mokie: A package of meat wishes you happy holidays (holiday of the day)
On my merry little calendar of daily holidays, today is listed as I'm Not Going to Take It Anymore Day. Given that the past week has been full of reams of legal documentation that is only English on a technicality - not because it's translated but because it's legalese, boo - that is indeed pretty much where my brain is at. "Words? No. No more words. NOPE."

So I took a look at what absolutely had to give today.

Someone trying to squeeze a manifesto into a tagline? NOPE. I can summarize, I can epitomize, I can capture the spirit of the thing, but I cannot take the client's list of eleventy things that absolutely must be mentioned specifically and squeeze it into a five-word tagline.

Glitchy file? NOPE. Pure stupid stubbornness on my part to keep fighting with it this long, instead of asking for help, but that's what legalese does to me - makes me irritable and bitey, even against software.

The flu? NOPE. Okay, it's not that easy. I wish it was that easy.

Maybe this should be 2015's theme song...



(No video embedded above? Sorry, journal sites are inconsistent that way. Try viewing it at Youtube instead.)
mokie: Stonehenge with the sun shining through the stones (holiday renewal)
My family always started the new year off with a Southern tradition by way of Africa - a meal of black-eyed peas and greens (cabbage, in our house), symbolizing wealth in the year ahead. It was a fartstravaganza, guaranteed to chase home any lingering relatives.

Alas, this year I'm down with the flu, which is not conducive to cooking, or focusing, or staying awake.* Maybe I can fudge it, and count six days after the Greek Orthodox Christmas...


* Or posting publicly: this post has been post-dated for quality assurance purposes.
mokie: Man with an old computer monitor for a head drinks through a straw (eljay drama)
A new reader left an awkward comment a few months ago. Introductory comments are always awkward, so I blew it off. His journal featured a few short random entries packed around various event announcements. (I don't remember what for. They weren't my cuppa.) I figured maybe he was just dropping comments around like business cards, hoping to find eyeballs for his cause. I decided to follow-back anyway, because test-driving new journals is part of the fun of community journalling sites.

He left two perfectly normal conversational comments. Not in a row, no--two in his brief time following me. Two. The rest were uncomfortable, preachy diatribes often only tangentially related to what I'd posted. I quickly learned to cringe when an email arrived telling me he'd commented.

I let things slide at first, since I'm an expert at saying the wrong thing the wrong way, coming across like a know-it-all and generally putting my foot in my mouth. (New journal title! mokievision: making an ass of myself since 2000!) But when he got pissy at me over my Newtown post, I was done. Not because of the gun debate, but because I refuse to discuss issues with someone whose response to plain logic is to throw a fit and an insult.*

In going back through those months to tag them properly (because I <3 tags), I kept stumbling on his assorted comments, except without my benefit-of-the-doubt hat on they just look like a pattern of assholish behavior--behavior I allowed him to get away with because I was too polite to put a stop to it sooner.

So I broke one of my own rules and deleted him. All of his comments, everywhere I found them. I don't remember ever deleting comments before, except for the occasional spam clean-up, and I don't like doing it, because even angry comments usually add context to the discussions and entries. But dammit, the man derailed a freaking book review to humblebrag about how many languages he could read. That should count as canned meat of some kind.

Edited to add: dracunculusdracunculus pointed out the Five Geek Social Fallacies, which explores why geeks sometimes put up with bad behavior instead of drawing boundaries. It's so on-target that it almost hurts. The most relevant of the five: you can't toss a jerk out of your circle because ostracizing a jerk is worse than whatever behavior makes the jerk a jerk, and you can't criticize a jerk's behavior because friendship means never, ever calling someone on their bad behavior.


* By 'plain logic', I mean that I pointed out several of the things he was repeating were either unproven, such as anything involving the killer's medical history; had been disproved, such as that Israel arms its teachers; or were plain wrong, like his reference to Asperger's as a mental illness. I also asked him to offer a source for his gun statistics, since they didn't match other sources I was seeing, and suggested twice that we seemed to simply be at odds on the whole topic and should just agree to disagree.

