Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Social Offensive


I always say that real life is much more interesting than fiction. You can't make this stuff up. 

So it's only logical that we could live in a world where we debate whether a woman punched in the head so hard it knocks her unconscious "deserved it," and still throw a temper tantrum about a work of fiction that shows a female abuse victim exacting revenge. 

But I digress. This post isn't about the continued imbalance in the battle of the sexes. It's about the rise of "social media me." 

At what point did your opinion become something I have to care about? Or mine to you for that matter? 

As someone who operates in the social media realm daily for work, I am often overwhelmed by opinions. Facebook, twitter, instagram have become platforms to spew hate for politics, parenting, television, movies, novels and ESPECIALLY, the actions of others. 

Thanks in no small part to social media, society has become so self-obsessed with sharing their every thought that it's become a constant noise of negative complaint and criticism for every single thing. 

It's amazing how often someone tweets or messages my company to outline all the ways in which we are clearly morons. Thanks to this dear soul who is obviously superior and willing to take the time to outline our many offenses and idiocy. Oh praise be and bless you for fixing our errant ways. (Is there a sarcasm font, I wonder?)

It has become so pervasive, it's now a regular skit on late-night television to have actors or athletes read aloud the tweets of the horrible things people say about them. Inane. (And secretly funny.)

Now I pause to recognize the irony of the fact that I'm blogging my negative opinion. But as this IS my blog, I
let my rant stand.

Obviously there is really only one solution for this. Leave social media behind. So began my slow retreat earlier this year. 

Again, as this is my business, I have to stay somewhat involved, but I have stripped away those that leave that negative swirl in their wake. Re-tooled my twitter to become a news RSS feed. Unfollowed most people on Facebook, picked up more food, drinks, art and fashion. 

I'm happy to say my experiment in social media regression has been more positive. I imagine the refinement will be more extreme during election year but for now I get guitars, and Pink Floyd and Mary Cassatt. I can live with that. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Life’s little listy

I’ve been a list maker all my life. Grocery list, honey-do list, what-to-pack-on-my-trip list, birthday-party list, hell I even make errands-to-run lists. A former partner called them my “little listies.”

My list is purposeful, meant to keep me on track. It delivers a clear outline of what I need
and what to do, with a glance. It is NOT a primer for journalism.

Hold on, what? Yes, journalism. 

Lately I’m overwhelmed but the number of articles I read that are actually a regurgitated, or worse, opinion-based list. 

Even my beloved NPR has fallen into the pseudo list category, theirs with a fancy video and infographic, of course.

When I discuss with my journalist friends the state of the current media (abysmal!) we tend to agree that the 24/7 news cycle may be one of the worst thing that has ever happened to news. We simply cannot fill the need to consume. So the industry has resorted to the most base, useless writing tactic: the little listy.

Gone is research, investigation, interviewing, craft and editing. Instead you have a list that when put into practical use means you spend most of your day making a list, exercising, getting good sleep, meditating, shopping at the farmers market, clipping coupons, surrounding yourself with POSITIVE people ONLY and staring deeply in your children’s eyes so they can see you hear their needs.

Another triumph for shitty journalism.

That’s not to say that I don’t read anything meaningful any more. I do. The interview with Gary Oldman in Playboy magazine was great! But it was because of Gary Oldman, not the interviewer.

  
And I continue my love affair with Pope Francis.

Oh and yes, there is a list for him also. “10 Things to Remember When Pope Francis Upsets You.” 

I’ve dedicated to two things in my life recently: less social media and more personal engagement. I’m adding to that list, "don’t read stories that are just lists."

I’ve read that one of the habits of highly successful people is that they make lists. Know where I read that? Yep, on a list. 

Here’s a list of some of the traits of successful people, just in case you were wondering.

Or just in case, try this one.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Love’s Labor is Not Lost

It’s been two years since my granny passed away. It’s funny how time moves so fast while we seem to trudge through it. Two years gone. How many years before that lost to Alzheimers? Too many.

