Category Archives: meta

posts about a blog or blogging in particular; “posting about posting”

2222

2222

This is, somehow, my 2222nd published post. Since December 2001, I’ve actually published more entries than this landmark shows because this past August I deleted a bunch of my old posts up through about June 2006. (Hahaha, bet you hadn’t noticed that.)

This month, my family and I celebrated International Pocky Day (11/11/11), so named because it’s possible to use Pocky to write out the entire date!

Now, it’s my 2222nd journal entry here at duncan heights.

I’m waiting for something with 3333 in it. If that happens in the next month or so, I’ll have to add an extra sprig of holly and ivy to my altar to Athena. She’s been on my mind a lot recently, and I think it might be because She wants me to either (1) get my act together for once in my life, or (2) just let my life finish falling apart so she can help me pick up the pieces.

We’ll see.

Here’s to 2222 more entries!

Schedule of Reviews: Update

Schedule of Reviews: Update

As I noted (and expected) in my first Schedule of Reviews, I’ve had to re-evaluate how much I can review in a given period of time, given that reviewing isn’t the only thing I do in life (nor is it the only thing I want to do).

A few notes about my regular reviewing gigs. I still write opinions about Thomas Nelson books (but only on a “wow, I actually want to read that” basis), but Elevate Difference shut down at the end of March. In the meantime, I picked up reviewing some books for LitFuse Publicity on a semi-chaotic basis (one review in June, two in July, four in August, and none since), and I also read and comment on one Pagan-themed book per quarter for Eternal Haunted Summer (EHS).

In late July, I rolled out One Paragraph (more info here) and followed that up in early August with some Thoughts on Reviewing. Since I reviewed four LitFuse books in August and was basically trampled by real life, I’m counting it as an outright loss and just moving on. I managed to watch the first twelve episodes of Princess Tutu (see previous review schedule), but I haven’t done anything about writing any thoughts; The Sky Crawlers and Pohcahontas are down for the count.

In September, I finished up some non-reviewing work for this journal and started a couple college classes for interest. I didn’t watch Cowboy Bebop—or any other anime—though I did begin reading Boys’ Love Manga, a book of academic essays about yaoi and male/male romance across cultures. It’s on my list to review as soon as I finish it, but since it’s a lot of information packed into a relatively thin volume, my reading is slow going.

And now, it’s late October, and I haven’t done much in the way of reviewing this month, either… except that I’ve mostly been catching up on Anime Expo stuff (which happened back in July, for godsakes) because I swore to myself that I wouldn’t go to Yaoi-Con without having finished the AX stuff (which I did!)… and there was no way I wasn’t going to Yaoi-Con, so.

With all that said, here’s the new (still tentative) schedule of reviews, including any Thomas Nelson, EHS, or other “regular” reviews but not including any One Paragraph reviews I’ll write. I’m not limiting myself to these, of course, if I just feel the need to write about something I read/watched/experienced, but it’s a starting place; and if I don’t have time for anything else, that’s fine, too.

October
Yaoi-Con 2011
Princess Tutu, eps. 1-12

November
Pandora Hearts
Tin Man (Sci-Fi miniseries)
NaNoWriMo (also)

December
Candlemas
Ascent from Darkness
Princess Tutu, eps. 13-end
12 Moments in Anime

One Paragraph 0

I read and watch and otherwise consume way too much stuff in a month to review everything the way I want to, so I’ve come up with this “one paragraph” category for short reviews that will be a paragraph or less each and will be grouped in batches of… probably five or so. There’s no schedule of posts for this… When I have at least five short reviews in one post, I’ll post it; otherwise, not.

So here’s how the reviews will look and what they could contain:

———
Title of book/movie/whatever (date I finished it)
Appropriate link in the title for your information. Why I picked it up in the first place. My impressions; what stood out to me; what I liked and didn’t like. Whether or not I’d recommend it to anyone else. No summary (that’s what the link is for, after all). All in a paragraph or less.
———

(Repeat x4)

I’m doing this for a couple of reasons. First, I feel obligated, for some inexplicable reason (it’s not like I don’t already have enough to do), to log and respond to the movies and anime I watch, the books and manga I read, and the events I attend. I want to remember when I watched/read it, and I want to remember if I liked it or not. But, I don’t have time to write an in depth review of everything, and—in some many cases—I don’t want to, either. I want to do all that and also not feel guilty for not doing it and/or not doing something in the first place because then I would have to review it. Second, and more simply, I need to practice being more concise in my thoughts, and this is a good way to do that.

