Archive for February, 2011

Changes.

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Just typing in the dark, trying to focus on something.   Story of my life.

Analogously, the text I am typing in my browser is light gray on a white background.   The system colors on my laptop are not set up right.   My words appear as whispers in a blizzard.   So, my life.  

Changes allow the possibility of something new.   Tonight, I am uncharacteristically not isolating alone in my house.   A friend asked me last week to accompany him to his house in Maine this weekend.   I have been up here one other time.   He has asked me about a dozen times.   I wanted to say no last week, like the other eleven times.   But this time I said yes.  

I never use my laptop.   At home, it sits on an old disconnected radiator by the door, and acts as a file server.   Sort of.   In a life consisting of blizzard-buried whispers, everything is ‘sort of’, nothing is clear, emphatic, or decisive.   So all of my computers at home sit mostly idle, occupying a DHCP assignment, waiting for… nothing.  

I brought my laptop to Maine, mostly for the novelty of tethering with my new-again Nokia N900; my original N900 stopped having a cellular connection, and for a cell phone, that is fairly essential.   So Nokia generously sent me a new one about two weeks ago, and I wanted to play with it’s tethering capabilities in the wilds downeast.   Also, I was trying to bring some of the isolation with me, a kind of scutum to protect me from all the hazards of socialization (and even though my friend is at least as isolative as me—he is an other—a breach in my life of isolation.)

It’s almost gone, my life.   That’s not being morbid, just telling the truth.   A friend of ours died recently.   He was 51.   Changes may be in order about now.  

At Colin’s funeral we met a host of our friends from our youth.   A real reunion.   Colin would have been proud.   I felt guilty for having such a really good time at a funeral.   But everybody did.   Colin was pleased, I am sure.   I very nearly did not go to his funeral. Just like I very nearly did not come to Maine Friday.   Just like I almost continued writing nothing for yet another thousand days.  

I saw many significants from my formative years.   Some were former lovers.   Some I tried valiantly to make into lovers and failed.   Others just loved me.  

Bill was my best friend growing up.   I just didn’t know it at the time.   Or I did know it, and used other methods (similar to the current laptop-technique) to shield myself from the risks of true intimacy.   Bill is a cop in the town where we grew up.   He is, like, a top cop; he outranks everybody but the Chief.   He should be Chief but he probably doesn’t want it.   Or maybe they do not want him; he has great integrity.   Sometimes integrity is not an asset.  

He was appropriately in uniform, as Colin was a former police officer.   And he was as self-possessed as always, though a little more direct now than when we were first learning how to handle the risks of friendship—he was always taking risks, and I was always avoiding them.  

Bill was one of the ‘others’; a significant from whom I never sought sex, who also never sought me to be anything but his friend.   There were not many like that for me.   In our late teens, Bill was one of a very few males I didn’t target for sex.  

Sex often works as a shield, effectively repelling intimacy in a deft sidestep that bypasses emotional contact in favor of genital games.   It almost always works.   And Bill was certainly not unattractive when I was 17, but it was clear to me then that he would not fall for that old trick.   All I could do to defend myself against his sincere friendship was to pretend I didn’t know how genuine his love for me was.  

I preferred the shallow boys.   I still do.  

I held court at Colin’s funeral, enjoying the attention of those whose attention I had judiciously avoided for thirty years.   (In reality they were simply saying hello, but I prefer my reality grandiose.)   They hadn’t seen me in ages, and probably didn’t expect me to show up.   They were just happy to see me.  

I had always kept the fact that I was gay a secret.   Or so I thought.   But ‘coming out’ is not the equivalent of merely acknowledging that you prefer the same sex, like admitting guilt when the evidence has become overwhelming.   Coming out is, like most truths, a bit of a non-sequitur.   It largely involves going in.   In, toward one’s own heart and soul where dwells your essence, behind the persona and beneath the facades, and there to embrace—without pity, condescension or reservation—your true self, in the acknowledgement that that embrace affirms everything about you, no matter what anyone, even you, might think.   Real coming out transcends intellectual justification.   It cannot be wrong, it can only be right.   No matter who you are, or what you have done, or what you might be likely to do.  

I’m not sure I have ever really ‘come out’.   At least, not like that.  

At one point at Colin’s funeral, having a conversation with a few old friends including Bill, I mused that they had all known forever that I was gay, long before I dared acknowledge it to anyone.   And without a second’s hesitation, Bill exclaimed, “I know!   And we loved you anyway!”  

Damn.   Bill understood me better when I was 17 than I had any right to hope.   Hell, he understood at 17 things which I am only discovering today, as a result of writing this blog post, right now.   That is probably what scared me then.   It still scares me.   It is called love, a pure and honest love that seeks nothing.   Not the love that includes sex, nor the love that accompanies obligation.   It is the love that comes from an unlimited source, generously, and for no reason other than it is seeks to be given.  

