Dirty Little Secrets

Dirty little secrets must not be revealed.

Mamacita says:   Headline news – More dirty little secrets:  yet another coach in this community has been dismissed. No details available to save the reputations of the two or three elitist families who complained that their special snowflakes weren’t given the preferential and gentle treatment they deserved.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I encounter anything like this, I am immediately suspicious of those who forbid the discussion. Those who whined are suspect, naturally, but it is those who allowed whiny people’s wishes to trump the truth and then forbid all discussion who are the real bad people here. The real bad people, and the really bad people. Grammar nerds like me will recognize the difference there. The point is, decent people don’t do things like this.  Decent people encourage open discussion, and the more the better.

What are they afraid of, anyway? The truth? I think that’s exactly what they’re afraid of: a truth that would prove them in the wrong.

"I want more playing time, Daddy! Make the mean coach stop telling me what to doooo, Daddy!"

“I want more playing time, Daddy! Make the mean coach stop telling me what to doooo, Daddy!”  Very well, darling, you shall get your way in this as you do in all other things.  Daddy and Mummy will make the mean man go away.

This community routinely discards its coaches, teachers, students. . . hard-working people in all walks, and inevitably the powers-that-be will forbid any discussion concerning the circumstances, whys, or wherefores, of the decision.  Not merely content to discourage, they will FORBID.

Everybody’s in the dark, and in the dark, there be monsters, and the biggest and most dangerous monsters there be, be rumor and innuendo.

The motto of this community's school board.

The motto of this community’s school board.

With some open discussion, rumor and innuendo would be banished. It’s almost as if the powers-that-be WANT rampant rumor and innuendo, to divert the people’s attention away from what is really happening. . . .

Oh, surely not.

Oh, surely ’tis so.

This town is famous for it. This town does it all the time. They do it to decent, winning coaches. They do it to creative, successful, and excellent teachers.

This town does it all the time. It’s their thang. We are run by a select group of people who demand and get their way in pretty much everything.  The pockets of our administrators and boards are full of people with money who also control the puppet strings that are fastened to the document-signing hands and also the hearts, souls, and mouths of most of our trusted elected officials.  I love my town, but much of it is a joke.  This breaks my hearts.  I love my town, and I trust almost nobody who is in charge of anything here.

I have lived here all my life.  I love it.  I want my town to be clean and successful and to encourage education and progress and creativity and above all, to be honest and absolutely above reproach in everything that is done here.

But. . . .

The same people are in charge of everything here.  Horrible things happen to those who speak out, or who refuse to pander to somebody’s pouty kid or wealthy parent.

But shhhhh, we can’t discuss it. It’s forbidden.

I’m Twelve Years Old – Old School, That Is

Mamacita says:  Old school?  Me?  Yes. Twelve years ago, a former student told me that I should start a blog.  “You’ve got such a lot to say about the world,” he said.  “Who cares what I think about the world?” I replied. “Lots of people would,” he said.

blogger

I couldn’t imagine that.  I’m nobody. I wondered if he was right. I guess he was, because I’ve been to conferences all over the country, and spoken to crowds of people, both individually and on panels.  People seem to recognize me even before they see my name tag.  People tell me that such-and-such a post really helped/spoke to them/influenced them, etc.  It’s really, really humbling.  And exciting.  And humbling. Who would have thought it?  Me, with a large readership and people who seemed to like me and take me seriously?  It’s like a dream.  The good kind, that comes true because you never dreamed it would be possible but it really did and you’re in shock and awe and Oz and Wonderland.  And Narnia and Hogwarts.  And the Tardis. And all the people who live in those places.

People trust me to represent their businesses online.  I love doing this, and I appreciate that trust more than words could ever express.

I’ve met so many wonderful people during this journey.  Some of them are still virtual friends, while I’ve met many face-to-face, but I’ve also learned during these twelve years that online friends can be as real as face-to-face friends.  Sure, there are creeps out there, but no more so than the number of creeps at the mall.

good and bad people online

I’ve learned not to be afraid of the world.  The world is actually pretty awesome, and it’s full of cool things and fantastic people.  Sure, there are fiery volcanic pits and treacherous waterfalls and cockroaches and people who lie, cheat, & steal, but there are also rainbows and sunsets and flowers and people who are good, true friends.  The forever kind.  I have also learned, to my intense sorrow, that issues can cause some people to renounce friendship.  I would never do that to a friend, but I know now that there are people who do.

