I’m an Old Brooklyn Social Media Ambassador

Thursday, 28 April 2016

I met with some neighbors at the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation tonight to learn about their #whatsyouroldbrooklyn social media campaign. I signed up to be one of their local social media ambassadors, was selected, and have now been oriented.

Having spent 4 years (mostly thankless) promoting Tremont out of goodwill via Tremonter (I have no idea what the hell it is now, or who owns the domain), I’m glad to be out of the driver’s seat and happy to help out doing — quite frankly — exactly what I’d be doing anyway. I also have more powerful tools in my pocket than were available from 2004 – 2008.

I’ve only lived in Old Brooklyn since August 2015, but I like it here. It’s too big to become $450k condos surrounding a street of $40-​per-​plate restaurants like Tremont — and if there are factions fighting over what “Old Brooklyn” means or should be, I am completely oblivious to them. People keep their yards tidy, shop local, and chat with each other. I don’t feel like this neighborhood is trying to be a destination. I feel, rather, as if it wants to be the place you come home to.

What I value in a neighborhood has changed, especially now that I’m a dad. There’s a lot of authenticity in this part of Cleveland, and a lot of history, and I look forward to helping people discover it. For the next 6 months, I’ll be doing so via Twitter (& Periscope), Instagram, Google+, and to a lesser extent, Facebook and Snapchat (sciurus). There might even be a little Poetry 4 Free action as well. And, of course, posting here on my weblog.

Feeling kind of nostalgic. Should be good.

At Lincoln Park Pool

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

despite the heat
advisory, I brought my
son to swim. ninety-four degrees
on July 4th and Cleveland has been
grilling ribs since 9AM
and bottle rocket blasting since
June 15th.

My son runs off - but Antonio,
thumbprinted mark of Cain
beshouldered, 
ever-belligerent, 
redmopped stutterer with 
metal-backed teeth - comes to spit self-conscious
impudence. He may sway to 
full-bore bully in annum
but now the question growling in his seven-year skull remains
unanswered. I father at him, a learned herding, outflank,
astray, askance, a thwart to de-rile his style.
Girls with fresh breasts, too shy
to show their bikinis under shirt, come 
tell me how cute my son is. Girls not much younger
take turns sitting on spout of fountainspray, hands trickling
down...
ever all-pursued by some omnipresent brown brawl of boys, 
stumble-tongued and
puppy-eager.

And I feel my age as
the only parent here -
adrift of vigor -
cross-legged on a
threadbare blanket
palms flat into 
ground grit -
A tart
magnanimity, and all these young running to be old. 
As children suspect we
withhold - I clutch this.
It is right to keep from them.
The patrimony, my first
taste of entropy as cool lemonade. 
I died when my life became my child's.
Already my blood 
only heats between hot
concrete and sky blaze. As something done grown,
I watch this pack of growing things.

A soggy neon ellipsis with spirals of water
flung as it flies. A poor throw brings 
the ball to
the feet of 
Antonio
and
the children all shout
his name. All shout his
name. A bend and I see 
fingers squeeze 
water; drops 
stutter poolside, the metal
creak of the lifeguard stand.
ALL shout his name.
A choice made but inept arm
betrays - launched in the 
general vicinity of
no one. 

An eruption
of water and from the scrum suddenly
the whole pool is playing catch. 
Old men and lifeguards, my son
astride my shoulders arms aloft
and we all shout his name. All
brought to life for
what I'll remember as -
amid sun and the shadows of lost dogs -
the moment
when
Antonio was king.

Sportsmanship

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

I’ve pretty much always not been good at sports. This holds true despite the fact that I have a huge NCAA Championship ring that I’m allergic to wearing. In Little League I played left field and chased butterflies out of boredom. I had no idea about the correct timing to hit the ball. Elementary basketball was similar. Instead of stealing the ball, I asked if I could please have it. I was the tall kid, but had no hops, and no aggressive streak. I was okay at golf, but outgrew my clubs. In Junior High and High School I ran. I was the slow guy.

In college I walked on to the fencing team, worked my ass off, and mostly due to the benefits of having teammates of world class, Olympic caliber, was good enough to beat those opponents who didn’t have the opportunities and access that I had.

