People you may know

Good evening, it was a long day at school today what with dealing with adult bullies and listening to lots of racial micro aggression (ooh, I found this and it’s so accurate to the point of making me want to punch something) during the Q&A session at a cultural presentation. Yes, it was a day of trying to hold back frustration and anger towards insecure cowards and insensitive jerks.

But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is dedicated to all my blogging friends who have quit blogging. Yesterday marked the day the last person on my ‘favorite bloggers’ sidebar quit blogging. Mallory, Britt, Bailey, Heather, and finally now, Victoria.

It’s a bit sad but at the same time I think these ladies have thought things through and I support their decision wholeheartedly. I, myself, have had countless ‘maybe I should stop blogging’ or ‘blogging is getting stressful’ thoughts.

I’m so immensely glad that I found these ladies even though I’ve never met them in real life before and talking about internet friends is always weird but I loved their blogs, they keep it real all the time and I feel like they would be really lovely people to be friends with in real life.

I’ve had internet friends on Neopets and MapleStory before but sadly, that happened at a time when Twitter wasn’t used often and ways to keep in touch with those people wasn’t something I thought about. Sometimes when I think about those people, I wish I’d done something to keep in touch with them. No, I don’t remember their names/don’t think I even know their full names. I have Tumblr friends now though, mostly people who share the same anime/manga interests as me.

After reading Victoria’s well-written and perfectly-put blog post, I realized that some parts of what she said resonated with me.

I have lost track of the number of times I have used the phrase or variants of the phrase: I’ll be blogging regularly very soon or This blog is not dead yet, don’t worry. When in truth, I really didn’t have much motivation to fire up the blog and post content regularly. I’m also, if you haven’t noticed, a blogger with no specific direction… I suppose they now call it ‘no niche’ or ‘lack of branding’. I’ve never liked the ‘branding’ or ‘niche’ bus. First off, it’s hard for me to think of myself as an ‘expert in my niche’ because I’m multi-passionate, how does one think of one’s self as an ‘expert’ and what makes anyone an ‘expert’ at anything anyway? Second, I just blog about whatever I feel like writing about, like a diary… which is what I thought blogs were originally meant for. For a while, I tried to stick our blog into a box and write for an audience – um, yeah, non-existent one – but that failed quickly and just stressed me out because I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t (cue Mulan soundtrack). I was just fooling myself when I thought I could actually make something out of this blog. After all, this blog – which was and is still a very generous gift from our mom who pays for hosting and other blog-related stuff that until today I still have no idea about – started out as a place where we posted 1 million pictures of bands we liked at those specific points in time. Yeah… (See what I mean with this oddly irregular-length paragraph that would make SEO experts scream? I promise I tried to break the paragraph up but it didn’t seem right.)

But, like Victoria said, I’m not who I was when I started this blog with my sister. At the core, I don’t think people change that much but people do change – likes, dislikes, styles, small yet significant things like that. When I started this blog, I was a high school freshman (at least, that’s how old I was in US school terms lol). This blog turns 8 this month!! Crazy!!! It’s been a really long time and so much has happened, so much has shaped who I am today. This blog’s flow has changed with the times and oh, how nostalgic it gets when I scroll back and look at posts from previous years. This blog is in many ways is a reflection of the process of growing up which is both cool and awkward at the same time. I’m content with the way our blog is now. I’m just writing whenever and whatever I feel like. I can also tell you honestly that not having an audience or getting comments or ‘being popular’ doesn’t bother me. That shiz doesn’t suit me anyway. Wait for my post on not having any friends (though when I usually say ‘wait for this or that post, I overthink or abandon it quickly so we’ll see).

A memoir is a good idea though who knows if it will ever be complete… I’ve tried to start one a dozen times but the most I’ve gotten is maybe 2 or 3 paragraphs then it all goes downhill from there because my emotions and thoughts go all over the place and I can’t focus on the direction I plan on going.

Anyway, I just want to tell my ex-blogging friends: keep on keeping on and staying true to yourself, and thanks for acknowledging the existence of this awkward potato.

