Autumn, Attitude Adjustment, And Ambush Journalism

Here’s what I’ve thought about this week.  Brought to you by the letter “A.”

•  Loving.  Now that it’s mid-autumn, the leaves on the trees behind our house are at their best.  In fact, this year, the wettest year ever on record, the trees look stunning.  There are more show-off colors among the leaves–shimmery gold, crimson red;  less dreary colors like rusty orange & dried-up grayish brown.  Amazing, really, how letting go is so pretty.  A lesson for all of us who hold grudges and keep objects long after their usefulness has passed.  Move on, people.  Let it go.

*Amen*

•  Laughing.  I’ve always been one to drink whatever alcoholic beverage is set in front of me [the exception being rum which I hate].  I loathe being perceived as fussy.  Yet, thinking back about our very social summer, I’ve realized that the parties/dinners/events where I had the most fun were the very ones where I did not drink any wine.  At all.

This got me wondering why I even drink the stuff to begin with.  I don’t like the taste of wine all that much and it often makes me itch.  What I decided is that I drink wine because I have this notion that it is good for me.  And I drink wine because I am polite.

My logic– such as it is— goes something like this: in the Bible, Jesus made wine and the party continued.  So, by drinking the stuff without complaint I don’t offend Jesus & I’m not a party pooper.  In theory, this seems like a win-win. But in practice it just sets me up to do something I don’t really want to do– which is drink wine.

Pity Jesus didn’t turn the water into a fifth of bourbon– or a few bottles of beer.  Then I’d have no problem at all.

*Capiche?*

•  Learning.  I was watching CNN the other morning.  The conversation was about “ambush journalism.”  I’d not heard of this term before.  It means that through deception and aggressive behavior a journalist inserts himself or herself into a situation hoping to provoke controversy by launching into a series of challenging questions. Apparently, some guy did this with VP Biden earlier this week, and Biden refused to take it.  Biden fired back with: “Don’t screw with me.  Let’s look at the facts.” 

Politics aside, I’m with the VP on this one.  Hassling people is not a substitute for journalistic inquiry;  it’s just stupid, attention seeking behavior.  In fact, it seems to me that if journalists want to continue to have access to our political leaders, then they need to grow up, use some common sense & not engage is such antics.  Bad dog, no biscuit.

*Meh*

Suitability: An Explanation Of What The Heck Is Going On With My Blog Template

[… for those who have wondered why things look different around here… and have taken the time to contact me about said… allow me to explain…]

Having the right look for my blog is important to me .  In fact, since I started this sweet little bloggy last January, I’ve had four different [free] templates. 

Let’s review, shall we?

#1  The one with the glowing orange candle up top.  It is called Coraline & described by WordPress key words thusly–  clean, conservative, generic, light, minimal. Yep, it was.  But in the end, it was not me.  So I moved on.

#2  The one with the lonely little pine cone up top.  It is called Pilcrow & described by WordPress key words thusly– clean, conservative, formal, generic, light, minimal, simple.  Again, yep it was.  But it had some features that I didn’t like, so I moved on.  [Also, I accidentally deleted it late one Friday afternoon.  There was drama.  There was swearing.  We’re not going to re-hash that event here.]

#3  The one with the bunch of bananas up top.  It is called Fruit Shake & described by WordPress key words thusly– artistic, colorful, faded, whimsical, yellow.  Again, let me confirm that this was an accurate description.  However, its cheeriness drove me bonkers and the way it scrunched up my words on the page was difficult to read.  So I moved on.

#4  The one with the big black rectangle up top.  It is called Quintus & described by WordPress key words thusly– calligraphic, elegant, formal, nostalgic, retro, textured, traditional.  Yep, it is.  And of all the ones I’ve tried, this one is the easiest to use, the most clear to read and the least annoying for me to look at.  In fact, a further description of it says:

“A theme that has an old-style appeal with semi-academic graciousness and elegant typography. Fitting for displaying either text or images, Quintus offers a fresh look with room for customization….” 

Now this is a look and description I like.  So I’ve stayed here.

Why have I been changing my template so often? 

While my academic background is in words/relationships/communication, my later-in-life inclination is in images/color/design.  The result is that I like to change things around and that I’m never satisfied with how things look… until I am.  All this trial and error here is really just me attempting to find the most suitable look for my sweet little bloggy.  Which I think I have with this gracious, elegant, fresh template.

