Thursday, February 15, 2018

Happiness, freedom and choices

So, I've been off Facebook since shortly after I posted 2018 and more. I originally removed my Twitter, but they delete your profile after 30 days, so I restored it. I've since tweeted a handful of times. I haven't put it back on my phone, but I'll probably wander over occasionally, but mostly want it to post links when I blog here or at Weer All Crazee Now.

I've wasted too much time on Quora to pretend that I don't need to keep myself focus and not drift into playing on the Internet. I also joined Instagram, but haven't posted anything. I'm considering how I might use it in some way that I'll be glad I joined. It isn't bad for the quality of looking at pretty things for a few minutes when I have a break at work or something and clicking my approval, without nearly the same constant barrage of opinion as Facebook and Twitter.

I like opinion, but getting so much of it, so often without the kinds of build-up of normal conversation or a specific choice, like reading newspapers or blogs. I'm fairly certain it's partly a processing issue of my brain.

All I know for sure is that I'm way happier without that, despite missing the input of some of the people there as a regular part of my life.

I'd like to say I've used that time as productively as I'd prefer, but I haven't. At least physically. There's a shit ton going on in my head that I need to lay out.

There's a combination of factors, beyond my own tendency toward lethargy. Kim lost her job, so I've been working more, and we've both been making some other changes surrounding that. Also, most frustratingly, living where we do is difficult all around for the things I want to do. That's true on nearly every level. Being in the suburbs is trash. Being in the Northwest means depressing weather that makes it hard to stay active.

That is not to say that there aren't reasons we're in both places. Whatever alternatives we consider present their own obstacles, and we are constantly debating the pros and cons of different places, city or country, Washington, Oregon or Texas. As life goes.

This all is starting to sound like complaining, which isn't my intention. I think things are really moving in a positive direction overall, and I need to make sure I'm keeping that momentum going and taking proper advantage of it.

Funny thing, when I started this blog, in whatever form, fifteen years ago, my life was in a really bad place, much worse than I was willing to admit, so it was almost essential that it not be personal. I needed it as a space to process and celebrate the good things in my life, which were mostly pop culture, media and art things, as you can easily see. With a much different life, I see that the blog, to the extent it has hobbled along, has changed without my intending it to.

I don't know exactly what that will look like as I have that realization and stop pretending that when I write here, it's a personal blog by a guy who likes pop culture stuff more than he should and not a pop culture blog that I allow personal stuff onto occasionally.

I know that I'll be happier if I never pretend to write a proper review of anything again. That always feels like I got assigned an essay question in high school. I'll probably continue, under the guise of whatever I'm doing, to occasionally barf up a bunch of disconnected ideas, like I've been doing with the Star Wars movies, when the thoughts build up. I'd prefer to barf up thoughts on more general subjects. I'm always closer to finding those posts acceptable as something, although I'm never sure what.

I have a couple of things in mind to barf on about, we'll see what happens.

Friday, December 29, 2017

2018 and more

I've spent most of adult life focusing much of my energy on one kind of "social media" or another online. Before it was Facebook and Twitter, it was their predecessors, such as Myspace, and before that it was message boards and Usenet, which weren't named as such. And that's not to mention that Golden Age of Blogging that this blog was a minor player in for a brief period.

The things I'm about to get into will undoubtedly make it sound like I feel more negative about it overall than I mean for it to.

As someone who suspects myself of being on the Autism spectrum and realizes that regardless of that, am quite introverted, I can't imagine what my life would have been like exactly if I hadn't come of age at a time when the commercial Internet was also coming of age.

Too often I hear people decry "social media" and Internet communication as making people antisocial and taking away from the social experience. I've felt frustrated and guilty about this at various times, in various relationships. I suspect that in some previous time I would have spent much of that time I spent on these doing something else that was solitary, compared to directly interacting with people, reading or something. I consider that might have been writing or learning to animate or something else that would have benefited me creatively, emotionally and possibly financially. I consider that often.

I'm not here to feel sorry for myself. Honestly, that possibility hadn't prevented me from the easy time dump of "social media" before and it's not going to now.

I've made some kind of friends, as good as I ever do in general, with a number of people on "social media" over the decades. Many I care a lot about. As such, I am not in anyway trying feel sorry for myself over the life I've lived or choices I've made.

That said, in the age of Trump, I think many of us are killing ourselves online. I think we are angrier than ever, which makes sense considering out justifications, but we are also able to release just enough microdoses of rage out by sharing our outrage with others, who just make a little angry emoticon at the same thing, and we've all done essentially the least we could possibly do, but doing it often enough feels like just a little something, rather than the nothing that it is.

I think a lot of people, especially progressives, are caught in this rage cycle. I think we need to get a lot more of out there.

I, for one, need to find a better focus my energy. As a starting place, some of that will be creative. I have things to be written and finished. I have moviemaking experiments to attempt. Fuck, I even have a movie I need to figure out what I can do to finish, so many years later.

There are so many reasons I should be doing these instead, including the arguments that have been there all along.

So, I'm going to try to make a lot of changes at the beginning of 2018. One will be to step away from "social media". I might occasionally take to this blog to express things I really need to put out there or ideas I need to explore through writing them.

I'm both hoping that I don't drop this plan too soon, as I've done before, and that I also find a comfortable time to come back to in which I can have a healthier relationship with it and share things with the many people I care about around the world in a happy productive way.

I'm looking forward to the changes and hope I can make them work.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Silver threads

I have a weird obsession with the song "Silver Threads and Golden Needles". Not specifically because of the song. It is a song I grew up with. My mom really liked Linda Ronstadt, so it was one of the songs I heard.

And of course, it has an important message, "Rich people are fucking garbage", that's always worth coming back to.

Having grown up, the thing that confounds me is that there's a verse that disappeared. It's in the original by Wanda Jackson.

Over the years, The Everly Brothers, The Springfields, Janis Joplin, Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless, Johnny Rivers, Loretta Lynn, The Cowsills, Sandy Denny, The Brothers Four, Brenda Lee and Skeeter Davis and, of course, Linda Ronstadt all stick to that one verse, repeating it over and over as if wishing there was more, which is bizarre since there is... and it's even fucking better.

No, it's way fucking better!

"I grew up in in faded gingham, where love is a sacred thing.
You grew up in silk and satin, where love's a passin' game.
I know now you never loved me, and I know I was the fool
To think your pride would let you live by the golden rule."

I mean, it's not a competition. It just takes what the first verse begins and takes it all the fucking way, like a next verse does.

And with at least half those artists, it would fit better with their image and what not. I can not, for the life me, figure out how that verse got essentially lost.

There's an early demo with the Grateful Dead doing it without that verse, but also a live version in which they open with it.

There's also a mildly reggae tinged version by Molly Sue Gonzalez and the Mean, Mean, Men that puts it back.

So, as far as I can tell, that brings it up to three version out of a few dozen. I'm curious how it got dropped in the first place.

But I'm also curious how none of those people ever had it brought to them to re-discover and add back at any point. Like I said, a number of these artists have images well suited to that verse. It seems like someone around them might have brought it to their attention.

As a footnote, might I also add that anyone who was interested enough to read this post might be interested in Cocaine & Rhinestones, a podcast by Tyler Mahan Coe about 20th Century Country Music that's consistently entertaining and wonderful. It's kind of my current obsession, and I'm slightly annoyed it doesn't come out faster.

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