Thanks for reading (probably just Google bots, if I really think about it).

Also, the post title is totally a RyeoWook song title because RyeoWook just left for his mandatory military service. We’ll wait for you, Wookie.

Raine
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Conversations about music

The summer class I’m taking has way too many group discussions. The other day we were given yet another assignment to do and we ended up talking about guitarcenter store hours instead of the main points of our topic. My teacher said that study groups aren’t all that popular as they used to be and I can totally see why now. It’s easy to deviate from the original topic when there’s so much to talk about.

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Why give credit when you don’t need to… right?

In Asia, it’s always something like this:

Person A: Hey, can I borrow “object”?

You: Sure! (hands over object)

Person B to Person A: Hey, can I look at that?

Person A: Sure! (hands over object)

Person C to Person B: Can I see?

And on it goes.

This happened to me that day. I had to put up my hand because the teacher asked the person with full marks on the last part of the paper to do so. And suddenly, this little old hermit was a celebrity (for approximately three minutes). Everyone wanted to take a look at my paper. The above conversation happened between me and some girl who hardly speaks to me.

Sure, I said, ignoring the wary feeling in my stomach and assuming the best out of everyone even though this bullsh** has happened to me countless times.

She looks at it. The boy beside her peers over and looks at it.

“Holy sh**, that’s some long scripture right there,” he says with a big grin. He pulls out his phone and starts snapping pictures of my paper.

Again, I assume the best of everyone and think that he’s just going to keep those pictures for himself. After a while, it occurs to me that he might post it on the class group chat. (Yes, class group chats are common in [this part of] Asia because the teacher enjoys reading foul language posted at 2am and occasionally joins in on all the ‘fun’.)

Sure enough, he did exactly that, captioning the pictures with “Holy scripture”. A slew of ‘wows’ from my classmates follow.

I tried not to be annoyed. I really did try. But as an artist, I’ve read plenty of articles about copyright issues and seen many artists get depressed about copied artwork. As a person, I’ve seen plenty of my friends as well as relatives claim credit for something that they have never done before.

Some people might be all, “Why are you getting so worked up? It’s just a test paper!” But this is a general rule that applies to everything. If you want something from someone, you ask for their permission. You don’t assume in your own mind what a person will say or do and have it your way. You respect others by asking and confirming even though you think you know the answer.

I responded in the group chat by saying, “You didn’t ask before sharing.” Unsurprisingly, no one replied. The next message after that came hours later and it was some guy asking the teacher what day the final paper is on. It’s always like that. And so it goes on…

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When there are group discussions…

In my class, we were put into groups and asked to discuss about how to critique others properly. For 5 minutes, we were talking about that. But after that, we drifted off into another topic and one guy ended up talking about his Music Friend’s yamaha yas-23. It was interesting to hear about different kinds of instruments and how they worked. When the teacher came back into the classroom, she guessed that we hadn’t discussed much about the topic she had given. She was definitely right!

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The story of a keyboard

I finally understand why English is considered one of the hardest languages to learn. So many different meanings, so few words. My friend was telling me about how she bought Fulterer keyboard slides and I kept imagining it as a piano keyboard. I finally asked her how one would attach slides to a piano. She actually meant that the slides were for computer keyboards. No wonder I was so confused! We had a good laugh after that.

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Thoughts on blogging

I have a shout-out in this post today. This shout-out goes to Britt who has been a blog friend of ours since I started my nail blog and since we restarted this blog. I’m sad that she’s chosen to quit blogging (I’m sad because she’s all kinds of kind and wonderful) but I’m also hopeful that she’ll be back better than ever really soon. I wish her well and look forward to hearing about all her new adventures. Of course, I’ll be keeping up with her on Instagram and Twitter.

My post today is also a bit related to this. After reading Britt’s post and feeling upset as if a friend were moving to another country, I began to think long and hard about blogging.

