Thus Far My August Has Not Been The Best

Here we go…

GOBSMACKED.  My car, parked legally on our street, was in an accident.  I found out about this when a neighbor, then a police officer, came to our front door to tell me that someone had rear-ended my vehicle.  Was it another car? A truck? A van or SUV? A person on a motorcycle?

No it was not.

It was a man on a bicycle who was going so fast that when he lost control he propelled himself through my back windshield, shattering it to bits.  And hurting himself so much that he had to be airlifted to a hospital across town.

[I have no further information on his condition at this time and my car is in the process of being repaired.]

DISAPPOINTED.  When Google Reader shut down a few years ago, I started using Feedly as my RSS reader.  I was thrilled with their straightforward, fresh and easy-to-use format.

In fact, as one of the early community members I told everyone I knew about this service because there was no fuss when reorganizing your feeds, no distractions when reading your chosen content.

Earlier this spring, I graciously consented to take a few in-house Feedly surveys, each of which had about a gazillion questions.  In my responses I praised what the company was doing, telling them that I appreciated how they were staying true to the idea that simplicity is best.

Well, Feedly didn’t listen to me.  And last week they changed their simple box-oriented organizational format to a cluttered mess of feeds, shown in lists overburdened with distracting data.  When I asked Feedly what the heck was going on, they told that the community wanted this.

Really? Hmmm. Not everyone.

[Therein I will leave this story, wiser to the truth in the old saying: if you aren’t paying for it, you’re the product.]

EXHAUSTED.  Our 3 to 4 week remodeling project, that started on June 5th, is now into week 10.  We’re still waiting for the rest of the decorative tile to arrive– and now we’re waiting for the second custom frame for the shower doors to arrive.

Why?  The first custom frame, measured correctly, was then created in the factory incorrectly.  This first frame, when installed in our bathroom, was too short for the doors.

So until a new frame arrives, sometime before Christmas one hopes, we have shower doors leaning against the wall in the bedroom, rather than serving, what I would believe to be, their intended purpose in the bathroom.

[This project has had more unanticipated screw-ups than even I could envision– and I’m pretty damned creative & fretful when planning anything.]

SADDENED.  It is with sorrow that I share with you, my gentle readers, that Fuzzy the Squirrel has passed away.  I’d been seeing less of him around the deck this summer, and when I did see him he was moving slowly, not even bothering to swipe a few tomatoes from my pot.

Last week while watering flower beds out back of the house, I found his almost lifeless body, under a bush near our lower level patio.  He glanced at me, then rolled his eyes upward, as he twitched his right front paw in the air.

Shortly thereafter he was gone from this world.  However, Fuzzy will be remembered forever in the pages of this blog.  May he RIP.

[All stories about Fuzzy the Squirrel are here.]

Social Media: Rambling Thoughts About People Who Hate-Follow

It’s not that I’m a martyr to nice, but I don’t hate-follow anyone on social media.  It seems like more work than fun to me, but maybe I don’t know how to do it right.

I know it’s a thing to hate-follow other people.  I keep hearing about it from friends and family, sometimes in the context of harmless mischief, other times mentioned as, what I’d call, peremptory maliciousness.

They tell me who they follow, often a high school nemesis or a work frenemy or a disliked neighbor.

They tell me that doing this makes them feel good about themselves. That by keeping tabs on someone who they dislike, they come to understand themselves better &/or stay ahead of any trouble that might be brewing.

I don’t know if I totally buy into my friends and family’s reasoning behind the hate-following. To me their reasoning sounds more like rationalization about doing something kinda fun + almost amoral, than behavior contributing to a person’s good mental health.

But considering no one expects me to become a hate-follower, and no one seems to have upped his or her dosage of Zanax because of the hate-following, I figure what the heck?

I mean if nothing else, these friends and family do seem to have some fun, juicy stories to share about people– and you know me, I always love a good story, regardless of how someone learns about it.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

• Do you hate-follow anyone on social media? If so, how’s that working out for you? Details, please.

• Alternately, do you know anyone who hate-follows on social media? If so, do they have good stories to tell because of it? Or is it warping their brain to the dark side?

• Even more intriguing, do you think anyone is hate-following you? Hmmm?

An Experiment: Photographing The Woods With My iPhone

I need something new + creative to do in my life so I’ve thought about maybe joining Instagram.

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In order to get an idea of what it’d be like to be an Instagramer, I wandered down our backyard stone steps to the terrace-level…

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walked across some crunchy leaves…

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then sat down on a chair where I started taking photos of the autumnal beauty around me with my iPhone.

