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Anonymous Real Life

Levi's 4th Birthday
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

The Question

Do you blog anonymously or as “yourself”? Why?

The Answer

I blog as myself. I came across an anonymized blog a few years ago. Until then, I never considered that such a thing could (or should) exist despite all my flirtation with the online world. Suddenly, I was immersed in anonymous blogs where people spoke about what they felt, what they dreamened, what they loved, and what they feared. They did this with seemingly little thought to anyone finding out their real identify. I must admit, I was in awe. It was raw. It was honest. It was heartwarming.

So, I tried it. I opened a new wordpress blog, and I tried one post. It was awkward. I fumbled. I couldn’t do it. Someone even commented, but it was all so… false. So, I deleted it.

I have managed, now, four+ blogs. I tried to do a sustainable only blog, but felt too restricted. I wanted to talk about Levi, silly things my husband and I said to each other, school or work. So, I started a personal blog. But, then I was stymied, too. Then, I wanted to talk about green things, equity, and social responsibility. I was going back and forth between the two, neither of which was getting a good response from the outside world nor proper attention from me.

Somewhere along the way, tags developed. This tool seemed, in conjunction with classifying things with categories, to be a perfect marriage of the separate blog conundrum. I realized, with my limited attempt at an anomyous blog, that I am more interested in exploring the things that happen in my day within the context of the wider world. I hope you, reader, don’t think me a trite complainer wining about every little thing someone did wrong to me – because that is not my attempt.

I am accepting, more, that we all live emotional lives. We do things based on the feelings we have at any given moment. We express love when we feel gratitude. We express shame through various acts when we’re embarrassed or know we’ve done something wrong. So, with this One-a-Day-Challenge, I’ve also accepted this space as a way to explore those many emotions I have in any given period.

Because I don’t divulge everything, in a sense, I do anonymize my blog. Although, I try to make it clear this is me and this is my life about which I write. If I misunderstand a certain personality, for example, I won’t mention the name. If an event is too close to home, but I have difficulty understanding it, I will try and speak in vagaries. Although it’s anonymous, it’s still my real life.

I have accepted that I am an introvert. I have begun to cherish that I like to write. Now, it comes together. Now, I write, I process, I refresh through this one space where I can talk about the importance of bringing together people, places and the other things that make the world go round. I can share pictures of my growing son and the art I see daily. One blog for one me. One me with a myriad of interests that make up my real life.

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The Return of Tactile

Sandwich Bread
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I love making bread. I’ve desribed the sounds it makes, I show pictures often, all because I love it. I love the feel. I love the progress, the transgression, the change. I love watching how this soupy, frothy liquid turns into this solid, dusty dough. I love the smell it emits in my kitchen. I love cutting into a fresh loaf and as the first slice falls with the sawing of the knife, the huge plume of steam that poofs out of the loaf. I love taking a pat of butter and smoothing it over that first slice and watching it melt faster than I can spread. I love experiementing with different ingreidents and noting how it changes the texture and taste. I love making bread.

When people ask me if I use a bread machine, I (sometimes smugly) boast, “I am the bread machine.” I learned from my mistakes. I created this thing my family actually wants to eat and asks for it. It is an amazing sense of success in this world of convenience.

Sandwich Bread
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

We have dinners we buy on demand, get delivered, or put into an instant heating appliance (microwave). Our movies and music are found wherever we go on our laptops, desktops, and smartphones. We buy oodles of cheap clothing to last weeks without doing the wash. It doesn’t stop there. The art we appreciate is also affected. We cut corners on the sound we listen to and movies we watch because most of us don’t have the appreciation for the range. We use computer graphics to convey meaning instead of drawing a smiley face on our own. We live in a world of convienence.

An argument against CDs and other digital audio is often touted with the loss of art. A coworker reminded me, today, of the fanfare collecting album art used to have. Today, the cover of a CD is more often (it seems) a stylized vision of the artist. What happened to something great and exotic by, say, David Bowie?

I grew up on store bought, white bread. It was pulling teeth to convince my mother to try whole wheat. That was years before you could get sprouted wheat, seed filled alternatives. When we visited my grandmother, we aways had her homemade bread. In my twenties, I was surrounded by people who wanted to return to learning how to do things. We made beer. We made soap. We cooked lots of home cooked meals. And, one friend had a “how to book” on bread making. I remembered how to knead from all the times I had watched my grandmother and father. Getting the ingredients to work in a joyous combination has taken more time. But, what my family and I have found is that we don’t desire the convenient store bought bread. We crave my filling, flavor filled bread.

Sound and video are similar. In varied populations, the tactile is returning. Analog is making a comeback, if you will. Some die hard record enthusiasts always knew it would. The range of sound, the little things only analog can pick up spikes a purity and appreciation of the art that digital simply cannot compare. With how fast CDs erupted and morphed into DVDs and online sharing, with the resurgence in analog appreciation — I am very curious how our convenient future will look.

