Month: February 2007

Uma, Fernando and the magic of You

umameter

I know many of you only visit this site in Bloglines, or NewsFire, or whatever your favorite RSS reader is. I am happy to have you read; really, it is all I ask. The actual prettiness of the site (or lack thereof, which I’ll get to) is beside the point.

But if you’ve been reading from your RSS reader and not the site itself, while you’ve been spared some wonky-ass-ness from old code, you’ve missed the phenomenon of the UMAmeter and its meteoric rise.

Even if you’ve only read via RSS, you’ve had access to Uma and her bizarre tale of woe: a series of seizures a month ago in a New York bed; (not) waking up in a stage 5 coma at the St. Vincent’s neurological IC unit, surrounded by doctors and worried loved ones; the green hearts on UMAtine’s Day, at the very least.

So I’m-a spell it out for you about UMA: this is a girl who wants to L-I-V-E. She has beaten all odds, she is fighting her way back like a champeen, and soon, so soon, she will be wending her way back to L.A. via air ambulance at the staggering price of $20,000. That’s, um, one-way.

What you’ve been missing these past coupla days, my RSS friends, is the aforementioned rise of the aforementioned UMAmeter. To the tune of $10K in two days. And this girl is theater-actor, MediCal poor, with broke-ass L.A. theater friends. But the call has been sounded around the world, and one ignores it at one’s own loss.

My prediction? Even with slowing returns, we’ll hit $15K in one day, maybe two. DO NOT LET THAT STOP YOU!!! She has got a staggering fight ahead of her, with staggering attendant costs. I know; I was sick once, four years ago, and my bill came to $80K and change. For 11 days. And I had good insurance!

I’m posting a big-ass thing on blogging.la tomorrow that covers the story in detail, so I won’t belabor it here. Go. Give. All you people who asked what you could do for me when I was sick, and I said “no, it’s covered”? Give now. Give to Uma. She needs your help. The people who are helping her need your help.

Be a part of a winning trend! Be able to look back years from now, when Uma is president or Chief Troublemaker or whatever Major Thing she’s destined for and say, “uh, yeah, I made it happen.” Go here now and give, bruthah!

And then mosey on over to fernando_graphicos, designer supreme, who graciously sent me the fresh code for the communicatrix website so it’d look purty for all you people. Oooh and aaaah over his juicy design goodness and uber-mensch-ness.

And then get on back to your regular lives and raise some fucking hell. Because that, more than anything, is what Uma wishes she was doing right now.

xxx
c

Give to the Uma Fund.
Go to blogging.la for more details (on Feb 28) now!

What money really means

shame shame shame

One of my dirty little secrets has to do with money: I’m afraid of it.

Between role models who lived it up with cavalier disregard for cash, dying either in debt or indebted to loved ones (myself included) for covering them towards the end, and others who destroyed their health and emotional life in the pursuit of money, it’s a miracle I’m neither pushing a shopping cart nor wedged between walls of newspaper, tying used paper bags together with twine against some future disaster, like a Depression-era baby gone whack job.

While I’m not rich, I’m also not in debt, and there’s no wolf at the door. For my age and considering my nutty career trajectory, I’m actually doing well, living proof of the magic of compound interest. I socked away whatever I could as a Young Corporate Tool, living in rat-traps (okay, mouse-traps) in Brooklyn on overtime meals and happy hour appetizers while maxing out my 401k contributions. And this was back in the golden ’80s, with dollar-for-dollar matching employer funds. Yes, you heard me: dollar for dollar.

And I’ve never exactly been a slacker. I was fortunate enough to have my college paid for, received gifts of cash here and there from my generous relatives and yes, I was subsidized to the tune of $50/week for the first six months I lived and worked in New York. Still, I’ve always worked, and never lived off the largesse of a partner or spouse. There were fat times and lean, but I managed to stay afloat, buy and sell a condo, keep clothes on my back and food in my gut, have health insurance (the good kind) and, while I’ve never been one to live high on the hog, even enjoy some luxuries like nice dinners out, nice food in, travel, cars (every one of which, of course, I’ve owned outright).

