Bobble-Head Listener vs. Social Media

8130634655_e9b61f7293_zBefore I dive in to my thoughts on social media, let me tell you a little about myself in social situations. This event is not family or close friends. It is the kind that requires mingling and small talk. I try to stay close to my husband. He circulates through the room like he owns it. He almost always knows someone. On the rare occasion he doesn’t, he quickly finds someone with a common interest and my role begins. I stand quietly and wait for inspiration to strike, for an opportunity to say something insightful. Instead, I become a bobble-head listener with no idea how to add to the conversation. This is probably one of the reasons I love social media. There is no pressure, and I get to add to the conversation.

Facebook, for example, is easy. I can share a heartwarming story, or like the picture of a friends graduating senior. I can offer support to a hurting friend, or wish my brother a happy birthday. Twitter, however, is different. It is much more controversial and faster paced.

At first, I thought I would learn about differing views concerning the important topics being discussed. I quickly discovered that most of it is what I call, Hit and Run Comments. You know; the one liners you’d love to say to that annoying person at work, but you would never dare say it to his face. Still more frequently, it seems that people dig into their memory banks and pull out a whole host of crass, body-part-laden, immature comments from their middle school years. Another popular method is to jump to an overgeneralized conclusion based on fear not fact. Most make one or two jabs and then disappear into cyber anonymity.

Why do people do that? Maybe, if they can shut someone up with a one liner, they feel in control for a moment.  Perhaps they are responding to an attack made on them. Or maybe it’s just easier to make a Hit and Run Comment than try to make a substantive comment.

After all, substantive comments require thought, and a little skill to get it to make sense in 140 characters or less. (I’ve seen strings of tweets, but they get a little confusing, especially if you start commenting on segments in the middle of the string.) This also requires knowledge of the subject. This is one of the reasons I like Twitter. If I see a topic of interest, I can take my time and formulate a coherent comment. I do have to be careful. If anyone engages me, I may have to do research to support my opinion. But again, I have time to do that.

Why do I like to comment? Am I trying to feel a sense of control where I really have none? Am I trying to change someone’s mind? Do I want to feel important because someone liked a comment I made?  I’d be okay with any of these, but really, I make a comment for a different reason. I want to have the courage to speak up when I have an opinion. I want to broaden my knowledge with facts to support those views. In time, I’m hoping to get good enough at it to put away the bobble-head and join in the conversation that begins with small talk and ends with understanding.

 

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I’m A Dabbler

confusionI’m a dabbler. I’ve dabbled in a lot of different things. For example, I took a course in writing short stories for children. It went so well that I took a course in writing a novel for children; never finished that one. Another time, I was looking for a flexible job that I could work around taking care of my children. I cleverly decided to become a real estate agent. The illusion of my flexibility quickly morphed into the reality that I needed to be available for my clients — whenever they needed. Thanks to Divine intervention, I was able to list and sell a home, with the help of another agent, within about a month of getting my license. I made about enough to cover my initial investment.

My oldest kids were in private school, then I homeschooled them for several years. Upon burn-out, we (husband and I) put them in public school.  Most recently, we pulled our youngest three to homeschool again. (I guess this is not so much dabbling as it is waffling. I’ll save this for another post.)

During the homeschool years, I helped with the homeschool newsletter for our local support group. It reminded me of the days that I spent on the newspaper staff at my college and then in the production department of the local newspaper. I loved the work, the sense of accomplishment and my co-workers. Eventually, email replaced the newsletter which left me missing writing and designing. Throughout my dabbling, whether it was 3-D photography (I still have the camera somewhere) or getting certified to have a therapy dog, I have always kept design in the back of my mind.

Despite having no true artistic skills, I began taking graphic design classes. Who knows when I will finish, but the classes have introduced me to all current aspects of design. I can use Photoshop to fix a badly damaged photo I found face-down on the concrete basement floor. Illustrator helped me create the tag  I used above. I can look at a webpage I designed and realize that I remember absolutely nothing about the coding I did. InDesign proved useful in creating a magazine layout. Where do I fit in with such a diversified field? It requires expertise, not dabblers.

Perhaps blogging is the answer for me. I can bounce from topic to topic as the mood strikes. Right now I’m in the mood to watch some videos I put together. Yes, I dabbled in YouTube. Search for: Lushn, to see what I did there.

 

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Momsome Moment: BookCon 2017

superheros 2

Technically, my momsome moment occurred at the end of the day, but a few highlights won’t hurt.

