How Facebook Has Destroyed My Blog

Almost a year has passed since my last blog entry.  Why?  Because, in addition to recording things in my visual journal or sketchbook, I now post almost everything on Facebook.  And I have my Pinterest boards.  So, how to reinvigorate a blog when my activities are splintered and occupy different rooms in the digital house?

Isabel Greenberg’s Graphic Novel The Encyclopedia of Early Earth

I highly recommend this magical graphic novel and its charming images and celebration of the importance of storytelling to humanity.

What Happened to Quality and Durability?

The solar-powered garden lantern I bought recently has tarnished metal after experiencing ONE day of rain.  The microwave we purchased a few months ago has bubbling plastic over the control buttons.  What do these two objects have in common?  They were both Made in China.  How long are we going to put up with shoddy production and low standards?  Are we just supposed to accept that things will last 5 minutes when they should really last 5 years or more?  Do you know how hard it is to find ANY kitchen appliance made in Canada, the U.S., or the U.K.?  It’s almost impossible.  This is what North America has done to itself by moving manufacturing to other countries (basically by being cheap, greedy, union-busting, shortsighted, and stupid).  

I’m going to return these items without their boxes and without receipts as a matter of principle and because I’m irritated.  And maybe I really don’t need solar lanterns and microwaves anyway.  I’ll light the yard with candles and adopt a raw food diet.

Roz Stendahl

This powerhouse art instructor and journal keeper is an endless well of useful information about how to be creative 24/7.  

Link

Our Digital Footprint

Okay, I finally joined the Facebook legion.  Or maybe it should be called, like a flock of flamingoes, a “Flamboyance.”  And it got me thinking about how we leave digital traces of ourselves, that seem – if there is any kind of catastrophic event that wipes out electricity – quite ephemeral (even though people say your Facebook page lingers on indefinitely after you yourself are dead).  I’ve heard that kids buy new cell phones and don’t always download all their photos from their old phones.  Poof, there goes that evidence and documentation of a life.  And of course, technology will change.  Imagine if all your photos and friends were housed on an old 8-track tape?  There are no assurances that these platforms are stable or eternal!  Wait until everything is stored in your computer-augmented brain tissue.  

Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter…your whole life can disappear, not only the digital traces of it, but the sheer amount of time spent sitting…we’ll all be highly evolved blobs one day.  Oozing our information in droplets as we move from one technologized event to another.  (No, I am not a Luddite, just a nihilist and skeptic.)

Meanwhile, let’s all communicate via the ether and hope that in some future world, we have left a shred of evidence that we were here (echoes of Horton Hears a Who).

Perhaps I’m worrying needlessly.  Online awareness of global warming, petitions to save endangered species…all this is good.  Information is more democratically shared and all that…but the traces we leave, will they really remain in the same way that books and artifacts and printed photos do?  Materiality – the object world – is it too becoming extinct?

Oh, Those New Year’s Resolutions…

Hate them.  However, I inevitably make some.  Usually this is an exercise in futility.  Since I just read my wordpress status report, I guess I need to blog more.  I am very influenced by the opinions of others, even if they are automated!  And anyway, didn’t I start blogging with a reason?  To keep my writing skills honed, to archive certain moments (even though I have a daily handwritten journal)?

What is the real purpose of a New Year’s Resolution?  It’s a reminder of who you want to be.  It’s never too late to improve, expand, stretch, contribute…

2014 will be a year of blogging, thinking, creatively engaging, and doing.  Now that’s a resolution I can embrace whole-heartedly.  The others (get thin, exercise, get healthy, eat better, cook more, blah, blah, blah) are ongoing and I have moments of happy success and moments of disappointing failure.  But this is, of course, a first world problem.  I have a roof over my head, a comfortable life, and beauty and pleasure abounds.  One should never forget the luck and fortune that has resulted in one’s being safe and sound.   Millions are denied the opportunity.

 

A Change Will Do You Good…

Since I was a student, and have been an instructor, for so many years, I have always loved September, and the idea of new beginnings, a new term, new textbooks.  Usually the summer is not the season of changes, but this year things were different.  I was ready to relax on our newly leveled patio (thanks Aaron!), and chill my way through my vacation.  Our lovely dog Chica enjoyed the outdoor space and slept there very comfortably for a couple of weeks.  I was spending a lot of time with her because she was occasionally having seizures due to her brain tumor, and I didn’t want to leave her alone.

After almost 15 years of good health, the last 11 1/2 of which were spent with us, we lost our dear girl.  While it was hard, we’d been preparing for a long time, and up until the last 24 hours of her life, Chica still had a great quality of life.

Because the Mitsubishi Pajero was bought to accommodate Chica, and we have so many great memories of her with her head out the window – ears flapping in the breeze and eyes blinking against the wind – we decided to buy a new car and let someone else clean and detail the old one.  It’s a Nissan Juke and a lot of fun to drive.  Well, the back seat of the new car was untouched for a week or so before we started letting our new dog, Gypsy, ride back there!  We survived a respectable two weeks without a dog.

Gypsy is a sweet mellow 8 year old mixed breed rescue from the SPCA, partially deaf, and extremely easy-going.  She is totally relaxed around other dogs, kids, and our cats.  She has already settled in after a mere week, adjusting seamlessly, and is currently curled up on her new plush bed while I’m working.  As one of the neighbourhood kids said after telling me he was sorry about Chica: “now it’s Gypsy’s turn.”  Indeed.  And what a great companion she is turning out to be.

So…a new patio, a new car, and a new dog.  It might be mistaken for a mid-life crisis, but it’s just the shifting pattern of life events and the result of being actively engaged in the possibilities that present themselves.

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