Category Archives: Social Media

Tuesday Noodles

From Rory and Doodle Pip…

Is Social Media Ruining Genuine Friendship & Encouraging More Loneliness?

Actually, I think it is and isn’t, depending on the person and circumstances. Genuine friendships can be ruined by lies and gossip getting out of control on social media in ways that didn’t use to happen. By the time you have a chance to catch your breath, everyone and his brother have weighed in on your personal situation. It’s crazy! And it can make apologizing and one-on-one conversation nearly impossible after things have spiraled into the public or even semi-public arena. Sometimes it feels easier just to walk away from a friendship than to deal with an entire tree of Facebook harpies on top of the original problem.

On the other hand, some of us who have felt isolated and relatively friendless because of whatever reason have found communities of like oddballs online (or even one or two others who grok our special weirdness), and this has been such a blessing, for lack of a less loaded term. What a freaking relief after all these years to “meet,” even if only on a screen, another human who has experienced some of the same shitty things we have. Someone who gets our strange sense of humor. Someone who aligns with us politically. Who collects blue crystal spiders. Or believes life began on Neptune. Whatever! There’s someone somewhere who we can discuss this with, and odds are good it won’t be our next door neighbor or someone at work, but probably someone in another state or country.

With our one weird friend in our pocket, we can now go about our daily life faking normalcy without feeling so all alone.

But! Because we have the weird friend or two, and the ability to find more tailored friends online, it’s so seductive to ignore meatspace people who don’t get us, which is pretty much everyone. And since online friends tend to ghost or take breaks sans explanation, sometimes you’re left feeling even emptier than before.

Why Do People Bully Others?

Insecurity. Yep. This is textbook bullying, mostly by men who are “losers” according to cultural standards, but online they have the ability to hurt others, especially when they clump together in a bropod.

Avoid Own Problems. For sure. I think many of us Usenet “combat prose warriors” were in avoidance mode. I was. It was an escape from my home life, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone in that. We were all spending waaay too much time there to have healthy offline relationships.

Look Cool. Maybe. I guess in partisan politics anyone who bashes a Trump supporter looks cool to other Trump haters and the same goes for the other side, but I’m sick of it all.

For Fun. Absolutely. There’s this thing on Twitter called “hate-following.” Like if you hate Trump, you don’t block him or mute him, but instead you follow him and mock his tweets and anyone who supports him. He doesn’t read the comments or engage, so it just makes him appear to have more followers. Counterproductive! Also, why would anyone waste their time doing this? It must be fun!

Which Stigma/Taboo Is Worse?

Mental Health. Is this even a stigma? Seems like everyone is claiming to have a disorder nowadays from being “on the spectrum” to OCD (guilty) to whatever else.

Self Harm. This is sad and scary, but so many have fessed up to it that it doesn’t seem like a stigma either.

Suicidality. This is scary to me, such that I would constantly worry about being close friends with someone who had these thoughts, since I’d feel like I would need to be on high alert. Maybe that turns it into a taboo, if people are scared of it. But you have to be. How can you not be, if you care about someone?

Bullying. People who bully are assholes and should be shunned. This should be a taboo. It isn’t though. The POTUS is a bully and enjoys a solid chunk of support from his base. Same with other politicians and celebs. We secretly like them, don’t we? Maybe we’re genetically programmed to because we want a bully to protect us from the terrors outside the cave. Even those of us who can’t stand Trump want someone tough and mean enough to beat him, don’t we? Cuz if we choose Molly Milquetoast, she will lose.

Do You NEED People In Your Life? How Many People Do You Meet With & Talk

1-3 per Day

4-9 Per Day

10-17 Per Day

18+ Per Day

I laugh at those numbers, especially the last one. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Mine is zero, as in none. Depending on the day, I have 1-3 coworkers I talk to, but I don’t think that counts, since it’s work-related. Maybe twice a month I attend a social event with around a dozen people. I see my daughter and her husband and baby once a month. I try to have one weekend day every weekend where I don’t leave my apartment at all, and one weekend a month that’s completely for me/no events or plans with others.