So this is not the story of someone who suffered the financial equivalent of being raised in a locked closet and never knowing light or human touch until age 16. I was good, I was fine, I looked completely normal, even together, compared to some people I know.

And yet, I am so conflicted about money, so filled with anxiety and conflict and trepidation, I cannot balance my checkbook. I mean, I have, at times, but I won’t do it consistently. I’ve let money languish in low-interest accounts rather than make the simple step of moving it to a higher-interest vehicle because somehow, keeping it vague is more comfortable to me that keeping it real. I stubbornly resist getting a handle on my money which, believe you me, is not the best modus operandi for anyone, much less a sole proprietor.

But I’ve never really understood why until today, when I read something Suze “Yes, I’m Gay!” Orman wrote in her column for the March issue of Oprah’s magazine. Orman was counseling a woman who’s in a relationship with a guy who sounds kind of creepy about money, and she suggests that maybe this chick should bolt, because…

When a person can’t share his financial life, I question his ability to share his heart. The way we handle money is a manifestation of who we are inside, and how he approaches the subject signifies his love and respect for you.

I tell you, I almost burst into tears reading this. Because it suddenly struck me how much of my life I have lived in fear, how worthless I have often felt about myself and my abilities, how much better it felt to look somewhere, anywhere, else, to tap dance a little faster, instead of sitting in the feeling I was really having until I owned it and could move on.

I have a lot of work to do yet, but I feel like the worst of it is over. Because at least for this last stretch of uncovering myself, thanks to a freshly-out financial guru to the masses, I have some direction and a little more light to find my way…

xxx
c

Image by Simon Pais via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Poetry Thursday: The Buffer Zone

online addiction

People say
they don’t understand
how drunks keep drinking
how addicts keep shooting
how smokers keep smoking
how (your favorite group of degenerate wastrels here)
keep doing (something you don’t give a crap about, here)

I say:
heroin
poker
Thursday nite Comedy Lineup
YouTube–

Same difference

It’s all just a buffer
between you and your feelings
between you and your work
between you and what’s really going on

Anything done too much
too many times in a row
takes on a life of its own
takes you on a trip
away from the Truth

You see
I’ve never shot up
but I’ve
watched a full season of Dragnet
smoked an entire pack of Marlboro reds
drunk an entire bottle of wine
in one sitting

Same fucking thing, my friend…
same fucking thing

Comfort comes in many shapes
and sizes
and delivery systems

True access
takes work
and questioning
and prodigious quantities
of terrifying solitude
of deafening silence

And too much of anything
is no good at all,
including surfing,
including fucking,
including poetry,
including goodness

Especially goodness…

xxx
c

Image by bob degraaf via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license

Admin: New! Make the communicatrix come to you!

living room silhouette

While I love this beautiful template (headspace, by fernando_graphicos, if you’re reading this in shouting distance of 2/20/07), its super-minimalist search feature has long been the gimpy-legged straggler of the site, something that became more and more obvious as the information grew broader and deeper.

With my new Lijit widjit, however, I have leapfrogged over my 2.0 templated cousins, and probably the next several releases of WordPress, as well. Just enter your search term in the box to your immediate right (if you’re reading this in shouting distance of 2/20/2007), hit “go” and your search will be conducted to the farthest reaches of the communicatrix literary landscape, or at least, every one of the 20+ sources I’ve entered so far.

It uses Google’s search engine and some, um, other stuff to pull sources from my all blogs, my aggregators (StumbleUpon, delicious, etc) and any other site you list (places I comment a lot, like 2Blowhards.com, or other, random pages I’ve entered). There is some duplication of results and it’s definitely better on very specific searches than general ones, but overall, I’m pretty happy to have the means to find those precious words I’ve misplaced somewhere.

If you despise it, you can still use the old-school search box at the bottom of the sidebar. But I’d be interested to know what you guys think of this here Lijit, and how it’s working for you.

xxx
c

Flickr was down for the count, so here’s a little pic from my place circa last December. Nice light!

