Saturday, January 30, 2010

Reflection: A Musical Addendum

It was right after I wrote Listening to Lenses Again that I put up another music page. Some people may wonder why I haven't put up more of those. Well, I have trouble checking artists' web pages. (It has to do with that odd phobic fear of things happening to people. I am protective of my favored artists, in a helpless sort of way.)

In response to a Squidoo challenge, I did manage to call up the web page of a second or third favorite artist and I wrote Listening in on Joshua Kadison. This one has 3 Amazon MP3 modules, and quite a bit of video. It also has a lot of my own writing -- and I hope you can appreciate how very audience-driven it is.

Today I've been writing "Listening to Caffeine" (No, actually the caffeine isn't playing piano, or singing either) and I'll link to that one sometime later.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reflection: Tagging (A Metaphor for Monotropism)

I belong to a lesser known social bookmarking site -- and from the experience of bookmarking and tagging, I draw another metaphor for monotropism:
I tag websites with keywords and -- metaphorically -- I tag real-life stimuli as well. A particuar stimuli is tagged 'fear', and it is always fear; a particular person is tagged 'love' and they are always love.
The funny thing is, I actually have trouble responding emotionally to stimuli that haven't been 'tagged'. Here's something I've puzzled over at various times: I will sometimes order an item at a restaurant or juice bar that ends up turning my stomach. I think I do it because I don't recognize, or experience, body signals well. I can tell you what my favorite foods are, but if you ask me what my stomach or taste buds crave at a particuar moment in time, you'll be met with bafflement. Salty? Sweet? I don't know, and I'm not sure I know how to know.
Some people say that emotions are largely physiological responses to stimuli. Well, this is just a theory, but it does so seem to fit: Deficient in normal body signals, deficient in the very mechanics of attraction and repulsion, emotion for me consists largely of conditioned responses to a limited number of stimuli. (I just want my favorite. I just want whatever it is I've tagged as 'favorite'.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Reflection: Listening to Lenses Again

Two of my 'lenses', both music-related, were quietly added to the sidebar a couple days back. Yup, I've been listening to lenses again. The one that I most enjoy listening to is Mental Illness: Songs For the Journey. I included an Amazon MP3 module with a dozen or so songs, and also three videos whose creators must have poured a lot of care into them. Two are music slideshows. The "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot" video gives pretty much a line by line interpretation of Sting's song, and I would describe it as quite clever... "I'll Stand By You" I would describe as absolutely stunning. It's one of those YouTube videos that has been watched about a gazillion times and may well have more 'page rank' than anything else its creator has ever put on the internet.

The other webpage, Songs of My Childhood, is lighter fare. That piece also includes an Amazon MP3 module and a few videos; part of the text came from an essay I wrote a few years back. It was a response to a challenge posted on the forums... and if I were someone's brother, I would view a particular photo, and what it says under the photo, with a sense of humor.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Reflection: A Matter of Trust

Something I wrote in my most recent post could, I suppose, be construed as bragging, and something I write at the bottom of this one could as well. Ah, that's not the intent, though! Before I resume my account of current events, I want to dip way, way into the past...

I was bullied a lot when I was little. The situation began to change when I moved from rural Virginia to the Phoenix suburbs. Some people say that peer issues are at their worst in junior high, but it was during those years that I began to find a niche. With each transition (into high school, into adulthood) I met with more acceptance and more friendship. By the early years of high school, I had already learned that I could build bridges with words -- by telling stories that were personal indeed. Sure there are people in this world who will look down on me, but my tendency is to believe there are people worth trusting ever single place I go -- not everyone is, no, but lots of people, and they're everywhere. They're in Florida, and the Phillipines, and Scotland -- and I'm speaking now from experience, not conjecture.

Making Sense of Monotropism won Lens of the Day at Squidoo a couple days ago. There are now more than 40 comments, written by Squidoo-ers, on that lens. I had to press "load more comments" several times to read them. (I had been aware before the LOTD thing that the lens had been tweeted; one person had commented she encountered the piece when a fellow 'lensmaster' tweeted it.)

If people are surprised at what I've written on Squidoo, it's because they are looking at my behavior through the lens of their own experience -- something we all of course to some degree do. Know: when I tell tales of long-ago childhood, I write in the present tense, but that doesn't mean the transcient concerns of a long-ago little girl are my concerns. I share those stories with particular people because I want to share them, not because I think they are the only person in the world who will accept 'poor broken little me'. I suppose to some extent, I've had myself, and my writing, to blame when people have held that belief -- but I think that people are actually more likely to hold the belief if they themselves see people as untrustworthy.

My favorite book of the middle school years -- my brother's as well -- was The Young Unicorns. A favorite line: "When our trust is broken, as it always is, the only response that is not destructive is to trust again, not blindly, you understand, but fully aware..."

