I Hate Madison Avenue

While watching yesterday’s TiVo’d (well, Comcast-DVR’d) episode of Passions—today we may find out the identity of the half-female, half-male masked serial killer freak!—and Fancy Crane is about to spill the beans about her sister, Pretty!—there was a commercial on for Manwich. You know, the the can of tomato-based sauce that turns hamburger meat into sloppy-joe’s? Well, thanks to genius advertising “talent”, the commercial uses Beethoven’s 9th—with Manwich-specific lyrics!!!!—to pimp the product.

Even tho Manwich is a long-time comfort food for me, ew.

The freak from Passions:

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Jesus vs. Penis

Oh My God. Everyone knows that as soon as you get your hand on it in the right way and discover all its pleasures, you just want to keep touching it over and over again, even past when your hand cramps.

I’m talking about iPhone, of course.

But seriously. I bumped my plan up to 1500 text messages (from 200) and it will be down to the wire whether I exceed that number this month. Why? Because I’m 12 again.

Actually, the phone is cooler than you think. By a couple of touchdowns. (That reference wasn’t butch posturing, I’m just channeling Aaron Sorkin)

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[beat]

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I’m at Cafe Bean again:

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Things I Learned from the Last 100 Pages of Michael Tolliver Lives!

That bastard, Armistead Maupin.

I can’t remember the last time I was so wrecked with anticipation and ups and downs and twists and turns by anything, much less something that’s not a thriller nor mystery nor adventure. I can’t remember the last time I finished a book, either, but that has nothing to do with anything here.

Things I learned:

  • When San Francisco pounces on you, it’s both a gift and a trick: She thinks they’re the same thing
  • Sometimes twenty years out of contact with a friend isn’t wasted time, it’s just necessary
  • No matter how I end up dying—slowly and expectedly or swiftly and without warning—I will be surprised by it when it does come
  • No matter how others end up dying, no matter when they died, I will always be surprised when I learn of it
  • Explaining individual behavior in terms of group dynamics isn’t a justification, it’s a rationalization
  • Fact and fiction are not as arbitrary nor well-delimited in the mind as they are in reality
  • History only repeats itself from 10,000 ft
  • Aging, for me, is mainly the ever decreasing ability to carry forward all I ever was towards whatever I am becoming
  • San Francisco: people die, the earth shakes, lives are tossed in the tumult, but the center still holds

This is not to say that I haven’t learned anything from the first part of the book, but only “bitch stole my Flying Dutchman!” sticks in my head. It was my reaction to his description of Sutro Tower in the fog, strongly familiar to my own description of it. I wrote down for the first time almost two years ago, but I’d kept it in my head for years prior. I kid Armistead (but seriously, what’s up with that?).

Going from third person limited to first person singular was a bit jarring when I first started reading what I did (and still do) regard as the seventh Tales of the City book, for better or worse, but there’s a meta-effect to it which brings contrast to the past versus now, and age 29 versus 43. Intentional or not, agreeable to the author or not, it primes a canvas he has been painting off and on for over 30 years.

<br/> When I finished the last page of the book, I closed it, cried a moment and turned on the TV, where Lindsay Wagner was hawking mattresses. I laughed.

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More iPhone

Well, ok. A little exaggeration, but not nearly as much as you’d think. The most major issue I’ve had with iPhone so far is that you can’t save photos that are attached to mail items into your own photos and subsequently use those photos for, say, contacts photos. The current solution? Read your mail on your Mac or PC, add it to a sync-able album or collection in your Photo application (iPhoto on Mac, whatever on PC) and put the phone back into its dock. The photo attachment will then get synced down to your iPhone.

Sounds like a roundabout way, but most of those steps are automatic: just read your mail on your computer and add the photo to your collection and sync the iPhone. Done.

And GoB on iPhone? OMG kyooooot!

Sp A0119
Sp A0120

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Hello from iPhone!

Sp A0118-1The complaints about the keyboard are greatly exaggerated. I have long approached Apple’s technology offerings with a kind of short-throw faith: if Apple offers guidance for “the right way” of approaching a feature, I try it that way for a while. With the iPhone’s text input, it didn’t even take even that long. Assume that the smart keyboard will more than likely get it right and just keep on typing.

Of course I cannot type as fast and typing with two thumbs instead of single index finger drops the accuracy by about half. Still, I’m entering text plenty fast for blogging from literally anywhere.

Next up, how to get long documents to display at readable sizes and widths on iPhone.

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I Never Wanted a Bedazzler!

It’s been a long time since I visited Uncle Bob, and I’ve been the poorer for it. I found this video on his site:

Fucking funny! But I wonder how the reaction to it will break down among:

  • gays who get it and find it funny
  • gays who get it and are offended
  • gays who just don’t get it
  • others who get the humor
  • others who take it literally

I like to think that no one would be so humorless as to believe in a literal interpretation, but then again, the bible is a LOT more farfetched than this little video…

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Sundays in Ordinary Time

The term “a month of Sundays”, besides being the title of an under-appreciated Don Henley song, takes on a different meaning for me. Normally it expresses a long, dreary interval. Well, it means that to me, but it also has an inverted meaning: Every month feels like a month of nothing but Sunday after Sunday. It’s like I’m in a particularly bad episode of I Dream of Jeannie.

Today I got mired in travel shows. The siren of HD is almost always enough to lure me in, but travel-related material? That’s a double-whammy. I’m utterly fascinated by the world from an anthropological view. The things that have evolved, the things that have emerged or emerged multiply independently, things which scale, and, most importantly, those features which are singular and unique.

Uniqueness is the most important because those are the things that drive back through the past most obviously, illuminating a specific timeline back to at least its own origins. But they aren’t necessarily the most interesting.

