Learning to give things up

I looked at the calendar this morning and was flabbergasted to realize that it was the LAST DAY of September. The LAST! Where did this month fly?

I had just gotten into a great routine, what with the little one starting school, getting to work earlier, which meant getting home earlier, which meant time to make better (read healthier, more varied) dinners for the first time in ages, sleeping earlier, feeling better all around, too.

Then WHAM: what happens to all kids in the public school system, happened to mine. He got sick. Pink-eye, cough, minor fever. And he’s not a sick kid. Very healthy, very active but suddenly physically very afflicted.

So then, the morning routine flew out the window, I went back to getting to work late, and sometimes later (thank God for a flexible department/manager). Plus night conference Skype sessions with India for work. In this week, of all weeks. So there was NO more routine, with late nights, PLUS the fact that Downton Abbey resumed (that’s for me) and Breaking Bad was ending (that’s for Le Mari) and a colleague of mine informed me of the new season of Sons of Anarchy and I just couldn’t resist checking out the guy who got the role of Christian Grey…

Time basically got away. And with that, I  realized that I did not hit my loosely-held goals for the month, not at all. Goals which included: invite so-and-so family over for dinner, finish that chapter of my thesis, create that photo album for that friend, keep up my blog (this one I had great hopes for since I had Kickstarter app Pressgram, which is supposed to make sharing photos on WordPress much more seamless).

I’m not fanatic about goals, but it made me sad that I didn’t keep up with my fall targets. Also sadder that I absolutely didn’t keep up with my 2013 daily photo project. I was stressed about it sitting on the backburner online, where, God forbid, people might come across it and realize that it hasn’t been updated for MONTHS. I was bummed out about it for a day, but then BAM: it struck me that I could just LET IT GO. Let it GO. Release that defunct blog and wipe the slate clean. Like all things when it comes to letting go, it isn’t, it wasn’t easy, but doing so, I feel a lot better and feel motivated to start anew, next time with terms that leave me room to NOT be so exacting, to be more flexible with time.

So, RIP, Theo did this. Here was its burning start, and this post now is its swan song. No regrets, just letting it down softly.

Inspired by lots of awesome blogs and Flickr projects, I’ve re-started a 365 photo project for the year, having skipped 2012.

I originally started adding the snapshots to my own blog but didn’t want to necessarily post everyday here. So I started posting pics for this project here: Theo did this.

If anyone else is doing a 365-type photo blog for the year, I’d love to hear about it.

T getting clean

Letting go of a blog

Since 2010, I’ve maintained a collection of interesting stuff gleaned from usually nighttime travels on the web, called “Parenthesis“. It was housed on Posterous, which recently announced it would be shutting down as of the end of April 2013.  Sadly, I uploaded the last post for that blog today but happily, everything is moving over here to WordPress.

Here is that last post below (which will most likely “die” or whatever defunct web posts do, after this month):

FOUND A NEW HOME…..

Ever since the announcement that Twitter purchased Posterous in March 2012, I felt marching orders were pending. Two months ago, the not-entirely unexpected news that Posterous would be shutting down on April 30, 2013 broke over the web, and sadly, I starting looking around for another platform to which I could transfer Parenthesis.

I considered self-hosting, but seriously, with a full-time job, a young child, a thesis-in-progress, along with the normal concerns of a family with a mortgage, mobile carrier plans, and a student loan, that isn’t the option for me at this time, time-wise or budget-wise. (Though I’ve learned that there are awesome WordPress camps offered in British Columbia that inspire me to attend and develop my self-hosting mojo that may one day translate into an awesome site that won’t depend on anyone else’s service.)

In the end, WordPress was the only familiar, no-fuss platform that was available for free and that inspired some confidence in longevity over, say, competing interests of the company (YES, Twitter, this means you).

The new blog is Things in Parenthesis (alas, just “Parenthesis” was not available) and fortunately, most everything from the current site transferred over to WordPress.com very smoothly.

It is with fondness that I part with Posterous, as it was one of my first forays into any kind of web blog (Theomama’s Blits was that first foray), and one that provided newbies with a very user-friendly platform along with support, tutorials and even a bit of HTML training.

So, thank you to Posterous and its developers.