PS I just realized that in my previous post I linked to Placefy Geography Game when I meant to link to "Promising Lensmaster of 2010". Whoops. Well, I've corrected it now.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reflection: A Bit of Recognition

The writing I am linking to here, Promising Lensmasters of 2010, is by a 'Squid' who is the mentor for nonprofit organizations and an honorary angel. The piece she featured of mine is one that I didn't post on the forums or, fot that matter, here. It contains some personal writing and some research references -- one section was reprinted from this blog ("Please Don't Email the Drops").

I've put up several pages since then, and a couple I do want to talk about here in this blog. That, too, will probably precede the next "soapbox post" that I write. I guess I have a bit of blog cklog.

PS It looks like Susanna is going to be following -- and giving some help to -- the people she's taken under her wings... er, tentacles. I went back and added a "With thanks" module near the bottom of that one lens., and I included the picture you see here -- rather an interesting photoeffects find.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Re-reflection: Running Fast Without 3-G

I think this is, after all, a day for reprinting one of those old posts that dates back to the days before I let this blog be crawled. I was tired out from a lot of off-site writing... and then I happened into this freebie picture on a photo sharing site. So here, again (not necessarily by popular request, but with better line spacings):

I have a friend whose name is spelled the same way forward and backward. Long after the fact -- long after I had gone so very far away -- he expressed some regrets..."I got scared," he said.

"Why?" I asked. "Everything I expressed was real."

"I knew that," said my palindrome-named friend. "That's what scared me."

If you are, like me, the kind of person who loves with every breath you take -- or not at all -- it can be hard to control your energy. Another person may pick up on that note of desperation and not know what to make of it; they may be able to see anything and everything but the truth, or they may glimpse something real that scares them.

Referencing the ad I quoted in an earlier post (3G: faster friends) ... Now why would someone want faster friends? Some of us have friends who run plenty fast without electronic enhancement.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reflection: '100th Post Day'

Many elementary classrooms celebrate their 1ooth day in school with 100-themed activities. Today (my blog reminds me) is '100th Post Day'. So what does one do to celebrate '100 Post day' with their blog? Well, I had previously noticed a promotion at Walgreen's -- Post cereals for only $1. I bought a box of Post Shredded Wheat for 100 cents.

This blog has seen some changes over the course of its first 100 posts (and acquired some cool widgets). There are some posts that don't show up in the 'Link Within' widget because they go back to the time when this was not a fully public blog. A few I will probably reprint in the future. I was planning to post a reprint today, but I am probably going to put up quite a serious post tomorrow, so I am holding off on it. I do have some favorite 'soapbox posts' linked to over there on the sidebar for folks to browse.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Reflection: CA Security and 'Snookums'

After the two-week trial of McAffee security software wore off (some months back) I installed the CA Security Suite that Radio Shack had included as a promotion. I preferred (and indeed somewhat missed) the McAffee program. Still, I am glad that I have not only refrained from referring to CA as "the currently installed dictator" but that also, when CA sends up a popup telling me what it's protected me from thusfar (mostly 'inbound connections' and adware) I say "Thank you," quite politely as I click the message.

Well, CA has come to the netbook's rescue on two recent occasions. Once I got a message of some threat that appeared to come from Windows, and foolishly clicked; immediately it was obvious that I had entered some other website that was merely masquerading as a Windows window. CA sent up a message about a virus-infected file; apparently it dealt with the file quite adequately (zapped it? cleaned it?) on contact. It was then that I threw in the "dear". "Thank you, dear," I say when it sends up one of those boxes to numerate the various things it's blocked or otherwise dealt with, and remind me that it's protecting my computer.

Then came the second incident. Apparently there was a third-party module on Squidoo that was briefly compromised/set to download contaminants. CA dealt with that smoothly as well. Well, hmmm, there are only so many ways one can express gratitude to a security program. I'm already calling it "dear"; I'm not about to upgrade it to "Snookums". (I reserve that term for the netbook itself.)

That picture is not Snookums, by the way. Snookums is "wittel-wer" and cuter. A few people might recognize that laptop photo from my "Struggling to Pass Brain Chemistry" piece, linked to in a previous post.
Now about that piece: I came home to a message from a "Giant Squid" who had written something in my "guestbook" that she had intended to be anonymous but that her name appeared alongside. She wanted her words deleted as she was concerned that they might reveal information that was told to her in confidence. I deleted of course -- but I was glad for the opportunity to have read her words. I had titled that guestbook "Similar situation?" but I hadn't necessarily expected another Squidoo-er would pour out so much in that particular spot. There are a lot of writers on the site, and sometimes one of them has indeed been searching for something similar... In our hearts and minds, we are sometimes closer than we realize, but we don't know 'til we open our mouths.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reflection: No, No, I'm a RocketMom!

