Another Day in the Neighborhood 

Walking to work from MUNI in the Civic Center can be a fascinating experience as long as you remain alert. Mind you weaving through traffic and around waste – less said the better – hones one’s observation skills. 

But those skills create the false illusion you are seeing everything.

Case in point the Mid-Market (read Loin) attempted metamorphosis into a “middle class neighborhood”  – only in San Francisco – through high rise apartments averaging $3,000 plus a month. 

Will it succeed? Initially yes but long term remains questionable. Why? It’s unclear the newest neighbors understand San Francisco’s cyclical economy and population density require certain attitude adjustments. Conversely those most resentful of the financial upheaval must accept these folks are not going away.

As the weather people are fond of saying the earliest indicators are not good. A beautiful new supermarket opened next door to Twitter – replete with enticing pictures promising foods from all over- but it doesn’t list it’s hours and remains closed before 8:00 a.m. 

I guess if you have to ask the hours you don’t belong there. Surrounding this newest slice of retail heaven are emotionally disturbed street residents navigating a savaged mental health system. Contrary to developers’ dream designs these folks’ psychotic breaks will not take place off stage. See John King’s great article on Developers Narrow Vision

Okay how do we fix this problem? 

Developers and tenants must understand short of tanks rolling you will not move everyone to Oakland (Nice Try Libby but No Thanks). [Given each also lives paycheck to paycheck thanks to their high rents a certain humility would also be welcome.] This means directing additional money to mental health programs. 

Homeless Advocates and City Hall must set up shelters accepting pets, offering showers, and providing treatment while demanding accountability. [Forced treatment of mentally ill remains a seemingly intractable issue but if we don’t allow people to bleed to death on the street how can we ignore self-harm or assaults on others.] Those screaming about criminalizing the homeless must understand prisons don’t only exist behind bars.

 In the meantime the neighborhood continues strong. 

I toddled off to Walgreens which has been serving and welcoming all San Franciscans for decades. Retirees practiced their tai chi and lapped me as they circuited the Civic Center Plaza. Two homeless men eagerly played cards. 

Throughout Falung Gong members continued their vigil. 

 Yep it’s Another Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Fred Rogers the beloved conscience of the pre-Sesame Street generation.)

Cutting the Heart Out of Content

Time spent away from blogging and photography has moved me back to consuming content. But like other viewers this has inflated my personal self-worth as an entertainment connoisseur (read untalented critic). Hence today’s quick rant.

Throughout my life – whether by choice or happenstance – I followed a different drummer. In my teens and 20s I adopted politics from half-century earlier, voraciously collected even older blues music, and sacrificed my personal life to work or school. In short a rebel without a clue how to communicate with her peers.

When I pulled away from this identity – outside of the Blues; God’s true gift – I honed my observation skills so I could create a new one. Much like reading a book or watching a play I not only saw but predicted. It wasn’t a smooth transition but in time I fell back into society.

At the time I felt clever but I only returned to my earliest conditioning. Like most of my family I read before kindergarten and kept books as a constant companion. They became my talismans and friends. Slotting people into books or shows helped me figure out what would Sherlock or Hawkeye  do in this situation. [Sorry Jesus has never ridden on my Dashboard.]

Imagine my outrage with modern media’s whiplash approach to current productions. Characters randomly die as a ratings splash or seeming de riguer obligation ( yes Good Wife this means you). Every character advancement or interaction gets sacrificed week to week or even within an episode (see Glee ). Other times they self-immolate with no apparent other than who re-signed for the new season (see The Killing; actually the excuse behind its suicide eludes me).

No, it’s not post modernism or uber originality. It’s contempt for your audience. Nor is it confined to entertainment (see most politicians but this another rant). Never has greater opportunity existed to reach audiences but it seems as if most content producers forget numerous outlets does not guarantee a “sticky” audience.

I found myself watching a Christian Brodcast Movie  Woodcarver starring Cliff from Cheers. No, I don’t drink so I have no damn good reason. Other than the characters — despite religious platitudes — spoke and looked like real people. Plus they were carving wood and I have been known to watch this Old House Marathons. Regardless I bet CBN at least made its money back if not more.

