A Good Catch Up

I had an unexpected phone call from one of my oldest friends today. Someone I have known for almost 58 years, since we started senior school on the same day, in 1963.

Since moving to Norfolk, I haven’t seen him, and we have only spoken a few times. So a very long chat of three hours or more was needed for a good catch up.

Much of the conversation was about our teenage years in South London. The people we knew, the places we frequented, and the pubs we used to drink in. Family members on each sde that we were familiar with, a few notorious characters we used to come into contact with. Many are long since dead of course, and others have moved away and dropped off of our radar.

Family chat featured too. Who is doing what, who is living where, and memories of those family members now departed. He keeps himself busy with an exercise regime. Running around the quiet lanes in the East Sussex hamlet where he lives, or cycling long distances around the South Downs. He didn’t want to get a dog, as he was reluctant to be upset when it died. He has a long history or riding horses, and being involved with Racing Stables, so that is still part of his life too.

He was interested in what I fill my time with, and surprised that I spend so much time every day blogging. He remarked on that. “You do it every day then?” No fan of social media, he doesn’t have any accounts on those platforms, and their undue influence on modern life makes him angry. But he got back to blogging, something he has little knowledge of. “What do you write about every day then?”

I told him the gist of the blog. Ollie, dog-walking, fictional stories and serials, and occasional serious pieces about things on my mind. It felt strange to explain it like this, and it made me think about the fact that so many people have never even read a blog, let alone written one.

We live in our blogging community, where this activity seems not only desirable, but completly normal. We know that there are tens of millions of bloggers all around the world, churning out stuff on a daily or weekly basis. I realised after chatting to my friend today that the blogging world is a complete mystery to equally as many people. I had forgotten that, after eight years of blogging almost every single day.

Lesson learned.

But that didn’t stop me emailing him links to some of my fiction stories. 🙂

Missing Twitter?

I haven’t had access to my Twitter account for some time now. They wanted to send a verification code to my mobile, and that wasn’t working.

I have been informed that the phone is now repaired, and ready for collection. Unfortunately, I cannot collect it until I have had a result of my Covid-19 test, so I remain phone-less. (That is not good grammar, I know.)

Other than the occasional personal message, I only ever used Twitter to publicise my posts, and those of other bloggers I follow. I gave some time over every day to quickly scroll through the fast-moving timeline, and retweet as many posts as I could, before being overwhelmed by the duplicates, and the constant flow of new tweets. I know some people appreciated that, so I kept on doing it.

But since my absence, I doubt I have been missed. The ‘Twitterlanche’ of constant tweets has gone on without my presence, and not even noticed I wasn’t there.

Thinking about it, do I really need to bother, once I have my phone back?

The jury in my head is out.

An Extended Break

I admit I am sick and tired of it all, and worn down. WordPress is all over the place with the Block Editor, and now Twitter has jumped on the bandwagon, and banned me until I can provide a mobile number. I cannot do that, as my phone is broken, and nobody wants to accept responsibility for that. I am literally overwhelmed with Tech, and that is not a place where I want to be.

So for now, I will still follow and comment on everyone’s posts.

But as for the rest of it, I am quite literally fed up to my back teeth with unnecessary Tech fiddling, and obeying nonsenical rules. Life is too short at my age to bother about constant re-learning, so other than keeping up with my valued blogging friends, I will be taking a very long break from blogging, and everything else.

It may turn into a permanent break, just so you know.

My best wishes to you all as always, Pete.

The Toxicity of Influencer Culture

Reblogging this message about social media influencers. Worth reading.

Mind. Beauty. Simplicity

The average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year. There is this constant urge for MORE and NEW where it just becomes an endless cycle of overconsumption. And with the age of social media & influencers, this trend isn’t leaving us anytime soon.

If I was younger in this generation, I’d be a complete mess. With items being just a click away & a saturated amount of photos & videos depicting these “so called perfect lives” at your finger tips, how isn’t this lifestyle affecting people’s wellbeing?

