April 24, 2013

Moved!

We are all settled in at the new address, if you've forgotten to change your RSS feed and you're wondering where everyone is:

http://www.swistle.com

If you are thinking of moving a blog, I can't even say if I recommend it or not. I mean, I guess I DO recommend it, since I'm not changing my mind and coming back. So many things are better---but several major things (the photos, mostly, which "move" sort of but still technically live at this blog, and so this blog can't be deleted without deleting them) are an enormous headache. And of course all the links on the whole internet go to THIS blog instead of the NEW blog.

March 29, 2013

Moving Day!

Hello! We're taking this blog to a new address:

http://www.swistle.com

I've been putting this off for literally YEARS, and I see I was right to do so: I've been working for two weeks on moving things and setting things up, and I have hated EVERY MINUTE. There has been weeping and despair and careful breathing through the nose.

And the comments are currently ABOVE each post, which I will fix when I figure out how to do so, because it's silly to come upon the option to comment even before you've read the post, and then not have the commenting option anywhere in sight when you want it.

And if someone comments on the old blog, that comment won't show up on the new blog, and I won't be able to move it, and it will be lost forever. So don't comment here anymore, or else it's GONE FOREVER. I mean, you can comment on this post if you want, because this post isn't transferring over there anyway. But NOWHERE ELSE! Or GONE FOREVER! (Some comments from this blog aren't over there yet; they're transferring as I type, and I hope they will all make it.)

And I can't figure out how to do the reference section.

And I don't really like how anything looks, but I have tried out no-kidding two dozen different themes and I hated them all, so.

And the profile thing keeps saying "error loading profile" instead of showing my name and my little skirt picture and my links. REASON UNKNOWN.

And the formatting on the transferred posts is messed up, with big gaps and no gaps and things not in the right place, and I am trying not to freak out about that. Big picture, big picture.

And probably we're going to run into a lot of problems with commenting. (Just for starters, I think the first comment from each commenter automatically goes to moderation.)

And don't even tell me if your workplace computer is saying the new blog is too racy to read at work, because I can't do anything about that except say, "But...it isn't!" and feel even MORE frustrated about EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD. And besides, that happened sometimes with this old address too.

So anyway. A huge, huge mess.

But the move needed to be done, so if we can just plow through this period of things being broken and changed and confusing and upsetting, I think everything will feel fine and normal before long.

Remember to change links and subscriptions and stuff, if you have them.

March 28, 2013

Like Soylent Green, the Internet is People

[This is all that was in my drafts folder. Just the title.]

If You Believe It, You Can Be It (as Long as What You Believe Is Reasonable for You and Your Circumstances)

[Here's another one from the drafts file. After I wrote it, I thought, "I'll bet someone else has already done this, and better." So I was going to look around and find out. Then I lost the energy for that. Then I thought, "If I had to check everything I wrote to see if someone else had already said it, I'd never hit publish on ANYTHING, because EVERYTHING has already been said." So here it is.]

********

I am thinking of writing a new series of more realistic children's books:

- If You Can Dream It, You Are Among Many Others Dreaming the Same Thing, and Only a Few of You Will Do It So It Would Be Sensible to Have a Backup Plan, Maybe Something Like Business or Computers

- The Little Engine Who Could, Because Luckily His Design and Physical Components Met Those Specifications

- The Little Engine Who Couldn't, Because Despite His Constant Repetitions of "I Think I Can," It Turned Out Those Words Were Not Some Sort Magical Spell Capable of Overriding His Design and Physical Components

- You Can Be Anything You Have Been Born and Trained and Motivated and Had the Opportunity to Be!

- SOMEONE Has to Do the Jobs That Are Less Fun, Rich, and Glamorous, and I Don't See Any Reason It Shouldn't Be You

- All That Talk About Everyone Being Special and Unique and Bound for Greatness Can Be Filed With the Whole Santa Claus Thing. Oh, Oops, Didn't I Tell You About Santa Claus Yet?

- In This Economy, I'd Keep in Mind That We Always Need People Who Work With Pain and Death

- You are Not the Only One Dreaming of Being a Singer, an Author, or an Astronaut

- Believing and Dreaming Don't Actually Do Anything, So Get Good Grades and Maybe Take Some Extracurriculars

- What, Do You Think People DREAM of Some of These Other Jobs?

Fertility Vent

[It turns out that if you're taking a blog from Blogger to Wordpress using the Wordpress import thing, all your drafts get published. So I'm going through 250 drafts to see if anything is worth saving before I delete. Short answer: no.

But I kind of liked this one that I wrote after a former male classmate on Facebook made me angry with some comments I didn't feel like I should respond to, right after a former female classmate activated my empathy center. At the time, I decided not to publish it because it makes such sweeping generalizations: clearly not all guys are casual about it, and clearly not all girls are being sensible about it: it was just these two individuals I was thinking of. But I feel pissy about it anyway.]

********


I am feeling a bit pissy this evening about how my former MALE classmates are in no danger of running out of chances for little heirs, while my FEMALE classmates are counting years and panicking.

It is making me feel further pissy that some of the males in question seem to have a "I stuck a piece of myself into someone and look what accidentally happened!" attitude about the whole thing, whereas the females are taking folic acid just in case and carefully looking for a quality, intelligent person of good genes and good character who will be a good co-parent and good co-provider. A crappy lack-o'-plan appears to be succeeding, genetically speaking, while a good and sensible plan seems to be tanking.

WHERE FAIRNESS HERE? It is an extremely pissy situation.

