A pair of black headphones against a solid yellow background

The sounds of 2017

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Annual Soundtracks

Last year, I set a little project for myself. I’d gotten back to listening to music in earnest, and since depression and lack of practice kept me from writing an adequate record of my year, I decided to remember in aural impressions instead. And so started my 2017 playlist. I Read more…

Photo of subway passengers

Thinking about trains*

* Did I struggle not to make “train of thought” puns? Maybe. We’re back in the Bay Area after another BoltBus ride, this time from Los Angeles. One missed departure aside, it was a pleasant round trip. Bolt uses relatively new buses with onboard bathrooms and free Wi-Fi. (When I Read more…

A sunset photo of the Los Angeles skyline

Learning Los Angeles

Our departure from Los Angeles has been delayed a day, thanks to the arrival of 2018’s first storm. Flash flood warnings have been up all morning, and the freeway that would have brought us to Union Station — Highway 101 — lost 30 miles to water and mud. We soldiered on Read more…

Photo of a lighthouse against a dark backdrop

Switching on

The internet contains a near-infinite number of rabbit holes to get lost in. For the past couple of years, I’ve been scurrying down whichever ones I could find. I tend to do that during depressive slumps: hole up in my room, laptop perched on my knees and a network of Read more…

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells These Stories: Orlando and Narratives of Trauma

“There are no words.”

There’s also no counting how many times I’ve said that in response to various facets of the Orlando shooting: first, the burst of reports; then the rising death toll; then the slow unraveling of each victim’s biography; and then, the aftermath, the responses — in forms both heartwarmingly compassionate and shamelessly opportunistic.

The extent and range of those responses isn’t surprising. Forty-nine people died and 53 were injured at a mass shooting in Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. This is the deadliest mass shooting in US history, and the shooter targeted the LGBT+ community, a group that — despite significant progress in recent years — remains a minority in every sense of the term. Many members of the community have already spoken about how jarring, how traumatic this attack has been; many more have continued to speak about how subsequent responses have been disrespectful, exploitative, damaging, or unhelpful at best.

I found myself unable, somehow, to join those engaged in the former. So far, the most I’ve been able to do is retweet messages of support and guidelines for volunteers, because secondhand sentiments are the only things I felt comfortable posting about the matter. Let me be clear: 140 characters, no matter how many sets I retweet, will never be enough to articulate the grief, anger, and despair I feel about this attack. However, shameful as it is to say so right now, 140 characters are more than enough to be a potential breach in the illusion of safety that stems from being a straight-passing, low-key member of the community.  (more…)

The Problem of Scale

I’ve been awfully quiet lately, and that’s due, for the most part, to the nature of my current line of work. I’m immersed in one of the many campaign teams working towards the upcoming 2016 national and local elections, and confidentiality is among the defining attributes of my particular position. Read more…

The drip, drip, drip of existence

I’ve recently started catching up to Season 3 of Elementary. The series remains great – brilliant, even, especially when we consider the self-assurance and deftness with which it ventures into topics and themes beyond the scope of the weekly procedural thread. The Eternity Injection, one of the episodes I watched yesterday, Read more…

Anxiety and Food

One of my personal anxiety “warning signs” is the urge to eat. Often, before the simmering pressure of building anxiety even makes itself known, I’ll be overcome by the overwhelming urge to snack — sometimes on healthy things, sometimes on junk food, sometimes on both. It manifests in many forms: a couple Read more…