I had a particularly close relationship with my grandparents. I practically lived with them as a child, then I did live with them my first year in college. After my granddad passed away, I again lived with granny until I was married.

After she was gone, I started thinking about the things I wish I had of hers. When she was alive, I felt it was grotesque to take her things. Like she would somehow snap out of dementia and need them all again. Now I wish I had just a few.
 
One in particular was an old metal glider that sat on the back patio. She and grandpa would drink coffee, smoke cigarettes and glide every morning. After he passed away, she could be found there often – sitting on his side – smoking, drinking coffee and gliding.

She sat there while grandbabies played in the small pool at her feet. She sat there in the evenings a few times when she had wine. I joined her there for her afternoon smoke in the summer when I came home from class before I zipped off to work.
 
And always, we would glide.

For my 40th birthday, I asked my mom for one present, this rusty old glider. It was not granny’s, but it is reminiscent enough to fill my needs.

It was a weekend’s labor to sand, strip, paint and finish it. (That whole "lead-based paint thing".. yeah.)

My goal was not only to have a reminder, but a place holder for the next generation. I want my family to sit next to me and glide while I drink my coffee every morning, talk about my tomatoes or read my book in the sunshine.

I need my son to find his spot on the glider. And maybe when I'm gone, he will take this piece of me to his house for his children and grandchildren to remember. 


It was a labor of love, but it was worth it to replace a small piece of her that was lost. 

Friday, April 04, 2014

Lyrical Note Poetry

When I was in high school, then later college, I learned the lost art of shorthand. It’s a skill I used to take notes in class, during my time as a reporter and has followed me to every communications job thereafter.

While I rarely use the technique any more, I’m a still a prodigious note taker. All meetings, events, training, parent-teach conferences -- even church – will find me with a notebook, back of a flyer or spare grocery receipt taking my notes.

I also listen to music when I write, which is pretty much all day long. Combine those two and I will regularly jot down song lyrics as they strike me.

This week I went through my notebook sorting notes and adding them to the various project folders. As I went I transcribed every song lyric. The result is a very loving, pseudo-stalker-but-with-loving-intentions poem.
  
Love, love is something I believe in
I’ve seen her walking home alone,
Get back temptation
Do you know who you really are, are you sure it’s really you?
Come away little lamb come away to the slaughter,
To the ones appointed to see this through.
Lay me down, let me go
I'm feeling heavy, the ground is cold
Pardon me for being so cruel,
But the general consensus, you see, is that I fucking rule
I’m looking right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
She got that good love, she give it just to me
Oh what a lovely day, breaking the chains of love
Hoping you won’t find a new love
Cause I know baby, you’re mine

In addition I also found some very unprofessional comments I made to myself. I’m sure myself agreed with them all.
  • “This looks really basic and a waste of time for us."
  •  “Why no water on the table? Lame!”
  •  “I hate her.”
  • “Why does she wear so much make up?”

Monday, March 24, 2014

The TSA, also known as This Sucks Ass

I’ve had occasion to fly frequently of late. And here is one thing I’ve learned: there is no elegance to flying.

When I say elegance, it’s not so much in reference to beauty or craft but more into the humble human need to preserve some dignity.

There is no dignity in air travel.

Before you even set foot in a plane, your identity is called into question at least twice, your half-stripped of clothing, wandering barefoot on carpet that hasn’t seen a vacuum since 1982 and God forbid the x-ray finds something circumspect in that carry on.

“Why yes, semi-literate TSA agent, that’s three days-worth of already-worn panties in that pocket. Thongs. Not even big enough to tuck a bomb into, so how about you close that up now?

Oh that? It’s an EPI pen. So I don’t die from anaphylactic shock. Shall I stick in your neck and see if it works? No? Such a shame.”

Assuming you aren’t arrested, finger probed, boob patted or otherwise molested, you
move onto your next humiliation to stand in line next to your number like a good little girl.

