I think you get the best of me. not in terms of mental sharpness or coherence, even. but in terms of mood. in fact, I sometimes wonder if all of my enthusiasm and affection is hard to take undiluted by my occasional grumpiness or sadness. I tend to try to stay away from the internet (at least from *posting* on the internet, since staying away from reading it just makes it so much more overwhelming when I get back) when I’m not feeling my usual self, because I really really hate to listen to (or read) myself whining.
right now, I’m sad, though. I’m trying really hard to be my usual self, and some of you know me well enough to know that my reactions require reigning in more often than they require an effort at enthusiasm, so this is strange for me. but I can’t not be on the internet. because what happened is that a friend died. an “online” friend. a week ago tonight. but I found out about it Friday, as some of you know. this weekend has been tough. my thoughts are with Mac’s family and friends. and, yes, I include his online friends in that. (there will be another blog post someday discussing friendship and the internet. we’ve already talked a bit about it on Tumblr, but I feel like maybe there’s more to say.) so, I’d like to try to wrap my head around this a little, try to put some thoughts in order. if I can.
I was introduced to Mac Tonnies via John Cabrera, as I often have been, this year, to the people in my online life. Mac was a writer, a blogger, an intellectual with a brilliant sense of humor… and after several Twitter conversations that could not be contained in 140 characters (most often on my end, as will surprise none of you, I’m sure) we began emailing. we talked about life… about cities we like and music and relationships. we certainly weren’t what I would call “best friends”, but he was someone I cared about and communicated with, and counted on seeing every day online. he posted things that made me laugh, that frightened me, and that intrigued me. I noticed his absence immediately, it’s difficult not to notice when something you usually see daily disappears. but I knew he was busy- he was writing a new book, had a potential new relationship, and there were other possible projects on the horizon that he’d mentioned- so I tried not to worry. after a few days, though, I was getting concerned. I sent him a message, saying how odd it seemed not to see him online for several consecutive days, and that I hoped all was well with him. of course, I got no response. it was two days later that I learned he’d died.
Mac probably knew, if it was something he thought about, how much I admired him, and that I enjoyed his sense of humor, shared much of his musical taste, and took a lot of pleasure from our communications. I’m not usually one to miss an opportunity to express appreciation for the people in my life, so I think that was already said. I don’t feel like there was anything unfinished there. but I still feel a tremendous sense of loss… I miss him. I miss seeing his posts every day, and wondering whether or not I had the courage to click one of his links, not knowing where it would lead. I miss knowing that he’s somewhere on the other side of a computer, accessible. an email, a tweet, or a comment away. most of all, I’m saddened to think of what the world will miss out on without his contributions. but I also am so glad to have known him while I did. and I guess that’s the most important thing to focus on, now.
and my list of demands suggestions.
I am a frequent user of the following sites:
LiveJournal (listed first because I’ve been with it longest, though I only ever read my friendslist, and almost never actually post there anymore) there’s really not much I would change about LiveJournal, in terms of usability.
Facebook (I’m not going to bother with my list of things to change about FB because they are many, and are things that others would not necessarily appreciate, depending on how they use the site.)
so let’s start with the simplest.
Twitter– all I would really like is a way to ‘like’ Tweets, not it a “bookmark” sort of way, but in a ‘I agree/approve/enjoyed this but have nothing to add/it’s too long to RT/it doesn’t apply to the rest of twitterverse” sort of way. in a way that will be shown to the original poster, similar to an @reply. that’s really pretty much it. you can customize the colors and background, which I love. and there are clients/applications and affiliated sites that will do pretty much everything else I might want to do. EDIT! okay, thanks to @adnauseam, I now have another request/suggestion/thing: a group tweet option, to reply to multiple users without using up your 140 character limit. and/or usernames not counting against your character limit. EDIT the 2nd! yeah, the other thing I forgot has been my main complaint from the beginning. my twitter is protected. I like this, it makes me feel more comfortable. but! no one can see my tweets unless they are following me back. THIS I don’t like. I don’t want people to *have* to follow me. I want to be able to follow people and have them automatically be able to see my tweets, at the very least, the ones to them. besides, having me approve people following me, who I’m already following, that’s silly! (and also a very badly written sentence, but moving on…) if I didn’t approve them, how stalkerish would that be?! do we really want to be encouraging weird stalking/lurking behavior, Twitter? I didn’t think so. so, how about you follow LJ’s lead and make my protected account accessible to anyone I’m following, as well as people I’ve approved who I’m not following, eh?
