Category Archives: Twitter

How to make enemies and alienate people

We’ve discussed here before how to win social media, both on Facebook and Twitter. Most of the advice boils down to Wheaton’s Law, which is:

Surprisingly, this is very, very difficult for a lot of people. I’m not sure if this is because they truly like being dickish, or they don’t REALIZE they’re being dickish, or it’s too hard to think, so therefore they just say whatever crosses their minds the minute they sit down at a keyboard…but whatever the reason is, the dicks seem to outnumber the people with something real and helpful to say online, most specifically in the comment sections.

Most people I know are, for good reason, aware that if you read an article online, you don’t, under any circumstances, read the comment section. Why? Well. Because here be dragons, of course.

For every kind, helpful and relevant comment online, you have to wade through people being racist, sexist, or just downright weird, and it starts to turn your stomach and despair for the human race.

But what about if you CAN’T avoid the comments? What if it’s your job to be the one to POLICE the comments?

I will never not love this guy. FAVORITE POLTICIAN EVER!

I will never not love this guy. FAVORITE POLITICIAN EVER!

One of the aspects of my current job is social media. Five days a week, I’m in charge of the work Facebook page and Twitter account (along with my other multitudinous tasks, of course. I’m a busy bee. But I am a HAPPY busy bee, so there’s that, then.) I not only schedule the posts our readers see, I’m in charge of reading their comments for a few reasons – to see what they’re saying (it might come in handy in the future); to see if there are problems (sometimes they tell us about typos/errors in the article or on the site, which we can hopefully quickly fix); and to make sure things aren’t getting off-topic or squirrelly.

Things often get off-topic and squirrelly.

Twitter isn’t bad, only because people in this area don’t use Twitter as much as I wish they did. (It’s a great resource for a newspaper – we can get the news out almost immediately and have a constant stream of it going to our readers. It just hasn’t taken off around here like it has in more populated regions. I think it will, eventually; we’re just late adopters.) The people who follow us on Twitter are respectful and polite, for the most part, and I never feel like I’m wading into The Princess Bride‘s Fire Swamp when I check our Twitter page.

fireswamp

The Facebook page, however, is a very different beast.

Now, please don’t go into this thinking I don’t appreciate – and even enjoy – a vast majority of our commenters. We’d be nowhere without our readers, and I love that they’re out there and paying attention.

It’s the fringe contingent that worries me. And keep me busy hiding their comments. And sometimes shaking my head and thinking, “oh, I don’t…oh, oh no.”

SO. For those people, I’d like to give you a quick list of pointers. You are very quick to complain when your comments disappear, vocally and angrily; you are very quick to shout “CENSORSHIP!” and “THANKS, OBAMA!” when you think you’ve been silenced. Hopefully, this will help you navigate the waters of our social media more successfully.

HOW TO NOT BE A DICK ON PUBLIC SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES

  • Watch your language. I don’t know if you’re aware, but Facebook has a helpful function for those of us that moderate a public page. We can choose to have comments with swear words immediately hidden, so only we can see them. We very much utilize this function, as we have every intention of being a public page, and the last thing we want is some hapless child stumbling upon you cussing the hell out of a news story. Also, you kiss your mother with that mouth? Good grief, yo.
  • Stay on topic. Of course, there’s leeway here. I’m not saying there’s one path to greatness, people. But if we put up a post about, say, a fundraiser picnic, and you start rambling on about how angry you are that there are so many mosquitoes this year and there’s no global warming because of that LIAR AL GORE!, that’s just confusing and you might be a conspiracy-crazy. I’m not saying I’m blocking it, but people are going to think you’re a looney.

    Except for you, Mulder. You can comment any old time.

    Except for you, Mulder. You can comment any old time.

  • Remember: since it’s a public page, everyone on your timeline, as well as anyone in the world, can see what you’ve said, and hover over your icon and see your profile. It’s just the way Facebook is set up, my little chickadees. You give up your anonymity when you comment on a public page. If you’ve got your page locked down, when they go to look at you, they won’t see much…but you’re still not anonymous. Your name is there. EVERYONE NOW KNOWS YOUR NAME. And your comment shows up in your friends’ newsfeed. I have a friend of a friend who’s very involved with commenting on social media sites. Every time he comments on our paper, my friend says, “I see So-and-So commented on your work Facebook page again!” Everyone’s seeing what you say. Keep that in mind when you comment. If you’re not being a jerk, you have nothing to worry about. If you are, however…well, your mom’s probably seeing that (assuming your mom has Facebook. My mom doesn’t. I’m one of the lucky few.) Do you want your mom seeing that? Are you sure?
  • Personal insults? Really? What grade are you in? We have had to take down entire posts because people randomly started insulting the other commenters, the people in the article, random politicians (seriously, if I never see another non-ironic “THANKS, OBAMA!” it’ll be too soon), and, in one weird thread, God. (Yes, some guy started really insulting God, like, over and over. SO MAD AT GOD.) That counts as off-topic, and it counts as just downright mean, people. STOP IT. I get it. You are filled with all of the hatred. You are ready to explode like a hatred volcano. Sometimes *I* am the target of the hatred volcano. Sometimes my beloved coworkers who wrote the articles are (and it takes every bit of my precarious self-control to not respond with a very biting “WE ARE RUBBER YOU ARE GLUE!” rebuttal, because when it comes to my coworkers, I am such a Momma Bear.) But if you go too far, I’m hiding your comments, buckaroo. I don’t like meanness. I don’t like the idea that people are walking around with a stomachache because someone was mean to them for no reason on our social media. Make a new plan, Stan, and screw off home.

