Friday, July 2, 2010

You'll never walk alone.

In one of those funny moments that makes you say, "Hey, that's kind of funny..." it turns out that I'm not alone in my Facebook storm-induced anxiety.

Of course, to be fair, the number of people who wished me a happy birthday is somewhat less than the population of the city of New York.

Writer Gregory Levey wasn't sure why the Facebook fan page for his book jumped by more than 6000 "friends" overnight. He figured it was a glitch...which we all would.

Or, we would had we not written a book called Shut Up, I'm Talking.

See, if that was the case you'd probably figure out that, like "I'm a Bostonian and I've Seen the Guy on the Bike Who Makes the Siren Noise" and "Oh Yeah? Well I Hate Dolphins", people were taking Mr. Levey's page literally...not for literature. These hundreds of thousands of folks simply liked the phrase, "Shut up, I'm talking."

Yeah. I know.

Levey writes about what happened on The Nervous Breakdown.

And many more.

So, a few days ago I had a birthday.

I'll start by saying that all things birthday-focused were quite good. A great dinner with Leopold. Some really nice presents including an autographed graphic novel, a copy of Bird by Bird and a number of very needed new shirts.

But this year my birthday fell in the middle of a kind of emotional mud puddle. I was still - and kind of continue to be - experiencing this blue-tinged hangover that the more dramatic among us would be tempted to stretch into being grief. That dark cloud was joined by another, this one made up of more bad news. Less dire, in the grand scheme, big picture sense, but still, news I wish had not needed to be delivered.

Better, that last bit is one of those gifts that keeps on giving.

And, against this complicated backdrop, came the storm. The Facebook birthday storm.

Who knew, years ago when my friend The Officer said, "Join this thing, we're going to use it to post pictures of the baby!" that Facebook would become such an all-encompassing presence. Had I known, I think my reply might have been, "I don't know. Maybe you could just describe her to me over the phone."

But join I did and this year, for whatever reason, the floodgates opened and it seemed that everyone I knew - from folks I really do consider to be very close friends to people I've not spoken to since that drunken post-graduation party that may or may not have happened - was wishing me a happy birthday.

There's no other way of describing it. It was a Facebook storm.

To some this would be a thing of great joy and excitement...and it would be a lie to say that there wasn't something kind of touching about seeing all those well wishes in one place.

But there was also something kind of intimidating about it, because I'm not a good birthday person. I generally face my own birthday with a mixture of dread and existential angst. Leopold is to the point of hiring former KGB agents to come to our house in the days before my birthday to forcibly extract gift ideas. I am one of those people who reflects back on my life and wonders how it is that I've not done the things I thought I would have done by now. Why do I still have a desk job? Why do I still have debt? Why is it that someone who wanted to be a designer still can't manage to dress themselves in the morning in something that does not resemble the clothing worn by an ever-so-slightly pulled together teenager.

And I'm not one to remember the birthdays of others. Or dates of any kind for that matter. Leopold, my sister and my nephew have birthdays that fall in a kind of Orion's Belt alignment so that's of great help. My parents' anniversary and my birthday fall in such a way that, unless the actual year of both events is included, the proximity raises eyebrows. But after that I struggle, lacking both the gene or the intense level of organization that some have which moves them to catalog such things...sometimes to a degree so extreme it causes actual anxiety in others.

It's at about this time every year that I start to line up a set of resolutions. It just seems to make more sense to do so now, kicking off the start of another new year of my life. Maybe this will be the year that I start trying to get more organized with this kind of thing. Maybe a new calendar or datebook.

Or, maybe I'll just spend more time on Facebook.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I wonder, wonder who...

But I digress.

Or, more accurately, I'm about to digress into a topic that some will find utterly without substance or necessity.

Wonder Woman has a new costume and, really, it ain't good.

I've written more than a few times about my lack of fondness for all things "change" related (1) and some might be tempted (2) to pass this one off as yet another example of my being resistant. But I have to assure you that this isn't the case.

See, the problem...as I see it...is that this new costume is kind of ugly.

Yes, yes, I know that the Pulitzer Prize-winning and generally quite reliable Ms. Givhan has elected to embrace Diana's new look. She sees it as smart and empowering and more internationally relevant.

Because, really, what says "glamorous athlete instead of an unusually muscular Miss America who happens to fight crime" more than a pair of stretch pants and a cropped jacket. Who knew so many glamorous athletes were hanging out at the mall food court eating Chik Fil A while waiting to sneak into the new Twilight movie?

If you hit the photo gallery that the Washington Post has set up you'll actually see that this costume change up has all been tried before. Wonder Woman ditched the costume altogether in the 1960s in an effort to make her more contemporary.

You'll notice how well that caught on.

1. Yes. Even Obama...but don't get me started on that. We're talking Wonder Woman here.
2. No. I don't know who those people might be.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More fun with mom and dad.

Our time in The Constitution State was marked by the same "so-glad-climate-change-isn't-real" heat that I thought I had left safely at home. The kind of heat that makes it seem highly likely that one could quite easily bake a few loaves of bread simply by leaving them in the backseat of a parked car.

Which led to this (1):

Dad: Oh, shoot.

Mom: What?

Dad: I left that banana in the car.

Mom: You should go get it. In this heat the car is going to smell like... like...

Artboy: A Dominican hooker?

Mom: Thank you.

1. It seems relevant to mention here that my father is a diabetic, which is why he tends to travel with fruit. This is a much easier practice if one carries a purse. Or, perhaps, some kind of convenient fruit-focused cooler/fanny pack that could be purchased from late night television.

Riding in cars with...my parents.

The other day I found myself riding in the backseat of my parents' car, watching the strange collection of towns and periodic strip malls that make up the central section of The Nutmeg State.

If you ever find yourself wondering how it is you ended up with the personality you have, I highly recommend spending a few hours viewing things from this perspective.

Things like this:

Dad: See...that's the way we usually come in. When I don't miss the turn.

Mom: Oh, that's right. I didn't pick up on that because I couldn't see that house on the corner past your head.

Dad: My head's not that big.

Mom: Yes it is.