His response was to pull 90° conversational turns any time he was corrected/questioned, pull some more numbers out of his ass, and seize upon "agree to disagree" as some demented proof that he was winning some debate that only he had agreed to have. I finally insisted on seeing some sources, at which point he metaphorically threw himself to the floor and whined that I was more in favor of gun control than I claimed (i.e. tried to tell me what my opinion really was), because I wouldn't respect his authoritah and let him just make shit up without calling him on it.

Happy New Year!

Friday, 4 January 2013 08:55 am
mokie: Stonehenge with the sun shining through the stones (holiday renewal)
Three days late for a new year post. Well, so much for that resolution...

Let's get right to business, shall we?

NEW
YEARS
RULIN'S


1. WORK MORE AND BETTER. I've been very fortunate in my current line of work, but I need to buckle down and more actively seek more of it. This means overcoming my oddly specific fear of work-related scheduling conflicts, a result of having to fight at three different retail jobs to make them respect my 'unavailable' days.

2. WORK BY A SCHEDULE. A new soap or related product every week! This year, I will keep the shop stocked.

3. Here's where I break from the Guthrie list, because the man has eight different hygiene-related resolutions, which is a little worrisome. So instead, I'll take one from a very cool project manager I know: PUT ON A BRA AND GO OUTSIDE. Between working from home and working night owl hours, it's easy for me to forget to put on real clothes and go outside every so often. While the fresh air may be trying to kill me, I could probably use the vitamin D, and the socialization.

4. DRINK GOOD. With all due respect to Mr Guthrie, I want to expand my alcoholic horizons this year, from trying out more of the local beers to adding some of the better reviewed absinthes to my liquor cabinet.

5. READ LOTS OF GOOD BOOKS AND WRITE EVERY DAY. When scheduling gets crazy, one of the first things to fall by the roadside is my own writing. The next is recreational reading. I miss both, and so this year, instead of being something to fit around the schedule, they're going to be part of the schedule. That includes staying on top of the journals, and getting older entries properly tagged. All thirteen years of them.

And a corollary: read less tabloid fodder and media gossip, view fewer celebrity photos. This isn't a new resolution for me. I was never big on gossip rags, and working in retail during Britney Spears' Very Bad Year, seeing her mental illness played out over rows of magazines every day for entertainment, didn't raise my opinion of them. Unfortunately it's easier to get sucked into gossip online, where you're often looking at a row of links to news stories mixed with a row of links to stories that shouldn't be considered news at all. ("The Senate passed a bill requiring--wait a minute, Lindsay Lohan did what?")

It also weirds me out that our celebrities have WWF-style heroes, villains, grudges and sob stories that are wheeled out as a form of advertising every time they have a movie coming out. That can't be healthy for us as a culture.

But mostly, it's the idea that being a celebrity means someone gives up their right to common respect and privacy--that they don't have the right to sit in their own yard without cameras peering over hedges, that they can't walk their kid to school without hiring someone to first push the press out of the way, or that it's acceptable to put lives at risk chasing them through traffic in search of that perfect shot. And for what? For a picture to put in a magazine intentionally designed to make the rest of us feel old, fat, ugly and unhip so we'll buy products to fix what isn't broken. Why feed that beast? Why pay anyone to make myself and a handful of famous strangers miserable, when I generally feel better not knowing or caring who's seeing/breaking up with/stalking who?

6. DON'T GET LONESOME. I'm not just an introvert, I'm one of those introverts that makes other introverts uncomfortable. But I've been slack when it comes to maintaining my social ties lately, so this year I'm going to make an effort not to be such a hermit--from a family game night with the nephew, to taking a friend up on an offer to tutor me in local beers.

7. LEARN PEOPLE BETTER. I've seen some cooing over Guthrie's self-awareness, and even a project on Tumblr about interviewing people to learn them better. As a girl with roots in southern Missouri, though, I suspect Woody was using 'learn' in the rural sense--that this really means "Teach people more effectively." That's how I'm taking it, albeit in a personal direction.

