A space to post my thoughts and musings about anything. This includes but is not limited to community, politics, current events, dating, GLBTQ issues, favorite things, and stuff that would make your dead relatives blush. I am not afraid to go there, as some can attest.

March 29, 2016

A Post-Lenten Reflection

Are you there God?  It's me, Mangi.

Okay, maybe not quite that kind of conversation at the moment, but the past 40 days of Lent did give me a chance to put a few things in perspective.

It started with my usual perusal of my Facebook news feed on Ash Wednesday.  At that point, I was kind of frustrated with what I was seeing.  The whole Oregon Standoff drama was finally winding down so there were less posts about that, but the primaries were ramping up and with it I saw a lot of sniping between people on there.  It was especially getting nasty between some Bernie and Hillary supporters, to the point I wanted to lock a few of them in a room and say "Okay, either fight it out or fuck it out but you're not leaving until y'all can be civil."  Add on that I was also seeing articles being posted that meant I was doing cross-checks on Snopes and FactCheck every day and often pointing out corrections, it was getting tiring to even look at Facebook.

Then I saw a status posted by a friend, MR.  She said she was so tired of the current dramas that maybe she should quit Facebook for Lent.  I read that and thought, "You know what? That's a great idea, I'm doing that."  So after services that night, I logged out of Facebook on my phone and computer, and that was that.

If you're reading this because my cross-posting to Facebook still works, you might think that you missed reading that I was going off of Facebook for a while, or something similar.  You didn't.  I said nothing about what I was doing (sorry mom!).  There were a few reasons behind that.  Usually when I have seen people say "Oh I'm leaving/taking a break from [social network] for a while" or similar it turns into this whole thing of "Oh don't go, was it something we did?"  I wasn't looking for that kind of attention.  Also since I was doing this for Lent and Lent isn't supposed to be a competition, I generally don't talk about if I am giving something up for Lent.

However, since Lent is supposed to be a time of self-reflection and perhaps growth, did I learn something from just hopping offline from Facebook?  Yeah, the picture below sums it up:


Social media sites have made it easy to hear about the things going on with people you meet.  You can respond to what they have shared, and then move on to the next subject.  Yet, the cost can be that you really don't sit and have a richer conversation with that person and so you don't interact as much as you should.  Also, I realize that Facebook has kind of been a crutch for being social with some of the people I know.  It's been convenient to just respond to their posts and maybe shoot them the occasional message, but once I removed that, I found out where I had been neglecting some aspects of being a friend or at least an acquaintance.

A perfect example was coordinating seeing a concert with SF and a few other friends.  He had originally sent me the invite on Facebook.  I hadn't made the decision to go when I started my "No Facebook" days, and I discovered I didn't have his number so that I could call or text to RSVP and coordinate meeting up.  Thankfully I did have buried in my address book an E-mail address for him, but he happened to also contact one of my other friends for my phone number so he could get in touch with me since he had not heard from me on Facebook.

Okay, so maybe it was a moment where I should have said something before I hopped off Facebook.  However, it also showed that I really let that convenience of just using Facebook to contact someone take over to where I really didn't have other methods of communication to get in touch with some of my friends or acquaintances.

I know this may also sound odd to some, but it's like even when I do have things like E-mail, phone numbers, or instant messenger name, I'm hesitant to E-mail, text, or call.  I don't entirely know why, but I get it into my head that I'm probably interrupting something and being a bother.  It's dumb really, I know, but I guess old habits are hard to break at times.  I mean, yeah, a phone call does demand your full attention, though if you can't be interrupted, you can send it to voicemail.  A text, IM, or E-mail doesn't have to be answered right away.  I don't expect people to immediately snap to attention and answer me the minute I ping their phone or computer.  I certainly don't answer immediately if I am in the middle of something else.  If it was really that important, then I should be calling.  Yet I've never been able to fully break from the idea that I'm just going to be bugging them if I shoot them a random "Hey, what's up?"  That's something I need to work on.