That I would still be here twelve years after beginning this funky little blog is amazing to me, and yet, it’s also unthinkable to abandon it, as many are abandoning blogging for the shorter Twitter and Facebook.  Oh, I’m on those, too, but this blog saved my soul alive twelve years ago, and it’s done nothing but nourish me ever since. I am so grateful to the internet.  Really, I am.  It’s a world that was always there, but we had no way of accessing it easily.  Now, we can travel anywhere, see anything, contact anyone, and work for a business that’s a thousand miles away, in our pajamas, at midnight.

Thank you, dear readers, for making me feel special.  Twelve years is as an eternity in the internet Hourglassworld, but somehow I don’t feel old when I’m here.  I’m happy when I’m on Scheiss Weekly.  I’m happy reading your comments.  I love visiting YOUR blogs. I love visiting with you on the other social media sites, too, but I don’t think anything could ever completely replace a blog.  In twelve more years, I guess we’ll find out.

Also, I wonder if you really understand the title of this blog.  Scheiss Weekly.  Who speaks German? C’mon.  I tried to get Scheiss Daily, but somebody already owned it.

I was traumatized when I began this blog, and that is not an exaggeration.  Twelve years ago, I was traumatized, and the title reflected that.  I’m fine now, but the title keeps me humble.  And fairly sane, although my children might argue that fact.

Time marches on.  Time flies.  And yet, it really doesn’t.  Time stands still.  We march. With every blink of the eye, yes, and briefer even than that, our lives are moving ever swiftly towards their ends. It’s this middle that we must make the most of.  I am.  I hope you are, too.

Time flies

Here’s to twelve more years.  At a time, anyway. A day at a time, and they add up to years.

I love you all.  Literally.

Things I Still Haven’t Done Yet, Part 99

I'll get around to it. . . .

I’ll get around to it. . . .

Mamacita says:  There are still so many things I haven’t done yet; every time I make a list about this, I feel more and more like I am quite possibly the most boring person in the world.  Probably because I AM the most boring person in the world.

  1.  I still haven’t watched a single episode of Game of Thrones.  Sometimes I am tempted to peek but then I remember that I do not do blood, guts, betrayal, violence, decapitation, backstabbing, rape, murder,  suspense, torture, or horror, and I back away shuddering at the close call.
    This picture and quotation scare me to death. No.

    This picture and quotation scare me to death. No.

     

  2. I have never seen The Walking Dead nor do I ever, ever want to.  See #1 for reasons.
    No. Just, no.

    No. Just, no.

    3.  I haven’t watched Mad Men, although I probably will in a few years when the DVD’s get super cheap or it shows up on Amazon Prime.  I am in marketing so the appeal is there and it is magnetic.  I also own the soundtrack cd and it’s bloody awesome.

    Yes, definitely, eventually.

    Yes, definitely, eventually.

    4.  Orange is the New Black?  No.  Not into prison shows unless Morgan Freeman is paroled and says “I guess I just miss my friend.”

    "I guess I just miss my friend."

    “I guess I just miss my friend.” (This is not OITNB)

    5.  So far, everything here has been about shows I have never seen.  So on a different note, I have never seen a Graham Norton re-run that I didn’t absolutely love.  The man is brilliant and his program format is fantastic.

    I love this man.

    I love this man.

    See?  Not everything on this themed thread is negative!  And I do love several TV shows; sadly, few of them are still shown except on YouTube or DVD.  Which is fine by me because I hate commercials unless they are brilliantly and superbly written.

    The world could do with a little more television snobbery.  You know it.

    And now, back to our regularly schedule programming. . . .

    And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. . . .

“You Kids Sit Still and Behave!”

Mamacita says:  “You kids sit still and behave!  Oh, the nostalgia!

When I was a kid, my family used to drive down to Alabama almost every summer. We had relatives down there, fabulous relative we all adored, and often the entire extended family would travel down there in caravans, and there would be canvas army cots all over the place at night. I have a feeling that my southern aunt and uncle might not have loved those weeks as much as we did. . . .

My Alabama cousins were several years older, and I thought they were adults, I really did. Cool, stylish, trendy adults. I think the cousin closest in years to me might have been twelve.  Those cousins had the most wonderful dolls, and they had musical powder boxes, and pogo sticks, and a house with intercoms.  Their southern towns always had Putt Putt courses, which we called “miniature golf,” with more glowing neon than Vegas.  And a dog.  I loved visiting down there.