Though I rant about random topics that rile me and get way too cozy with the TMI, I'm really a pretty private person. I don't open up often or easily about my personal life, feelings, beliefs, relationship status--anything, really.

In my hesitation to become that friend who won't shut up about their cause or their boyfriend or their faith, I've become instead something of a relatable blank slate. The end result is that I find myself fairly often with an angry ___ who is upset because suddenly my experience/feeling/opinion/belief doesn't mesh with what they've projected onto me, and I'm not an angry ___ too. (It's usually atheists. Don't know why.) I'm never whatever enough to fit the idea they've formed of me, so they want to push me to their position, or lecture me on how wrong I am to not be like them, or tell me what I really am/believe (and you would not believe how much that pisses me off). There I am, left with the awkward choice of smoothing things over and putting up with their crap for the sake of peace, or telling them to fuck off and dealing with the fall-out. I admit that I lean more toward the latter these days, because life's too short to cater to other people's personal issues. But anyway.

Essentially, I need to open up more, and get comfortable with expressing who I am and what I think (etc.) a little more, and not worry so much about becoming that creepy friend who nags you for wearing leather, or being targeted by that creepy friend if I reveal that I'm not also a Baptist/vegan/UFOologist.

For the record: I'm a relatively liberal blue-haired bisexual hammock-dwelling pulp-reading hippie-ish single neopagan who eats meat, listens to whatever damn music feels good at the time, and really only feels strongly about reproductive rights and single spaces after sentences. (Never double. It's a relic of the printing press and HTML ignores it anyway. Let it go.) There's probably more worth adding, but nothing comes to mind at the moment. If you're conservative, don't eat meat, don't dig hammocks, listen only to K-pop, etc., it makes me no nevermind.

8. STAY GLAD. I used to live within walking distance of one of the world's greatest gardens; now I'm a tedious bus ride from any of the city's fun activities. I used to live beside a well-planted park, in a picturesque neighborhood that I wandered with a camera in hand; I now live in a closely packed neighborhood with bland lawns, where I feel like an intrusive guest even without the camera. I used to have my own little garden, with plantings older than I was and a makeshift pond; now I have a tiny patch of weedy dirt that I share with a rotating cast of neighbors who always, always, take it over and ruin it.

I've let this vague, sulky, gloomy dissatisfaction rule my roost far too long. I need to zhenzhizhenzhify my outlook! To look up and find the beauty in the moment and where I'm at, to look out over the neighborhood not as an intruder but as an explorer, to take bootyloads of photos and share them, if only to remind myself that it's not where my body is, it's where my head is.

9. SAVE DOUGH. Enough said, right?

10. LOVE EVERYBODY. And I do, even when I don't.
mokie: A stack of old letters, tied with twine (dear letter)
Dear World:

I have a terrible sense of humor that skews dark and moody at times--especially in dark and moody times like these. I crack jokes not because I'm a bad person, or an insincere person, or an unsympathetic person, or because I can't take serious things as seriously as they need to be taken. I crack jokes because I can't walk around all gothy with my naked lacerated soul exposed to the salty, lemon juice-covered whip o' fate. I'm not wired for that kind of emotional exposure.

One person's wailing and gnashing is no more or less moral than another person's stiff upper lip, but realize that neither is more or less moral, either, than still another person's daring to crack a joke at a funeral. People cope in different ways.

As if this weren't bad enough, I also tend to slip into thinky-thinky headspace instead of emotional space when emotions are running very high, because I need things to make sense, and in some ways I think my emotions better than I feel them. It's hard to explain, but again, no less legitimate than anyone else's reactions.

The relevance to you is that I may respond to long rants about the evils of evil things with something that starts, "Well, technically..." and goes downhill from there.

