Friday, March 21, 2014

The New Normal

Pinko, aka ABear, and I are in the process of establishing ourselves as domestic partners.  Once we meet certain criteria, we can declare ourselves as such to my employer, Dog bless them, and he can be on my health insurance for $14 a month.  $19 with dental.

We might have gone out yesterday to perform one of the institutional tasks required to satisfy that criteria, but we decided to have a pajama day instead which meant foraging for breakfast and lunch among the last of the provisions lingering in the refrigerator, and having dinner after  Drunken! Careening! Writers!  I always love DCW, but last night was especially nice because Eddie Safarty read from a novel in progress.  His dear friend Bob Smith was in attendance.  I especially love Bob Smith because his newest book proves that there is someone on this earth who cheerfully despises Dick Cheney even more than I do - which is saying something (Remembrance of Things I forgot: A Novel)

Normally, I would have gone to the grocery store after work and brought home enough food for days, but I'm on spring break so there is no work.  More importantly, however, now that Pinko and I are institutionalizing our relationship, we're in the process of developing a New Normal.  Neither one of us will ever see the Old Normal again, which is all good.  The trick is to create a New Normal that integrates the things we each enjoyed/required in our individual Old Normals.  Life as a couple is great, but we both still need to meet our individual needs.

For example, I used to meditate or write in the mornings before work since I routinely woke up at 5:30am.  While I am blissfully content to remain in bed with Pinko until the last possible minute, that quiet time in the morning was important to maintaining my personal equilibrium.  Coming to a New Normal means finding new ways to achieve that equilibrium - like putting in some quality time on the treadmill in the gym downstairs in the basement while a couple of loads of laundry are in the wash down the hall.   I've been meaning to get in that habit for over a year, and I successfully managed to implement this plan earlier this week.

Pinko has successfully recognized that as the man of the house, he's in charge of managing the recycling and taking out the trash.  I'm pretty sure the church ladies in the building have noticed a change in the recycling since the new normal includes drinking for two, our occasional guests, as well as Velvet, Gigi and sometimes Cupcake.


Burner Happy Hour has been a big part of Pinko's transition to his own new normal.  Mostly, I also go to this weekly "meet and greet" event, but he's perfectly capable of finding his way to the Lower East Side and back on his own these days.  It's very fortunate that the Burning Man community here in New York is very strong because knowing a small group of people from out on the playa has reduced some of the stress and isolation Pinko might feel as a result of moving clear across the country to a big, strange city.  It's also yielded a perfect temporary job.  A Burner in Brooklyn owns a small perfume company which is staffed by Burners, and when they were moving the office a couple of weeks ago, they placed an ad for temporary help in the Burner Classified.  Pinko found his way to Brooklyn and back all by himself - which is more than a lot of people living in the 212 area code can say after several years in New York City.

He still wants to get a steady gig as a DJ in a bar a couple of nights a week, though, and although he's successfully avoided updating his resume until now, it looks like he's going to have to bite the bullet and conform to this cultural expectation if he wants to secure employment.   For a little while, it looked like he'd be working on Sundays at  a bar where the burners met just before Thanksgiving called NoFun.  ABear (and he's ABear here because that's his DJ name) finds NoFun comfortable and friendly, so he's wound up there a few times when I've gone home early and left him to his own devices downtown.  One of the bartenders came up with an idea to stimulate business on Sundays which have been painfully slow which translates into painfully few tips for a good bartender.  The concept was to pull in regular customers from the neighborhood with classic, old school, MoTown soul music - as opposed to the technopop stuff that attracts yuppies from the suburbs (or Bridge and Tunnel, as we here in 212 describe that crowd) who line up to get into the bar on weekends.

Any time I've been at NoFun, some random, inexperienced DJ has offered up music I've come to call Electro-Assault.  Even when I don't get an instant headache, which ABear says is a result of not mixing in enough base so that the treble enters your brain like an exploding pin cushion, I get the impression that these boy DJs think that the minute they plug in their technology, they magically transport to a warehouse filled with hundreds of attractive ravers gyrating in a giant ecstasy inspired amoeba of dance.  Unfortunately, there are really only four guys in button-downs and khakis by Polo jumping around like douchebags getting drunk for the first time at somebody's Bar Mitzvah.

photo swiped from the internet - not an actual night at said bar

Whatever.  It's just too bad that he said last Sunday could be a Soul Sunday, so ABear and I went down there instead of going to see Lee Camp's new show because ABear committed to playing.  We got there and some little guy was already set up to play.  The bartender was disappointed, and we were disappointed - even more disappointed because it turns out that when the owner authorized Soul Sundays he'd evidently forgotten that he had already told this little fellow could have Sundays for the foreseeable future.  He says the youngster is the child of one of his mother's friends.

As a result of all this disappointment, the resume is back on ABear's "to do" list, and he spent a couple of days searching for an old copy to update.  He could have created a new one, but I suppose that idea was entirely overwhelming.  I totally trust his process, so whatever ABear wants to do is fine with me.  He finally found one on a defunct website for people in the hospitality and entertainment fields, but in my view, it makes much more sense for the NSA to provide some sort of data retrieval service.

It would be very fucking simple for our internet providers - who already collect our personal data for the NSA anyway - to add data retrieval services for a few extra bucks per month.  If you bundle your services with AT&T, Verizon, Comcast or anyone else who has phone, internet and TV, you could get pertinent phone conversations too.  Imagine if Woody Allen and Mia Farrow could produce exact records from certain phone calls to clear up the whole child molester thing.  The NSA has everything on us all the way back to those permanent records principals and other authority figures used to threaten  back in elementary school - not to mention every purchase we've made ever since the first consumer used the first supermarket or drugstore club card.

With budget shortfalls so severe the US is compelled to neglect human need in order to pay for endless war and ecocide, you'd think someone would be selling NSA as the very best single solution for all your data backup needs.   The information is probably in your permanent record at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland (photo by Trevor Paglen in The//Intercept).


I'm thinking we can count the surveillance state as part of the new normal, along with our paramilitary police force, the increasing number of earthquakes as a result of fracking, and a media consolidated and controlled so throughly by corporations that propaganda and celebrity gossip is reported as news by people so stupid they don't even notice what they're saying - as illustrated in this oldie but goodie from KTVU in Oakland, California:



More on the NSA from The//Intercept:
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/03/?post_type=article&title=News

And a bit about Big Data and citizen profiling from The Atlantic:
Welcome to Algorithmic Prison




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