This is my plea to liberal, secular, feminist and queer content producers. Give me likeable characters who have the capacity to love and hate (and not just when you are building audience via subtext teases Rizzoli and Isles — see great rant at Autostraddle Takes on Queerbaiting. Remember to respect my intelligence by not 360ing the characters because someone in production is bored (see above). Understand a really great love story crosses the gender and orientation war boundaries (see Fried Green Tomatoes and Brokeback Mountain  — though wiser minds than me have written near treatises on why queers in love always seem to die — see Lady Geek Girl on queer love tragedies

Remember content is king only if connects to an audience.

Passion in Posies

Passion in Posies

Shot from SF Botanical Garden

Seeking a burst of color to kickstart this blog back in action.

Why?

Knowing me means knowing I’ll wander any side path. It entertains (hell nourishes) me but plays havoc with those depending on (or just following) me. Unlike a longtime ex, few figure out “she (I) always finds her way back.” Even then – like the ex – they get tired of waiting.

Looking back on now 50 years (mind-blowing still) I see art me sustained through my various walk-arounds. Different passions marked different periods: politics, work, love, or all of the above [meaning none got done very well]. But in every venue I sought art (either created or viewed) as a retreat. Now my photography fills my spirit.

So, expect various posts filled with silent portfolios. But if I took the time to capture and post the picture, it meant something to me. Hopefully u will feel a similar connection.

I took the following pictures on my 50th birthday as I wandered through the Conservatory of Flowers in SF Golden Gate Park. It turned out to be the happiest in years because I felt at peace and in charge. Hearing from distant friends and relatives only fed the quiet euphoria. Not how I planned my 50th in my youth but oh so much sweeter in the aftermath.

DSC00873 DSC00871 DSC00870 DSC00869 DSC00866 DSC00864 DSC00853 DSC00854

Backwards and Upside Down

An RKO publicity still of Astaire and Rogers d...

Although many tout Ginger Rogers  for doing everything Fred Astaire did “backwards and in heels,” it’s generally not the world’s greatest strategy. After all it requires strapping on ankle breaking footwear and attacking a situation with your eyes closed. However, those of us with ADHD live a similar strategy, which I describe as an homage to “Wrong Way [Douglas] Corrigan” (a 1930’s era pilot who attained celebrity status by mistakenly flying to Ireland instead of New York). Unfortunately, unlike the publicity-savvy Corrigan, most ADHDer’s fill our lives with  missed appointments, unpaid bills, and broken promises rather than celebrity endorsements.

New York Post headline.
New York Post headline. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
South Park title image with the four main char...
South Park title image with the four main characters (Eric Cartman, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, and Kenny McCormick) in the foreground and most of the recurring, supporting characters in the background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even though ADHD entered my life as an unsolicited burden, I now view it as a unexpected gift both for those of us with it and society as a whole. Despite popular cultural attacks – yes I’m talking to you South Park” – ADHDer’s are not lazy, stupid, or defiant. Our sluggish cortex may impede our efforts to focus on things lacking an immediate payoff, impede our listening skills, or weaken our impulse control. But conversely it frees us to hyperfocus when it matters, see things others miss in their rush to conformity, and take chances on outsiders (be they people or ideas). None of the above is ever a popular position to take, notably in a time of seemingly shrinking resources and unstable political outcomes. Yet without the “fully aware”(aka non-ADHDer’s) who possess great courage and us ADHDer’s who stumble blindly along, society would often miss potential solutions.

Mind you these potential solutions don’t succeed every time. Nor can they erase the societal and personal damage an undiagnosed or undisciplined ADHDer causes. However, to paraphrase both Hegel and Act-Up, “no motion (silence) equals death.”  Less poetically an unwillingness to seek out the new coupled with  a refusal to diversify dooms both societies and organizations. Maybe its our eternal status as outsiders or simply our head-blindness but most ADHDer’s lack those fears.

This theory jumped at me (again) when I examined my last set of photos. I could have — and maybe should have — tossed them due to the bright midday sun. Further many lacked focus because once again a migraine muddled my brain. However, looking closer I saw the shots behind the shots (play of shadows, reflections in windows, or just unusual look of items). Part of handling ADHD involves a lot of self-forgiveness. Hopefully this will explain the indulgence I displayed by posting this latest slide show.

