Blogging Is Dead? Says Who?

blogging, blogMamacita says:  Blogging is dead?  Says who?  Blogging may have changed, but bloggers still rule the internet.  Bloggers are helping people form viable opinions, giving people first-hand information, helping people make purchasing decisions based on word-of-mouth and actual “regular people” experience with a product, and giving people hope by sharing real life with the world.

Notice that I did not say “ordinary life” up there.  There’s a reason for that.

There is no such thing as “ordinary life.”  And if there were, who would want an ordinary life?  The word “ordinary” is as offensive as is the word “average.”  Average is as close to the bottom as it is to the top.

When we read blogs we are being invited to come in, sit down, and share.  The more we share, the more we learn.  The more we learn, the more we know.  The more we know, the less likely we are to be mean, hateful, selfish, judgmental, and apt to fall for every fad, bit of gossip, mean-spirited rant, or blog, blogging, blogosphere“news” item from somebody’s viewer-supported “religious” icon.  Bloggers share themselves with the world.  Bloggers enable all of us to peek in at the windows of other bloggers, helping us learn about each other and get to know each other and learn from the mistakes and successes of others and get some good recipes for banana bread while we’re at it.  Bloggers are many and more diverse than anyone could ever imagine.  Bloggers tend to be less bigoted and more accepting than non-bloggers because bloggers see, daily, almost-first-hand, that we are all alike in all the important ways.

No, bloggers are not, for the most part, YOUR ONLY SOURCE for world news.  Bloggers are, however, an excellent source for “I’m right here at the spot and here’s what I am seeing” news.

Twitter is awesome and I adore it.  Ditto, Facebook.  It’s on the blogs, though, that people will get the rest of the story that’s usually only hinted at on the shorter formats.

We old-school bloggers have long known what the newer bloggers are just now realizing: the Blogosphere is full of actual people who actually know something about something and are willing to share that knowledge with anybody who might want or need it, and that, my friends, is what friends do.

Is it possible to make real friends on the internet?  Definitely.  Do bloggers really meet other bloggers in real life?  YES.

Another point I’d like to make:  our online friends are as real as any other kind of friend.

Our grandparents’ friends were usually limited to the same community.  Our parents’ friends may have extended to a few college friends but the main group was in the same area.  Bloggers, on the other hand, have no geographic limitations.  We can call someone in Outer Mongolia a friend, sight unseen, simply because we read each other’s blogs, talk via all kinds of wireless magical devices, share ideas, advice, laughs, tears, tragedies. . . the list is endless.  Some of us now earn our living because of someone we met online, became friends with, and were then hired because of the blogging connection.  Some people use their blogs mainly for making money via product pimpage; these are my least favorite blogs as they don’t give their readers any insight into the PERSON behind the blog, but they do work for people who are interested in such things.

Blogs can keep us updated as to recent work-related developments.

I like to keep personal blogging and business blogging separate, but there are times when there are crossovers.  I make most of my purchases these days based on blogger recommendations.

A company’s blog tells us that this business cares enough about its customers and potential customers to keep them updated, handle customer complaints publicly, inform us of new ideas and products, and just generally let us know what’s going on and considered important in the business itself. The customer service aspect of a company blog is especially important, as a business’ handling of complaints, etc, will often determine whether or not a customer – or his/her many friends – return.

No, blogging is not dead.  Even old-school blogging is not dead; it’s still alive and breathing and doing all the awesome things it’s always done.  And in case you’re wondering, “old school” doesn’t mean “old blogger.”  It just means a blogger who saw, long ago – which isn’t really all THAT long ago in internet terms -  the awesome cool and community potential that blogging presented.

Blogging is not dead.  If this is what you really think, perhaps you need a cooler group to hang out with. Or maybe you’re just a little bit too cool for your own britches.

Or, maybe it’s just YOUR blog that’s dead.  Don’t judge the rest of us by your own failings.

The blog is not dead.  The blog is very much alive, and very drastically affecting our lives in many, many ways.

It’s not all about purchasing power, either.  That’s the least of blogging, and it’s a different kind of blogging.  No, blogging is not dead.

I love blogging,  blog

Old school bloggers, let us rejoice that we had the brains and guts to begin and continue to blog.  You all know who you are.

Some blogs might be dead, but not ours.  Long live the blog!

The Facts of Life. The Real Ones.

Mamacita says: Not all facts of life are about sex. The sex facts, kids believe. (They have a hard time believing WE had sex, but the facts? They’re okay with those.) It’s these other facts of life they think we’re pulling their legs about.

I know my parents never had sex.  The whole concept of that is ridiculous.

When I look at my high school yearbook, it’s like a panorama of horrible hair and worse fashions. Cat’s eye glasses didn’t flatter anybody. The sideburns on the guys, and the mini-skirts on girls that barely covered the subject . . .Bangs that almost covered our eyes.  Turtlenecks on guys.

