Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Civility and Etiquette are on their way out


Let's be serious though, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the internet in general have created an underbelly of people who need their mouths washed out with soap and then sent to the Emily Post school for social graces.
Intelligent debate seems to have fallen to the wayside on most matters.
Don't agree with an adoption article in the NY Times? Then comment in such a nasty personal way that you end up fighting with people whom you have never met and most likely never will.
Hate the health care reform bills? Make sure you throw out an -ism or two in your comments, regardless if you understand the inherent differences between Socialism, Communism, Libertarianism, etc.
YouTube has some of the most foul exchanges I have ever seen, especially under music videos. A friend recently told me he was watching a Turkish musician online and then when he scrolled down to the comments, there was a full blown potty mouth battle going on between two people, one from Turkey, the other Greece. Sure there is history there between the ethnic groups, but come on now, there is a time and a place for everything.
What has happened to us as people? Can't we voice and read opposing views without getting nasty? Have we truly lost our skills in engaging in constructive dialogue? What do we gain by insulting someones choices or opinions? If I am reading something that begins to irritate me, I click away. Why should I get all worked up over something that I have no control over? Sure, I like to stay informed, but I also like being able to edit myself if need be.
People seem to thoroughly enjoy being judgmental and insulting online. Most folks wouldn't say the majority of stuff they spew online, but the comfort of anonymity allows them to be incredibly vile.
Facebook brings on a whole new world of over sharing like nothing we've ever seen. I cannot believe the stuff people will post. We have lost our filters and it is downright ugly at times. Privacy seems to be a rare thing these days, BUT we all still control how much we allow out. Even some celebrities in this world are more under the radar than the average person on Facebook. Do you need to tell people how long you will be on vacation for? What school your kid goes to? How long its been since you had sex? Saw your spouse? Are bored with your marriage? Bored with kids? Cheating? Eating? On one hand I am happy to know what most of my friends are up to and on the other hand, I wish they would email me directly or keep me in the dark.
I admit I have thought of canceling my Facebook account, simply because I am tired of all the inane postings and rants. I also sick and tired of being invited to play Mafia Wars, answer a survey or get in a pillow fight. I don't care that my friends play online, but I do not have the time so I usually ignore the requests and trudge on.
Maybe it is time for all of us to take a sabbatical from email, Facebook, etc. Sit in the glow of the sun instead of the computer screen. Can any of us go one day without checking any of it? That would be one hell of a challenge for most of us as our computers are our life lines. We get info, read, take courses and just surf and play online. I'd like to think our withdrawal symptoms would not be so acute. We can function without any of it, we choose not to. Since this is the case, we need to have blogger/commenter etiquette courses immediately. We need to interact as if we were sitting next to one another on a bus, not holed up in the dark where no one can see or hear you. Choose what you post wisely, once you put it in writing it is there forever and it's not private, no matter how you specified your privacy settings.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Linkety, link, link

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and got to enjoy this sunny Sunday.
I also want to give a HUGE Congrats to Kristy at The Chocolate Peanut Butter Gallery on her engagement! Good news like that is always welcome and wonderful.

Let the Links begin!

Fiery Denim Rose Scarf - this is stunning and really screams Auntie Mame.

Currently enjoying Hobby Farms online.

Made Pasta with Butternut Squash and Pecans the other night. It was fantastic.

Pretty Little Things is a great vintage blog.

Eddie Ross, please come decorate my house.

Watched Pineapple Express, James Franco and cast were HILARIOUS.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Layer away!

It is icky out today. I don't mind this weather actually. I knit, drink tea, read, write and pretty much enjoy myself regardless of the grey skies. Of course, I do get chilly. To keep our heating costs low, we have a programmable thermostat so the heat comes on only at specific times. So this means I layer like a champ. I knit myself a shrug last year out of Lion Brand Homespun yarn. It came out lovely, but it is not a good look for a busty, short waisted lady like myself. It is a good thing to have though when one is chilly and is not looking to fund a small country for heat.
I bring this up because I read this article on how do we stay warm during the fall months, without turning on oil or gas yet. The comments are helpful and the link to the Re-nest site with ways to help cut costs is too. Enjoy!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

NJ, welcome to your Civics lesson

Property taxes has always been the bane of all NJ residents. It is all we bitch about. So much so, other states know our woes very well.
This piece of info nearly knocked me over: Basically, New Jersey is sliced into so many local fiefs - 21 counties, 566 municipalities, more than 600 school districts - that it's just about falling apart. WHAT THE HELL??? No wonder we have such high taxes! But being the brats we are, places like Clifton, Nutley, Chester, Voorhees, etc all have their own schools, police force, etc. If we combined public services, it could help defray costs. Hell, for all I know it could knock down taxes beautifully.
This article, called "State of Distress", in the NY Times is one hell of a civics course and insightful re: NJ's issues. Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Education is always key

I am one of those people who wishes they had been really studious and a National Honor Society student in high school. Had I been a smart, dedicated kid, I would have gone to an Ivy League school and would be ruling the world about now. Yale was always a fave, but George W Bush sort of tainted it for me...I am not sure why I have a sick, useless obsession with Ivy League schools, but I do. I have this irrational belief that Ivy's challenge you better than other institutions. Harvard or Cornell would not just teach me math, they would teach me to think about it in a more concrete fashion and show me some secret ways to do it that was forbidden in high school. My school fantasy life is rich eh?
Thanks to me being a shitty student, I did get to go to college, but it was not the Ivy League. Bradford College, which is now-defunct, was a lovely experience where I met wonderful people and got bitten by the fiction writing bug. Then I went on to Community College where I finally understood Algebra, that took long enough, and had wonderful art classes. Sadly, I still lack a degree. This goes to show what a procrastinator I am. That and a non-finisher with some stuff. There are times I consider going back to school and take part 2 of Algebra 1. Maybe even go all the way and get 4 yr degree like a BFA. Whoa. Then I remember I own a house and I have no money for school. This is mildly depressing, but not the end of the world.

