Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The concept of anonymous and the Internets

I am a journaler; during my more prolific times I would fill up a journal a month with my scribbles, thoughts, and fancies.  Nobody saw them but me, and I would traditionally open each book with a benevolent warning such as "GO AWAY AND DON'T READ THIS.  If you continue reading may you be cursed with stinky feet for the rest of your days."   Blogging is a natural extension of journaling.  What I like a lot less is that the ENTIRE INTERNETS can see my blog, forever preserved in internet archives.  Loved ones, employers, strangers, acquaintances.  All two million of those with internet access.  E.v.e.r.y.o.n.e.  Even if you don't identify yourself there is no anonymous anymore, especially when pictures are posted and there is software available that can identify faces.  Social media was invented for social purposes, but it is increasingly becoming important for business too.  Want to be an entrepreneur?  Make yourself and your personality into a brand and sell it.  Granted, it's a bit more complicated than that but it's where the major advice falls.

The people watcher in me loves this.  Blogging is one of my favorite aspects on the internet.  I enjoy listening to people's stories.  I enjoy personal brands.  The bloggers whose archives I re-read on a rainy day are the ones that tend to share the more intimate details of their life.  They are honest.  It follows that they inspire me to do the same, but there's the rub.  I'm a private person; it makes me nervous to share my life with the world wide web, and I am wary of sharing the life of my loved ones on the web.  I don't have anything to hide, I just don't like sharing with two million people all at once; there's a distinct difference.  And what about the professional repercussions?  The wisdom I have heard is to use common sense and make your own brand anyways--any company that doesn't like your brand, you wouldn't like working for and you wouldn't stay there long anyways.  You could debate this advice yay or nay.

So....why blog?  Why not just delete the whole thing, or make up an exciting pen name?  Because ultimately, I want to own my internet presence and my creations.  The community that surrounds blogging excites me, and when appropriate I want to participate as Ondrea and not an online handle (though I do enjoy creative online handles).  So what is my personal brand?  Practical, inquisitive, and thoughtful, for a start.  The aesthetics can be hashed out later, but after spending some time perfecting a SPLAT with my watercolors last night I've got a good idea of where they're going...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jettison beam ON: pew pew pew!

This year I am taking luxurious time packing for the big move down South.  There's four weeks until we travel down to house-hunt, and seven weeks until we move down for real.  In theory, I should be able to pack a few boxes a week and spend my last few nights in Oberlin spending time with my favorite people and places instead of my usual: cramming anything and everything into a box at 4 in the morning and muttering "I'll sort that when I unpack" as I wrap half a roll of duct tape around it to keep the box contained.

Anything and everything never got sorted, a consequence of tight schedules, laziness, pack-rattyness, and being a low-priority.  I drove to college with all I needed in a mini-van, and it would probably take 3 or 4 mini-vans to shift me today.   I've made an effort to be conscious of what I buy for reasons of space, money, planning for the future, but accumulated.

As I pack for the South, I am overcome with the desire to jettison anything and everything and halt all expenses that isn't rent, utilities, car expenses, or food.  I would like to be able to fit into a mini-van with my stuff once again (minus the pets and their large cages, of course).  Easier to transport!  Easier to clean!  More open space!  More mental space!*  Considering how materialistic I have been in the past, it's almost surprising how readily I can detatch myself from these things today.** On crankier days I've even considered the 100 Things Challenge but haven't quite reconciled possessing 100 things when as an artist I tend to keep quite a few art supplies and yarn around for inspiration and play; somewhere there is a happy medium yet to be discovered.

One of my colleagues mused the other day: "Sometimes I wonder if the economy going poorly is the universe telling us that money and material goods should not be the focus of our existence."

I have decided my animal guide on this quest to lighten my load is this little guy, who makes his home what he pleases and carries it wherever he goes:

Image from

The first week after graduation I sorted through the bedding (goodbye, twin long sheets!) and I trimmed my closet.   This week I took a critical look at my bookshelves and my yarn stash, and started going through papers; this feeling of freedom comes with the recognition I am a poor candidate for beginning an heirloom tradition.  Oh well.  Win some, loose some!

*When I accept a material good into my home, I devote a small part of my brain to it so I remember it is there and will use it.  Less things, more brain space available for other things.  Anybody else react this way?
** As long as it is my choice to detach; it's a lot harder when material goods are forcibly removed or lost.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Merrily we motor along

Miralda motors along as fast as any 300+ stitch lace project knit in my spare time can.  The first few rows kicked my butt there and back because I'd forgotten the concentration it takes to read charts and how out of practice I am; I improvise/wing so much of my knitting that I have an easier time reading the pattern on an actual finished shawl.  Also?  Counting to 3 multiple times in a row is harder than you'd think.

She's actually several inches longer than this at the time of posting, but my house has been ambushed by moving boxes and I'm not sure where my camera is.

Last night she grew quite a bit as I watched END:CIV, the documentary based on the book Endgame by Derrick Jensen.  My goal is to have her finished before the big move down South.  Life shawl.  Not that I'll need her in the sweltering southern heat, but it's more the idea anyways.  Now that graduation is over and everybody has scattered to the winds taking my social life with them, I should have some more time to work on her as well as some other yarn, art, and life projects that have been brewing.  Life transitions are easier when you can nuzzle yarn.