The Week Links: Summer Edition.

Yes, I’ve been a little remiss with the links lately. Who knew summer holidays, swimming lessons, stationery shopping and work (plus the usual busy-ness) would keep me run off my feet these last several weeks? Well, everyone, probably, but it still always comes as a surprise to me that there are not enough hours in the day.

We’re expecting a warm day today–not as warm as Perth, but still summery–and I hope to be able to pick the last of the boysenberries and pretend to get organised for another school week (but no doubt I’ll end up working and/or reading a book and patting the cat. Possibly taking the dog for a walk. Maybe eating some cake…)

Enjoy the links!

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FOMO? Well, YOLO, you know.

I hadn’t heard about ‘FOMO’ until I read about it in an article. Apparently, it’s really a thing! Through social media, people can tailor their online presence to appear to have a certain kind of life, and others who view this presentation then fret about why they  don’t have that, too (Fear Of Missing Out).

That’s not news. That’s always happened. It’s always been the case that it’s easy to look at someone else’s life and believe that they have it better. We’ve always imagined that movie stars are all tremendously rich and confident and popular, when the reality is that they’re just people, and while they might have more money at their disposal which means they can afford more ‘stuff’, it doesn’t follow that they’re any more content than your average person.

Their internet persona just makes it seem as if they do.

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Be Kind.

I woke up to the news of the attacks in Paris. It’s so hard to get any kind of perspective on this sort of tragedy, especially since these sorts of tragedies seem to happen all the time. Just a few days ago, Beirut was also rocked by suicide bombings, killing dozens and wounding hundreds.

Nobody close to me is affected by these tragedies, so I have the luxury of a more detached, general sadness, rather than the acute grief at losing someone I love. I know that this is the case for many people–there is no direct link with the attacks, and yet, the sense of loss and our empathy for others caught up in all this is overwhelming. In light of that, it’s hard to know how to cope with all that information. How does one process such terrible scenes? As I pondered that, while doing the washing up, I came up with some thoughts:

  1. Do the washing up. Sweep the floor. Make the beds. Do something mindless which gives you a sense of achievement and makes your immediate environment more pleasant.
  2. Donate to the Red Cross, or to Médecins Sans Frontières, or to the WorldWide Fund for Nature, or to the Malala Fund, or to 350.org. These organisations are working to help people and the natural environment which is being affected by every kind of harm.
  3. Ring a friend/parent/child/relative. Or write an email/Skype/send a text. Connect with people you love. Talk about things which are important to both of you. Listen to each other.
  4. Turn off the news. Unless the attacks are taking place near you, you don’t need all that information. Come back to it in an hour. Or a day.
  5. Plant a flower, a tree, a vegetable seedling and take care of it.
  6. Cook a really good meal, or help someone else do it, if you’re not a fan of cooking.
  7. Be kind.

Be kind.

There is so much anger. Those people who blow themselves up, or who go on shooting rampages, or who hit out with weapons or fists: they’re so angry. And you know, some of the time, this anger is justified. Just think back over even the last 100 years. There has been such a lot of wrongdoing, from so many sides. People have been massacred, their rights completely abused, families have been torn apart. Those coordinating any of these attacks, whether it’s a well-organised terrorist group or an individual with a grudge, or just some person who’s had too much to drink… they probably have a right to be angry. Everyone does, don’t they? If we feel slighted, we have a right to be upset about it.

We don’t have a right to kill or hurt other people for it. That’s not OK.

This general sense of being able to get nasty when you’re offended is not limited to terrorists, though. All you have to do is look at what happens when someone says ‘the wrong thing’ on Facebook or Twitter, and how nasty the internet can be. What righteous indignation, what ridicule at the utter ignorance/rudeness/racism/whatever else! How justified we feel, at taking someone to task for their idiocy! Most of the time, this doesn’t result in violence, but the sentiment is the same.

I’m right, you’re wrong.

You’re stupid. I’m superior. 

So this is what I take away from all of this tragedy: those people who are perpetrating such violence, they have a right to be angry, to be offended. They don’t have a right to kill or injure people. But what can I do, personally, about what’s happening in so many other parts of the world? I think of it all as a ripple effect. I can’t change the anger of someone in an ISIS camp who’s preparing to kill as many people as possible, or someone who’s stockpiling weapons to carry out a mass shooting, or someone who’s brewing over a feud and wants to go out and hit anyone they meet. I can’t stop domestic violence; I can’t prevent pub brawls; I can’t curtail gang warfare.