Sometimes I miss the 90’s because to me, the pre-digital age was simple. Children still went outside to play. Now parents have to monitor screen time. People’s lives were a bit more mysterious & your past didn’t follow you as easily.

The world of technology, although is quite convenient; it can also cause a burden in the comparison battle.

Even at…

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Social Media: Grammar and Spelling

I should have known better than to try to spend some time on Twitter earlier.

After seeing at least 200 glaring spelling and grammatical errors, I became so exhausted, I logged off.

How many times?

YOU ARE is ‘YOU’RE’.
Please, please stop writing ‘YOUR’. STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT!

I want to slap your stupid legs until they sting all night, then make you stand in the corner with no dinner, like the irritating fools you are.

I really have to stop looking at this rubbish, I really do.

BODY SHAMING || REAL ISSUES’ QUIP.

Here is a passionate post from a young female blogger who has suffered from the hateful trend in ‘body shaming’. This may well have been around for centuries, but Social Media online has turned it into a modern epidemic.
Pleased read, and share the message.

Magical BookLush

Have you heard of this word “body shaming“?Have you seen people go through it?? Do you know what it is? Or how it feels?? If you saw it happening, did you rescue them?? Do you know what it does to them?? Body shaming is such a great thing. It’s awesome, do you know why?

Because it ruins people’s lives. It tears them from the inside. It makes them hate their own body and in the end, breaks them down. If you are an awesome person that I probably think you are because you are giving my post so much time and are reading this right now, let me take you to a journey of body-shaming.

Love you all body-shamers out there. This blog is especially for you.

No welcomes as I said in my last post because welcoming the bitter truth into your life is difficult. So let’s…

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Insta-Life

Looking back over my old photos this week got me thinking. Back to a time when you had to have a camera, send off the film, and wait for the prints to be sent back. When I was a baby, it was still quite rare to own a decent camera, so lots of photos were taken by professionals, often at studios, or functions like weddings. Those photographers would rush back to their darkrooms, and return with ‘Proofs’ that they had taken at the wedding or party. They would be displayed on a board, and if you liked them, you could order copies to be sent to you through the post.

This lengthy process meant that such photos were treasured, and usually kept in albums. All too often, photos taken by family and friends might be blurry, and possibly over-exposed. But we still appreciated having a copy, as it was the only way of remembering that moment in time, or a big occasion. Nobody expected the instant gratification of being able to see themselves immediately, and they were happy to wait for the envelope to arrive in the post.

A long time later, and Polaroid came along with the ‘Instant Camera’. The print developed before your eyes as you shook it to agitate the chemicals, and it was now possible to see the photo within a few minutes of it being taken. The prints were black and white of course, and a small square. But it felt like magic. Unfortunately, such cameras were expensive to buy, and the packs of film that went into them also cost too much, compared to a roll of film, and the developing charge.

So we carried on with film cameras. Followed by ‘Cartridge’ cameras, ‘Disc’ cameras, ‘Flashcubes’, and all the other innovations of the 1970s. But we still had to send off the film, and wait for the prints to arrive in the post. Or we could go to a high street company that would develop the film, and supply the prints within forty-eight hours. There was nothing ‘instant’ about life at the time, unless you count instant coffee.

Compare that with today. Millions of photos taken on mobile phone cameras every day, all over the world. Posted instantly to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, and numerous other social media platforms. Never have so many photos been taken, by so many people. Nobody today likes to wait for anything. It would be rare to see someone happy to send off some film and wait for it to come back. They post photos of themselves getting ready. Then photos of them in the taxi. Then photos in the club, party, or restaurant. A photo of their meal before they eat it, then what’s left after. The cocktail they have chosen to drink, and the friends around the table. Take the photo at 9 pm, and it is online ten seconds later. Plus you can save it on your phone for as long as you want.

Even if you never look at it again.