    Oh, is THIS who's to blame. UGH THANKS OBAMA

    Oh, is THIS who’s to blame. UGH THANKS OBAMA

  • Why you gotta be so dirty? SO MUCH NAUGHTINESS. I’m immediately hiding your comments saying female politicians got to where they are “on their knees” or that the local taco place sells “fish tacos that remind me of my ex-girlfriend.” Seriously? What are you hoping to accomplish with this comment? Like, cracking up your friends with a “HEE HEE DIRTY COMMENT ON A PUBLIC SITE?” or “UNGH I AM SO SEXY THIS IS LIKE AN OBSCENE PHONE CALL FOR *EVERYONE*!” I don’t even know. I have ALMOST the least tolerance for this. The LEAST tolerance is saved for…
  • On my watch? No racist, sexist, homophobic comments. Not going to happen. Don’t even try. And if they happen when the other people I work with are on social media, I’ll sometimes randomly check and hide your comments EVEN THOUGH I AM NOT WORKING. Yeah, you heard me right. I FEEL SO STRONGLY ABOUT THIS, I DO THAT SHIT FOR FREE, YO. You don’t get to have a public forum to spew your hatred. Sorry. I know, right, FREE SPEECH? Well, we run the page, and you lost your right to free speech when you commented on it. We have the right to moderate. And until the day my fingers fall off, I will not allow you to put hate speech on our site.
  • Acting too cool for school is actually the stupidest thing ever. We get a lot of “who cares?” or “slow news day” comments. Did you really take time out of your day to write that? Actual time you could have been spending on something else? YOU obviously care, because you took that time out of your day. And no, it’s not a “slow news day.” There’s no such thing. If we posted the article, we think someone can benefit from reading it; if it doesn’t resonate with you, maybe…oh, I don’t know, don’t feel like you have to comment? It’s not like you have to comment on everything. No! Really! You don’t have to! I know, freeing, right?
  • Maybe spell/grammar check? I’m a little more stringent about this than others. I hate ALL typos. It’s what I do for a living; you can’t really blame me. Most people don’t care if you make a few. But I’m talking about the people who write a comment like “For teh all people eat fodo there waffles, good yunger.” I don’t…what does this mean? Do you even know what it means? Is it a puzzle? If I solve it, what do I win? (Is it waffles? That’s a worthy prize. I’ll take it.)
  • Don’t try to sell me a car. We randomly get a Ugandan businessman who spams about 15 of our posts with a huge long “CARS FOR SALE!” comment. We block him; he comes back in another incarnation about a month later. We’re going to keep blocking you, buddy. No one wants your used Buicks. And how would they even GET here from Uganda? Logistical nightmare.

These all seem common sense, right? Yeah, you’d be surprised. If you’re looking at the comment section of a public site, know that most likely, even though your blood pressure is up? Most of the worst comments HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAKEN DOWN. I know. Humbling, right?

So the next time you’re going to comment on a public page, take a deep breath, think, “Is this a dick move? Should I do this? Am I building someone up, or knocking someone down? Do I have a valid point? Is there even any REASON for me to make this comment?” If you can answer all of your questions and still look yourself in the eye in the mirror…you are welcome! Comment away! If not…maybe start a blog where you can say what you want, with no fear of The Powers That Be shutting you down.

...or you'll make Ron Swanson annoyed. You don't want to make Ron Swanson annoyed. Trust me.

…or you’ll make Ron Swanson annoyed. You don’t want to make Ron Swanson annoyed. Trust me.

And, to those of you with actual, helpful, intelligent comments to make? THANK YOU. You make my day/month/year. Keep on keepin’ on, you guys. You make what we do worthwhile.

Advertisements

This blog is just like “Wild Kingdom” only with more unsatisfying bird-sex.

Today we’re going to talk about the glory of birds. (WE…DID IT ALL…FOR THE GLORY OF BIRRRRRDS!) (Shut up, when I was a teen-Amy, that song was my FAVORITE, because I was all into the Karate Kid movies. I didn’t always make the best choices. Still don’t.)

AMY! WE JUST TALKED ABOUT BIRDS! you are yelling at me. DINOSAUR BIRDS!

Well, yes, we did. But we’re totally not talking about dinosaur birds today. We’re talking about awesome REGULAR birds that exist on our OWN PLANET NOW. And did I mention they’re awesome? Because they ARE.

I have a weird history with birds. (That sounds terrible and naughty. It was not meant that way. I promise.) I had a pair of lovebirds when I was in high school. I was so excited because they were the first pets I got to own MYSELF and they were MY PETS and I got to NAME them and I was VERY EXCITED ZOMG. Only come to find out they did one thing, and that one thing was screech. Constantly. They didn’t stop. They started out in my bedroom but then I couldn’t sleep so we moved them to the laundry room and then the whole family couldn’t sleep so then we moved them to the BASEMENT and we STILL couldn’t sleep so we gave them away. SO LOUD. So pretty and green with pretty faces but so loud. And also they totally didn’t let me touch them. I wanted to touch their pretty feathers and snappy beaks.

They were peach-faced lovebirds so they were really the prettiest.

They were peach-faced lovebirds so they were really the prettiest.

Then in grad school I knew someone with a parrot that tried to eat my whole ear and I totally bled all over the place. That parrot was smart and could say things and was crafty but also super-mean. And we had a parakeet at the pet store where I worked that could say its name (“EGGY!” and no, I don’t know why its name was Eggy, I assume because it said something that sounded like Eggy, and someone who worked at the pet store before me said, “That must be his name!”) He also would ride around on your shoulder and he never pooped on your shirt. I liked Eggy very much.

There are no pictures of what Eggy looked like online. This is close.

There are no pictures of what Eggy looked like online. This is close.

I also had a pair of birds right after grad school but when I moved I gave them away because I decided I was not a bird person. They ALSO did not let me touch them, and also birds are messy and make a lot of noise. I’m better with cats that knock over things when they fall off the bookcase. Or fish. I’m very good with fish. I want fish again someday.

ANYWAY, after I blogged about dinosaur birds who used their dancy rumps to get all the ladies, I got TWO VIDEOS about OTHER AWESOME BIRDS from TWO PEOPLE I LOVE. See what a lucky woman I am? The luckiest, is how lucky.

