Social media hiatus

Social media hiatus
It is hard. HARD. Have I mentioned it's hard? I've been on hiatus for a couple of weeks now and I'm already cheating, by exploring a new community on Mastodon. I've also been answering far too many questions on Quora and commenting on The Guardian. Anyone would think I need human communication for my sense of wellbeing, or something. 
Well, I do of course. Everyone does. The longer answer as to why I'm on hiatus is officially all the Brexit trauma, Trump news and middle east news, in my face not just daily but hourly, minutely even. I have always been a political animal, and this level of detailed and useful information, from a collection of useful and well informed journalists built up over years meant not only was I in a state of intense engagement at all times, but I, was overwhelmed with the perceived need to read every article: To be again, utterly horrified, for the seventh time today. And to send on said horror to friends because they need to know about this horror! It's important! 
Will the news carry on without me? 
Does my level of stress and anxiety resolve said traumas? 
Does it increase my sense of helplessness to read such news constantly? Plus, an add on bonus: does spending endless hours reading articles about said traumas actively reduce the amount of time I have to do anything, including anything constructive about said traumas. Ahem. 
The short answer is obviously addiction. The false feeling of intimacy inferred by seeing casual statements from people you know and care about but haven't bothered actually catching up with for years is unhealthy. The perception that you should keep chipping in to the pool or your sense of self worth will be battered is unhealthy. The idea that your identity is attached to the outward advertisement of your own ethics is patently ridiculous but the addiction, the constant drag down, the renewal... it creeps up on you in, a news emergency and then it never leaves. I must log on or I won't see what everyone is saying! And that, from someone with a private account who doesn't follow famous people. 
But it is hard, I'm warning you. Do it though. I've already had an actual conversation with an actual friend, a long sms conversation with a friend and exchanged long emails with a third. Meaningful interactions, you see.
Ironically, I should start building up my 'brand profile' soon-ish, as someone not only training to be an Alexander Technique teacher, but someone with a mission to try to explain to nerdy type herberts just how important looking after your physical self is. I have plans, and there are things I must do, such as cultivating a Facebook page, getting my own Alexander website going, etc. I have lots of thoughts daily as to the kind of things I'd like to explain; short animations to explain physical movements... it'll be some work but it will be fun. And for someone battling with the idea of privacy for a multitude of reasons, it will be a challenge.
I was going to say something about the importance of owning your words, on your own blogs and platforms and how we've even forgotten how to do that, in our social media and Medium world. But then, I've written a blog post ain't I, so job done. 

Archive a go-go

My friend Meg is celebrating her ten years of blogging, and it kick started me in to pulling my old "Daily Cait" (defiantly still called) "Web diary" in to this database, simply in order that I don't completely lose the entries in some accident or other.

I started it on May 22nd 1998. So you now have two places you can read that entry: here, in the Moolies archive, or there, in the first hardcoded page of Daily Cait. It is very much a product of its time. We felt very self important in those days. I appeared to have a hell of a lot of readers, purely because there was still not as much actual content on the web as you'd think. What is interesting is the architecture idea of the site, predating 'tags' by some years, instead I used iconised major categories: cats, drinking, eating, music etc, and had to hardcode the bloody thing so every time I wrote an entry, I had to go and find the appropriate page to update that list. I sweated for my 'art'. The piece that I really loved at the time was the 'Asides' list. The idea was to write a 'universal' date-free list of anecdotes and facts which I was then able to link to whenever I needed to. I rather like that idea even now. I'll have to archive those in here by creating an "Asides" category. Perhaps I'll create a fictitious date for all of them, to vaguely maintain some sense of unity.

It also comes from the days before comments, obviously. God the debates when blog CMS's started happening. To Comment, or not to comment? I'll leave comments on the archive to enable anyone to post anything relevant.

I will add new old entries every so often, and will let you know when I do, so you can see what the then 28 year old Cait was doing, back in 1998.

Nora's review of my talk at Interesting09

"Why didn't you say any jokes?"

A post about Arthur Jefferson will make its way to these pages in the next couple of days when I have the time to write it. The rest of the weekend just gone was spent tidying the house to continue the route to dust free living, sewing up James' trousers and all sorts.

I think I can say that it went "Ok" - which for a first time in front of an audience (except for times when you're unprepped, which I don't really count) in so long I'm actually having difficulty remembering when I last did it (if I have done it at all since leaving school) I'm guessing can't be bad. (Unless the people who politely told me it was good were all mortified and couldn't think of anything else to say! Argh - heh).

But anyway, here's an oddity. I met 2 people at my friend Kevin's 40th birthday drinks on Wednesday, and they turned out to be doing Interesting talks on Saturday. That is almost ridiculous. One was Dan Maier, who did an hilarious and quite amazing talk on Sir Francis Galton and the other was Leila Johnston, who was completely lovely on Wednesday night, and whose brilliantly nerd-friendly book, "The Enemy of Chaos" has just come out, published by a very small press, so it's worthwhile everyone telling everyone that the book exists, via their blogs, in case the publicity department can't afford to PR it that extensively. What were the chances of that happening? Well, fairly high, realistically.

What with looking after Nora and having to leave early, I missed quite a bit (still, missed less than last year, so it's a steady improvement), but for me, the real highlight of the day was the astonishing talk given by Josie Fraser about girls' magazines in the 1970's. So far so Bunty, right? How wrong can you be! It turns out that Pat Mills did an awesome job of trying to create a kind of female readership equivalent to 1950's apocalyptic science fiction magazines for boys in the magazine "Jinty" before going off to 2000AD. The covers were *incredible*. Here's Josie's post about the talk. I am in complete awe, and am left wishing I could find all the ex-Jinty readers and finding out the profound effects reading this crazy stuff must have had on its audience! Hopefully an Ebay search for "Jinty" will allow me to snap them up, I'm desperate to read these now!

Oh, yes, I forgot to say a thing. It occurred to me part way through the day that there were an awful lot of women doing talks. And I mean really cool women, too (not including myself, obviously). If you look down Roo's list, it's not just that there were a ton of women speaking, but that many of the topics women were discussing were predicated on having a particular female geekiness. If you had an all male conference, can you imagine anyone coming up with "Ponies I have loved, real or imagined". Completely and utterly wonderful to be in an eclectic, lovely atmosphere where anything genuinely interesting was welcome. More like this please. More more more ladies with horses and whacko sci-fi girls' magazines.