught as a manageable diseases instead of as a death sentence.

But even though there has been much progress, there is still so much more progress that must be made. There are so many people we need to remember.

2007 AIDS Walk Atlanta

The 2007 AIDS Walk Atlanta was today. Unfortunately, overnight my team of six dwindled to a team of two—best friend Chris and myself. This morning I popped a few Vitamin C and a couple of Tylenol before we hit the park to get our walk on.

Exciting news: My goal was $250; I raised over $800— go Team Truvy. During the walk I kept talking with Chris about fundraising ideas for next year…… oh, do I have some good ones. If it works out, I plan to do the poetry book raffle each year, and I’ll mention the other as the time approaches.
Here’s a big THANK YOU to everyone who supported me (and Team Truvy) in the 2007 AIDS Walk Atlanta. I appreciate every single one of you. The raffle for the poetry books will be happening within the next couple of days.
Chris + Me

Opening Ceremony

Children from preschool down the street from
the park played the drums for the walkers.

This fabulous entertainer cheered on the walkers
and the Atlanta Freedom Bands.

View of Piedmont as the walk started.

Shot of the walkers while on Peacthree.

Tomorrow, I’ll post pictures of the AIDS Quilt.