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Erik Orrantia

author of Normal Miguel

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Thanks for the Warm Welcome!
Hotel California

Wow...you guys at Cheyenne Publishing do seem to be a pretty tight knit group!  It certainly makes me proud to be a part of it...

Okay...here's a stupid question: how is this blog different from facebook?  I'll be some people have LiveJournal, Facebook, maybe even myspace!  How do they compare?  How do you keep up with them all?

As you may have read in my biography on Cheyenne, I live in Tijuana.  Lots of people wonder what it's like, so what can I say?  In lots of ways, it's not that different from the US--I rent a little 3BR, 2 1/2bathroom house, I shop at the grocery store, we go to the movies, etc., etc.

Of course, there are a few differences: there are police all over the place that drive around in caravans of pick-up trucks with their weapons hanging out (literally).  The internet is a little slow and the television sucks.  Blockbuster is a profitable business.  The street food is wonderful--tacos, tortas, seafood, tamales, etc.

Other than that, life is rather normal.  Well, there isn't nearly as much entertainment in Tijuana as in San Diego, but I'm a bit of a homebody anyhow.  Drinking age is 18 and the bars are funner.  People are less worried about driving drunk and breaking traffic laws which is a worry for me.  I guess after 12 years, you can get used to anything.

I know some of you live on the other side of the world...what's your life like?


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There aren't many of us at Cheyenne (yet)--the group is small but mighty!

Facebook is a lot more popular than LJ and LJ has some ethical issues I disagree with--it hijacks Amazon links and takes the commissions--and they allow ads with links to risky sites, so be careful about clicking on their ads. I mean to move to Dreamwidth when I get spare time... soon... really. I've stayed with LJ mainly because I don't like learning new systems, this one is very simple, and I'm in touch with most of my writing friends here. I got around to trying myspace at just about the time it started losing popularity, and most of what I got out of that was boobytrapped spam mail--not worth it in my book.

I live up in the 'deep south' of Canada--US citizen but our marriage is legal here. It's colder than where you are, (obviously!) and if I want a good pot of beans I have to cook it myself. There are decent tortillas at the grocery (though not like the Mexican mom next door used to make when I was a kid) but the street food--what little there is--seems to be mostly based on sausage... the original ethnicity of the town is German-eastern European, and Italian. It's interesting; the Waterloo area has several big companies (RIM--not a double entendre, they invented the Blackberry) is here, and there are several universities so the area has tremendous ethnic diversity, but it's not a great town for dining out, especially as a vegetarian; most of the good restaurants we've found are an hour's drive away in Toronto. On the other hand, even the grocery stories have good croissants, which was never the case when I lived in Ohio.

It's much more sedate here, no major show of police force--the news I've seen makes Mexico's drug-related crime sound pretty horrifying. This is a big enough area to have inter-city highways, and the fabled courtesy of Canadians is less visible on them. On the other hand, people do seem to be a little less cut-throat about parking. (Then again, I learned to drive in Chicago...) Gas is a bit more expensive than in the US - usually a little less than $1 Canadian per litre - but cheaper than in Europe or the UK. Public transportation is a bit better, in general, than the US. It's an interesting combination of more conservative in some ways and more progressive in others. Lots of churchgoers, but much less of the folks who feel that their way is the only way and must be imposed on everyone.

Right now we're doing a home-improvement project (we're learning to shingle the new porch) and getting the garden ready for our short summer. (We can't put tomato plants out for another couple of weeks, and they usually die off by the end of October.) My wife teaches math at one of the local universities, and this is the first week of the new term, so she's either working at work or on her computer here at home most of the time.

When you start promoting Normal Miguel, I'll send links to a friend of mine in Columbus--she has a close friend who's from Mexico and I'll bet he would love to see your book. I'm guessing there aren't many gay Latino romances out there!

Hi Lee,

Thanks for propping the book. I'm looking forward to its release.