Tumblr– I want something for Tumblr like Twitter’s @replies, where you can go to see all of the people who’ve liked/reblogged your posts. also, I want a more accessible comparison of followers/followees. something like Twitter Karma for Tumblr. I want to know my Tumblr karma.
Blip.fm– I really really want there to not be a limit on props. omg, that irritates me SO MUCH. also, I would like SOME sort of order to the way they add listeners so that it’s chronological or alphabetical, or at least not completely random as it seems to be right now. and, again, a way to compare listeners/listened to. especially since I only actually get emailed a fraction of the time when someone starts listening to me, so I hardly ever know who it is to see if I want to listen to them, too. so, I want to be able to give props to any songs I want to (maybe only 1 prop per song, if there has to be a limit on something. but don’t limit how many I can give to a certain DJ and please especially stop limiting how many props I have to give! arrgh.)
what do you think? like/dislike my ideas? have more??
hm, okay. I think that’s it, for now. back to work. 😉 xoxoxo
okay, so Summer term has started. I am only taking 2 classes instead of 3, since apparently that’s all I need to graduate (!!) even though a few months ago I still needed another Psych class… seems the academic counselors rearranged my credits more effectively, which is great… especially since taking just these two classes is going to be plenty exhausting.
over the next 4 weeks, for Eng 399 I’ll be rereading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, reading Sometimes a Great Notion for the first time, as well as two books discussing Ken Kesey’s writing. (plus writing a weekly assignment, a (blessedly short) 5pg term paper, and taking a midterm (next week) and a final two weeks later. the workload for Eng 468 is a bit lighter. lots of reading, though nothing I recognize, a midterm, a final, and a term paper.
(for anyone who saw this earlier and is confused… yes, there was a long, boring ramble here about random stuff, which I have now deleted. you’re welcome!)
in other news, there will be a blog about Cody’s and my recent trip to California (with photos, of course) and I think I have one or two others started, but probably not til after my graduation!
so, I got a letter last week saying that I was to be available for jury duty this week. I was ok with it, I mean, we’ve all got our civic responsibility, and whatnot. I just, if I could have chosen, would not have it this week. still, though, I talked to my mom about it, and she said she’d never actually been selected to sit in on a jury, and that most of the time the trials were dismissed before she ever had to show up. of course, yesterday I called the jury line and the automated recording said that jurors were needed today at 9am. and, when I was talking to a coworker, she told a story about how when she was 19 she had to sit on a jury and it was horrific. also, she almost got held in contempt of court for being late. “Jules,” she said, “lie to them. you’re remarkably normal, they love that. tell them something they really don’t want to hear.”
anyway, this morning, after going to the wrong courthouse at first, I arrived, right at 9am. (I’ll allow a moment here for you all to catch your breath. I know.)
so, we hand in our questionnaires about, y’know… who we are, where we live, who we live with, etc. and then we go sit in a room and wait. there are, I think, 15 of us at this point, and I’m thinking, “a jury has 12 members, right, so only 3 of us get to go home??” well, we all get called in for selection (no one has even spoken to us directly til now) and we file in and sit down… then they just start calling names and of course, I’m picked. here’s the thing, though: I’m a terrible liar. terrible. if I were to say that I was somehow biased, they’d ask me to elaborate, and I’d be screwed, and then I’d probably be in trouble. besides, I figure, I’m a pretty fair person. maybe it’ll be good that I’m on the jury. also? there are only 6 of us?! the whole time today, I was like, “but… 12 Angry Men? Jury Duty? To Kill a Mockingbird??! I… don’t… get it?” anyway, yes. only 6.