March 24, 2013

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen; Social Obligation

I can't really think of a movie title that appeals to me less than Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Amazon, Netflix), so I was surprised when it showed up in a Netflix envelope. I read the description ("a fabulously wealthy sheik longs to bring fly-fishing to the desert"), and still had no clue why I might have ordered it. I kept it around for several weeks, watching whatever was in my second Netflix envelope.

Then last night I set up what was in my other Netflix envelope---and it was an HBO series (HBO's motto: "We're allowed to use sex and swearing---and it shows!"), which was impossible to watch with the kids around. I was going to just read a book instead, but I figured, well, Salmon Fishing is PG-13, so I'll watch it for 15 minutes while I eat my dinner, and then I can send it back and be done with it.

NO IT WAS REALLY GOOD. There was barely any salmon-fishing in it at all! It was very much the kind of movie I like, so it must be that Netflix said to me, "You know how you seem to like Ewan McGregor feel-sad/good movies and anything with accents? We have a movie we think you'll enjoy" and I clicked "add to queue" without even looking at the title or description.

There are a lot of cute earnest confident guys in it, if that's your thing. And there were a lot of funny parts. And Kristin Scott Thomas is in it, swearing at her children and IM'ing with the prime minister. I really liked it.

********

I'm re-reading some of my Miss Manners books to see if she has some good ways to deal with the difficult person in a group. So far I haven't found much of use (she suggests saying "So kind of you to take an interest" in a chilly voice to someone who's being overly pushy, but I tried to imagine using that in a group of friends and couldn't picture it), but I've been having fun browsing a bunch of other stuff.

One section on a different topic that caught my eye is about social obligations: she says it's a mistake to keep inviting over people you don't like and accepting invitations back. She suggests that in many cases, the other people don't want to come over any more than you want to invite them, and are themselves acting out of social obligation. Then they have to invite YOU back over, and you go even though you don't want to, and the cycle continues---with NO ONE having a good time. If EITHER party would just DROP IT, everyone would be happier.

I think this is interesting to think about in an internet context---though again, I'm not sure it works well when I try to apply it. Like maybe sometimes we're following people only because they follow us, but actually they're following us only because we're following them, and we'd all be happier if we stopped---but it seems like more often one person wants to follow and the other one doesn't want to follow back, and THAT'S the issue.

March 21, 2013

Another Appetizer Report and Some Hand-Wringing About Socializing in Groups

I tried another of the appetizer recipes for a get-together and I am ready to make a report! This time I tried Emily's party bread, which a friend of hers posted about here. It's a loaf of Italian bread, cut into cubes that don't break through the bottom crust (so that it all still stays together), stuffed with a pound of cheese, drizzled with a stick of butter, seasoned with garlic, and decorated with poppy seeds (I also used parsley flakes for additional visual appeal). Then you bake it.

I was worried because the party was 15 minutes away; I could have done the second heat-up at her house, but I felt nervous about that and preferred not to, so I took the bread directly from the oven, put it into a bag, and ran from the house. It was just fine for the party: not piping hot, but still plenty warm. If I keep going to these get-togethers, I might buy some sort of insulated transportation bag.

Next time I'll bake it longer: the cheese in the middle hadn't melted. But the edges were great. People kept going back and picking at it more. There were about seven of us there, I think, and we ate about half the loaf---and that was with six other appetizers to choose from. It seems like it would be a nice flexible recipe that could handle a bunch of different kinds of seasonings. I've added the recipe to my recipe box.

********

Okay, so what I really want to talk about is that these get-togethers are getting me all agitated, and I don't know if it's good or bad. It's really hard to tell the difference between "Getting outside your comfort zone! good for emotional stretching and growth! relationship/community-building! change of pace! social needs! wheeeee!" and "This is not a good fit for me, and is resulting in distress and agitation instead of the good things that might be experienced by a different person."

And sometimes in a situation there might be the additional issue of telling the difference between "Not everyone is going to get along with everyone, and one of the benefits of a group is that it's good for us to have experience dealing with people we wouldn't have chosen and/or people who have different views on a subject" and "Yes, and that can be true of dealing with the rest of the people in the group because they also have upsides, but this particular person is a humorless, strident, pushy, aggressive, oblivious ASS, and contact with her should be severely limited, and she ruins the entire event so maybe these alleged group benefits should be experienced with a DIFFERENT GROUP."

...Okay, just typing that out was a big help. I think I will continue to get all RILED: it's not only a matter of there being one person I find challenging, it's even MORE an issue of general overstimulation (TONS OF PEOPLE! TONS OF TOPICS!), plus all the usual party issues of "Did I talk too much/little, was I boring, did I say something I shouldn't have, did I keep killing the conversation, was I too quiet/loud?" But overall, and for now, I want to keep going anyway.

Plus there's this issue: if she's so awful, why is she still in the group? Maybe I'm the only one who finds her insufferable. Maybe everyone else finds her sufferable.

And even with the insuffering, the good outweighs the bad. Just for starters, these are the moms of kids in Rob's grade. EXCELLENT INSIDER INFO AND NOTE-COMPARING. And also I do like THEM. And perhaps I will learn some tips on how to deal with the particular sort of person I mentioned, since there seems to be no world shortage.

I also noticed two other things that lead me to wonder if a Difficult Person can actually enhance a group:

1. You know that thing about friendships being based on shared dislikes? Another guest and I made a huge leap in friendship over one single "o.O" facial expression.

2. I noticed that the one strident person's strident views seemed to make everyone else more open to the concept of assorted views. Like, a conversation might be getting a little intense and divided---but then Stridentella lets loose with her views, and suddenly everyone else is saying things like "Well, different choices make sense for different families." It's like she shows us a caricature of how our own views were shaping up, and that makes us all want to back away from that.