First, the amazing Mer who I miss like CRAZY posted the following video to my Facebook page after she read about dinosaur rump-shakery:

This is the Vogelkop Bowerbird. I had never heard of this bird before. Now it is one of my favorite new feathered friends.

Look at my pleasing display, yo!

Look at my pleasing display, yo!

In case you decide not to watch this totally kickass video, I will tell you the highlights.

  • the Vogelkop Bowerbird is an interior decorator. He lives in a little thatchy thing. Which is, given his name, not surprisingly, called a bower. And he DECORATES it. With things like fungus, leaves, insects, and in one case, DEER DUNG. Heh. 
  • these birds also like color schemes. They’re like wedding planners. The deer dung bird liked nature colors so he chose browns. The other bird liked brighter colors. Also, his insect decor kept crawling away, and he kept running back to retrive the insects and put them back where they belonged and it was SO FUNNY AND AWESOME.
  • The deer dung bird didn’t want the fungus that was growing in his dung to mess up his all-brown color scheme so he spent a long time plucking all the fungus out of the dung. These birds crack my shit UP. No pun intended with the shit and the dung.
  • The reason these birds decorate their little bowers is because the lady-birds choose their mates depending on whose display pleases them the most. Sex knows no species boundaries, my friends. None at all.
  • Near the end of the video there’s some total birdie-style sexing, for those of you who like such things. I’m looking at you, Ding Dong Joe. (Also, apparently birds are QUICK. Whoo! I don’t feel that lady-bird’s needs were at all satisfied.)

This bird lives in Indonesia so the odds are good I will never ever see this bird. I don’t know that I’ll ever go to Indonesia.

According to Wikipedia, the Satin Bowerbird chooses items of ALL THE SAME COLOR, so that one’s even MORE fun. These birds are enjoyable as hell.

He likes blue the MOST. ALL THE BLUE THINGS!

He likes blue the MOST. ALL THE BLUE THINGS!

Also, when I was playing this video, Dumbcat stood in the middle of the living room and turned his head all around and said, “Merouuu?” because he thought there were birds in the house. Dumbcat wants to eat a bird very badly. Or make friends with a bird. I’m not quite sure of his motivations, bird-wise.

Then I tweeted Andreas, totally taking him to task for not telling me about this amazing bird. Because he’s all sciency, you see. Andreas should tell me about ALL the things. (It never crossed my mind he wouldn’t know about these birds. And as you will see, I was right in that assumption, even though you know what they say about making asses out of both you AND me.)

He responded with:

Andreas makes me laugh and also smile with happiness. He’s just the best.

He then told me about the bird that only likes blue (I’m going to assume that’s the Satin Bowerbird) and then sent me the link to the NEXT video, and listen, this one’s ALSO an awesome bird. Check THIS one out:

This is the lyrebird. The lyrebird can make ALL THE SOUNDS. Not just other bird sounds. Did you watch that video? You should. It’s not even very long. And it’s totally the most entertaining. That bird is pretty and also VERY TALENTED.

Tail of PRETTINESS!!!

Tail of PRETTINESS!!!

It can make the following noises:

  • other birds;
  • photography equipment;
  • logging equipment like chainsaws; and
  • car alarms.

And they TOTALLY SOUND LIKE WHAT THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE. This bird sounds like he has a tape recorder in his throat. It is AMAZING. Plus he has a pretty tail, like a little mini-peacock.

THIS time, when I watched THIS video, Dumbcat LEAPT up onto the couch, and proceeded to crowd up onto my lap where the laptop was. I was all, “bub, what are we doing right now OH HUH THAT’S WELL NO LET’S NOT…” because he then attempted to lick the screen.

Apparently lyrebirds were more tempting than bowerbirds. Dumbcat wants to eat a lyrebird. Even though all those tailfeathers would make him sneeze and the minute it started making car-alarm noises, he’d get scared and hide in the pots-and-pans cupboard. (When the windows are open in the spring/summer, he also licks the screens when birds are on the porch. He doesn’t attempt to go THROUGH the screens. He’s hefty and totally could, if he wanted to. No, he just licks the metal screens. Because he’s…well, he’s my Dumbcat, I suppose.)

Also, I loved this video the most, because when the lyrebird made kookaburra noises, he was SO CONVINCING, a kookaburra totally came to see what was up. A KOOKABURRA! My favorite bird of ALL THE TIMES! Now I want a lyrebird AND a kookaburra. They would be the best of friends. I would name them Fred and Jimmy. Why? I don’t know, I don’t question your life choices. RUDE.

I like kookaburras because a., they seem to get the joke, b., when I saw one at the zoo it laughed JUST FOR ME, and c., when I was little Dad sang the kookaburra song with me. That's a lot of reasons, yo.

I like kookaburras because a., they seem to get the joke, b., when I saw one at the zoo it laughed JUST FOR ME, and c., when I was little Dad sang the kookaburra song with me. That’s a lot of reasons, yo.

Lyrebirds live in Australia, mate. I’d totally go to Australia and meet all the lyrebirds. And also all the kookaburras. And meet a guy with a sexy accent. And meet Nemo. Those things all can happen in Australia, I saw it on my teevee.

P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney, Australia. IT WAS ON TEEVEE IT MUST BE TRUE!!!!

P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney, Australia. ELLEN DEGENERES WAS A BLUE FISH AND SHE SAID IT ON MY TEEVEE IT MUST BE TRUE!!!!

So what have we learned today?

  • Bowerbirds are the interior decorators of the avian world
  • Bowerbirds only have sex for like thirty seconds
  • Female bowerbirds are probably bitter and grumpy due to that last tidbit of information
  • SATIN bowerbirds seem to only like blue things, which is super-selective and pretty
  • But, since they are bowerbirds, I assume they still are all wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am (SAD)
  • Lyrebirds are the best mimics ever and remind me of that guy from the Police Academy movies, only prettier
  • Lyrebirds can EVEN FOOL KOOKABURRAS
  • Andreas knows about all the birds, every last one of them
  • Dumbcat wants to either eat or make friends with a bird (debatable)

This has been a very big day, blog-wise. We have learned MANY THINGS. I think you’ll all want to take a nap now, probably. I can’t blame you.

