15

Seems to be a week for annual celebrations, huh?

In exactly two hours, seventeen minutes from……Mark! it will be exactly fifteen years that I’ve been a San Francisco Actual: several years before I had an address here I was of it. Hokey? Yes. True? Absolutely.

I have dreamt of many things, and to say that most didn’t come true comes with no disappointment. Why? Because life in San Francisco obviates concrete expectation in favor of the Possible.

It’s like making new friends unexpectedly (something I have recent and wonderful experience with) as opposed to sticking with your own contacts list. It’s also like being a software developer: you give your users what they want, but how do you give them what they don’t even know to ask for?

Enough possibilities and the world is indistinguishable from infinite from within a finite life. Of course there are good and bad points to that, and no one in the path of a rush of possibilities can remain intact and in-place without some serious mental effort to continue to exist. “Too many” possibilities and you never commit to anything. “Too few”, and you never venture out into the world.

I used scare-quotes because there are no fixed thresholds for too-many and too-few. It all depends on the talents and constitution of any given person.

Someone afraid to commit to anything or anyone fully will hit too-many quite soon. There are some who must possess and exploit the world of the possibles simultaneously by trying to have their cake (the comfort and security of a personal relationship, for example) and eat it, too (“open” the relationship instead of ending it). The math doesn’t hold for such: the non-zero game of the infinite gets bastardized into a zero-sum game here. In other words, straddle the paradox and you inevitably must steal energy from others to maintain a foot in both.

San Francisco is magical. Simply that. I thought so before I moved here; I thought so while visiting on the myriad business trips I pilfered from others while living in the Western Burbs of Chicago; I thought so that first magical morning I woke up here in my own house back in 1993.

So many simultaneities, so many moments. So many cross-linkages (S=S) and so many capricious meet-ups. White! A blank page or canvas: So many possibilities.

Still torrid after 15 years.

Happy Birthday to My Brother Sam

Brothering is a strange thing. It’s never a matter of how much you get along, which we did and didn’t growing up, just like any brothers, but brothers, parents, family are simply a fact of life. It’s never an option with brothers like there is with friends: you can’t just stop being brothers.

That’s nothing but a good thing. You learn that there are always-there’s in your life. Distance of geography and even emotional distances—like my ex sister-in-law created at every opportunity to suit her own selfish, fucked-up agendas—don’t change the force of nature that is Family.

As adults, we are all very close, and I love my entire family very much. Perhaps more importantly, we all like each other. I wish the world were smaller. I wish, often, that I lived just down the street from them like they do now back in PA.

You know that phrase, “standing on the shoulders of giants”? Rest assured that its first and most fundamental meaning is family. They’re there for you, which lets you reach new heights in your own life. And you’re there for them, which means you remain open and available to the world and to a greater sense of reality.

Happy Birthday, Sam!

A Knife, a Fork, a Bottle & a Cork!

Coincidences fall like confetti and festoon my mind like ticker-tape. It almost puts me in a parade mood—almost—but it is doing an admirable job of beating the headaches into submission.

Jeffs and Adams, Vespas and Internet histories. An Italian, a Malaysian, a member of an unfortunate club. Texas!

An Adam breathing life into a Jeff. A Jeff breathing life into an Adam. It’s all so entangled so all of a sudden and I really like it here.

My brain is going to sort through it all on its own. It needs no help from me and in fact, it will do as it will. I have no sway.

So far it’s a maelstrom in reverse, pulling me out of the doldrums and whipping me about in the blustery winds of time and Now.

Exciting, but not scary. Unexpected, but not unwelcome. Unpredictable, but not perplexing.

Ciao, The Movie

In this year’s San Francisco Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, there is a film called Ciao. I had known about this film for quite some time (more on that later) and had been waiting for it for quite some time. So thankfully, my wait is almost over.

Several years ago, I discovered this impossibly beautiful Italian man. Seriously impossibly beautiful. I’d found his personal website and immediately there was a contentious and unnecessary dissing of the Mac. Well, you can imagine how that played with me. Oh, it all stayed good natured, and of course now he’s a Mac user (though I can’t take credit for that one: times change and all that). We’ve stayed in touch for years now, hoping that time and tide would find a way for us to meet in person. It was this man who told me about Ciao. He’s co-starring in it and is a writer on the project.

Out of the blue a couple of months ago, I was contacted by a man called Yen Tan. He’d been reading my blog for quite some time, having found my blog through this rascal. His email, in addition to praising my writing (which at some level makes me a bit uncomfortable), he talked about his movie…and of course you can see where this is going.

In that serendipity and simultaneity that I expect in San Francisco but am still surprised by, the director of the movie—in which the Italian Mac-hater was starring—had invited me to attend the showing at the film festival, where time and tide collided, finally, and I’ll finally meet the impossibly handsome Italian!

