Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Photo Challenge: LIFT

Here we go ladies and germs and children of all ages! We have photo challenge results and I sincerely hope that they LIFT your spirits in the face of increasing societal madness and back to school anxieties.

Please comment, love, click through, and scroll down. Without your participation these photo challenges are nothing. Seriously.

Lift those abs, Cindy! Feel them rise!

I guess Our Bethany's boys couldn't get a lift from this guy.

Lift those eyebrows at me, friend!

I'm going to be a smarty pants and, in honor of back to school, I'm going to do a variation on a back (front) prompt. Let it be COMING/GOING. Can't wait to see your ideas!

Please enter by 9am Tuesday September 9th for posting on September 10th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and COMING/GOING. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

To Like Or Not To Like

Schmutzie wrote a piece about a two week experiment she did in which she did not use the Like feature on Facebook. You may know that your information is mined and Facebook uses it to suggest friends, movies, books and the like for you. It also fuels their personalized advertising system. Alternatively you may be one of those people that think that just hitting the Like button is lazy and we need more actual conversation in our social media. If either thing (or both!) is on your mind a lot then you might want to try this challenge.

Here's what I learned from just 7 days of not using the Like button FB:

  • It does slow down the rotation of ads in your feed. I got the same ones I'd had going in - Roku, a bunch of dance companies - but they came up less frequently and didn't flood my feed with ads.
  • It's difficult but not impossible. I didn't slip up but I did have to pay attention.
  • I can get chatty! It was a challenge to give up the Like button because I do like to remind people that I'm around. Without it I had to say something. I decided that making a thumbs up icon in the comments section wouldn't count so I had to come up with comments that I felt good about. It's slightly harder than it looks. 
  • In fairly short order I was afraid that I was too chatty. Some people don't need to hear me, they know I'm there. 
  • Good conversations started, though. 
  • I think I'll probably reduce the amount of liking I do and pay closer attention to when I want to hit the button. It's more than a little self-important to think that everyone needs your input all the time, you know?
  • However, sometimes it's just appropriate to use the Like button to register an "Atta girl!" or an "I hear you!" or even a "Fuck yes!" though I'm the type who often feels the distinction is important enough to write out Fuck Yes!

I recommend that you try it. If you do I recommend that you try it for more than one day. Doesn't have to be 7 or 14 days but I think that, to feel the way it changes your interaction with friends online, you'd have to be a daily user who does it for more than one day.

Report back, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

104 Years Ago Today

It suddenly occurs to me that Ed appeared shortly before what would have been Auntie Blanche's 100th birthday. Surely a coincidence.

Another coincidence is happening today. Our Misti is, perhaps even as I write this, rappelling down a 16 story building. She's doing it for a good cause and raised a bunch of money for a much-needed storm shelter as a condition of her "going over the edge."

When I read the date on the challenge I thought, "This is perfect. Auntie Blanche would have loved Misti." She would have loved Misti as a woman, a funny, kind, hard-working individual. She would also have admired the public, angel Misti who continually throws herself fully into all the things about which she is passionate. I'm sorry that they never got to meet.

Today, if you would be so kind as to raise a thought for both of them. I know they'd both appreciate it.

Photo credits: The black and whites are courtesy of the Exeter High School Alumni Association. The color was totally stolen from JB's Facebook. I hope no one minds!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Not Too Busy To Share

I've been busy. It's usually my main focus to not be busy. I don't do my best work when I'm busy. I've been slowly inching up the amount of action that I can participate in while remaining in good form. I'm not sure I've perfected it yet. A friend invited me to something tonight and I feel it's important to go but, man, it was going to be my first full evening in my own home in well over a week and I'm working hard to process the resentment.

Of course the best way to process that is to take a look at the wider picture and, man, is there a wider picture these days. Gaza, Robin Williams, Ferguson, Irish anti-choice, the NYPD. I'm lucky to be able to be so busy. Some folks have been gently trying to guilt me into writing here more. I've felt the guilt but it hasn't made it easier to write. I've been not so gently trying to guilt myself into writing about any of the above topics and it just hasn't produced anything. Today I decided it's fine to do a links round up. As I've been following these issues, and many other things, online I've said that I'm listening and boosting the signal. It only makes sense to boost it here, too.

Let's quick start off with some boots on the ground in Ferguson, MO and the surrounding area. Go to Twitter, even if you don't like it, and follow the real time news from these folks. Make sure to come up for air but listen, amplify, think. @Awkward_Duck @elonjames @AntonioFrench @Nettaaaaaaaa @TefPoe @brownblaze @Vandalyzm

Here's Schmutzie on the difference between sex and gender. It's important to think about all the questions you're asked in our box-ticking world.

