A Christmas Card from Bexa: Blogmas 14

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The beautiful home-made card that arrived all the way from Brighton, England from Bexa

When I got home yesterday, there was a beautiful envelope waiting for me. It came all the way from England from a blogger I’ve met, Bexa. Inside was a gorgeous homemade card with some of the neatest printing I have ever seen in my life. Bexa’s blog is amazing. Her site is designed so well, and you can tell she is a very creative and kind soul. The main reason I found Bexa is that I was looking for Twitter accounts that re-post blogs. She had wrote a post asking everyone to send her their blog post for her Sunday reading. So I sent mine and we kind of started a bit of a blogging friendship. Please take a look at Bexa’s blog: http://hellobexa.com. She has great tips for people just starting out with blogging.

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Cute custom-made sticker inside the card

Looking at the card, I started thinking about the reaction I got to my “Merry Fucking Christmas” post too. I started to feel so thankful for the amazing people I have met through blogging, their kindness and their encouragement. There are so many people I have discovered through WordPress and Twitter who are such talented writers; people from all over the world, from different cultures and different religions. I love it! If the rest of the world could be as accepting and open and loving to each other as the bloggers I’ve met, we would never worry about nuclear war, famine, genocide or any other horrible things that people do to each other for no good reason ever again!

Through reading the blogs of others, I learn about other people’s lives and struggles and come to realize that we aren’t that alone after all. It’s awe inspiring how people connect through writing. I guess as an English teacher I shouldn’t really be that surprised, but blogging is quite different from reading a text that has been published. The main difference is that when I read text from a book, I can’t directly comment to the writer of the piece. With blogs, you can give immediate feedback, ask the writer questions, and interact with the writer of a piece. It is quite a remarkable thing.

 

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I loved the message inside as well as the added touch of the piece of paper inside reminding me to “Always wear your invisible crown.” Aww…. I love Christmas and Blogmas again!

Although I enjoy the interaction that blogging brings, I genuinely hope that books and paper texts will not be completely phased out. I can’t think of a better smell than the smell of opening that first crisp page in a brand new book. I love to just sink my nose into the middle and take long deep breaths. Aw…. the smell of words!  Some day maybe the  words of the bloggers I have met will be in the printed form with the aroma of “new book.” I sure hope so.

Thank you to all my followers and fellow bloggers for being such a wonderful and supportive community. As a thank you, I’m going to highlight a blog site I regularly visit to share with readers of this blog. Today’s is Bexa’s (obviously) and you can find her most recent work here: https://hellobexa.com/life/the-top-20-christmas-films-of-all-time/

A special thank you to Bexa for the beautiful Christmas card.

 

If you would like to make a card like the one Bexa sent to me, follow this link: https://hellobexa.com/blogging/how-to-make-washi-tape-christmas-cards/

Happy Blogmas 14!

O.H.

I’m Following You! [Blogmas 13]

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not stalkingI’ve been following you. I’ve been following you for a while, but you may not have noticed me. It’s not like I’ve been purposely tagging behind you like an undercover police officer or a creepy stalker. I’ve been following you on Twitter.

Twitter, where all of a sudden you can have interactions with your BFFs Mindy Khaling and Melissa McCarthy. Okay, they are my BFFs, maybe not yours. Of course, they have no idea that we have a relationship. My bestie, Mindy has 11 million followers and “Missy” (as only I can call Melissa McCarthy because of how tight we are, you know) has 939 000 followers, but Mindy follows a mere 811 people and “Missy” follows a measly 121 people. Fuck you, Mindy Khaling and Melissa McCarthy! I thought we were friends forever, but it turns out, I’m just a pathetic celebrity stalker.