Yen Tan knows my fascination and aspiration to screenwriting, and as if he hasn’t already been generous and gracious enough, he found some time to spend with me and the Canine Creative.

All of this generosity of spirit and actuality from Yen Tan is more than I can measure. I’m so looking forward to viewing his film, and you really should be, too.

Ciao will be showing Sunday, June 22nd, and Wednesday, June 25th. Info and tickets available here.

In the film’s press kit I found this image (click to enlarge):

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I can’t wait for this film, and for Yen Tan, and for Alessandro. This is a story that should have been given voice a long time ago. And they’re giving it to all of us now.

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<br/> <br/> “Hidden within every ending is the seed of a new beginning.”

No Winning For Losing

There was an interesting (and extraordinarily) painful discussion this evening. Short, not sweet. It came from nowhere, swept through the core of me, and whisked itself away, taking a significant part of me with it. A part that I couldn’t afford to lose.

The conversation went something like this:

ME: [making some reference to having no interest in men these days]
HIM: So does that mean you’re going to start [vulgar description of a heterosex act].
ME: Maybe I should think about women. At least they act like grown-ups.
HIM: Well, aren’t you just above everyone else.
ME: No, I’m outside of everyone else.

It was a sucker-punch on his part, because he knew the things I have suffered because of lover and friends. Betrayal. Lies. Selfishness. A best friend whose selfish and petty actions destroyed a years-long friendship in a matter of moments as if he planned it from the start. And for what? A meaningless titillation and something he absolutely knew would be dangerously hurtful to me. And of course, the expected response to being confronted? Lies.

But at least he got some affirmation of his sexual attractiveness from a much younger man. And the crew behind him, the rest of the gang moving slowly enough and in small enough steps to push me out of the main because my directness often threatened, my disagreement with the status quo of a hirsute ghetto often disrupted the safe, incestuous bubble of contentedness and-we-can’t-have-that-can-we? Offers of comfort that felt more self-serving than selfless (we can’t have around someone who reminds us of the world of pain outside those doors of this vault).

But the aftermath of the conversation continues to erode my state of mind, diminishing those thoughts that had any lilt to them. There happened to be very little pain today—a lovely change of pace—but this lack of sunny-side thoughts threatens whatever got me to this detente between self and body. Still threatens.

So no, I don’t feel above any of these people, I feel estranged, am estranged. And for a bunch of people who still mainly act like 15-yr-olds (comic books, video games, treating others as disposable sexual objects while expecting others to respect their own relationships, dances, almost cruel attention to detail in, of all things, dance remixes!), I’m just old. Death of a loved one never stole the joy out of my life, but it did leave my eyes permanently open and leave me utterly unable to ignore consequences. Of anything.

And, at least relative to those people, I am alone.

I Never Watch The News

I tend to get my news from the web. Why? Even though there are significant downsides (perhaps more down- than upsides)—most especially the self-selecting behavior that locks you into self-serving ignorance—it’s much easier to avoid the fluff-pieces. It’s much easier to avoid the media’s idea of “balanced” news stories (e.g., Creationism does not deserve equal time with evolution). It’s much easier to ingest the information at your own leisure.

Tonight I was maneuvering TiVo (top of the hour is a tricky time), so that I could get back to watching the Tonys (yes, I’m at least that gay).

I landed on the local news, which had a story about same-sex marriage. More to the point, it was about the much-anticipated legal recognition of (not “legality of” as the reporter called it) same-sex marriages. It’s a supreme, potentially embittering irony that same-sex marriage shows up at a time in my life where not only do I no longer have someone in my life with whom to contemplate marriage, but that I have been knocked down enough that I am not even ready consider being with anyone with whom I might contemplate marriage.

Naturally, my thoughts fly backwards: I visit each relationship as an exercise in futility what could have been (I’m too fragile to consider what really was). Movement backwards is never easy. It’s never healthy. I’m not talking about remembering: Memory is a gift, a blessing. Like any powerful influence, the chance for abuse is great. Like any narcotic (chemical or spiritual) addiction is a danger. The danger of addiction to the Past (or to anything) brings the exact same cost: you lose the Present. You forget to live.

Don’t forget to live.

In all candor, the news was difficult to watch. I didn’t stop watching, though. So much excitement: a wedding chapel in the Castro. Same-sex wedding bands. The Mayor performing the very first marriage at 5pm tomorrow. So exciting!

So far away.

But only the weak-minded and small-hearted can look at the personal successes and happinesses of others and keep to their selfish negativities. In the abstract, availability of civil marriage is a beautiful thing. In a free society, there are no concrete obligations within the context of the civil marriage, but in the context of good will the spiritual and emotional obligations are obvious.

Good will is a thing in short supply. No one knows how good will comes into existence, but we all know how it leaves. It does not follow the laws of conservation of the rest of the world which, I suppose, gives it the freedom to blossom without limit. It may not follow that marriage will change the people who enter it, but the availability of something so long wanted may prove fertile soil.