Also, Schmutzie did an exercise where she stopped "liking" things on Facebook. She primarily did it to adjust the way the FB algorithm saw her and then noted the personal changes. I'm in day 2 of trying it (for 7 days at least then I'll re-evaluate) and it's not easy but it's endlessly interesting.

The sentiment on this graphic about violence and reproductive rights is chilling.

Hey look, here's some good news. The Listen To Your Mother book's cover has been revealed!

In the category of people doing the right thing is the interim president of Kentucky State ensuring that during his tenure and beyond all workers at the University will receive a better wage.

Let us always remember Renisha McBride. Her killer, who claims he thought he needed to defend himself because she was knocking loudly, was convicted of 2nd degree murder. It won't bring her back but there is some small amount of justice to it.

It's no secret that I think that the health insurance situation in the US is supremely fucked up. In fact I've had reason to revisit that belief in my personal life lately. Here's another way it's totally fucked up, this time by union negotiations at the Metropolitan Opera.

I don't completely understand how much national coverage the death of Eric Garner has received. He was in police custody, there is video evidence that unauthorized methods were used to detain him. When you hear any protesters saying, "I can't breathe. I can't breathe." they're quoting him. A memorial went up in my neighborhood and a special prosecutor has been put in place to handle the investigation.

Concluding that our collective narrative about abortion contains very few descriptions of how women feel directly leading up to the procedure, Jenny Kutner decided to record her own experience. It's important. I hope you'll give her the courtesy of reading it.

On the one hand, this is what I feel like when I am accompanying someone who loves shopping. I do not love shopping. On the other hand, at least I can follow through if I promised to keep them company or keep my own damn self appropriately amused. Most of the time.

We have all fallen in love with the idea of certain celebrity relationships, even if those relationships don't exist, right? Well, I have. I have no power over these two wonderful actors but, man, I bet they could conquer the world together (or separately but if they do it together we'd get to see them together all the time).

Rape is like pregnant. There aren't different levels. It's pass/fail. Well, it's all fail.

I hope that this profile of a doctor who performs abortions doesn't contribute to his injury or death. He's brave and doing important work.

Via @Vandylyzm, a Flickr stream with photos from Ferguson protests.

A sign in a library in Ferguson via .

Local Ferguson businesses were being protected by community members.

Because I try to end on a high note with these, here's a funny photo.

Gah, can't end there. Have to share something I learned on Twitter today. If you are protesting something and recording your efforts via social media please be sure to turn off the location tags on your posts. Police in Ferguson may have used those location tags to find a church being used as an organizing point and first aid station for protestors. It's a matter of your own safety on a number of levels. Let's be careful out there.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Four Years With This Guy

I often say, "He's a good little dog." It's dismissive, I think. He's a good dog. He'd be the first to tell you that size doesn't matter.

He is not, of course, perfect. He is the loudest loudstar who ever louded at the Loud Fest in Loudania. That part is a little difficult for me to handle gracefully. On the other hand it keeps my attention. We all know how important that is. It has pointed me in the right direction more than once and changed my life in ways I never imagined.

We spent this week in someone else's house hanging out with someone else's dog. I think Ed liked it. He did not, however, like it so much that he wasn't thrilled to get back home where he could rub himself up against all the parts of the couch, bark at his very own cats, and sleep without one eye open. That, too, gave me a lot to think about as I am prone to considering dog fostering after my cats have gone the way of all things.

Anyway, four years ago today I woke up to another melancholy dog-free day. Vague visions of Rottweilers danced in my head. By 5pm I had committed to receiving this little "puppy" and figuring out what to do with him. For four years every day I've gotten up and figured out what to do with him. With luck that won't change any time soon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Photo Challenge: OOF

Little did we know that on the day before this photo challenge came due we'd get awful news about a boy shot down by police and the death of the kindest clown. OOF, indeed. Today we also say goodbye to the woman who made whistling a risqué proposition.

If we learn nothing else let's learn to keep using our lenses for good and keep being good to each other.

OOF, that looks delicious, Janet!

OOF, that precious head is heavy on my knee!

OOF, Bethany caught them at the sweetest moment!

We need something good, something to help us rise above the sadness. So the prompt now is LIFT. Feel free to be creative with it...or to ignore it all together. Anything goes. Dessert first! Love one another.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday August 26th for posting on August 27th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and LIFT. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.