But when I look at my mother’s yearbook, everybody looks pretty good. I don’t remember them looking good at all when I was a kid, looking at mom’s youth. Those old pictures seemed silly then.  But now, those forties hairstyles and clothes look a lot like the hairstyles and clothes the kids are sporting in my classes, today.

Stick a cell phone in my 17-year-old mother’s hand, and she’s ready to rumble with the kids of today.

Stick a cell phone in my own hand, at 17, and you’ve got a serious warp in the space-time continuum.

I’m not going to tell anybody how old I was when I finally stopped dotting my i’s with a little circle instead of a dot. I’m not embarrassed about it, though, because it used to be cool to do that.

Really, it did.

It also used to be cool to spray my hair into a rock-hard sculpture that could withstand a windstorm. And to get out Mom’s sewing machine and ‘peg’ my pants till they were so tight I had to lie down flat to get them fastened. Picture Mary Tyler Moore, with the eye in the back of her head. “I seeeeeeee you!”

The long garters that held up my hose were cool, too.  I hope the guy who invented pantyhose is a millionaire now.  Miniskirts and garters were a difficult combination.

Then again, who wears pantyhose any more?

Jeans? I didn’t own jeans till I was in college, unless you count the Polly Crocket pants Santa brought me that time.  Other kids were wearing them, but Mom didn’t believe in jeans.  On my third day at college, I bought jeans.  Stylish jeans – hip huggers, that barely covered my rear.  Huge bell-bottoms.  I was so with it.  I hope those never come back.

Thinking back over my first few years of teaching, I don’t think parachute pants are coming back any time soon, either. But at the time, weren’t they COOL? Weren’t they? Well, they were, weren’t they? Tee hee.

phyllis byers


Mom’s yearbook pictures became cool again.  I don’t think mine ever will.  I kind of hope not, too.

Yeah, just wait till your kids start looking at YOUR yearbook photos.

Me Magazine: Still Waiting

Mamacita says: Magazines are not written for me.  When my kids were little, I used to subscribe to several parenting and household magazines, and few if any of my problems were ever featured anywhere in there. Maybe on the joke page, but never in an article with advice and solutions. Where were the articles about snakes and albino rats and a garden full of rotten tomatoes and little boys, and how to hang a swing on a tree when the branches are all taller than a four-story house, and how to tell a good yard sale from a bad yard sale just by reading the ad so I wouldn’t waste gasoline driving in from out in the country, and how a handful of chocolate chips won’t hurt your child in the long run, and how to pack a school lunch when neither of your kids like sandwiches, and what to say to a school aide who made your kid sit at the back table because his lunch was smelly, and what IS that smashed thing on the carpet, and how do I persuade a raccoon to get the heck out of my kitchen, and is there really such a thing as clothes my size that really are flattering or is that just condescension, and how do I get all that sand out of the car’s carpet without shelling out the big bucks at the car wash. . . . Etc.

It’s still that way. Magazines don’t talk to me. I’m not sure who they are talking to, but it’s somebody way richer and more normal than me.

Now, my kids are grown so I don’t subscribe to parenting magazines any more, but I like to read magazines about Beautiful Homes.   Surprisingly, my own admittedly unique problems are NEVER in there, either.

For example, today I walked into the big bathroom and saw three slices of pepperoni on the sink. Where did they come from? Why are they there? Nobody in the publishing world can tell me. Nobody in the house seems to know, either.  I’d also like some advice on how to remove that mysterious footprint from the hall ceiling.  And why is there a watermelon growing out of the cat’s litter box?

As for the Cooking magazines, well, most of those are not for the likes of me.

See, when I read an article called “Quick and Easy Summer Meals Your Whole Family Will Love, Using Ingredients You Already Have In Your Pantry,” I do NOT expect the first recipe to start out with “Sprinkle 2 tsp. of saffron and 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice over two pounds of octopus, let marinate for an hour, and grill, grill, grill!”

Whose family, and whose pantry, are they talking about? I love to cook and bake and I keep a pretty good inventory of spices and herbs, but SAFFRON? Who can afford saffron?

Lemons. I have no limes, but I always have lemons. The octopus I don’t have either, but maybe I could substitute the frozen catfish that’s been in the freezer since. . . . well, for a while.

I guess I can make this dish anyway, by substituting lemon for lime, paprika for saffron, and catfish for octopus. Do you think anyone will notice?

Not in this house they won’t.

I’d also buy a magazine that told me what to say to a daughter who had to take her beloved cat to the vet and have it put down, and whether I should sneak into her apartment and put away its dishes and toys before she got back or whether it would be therapeutic for her to do that herself, and how do I comfort my son after all those funerals, and in a house full of diabetics, where did all this candy come from, and how do I keep a watermelon plant alive if it’s apparently thriving in cat litter and might not want to be moved at this point in the summer, and why didn’t I notice it before since I sift that litter every single night?  Okay, it’s usually pretty dark when I “do” the litter box but still.  It’s a pretty big watermelon plant, and there are blossoms on it.