I’m not going to go back and do anything that’s already past because that would partially defeat the purpose of this new (for me) type of review. In any case, look for some short reviews here in the near future!

facebook fast update

facebook fast update

Okay, so it’s been a little more than a month since my facebook fast officially ended and I have to say, I (still) haven’t missed it.

I signed on a couple of nights ago to (finally) untangle my account from the three other sites I mentioned using that I then couldn’t use after shutting down my facebook: Echo Bazaar (Fallen London), formspring, and LivingSocial. I tried unsuccessfully to switch over my Fallen London account to Twitter, but then decided to just drop the game all together since it was (like facebook) a complete timesuck that I didn’t and still don’t really have time for. I actually did manage to disentangle formspring from my account and now have access to answering questions again, for whatever that’s worth. As for LivingSocial: I wasn’t able to figure out how to move an account from its entanglements with facebook, so I just created a new one and deleted my credit card and personal information from the one connected to facebook. I had bought a couple of deals using the facebook LivingSocial account, but I’ve used one already and I have the official “show this to the proprietor to get your deal” document saved on my computer to print out at any time. Plus, that deal expires August 15th, so even if I never use it, my dealings with the facebook LivingSocial account will be done with by then. So, what’s done is done and I’m going to move on from those three sites in one way or another and not worry about their connections to facebook anymore.

I browsed around facebook for a few minutes after reactivating it and realized there was nothing I really wanted to see. I wasn’t OMG-so-relieved to have reactivated my account, and I didn’t feel like I had to catch up on “everything I’d missed” in the past couple of months. So, I re-deactivated it. I think it’s going to stay deactivated for the foreseeable future; I’m not interested in facebook anymore, and I don’t think it has anything to offer me I can’t get in some other way. Plus, less mental noise this way!

I’m not going to outright delete my account, however, because I can’t see the future and—who knows?—facebook may suddenly become the only way I can ever reach anyone anywhere. But for now and indefinitely, my facebook is done. Toast. No longer. “Permanent deactivation”, or whatever you want to call it.

Peace.

facebook fast end

facebook fast end

EDIT 22 March 2011 at 8:47 PM PDT: My sister claims she asked me about my facebook fast and probably counts herself among the people who objected, but I think I told her about it, not the other way around. Also, she mentioned last night that my aunt (my father’s sister) had inquired to her, “Where’d your sister go?” but I’m not counting that, either, since my aunt could have just as easily asked me about it and chose not to. Hearsay is still hearsay, after all. Either way, both my sister and aunt are blood relatives, so it’s difficult to imagine they’d have no other way of contacting me besides facebook.
————

So, today is the last day of my 30-day facebook fast.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but only four people commented upon my exit from facebook, and they were all people with whom I have other/further contact anyway. The first three: Zekor, of course, was distraught immediately upon learning of my fast, but decided to wait it out as patiently as ever; my father asked why I wasn’t tagged in a photo of myself; a family friend wrote me an email thanking me for my holiday card and then mentioned she couldn’t find me on facebook. The fourth: one of my closest friends, Wolfman, took it the hardest, I think (which I’ll explain in a moment).

As for everyone else who even found out about the fast: I had to tell them (as opposed to their finding out for themselves). I received no commentary from anyone—positive or negative—excepting the aforementioned four people. Mostly what I got was surprise: “You deleted your facebook?” (After which I’d invariably have to explain that, no, I actually hadn’t deleted my facebook page. I’d only deacitivated it as a test.) I actually have friends who’ve never had “a facebook” to begin with, and I thought at first that they were living in the last century, but now I’m starting to see the wisdom in their choice.

One of my coworkers did mention, however, that she had deleted over 400 of her facebook friends after becoming disenchanted with the whole thing after one of her friends from high school was publicly (on facebook) smeared when it was revealed that she’d performed in some porn. My coworker was so angry about her friend’s treatment that she basically exorcised her entire “friend” list. Her story hit a little close to home for me, so I was glad she was angry for her high school friend rather than at her.

