Welcome to my TILDE.CLUB homepage on the internet. I love making web pages. My first one was created in 1995 and it was a Lady and the Tramp fanpage. You can visit it here as it was in 1998. I am also especially fond of my incredibly longwinded acknowledgments section of my personal website circa 1999. Fun note: this tilde username was "melissab" instead of "summeranne" because I was an actual child and my parents paid for the internet so this was hosted on my mom's internet service account. Anyway, one of my greatest regrets is that I didn't keep up with coding so it's been nice to have an excuse to reacquaint myself with HTML, even if my skills are stuck in the late '90s. Thanks Paul. Hello world.
November 27, 2014
It's been too long, Tilde.Club. I love you, but work has been beautifully busy as heck. Here's a list I made of 10 of the things on the internet that I'm thankful for. Happy TGives.
October 26, 2014
Lately my brain has been so preoccupied with work — I'm busy with three new hires, developing a plan for an entirely new project within BuzzFeed that is relatively unprecendented and uncharted anywhere at all, and trying to hire the best, smartest, most creative, generous, and empathetic humans I can find. It's been a little overwhelming, and certainly not particularly helping with my "work life balance," and yet I find it incredibly reassuring to have a project I am passionate about take over my brain. Without something to dominate my thoughts, they wander into a tangled mess of hypotheticals and self-doubt. When I'm bored and uninspired, I spend my time wandering down paths of possibilities for the future, speculating about whether I'm as happy as I could possibly be or if there's some thing I should change, wondering about the state of my own mental health, and typing symptoms into web md. When I'm occupied and busy, my brain is a whirring toy factory just spitting out ideas and rejecting any doubts or anxieties that attempt to get in the door. So I guess what I'm saying is that I've realized that when I say my work is the main thing happening in my life, I'm not sad about it at all — I feel grateful and blessed, and I'm amazed that for so many years I spent 40+ hours a week doing things I didn't care much about. My mom recently started working full time for the first time in her life, in her late 50s. She was really worried about adjusting to it, but she's working in a small town library where she gets to help people find books and use the internet. She loves her job. She told me somewhat incredulously that she looks forward to going to work every day. I do too, and I am humbled by that feeling and never want to forget it or take it for granted.
October 17, 2014
I read this article and it made me mad. I wrote and deleted a few dozen things in the Twitter box when I first read it on Monday, and I thought I'd forget about it but I haven't. The piece is based on a wacky IRL assignment: acquire some exotic animals, and see where a fake emotional support card can get them... A plane! A fancy store! They'll let animals anywhere these days! I get the humor, and it's written in a dry, New Yorkery tone that has led hundreds to tweet the article with overwhelming praise such as "If you read one thing not just today but for the rest of your life, please make it this."
It appears to be true that many people take advantage of the system and of the myths associated with emotional support animals, and obtain the cards just so that they can be less inconvenienced. And those people suck! But those people aren't the punchline of this piece. The central humor of the article seems to arise from the whole idea that anyone would dare to assert that they require the support of an animal for their mental health. The author, Patricia Marx, goes out of her way to contrast the "real" struggles of the physically handicapped with the apparently hilarious struggles of people with anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, PTSD, or other conditions that lead one to rely on a companion animal in a place "animals shouldn't be."
"People with genuine impairments who depend on actual service animals" Marx writes, the assumption being that no one has ever really needed an animal for emotional support. And then, if the dismissal take on mental health wasn't enough, a whole subplot of the piece is making fun of all people who truly love and care for animals at all - Marx jokes that she likes her animals "medium rare," and quotes Jerry Saltz talking about people's "dumb dogs" (?), without speaking to a single person who actually has emotional support animal for emotional support.
My pets are one of the best things in my life, and they've saved me from rock bottom on countless occasions. When I was 14 I was depressed in ways I didn't understand and had no way of coping with. I hid it from my friends and family, but our dog Maggie knew everything. I would lay down on the cold tile of the kitchen floor, having cried for hours, and Maggie would lay next to me and fold her muppet dog arms around my shoulders. I felt safe and unconditionally loved. That's just one tiny portion of the animals I've known and the ways they've helped me, and my story nothing compared to the stories I could tell you about some of my loved ones. I haven't personally resorted to trying to register one of my pets as an emotional support animal, but I can't imagine judging someone with mental health issues who does. There are people who I love who I am confident I would have lost if it wasn't for their pets, and there are people who I love who genuinely need their animals for support. There's no punchline.
There were other things this week too: people were angry that other people were sad that a dog who had contact with ebola patients was euthanized even though dogs can't get ebola. "Where are your priorities?!" First of all, caring about a dog doesn't keep you from caring about people dying. And not caring about a dog dying is a sure sign you're either a robot or a serial killer (see: Blade Runner, actual life).
Look guys, our relationship with dogs and cats is extraordinary and magical. It's one of the things that makes our short lives truly sing; we get to share the planet with hundreds of thousands of other species and sometimes they are our friends and our family. Holy shit that's fucking crazy and special, and it's even more remarkable when you are actually experiencing an emotional connection with another creature. I am so grateful and humbled.
