It has been a particularly long, odd week.
I have not been productive creatively. In some ways, I expected lack of creativity last week (which was over-booked, and so I knew that even though I’d signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo for the first time – the first week of numbers/words would probably suck – they did at 0), but not this week which I hoped would be better. On the other hand, I helped brainstorm with a role-playing group of friends over Skype last week, and we contributed to a lot of creativity there, so I’m refusing to beat myself up too horribly. This week though, I have not drawn, I have barely baked/cooked anything that interesting (although I collected ingredients for apple-roses), and I have certainly not written anything (other than a lot of tweets and chats, and a lot of work related emails).
The grey-beast, Phoenix, has had some health things over the last few weeks. Some of it is being dealt with concisely. We know what the problem was, we got the appropriate medication, and he’s healing up. (We’re not sure how he got the bacteria that caused the problem… but having a depressed immune system makes the hows sometimes wibbley-wobbley.) Another health issue is just plain… odd. So we’re trying a topical treatment in an attempt to not have to increase his daily steroid dose, which is what is depressing his immune system, but also keeping the disease/probable cancer at bay. He is eating, having good bathroom habits, and playing. He is also being cuddly when appropriate and good natured. As the vet and vet techs constantly say, he has the best temperament and diseases are unfair and suck. In a not pleasant situation, he really makes the best of it. We confirmed that Shadow does indeed weigh more than Phoenix. Our little black cat on the dainty frame with the teeny tiny paws weighs, in fact, a full pound more than our long lean boy, coming in at just about 12 pounds. Hm. More playing is in store for her. Luckily, she likes chase (feathers, the red dot, string, her brother). I’m trying cutting back on dry food as well, as the vet worries it is hard for both of them to digest. Luckily they like their wet food quite a bit.
My hubby’s job situation has been a yo-yo this week. He hasn’t been very happy for the last few weeks (he says, I say months) at work. He felt as though they were more worried about pushing services and items than actually caring for clients’ needs. And he was very much chaffing at still having had no actual formal training at his new position in the company, lo these many, many months later. Well, Monday they admitted they were going in a different direction, and as his sales figures were down they were letting him go. It’s hard to get mad and fight for your job when you haven’t had a lot of support and are feeling ignored and that your concerns are minimized. So, he swung by another old job location near by (one that had reached out to him this past year to see if he was available) and let them know that he was now available. As of yesterday, he has a new job, starting next Monday. It’s a position he hasn’t held in an extremely long time (and I’m not sure he ever held at that particular employer) but he’s excited about it, tentatively. And happy to not have to job hunt or deal with unemployment.
My own work situations are about as normal. As another friend says, lots of juggling of chainsaws, whips and exploding objects. In my case, at job 1, it mostly involves holding my tongue and not saying when I think someone is not being professional (because then I would be being unprofessional) and trying to juggle paperwork that is redundant. Oh, and a lot of email regarding web issues, contracts (and supporting arcane government documents), and advertising this week. At job 2, it is mostly comparing data, digging out discrepancies, resolving them, and moving on to various scenarios – but with numbers in an accounting sort of situation. I like both, but both tire out my brain in different ways, and sometimes all I want to do is come home and poke at puzzles until I get brain dead enough to sleep. Or soak in a hot bath. Or actually just go to sleep.
And finally this morning, I woke up to twitter having a rage-meltdown over an actress become magazine editor who took and tweeted a photograph that exposed her (many tiered levels of) privilege. I think I mentally wrote 3 separate blogs while showering and preparing for work in my head about why yes, she was privileged and yes, frustration was justified but the rage and trolling were not terribly productive. Mostly it boiled down to: don’t compare this woman to that woman, this is not helpful feminism*; don’t presume she’s got no idea what she did or was doing, she’s took that photograph from a privileged position of X as well as Y W and Z; and finally, BE PRODUCTIVE IN YOUR RAGE, show why it’s messed up, don’t just bitch. The final one shows my privilege, because I have a background and education level that desperately wants more than a 140 character click-bait statement of anger. I want a thesis statement, a breakdown and a proposed alternate solution. That in itself is problematic for many people. In the end, I’ve chosen to only contribute this paragraph (and a back-and-forth chat with a good friend) to get the topic out of my system, instead of contributing to the internet rage machine.