Where I suffer most is I love to learn. I thrive in a class situation and I miss it. By not being able to afford an education at this point, I am happy that we live in a world that is intensely techie place. We can all sit back and take classes at places like Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Yale, UCLA, Johns Hopkins, UNC, etc. You don't get credit for the classes you take, but for me, I get to do the Ivy's without the price tag. It is a gift. I admit, if I could get credit I would pay for it. It'd be worth it.

Here are sites I use. I do not have iTunes so I did not include them, but they have courses as well.


Academic Earth


If you are into Anatomy, UC Berkley has an AMAZING lecture series with Professor Marian Diamond. Trust me, she is stellar.


Friday, October 16, 2009

TGIF Thoughts

That photo is of Glacier National Park. Breathtaking isn't it? I have always wanted to go there, but for now, this photo will have to do. When I do get there, I have a feeling those mountains are going to look even more majestic. Amazing that the United States has such beautiful diversity in its land. This is also why I want to road trip one day. Our country has A LOT to see and what better way to do it then by traipsing across it in a vehicle? One day, one day...

Last night we had the pleasure of attending a friends wedding. They are already married but her hubby, who went to Fordham for his Masters in Theology, fell in love with the Catholic faith and intends to make it more user friendly, so they renewed vows in the Catholic Church. It was a lovely experience and a cocktail hour followed at the fabulous Park and Orchard. Their pierogi are hand down some of the best I have ever had.

I have the pleasure of meeting a friend for lunch today at a Diner. Comfort food at its finest right? At least I get to have say, chocolate chip pancakes, before I either get a shot or drugs for this wretched joint that is masquerading as my elbow. The evaluation is today and hopefully I will leave the office pain free. I feel like an arthritis patient today as the weather made my arm extremely stiff and sore. It sucks.

Then it is back to the grind with my story writing. There has been considerable progress made with "Retrospect". I now know how it will end and how I am getting to the end. Now to make it all coherent and exciting to the reader, that is the true difficult task. There is also a new short story in the works that will get submitted to another literary magazines contest. I would like to do Romance Writers of America's huge contest, but I will not be ready in time nor have the $100 entry fee. That is okay, there is next time and I will be ready for that one in particular then.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Look at my view...

The Brier Patch that was. Yes, on Friday the arborists, from Advanced Tree Care, came and made our land happy. Removing diseased and dying trees, rhododendrons and stumps. I am thinking that my compost pile would be best in this area above. Fix that falling fence and put it right in front. Behind the fence is where I will be weeding today and spraying more Poison Ivy killer o nthat nice fuzzy snake crawling up the tree in the back. It had been severed and I sprayed on Friday, but it was raining so I figure I will go and give it another spritz.

Without the Yews and Rhodies, our house looks bare, but they told us to let the ground rest and plan for what we are going to do. I need to get fence estimates since the plan is to turn the whole front yard into garden space. Yeah, that is right, I have lost my mind and have decided to become a Master Gardener without any training. I have a vision and will be paying someone to help me realize it, I am no fool, so this process should be fun and interesting.

Here is where our pine tree was. We are just going to put grass there and leave it open to be able to haul mulch to the backyard and whatnot.

And here is a full on view of the backyard. All the remaining trees in the yard and a few on the perimeter, including my beloved lilac, were pruned and cleaned up. The side of the house was wiped out too. We also need to have them come back, perhaps when we begin front yard and have them chop the hedges down to a reasonable height and then have them grow into a much better form. When I say we now have a clean slate, we have a clean slate.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sita, elbow and food

Sita Sings the Blues is absolutely fabulous and if you love art, jazz and a good story, you MUST watch it. I would like to thank Mark for telling me about it and PBS for showing it. I am a tad obsessed with the shadow puppets and their banter, it works beautifully in the story.

My gardening elbow is still bad, I also worked on a massage client this week so that did not help, but I go to the doctor on the 16th to get it taken care of. Celebrex, cortisone, physical therapy, who knows what will be prescribed, I just want it to heal and be healthy.

We went to Lambertville this past weekend to walk around and relax. We stopped to grab a snack at this little joint called Baker's Treat which donates 100% of their profits to programs for women in early recovery from alcohol and substance abuse. In addition, women in recovery are given employment at Baker's Treat, where they are trained in baking, cooking, retail sales and office skills.

That is all for now. Cheers!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Damn boo boo

My tennis elbow aka lateral epicondylitis has not gone away so I shall be paying a visit to my orthopedist and either get Celebrex or a cortisone shot. I am not excited about having to do either, but the cortisone did assist with my wrist. I do massage my muscles around the elbow area to help release the tension and it does work. I am also doing the ibuprofen regimen to see if that works. That being said, I will be staying off the computer for a few days and doing my best to take it easy for the weekend to help healing begin.

Until we meet again,