I’ve always considered myself more coöperative than competitive. I still am, but I’ve come to a different understanding about what it means to be competitive. I used to think being competitive meant getting really upset at losing; wanting to win so badly that losing is anathema. I think I’ve realized where I (and other folks) have gone wrong. Being competitive can also mean reveling in the competition, no matter what the outcome. Sounds like a rationalization from a guy who’s used to losing, right?

What keeps me in the game then, if I’m such a loser? It’s the competition, the striving, the testing, stupid! I enjoy it. Trying to win does not mean having to win. The mindset is sort of zen with a lower-​case z. Would you rather be competitive as a test of your own ability or that of your team’s, or be competitive because you enjoy beating your opponent? If the latter, why is beating your opponent so important? Answer that question and you’ll know what fuels your competitive streak.

I’ve pretty much always been good at trash talk. I’m mouthy. I’ve been known to play games with my own goals in mind. I used to play chess by trying to see how many pieces I could take before losing. I used to have a Magic: The Gathering deck which could pretty much not ever win, but would make the process of winning as absolutely miserable and drawn out for my opponent as possible. The sadistic psychology of competition lives in this kind of trash talk, and asymmetrical strategies. But like the two types of competitiveness I’ve created, there’s another type of trash talk, too; sportsmanship.

What?

Taking the high road is always a win. My friend Chas is a huge Pitt fan. Being a Domer myself, we’ve got an understandable rivalry. Chas loves to talk smack. I’ve not talked to him in a few years, but it used to drive him absolutely crazy that I wouldn’t rise to his bait, and would instead compliment Pitt whether they won or lost. Graciousness and class can be just as effective at unsettling your opponent as anything else.

I guess this boils down to the following: The stereotypical competitive streak, and the accompanying trash talk & other behaviors seem to reflect such a strong need to win, there’s got to be some lack driving it. For folks who just rejoice in sport, however, winning and trash-​talking aren’t necessary (although both are quite fun in different ways), just being in a position to strive, and having the ability to do so is enough. At the same time, that zen-​with-​a-​small-​z state of mind can be just as effective a tactic as telling your opponent that you’re sleeping with his girlfriend.

Saturday Observations

Saturday, 8 April 2006

  • Apparently they’re called gingerbread persons now.
  • Pretty girls in Tremont run early in the morning, not in the afternoon like I do.
  • Little boys named Mateo will magically appear every time you’re at the library and annoy the ever-​living shit out of you while you apply for jobs.
  • I love giving people directions to places in Tremont.
  • I can get intermittant WiFi from Jewel Heart while sitting in my car at the laundromat.
  • The squirrels are going through their first molt of the year.

2005 Year in Review | Preview in Year 2006

Friday, 30 December 2005

2005

2006

  • Meet with a mortgage person about what it takes to buy a house.
  • Look for a house in Tremont, if I can afford one.
  • Find more fulfilling employment that pays a decent wage.
  • Packrat moola.
  • Run the Rite-​Aid Cleveland Marathon.

I Found Your Pink Thong

Monday, 21 November 2005

I posted this at Craigslist:

I was at the Tremont Laundromat, which incidentally, didn’t have raw sewage flooding out the front door today, and after I brought my clothes back to my apartment I found it. Yes, it. At first I thought I’d inherited a raggedy piece of pink dryer lint, but upon closer inspection I discovered that it was, in fact, your thong. Not just any thong, though. Your thong. This one is also, apparently, made of cheesecloth. The little bits of fabric that approximate covering are only distinguishable by being slightly wider than the actual thong, and a lesser shade of pink. Also, completely sheer.

Wearing see-​through underwear [if one could be said to actually “wear” this item, and if a thong counts as “underwear”] is something of a conundrum. Roland Barthes’s essay Strip-​tease may offer some insight into the paradoxical nature of covering that is, in fact, not covering; but I think it is rather obvious that this thong serves as little more than garnish for a carefully orchestrated rapprochement between various and sundry genitalia.

Stealing a page from Duchamp, I have taken to wearing your thong on my head, with the little triangle doohicky acting as a nose-​guard. Thankfully this undergarment had been washed before I attempted this experiment. As a nose-​warmer, the thong lacks a certain efficacy that I can only attribute to its screen-​door like consistency.

Currently, your thong is pinned to my bulletin board, between a picture of my first dog and a political flyer from the Ward 13 Councilman.

In any case, Miss, if you would like me to facilitate the return of this sexually charged undergarment you may send me an email and I am sure that an agreement can be reached.