Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Maragaret Atwood and Social Networking?

(Edited from original post of Oct 7, 2012)

The older I get, the more I find my inner musings mirrored in Margaret Atwood's writing. Here's an excerpt from her essay, "Deeper Into the Twungle" which echoes many of my own thoughts about the ever-expanding trend towards social networking:


Not long ago, I found myself having a Twitter conversation with a rotating skull. Its picture shows a skull turning around and around against a black background. Its handle is simply @rotatingskull. Its self-description is cryptic: “I am a skull that rotates.” When I asked it how I might make my own head rotate in this attractive manner—something I have always longed to do, as it would be a visual description of my state of mind in the mornings before caffeine—it told me I should view The Exorcist backwards while sprinkling holy water. Then it sent me a YouTube of itself in younger days, when it still had a skeleton, featuring as the prima ballerina—or ballerino—in the 1929 Disney Silly Symphony, The Skeleton Dance.

“Impressively nimble,” I replied. Then I hesitated. Wait a minute, I thought. You’re losing all perspective. You’re talking with a skull. You have no idea who this is. Would you let a skull pick you up at a bus stop?

Definitely not. But on Twitter you find yourself doing all sorts of things you wouldn’t otherwise do. And once you’ve entered the Enchanted E-Forest, lured in there by cute bunnies and playful kittens, you can find yourself wandering around in it for quite some time. You might even find yourself climbing the odd tree—the very odd tree—or taking refuge in the odd hollow log—the very odd hollow log—because cute bunnies and playful kittens are not the only things alive in the mirkwoods of the Web. Or the webs of the mirkwoods. Paths can get tangled there. Plots can get thickened. Games are afoot.

Read the entire essay: Deeper into the Twungle, posted in the New York Review of Books

It's not that I don't like social media and networking.  Over the years, I've joined various sites which are now canopied under the all-inclusive term of social media.  In the early days of the web in the 90s, I participated in the free-for-all world of the bulletin board (or BB as it was called) where it was a no-holds-barred environment that often ended up nasty and bloody.  The back and forth banter of lively discussion devolving into slash, slice and slaughter of the innocents. Since then, I've tried to be selective about what I join.  Even so, I've managed to rack up a fair number of memberships.

Current site memberships:
- Blogger (two accounts)
- Classmates
- Facebook (two accounts)
- Flick'r
- Goodreads
- Google +
- Library Thing
- Photobucket
- Tumbl'r
- Twitter 
- Tripadvisor
- Wordpress 
- Hotmail (2 accounts)
- Google mail (2 accounts)

--> Plus numerous discussion forums - I suppose the equivalent of the oldtime BBs - where my participation varies widely from lurking to posting regularly.   

From time to time, I try and take a break from the above, only to find myself dragged back  sometimes out of curiousity, but oftimes out of necessity.  Because, guess what?  It's how people communicate these days.  

If I want to stay in touch with my sons who may be halfway across the globe, then I need to text, Twitter, email, chat or post online.  Now that I think about it, even blogging is becoming passe, giving way to quicker means of communication.  

I've learned the quickest way to get a response from my sons is to text because they let their phones go to voicemail, then don't answer for hours and even email messages tend to sit unanswered - sometimes for days.  And they certainly don't use conventional mail.  for them, snail mail is used under duress (e.g. for thank-you notes to elderly aunts) and much prefer texting to calling if they're in a hurry.

Well, I digress. The point is - and as the other Ellen always says - I do have one, is that all this social media stuff is here to stay and getting to be more necessity than toy in how we communicate with each other. 

. . . So what's this I hear about clouds?

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Tumblr

So, younger son says, "Mom, you should check this out."

"This" happens to be Tumblr.  Being a dutiful mom, I check it out.  

At first, I thought Tumblr was just another blog site. I quickly found out otherwise. The easiest way to describe Tumblr is that it's a sharing site. It's not about words - at least, not so much - but rather about images and the sharing of images. Not that people don't post words, it's just that a large number of posters seem to be, shall we say, young(ish) and words are not their primary means of communication. And yes, there are some pretty juvenile and silly posts, but if you look a little deeper, there are beautiful and thought-provoking images being shared.

If by chance you haven't taken a look at the site yet, check it out. At the rate trendy becomes old-hat these days, it may be gone before you know it.


I signed up to give it a real test. Here's my brief foray into the world of Tumblr:

--> The Pomegranate Tiger on Tumblr

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Progressive/metal/rock band

Sometimes, when I want to access my blog and I'm on a computer that doesn't have it bookmarked, I'll just do a Google search.

The other day, I Googled pomegranate tiger and found another Pomegranate Tiger:

Pomegranate Tiger, a progressive/metal/rock band

It made me laugh because I wondered how many of their fans go Googling for them and end up at my blog?

