Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In Event of Glumness...

And another thing about FB... there's no archive. You can't find the great stuff from way back. Now I'm off FB, I'm reposting some of my favorite mood-lifters here.

Rhino Escape Day:
As part of an escape drill in the event of an earthquake, zoo keepers and police in Tokyo practice capturing a [papier mâché] rhinoceros. (The ears! The tail! They move!)

Meanwhile, athletes face off in a game of hard tackling, bubble-wrap soccer.
(Game starts at 1:15 min.; click on "cc" for English subtitles.)

Laughing Baby, Ripping Paper:
Kid laughs so hard at paper being torn (and guy laughs with baby). 60 million views, so you've maybe seen it:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Bit of Frippery


Robert DeNiro as Captain Shakespeare, the pirate who likes frilly ladies finery in Stardust.

Robert DeNiro reminds me of my dad: capable of being both brutal or adorable.

GIF by

Friday, February 24, 2012

How to Opt Out of Google's Unification of Your Web History

On March 1, Google will unite its records of your Web searches and site visits with data they gather from everything else you do on Google (like, youTube).

If you want to opt out, Google makes it super easy.

Through Boing Boing, I found further explanation of the changes and the 4 easy steps--illustrated with screencaps---at Electronic Frontier Foundation's
"how to remove your google search history before google's new privacy policy takes effect"

Without the pix, here are the steps:

1. Sign into your Google account (like, just sign into your gmail).

2. Then, go to

3. There, click "remove all Web History."

4. Click "ok."

This removes your history and also pauses further collection (until you opt in again).
[by Toothpaste For Dinner]

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Baby Animals and Green Tea

I've gone cold turkey on FB, am weening myself off caffeine, facing a job search, and learning this new Blogger interface (a minor but weird shift).

On Camino, people agreed it'd taken them about a week to stop composing Facebook updates in their heads. So it makes sense that this morning when I saw these takins (goat-antelopes from the Himalayas) on Momo's wonderful Tumblr, Dumplings, my instant reaction was Must Post on FB.

Baby animals always got the most "likes" of anything on my wall. If I was ever feeling invisible or friendless, I could just upload a picture of one.
Posting lightweight odds and ends was one of the things I liked best about FB.
I was feeling the loss when I remembered, YOU ARE ALLOWED TO BLOG BABY ANIMAL PICTURES.

Meanwhile, I'm crabby because I gave up coffee today.
I've been waking up not wanting coffee and then brewing it up anyway. Yesterday I threw out my last bit of grounds so I can't do that.

I drank green tea, and it's still only 9:20 a.m., so it's not caffeine withdrawal (yet), it's the absence of the bitter-bean, milk-sugary odor texture experience.

Here I am in Santiago, Spain, the end point of the Camino. It's hard to come to the end of something, even if you want it to end.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Clear the Clutter: Fasting from Facebook

Hooray! I just passed the State CNA exam and am now registered with the State as competent to feed pudding, wipe butts, and perform other saintly activities for vulnerable humans, just like Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Now, job hunting for a place in a nursing home.

Today is Ash Wednesday, and I'm in a Lenten mood:
The time is now to clear the clutter! as Isaiah says.

Or, like Loretta's mother in Moonstruck, maybe the time is now to ask,
 "What the hell happened to you?"

Yesterday I realized that resentment has been gunking-up my mood lately, and that "what happened" to me is Facebook.  The amount of mean-spirited (or maybe just small-minded) comments carelessly tossed about on FB surprises and disturbs me, but I can't seem to moderate my intake. 
FB has become, for me, the equivalent of the La Brea Tar Pits.

[ABOVE: "La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles, CA," by Leslie Hancock]

So, without really thinking of Lent (until afterward), I deactivated my account.
(I don't know if you even can delete your account totally--"deactivate" is the best I could find, for now.)
And confirmed that I intend to keep blogging instead:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Changing Direx

Weird. I just updated my dashboard to the New Look, hoping that would allow me to upload images, but it still won't let me.
Why not?! Could this be a nudge to start a new blog?
Would that be fun?
Might be fitting, since I'm changing directions in so much of my life...

Oh! There! I clicked on "compose" on the top of this composition box (instead of HTML)...
... and that enabled the "insert image" icon.
Above: Altered 19th cent. cabinet card by artist Alex Gross, via Laughing Squid.

