Monday, February 28, 2011

I Am Here - Please Find Me

Social networking can be an amazing tool.  Just the other day a homeless man was reunited with his daughter because he was able to tweet about his homelessness.  Family and friends, long separated are brought together, at least through the networks.  Written communication has taken a whole new style.  Dictionaries are needed to decipher the codes of a new language; a new shorthand.  I still prefer longhand.  Words without vowels disturb me.  Tone and meaning are lost in translation.
Realistically, instant communication is a great.  Exciting news travels faster than lightning.  With one entry all the world, or at those who are important, can get the message of a tragedy or a triumph.  With all the avenues available to spread our glad tidings, it is inevitable that the mundane is also shared.  “Joey has just checked in at the toilets of Aspen Hotel.”  Voyeurism is at its highest as we insert ourselves into everyone’s business.
Through social networking I have learned more about certain family members than I would ever want to know.  I know what they are smoking and with whom they have a “thang.”  I would love to be more involved in their lives, but then again after reading their pages I wonder.  You would think that people have enough sense to not rant or brag about certain things in an online forum.  Every day we hear advises to “be careful of what you post.”  Yet we do it.  We post our innermost frustrations and dubious triumphs.  These postings are forever etched in the digital world and can be used by a number of persons to determine our character and potential.
Despite this I believe in the value of the social network.  Just go back to the beginning where a homeless man is reunited with his daughter.  Old friends and family never met are finding each other and building new relationships.  I have enjoyed meeting and getting to know a cousin who I never met until my mother’s funeral.  We are clearly different and have extremely opposing views on worldwide issues.  Debate is difficult due to rigidity and failure to at least value input from one another. 
On the other hand, I have reunited with old friends and found that despite years of absence we have much to share and learn from each other. Conversations range from plain old fun loving jest to educational rants and debates for the sake of debate. The hard part of it is that there are some who cannot or will not be found.  Either they have disappeared from the face of the earth or they have refused to rise to the times.  Of course I want to know what they are up to and I worry that my inability to find them is because they are gone forever.  I suppose social networking has replaced class reunions in that anyone we needed/desired to find and follow up on is here.  The rest are just memories.  In an age where the ability to find a lost friend is at our fingertips, it is hard to believe there are some who will not be found. 
Damn, I was trying to end on an up note.
Dear old friends that I cannot find, I am here… please find me.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Attack of the Black Fuzzy Caterpillars

The prediction for early spring has been made, but I do not require a groundhog to tell me this.  I live in Southern California and the seasons here are pretty much indistinguishable.  Winters are mild and summers average.  The only way we can tell the changing of seasons is to hear the laments of friends and family in far away places.   This year is particularly harsh for friends in the Midwest, South and well, anywhere east of the Rockies.  I feel for them and keep them in my prayers.
While they all freeze in the blizzards of winter and cheer the predictions of Phil, I have my own indicators of early spring; the black fuzzy caterpillars.  Our yard is a carpet of creepy crawly moth larvae.  I am told these creatures with brown stripes are moths; the big white kind that attach to walls in the day and flit about lights at night. 
It is difficult to ignore them.  They are everywhere; inside and out.  I first thought the indoor invasion was the few escapees from my son’s bug cage.  I was wrong.  It didn’t take long to realize the dozens attached to our living room curtains had found their own way in; through the breezy cracks of our sliding glass doors. Weather proofing doors and windows are low on the priority list of needed repairs.  Instead each repair moment is focused on other projects.  It seems silly.  Weather stripping is cheap and easy but I’d rather focus on the doors, cabinets and furniture that are so subject to slamming, kicking and throwing by crazed children. 
I enjoy working on house projects, provided I don’t have too much “help.”  The constant chorus of “can I hammer something? Can I saw it?” will turn an hour long door frame-up into an all day ordeal. Well, that and the fact that although I enjoy working with tools, I am not that good at fix-it projects.  So, while the new door hangs crookedly in the frame and awaits renewed efforts to fix it, the new black fuzzy carpet will continue to slowly creep across the lawn and into the house.  The cat will continue to bat the caterpillars into oblivion, the kids will marvel at the cocoons and I will wave a magic wand at the door and tilt the house the opposite angle to give the appearance of level.