There have been multiple times when I just thought to myself, alright you’re not going to ‘make it’ in the bloggerverse because you have no niche and no interesting pictures and are not on all the social media and don’t sponsor other bloggers and don’t have ‘interesting enough/helpful tips’ posts and you’re subconsciously trying to please these people in your posts so maybe it’s time to retire from the blogging scene again.

I tell myself that I don’t blog to please people but it’s not unnatural to want to draw readers and somehow fall off your intended path and instead start writing for the audience instead. Stupid, I know. But it happens. And every time it does, I get annoyed/mad and have to remind myself that this blog was not built on the foundation of catering to people’s tastes. Right now, I’m blogging for myself and it’s nice. I don’t check my stats, I don’t dive for the comment box, I don’t read a bunch of other people’s posts and wonder if I should write like that.

At some point, I also used to join linkups and while I found one or two blogs that I really liked (incidentally I found Britt through a linkup!), it took up too much time and not many people actually stick around after the linkup ends. There are actually more people who will come over to your blog, say ‘great post’ without reading your post, and drop their link, expecting you to go over and follow them. Okay, this might be old school of me but I appreciate sincerity and loyalty over gaining a bunch of followers (probably to get better stats/ratings which in turn lead to bigger monetary opportunities, I suppose).

I’ve seen writing tips that say ‘write for yourself’ and other tips that say ‘write for your audience’. Sorry, if I write for ‘the audience’ but hate what I’m writing, I don’t see the point. That’s just me. I say side with whichever view fits you best.

Yeah, but I feel like blogging has become weird. It used to be people writing about their lives without trying to sell stuff or dish out ‘tips on how to blog’ or generally be pushy/unnatural/desperate/unrealistic.

I used to really enjoy reading this one blog because of the blogger’s writing style and content but it has since become very, uh, strange. I used to be able to connect to that blogger because of the warmth and realness in the posts. Now I’m like, there’s just a bunch of how-tos and I don’t even know what this blog is about… Maybe I shouldn’t call it a blog? Hmm, maybe it has become a website. I see this happening a lot now too – blogs trying to push to become ‘bigger’ things? It no longer feels ‘friendly’, you know? Like I’m talking to a receptionist at some corporate company instead of chatting with a friend. I kind of feel sad to drop them from my feed but at the same time, I don’t connect with them on that level anymore.

And aren’t ‘tips for blogging’ just a way for someone to get more followers? I mean, I get that the internet is booming and you’re just a tiny little speck in the sea of other specks so you should find ways to stand out but can’t you keep doing you and eventually people who will enjoy your stuff will find you and become a reader (as opposed to merely a follower)? Is that idealistic of me to think that way? Most ‘tips’ or ‘guides’ or ‘lifehacks’ (is that what they call tips nowadays?) are unhelpful anyway. Do this, do that, get on this site, get on that site, spend on this, spend on that, write like this, write like that… Okay, we get it, force yourself into a niche, become a cookie cutter, conform, fit into this mold, rinse and repeat the other stuff people say.

I feel that some parts of blogging are kind of like high school with tons of little cliques and ridiculous expectations. If you don’t fit into a specific box, well, you’d better leave the party because you’re not one of them and you’re not going to fit in. If you don’t have anything in common, if you don’t write like them, if you don’t write about similar things, if you’re not on every single social media, things like that, you know?

And things like dictating whether someone is ‘big’ in the blog world? That just reminds me of how everyone envied and loved the ‘cool kids’ at high school. Eff that. The ‘cool kids” heads just got bloated from all that ‘fame’ while other ‘ordinary kids’ felt plain and inadequate. And what happened to the ‘loser kids’? They were possibly kicked further down the ‘low self-esteem’ drain. That sucks. That effing sucks. Society’s standards are pretty crappy, if you ask me.

Let’s also talk about pictures. I believe I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I don’t care what your pictures look like, whether they are 5000×4000 super high-res Blu-ray-worthy pictures from your Canon7D or blurry and grainy pictures from your chipped 2001 Nokia cellphone that has no emojis. A picture isn’t by any means a way of deciding whether or not your post is worthy of my reading time. I will read your crappy-picture-filled post and like it if you are warm and engaging.