I'm not trying to pick a fight or piss you off. I'm usually good (I think) about realizing when a rant is a rant and not a dialogue or an opening to a discussion, and staying out of the way. But sometimes my radar on this slips up, and I try to debate when you're trying to stomp, and it gets all fucked up. It's not personal, and I welcome you to tell me you're in rant mode--I'll back off and we'll both be spared some hard feelings.

The one thing I will not do, World, is let you chastise me for how I feel during troubled times, criticize how I express those feelings, or dictate to me the proper way to 'be'. Try it and I'll show you some emotion, starting with rage and ending with my foot up your ass. (It's one of those German emotions we don't have a name for: schoedenrump, the mortification of finding your moral superiority suddenly lodged in your colon.)

In closing, World, I know we don't always operate the same way, but that's the beauty of this whole Earthling experience. Some of us put it into song, some of us put it into action, some of us put it into a pint of ice cream and a sad movie marathon, but at the end of the day, we're sharing it, and that's the important part. Except the ice cream. Get your own.

Yours truly,
the always socially inept mokie
mokie: A doll with an open torso featuring a diorama (yay for girls)
Abusive boyfriends and spouses run in my family. (Usually from the cops.) At one time, I thought it was practically destiny--that as a family, we were so collectively messed up in the head that I just couldn't trust my attractions. I actually warned one boyfriend that, before we got too serious, he needed to know I would kill him if he ever hit me, because I'd decided as a little girl I'd go to jail for murder before letting my man beat me.

Hell, that's still true.

But all of this is not about Chris Brown and Rihanna. It's about us, and how we've framed their story, because it is just a story to us.

We have our villain, the woman-beater. We have our heroine, the beaten woman. The media gathered its torches and pitchforks dutifully. Alas, the heroine refused to follow the script. So we townsfolks gathered around to gossip and berate her.

She ought to just do what she's told. Doesn't she know she's a role model now? That means she can't just decide things on her own. And the girl shouldn't be deciding things on her own anyway--everybody knows beaten women are all Stockholmy and too stupid to get out of a bad situation. She can't just be allowed to make her own decisions. What if she makes the wrong ones? Then all the other girls will get the wrong message.

That message? Sure you're a grown woman who can make your own choices and live your life as you see fit--up to a point. And then you're just a bewildered girl who needs someone bigger and stronger to step in and save you from yourself. You won't know, so we'll let you know when that point is.

And the heroine refused to fall in line, so the media shined its pitchfolks and grumbled. Maybe she's not a 'good' girl after all...

What could possibly be more offensive than Chris Brown beating Rihanna?

A police officer leaking photos of Rihanna's bruised face for money.

The media splashing photos of Rihanna's bruised face everywhere for entertainment.

Every blogging site associated with Gawker online posting rants about how Rihanna needs to get with the fucking program and start acting like a damn role model already, for hits.

That if Jane Doe from Nowheresville, Wyoming, were suddenly splashed across the front page of tabloids as too stupid to get out of an abusive relationship, we would be decrying this invasion of her privacy, the abusive tone of this coverage, and asking how the hell this was supposed to help her.

That people still rant about Chris Brown, but not about the two police officers who sold that photo escaping prosecution, or about the media exploiting Rihanna's abuse for money.

That every blogging site associated with Gawker online is still doing this paternalist posturing, shaking the "Silence is Violence" placard as justification for making this a big public story and ignoring that Rihanna's rights--to privacy, for starters--were merrily trampled along the way to it becoming a big public story.

Sure, silence is violence. Too often abuse is swept under the rug as a 'private matter' when neighbors and family should intervene and tell the young woman she deserves better and they're there for her. But while it's not a private matter, it's sure as hell not tabloid fodder either, and there's a world of difference between a neighbor's offer of support and some blogger's smug headshaking.
mokie: Cartoon of an angry tea pot raging (drink coffee)
The climate is changing, and the important issue isn't whether this change has been caused by man or is merely influenced by human activities.

