Category Archives: Uncategorized

No Computer Increases the Peace?

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This radio is simliar to the boom box I have.

With 13 minutes remaining on a computer housed in the children’s section of my local library on 6th and Girard, I thought I’d dash off a blog post. Going offline was not my choice, but going on week 4 of not having a computer, I don’t miss it that much. I admit my social world has shrunk to include people who have comfort with using the telephone. But my 20 minute check ins on public computers has been sufficient for everything, including IM.

It’s hard to convey deep thoughts when the clock tool bar says 10 minutes remaining and has a green counter pulsing the seconds. I don’t like to write under time pressure.

Not having a computer has freed my time for mingling with people. Now that the baseball season is over, I am occupying my time with thrift shopping, searching out new foods at my local supermarket Cousin’s, and finding excuses to call my friends. I have NPR on in my apartment so much I actually have heard radio shows twice in a day. I get agitated by the endless stream of commentary about the Afghan war, no job’s created recovery, and the latest senseless act of violence. But I am soothed by the endless stream of talk.

Instead of reading from a computer screen, I listen. First, to my pounding heart and shallow breath. Then, to the stream of journalists and artists who spill their thoughts onto my living room carpet.

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I’ve Fallen in Love With Another

For several months, I kept my feelings of restlessnes secret. No one saw me on my 3 am rides on the Night Owl Bus back to Ardmore, a lovely spot in the western suburbs of Philly. It’s a lovely bauble on the long strand that is in the Main Line.

I reminded myself that for a long while I was truly happy. And then I was dissatisfied, but I was thought I was too old to make a change. I was resigned to staying in the same place until maybe I’d get rescued somehow.

But a friend made a simple statement, “If you are happier here, why not move here?” And the light bulb went off. And I made a decision, gave my landlord my 60 day notice, and established my escape plan.

And as of 3 pm today, I am now completely immersed in feelings of happiness and love. I am now immersed in where I am surrounded by love. Sitting at the computer in my not yet furnished Kensington apartment, I know I have made the right decision. I needed to follow my heart.

And I will shout it to the roof tops…I love Philadelphia with every fiber of my being. And I’m so glad to be living here.

Have a Complaint? Then Blame Drew’s Cancer

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Drew Olanoff at Blame Drew's Cancer Fundraser at Lucky Strikes

Didn’t think it was possible, but this weekend I hit the wall. I actually became worn out from going out dancing every weekend this summer. And I will Blame Drew’s Cancer for that.

This past Saturday, I went out to bachelorette party heaven, Buckhead Saloon, for what promised to be a great night- cheezy music (seriously, they did back-to-back covers of Jay-Z & John Denver on amped acoustic guitars), dancing, and of course watching women in skimpy clothes ride a mechanical bull, and inevitably, fail. And all for a good cause. The night was a benefit for Blame Drew’s Cancer, which is a Philly-founded effort to raise money and awareness to fight cancer. Drew Olanoff, the founder, is surviving Hodgkin’s lymphoma has been tirelessly leading the fight against cancer since his diagnosis in May.

Blame Drew’s Cancer became what it is when Drew started blaming his cancer on the little annoyances in life like losing his keys, traffic, the aroma of Philly in the summer, etc. Drew’s friends got in the act and Blame Drew’s Cancer became a Twitter phenomenon. Soon thousands of people were blaming Drew’s cancer for everything- from the trivial (the weather) to the serious (a loved one struck with cancer). Drew has had celebrity blamers like Jon Bon Jovi (see Bon Jovi’s video clip here) and Lance Armstrong blamed Drew’s cancer for a shoulder injury.

Between chemotherapy treatments, Drew is tirelessly working to make Blame Drew’s Cancer a powerful voice to fight cancer. Drew has become a Philly spokesperson for LIVESTRONG and will be master of ceremony for the LIVESTRONG Philly Challenge on August 29th.

Drew and the Blame Drew’s Cancer crew are inspiring- a cluster of best friends in their twenties- who are working to save lives. Their idealism is certainly energizing. For those of you who want to get involved, I say attend the Blame-a-thon occurring on 9/09/09 at Indy Hall and North Star Bar. The event is 24-hours long! From 12 am to 12 pm, the event kicks of at Indy Hall with music, food, and live internet streaming of the event. Then at 12 pm, the party moves to the North Star for music and lasts until 2 am. More details will be forthcoming. Facebook Drew Olanoff, follow @drew on Twitter or check the Blame-a-thon blog for breaking news.

Who Am I Anyway

privateCurrently, I am having a minor crisis with my cell phone locked in my office for the weekend, so I am enjoying the air conditioned quiet of Dexel’s (old Hahnemann) library. While I hope and wait for my friend to email me back, I have time to blog.

This week, I had a major epiphany about a large discrepancy between Planet Caroline and about the Caroline “in real life.” In my public (ie. online) persona, I have been extremely private about my working life. The decision was made to not alienate my kind employers and risk the job I very much love. I think that is a wise, sane decision.

However, the work I do has some significance to the world (providing AIDS services and HIV prevention). And I care about it a lot. But I had gone too far in my privacy boundary and not only have I refrained about talking about the workplace, but I’ve kept quiet largely on the social issues that drive my job- poverty, homelessness, inequality and injustice toward LGBTI people. So my public persona has been devoid of any political or social change relevance at all.

And my public person is more empty and superfluous than the real me. The wake up call happened when I read my Twitter feed and realized that it didn’t reflect the real me at all. In fact, I found it too silly and a little embarassing. (Yes, you are welcome to scan my twitter feed, but I don’t feel like linking you to it.) So today I made a change and I tweeted a bit about issues that matter to me and got positive feedback from some people asking for more of that.

