ReaderWriterVille

Blog in progress

Burning down the house

It’s strange to watch a platform with worldwide reach and influence visibly decay with a speed unmatched since MySpace flamed out, but I guess Move Fast and Break Things is one of the perks of being a narcissistic billionaire. We’ve seen these Twitter out-migrations a few times over the years, and there are any number of aspirants which have attempted to replace it. I still get weekly updates from WT Social even though I’ve never used it. I don’t post anywhere anymore, for the reasons I discussed here a few years ago. Except for Mastodon. I don’t go there often (before this week I hadn’t posted in a year), but I’ve returned to it on the rare occasions I’ve felt the need to say something online. Mostly, though, I don’t. I read Reddit and a few other message boards, and I have a private Twitter account where I follow no one but have a list of about 50 people and read that. I’ve found that limiting my active participation to the offline world has been good for many aspects of my health.

But I do like having windows into the online world, so when it started to look like Twitter was melting down in record time (just over a week! it’s been barely ten days!), I went back to Mastodon to see what the influx looked like this time. And boy howdy, it’s different from the 2017, 2019, 2021 waves. For one thing, there are a ton of journalists and even more academics. There are people who have acquired thousands of followers in a couple of days, which is like having ten times that many (at least) on Twitter. For a second thing, people aren’t just showing up and looking around. They’re hitting the ground running in terms of posts (so many posts and boosts and favoriting by some of the really active people) and they’re loudly asking why they can’t have their preferred Twitter features. It’s noisy and a bit disconcerting for those of us who like Mastodon for its non-Twitter aspects, especially the pace and the type of engagement.

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Through Day 80 in the100 Day Dress Challenge

Hi everyone! It’s been a few. I thought I’d return to the blog-living with a post on the dress challenge I wrote about in January. This is a challenge by the clothing company Wool&. You wear one of their merino wool dresses for 100 straight days (about 8 hours per day), take a photo each day, and if you make it to Day 100 and send them the photo proof, they’ll give you a $100 credit to use in their store. I started the challenge on January 5 and finished Day 80 yesterday. At this point I’m fairly certain I’ll make it to Day 100 and, more importantly, I should be able to remember to take photos on the remaining days. That’s been the biggest challenge so far.

This is obviously a promotional effort by Wool&, and there are apparently advertisements all over Instagram and Facebook. The challenge idea began in 2012 when the founder of the parent company, Wool + Prince, wore one of his men’s shirts for 100 days. When they first created the women’s version they offered 13 women a free dress if their wore one of their dresses for 100 days. Thousands of completed challenges later the compensation is $100, which doesn’t buy you a whole dress but gets you almost 75 percent of the way there (and you can use it for other things as well). Equally obviously, this is not something most people do for the money. $1/day is not going to keep anyone in the same dress for over three months, not if they could afford to buy the dress in the first place. But a surprising number of women have completed the challenge.

I wrote before about my motivations in starting. It was the beginning of the year, I wanted to do something to change up my wardrobe decision-making, and while I like dresses, I’ve been wearing trousers far more than skirts, let alone dresses. I’m not on social media and I use an ad blocker, so it wasn’t the siren song of ads or conversations. No, I went looking to do this to myself.

Unlike many of the women who participate, I didn’t join the very active Facebook group or hashtag my daily wears on Instagram. I didn’t even blog the experience here after my initial post. I told about three people I was doing it (apart from you, my faithful readers). I did read a LOT of posts by women doing the challenge, and I scrolled the Facebook and Twitter hashtags (Instagram locks you out if you’re not logged in). I picked up some ideas about how to vary the look. This proved harder to do when I was in California, because I hadn’t brought many clothes with me. But I wasn’t going many places and my meetings were all on Zoom, so I just put the dress on every day and added layers as the weather required.

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Weeknote 1

Thank you all for the lovely and welcoming comments on my last post. I have no idea whether this blogging thing will take again, but weeknotes seem like the best way to get back into the swing of posting.

I read novels! I finished Percival Everett’s Telephone, which I’d started in December 2021. It was excellent. If you’ve read anything about the book you know that there were three published versions. They don’t differ that much, but the few changes do have an effect on the way readers see the character and also the way the ending is presented. I read the “C” version, which is probably the saddest but still has a feeling of hopefulness about it. The story involves a sick child, character deaths, and a less than entirely sympathetic narrator, so I can’t recommend it to every reader without caveats, but Everett is a tremendous writer and his depiction of academia and academics is pitch-perfect. I also read an early Maigret, The Saint-Fiacre Affair, which was also very good but had so many exclamation points. I don’t know if it was the translator’s choice or in the original, but I don’t associate Maigret with those. And I just finished A Far Cry From Kensington, by Muriel Spark. It draws on Spark’s experiences working in publishing and it’s wonderfully astringent. There were a lot of angry, extremely talented women in the 1950s, weren’t there?

If you’re wondering how I managed to read 2+ books in a week after taking a year to read 18, well, it’s winter break. And the latter two were short. I love a big baggy novel as much as anyone, but short novels are really handy when you aren’t sure your concentration will hold up, especially when they’re as well written as these are. It does make me want to read a 19thC doorstopper, though.

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TGIF and the end of 2021

Well hello there. It’s been a while. Except for a quick post back in April, I haven’t blogged since January. I don’t entirely remember why, except that I didn’t want to add to the online cacophony and I’ve been trying to live my life offline as much as possible. Looking back, I realized that I’ve blogged less than a dozen times since May 2020.

But I miss blogging in a number of ways:

  • I miss my regular visitors and knowing how they are.
  • I miss writing; no, that’s not accurate because I write quite a bit in other venues. But I miss the kind of writing blogging is, the musing out loud and then having it go out into the world. Despite not wanting to participate in the online world much, I missed this kind of participating. Social media is so different from the old blog world.
  • I miss documenting my existence in a way that isn’t entirely self-referential. I still journal semi-regularly, but that’s just for me. The in-between of expressing oneself in public in an informal way isn’t really captured elsewhere, at least not that I have access to.
  • I like end of the year posts!

Having been away so long, it’s hard to know what to write. Year-end format to the rescue!

READING

I read less fiction this year than I have in decades. A grand total of 18 books. There were a couple of months where I didn’t finish a single novel. And I only got to 18 because I read a handful of really short books, barely novella-length. I can’t tell you why I read so little this year because I don’t know. There was the Euro not-2020 tournament in the summer, but that’s not stopped me before. And I’ve been reading for work without any trouble. Ah well, I just hope 2021 was a one-off, because I missed reading even when I couldn’t manage it.

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Congratulations Natalie!

INatalie Luhrs, AKA @Eilatan on Twitter, was nominated for a 2021 Hugo award for Best Related Work. She was recognized for her angry, passionate, wonderful post about last year’s Hugo awards.

There are people who are not happy about this. As is their right. (I’m not linking, you can find it pretty easily if you really want to read the thoughts of people who Know Best How To Honor Their Precious Award.)

I am very happy for Natalie and for the recognition of this particular work. I read the post when she wrote it and thought it was great. I’m not a Hugo voter but I’m glad that there were plenty of eligible voters who saw its value and put it on the board.

And for what it’s worth (not much), I read the first four Song of Ice & Fire books and thought they were wow!great! to good! to fine? to meh in sequential order. We watched the first episode of the HBO series, found it creepy and un-selfaware in its celebration of rapeyness, and didn’t continue.

But the important part of of this post is: Congratulations to Natalie!!! You go, girl.