No, friends. The issue is how do we save the coffee?
Running Arabica’s chances against three emission scenarios, over three timescales (2020, 2050 and 2080), and with a geographical resolution of 1 Km for the plant’s Ethiopian homeland, the models “showed a profoundly negative influence on the number and extent of wild Arabica populations”, Kew says. (Richard Chirgwin, "Coffee next on climate chopping-block: The looming ARABICA APOCALYPSE," The Register 10 November 2012)
This is how the zombie apocalypse starts.

Or the Rage virus pandemic, because I will surely beat someone to death without coffee.
mokie: A tiny, sad cardboard robot walks in the rain (thwarted)
It has been suggested by someone who is very, shall we say, 'right', that I'm actually seething about something else that I can't do anything about. That anger that I can't fix is snaking its way out of my molten core and finding its way up to the surface through minor fissures here and there, causing things that should be small nuisances, like unclear instructions, to become sinkholes of raaaaaaaaaaaaaage.

Damn! I hate it when other people are right.

Realizing it helps. I can see where I tried to convince myself that I wasn't that angry over the thing that's making me seethe, since (a) it's a stupid thing to feel angry over, and (b) I can't do anything about it. And I can see where trying to shove that issue into the 'minor nuisance' box knocked all the real nuisances out of the box and all out of proportion, since (a) they were legitimate (if minor) issues, and (b) I could do things about them, including raaaaaaaaaaaaaage. It was easier to get angry at a few small, clear targets that I could knock out or blow up about than at a vague and currently unfixable thing.

You know what else helps? Mocha coffee hazelnut spread stirred into warm almond milk. No, wait, I mean, talking about it. But that too.

And another thing pointed out to me: socializing wipes me out and makes me cranky. I know, I shouldn't need this pointed out, since I point it out so often, but my Friday was full of more people and places full of people than usual (ooh, that's sad), so I should have expected to be spending my Saturday and Sunday waving a knife around re-establishing all perimeters, prison-style.

So now I feel stupid about being so tetchy for the better part of a month, and guilty for feeling stabby at someone (okay, everyone) yesterday, and waving a knife around, prison-style. (Joke! Don't call CPS!) And drained, because that's a lot of realizing and feeling to be doing all at once.

(Also, like I should be posting some emo song lyrics or something...)

[Related posts: I'm all out of fucks, because I used them all in this post. / All my fucks are back! / Well, that was brief.]
mokie: A screaming child holding a headless teddy bear (cranky)
I'm currently stuck in a horrible depression loop.

I'm pretty sure I know why--the two week heat wave killed my appetite, my sinuses and my sleep schedule, so I'm sniffly despite three kinds of medication, sleep-deprived but not sleepy thanks to the decongestant, and hungry but not feeling it thanks to the phlegm. And then being hot, hungry, sleepy and sneezy all conspired to kill my attention span just as a big job came in, so I'm feeling all of that and frustrated and stupid and worthless.

Fortunately it's the kind of depression that manifests not as woe! woe is me! or I'm not worthy of hygiene!, but as a seething rage that pops up randomly against random people for no good reason. Actor on TV who cannot act, I will kill you with my mind! kinds of rage, pointless and brutal but quickly passing, thanks to that short attention span.

So that's fun.

I'm not sure if I should grab my camera and go hide for a while, or consume vast amounts of coffee and hammer this job until it submits.

Update: And the random brown-out just now answered my question. Camera it is!
mokie: Yakitate Japan straight man Kawachi  flails at a peacock flapping on his head (meh)
I keep vowing to improve my social skills, and I keep failing miserably at it.

No, I'm not fishing for reassurance. I'm very aware of my flaws in this regard, that's all. I don't remember birthdays, anniversaries or holidays. I rarely send presents, and when I do it's almost never on time or in alignment with the proper social etiquette for such things. (Oh hullo, box that I should have sent dracunculusdracunculus ages ago. Oh, her birthday was last month. Double fail!) I don't hang out much, and I don't like hanging out that involves spending money because I feel guilty over what I'm not spending money on instead, like, say, that new fridge. Or pants. Egads, do I need new pants. I've never mastered the art of dropping in on people, and I always feel creepy when I'm visiting folks just by virtue of being in the room. For example, I'm pretty sure saying that after bringing up pants was pretty creepy.