Of course, these are famous actresses/writers who used their talents and, in one case, their untalented cousin to achieve success before the up-rise of blogging. Any of us [me] who have tried sending off manuscripts without a social media presence realize quickly that no publisher will touch you unless you have already established a following on social media. That would be why our other BFF, Jenny Lawson, better known as The Bloggess, has 477 000 Twitter followers but follows a whopping 42 000 people. It is still less than the number who follows her, I know, but the ratio is still much higher than with Mindy and Melissa. I’m no mathematician (trust me, I’m not) but I’m pretty certain about the math. I’m about 20% certain. (That’s a lot, right?)

followingOriginally when I started blogging, I said to my friend Sam, the Blog Broad, that I didn’t need social media because “if your writing is good enough, people will connect with it and follow it.” Um… I couldn’t have been more wrong unless I was Fox News. And now here I am, a Twitter Newbie. I joined, “tweeted” and still no real following formed. I said to Sam, “It’s not working.” And Sam said, “that’s because you have to follow people in order for them to follow you.” And so I did. I just started going on people’s followers lists and clicking follow on all of the names there- I thought to myself, I’ll just do that everyday. I’ll have soooo many followers in no time. Then someone will notice my brilliance and I’ll be able to spend my time being paid for creative pursuits. Now, I don’t know if anyone else has done what I did to try to build followers, but if you do try it, a pop-up from Twitter will appear. Now, I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was something like, “Because you’re a insane, creepy, stalker person, we are suspending your ability to follow people for 48 hours,” or something to that effect. SOOoooo… I stopped doing that.

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“Ass Ass” was just a big bare J Lo ass. Maybe it was J Lo’s ass?

Instead, I just started following people at random but just not as many. And then I learned another important lesson. You should actually read up on the people you’re following and take a look at what they’ve been tweeting before you start following them. It was when my Twitter feed showed a picture of a big ass. Now I know my profile picture on WordPress is of an ass too, but my ass is a donkey. This pic was of an ass ass. It was just a big, huge, J-Lo-esque ass. And in the self-description box, it said, “I’m kind of an ass.” I thought, hmmmm, that’s kind of funny; they must be being ironic like me and my donkey ass, but doing it with an ass ass. So I didn’t unfollow the person with the ass pic right away. I didn’t unfollow until I realized what all the person’s tweets were about, and I don’t want to be crass, so I’m going to use the technical terms. “Ass Ass,” as I’ll call her, used dirty words, but the words in her tweets featured semen, anal intercourse, breasts, and meeting places. So basically, I think I may have started following a ho. She’s either a ho or a slut. And that’s okay, I don’t judge. (Well, I try not to.) But I just didn’t want to be propositioned like that. I’m somewhat happily married. (Hey, don’t judge, no one is “happily” married- no one is happy ALL THE FUCKING TIME!) Of course, my hubby, C, probably would have wanted us to find Ass Ass and say what’s up. But I’m not into that. And so I unfollowed Ass Ass and I started just following people who posted things I thought were funny or thoughtful or who tweeted pics and videos of cute animals, and of course, those sites that retweet posts by bloggers.

When I really think about it, randomly following people on Twitter is like randomly following the car in front of you to find out where they’re going. It’s not likely to be anywhere you’re interested in going, so why would you do that? (Although my friends and I did do that once in high school just for fun. But we were in high school. We did a lot more stupid stuff than just that.) I totally connected when I came across this tweet on my twitter feed: “It’s amazing the amount of people who follow just to get a follow back, then if I don’t follow back they unfollow me. I won’t follow people for the sake of it, but follow people I genuinely want to connect with.” dASHing through the snow  ❄️ @FTLOBOOKS (Click on link to see her blog.)20171211_174331.jpg

I found out the hard way that you should only follow people who seem to be people you could connect with. At the same time, sometimes you have to go on that “first date”: follow the person and see what kinds of things they post before you figure out that they weren’t the one for you. It’s okay to unfollow. Maybe they weren’t, “the One.” But if you don’t first follow, you’ll never know. lurking memeFor those fellow bloggers out there, who have me as a Twitter follower, don’t worry. I’m not going to be dumping anyone on purpose, unless you start tweeting weird, perverted, sexual tweets that make me feel uncomfortable. And if you do unfollow me because I’m not what you expected, please do so, by all means. We’re all on this same journey to become leaders, not followers, anyway. Well, aren’t we?

#following you

@Ocean.Hayward

All pictures are my own unless the source information is listed below. Yes, even the ones of Mindy and Missy. I told you we are BFFs on Twitter. [In my best Napoleon Dynamite voice] “GAWD!”

Fatal Attraction Meme. Pinterest. <https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/47428602298479681/?lp=true> December 11, 2017.