Revlon doll

Revlon doll

It is not the destination that I wish to speak of, however. It is the journey.

The trip itself. That’s what this post is about. The destination is nothing compared to the journey. The journey, and the traveling peripherals.

This was before the time of the interstate highway, and the drive took us through every little town, middle-sized town, and city in southern Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and half of Alabama. We stopped at the occasional little local restaurant, because this was also before the day of the big chain restaurants. This meant, of course, that most of the time the food was actually good. Our car did not have air conditioning, which meant that we rode with all the windows down. It also meant that Dad had a very sunburned left arm.

There was no such thing as carseats for babies or toddlers, unless you counted those little canvas seats that hooked over the back of the front seat, and when we were on vacation, the car was too full for one of those. There were no seatbelts, either. Two parents, four kids, and a grandmother in one ’59 Chevy made a pretty full load.

Check out the fishtail on this 1959 Chevy!

Check out the fishtail on this 1959 Chevy!

There was no stereo in the car, either. Not even a radio. No DVD player. No basket of various snacks. No cases of water. No drop-down table for board games. No earphones for individual Mp3 playlists. The windows weren’t tinted, which meant it was easy to see the sights.

Dad was in charge, and we stopped when HE wanted to stop. And if we needed him to stop, it was of vital importance that we never tell him we needed to stop. It made him mad, and he would drive even farther just to demonstrate that he was in charge. This never bothered me, because I could, even as a small child, “hold it” for hours on end, but it pretty much killed my Other Sister, who generally needed to pee every twenty minutes. Fifteen minutes from our house and she was not only asking if we were there yet, she was already asking to go to the bathroom.  Dad wasn’t unreasonable about stopping, of course; he just expected common sense, and he got it.  Oh, boy, did he ever get it.

We could never afford to take our children on a real vacation until the summer between their 3rd and 5th grade. That year, for our first family vacation ever, we borrowed my parents’ van, mortgaged our financial future for NINE YEARS with a new Discover Card, and went to Disney World.

That’s right; it took nine years to pay off Discover. NEVER USE THIS CARD. It has the highest interest in the universe. But I digress.

My point is, all my father and mother had to do to maintain almost perfect order in a vehicle was to turn around and say “You kids sit still and behave.” And we did. We weren’t buckled in, so sitting still took some real effort, but disobeying our parents was far worse than sitting still. We looked out the windows, and counted cows, and sang, and played word games, and napped. We ate only when Dad stopped at a restaurant, although we did travel with a bushel of fresh peaches; we loved to watch dad toss the pits out of his window.

Dad always bought his peaches and apples at Appleacres. So do we, now.

Dad always bought his peaches and apples at Appleacres. So do we.

On that trip to Disney World with my own kids, all we had to do was say “Sit still and behave.” and they behaved. We didn’t travel with toys, or vcr’s. We looked out the windows and counted cows and sang and played games. Sometimes, the kids napped. Really, the only differences between our trip and my parents’ trip were the seat belts, the cooler of fruit (instead of a bushel), and the fact that we usually stopped when the children said they needed to stop.

Here is what I do not understand at all, not one single little tiny bit: why do modern parents supply their vehicles – and thus their children – with all the comforts of home? Why do families need movies, and toys, and a constant supply of snacks, for a road trip? Why do parents nowadays allow their children to dictate when they stop and where? Why don’t parents tell their kids to look out the windows, count the cows, play word games, and sing?

My parents talked to us when we were on the road. A lot of modern parents couldn’t talk to their kids if they wanted to, because the kids are watching Disney in the back of the minivan, or are locked into their headphones and iPads.

Modern kids couldn’t tell you about the scenery because they never look at it. They demand the same comforts of a vehicle that they demand at home: television, toys, food, drinks, electronics, and their own way.

A lot of modern parents would gasp in horror if they heard another parent say “You kids sit still and behave yourselves.”

When did it happen that road trips became such a big deal? Tons of toys. Baskets and boxes of juiceboxes and graham crackers and cheese and bottled water. Always with the water. I don’t think most people these days have ever been really thirsty because they’re never without a bottle of water.  No wonder they have to stop all the time.

We never had drinks in the car. We drank when we stopped. We knew what it felt like to be genuinely thirsty and we appreciated those rare drinks very much. There were no sticky spills and no crumbs or wrappers in my parents’ car.  We weren’t severely dehydrated.  We were just thirsty.

