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Monday
Aug072017

My Summer Vacation and Facebook Brag Photos

Agra, IndiaIf we're friends on Facebook, you know that I traveled A LOT this summer. I went back and forth about sharing lots of photos on the page. I didn't want to appear to be a braggart. (Ew. Who even uses the word "braggart"? Apparently, I do.)

I think it's fairly universal -- that feeling when you see someone doing something awesome in a photo on Facebook and you're just sort of sitting around watching Netflix and, like, it's not even good Netflix - maybe the later seasons of Criminal Minds where it's basically the first five seasons with different characters-- and you think "Wow, this photo of this person doing awesome things is kind of making me feel bad about why I'm not doing awesome things." I can only speak for myself when I say that if I am not doing awesome things it's either because I'm physically tired or having one of my anxiety/depression/closeted introvert recharge moments. Did I say moments? Oops. I meant "weekends." So, I get it if you hated all of my vacation pictures, I totally do. But hear me out.

I promise you the sharing was not an effort to flash my "I'm so awesome" badge.

Seriously. Promise.

I posted the photos because I think international and transoceanic travel needs some normalizing these days. I can't count how many people greeted my travel plans with, "Really? Gosh, be careful."  The world is so incredibly crazy right now. It's not abnormal for someone to get anxious about boarding a plane for another continent. I was anxious. The anxiety isn't some out of the blue feeling either. It's grounded in a reality that anything could happen. There are people in this world who are so committed to their (skewed) ideology that they've crossed over to that place where they aren't exactly human anymore. They don't care about the collatoral damage that's associated with a news story. They just want to terrorize people. It can be hard to make the decision to leave your house in a world like this much less your country.

My iPhone regales me every day with news about terrorists and demagogues hell bent on creating a fractured humanity that is destined for peril and destruction. It reminds me daily that more and more humans seem to be becoming less human each day. While I don't dispute the accuracy of my iPhone with respect to specific stories, I do doubt the presentation of the proportionality of "awesomeness in the world" and "really terrifying shit that's happening."  If my every day has so much beauty in it, surely the rest of the world exists in a similar beauty.

So, the decision to travel to Oahu, Paris and New Delhi was a decision to push back against the narrative that the world is a dangerous place filled with inhumane people trying to kill us all. The decision to share these journeys on Facebook wasn't aimed at showing how I, personally, am awesome but reminding you that this is a world worth seeing

While I would not ever seek to diminish the violence that is done to innocent people daily, I know that hope lies in the knowledge that human kindness and beauty is still an actual thing all over the world. I didn't post the pictures to brag. I posted them so you would know that the world is still beautiful despite the dangers, injustices and unkindnesses that are present. I feel like if we forget that then maybe we might be in danger of being a little less human, too. 

Sunday
Feb122017

This is Totally Normal

I realize it's been a while since around November 8th when John Oliver crafted the #ThisIsNotNormal thing, but I continue to have thoughts and feelings about it.

You guys, this racist bullshit that you are experiencing that's masquerading as the executive and legislative branches of the government?

IS TOTALLY NORMAL FOR AMERICA. I'm over here rolling my eyes at people who are sharing these posts of people being detained at airports and hashtagging it with #thisIsNotNormal.

FOR YOU.

This is not normal FOR YOU, BRO.

Two months after 9/11, my dad was taking a flight to North Carolina. He was pulled aside, detained and questioned. This was a domestic flight from Florida to North Carolina. My father, at the time, was 67 years old, had lived in the U.S. for thirty two years and had been an American citizen for nearly fifteen years of those years. Since then, between my parents, in laws and extended family, this family has had over half a dozen encounters like this. 

THIS IS NOT NORMAL FOR YOU.

This is totally normal for US. 

So, why? Why bring this up in the first place? 

Well, look, there's two major kinds of racist/xenophobic/discriminatory paradigm:

1. Superiority Based Racism/Xenophobic/Discriminatory Paradigm: This says, "America is amazing and wonderful, white people made America, foreigners are terrible, gays are deviants, the only black people that get shot by the police are criminals, blow all of those sand people up and we'll be safe, etc."

And, then, there's:

2. Cluelessness Based Racism/Xenophobic/Discriminatory Paradigm: This says that the current climate of racism, xenophobia and discrimination is some sort of aberrant occurrence and totally ignores the pesky yet relevant fact that this triumverate of bullshit (racism, xenophobia, discriminiation) is somehow NOT woven into the tapestry of the American story.

So.

You know.

I like John Oliver.

But let's not forget John Oliver is the great grandson of an Imperialist Britain which used racism, xenophobia and discrimination to dominate over half of the world's population in throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

And then let's not forget that all those people who are using #thisIsNotNormal are the great great great grandchildren of people who appropriated North America from native peoples with their slaves in tow captured from Africa all of which was justified by racism, xenophobia and discrimination.

Barack Obama, our great hope, our American dream... was not normal.

This guy? P45? Is totally normal.

And he will never NOT be normal if you don't own him as a product of who we have chosen to be as a people for two hundred years.

 

 

Thursday
Jan262017

Another Tap, Tap, Is This Thing On Post...

Maybe this one will stick. I make no promises to the seven people who seem to be visiting here every day. Why? What are you being so persistent about?

I've noticed that a lot of people are either talking about blogging again or actually blogging again.