When you think about it, it's kind of amazing that I've even made friends. And not out of yarn and plasticine, if you dig my meaning.

Back in the retail days, I promised myself I'd hang out with the co-worker friends once in a while, but their timing was insane. Who wants to end an 8-hour shift in a popular store where you're surrounded by people by going to a popular bar where you'll be surrounded by people? Everyone except me, as it turns out. My full-time schedule frustrated non-work friends too, because I was reluctant to give up one of my days off--my few, precious, people-free days off--and not at all willing to 'just tell the boss you can't work that day.'

I'll give them the former, because that's all me being a hermit. But the latter? Asking me to either blow off an already set work day or go to war to rearrange it so that I can go hang out with someone who doesn't understand, "I'm working"? Who asks that? (In my experience, the guy who was on his third write-up and about to be fired, the girl who complained that management wouldn't give her the hours she thought she deserved, and that one relative who never understood why I took jobs so seriously, mostly because she rarely had one. But that was supposed to be rhetorical.)

So I thought it was all explained, all just bad timing combined with my crappy hours. Then I ditched it all for the freelancing gig, which theoretically means I can set my own hours, or at least carve out more of them for other people, and instead I've only gotten worse about it.

Do I prioritize work first because it's so sporadic that I don't dare take it for granted? Sometimes, yes. Like the party I was actually looking forward to and planning on attending up until an hour beforehand, when I had to admit defeat and settle in for the night to fix an exploded work project that was due omgrightnow. I'm still grumpy about that, but it was a big next-month's-rent gig and I couldn't afford to blow it off.

And sometimes, when a nine-to-fiver tells me, "Now that I'm off we should go do something," as if I don't even have a schedule to be taken into consideration. It makes me want to hand them the latest mammoth undertaking and tell them, "No, finish that, then we'll go do something."

But other times I know that, even if the work is pouring in right now, it can wait and I should go be social, but then I tell myself, "But maybe if I get this done there will be more work, and what if urgent work comes in while I'm out? And going out means finding pants and spending money..."

There's nothing else for it but to keep trying, I guess. I wonder if concertina42Tina's game for getting together. Maybe we can go shopping for pants...
mokie: Sleepy hobbit Will Graham naps on a couch (exhausted)
I opened my assorted friends lists today and realized that I haven't read in almost three months.

I've been swamped with work, and all that hardcore word-mining really strips my ability to put words together in anything longer than a sentence or two. I knew I'd fallen behind in posting. I hadn't realized I'd fallen so far behind in reading too, though.

And not just blogs. My sister lent me third book in the Dexter series before Christmas. It's sitting on my desk right now, mocking me with its unreadness. It's not a particularly dense or complex series, but making sense of sentences seems too much like work. I slide into the tub, open the book, and my eyelids droop in open rebellion; I took it to the doctor's office (just accompanying a relative) and nearly dozed off. The bookmark is at the midway point, but I'll be damned if I can remember anything past the first three pages.

Can one overdose on words? I think I might have.
mokie: A tiny, sad cardboard robot walks in the rain (sad)
No matter how much they act like they want to discuss the Casey Anthony verdict, people are lying. They want to gnash their teeth over the lack of justice and commiserate with others, and that's okay, but it's not the same thing.

They have no interest in an objective discussion of the high burden of proof for murder, why it's an uphill battle even when there's plenty of evidence, and how little actual evidence there was in this case.

They don't care about the legal difference between murder and manslaughter, despite its obvious bearing since the state had to prove that Caylee was intentionally killed (murder), and eliminate the possibility that Casey accidentally caused her daughter's death (manslaughter) and covered it up, or simply discovered the death and disposed of the body callously after the fact. In fact, just pointing this out is somehow proof to them that you've bought the defense's claim of a family conspiracy, even if you're simply pointing out the salacious suggestions that Casey doped her daughter so she could get away for a bit (which, again, would be manslaughter) or how cause of death can't be determined and leaves the door wide-open for reasonable doubt.

