Category Archives: Facebook

chain letter …

I received an internet “chain letter” tonight via Facebook. At first glance I cringed … then I sighed heavily and cringed again. But, since I was sitting on the pot’, I read through it.

It is important to note that this was sent to me by someone who I suspect never sends superfluous things like this to others. I questioned for a moment whether or not her account was hacked, or maybe she was feeling glum or blue, and I was intrigued. So … I read it.

While reading the message, I was flooded with memories of my youth. Memories of opening the squeaky lid to our mailbox on Antonio Lane and reaching in to find an envelope addressed to me. It reminded me of that important and giddy feeling I had on the inside while carefully carrying it to the roll-top desk in my bedroom. Not seeing a return address, I would inspect the cancellation stamp.

“Ooo! From Arizona? Who is this from?”

It could be from Colorado, or somewhere else in California, or somewhere nearby like Cupertino or Campbell. It didn’t matter; it was a mystery that needed to be solved. I slowly would break the envelope’s seal and remove and unfold the letter.

And there it was — a message.

Letters like this always included directions about how many letters the receiver needed to send and by when. Some even contained a list of addresses to send it to. The frantic feeling of having to do what was required within the deadline would build. I would have to do this! Otherwise, the unspeakable could happen — bad luck, sadness, or something else to avoid. If I were to send them in time following the exact directions outlined, something magical could happen. Something like good luck, granted wishes, or some other mystical occurrence.

It was exciting. It was mysterious. It was entertaining. The wonder of it all. IT WAS FUN!

I could see my towheaded-self open the second drawer down on the right side of my roll-top desk to retrieve fresh and clean ruled paper, carefully counting out the number of sheets I needed to complete the task at hand. God forbid I didn’t have enough! I’d search my school binder (a Star Wars Trapper-Keeper) and other drawers in the house until my supply needs were met. I would grab a pencil, sharpen it into a point, and start the task of carefully copying the directions.

If I used a pen, I would be quickly reminded that pencil was a better option, especially considering how I deemed mistakes as a definite reversal of fortune if left uncorrected; or worse, scratched out. If my Eraser-Mate had a good eraser on it, I might use it. But, pencil was safer … it was good decision making.

If all went well, I would be able to complete the letters, fold them neatly in thirds, insert them into envelopes, carefully address them, and seal them – an act that seemed like I was sealing my fate inside each and every envelope. The sealing gum tasted like the misery and doom that would overcome me if I didn’t get them in the mailbox by the deadline.

Then, the hardest task of all had to happen … asking Mom for stamps.

“What on earth do you need twenty-two stamps for?”

She would ask this while at the kitchen counter cutting carrots, or while sitting at her sewing machine, or while unloading groceries.

“For a chain letter.”

“For what?! A chain letter? Do you know how much stamps cost?”

She would be clearly irritated and then follow up with:

“I don’t even know if I have that many stamps. Go get my purse.”

It was a good sign if the stamps were in there; or if some were found in her purse, and some in the catch-all cupboard, or some in the wall basket by the kitchen phone that held mail, address books, and coupons.

Once the stamps were adhered, and the squeaky mailbox lid was closed over the letters that were dropped in, there was a sense of relief. Then a sense of dread. Over the next few days, knowing the letters were out among the thousands of other letters floating through the US Postal Service, there was this sense of expectation.

“I sent them three days ago. That means there are seven more days until I can ask for three wishes. So then, that means that in twenty days, I will get those wishes granted. Wait! No…. Twenty minus three is …”

I count on fingers. Math never was my strong suit.

“… seventeen, so in seventeen days I will get those wishes granted. Awesome!”

Then it gets blurry. Time goes by. The letters would be forgotten along with the anticipation and the hope for whatever the chain letter promised. It would be replaced by other childhood antics, or rehearsals, or playing with friends, or reading, or anything and everything else.

Only to be remembered when, surprisingly, some random day as the squeaky lid to our mailbox on Antonio Lane would be opened to reveal an envelope addressed to me, and that important and giddy feeling would fill my insides while I carried it carefully to the roll-top desk in my bedroom.