I am doing this too, to some extent. I take photos when I am out with Ollie, or visiting a place of interest. The memory card is downloaded onto my computer, and the chosen images added to a blog post. It’s not instant, but it is very fast. Convenience is all. Convenient food, convenient gadgets, convenient communities, and instant gratification.

But as I looked through those old photo albums this week, I know what I prefer.

Do you use Google Plus?

I have had a Google+ account for a long time now, ever since I started blogging in fact. I use it to promote my blog posts to a different audience, and I also follow the Google+ accounts of some people who only use that platform. It has another very useful feature, as it allows me to ‘sign in’ and comment on other platforms, like ‘Blogger’. It can also be used on some commercial websites, saving me the chore of creating additional accounts, and new passwords. All in all, it is quite handy.

So naturally, Google is about to close it down.

They cite ‘lack of use’ as the reason for scrapping it, and we don’t get a say in that of course. As well as no longer being able to use the features it provides, it will also mean that every comment I have made using it will no longer exist, and any images I have added there will be deleted too, unless I trawl through and back them all up. When Google decides to ‘clean house’, it doesn’t mess about. So if you didn’t know about this imminent demise on the 2nd of April, here is the email confirmation I received this morning. Let’s hope that Gmail isn’t next for the chopping block.

You’ve received this email because you have a consumer (personal) Google+ account or you manage a Google+ page.

In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations. We want to thank you for being part of Google+ and provide next steps, including how to download your photos and other content.

On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted. You can download and save your content, just make sure to do so before April. Note that photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.

The process of deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts, Google+ Pages, and Album Archive will take a few months, and content may remain through this time. For example, users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted.

As early as February 4th, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events.

See the full FAQ for more details and updates leading up to the shutdown.

If you’re a Google+ Community owner or moderator, you may download and save your data for your Google+ Community. Starting early March 2019, additional data will be available for download, including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community. Learn more

If you sign in to sites and apps using the Google+ Sign-in button, these buttons will stop working in the coming weeks but in some cases may be replaced by a Google Sign-in button. You’ll still be able to sign in with your Google Account wherever you see Google Sign-in buttons. Learn more

If you’ve used Google+ for comments on your own or other sites, this feature will be removed from Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. All your Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2, 2019. Learn more

If you’re a G Suite customer, Google+ for your G Suite account should remain active. Contact your G Suite administrator for more details. You can also expect a new look and new features soon. Learn more

If you’re a developer using Google+ APIs or Google+ Sign-in, click here to see how this will impact you.

From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place. We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.

Celebrate The Day

Do you remember back when we only had a few ‘Days’? There was Christmas Day of course, followed by Boxing Day, all after the sombre mood of Armistice Day, in November. My own Birthday, always a cause for celebration, then Mother’s Day, followed by Father’s Day. Good Friday qualified as a Day, as did Easter Monday, and Bank Holiday Monday, in August. That was about it at the time.

Then I noticed that they were trying to sneak in ‘Grandparents’ Day’, from America. I avoided that one, as after all, enough was enough. But it was only the start of an avalanche of ‘Days’. As I got older, I read about International Women’s Day, and May Day, to celebrate workers around the world. I thought, ‘OK, that’s enough.’ I was wrong. The Internet arrived.

There was an explosion of ‘Days’, accelerated by the world-wide web. Most of these were actually good ideas, and raised money for charity. Aids Awareness Day, Mental Health Day, Alzheimer’s Day, and so on. You get the idea. Support Our Troops Day, (once we started to become involved in foreign conflicts once again) was one of many more that were instigated to embrace good causes.

But then it got out of hand. Circulated via social media, we soon had such things as ‘Stroke Your Pet Day’, (who doesn’t stroke their pet?) ‘Adopt A Hedgehog Day’, ‘Throw a Sickie Day’, ‘Cuddle A Vagrant Day’, and many more too numerous to mention. Once I started blogging, I noticed a trend towards sub-division of days. ‘Mental Health Awareness Day’ was no longer enough. That had to be split into ‘Bipolar Day’, ‘ADHD Day’, ‘Manic Depression Day’, and on and on. Animal days followed suit, with ‘Save A Tiger Day’, ‘Adopt A Panda Day’, and as many as you can possibly imagine.