French Bread with Garlic
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

It seems with every push on the pendulum to be convenient there is an equal resistance, and equal push back. This push back says, “Remember what it was like to create!” This push back reminds us of the importance of touching the paint that creates the image that is later copied onto an album. The push back reminds us of sitting around the record player listening to the scratch and wine as the next melody is queued. The push back reminds us to appreciate the dusty dough as it turns into nourishing bread. I love this return to the tactile.

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It’s Broken

Talking on the phone and using a computer.
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I was venturing on the continued exploration of themes, trying to refresh this blog a bit. I decided my Atchapalua (sp) theme was going to be the way to go. I was adjusting the footer when suddenly, it stopped loading.

My blog stopped loading.

I fudged. I fidgeted. I played. I explored. But, I could not, cannot, find the reason why it won’t work. So, I thought — the dashboard, behind the scenes interface is working, the site is up, the database isn’t broken, let’s repair it anyway… let’s try a new theme.

I decided to go back to the new TwentyEleven. Eh, voila. It works.

Until I can figure out my Atchapalua theme, this will have to do. At least I can continue to write and have it validated by the world at large.

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Another Technical Post

Levi at the Computer
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I have not upgraded to 3.1.2 yet. But, I was able to smooth out some headers, delete a widget, erase a header, and organize a few other fonts. I added Google’s “Special Elite” for its typewrite look as a highlight/contrast to the “Reenie Beanie” headline font I have chosen. Some of these deletions have been bugging me for some time, so I’m pleased to get them out of the way. Pardon the lack of interesting/pontificating wanderings tonight. I must read in bed now that the technical stuff is done… for now.

Apparently, though, in my changing things, I have disturbed my image captions. Superb. Or not.

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Learning by Smartphone

Talking on the phone and using a computer.
Talking on the phone and using a computer. Image by alexis22578 via flickr.

I needed two phone numbers, right then – at that moment. I didn’t have them. It was a technical difficulty with a conference phone we were using. We had to patch our two callers in instead of using the call-in number.

I never wrote their numbers down.

My boss grabbed her smartphone and started the email check in – need your numbers now please. I called the office to get data from the database. The president began emailing on her phone to further the queries and check the data in her address book.

It was another moment where I wished I had a smartphone.

I covet the dastardly little devils. I enjoy technology, playing with it, learning it, exploring it. But, I also prefer open source technology which often comes with a low or no cost option. So, not buying a smartphone hasn’t been that difficult given the price tag it adds by years’ end.

I also enjoy stories and learning from other people. I haven’t purchased a smartphone for many reasons.

  1. Because of this techonology love, a weakness is staying on the computer too long.
  2. Because of my drive to try to do a good job, I tend to be on the computer too long.
  3. It’s good to take a break and it’s easier to do that when I have the gumption to turn the thing off or not have the thing – I know it will be hard to turn the thing off once I have it.
  4. As such, I’m not on all the time, so why would I want to receive messages all  the time?

After the missing numbers and the smartphone exploration two members reiterated my concerns.

  1. I have had clients email me at midnight on Friday, then complain on Monday when I didn’t respond.
  2. I really don’t like getting emails with questions I can’t answer when I’m not at my desk. It actually makes me feel more efficient.

Yes, thought I, this expands on why not.

So, this simple post is twofold. First, reiterating why I won’t buy into this covetous technology. But, also describing how we can learn.

Recently, someone close to me tried to argue that it is impossible to learn from other people’s mistakes.

She stated, repeatedly, that she felt it is not possible for another to learn from the mistakes I made.

She didn’t have to explain why she felt that way because intrinsically I knew where she was coming from. It’s like the father-son relationship. Father can explain to son all the bad things he did and how it affected him, but at some point, son needs to experience it for himself and come to his own conclusions.

On that intellectual level, I will buy that. I can buy that. I do buy that.

But, if son was a smart boy, after experiencing it for himself, he would be wise to compare his experiences with his father’s. “Oh, Dad explained that and this happened. And that just happened to me. I should be cautious that this other thing could happen.” (I’m reticent to give examples lest I think too gory for my own mind.)

So, this smartphone example will have to suffice. I know I covet the expensive toy. I know there are limitations to what I will realistically be able to accomplish with this expensive toy. It was refreshing to hear other stories of how people use their expensive toy to inform any future decisions I might make regarding it.

I have learned from their stories. I will compare my situation to further educate myself . I will be a part of progress for the better evolvement of our human society.

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More Technical Difficulties

Computer .
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

Even more technical difficulties. Upgraded to WordPress 3.1, and I’m getting errors. I did follow the instructions, so not really sure what’s going on. I’d rather go read Robert Crais‘ latest (The Sentry) instead of troubleshooting something I don’t understand.