But I can be kind. I can be kind to those around me, regardless of what they look like or how they speak. I can be welcoming. I can be charitable. I can listen. I can be fair. And it won’t stop that mass shooting or that suicide bombing. Not this time, not next time either. The tiny ripples of kindness from me might take forever to do anything, but they will have have an effect. Whether it’s big enough to make a difference, I just don’t know. But I have to try, because the alternative is despair, and that won’t do anybody any good.

Dreaming (or not) of Electric Sheep.

While pottering about with a chapbook I’m writing at the moment, I’ve been watching a YouTuber play through SOMA. Well, the Handsome Sidekick has been watching it and I’ve been kind of looking up now and then to see what’s going on. For the some of you who might want to play the game, I’ll put the rest of this entry (and subsequent spoilers) behind a cut.

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The Week Links: in which our blogger takes the weekend off and has a good time.

Of course, my idea of ‘a good time’ is getting to hang out with a friend on Skype, finish all the washing up (even the pots and pans), play scrabble with the Handsome Sidekick., and eat dark chocolate and drink tea with my parents. So, as they say on the internet, ymmv.

Also, after what seems like WEEKS (literally only a few weeks, though), winter abated this weekend, and we had some very spring-y weather. It lifted my spirits considerably!

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Things Can Only Get Better.

I received call a few months ago, asking if I’d mind participating in a survey. Since it was only going to take up seven minutes of my time, I thought, sure, why not?

The questions were mainly about consumer confidence. I was asked if I thought housing prices were higher than they had been this time last year. (I said no). I was asked if I thought they would go up in the future (I said yes). Then he asked me if our financial situation were better, worse or the same now, compared to the same time last year. I had to think. Our Offspring are getting older, and we’ve needed to pay for items we didn’t need before. I said that I thought we were slightly worse off, financially, than we had been. Finally, he asked me if I thought we would be better off at the same time next year. ‘Oh, better,’ I said, almost without thinking.

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This Is How You Do It.

Trying to break into the writing industry takes effort. First, you have to write stuff. And then you have to send it away, at which point you experience a very unique combination of pride (I’m finished it!), excitement (I’m submitting it!), embarrassment (it’s awful), and morbid depression (they’ll hate it. I’m stupid. I suck at writing). Then you wait, and wait, and wait* for the response, and when you see the email, you kind of already know what lies within. And most of the time, it’s a ‘thanks but no thanks.’

Sigh. Oh, well.

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The Week Links: in which our blogger has new kittens!

It has been an adjustment, having younger cats around. The last time we had a kitten was nine years ago. Now we have a pair of six-month-old boys, and they are full of rough-and-tumble kitteny play. Our Offspring are utterly delighted with the kittens. The kittens are less delighted about our Offspring — although the tabby does seem to quite like their company. There has been a lot of giggling and squealing, interspersed with, ‘Ow! He just scratched me!’ Haha. Kittens do have a tendency to get a little carried away.

So in the brief window when the kittens are sleeping and our Offspring are outside playing, I’d better put these links up, and think about getting lunch ready! Have an interesting Sunday, everyone.

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The Week Links: in which our blogger is REALLY REALLY COLD.

Brrr! We’re having some lovely sunny days right now, but the flipside of that is that the nights are very chilly. And so are the mornings!

I missed last week’s links, for which I’m very sorry — we had to put one of our cats down on Saturday, and it was upsetting for everyone. There were also a lot of discussions about death, which was rather exhausting. So I took the time to hang out with the Handsome Sidekick and our Offspring.

Now I’m dragging my feet posting these links, because once I’m done, I’ll no longer have the excuse to stay in the loungeroom with the heater…

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Know It All.

Recently I mentioned to some friends that I had so much yoghurt, I was considering making labneh. (I didn’t, partly due to the lack of required olive oil, and partly because I didn’t think anyone in the family would eat it apart from me). One of my friends said she’d felt ignorant, when she didn’t know what labneh was, but then thought, ‘…of course you can’t know everything!’

And yet!

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