If anyone has a lyrebird or a kookaburra they’re looking to rehome, you let me know. Dumbcat and I would take very good care of them. Promise.


How to get all the blog followers. Except maybe not the type you’d want, exactly.

Today friend A. had a BRILLIANT idea about how to get ALL THE BLOG READERS.

ALL THE READERS! All of 'em!

ALL THE READERS! All of ’em!

He is kind of fascinated by this blog thing. People who don’t blog (and who don’t live on the internet) find this whole thing kind of fascinating.

Here are things that confuse non-internetty people:

  • “You have friends you’ve never met? That you’ve only met online? How do you know they’re real people and not serial killers who live in their mom’s basement?”
  • “You write stuff for free every day online and people you don’t know read it? And then comment on it? How did you make that happen?”
  • “You have HOW MANY Twitter followers? Do you actually TALK to them? What do you SAY on Twitter?”

I can answer these questions, non-internetty-people. I can totally do that.

Yes. I have friends online I have NEVER ACTUALLY MET IN REAL LIVE PERSON. And here’s a secret: there are a few of them I feel closer to (and that I talk to) more than the people I see and can actually touch, if I’m so inclined, in really real life. And someday, I’ll meet them in real life; I’m quite sure of that. I have plans and schemes. Also, if you’re meant to meet someone, you will. It’s the way of the world. And I was thinking the other day: even if I never meet some of my people, I’d rather know them online only than to have never met them at all.

As for whether or not they’re serial killers who live in their mom’s basement: well, I guess I can’t be ONE HUNDRED PERCENT sure they’re not. But if they are, they’re really, really, REALLY good at covering it up and at continuity of their cover story. My nearest and dearest internet people are also my Facebook people, and if they’ve also made up a whole life for themselves, Catfish-style, with ever-evolving photos of their children growing up and places they’ve gone and things they’ve done and friends they’re talking to, plus are able to keep up this really impressive charade in daily emails…all while serial-killing…all I have to say to that is, I’m super-impressed. They’re really crafty. And multi-tasky, apparently. So if that’s the case, I guess they’re really intelligent? I’ve chosen a really high-caliber group of serial killers to hang around with.

WHAT SHOULD I DO? Hike on outta there, kiddo. That guy is a creepster from creepytown.

WHAT SHOULD I DO? Hike on outta there, kiddo. That guy is a creepster from creepytown.

I know. I know it’s confusing for non-internetty people to fathom how you could become friends with a stranger you met online. I get it. I USED TO BE ONE OF YOU, NON-INTERNETTY PEOPLE. Not that long ago, actually. I used to think like that. Meeting people online was where you got into trouble and ended up the topic of a Lifetime movie. But it’s really not. As long as you’re careful? You can totally meet the best people. I promise. I know, because I have. And I promise they’ll be careful with me and take care of me, my nervous real-life friends. They keep me sane and make me laugh and they love me so ferociously every single day. Really. Sincerely. They’re amazing.

As for how you blog…well, you write. You don’t have to be as insane about it as I am, jellybeans. You can post once a week or once a month or whatever works for you, I don’t care. And as for how you get people to read it – same as you do anything else. You network. You tell people about it. You read other people’s blogs and you comment and you make sure you link your blog up with your user name so if your comment was good (don’t make stupid comments, I guess would be another tip) the person who writes that blog will want to click on your blog and maybe read what you have to say. What do you write about? Eh, I don’t know. Stuff you like. Stuff you don’t. If you have a thing you’re into, talk about that. Maybe you’re really into collecting rare coins. Well, talk about that, then. I mean, I’m not going to read it, but someone might be into that. A LOT of people might be into that.

Just write. And write well. And people will come, Ray. People will come. And some of those people will stay. Because they dig what you do, and because you strike a chord with them, I guess. Just like you have your favorite blogs you keep going back to, your blog will be one of theirs THEY keep coming back to.

None of this happens overnight, non-internetty people. You’re not going to make a million dollars overnight and you’re not going to get all the blog followers overnight. All good things take work. A lot of work. And blood and sweat and tears. Things that fall into your lap are nice, but they don’t happen very often, and if you bet on them happening, you’re going to get your heart broken.

And Twitter? No. I don’t talk to ALL of those people. Well, I suppose when I send a general Tweet out, I do, but very few people see that, most likely. And I’m not on Twitter as much as I used to be; work doesn’t allow it, and plus I have a million things going on now that I didn’t when I joined, so I just don’t have the time for it that I used to. I’m there infrequently at best. Which makes me sad. I miss it. But if I was on it more, I wouldn’t have time to eat or sleep or something else I’ve shoehorned into my schedule, so probably it’s best that I keep things at the even keel they’re at now, right? Right.

And what do you say? Well, whatever you want, I guess. Funny stuff usually goes over best. If you want to get all emo, you can, but that usually goes over like a lead balloon. (Or gets you a bunch of “ZOMG ARE YOU OK?” responses, and I guess those might make YOU feel better, but they make me feel so much worse. That’s because I’m broken inside like a cheap dollar-store lamp.) You can just talk to people. You can make wacky observations. You can retweet other people’s awesome tweets. I don’t know. You just talk to people, you know? It’s social media. Do your thing, Hippie Jones.

And sometimes things like this happen? And they're most sincerely the best, I can't emphasize enough.

And sometimes things like this happen? And they’re most sincerely the best, I can’t emphasize enough.