They don't want to talk about reasonable doubt at all, or what the state did or did not prove or the holes that allowed reasonable doubt to poke its head through. They hear "reasonable doubt" as "I think she's innocent!" rather than "There is a definite non-magical, non-crazy chance she didn't intentionally kill the kid, and that means we can't say 'guilty of murder'."

Suggest that being a skeevy person and a bad mother are not in and of themselves proof of murder, and they throw their hands up in frustration. And why shouldn't they? That was the crux of the prosecution's case--she's a lying liar who lies and she got rid of the body, ergo she obviously killed the girl. Personally, I think had they not muddied the water with murder charges that the evidence didn't support, and tried to stretch Internet searches on a shared computer into a smoking gun, they might have gotten a conviction on manslaughter--not because my armchair legal expertise is Harvard-quality, but because like everyone else, the jury wanted to see someone held responsible and Casey Anthony does come across as skeevy and a bad mother. It's easier to suggest that a shitty mother caused her child's death by being a shitty mother than to suggest that a monstrous mother intentionally killed her child when she could instead have just dropped it off with Grandma and Grandpa and taken off.

But anyhow, I should have realized this, because this is the same thing that happens every time a kiddie murder makes the news.

At least I'm not the only one: The Casey Anthony Verdict: The Jury Did the Right Thing [Time Magazine]

ETA: And now that infamous 84 Internet searches for "chloroform" is under fire. The former policeman behind the software used to come up with that number has come forward to say it's wrong--there was only one search, he contacted the sheriff's office and a prosecutor to give them the corrected information, and yet it appears prosecutors deliberately withheld that information from the defense.

So even if she hadn't been found not guilty, she would have walked.
mokie: A tiny, sad cardboard robot walks in the rain (sad)
First, I completely fail to see how invested the other person is in the topic. Then I find the hole in their argument and poke at it, because that's how I think at things: But what about... Part of this may include playing Devil's advocate and presenting the opposite side for consideration, because that's also how I think at things: On the other hand, we can't forget about... I'm trying to be logical in context and thorough, because that's what examining the holes and holding the topic up to peer at all sides is about, being logical and thorough. This generally means I come across as far more invested in the topic than I usually am.

And then somebody sighs and shrugs and walks away, because I'm being obnoxious. And I am, but I'm working on it, honest.

Or somebody tells me I'm scaring away other participants by refusing to allow them their opinions. But I'm not--I just tackle their argument the same way I'd tackle my argument. I'm learning to point out where they make good points, and to bolster those, before I poke their holes.

Or someone takes up 'my side' and presents an argument with holes, and I point out the holes, maybe even swap sides (the slightly less devilish advocate?), and everybody gets very frustrated because how do I feel already?! and I explain that I don't necessarily feel one way or the other, I think, and I'm more interested in a full and interesting discussion than taking a side and defending a flag.1 And they get offended, because to them it's not about a full and interesting discussion but about being right, and they feel my stance mocks or belittles that. I understand completely--I just can't do anything about it.

Or somebody blows up, because the topic steps on one of their triggers and they didn't really want to discuss it as much as rant about it, and I'm frustrating them by sticking to the discussion at hand. This is why I'm wary of talking to atheists/agnostics about anything pertaining to religion, because for many any discussion of religion always becomes their own personal boxing match, relived over and over and over, regardless of the actual framing and context of the current discussion.

Or somebody blows up, because the subject doesn't jibe with their world view so they don't really want to discuss the issue brought up as much as they want to discuss their world view as it relates to the subject, and I'm frustrating them by sticking to the original issue. I've seen a Southern Baptist try to sit through a class on Judaism and fail miserably because he couldn't step outside his world view and see the course material from its own context.2

Logic-in-context protip: if you sit down in a circle discussing the significance of Catholic iconography, and someone asks what the symbols associated with St. James are, and you respond with, "It's all a tool to manipulate the masses"? Not logical in context, because the context is not whether you believe. Also, you're being an asshole.