then there’s a list of questions they ask to make sure no one needs to be excused. one person is excused because the defendant’s lawyer’s represented her before. another is excused because she doesn’t feel she can be impartial, with a pretty valid & emotional explanation attached.
the case is this (simplified): a guy got caught soliciting sex in an undercover police operation. he admits to the conversation, even talking monetary amounts and offering to trade drugs as well as money, but he claims that he never intended to go through with it, and was just saying “ok” to get her to leave him alone.
we unanimously voted guilty, based on the evidence. frankly, even though I have not the slightest doubt that it was the right decision to make, it was a little heartbreaking for me. I don’t like to judge people harshly, and I know we all make mistakes, and the guy’s married (which is, I’m guessing, why this ever even came to trial) but I couldn’t in good conscience say he wasn’t guilty, when presented with the evidence. absolutely, beyond reasonable doubt. *sigh*
the funniest part was when we had deliberated & had the verdict, we went to give it & everyone had gone to lunch. so we had to wait, like, 15 minutes to find someone to let them know we were ready.
the worst part was after we left, when I was talking to the clerk about submitting for a dismissal on a ticket I got a week & a half ago… the guy and his wife came out of the courtroom, and she was pissed. he didn’t look at me. but she yelled about injustice and swore about undercover operations. the clerk said, “look, if you’re a married man and a pretty lady starts talking to you about sex, point to your ring & take off. and she should be mad at HIM, not at the police.” that pretty much covers how I feel about the situation.
at least it was quick. and there was tea in the deliberation room. and, presumably, I won’t have to do it again for a long time? I don’t really know the rules there, actually.
this term, I’ve suffered from a severe case of Senioritis, writer’s block, and an intense lack of motivation. I also have an abundant supply of distractions at my disposal, all of which are far preferable to actually doing homework and writing papers.
this, combined with my highly developed ability to procrastinate, lots of personal stuff going on this term, as well as some work issues, have me so much farther behind than usual (coming into the last week of the term for me) that I’m seriously stressed. still, early in the term, I developed a process that has helped with some of these things:
I take a bath. I print out the essays/articles I need for background on the paper, print the instructor’s requirements, and I grab my tape recorder.
see, staring at a blank document on the screen intimidates me. I’m already feeling idea-drained after 7 years of higher learning… “how much more do I really have to say?” I’m thinking, and that glowing white rectangular idea-vacuum agrees, and mocks me from my laptop’s screen.
well, those of you who have interacted with me at all, ever, know that I have a lot to say, on most topics. especially ones I care about. maybe not a lot to say that’s relevant, or helpful, or coherent, even. but I talk a lot, nevertheless. and I definitely care about psychology.
so here’s why this strategy works well for me: because I’m not staring at a blank screen… I am relaxing in the tub, reading articles on a topic that I (usually) find interesting and pertinent to my career goals. and talking, which is something I do extensively, if not well. I just record my reactions to the articles, read through the instructions from my teacher, and try to touch on all the points I’ve been asked to cover in the paper. this way, my thoughts flow naturally, (mostly) uninterrupted by my self-editing.
by the time I get out of the bath, I not only smell like pomegranate and mango (or apple and pear, depending on my mood) and am refreshed and relaxed, but all I have to do is type up my “first draft” of ramblings. for sure, I’ll have editing to do! I’ll need to remove the ‘um’ and ‘uh’ moments, as well as a bit of tangential rambling, being me… but I’ll do that editing, fill in a few gaps, and have a decent draft. just a couple more read-throughs, and my paper is good to go.
the key is to start the process early enough, which I didn’t do today, unfortunately. but, hey, at least I smell good. 🙂
those of you following my Tumblr &/or Twitter (someday I will spend time on this site to make it pretty and it’ll have shiny buttons and widgets, but this is not that day.) may know that I’ve recently been phone-posting to Tumblr. if you aren’t aware of that, you’re not missing much… it’s a lot of rambling about nothing much, and me being very nervous. (some people have told me they’re enjoying them, though, so I’m hoping to work through my nervousness and keep it up.)