And now, I’ve written something. It’s just a menu of my week (sans tomorrow, which will be focused on job 2, and hopefully end in home-grilled tri-tip steaks, salad and mashed potatoes), but it’s words. Hopefully that will trigger a bit of fiction writing. And I do have some Skype gaming to look forward to on Saturday.
How was your week?
* This is also an example of the feminism problem that makes women say they are not feminists. They know that feminism is supposed to be about equality for all women/people/etc, but they also know that in real life, it quite often is only the “right” feminism in the “right” ways (white, middle-upper class, middle-age, cis-women) and that no one else is welcome. It’s hard to take ownership of a movement you disagree with large chunks of and that doesn’t support you personally.
Toward the end of the year, I started avoiding the internet at various times during the week.
Not all of it. I’d still read the comics I had bookmarked, maybe even pick up a new one of a friend recommended it to me directly. I’d read WordPress semi-regularly, because at least one of the people I follow does a weekly link collection where I know I’ll see good articles. (You should read his Friday Links. Font Folly has good thoughts on other things as well.) I might even load Slate for my guilty pleasure fix of Dear Prudence.
Social media though… Social media I got to avoiding because there was a lot going on for people to be angry about. To yell at each other, but not actually listen about.
Facebook is the hardest for me. It’s often the loudest, the rudest, and the cruelest. The internet adage of “Don’t Read the Comments” was originally about news articles, or perhaps reddit or YouTube, but boy is it true for Facebook. Hitting each others’ hot buttons seems impossibly easy there. People post articles they know are slanted and then get frustrated when people disagree with the slant. Sometimes, it’s an exercise in not talking, viewing Facebook.
Twitter can be easier, and perhaps it is due to who I follow and allow in my timeline, but even it can become an unbearably loud echo chamber of RTs and MTs and arguments.
Tumblr is theoretically a blogging site, except when it isn’t, and resembles something closer to Pinterest, Imgur or a meme-sharing site. Oddly, I’ve found that it has a more balanced level of social discussion vs flame-war. Both exist, but at least discussion occurs.
I don’t look at LiveJournal or DreamWidth lately, very much at all. LiveJournal doesn’t allow me to easily view backwards any longer, so it is more complicated to use, and only a few people I read regularly actually drifted to DW. Mostly, writers seemed to stay in both places and use them to echo to other publishing sites.
What’s interesting to me, is when I see other people, sometimes famous people, frustrated with the same things. Twitter is almost designed to be cruel. You have to speak in very short pithy sentences and the potential for assuming the worst would theoretically be very high. And yet… that’s not where cruelty seems the worst (unless of course you get attacked and doxxed). In general, Twitter users seem to go out of their way to be as clear as possible. Facebook seems to be the worst, where people often have their “real names” and often “real faces”. I’m not sure what that says about the user base, or my experience with it. I think in some cases, or I hope, that it’s my experience. Unfortunately, a lot of my family and acquaintances that I follow on Facebook are not as open-minded as I would like. They don’t like trying to consider another side to an argument. They have their side and strongly ascribe to black and white thinking. I feel defeated by the brick walls and I’m ashamed to admit I don’t push back as often as I should when I disagree.
I see WordPress as a straight blogging site. A place to write small personal essays, or poetry, or words. I know some people use it for photography (I follow a few photographers with beautiful images), but I use Tumblr more that way.
I’m not sure there’s an answer. I know I’m not the first to feel spread thin with social media and blogging and the internet, or to feel the emotional outrage burn out from news sites about the horrors in the world. In some ways though, I think that acknowledging it helps makes us feel the same, equal, and to relate to each other despite our differences. So putting my thoughts out there is something I’m going to continue to try to do.