Aside from the reaction my friend, Wolfman, gave (which I’m still getting to, I promise), I noticed a couple of things. First, about Steve Pavlina, the man who originally suggested the facebook fast (though I’d been thinking about it before he posted his suggestion). In his post, he compared the use of facebook to addiction and his catering to said as just enabling an addiction. He also wrote that he didn’t like being virtually surrounded by (what amounted to) tons of people half his age. Two things struck me about Pavlina’s words after I was about halfway through my fast. (A) I don’t believe facebook use is nearly close to serious addiction, and comparing it to such is kind of insulting to people who’ve had to deal with actual addiction (and yes, I realize the incongruity of my using an icon of Snow White snorting cocaine); and, (B) I am about half his age, so while he dealt with people half his age, I deal with people in my age group. That by itself makes for leaps and bounds of difference. I still agree, however, with Pavlina’s assertion that using facebook lends itself to assume you’re doing something worthwhile when you’re actually not.

The second thing I noticed (see beginning of previous paragraph) was that I’ve logged into some websites using my facebook alias, and when I deactivated my facebook page, I essentially cut myself off from using those other pages as well. This was, obviously, an irritating discovery, but nothing I couldn’t handle for a month. The three most notable of these were/are Echo Bazaar (Fallen London), formspring, and LivingSocial. Echo Bazaar is just an online game that I should probably stop playing because it’s such a timesuck anyway, so no real loss there. I still got notifications from formspring informing me that I’d been “asked a question” multiple times, but since I couldn’t log in, there was no way to answer said questions. Luckily, I guess, questions are saved until I either answer them or manually delete them, so I’ll just go answer them when I have access to the site and have time. The last website, LivingSocial, was the most cumbersome. I basically created a new account not linked to my facebook account, which is all fine, but it means that now I essentially have two LivingSocial accounts, not one. So even if I decided to completely and irreversibly delete my facebook account, I would have to log in at least one last time just so disentangle my account from other websites that I periodically use. I can’t yet comment upon combining the two LivingSocial accounts because I haven’t yet attempted it.

Now, as for Wolfman’s reaction. (I told you I’d get to it!) I was kind of surprised by his concern, actually, but when I thought about it, I realized that the last time we had any in-person contact, he was talking me down from a panic attack. If I were him, and in light of that information about me (the other person), I would be concerned, too. Haha, so: my friends care about me. Who knew, right? Anyway, as far as I know, even Wolfman didn’t notice the absence of my facebook page until March 12—possibly the evening of March 11, when he texted me to see how I was doing—but either of those dates is still more than halfway through my fast. When we finally had a decent conversation about it, he expressed concern that I was/am cutting off all contact with the outside world, even more than I have been so far already. (I don’t party, I don’t hang out with my friends much, and I don’t even drive except to necessary school or work functions, for example.) Here’s excerpts of our conversation:

Wolfman: And when I see that you have squelched one avenue of remaining communicative with and connected to people, even remotely, I am also bothered. It’s not just that you are receding from view, but you are also restricting the means by which people might connect with you.

V.E.: the people I’d actually want to talk to anyway have other ways of contacting me. historically, facebook has been a colossal timesuck for me.

(A little later: )

Wolfman: Besides, what fortunate few are you condescending to allow to communicate with you? And why not anyone else? While it’s not the same as real-world interaction, it bothers me that you’re closing off an avenue of communication. What next?

V.E.: look, if people want to talk to me, fine. but they have to actually talk to ME, not just everyone. I’m not closing down my website. I have a twitter page. I have a cell phone and an email address. I just don’t want to be inundated by random crap all the time. I get that enough at work.

I could’ve said I get that enough everywhere, but I didn’t want to engage in too much hyperbole. And, as I told him, this is only a test.