Anyhow, my mother lives in Southern Michigan and, even there, I can hardly stand the cold of the winters. It's beautiful and all, but damned cold!

How long have you been married?

It's about the same here as southern Michigan, but I grew up in the kind of winters we have here and they really do make you appreciate summer!

How long...? Ten+ years together, eight years since our pagan handfasting, coming up on six years for the legal/Unitarian one. We joke about going to a legal state in the US and tying the knot again, just to make it really solid. We had been friends for over 20 years before that--really a case of friendship catching fire.

How about you? Settled down together for awhile?

Yes, I've been with my partner for six years. I met him down here in Tijuana and he doesn't have a visa to enter into the US even as a tourist. Hopefully one of these days though the US is, at best strict, at worst despotic, about giving visas. In the meantime, we travel extensively in Mexico and are hoping to go abroad sooner or later.

As far as marriage, the country did approve gay marriage in Mexico City only. Most states are still pretty conservative about it although gays have definitely taken a more visible place in the society over the last ten years.

You know, with all the overwhelming opposition to gay marriage and the repeal of DADT in the USA, sometimes I feel so disheartened I think I'd be better off in Canada or Mexico. It's not that I don't love my country, I do, but the religious right is so vehemently opposed to social change that they really want to take us back to the dark ages. Other countries are moving forward, the US is (apparently) moving backward.

Can't give any feedback about Facebook.

I can tell you about us though.

Charlie is a golf fan. Can't get her away from the stuff. Every few minutes it's golf this and golf that. She's obsessed. Won't look at any other sport.

Erastes is thinking about going back to school to become either a pediatrician or a kindergarden teacher. She's undecided though and looking for guidance if you have any advice.

Alex is a big people person and party animal. It's hard to catch her on email or the blog because she's always out clubbing in London.

I live near Seattle, where it never rains and it's a struggle trying to find any decent seafood.

Poor Mark. He has to deal with some strange people. Hope you can bring in a ray of stability.

Actually I do like golf. As well as the other sport/s. I once queued for half an hour to get Jose Maria Olazabal's autograph...

(Deleted comment)
*rolls eyes* I figured as much.

Alex said:

The main difference between LJ and Facebook, to me, seems to be that LJ's format encourages you to start conversations, which can go on for quite some time. You tend to be slower to add "friends" on LJ, but that's because when you do add them it's because you've had some contact and discovered that you have at least one or two things in common to talk about. On FB you collect "friends" by the dozen but rarely talk to any of them. FB is a better way to get your news seen by lots of people, but LJ is a better way to get involved in a community.

Yes. This.

I come from a suburb in central Connecticut. The police are not very visible, unless you leave your car on the street overnight because you can't put it in your driveway for whatever reason. Then it's best to call them in advance, or they'll get antsy.

We don't have any food vendors who sell anything on the street--that probably wouldn't be allowed around here--and even the so-called "cheap family restaurants" are fairly pricey if, like me, you don't have much money. And the two Blockbuster places closed a few years ago.

I've never been to any bars in America, though I have been to a couple at Oxford University. But that was about twenty years ago. So I don't know if the bars in Connecticut are any fun, and, given that Dial-A-Ride detests driving the elderly and the handicapped (I'm squarely in the second category) about in the evening, it's unlikely that I'll ever find out.

(Not that I'd likely go to a bar even if I could drive myself there, as, in addition to having trouble walking, thanks to lymphedema tarda, I'm also on anti-convulsant medication. According to my late neurologist, I can have all the booze I want...as long as I call the undertaker first.)

I couldn't tell you what local culture is like, because, thanks to financial and transportation issues, I don't see much of it. The town has serious issues with the disabled; very little is handicapped-accessible. It's a rare building that has doors that aren't heavy and difficult for me to open as I try to balance on a walker or an orthopedic cane. And the public library has been dragging its feet about getting its elevator repaired (and thus making the library accessible to the handicapped and the elderly) for the past four months. The neighbors pretty much keep themselves to themselves. I don't even know the names of the people next door, or most of the people on my street. They're not what you'd call a friendly bunch. They aren't hostile to people they don't know, but they are indifferent.