There are two songs going around my head, both by Elton John. But let me backtrack a moment.

There has been some controversy, on Squidoo, about a group called RocketMoms: Do they get preferential promotion, and, if so, is it discriminatory, as the group is open to less than half of the population? Some people feel quite strongly about this issue. I believe that the latest flurry of communication traces to a person who expressed that it was difficult enough to not have the opportunity to be a mom without watching a group of mothers get preferential treatment, business-wise.

Many people have been on those forum threads, offering heartfelt opinions on both sides of the issue. One comment that was humorous, if not 100% appropriate: that on the internet, anyone who chose could be female. Hmmm... On the one hand, I do believe internet relationship should be based on trust. On the other hand, it has gotten easier, since the days of Tootsie... Picture this scenario: A man, struggling with his freelance career, considering possibly an expose, infiltrates Rocket Moms. The situation becomes more complex when he -- a single father -- falls in love with one of the moms.

One of the songs in my head is quite serious: "I need you, before I'm too old, to have and to hold..."

The other is lighter fare: "I'm not the mom they think I am at all. No, no, I'm a Rocket Man!"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Memory: Struggling to Pass Brain Chemistry

I was fixing to publish this piece when I wrote in "Evening Nigh's Year in Reflection" that I would continue to be 'the author of people's lives' (aren't we all?) and that I would strive, in the words of The Moody Blues, to "Say it With Love".

I actually wrote this particularly piece a few years back; at the time, I made several unsuccessful attempts to publish it in lit journals.

I went over Struggling to Pass Brain Chemistry again and again with a fine tooth comb before I added media and resources and posted it to Squidoo. I waited until the piece had received a few comments (also a couple Squid Angel blessings) before posting it here. I wanted to do right by the piece. The piece, in its new incarnation has 10 illustrated text sections; I used stock photos, of course, running most of them through photoeffect programs. Only one text section is new -- it's a short one that discusses the limitations of labels and of medication... and it's accompanied by the same picture you see here in this blog entry.

It's good, from a pragmatic standpoint, that I've got some real publishing credits (lit journal and anthology) but I'm happy to have "Struggling to Pass Brain Chemistry" under the Squidoo domain, dressed up, like various other lenses, in resources and media and one of those little Amazon MP3 modules.

PS Picked up another one from someone -- down in the Philipines, I believe -- who has commented on other lenses, and is part of the new "Angels crew". She not only read, but listened to the whole thing, and what she wrote was really kind. (The volunteer Angels are of course a part of how the site maintains its integrity, too.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reflection: Updates

There's only one street in Seattle that's named after people I know -- or appears to be. I cross the street regularly on the 43 or the 48. The sign is a bit washed out in that photo -- it's more so in another picture where a semi is just rounding the corner. The artist, "I'm singing, though rather poorly" will probably be releasing another verse of "Time After Time" soon, so those photos will probably be seen again....

This weekend, it is the pragmatic work-oriented projects that have me very busy. I need to thoroughly wake myself up, as there are more sessions to teach, here on my little computer. I have a little Google site up for my CLEP class. Times are tough in the pragmatic day-to-day ways, too; it's mainly at the request of a particular student that I kept the CLEP start dates as originally scheduled instead of pushing them back some as colleagues are doing. I can open up another session a little later, and it will be less work, as I already have put in so very many hours organizing resources out there in cyberspace.

Some people who know me will realize that it's my fear of crises and bad news, and not just my responsibility, that causes me to "make hay while the sun shines" in a manner of speaking -- work ahead, accomplishing things in the now that might not have to be accomplished until weeks hence, and put in near sleepless days of work before... well, before things can happen that takes the wind out of these sails. Phobic fear is a type of fear that can be planned for -- and, yes, that's a topic I've been doing some writing on, as well! And I'll link to off-site writings again soon.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Reflection: Seattle Scenes

When I made my first little Animoto video of Seattle scenes (Trying to Set a City to Music), I was a little disconcerted by the particular lyric where my "Don't cross here" sign put in its appearance. Later, I decided it was funny. I've got another little Animoto short, with several "signs of Seattle". When I came across this particular song clip on the Animoto site, I thought it would be a nice accompaniment for Seattle signs. The twin "Use Crosswalk" signs appear a picture or two before they ideally should, so the joke isn't quite so apparent as it might be, but this Animoto short still very much appeals to odd little me. I added it to my "Step Into Seattle" page on Squidoo.