The dinner date was a lot of fun. Fishwife and the St. John’s North End Players. Sleepy kiddo when we returned.

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My month of not wanting to write!

Steps of St Paul's
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

But, here are a few words anyway.

I am tired. Board meetings are tiring, sitting in those chairs. Conference calls from the ceiling are funny. Dramatic change is, well, dramatic. I want to educate people on the importance of a sustainable society. I have been doing that and I am working towards doing that more. We leave for Michigan in less than a month. Yea, vacation! Levi is excited to see his cousins and grandparents. We have consensus training for our food club on March 19th. Super yea! WordPress has another update. I think I have it figured out how to do it right, if only the plugins would cooperate. Why hosting service, why?

I am now going to marinate the lamb and read Cat among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie.

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Ubuntu 10.4 LTS

Ubuntu 10.4 TLS with Shutter
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

The computer is doing several things right now. Email is up. A file browser is up. A picture, describing these processes is up. An archive is open, awaiting the WordPress 3.0.5 update. Filezilla is up, downloading the most recent copy of this blog. Evolution is up, restored, and checking messages – all mail filters and calendar functions working. Gadmin-Rsync is merging external hard-drive music onto this limited hard-drive.

The joys of our technological age.

I’d show you that picture that’s waiting, but I don’t have the correct write permissions on my wp-content folder. Olivia, I can hear you thinking, “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah,” in Charlie Brown fashion. Bear with me, this is a tech report.

I don’t even have Zemanta installed to connect with my flickr to by-pass these permissions and give suggestions to older posts where I discuss my computer woes. Alas, the old fashioned way will have to do tonight.

Some time ago, almost a year and a half ago, I got rid of Windows and opted for Ubuntu. I am the tech person in my family. Upgrades are my decision, and I teach others how to cope. I troubleshoot problems, I figure out what’s wrong, I backup data. That is my role because that is my skill. Sure, I know more than enough to be dangerous, but not by much. So, this morning, when I was cleaning out unused programs, I also deleted something that depended on something else. I got rid of a dependency. One I shouldn’t have.

Suddenly, my menues weren’t working, I couldn’t move windows, and the computer was moving even slower than before.

It’s time, I thought. It’s time to do what I did for a friend: Boot it, nuke it, redo.

Ubuntu 10.4 TLS, the background.
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I was told sometime ago that computers can benefit from that annual purge. I haven’t done it on this, even upgrading from the networked version to a higher Ubuntu version, on the hope that Linux will power over all. The problem, I fear though, with this set up is the inconsistent hardware. Proprietary video cards, old mother boards, and certainly not enough USB ports. But, alas, we’re cheap, and we’re not buying new, so this will have to do.

Almost four hours after Duke was inserted, we had a clean slate. The first try of the install failed because it had nearly-Four-year-old finger smudges. Once those were cleared away, we had a clean install, well mostly – I think some of those hardware errors have reared their ugly head stating some I/O Error on sd0 (the default name, I believe, assigned to our hard-drive). But, it restarted fine, and the rest of the evening in between dinner, bedtime, and laundry folding, has been getting the programs I do use installed, and then the file migration.

Thank you, WordPress for adding to the computer restart day. Once I get that situated, maybe I can show that picture.

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Daily Post: Talk or Text?

Talking on the phone and using a computer.
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

Suggested topic: Do you prefer to talk, text message, or a different communication method?

Today’s topic suggestion brings us full-frontal into modernity. How do we prefer to communicate: via talk or text? Being back in the “work force” I find this an interesting question, as I can track changes through school and work.

1995 – I was in high school and my good friend got email and Internet for the first time. Also that year, my boyfriend at the time signed up for Hotmail and the aversions against Microsoft continued and capitalized with their acquisition of hotmail, one of the first free email programs.

1996 – I got my first email through Michigan State University: pilot email. It was a text-based email emulator. We could either log into Windows at the computer login, or log into our email.

2000 – I went back to school and every third person had a mobile phone.

2001 – I realize I don’t want to have a home without Internet: must have email access.

2002 – I learned how to do Mail Merges and became an expert at various versions of Microsoft Office, Outlook, Lotus Notes

2004 – I went back to school again and every third person had a laptop, in class.

2005 – I finally got my first mobile phone.

2007 – Probably half of the students in any given class used a laptop for notes, in class, for whatever.

2009 – I added a text messaging plan to my mobile.

So, now I just about max my alotted 250 texts per months. I use fewer than the allowed 450 minutes (although that’s just out of network and prime hours). But, what do I prefer?

It depends on the context.

Are we arranging a quick meet up? Text.

Do I need to explain something, and ITAP (my Verizon auto-fill-text) doesn’t do it? Phone call.

Do I need to explain something but don’t really want a text or a phone call? Email.

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