ANYWAY. So, Friend A. read my blog a while back when I ranted and raved about the person that hit my car outside the theater (he was in the show that was going on when it happened.) He thought that was just the best thing. He mentions that every once and a while. “Remember that time you wrote a WHOLE BLOG about your CAR getting hit?” “I do,” I reply. “I’ve written ten months of blogs since then, too. Stop on by, say hello.”

So today at work he was reminiscing about that one time I wrote a really funny blog post about my car getting hit outside the theater and he started asking some very probing questions about the ways and means of blogs.

“So you write there every day?”

“Yes. Every day.”

“About what?”

“Whatever. It’s not like there’s a list of topics. Whatever I feel like, I guess.”

“And people read it. STRANGERS! Strangers read that.”

“Yep. All the strangers. Every last one of ’em.”

This just fascinated friend A.

“Is there blog sex?” Friend A. then asked.

“Um. I don’t…blog sex? What would that be exactly?”

When I Googled "blog sex" this happened so that's alright, then.

When I Googled “blog sex” this happened so that’s alright, then.

“Like cybersex? Only with blogs?”

“Would that be someone having sex with someone they MET through a blog, or a whole blog about sex?”

“Oh, a whole blog about sex, I think.”

“Yes. Then I think there is blog sex. It’s called porn, and I hear it’s what the internet is made for.”

“YOU SHOULD RENAME YOUR BLOG ‘BLOG SEX.’ Then EVERYONE would read it! Everyone! It would be the most popular thing on the internet!”

“Yes. Until they read it and realized it’s got little-to-no actual sex content.”

“Oh. Yeah. Well, I guess you’re going to have to talk more about sex, then.”

“I think I’m good, A. I think I’ll stick with what I’ve got. That’s a very good idea, though. You let me know if you decide you want to start blogging. I have an acquaintance named Ding Dong Joe I think would be very interested in your blog idea.”

Don’t you steal A.’s blog title and idea, Ding Dong Joe. That’s all his. I’ve got my eye on you.

Ew. PUT THAT AWAY DING DONG JOE. Seriously, I think you have a problem.


There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met.

I told my dad I was going to write this post and he was all, “I wouldn’t do that.”

OF COURSE YOU WOULDN’T, Dad. You wouldn’t do ANYTHING online. YOU HATE THE INTERWEBS.

(Dad thinks “I wouldn’t do that” is funny and says it a lot about many things. Pretty much the only things he would do that I do are work, sleep, eat, and watch television, but not the particular shows I watch.)

This is a very prestigious day in Amy-land, and in Lucy’s Football-land. Therefore, it gets a whole post ALL UNTO ITSELF.

I was thinking the other day, I’m pretty sure November’s an important month, but I can’t figure out what DAY, exactly, is the important DAY in November. But THEN I was talking to sj (it was sj’s bloggiversary the other day, HAPPY BLOGGIVERSARY MY SJ!!!) and realized that, by searching through old blog comments, you could figure out when exactly you started talking to someone, and therefore you could figure out WHAT DAY YOU FIRST MET THEM.

So therefore using this logic I figured out my sjversary is February 25. I told her I was expecting roses.

So, I did some investigative research, and it actually ended up that my timing could not have been better, because I did the search on the 12th, and the day I was looking for was the THIRTEENTH. If I had waited just ONE DAY TO DO THIS, I would have been too late.

I like anniversaries. I like to know when things happened and to celebrate accordingly. I like to look back on the time that has passed between THEN and NOW and think, huh, a whole year has passed, isn’t that something?

So. Here is a story. Ready?

Once upon a year ago today, in a kingdom nowhere near the sea, lived a blogger named Amy. Amy the blogger didn’t (doesn’t) have any idea what she was doing, but she had many lovely readers and wrote posts that seemed to be received well and she was having a hell of a time and people seemed to be laughing at what she wrote so that was nice.

One day, her Twitter friend Lisa, one of the funiest humans she knows virtuallyinspired her to write a post about how to not be an asshat on Twitter.

Now, this is a very funny post. The blogger named Amy just re-read it and laughed all over again. Someday the blogger named Amy hopes she will regain her mental stability enough to be that funny again, or at least the free time to THINK of things that are that funny again. She holds out hope that she will.

Anyway, the post is not the point. (Although if you haven’t read it, the blogger named Amy totally still stands by that advice. It’s still sound advice.)

One year ago today, from what the blogger named Amy can tell based on VERY scientific research, is the day that two people who have become two of her most nearest and dearest friends in the entire world first commented on her blog, which, in that magic way that sometimes happened, led to them talking more and more and the rest, as they say, is HISTORY.

Now, these two people (I think, it’s not like Twitter keeps track of such things) were her friends on Twitter before they started reading her blog and commenting therein. Thereon? There. Commenting THERE. Anyway. From what the blogger named Amy can remember, she became friends with these people around this time on Twitter, so the date might not be EXACT, but since this is an actual date she can pin down, and it just happens it seems to be the EXACT FIRST TIME that BOTH of them commented (what are the odds that the two of them would comment on the same day? Huh) then this is the day we’re celebrating.

One year ago today?

Andreas and Ken day.

IT IS MY ANDREASVERSARY AND MY KENNIVERSARY.

Shut up, I’m totally sentimental, when I realized that it made me all KINDS of weepy.

Now you can tune out if you want to, but this is a VERY important day, so I’m totally going to sap it all up in this joint about the two of them, so if you don’t like to get the sappy all over you (YES that is probably a EUPHEMISM) then you can come back tomorrow, we’re talking about…um, wait, let me see…awards and cats and work, I think.

But right now, we’re sappin’ it up. So let’s sap it.

I’m starting with Andreas. He commented first.

Andreas is wonderful and one of the most intelligent people I know and funny and kind and caring and considerate and he SAYS he hates people but for someone that hates people he really is very good with them. (I don’t know if he so much hates people. He just, like me, has very little time or energy for stupidity. I can appreciate that.)