For my few readers, I look forward to seeing and engaging with you about media studies, culture, remix and visual culture at the new site.

empty chair

Meaningless stats and finding a new home for my study blog

So, I just noticed that I tweeted my 3000th tweet today:

It’s fitting that this is the tweet that spurred on the process of migrating my media studies blog, Parenthesis, from Posterous over to WordPress (at least, right now, that’s the plan).

Posterous was so nice when it was in its heyday, and I’ve spent many hours customizing, rearranging, doing some coding, to get it to where I want it (and it’s still not even meeting all the requirements). It was a beautiful service, with easy-to-learn options, and ideal for a brand new web-o-sphere explorer.

I thought last year when Twitter took over that it was the beginning of the end but didn’t prepare well for that ending to come. Well, it’s here now.

Today, I’ve begun backing up that blog and preparing to move it to its new home.

 

Hey ~ that’s my picture!

I was just catching up on my favorite photo site blog posts and to my great surprise, I saw my picture posted on the main flickr blog, included in their iPhone app roundup. Ah, that explains why the one photo was getting a lot of hits in my activity stream!
That’s very nice.
Thank you, flickr!

Book sipper or gulper?

On my morning walk to work today I was listening to the most recent Books on the Nightstand podcast, and hosts Ann and Michael discussed the topic of reading in sips or in gulps. Loved the topic.

From their blog:

blog post at Tor.com debates reading books in big gulps or small sips. Jo Walton, the author of the post, says she reads all the time (“…if I’m [at a restaurant] with you, I’ll get my book out for the two minutes while you’re in the bathroom.”), and doesn’t need to read for long stretches to fully enjoy a book.

They discussed the merits of reading in long chunks vs. in little pieces. It got me thinking about my own reading style. The sad reality is that by default – that is, LIFE with a toddler and working full time and owning a house with a yard – I’ve become a book sipper:

  • on the living room couch while Le petit is playing
  • at the table during snacktime (we read our newspapers and ebooks on our laptops, but no computers are allowed during meals, unless we’re watching Ted talks)
  • in the bathroom
  • while travelling by plane or by bus
  • for as long as Le petit naps
  • audiobooks for me while I walk to work
  • at night before sleeping

Sad, because I am MOST satisfied when I get to read in a long uninterrupted chunk, and able to really get into a book, its setting, mood, characters, the sense of place and people – and usually, it takes a little bit of time to get to that place where I am absorbed in the writing and flow and place that the writer have created. For the most part, I rarely can read for longer than 15 minutes at a time these days, the exception being when Le petit goes to sleep at 8pm and I have until 11 or midnight to indulge (if I’m not blogging, catching up on episodes, or cleaning….).

I mentioned this before, but for the past 2 years after Le petit was born, my reading list has consisted of mostly: mass market thrillers and SF/fantasy reads, magazines, articles on the web, and a whole lot of browsing Lucky and Japanese fashion magazines. There’s nothing wrong with this list, but there hasn’t been much time for, for example, tomes like Middlemarch or even smaller books that I know whose sentences and details will need more time and attention to get through.

So, to sum up, I am a gulper by nature who has become a sipper by circumstances.

Online community through TV fandom

So, I’ve never really been a part of a TV show fanclub or following and haven’t ever tracked a show”s fan blog or site. First, I haven’t had a TV for years so we’re never into shows when they are current, which is when such sites are usually at their most active. Oh, I’ve totally lurked around on the Battlestar Galactica Wiki and Dexter’s ShowTime page, but I haven’t ever really hung around  on a site exclusively devoted to ONE TV show. Until very recently.

I just found out about a show called True Blood, about 4 weeks ago.  I finished watching the last available episode of Southland (great, gritty, LA cop show) and was lamenting the lack of a next episode, and had nothing in my shows queue, and saw the True Blood link on the streaming site where we find our shows. I clicked it……and 4 weeks of limited productivity and vampire distractedness has since ensued, and it’s not even over yet.

It was my screaming desire to know “what happens next” by the time I got to the current season, as well as to know the backstories about the verrrrry interesting characters on this HBO series that took me to a very well-done site, Loving True Blood in Dallas.  The site is linked to a weekly podcast on  Talk Blood Radio that introduced me to another site, True-Blood.net.

