Monthly Archives: June 2011

Using my wits when I’m at my wit’s end.

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Didn’t get that job. Thought I would, but I didn’t. Interview went well I thought, but not well enough. I’m at my wit’s end. This is surely the end of the line for me. Why bother? Just drift away into mindless homeless obscurity, barely noticed by passersby, it almost sounds romantic. Except, it isn’t. Neither is suicide, which is another creepy thought born of hopelessness which emerges with much drama whenever I’m at my wit’s end. I send such thoughts back to the hell from which they came. I took a little guided tour of hell for about five minutes after I learned that I didn’t get that job I wanted. It was an ugly but enticing experience. It really felt as though I had no more options, all was dark, and there was absolutely no point to anything any longer.

From somewhere inside me, I conjured up a wellspring of hopefulness, and thankfully, rationality. The future is unknown. I could end up with an even better job, something wonderful could happen. A whole array of possibilities presented themselves to me. There is always something you can do. There is never a reason to succumb. But you have got to be resourceful in ways you weren’t before, because the old methods no longer work. You have to use your wits. What can I offer? What can I offer that someone would pay me to provide? Nobody wants to see you fail. Just like those banks we bailed out, I am too big to fail. This was a feeling, nothing more. I have yet to put together the details, to bring this vision into being. But I know it’s there, and it is actually up to all of us, not just myself, to bring it forth. Otherwise the future is grim indeed, and some of us aren’t going to make it. They will journey into that hell, as I did, and be unable to bring themselves out.

So now I know that I’ve got to get smarter, use my wits, even when I appear to be at my wit’s end. I’m going to put my thinking cap on now, and report back on what I find. I know that it will help many of you, dear readers, as well as myself. I will try to come up with some juicy nuggets that will bring a smile to your lips, and help us get back on track.

That dreadful limbo

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For the first time in a long time, I may actually have a shot at a job. I’m not going to know until probably Thursday, two days from now. My mind goes on and on about how the interview went, did I say too much? did I say too little? I was basically honest about myself, and let the chips fall where they may. This has served me well in the past. If things don’t pan out, I will see if another job (a much dicier one) will work out for me, that is if they are still interested in hiring me. Today I got a taste of how difficult things can get for someone 57, soon to be 58. I refilled a prescription for Simvastatin, which I take to lower cholesterol, and it was $66. (ouch!). I wasn’t able to get online for two days, turns out my modem wasn’t working, I got a new one for $62 (ouch again!). I can barely afford to spend this money. Even if I do get the job I desire, it is only for 30 hrs a week. I would need to find a way to supplement it. I have been in this limbo for over two years now, the semester is over at the City College and I’m not certain I can afford to enroll in another semester for the fall. There is so much uncertainty. There is also the stress of returning to work after being unemployed a long time, being used to having so much free time. Once I’m working again, the time will fly by with little to show except a paycheck, or so it seems. I know my situation is shared by many, many people. I’m hanging in there. Are you? You never know what is around the corner, I didn’t expect to get an email about arranging an interview. I was at my wit’s end. Hopefully I will get this job. If not…I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.

Observations about popular culture

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These are some observations about popular culture from a cranky old man (well, actually I’m only 57, but I am quite cranky at times.) I’ve been thinking a lot lately, which is always dangerous. While struggling with unemployment and …(oh, what is the use of going into it, I’ve given my sob story in earlier blogs, so enough already!), I have been spending my time checking out old movies and such on Youtube. This was inspired by my watching Metropolis (a DVD I actually purchased in an actual store, my bit to improve the American economy.), a movie that I had seen pictures from and clips from for a long time, but never saw the whole thing. Actually the whole thing was thought to be lost until recently, but anyway, it is fascinating. While I’m sure the concept of an artificial being had been explored before, dating back to the Jewish legend of the Golem (is that the right word?), and, of course, Frankenberry, excuse me, Frankenstein. Excuse my impertinence, I watched too much Steve Allen when I was a kid. But what made this version of creating a robot especially intriguing, was that it was created to distract the working class from recognizing their abject slavery. It took the form of a woman, the exact form of a woman the common people had revered, and who had protected their children. The robot would appear in a demonic ritual and whip all the men into a sexual frenzy. This idea of an artificial creation for the purpose of creating a sexual obsession in the masses is very, very modern, and resonates with all we know about the popular image of Madonna and Britney Spears. In fact, Christina Aguilera’s latest album is entitled Bionic and shows her as a robot. The appeal of these artists, and many others, consists primarily of sexual stimulation and little else, the music being quite robotic in nature. As a matter of fact, I’m sure some of my readers remember the colorized version of Metropolis which came out in the eighties (which I avoided seeing just on general principles). That version had a modern “new wave” soundtrack, which totally missed the point of the film, the popular culture of the eighties (and today, as well) glorified the sex goddess robot instead of recognizing it’s evil effect upon the audience.  If you know your history, you know that the 1920’s were a time of hedonistic devil may care attitudes, especially in Weimar Germany, where Metropolis was made. This movie was quite prophetic in it’s message, describing a technocratic society masking an underground slave culture.