October 15, 2014
I should be asleep right now. I have an alarm set for 5am for a short trip to Austin. I have been a "night owl" for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I would stay at my grandparent's house in Houston and after I was tucked in and could hear everyone else snoring from a distant room, I would tiptoe out of bed and into the living room, where I would reliably find my grandfather watching old war-themed movies on TV before his nightly jaunt to the closest Whataburger for coffee at 2am. I learned from the best. Later, when we lived in Arlington Virginia for a couple years, we kept our TV in the basement, which was particularly convenient for my late night habits. I bonded with my brother most during those months, watching Beavis & Buthead and 120 Minutes and, then, the thing you only know MTV even showed if you were also an insomniac, Speed Racer! There was a tiny shrew that lived in our basement too and I was obsessed with it. Shrews are rare spottings in the wild and to have one just show up and run around was a treasure. I feel blessed that my parents were weird and open-minded enough to just let it live. I would catch it in a plastic cup and try to look into its eyes. Later, the shrew died in our dryer. My mom and I buried it.
Once I got deeply into the internet, it replaced TV for my late night affections. My mom would occasionally hear a creak at 4am and wander down the stairs calmly, fully expecting to find me lit by only the glow of our Macintosh and Prodigy Online, or the BBS I was co-sysoping. My preference for late nights has led to getting fired from jobs (I am not a morning person), inspiring almost all of my personal creative work, seeing my cats do extremely odd things, and loving 24 hour diners more than any other kind of restaurant in the world. Anyway, 🌚👋.
October 9, 2014
A few things on the internet I've liked recently: I liked what Paul wrote about Tilde.club. I really like my friend Alex's new email newsletter that recommends a song a day. I like High Maintenance so, so much. I like these embroideries, this vine, and the responses to Mallory's tweet about dads. Thanks for being cool sometimes, internet. Sometimes you are not cool at all and that's a fucking shame.
October 8, 2014
Updating my tilde blog on my iPhone with a surprisingly great ssh terminal app. What a world! Baseball is happening on my TV right now and I was thinking about how attached one gets to the players on one's team and how cruel and cold it feels to watch another city call them their own, even years later. I might be the only person on earth who still pictures Hunter Pence and his wild eyes in a Houston Astros uniform. Anyway. I am back in New York and surprised to find myself feeling relieved to be here, mostly because the temp is seasonally appropriate, my cats were indeed very inclined to be hugged, and I missed the dumb fancy appliances in my kitchen and the pretty faces at my office. I'm happy, though I'll be even home-er when I visit Austin next week and spot the cormorants around the lake and make my mom listen to all the new songs I love.
October 3, 2014
I've been in L.A. for the last month and today is my last day in the office here. It's been a really nice trip, partially because of sunshine and meeting really wonderful people and getting a lot of good work done, but most of all because I decided to do as many fun things as I possibly could while I've been here. I'm 32 so "as many as I possibly could" still included some nights off to binge watch "Transparent," but still, I did a lot. I learned how to play kubb, I wandered around the Griffith Park Observatory, I went to a tiki bar and saw Bubbles from The Wire, I spent the entire day at Escondido, I watched "Purple Rain" inside a cemetery, I visited a place called The Bunny Museum where they have the world's largest collection of bunny stuff and four real bunnies, I went to a surfing dog competition, I spent $30 on the jukebox at a perfect bar, I watched comedy, I went to see The Breeders and Neutral Milk Hotel at the Hollywood Bowl, I ate at Echo Park, I went to TWO Dodgers games and a LA Galaxy game, I went to three of the best bookstores I've ever been to, I ate vegan ice cream in Chinatown, I gawked at the windows of a cat cafe, I had ladies night and two happy hours and a small handful of dinners at Lemonade, and I got to see my oldest true friend and make my newest friend a true friend. There's more, but you're bored. Anyway, this is all to say not that L.A. is some perfect wonderland, but that just resolving to try and make every day a fucking day can do a lot for one's attitude. Going to bring some of that attitude back to NYC, after I spend approximately three days straight hugging my cats.
October 2, 2014 I started my first "blog" on my website in 1998, when I was 16. I just made new HTML pages for each journal entry and logged them on an index page. The entries that I can find on web archive are hilariously boring: just detailed descriptions of everything I did with my friends the day before. The weirdest part is not remembering any of it and reading my own teenage self describe a life I'd completely forgotten about living. I saw "The Waterboy" twice?! The blog was one of many different ways I tried to keep track of my life. I think even when I was still a kid I was very afraid of the possibility that I would forget things, and I was right to be. There are boys that I wrote passionately about in my diaries that I can't recall the faces of. And even the things I kind of remember (like the fact that I used to pass out plastic cocktail monkeys to complete strangers) I don't remember why. Remembering the actual feeling of something is the most elusive. Even when it comes to days that seemed like the best of my life at the time, I draw a blank. Which leads me to the conclusion that maybe all of this nostalgia and keeping track of things and journaling and blogging was an exercise in futility. The only thing that really feels like anything at all is what just happened, what is happening now. Sentimentality will always be part of who I am and it's approximately 90% of the reason I'm so enjoying typing into this little box right now, but I'm working towards living in the present moment. There are some ways that I've found help the cause: sleeping enough, doing more reading than writing, learning how to identify birds, and sometimes skipping my headphones and just walking with the sounds of the world. I'm trying to find some time where I can exist where I stand without any ties to my past or other parts of the world or even other people, where I can just look at a flower and not take a picture of it, have a beautiful moment and not send a text about it, and get comfy with the idea that the day will be quickly forgotten.
LINKS to me on the internet:
LINKS to other things I really like: