On Malcolm, Martin, and That X-Men Analogy Thing

Phenderson Djèlí Clark

malcolmmagnetoOn the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the activist, orator and the man once referred to in eulogy by the late Ossie Davis as “Our Shining Black Prince,” El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (most commonly known as Malcolm X), I quite foolishly decide to wade into that whole X-Men analogy thingy. Of course I’ve been warned. Of course I know better. But since when has that stopped me? So then, let’s do this thing.

And that supremely bad ass Malcolm & Magneto mash-up art you’re seeing, is courtesy of the amazing John Jennings and his 2012-2013 exhibit Black Kirby. If yuh dunno, now yuh know.

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Rush Fan Speaks

The truth is that the Canadian rock band Rush is the same as that I am, and wow, that’s really not young anymore.

An older fan brought to one of their gigs.  It was the 1980s and the older one, had become a fan in the 1970s.

Recently online, I saw some new fans, 21st century teen fans mostly.  Some people’s kids like the band and become fans in their own right.  Once one gets to know what is going on, people can learn more about how to gauge a fan’s age group if it is not immediately obvious, by asking which album made them a fan.  Despite being a very unusual person in some respects, I became a fan with their best selling album/cd of the 1980s Moving Pictures “just like everybody else”.

One fun thing about being a fan of such a long time band, is that one can stick with it for decades or can even go away from them for a while and then come back, refreshed by how they have changed their sound etc..

Rush fan site

Neil, Neil Neil

Chaos Post

This is called a chaos post because I am not even pre-planning what I write.  To some that just means I am being spontaneous.

Recently, somewhere online, I read about definitions of spontaneous.  One answer was ‘taking another route to work’ but the other was more like ‘Going out for milk and sending back post cards from your international journey lasting an indeterminate time period.’

In my life, spontaneous usually just means that I did it when I felt like it, or when natural forces indicated it rather than acting more on the basis of humanly devised organizations and schedules.  Spontaneity can be as simple as riding a bike around the block, or wearing a different color lipstick one day in my own case, to going out with people after work almost immediately after being asked or in fact, ending up making certain kinds of breaks with the past and doing something without prior planning.

There have been many occasions in my life when my behavior conformed to my inner awareness but surprised some relatives or friends because they had not been informed of my plans or hopes and wishes even though I had known for months or years.

General Comments February 2015

A few years ago now I kept up this blog for a couple of years in a row.  For some reason, right around the time that I began to deal with using more structure in the blog – setting up a schedule for posting on which topics on which days, the more general picture of the endeavor collapsed.  So, I dropped the whole thing which caused quite a gap and am now finally back to it.

This time, I hope to link this blog with a website without reducing every day to double posts of the same thing.  I have no idea whether or not it will work.

I have mixed feelings about online activity.  I now have over a decade of experience with it.  I often still feel like a newbie who is trying to figure out how it works.  Some things have changed.  For instance, a website I started using in 2003 has grown to an extreme degree.  Two years ago, the set up within the site changed dramatically, and more recently for the first time it became required for people to use credit cards rather than debit cards or PayPal or checks in order to access the services of the site.  Meanwhile, there are other sites that I have used that were bought out.  I don’t always understand what happened.  Bing pushed out something else but I don’t know what a few years ago.

Zuckerman of Facebook fame tried to give over  $100 million to poor people who really needed it, but the monies were taken by middle class middle men and women and hence, was ineffectual.  Now he has to give again and has to learn how to give in a way that the generosity will reach the intended recipient.  I found out online.

The sites that I used most in 2014 I never used in 2004.  Prior to 2003 I was almost never online.  My favorite uses of the Internet have been managing to get paying work in my field (this has been both a failure and a success due to perceptions and realities), and doing research from home more easily but of as high quality as if I lived in a giant academic library.  Accessible, high quality information.  The rest is for casual communication and music and videos.  I do use forums to pursue interest groups but I am not sure how to categorize that at the moment.

Unlike some people, I have not yet ever landed a great job thanks to using “head hunters” or LinkedIn, nor writer’s groups and all of that.  It makes me wonder about how much it is the $ I spent at those places or details of how little I have learned about uploading photographs for online job applications.  I have tried though.  Meanwhile, it seems some people get rich using the Internet with it seeming as if all they had to do was breathe and use their hubby’s credit card and now they are rich work at home mothers.  Even some guy who presents himself as just some English stoner has been earning really well.  I even know of two strong earning Nigerian teenagers who made money playing around at home with their parents PCs.  Industrious creatures indeed but thousands of others try and fail at the same time.  So, I feel I can’t tell what exactly is really going on here.

Disturbed, now that it’s all over 2015

This is just about tunes.  I discovered the band Disturbed through Indianapolis’s X103.3 radio station.  In truth, I have dealt with leading a very different sociological lifestyle for the past few years in a German village and it made me sort of exaggerate the memory of everything I liked about living while being way more socially included:  a big city in which most folks speak English…including the memories of the band’s new hit singles on the car  radio.

During the past few years I have continued to ‘learn some music’ by which I only mean as a fan/listener type and with plenty of time on my hands I finally got around to listening to at least 4 or 5 of Disturbed’s cds so much that I have memorized some of the music even though I still can’t play it.  LOL and Duh, but none of the songs can be effectively played by one person, even if the person is a well trained musician let alone if one is not.  In truth, the way I am it can take 100 repeats of listening to a song to pick up a stable awareness of the different parts.  The first 39 times my brain sort of flits between absorbing the whole thing as one and switching around from noticing a few drum beats, one stanza of the song lyrics and then a few riffs, etc..  This creates of good holistic image and is horribly inaccurate for being clear about who actually did what when it comes to every song.  I’m sure large #s of you have similar experiences as a music listener.

This is the not the only band who’s music I have listened to, but one of the big ‘newish’ ones.  They are actually younger than me, which freaks me out at moments, but less than 5 years younger I think, so it is not too weird.

They dissolved the band, feeling they completed their mission and ready to move on.  I am just glad if they quit while they were ahead and don’t hate each other and will turn up elsewhere.  I have heard of the Device project but don’t know it.

I’d love to read your comments about how you think and feel about music, this band or another.

Life On Hold? – Telecommunications – iPhones, Smart Phones, land lines, handies

Have you noticed how one of the changes of the 21st century is that the amount of time people spend on hold has increased?  There are multiple reasons for this.  One is that so many people are on the Internet and mechanized service responses have grown…Which means people call in and a machine sorts the call and then people wait.  What is so great about this is when people wait around at home rather than in traffic jams.  What is not so great about this is dealing with being on hold.

Often being on hold is like a miniature review session about how time is perceived.  Even though we can spend hours doing what we love, especially if we have ‘zoned into’ what we are doing, being on hold for even 5 seconds can make us feel like prisoners being treated unjustly, or like demons ready to destroy the low-lifes on the other end who have done this to us.

In reality, online and telephone technical services have improved over the years.  Never before has being able to explain how to do something in words when not able to see been such a valuable skill.  Most customer service agents do not earn a lot of money themselves, but some get more or less.  Despite that, the ability to analyze and solve problems over the phone is more valuable as a marketable skill than ever before in history.

How to cope with time spent on hold?  That depends a  lot on which type of device you are using and what your context is.

If you are in a social context, I highly recommend exchange some polite or friendly body language or even speech with those around you in body but not in social media.  If not, one must choose carefully.  Needless to say, one does not wish to put down or pull away from the phone to do something while on hold only to end up sobbing because one missed the call and has to start over.