Semi-Random Musings from my World Again

I have wanted to write a blog for quite some time, but blog topics come and go and my interest waxes and wanes as my life keeps on jetting along.  It feels like I blink and then three more months go by.  At this rate, Christmas will be here before I know it.

I wanted to set tonight aside to write a blog, because it seems like if I don’t make it a priority, then it will never happen.  You know how it goes- you get off work late, your sister calls, you need to stop by the ATM, you send a text or two, and then you hop on Facebook and time seems to warp speed forward and you wonder where it went?  Yes, that is my night so far.

So, in honor of semi-random musings from my world (again), here is this blog.

1.  I entered a poem that is very personal to me into a poetry contest on www.poemhunter.com. It is perhaps my favorite poem that I have ever written.  It is about regret, a topic that I am sure that many people can identify with.  Perhaps running a close second in terms of my favorite poems that I have penned is “Shy Girl.”  Both poems are special to me, and it was a challenge to decide which one to enter in the poetry contest, since only one entry is allowed per poet.  I have posted poems on www.poemhunter.com for over a year now, and I am excited that they are having a poetry contest and will have online voting once the entry deadline passes.  I would love to win the $1,000 grand prize, especially with my less than prosperous financial situation, however of vastly greater importance than the financial blessing is the validation that I would feel as a poet if my poetry was selected for one of the top prize spots.  I know it is a long shot to win a contest like that, but if you don’t aim for the stars, then you never know.

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2.  I got on Facebook FINALLY.  If you know me, then you may know some of my issues with Facebook, but I have largely made my peace with it overall.  I still don’t think it substitutes for real live friend face time, but I do think it is pretty amazing to form a bridge with people in your life and potentially even around the world.  Honestly, I can get distracted by just the news feeds alone from my friends, and it is nice that I have recently connected with some of my family on Facebook, too.   I am hoping to reconnect more with old friends and also enrich my newer friendships.  I especially like Facebook for getting to see status comments and pictures that people share, but mainly I like how you can keep up with your friends lives and with things that you would not know.  I almost feel like I have been living the life of a hermit, but I have finally come out of the cave.  I do think social connection is good (but I highly value in person time), and I am trying to figure out a balance with my Facebook time and my real-life time.

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3.  I decided to try the free Netflix one month trial at the end of May, after having it recommended by several people and figuring out that I could responsibly budget it in.  When my free trial was over, I decided to continue on with a paid subscription to stream it, especially since I don’t have cable.   I like it, especially the amount of movies of different genres and tv shows you can choose from.  I am kind of a nostalgia girl, and I like how there are classic tv shows, like Knight Rider and MacGyver, on Netflix.  I also find my self watching a good number of ABC family type movies, or movies that my friends probably would not be as thrilled to watch with me (Santa Paws, anyone?  I know, I know- it is not Christmas, but I felt like watching a cute and uplifting Christmas/dog movie).  Netflix seems behind the times with new movies, and I have owned some new movies for months by the time they get to Netflix, but Redbox fills in the gaps for a cheap rental in the meantime.

4. I wish you didn’t have to request a receipt at a restaurant or coffee shop when you pay like you request a food item. This is a pet peeve of mine.  I went to a local coffee shop recently, and I was disappointed when I paid with a credit card and then I got moved on down the line to the next customer but was not given a receipt.  I used to record to the penny the discretionary money that I spent, and I was highly disciplined with my budget.  I had even cut up most of my credit cards during a financial class that I took. I have loosened up a lot with my budget these days, and I am using credit cards more, but I will note that it definitely hurts more to pay money in cash than to swipe a credit card when the amount is in the double digits.  I think wise financial stewardship is important.