So I've seen that I need to improve on actually talking to some of the people I know, especially local people and those I have known for years.  It's going to take some work and some time, but I should be able to do it.  The first step is to actually get info like E-mail, phone numbers, and IM names from people whose info I am missing.  Of course I will share mine, and I have a number of ways to be contacted.

Another thing I found was that I could put more attention into other activities both online and offline.  I rediscovered a few websites I had not visited in a while, plus there was more time being put into activities like reading or video games.  Of course I still have the backlog of both of those, but I will get caught up.

The funny thing is despite this, I don't feel this urgent need to immediately hop back on Facebook.  I know I should clear a few things out because Facebook was oh so helpfully harassing me via E-mail about all of the things I was missing.  Seriously, logoff from Facebook and they will start sending you an E-mail every few days telling you how many messages and status updates you have been missing.  Then they ratchet it up to every day, sometimes even twice a day.  A few new rules in my E-mail account fixed that.

Anyway, so while I'll be back on Facebook, its role in how I use it is going to change.  I'll keep up here and there, but I don't want to go back to where I am checking it at least once a day.  Besides, if it turns out my news feed is still overrun with sniping politics, I have better things to do with my time at that point than try to wade through all of it.

So onward with a fresh perspective on where I stand when it comes to my online activities and how I keep up with the people I know and the people I will meet.

October 17, 2013

Finally!

So I finally get to go back to work, great!  What I don't entirely look forward to is trying to sort out the mess all of my projects will be in because of this shutdown.  It was just unfortunate timing that a number of release dates and other work all were scheduled to take place during the time that we were shut down.  So it will be interesting to see what happens from here.  Do our projects get pushed back by 2.5 weeks or will we be expected to catch up and get things out there like we were never sitting idle at home in the first place?  I guess we will find out.  It's software that's supposed to be in production right now that's really going to be a challenge to navigate because all of our production is date sensitive.

On another note, I was supposed to take a trip next week.  That's in flux now as I don't know if I would be approved to take the time off because of playing catchup.  The worst that can happen is I either don't go, or I leave late Friday night.

Now to get to bed so that tomorrow we can begin picking up the pieces and getting things back on track.

October 12, 2013

Frustrated

I've tried so hard to keep my head up over the last two weeks, but now it's just hitting the point where I'm just done, fuck this day, fuck this week, fuck this month, I'd like a do-over please.

November 05, 2012

Please

Tomorrow its election day. If you're eligible to go vote, do it. No excuses.

For those of us in Maryland, I'm making one last personal appeal on this, please vote YES on Question 6. All it does is allow for civil marriages to take place in MD for same-sex couples. The religious ceremonies are left alone; no church has to perform a marriage ceremony for a same-sex couple if they do not want to. Clergy already have that power for other couples so nothing would change for them, except maybe a rush of wedding ceremonies after the law takes effect.

Really though, I would like the same civil rights and privileges that my parents enjoy as a married couple. They married 31 years ago here in Maryland, and I know they would love to see me be able to do the same here. I've been with my love, CW for two years now, and if we decide we want to take that next step and make our commitment to one another a lifetime commitment, we should be allowed to do so without special paperwork or legal wrangling that my parents would not have ever had to do.

It's not just me though. There are so many same-sex couples that have been together for years, decades even. They are raising beautiful families and they and their kids deserve the same rights and protections under the law. They are my neighbors, my friends, my fellow congregants, and my colleagues, and they are your friends,neighbors, congregants, and colleagues as well.

I've been with fighting for this right for 7 years, others much longer. We don't want to have to fight, we just want to live our lives with dignity and respect. So please, please, please when you're at the polls tomorrow, think of me, think of my love,and think of the other same-sex couples you know and vote YES on Question 6 in Maryland.

November 24, 2011

A Different Thanksgiving

If you had told me a few years ago that I would spend a Thanksgiving outside of a football stadium, I would have said you were crazy.

I would have had to eat those words.

