Category Archives: Opinion
A blog is a space in which to log entries of any kind. A blogger is one who fills the spaces of his or her web log with such entries. The goal is to produce quality content that we enjoy and love. This should be the reason we begin blogging and why we continue. To produce our passions.
So when did being the spectator become more important than being the producer?
When I began blogging, it was hard to ignore the blogging bureaucracy. Like most, I quickly learned the rules of the trade. They aren’t easy to miss. Guides to blog success are posted at every major intersection of the internet like big electronic billboards: Interact with the right bloggers! Read read read! Don’t forget to comment! Participate in the blogging community! Guest post and reblog!
So, upon the birth of 25toFly and my discovery of WordPress, I immediately found a slew of blogs that I liked and followed. I got to know the people behind them. Friendships were formed and everything was just dandy. It was like being in the popular clique that I was never a part of in high school. And it was fun.
But cliques are exclusive, and exclusivity limits the experience. I started to develop bad habits. My writing was laced with inside jokes that half of my readers couldn’t decipher. I was supporting ideas out of loyalty instead of sincerity. I found myself leaving drive-by comments. I stopped giving new blogs the time of day. I second guessed my own content if I didn’t score a certain number of likes. All of which pointed to the glaring fact that I was caught up in a popularity contest.
None of this was fair of me, because none of it was me.
Reading other works is important. It can inspire us, help us network with other writers and artists, and give us new perspectives, but without balance and authenticity, it can be detrimental to our own growth.
I was so caught up in what everyone else was doing, that I severely neglected my blog. There was so much to read and so many opportunities to seize. By the time I finished chiming in on everyone else’s conversations, writing a post of my own felt like trying to backstroke through peanut butter. So I wouldn’t write anything at all. The next day, the cycle would begin again as soon as I opened my reader, spinning me around like my shoestrings were tied to a high speed merry-go-round.
I had enough. I fell hush.
My comments resembled crumbs, and my Gravatar was practically an apparition. At first, I worried. Were all of the people reading my blog only there because I read theirs in return? Is my blog a stinking pile of uncovered cat poop without my comment reciprocation? Will I vanish into an internet black hole never to be “Liked” again? But then, I realized that it didn’t matter, because even if my thoughts rang true, I’d still be blogging.
To my surprise, detaching myself from the noise for a while allowed me to enjoy blogging like I did before the need to be liked took over. When I finally returned to the conversations, I made sure they were the ones I really wanted to be a part of and that my engagement was genuine.
You see, we are all worthy of the Blogger title, whether we are the next Mark Twain or just want to post pictures of our cats. Your blog is yours. Show it some love, and don’t compare it to everyone else’s. Produce what you love, whatever that may be, and make it your priority. Without it, your blog doesn’t exist. So let’s put the blogging bureaucracy to rest. Your blog, your rules.
- Blogger or Brand?: Extending Your Online Identity (dailypost.wordpress.com)
- Have Fun Reading Blogs (faithfulbloggers.com)
Yesterday I posted a riddle on Twitter and Facebook: Name a book that everyone has, no one reads, and contains the most characters ever put in between two covers.
What you see in the photo, other than my ultra generic but sincerely welcoming welcome mat, is something called a phone book. There is also a large orange door that keeps me safe from intruders. That is a cool color for a door, right? How many people can say that they have an orange door? Sometimes I describe it as “papaya” just to play it up. Unfortunately, my door’s special hue can’t get rid of the aforementioned abomination.
Last week, I arrived home from a taxing day of work and mindlessly climbed the stairs three stories up to my apartment. As I rounded the corner of the stairwell, I saw a line of identical plastic bags placed strategically in front of each door on my floor. As if they were presents or something. Pfft! I didn’t even have to inspect the shady package to know what awaited me. That is partly because the bag was clear, but mostly because I could smell the tears of the rain forest emanating from the pages.
Another phone book.