I looked over the last few posts of mine and it's like I've been wanting to get back to doing this, and I just haven't had the attention span. I think some of us old-timey bloggers just hit a wall when our heads got stuffed with brand identities and all that weird SM marketing based stuff. I've written about that before. I guess since I started this blog nine years ago, it'd be safe to assume I've written about most of it before. I've been blogging long enough to know, for example, that I should probably have backlinked to a few times that indicated the wide span of topics I've covered over the past nine years. Maybe it's not even attention span, maybe it's that I've lost the will to appear interesting to others. Maybe I'm at the point where I'm thinking that if someone doesn't find this sort of high school dairy writing interesting, that this is not my concern.

Let's see... back when I blogged, you wrote about interesting stuff you did. I really wanted to say "shit" there. But I just couldn't. I'm growing up, Internets. Anyway, I did some interesting stuff. I marched in the #MemphisWomensMarch last weekend. That was amazing and rejeuvenating. (If you're interested in my marching experience, you can hear about it on the HTMH podcast that I co-host with Mike Scheinberg. It's available on iTunes or you can just listen from our website at heythatsmyhummus.com)

I did notice that the march was incredibly, er, monochromatic in terms of melanin given that Memphis, like it's slightly dirtier, sluttier sister New Orleans is pretty chocolate. I imagine that most of the some 600 sister cities have their own explanations for why their cities might not have been able to brag about diverse populations at their respective marches. I assume that the diversity factor has to do with who is organizing the march and how committed they are to building inclusivity.

This is the thing about having to build inclusive environments in America: we are a nation of communities who have solid, historically based reasons not to trust each other. So, people have to go out of their way not only to include but to show that they are committed to rebuilding trust. And, oh, also acknowledge that they are aware why trust was lost. It's hard work, and the diversity of your march basically shows how up for working on that you are. I would like to brag at this point that the group of friends that I marched with...very diverse. 

I took some nice photos with my phone at the march, you can check that out on my Instagram account if you don't already follow that.

Okay, I'm done not appearing interesting now. See you later, Dear Diary.

 

Tuesday
May102016

This One is Out of the Way.

There are just going to be those days when you simply get through it. I know you know this, but I think one of us needs to say this out loud. A lot of days are just going to be holding one's head above water and hoping that the people who don't matter don't notice. Because, you know, the people that matter don't mind that you're holding your head slightly above water. It's those pesky people who don't matter, right? They're always over there not mattering and ruining everyone's self perception.

Anyway. Some days are just going to end with a long sigh that says, "Well, this one is out of the way." I'd like to think that I'm doing a-okay if the number of days that are "out of the way" are less in number than the days that end with "Ahh, today was a good one."

I don't really have much more else to say than that.

Except. Maybe.

This one is out of the way.

Sunday
May012016

Podcasts I Listen To & Not Make. But Maybe Wish I Did.

I mean, I do listen to my own podcast because that thing about loving the sound of your own voice. Except I laugh a lot in it and I HATE the sound of my laugh. 

Do you listen to podcasts? If not, you should.

It's not just about learning new stuff or being entertained, but taking advantage of our hyper connected world in a way that allows you to deepen your connection to humanity. That stuff you're watching on television? NOT REAL. That is not how real people act or talk. That is not the stuff that actually happens to people.

While I love my Empire, those are not things that actually happen to people. Although, I will PAY you to be my friend if you are like Jussie Smollet's character in real life. Pay you WELL. Like a monthly subscription.

Anyway, I feel like unless we make an intentional effort to broaden our experience of how people talk, what they talk about and why they talk about it, we run the risk of assuming that human reality is confined to people we talk to and people we watch on television. Also, when was the last time you heard someone tell you a really good story. It doesn't seem to happen very often even though I truly believe that sort of thing is embedded in our supercomputer. Called the brain. I'm talking about our brains, but I used supercomputer in an attempt to be clever.

So, I listen to podcasts. In case you're thinking about getting started, here are some suggestions. If you're new to downloading podcasts, you can usually search by title and just hit subscribe. The iPhone has a little purple icon with a little person doing double dutch with two perflectly circular jump ropes.

You should be advised that I recently retook the Pottermore Sorting Hat quiz and was reclassified as a Ravenclaw. I feel like this is pertinent information as you evaluate my listening preferences. 

Serial. I mean, duh. If you're going to start listening to podcasts, this is the one. Season 1 is better than Season 2. Aside from the unseemly details surrounding the court cases discussed, I love this podcast because it reflects the care with which a story is told and how much of a difference that makes in the delivery of information.

This American Life Once again, the story telling. So great. If you're like me and have trouble telling a linear story, this is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in how that's done.

TED Radio Hour. I'm clearly an NPR junkie. I didn't realize that until just now. I love TED talks, and I love this podcast because it organizes them by topic and also continues the conversation with the speakers after the talk. 

The Moth Podcast. More stories. I love hearing people tell stories about their life -- from the mundane to the intensely deep. It doesn't matter. Tell me a good story and I'm in.

Stuff You Missed in History Class. A great podcast about learning the basics of auto repair. I'm kidding. It's about stuff you missed in history class. 

Lore. Okay, I haven't listened to this one yet, but I am SUPER excited about it. TRUE LIFE SCARY STORIES OMG.

Coffee Break French. So, basically, you listen to people talk in French on your non-existent coffee break and try to figure out what the hell they are saying. The hosts are European so I assume that's why they are implying a coffee break is an actual thing.

Hope that's helpful.

I'm looking for a some more humorous podcasts, so if you have any suggestions - do let me know.