But anyway: I've got to learn to ignore that little voice that squeaks up from the back of my head, "But what about...?" It's never as interesting to me as it is frustrating to the other party.

1 If it's an issue I have strong feelings about, I'm probably not going to engage in debate about it much, precisely because it's a big issue to me and I don't like feeling like it's being reduced to two sides defending their flags, and don't want to get tetchy at someone who is, like I do, just trying to explore all the facets of the discussion. (Told you I understand.)

2 To be fair, it's very likely that he intentionally enrolled to be disruptive and evangelize to us poor kids being led astray by a damn liberal college, so I don't feel all that bad about the rabbi accidentally making him cry.
mokie: A large white shark rearing from a tiny child's pool (devious)
Nephew is bored. And annoying.

I'm going to found a summer camp--30 city kids taken to Forest Park for three months, to learn to live off the land. I'll call it Camp Feral Child.*

"Tonight we eat gazelle! Quick, everyone over the fence before Zoo Security circles back!"

* By which I mean, I'm dropping him off at the park and coming back in August.**
** This was the original entry title. Thank desertwolfdesertwolf for the new title!
mokie: Ghostbusters' Vinz Clortho wears a collander and answers questions (nerdy)
The media likes to claim that the Internet has the attention span of a toddler.

Remember this. I'll come back to it.

Ezra Klein offers an explanation of why Facebook matters, which is really more a comment on a quote from a GQ article, Viral me:
"The big change, the big shift in the Internet that's happened in the past three or four years, is the shift towards social being the most important thing," Angus says. "So now increasingly you discover content or care about content in the context of your friends. Up until now, Google's PageRank has been the dominant way that content gets sorted, ordered, and found on the Internet. And the threat from Facebook is to say, 'wait, we're going to reorder the whole Internet, all the content out there. And instead of it being based around some algorithm that a search engine says is important, we're going to base it around who you are, who your friends are, and what those people are interested in."
Why has this shift happened in the past three or four years?

It hasn't.

When the media talked about the Internet a year ago, two years ago, five years ago, what was the context? Blogs. Memes. Viral advertising. Musicians who got their start on Youtube or MySpace, nerd bloggers who become minor stars in their own right. The power of 'word of mouth', and the Internet as the new grassroots.

When the media talked about the Internet ten or even fifteen years ago, what was the context? Forums. Chat rooms, and what your kids might be up to in them. How a cheap indie horror flick became a blockbuster international hit through 'Internet buzz'. People talking to each other over computers instead of the telephone!

The media likes to claim that the Internet has the attention span of a toddler, but it's the media and its less-than-nerdy target audience that are guilty of not paying attention. A few large social hubs burst onto the scene in the past couple of years, and where most other social hubs focused on users finding other users with similar interests, these hubs encouraged users to recruit their family, offline friends and acquaintances. Yes, thanks to this shift, the uncle who joked that the only reason you could have to own a computer is to look up porn is now asking to be your friend on Facebook.

The shift isn't social. The shift is personal.

It isn't simply that a lot of people who thought that Google was the Internet (and who, ten years earlier, would have thought that AOL was the Internet) are panicking because they can't find Facebook. It's that, oh my God, comment #6 is my mother!*

It isn't that your kid sister is now talking to people over the computer, and NBC wants you to make sure she does so safely! It's that your kid sister is talking to you over the computer, and your mother wants to know what she's saying on her Wall because sis defriended her after their latest spat.

It isn't about discovering or caring about content in the context of your friends. It's about discovering content posted by friends you made in high school, and by people you know by their real names, people who don't even know what an Internet handle is, much less what yours is--and that's the way you want to keep it.

God help the relative who finds my Twitter account.

* Rhetorical device. My mother did not comment to that article. I hope.

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mokie: Earthrise seen from the moon (Default)
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