I didn’t fret. I had a plan. I would pretend it wasn’t there and hope that eventually maintenance or the old, hoarder lady next door would swipe it up without me having to even touch it. A week went by, and I noticed that the stubborn yellow eyesore wasn’t giving up easily. Although it moved about three feet from its original imposing position on my threshold, it continued to annoy me. But its position was such that it was no longer decipherable who’s doorstep the book belonged to, so I held on to my composure.
Until one day, I came home and found a disturbing scene at my door step.
There it was. The phone book, miraculously and deliberately resting not only on top of my threshold once again but actually leaning up against my door, clashing horribly with my beautiful papaya. It was as if it was telling me, “I’m coming in whether you like it or not.” It was inexplicable. Had one of my neighbors become frustrated by my blatant disregard for this unwanted delivery? Maybe someone was jealous of my courage to boldly reject the persistent Yellow Pages and wanted to teach me a lesson by nudging the book back closer to my door? Or perhaps the dumpster food itself scooted its way back into my path just to spite me.
There is no telling which scenario is more likely, but I still haven’t let that thing into my house. The last time I did, I ended up with a phone book Eiffel Tower on top of my fridge. Never again.
Okay, I get it. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a NASA worthy computer the size of a staple at their disposal at all times. You know, besides the billions of people world wide who are using a cell phone. Excuse me, smart phone. But come on Yellow Book, do you really need to distribute five phone books to the same household twice a year to ensure that we are all able to order Domino’s when we are hung over?
Not only is it a huge waste of resources, but it just doesn’t make any sense. When was the last time you wished you had a phone book so you could look up your friend’s number that you lost? Never. Why? Probably because your friend’s number is a cell phone number, and guess what type of phone numbers are not in the phone book? The exact kind of number that you need. Plus, using a phone book when you can transfer information simply by booty bumping your mobile device with another is practically as primative as using a warming pan to heat your sheets at night.
Phone book, you misguided me as a tween when I accidentally called the wrong Bobby Smith and lost my one chance at true love. You made sure to trick me into perpetually looking up numbers that were unlisted, and you most certainly don’t rip in half with ease like I saw on TV.
Your silly games no longer fool me. You are nothing but a pathetic leech clinging on for one last shot at cluttering my shelves. No, you are worse than clutter. You are a true waste of space.
As this game of chicken comes to an end, fear not. You will surely be scooped up and recycled by some Good Samaritan that is not me and then redistributed back to my very doorstep in six short months. But next time I will be ready…
I am overwhelmed since the end of Becca on Fire, so this is an old post I wrote back in May that I re-edited for today. I wanted to revisit my blog’s history for a moment of deep reflection on how things have changed and how I have grown.
We both know that’s not true. I am really just too busy re-gifting last year’s snuggies and bad DVDs. So here, have this re-gifted blog specially selected by me for you. I will most likely not post again until the weekend. Instead, this week I will throw myself back into YOUR blogs that have been neglected in lieu of the beautiful chaos.
Is it just me, or is Tuesday the most uneventful day of the week? Check it out.
- Monday is the black sheep of the weekday family, but at least it is known for something. It’s famous for all the wrong reasons, but that’s the way to do it these days, right?
- Wednesday is kind of like the just-popular-enough step brother of Thursday. It also is often referred to by using the word hump, which is never a bad thing unless it is in the same sentence with the word surprise or butt. If you aren’t familiar with humping, just ask Daan.
- Thursday is just close enough to Friday to switch your thoughts from putting proximity mines in your favorite co-worker’s cubicle, to thoughts of drinking rum in your backyard in a hammock for two whole days. Isn’t that everyone’s idea of a weekend well spent?
- Friday = Parties, paychecks, and pandemonium. I don’t think elaboration is necessary.
- Saturday is Mecca. Saturday is that distant cousin of all other week days who ran off from the weekday family to live a Summer in Paris sipping Cafe au Lait by day and squandering Absinthe by night. It is the day to sleep in, do whatever you want, and then entertain the enchanting notions of the unpredictable course Saturday night could take you. OR you can play Hitman until your eyeballs look weird and everyone thinks you are either stoned or Steve Buscemi.