Sad and Interesting is the Order of the Day

Days can be thematic sometimes. Today, sad and interesting appeared to be the order of the day. It was a long day, and I got home after 9 pm. As I was parking, I was inspired by a new song that I heard on the radio on my favorite radio station, Air1. It was by Britt Nicole, who I find very inspiring and talented. (Side note: I actually got to volunteer at her concert with radio promotions for Air1 Radio several years ago when she performed a concert in my area). Well, I loved her new song with Lecrae, and I was inspired to get on Myspace, which I don’t do much at all these days, but I still like it for the music and for reminiscing. Anyways, I was stopped by “the new myspace”, saying not only had myspace changed, but that my current browser was not supported to login. All I wanted to do was add the song to my profile as #1 song, but I had to go through the steps to get a new browser to meet my goal. So, I added Mozilla Firefox as a browser, which truth be told, I should have done ages ago, since I hear it is an excellent browser. Funny how when you can’t do something you want to do that takes “two seconds”, it is quite annoying to be slowed down with technical delays. Anybody else agree?

So, after getting my new browser, I tried to login and got stopped by the “new myspace.” Of course, I had to agree to the privacy policies, video policy, and other various policies before proceeding. I also noticed that it APPEARS that unless you are a MEMBER of myspace (i.e. the NEW myspace, not the classic myspace), you CANNOT listen to music! You can only search for music. Why would anyone want to search for music but not listen to it? Sometimes I used to listen to music in my old myspace player without logging in. This probably sounds funny, but I would listen to my playlist when I didn’t realy care or need to login, and when I didn’t care to be tracked for every song I played. Anyways, so, unless I am missing something, it appears the new myspace is EXCLUSIVE for members ONLY to listen to music, which I find sad and, well, exclusionary. I like music being free and for the people. And, don’t quote me on this without double-checking, but I believe that when I tried to check out Spotify app for music numerous months ago (which my friend raved about), I couldn’t login in because I don’t have a Facebook account. I don’t think that is very fair.

I am a person who does not like to sign something or click accept when I have not read something, especially when terms say that I have read terms, etcetera. Granted, I don’t like reading 40 page terms verbatim, but I try to pay attention to privacy policies and rules. But, I got tired of reading and really ONLY WANTED ONE SONG. It is already late, so I decided to table the new myspace for another day and make sure I am reading when I am less tired. Here is the super sad other thing that I want to comment on- when I was clicking about how the new myspace is different than the classic myspace, it said some things will not carry over in the new experience- things like blogs and comments. That makes me so sad! I always considered my old myspace like a digital record or journal as part of my life- so many happy memories are tied up there, plus blogs that I never saved that were before I was on wordpress. I think I also lost some of my poetry which I may have only had a digital copy of, which of course, I did not save. It is too late now, but I wish I knew more about archiving and stuff that seems taught more in librarian circles. Sometimes it feels like I a babe in the woods, but it is sad once it is too late to do things maybe you should have done, but didn’t think something would be totally taken away from you. I was never warned by myspace by e-mail with the changes, and I knew there was a newer version, but I didn’t use it a ton recently. Still, I don’t think they promoted the switch with a deadline, and I don’t think they publicized what people would lose until it was lost. Maybe I am wrong, and I not trying to speak something untrue, but with so much of our identities wrapped up in the digital realm, I wonder how many people would be upset if their Facebook profile got wiped out, or how would they feel if Linked In pulled the plug? We are all vulnerable.

Once I decided to pass on the new myspace (for tonight anyway), I got on Air1 Radio (www.air1.com) to stream the mixology live. Of course, I got distracted by their home page with “trending now” news headlines. Here is the one that caught my eye. It is about new Lego figurines being more grumpy than in previous years. I think that is interesting, but sort of sad. Here is the article:

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/11/18904238-do-legos-need-anger-management-figurines-grumpier-than-ever-study-says?lite

Also, an article I was reading earlier in the day was in the Chronicle of Higher Education about privacy, law, and government. It was highly thought-provoking and troubling. If you are interested in privacy laws, logical arguments, or freedom, then I definitely recommend it. It fits my theme of the day- sad, yet interesting.

http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Privacy-Matters-Even-if/127461/

Text Messaging is taking over the world!!!

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Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Text messaging is taking over the world!!!  I did think that honor was unofficially bestowed to Facebook, but text messaging may actually usurp Facebook, which is a high honor, indeed.  Case in point: we all know that we can send text messages to our family and our friends, or get free promo codes by text from companies like Redbox, but now text messaging has gotten a foot in the door in the library and information science field.  This foot in the door phenomenon may revolutionize customer service as we know it.