My daughter and I hopped on a bus in Baltimore and headed for New York City. She snapped pictures of cool buildings, the sunrise, etc. I anxiously waited to eat a snack.

Once in New York, we walked to the Javits Center, where the fun began.

In addition tobookcon-with-ryan.jpg listening to Ryan Higa, (the reason we were there), we had Bill Nye and Chelsea Clinton sightings. We also heard talks from: Jeff Kinney, Mary Pope Osborne, Kwame Alexander, Lemony Snicket, and Kevin Hart.

 

Next, we did a little exploring in New York City. We headed to Times Square with a stop off to have our pictures taken with Spiderman and a random stormtrooper. We also side-tripped to the Fox news building, where we saw nothing but the outside of a building. Pedestrian traffic doubled as we neared Times Square, which turned out to be smaller than it looks on TV.

Because I was getting tired, we considered taking the subway to our next stop. We descended the dank stairwell only to confront what appeared to be a menagerie of trains and stops.

subwaysign 2Maybe you can guess that I didn’t have the patience to process all of that. We walked to Trump Tower and refueled for the trip home at the Starbucks there.

We’re closing in on the momsome moment. (Admit it, you’ve been anxiously waiting for it.) We were told to arrive at the bus stop 30 minutes before our 10pm departure. We were there 45 minutes early. What to do to fill the time, what to do? Take another, quick bathroom break. Next, “Look, pizza! Let’s get a quick slice of that.” Tick tock. Keeping it simple, we each asked for one slice of pepperoni pizza. Tick tock. The man grabbed the slices and popped them in the oven to re-heat them. Tick tock, tick tock… how long did this need to take? I’m about to have crispy critter pizza. We finally get the pizza (which turned out to be very good) and stood in line to pay. Can you hear it? Tick tock?

We go to the bus stop to eat what would turn out to be the most expensive pizza I have ever had. It’s still 20 to 25 minutes before the bus should arrive. We wait, but now I’m second guessing where we are. Should I find a number to call to double check? We wait some more. My husband calls to see if we made the bus. I try to sound confident as I tell him we are at the bus stop. Now I’m getting nervous. The clock continues to creep toward 10pm. Then it’s just after ten. NOW, I decide to call to check the location of the bus stop. Yes, I’m in the right place. The bus, however, has already gone by. I’m told I can catch the 10:30 on 152nd street. From 31st street!?! How did this happen? I glance down at the now empty pizza box. I see the pizza, the oven, the line. I hear, “arrive at the bus stop 30 minutes early, because THE BUS MIGHT BE EARLY.” The next time my husband called, I sadly confessed that we had missed the bus.

That pizza now cost a $160 for an Amtrak ride, and my husband’s sanity when had to come pick us up at the train station at 2am to drive us to the car we had intended to use to drive home on our own. Momsome.

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Gun Ownership: My Opinion

I have a lot of opinions. The problem is, I can’t remember the facts to back them up. For example: gun ownership. I believe individuals have the right to own guns to protect themselves. Why do I believe this? Let me put it this way. We immunize our children against terrible diseases. We do it despite information about possible serious side effects. We do it even though most of these diseases are extremely rare today. We do it because not to immunize our children leaves a chance that they could end up dead. Gun ownership is the same. While the threat is rare (not as rare recently), not to own one could leave us or our loved one’s dead.

These, however, are not facts. They are opinion. The internet is full of information for and against gun control, but where does one look for impartial facts about this topic? Finding a credible site, with comprehensive information about guns, was easier than I thought it would be: justfacts.com

Check it out to see if you agree that Just Facts is an impartial source for information which includes many important subjects, one of which is gun control. The topic of gun control covers everything from: crime and self-defense using a firearm, to differing opinions concerning the constitution and the meaning of the Second Amendment. I have used some information from Just Facts to support my position.

Here we go. One area anti-gun supporters like to talk about is the need for better background checks. The following chart, from Just Facts, summarizes the issues that are covered in background checks. While no system is perfect, this seems through.

Federal Background Check

Another area of concern, especially when tragedy strikes, is for more strict gun control laws. It is my belief that these laws restrict law abiding citizens, but have little effect on criminals. Just Facts includes information, while somewhat dated, that illustrates this point:

* A 2004 study of state prisoners who possessed guns during crimes for which they were jailed found that the guns were obtained from the following sources:

  • 0% through an illegal/street source
  • 4% through family or friends
  • 3% at a retail store
  • 6% at a pawnshop
  • 8% at a gun show
  • 6% at a flea market.[119]

This shows us that gun laws had no effect on the purchase of 77.4% of the guns purchased by prisoners, yet it effects the ability of 100% of law-abiding gun purchasers to protect themselves and their families.