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Looking at the blah results of my experiment I wonder if I’d ever be happy using a phone to photograph my life.  I do well capturing my life using my camera, but if I was on Instagram I’d be using my iPhone.  I dunno. Maybe yes, maybe no.

~ ~ ~ ~
QOTD: 

Are you on Instagram? What do you like about it? What do you photograph? How often do you go there?

~ ~ ~ ~

What Say We Try Kindness?

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 7.27.09 AMI’ve blogged for a long time.

In fact, while messing around the other day in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine for something unrelated to this blog, I found a logo from 10 years ago for an online group of bloggers who committed to using words kindly.

Although I’d forgotten about it, I was part of that group.

• • •

We were an optimistic bunch.

We sincerely thought that blogging would evolve into a source of respectful understanding and positive connections among people in this world.

I’m charmed by the naiveté of it all.  Especially in light of the past few week’s endless noise on FB and vitriol on Twitter.

But of course those social media didn’t exist when this group formed, so we had no idea about what was coming.

• • •

I rarely long for the good ole days.  

I realize that it’s easy to idealize remembrances of times past, and that these remembrances are often irrelevant when it comes to the issues of the day.

I’m a realist.  What was, isn’t.

But in this one case, regarding social media, I’m going to suggest that stepping back from how we as a society now do things would be a good idea.  The 24/7 insatiable need to be noticed and adored, which is how social media works currently, is not the best way to connect.

In contrast, looking back to 10 years ago, I remember how early blogging worked.  It was a heady experience that focused on authentic connections with other people, rather than the care and feeding of your ego.

• • •

I know that I’m preaching to the choir here.

And that my small voice of reason is going to be drowned out by the selfie-absorbed, the narcissists, the haters, the trolls.  But occasionally I like to believe that I might influence someone in a positive way that encourages him or her…

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 11.05.09 AMTo re-connect with their heart.

To cool it with the focusing on what’s wrong with other people.

And instead, perhaps even– to say something kind to, and about, someone else.

Ain’t We Just: Reflections On Making The Effort

“Well, my time of not taking you seriously is coming to a middle.”

~ Mal to Jayne, Firefly

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I said that I wanted a challenge, didn’t I?  And I got it with June 2014 NaBloPoMo.  I’m halfway through it now.

I’d forgotten how much effort it takes to write on an almost daily basis about subjects gleaned from the details of my life.  I used to do this all the time, you know?  And it was easy.

But back then I was a more optimistic person than I am today.  And back then more people showed up here on a regular basis to chit-chat.  Facebook + Twitter hadn’t turned readers away from us bloggers yet, so if you wanted to connect on social media blogging was the only way to do it.

And it was darned fun.

# # #

However, this is now and I still choose to keep a blog for my own reasons.  On a personal level it keeps my brain clicking and my heart open.

On a more idealistic level I figure that it’ll provide historians hundreds of years from now with written documentation about daily life in the early 2000s, which is really cool if you think about it.

And on a more don’t-take-yourself-too-seriously level I can’t help but think that like Mal and Zoe from Firefly in the following clip, we bloggers who show up on a regular basis are– well, you’ll see…

Mal: “Well, look at this.  It appears that we got here just in the nick of time.  What does that make us?”

Zoe: “Big damn heroes, sir.”

Mal: “Ain’t we just.”

I Love You, But You’re A Fruit Loop

This made me laugh at myself.  File it under: Make No Assumptions.  Ever.

# # #

Sometime last year I met a woman at a business function and we talked about social media.  She knew that her job responsibilities were changing and that soon she’d be expected to contribute to her company’s blog and Twitter account.

She also knew that I had a blog so I gave her my blog’s card thinking that she might want to see what I do and how I do it.  She seemed appreciative.

Or at least that is the way I chose to interpret her actions.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I happened to run into this woman again.  She mentioned my blog and I thought: How wonderful!  Someone who I met in real life is reading my sweet little bloggy. 

But my assumption about this woman’s behavior could not have been any farther from the truth. 

She happily admitted that she’d never read my blog.  Then she went on to tell me that she could make my blog popular because she knew how to do that now.

According to her, what I wrote was not important because a blog’s popularity had nothing to do with content– and everything to do with salesmanship.  Specifically, her salesmanship.

And with that she babbled onto another topic of conversation, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she’d insulted me.

This left me wondering: who is the fruit loop here?  Is it her for being unaware and self-absorbed?  Or [more likely] is it me for even listening to her to begin with?

All I know for sure is that there’s another fruit loop to add to the bowl.  😉