Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Why Blog?

A few days ago I had an interesting conversation about my blog.

Yes, you read that right. I used 'interesting' and 'my blog' in the same sentence.

This discussion about my blog began innocently over the personal postings of my blog. A friend of mine and I have spoken about my blog from time to time. He doesn't get it. He'll read it when I write a little review or something to that effect that interests him and tweet about it, but other than that he doesn't see the point. We speak on a semi-daily basis and he knows all about my life, so why read about it? Also, he is vehement disagreement of my postings about my love life and when it has gone wrong. He has reason to be in vehement disagreement. Many, many, many years ago, long before I was blogging on Blogger even, he and I were an item and it went horribly wrong. He wasn't aware of my blog and in my rage I told the world what he did and directed them in an indirect manner to his MySpace profile by giving several obvious hints. Eventually he found it, read it, and deleted me from his friends on MySpace. We had words. I changed my post and he re-added me as a friend. Ironically, this whole incident opened us up to becoming friends somehow. And, we have remained friends since.

Since then I have been honest with anyone I may date about my blog. Not that they all dash out and read it. Believe me it says a lot about how someone really feels about you if they are dating you, know you have a blog and DON'T bother to read it. I tend to get a bit reckless with my blogging in those relationships, as if I'm daring them to have a peek. However, I still don't expose confidences. I also do not name them (Well okay, when I'm REALLY angry I have, but have since removed those names). I do, however, expose my feelings and insecurities about said relationships.

So we were having the usual disagreement about my blog and he brought up some interesting points. First, he pointed out that my posting about someone else and what they've done is the same as someone taking naked pictures of me and then putting them up but with the face blacked out. I did not agree. I said my angry posts about injustices were similar to someone taking pictures of me doing something wrong to someone else and then posting pictures of it for all to see but with my face blocked out. And, if I were caught doing something like that then yes, posting pictures with my face blocked out was justified

He pointed out that instead of blogging about it I should TALK to the person. I responded that with the exception of him I have always done both. In his opinion that's just weird. Who cares? Who reads that stuff? I said it was surprising the amount of people with voyeuristic tendencies. (However, in my head I was thinking about the average amount of visits Sitemeter tells me I get a day- five. Yes, five people a day read my blog and those who are not part of 'My Stalkers' to the right find it by accident while they're searching for something else. I love Sitemeter, but I digress)

Then he pointed out that people can and do change (he did) and just because someone did me wrong when that blog post goes up, it's up there forever. What if an ex’s new girlfriend came across it and judged him based on what was there. My response to that was 1. my name isn't even on this blog or any site linking to it, so aside from my picture how would the ex's girlfriend know it was me 2. no one who has done me wrong has their name on my site (anymore). Thus it would be a bit difficult for people who didn't know me personally to make the connection and 3. if my ex's girlfriend is researching my blog to find out about him, then my ex should be more concerned about the tenuous state of their relationship or the fact that he's possibly dating an obsessive bunny boiler rather than the fact that there's something not very flattering about him up here.

Finally, my friend said something powerful that stuck with me and has bothered me since. He said that in his view my putting up private details of a relationship was unethical. He went on to add that when I posted what I posted about him it felt like an invasion of privacy and a breach of trust. He also said that in the past few years he has sometimes worried about spending time with me in case he did something to piss me off and I posted a blog about it. That hurt... a lot. I didn’t have anything to say in response but to apologise over and over for something I did years ago and got a bit teary. He told me to stop being melodramatic and it wasn’t as bad as I was making it out to be.

Maybe I've just breached his trust again by posting this but he made some very valid points about my blog and that last one followed me around like a pack of yippy dogs snapping at my ass.

I took my bitten-up butt over to some friends’ house a few days later and told them about this conversation. My friends just laughed. “I can see his point about invasion of privacy,” one of them said, “but he’s one to talk about a breach of trust after what he did to you years ago. If you have remained his friend and trusted him for this long after all of your history, then he can trust you…and does. He was just making a point and you were being melodramatic.”

“Frankly," another added, "maybe we should all be worried about being called out for treating others badly. If we all lived in fear that unkind acts towards others would be posted for all to see, maybe we’d all treat each other better.”

Somehow I don’t see my blog as some type of societal moral policeman. And, I’ve not been too nice to people myself at times. Maybe somewhere there is an anti-H~ blog.

I had a hard serious think about the reasons why I blog and came up with the following reasons:

1. I blog when I have a thought that might possibly perhaps maybe be somewhat kind of
a bit profound.

2. I blog when something strikes me as funny and I want to share it.

3. I blog when I've done or seen or read something interesting (or horribly dull) and I want to review it.

4. I blog to keep peeps back in the good ol' U.S. of A. updated on what I've been up to, although I've not been too good at that lately. They can find more about what I've been doing on Facebook or Twitter than on here.

5. Finally as previously discussed, I blog as an emotional outlet in lieu of therapy. It's psychologically purging to tell the world my thoughts and fears and get anonymous support (and sometimes free advice) either through comments or emails. And let's face it, when I'm angry I want to let the whole world know. I scream it from my rooftop and then after having a friend pick me up from the police station for a noise violation, I come home and quietly blog about it. Sometimes I'm quite open and a lot of times I exaggerate. I'm talking about being angry at things in general--from current events to love life kafuffles.

But maybe I should be a bit more editorial about what I put on here about my personal life. After all isn't it kinda like throwing stones in a glass house?

Stop by in a few months and see if I've had a change of opinion about being too personal.

Oh and if you're going to go back to my old blog to try to figure out who my friend is, maybe you should think about the quality of your own life. Why is who that friend is even important? In the greater scheme of things why was writing about all of this even important?

I think I've just entered some type of blogger's existential crisis.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

I'm NOT Afraid of Some Swine!!

