Throwing Off the Monkey on the Laziness Back

There must be something wrong with me.

Every so often, I get into something and it takes over my entire life. You will probably recall my foray into the world of beads. For a long time, I could be found in the “bead room” aka my son’s old room (he’s never coming back, so I figured, why waste the space?), playing with wire and glass. I began to frequent the local Michaels and Joann Fabrics looking for pieces. I’d walk in searching for a clasp and walk out with $50 worth of glitter. I also went to every bead show within 50 miles of home. Even some of my WordPress “friends” turned me onto more places where I could buy beads. This is much like giving an alcoholic a fine wine “just for a taste.”

My fascination with creating jewelry went on for weeks. My trip to California back in October ended my bead craze. I had purchased some interesting beads from a little store in the Castro, and when I came back to the bead room and deposited them into my little trays, they beckoned me, all shiny and glimmering in the late afternoon sun. However, my muse had mysteriously vanished and I had no idea what to do with all the glass hearts I had purchased.  So now I am stuck with many hundreds of dollars worth of beads and no muse.

Next came NaNoWriMo, and I’m glad that obsession overtook me, because now I am more than 2/3 finished with the novel. Of course, once I achieved the magic goal of 50K words, my muse again left me all alone with Mr. Laziness, damn her. I’ve worked on the book only sporadically since the first of December.

People who know me here probably know me from a different web site located in the far reaches of the internet. I spent a lot of time in that place, and it wasn’t just for the bonanza of gift cards that I received just for being there. (Although I must say, that was a nice bonus.) I really liked the people there. There was a lot of witty repartee going on, some drama, and some of the most interesting writing from some of the most twisted minds around. I found My Internet Boyfriend there, and we’ve been friends ever since. But the place was uber addicting, a huge time-sucking venture. I found that I had to log in, even when times were tough and some people were acting troll-like and mean.

When I cut myself off from that place, I had to do it with a complicated suicide event that spanned several months. Even after I said my final goodbye and signed off, I signed back in a couple of times as one of my alters, just to read my favorite peeps. However, I’ve been good since then and not signed on as anyone since last March or so.

And now I move on to the current addiction-du-jour. I hate to admit it, but it’s Facebook.

Once used solely as an instrument in stalking my children, Facebook has, in the past several weeks, been enormously fun and addicting. This is likely because several of the peeps from the original web site have discovered Facebook and came out from the cold. It’s nice to see my old friends again. I’ve missed a certain craziness from that “other” place. It was humorous, and I needed some fun injections into an otherwise dreary life.

If you aren’t on Facebook, you should be warned that there are several game applications that you can add to your profile. I discovered a couple of word games on Facebook that are so addicting, I find it hard to tear myself away. (When I was younger, you could give me a dictionary or a volume of encyclopedia and I’d be in heaven for hours. I like words.) I couldn’t really play some of the games on there that MIB or other friends liked, such as Knighthood and the like. I just couldn’t get it. Playing with my imaginary cat also lost its appeal after a week or so. (I believe my cyber kitty Matty is now dead, or close to it. I haven’t checked on him in weeks. He’s got to be both hungry and thirsty.) Kanji Box is helpful, because I’m attempting to learn Japanese, so I’m looking at that game as an educational tool.

No. That’s just an excuse.

The Little Cat says I spend too much time there, and I have to agree, albeit sheepishly. Granted, the time spent on the dreaded FB is the same as during my work hours at my real job, but still, I could be doing something productive, instead of chasing my tail around trying to beat Kathleen‘s high score in Scramble. (Damn her, she’s a freaking machine!)

So anyway, this week, I’m not signing into Facebook.

That’s the only way I can get that damnedable monkey off my back.

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Two Very Interesting But Time Wasting Applications on Facebook

OK, I admit I am old. I can remember when there were no answering machines, much less cell phones with voice mail, and when only rich people had color TV. I remember when my dad brought the first microwave oven home back in the early 1970s, and when you could easily buy a damned good car for $160. (That’s what I spent on my first one.) If I stretch my memory, I could probably tell you about when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. That was back when it was flat.

But, I’m not that old. One “with-it” thing I did in the last couple of years was to get on Facebook, once they cleared a path through the coeds and college guys. But, no, I didn’t join on my own. I don’t think I could have figured it out.

My son invited me, okay?

At first it was just to keep up with him and his buds at school. Then my daughter joined, and of course I had to spy on her, too. Well, those of you who know me well, know that she got herself into quite a mess over on MySpace when she was 15. I’d rather not delve into the grisly details, but let’s just say she was a bit precocious for her age. A-hem…

Then, of course, some of my online pals joined and it was a party of sorts. A party where I would swoop in but only occasionally and chit chat as I was checking in on the kidlets.

It wasn’t long before MIB (my internet boyfriend) began to invite me to partake of some Facebook games. He’s big into the Knighthood thing, and he spends a lot of time on it as himself and his alter ego. (I’m not sure how that works. I tried having an alter once, but it got to be too confusing for me. Every once in a while, I’ll slip into that personality, but I there is no way I can be both at once.) One of our other mutual friends hangs out there a lot as well.