So … I thought about it for a minute. And then I did it. I held down my finger on the text bubble in the Facebook message, selected copy, started a new message, held my finger down again, and pasted the message in it. I chose fourteen people as directed (with a sound methodology in an attempt to ensure those who receive it wouldn’t be targets by others in my list), and I clicked send.

As far as the wishes and promises it made, I highly doubt those will ever come to fruition. But I must acknowledge this: if I hadn’t received that cringe and heavy-sigh inducing chain letter, I wouldn’t have had those lovely memories, and I wouldn’t have been inspired to put them into  words that others may read – something I love and enjoy, and something I have deprived myself of.

To those who received my chain letter: my hope is that it inspires you to do something you love. Just for you.

Advertisements

things i love …

My friend, RoiAnn, and I met when I was twelve years old when we were in a production of Tom Sawyer at the Santa Clara Junior Theatre. We did several shows together during our youth, but we grew up, moved along our lives, and grew apart.

Through the wonder that is Facebook, she and I reconnected. Since then, I learned that she has come out of the closet, lives in Chicago with her partner, her stepdaughter, and her adopted daughter. She writes a blog called “Are You the Babysitter”. In her words, she is a “queer mama co-parenting by love, step, adoption and the skin of my teeth.”

She asked a few other bloggers to post “Things I Love” and link to her blog and vice-versa. This request has had me thinking about the word love. Those who know me well know that thinking about things gets me in trouble. I over-think things, deconstruct and dissect them, analyze them, and then re-build them into something that doesn’t even resemble what I started thinking about. And then, I get flustered and start thinking some more.

So … before I get to my list of “Things I Love,” here are some things that crossed my mind when thinking about the words “things” and “love.”

I believe that “words mean things” and they are powerful, whether used correctly or incorrectly. What one says or writes is powerful and the correct words can change perceptions, thoughts, and points of view. They can incite positive thought and action or destructive fanaticism and behavior. words have the power to lift one up or take one down. Words mean things.

Things:  Should I focus my list of topics on inanimate objects, items you can touch or hold, or should I also include people, places, thoughts, and concept?

Love: Should I focus on the deep meaning of this word or the over-used, conditioned response as in, “I love cherry pie?”

*     *      *      *      *

Waitaminit. Here I go again. I am over thinking it. So, really, who the hell cares? I’ll just get to it … here’s my list:

  • I love cherry pie and I love everything cherry flavored
  • Pumpkin pie … oh yeah! Pumpkin pie!
  • My dog, Victor; he is my little angel and is the best dog in the world
  • The ocean and the beach
  • Cereal, any kind of cereal — it’s my favorite food group
  • Sleeping with the windows open on cool summer nights
  • My bookshelves, except for when they need to be dusted
  • The smell of Pledge and the smell of Pine-Sol
  • The change of each season, especially when summer turns to autumn
  • The hush that comes over New York City during the first big snow storm
  • My own chicken stir-fry because I like the way I cook it
  • Noticing architectural details of buildings like the cornices and the inlaid detailing many stories high
  • The sound of rain on roofs or windows and thunder stores
  • Sitting in Riverside Park and watching the Hudson River run by
  • The varying colors of sunsets
  • The smell of campfires, bonfires, fireplace fires
  • Watching the fog roll in over Twin Peaks in San Francisco
  • Having a sense of humor and finding the funny in everything
  • Laughing so hard that I cry
  • Figs picked from the tree
  • Beefsteak tomatoes sliced and sprinkled with sugar
  • Gummy Bears eaten in this color order: yellow, white, green, orange, red
  • Lemonade, lemon drops, lemon pound cake, lemon candies, lemon slices, lemon, lemon, lemon
  • Cooking for friends or for just one special someone
  • The smell of gardenias
  • Pomegranates … the actual fruit, not the juice (although the juice is good, too)
  • Mexican Food … anytime … anywhere (except London – yuck!)
  • Watching TV … but not reality shows, unless they are talent- / contest-based programs
  • Being sober and learning to live life on life’s terms
  • My family and friends, who have supported me unconditionally and with love and laughter
  • Marzipan and Baklava and lots of almond extract in raw cookie dough
  • The musty smell of old books and the way the pages feel in your hand
  • Window seats on airplanes
  • Telling stories and spinning yarns
  • Facebook for bringing me back into contact with old friends and for bringing new friends into my life

And … while you are at it, take a look at RoiAnn’s list and read and sign up for her blog.

