Sunday, January 29, 2012

There Is Something Wonderful About Blogging

Several posts about social media were supposed to precede this one. Then life happened. In hindsight, if I could have predicted certain events, 2011 would have been one of the worst years to start a blog. A year later, I am somewhat surprised that this blog is still here.

Blogs are (as we all know) time-consuming. Everyone blogs for their own personal reasons, I can only write about my own experience as a "hobby blogger". Blogging does not offer the same relaxation or benefits that some of my other hobbies or passions do. In my case, painting, reading and writing. They are mostly solitary activities and are not intended to be shared. I do not sketch or write into my journals thinking about submission or publication. They simply offer a diversion and the enjoyment of creating something for myself.

Blogging is different. It is meant to be shared. Publicly.

Blogging was not on my list of "things to do". It seemed like a huge waste of time; I am not promoting anything, I was not looking for on-line friends nor am I one of the digital natives, who is willing to trade privacy for social media.

I was aware of the stats related to compensation through blogging. Less than 10% of bloggers earn any remotely significant revenue through their blogs. An even smaller percentage are able to rely on blogging for their full-time income and those are usually tech bloggers. The only way I was going to join the blogosphere (beyond commenting) is to treat it as a new hobby and have fun.

Personally, the most challenging part was that the posts that I had planned to write took too much time and I had to get used to the idea that I was publishing unfinished and unedited posts. In the absence of time, I frequently thought of returning to commenting, but instead posted cat videos. *Ahem*. No one told me blogging was going to be addictive.

I think that it goes beyond having fun and reading shared experiences. I have heard the term "social evolution" being applied to our new digital age.  We are communicating across all boundaries, forming friendships with people whom we will probably never meet, but that are no less genuine. (For a recent post on virtual friendships see Vinny C.) This particular aspect of social media breaks all demographic barriers.

Our backgrounds, place of origin, age-groups, gender and/or level of education are virtually irrelevant. It is our thoughts, opinions and writing that matter. Within moments any of us is in the company of writers, thinkers, artists, poets, scientists, humorists etc. as suits our needs and schedules. There is an unspoken mutual respect for acknowledging individual copyright or ideas. In this particular community, I have yet to encounter the lack of tolerance for diverging opinions that I sometimes come across in other social media platforms. If this is social evolution, I want to be an active participant.

Thank you for visiting. Nice to meet you all.
And zere ya go.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Eulogy For Spawn. The Cat Who Did Not Like To Be Touched.

Source: Wikipedia
Spawn was one of Terry's gifts. His history was unknown, except for the fact that he was too aggressive to remain in adoption for long and had been returned to the rescue group.

We speculated that he was likely a purebred Maine Coon that had failed to meet the personality expectations associated with the breed. Spawn was the most beautiful cat that I have ever owned or was owned by. He was black, long-haired, lion-maned, big with large tufted paws and green predatory eyes. He somehow managed to make any posture look regal.

Unfortunately his beauty was only fur-deep. He was deceptively friendly, would greet everyone, invite being petted by rubbing against legs, hands and heads, until he would deliver one of his bone-scraping bites. The predictably unpredictable sequence of events was nudge, pet me, purr, *CHOMP*...Emergency room. Repeat. New visitors, drawn to his beauty, would be met at the door by a stern and well-rehearsed: "don't touch him, he bites". I felt an odd sense of camaraderie when I discovered that the writer and artist Neil Gaiman was dealing with similar feline issues

For a while I considered Spawn my animal whispering failure. The biting did not stop. His idea of playing with the other cats was to chase them off his favorite furniture, then ignore them. His other hobby was stealing and shredding their toys.

He liked human company and he would always join us on the couch to sleep through a movie. It took some time for me to realize that while I was trying to socialize and train him, Spawn was asserting his own personality and training me. What he was clearly trying to tell me was:

"Alright, human. Here's the deal. My ancestors used to set sail with the Vikings, hence the water-resistant fur. Notice the big paws? They were made for walking on the snow. Got some Siberian from my mother's side.
All this incessant absent-minded stroking of fur is aggravating. Try it on the bimbo calico in the next room. She lives for that sissy stuff.
When I roll on my back, it is because I am happy or hungry. It is not an invitation to rub my belly. How would you like that?
Yeeahh. Didn't think so.
Gotta stay in shape though; you throw a ball, I'll fetch it for ya'.
There's a squirrel that needs my attention. You're dismissed."

I shall miss my majestic untouchable beast.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

If Cats Ruled The World




We would live in colonies without hierarchy.
There would be no wars. Only the occasional posturing, hissing and growling.

Our mothers would teach us to play with our food.

The Olympics would include: Short-distance rolling, endurance napping and target grooming.
There would be no catnip doping scandal.

The government would offer cuddling rebates for energy efficiency during the winter.
Everyone would be responsible for their own waste disposal: Don't forget to dig, deposit and cover.
Vacuum cleaners would be banned due to noise pollution.
China would manufacture high quality bottle caps, string and other battable objects. 
['battable': See Revised Cat Dictionary]

We would get to play with new kittens several times a year for early human training, behavioral conditioning and educational purposes.

I have to go. My master just purred my name.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Top 10 Reasons For Posting A Video On My Blog

1. It must be shared because it is humorous or inspiring.
2. I do not have the time or inclination to finish my drafts.
3. Lassitude.
4. I like multimedia.
5. Sometimes videos are better than television.
6. Great filler post.
7. Good reason.
10. And ten.

What better way to celebrate my first post of 2012 than with an amusing commercial?