Monthly Archives: August 2012

Great Power, Great Responsibility

I am starting off this post by saying that I am not really a fanboy.  I don’t buy comic books.   I barely understand the sprawling universe that exists in Marvel, DC …and if there is another comic book company, I wouldn’t even know what the name of it is.

However, I do love a good popcorn flick, and have seen the translations when they come to the screen.  Part of it could be because I have an enormous crush on Andrew Garfield and perhaps a fan crush on Emma Stone (who I think I would like to be friends with).

I saw the Spider-Man movies when they came out with Tobey Maguire, and the most recent incarnation.  I enjoyed them for what they were:  escapism from reality, a place where someone stands up for what they believe in, solves crimes, and gets the girl in the end.  (Even though I wish it were me Andrew Garfield got in the end…but that’s a topic for an entirely different posting).

It’s dialogue.  I get that.  But the one thing that resonates with me is this line from Uncle Ben Parker:

With great power comes great responsibility.

This is particularly relevant today, as I woke up and opened up my New York Times app as I do every morning, to read the stories.  And there was an article about how someone opened fire in front of the Empire State Building, fatally wounding one person, and injuring several others.

In light of the recent string of shootings that have been occurring, I find this to be abhorrent.  First and foremost, my thoughts are with the victims of the tragedy.  With the man who was shot by his former co-worker, but also with the victim for an entirely different reason that I hope to get into in this blog.

It’s a line that could be called cheesy from a movie that could simply be called fluff.  But why does Spider-Man, or any of these masked superheroes resonate with people?  I suppose the cool costumes, I suppose the special powers, their wits, maybe even their fancy toys.

But all of them — including Iron Man, the bad boy of the superhero world, are out to do GOOD.  They are the ones we root for.  We love watching a character like the Joker, because we know no matter how evil he is, the good guy will get him in the end.  At least, this is what keeps me flocking back to see movies that are basically the same retread of a script that I have already seen with an ending that I already know.

There has been a lot of discussion recently in the local and national media about gun rights, regulations.  As soon as a shooting like this occurs, people come out of the wood work saying, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  Yes.  Absolutely.  People make that horrific conscious choice to shoot someone else.  Whether in some sort of tiff or or whatever justification they have come up with for the killing of innocent people, it is still their choice.  They gun did not, nor will it ever, compel them to make that choice.  The shooter alone makes that decision, and the effects have a ripple effect felt for many years after they have turned the weapon on themselves.

I don’t know any of these people in New York City who were shot.  I find it repulsive, disgusting, and absolutely reckless what this man did.  Yet I can’t help but wonder where the system has failed him.  Have we failed to provide safety checks to make sure he was mentally sound to own and operate a gun with the firing power to hurt nine people?

No.

We have laws for driving cars.  You have to take a test, and prove to someone that you are capable of handling what is essentially a mobile weapon if used in that way.  Most people would never even think of it as a weapon.  It’s their daily commute to the grocery store, to work, to the movies.  But ask anyone who has ever been involved in a collision where the other party died.  It is an awesome weight, and one not to be carried lightly.  Cars are dangerous.  But cars don’t kill people.  People kill people.

It’s time for us to grow up as a nation, and stop shuffling this issue under the rug.  We need to have an adult conversation about weapons, and about their right to exist.  Our 2nd Amendment right guarantees us the right to bear arms.  Its exact wording is the following:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

 

Therein lies the problem.  There was a nice article on Slate.com that addressed this issue much more clearly than I ever could.

I am not a legal scholar.  I couldn’t even begin to dive into every nook and cranny and dissect it.  But as someone who does value the weight of words, and what they mean in our daily lives, I do take issue with the statement, “The right of the people” shall not be infringed.  I have always interpreted this to mean that as a collective we, should our sovereignty be threatened, we have the right to bear arms and protect ourselves.  Whether this was the founding fathers’ original intent, I do not know.

Guns in all their variety have served as the original weapons of mass destruction.  And while there are statistics that say say more people are killed with cars than with guns, we have laws governing them.

We need more laws governing guns.  Proper training, a proper background check, a renewed sense of understanding of what is contained in these devices.  Nothing good comes from shooting someone.  You may think you’re doing right, but the person on the other end, their family, their community would disagree.

