Category Archives: online connections

About blogs, texting, sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

reverb10: party down

Okay, I signed up for #reverb10. It’s the now annual event, the continuation of #best09 from last year. A prompt a day, all month long, to contemplate 2010 and reveal 2011. In the way of my world, the evening after I signed up, I discovered a new Twitter book club and I joined in for that, too. So this will be a busy month.

December 9 – Party Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)

My favorite gatherings this year have been game nights. A set of my friends gather, usually at my place, for a long evening playing board games and sometimes card games. One of the number is a game collector and enthusiast and he brings generally not-well-known, often foreign games to play. We generally go into the wee hours of the night. Lots of rum and cokes, pots of tea, pizza, chips, and pretzels are consumed each time.

The games are good ones. The rules may or may not be complicated, but the gameplay is almost always satisfying—even games with simple rules can make for challenging play. I can’t say I have a favorite kind. There have been betting games, map games of exploration and conquest, travel games, trump/card games, and so on. The game collector is a shrewd opponent and wins the most often but not always. One member of the group has strange strategies (or no strategies sometimes, just playing chaotically) and including him makes for most interesting play and outcomes.

I always have a lot of fun on game night. I don’t care if I win or not. I get upset if I think I played poorly, but winning isn’t the goal for me: fun is. The challenge of the game and playing well is it. My friends care more about winning, or at least not coming in last. I get that, but seems to me, that if you have a good time with friends and have fun playing, no matter how well you do, then you’ve won.

reverb10: not-writing

Okay, I signed up for #reverb10. It’s the now annual event, the continuation of #best09 from last year. A prompt a day, all month long, to contemplate 2010 and reveal 2011. In the way of my world, the evening after I signed up, I discovered a new Twitter book club and I joined in for that, too. So this will be a busy month.

December 2: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

In one sense, most things I do don’t contribute to my writing, not directly, because I’m not a writer. My background, my work, even my passion, isn’t for writing, at least not text (designing and coding software is my vocation, but that’s not what this post is about). Still, here we are, in a blog post, and this blog is, well, writing! So there you are: turns out I’m a writer.

This poor blog is neglected. I always intend to write more often but I never get around to it. There are things I need to do in my day that can’t be eliminated and things I want do in my life that won’t be eliminated. But I’m not so busy that I don’t have time to write a post for months on end. So what’s holding me back?

Well, there’s inspiration, as in the lack thereof. I can’t think of things to write. I know, the answer is just write, about anything or nothing or everything. But most times when I sit down to post, nothing comes to mind, not the nothing you can write about, but the nothing of a void…no words at all. I have to start collecting ideas, writing short posts about little things, finding “assignments” for myself.

Another problem is my sense of my writing. I read other people’s work and truly feel it’s not just better but so much better than mine. I need to stop thinking about that. After all, a little practice might help. And it’s one reason this blog is here.

“My fingers,″ said Elizabeth, “do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault—because I would not take the trouble of practising…”

—Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

reverb10: word and word


Okay, I signed up for #reverb10. It’s the now annual event, the continuation of #best09 from last year. A prompt a day, all month long, to contemplate 2010 and reveal 2011. In the way of my world, the evening after I signed up, I discovered a new Twitter book club and I joined in for that, too. So this will be a busy month.

The December 1 prompt (yep, already behind), is: One Word. Encapsulate 2010 in one word. Then jump ahead a year; what would you like to the word for 2011 to have been. (Author: Gwen Bell)

It’s very hard for me to think of a word for 2010. My life flowed on all year but nothing major happened. I started to think of words like waiting, asleep, and on-hold. But I wasn’t asleep and my life hasn’t been on-hold; I just kept going on an even keel. Looking back, I think I’ve been adapting and adjusting. 2008 and 2009 were hard years with a lot of loss. I think I spent 2010 trying to come to terms with things and accept all of it. I wasn’t consciously doing that and I know I haven’t totally accepted it all, but on reflection, I think that was my mode all year long. It would be nice to say my word is acceptance, but I’m not sure I’m there yet. But one word for the year is adjustment.

On the other hand, there is something that does stand out in my mind right now. I’ve jumped back into reading this past year, reading avidly. In college and in the years that followed it, I read a lot. Then I lost that, mostly because I went through a period when I was busy working long, long hours on projects at work, and got behind with the massive amounts of comics I collected and then felt I had to catch up on them before I could start a book. So I only read books when I was traveling, on planes and during visits away from home. That lasted a while, decades, in fact. A few years ago, I called a halt to that. I stopped buying comics to add to the backlog. I got a library card and I also dug through some unpacked boxes of books in my cellar. I rediscovered my love of books. And looking back over 2010, that is the one activity that I see not just being a part of my year but intensifying all year long. So another word for 2010 is reader.