I liked Andreas from the beginning, which I think would surprise him, because, much like me, he doesn’t immediately assume people will dig him. I liked how he spoke very intelligently and I liked how he would think about things before replying and I liked that he always knew (KNOWS) the answers to things, but is never rude about telling them to you. He’s always very kind about telling you things, even when I’m sure he’s thinking “man, THAT’S a stupid question.”

Andreas is a scientist. How many scientists do you know? Probably not very many. He’s not currently PRACTICING science, but I don’t think you just STOP being a scientist. Also, randomly, I will find out amazing things about him, like he one time discovered a new species and then got to name it, or spent time in…now I’ve forgotten, Andreas, was it the Amazon or something? Bolivia? Something exciting like that. And he just throws it in there. “Oh, yes, that year I spent in Bolivia…”

Andreas has lived eleventy-billion lives and he’s only barely older than I am. I find that utterly fascinating.

Andreas, when I met him, was living on the Isle of Man, but somehow I got in my head that he lived in Finland (he probably said he was Finnish somewhere and so I used my Jumping to Conclusions mat, I do that a lot) and so for the longest time I told everyone I had this new friend in Finland, but then he said he lived on the Isle of Man so when I told Dad that, he decided Andreas he was a spy and he was lying about where he lived and WHAT ELSE MIGHT HE BE LYING ABOUT. (He has since started to grudgingly trust “the spy” which makes me happy.)

Then Andreas moved BACK to Finland so I could OFFICIALLY say I had a friend in Finland.

Andreas has a lovely fianceé and two beautiful children and he lives on an island and he has a fancy job where they give him ice cream on Fridays and sometimes they fly him to Helsinki and he promises to send me photos so I can see Helsinki because I love to vicariously bon vivant with my people. He also said I could come live on his couch if Romney won and I don’t even think he was kidding. And he wants me to move to Scandinavia, which I will never do, but is that the nicest thing you’ve ever heard? Someone who wants you to move across the world so you will live closer to them? Yes. And he sends me email that makes me smile and he used to have Klout in typos and he only minded a LITTLE bit if I picked on him about that and he writes one of the most intelligent blogs you’ve ever read in your life.

Also, he is very handsome and has a wonderful smile. Sorry, Andreas, I’m stealing this from you, people need to see your handsome mug.

And he is my Science Fellow. And he always answers my science questions and he comments on my blog and his comments make me smile every single time.

And before a year ago, I didn’t even know him, and that makes me both sad and happy; sad that I haven’t known him longer, and happy that I know him now and get to know him for the rest of my life. (Oh. Sorry, Andreas, you’re stuck with me now. Hope that’s peachy with you.)

Andreas is one of my most favorite people. Happy Andreasversary to you, Andreas! Thank you for commenting on my blog which led to me reading YOUR blog and then the magic of friendship happened. If you weren’t here, I don’t know what I would do. My life is meant to be lived with you in it.

Now let’s talk about Ken. It’s Ken’s day, too, you know. Who could forget about Ken? Certainly not me.

I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t WANT to be friends with Ken. Ken was the tea-guy and Ken was the jaunt-off-around-the-world guy and what the hell was I going to talk to THIS guy about, anyway? But, sometimes, people surprise you. That’s the best kind of surprise.

Ken is my secret sibling. I could probably end this post with this sentence and it really would totally sum up the past year of knowing Ken, but since when have I ever quit while I’m ahead? I have all these WORDS in my BRAIN and they have to get OUT.

However, for all the words I have in my brain, I don’t know that I have the words to talk about Ken. Well, not and do him any justice. There aren’t words that can describe Ken. Ken is…Ken. Ken is secret sibling. That’s all. Well, no. That’s not ALL. That’s…a lot. That’s more than a lot.

Luckily, I have permission to steal from Ken. This is EXCITED Ken. I assume he’s excited it’s his Kenniversary.

What can you say about someone like Ken? I don’t even know where to begin.

Ken is one of the greatest writers I know. Without the slightest bit of hyperbole or exaggeration or any of those fancy vocabulary words I like so much. Ken uses words like great artists use paint or musicians use instruments or actors use their voices and their bodies. And the best part is? HE HAS NO IDEA HE’S THIS GOOD. No, I’m very serious. He really doesn’t. Every time I tell him he’s just so pleased. And then he tells me it’s just because I’m biased. (And he’s always saying how he’s not so humble but that’s a total lie.)

Ken can, I’m quite sure, do absolutely anything, if he decides he wants to do it. He is a wonderful musician and photographer; I’m fairly sure, if he decided tomorrow he was going to start carving a life-size statue or something, it would be kind of the most brilliant thing. They have a name for that, right? Renaissance man. I think Ken might be one of the last remaining Renaissance men.

One time Ken went to the zoo and made a lion-face. HE MADE A LION-FACE. Is there much better than this? I don’t think there is.

Ken is the kind of person who, if you email him what you THINK is a completely off-the-wall scheme, will respond with, “ok. Yes. Absolutely. Let’s do that.” AND HE MEANS IT. He thinks about everything he does. This is what makes him the best bon vivant; everything is an adventure with him. He’s got the best sense of childlike wonder I’ve ever encountered in an adult. It makes you just utterly gleeful. It makes you proud to know him. It makes you proud that he chose you to know.

Ken has also lived a million lives before the one he’s living now. He’s like a puzzle box and he’s like an apothecary chest and there’s always something else opening and there’s always something more coming out. He’s like a book you’ve never read and more and more and more story keeps adding to the story you already know making the current story richer and better and what’s best is, I’m quite sure the story doesn’t end. And it’s the best book ever.

Ken and I are quite sure we’re secretly related; we find a million things all the time that are kind of spookily similar and it’s always one of those “oh, well, holy shit” moments, or, at least it WAS, for a while, but now it’s just become kind of one of those things. Like, “oh, well, of COURSE Ken’s always done this one thing and I have too. Because, well, secret siblings.” But it always gives me that happy chest-thrill. I’ve always wanted a secret sibling. And now I have the best one ever, so sometimes you DO get what you want, you know?