One (more)thing I like about putting things on that site: They do reward you for updating your pages regularly. As a person who has trouble resisting the impulse to go back and edit even their blog entries -- I try to keep that to a minimum --republishing pages is rather up my alley. I made a joke in an earlier post about how the Seattle lens had debuted a number 800-and-something thousand on Squidoo, but had ambitions. A couple days ago, it was closer to number 3,000 (#22 in 'local'). Those pages can flunctuate quite a bit according to various things.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Reflection: Of Appearance and Illusion

I was reading a blog by a woman who's autistic. She said that people naturally assumed she was high-functioning when they met her online, and that they assumed she was low-functioning when they met her in real life. Well, reading her narratives, I doubted many people would think she was autistic at all; they'd think she was simply articulate and perceptive. The woman expressed herself in writing much better than the average person does, and was probably more astute than average in her discussions of human behavior. But if you look at her features and facial expressions, it's very easy to imagine she has a developmental disorder. Well, I don't doubt that there were autistic symptoms (sensory overload, difficulty reading body language, or even speaking) that came out in face to face interaction. Yet I also wonder to what extent it would affect her to simply be looked at the way people probably did.

How many times in my own life have people looked through me, so certain that their social perceptions and capabilities were beyond mine that it didn't even merit thought? And haven't I done the same, looking across the aisle of a bus as if from some great height? I've written about neurological irregularities before, in Modeling the Latest in Hypertonic Arm Wear and Sometimes You Picture Me. I won't spend a lot of time discussing 'stereotypies' today -- but I will link to a bit of writing. I think I've written 3 lenses since the last time I linked to one in a post! There's one titled Teaching Critical Literacy With the Ugly Duckling that seems on the surface like something written by my teacher persona that wouldn't be of interest to friends. I'm not on my soapbox in the overt way that I am here, but there's quite a bit of me in that piece. There's also a bit of theme music and some stunning swan and duck pictures, that no, I didn't take. (Of course I've got my own snapshots and Animoto shorts in Step Into Ravenna Creek Ravine.)

picture credit

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Reflection: Santa Google and the Monotropism Lens

...he sees you when you're sleeping, and knows when you're awake...

Apparently Santa Google was out riding last night with a sleigh full of 'page rank'. My main teaching site was actually given a lower rank in Google-land. It had come out of 'the sandbox' after a few months with (for whatever it's worth) a PR of three; a couple months later, Google determined that it was really only a two after all. S'all good! Papa Google was quite generous with some of my Squidoo pages: "You've got some three's there I see (ho ho ho) -- oh and, here's a five..." Well, that's apt to be a mistake, I thought. So then I typed "monotropism" into the Google search box and did rather a double take, to see what position my own lens appeared in on that relatively obscure search term. I've said that for personal reasons -- far more so than pragmatic ones -- I wanted/needed people to see that particular lens. On this particular day, Google seems to be obliging on that matter.
There have been people on Squidoo who have been so very supportive of that monotropism lens -- comments and angel blessings. There is a line in that lens that is so very true: If you can visualize pleasure as dependent on momentum -- an endless path in one direction or an endless orbit around one thing -- then you come a long way toward understanding.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Evening Nigh's Year in Reflection

The first Evening Nigh Reflections post, In Between Time, went up on August 12. This blog is less than five months old, a baby yet in some ways, but already this is post #92. In the early minutes of this new year, I have more prayers in me than resolutions. I hope I don't always need this blog so very badly to serve as my soapbox. I imagine the blog posts will spread out a bit as time passes. But I fully expect to carry this blog -- my online writer's journal and soapbox -- with me across the years. That's the way I've been with various things that I've made a part of me.

Now I want to call people's attention to something on the sidebar: the list of "favorite soapbox posts". I didn't make this blog searchable until late September: posts before that time don't appear as thumbnails in my Link Within widget. Today the 'old' post that I most feel like pointing people's eyes toward: Authors of Each Other's Lives. It features the same old picture of my mother as does a newer post that does show up in Link Within -- but it's quite a different post. The thesis of that post: Most people don't write about others and submit them to journals or anthologies -- but we are all, in careless and not so careless ways, the authors of each other's lives.

"Netbook Attachment/ Beautiful in My Eyes" is one of the oldest entries that does show in that related post widget, and I'm glad that it appears as often as it does. I guess that means folks are reading it! But the blog post that I most want my friends to read, if they haven't already, is Riding a White Horse With A Toaster Oven. That post links to a Squidoo page with more in-depth writing on the same topic. There's a lot in there that... just wouldn't be likely to occur to folks on their own. Now I'm thinking of someone I met more than a decade ago (yup, more than a decade back!) and the things he didn't know when he made himself in not-so-careless ways the author of my life... When a person can only think up one reason for another's behavior, it doesn't of course mean there only is one reason -- it could simply mean they themselves are ignorant.

That line was rather snippy, wasn't it? I try not to write too many like that. I'm going to continue being the authors of other's lives, but I'll focus on those I do love, and I'll try to do it with care. Said The Moody Blues: Wherever you are, whatever you do, whatever you say: say, say, say it with love.