Good. Even though my life is changing, I don't really want to change blogs. I like that this spaceship l'astronave can hold everything and go anywhere.

Tomorrow I take the State exam to be certified as a nursing assistant. Then I start looking for work in nursing homes.
I haven't wanted to keep working in publishing for a while now, and the publisher gave me the shove by slashing their freelance budget to near nothing last year.

My long-term plan is (maybe) to study gerontology and eventually work with old people, beyond direct care. Or to write about age-related stuff.
How to Age Well (Spiritually, Ecumenically, Grammatically)
Computers for People Who Grew Up with Pencils
Don't Settle for Bingo: Activities for the Inactive
Beyond the Red Hat: Wear Any Damn Thing You Want

I met with a job coach this morning, for help writing a career-changing resume.
His best tip was, basically:
Figure out what your potential employer is afraid of, and then soothe that fear by presenting yourself as being good at avoiding the dangerous thing.
Say, nursing homes are afraid of hiring an employee who drops a resident, and then they get sued for negligence. So write, "Strictly adheres to safety procedures."

So that's what I'm going to work on now.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Wanting to Write Again

[Hm. Blogger won't let me add an image right now...]

Today Marz of smoothable and I agreed we would blog once a day, until March 1.
That's only nine days, but I'm hoping it jump-starts me to write something real again.

Since last spring, mostly I've been writing only on Facebook, which is not writing at all.
For a while now, I've been complaining--often and bitterly--about how lightweight and thoughtless FB is--sometimes sinking to the level of youTube comments.

It's ridiculous: I know I'm complaining that a sheep is not a horse. FB is not even designed to carry weight.
And anyway, then I go and don't even write where heavyweight and thoughtful stuff is fitting.

I'm not sure why I haven't been writing.
Partly the reasonable reason that I've been busy with Marz, since she moved here from Oregon in July, after walking the Camino with bink and me.
Partly, I think, I needed some fallow time after the long, gruesome task of writing the history of social networking book.

At any rate, I want to try again.

A couple posts by bloggers remind me why I even want to bother.
Stacia, of She Blogged By Night, wrote one of the best things I've ever read about the "gut-wrenching emotional turmoil" of wrestling with wanting to write, in her post "Matter of fact, it's all dark."

It's both painful and funny that it was her love for [the young] Neil Diamond that evoked an "ill-defined feeling of having forgotten something important..." and brought her to acknowledge, "I want to write and I want to be good at it...."

And then, she writes,
"After spending about an hour laying in the hallway, staring at the ceiling and tightly hugging Dark Side of the Moon because I failed to get a firm hold on this post -- it took me weeks to manage the final sentence -- I wonder how hard this is going to be."
She reminds me that my invented Captain Kirk Academy for the Pursuit of Excellence is funny, maybe, but it's not a joke. I do want to be excellent.
Why not admit it?
Why not?
I suppose it's mostly because I fear the indignity of failing at such a lofty goal.

Which is why, for Christmas, Marz cross stitched for me Tobias Wolff's advice to writers:
"Take No Care For Your Dignity"

Second, in her post . . . and i’m a mormon, Emma, of imaginary bicycle, responds to a friend's question, "Why don’t you choose a religion that fits you better?" (a question I, as a Catholic, have also heard).

Emma writes, "What I have to say is so huge, how can I ever say it and be heard?"

(I'm not sure, but Facebook isn't the answer.)

Then she goes on and says something huge, something true, and I heard it. And I thought, I've missed doing that. Or trying to do that.

So,... here I am.
Since I can't post a picture, here's Neil Diamond in concert, in 1971, from Stacia's post. I always thought of Diamond as smarmy, but he's weirdly... excellent here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On Giving a Box of Chocolates to the P.O. Clerks

Marz and I brought a box of $7.99 chocolates to our local post office for Valentine's Day.
It's an insufficient building, where clerks work under drastic lighting, yet they're strikingly kind to the customers, who are mostly poor and/or immigrants. The clerks make unnecessary human gestures, like learning to greet people in Somali or letting people use packing tape for free.

After I bought my stamps, I gave the chocolates to our clerk.
I told her that my friend and I'd been talking about how great the clerks at this p.o. were, how patient and kind they were, and how that made waiting in the always long lines actually fun, and so we decided to bring them a little thank-you present.