I'm also wondering how they came up with the name. They look like a fairly new band and I've had this blog for quite a few years, so did one of the members stumble upon my blog and think, "Hmm. Cool. Hey, guys. Whaddya think? I found this site by an elderblogger with this really cool name."

Nah.

Fair

I'm lazy,so I'm posting something I've done elsewhere. The following is a piece I wrote for an online forum group that was given the prompt, "Fair? You want fair?" It started out as a dialogue between characters having an argument about the fairness of life, but it sounded so full of cliches that I scrapped it. Then I read a piece by Margaret Atwood that got me thinking of trying it as an assertion rather than a question. This eventually led me to try writing it in the second person. I almost never write in the second person. But here it is.


Fair. You want fair? Of course you do. Everyone does.

All your life you’ve been told to be fair, play fair, act fair, and you expect fairness in return. You build your life around being fair. You speckle your speech with statements like “to be fair,” it’s only fair,” “in all fairness”.

You build a fairness cocoon around yourself. It envelops you and all those around you.

The cocoon is layered with all the fairness you’ve spun in careful, cobwebby threads over the course of a lifetime. It’s a glowing, shimmery fuzz ball of goodness and light. It must be good because in your mind, fair equals good.

Using an invisible scale, you balance how much love, goodwill, and self to allocate to friends, family, charities, causes good and maybe not so good. You take your cue from a friend who donates to charities that support all the major body organs – heart, lung, kidneys, liver, brain (it’s only fair).

You do your best - giving equal time to your children and spouse - but, in all fairness, the children do require more attention when they’re young and time can always be made up to your spouse later on. You tell yourself it balances out in the end. You give similar Christmas gifts to your friends, so none will feel slighted. But wait. They don’t want the same things. So you do the next best thing. Buy gifts of equal dollar value. But then, Sally thinks Jane’s gift is nicer and Jane wonders if you could please give her the receipt for the scarf so she can exchange it for a different colour. And of course, you tell her you’re happy with the souvenir T-shirt from Las Vegas. Who wouldn’t be? To say anything less would be rude, and it wouldn’t be fair to hurt her feelings.

You mete out fairness to the best of your ability. But like Halloween candy, you notice that a little extra always goes to your best friend’s son or the cute little boy next door. You find out Auntie Nina really didn’t want the same amount of turkey dressing as Uncle Joe, and Val will never be happy with what she gets because nothing is ever good enough.

There are times when people tell you that you’re unfair. This, you know, is incorrect. You know you are fair because you have rules that govern your fairness. You abide by the Golden Rule. Do unto others, et cetera. Nothing could be more fair.

You await fairness in return.

But fairness doesn’t always come your way. You wait patiently in line for your turn, but get shoved out of the way by a shouting complainer. You work hard and sacrifice time away from your family, but get laid off to make way for the boss’s son. You treat women with respect and kindness, but they go for the douche-bag who treats them with disdain.

You start to think that maybe life isn’t fair. At least, that’s what others tell you. Life isn’t fair. Get used to it. But maybe it’s not that life isn’t fair. It’s just that everyone plays by different rules. They don’t play by your golden rule. They have their own fairness rules. An eye for an eye, whoever wields the biggest stick wins, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, all’s fair in love and war – these are fairness rules too.

You don’t believe their rules. You can’t believe them. So you continue following your own rules; you continue wrapping yourself and those around you in your fairness cocoon because it makes you feel good. You bask, warm and cozy in your fairness cocoon. Perhaps, if it grows big enough and long enough, it will burst forth in a gigantic, multi-coloured butterfly; wings unfurling, beating back all the unfairness and inequity that still exists.

Meanwhile, you hope your cocoon will keep you safe against the cold, sharp barbs of unfairness flung from afar and not so far. It doesn’t always work. Occasionally, a dark lance will slice through, its point searching for your heart.

Maybe life isn’t fair. Maybe it’s not meant to be fair, but you keep trying to be fair anyways. What else can you do?

Quote:
Here's my Golden Rule for a tarnished age: Be fair with others, but keep after them until they're fair with you. - Alan Alda



Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Blogger is currently unavailable

After more than seven months away from blogging, I decided to post something yesterday (Monday) and was greeted by the above, followed by:

Blogger is unavailable right now. We apologize for this interruption in service.

I ruefully mentioned the irony of this on a forum I frequent and an online friend noted how Catch-22 it sounded. It was a rather Zen-like experience. I mean, the blogger me had been unavailable, but now was available, yet apparently currently unavailable. It makes one think.

In reality, I should have posted the above disclaimer in my banner these last seven months.

Microfiction Monday

I've found a new-to-me site for playing with words. Susan from Stony River says:

Welcome to Microfiction Monday,
where a picture paints 140 characters, or even fewer.


For Microfiction Monday #34



"What's the matter?"

"You always go first."

