DESCENT INTO SLOTH

The Friendship Between a Girl and Her Cat

It’s that time of year, and I feel I’ve done a great deal, so I’m going to relax and post content that earlier…let’s say that earlier in the year, I was trying for higher standards, intellectual wit and whatnot, and right now…my brain just feels like looking at cats. You can click on the link for more pics. Go ahead, I dare you. I will now go read some Nabokov.

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10 FAVORITE POSTS OF 2013

I went ahead and pulled a few posts that I liked: both to share, and because I’m glad I was able to commit, to give myself a virtual pat on the back.  Here they are, in no particular order. 





TUMBLR or BLOGGER or PINTEREST or INSTAGRAM?

There are many social applications out there, and for some inexplicable reason, I use them all in different ways. Each of them seems naturally inclined towards a different function and/or audience. Here’s what I’ve noticed, correct me if I’m wrong:

Tumblr:   
Seems to attract young people. Really young – underage young. How do I know this? All lot of people put their age in their profile. (I’m 17!) It’s also incredibly easy to get content from other users. Not so easy to upload your own content, but to reblog from another user? Easy peesy. I say this because it takes two clicks to reblog, and a whole process to post an image you first have to save onto your computer. Tumblr functions best as a self-contained universe. Not so many people put on original content. Most reblog – it’s easier, but then you can end up in a virtual loop, seeing the same images over and over again. 
What I post: visually intriguing photography, calming interiors, epic landscapes, clever sayings, all while citing sources (Note: this is unusual, a lot of the time, you have no idea of an image’s original source. I see this as a bad thing). I basically use this as my virtual inspiration wall and actively look for original content. I try to keep it highbrow (no porn). I do not write anything on Tumblr, because it feels wrong. And it looks ugly, like words aren’t meant to go there.
Blogger
Well, here I am. I write here. Other people’s pictures go on Tumblr, but my actual words, my own photographs and my thoughts make their home here. I think it’s because I can better control the formatting and like the overall look of it, and I can dig a little bit deeper into a topic. However, blogging is isolated. Blogging is an island. People may find you, but only if they’re looking. People on Tumblr are actively looking – even if it’s to reblog your photographs to show their followers, at least they’re out and about. You can amass followers relatively easily on Tumblr, depending on your interests. Blogger not so much.
Twitter
Ideally, I see this as an open market information exchange: I upload content I find useful and interesting, along with links to this blog, along with my own photographs. It’s a good place to interact with other writers as well, and to gain useful information. Eventually, I hope to promote my own book. But with restraint, of course. 
In reality, it’s a lot of digging around, like searching through a virtual flea market to see if there are substantive gems to be found. There’s a lot of auto-tweets and auto retweets. Hashtags sometimes make communication incomprehensible. But I’ve found some gems alongside the rough. So that keeps it interesting.
Facebook
Honestly, I have an account, but I don’t ever go on it. I can’t even be bothered to complain about it, because I’ve already complained enough times that I bore myself. If I do something “official” I will probably have to open a Facebook page and start pimping it out to everyone I know to “like” it. I feel sorry for my future self. 
Instagram:
I don’t use this very often. Some people find Instagram to be the most personal account because it shows pictures from people’s daily lives, like little personal vignettes. I know the contents of my daily life. It’s boring. Here is what theoretical pictures from my Instagram account would be: an office cubicle (multiple angles), tupperware (not restaurant food), a cheap gym (where I would look bad), and possibly some screenshots from my laptop, where I spend an inordinate amount of time.
Pinterest:
I haven’t associated my Pinterest account with this blog, because…to be perfectly honest…this is where I lose all self restraint and am an unabashed consumer whore and virtual chef. It has to go somewhere. On this blog, I made an intentional choice not to talk too often about shopping or fashion or makeup, because I think that adds to consumerism and unhappiness by promoting unrealistic ideals. Well, those choices get thrown into the garbage on Pinterest. It is just too easy to pin things that you want to buy, or pretty things you like to look at, cats – things that range between shallow and embarrassing. I have a recipe for homemade twix on Pinterest, and that’s one of the better ones, because twix at least is a food group. Right. We all need a virtual outlet, and although ideally it would be exercise, in reality it is Pinterest.  