“I’m following you” mem. Image Flip. <https://imgflip.com/meme/Zombie-Overly-Attached-Girlfriend?sort=latest&page=3> December 11, 2017.

“I’m not stalking you” Meme. Quick Meme. <http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3tpn3t> December 11, 2017.

Jennifer Lopez pic. IGN. <http://www.ign.com//threads/j-los-ass-is-overrated.454203957/> December 11, 2017.

Office Space Meme. Pinterest. <https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/47428602298479681/?lp=true> December 11, 2017.

 

 

#BlogmasNOT: Blogmas #4

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So it’s Post 4 of the Blogmas Challenge.  December 4, the fourth day of Blogmas. I’ve been exploring lots of other blogs through the Blogmas twitter hashtags: #blogmas #blogmas2017 #blogmas17. There is so much excitement throughout the Bloggersphere over “Blogmas” which from my limited understanding as a Blogmas virgin is a period of time from Dec 1-Dec 25 when you write a Christmas-related post every day. (If I’m wrong please correct me and know that the rest of this post/rant is based on the assumption that Blogmas entries have to be Christmas related.) A Christmas post each day is fine for those of us who celebrate Christmas, but it’s not very inclusive.

In my short period of time as a blogger (Am I really calling myself a blogger now?), what I’ve noticed about the blogging community as a whole is that people tend to be supportive of one another. So far I’ve been making connections with people from all over the world. But one thing I know for sure: not everyone in the world celebrates Christmas. Could we not also have Blogzaa, Blogukkah, Milad un Blogbi or a Blogivus, for example? Or Holiblogs? Or if changing the name is not an option, could we not at least make Blogmas open for writing about other holiday traditions? All the posts I see are about Christmas decorations or how to make eggnog.

So December 4 post, my 4th Blogmas, is a request to those who celebrate non-Christmas holidays. Notice I say non-Christmas and not non-Christian. I did this for two reasons. Not everyone who celebrates Christmas are Christians. Some do it because they’ve always done it, but they haven’t stepped foot in a church in 20, 30 years, if ever. Some do it because it’s fun. I have heard of some Muslim families here in Canada celebrating Christmas just for the fact of fitting in. It’s not about the birth of Jesus for these families, it’s about the gift-giving. From what I understand, the Islamic faith focuses greatly on passing on your wealth and good fortune to others. Hmmm…. who else did shit like that… Jesus, I just wish I could think of that guy! You know the one… born for the sins of us “all”, died on a cross. Jesus, what is his name again? If anyone can help me out there, it would be wonderful. I mean, Jesus Christ, I feel like I’m losing my mind sometimes.

Anyway, if you don’t celebrate Christmas, do you celebrate another holiday? If so what holiday do you celebrate? What are the traditions? What’s your favorite part? What’s your least favorite part? Why do you celebrate it? What does the holiday represent? If you don’t celebrate a December holiday, what do you do during December? I think this would be interesting particularly if you live in a Christmas dominated region. One of my good friends in Elementary and Junior High was a Jehovah’s Witness so her family didn’t partake in the reindeer games of Christmas. I remember during Christmas concerts, she wasn’t allowed to practice our songs for the Christmas concert. She had to sit in chairs and watch. That’s how we became friends. I noticed her sitting all alone and asked her why she wasn’t practicing with the rest of us. It came to be that I would often try to sneak away from rehearsing to spend time talking with her, because it didn’t seem fair that she wasn’t included and she had to watch us practicing. It was weird going to her house in December and no decorations would be up. All the walls were bare; there were no presents. As a 12 year old, I thought my friend’s life totally sucked. I’m sure it had to be hard to be her, having Christmas crammed down her throat like Grandma’s disgusting Fruit Cake from 2 Christmases ago.

So to reiterate: if you are a blogger who doesn’t not celebrate Christmas, write a piece about what you do instead during the Christmas season. We’ll call it #inclusiveblogmas. I’m also fine with it if you want to use #blogmasNOT or #FuckChristmas or #FuckYouBlogmasForLeavingMeOut.

Please reply to this post with your blog posts and/or comments on December holiday traditions or non-holiday activities that you celebrate. I’m going to ask for posts via Twitter as well.