It’s time for us to have a real, honest conversation.  I’m just afraid that our politicians are too afraid of taking a stand and making a choice.  But a weapon is extremely powerful, and with great power comes great responsibility.

 

 

 

Time To Think

The trouble with being suddenly single after an extended period of time is the hours you have to think, to ruminate on what your life is, where you’re going, what is the next step.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because thinking often gives us the chance to figure stuff out and move on. But there are those days when one thought begets another Nd soon they are completely compounded. And that original think is still buried, unresolved yet poisoning the rest of them.

It seems to happen when I find myself with too much time on my hands. Time that in my previous, relationship-filled life would have been spent with another person.

I get it. We enter the world alone, we leave alone. Only the time between can we fill with memories, with people. Yet I wonder how does one even go about making new friends, socializing so late in the game?

I work from home, often with headphones in as part of my job so it is instantly isolating. The work I do is not varied and a weird job. there aren’t after work get togethers. I’ve even taken to having a digital picture frame with people I live on my desk so I see other faces and don’t feel so alone.

I’m not your typical gay. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs. I like hanging out with people and spending time with them, but the bars always feel like a meat market and most people don’t want friendship, they want to get into your pants. I’ve been there, done that. I’m ready for a much more down-to-earth connection. Even still, if I did venture out to the bars, who wants to talk to the guy with a diet coke in his hand?

I know I have a lot to give. I’m nice, smart and genuine, silly and serious, sometimes smart, occasionally funny, but above all else I’m simply me. I need that. Have to show it I suppose.

Lots of time to think. Sometimes I just wish my thought would fade Into white noise, and I could forget them.

Worst American Ever

I have a confession to make.  And in doing so, I admit that I may receive some grief about it.  But it has to be said.  It just has to.  It’s time to come out of the closet and say what I need to say.

No, not that.  You already know that.  Sheesh.  No need to hide my rainbow-flag-flying self.

What I am admitting is that I did not watch a single event of the summer Olympics.  NOT.  ONE.  SINGLE.  EVENT. Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.

Now, before you go brandishing your Olympic torches at me, and tell me to defect to another country where they don’t care about the Olympics, and all of that, give me a chance to explain.  Please!  For the love of all things holy, let me plead my case.

I did not watch the Olympics because of the following reasons:

  • I do not have access to regular TV.  I suppose I could have streamed them, but that would have taken a lot of effort.
  • The summer Olympics are not that exciting.  And besides, if I wanted to see guys in speedos, I could find other places without having to wait through a bunch of  sporting events.
  • Sports.  They’re not my thing.  Growing up, my dad used to watch football on TV.  **Yawn**.  No thanks.  I have been to several sporting events, and enjoy the experience, the roar of the crowd…but really, I was much more interested in the cheerleaders and their dance routines, so I could figure out what they were going to do and then borrow it for my own production in my backyard.
  • I just don’t care about sports.

I don’t.  I never have.  Now, not all sports.  I love figure skating (gay) in the winter, and will watch that when I get a chance.  But it just feels like so much money is put into the games, focusing on athletes whose careers are over by the time they’re 20.

Honestly, it makes me feel like we’re in high school all over again.  Where sports reigns supreme, and the theatre nerds like myself, are shoved off to the side.

I get that it’s a chance for the nations to come together and all of that.  But it just doesn’t hold any sway for me.  Maybe I’m weird.  I don’t know.

I am not begrudging any of the Olympic athletes.  I think they are absolutely phenomenal at what they do.  I wouldn’t even begin to do what they do.  They are amazing.  I could go on for paragraphs about their athleticism, their dedication, and all of that.  I respect them, absolutely.  It takes balls to do what they do, time and time again.

But I don’t care.  I am sure most of them are very nice people, but I feel like they would rather punch me in the face.  And I don’t like that feeling one bit.

I know, I know.  Time to let it go.  And I will.  At least until the winter Olympics, when I can settle in and enjoy my figure skating.

I suppose I should turn in my American citizenry.  I’ll write to you from my new home in Kiribati.