When we stopped to eat, we parked and went inside. No food or drinks came back outside with us. We ate and drank in the restaurant. And we appreciated it, for we were hungry. After we ate, we weren’t hungry and didn’t need any snacks or drinks “for the road.”

What’s the matter with people these days? Let your kids get thirsty. Let them get hungry. Don’t anticipate EVERYTHING because when you do, they don’t appreciate what they get when they get it.

If they cry or scream for food or toys, etc, tell them to look out the window, and count the cows, and see who can be first to find a blue house or an unusual animal crossing sign or a goat or a three-story house or a picket fence or a restaurant that isn’t a chain. You might also practice turning around and saying, “You kids sit still and behave.”

Unusual animal crossing, unless you're in Australia

Unusual animal crossing, unless you’re in Australia

And if they don’t obey you, you’ve got a far bigger problem than you might think.

Censoring A Book Should Be A Crime

Mamacita says:  I despise cowardly adults and their attempts to censor everything they personally disagree with.

Censorship. Forbidden books. Cowards walk among us.

Censorship. Forbidden books. Cowards walk among us.

All of us should be able to restrict what comes into our own homes, of course.  All of us have that right, in fact.

However, when we step outside our own doors, we encounter all kinds of things, and if we don’t have the skills and knowledge to take the world in context, we are a sorry lot indeed.  Sorry, and un-American.  That’s a pretty strong statement, but I’m not backing down.

Our nation was founded on courage and rebellion. Censors have neither; they are cowards.

Our nation was founded on courage and rebellion. Censors have neither; they are cowards.

A sorry lot.  That’s a really good way to describe people who censor and restrict what other people are exposed to because those people have personal beliefs that should rule the world.  Which they don’t and which they shouldn’t.

What are book-censors afraid of?  That their children will read a book and ask a question their parents don’t know the answer to?

Here’s where I repeat the thesis statement of this post.

Honestly, if a child’s question is going to topple the beliefs of your household, maybe you should step back and examine those beliefs.  That is, if your preacher will allow it.  I believe in this statement so completely that I will say it again at the end of this post.

Censors are frightened, cowardly people.

Censors are frightened, cowardly people.

Of course, adults are right to fear a word in a book, although not, as in this instance, because it names a body part. They are right in the implied assumption that books have enormous power and influence. Children who read widely understand more about the world; they have a
foundation for making better decisions. They think, and because of that, they may even challenge their parents’ beliefs. For some, a scary idea, but isn’t a thinking child preferable to one who accepts the world at face value and has no aim to change it for the better?  -Susan Patron, ‘Scrotum’ as a Children’s Literary Tool, Feb 27, 2007.

Have I ever mentioned before how much I despise censorship and chicken-hearted, close-minded parents?

No sense of context, no ability to evaluate, no courage, no discernment. Pathetic.

No sense of context, no ability to evaluate, no courage, no discernment. Pathetic.

And by the way, I read every book before I pass judgement on it, unlike many people who base their literary opinions on what their brother’s next-door neighbor’s pastor (who didn’t read it either) said about it in the pulpit.

Books must be read before opinions can be made, and especially before opinions can be intelligently voiced. I think sometimes that so many people form opinions about a book without reading it themselves, because they’re afraid the book might actually make them think.

Such people don’t think much, and any kind of new exercise will hurt at first.  Discernment is a skill that censors chose not to hone.  A flabby brain doesn’t think much.

Censorship is an action of the ignorant.

Censorship is an action of the ignorant.

Don’t EVER accept anyone’s statements about a book unless that person has read the book themselves. And don’t say anything about it yourself until YOU have read the book yourself.

Nothing you say will have any credibility if you haven’t read the book.

“I don’t have to read it; I heard what it’s about and it’s TERRIBLE!!”

This attitude makes me tired. This argument isn’t viable.  If your belief system is so shaky that a book can topple it, maybe you’d better step back and take a good long look at your belief system.

Until you actually read the book, whichever book you’re currently horrified about, don’t talk to me about it. I don’t care what you have to say because you’re an idiot, a parrot, an echo. You have no intellect of your own.

Censors fear the world. This is cowardice.

Censors fear the world. This is cowardice.

After you’re read it, come talk to me. I love to talk about books.

Absolutely true.

Absolutely true.

In your own home, you have authority and can dictate what is and what is not allowed.  Outside your own door, you are not in charge.  No, you are not.  People with discernment have no fear of the world.  People without this very important skill are scared of everything.