She almost got teary, maybe she even did: her voice got teary anyway.
I didn't expect that, because she's always pleasant but super efficient.
I didn't expect her to be so grateful. I was really pleased but also sort of startled that such a little thing meant so much.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Who James Cameron SHOULD Have Cast

I'd have sat through ALL 3 hours of Avatar if it'd starred William Shatner.

From "Movies reimagined" by Peter Stults (His Fake Criterion Collection DVD labels are great too!)
[via Tintorera]

The image of Shatner is from Comanche Blanco  (Spain, 1968).

This film is listed among The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie® Movie Guide.

Shatner plays good twin/bad twin roles: cowboy Johnny Moon and his ruthless Indian twin brother, Notah.

He gets to deliver such wonderful lines as:
 "You are as the wild duck that sits on the pond." 
--Johnny Moon [drawing a bead on Notah]

I want to see it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

UnPremeditated Reading in Bed

Marz and Frex, Reading in Bed


MARZ: How sad, then, that fish can't read!

FREX: What? Because of the way the comforter looks like the ocean?

MARZ: What? No. I was just using nonsense as a starter, because I didn't know what to say. You always start this.

FREX: No I don't.

MARZ: Well, I don't.
[singing to the C-W radio in the background:
"There's bubble gum in the baby's hair,
Sweet potato in the lazy chair...
...It's only Monday, Mr. Mom."

FREX: Let's tell the peeples what we're reading.

MARZ: I'm reading Lucky Jim and you're reading ... I don't know. This and that. Bully? Acts of Worship?

FREX: Don't you remember what I was reading?

MARZ: Oh, I thought you meant I was going to say what I was reading, and then you were going to say what YOU were reading. I didn't want to speak for you. You're an adult...and not even a vulnerable adult.
You were reading Hillary, 30 Essays on a Woman with Hair.

FREX: Thirty Views on Hillary--a collection of essays about Clinton. But, yeah, her hair does come into it.
Speaking of which, her hair...

MARZ: It's unacceptable for a woman, to have that ugly haircut.

FREX: I don't usually care, but

MARZ: I was joking!

FREX: Yeah but, no but, really... her long hair lately makes her look like some sort of Indonesian mad woman shadow puppet!

MARZ: But before when she had short hair, people criticized her for trying to be a man.

FREX: Yeah, she can't win, which is part of what comes up in this book.
How are you liking Lucky Jim? He'd HATE Hillary!

MARZ: I like it. It's not very funny.
[long silence]

FREX: What if you were a fish? What would you think?

MARZ: Now why d'you have to complicate it like that?
If I was a fish...
And I don't know how people stuck in this tight class system in England think either.
Basically he's in this unwanted situation from every direction, but it's not a tragedy, it's supposed to be funny.
It is funny.
But not always.

But it's not tragic either because you don't like Jim a lot. You're sympathetic, but not to the point of wishing him good fortune at the expense of a boring book.
And he's fine.
He's not going to go jump off a bridge. He would just blow up at all these awful people in his life.

FREX: Oh. You haven't finished it yet.


FREX: I think it does have a satisfactory ending. Tho I'd probably skip to the end... skip some of the center part.

MARZ: Now, you talk.

FREX: What? Ask me a question.

MARZ: OK. Uh....uh...uh... uh...
[laughs] Oh no.
Um. I can think of a question, but it's terrible.
If you had to be responsible for the death of a gorgeous blue whale or an extremely old person, why would you do a thing like that?

FREX: What? Shouldn't that be an either/or question?

MARZ: It's a trick.

FREX: OK. So... Hillary kills old people. No, wait. She is responsible for saving old people on the backs of blue whales.

MARZ: Nooooo....

FREX: I just mean, she's either to blame for everything, or she's a mythic hero.
Shall we wrap this up and go out for lunch?

MARZ: Yes. I could eat a whale.
NO! I would never do something like that!

FREX: No. Let's go to Jasmine and eat mock duck.
But, should we say something about the photo? Like, people will think we're sweeties cause we're in bed together?

MARZ: No, they won't.

FREX: How?

MARZ: Oh, they know. Solomon says, "If two lie down together... they are warm. But how can one be warm alone?" Ecclesiastes 4:11.

FREX: Is that really the citation?

MARZ: Yeah, I remember.

FREX: There you have it. God loves us. God wants us to be warm.