I decided to explore another silent film era icon, which I hadn’t investigated before. I had had many photos of Louise Brooks but had never actually seen one of her films. Her image haunted me, although the photos were from the twenties, they felt modern somehow. She seemed to hold a dark, sad, mystery. I have since discovered that a cult has developed around Louise Brooks and I am hardly alone in my fascination. I found two of her best films, also made in Weimar Germany, Pandora’s Box, and Diary of a Lost Girl. Both are excellent, especially Diary. They are also disturbing. Louise Brooks is totally different from the acting conventions of the time. She is natural, and seems as modern as any of today’s actresses. She is even more hypnotic and mesmerizing in the films than in the photos. I can see some connection between Metropolis and these Brooks’ films. I hope I don’t stretch that connection too far, however. She is like the robot in Metropolis, especially in Pandora’s Box as Lulu, in that she  has an evil effect on the men around her, while she appears relatively unscathed, and uncaring, much like a robot. But while the character of Lulu bears resemblance to the inhuman creation in Metropolis, the character Louise plays in Diary of a Lost Girl is very different. This character bears a resemblance to the real woman in Metropolis that the robot is modeled after. Diary deals with how women can be abused to the point of being dehumanized (turned into sexual robots, isn’t that sort of what prostitutes are?), and yet, Brook’s character rebels against her dehumanization and the dehumanization of other women. In real life Brooks was quite contemptuous of popular culture and refused to continue to play Hollywood’s game, which cost her her career. She serves as an appropriate role model for modern women. My question to today’s icons, such as Lady Gaga, for instance, are whether they are a mindless product of popular culture, cashing in on the rebelliousness of today’s youth, or a genuine example of a woman who uses her sexuality to liberate rather than enslave, and is willing to be true to her ideals even at the cost of her career. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this matter. In the meantime I still need to find a job, and keep from (oh, here I am whining again!) In any case, if you are one of the unwashed millions living in caves, who haven’t seen any of these movies, they are all on youtube, check them out. I don’t think you will regret it.

Can someone really make money by writing online?

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So, I’m wondering, can I really, really?, make money off of the internet? My guess it would take a lot of time and energy, and luck. It feels like shouting into a very dark void. Is anybody out there? Does anybody care about what I have to say? Certainly just having a blog like this one, which merely consists of some old guy typing his thoughts doesn’t generate money, only carpal tunnel syndrome. So, what is the secret? So many  people, from all over the world, doing what I am doing right now, typing out their thoughts and sending them out into the ether, never to be read by anyone other than their families and closest friends. It’s sad, really. But it isn’t as sad as not doing it. Sitting alone in an apartment with only a cat for a companion, only having enough money for a couple more months, and then what? I will be starting a sort-of job next week, that’s if I decide to go through with it. It would be canvassing for donations to support pro-choice. I’m not yet clear on how the donations support pro-choice. I’m not the door-to-door type, but I am also unemployed, so maybe I can become the door-to-door type, besides it isn’t like I’m selling vacuum cleaners. I actually support pro-choice, and that position is popular around here, so I’ll see how it goes.

But, back to my main theme, writing, for profit. I think I have what it takes, but who knows? There is no short supply of writers, that’s for sure! It is certainly a good idea to have sources of opinion other than the crap you are often served on television, and in the magazines. Put a few chimpanzees and a typewriter alone in a room for a few days and you would get better commentary than you find on Fox news. I have a lot to say, but sometimes I’m just tired. Expressing yourself in a way that is meaningful, and makes a difference is difficult to keep up day after day. But at least this is something. It allows an old guy, living alone, to feel less isolated. That’s all, for now.