Anyway, after an entire month of not using facebook, I have to say I don’t really miss it. Except for the website entanglements, there’s not much I feel like I’m missing. And it’s not like many of my facebook “friends” even noticed the difference. I think I had maybe 300 or so friends, and only a grand total of four noticed enough to mention it to me, and one of them was my own father. Meh. No loss. I’m not in a hurry to reactivate my page, that’s for sure, except to disentangle from it the other websites I use. I may just do that in a couple of days and then dump the whole facebook page entirely (or at least keep it permanently deactivated).

For now, I kind of like the quiet.

30-day facebook fast

30-day facebook fast

Yesterday, February 21, at about 5:30 PM PST, I started my 30-day facebook fast, inspired by Steve Pavlina, though I’d been thinking about it for much of the end of last year, as friends will tell you. I don’t agree with a lot of what Pavlina says, generally speaking, and honestly I think some of what he writes about is completely bullshit, but the 30-day facebook fast seemed like a neat idea. As he says at the end of his article, “I’m a big advocate of testing. If you’re an active Facebook user, and you go 30 days without it, you’ll gain a much clearer understanding of its role in your life.” Even if I think some of the other stuff he writes about is ridiculous (it works for him, so more power to him, I guess), that’s an idea I can agree with. I think testing something and deciding for oneself is a great idea in all parts of life.

So, yesterday, I deactivated my facebook page as a test. I’ve found recently that it’s one way I can keep up with “friends” with whom I actually have very little in common. Not that they’re not good people or something, but I just don’t actually talk to probably 95% of my facebook friends. I fully admit that’s my own fault, but I’m also going to admit that… well, I’m just not that interested in looking at pictures of one friend’s ultrasound or reading about the one thousand inane things my friends did today. If I really wanted to know, I’d ask them. And/or if they really wanted to know about me, they‘d ask me. At least, I hope they would. One thing I agree with about Steve Pavlina’s notes on his facebook fast is the following quotation:

Generally speaking, communicating via Facebook is a shallow experience. You read streams of brief messages from a variety of people, but the messages don’t contain much depth. Most are trivial and mundane. Some are clever or witty. Very little of the information you’ll digest on Facebook is memorable and life-changing. Using Facebook can still give you a feeling of connectedness, but the long-term benefits are negligible.

Facebook essentially gives you the emotional sense that you’re doing something worthwhile (i.e. connecting with people), but when you step back and look at your actions and results from a more objective perspective, it becomes clear that you’re really just spinning your wheels.

(Emphasis mine.) The only problem I’ve found already is that I’ve logged into some other websites as a facebook user. That is, instead of having to create another profile—as I have on Amazon.com, for example—I just log in by connecting to the website through facebook. It’s win-win; I don’t have to input all my information again and try to remember another password, and the website gets access to all my facebook information.

I’ll post again in a couple weeks to update you about the fast’s status.

Schedule of Reviews

Schedule of Reviews

I write reviews for Elevate Difference and Thomas Nelson. The reviews in this list are in addition to those reviews. This list is… tentative at best. I’ve been trying to write some of these reviews for six months already and just haven’t had the time/inclination, so I’m trying something new and just focusing on one (or two) review(s) per month and not thinking about the others at all. Starting in February, I’ll be gearing up with one extra review per month until May when I’ll either go to two extra reviews per month and/or re-evaluate how I’m doing. For this month, I’m just going to get my ducks in a row and finish up loose ends from last year. We’ll see how that goes, ne? (It’s kind of intimidating to make plans for almost the entire year, you know? And this is just reviews, not even my personal writing or finding a better job or doing something about moving out and moving on with my life!)

February
Penny Arcade: The Series, season 1

March
“Incubus Master” part 1

April
“The Incubus and the Woodcutter”

May
Mnemosyne
The Last of the Mohicans

June
“White Blackbirds” #1 and #2
Alice (SciFi mini-series)
“Belovéd 4490” (added May 2011)

July
Anime Expo 2011
“Royal Pain” (added May 2011)
—switched from August 2011 (to July) in July

FOR AUGUST through DECEMBER, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

August
The Sky Crawlers
Pocahontas
Princess Tutu
—switched from July 2011 (to August) in July

September
Cowboy Bebop

October
Trapeze
Tin Man (Sci-Fi miniseries)

November
Yaoi-Con 2011
NaNoWriMo

December
Fate/Stay Night (if I have time)
12 Moments in Anime