Last summer when the Ravens announced their schedule, I saw that they were playing the 49ers.  This was right after the news that Jim Harbaugh (Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh's brother) had been hired as a Head Coach of the 49ers.  I was on Ticketmaster the morning tickets became available to the public and in my search for games, I decided for fun to try and see if I could get tickets to the Thanksgiving game, or Harbaugh vs Harbaugh as I was calling it.  Well no upper deck sideline tickets were available, so I decided to try for the corners.  There were tickets available so I snatched them up.

That was in July.  The working plan in mind was I would likely spend Thanksgiving with my cousins in the morning and then head up to the game that night with CW.  Of course life doesn't always go according to plan, but it can come up with something more interesting.

A month or so ago I went to a bull roast fundraiser for one of the Ravens Nest organizations and I made friends with a few folks at our table.  I ended up talking a lot with CS and of course, being fans, you make sure to keep in touch with them, especially when you belong to one of the best fanbases in the NFL.

So then it turns out that CW has a conflict, and some of my cousins will be out of town, plus I was asked by some other friends if I could dogsit for them so they can go visit family for Thanksgiving.  All of that adds up to I'll be in Baltimore anyway, but now I need someone to go with me to the game.  So I check with a few direct friends, they can't go, so I put the word out on Facebook that I have an extra ticket to the Harbaugh Bowl (as it's now being called).  CS sees it and is interested, so we're set up to go to the game.

Now we get to the plan, CS knows other folks at the game, so I will be tagging along with her as we tailgate before we head on in.  I hear there will be turkey and all of the fixings, so my Thanksgiving will be spent in the parking lots outside The Bank, then going in to watch what should be a hard-hitting game and football at it's finest.  The Harbaugh Bowl is the first time in history that two teams are playing where they are coached by siblings, and now it's a Thanksgiving game on top of that.

There will also be no doubt that I was at that game, thanks to the planned FanCam: http://www.baltimoreravens.com/News/Articles/2011/11/Press_Release_-_Ravens_FanCam_Coming_to_MT_Bank_Stadium.aspx

You know I will make sure to be in my seat by 8 PM.

So anyway, It should be a fun Thanksgiving, even if it's non-traditional.  I can't wait.  I hope everyone I know has a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

GO RAVENS!

July 04, 2011

What Now?

Ahhh, my poor blog, it's been rather neglected as of late.

It would be easy to blame life on this one since I don't spend long hours on the computer at home.  However, I usually would make time to write, even when I was at my busiest back then.  I think it's more of a factor that I've had other priorities in my life, and even other priorities in regards to my writing.  So now the question for me is where do I go with this?  Do I want to continue to write this blog as a record of the happenings of my life, or is it time to take it in another direction?

I say this because lately I've been trying my hand at writing fiction.  Let me tell you, it's one of the hardest things I have done in a long time.  For the last decade or so I have been an excellent technical writer.  If it's an essay or a white paper, I can bang those out left and right.  So when I started exploring other hobbies, why not try writing fiction, right?  It should be easy since you know how to write very well, right?  Wrong.

I've discovered that fiction writing is it's own realm, with a completely new set of rules that I am now learning.  It has been a slow process because it's really easy to slide back into the rules of writing that I have known, but don't apply in this realm.  However, I continue to plug away at it because from the feedback I have gotten, I have some good stories but I need to polish my writing skills.  That part is the biggest challenge, especially with having no formal training.  Although the only way I am going to get better is to practice, right?

So I may continue to keep the life record here as a way to sharpen my skills in that realm a bit, though in this case, it would be non-fiction.  After all, I haven't written much over the last year, which is odd considering all of the neat stuff I've done, especially with CW.  I might also consider putting up snippets of what I am working on, if they are appropriate.  Hell, it might be fun to try some sort of story series, but that might happen on a more advanced level.

We'll see what goes from here.

April 13, 2011

A Rough Ride

So the news the past few weeks, besides the horrific earthquakes and nuclear crisis in Japan, has been about the battles in Congress over a budget for FY 2011.  It very nearly led to a partial shutdown of the US Goverment and furloughing 800,000 of its workers.  However, at the last hour, there was an announcement that a deal was made and that a budget would be passed, so there would not be a shutdown.  With that, lots of people started celebrating, thinking this was all over.