That said, I don’t feel alone. There are people I talk with almost daily; I just don’t see them in person. This doesn’t bother me at all. I try to imagine if I would be happier seeing more people and the answer is no, always. The opportunities are there if I want them. I used to think I needed to explain why I am this way, but I don’t. Nor do people who like to go to parties and interact with others frequently need to explain. It’s simply how we’re hardwired.

The Madding Crowd

Nice writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore.

I stand out from the crowd because… I try to avoid the crowd in the first place. With rare exceptions, I make it a point to stay away from the obvious places where there will be masses of people: Disneyland, the malls near holidays, large concert arenas. This is not because I’m a snob; it’s because the feeling of being squashed in with a bunch of bodies and noise makes me feel like I can’t breathe.

Last March, I dumped Facebook and its related products. This makes me a little unusual, though by no means unique ~ plenty of people are getting by just fine without FB. And more are exiting every day. You do not have to be a prisoner of the Zuckerborg. Real friends will stay friends. There are lots of ways to communicate.

I decided in 2017 to stop dating, since all it did was cause me misery. I self-recovered from my depression since quitting and have been doing much better. Both things are a little unusual, I think: giving up romance at age 56 (in 2017) and curing myself of depression sans therapy or medication. I find myself to be happiest when I stay focused narrowly on work, health, family, home, and hobbies, and avoid any expansion sets.

Except for Game of Thrones, I’ve given up TV to read and write. GOT will be finished in April/May, so I imagine I will rarely if ever turn on my television except to do an exercise video. This is unusual ~ most people watch television. And again, it’s not snobbery on my part, but an unfortunate reality of time management. There’s no way I can finish everything I want to do if I’m distracted by the TV. I have a great need to see all my writings completed, not that I expect many sales. That isn’t the point. It’s the satisfaction of completion.

Everyone likes to think they’re special, and I suppose we all have at least something a little bit unusual about us, but with so many people in the world, there are likely others with that “unique” trait or combo of traits. I know there are those who don’t watch TV, who don’t date, who hate crowds, etc. Perhaps my daughters would choose different traits about me to label unique.

This is definitely an eye of the beholder question, and quite an interesting one! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Friday Four

A Guy Called Bloke Production

1] Does modern life give us more freedom or less freedom than in the past?

– Obviously more. Just the fact that we’re blogging is testimony to this. Unless you were royalty, in the past your days were spent trying to survive, get enough food and shelter, and avoid being killed. And much of the world still lives this way. The vast majority of the population had no leisure time until fairly recently. Maybe the king, at his whim, would allow a festival, but weekends for play? Vacation time? Arts and recreation? Lol. Most people couldn’t even read let alone write. Don’t whine about being too tied to your phones ~ that’s a choice. Delete some of your social media accounts. You won’t miss them after a week, or less. I’m surviving just fine post-Facebook (deleted with Instagram and Messenger last March).

2] How do we know that our life as we live it, is actually our own life and that we are not trapped in an imaginary world of our own making?

– We don’t. ๐Ÿ˜œ

3] How do you think we should measure the successes of our life? Is it the things we do day in day out? Is it purely a number crunching exercise as to how long we actually live on the planet? Or is it something else?

– I don’t think we should tell other people how to measure their successes, as long as they aren’t hurting others. Some may want to try to cure cancer while others would rather create art. If people want to deprive themselves of pleasure in an attempt to prolong their lives, who cares?

4] We hear and read people who make claim to living an ordinary life. What is exactly that anyway? I mean if we request for others to define โ€˜normalโ€™, then surely we should also ask others to define an ordinary life?

– Ordinary is something everyone thinks they’re not, ditto average and normal. People love to claim they’re crazy and weird. Outliers. They need to be so damn special. Look at me! I’m not like all the others! O rly? We’re all special? None of us live ordinary lives? Mm hmm.