At least for the moment.  😉


Revisiting A Tribute To The Victims Of The 9-11 Attacks

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers joined together for a tribute to the victims of 9-11.  Each person paid tribute to a single victim.  The intent of this project was to honor the victims by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.  

I first posted this tribute on 09.08.06.  I’ve adapted it for this blog using different photos, the one link that still works, and one new link.  The essence of what I wrote remains the same.   

   

Tribute To Maria Rose Abad

 ~ ~ :: • :: ~ ~

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Maria Rose Abad was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1952.  She studied sociology at Queens College and hoped to be a teacher.  However, a different career path opened up to her and she went to work in business.  At the time of her death she was living in Syosset, N.Y., and working as Senior Vice President with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, investment bankers.

Maria Rose married Rudy Abad, her best friend, in 1976.  The two of them liked to travel the world.  She liked to read books– lots and lots of them– according to Rudy.

On Tuesday September 11, 2001, Maria Rose was at work in her office located in the south tower of the WTC.  When United Airlines Flight 175 hit her building, she phoned Rudy to talk about what had happened and to tell him that they were waiting for the fire marshal to take them down to safety.  That was the last time he heard from her.

She is among the confirmed dead.

~ ~ :: • :: ~ ~

As a surviving spouse of a 9-11 victim, Rudy was eligible to receive monetary compensation for her death.  He couldn’t decide whether or not to take the money, but eventually he did decide to take it.  And then he did something incredible with it.  He shared it with the world.

As a tribute to his late wife’s memory, Rudy created The Maria Rose Abad Village in a poverty-stricken area of the Philippines.  He used his part of the compensation to have 46 houses and a preschool built in Tondo, a suburb of Manila.  And today, thanks to his generosity of spirit, a few more people on this earth have a better quality of life.

He is among the confirmed angels on earth.

~ ~ :: • :: ~ ~

~ ~ :: • :: ~ ~

[Added 09.13.11 -Yesterday while reading some blogs I found the current link to Project 2996.  Click here to be connected to it.]

Nancy Drew, Narcissism, and the National Debt

Here’s what I’ve thought about this week.  Brought to you by the letter “N.”

Me.  I started reading a Nancy Drew mystery this week.  I saw it on the shelf as I walked by the guest bedroom and thought “why not?”  Having read it decades ago, I don’t remember the plot of the story so it’s all new to me.  All I know is that I loved Nancy Drew.  Unlike Laura Ingalls who I knew I could never be, Nancy Drew’s example of “do good” behavior gave me hope that I could become someone useful and cool when I grew up.  Whether or not I’ve accomplished this goal, I don’t know;  but at the very least she showed me that attention to detail and an independent spirit could take you far in this world.

*Amen*

•  Us vs. Them.  I’ve never, ever seen so many narcissistic people on TV in one week as I have this week.  Hello, Washington!  How are you weasels doing?  Let’s review what narcissism is, shall we?  It’s shallow, self-absorbed behavior in which your need to be important trumps everyone else’s right to exist;  combine this behavior with being overly sensitive to perceived criticism, and we have an egotistical, whiny person who only focuses on himself or herself.  Sound like anyone in DC?  Oh, yes– I know, it sounds like everyone in the U.S. Congress.  It’s time for all you weasels children people to shut up… sit down… and do something productive.

*Capiche?*

•  We.  So we’re going to pay our bills.  Good idea.  That would be the responsible thing to do.  As WE have racked them up, now WE must pay them down.  I hope that there will be less bills in our future.  That would be an example of reducing.  And I pray that there will be more money in the coffers.  That would be an example of regulating & refining.  But I fear that until Americans understand that the U.S. Constitution starts with the words “WE the people” none of the common sense things that need to be done will be done.  And this nonsense will continue forever.

*Meh*

Blogging: Then And Now

Subtitled: In Which I Explain How I Came To Be A Blogger

Sub-Subtitled: Blame It On The Dirt

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I read my first blog in the summer of 1997.  I was searching online {pre-Google} for info on gardening in clay dirt when I stumbled across this unique website by a regional gardener/college prof.  The website was called a weblog and I was amazed to discover that this weblog was updated on a weekly basis.  I could return to the site every week and learn something new!