- Finally, there is Sunday Funday. Even the most chill day of the week gets an inviting name. Host of family barbecues, abundant naps, football, catching up on housework, and maybe even a little front porch swing action, Sunday is akin to Wednesday but with slightly better genes.
What happened to Tuesday? You never hear anyone say, “Dude, you will never believe what went down last Tuesday”. Okay, maybe you might, but for me Tuesdays remain the most mundane of all the days, and the only thing that’s “going down” is my spirits.
Maybe I will reinvent Tuesday. It’s time to take the monotony out of Tuesday. It will finally be envied by all the other weekdays. Here is what I am thinking:
Tool Tuesday: Wrap things in tulle while listening to Tool and sitting on a stool.
Why it won’t work: Tuesday will always suck, and I used all of my tulle to make an indoor hammock for Saturday.
I will be working on getting my shit together and writing a legitimate post with awards, tequila, fireworks, people doing ridiculous things in horse masks and maybe even some real jokes! You know, something worth seeing. Until then, please go visit Le Clown and help him get another deserving blogger Freshly Pressed. There, I pulled a Santa. I am done until 2013.
- Get Locked And Loaded This Sunday Funday [14 PHOTOS] (coedmagazine.com)
- Prince Harry Taps That Ass Tambourine For The Queen! (perezhilton.com)
- Humpday Inspiration: Part II (sleepeatgymrepeat.com)
It seems like almost a decade ago that I made the naive decision to start smoking. Maybe this is because it actually was a decade ago. That means I have probably consumed approximately 35 some odd thousand “joes” as we dubbed them. How appalling.
I was a mere fifteen years old when I decided it was necessary that I begin smoking. It was actually a dual decision made by Jazzy and me. We would do it together. Jazzy and I both maybe 100 pounds each yet were utterly convinced we needed to lose weight. I blame this on our environment at the time. We were just emerging as principal dancers in the ballet company we belonged to, and if you look up ballerina in the dictionary it will read: person who feels the need to achieve perfection at all times.
We were perpetually unsatisfied with our bodies, which I eventually grew out of thankfully, but at the time we scrounged for anything that promised a quick fix towards emaciating ourselves. This lead to the smoking. We read somewhere back on AOL, in between getting kicked off of the dial-up, that nicotine boosts your metabolism. Thus, we ran with the idea like the stupid tweens that we were.
That 5-year-old, frail as it was stale, Virginia Slim that Jazzy had hidden from her mother when she was a concerned young tot, gave me the worst sensation I had ever felt, tasted and smelled in my entire life. Naturally, I had to have more. That is not to say that you immediately become overwhelmingly addicted to cigarettes after that first puff, but like I said, I was determined.
Fast forward to the present. I am a full believer in the notion that you mentally must be ready to quit and truly want to do so in order to succeed. Don’t quit just because it is more of a turn-off for your new boyfriend than the thought of Lady GaGa’s wiener. Don’t quit just because you want that same boyfriend’s mom to approve of you. Basically, don’t quit for the benefit of someone else. Quit because you are sick of it.
I’ve been sick of smoking for most of this year. Then, after two trips up north where they treat smokers in the same manner as I imagine they treated the witches of Salem, I was beyond sick of it. I began smoking less and less. I knew what time it was better than Flavor Flav and his army of clocks.
How would this be different from the other times I made the attempt but failed? This time, I refused to broadcast my goal to my friends and family. Here are some of the reasons why I didn’t, and why you shouldn’t (note: this goes for giving up anything unhealthy for you).
1. The majority of your affirmations and praise will come from others instead of yourself. Becoming your own cheerleader is the most important. The confidence you will have in yourself will be the most powerful, especially if that confidence is coming from no other sources.
2. Some of your still-smoking friends may tease you, taunt you or worse, ostracize you. They may feel just as uncomfortable smoking around you as you feel not smoking around them. If you don’t announce your decision at the front door, the pressure is off both sides.
3. Let’s say you become seduced by booze and light up. You will know you’ve slipped up, but no one will feel obligated to point it out.