Then came Climate Change, and Recycling. Soon, I was inundated with yet more days. ‘Save The Icecaps Day’, ‘Polar Bear Day’, ‘Conserve Your Local Wetland Day’ and possibly hundreds more. ‘Ride Your Bike To Work Day’, ‘Do Fifty Press-ups Day’, my head was spinning. If I thought that was it, I was sadly mistaken. Think of a day, any day you like, and it is taken by something. It will be ‘—–Day’, be certain of that. ‘Poetry Day’, ‘Literature Day’, ‘Singing Day’, and ‘Feed Someone Day’. They have all been thought of. Believe me, there is nothing left. Days have had to be claimed by more than one of those ‘—– Day’, and they are now competing for attention like pups in a box. (Oh, ‘Adopt A Puppy Day’, I almost forgot.)

When the days were overrun, they migrated into months. ‘World Literacy Month’, ‘World Water Aid Month’, ‘Bake A Cake Month’, and ‘Learn A New Skill Month’. Think of anything, and it has a month, believe me. There are even years of this stuff. ‘City of Culture for —-‘ (year). Good luck with trying to think up 365 things to give the impression that your city is remotely cultural. Not only that, you will be competing with 365 (or 366 in a leap year) other things that the ‘world’ is celebrating, alongside many months of ‘this and that’ going on all around your cultural ‘hub’.

When will enough ever be enough, I wonder?

My own non-scientific research has discovered that each year is already ‘full’. There are no days left, and these ‘events’ are now sharing days, marching on relentlessly, driven by Facebook, Twitter, and Bloggers. Not only are there far too many, some of them trite in the extreme, but there is just no space left for ‘National Cut Your Pet’s Toenails Day’, or ‘National Stroke A Rabbit Day’. I am worn out, ‘Dayed’ out, and bewildered by the choices on offer.

Something’s got to give, or we are going to need a lot more days.

Blogging is not Facebook

Another article about blogging, with some advice (once again) to new bloggers. I don’t have a Facebook account. I don’t know much about Facebook, but I have seen enough Facebook pages to know that it’s not for me. I am not attacking it though. I have no doubt that it provides much needed contact for many people, as well as the opportunity to promote things like books, or to sell things like the old toys you no longer want. You can join Facebook groups, raise a lot of money, and make people aware of things like injustice, or what you just had for dinner.

I have no wish to be ‘friends’ with someone that my second cousin (twice removed) used to work with, a long time ago. I don’t need to know every time that someone I rarely see has ‘checked in’ to see a film at the cinema, eat a burger, or go for drinks after work. That man/woman I used to work with has asked me to be her Facebook friend. Should I refuse, as I couldn’t stand them at the time? Will my refusal invite criticism? I have no idea, so as I never want to be in such a quandary, and for many other reasons, I have decided never to become a Facebook user.

Bloggers are never tagged in a photo, showing them somewhere they might wish they had never been, doing something they now regret. They may well make good use of Facebook, promoting their blog posts, writing projects, or advertising books or services. But blogging is not Facebook. It is writing, photography, genuine tips and advice, soul-searching, poetry, clearing the mind, and so much more. Political opinion, recipes, young mums dealing with a new baby, expressions of grief, depression, heartache, good relationships, and failed ones too. Education, history, world travel, expanding horizons, sharing reviews of films and books, expounding or pontificating on anything and everything. There is erotica, knitting, crafting, model-making, even farming; all side by side on the blog platforms.

So, welcome to all those new bloggers, some followers, most not. Feel free to continue with your Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, Reddit, Flickr, and so many more other options. Just remember, before you start. Blogging is not Facebook.

(I know, I already said that. It’s worth repeating.)