Nerd Love, Day 21: Happy Uma Day

uma heart

When I started this series three weeks ago, it was with the very conscious notion that it’d be winding up on one of the most ridiculous holidays in the world to be coopted by modern consumers, Valentine’s Day.

Let us make no bones about it: Valentine’s Day sucks. Having any designated day to buy things for other people sucks. Not that buying things for other people is bad; it can be excellent, when offered up in the right spirit of freedom, love and joy, just as most things are. But to know which holiday is on the rise two (or three months) out by the color of the merch poking out of the pallets in the CVS aisles as last holiday’s tatty crap is offloaded from the “seasonal savings” ghetto to the final dumping grounds of off-price land, well, call me a cynic (as if you haven’t already), but that, my friends, is one step away from hailing Big Brother in the streets.

So fuck that flowers and candy shit. Seriously. Fuck it fuck it fuck it. I have a far better way to honor the true spirit of the day, a festival! of love!, and save yourself money and help some people in need at the same time.

My friend, Uma, is in a hospital in New York City, fighting for her life, following a brain aneurysm two weeks ago. She’s got people all over the world rooting for her recovery because yes, of course, she’s one of those Fantastic People we really, really need more of on this planet. (And for you hopeless romantics who need your gooey icing on the cake, she’s 27 and just got engaged.)

Her fiancé and her best friend have been sending out updates daily with news of her health or lack thereof, so we have a way to focus our thoughts. (You can read much of them online starting here.) It’s a scary mix of not-good and good right now, with the not-good being about massive stroke and swelling of the brain and the good (the excellent) being about rapid neurological recovery that no one can explain.

This morning’s request was a simple one: wear green. Draw a green heart on your hand, if you have no green. Send waves of good, positive thought out there towards Uma.

Uma was no more a fan of the crappy Valentine’s Day that’s turned us all into February scrooges than you or I. But as her best friend, Erik, points out, Uma is pro-love, and in a big way. And, in her more active times before this fall, was a hell-raisin’, law-unabidin’ rebel who viewed acts of rebellion small and large with glee.

So I cannot think of a better way to end this series than with an ode to Uma, and a plea for you to perhaps take a moment of your Wednesday to send a healing thought, or a minute to draw a green heart on your hand.

Except, perhaps, to end-end it with this:

uma bird

Uma, wherever your thoughts are at right now, I know they approve…

xxx
c

Nerd Love, Day 20: “A” is for alpha channel

alpha channel

Some days, you just get by.

Tired
Fearful
Small and crawly

on no sleep
(troubles, troubles)
and a too-early dentist appointment
made in good faith a year ago
kept in resignation
and out of more fear
(bad gums, the family curse).

And then
after a day of throwing down too many
cups of caffeine
(all flavors)

and an afternoon of pushing through too many
scary jobs,

tired and fearful,
small and crawly

you straggle home
exhausted
from An Event
(really, it was lovely,
we were just fagged out
and not in a gay way)

and The BF
gives you a tutorial in alpha channels
and makes all the bad things
disappear.

This
is why
I love being a nerd

This
is why
I love being in love with one.

xxx
c

Image by Colleen Wainwright and Brenton Fletcher

Nerd Love, Day 19: 10 reasons nerds LOVE the Apple Store at the Grove

apple store at the grove

1. Conveniently located to Los Angeles’ fashionable East side.
2. Get to watch Vegas-style timed musical fountain whilst walking to/from personal transpo device.
3. Better porn than Hustler store.
4. Retro-calming, Holly Golightly-esque, “Nothing bad could ever happen to you in a place like this” design vibe.
5. No rats.
6. Close proximity to wide variety of foods legal on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
7. New! Urban equivalent of Wal-Mart greeter at front door!
8. New! Validated parking with ANY purchase!
9. New! Apple staff can ring up (credit card) purchases via handy/scary device around neck.
10. New! Apple staff can print out receipt on spot or email it to your .mac account.

Which leaves only one question: what is keeping you PC boneheads from drinking the Kool-Aid and getting down with the program?

Silly PC users…

xxx
c

Image by Chet Yeary II via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.