Tonight I was searching my local public library catalog by utilizing their iPhone app.  I had a question about a library item that I desired.  Thus, I clicked on “contact us” in the library app and saw the normal phone and e-mail contact information for my local library.  However, my interest was piqued when spying “text” as an option to answer my question.  It is important to note that I am a text messaging convert (i.e. I was against text messaging for a few years before I finally gave in, changed my phone service plan, and began text messaging).  Now, I think text messaging is amazing, and I find it quite helpful in a plethora of ways like sending friends encouraging messages, for social planning, for information sharing, and for various functional purposes.  So it may come as no surprise to you that I used text messaging as my happy and instant solution to my library query.  Within minutes a library staff member answered my question, and I was moving forward with my library request.

I must say that this whole experience has made me wonder if text messaging is taking over the world? 

Text a Librarian Booth Artwork

Pinterest Top Ten Tips (a.k.a. Pinterest is more than just Home Decor and Party Ideas)

For the last few months, I kept hearing about Pinterest.  I went to a baby shower and the creative and innovative food ideas were taken from Pinterest, and then at a good-bye party, one of the good-bye gifts was a blow-pops sucker knick-knack with a sign saying “You’re leaving here blows.  We will miss you.”  Thus, I sufficed that Pinterest was a hot new social networking site devoted to home decor and party ideas, and it essentially was a digital bulletin board (or pinboard).

However, it was only about 2 weeks ago that I realized that Pinterest had a much broader basis.  My friend, Amber, told me that she was on Pinterest, and she showed me a glimpse of her site.  She had a really pretty hairstyle that she had pinned that was inspiring for a wedding she was a bridesmaid for.  However, she explained more about Pinterest, but I have to admit that I was sold when she told me how she had repined a pin called “Books Rory Gilmore read.”  I used to be a huge Gilmore Girls fan, and I loved to watch the show, especially the early seasons.

Gilmore Girls (season 1)

As you can probably see from where this blog is going, I am on Pinterest now.  I find it inspiring, fun, artsy, cool, hip, interesting, and thoroughly diverse.  Here is my mini-tutorial on Pinterest, with personal insights gleaned from over two weeks of being semi-addicted to Pinterest.

Top Ten Helpful Tips and Info for Getting Started with Pinterest:

Pinterest: Why should we be interested? [infog...

1. Please note the name is not pronounced Pin-interest, as I keep trying to pronounce it.  It is Pinterest.

2. You can get a free app for it or use it on a desktop computer or laptop.  However, the Pinterest website has a great deal more features than the iPhone app.

3. It is possible to login with Facebook or Twitter, but for those who are not connected that way (me and two other people), you can login with e-mail, which makes it more inclusive, in my opinion.

4. Fun things about it: you can follow people and have followers, like Facebook and MySpace.  You can comment.  You can like things. (Important tip from my observation and what a friend told me: when you “like” something on Pinterest but do not pin it, then you are AUTOMATICALLY signed up to follow the creator of that pin.  I had wondered how I ended up with over 60 people I was following initially.  I believe automatic followers may have also come from the pictures you Pinterest has you like at the beginning when you are creating your account.

5. You can add a profile photo or info about you.  The iPhone app does not have this capability (unless maybe it syncs with your Facebook profile pic?), but on the website for Pinterest you click under you name, then click settings, and then upload an image.

6. You create thematic electronic bulletin boards, and you pin things onto your bulletin boards.  You can repin other’s content (always with a link back to the original site for credit), download items like photographs, or pin content found on the internet.

Pinterest

7. It is possible to change the comment under something you repin.  If you just repin, then the comment is automatically the same comment as the person you repined from.  I find this slightly confusing and potentially problematic.  I felt like I was plagiarizing other’s comments, so after a while I started specifying something like “original pinners comment” to clarify.

8. One fun thing about Pinterest is you can explore many categories when you click explore, such as DIY and Crafts, Films, Music, & Books, Geek, Home Decor, Kids, Photography, Quotes, Technology, Travel, and Women’s Fashion.  Note: you can lose hours surfing around categories and repining things, so be careful.

