Confronting my own cynicism: Facebook's new gender options

Last year, I had this exchange on with my friend Laurie on Twitter. It's the kind of topic that straddles two of the worlds I live in in San Francisco: one fabulous queer world that acknowledges and celebrates the sexuality and gender diversity in the world, and a more normative world that's looking to quantify and measure people for better product development and marketing -- or more cynically, better advertising.

So it was a really awesome surprise when Facebook announced custom gender options for user profiles, almost exactly a year after that conversation.

But I'm the really cynical one these days, because I never expected a big company Facebook to do something like this and acknowledge different gender identities. Even more surprising is that Facebook added around 50 custom options, several of which I wasn't familiar with (and I try to keep up on these things). If you're wondering what all of the different identities mean, The Daily Beast did a pretty good job of explaining the options as well as the difference between sex and gender, if you want to brush up on that.

What's next?

Well, sex and gender are not sexuality, and Facebook has never given an option to identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or any other sexual orientation. I just checked on my own profile, and there are still only two checkbox in the "interested in" section: men and women. Either we get to list our sexual orientation, or there should be 50 new options for the "interested in" section. Which will it be, Facebook?

Right-sizing the American Dream

"In either case, the financial hegemons win, since they, essentially, get to have someone else to pay their mortgages. As for society, it's a losing proposition. Rather than the yeoman with his own place, and the social commitment that comes with it, we now have the prospect of a vast lower class permanently forced to tip its hat to – and empty its wallet for – its economic betters. This is the fate ardently hoped for by many urbanists, who see a generation of permanent renters as part of their dream of a denser America."

Yes, there is terrifying and growing economic inequality in the US. But I disagree with the fulcrum on which the argument of "Downsizing the American Dream" balances: you can have wealth-building suburban single family home ownership or you can have dense urban permanent "rentership".

Thanksgiving musings

This year, I'm grateful for change.

I'm grateful that I'm not done growing up yet, that I'm still learning, discovering, and experiencing new things. This year's Thanksgiving lesson: if you substitute cream for milk when making cornbread, add water!

I'm happy that the world continues to evolve and that I have the chance to change with it.

I'm thankful that when life throws curveballs, I'm still nimble enough to jump out of the way (that's how I deal with balls flying at me at high speed).

I turned 30 this year, and I'm grateful that growing older can mean growing bolder too.

I look forward to new friends, new travels, new chances. And lest you think it's all about the new: I'm look forward (and back) to the old friends, revisiting places, and remembering past choices too. 

The aforementioned cornbread:

Neighborhood changes: 23rd & Bryant laundromat to restaurant

The Super Lavar laundromat on the northeast corner of 23rd & Bryant is closing down. Its owners (proprietors?) are having a "community information meeting" in two weeks on Monday November 18th, 2013 at 8pm to share their plans. 
I wonder what kind of friendly neighborhood restaurant is coming. Fancy like Local's Corner across the street or more accessible (yet delicious) like El Metate up at 22nd?

We do our office laundry at that laundromat, so I guess we'll be on the lookout for a new laundromat now.

My day in the Mission: Serendipitous street art, Local Mission Market, and HBO's Looking

I walked out of my apartment and headed down Valencia Street towards my polling place, only to realize that I'd be late for a meeting at work if I voted now. If I hadn't walked down Valencia though, I wouldn't have seen this parking space-turned-temporary street art installation.

At lunch, I walked over to the grand opening of Local Mission Market at 23rd & Harrison, the latest in the "local" Mission empire (see also Local's Corner and Local: Mission Eatery, but not Local Edition, which is downtown). Nothing suitable to grab for lunch, but I'll check back in a week or so to see what else they add.

As I left work, HBO's Looking was filming at Punjab again. What is their obsession with our local cheap Chinese joint? I don't care, I just want to meet Jonathan Groff and Russell Tovey. How hard can that be?

588 Days Later...

Looks like there might be some life left in this thing after all!

Like so many blogs, I neglected this one when life got busy. I didn't feel good about posting once Posterous was acquired by Twitter. Despite the assurances that the service would keep running, I figured these were pie crust promises, and it was time to start looking for somewhere else to keep the written part of my digital life.

Sure enough, less than a year after that (and still no replacement found), I got a real shutdown deadline. Not nearly as scary or important as the recent federal government shutdown. In my case, though, procrastination paid off and Posthaven launched in time to save the day.

Looking through the archives, I posted a lot of photos and few random videos and other things from around the web. It may still be about food (half of those links were chicken-related) and other silly stuff, but I'm also hoping to sprinkle in a few honest-to-God blog posts with more than a few sentences and at least one or two opinions.

I'll leave you with a cartoon made with the suddenly popular Bitstrips, which is spreading among my friends on Facebook. In a really unscientific sampling, it seems to be spreading from East Coast to West, unlike many other tech trends.

Welcome to the inside of my brain.