How Does This Even Happen?

I was looking at my Dashboard tonight and noticed my Top Searches. Now, I don’t normally pay attention to my stats, but this was so far out there … I just don’t get it. I’m not going to go on about why anyone would search for any particular topic on the internet. There is a fetish for everything, and there are some sick people out there.

That aside.. how could anyone search for this and hit my blog? I don’t write about this stuff.

Tortured Boy? Really??

Maybe my teenboy did this to me. Life with a mom riding the Menopause Express could seem like torture, I suppose…

Festival Season

Festival season for Texas Renaissance Festival runs for eight weeks. Longer, if you take into account the work weekends in September. Mr. Magick Man works full time during the week and I take classes. As a result, this time of year we rarely have time to bring our heads above water. The little things go by the wayside. The first thing I always notice is the housework. This shows up in the first week. It’s easy to spot; we have furry children. By the 8th week, the mess has migrated into my office.

My office is in a constant state of organized disorganization. A cluttered desk is a sign of a creative mind. However, the current state of my office has surpassed that, crossed the borders of Chaos and gone into Disaster. It looks like we were hit by Hurricane Renfaire.

By the end of Renfaire, I’m gearing up for finals. Next week is my last week to work on the final projects for my graphic design classes. The InDesign project is eating up all my time. But it will all be over December 10. I’ll have time to breathe again. The first thing I’m going to do is clean this house.

You may ask why I work festival every year if a) I know house cleaning is going to go by the wayside, and b) I can’t stand it by the end of festival. The answer is simple. The crew we have is like another family, and this is the only time of year I get to see some of these people. We have a blast. I’m not on cast – we have a couple of shops at the faire. It’s hard work, but we have fun doing it. And, it seems, every year I have a new little gem from my festival experience.

One of the items we sell is a hand-bound leather journal. The paper inside is a handmade paper, cotton fiber. These were quite popular this season, but customers kept asking how the paper took the ink (whether you chose to draw or write). I happen to have a couple of these at home, one of which I haven’t used yet, so I brought one up to put on the counter. I didn’t bring up my good calligraphy pen (although it is nice to use on these journals), but I did bring one of my good art pens. The result was breathtaking! I had customers come up and draw the most amazing sketches in my book! They would sign their pieces and just chat with me! Most would then proceed to buy their own journal, but the “people watcher” side of me enjoyed seeing the vast array of customers we truly have. My favorite, and the one I will never forget, was the gentleman who came in and drew the most breathtaking mountain scene in under 10 minutes, just off the top of his head. He said he’d been drinking and he left his glasses at home, so this wasn’t his best work. I’d post it but I don’t have his permission. He said he’d come back and show me his sketchbook.

We hear “I’ll be back” quite frequently in retail. While I hoped he would return, I didn’t count on it. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw him the next weekend. I took time and sat down to look at what turned out to be three years worth of artwork. These were just random drawings. He said the paper speaks to him and he draws what comes to mind. It took him three years to fill the book. The images he drew were so beautiful they brought tears to my eyes.

Moments like these are why I love working festival. And these:

Alas, I’ve procrastinated long enough. Time to get back to work on my final projects. Good day, everyone!

Communication in our Digital World

I made it twelve days on my Facebook/G+ blackout. I would have made it longer, but I do see notifications pop-up on my phone. I did well ignoring status updates. What got me was the timing of an update from my best friend.

It’s a bit like getting a phone call from someone in the middle of the night – you know someone is either badly hurt or dying. Lyl is not a morning person. If she makes a status update at the crack of dawn, something is wrong. Being there for my best friend is more important than completely abstaining from social media. I logged into FB, read her post, and it confirmed what I’d already thought was going on. But rather than comment, I called her.

What You Say and How You Say It

When you call someone who’s just gone through a traumatic event, or who’s in an emotional crisis, sometimes the words just seem so empty. When you deliver these words live, whether on the phone or in person, it seems quite awkward. You never know if you are saying the right thing or if you’re really offering any comfort to the person. Online, though, we can stop and think about what we say. We can create a first draft, a second draft…when we have our final and hit send we’re hopefully more confident our words have been of some use.  Sherry Turkle covers this quite nicely in her TED talk, Alone Together“.

Adjusting the Dial Tone

Different people have different methods for dealing with that type of stress. For example, an extrovert would need “people time” in order to recharge and get out of the downward spiral. However, an introvert just needs “alone time”. This is where I can see an upside of FB and G+: It allows a nice balance for the two. People can communicate with each other and at the same time choose how much interaction they want on a daily basis.

Definitions we should all know

What Did I Change?

I changed my awareness. I’ve “officially” been back since November 17, but I don’t check Facebook or G+ every day. I don’t think about them as a primary form of communication anymore. I suppose you could say I’m adjusting my own dial tone, and trying to bring a balance of communication into my life.

Day 10 of My Self-Imposed Social Media Blackout

I made it over a week. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to go so far as to delete my accounts. I may keep them and pop in every now and then. I see nothing wrong with recreational use of social media. However, as with anything in life, when taken to excess it becomes a serious problem.


Coffee and breakfast for me! Have a great day, everyone!

– Duch

Six days and counting

Today is Sunday. I’ve made it six days without checking Facebook or Google+. I’ve found I’m not as twitchy as I was a couple of days ago; but I did have the distraction of working renfaire this weekend.

Off to catch up on homework for this week. Meanwhile, here’s an edited graphic from my previous post:

If communication is your vice, TALK to someone about it.


Have a great day, everyone!

Social Media Withdrawal

This is a post about addiction, but it has a political backstory.

Wednesday morning I got up and checked Facebook. The election was over and I saw numerous negative, backbiting comments from too many people in my feed. Whether they were on the Left or Right, it didn’t seem to matter. I haven’t seen so much hate since junior high. Those on the Left were not winning gracefully, and those on the Right were not losing gracefully either. It was a clear example of our divided nation. I found it disgusting. We are better than that.

I made one post that morning, stating that I’d had enough. I don’t remember exactly how I worded it but basically I said that I wouldn’t be on Facebook or Google+ for the rest of the week because I’d had it. I’m tired of this behavior. I do remember my closing statement. I said that we are better than the politicians we despise.

That was Wednesday morning around 7am, Central time. I started getting twitchy yesterday afternoon, going less than 48 hours without checking or posting to Facebook and Google+.

I’m embarrassed to say, I’m going through social media withdrawal! I come across things I want to post. Nothing important – just little trivial stuff! What have I become? Am I just as addicted as I think my teen boy is to his video games? Geez, I couldn’t resist blogging about this. But I didn’t link this post to Facebook… Yes, like an addict, I rationalize my behavior.

What’s happened to me? What’s happened to society? What have we become?

I began my hiatus from Facebook and Google+ as a “week vacation” from the political nonsense. Today, I decided I want to see how long I can go. I’ve even marked off a corner of the whiteboard in my office:

I wonder how long withdrawal symptoms last…

On Time, NaBloPoMo, and why I Need a Clone

I try to blog every day. I started this month with the best of intentions. But we’re all familiar with that road paved with good intentions…


I often wish NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo did not fall at this time of year. Forget the holidays – it’s right in the middle of festival season. I have too much to do. I don’t have time to write every day. And now, with school? Oy… Yet again, I find myself saying, “Perhaps next year.”

So I will write as much as I can, but I’m not going to make the post-a-day goal.

At least I get to do some fun things with Illustrator. 🙂