4. If everyone is tracking your “progress” when those downfalls happen, you won’t have to deal with the added stress of feeling like everyone thinks you failed. That stress can lead to a full-blown smoking relapse. Because, who are you kidding, right?
5. Bottom line: This decision is about you, not everyone else.
In conclusion, I would like to announce that I am not quitting smoking. I just haven’t had a cigarette in a while.
- Learn to Quit Smoking with This Advice (answers.com)
- 80% of Cancer Patients Won’t Stop Doing This (belmarrahealth.com)
- How to Stop Smoking (answers.com)
- QuitMasters for smokers who want to quit (medicine.com.my)
While I often take pleasure in cooking and eating at home, I just as equally fancy dining out. Often I am alone, and therefore I belong to a certain club. The i’ll-just-have-a-seat-at-the-bar club. Not only is there a certain sense of empowerment from bypassing the wait (if there is one) or reign of the host, but it also feels there is a certain collective understanding between fellow bar bandits and lounge loiterers. I like to believe we are all there for the same reasons.
In my mind, those reasons include allowing our minds to wander and get lost in all the conversations around us without actually having to put forth the effort of input if there is no desire to do so. We can let the day’s labor fall behind and just be our person. Sure, it may sound lonely to eat solo at a restaurant full of families, couples, and friends, but for me it is one of the most relaxing ways to end a draining work day. Plus, you get drinks the fastest and especially if you are charming enough to chum up the bartender. Then you are really in, and there is nothing wrong with that.
I actually enjoy just listening, observing and often laughing silently to myself over the various exchanges I witness. On the other side, when the mood strikes, you can almost always find an interesting character to chat with. My problem as of late is that the vibe of this club and its participants seems to come off as: we are all here because we want to forget about the work day and have a nice meal, but we have nothing else to talk about but the work we want to forget. Basically, my fellow club members have been leaving me with a sour taste in mouth. And no, they weren’t buying me margaritas.
Just the other night I encountered a perfect example of this. There was a man in his late fifties from New York visiting Louisiana for what he elusively called “some training” and a woman I’d place in her mid-thirties sporting a mouth full of braces and decorative scrubs. I sat there for a solid two hours merely a few bar stools away listening (like I had any other choice). In the first five minutes, these two exchanged your typical where-ya-froms and what-do-ya-dos. The next hour and fifty-five minutes consisted of nothing other than exhausting work chatter.
She very obviously worked at some sort of doctors office or hospital and was carrying a practically unfitting and ridiculously tiny sequined purse, I assumed to distract from the shine of her braces. She insisted on talking about the problems of people living pay-check to pay-check and issues with employer promises that are left unfulfilled. This, in turn, left the conversation open for the man to repeatedly and vaguely reference how he recently made a “life change”. Eventually, she gave in and took the bait.
He then proceeded to unravel the details behind his “life change” which was really only an occupational change. He had left an unnamed company that he had been with for something like twenty years to help his friend with a big business venture. Wait for it. She pressed further to get answers from him all the while unaware that he was orchestrating her responses and puppeteering her curiosity. Finally, he made his big reveal. His big life change would be opening a new Pop-a-Lock branch.
Now, I am by no means anti Pop-a-Lock. Hell, had it not been for the friends I made working at the campus police station while in undergrad, I probably would have been one of their most cherished customers. I’ll admit I was pretty disappointed in the anticlimactic end to his hyped up story. However, I was more unsettled, almost saddened, that the two couldn’t talk about one single topic other than work.
But it is not just strangers. Every conversation I have purposely over-heard in the past few weeks has revolved around work. Some of them were neutral chats about a particular industry, but more often than not, I witnessed heated rants by jaded employees who just couldn’t seem to stop spewing about the exhausting topic. It is natural to use venting as a coping mechanism, and believe me I have practiced my fair share of it, but where is the line drawn? Can’t we all just order a really big chocolate dessert, another drink, and talk about the fascinating concept of hula hoops or something?
- Defining Moments (studiolightblue.com)