As for me, I’m one of those one-of-a-kind divorced middle-class older women who likes to read and write and watch Game of Thrones with my cat, quite unlike any other person really. ๐Ÿ™„

FPQ12: Fish Stories

This week Fandango provocatively asks…

“How do you feel about people who always seem to exaggerate when relating a story? Do you equate embellishment with lying? As a blogger, when, if ever, is stretching the truth, other than when writing fiction, permissible?โ€

It doesn’t bother me at all. I assume that people both embellish the exciting parts of a story and cut out the dull moments to make the tale more interesting for the reader. Forex, if someone is describing a funny encounter with an annoying salesperson, they’re not going to put every boring word in, just the good stuff. The result won’t be perfectly accurate, but this isn’t a court of law ~ we’re here to have fun. Well, at least I am! ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿคฃ

Now, I can see certain types of people going, but Paula… didn’t you say you can’t abide liars on dating sites? Yes, that’s correct. When a guy lies about his age, marital status, living arrangements, etc., I judge him to be an asshole and not worth one minute of my time. But that has nothing to do with exaggerating a funny story about catching a fish or whatever. If you can’t see the difference, I don’t know what to tell you. (I understand that there are people who can’t see the difference.)

Big Boring Pile Of Navel Glazery

So, peeps have been sharing all sorts of deep thoughts around Blogville this week. What kind of blogs do they like to read and what do they like to write? Which sorts of award tags do they enjoy receiving, if any? What gets under their skin, if anything? I have been sporadically commenting on these posts, but as is my wont I feel I need to organize my ideas in one place. ๐Ÿฟ

My ideas about blogging aren’t separate from my ideas about other things. I don’t do much compartmentalizing in life any longer, except for work-related purposes. What I’m saying is that I’m not fake here; this blog’s narrator isn’t a persona crafted for ego strokes. I don’t like the person I have to become when I role play online, aka lie. It becomes annoying and stressful after a while to keep up the facade. I lied for a long time and got tired of it. Lying is boring; truth is interesting.*

So, I like to read other bloggers who are also being real. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re posting photos of their face or credit card receipts, but they talk about themselves in an authentic voice. They’re not afraid to reveal mistakes and flaws. They may showcase their art, in the form of stories or photos or poetry, but they don’t exclude their self from their posts. Their blog doesn’t read like an impersonal series of magazine articles ~ I am not interested in that kind of writing. Nor do I want to interact with bloggers who only post links and cliched quotes, while sharing nothing of their real selves. If I want links and quotes, I can access the google. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

If you’ve been following me for a while, even a week, you’ll notice that my writing is all over the place. I’ll post an original poem or piece of flash fiction… then I’ll rant about something ridiculous… next I’ll jabber on about a song… or I’ll post a photo of my cat or a sunset or something I colored with pencils. I’ll answer prompt questions about writing or pets or dating or food or movies or wHaTEveR strikes me as fun at the time. I’ll grab a photo and dash off a quick story about it, romance or humor or even science fiction. I’m happy to find other bloggers who are likewise unpredictable in their writing. I enjoy reading what I enjoy writing. Simple! ๐Ÿ˜€

One note: while I love to read novels and do brainteaser games in meatspace, I’m not a huge fan of either on blogs. I like self-contained posts and I don’t want to spend a lot of time on each one. That’s not fair to the rest of my feed. So, you won’t find me commenting on serialized stories or solving complicated riddles here. ๐Ÿฆ‰

The time factor also comes into play with awards. Naturally I appreciate when a fellow blogger thinks of me regarding one of the awards going around, and I will always say thanks. I will also try to make time to answer their questions, if they aren’t toooo personal. But I generally don’t want to tag others or make up my own set of questions ~ that’s just my preference.

The other thing that’s come up is do we have a “thick skin” in relation to blogging. This can mean different things. I don’t ask for writing critiques on my work, nor do I receive anything but nice comments, so I’m lucky not to have to deal with negativity in that sense. I used to post about some of my dating site experiences and people offered advice that occasionally bordered on criticism. It sometimes bothered me, but only when they misunderstood me or the situation I’d described. After a while I decided to delete those posts anyway. I later wrote only a few carefully selected dating stories and things went okay.