First I'd like to begin with a quote from good ol' Noam Chomsky

"You need something to frighten people with, to prevent them from paying attention to what's really happening to them."

That's from Chompsky's book The Common Good and every time I hear a bloody report about Swine Flu that quote echos in my head.

What great timing this pandemic had. We're in an economic crisis with banks failing, people losing their retirement not to mention their homes and jobs and I haven't even brushed the surface of all that is taking place internationally.

But stop the presses people are getting the flu and some are even dying of it!! Excuse me for asking but isn't there a strain of flu that goes around EVERY year? And aren't the young, the very old and those with significant health problems at risk of possibly dying from the flu virus EVERY year? So far the UK has had (gasp) over 30 people die from Swine Flu and almost every person who 'died from' the virus had pre-existing serious health problems. In addition (and correct me if I'm wrong) but wasn't there a Swine Flu scare back in the 70's? And what ever happened to SARS, MMR or Bird Flu? We were all significantly scared by those too but what was this fear really distracting us from?

Yesterday I actually thought I would go an entire day without hearing about Swine Flu in the news. I sat on my sofa with a fever hacking and wheezing with this COLD that I have (I'm not giving into the Swine Flu fad) and innocently watching the end of Midsomer Murders when the ITV News came on. It was three stories in, but there it was dammit! Doctors fear that fatal illnesses could be misdiagnosed over the telephone as Swine Flu. Well of course misdiagnosis of Swine Flu is happening! The hotline isn't being run entirely by medical professionals so wouldn't that be obvious?? Oh but just to make this really scary the news stories on this went on to tell the horrible personal stories of patients who almost died due to a Swine Flu misdiagnosis. So now not only do we have a pandemic on our hands but we've also got a hotline that misdiagnosis what cold be more serious and life threatening health issues as Swine Flu. BE AFRAID! BE VERY AFRAID!

Yes, Swine Flu is here and yes people are dying but as I said before most of these people had pre-existing serious health problems. Thus, if you're the average healthy person you don't need to tremble in fear of the Piggy Flu. Just do your best to remain healthy- there's probably no need for you to don a face mask, but do wash your hands a bit more. If you do get Swine Flu you'll probably just have cold like symptoms with a fever, which although annoying, won't kill you. If you've got a serious health condition or are the parent or caretaker of someone who has a health condition or is very young or old, then by all means do take all extra precautions to remain healthy and keep in contact with your GP. However, we need to cease getting caught up in the media frenzy over Swine Flu and allow it to distract us from what's really going on in the world.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Unsympathetic Sounding Sympathy

I'm ill and being unwell got me thinking about the things people say to their ill friends and colleagues out of sympathy. Some of these sayings make me chuckle. Now, I'm not saying I've never uttered any of these phrases because naturally I have. But sometimes what we say out of sympathy doesn't end up sounding very sympathetic.

"You look awful," or "You look horrible," or "You don't look good," or "You look tired." We say it out of concern but is it really something a sick person wants to hear? Obviously someone who is under the weather doesn't look that great but saying, "You look awful," makes the ill person sound just plain ugly. The more polite and grammatically correct way to express this same sentiment is to say "You don't look well." This way we're not saying the person is a hideous looking creature just that they look like they aren't feeling well.

Sometimes after chatting with a sick friend we'll simply say, "Feel better," upon leaving as in lieu of saying good bye. Mind you, I'm not talking about saying, "I hope you feel better." I'm talking about the simple command, "Feel better." That is what it is after all, a command. Who doesn't want to feel better when they're ill? Do they actually need to be commanded to feel better?

Here's another command that I recently received. "Stay healthy." Uh.... I was doing that and still became ill. I'm not healthy currently and I don't really want to continue staying the way I am right now. I am, however, doing my best to get healthy again and you don't need to command me to do so.

Finally, my favourite (and this was just said to me), "That cough doesn't sound good." When does a cough ever sound good? The last thing I think when I hear someone hacking away is that they have a great sounding cough.

That's all for now, but I'm sure there's more. If you think of any others post them in the comment section.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Torture Chamber

Damn the gym! Damn it to hell!

I recently joined the YMCA here. If you'll recall I was the winner of our Biggest Loser Contest back in November. However, I didn't lose all that weight the right way. So when the shuttle for work changed to leave within 2 minutes walking from my house taking away my desire to cycle 5 miles a day, I slowly gained most of it back.

Damn not losing weight the right way! Damn it to hell!

Kate convinced me to come with her to a pilates class. The class was £6.70 for an hour, but it I were to join the Y it would be free. So I joined and it happened to be a summer offer. The sign up fee was waived and the first month was £10 less than usual. In addition I got set up on a personalised work out program and essentially had my own trainer. I'll call her Betty.

Damn Summer offers! Damn them to hell!

So I sat down with Betty, who is cute, nice and has the perfect body, and had a whole fitness evaluation. My blood pressure and heart rate are good, my strength is great and my breathing is good too. On the other hand, my body fat, my flexibility and weight...well...there needs to be some improvement.

Damn fitness evaluation! Damn it to hell!

So Betty and I began my program today. And it's a good one combining cardio with resistance training. Betty has designed a program that will increase my core strength, tone my muscles and burn off that fat. Apparently, and I swear I didn't know this, if you have more toned muscles it's easier to burn fat. I began the program in earnest today. When she first introduced all the exercises to me, they didn't seem that difficult. However, I knew, knew, knew deep down that somehow it wouldn't be easy. I was right and now I ache all over.

Damn cute, nice and perfect Betty! Damn her to hell!

So, now I sit sipping on hot chocolate with grand mariner. It's lovely. I deserve it. I think I'll add more grand mariner.

Damn hot cho-- no wait don't. This is nice.