Magazines.  They’re all fantasy unless you’re normal.

(By the way, if you haven’t already discovered “Stone Soup” by Jan Eliot, you’re missing out on a really wonderful comic strip. It’s one of my favorites.)

Over Ten Years Blogging. I’m Old School!

scheiss weekly, jane goodwin, woman typing, blog anniversaryMamacita says:  Ten years and three months 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.

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.

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 ten 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.

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.

That I would still be here ten 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 ten 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.  Ten 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 ten 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 was traumatized when I began it, and the title reflected that.  I’m fine now, but the title keeps me humble.  And fairly sane. 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.

Here’s to ten more years.  At a time, anyway.

I love you all.  Literally.

Weddings. Not Mine.

wedding ringsMamacita says: Wedding day!  My baby sister is getting married.  Actually, it’s happening right now, as I write this.  I wish I could have been down there in Tampa to see it, but we plan to have a reunion and celebration when they get back home.  Besides, it’s never about the location or the dress or the photographer or the flowers or the band or any of the silly things that turn so many brainless women into Bridezillas; it’s about the people.  The people here are Kevin and Diana, and nobody else really matters at this magic moment in time.

Well, they MATTER, of course, but they’re not center stage.  Nobody’s in the spotlight here except the bride and groom, surrounded by people they love and who love them.

All those other things – cakes, dresses, etc, – sure seem stupid in comparison  And if you don’t think so, you ain’t right in the head.

Priorities, people.

My sister is deserving of a handsome, kind, funny, loving, hardworking man, and Kevin is deserving of a beautiful, kind, loving, funny, hardworking woman.  It’s a match made in heaven.  And if you don’t believe in heaven, it’s a match made on Facebook.

Much love and all the good wishes in the world to my very lucky sister and her equally lucky husband,upsidedown world both of whom have beaten the odds and found REAL love in this upside-down world.

Then again, I don’t think luck had much to do with it.  More than likely, it was karma, which can shower us with joy as well as bite us on the. . . . well, you know.

May the shower of joy never end, baby sister.

No More Watermelon, and a Question

watermelonMamacita says:  The kitchen still smells like watermelon even though I threw out the rinds last night.  I’m sensitive to odors and it’s hard to work in here right now because to me, melons stink.  They stink like skunks stink.  It’s not just a strong odor; they stink.  The windows are open, but I can still smell it.  Tim loves melons and in the summer, he used to buy them as often as he could. Melons represented the best of summer to him.  In his family, people fought wars over who got the last slice of melon.  In our house, he gets it all to himself.
Until this summer, that is.  This is the summer of the high blood sugar, and even though he buys the melons and cheats, he pays for it now.  Once in the store and again with the glucometer.  He’s had to cut way back, with the melons.
I don’t like watermelon.  I don’t like canteloupe, either.  (We call them ‘mushmelons’ around these parts.)
I don’t like any kind of melon, actually. Honeydon’t.
picky eater
When it comes to food, I’m seven years old in the head and sitting at the table with my arms crossed in front of a plate of good, healthy food that’s grown ice cold, waiting for me to touch it again.
On the bright side, I always taste it before passing judgment. Usually, I give it several chances to impress me.  Sometimes, it wins me over.  Sometimes, nothing on earth works, no matter how hard I try.  Tomatoes and cottage cheese, for example, always look so delicious to me, but when I put a bite in my mouth, I’m still grossed out.  When I’m dining with friends, I can fake it pretty well, and you’ll never know, but it took years of practice before I could pull it off without a grimace.
I also hate onions.  And Brussels sprouts.  And most casseroles. And “flavored” drinks.
Peas make me gag, even at my age.
I don’t eat gravy. The very concept is disgusting.  I’m pretty good at making it, though, and if you want some, I’ll be happy to make some.  For you.  You can have all of it.
Most cooked vegetables make me all sad and unhungry.  Raw vegetables, I love.  Roasted, boiled, baked, not so much.  In fact, not at all.
I’m also not a big garlic fan.  Or pasta, although there are a few pasta recipes I like a lot.
Tim’s family fought wars over who got the last piece of pie.  I don’t eat pie, either, but I do love to make them.  (Exception:  gooseberry pie if it’s really, really sour.)
Most sweet things:  no.  Most sour things:  yes.  Sugar:  no.  Lemons:  yes.
One of the coolest things about being an adult is that, with the exception of a few social occasions when I don’t want PEOPLE to know I’m a food sissy, I can eat what I want and ignore the rest, and not be sent to bed without any Lost in Space for turning up my nose at good, healthy food starving children in Biafra would give anything to have.
Nobody can make me eat melons.  Nobody.  Actually, most days I eat once a day, late at night, unless I meet a friend for lunch.
I guess my question is, “Why am I so fat?”