Feel free to include your “loves” in comments below …

*     *      *      *      *

facebook and friendship …

The recent IPO of Facebook has me thinking about friendships. Facebook has revolutionized how people stay connected, get connected, communicate with others.

I absolutely, one hundred percent, LOVE Facebook. It’s awesome. I spend a lot of time on it and I enjoy it. When Timeline came out, I did not hesitate. I was an early adopter, watched the provided tutorials, learned the new security and privacy features, and learned how to best navigate the new set up.

I love Facebook’s “connection factor.” I have reconnected with lost friends, those missing in action, their whereabouts unknown. I am able to stay in immediate contact with close friends, those who I speak to on the phone, email often, text frequently, and even see in person.

WHAT?! See people in person?! That is strange.

*     *     *     *     *

Facebook gave me several friendship surprises and brought new and interesting people into my life.

For example, there’s a group called The Upstart Crow (a coffee shop / cafe / bookstore in Campbell where the “alternative” kids hung out during my high school heyday in the 1980s). I loved “The Crow.” You could buy one cup of tea or coffee and sit with friends for five … six … eight … or ten hours … and talk, play cards, gossip, fall in love, find out where the night’s party was. The best part was that I could be a freaky, hyper, nerdy, new wave, gay kid without question. They also had awesome apricot pie.

Anyhow, I joined this group and began reconnecting with kids — now adults with their own kids — from my past. Names that existed only in my journals, until Facebook came around.

Fast forward to a few years ago: Darcy, who I met back in those days and reconnected with via this group, Facebook-messaged me that someone she worked with was moving to New York. She asked if I could friend him so he could ask me questions about living here.

Of course, I said yes.

Brian and I connected on Facebook on a Wednesday. The email conversation went like this:

SCOTT: Hi Brian! Darcy told me that you are planning to move to NYC. How exciting! She mentioned that you have some questions. I would be pleased to answer them for you.

BRIAN: Hi Scott! That’s awesome! I can’t wait to move there!

SCOTT: When do you plan on moving here?
(This was asked since I assumed he wanted to know about neighborhoods to move to, rent prices, transportation, weather patterns for the time he was planning to move, etc.)

BRIAN: FRIDAY!!!!!

Two days later, we met, bar hopped, and became fast friends. He comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, house sits my dog Victor while I travel, and has integrated into my existing group of friends perfectly. His friend Jeff, who lives here, is now a good friend. Chances of meeting either of them without Facebook are slim to none.

*     *     *     *     *

Another surprise is that I have met “friends of friends” who I now consider my friends … people that I look forward to reading up on, who laugh at my status updates and enjoy my comments, and who I appreciate. I tried to retrace the degrees of separation to determine how I came to know them. Most times, I can’t tell or remember. I review friends we have in common and still can’t tell. We now have too many friends in common!

There’s Anne, Dan, Kal, Randy, Jeff, Robert, Steve, Cal, Eric, Greg, Levi — just to name a few. People I have “met” virtually, but never seen in person. They are funny, talented, smart, witty, deep, pensive, kind, supportive, and plain ol’ good people. They are also all a definite source of entertainment. I wonder about their days or their week. I like seeing their life through their photos (like Anne’s awesome red kitchen!). I am genuinely glad I have met them. I have met a few of them in person, gone to dinners and movies, and such. Maybe someday I’ll meet all of them in person.

*     *     *     *     *

Once, I saw an old high school friend posting on another friend’s page. He was now living in Canada. How great! What took him from California to Toronto? How long has he been there? Is he happy?

I was excited to reconnect and I sent a Facebook message with a lengthy update of the last twenty-something years of my life. I asked him to do the same. He responded, “I think you have me confused with someone else,” or something similar. (He’ll most likely correct me on the exact exchange.)