I wasn't one of them.

March 16, 2011

Something I Struggle to Understand

Many bigoted and repressive folks are also the ones who make sure to tell everyone that they are a "Good Christian" and to show off that they are a Christian as much as possible.  Jesus teaches us not to make a show of our religion, but to be humble unlike the hypocrites.  So why do these folks always seem to conveniently "forget" that teaching as they show off that they are a "Good Christian" but continue their oppressive ways?

February 09, 2011

She Said / She Said

So there is a play coming up at The Catholic University of America that may be of interest to folks in the area:

She Said/She Said
When love between two women dies, who decides what's best for their son? When even the courts can't agree on who the parents are, and there are questions about the very definition of family, whose justice prevails?
Written by Rebecca Gingrich-Jones
Directed by Kasi Campbell

This play is based on the true story of Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/04/national/main6055437.shtml

Performances:
Fri. Feb 18 - 7:30 PM
Sat. Feb 19 - 7:30 PM
Thurs. Feb 24 - 7:30 PM
Sat. Feb 26 - 2:00 PM
Sun. Feb 27 - 2:00 PM

Tickets may be purchased here: http://drama.cua.edu/hartke-season.cfm  I would advise that you purchase them online.  For this show, CUA's drama department has set up an "intimate audience" staging, so the seats are up on bleachers on the stage itself, where one can get up close with watching the show.  However, it does mean that seats are limited.  If anyone saw "Another Part of the Forest" or "Whales" last fall, then you already know where the audience will be sitting.

To get to the Hartke theater by car, there is some limited street parking, the address is:
3801 Harewood Road, N.E.
Washington, DC 20017


You can also take Metro from Greenbelt, switch to the Red Line at Ft. Totten going towards Shady Grove (or Grosvenor or Medical Center) and then get off at Brookland/CUA station.  From there it is about a 10 minute walk across the campus.  The theater is behind the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Harewood Road.

It looks like it should be a good show from what I have been hearing.  I will be attending the Feb 26 performance so perhaps I will see you there.

And in the interests of full disclosure, I know some of the actors who are performing in this play, hence why I am putting it up here.

December 09, 2010

Holiday Cookie Orders!

Hey all, this is from my friend Stephanie and she makes some awesome cookies, so I wanted to put the word out there that she's taking orders.  She'd love to get a baking business going and this would help put her on her way.

It's once again that time of year where we scramble around trying to figure out what to give our loved ones.  And as much as we'd all love to be able to hand out new luxury sedans with red bows tied around it, we all know that's not a wallet-friendly option.  Do you want to know what is a budget friendly and oh so thoughtful option? Fresh, homemade cookies! 
I know, I know. You're thinking: "Who has time to bake cookies? I have shopping to do, lights to string up and holiday parties galore! And I can't bake those pre-packaged Pillsbury cookies, let alone real cookies!"  Well, take a deep breath and relax because I'm here to help!  For the low price of $15, you can give your loved ones, co-workers and random strangers a festive, holiday tube filled with a dozen fresh, homemade cookies! These aren't just your every day, run-of-the-mill cookies either.  It's an assortment of four different flavors, all made from scratch from the woman behind Adventures in Shaw!  I've always made homemade goodies as gifts and now you can too...without the resulting mound of dirty dishes. 
Each cookie tube comes with three cookies of each flavor.  The flavors include: chocolate dipped coconut cookies, salty oatmeal cookies, chocolate chunk cookies (with or without walnuts) and buttery cherry jam cookies.  The tubes are a holiday red and come festooned with a bright, holiday ribbon! And a personal holiday message can be included! 
I accept Pay Pal as payment and all tubes can be picked up at designated times in Columbia Heights (a convenient one block from the metro).  For more information and to place an order, click here!  I will be taking orders until December 20th!
If you have any questions, email me at adventuresinshaw at gmail dot com and I'll be more than happy to work with you.  Feel free to pass this along to others who might delight in cookie goodness during this festive time of year!
Happy holidays and thank you for ordering from Shaw Girl's Kitchen!