Skinny aisle, tiny seat, overhead bins made for 6 foot tall people only. Leg room? Pshaw! Kindergarten-sized drinking cups but still pay $8 for a glass of wine (really??) and peanuts meant for small chimps. 

Dignity not included.

I am not na├»ve. I lived in this country before and after 9/11. I understand the emotional toll that placed on air travel. I expect reasonable security measures -- or even unreasonable ones -- if it prevents that from ever happening again. But I must question how my stiletto heels can be used to hide a hypodermic needle (yes, it’s been suggested) and how my travel-sized fingernail clippers -- which barely clip nails – represent a deadly weapon. Or maybe I should be flattered that my appearance obviously provokes fear and images of James Bondesque-techniques that turn a harmless pair of tweezers into an instrument of death.


Either way, I think, by way of compromise for the benefit of air safety measures, the booze should be free. At least then when my dignity is gone due to drunkenness, I can say it was absolutely my heels that made me do it. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Live like the Pope, and other resolutions for 2014

Yes, this is a little behind. I have been happily jumping into 2014 and not thinking much about resolving to do anything other than embrace it with both arms. But since I have thought a lot about this post already, might as well crack on with it.

Historically my resolutions focus less on “stop” and more on “do.” In the past I’ve resolved to read all the Pulitzer Prize winners, in which I learned I loathe the works of William Faulkner with a passion. I vowed to write more fiction, write more on this blog (yeah about that..), I volunteered, learned to salsa, took a burlesque class, aerial acrobatics class, ran a 5k and found a fond joy for running. You get the gist.

The past year was full of some amazing emotional ups and downs. I went into December with little desire to write any resolutions. Then I saw this little list of the Pope Francis's New Year’s resolutions.

I am not Catholic, but I have to admit that I dig this Pope like crazy. He is what I imagined Jesus meant for his followers: a kind, considerate, loving human being. He doesn’t position himself as infallible. But a man who embraces his fallacies and looks for ways to be a better human being to all the other fucked up human beings who live on this planet.

Since I read that list, I’ve also seen his comments on breastfeeding babies in public. I’ve been to the Sistine Chapel. I would applaud a few more lactating mommies in that beautiful room.
  
Then there are his thoughts on gays and women in the church. There still much, much more room for progress, but rock on.

So this year I resolved to adopt the Pope’s resolutions. Less malice, more love. Less things, more thought. Less anxiety, more thankful. And above all more happy. Those seem like damn good resolutions to me.


I’m happy to say the year ended on such a high note, it still takes my breath away. But more about that later. Until then, Live Like the Pope (LLP) is a pretty good mantra for 2014. 

Friday, December 06, 2013

I’ll never kiss and tell … (you to fuck off)

Apparently this blog is becoming a dating blog.

Who knew it would be this difficult? Raise your hand so I can slap you for not warning me.

The trick of online dating is patience. Not my strongest skill set. I have slogged through for a few weeks now. As my friend KH will attest, I swear to delete my profile every few days. And then I’ll get a bite and string it on a little longer.

I’ve had some really crummy dates, including one guy who was the real-life version of Flanders from the Simpsons. He was soooo boring. I knew we were doomed when he showed me the pic of his newest toy train.

Moving on.

Recently had a lovely exchange, followed by a date with someone I really liked. There was chemistry. Laughing. Lingering. Smooching.


Wait …. what? Oh yes. I smooched him. It was the bingo round, people, and I thought I had a coverall.

Then I never heard from him again.

WTF!

I’m usually pretty good at reading people, especially when they are into me. I like me, you obviously like me, this could go someplace nice.

After our date, I e-mailed to share my enjoyment of the evening. Crickets.

Oh hell no.

For a second, I understand why women can go nuts. I know enough about him to make him uncomfortable.

The difference between myself and the really crazy bitches, is that I think about it, but that’s as far as it goes.

But fellas, let me say, this is WHY we are crazy. And you have no one but yourself to blame.


Meeting my next potential stalking subject for lunch today. I’ll let you know how it goes.