#NerdCulture

Sorry, Mom…not my f-bomb, but still my amen to Mr. Kennedy’s sentiment.

It’s no secret: my apartment is a structural testament to a deep love of books. I have multiple bookcases, one of them taller than I am, and multiple prints from the designer at Ideal Bookshelf, artwork of differing genres all over the apartment, even on the bathroom walls and over the kitchen sink. I have a pin-up calendar in the kitchen of Hot Dudes Reading, because I think the sexiest thing a man can do is read. (The other stuff a man can do is nice, too, but kind of down the list after reading, writing, cooking, and playing a musical instrument.)

This love of books has gained me some grief in my time…painted me as a hermit, a snob, and a…nerd. The last distinction was the easiest to take (hermit is a struggle because reading is often mistaken to be exclusively solitary an activity, and snob is hard to take because I like literary fiction but the super-pretentious stuff I cannot handle well), after all I have “my books and my poetry to protect me,” to start with from Simon & Garfunkel. The definition of nerd-dom from my past experience (whether with books, in high school band, or in my choice of PBS) has usually involved some kind of social banishment. Sometimes there would be other nerds, a breakfast club of us playing all the tubas and bullied by the football players.

It seems, though, as Dan has so eloquently stated above, that nerd culture has kicked out some of its base. In some cases, some of us have to apologize for liking Coldplay, the planet formerly known as Pluto, The Big Bang Theory, or (gasp) Shakespeare. Can’t I just like the sonnets and be done? But there’s proof now he didn’t write them. So Pluto and Shakespeare can go the way of symbols, like Prince or Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

Look, newcomers to my lifetime of separation from society…if you find my eyeglasses and my Bradbury suddenly so very fascinating, can you…let me have my Richard Bach and my Woody Allen and my Hemingway anyway? I promise to love the rest of your hipster crossover and borrowing, and let you continue to pretend that you have the same awkward default as Issa Rae. I’ll look the other way at your new-found love of Trapper Keepers if you don’t say that my definition of nerd, lived so long, isn’t enough. 🤓

*****

The past couple of weeks in my world have been a bit hairy at work, for reasons it’s best to keep confidential at the moment, so here’s how I’ve been medicating lately…

Reading, lately: A lot of chef, food critic, and restaurateur memoirs for some reason…but I am trying to give up a lot of meat, dairy, and eggs and therefore my excitement about food is a bit diminished, so I’m hoping to gain some food love back, somewhere.

Listening, lately: nothing in particular and everything in small doses…from Jidenna to Marcus Mumford covering Dylan to James Bay like an old blanket to Ahi to…Springsteen, always. Repeat gets abused.

Watching, lately: HBO’s Insecure, because, well, she IS a nerd, ain’t no hiding. A lot of baseball because the MLB put a For Sale sign on the rest of the season and instead of $25 a month, the rest of the year is $10. Not sure how much of that applies to post-season, but I guess I’ll find out, right? With the current work situation I watch a lot of dumb comedies, like Disjointed on Netflix and Never Stop Never Stopping on HBO, sometimes on repeat like the music.

All of this, and it’s still hot and sticky in San Diego. I still run air conditioning. This forgotten corner of the world is always sunny and festering like a Petri dish. I’m looking forward to autumn, well, someday. 🍁🍂

Advertisements

#NightstandChronicles #Continue #EightSecondsLeftInOvertime

Here, hold my spot.

June’s gonna get away from me and then I’m going to feel the failure more, so here’s a blog post in recap, a replay of a little ditty I like to call “So This is How We Treat Each Other Now.”

The ditty with verses about how during and after the election the catfish walked off wearing a red trucker’s hat, and you miss that catfish, but maybe them dumping you like a school lunch was the final indicator that maybe you shouldn’t have spent so much time getting attached to start with.

Not great timing, though.