Ken makes me laugh until I cry and sometimes just cry until I cry and challenges me to think about things that I’ve never thought about before and listen to music that I didn’t know existed and shows me cities I never thought I’d get to see and he is THOUGHTFUL and he is KIND and he is GOOD and he is INTELLIGENT and he is one of the bravest people I know and he deserves every single happiness in the world and he is of the goats and he knows about euphemisms and he knows when I need things before I even know I need them and he understands that you can’t carry things alone and he got me through tax season last year by being the most supportive human being alive and he was the first person to email me after I got fired telling me everything was going to be alright and I am so, so blessed to have him in my life.

Haven’t we had a year, Ken? We so have.

And the winner of Amy’s favorite Ken-photo ever is: this one. And listen. LISTEN. There are a LOT of them. Like, I’m not even exaggerating when I say there might be thousands. This one makes me happier than happy.

And here’s the thing: I could have missed him. I could have just decided, no. No, I don’t think I’ll spend the time necessary to get to know this person; I have a lot going on in my life, and, as mentioned, what could I possibly have in common with this person? Nothing. Or, even MORE horrifying: he could have not liked me at ALL. There might not have been that click and we’d just have gone our separate ways. That happens, too, you know. It’s not like you’re best of friends with everyone you meet online. That’s not how online works.

And that makes me sad, and also makes me think that maybe, just maybe there is a plan at work in the world that we are not privy to, and why would we be, because we are small, and we are insignificant, because what are the odds, in all the world (no, most sincerely, Ken’s just about on the opposite side of things), that I would somehow find my secret sibling all that way away? Without a little push? Without a little bit of help?

A year ago, I didn’t know these two people; a year ago, if you had said either of these names to me, I would have just shaken my head with a blank look in my eyes, because they’d have been strangers to me.

Now: well, now. I have my Andreas, and I have my Ken. And I am a very lucky woman. And (shh, you thought that was squishy? Look away now, then) I just love these two men so much. They are so, so special to me. They make every single day better, just having them there, just knowing they’re there, and that they get me.

Here’s to many more November 13ths, guys. Here’s to a whole lifetime of them. Someday, how about we do this friendship-thing in person, yeah? I’d like that. I’d like that a lot. Let’s do some real-life bon vivantery one of these days before we become too old for it and we have to do it from Hoverounds or in walkers or something.

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I say often I have the best friends in the world. Here’s the proof.

I’m not ever letting either of you go now. Just prepare yourselves, ok? Good. Good, good.

(Title is from Jim Henson; I discovered it about six months ago, and ferreted it away like a shiny thing and saved it for today. True story.)


Big brother is watching you. Or maybe little brother, it’s debatable.

What day is this. Thursday? Thursday. OK. Here we are, Thursday! Whoo! It’s another night-shift week at work so I’m all discombobulated. And maybe a little bewitched, bothered and bewildered, who knows. I am told that there will be day-shifts next week for me, so I might become a daytime creature again next week. We’ll see how that works. As is, I’m all switched around. Dad reminds me that all through my childhood, he worked these shifts and it only screwed him up PERMANENTLY, so, thanks for that, Dad. (No, seriously, he really did. He worked swing-shift my whole life. A different shift every week, rotating every three weeks. Days, 4 o’clocks, midnights. Every week something different. And he worked a lot of doubles, because we were poor and he got time and a half for doubles – and double time and a half on holidays. We had a lot of holidays at weird times because we waited until he got home from work. So in case you think I’m from fancy-fancy rich-people stock, you are sorely mistaken. Anyway, to make a long story short – HA HA AMY WHEN HAVE YOU EVER – I have no idea how he did this for thirty-some-odd years. This could explain why my father’s insomnia is legendary, even now. And why when he would call us from work he was SO SO CRANKY.)

Sometimes Dad would take naps under an abandoned desk. Oh, wait. NO HE WOULDN’T! Not my dad! Heh.

However, it is almost BIRTHDAY WEEKEND! so I have a thing to look forward to if I can only make it through five days of work. And by the time you are reading this, I’ve made it through two days, so only three more to go. That’s nice! That’s good. Only three more! I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS.

Oh! Oh, I have a NEWS FLASH from Dad for you all today. It’s IMPORTANT BUSINESS so it’s best you all listen up, yo.

Dad: You’re going to have to get off the Twitter.
Me: What? No, I’m not.
Dad: Yes. It was on the news today.
Me: What was, that Amy has to get off the Twitter? Well, doesn’t that make me feel famous. Oh, on this TV show I was watching last night, someone mentioned Lucy yanking away the football. I’m everywhere on the TV lately, right?
Dad: NO. Stop being FLIPPANT. The NEWS today said that the GOVERNMENT is WATCHING your TWITTERING.

WATCHING MEEEEE!

Me: Oh, they’ve always been doing that. I’m not too worried. If they care about the adventures of Dumbcat or me talking books or euphemisms with my friends, I guess they’re pretty bored.
Dad: YOU’RE GOING TO BE ARRESTED.

Oh, I’m going to the big house. Someone send me a cake with a file in it.

Me: What? Why am I going to be arrested?
Dad: IT WAS ON THE NEWS.
Me: I think you might have misinterpreted whatever you saw on the news.
Dad: No. NO. You ALL need to get off Twitter. The GOVERNMENT is WATCHING you.
Me: Oh, Dad. They always have been. There was a report a while back that they were monitoring public Twitter accounts for mentions of terrorism, and they put all of our tweets, for some strange reason, in the Library of Congress. I’ve always known that. As I am not a terrorist, I am not worried. It’ll all be ok. If I was worried, I’d lock down my account. Or stop tweeting. Or not talk about terrorism online, were I a terrorist. Which I am not.

I always wanted to be in a library. Huzzah!

