Sunday, June 28, 2009

Public Privacy

I really like social media. Given the limitations on my social life that are inherent in single mom-hood (i.e. most evening-type hanging out has to be done at my house), sometimes online is the best way to get any friend-time in.

Is it sometimes shallow? Sure. But so are the non-online conversations I have with friends, too. I mean, IRL I like talking philosophy and literary theory and queer politics and everything, but I also like talking about how much I don't get the show Wipeout or what color socks I wear.

The bad thing about social media, as far as I can tell, is that everything is documented, and things that would be past and gone in a conversation are visible for potentially ever. And, unfortunately, people act as if their online interactions are private conversations--responding without thinking--when it's actually more like shouting in a really big room full of people.

Case in point: Alice Hoffman, a well-known writer, went kind of nuts on Twitter when she got a bad review. All of the things she's saying are perfectly reasonable things to think and feel and talk about with friends, but it's like she's forgotten that she's saying them in public. Or, if she hasn't, this way of addressing of the issues strikes me as kind of passive aggressive. Why not write an op ed? Or issue a statement through her publicist? Or write an open letter to the reviewer?

As it is, she comes off as petty and nasty and unprofessional, because what she's having trouble with is a *professional* relationship: she writes books and people read and review them. She might as well be angry with the mail carrier for bringing the mail.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Proving that I am once again the least cool person ever (just ask my tween, she'll confirm for you), I am now going to complain about the weather.

Gripe, gripe, whine, moan (pause to scrape off mildew, repeat)...

Did I mention that this is my vacation week? It is. The good news is that I've finished a lot of house projects, but I was hoping to get at least a LITTLE Vitamin D on this vacation. Not a lot, just SOME. Instead I'm growing vestigial gills.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I like to listen to podcasts when I'm doing unpleasant things, like the dishes, or working out. Some people like music for this purpose. I generally don't; music doesn't have enough words to distract my busy busy mind.

So this weekend I was catching up on some old This American Life episodes while cleaning up, and heard this story of haunting, explained here:
Some nights after I have been in bed for a while, I have felt as if the bed clothes were jerked off me, and I have also felt as if I had been struck on the shoulder. One night I woke up and saw sitting on the foot of my bed a man and a woman. The woman was young, dark and slight, and wore a large picture hat. The man was older, smooth shaven and a little bald. I was paralyzed and could not move, when suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder and I was able to sit up, and the man and the woman faded away. Sometimes, after I have gone to bed, the noises from the storeroom are tremendous. It does not happen every night; perhaps a week or ten days will pass, and then again it may be several nights in succession. Sometimes it sounds as if furniture was being piled against the door, as if china was being moved about, and occasionally a long and fearful sigh or wail.
It turns out that they were being poisoned. They called a doctor:
He examined the house thoroughly from top to bottom and interviewed the servants. He found the furnace in a very bad condition, the combustion being imperfect, the fumes, instead of going up the chimney, were pouring gases of carbon monoxide into our rooms. He advised us not to let the children sleep in the house another night. If they did, he said we might find in the morning that some one of them would never wake again.
It makes me wonder about "ghostly" experiences of my own. Were they just bad air? Will anyone ever explain alien sightings this way, or just ghosts? How about unicorns? Are all the ramblings of the mind preventable?

images from

Monday, June 08, 2009

Can't resist

In light of my previous love for Brett Michaels, it would seem amiss for me not to share this brilliantness:

And to think I flashed that guy once. Sigh.