I couldn’t get Knighthood, but I kick ass at Scrabble. Facebook had a “Scrabulous” game, very much like Scrabble. In fact, they ripped it off so well, that Hasbro had a fit and commenced to sue. Facebook unceremoniously dismantled Scrabulous, without a so much as a head’s up. I was right in the middle of a great game, beating my son, soundly I might add.

In wake of the demise of Scrabulous, I was turned onto a couple of other games. It was slow go at first, but now I can see that if I don’t stop myself soon, I’ll be ready for an intervention, rehab and a 12-step program.

One of the games is PathWords, which is Scrabble on Adderall. I was terrible at it at first, because successful playing requires good peripheral eyesight and a fast draw on the mouse. My eyesight is, well, failing. I have two sets of bifocals, one for reading and the other for computer work/violin. It took a while before I could get used to seeing the entire board instead of concentrating on one word or area. As for the fast draw, I’m pretty quick with a traditional mouse, but slow down with the laptop. I also play (sometimes) while working, and have had to minimize the screen when taking important phone calls. I’m still in the game when I do that, but my score suffers.

The other game is one my son turned me onto. It’s called Kanji Box. For people who know me, they know I am learning Japanese. Sort of. Kanji Box is helpful with the characters, but it has no sounds, which makes relating one symbol to a word rather difficult. Sure you can print out the Kanjis for study, but I find I learn better in the altogether. Kanji Box is a quick drill of assorted Kanji symbols. You have to get 40% to move up. I started at the Grasshopper stage and at 30% I’m still there. Last night, I vowed to get 40%, so I sat online for two hours trying to achieve that. No such luck. The Kanjis are so difficult (like righteous and parliament), I’m wondering if native Japanese even know the terms.

Just think. I used to be addicted to Bejeweled.

Those were the good old days.

Parents as Dorks

Today, during an email exchange with MIB, we discussed the views of children of their parents. I mentioned that his children may someday consider him a “dork.” He did not agree, stating that he didn’t see his own father as a dork. I thought that was unusual, because I have considered my own parents pretty dorky at times, and I know that my own children think of me and their father as colossal dorks right now.

Really, it’s a rite of passage.

Somewhere after the blush pales of Mommy and Daddy being All-Powerful-And-All Wondrous (which is usually sometime toward the end of elementary school and definitely by middle school), children will turn on you. Okay, maybe not all children, but many do. I did it. Mine did to us. My children caught on right away that we weren’t God, we were just a couple of human beings, and totally imperfect ones at that.

In my parents’ case, it was when I noticed that my father called all of my friends “Suzy Q.” This name was equally given to both male and female friends – my dad made no distinction as to gender. At the time, it was embarrassing. Now, I think it’s kind of cute. One of my friends from high school still visits him from time to time, and he still calls her Suzy Q.

For my children, I guess I’ve been the paragon of dorkyness. I’ve set the gold standard of dork. I’ve got dork down to a science.

Here are some (admitted) examples of my dorkyness:

1. It could have been when I started liking the boy group, Hanson, after my daughter started to listen to them. As soon as I became enamored of them, she dropped them like a hot potato.

2. It could have been after I took my children’s love of Beanie Babies to a new level, by collecting them like a nut job (I still have all of them, stored in the basement, and there are thousands). After I missed getting on TV because I didn’t make it to Nordstrom in time for the televised soccer-mom brawl, they gave up on the little stuffed toy. I didn’t though, which still qualifies me as dork heavy.

3. It could have been when I started my own MySpace page. This didn’t sit well with the offspring. “Why are you on there?” my daughter sputtered. “Well, I’m spying on you,” I answered. “That’s so gay!” she replied, then she stomped off to her room.

4. My fate as queen dork was sealed when I got on Facebook. Ms. Mini D: “What are you doing on Facebook!? It’s for students! YOU’RE not a student!” Me: “Your brother invited me, I couldn’t say no!” Ms. Mini D: “Well, you’re both dorks!”

5. Of course, when I show up at the high school and ask for an audience with the principal (who is an extremely nice woman) that is the absolute end. Only dorky parents would have an actual conversation with school administrators! (Never mind that I am in close contact with several school administrators every day.)

6. When I took up the violin a few years ago, I was pronounced “dork” by sheer choice of instrument.

7. Likewise, when I took up a drawing class and they found out we had nude drawing as part of the class, they collectively said, “EWW!” and christened me dork.

8. And lastly, the Internet. Ever since I’ve been writing online, reading online, and making friends online (some of whom I’ve met), I have attained the status of Ms. Universal Dork. I won’t even try to reconstruct some of the conversation that has been thrown my way.

There’s more. Both my husband and I are dorks because we golf. I’ll admit that traditional golf clothes (especially for women) are exceptionally dorky, which is why I shop elsewhere for similar clothing that defines my body a bit better.

Even a dork has to look good.