Now, let’s look at some statistics that show the positive effect of owning a firearm.

* A 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the U.S. found:

  • 34% had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim.”
  • 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun.”
  • 69% personally knew other criminals who had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim.”[27]

Gun ownership, or the belief that a potential victim owned a gun, prevented a significant percentage of crimes. Isn’t this why we immunize our children; to “scare off” disease?

I have a lot of opinions. Owning a gun to protect my family, my children from a violent disaster is as important as protecting my children from long dead, but deadly, disease. Ultimately, however, I believe the best answer, the only true answer, is a revival of faith.  Those who believe in God know what I am talking about. Those who do not, don’t worry, my prayers for you won’t hurt.

 

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More From Week 2 – Oops, Wrong Blog

If this flower can survive, then so can I. The weight of responsibility will not get me down.

Wow, this is embarrassing. I posted here instead of to the blog for my current class. Rather than simply delete the post,  I have decided to edit with a little of what I learned in there this week.

I had no idea that choosing a color scheme for an assignment would be so difficult. I created many lovely color schemes on a website designed just for that purpose (http://kuler.adobe.com/#themes/newest?time=30). It was easy to do. However, using the colors on, what is supposed to be a professional site, was next to impossible. There are so many rules. Not all colors look good together, and those that do may not have enough contrast to be easily read by the viewer.  My schemes seemed to lean heavily toward Christmas themes or birth announcements. There is a time and a place for these, but not today.

Anyway, I went to post notes from last week, before posting notes for this week, and yet I find myself here  posting nonsense at 12:30am.

Speaking of nonsense, what is the deal with saggypants? Back to the Future 2 was bad enough with their pockets turned inside out. I remember seeing that and laughing at how unbelievably dumb it looked, never dreaming that reality would one-up it. If you have time to walk around, holding your pants up, you’ve got too much free time on your hands.

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I Miss My Blog

I haven’t forgotten my blog, I’m just buried in classwork and family duties. Eventually I’m going to get back to this and write thought-provoking posts on things like: how much I hate saggy pants or perhaps how leftovers should be called left-alones until they turn green, in which case they can be called tossed salad.

In the mean time, I am learning about HTML, CSS and health and fitness. Yes, health and fitness, the elective that didn’t come with my previous college degree.

When I get back to posting, I will also be sure to include interesting photos. One of my sons created this in paint.

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This is Momsome!

School is rapidly spinning into view, and with it many more opportunities for momsome moments. (I think I like the idea of saving definitions for the end. It’s there.) My kids will be escaping the house and the drudgery of doing chores more than once a day. For myself, I’m looking forward to starting two more college classes. It really is too bad that one of them I signed up for was not what I thought it was.

If you have read my recently updated “About” page you will understand why I am really not interested in taking a class that focuses on the “health concerns of college students”. I intended to take a class that would help me design a personalized fitness program using weight machines in the college gym. (This I could have benefitted from.)

In my zeal to find a class that I could take while my youngest child is at day care, I failed to notice the title change on the class as I scrolled through the possible days and times.  –This reminds me of a family trip in which we went the wrong direction for many miles before the error was detected. My father sadly commented, “And we were making such good time, too.” — Fortunately, I discovered my mistake before classes began. I am now happily enrolled in an on-line health class that will discuss such things as exercise without my having to strain a single muscle.

Is this incident momsome? I think so.

Here’s another one; from last year. One of my sons missed the school bus. I drove him to the school and pulled into the line of cars filled with students waiting to get close enough to the building to climb out. The principal stood at the head of the line, helping kids cross the street and motioning the emptied cars on their way. My son and I chatted as we inched our way forward. It seemed to take forever. Finally, I reached the front of the line and waved pleasantly to the principal as I drove past, to which I suddenly heard, “Mom, what are you doing!”

I sheepishly pulled back to the curb and let him out. Definitely momsome!

I would love to hear about more momsome moments. (Dads, I refuse to call your experiences mansome, but dadsome doesn’t have the same ring.)

Momsome – form of the word awesome, performed by a mom. This must include some ridiculous and/or embarrassing action on the part of the mother that does not impede the intended outcome. (I was introduced to this term by my son on an event similar to the ones mentioned above.)

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