So the introvert spends some time alone, finding out more about humanity in fiction than in people.  I hate doing that.  But I’m alone a lot anyway, alone in passions and in person, so might as well disappear into empathy:


I miss compassion.  And if you don’t think it’s possible to learn humanity from a novel, then may I present Exhibit A, which I am reading right now:


This book, like many others, utilizes a wild animal to demonstrate kindness.  One of the characters gets it.  The rest would rather not go there.  While I don’t advocate befriending foxes in order to have companionship, I am encouraged by the fact that foxes or rabbits or squirrels or seagulls don’t use social media.

Yep, it’s a blog…online, nonetheless…and I’ll drop the subject there.

It turns out that my friends can be found in the following pools:

  • People I work with
  • People I worked with
  • People I used to write with (2)
  • People I buy stuff from

Not a great pool.  Some great people in it, but they are busy, and most don’t read. The danger is, the ones who have the most time for me are the first group and the last.

Which means I’m working too much and I’m spending too much and I have no boundaries.  Alone time, then.  With foxes.  Not so much social media.  I don’t want to see who else has walked away because I’m me, and not, instead, loved me because I’m me.

On to what I have been doing lately, as Jamaica would start.  ✨

What I Have Been Reading Lately:  The afore-mentioned fox fable, written by a lovely Brit from the Guardian.  Between this lady, Jeanette Winterson, JoJo Moyes, and JK Rowling, the UK seems to have my ears these days.  I am still working on the Chabon book, though (Moonglow)…more like lingering in it.  Today’s library visit will hopefully include a book on Islamic issues and an old Edward Abbey favorite my brother got me hooked on about six years ago.

What I Have Been Watching Lately:  Still watching Last Week Tonight, still working my way through the entire series of West Wing (again; I usually do this about once a year), still watching a LOT of baseball.  I say “watching” but most of it is the free MLB game of the day playing on my phone and I glance at it if I need a distraction from another work nightmare.  The broadcasts are a boys club of guys trying to crack each other up and sometimes they succeed in getting me to do that.  The free game is rarely the Giants, which is probably a good thing; I still bleed black and orange, but years like this means I get back to the passion of the game in general…and other players in their glory.  Also, I am hooked to the footage of the Flash and the exciting installments of his wins and losses.

I’m also still watching Real Time.  Judge away, America; while you’re at it, I also like other stuff I’m not supposed to, like Hemingway’s fiction and Woody Allen films.  The floor is yours to throw stones.  Yes, Bill Maher does offend me from time to time.  But he wakes me up, too, like Friday’s opening segment with Maajid Nawaz.  Some of my teachers in university angered me beyond measure and got me thinking in the same semester, and I’m used to be offended in otherwise productive discussions.

What I’m Watching On Film:  Last weekend was The Edge of Seventeen–dark, but I love the actors, so that one’s a keeper.  (Pro tip:  I have to dock all movies with puke scenes as 4 instead of 5 stars, so this film had a blemish in case you are also of the nature that you don’t feel you should have to pay any kind of admission price for pieces where someone pukes/pees/poops/etc.). On the rental list is The United Kingdom (David Oyelowo strikes again) and I Am Not Your Negro, which I saw at an indie theatre here in San Diego but which I loved enough to watch again.  Also, I have been rewatching, over and over, the movie Paterson with Adam Driver and Moonlight.  They soothe me.  When movies about verse-writing bus drivers and violence soothe you something’s probably not right in Denmark, but that’s my inclination these days.

What I’m Listening To:  for starters, today with the current social situation, this.  That song is a recurring theme in my life, and I take full responsibility.  Also, a band called First Aid Kit has a lovely song called “I Found A Way” that paints me over so that I can sit in a shadow and nod my head to the beat and agreement.  Also, the remastered Sgt Pepper’s, and the solo album by Dan Auerbach (don’t strain yourself; if you are trying to place that name then here’s a hint–Black Keys).  I have got a dosage of country from the latest season of The Ranch on Netflix, a wonderfully senseless show that I can also play while working to keep from getting spooked (like cattle might), and danced a little in my living room with Garth Brooks’s “Friends in Low Places.”