Unfortunately, nowadays blogs are also dictated by the quality of your pictures. Ugh, superficiality. Just ugh. Blog peer pressure is REAL. What I said about high school, right? I was also guilty of trying to get blog-worthy pictures at some point and trying to post one picture per post. Ain’t nobody got time for that though. Sure, pictures break the text up and look nice but not every post needs a picture.

Not just the quality of your pictures but also the frequency of your posts. Miss a week or (GASP) a month of blogging/keeping up on social media and you become almost unknown again. I know this isn’t always necessarily true and some people are always there to welcome you back but readership/commenting dropping to zero happens. It happens and it sucks and you wonder what you did wrong and whether you should have kept people updated in some way. But you know what? It’s your life and you can choose to blog whenever you want. If readers don’t want to stick around, well, whatever.

To sum things up, ‘little’ blogs don’t have to try to become ‘big’ blogs. Blogs are just blogs. Say what you wanna say. Be who you wanna be (easier said than done but still worth steering yourself in that direction). At the end of the day, there are people who will like or are able to relate to what you write and that’s good enough. I don’t think ‘making it’ should even be a priority when it comes to blogging.

And with most things, there are bad sides and then there are good sides. There are still plenty of wonderful people out there who make blogging enjoyable and worth it and there are still amazing blogs out there. Sometimes I find bloggers who are funny and engaging and down-to-earth and have posts that make you feel ‘damn, I wish I wrote that’ or ‘I can relate to that, let’s be friends already’. And they are part of the reason why I still enjoy blogging.

So you know what? Don’t feel like a ‘loser’ in blogging and don’t succumb to the peer pressure. ^_^ Nobody should decide whether your blog is worthy or not. Sometimes you may feel like crap about your blog but at the end of the day, know that your blog doesn’t define you, you’re being yourself, and that’s all kinds of awesome.

This is just my opinion (you know, in case people read this, get upset about how I’m ‘trying to bash big bloggers’ (which I’m not) or ‘going off on a nonsensical rant’, and take my words out of context which is what happens unnecessarily often nowadays).

P.S: My sister says that she read that Trader Joe’s doesn’t use social media. Ya hear that?

Raine
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November-ish

nov-shoes-target

Us, in Target, making full use of the pretty mirrors

Welcome to my post about October and November things. My post-titling-skills are completely adequate as you can see.

1. Halloween is a non-event for us. No costumes or candy for us. Just lots of surfing the net… like every other night.

2. We spent Halloween night getting excited over the rain. The first rain we’ve seen here. We did see a few drops of summer rain but I’m discounting that. It felt like home for a while. The smell and sound of rain are lovely and comforting.

3. It’s finally fall. The days have cooled down and the skies are cloudier but there are still some mildly sunny periods in a day. The leaves are turning and falling but rather slowly if you ask me. It’s even cool enough to eat outside haha.

4. I broke my boots out of the plastic bag that they were wrapped in for the past 6 months. It was so exciting to wear them again. Haha, I never thought I’d say that but it was. Once I stepped out onto the rain-soaked path, I was overwhelmed with nostalgia. It was like I was back in Vancouver again, whut?

5. So… NaNoWriMo has started. I forgot. I can’t remember if I joined last year or not but I do know I’ve joined it more than once. I don’t know if I’ll be joining this year (late start, of course, since I forgot that yesterday was the first) but to whoever is, good luck!

6. Throws are amazing. I love throws. They keep you SO warm. I love mine and I’m eyeing the selection at Costco.

7. I have signed up for winter classes. Let’s do this.

8. Okay, what else… October recap: October was kind of fun, I think. We joined a club in school, went to the meetings, met people, went to volleyball games and other social events… I even had a few lunches with friends which is new to me, kind of.

9. Looking forward to: turkey for Thanksgiving.

10. Daylight saving is stupid if you ask me. It just gets darker faster. The point is…? Do you have daylight saving where you are?

And that’s it. What did you do in October? What are you looking forward to in November?

Raine
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