Learning to Write Great Twitterature

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I recently opened a Twitter account because I’ve been told that being on Twitter could help increase readership of my blog. I know I am late to the game. I just never saw the point of posting short blurbs. I enjoy writing. I am a writer. I don’t like limitations on my creativity, I want as many words as possible to express my profound and sometimes not so profound thoughts. I guess, however, at a certain point, one has to embrace new technologies. Hey, if my 97 year old grandfather can learn how to watch porn on an Ipad, I should be able to figure out Twitter, right?

Wrong. Twitter is the most confusing, convoluted mess of “tweets” and “retweets” and “hashtags” that messes with my already clutter-filled mind. All I know about Twitter up to this point, I have learned through watching comedy shows like 22 Minutes and Last Week Tonight. In fact, it’s only through television media that I know anything at all about the Twittersphere. Twitter is like another planet to me. People seem to be communicating, but at the same time, they are not at all. Just sound bytes. McLuhanI wonder what Marshall McLuhan would have to say about Twitter? I mean, as a society, we have really regressed, communication-wise. Ever read an elementary school reader from the 19th century? The things kids read in grades primary-6 back then is much more complex than what our graduating high school students are reading today. I wonder what people in the 1800s would have thought about literature presented in 140 characters or less.

Are Tweets “literature”? I’m sure some of you perhaps raised an eyebrow, maybe even two, when I used the term in reference to Twitter. Merriam-Webster defines literature as “the production of literary work especially as an occupation” and as “the body of written works produced in a particular language, country, or age” and also “the body of writings on a particular subject.” If you think about these definitions, Tweets are literature. Some people seem to make a career out of twittering, the social media site is certainly creating a large body of work reflective of the current age we live in, and the particular writing subjects are organized by the “hashtags.” (I think… I’m still trying to figure the damn thing out.)

Is Twitterature good literature? Hells no, but you can bet it will be studied in the future as the English language evolves. Will it become as iconic as the works of Shakespeare? I certainly hope not. And what’s the deal with the “hashtags”? Who came up with that? Do people put tags on their hash? I thought hashish was illegal? Do drug dealers actually put the prices on their product? I don’t frequent with drug dealers so I am legitimately asking.

Here is a list of what I understand about Twitter so far.

  • Tweet- a thought of 140 characters or less
  • Re-tweet- when you like a thought, you share it on your own Twitter page
  • Reply- I don’t know. I thought it meant you commented on a thread, but none of mine seem to show up
  • Send a personal message- self-explanatory but it doesn’t seem to let me send messages
  • Hashtag- topics your thought applies to
  • Following- people who you think have cool tweets
  • Followers- people who think your tweets are cool

So in my admittedly limited understanding of Twitter, I would say it is high school only larger. People spout off opinions without using supporting evidence, they follow and copy (retweet) the people who they think are “cool” and the whole goal seems to be to acquire followers (become the most popular kid at the school.) So basically, we are all trying to be Ferris Bueller. ferris_1 And there’s always at least one bully who nobody likes but everyone keeps tabs on: Donald Trump. Hey Trump, the only reason anyone follows you is because we’re all waiting to see what crazy thing you’re going to say next, but no one really likes you. Except for maybe the people who voted for you and the people who helped you rig the election. Anyone else wonder about all the accusations he made at Hillary over election rigging? One thing I know is if you want to distract from your own misdeeds a really great way to do it is to point the finger at your opponent. Worked with my brother growing up ALL THE TIME!

#ThisPostSeemsToEndAbruptly

#IDon’tReallyGiveTwoShits

#TrumpDoesNotMakeAmericaGreatAgain

#NewToTwitter

#HowTheFuckDoesThisThingWork

#HowComeIOnlyHaveTwoFollowers

#ThisIsLikeHighSchoolAllOverAgain

#FollowMePleaseForTheLoveOfGod

#WhyAmISuchALoser

#HighSchoolSucks

#TwitterSucks

#BitterAtTwitter

#RealOceanHayward

 

Sources:

“Ferris Bueller.” The Washington Times. <https://www.washingtontimes.com/multimedia/image/ferris-1jpg/&gt; November 13, 2017.

“Literature.” Meriam Webster. <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literature> November 13, 2017