Hope won’t die.

By the time the story ended—after “balancing” the story with Fundie idiots saying they don’t hate homos but they think homos are going to ruin all of society by tying the knot (sigh)—my balance was restored and I’m back in the mindset that the increase in happiness after 5pm tomorrow will be palpable: a rising tide raises all boats!

All the while I’ve been writing this, the Tonys have been going on. There’s a revival of Sunday in the Park with George this year, and it’s up for at least one award. The selection from it—shown right after the presentation of an honorary award to Stephen Sondheim (nice touch)—was ‘Move On’.

Serendipity and simultaneity never fail to astound me, even for how frequently such stuff happens in San Francisco.

The words of that song have inspired me in so many ways, so many times. Its literal meaning is to do with creativity, but Broadway music is never ever solely literal. So this song is also about fear and about the future, about love and vulnerability and opportunity, and intimacy. All those things that are so difficult to be or do, but provide so much upside. And so much downside, perhaps.

Moving On past any lingering or niggling bitterness or sadness about my distance from a true marriage—including the insidiousness of my doubts that most of the couples I’ve known won’t likely appear to live up to any of the ideals of marriage whether or not they get married—had its effect once again. How a single song can deliver so many different and varied epiphanies, I don’t think I’ll ever understand. Truth suffers from too much analysis.

Later, there was a tribute to “Rent”, including the appearances of the original cast members of the play, including a reprise of the main song. In the chorus?

“Measure your life in Love.”

Not Yet Talked-About iPhone 3G Feature

There’s one thing about the iPhone 3G that no one has mentioned, so maybe I’m the clever one having discovered it first: it uses a different screen than the current iPhone.

Is this a big deal? Perhaps. How do I know? Well, I know that the current iPhone’s screen clocks in at 160dpi. That’s an incredibly high density, which is why the graphics on the iPhone’s screen are so amazingly realistic.

But the new iPhone 3G’s screen isn’t quite 160dpi: it’s 163dpi.

Sounds better, right? Well, maybe. But probably not. It just so happens that the iPod touch’s screen is also 163dpi. And while it’s still impressive, the iPod touch screen is ever so noticeably inferior to the original iPhone’s.

So…is Apple cutting costs by cheaping out on the iPhone 3G’s screen?

Will it matter in the end? No, of course not. Does it matter now? Only in the context of it being news because it’s Apple. If it were a touchscreen (ha) on a Zune from the beleaguered Microsoft, all 13 Zune owners might be up in arms, but, well. ……. …… ….. sorry, I nodded off there.

People Without Boundaries

There have been many instances of push-pull, emotions lately. Happy on the one hand, in times where people might say I’m being honorable or “saintly”, but just as much (if not more) push to negatives and what-ifs and bitterness for what I am lacking that other people have.

I am not so honorable that I can keep to the sunny side of things all the time, and the accident, the pain, the recuperation, the too-soon exit from my disability interval, the headache that I’ve had nearly 24/7 since August of 2006 (yes, that would be 22 months. 1 headache. sometimes light, but mostly intensely painful, from dull ugly pain thumping and wretched to exquisite sharpness, all pins and knives. Variations on a theme: Pain.

Today there are ugly posts all around the internet with people throwing nasty, impersonal, callous, cruel comments—seemingly in passing—with no disregard for the humanity involved. What was the subject? The health of Steve Jobs.

This brings back memories of my hateful ex sister-in-law who made fun of Allen’s appearance about 6 months before he died. I wrote about it almost exactly five years to today.

Now, I had my very first email account in 1982. August of 1982. I was a freshman at Carnegie Mellon, and everyone on campus got one. Along with the email address came a specific context: the only other people to send email to—with a few exceptions—were fellow students, people you’d see nearly every day. This had the effect of making email something personal, something of an additional avenue of communication and quite the opposite of a tool that set enough distance between you and another person that you could feel free to be as profoundly inhuman as people are today.

Steve Jobs is indeed the King of Apple. Apple is a kingdom perhaps even moreso that an business. That is beside the point: there are so many people out there speculating about his health, commenting on whether they should sell AAPL because of his health!

Steve Jobs has a wife. He has kids. He surely has any number of people he calls friend, people who love him and care about him.

And there you are out there treating it like grist for the mill, juicy topics for water cooler chats. What kind of fucking freaks are you? Just because you’re typing instead of talking doesn’t give you license to cross the boundaries of good taste, sympathy, empathy, honor just to be snarky or selfish about what effects someone else’s health may have on you?

Like there’s not a dearth of intimacy in the world, people trading depth for quantity, people dropping personal boundaries for their own wants. Friends disregarding respect for you in favor of literally-cheap thrills.

Steve Jobs deserves better. We all do. The answer is not to expect less, the answer is to respect more.