Friday, July 24, 2009

Seven Quick Takes -- Facebook Edition

Seven Quick Takes Friday is hosted here.

1. In the fall of 2007 Maggie spent a semester in Austria. She took LOTS of pictures with her new digital camera, and posted them all on Facebook. The problem was, that meant her siblings could see them, but I had to log into one of their accounts to get a look. So she set up a Facebook account for me. This was two years ago, and Facebook was still an occupation of the college-aged set. Maggie joked that she was going to start a group for "Moms on Facebook". Now my mother-in-law is on, to keep track of her kids and grandkids. She'll be 75 on Monday!

2. Because Maggie set up my account (my kids don't trust me to do tech-type stuff myself, because I'm slower at it than they are) she got to choose my password. I have a password mnemonic system that works for me -- it involves characters in a novel Roger wrote that's never been published -- but she choose instead a rather unusual food that no one in the family in the family likes but me. When I forget what that password IS (as opposed to forgetting that Facebook doesn't fit my system) I'll know it's time to head in for a Folstein test.

3. Facebook is wonderful! In the last few months I've reconnected with a friend I worked with at summer camp almost 40 years ago, some people I knew in another state 30 years ago, and some almost-local folks who attended the same church I did 20 years ago.

4. Facebook is terrible! One of my sisters-in-law had to stop using it entirely because she was being stalked by a weirdo from work. And I could very easily spend more time doing silly quizzes and games than leading a productive life could justify.

5. Facebook is here to stay. I know that Tommy is on his plane home from camp because he posted his status as "boarding" using the airport's free WiFi. Short of putting GPS trackers on them and monitoring constantly, I can't think of a more effective way of keeping track of grown and mostly-grown kids.

6. Facebook can be annoying. I'm unable to join the network for the college I graduated from because I don't have a college email address. Hello! When I graduated (with a minor in computers), it was a big deal that two terminals on our campus were linked to a mainframe on a campus 100 miles away. They don't give out email addresses retroactively. But I'm still part of the "SPC*" community!

7. All in all, I love being on Facebook. Just like any other tool, it can be abused or misused, but so far the benefits seem to strongly outweigh the risks. And if you read this blog regularly and are not already Facebook friends with me, drop me a email and we'll discuss it!

*Small Private College

Monday, July 13, 2009

Musical Monday -- Fluting Edition

As I mentioned in this post, more than a month ago I began practicing the flute again -- after a lapse of almost 25 years -- so that I could play part of the accompaniment for a special number our choir at St. Mary was doing. Our choir is an adequate bunch, with flashes of better (and worse), and although we now have eight men compared to the three we started out with 10 years ago, SATB is often beyond our reach. We do a fair number of SAB arrangements, plus our best stab at whatever is in the hymnbook. But this particular piece was simply "men" and "women," with an echo verse and about half a verse of harmony at the end.

If you're wondering why I'm talking so much about the choir in a "fluting" post, it's because the only reason our director let me play the flute was because it was such a simple piece. Usually I need to be with the altos; although there are six of us, only two have enough confidence to sing out and usually know the part, and I'm one of them. But on a "women" part our sopranos could take it away. (I don't mean to slam any of our altos -- they all work hard, and several of their voices are better than mine. I'm just one you can hear...)

Anyway, the piece went well, we said goodbye to Father Simeon -- and I am still practicing the flute. I don't know for sure what I'm going to be doing with it outside my living room. I have been practicing several pieces from a book of "Sacred Solos for Flute" which have piano accompaniment, but whether they will ever be fit for public consumption I can't be sure. But I am enjoying it anyway! Having small children for so many years put a dent in my musical expression, and it feels very good to have that outlet back. I'm just sorry I didn't figure it out a little sooner.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Whatcha Readin' Wednesday -- 7/8/9

It's very tempting to start making apologies, but I said I wouldn't, so I won't. . .

I am in the middle of Conspirator, the Foreigner book I mentioned here*. I am greatly enjoying it, partly because Cherryh does such a great job and partly because I reread the whole previous series -- nine books -- last fall and didn't need to spend any time getting up to speed on who's who and what's what. I fully expect the ending to be slightly unsatisfactory, because the next book in what is becoming a quadralogy of trilogies has already been announced. But then it's no fun stopping LOTR after The Two Towers, either.

I am also in the middle of a non-fiction, Boy Alone, by Karl Taro Greenfeld. This is an adult writer's reaction to being the "other brother" in the family about which his father, Josh Greenfeld wrote A Child Called Noah (and several subsequent books.) Noah is profoundly autistic, born in a time when even getting a diagnosis was difficult, and I am very interested in hearing "the rest of the story." I find it hard to identify with the extremely secular life the Greenfelds lead, but it is clear that Karl loves his wife, his daughters, and also his parents and brother (all of whom I believe are still living.) It's always interesting to hear a story from an alternate point of view.

I also have a couple of other books out of the library which I may or may not read, depending on whether or not they live up to the quick glance I gave them. What I am going to read this summer, though, is all the Harry Potter books in order. I've been wanting to do it for a while, and the upcoming release of movie number six is as good a reason as any. Now if I can just stay away from the library. . . .

*You may have noticed that this is almost two months after I was first in the library waiting list. That's because when I put my name on the list, it was still "on order." It finally came in the end of last week.