And what do I want for 2011? To be able to look back in a year and have a sense of satisfaction with the year that will just have flown by? I’d like it to be growth. I’d like to reach my acceptance and move on. I’d like to try new things and I’d like to improve who I am. I know we can always be doing this, should always be doing this, but I don’t feel like I did that much this past year. And so I call it out for 2011.

book club fun

I’m participating in the 1 Book, 1 Twitter (1B1T) global book club which has been going for about a month now. Lots of folks are reading the same book and discussing it on Twitter. I follow the author Neil Gaiman there and found out about this event when he mentioned that his book American Gods was doing well in the voting. Then it won the vote. I’d just finished reading the book only a month and a half before 1B1T started, but I decided to read it all over again and join in. I’ve never been in a book club before, so I wasn’t sure how this would go.

I dreaded English class in high school. Finding deep meanings and themes in books and interpreting symbolism was way beyond my interest in reading and I wasn’t all that good at it.  I could manage some when forced to, but it doesn’t come naturally when I read. Also, I was very timid about speaking up in class and participation mattered.  And to add to my discomfort, for some unknown reason I was in an AP tract class where all the other students were talented writers and wizzes at literature To this day, I think it’s because I scored 100 on a multiple choice test about Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in 9th grade, given after all the class discussions and asking for no new insights…so they threw me into the AP class, like that proved I could handle it. I’m not a creative writer, either.  Everyone else in class, and I mean everyone else…it wasn’t a large class and we all knew what the others turned in…wrote lovely, innovative papers.  I wrote straightforward, dull, and wordy things that read like a report for some government project or a manual for some complicated gadget.

 I don’t dig deeply into movies or books even now.  I don’t usually notice the themes unless someone else points them out. Maybe I’m lazy? I like complicated plots and complex connections between characters and I can remember, or recall quickly when reminded, detailed storylines from movies, TV, and books, sometimes going back decades. It can be a useful skill if you want to keep up with long running TV shows or comic book continuity. But it doesn’t mean I dig into the meat of a story. I accept the storyline for what it says on the surface, I guess. Deeper significance just doesn’t occur to me.

Okay, that said, 1B1T is a blast.  It’s given me a much greater appreciation of this book.  The discussions have pointed out a lot of themes and symbolism I glossed over, ideas that I would have missed. It’s also been a great resource with people sharing links and information about places and names used in the book that I hadn’t looked up when I read it before. I’ve met some good people through 1B1T, too. It’s been a fun time.

And along with that, 1B1T has helped me feel better about my own reading skills.  Although I didn’t notice some themes as I read the book, once they’d been mentioned, I’ve run with some comments and contributed to the discussion. I never did that back in English class.  I was too scared to speak up and doubted any thoughts I had.
And a few times, people pointed out and discussed points I did recognize while reading!  I never thought anything about it while reading.  I mean, if I catch something, it must be obvious, right? But now I’ve seen that maybe I’ve been underestimating myself a little.  Not completely: there are plenty of points I missed.  But still, seeing any evidence of this is a revelation.

So now I’m raring to go: bring on the next book.

best of 2009: coming to a screen near me

I’m trying something new for me this month, a web community challenge: Gwen Bell’s The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. Find the best the year has offered me, and review, remember, contemplate, reflect, and celebrate it. There’s a question/topic each day.

I haven’t posted in the challenge lately because I don’t have good picks for the topics from the past week and a half. But I do have something to write about today.

December 30 — Ad. What advertisement made you think this year?

I don’t pay attention to advertisements all that much. I usually ignore them on television and I skip over ads in magazines and generally ignore them on the Internet. But I do try to see promo spots for new and favorite TV shows and I try to catch the preview for the next episode of shows I’m watching. I don’t mind spoilers all that much (I can’t really complain too much about them: I often skim the ending of a book after reading some of it…might sound nuts to you but it’s what I’ve been doing for decades. I read slowly and I’ll get to some good part and want to know now what will happen, not wait ’til I reach it. So I start skimming and suddenly, I’ve skipped to the end. Rest assured, I still go back and read the whole book. But that’s not the point here, is it).

My best of 2009 advertisements are fun things: commercials for TV shows. Some were just well done — Dexter comes to mind — and some were welcome announcements that a good show was returning would soon be back, such as My Boys and Eureka. And then there were the ads promoting a new show, USA Network’s White Collar. They intrigued me and I am a fan of the show now. So they worked :-).

But I have to say, the best promotional ads for the past few years have been most of those for USA Network’s show Psych. The cast there clearly has fun doing their ads and “psych outs” and they are always a hoot. I will stop fast forwarding and even back up a recorded show just to see their ads. Doesn’t hurt that I find the show a lot of fun, too.

Hmm, I have more to write but I think I’ll go relax with a bit of TV now….