— a military pal of mine innocently posting to Facebook about TERA (Temporary Early Retirment Authorization). He was just presenting an important option for his colleagues to consider; yet in this age of hyperinformation, everyone has an opinion. and no one has a solution. I read the thread. He really was meaning to be helpful. But someone took it the wrong way. It’s like telling you that apples are on sale at Safeway, but then you object because you hate the Department of Agriculture. Can’t you just enjoy your fucking apples?
I don’t understand book collectors. They call the store all the time with their impossibly detailed requests. It’s not necessarily that I mind doing the extra work that requires me to access expertise I don’t sharply possess and is beyond my pay grade, but also sometimes I just want to interrupt a customer and inquire with curiosity and admittedly a little unkindness: “Excuse me but have you actually ever read the book?” I would presume that book collecting is much like art collecting, in that people also like to be in possession of art that they don’t necessarily appreciate. As a hobby, collection means prestige and money and not necessarily passion. I appreciate books, am a fan of them, but am no collector. To me, the idea of a first edition is nice, even cool; but all of the books that I own are worn, tattered and decrepit from age and love.
I got some bad training early on, Linc: I never learned to fall in love with men, only with their words and promises, hopes and dreams, their observations of life and ability to shoot the shit. Recently I have come to realize that I don’t know how to love a man for a man. Could I take his flaws? Could I withstand his disappointments and judgments? Thus far, the notion of a man has been easiest for me to process only in the form of his words. This started with those letters from Pop. Our relationship was one of sharing experiences through the channels of distance and time. We did not have shared lives so much as accounts of them. When we finally reunited, we could not immediately make solid those wistful billows of longing. The irony of our reunion was that we needed more time.
The second boy I ever had a crush on was not in my fifth grade class like the first one. The second boy was named Dean and he did not even live in the state. Looking back with the learned cynicism of today’s era, there was certainly the possibility that Dean was not in fact a grade schooler like me. The articulate and expert technical support postings he made to Prodigy, which at that time was the jewel in a narrow selection of internet access, made him sound much older. Even when we became friends and he provided me with photos and handwritten letters that went beyond our message board posts and instant messages, when he “snail mailed” the evidence that confirmed who I thought he was, it certainly could have all been made up. But it wasn’t, and even though our friendship existed online, we went through the routine motions of such. College would bring estrangement when innocent and endless hours online were reduced to a shadow in the light of freedom and the approach of adulthood.
Last year, Facebook worked its social networking magic and we found each other again. I looked at Dean’s profile photos and experienced the same twinge of adoration that I felt the first time I ever ripped open an envelope from him. The picture inside had been one of those wallet-sized deals that you order on school picture day. Dean was draped in a red football jersey. He’s cute, I thought and then anxiously stuffed the picture back in the envelope, for in those days I honestly believed that I was hellbound.
Although his Facebook profile did not list a relationship status, the posted photos showed him in a variety of happy life events with the same pretty blonde woman. It was a bittersweet revelation, not because he was straight, but because with Selma we had been a trio and now I was the only one who was single. Years before, in college, Selma still had Dean on her AIM buddy list. (Remember those?) Not long after I came out to Selma, she’d seen fit to fish Dean for his opinion on the matter.
"What would you do if you had to play football with a gay guy?" she’d asked.
I still vividly remember the text of Dean’s reply because it was itself as memorable as Selma sneaking it to me as a cut-and-paste: “I don’t care if he is gay or straight. I just want him to play well.”
Dean has now taken those early years of giving tech help to Prodigy customers into his own successful consulting. For a week or so after we connected on Facebook, it was like old times. I was shocked that age had not tempered his epistolary aptitude of childhood. I cannot tell a lie: so moving were his words that I wished our old friendship could have blossomed into love.
One day when we were twelve, we were wasting time as usual chatting online when Dean’s instant messages suddenly devolved into random characters and then, finally, “fuck you.” I stared at the screen and waited in stunned silence for a very confused couple of minutes before the explanation finally arrived that Dean’s computer had been momentarily commandeered by Earl, the boy who is today Dean’s true best friend in the way denied me by space and cyberspace. The rest of our conversation reached a plateau even after Dean assured me that Earl had gone back home. To be honest, I was a little jealous that I had not been the center of Dean’s attention and I lost interest in generating new conversation. Being twelve-years old, in my passive aggression I decided to express my sorrow by filling the instant mesage window with drivel.
Dan typed back: “Stop acting like farm animals. (G)” The capital ‘G’ in parentheses means “grin,” back then a fixture of online lingo that today is equivalent to :) or in the context of Dean’s reply a much more fitting :p .
I did not type ‘LOL’ in response because I was too busy laughing out loud for real. To this day it is still one of the most charming things a guy has ever said to me.
304.0: Magical thoughts and other longings.
I wish that I could have taken a screenshot of my Gmail account to show you all of the crap that was in there this morning and every morning. The fact that I have rushed to describe all of it as crap isn’t some snap judgement merely because I am inundated with bills and spam but it is also the totality of information overload.
I guess this morning I am in a little bit of a cynical mood because the newsletters that I get from the likes of LinkedIn, Groupon and even the Giants have stricken me as freakishly irrelevant. Marking the LinkedIn e-mail for deletion, I stared dumbly at the bold and unopened message and then sighed heavily as I thought, Why is there always a list for everything? Seriously, Linc. There’s a top 7 list of things to not put on your resume. Top 23 of… okay, there has never been a top 23, but there’s always been a top something. These marketing types always want to make a list and I always see it on LinkedIn. This small reason is also significant toward why I felt a pang of judgment initially when I’d read that you had invested in a tech startup. Have I ever told you that sometimes during my morning run I give a snarkily polite wave to the passengers in the Financial District express bus that I myself used to take when I worked there? I do.