I was smitten: info, updates & a bit of personality.  Yes!  This was my kind of place.

###

But then my life got very busy and I forgot about weblogs.  In the fall of 2002 I read an article in a newspaper that linked to these new things called blogs— which I instantly realized were more advanced versions of the gardening weblog that I’d loved years before.  According to the newspaper article people were writing personal blogs that they filled like a diary or a scrapbook.  Then they shared their blogs with the world– and encouraged their readers to leave comments.  

Comments, I wondered?  What might this be?  So I followed the links in the newspaper and discovered that people were indeed now keeping daily blogs– and that readers were leaving their 2¢ on the blogs in a place called comments.

I was re-smitten: info, updates & a bit of personality combined with the ability to talk with people all over the world.  What was not to love?

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Soon thereafter I jumped into blogging.  First, I commented and emailed with bloggers I found {mostly by spending hours surfing the pre-Blogher net}.  Then, on the advice of a blogger friend, I started my own blog– which turned out to be a huge challenge to create and a great deal of fun to keep.  However, after about four years of being a daily blogger, I was tired of keeping a blog so I let it go and walked away from the blogosphere.

###

Fast forward to the winter of 2011 when I decided that it was time for me to get back into blogging.   Much had changed in my life– and in the blogosphere– so I decided to start this blog with the understanding that I’d not post on a daily basis and that I’d write about whatever interests me in the moment.  Just because I could.

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IMHO, the coolest thing about blogging is– and always has been– that with a bit of desire and gumption anyone can have a blog.  That’s what hooked me on blogging in the first place.  Personal expression + instant connection.   

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Blogging has changed along the way into something more polished and more organized than the early versions that I fell in love with.  Having recently re-entered the blogosphere, I see four things about blogging that surprise me.  Whether they are idiosyncratic to my experiences or the norm, I could not say;   I’ll leave that for others to figure out.  All I know is that things are not as they once were– and I’m cool with that.

  1. Blogs all look very pretty now.  In fact, in the process of setting up this blog I have not once used a piece of code.  Amazing.  I spent hours & hours & hours working on the code to get my first blog to look passible.  Now, pretty is a given.
  2. Blogs are all classified into niches.  I’ve found very few generalists like myself.  Instead, everyone who keeps a blog is [or wants to be] an authority on one specific subject.  I see nothing wrong with this, but realize that connecting with other bloggers is more difficult because of it.  Blogging is not as open and free-form as it once was.
  3. Most blogs are monetized now.  That was a new concept when I left the blogosphere, but today it is ubiquitous.  I understand the reason why people are trying to make money off of their blogs.  However, adverts and product placements put a different vibe into the blogging mix;  one that wasn’t there years ago when people blogged just for the fun of it.
  4. Many blogs do not seem to want commenters– as much as followers.  I see a shift away from the comment section as a cocktail party {with everyone chatting it up & discussing all sides of an issue} to the comment section as standing in line at the coffee shop {with casual, polite encounters & indifferent shrugs}.  It’s a different take on what it means to connect and communicate with others.  I get it, but it has taken me awhile to adapt to this more reserved approach to commenting.

###

I feel fortunate that I discovered blogging early on and allowed myself to be vulnerable enough to give it a try.  It has evolved so far from my first encounter with it in 1997– and I couldn’t be happier.  Yet different as it is now, the basic concept remains the same: info, updates & a bit of personality.

Yep, I’m still-smitten… after all these years.    

And Then He Said…

“I’ve found that with email it takes people longer to get back to you, or ignore you, than you think it will.”

~ Zen-Den

Well.  Okay.  You’re right.  But I don’t have to like it– now do I?

And how am I supposed to know if they’re just pokey little puppies about returning my emails?  Or if they’re really ignoring me?  Hmmm?  Answer me that one, He-who-talks-in-koans.

<sound of me muttering while stomping out of the room>

*humph*

[The WP spell checker just told me that “humph” isn’t a word, but “Humph” is a word.  And I just reset the spell checker to always accept a lower case “humph” as a word.  Doesn’t WP know that not all situations call for a capital letter “Humph”?  Honestly, who creates these spell check thingies?]