The truth is, the more we want to be loved, or the more desperate our need for love, then the more fervent becomes our hope for something less.   We fear risking the disappointment that love isn’t real, or is far less than we need.   We fear discovering that we have been right about everything, right that we are unlovable, right that we are alone, and right that there is no one for us, ever.   So we hedge our bets and hope for something reasonable—even though ‘reasonable’ cannot ever be enough.  

And it appears I may be only now starting to outgrow that childish fear.  

The truth is, we have been wrong about everything.   Love is real.   It indeed exists for us.   It is everything we need, which is not only everything we ever thought we needed, but infinitely more as well.   There always has been someone for us, and best of all, there always will be someone for us; specifically someone for me, and specifically someone for you.   We just have to get our heads out of our asses so we can see who the hell it is.    

It is all so incredibly unlikely that, even though I have just stated the facts, we may yet manage to ignore the truth, we may deny it, and we still might very possibly run away from it.  

But I think I may be lucky, nonetheless.   Because, as I have just learned, changes allow for the possibility of something completely and entirely new.  

The Nokia Takeover; It’s Not Just About Phones.

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

This is the company that brought cell phones to the Third World.  This is the company from whom I got the most basic cellphone 7 years ago, a phone which continued to surprise me with capabilities which I only expect on a smart phone today.  Tethering.  Nowhere in the marketing material had tethering been mentioned.  And not just tethering via USB, but bluetooth tethering.  Nobody spent any time upselling that feature, but some firmware developer (probably many, and Symbian firmware, no less) had obviously spent a lot of time getting it to work, and work superbly.  Music.  It wasn’t supposed to have a music player, or so I thought.  But it did.  And it sounded amazing.  The best speaker I have ever encountered on cellphone.  Except for the two Nokia’s I’ve had since then.  That cheap little dumbphone was dripping quality out of everywhere.

Nokia built things with a presumption of usability beyond expectations.  All other products I have encountered–certainly true of my experience with cell phones, and overwhelmingly true for all products I have encountered in the American market–never provided more than I expected them to, and almost always less.  That is how manufacturers carve more profit from a sale, by packing as few features into a product as possible while still technically meeting the minimum specs necessary to sell it.  Nokia did more than the minimum.

The Google motto is “Don’t be evil.”   Commendable.  But such a statement would have not made any sense to a company like Nokia.  I don’t believe the possibility of being evil would ever even occur to them.  Only in America is it necessary to admonish against evilness, since it is so often used here for political, financial and personal gains.  But that is not so in Finland.  Theirs is a humane society.  For no reason other than it is good; for people it is good.

No one seems to grasp the implications of this takeover of Nokia by the evil empire.  Or maybe they are smart, and just keep their mouths shut about it.  But I don’t really think Microsoft went to Espoo because they want a place to peddle Windows Phone.  I also don’t think they have not been vying for this takeover for years.  In fact, I would venture to guess that some very big money in this country has been maneuvering for a very long time to destabilize Nokia, both internally and externally, probably through manipulation of various investment channels, and other methods we just do not want to think about.  The best cover for evil deeds is the reluctance of good people to contemplate the depths to which evil people will stoop.  Sadly, nothing would surprise me.

Nokia is not precious to Microsoft for its failing, misguided, start-and-stop software strategies.  I don’t even think that Microsoft is the primary player here.  They are a more than willing player to be sure.  But something tells me there are bigger things moving Microsoft.  And probably bigger money than even Microsoft has.  What is precious about Nokia is something other than phones.  It has a global presence that any power broker would envy.  Microsoft may shadow Nokia’s presence in many places, but not everywhere.  And nowhere with the depth and expertise of Nokia’s global presence.  In one fell swoop they have doubled–nay, tripled–their influence on this planet.  But this is only supposed to be about finding a home for Windows Phone, right? 

Nokia is not restricted to the manufacture of handsets either.  They have hardware and assets extant in some very significant areas, like telecommunications equipment deployed throughout the nations of the Middle-East, specifically, telecommunications monitoring equipment.  Racks and racks of bugging hardware, for every regime that could afford the best.  Not what the “connecting people” company wanted you to know about.  But they have it.  Or they had it.  Now Microsoft has it.  Or rather, the US has it.  Precious.  Well worth everything I suspect they have invested in this takeover.  Certainly such a prize would justify years of planning, extensive subterfuge, and industrial espionage on a scale unheard of before; all of this and then some to have unfettered direct access to all the intelligence one’s black heart could desire.

And none of this even addresses the value of having access to every single Nokia cellphone all over the planet.  That’s almost all of them, Androids notwithstanding.  Beyond priceless.

Sound crazy?  It is.  And don’t believe a word of it.  Because you are not supposed to.  But it does possibly explain some things.  Why else would one turkey want to takeover another turkey?  And it inspires some very unpleasant dreams.

But this is only supposed to be about Windows Phone, right?  Right.  Go back to sleep.  It was just a bad dream.