For me, the most interesting discoveries are the “conserved” patterns. These patterns can be monoclonal (single point of origin) or polyclonal (multiple independent origins, like the machinery of the mammalian eye vs., say, the octopus eye), and that’s the beauty of conserved patterns for me. I can say with some certainty that the use of cabbage as a staple of diet always arises form its general availability in a given region, but the uses of cabbage vary so wildly that something else comes into play: cultural differences.

And when you can observe cultural differences that are wildly different, discovering samenesses across cultures can be terrific fun for me: In Eastern Europe, one preparation of cabbage was as Halušky, which was called so because of the starchy dumplings added: a chopped onion sauteed in butter until soft & translucent; add a head of chopped cabbage and cook it down until it’s soft and limp; add salt and lots of pepper; add a starch (I grew up with my matrilineals adding bow-tie pasta). In Korea, kimchi is that national food…hell, it’s the national pasttime. But there’s kimchi fried rice in Korea: a chopped onion sauteed in a small amount of oil until soft & translucent; add a few cups of chopped kimchi and cook it all down until it’s soft and limp; add the juice from the kimchi to taste; add two cups of cooked rice. It’s really all the same thing.

I digress. (ya think? they all ask)

Watching a travel show about parts of Spain landed me in a segment on Ávila. Spain has always been very Catholic. Catholicism is the perfectest example of when an aggressive monoclonal cultural strain overtakes and supplants any number of cultural oddities—many of which were likely of the polyclonal variety—and rewrites the story of Time to present an artificial monoclonal origin.

I have often noticed in my life that Catholics and other Christians often take this coercion out of context, call it a Universal and proclaim it all in God’s Holy Name. Even non-theists succumb to this kind of trap, but not so nearly as often as theists.

My worldview looks at the physics, chemistry and physical chemistry present on planet earth and sees certain biological developments as highly likely (a photosensitive organ in a circadian reality, for example), with evolutionary pressures and an enormous amount of time ups those likelihoods into near-inevitabilities.

To god-folks it may seem like I’m just taking the long, wrong way around to arriving at the same conclusion that “God did it”, but subtle differences are often the most profound. Do you know algebra? Do you know the difference between a function that’s equal to zero and one that approaches zero as one variable gets larger and larger (or smaller and smaller)? As my high school analytical geometry teacher loved to say, “you don’t know your asymptote from a hole in the graph”. Oddly, that dumbass saying carries a certain wisdom here and now.

These are all things which strike deep and backward in Time, then slingshot forward again to inform an ever-mutable modern worldview. It’s like a little hit of wonder-drug and, so giddied, I hop horizontally from one place to another.

Google Earth helps.

The Catholic Mother fucker Church reconstructed much of Europe in Her Own Image when she enjoyed a Microsoftian monopoly on thought. And we’re back to Ávila: St. Therese of Ávila is the most famous export of that town. Still. And seeing the shrines and various esoterica (including a mummified finger from her body, with a bright and bejeweled gold ring still on it!) made me wonder if this was the same St. Therese who inspired the St. Therese’s parish of my childhood and adolescence. It turns out it wasn’t. There was also a St. Therese, the Little Flower, a French girl who went from spoiled-brat to God-lover after a vision and got herself canonized for it.

I googled to discover this difference, and that led me to google the parish “back home”. I discovered they had a webpage. That was an odd evolution in and of itself: I was the guy who formatted and typed up (and copied/published!) the weekly church bulletin back when I was in Junior High and High School: It involved an Olivetti typewriter which had auto-erase and auto-centering buffers and variable-spaced typefaces—quite advanced for its time!—a drum-type mimeo-master burner (which took the finished paper version of the bulletin and turned it into a “plate” that you wrapped on the drum of a wet-ink A.B Dick contraption and ran a stack of paper thru to produce the bulletins for people to take home.

Today, if you insisted on producing paper at all, a Mac and a networked copy machine would be all it took. Imagine.

Still that webpage is a natural evolution of the original paper “product”. Such irony.

Anyway, the calendar that appeared on that webpage, listing daily and weekly Masses, church group events, etc., showed me something about the organization of a liturgical year (well, 3-year cycle) that I’d forgotten about: when a given Sunday was not a Holy Day, nor a specific celebration, it was a Sunday in Ordinary Time.

What a strange way to describe the mundane in-between. I remember, little fag that I was, despising “Ordinary Time”, eschewing the mundane for the fabulous Holy Days of Obligation, Solemnities and annual specials. Today, older fag that I am, I despise my current lack of Ordinary Time, living instead the perpetual Sunday—special in ways that steer me ever further away from the main thoroughfare of my life.

Oh, to find that onramp and get back to it.

I know that’s not to be, though, at least not until certain things are completed. I won’t go into details of my medical reality in order to flesh out this thought, but today, about two hours ago, in the midst of non-critically observing all of this, my neck spasmed in a way that felt like it was trying to twist itself off my body. Occipital tendrils of pain literally blinded me. I waited for it to pass, but it didn’t: I stood up, hoping that would help. But that just added spasms down to my lower back. I could “see” my kidneys limned in pain. My stomach decided to bitch at me for having taking my otherwise uneventful meds and left me nauseous.

Oh, it finally passed. For the most part: my stomach still feels kicked in. Pain killers rushed to my defense, like all those city-states in Europe that had constructed walls around themselves for protection.

Sadly, this wasn’t even special along any vector except intensity. This is still my Ordinary Time. And this Tuesday day might as well be a Sunday, the Catholic day of rest, of even Ordinary Time as a day away from one’s own ordinary time.

I’m tired of this ordinariness away from my ordinariness.

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