I can’t fully explain it, but it makes me extremely nervous to know that people are hearing me speak… this is, I think, partly because I don’t particularly like the sound of my own voice, and partly because I know that if I was to listen to these things later I would spend the whole time wondering *why* I decided that anything I had to say was worth sharing with strangers (this is, amusingly, true of my writing as well, which is why I feel kind of ridiculous having a blog, along with all the other social networking sites I belong to. the fact that more than 100 people are following me on twitter is indescribably baffling to me. but I really like my followers, so I am definitely not complaining! just confused.) and would quite possibly just delete every phone post immediately after listening.
umm, that was a bit of a tangent. my *point* is that I recently found my old tape recorder & a bunch of blank tapes (along with a half-finished recorded letter to a friend that I started 3 or 4 years ago and never mailed, which now has Cody intermittently saying hello on it since he discovered how to work it.) and I had the brilliant idea that since I was stuck on this series of essays I had to write, I would just record my ideas verbally and type/edit them later. well… that could’ve been a good idea, except for that part where I can’t stand to listen to my own voice, and I heavily criticize everything I say. so now I’m working on the awkward task of transcribing the tape and if there was a repetitive-motion injury one could get from rolling ones eyes at oneself, I would have one by now.
in other news, I have been uncharacteristically active socially, lately. I’m naturally introverted (I just have a sieve-like filter system, so I talk a lot) and being in groups of people is actually exhausting for me. so I don’t really do much, nor do I have time to do much, in the way of entertainment. but there’ve been a flurry of musicians and shows that I really want/wanted to see, so I’m making an effort to be a little more… extroverted. seeing Spamalot was worth every ounce of that effort, and I’m sure Indigo Girls next weekend will be, also.
I was hoping to be able to catch a Terra Naomi show when I’m in California this summer, but she just sent me a message (and despite the fact that the message said I’m not likely to see her perform while I’m there, getting a message from her made my whole day, let me just say that now) saying she’s not scheduled to play in LA while I’m there.
I have a feeling I’m forgetting a lot of what I was originally planning to say, but it’s time to brave the downpour and run some errands.
Okay, so… I’ve had words in a draft here for almost two weeks. I just haven’t had time and energy to create actual sentences and complete my thoughts.
How about a new post to start out the week?
Firstly, I am not a completely materialistic person. I like to own books and DVDs that I know I’ll want to watch or read at a moment’s notice, but that’s more because I like my escapism. Still, there are a few shiny things that I would like if I had the money. These include, but are not limited to:
a) an iPhone, mainly because it makes it so so easy to use your phone for *so* many things… every time a new iPhone app comes out, I get a little jealous. I love my Voyager, don’t get me wrong. I just really want an iPhone. heh. EDIT: I totally didn’t know how awesome the Blackberries are. AND they’re not AT&T! I would definitely like a Blackberry. I think I might prefer it over the iPhone, but I want to play with both to compare.:)
b) Kindle. Ohhh, man, what I wouldn’t give for a Kindle. seriously, a lightweight, back-lit, transportable way to read hundreds of different books on one device that fits into my purse? Are you kidding?? Nothing will ever replace holding an actual book in my hands, the smell of the ink and the pages, the weight of it… but having something like a Kindle would mean (among other things) that I don’t have to carry several books in my purse all the time, making my purse weigh about 10lbs more than it needs to.
c) A mini laptop! One of my classmates has one of these, and I am *so* jealous. It’s small enough, again, to fit in the world’s cutest bag, fully functional, and would just make life easier. Plus, it’s adorable. 😉
random other thoughts:
I recently had a visit with my doctor. He asked me, “So, are you getting enough sleep?” I may not have been able to stop myself from looking at him like he was crazy. “…6 or 7 hours a night, then?” he asked. “More like four,” I responded. I didn’t add that that’s on a good day. Still, at least I usually can make up for some of it on the weekend.
Did you ever used to think, when you were little, that you’d go to all those places you wrote reports about? States, countries… I vividly remember writing lengthy reports on Oklahoma, Florida, Thailand, Italy, and Mexico… and I’ve been to none of those places.
In 15 minutes, it’ll be another Monday. This weekend went by way too quickly! Maybe the week will go just as quickly. 🙂