A LITTLE HIKING, A LITTLE VOCAB

Broken tree

There is something eloquent about a broken tree. It looks almost human, bent over and hunched, with all its branches stripped away.
I went traipsing up Mount Diablo recently, before it became completely unbearable and you risked windburn rather than sunburn. The good weather has gone away, and it is now goodbye nature and hello gym treadmill, with all its sweaty friends. Disgusting.
For the time that remains, I have scuttled together some pics taken from up high, after dragging myself up rough terrain and down loose gravel (it’s named Mount Diablo for very good reason). The sky was feeling accommodating that day, and it was sunny the entire time. I should have brought a bigger hat.
There were two hang gliders out. First the one, and then a second joined the first. I watched as the second made his way on over to the first and then sort of hovered around the person. It must be faintly irritating, if you’re out hang gliding and this other guy’s hang gliding, and even though you both have the entire sky at your disposal, this other person has to glide next to you and steal your wind. 
Then I thought about it. Maybe this was aerial vocabulary at play? If you want to speak to someone in the sky, mayn’t it be a tad difficult to make them hear you? Maybe you can only touch wings? Maybe you throw your shadow over the other person, and that’s how gliders say hello.
For every activity, there’s usually a new set of vocabulary that you have to learn. It’s part of the reason why I like poking my nose into unfamiliar territory and sitting on buses. In rock climbing, if you climb a route for the first time and nail it, you flashed it. You can google the phrase “cashed” and see what you come up with. Over the weekend, I stupidly bricked my phone. So, I wonder if there was some glider speak going on in the sky?

Fall branchesHillsideHillside2HandgliderWalking

ALAN ALDA ON CREATIVITY AND BRAVERY

“Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful; yourself.”

– Alan Alda

ARTIST JEEYOUNG LEE

Image Via

So, I like to take photographs, you know, because it reflects reality through the filter of my lens. The camera is a way to see the world through my eyes. I also like to have an imagination, which is a colorful place, frequently surreal, and which I touch upon to tell stories. Never the two shall mix.

Then I came across JeeYoung’s photography, and she quietly blew that distinction to hell. These are actual photographs that she takes, of settings that she has created. In real life. When reality isn’t photogenic enough, she takes the time to bend it to her will. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. 

THE DEEP AND ABIDING ELOQUENCE THAT WAS NELSON MANDELA

If there ever was a human being who could embody the seemingly impossible, who could be steeped in ugliness but never allow it to touch him, that would be Nelson Mandela. I like that picture of him, rising above the fray, both physically and symbolically. 
Here’s an excerpt from his 1964 speech:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

The lessons you can take away from Mandela and his life are potentially legion, so I will just point out a few:

  • forgive
  • release yourself from the burden of hatred
  • embrace humility
  • speak with eloquence
  • accept all people, equally
  • hold passionate ideals and be willing to fight for them

Mandela encapsulated that quality of transcendence – when you become more than who you are, a man, and you become that instrument whereby others can recognize their own potential, for the qualities that you exude: acceptance, compassion, and change. You become that enduring mirror that others can hold up as a reflection of themselves and as an outward projection of hope and all that is good in the world.  
Whenever I think that I was alive at the same time that Mandela was alive, whenever Mandela makes a cameo in my subconscious, he leaves behind him the residue of a smile.

EASY WEEKEND DIY: STRING LIGHTS

This is the adult version of the Christmas lights I used to string up in my college dorm room way back when ago. And old habits die hard. Possibly you see a picture and the idea resurrects itself in the dark nether regions of your mind – should I do this? And more importantly – how?

The short answer is Yes.  Cup of Jo has thoughtfully provided the source of the lights as One Forty Three. Below I have thoughtfully provided a nice closeup of the more mature, adult bulbs involved. Do what you must. 
OneFortyThree