"No, I don't."

"Yes, you do. You’re doing it now."

"Then you go first."

"No."

"Why not?"

"I don’t know the way."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Last night, Lydia dreamed she was a robot. Not a mechanical, metallic, C3PO robot, but a sentient, humanoid robot that thought she was human. She, along with others of her kind had been rejected by society and their human families. They were being switched off. The robot Lydia made a tearful and eloquent plea about love and yearning to the blank stares of human faces . . .

Lydia hadn't written anything in over two months. Correction. Other than grocery lists, calendar appointments and a point-form chronology of her vacation, she hadn't written anything in over two months. In a funk, not in the mood, too busy, preoccupied with real life; all of the above, none of the above. What did it matter? No thoughts had gotten onto paper.

Yet lately, her dreams had been getting more vivid, more surreal. Just at the point of waking, she would control them, manipulate them. Lucid dreaming. That's the term. She wondered if the not writing had anything to do with the dreams. Or had the dreams taken the place of her writing.

More likely, it was her struggle with what she should or shouldn't (wouldn't?) write about. Should she write about her health concerns? Should she worry out loud? Some part of her wanted to share – to slit open and spill out. But no, that was self-indulgent clap-trap -- martyrdom disguised as self-revelation.

This morning is the start of a new day. She turns on her computer. She enters her password. It takes forever to load. The innards chug while an automated update downloads and the work light flashes furiously. She opens her Word program. The fan kicks on - more like a wheeze than a whir these days. It's getting old – in computer years – and doesn't work as efficiently as it once did. But it still works. Ha! Life imitates computer.

Her fingers rest tentatively on "a s d f j k l ;" - the home keys.

She waits.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Yippee, Gray Is In!


While doing my Sunday surfing, I found a link to an article titled, Do Blondes Have More Fun? The answer, much to my delight, was, "No. Silvers do!"

As some of you may remember from my post a couple of years ago on Time Goes By (The (Not So) Greying of America), it's one of my missions in life to liberate women from the scourge of colouring their hair just to cover up those inevitable pesky gray and white strands.

The Do Blondes Have More Fun? article is one in a series by Teresa Morisco of Wardrobe911 who, after writing an article about how a woman made the decision to stop dyeing her hair, took the plunge herself and did the same.

She looks fabulous - as do the others in this --> Groupshot taken at a luncheon in NYC with Diana Jewell of Going Gray Looking Great and others. It's great to see so many white-haired women of different ages and stages and shows that being gray/white/silver is nothing to be afraid of.

All I can say is, "Finally!"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

S is for

"Stubborn."

He: Who's stubborn?

She: You are.

He: No, I'm not!

She: Yes, you are.

He: You're just as stubborn as I am.

She: I admit I don't give up easily. I have to solve things. I'd say that's being determined.

He: You always have to be right.

She: Not always. Besides, I'll change my mind if you give me an intelligent and logical reason. You don't even want to discuss things.

He: That's not true.

She: Yes, it is. You just walk away.

He: I don't like to fight.

She: It's not fighting, it's called discussing.

He: It's more than discussing. More like arguing.

She:
More like debating. There's a difference. Besides, that's not what I was talking about. I was saying you're stubborn because you refuse to try and do things differently.

He: Well, if it ain't broke . . .

She: That is being stubborn.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Serendipity or luck?


As you might expect - because of my self-imposed walkabout – my visitor stats have steadily declined and plateaued out. This morning, I saw the weekly Sitemeter report that's been sitting in my inbox since Sunday and, for no particular reason, clicked on through to the live (current) stats. I was shocked. I had more than double the number of visitors in one day than I'd had for an entire week!

I needed to get to the bottom of this aberration, so looked at the visitor details. Well, to my surprise, most of the visits were coming from Times Goes By, Ronni Bennet's site. So, I clicked onto TGB and found that Ronni has started something called "Featured Elderblogs" - a special sidebar area with links to five blogs from her blogroll, each group of five posted and featured for one week.

I have no idea how Ronni is choosing the weekly group of blogs, but guess what? My blog is in the first group of five for the week of June 29, 2009.

I don't know if it's serendipity or pure blind luck, but there it is. It comes at a time that I've been questioning my priorities about blogging versus other things in my life -- hence, the walkabout.

Ever since I started blogging, Time Goes By and Ronni have been an inspiration to me. I'm sure she doesn't remember, but she helped me in my early days with blogrolls and other small, but significant things, just as I'm sure she's helped countless others in the same, kind way. Though likely unintentional, by including my blog in her featured links this week, she's put a boot to my derriere and made me make some choices.

Sometimes I waffle between being the type of person who thinks everything in life is connected and happens for a reason to one who is pragmatic and thinks that things happen – period. Today, I'm leaning toward the former.

I guess it also means I've finished my walkabout.