Some Random Friday Stuff

A few short random things from the week.

  • I decided to download a logic puzzle app to my phone so I have something to do when I’m home alone and don’t feel like reading. I keep messing up the puzzles, but I’m pretty sure it is less I’m no longer good at logic puzzles and more my stupid fat thumbs keep clicking the wrong box on the grid and I don’t notice until it is too late. At least I hope it’s I have fat thumbs and not I’m getting dumber.
  • I just bought my ticket to a fundraiser that is being held at a bar called Urban Axes in Philadelphia. It will take place during the PLA Conference. The ticket includes an open bar and axe throwing. Alcohol, librarians and axes. What could possibly go wrong. Now I just have to not chicken out and actually go to a strange bar with strangers and throw axes.
  • I’ve been really tired this week because I stay up too late(or sleep on the couch while trying to stay up) to watch the Olympics. I enjoy the snowboarding events, the speed skating, luge and skeleton, and some of the skiing, but the rest kind of bore me. I prefer the summer Olympics. I can watch a lot more swimming and track and field than I can skiing and I would rather watch gymnastics than figure skating. I’m ready for these games to be over so I and go back to my regularly scheduled TV viewing.
  • I was going to add some stuff about the gun control debate, but it seemed too serious compared to the rest of the post. I will say that I am annoyed by the people who are dismissing the teens from Florida as pawns being used by adults like high schoolers can’t possibly have anything important to say. I would also say that if you post anything claiming these kids are crisis actors and not real teens who went through a traumatic event I will most likely unfriend you on whatever social media it is on. I can be friends with people who disagree with me but I can’t be friends with people who post false and slanderous claims about these kids.

 

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Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd

 

I tend to use old pictures for the weekly photo challenge instead of creating a new one because I spend my days in an office and only take pictures these days when I’m on vacation. One day maybe I will have the time to take new photos based on the weekly theme.

This week’s challenge was A Face in the Crowd. I was thinking about what I have that would fit the challenge and recalled all of the “start of the race” photos from when my son ran cross country in high school. He is in this crowd and if you know him you can find him. Many people of many different sizes, races, religions, etc. are in the group, but all united by the sport.

face

via Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd

How to Fail at Blogging(Like Me!)

There are plenty of posts out there about being a successful blogger. This one will show you how to fail. Enjoy!

Start a Blog and then Ignore it For Years – I signed up for WordPress a long, long time ago. I posted a few times a year and never really thought about it. I started posting regularly a couple of years ago.

Once You Start Posting, Be Inconsistent – When I say I post regularly, what I really mean is that I post more often. There is noting regular about my posts. If you want to be sure no one will read your blog post at odd times, on different days and with no regularity at all. No one will ever know when to look for one of your posts.

Don’t Find a Niche – Be stubborn like me and post about random stuff with no consistency. One day it is politics, the next television. No one will know what they will get and many of your readers won’t be interested in the majority of your posts.

Don’t Publicize Yourself – Sure, have your blog post to Facebook and Twitter, but then just leave it alone. Don’t reshare much because you don’t want to annoy people. Bonus points if you do reshare in the most annoying way possible or by inserting yourself in a Facebook or Twitter conversation.

Be Bad at Interacting with Other Bloggers – Follow blogs, read them, but never feel like you have anything to add to the conversation so don’t comment. Get busy and then stop reading the other blogs for a while. Or better yet, don’t follow any other blogs at all. You don’t need them. You can do it all alone.

Write Really Fast About 15 Minutes Before You Leave For Work – Don’t stop to think about what you are saying. Don’t research topics at all. Don’t edit. Just type and post. People love error ridden, stream of consciousness posts. Occasionally forget to give the post a title before publishing. That’s professional level work right there.

Be Generally Bad at Writing – If you are really good at writing, you might do all of this and accidentally get an audience based on talent alone. The only way to ensure the lack of success at my level is to be an untalented hack.

If you follow these tried and true methods you too can have a mediocre, unnoticed blog. Good Luck!

Social Media is Depressing Me

I don’t know why I keep looking at Facebook. I don’t really enjoy it. It is probably half habit and half hope that maybe there will be something there besides the constant political arguments and sharing of memes. There rarely is. I know why I don’t deactivate my account – I still like to see the occasional pictures friends and family post and I need some place to share my blog posts and stupid things that pop in my head. I just need to break the habit of looking at it a lot. Here is a sampling of the types of things I see in my feed following the shooting in Florida:

Memes supporting gun control

People saying guns are inanimate objects and can’t be blamed

People saying the problem is that we don’t spank our kids

People saying the problem is there is no prayer in school

The meme where God says he didn’t stop it because he isn’t allowed in school(weird meme for Christians to share in my opinion)

No one is listening to each other. No one wants to actually hear an opposing opinion. Everyone picks a side and their side winning is all that matters.