As far as getting upset about my stats and who comments how many times yada… I’m fairly relaxed in comparison to some other bloggers who seem a bit obsessed. I’m not knocking obsession cuz lord knows I have plenty. Just not this particular one. I do look at the chart of visitors and it’s gone steadily up, so yay. Some days it dips. Idk why.

I don’t keep score, but I have a general idea of fair play. If I get a sense that a blogger I follow never comments on or likes any of my posts after I’ve been participating at their blog for a while, I may rethink if I want to keep following them. To me, this is about reciprocity. I didn’t pay to read your blog; the price is that you read mine. How do I know? Your likes and comments, same as mine to you. As I said, I don’t count, but I get a feeling.

Another note. While I appreciate all my followers, I don’t follow back bloggers who aren’t primarily posting in English. I’m not comfortable if I can’t read the majority of the posts, and no I’m not bothering with a translation since I only use the app.

Sometimes people comment on different things. I usually like photos of flowers sans comment. What’s there to say? Pretty! Eight hundred times. But I try to recognize with a like everything I enjoy. If I agree with an opinion word for word, I might not add anything either. I get that people are busy and follow many blogs; I don’t hold that against them. I don’t expect comments from everyone all the time. But I love them when I get them! โค๏ธ

I think I covered everything that’s been going around on these topics, so I can refer back to this post if peeps want an expanded clarification of any point. Right. ๐Ÿ˜‚

*This is on the tangential topic of truth in dating. I’ve been thinking lately that I feel a lot better, that I’m over my depression of 2017. So, maybe I should think about trying again? But no. Duh! That’s what flipped me into the depression in the first place: I was feeling good during the summer of 2016 and thought I was ready. But I wasn’t ready for the parade of liars and creeps, and I wasn’t ready to begin acting like I have no feelings when these predatory men thought it was fine to be insulting and creepy and critical just because I was “out there.” No, I’m not ready, will never be ready for that again. Call me a snowflake โ„๏ธ or whatever you want, but I don’t like myself when I’m in dating mode. I don’t like the me I have to be to deal with them. ๐Ÿคฎ

Entertainment [flash 167]

The crowd was enormous and the couple should have arrived at the arena at least an hour ago, but luckily they managed to find decent seats near the top.

“You did bring binoculars?” Mindy asked her husband as they settled in.

“Of course!” Mark took a set out of his backpack. “I’m determined not to miss a minute of this show.”

“The weather forecast is cloudy all afternoon,” the man next to them said. “So, it shouldn’t get too hot.”

Marvelous!” Mindy said. “Who did you bet on?”

“CNN,” he said. “I went with the odds. Younger combatants and in much better physical condition. You?”

“We went with FOX,” Mark said. “Their viciousness combined with sneakiness will overcome their handicaps, we figured.”

The man nodded. “Either way, this is a much more civilized method of choosing our next President than two years of bickering online.”

“Totally agree,” Mindy said. “Plus all the meat donated to the zoo afterwards is a nice bonus.”

“Win win!” They all laughed.

~*~

Apology please, with a cupcake ๐Ÿง [rant! bothsidesy! ackkk]

Like many, I often judge hastily, when I should know better by now. I was noodling around on Twitter this past Saturday when everyone began freaking out about the MAGA hat kids vs the drummer guy. Since I dislike the President and MAGA apparel, my sympathies went immediately to the drummer.

After a while I learned that the drummer is a known activist, not that there’s anything wrong with that ~ he’s a peaceful activist, as far as I can tell ~ but someone whoโ€™s used to confrontation nonetheless. He seeks out attention for his causes, as do all marchers and activists.

The MAGA boys were in town for a pro-life rally. Is there anything more uplifting than to witness a bunch of rowdy privileged prep school boys telling grown women what their healthcare options should be? Here’s my thought about what to tell teen boys who are opposed to abortion: never have sex with a female. That way, no unwanted fetus creation can be directly attributed to you.