I do get out, too…dancing on Friday night to a jazz band by the harbor…walks down the jacaranda lane of Kettner…fireworks…cattle drives to promote the local county fair.

Still looking for humanity, after all.  ♥️

#Madness

It’s kind of a rough time in the world of Southern California these days, as it is in the world at large.  Less than a week and a half back, we were escaping from rapidly-spreading wildfires in San Diego. This morning we’re waking up to news of a mass shooting in Santa Barbara.  

But…we have sun!  Come see it!  We have beaches!  Come see them!

Oy.

I was an evacuee of the fires, but not a victim of the shooting.  The same day as the evacuation, however, I was threatened by a coworker.  I have gone from a tough manager in Oakland three years ago to a threatened coworker with her hands tied until something is done.  All of the proper people have been notified.  I work for a place where open minds are kept in the same bin with safety, so precautions are being taken on the part of the bully and on my behalf.  I am in full agreement that this is only fair–I have no desire to cost anyone their job or getting even, and mentioning particulars would provide too much detail–but there is still the overwhelming intuition that I will wake up one morning, go into work, and not come out at the end of the day.

“He was a loner.  He seemed quiet.”

Yeah, well…

*****

In San Francisco I worked with two different guys, at two different jobs, both who had a hobby of sharpening knives on their lunch/work breaks.  At one of the jobs that practice made sense–the company was one that manufactured cutlery–and at the other job the guy just liked knives and guns as collector’s items.  (Two things should be noted here:  he never brought the guns to work, and shooting victim Gabrielle Giffords is also still a gun collector, peaceably, even after she was nearly killed by one.  Knives and guns aren’t just psychopath tools.)  I never felt one moment of fear with either one of those gentlemen.  I’m not sure if this recent bully possesses any weapons, but I am more afraid of him for a very simple reason:  he’s fearless.  The cutlery proprietor was accountable to owning his business and the knife-sharpener was accountable to his two jobs when he was preparing to get married, and he was looking for a promotion.  Accountability in some measure is usually the first factor of prevention.

I’m not sure how much accountability bullies and mass shooters possess walking into doing what they do.

*****

The last time I was bullied, prior to this incident, was from the first roommate that I had in San Francisco back in 2006.  She was…detail-oriented, you might say.  If the tea kettle wasn’t in the proper position on the stove when you left the kitchen, the punishments would begin.  I lived with her only a year, but lost a beloved pet in the process of her behavior, an absence that she didn’t even acknowledge until I was getting ready to move out.

It has always taken me walking away from bullies to get them to stop their bullying, a lesson first learned in grade school, then fresh out of high school, and then with friendships in college and in new places of location.  I have only fought my bullies twice; and both were women (and both strangers mistaking me for someone else).  Sadly, I’ve been bullied by women most of my life–with the exception of a history professor and the most recent addition.  These days, the utmost caution on my part to retain my safety is practiced:  I don’t take stairs because elevators possess cameras, I don’t take morning and afternoon breaks outside alone (if I take them at all), and when I do go to lunch I make sure to strike up as many brief but engaging conversations with coworkers as possible.  I want people around me–partly to treasure them in case something happens to me before the end of the day, and partly to protect me.  The road I chose that unfortunately led me to Southern California, and the one I’m taking to try to get home, is long and lonely and kind people spell me a breather.

I don’t hate people.  I don’t hate women.  I don’t hate men.  And I don’t even hate the bullies of my past and present.  I have intuition, that’s all.  Consider this writing, and any writing between now and the end of my days (hopefully a long way off from natural causes), my love letter to a world despite its increasing population of bullies and those mentally unstable with weapons.  Consider these love letters in case one of the bullies or shooters bring about my end.

“Don’t engage them.”

I didn’t, but that might not be enough advice anymore.