9. You can set the cover of your bulletin board by editing it. This is helpful if you have a photo/pin that you particularly are fond of.  Otherwise the cover is the latest pin for that bulletin board category.

10. Finally, here is the link to my Pinterest site. Feel free to check it out and see what Pinterest is all about or for getting started ideas.  I only have 3 followers, so followers are appreciated, as well.  Happy pinning!

https://pinterest.com/hopeandheart/#

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words (or is it?)

I posted this blog on my MySpace account yesterday, however I have had 0 views thus far.  Not really surprising if I think about it.  So, I have decided to post this blog here on WordPress, as well.  We all know that we WordPress people like to blog, right?  And, I really want to share this with everyone here, too.  Please note that the word “here” in this blog refers to MySpace, since I originally wrote this piece with solely MySpace in mind, however, I am now posting it in its entirety on WordPress (with some slight editing revisions).  While it is slightly wordy, I want to point out that I was NOT trying to beat 1,000 words due to my title (however, I happen to hit 1,795 words).

A picture is worth a thousand words….hmmmm….is it?  I kind of wanted to test that hypothesis, albeit sociologically speaking, because I had a suspicion about my MySpace profile photo, and it turns out that I was right.  I wanted to test (loosely, with data not quantified for any purpose other than my interest in human nature) to see what would happen when I changed my MySpace profile photo to one that had me with a child in it.  I will tell you about the correlation that I found (which is what I expected), but first I want to back up and give a bit more of a preface, plus another relevent explanation, as well.

So, I was off of MySpace for maybe a year or 2….I used to LOVE MySpace. I mean absolutely love it.  I used to do a lot of music promotion at one season of my life and I was constantly volunteering for a Christian radio station in my area and around the state.  I would even organize radio station volunteers for concerts in my area and often go on stage to speak…I love that kind of thing.  So, what drew me to MySpace was the amazing amount of bands and artists on it, plus many of my college friends and my brother used to be regulars on here.  But then everyone pretty much left for Facebook (all except me), and these days my college friends (for the most part) just have profiles on here they never use, or else they deleted their profile when their boyfriend did…stuff like that.  Unfortunately, Facebook was part of one of the absolute biggest friend hurts a friend has EVER done to me….but that is another story that I don’t really care to blog about.  Anyways, MySpace lost its appeal for me when no one I knew was keeping up with it…but I found one day that I still loved the music on Myspace and kind of missed it, so I made the decision to get back on MySpace.

Which brings me somewhat up to today.  So, when my sister (who is not on Facebook or MySpace, actually, but I think at one point her husband tried to sign her up for Facebook) heard that I was doing MySpace again, she told me, “you know, I heard that MySpace is just ONE BIG BOOTY CALL.” Those are her words, not mine. My sister calls it like she sees it….blunt and all.  Anyways, I hoped SURELY she was mistaken. Surely.  Let me NOT FREAK OUT (definitely NOT the type of girl looking for anything like that, you know)….and I thought I will give it a chance.  Surely that isn’t true.  And, beside, mainly I am “here for the music”, and sometimes I also like to blog about life and write poetry about God and love.  I figure even if I blog and no one reads it….well, all is good, because personally I find writing highly therapeutic, fun, creative, enjoyable, relaxing….the list goes on and on (Side note- although, I must say, it is very nice when people read what you write.  That is so cool).

Actually, I need to back up again and make a very important point.  My MySpace profile used to be private. Friends only access. A lot of that was due to when I worked as a Counselor for around 5 years, and ethically speaking I wanted  a separation between my work life and my personal, private life.  When I was getting my Master’s Degree in Counseling with a Community Concentration, of course they taught us ethics. One of the big ethical mandates was do not DATE your client. I want to say “DUH”, but there are those who do that, and worse. That type of thing is a horrible misuse of the power and authority that you have in your role as a Counselor, in a setting that is all about intimate emotional sharing and trust. It completes violates professional counseling ethics.  Another variation of inappropriate ethics when you are a Counselor is the blending of the work role as a Counselor into also being a social, hanging out friend….you are not supposed to do that either, but I think that happens  often, especially in smaller towns.  Also, I think that sometimes clients may think that Counselors have all the wise answers….or at the very least, that you have it all figured out with relationships….not quite.  Anyways, I decided when I was working as a Counselor to have my MySpace profile private in order to not affect my clients in any adverse ways or to cause any ethical problems or issues.  Although, today, I am no longer working as a Counselor, because the Center that I worked at closed, which resulted in some changes for me and a shift in where I work presently.