On a related note:  I don’t really trust people who haven’t read the Harry Potter series.  If these people won’t allow their kids to read Harry Potter, I don’t like them much, either.

Bring it.

I Go To Conferences. Here’s Why.

Mamacita says:Because I do a lot of writing for various businesses, and because I become very attached to “my” businesses, and because it’s extremely important to me to do a better-than-average job for them, I go to a lot of conferences.  My clients trust me, and I want to do a GREAT job for them.

This is one reason why I go to so many conferences.  At each conference, I learn something, and often many things, that will enable me to do a better job for my businesses.

The Master Teacher Steve Spangler and me, at Science in the Rockies

The Master Teacher Steve Spangler and me, at Science in the Rockies – an awesome conference!

 

 

Steve Spangler Science

Steve Spangler Science

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No one conference can do it all.  Some conferences specialize in networking; others focus on the tech aspect.  Some are more “social” than anything else.  Some are mostly opportunities for brands to connect to people.  At all of  “my” conferences, I focus mainly on social media and connections, which, to me, are the most important of all.  Remember, though, that I write about different things for different kinds of businesses, and I perform all kinds of services for my businesses; it’s just that social media and connections are what I focus on.  Don’t forget that nobody can possibly know everything about anything!  However, I strive daily to learn more and more about things I can do for my clients.

I’m leaving for The Combine tomorrow morning, and later this summer I plan to attend MixWest. These are both smallish conferences, but don’t ever judge a conference by its numbers!  These two are among the very best conferences out there, hands down.

The Combine

Excellent conference:  The Combine

MixWest

Excellent conference: MixWest

 

 

 

 

 

My briefcase is packed and ready, my alarm is set, and my email is full of messages about social media and connections.  My clients are so interested, and I’ve got a sweater laid out because conferences are almost always cold.  Or maybe it’s just that I’m so full of anticipation that I get shivery at the prospects – I’ve gone to conferences for years now and I still don’t know for sure.

Have all conferences been a rousing success for me?  Interesting question.  I have learned something supremely important at every conference I’ve ever attended, so yes.  I’d call that a rousing success.  Social media is what I was born to do, even though it didn’t exist when I was born, and nobody ever knows enough about anything, let alone a business that changes every week.  A good social media liaison has to keep current, and a conference, full of experts and learners, is an excellent way to do that.

Panels of experts await!

Panels of experts await!

As for those emails, and all the emails that will be waiting for me after the conference:  I will answer every one of them, except the ones from that persistent Nigerian prince who wants me to cash a check for him in return for half of it.  It might even be that one of those emails will inspire me to do even more for my businesses!

That’s the thing about my clients, you see.  Each client I’ve ever had as been uniquely special to me.  I’ve learned more while researching and writing for these companies than I learned in all the years of grad school, in fact.  No university degree has ever represented as much hard work and actual knowledge than the research and learning necessary to work in social media.  Remember: it’s not possible to write knowledgeably about a business, or anything else, unless one knows a considerable lot about that business.  I use my clients’ products and services, and I like them.  If I did not, I would not be able to represent them.  When my clients profit because of my contribution, it’s a matter of great pride and thankfulness to me.

One of my favorite clients!

One of my favorite clients!

Freight, shipping, insurance, hospitals, digital signage, funerals, furniture,  foods of all kinds, makeup, shoes, tattoo removal, yearbooks, counseling, plastic surgery, death, dying, marriage, children, parenting, teaching, crafts, toys, movies, pepper jelly, BBQ sauce, grilling, sewing, science, education, writing. . . and these are just the tip of my social media experience iceberg.  If I majored in any one of these topics at college, I couldn’t have learned half as much as I learned in representing and writing for these businesses.

Sometimes I go to a conference to be a presenter; sometimes I go to a conference to be a learner.  Either way, however, I learn.  If one goes to a conference and pays attention at all, there will be learning.  Ohhhh, yes.

That's me on the far left, at BlogHer 2011. What a blast!

That’s me on the far left, at BlogHer 2011. What a blast!

Excellent conference: BlogHer

Excellent conference: BlogHer

 

 

 

 

As for this summer’s conferences on my calendar, I know that I shall meet some of the most awesome, knowledgeable people, learn an amazing lot of useful, fascinating things, and have a fantastic time.

I hope to see some of YOU there.  That would be bloody awesome.