 

Random Art and Sock Update

Hello blog followers (wahoo!  I’m up to nine!)  🙂

Today, on my walk about, I took a couple photos.  They’re all right, but what I really was after was getting a photo of that sock that I mentioned in a previous post.  And just as I figured, the sock has moved on.  Maybe a coyote took it.  Or maybe it finally grew enough bio material inside its cloth fabric that it just got itself up and moved away.  In any case, it was gone.

No, I wasn’t heartbroken over the sock.  But I was a bit sad.  It was like seeing an old friend who is suddenly gone, no warning, no anything.  Just gone without a trace.  I hope wherever the sock is, he’s happy (it is a he.  And his name is Bunko.  And he has a family who misses him very much).

In other random news, on this walk, I took an unusual turn and ended up in this neighborhood where someone was doing construction on their house.  Well, not at that exact time.  But clearly, their home was in a state of flux, as it appeared to be halfway to shingled, and there were bits of construction-like material strewn about the lawn.

What caught my eye was this.  And fortunately, I had my camera with me.  And I took two photos.  The pictures aren’t that great, but I thought I would share one of them.  Dragon sculpture

Talk about finding art in random places.  Right there, in his front yard.  It was great to see it.  So beautiful, yet not done.  He had carved it out of some trees that had either died, or were on their way to dying.  And now, they have a new life as art.

I was so happy to stumble upon this.

And, on top of the random find, there in the base of the statue, was a guest book that he had left for people who have visited it, where they could sign and wish the dragon well, I guess.  Of course, I signed it.  I thanked him for providing art in unexpected places, and then went on my way.  It was truly something to behold, and I’m so grateful that i got the chance to see it.  You never know when you’ll see random art.  I kept my eyes out for a couple other things, but nothing of interest caught my attention.  Oh well, there’s plenty of other places to walk that I’ll be able to find something.  I just thought I would share this with you.

Enjoy your day.  🙂

Boston Red Sox Cap

I was putting on a baseball cap this morning, and picked up my Boston Red Sox cap.  It’s grey.  I picked it up  while I was on tour in the city of Boston.  And as I put it on my head, I was reminded of this story that I’d like to share with you now.

It was a Friday afternoon, and I had decided to go out exploring.  I wandered down to the theater, walked around some shops, in and out of various establishments, drinking in what the city had to offer.  I had seen a cute guy walking ahead of me, but he disappeared into a store, so I paid no more attention to it.  I went about my day, visiting three or four different other shops.

About an hour had transpired, and I decided that I needed to grab something to drink.  I approached the street vendor, ordered my Diet Coke, and then took it to sit on a nearby bench.  As I was walking to the bench, I noticed the cute guy from before.  He was currently engaged in a passionate conversation on his cell phone, but for one brief moment, our eyes caught.  It was almost like a scene out of a much more progressive advertising campaign for Diet Coke (you know…one of those that would be shown overseas, but never here in the United States since half of the country seems to be left back in the stone ages).  Anyway, I smiled, and tipped my soda in a “hello,” and then proceeded to sit down.  I sipped the carbonated goodness, watching the street performers in front of me (a doo-wap group, and a juggler) and just took in my surroundings.

About five minutes later, the guy came up to me, and said hello.  He introduced himself as Patrick.  I introduced myself back as Harry, and we exchanged pleasantries.  He apologized for being so rude on the phone, he would have come in earlier, except he was trying to rectify his bill with the electric company as he was getting ready to move to Jerusalem to study abroad.

I asked him what he was studying, and he mentioned he was going to be a rabbi.  Today was his last day in Boston.

We made small talk, getting to know each other more and more, and after about a half an hour, he said he had a couple more errands to run…things to buy, et cetera, before he left.  Would I like to accompany him.  I said yes, as my call at the theater wasn’t until 7:30 that night and it was only about 2:30 then.  I had nothing else to do but explore.

We walked around, went into some of the shops I had already visited, some new ones, and just continued to talk, getting to know each other.

After a couple hours of this, we started feeling hungry, and decided to go to dinner.  We found a nice out-of-the-way pub, sat down, ordered our sandwiches and salad, and continued to talk.  It was getting close to time for Patrick to head home.  But he said he would walk me back downtown near the theater.

As we were walking back, we passed a street vendor that had all sorts of variations of the Boston Red Sox caps available.  Lime green, purple, red, yellow, brown, rainbow, and grey.  And out of the blue, exactly at the same time, both Patrick and I said, “I really want a grey one.”  No prompting.  It was just out of the blue, something completely by chance.