Wiener shows us his wiener. and the whole world yawns. At least I did.

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I have been following the brouhaha regarding Congressman Wiener showing his wiener to women online. My response is who cares? As usual, the press plays up any news of a sexual nature to the expense of real news. You would think, judging by America’s sanctimonious shock at this behavior, that it is a shock to discover that congressmen have genitals. Our attitudes towards sex are hypocritical and nonsensical. I also think it sends the wrong message to children. It makes it appear that our bodies are something to be ashamed of, especially our genitals. This obsession with sex on the part of media, which is combined with mock outrage over sexual expression, is undoubtedly a very confusing double message for young people. Be sexual, but keep it hidden, and don’t feel good about it. Now we will have to endure an endless stream of pseudo-professional opinion about sexual addiction on every available talk show. I don’t condone what Wiener did, but I also don’t consider it a capital crime. Let’s save our shock and outrage for pedophiles, rapists, and their ilk. I think it would be far healthier for congress to censure his behavior, instead of asking him to step down. I would welcome a national dialogue about healthy sexual behavior, as opposed to no sexual behavior. I would say that there is no question but that we have a sick society when it comes to sex. The obsession with sex which is all around us reflects a lack of actual sex in our lives. The sickness lies in our feelings of shame and moral outrage over perfectly normal sexual behavior, confusing it with true perversion. It seems that as soon as the words “sex” and “children” are said in the same breath, people go crazy, and are incapable of a rational thought. The message we are sending to our children is perpetuating our own sickness, our own double standard. We pretend to be non-sexual pure hearted people, while pushing away into a dark corner of our psyche all our sexual fantasies and urges, pretending they aren’t there. I don’t pretend to know how to address this problem, but I do know that approaching it honestly, forthrightly, and above all, nonjudgmentally, is very important. Let me be clear, I’m not talking about sexual crimes here, but about relatively harmless sexual activity. Sex will rear it’s (I started to write “ugly head” but why does it need to be considered ugly?) It will rear it’s head in any case, regardless of anyone’s effort to suppress it. It is up to us to deal with sexual urges intelligently, and with a sense of humor, instead of creating a tempest in a teapot, and pretending to be shocked and outraged.

I could go on about the sources of these stupid and dangerous attitudes towards sex that has typified American society since the Puritans, but I won’t. Suffice to say, I hope that over time we will develop a much more mature attitude towards sex, like what you find in most of Europe. In the meantime, go to church. Just kidding, church is often the worst cesspool of suppressed sexuality!

My first blog that isn’t for a class.

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This is my first blog that consists entirely of my observations. This isn’t a blog which is part of a class I’m taking, or anything, it is only my online journal, so to speak, observations on my own life and what I see happening around me. I am a 57 year old man, living in San Francisco. I am unemployed and have been for over two years. I used to work at a popular bookstore, until it went out of business in 2009. Since then I have taken classes in digital printing and web design. I have always enjoyed writing and decided to start this blog to give me an outlet for my writing, other than just the journal I keep in the old fashioned way, pen on paper. This online journal won’t be as personal, but will consist of my observations, with an audience in mind. Hopefully I will be able to continue with this blog beyond August 2011, which is how long I have till all my money runs out and I am rendered homeless. Perhaps this blog can assist in finding me a job or I can generate money writing online in various capacities. We shall see. I am discovering that in order to stay relevant to today’s world I must branch out into new, previously unthought of areas, to express my creativity. In any case, this is a beginning, there will be more. I want to explore ideas for how the upteenmillion unemployed can somehow help each other survive. Government is not the answer, ultimately, although another stimulus package wouldn’t be unwelcome. I know it adds to the deficit, but right now we need to keep the unemployed from becoming homeless unemployed. They are the engine that can revive the economy if they are given jobs and income once again. I feel the principle problem in this country is the enormous gap between the rich and poor, with hardly a middle class to speak of anymore. This is an explosive situation, which ultimately could lead to riots in the streets like we have seen in Greece and other countries. We have got to find a solution to all of this unemployment. I have a personal investment in that solution.

Hello world!

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Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can alway preview any post or edit you before you share it to the world.