Dad: You are going to be sorry.
Me: I don’t think I am.
Dad: YOU ALL ARE! I want you to tell the assassin, too. And your nice friend I waved to when I was driving to Florida.
Me: Well, I’ll tell them, but I don’t think they’re going to stop tweeting.
Dad: I’m not visiting all you people in Guantanamo.

I hope you’ll all come visit me in Gitmo.

Me: Didn’t they close Guantanamo?
Dad: Your president said he was going to but it was LIES LIES LIES.
Me: Did you suddenly become a Canadian citizen? I don’t care who you voted for, he’s your president, too, Rabble Rouser McGurk.
Dad: THAT IS NOT MY PRESIDENT. You take that BACK.
Me: *long suffering sigh* OK, fine, Guantanamo is still open, but I don’t think they waterboard people for tweeting about The Amazing Race.
Dad: That’s what they all say right before they’re being waterboarded for tweeting about The Amazing Race.
Me: So, am I ok to be on Facebook? Or to blog? Or are those also forbidden?
Dad: I think it’s best you get off the internet altogether. THEY ARE WATCHING YOU.
Me: Big brother has always been watching, Dad. This is hardly news.

Dad: What are you talking about? You don’t have a big brother. Your brother is younger than you are. You’re so weird.

I attempted to look up what had Dad in such a tizzy but couldn’t find any recent Fox News stories about the government monitoring my Twitter account. (Yes, I know he was talking about Fox News. When Dad said “the news” he means Fox News. There IS no other news. There’s Fox News, then there’s “the government news” that lies to us and tells us what Obama wants us to believe. The smart people in the world who think for themselves watch Fox News; the rest of us sheep watch “the government news.” I wish this was something I was making up for funsies but this is TRUE FACTS, bub, straight from my Dad.)

I am currently watching the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. “I want you to help me catch a killer of women” still gives me the chills. Although it is fine, and I like the music very much, and the cinematography is lovely, this Lizbeth is not my Lizbeth. My Lizbeth will always and forever be Noomi Rapace, and my movies will always be the Swedish movies.

MY Lisbeth. The BEST Lisbeth.

I loved that I could listen to them in the language intended, and read the subtitles so I could understand them. (Also, I told Andreas this the other day, Swedish sounds like how I would imagine fish would talk. It’s all fast and liquid and kind of bubbly. I like Swedish very much. This came up because Andreas made me a recording of him speaking Swedish, and he a., sounds like a very distinguished famous movie star with this deep rumbly voice, and b., SWEDISH SOUNDS LIKE HOW FISH WOULD TALK and it made me giggle and clap my hands delightedly.) Anyway! This movie is fine. I just don’t see that there was a need for it. The Swedish movies were FANTASTIC.

Listen, here is a story about the Swedish movies, and the books. I read the first book and I was all “WHOA THIS IS AMAZING.” And I don’t usually like crime fiction, but I fell crazy in love with Lizbeth Salander because she was such a layered character. I love well-written characters. (Yes. The violence against women in the book was over the top. I know. I cringed and at one point I had to put the book down. I still loved it. Lizbeth was a fighter, and I related to her so, so much.) Anyway, my dad and I don’t like the same kind of books. And he doesn’t read much, anyway. But I thought, he would like this so much. So I said, hey, Dad, I think you should read this book. So I found a copy for him on half.com and got it shipped to him and said, if you like it, let’s talk, there are two more of these in the series, I’m reading the second one now and the third one’s supposed to be published soon. And he called me a week or so after he got it and he was all “THIS IS AMAZING I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS RIGHT NOW. I like Lisbeth! She is a badass. I hate Bjurman! I want to punch him in the junk. Who do you think killed Harriet? Do you think Blomkvist will fall in love with Lisbeth?”

How often do I get to talk books with my dad? Not very damn often. Over the next week or two, we discussed it every time we talked. He would say, “OK, I don’t understand this…” and we’d discuss the pressed flowers Vanger was getting in the mail, or the Bible with the names and numbers, or the women Blomkvist and Lisbeth were investigating and how they all tied into the whole bigger mystery, and it made my whole heart glad. Then I went home for some reason (Christmas, maybe?) and he’d Netflixed the Swedish movie for us. And he HATES subtitled movies. He always says if he wanted to read, he’d read a book, not watch a movie. But we were TRANSFIXED. We were SURE the movie wouldn’t be as good as the book, but it was. It was wonderful. Good job, Sweden!

I also like that European actors don’t have to be all airbrushed-pretty. They look like real people. This pleases me a great deal.

We read the other two books together (well, separately, but discussed over the phone) and he actually came up to see me to watch the second movie in the theater with me, which was awesome. The third movie we didn’t see together – I watched it free from the library like I do and he watched it from Netflix. We both agree that the third movie was the weakest of the three because we don’t like courtroom crap and the third movie was mostly courtroom crap. But it’s one of my favorite Dad-memories, how we were both just completely wrapped up in these books and movies together for the longest time. I know a lot of parents are booky and get into literature with their kids, and my mom used to read to me a lot when I was little, but my dad wasn’t the reading type. He’d do it, but only when mom wasn’t able for whatever reason. So this was really special to me.

So, yeah. I appreciate the effort, Rooney Mara, and you didn’t do a BAD job, but you’re no Noomi Rapace. Noomi Rapace is, and will always be, my Lisbeth. And my dad’s Lisbeth, too. (Dad refuses to watch the new movie because he is having a feud with Daniel Craig because in an interview once, Daniel Craig said he was pro-gun control, and that’s a no-no in Dad-land. So if you ever meet my dad, and you’re pro-gun control, that’s cool. Just DO NOT MENTION IT.)

I feel Mara was trying too hard and Rapace just relaxed into the role somehow. What do you all think, anyone seen either and have any thoughts on the matter?

OK. Lunch. Work. Home. Sleep. Repeat repeat repeat. Happy Thursday, all. Week’s almost over! Get off the Twitter, the government’s watching you!


%d bloggers like this: