Showing posts with label Culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Culture. Show all posts

28.6.21

When You’re at a Crossroads: Take It from Me, It’s Okay to Feel Lost (Notes from the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest)

In this post, a high school English teacher gets lost in the forest of northwest Washington.
I am stuck at a crossroads — which way to go? Following the course of the Foss River in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, I’m allowed to be lost, a wanderer. I’m happy I found a rock to sit on so I can gather my thoughts, drink some water (from the mountain creek, of course). If you don’t hear from me, it means I’ve taken up residence in the forest. I’ll come out when I’m dang ready.
Foss River
The Foss River

5.6.19

Short Film Review: Reckless (2013)


The Short Film "Reckless" - 2013 (22 minutes, in Norwegian with English subtitles)
Film still from the short "Reckless" (2013)


The 2013 Norwegian short film "Reckless" is the work of director Bjørn Erik Pihlmann Sørensen and writer Einar Sverdrup. I saw the film in 2013 and passed it off as a public service announcement about the need to rein in irresponsible teenagers. But as you will notice as I write about the movie, my views have changed a bit since I last saw it. To give you a brief rundown, the movie is about a teenage girl who has to babysit her younger child-age brother - and through a series of related events tragedy strikes. I thought maybe the movie was funded by parents who want their adolescent-aged kids to take better care of their siblings. However, I recently watched it again and the short made me think more about what message it is trying to convey. I haven't read much about the movie online nor have I talked to anyone else I know who has seen it. I am going to take a critical plunge and articulate in a flat-footed way what I think the movie might be suggesting about adolescence, sexuality, and responsibility. It's also a movie about the absence of authority.

25.7.14

Photograph: "A World Within A World"

From Instagram: This is what happens when you zoom your camera into the recesses of weird nooks and crannies of a building.

"A World Within A World": A photograph taken in the Fordham neighborhood (The Bronx, New York City)

31.12.11

Christmas Letter from New Orleans

For Christmas season 2011, I went back home to New Orleans to visit my family and friends. Here is what I did and saw. Read it!
An Ignatius Reilly Mardi Gras float
rolls through town / 
Image credit: Flickr



“I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”  
― Ignatius J. Reilly 
Anthony sits at a wooden table at the Balcony Bar, a place that looks regal during the daytime but becomes the center of considerable brouhaha at night. Having had a few cocktails, we sit together eating bar food. Anthony feeds me a French Fry. Carrying a tray with hamburgers, Andrew almost runs into a cadre of revelers who are talking so loudly the entire building seems to close in on itself with the noise. We sit and attempt conversation. This is our city every night. It has been a year and a half since leaving New Orleans. Having returned home for eight days I leave again with renewed something for the Crescent City. Martin says Nola (as locals call it) is the best city. He's right.

22.8.10

Is It a Good Idea to Do the Traditional Date?

Rule #1: don't read weird shit on a first date.
Wow. Times have changed.
A recent New York Times article quoted an 1860 personals ad, of a man in want of a wife:
“The advertiser, a successful young business man of good education, polite manners and agreeable address, having recently amassed a fortune and safely invested the same, wishes to meet with a young lady or widow."
A woman in want of a husband read:
“A young lady, rather good looking, and of good address, desires the acquaintance of a gentleman of wealth (none other need apply), with a view to matrimony.”
Wow. Very direct. No co-habitation. No confusion about which gender holds the bank account and which gender wants the bank account. And no confusion about gender either.

And that was for straight people.

In 1860 gay men were not posting personals in the New York Times. Maybe they were getting hot and heavy on the battlefield, but I am sure the documentation for that is somewhere buried deep in the Civil War record books. I'm not sure what they were doing, but read this article from BNAP and email me.

Anyway. I digress.
Today things are not so simple. We live in tough economic times but people want their contacts to be sexy, not frugal. Whether you are gay, straight, queer, bi, transgendered, or curious, dating is a messy game. At least in 1860 you knew what you were getting into: eventual matrimony. In 2010, it's anyone's guess what our motives really are. First of all, you have to stop to think, who really dates anymore anyway? When you just want a date, the whole scene can be a bit tricky. Who pays what? Do you hold the door open? What is the modicum of respect required? Do you kiss on a first date? Do you make out? Do you go all the way? How specific are you supposed to be? How vague?

Is it all about getting into each other's pants?
While men may think only with their nether regions, women think with their nether regions too. Getting into each other's pants is somewhere on the horizon, but the rules of engagement are not always so clear. If you're a single parent, you tend to be blackballed more than if you were married. Plenty of guys go on dating sites and eliminate 99 percent of the dating pool. I knew a guy who was in his 50s and he would only date blond-hair blue-eyed intelligent women in the 18-30 range. Guys tend to look down on girls "who put out" but do not expect girls to judge their promiscuous desires. Gay guys are branded as promiscuous (or are they?), skipping the dating scene altogether, and heading for the bedroom. Or the broom closet. But this is all changing, it seems. More guys are getting into the dating scene. I'm not sure if it is a victory of the far right, but sexual liberation and "free love" seem to be losing out, and monogamy and paying for the meal seem to be cashing in.

While Justin Templet over at the Maroon wrote an amusing piece on the possible benefits of shacking up on the first date, most people, gay and straight, tend to consider sex on a first date as a good ride, but a death knell to a future relationship.

Fuck revolution. And getting stoned. It seems we may be going back to the 1860s after all.

What's a guy to do? I was born in the wrong century, I guess. Or decade.

So, I decided to post a personal ad the other day and try this whole dating thing to see what it was really all about. I didn't even know gay men COULD date. I thought all we did was sit around and watch True Blood. Or the Big C. Or watch that damn Liza Minelli concert re-run on Showtime.

I geared up my writing chops and fired out a résumé of sorts:
A gentleman with aspirations for collegiate studies (but no employment) seeks like-minded chap to eat an ice cream in Times Square and check out that new Angelina Jolie flick.