So here I am posing the question to the people who are reading this post.  How do you be genuine in the public online world while maintaining your privacy? Is it possible to be the “real you” when communicating with many strangers, including anonymous lurkers? Do you have any tricks or ground rules.

In a way, all of us have become celebrities with clusters of fans or followers that we don’t always know. Or we know them, but want to maintain proper boundaries like from an ex, boss, coworker, or mom. I really want to hear your thoughts on this…Thanks.

Marriage is Stupid

chickskissingMarriage. I’m not a fan. But that’s akin to my dislike of the taste of steak and lobster- I must respect the fact that many people love it. And pay good money to do it again and again.

For several months, I have received action alerts about the battle for the rights of gays and lesbians to marry. Since I support LGBT equality, I dutifully signed the petitions and sent $25 donations. I was upset when Proposition 8 was upheld and posted furious messages. But deep down I don’t understand why anybody would marry. It seems like a medieval tradition to me. Now, that I’ve attended several weddings, the ritual seems so boring and contrived. The last wedding I attended, I was able to anticipate every moment of the choreographed event. Now it’s time to present the bride and groom at the reception. Oops, time to put down the poached chicken to smile for the obligatory photograph of my table. And of course, the dancing can be fun, but the music is almost universally atrocious. And then we send them off on their honeymoon, never to really talk to them anymore because singles and marrieds don’t have all that in common anymore.

Bridal showers are the worst, could be potentially liberating, but are designed to keep women oppressed. I mean, c’mon, we are supposed to show enthusiasm for 1 1/2 hours while a woman you used to know as wild and unpredictable enthuses over bath towels. From her registry. Usually I want to commit hari kari with the bride-to-be’s shining cutlery. And then we dive into white cake. Really, women have more depth and intelligence than is mirrored by a shower. I know there are rad chicks out there who take their friends out for drinks instead of a shower. But if someone is so nontraditional, why are they having a wedding in the first place?

I blame the media for my hatred of marriage. Because romantic movies and books ended with marriage, I got the distinct impression that marriage means life is over. On soap operas many exciting couples would get married and disappear into the canvas. Look at Sex in the City- they all got married (except for my idol Sam) and they all ceased to exist. TV shows that had married couples revolved around the kitchen and living room. These people talked, fought, and never went places. Marriage seemed lethal for spontaneity.

And besides, marriage causes divorce. I’ve escorted enough people through the splitting up process to say divorce is not worth the risk of getting married. Breaking up is bad enough, but divorce multiplies the suckage exponentially.  

I could apologize for my standpoint and talk about all the wonderful friends and family who are married and still great people. That may be true, but I don’t feel like saying it. I hope this blog post gets lots of people angry. And you should punish me by NOT inviting me to your wedding. Thank you.

National Friendship Day

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If it wasn’t for Twitter and it’s endless stream of chatter, I would not know today is Friendship Day. Googling yielded me friendshipday.org who tells me this special day was invented by Congress proclamation in 1935. During the Great Depression, people certainly needed friends (and now during our recession). I have honored today by canceling plans with two friends so that I can “work from home.” Working from home can be translated into “doing nothing.”  

I particularly like the picture above illustrating friendship. It seems two women are happily carrying a basket of laundered clothing that are lovingly proffered to me. Adding flowers to make my delicates smell fresh is a nice touch. I translated the accompanying message to mean that I can still have friends and never see them because I am doing other more important things. Like seeking a life partner who will then become my “best friend.”  

This does not need to be said, but I am a good friend. And highly deserving of  honoring today. Send over the offerings of food and presents now.

My Attempt at Saying Goodbye

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Patrick swayze is alive , THANK GOD , just a rumor ,

That was Rian Thal’s last tweet, her last words broadcasted on Twitter. The next day, on June 27th, she and a companion were murdered at the Piazza at Schmidts in Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. Her death haunts me because the intimate details of her life were broadcasted all over the news. And the surveillance video of her moments before her death is etched in my memory.

Over the weekend, I perused Rian Thal’s Twitter to see again her last tweet. Her account @rthal is still active with the Twittascope telling her daily fortune with cheer and optimism. Aha, I thought, this proves that horoscopes are nonsense. Unless angels have new romantic options or employment opportunities to plot.

And then I had a morbid thought. What if my trip to the Tribeca Grand Hotel in NYC to see Lemonade, Free Energy, and Dave P would end in tragedy. What if the big city swallowed me whole? What would be my last words? So I left a simple tweet, one brief message among the 1,000+ of sheer nonsense that my grieving family would have to remember me by.

It’s hard to feel lonely because the love of my family is ever present. And I have some great friends too. Good night Twitter.

The tweet was mainly a lie, as I suppose last words often can be. While the love of my family is palpable, my loneliness is the thing that’s truly omnipresent. But I didn’t want to be a downer. I didn’t want to open a can of worms when I wasn’t there to explain things to my family. The great friends line was really an inside joke– it was more of a wish than a reality. Right at the moment, I am in transition which has meant that many of my friends have fallen away and my new friendships are still tender and fragile. And why am I saying goodnight to Twitter? I wasted precious character space on saying farewell to social media.

But looking back on my “last” tweet, I have to laugh. Really, I was being melodramatic. A group of my ex best friends were together celebrating a wedding that I was not invited. I had been expelled from their group several months ago. So, I was feeling a little sad. And lonely.

However, I am thinking about making real last words, which involve becoming vulnerable and doing more truth telling to people. Simply telling people how challenging the last year has been would be a good place to start.