This guy was someone I didn’t know, but he did have the exact same name as someone I went to high school with. This guy was someone I didn’t know, but we started chatting on Facebook. This guy was someone I didn’t know, but we have become friends. We even were able to meet in person during one of trips to NYC. We comment on each other’s updates and posts and make each other laugh. He is an integral part of the award show commentary that goes on and we have a weekly battle for “R E V E N G E ! ! ! ! !” every Wednesday. We both like Turner Classic Movies and update each other on films that are programmed. And … most kindly … he has become my biggest blog fan. At least that’s what I call him.

This past Sunday he posted to my wall “Sunday is almost over. Just saying’ …” This was a nudge to get me to do what I set out to do: post something brilliant and life changing each Sunday. He likes to start his Monday at the office with my blog. Isn’t that nice? I love it.

I love his interest in what I have to say. I love that Facebook has brought us together as friends. I love that we live in an age where friendship can happen on this magical messaging machine known as the Internet. It’s totally awesome. It reminds me of having a pen pal.

So … Mark Zuckerburg … If you are reading this, you’re probably reading it from your magical mobile messaging machine, but I trust that you are not reading this. However, I want to thank you for making Facebook a place to connect. You deserve the money. If you want to throw a few shares my way ….

So … Mike Elliot … whether you are reading this at home or at the office, I trust that you are reading.

And … “You’re so vain. I bet you think this post is about you. Don’t you? Don’t you? Don’t you?”

*     *     *     *     *

don’t touch my poodle …

I know FM really stands for frequency modulation not frequency moderation, but I have been thinking a lot about how to moderate the frequency of my posts. Since blogging is new to me, and since I don’t want to force content, I am a bit flummoxed by how to establish a process. Besides, I like the play on words.

Should I post something every day? Do I really have something that important and mind blowing to share every day? Most likely not. I might find that I am simply stretching a Facebook status update into a blog post. For example, this post could have been this status update: “I am thinking about how often to post updates to my blog …”. Done and over with. Period and end of sentence. Except, I typically end my status updates with an ellipsis, so it would be “ellipsis and end of sentence” in this case.

Should I set a specific day to post updates? That would mean there would be a commitment. Yikes! Commitment! Run! Completing updates in that manner could set me up for failure based on the pressure to perform on command. I would have to get something up on a particular day, otherwise I would not be meeting obligations. It would be like being in a relationship and dealing with sex. When the pressure is on, or when it becomes an obligation, I want nothing of it. I guess I could do what I would typically do in relationship … cheat. You know, find a blog other than mine and post there. Or I could pretend that that blog and I just met at The Eagle, and that its swarthy good looks and pecs were h-o-t hot and would look great in my Room and Board metal bed. Then, I’d be all good for a quick posting.

Should I post only when it tickles my fancy? What is ones fancy and how does it get tickled? I must have skipped school the day they reviewed that in biology. The “mysterious fancy” could be a post in and of itself, which I once saw written as “inaovenself” by some fucktard on Facebook. Now that tickles my fancy. I think.

Should I post pictures? Should I have included a picture of Fritzy, my childhood dog, in Costs Money? Would it enhance that post? Should I post pictures of Victor, my current dog? Should I post pictures of my poodle that can’t be touched? Oh wait, I am not creating that kind of blog. And, ewww, gross … I just called “it” my poodle. It’s not a poodle, it’s my … my … never mind.

Should I post old crap? I have written many other stories (or essays, thoughts, musings, or whatever you want to call them); however, posting those seems like cheating and feels like the easy way out. At the same time, they are interesting and help explain what makes me, well, me. And that is what I really hope to accomplish: explaining what makes me, me. If only for myself.

Should I be profound? I could use this blog as a forum to share deep, meaningful, and thought provoking content. For example, my sobriety and the intricacies of navigating life through that filter, my struggles with growing up gay in a straight man’s world, my views on childhood obesity, war, peace, or how I feel sorry for toddlers in tiaras. Should I expose myself in ways I haven’t already done, or talk about the ways I already have?

Maybe I’ll start by posting some old stuff with its original posting date for transparency purposes. Those who have already read them will be reminded of my brilliance (or stupidity) and those who haven’t will marvel at the same.

That’s what I will do. Sunday night postings at a minimum, a mix of previous work with new work, and other postings as the need (or inspiration) strikes ….

Ellipsis and end of sentence.