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Coming, A Post Near You

English: Obsolete Speed Camera! This speed cam...
English: Obsolete Speed Camera! This speed camera, on Middlewood Road North, near Stockarth Lane, is ‘having a break’ whilst the A6102 is closed for repairs, following a landslip during the floods of June 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sorry to have been out of touch. Sometimes real life has a way of painfully intruding. Making it worse my particular interruptions bordered on the boringly banal rather than the particularly profound.

Even within this banality I gathered important life lessons. Real loved ones (be they family or friends) step forward to help (if only with constructive criticism) . Those merely skirting the edges of your life run for the hills (making the whole process almost worthwhile). You best show strength with restraint (besides driving your enemies crazy). Being able to face a mirror with both your sense of humor and inner conscience intact is priceless.

Priceless (manhwa)
Priceless (manhwa) (Photo credit: Wikipedia
Scattered Dreams
Scattered Dreams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still I designed this blog to bring me joy and hopefully amuse my occasional readers. Thus no matter how exhilarating I may find certain battles, none will enter here. Instead I plan to plaster my pictures, blather about my web-based journeys, and ruminate on my obsession de jure. All best to satisfy my ADHD riddled mind.

My impulsive need for disclosure requires me to conclude with the following. Staying true to all parts of my personality – including the creative side – only strengthens me. I urge you all to nurture all your favorite parts as well. Feeding our strengths and happiness allows us to more easily stand by each other. Having achieved almost a half-century (gulp), I  now realize the only thing we take and leave behind is love

Bonus Bonds logo
Bonus Bonds logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Behind the Blogroll

Alas, no juicy scandals or long-term breakups to reveal ala MTV. However, in assembling my magical fourteen – randomly hit number so sticking with it – I found a common theme. Most of the creators and/or contributors impose some type of order on the world as designers, pundits, or photographers. [Like the proverbial cheese, the shopping sites seemingly stand alone. But maybe not as explained below.]

As a person lacking patience and organizational skills, I have a love/hate relationship with my exact opposites. Spotless desktops, perfectly arranged collections, and tailored outfits gobsmack me with envy. Yet the same organizational principles applied to a photograph or argument fill me with pleasure. Currently trying to reconcile the two extremes by finding their commonalities.

This overwhelming desire for control probably has several sources. Family members and childhood friends will harken back to my long-held desire for world domination. (I was a seriously scary kid. Fortunately everyone else got bigger and faster or you would all be working for me. :)) More astute observers might rightfully suspect calming the world around me helps quiets my inner chaos. (However a world without some inner chaos seems highly overrated.) Or perhaps I vainly search for patterns like the blind person feeling up the elephant. (Go ahead and insert weight joke here. )

My photography passion probably exemplifies all these contradictions. Lacking skills I flounder around with unfocused shots (think missed opportunities) but tend to learn something each time. I seek to capture and hold something I find particularly dear or beautiful (however much I know such things cannot be held forever). Only now do I realize need to apply basic composition skills (both to impose order and to provide the best view). Perhaps by the time I hone my photography skills I will move onto another blog or none at all.

This post, likes its author, lacks answers. One of the most useful things I ever learned was most people are internal processors and then there are the rest of us (aka the external processors). We have to talk everything out aloud. Yes, I know the Mars/Venus arguments but don’t see them as overly applicable to a lesbian. Frankly even Sally Field at her most grating would likely strangle me for talking too much.

Let me conclude by extending some love to the current blog roll. Be sure to check out Robin Wong’s street photography site with its gorgeous take on Indonesia and life in general. He helped inspire to pick up my camera and even set up this blog. Steve Johnson’s Minimalist Photography Blog showcases some amazing photos of very ordinary things. Even more his photography tips reminded me it’s well within everyone’s abilities to capture pictures without high powered equipment (again like Robin).

Oh yes the shopping. My favorite sites reflect my loves of technology, design, and art. However, as Etsy shows I’m a sucker for vintage, handmade objects. I love when someone takes an ordinary object and beautifies it. Or someone “rescues” a clever object from years ago out of the landfill. None of these necessarily impose an order on the world. Rather they show a human being’s desire to rebel against the sameness of many lives by making the ordinary gorgeous.

Later

C