I live with a girl who's the opposite of me--lesbian with a girlfriend, very conservative, and a devout Episcopalian. (As opposed to me--straight, liberal and agnostic.)

Oh, and I hate snow, ice, sleet, cold and winter--all of which make the lymphedema worse--and I would cheerfully move somewhere cheap and warm.

My ideas about Mexico are all based on the westerns I used to watch long ago - men in big hats riding skinny little horses and shooting people! The Mexicans were nearly always the baddies. I'm ashamed of how little I know about other people's culture and history.
I live in the countryside near to a small town (large village really!) in the middle of England. We rarely see a policeman here, though there is a little part-time police station which occasionally has a police car parked outside it. The only nightlife is the badgers!
I lived in Birmingham for seven years before I came here, which couldn't have been more different. We (self and husband)moved because three people had been stabbed in our street and we'd had to barricade our shop during some riots. I definitely prefer where I live now!
As regards Facebook etc., I have enough trouble dealing with Livejournal! Also, until next week I'm still on dial-up, so it's been difficult to download anything like that. Next week I enter the exciting world of broadband!!
(It's interesting reading about other Cheyenne authors. Good topic.)

It's funny the ideas you shared about Mexico. When I first got here in 1997, I had some of the same ideas and I lived in California! I thought there'd be dirt roads everywhere, burros, and cockroaches galore. Those things are only partly true!

There are also Starbucks, glitz, five-star restaurants, etc., etc. Most big cities are rather modern, though they always have a poorer sections on the sometimes not so outskirts.

Why were there riots in your town?

The West Indians living in Handsworth and Smethwick fell out with the local police and went on the rampage. Unfortunately, in Birmingham many white people regard all those who don't have a white skin as 'black' and therefore unwelcome and dangerous, regardless of whether they are Indian, Pakistani, Chinese or whatever. I really hate it when people are labeled like this.

I don't get Facebook at ALL. i REALLY don't care that people are eating an orange. I like to read posts like yours where there's something to read. For me, LJ is like a daily newspaper of all my friends' news. Most people post maybe once a day (some a lot less) but not the constant babble at facebook - and on facebook, as far as I can see, you can't unilaterally friend, if someone wants to friend you, you HAVE to friend them back, or they can't read your news. On LJ, anyone can friend you, but if you "friendslock" your post they can't read it - handy if you want to say something that you'd rather Joe Public doesn't need to read.

I've been with LJ for 7, maybe 8 years? and I love it, can't see me ever moving - however I do mirror post most of my LJ posts over at my website blog. (which then feeds into my Amazon Author page)

I live in the UK - near the Norfolk Broads, system of man-made lakes that happened after massive peat cutting in (I think, the medieval era) very pretty, lots of birds and wildlife. I don't work now, I care for my dad, which consists of me working on my laptop, and him bringing me tea every half and hour and asking me which day it is.

Is it OK to wish you happy Cinco de Mayo? Hope so - I was just reading up about it today - why isn't there any gay historical fiction around that war?

I'm looking forward to reading your book.

I prefer LJ for all the reasons Erastes gives - but I do have facebook and twitter and I've just rigged a feed so that if I post here it'll show up there, too.

I live in Hampshire (old, not New) in an Edwardian house which has been extended by the previous owners. Pretty quiet here, on the edge of Southampton, which is naff, but near Romsey which makes Alex's village look exciting. We love it.

All the English authors seem to live in quiet places. Is this why we write exciting action-packed historicals, full of war, murder and mayhem? (I may be generalizing a bit here.)

LOL! I think it's just because to be an author we like to be away from humans!

HAHA...ain't that the truth? I studied couples counseling and never seemed to be able to form one! Well, not a healthy one anyway! I guess I'm not the only one who sometimes feels like I hate people.

Thanks for the laugh!

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