Your team is now gearing up the fanbase for the post-season. My cynical feeling this morning was talking to me as I also marked that e-mail for deletion — and rarely do I ever delete an e-mail from sfgiants.com. I hate to say this but it just got lost in the noise, Linc — I was clicking and quickly marking everything that resembled spam or otherwise something that I didn’t want to read and the announcement for post-season tickets did not strike me as something I needed to read. I am not going to any of those games anyway beyond loitering outside The Ballpark with the rest of the fans without tickets — by the way, I say this with very little regret. Do not misinterpret that as self-pity. Of course I would love to be at the October ball games. But fortune had already favored me once and if once is enough for fortune then it will have to be enough for me. It isn’t often that one becomes a baseball fan for the first time and then the very next season that baseball team wins the World Series.
Anyway, what I will always have, Linc, is Our Ballpark, which is where I am right now. It’s cloudy in here just like it’s cloudy in the real world, in the Sunset District, which is where I live. But I don’t need a jacket right now in Our Ballpark. I am comfortably sitting here in mesh gym shorts and a white cotton t-shirt, the outfit that I woke up in. Maybe for added effect, later on I will manifest a replica of the warm Giants blanket that I sleep with and conjure the fog to have it roll in here in that ghostly way that it tends to do during real ballgames. No matter how many games I attend where I watch the fog roll in, I’ve never stopped thinking wishfully of spirits becoming manifest and divine guidance even though lately those magical thoughts and other longings have themselves manifest upon the earth as fantasy made whole with all the complications and dangers that are the price of flesh. I have watched the fog and thought to myself with the resignation of someone who is old and has waited too long.
It’s just a cloud.
— randomberlinchick, one of my good Tumblr friends, replying to a post.
— Mary Elizabeth Williams, on an unfortunate facet of internet culture that, quite frankly, wasn’t as pronounced and terrible in my day. “My day” being the nineties, when AOL was just a snazzy GUI interface and Prodigy ruled the landlines with its videotext transmissions. At 30-years old, I am officially an old cyberspace fart.
We see you anti-blackness. You’re ridiculous. I’m embarrassed for you.
Didn’t the book say everything except these kids were from Atlanta and their descendants invented Freaknik?
I am trying to limit how much blogging I do about politics or society. I just get pissed. That’s part of why I switched to a new theme and wrote a new ‘about’ blurb and titled it “Leave the world outside.” In here, on this blog, in my world, certain things are not up for debate. For example, President Obama is an awesome president. Marriage equality is a right, not a privilege. Universal health care is smart and fair. And casting for The Hunger Games movie was inspired.
There are no spoilers in what I’m about to say.
The little girl that the casting department found to play Rue was perfect — tiny, sweet and just a little bit wily as she was vulnerable, just like as Suzanne Collins wrote. Very adorable. So what of her skin color? Anyway, when kids are that young, they resonate with uniform and impartial innocence. And when we are even younger — like, newborns — all us motherfuckers look alike.
The climactic scene involving Rue and Katniss was a powerful visual companion to, and faithful adaptation of, its counterpart in the book. Among a handful of weaknesses in the movie, that scene stands out as a jewel. Both the director and the editor had a lot of eggshells to walk on in terms of nuance and timing. The scene as presented in the final cut is a cinematic achievement.
I want to give these tweets the benefit of the doubt, especially since 140 characters is just too narrow a scope to express any idea with solid context. (See also: Kardashians.) But still, as I’ve already said, I am mad.
As for Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, the only issue anyone might have to my reaction of his casting is that, if anything, I may be ageist (but not really). My friends and I were all sitting around a table having dinner after the movie when Spencer nearly choked on a piece of popcorn chicken because of me.
"How can someone like Lenny Kravtiz be so old and still look so good?” I exclaimed, wide-eyed, and with just a little bit of drool .
After Spencer managed to recover, she took a napkin and daintily wiped her mouth, and then she said: “How old is Lenny Kravitz?”
I confessed that I didn’t know, but that he seemed to have been making music for a while. (Here, I was quietly recalling his cover of “American Woman,” the music seamlessly playing in my head like my own psychological Pandora.)
"He has a kid with Lisa Bonet," I laughed.
Spencer and the others nodded in assent.
"And I think she’s like 20-something," I said, referring to Zoe Kravitz.
"Wow, he is old,” agreed Spencer, herself 33.
And for those who continue to bitch and moan about skin color, here’s some food for thought: the actress who plays Rue has the last name of Stenberg. So, the kid’s mixed. Sheesh. Anyway, her last name reminds me of the time on The Golden Girls in the second season when Rose was rushed to the hospital. As soon as the doctor emerged into the lobby to give the girls an update, Dorothy and Rose all but bum rushed him while he was introducing himself.
"Oh, do you hear that, Dorothy?" Blanche exclaims in relief. "Rose is gonna be just fine. Her doctor’s a Jew!"
Dorothy gives her a horrified look for her comment, but is so desperate for hopeful news about Rose that when she turns to the doctor, Dorothy says, “How is she, Doctor Jew?”