So, to get back to my results: I found out that my sister had largely heard RIGHT.  MySpace IS largely a booty call by many people, from my observations.  I make this observation because once I changed my profile to being completely open (in an attempt to be transparent and to expand outside of my “box”), all I can say is that it seemed like the FLOODGATES were open. I somehow probably inadvertently made it worse because (up until recently) for a long time now I have selected as my profile pic a picture that I really liked that was taken a couple of years ago by my friend after she dyed my hair and did my make-up (my friend is actually a Genius with those type of things, actually).  The next thing I know, I was getting CONSTANT friend requests…..from guys, almost NEVER from girls…and also I would get requests from bands, too- that makes sense.  But here is the problem: besides the plethora of friend requests, I would also have things like a guy sending me a private message with a virtual rose, guys proposing inappropriate hook-up requests with me using gross and vulgar language for male and female genitalia, guys asking to instant message me (I don’t even know how to do that, actually)….plus the 18-year-old who asked if I had ever fantasized about being with a younger guy and how young would I go?…or the girl who said I was so pretty and she wanted to get together and that she has been with 2 women previously…and on and on and on.  Seriously, that is NOT why I am on MySpace!!!  It does make me want to, at times, lock the door and change my profile back to private…people can friend me if they are on MySpace and want to be my friend….but, honestly, transparency is a good thing, and sometimes we can “throw the baby out with the bath water.” Sometimes.

I am still thinking about my options, but I have hope that I can be transparent and NOT be sexually hit on in gross ways or feel like I am being looked at as a piece of meat (not cool is the understatement!!!).  Thus, I decided to change my profile picture.  I appreciated that my friend, Tisha, and her guy friend helped get me up to speed with some tech stuff to easily (ok, MORE EASILY) get photos on MySpace and on my laptop (I think that it is fair to say except for a couple of unusual speed bumps that seemed to even slightly surprise Tisha’s friend, a smart techie….side note- I DO need some technology help for me to get up to speed with our technology driven world, but it makes me feel lots better if techie type people tell me that the litany list of problems that I always seem to face tech-wise is NOT JUST ME….sometimes I think technology doesn’t like me…but I know, I know, it is NOT human….that is just my attempt at humor).  But, I am digressing and turning this blog into a longer piece than I meant it to be, and hopefully the few people who may read this are not nodding off waiting for me to get to my point…..so I will cut to the chase.  Once I semi-recently uploaded some recent pictures of my family to MySpace for a new photo album (yay!), I decided that I wanted to update my profile pic to a cute one of me with my nephew, Devin.  He is really hard to get a picture of or even with- he is CONSTANTLY on the run, or he will look away from the camera the second before you take the photo. So, I am really glad to finally have a good picture of me with my little nephew.  Anyways, I kind of wondered at that time if a change like my picture of me with my nephew would cause the MySpace craziness to calm down.

So, here are my results. Yes, the craziness has calmed down. How is that for scientific results?  LOL! I am thrilled to report that, for the most part, guys don’t seem to want to hit on me inappropriately these days.  That may be because they think I have a kid.  Although, one divorced single Dad around my age did propose us meeting up for something serious.  But, the constant messages and friend requests and gross innuendos have stopped. I don’t remember exactly how long it has been since I changed my profile photo- maybe a few weeks at most. But I have only had a few friend requests that I can count on one hand, and one or two of those were bands.  So, I am much happier. However, I do wish people would not use MySpace as one big hook-up….it really mars MySpace and somewhat harms the potential good of MySpace.  Alas, I am just one among a possible small number of people who may think the way that I do….from what I can tell, there are many people who are just looking for a hook-up.   Me, I am off writing poems about regret.

 Peace out. ~ Julie