Next I learned that the people who actually sparked this entire kerfuffle belonged to a third group, Black Israelites. I had to google them to find out what their dealio is. They were apparently insulting the MAGA kids, who responded by going into their tribal Catholic school dance, as you do, and the Native American group, headed by the drummer, felt like getting in on this action.

So, my new view of this incident is a big eff them all. No one deserves an apology except for me. Why me? I shall explain. ๐Ÿ˜€

During this craziness, lunatics on the left decided that the MAGA hat boys were the most evil things on this earth and should be doxxed and destroyed because they were smirking. Omg smirking! Nothing was off-limits… people began sifting through every scrap of info they could find and leaping to conclusions about identities.

Naturally the school principal and all the teachers’ names were made public. They’re all white and certainly horrible racists ~ we must obviously assume. I mean, Kentucky, eh? If it seemed like a studentโ€™s name was found, good enough! Go ahead and blast it all over, hit the parents, siblings, any colleges that accepted said monster, workplaces, etc. Kids were smirking at a Vietnam vet, so fair game, amirite? You know the left luvs them some Vietnam vets.

Except for one teensy thing. The lunatics misidentified at least one person and made his life hell. This is where your apology to me comes in (you know who you are). If it wasn’t for the insane proliferation of anonymous online accounts all over Twitter and FB, it wouldn’t be so easy to dox and destroy people with an army of trolls. If everyone had to use their real name when acting like a self-righteous jerk online to “out” strangers for smirking in a video, and whatever else, things would be way different (better), imo.

Iโ€™ll take my apology cupcake in the form of lemon cake with coconut frosting, thanks!

Small Screens [SOCS]

Television is a pretty broad topic. The first TV show I have a clear memory of is Truth or Consequences, probably because I was only allowed to watch half of it. For some bizarre reason, my mother decided I had to get ready for bed at 7:45pm exactly, so I never got to see what was behind Door Number 3. ๐Ÿ™

That was when we lived in Tarrytown, NY, and I was 6-7 years old. My next important TV memory is from Barclay Ave., in Queens (the second time we lived on Barclay Ave., for those keeping track), when I was about 9, and discovered I Dream of Jeannie. I fell in love with this show, and that love lasted a long, long time. I also discovered Roger Moore in The Saint right around this time, and he became my first crush.

We spent a year living with my Dad’s parents in a house on Longuyland, and even though the adults were all stressed from this arrangement and I didn’t get along with the neighborhood kids, I had fun watching The Brady Bunch with my grandma. This was also the year of All in the Family, ironically, which everyone enjoyed, especially my dad, though he was probably the only one who really grokked it at that point.

I don’t remember what I watched in New Jersey, though I must have had faves, since we lived there 3 years. It’s just a big blur. Henceforth, we shall call it New Blursey! Oopsy, I’m not supposed to make up dumb words anymore, right? Poop. ๐Ÿ’ฉ

After we moved to Illinois, I became an avid fan of game shows. Match Game was probably my favorite one ~ I learned later that the peeps were extra funny because they were all drunk. Hollywood Squares was also hilarious. I also loved One Day at a Time. I became a huge Valerie Bertinelli fan and still am; I follow her on Twitter.

When we moved to Chicago, my mom and I watched Dallas and Falcon Crest pretty religiously. Somewhere in these years I got to like Love Boat. Don’t ask me why ~ it’s so dumb. You’ll note I haven’t mentioned boring news shows or anything like that. I sometimes watched 60 Minutes with my dad ~ Andy Rooney was funny.

Generally I wasn’t interested in listening to talking heads drone on and am still not. My view is that TV should be for entertainment and only briefly for necessary news, if at all, unless there’s an emergency. I can’t bear people who have the news jabbering on in the background all the time. It makes me crazy. What’s wrong with silence?

I’ve mentioned before that when I moved to California in 1983, I was thrilled to bits to be able to watch MTV, which I pretty much did exclusively for months until I got so sick of it I never looked at it again. Hey, that’s how I do! Chicago didn’t have MTV because they couldn’t decide who to shoot over it, or something.