We looked at each other for a moment, and then, without saying a word to each other, went up to the vendor and each purchased a gray hat.  We put them on as we walked around the city.  We continued our conversation, and then went back to the theater.  He gave me a hug, and wished me well.  I wished him well, and we said our goodbyes.  And he disappeared into the night.

It was a totally random, and completely chance encounter…but one I think of every time I put on that baseball cap.

So, wherever you are in the world, Patrick, I hope life is being kind to you.  I think of you fondly whenever I wear my cap, and always look back on that one day with happiness.

Random Sock

Whenever I take my evening walk, I pass by this sock on the sidewalk.  Just one baby sock.  Left.  Abandoned.  Its mate at home I’m sure is wondering where it is.

I wonder why this sock remains.  Enough people walk down this street…maybe someone might want to add it to their sock collection.  Maybe they would be its rightful owner and want to take it home.  Whatever the case, the sock remains.  I’ve even thought about picking it up…but yet I don’t.

I’ve come to expect the sock now.  I know that after I cross three streets, there it will be, waiting for me.  Who knows who the owner is.  Who knows if it was a boy or a girl.  This sock is indifferent.  To the rain, the scorching heat, the loud traffic noise.  It’s simply indifferent.

Maybe, as I sit here personifying woven thread, the sock is not so much indifferent as it is tolerant.  It knows that there will be exhaust, that people will discuss all sorts of things as they pass over it, that human and animal alike may give it a passing glance and yet move on.

Strange, I think of this sock as a friend now.  I look forward to seeing it when I walk past.  And just like friends, I know that someday that the sock will be gone.  Who knows where…perhaps to a different life.  Perhaps to a new owner?  Maybe its rightful owner?  Or maybe to visit the other abandoned socks at the Sock Hop at the city dump.

In any case, carry forth, little sock.  You’re the bravest sock I know.

Random iPhone Tip

My home button wasn’t working.  And I didn’t know why.  I did a little research, and found this handy little tip.  Thought I would share it for those out there with an iPhone.

Don’t expect these very often, because I am not a technological genius.  I can barely make the iPhone do what I want.  Still…it seemed to work.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

Photography Stuff

Since this is my blog, I can do whatever I want.  Yay for freedom!

And I thought I would share some of my favorite photos that I’ve taken.  All of these photos are taken by me.  This is the first time I’ve shared any of my pictures on here, or even tried to upload them.  It’s still new..but thought I would share them.

Disclaimer:  I am NOT a professional photographer.  I know nothing about composition, lighting, or any of that stuff.  Just someone with a camera who likes taking pictures, and getting incredibly lucky sometimes.  Sometimes not.

Now, with that out of the way, here we go!  Thanks in advance, if you look through them.

Moon

I went out for my walk.  Was listening to the sounds of whatever happened to filter through my iPod.  I was just noticing various things — an abandoned baby’s sock on the sidewalk, several Mini Coopers, the numbers of people who were watching TV at that time of night, and the flowers.  As cliche as it sounds, I totally was impressed by the flowers that I hadn’t noticed before.  Daffodils, daisies, hydrangeas, tulips — all were in full bloom.  It was quite lovely and made for a beautiful walk.  Add to it the fact that the sun was setting over the Puget Sound, gorgeous pinks, gorgeous violets, hints of blue, and the water completely serene at this night was wonderful.  It was very calming.

Water has always been my refuge, my source of inspiration.  I think a lot of it stems from the fact that it is so big, and yet so connected.  It is a reminder that there is a force out there much bigger than myself.  That my problems, however monumental they may seem at the time, really are just a drop in the proverbial bucket when compared to the rest of the world.  Not to minimize my thoughts, my pain, my emotions…but when you compare it to those who have been ravaged by war, those who are starving, those whose belongings have burned in a fire, the loss of a loved one — the list goes on and on — it’s really not much to worry about.

At the end of the walk, as I rounded the corner to start heading home, there was the full moon, gazing down at me. Her arms were wide open, and she was embracing me.  It was a pretty fantastic ending to a somewhat average day.  But the best goodnight hug that I’d had in a while.