These 2 sites are so fabulously conceived: both are so open to community interaction and have components that can be accessed via twitter, facebook, email, via the blog, via iTunes – I was taken aback at how really really comprehensive the sites were.  There are forums, spoiler sections, character and cast bios, interviews, video clips, galleries and even contests to win sundry and books. I mean, these aren’t network or corporate sites: they are sites for fans, by fans, devoted to ONE show.

They can’t be off the side of one’s desk, can they? It would take a long long time to manage the information and design and posts, I think, of such a site. It would practically be a full time job, I would imagine.

Also, there are so so many people that are engaged with the sites and podcasts, livestreams, etc. I see that people meet to discuss, dissect, swoon over, speculate, hash and rehash each episode, storylines, characters, the music, the costumes, the sets…….. it’s boundless, the topics fans can get into about a fictional TV (and book) series, and there is such fervency in the discussions.

Anyway, I was pretty blown away and it’s made me think a lot about the way in which we can meet and form our tribe(s) in this day and age. I think this is resonating with me this much because it’s actually something I’m feeling pretty strongly about lately and other than one person at work, I don’t have anyone I can confabulate with about the episodes as they are aired.

So, at least until the furor around and I’m sure after, the long awaited Sept. 12 finale winds down, I will continue to be avidly devoted to these 2 sites.

Vive la online community!

Hipsters are everywhere

I love stumbling upon new blogs and two that I found and really liked have the word “hipster” in their titles. Just what is a hipster? Urban Dictionary offers this definition:

Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter…..Although “hipsterism” is really a state of mind,it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities.

The two blogs I subscribe to are:

Hipster Runoff

Unhappy Hipsters

Poking around Tumblr and “alt-culture” blogs on the web recently, I noticed lots and lots of blogs referencing the term:

How Hipsters Date

Stuff Hipsters Hate

Hipster, please

Hipster Musings?

There are even hipster pet blogs.

It’s a whole generation of hipsters out there proclaiming, defining, noticing, mocking and proliferating hipster culture.

Of course, not everyone can be a hipster. You can’t even call yourself a hipster, or self-identify with a hipster clan, or that means you aren’t really one.

Newfound love of late

Tumblr oh Tumblr, wherefore art thou?

What an AMAZING blog service: So many customizable options, some very very slick designs, you can add/change things, add services on some pages, one-click posting bookmarklets, use the free or purchase premium themes.

I was a novice, a blog virgin, when I joined Tumblr last February. But I picked it up very quickly and could find my way around it very easily without having to refer to documentation or the FAQ.  It’s one of the best services for people who want to blog or collect and share favorite posts/articles/pics/videos from their web surfing.  WordPress is good, too, but it takes way more saavy and figuring out to get things started, changed or modified in WP.

I love their weekly best tumblog. Did I mention that I love the variety of themes offered? I especially like: vintage scrapbook. Very very nice.

Great job, Tumblr folks. I think it’s one of the best inventions on the web today.

My main tumblog: rambling every day.

Tumblr and microblogging

What a FANTASTIC discovery, this world of microblogging.

After hanging out on the internet and reading blogs and following up on articles for about a year now, I thought I made a bit of headway into becoming familiar with “the web” and social media. When I discovered microblogging back in February, through an article on Mashable, I felt like a brand newbie all over again.

I’d never heard of Pownce, Jaiku, Tumblr, and I’d only heard of Twitter but never used it. Mind you, it’s hard to hear about these things if none of your close circle of colleagues or friends are using the tools either, and most of my local ones aren’t.

Well: wasn’t that an eye-opener.

Tumblr made it so easy to track, collect and share my web wanderings with just a few clicks and a handy bookmarklet. And, its themes are just gorgeous, even most of the free ones.

It isn’t really blogging, since it’s mostly “copying” or clipping what one has read or seen or watched from the net and just sharing it, redistributing it. Talk about remixing. This personal form of aggregation of stories is a new public discourse venue, and one that is wildly popular and utilized to the hilt already, as far as I can see.

It’s so easy to collect and share the pieces of interest, throw in one’s own thoughts, add a few of one’s own videos and photos – microblogging makes it easy to participate on the web as a voice and presence. (How relevant that presence is, is another story and a later post.)

It’s got my blood stirring.