Later faves include Frasier, Seinfeld, and L.A. Law. I don’t remember what I liked in the early to mid-1990s. Too busy with little kids to care about TV shows for myself, I guess. Then came The Sopranos on HBO, woohoo! Six Feet Under and Breaking Bad. Grace & Frankie. Game of Thrones.

Now we’re up to date! Whew. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Confession, shameful but not short

I’ve had a lot of coffee, so I’m in the mood to jabber on. And on and on. Some of this may be confessional, some may be rantacious, I just don’t know at this point how it will all go. I already see I’m creating new words and doing grammar incorrectly, which may bother some readers.

Some tweeps were taking umbrage at Justice Democrats, so here’s the confession part of my post (there may be more, dunno yet): until I wiki’d last night, I didn’t know this was an actual thing. I told you I’ve been reading less news! Now, of course I’ve heard the term, duh, but I thought “justice” was simply an adjective, sometimes appended sarcastically, to certain young, progressive Dems, such as AOC, who attack established Dems instead of focusing on Republicans. How embarrassing. Not that I actually said anything to embarrass myself (until now), but just that I’ve been bopping along, thinking I know what’s happening, when I really don’t have a clue.

Some of you super savvy political types may not want to associate with me now, and I can understand that. It’d be like an alleged fan of romance novels fessing up that she never heard of The Flame and the Flower. (It wasn’t a rape scene! Go away.)

What else did I plan to babble about? Oh, my novel. So, I have 17 chapters written, all fabulous because I’m a massive egotist, and they take place in 1996. I only meant to give a small taste of what happened back then, and immediately swoosh back up to 2016, but so much is important, I’m discovering. I really want the reader to understand why my protag made a choice because it’s not something most people would agree with if simply told about. I want people to grok the intricate relationships between my chars, not just say welp they had a bond from 20 years ago, just accept that. Nope. Gotta show how it developed. Upshot is my novel is gonna be longer than I expected.

But the thing is, the supernatural element is only very mildly present in 1996, and idk if it’s cool to go 17 chapters without having it play much of a part (actually 18 because I’m not done yet), and then when we’re back to the future in 2016, it’s woowoo time. Maybe readers won’t accept this. Maybe I need to make 1996 more woowoo, to be consistent. Personally, I am not a big fan of inconsistency, unless it’s good. Bwah!

But I don’t want a bunch of ghosts in 1996, so whatever. It is what it is. I’ll just make it work! Speaking of fails… I see I have not managed to smush “quest” into this giant pile of [crap, garbage, trash], which makes me sad because I don’t like to do a prompt post unless I can use five prompts, with the exception of a poem or one of those story things. You might call this an endless quest for meaningless consistency.

Or you might not.

Journal: Week 2

9. I’ve been good about actions matching words so far this year (it’s early!) except of course I have already messed up on my exercise goals. But I’m still persevering. Every day is a new chance to feel better.

10. One thing I learned about myself last year is that I’m still good at breaking bad habits, just like way back when, as long as I listen to myself and no one else.

11. I’ve overcome the challenge of dumping Facebook when most people are still on it, didn’t believe I could give it up, and keep making excuses for the executives’ bad behavior.

12. A need I can meet? I assume this would be my own… I was having trouble carving out enough time to write, but I gave up TV and movies and now I have the time. (I will watch the last season of Game of Thrones though.)

13. Recently I had dinner at Vegan Nirvana in Huntington Beach. I’m not the hugest fan of fake meat/fish, though this restaurant does a super job at making theirs especially tasty. I had a big salad and it was good. I would have preferred more veggies/nuts and no fake chicken, but that’s not how they roll. I did get lots of steaming hot water for my tea, so yayyy! ๐Ÿ˜€

14. Rory (my NorCal daughter and son in law’s doggie) made me proud ~ she just graduated from her second puppy school class! Go Rory!

15. A good idea… hmm, not sure if I’ve had any good ideas yet this year, but fear not! My blogfans will be the first to know if one arrives at ye olde brain station. ๐Ÿš‚