In non tragedy days it is – Someone posts a negative post about Trump and it is followed by Hillary is a criminal! Obama was worse! Fake news!

I need to be done with this. I need to put the phone down. I could probably fix some of it by muting and unfollowing a lot of people, but maybe just deleting the app from my phone is the better solution for now. It is not good for my mental health.

I’m not saying it is wrong to express your opinion. I do plenty of that myself. I’m just saying that there are better and healthier ways to have the discussion and the first step might be to step away from social media for a while.

 

 

Another Birthday Post

“Is he really writing a post about his birthday for a second year in a row?”

“How narcissistic is he?”

The answers to those questions are yes and very.

It is my birthday. I am 49. One year away from 50. What am I doing for my birthday? A whole lot of nothing. I’m off work for the next four days. Today I’m watching Everything Sucks on Netflix(pretty good so far) and getting one of my various free sandwiches I’ve received for signing up for emails from restaurants. At some point this weekend my son will come home and we will all go out to lunch. That’s about it. I’m not a very exciting person. Maybe next year for 50 someone will throw me a huge birthday bash(that would have to be me. No one else will do it).

Last year I talked about goals of being less boring. Instead I think I’m even more boring. This year I will make no proclamations. I will resign myself to being the same boring person I’ve aways been. I’m too old to change now.

So, feel free to send me gifts. I will now go about the business of having a boring birthday day.

A Short Rant

The Youth Media Awards were announced this week. The book Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly won the Newbery Award. I saw one person on Facebook comment that the one review of the book mentioned that the r word is used a lot in the book. I don’t now what review that was, but I found one on Amazon with the same complaint. Is the r word used in the book? Yes, but you have to look at context. It is used multiple times by the bully against a kid who goes to the resource room for special help. I know that we would rather not see the word, but if you are writing realistic fiction you have to be realistic. I guarantee you kids are still calling other kids retarded no matter how many times we tell them the word is hurtful. It is real for the bully to use the word. Nothing about the book makes it seem this is OK.

In the fall there was a big controversy over the book The Black Witch. There was a review online that pulled several racist comments out and used them to say the book was hurtful and should never have been published. People piled on and posted negative reviews on Goodreads without ever reading the book. I read the book. What they fail to comprehend is that those racist statements in the book were said by racist characters. Some were said by the main character, but the entire point of the book was to see the growth in a character who was raised to believe her race was superior only to realize how wrong that was once she goes to school with other races. Context matters. It was a very good book.

I keep seeing over and over again how books are being pulled from schools because parents complained about language or other content without thinking that this language and content is what makes the book real. Why do you want your kids to read sugar-coated realities? Why are we judging books on a few words instead of on the entire content of the book? Why can’t we read challenging and difficult stories anymore?

Also – there was another school shooting today. We seem to be more active in removing “dangerous” books from schools than we are in keeping actual danger out. Maybe we could fix that?

The Time I Talked to Bruce Pearl

Kentucky basketball is playing Auburn tomorrow night. Auburn is really good this year. Auburn is coached by Bruce Pearl. A little Bruce Pearl background for the non-sports people. Bruce Pearl was the coach at the University of Tennessee. While he was the coach he invited a recruit and his family to a cookout at his house while the recruit was on an unofficial visit. Pearl told people at the cookout that the recruit was not supposed to be there and asked them not to tell anyone. When the NCAA investigated the incident, Pearl lied about it. He eventually acknowledged that it happened and that he lied about it. He was fired by Tennessee and due to sanctions was not a coach for a period of time. While not coaching, he was an analyst for ESPN, but also Vice President of Marketing for Knoxville wholesaler H.T. Hackney.

His position at Hackney is where I come in to the picture. My brother works for a company in Kentucky that did business with H.T. Hackney. This put him in position to meet and work with Bruce Pearl. We stay at my brother’s house when we are visiting family in Kentucky. One year around Christmas we were at his house and he took a work related phone call. After the call he told me that it was Bruce Pearl who called. I told him he should have let me talk to him since I was a huge college basketball fan and always liked Pearl. My brother called him back and said that his brother was visiting, was a UK fan but also a fan of Pearl’s and wanted to talk to him. Pearl was happy to do so and I was handed the phone.

I would like to say that I wasn’t awkward and weird on the call, but honestly, I can’t remember much of what I actually said.  Pearl asked me what I thought about UK’s team that year and for my thoughts on their upcoming game against Louisville. He actually listened to my basketball analysis even though he was the one who was paid to do that. He was very nice and friendly and I was the one who eventually said that I should let him get back to work. He did not seem to be in a hurry to stop talking to the random guy who happened to be related to a work associate. I came away from the call very impressed with him and his willingness to spend time talking to me about basketball. I will now always be a fan(unless his team is playing UK)