What Twitter is Good For I

I had a question regarding punctuation, and, because I follow a lot of writers (as well as punctuation/grammar geeks) on Twitter (and some of them follow me back), I thought I would post it there.

Nothing doing.

So I emailed a couple of people and looked around online. I sent a query to the Chicago Manual of Style Online. (They were against what the publisher wanted to do, but acknowledged that it is common.) (Aprostrophes in years, if you want to know: 1950’s, 1800’s — not possessive, plural. CMoS says 1950s, 1880s. I concur.)

This is one of the ways I use Twitter, though. Informal polling (where should I eat downtown?), grammar/usage questions, even attempting to get some empathy/sympathy (regarding anything: my husband hogging the remote, potty training issues with my 3yo, snOMG). And it works for me that way, too.

Waiting for feedback from my blog or emails takes so long! /whine

Again, I am sensing a problem.

I’m only two days into this. I have a lot to think (and write) about.

Lost: The Substitute

The Sideways Story is going to break my heart. I like everyone so much better in it! See the alive but still crippled John Locke start to find peace and acceptance in his body and in his life. I’m so happy to see Helen (which doesn’t mean she’s not going to die of a brain aneurysm down the line). See Hurley act like a benevolent Buddha. See Ben Linus as a history teacher bitching about the coffee in the teacher’s lounge!

Helen mentions John’s father as if he is still in his son’s life, as if he’s invited to the wedding. So why is John in a wheelchair? I wouldn’t think you’d invite the guy who shoved you out of a window and crippled you to your wedding, even if he is your dad.

It’s another glimpse (like Hurley’s comment in “LA X”: “I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”) that not only are these characters’ futures changed, but their pasts have changed. John’s in a wheelchair, yes; Kate’s on the run, yes; Hurley’s won the lottery, yes; but the reasons for these things have shifted.

Because in the sideways timeline, the Island is under water. Jacob hasn’t touched them. Their lives have taken the track that they were supposed to have taken.

Maybe it did work.

Back on-Island, in the meantime, Smokey drifts around and decides to recruit Sawyer to his cause. Richard is terrified of him (the usually unflappable Richard has been seriously rocked by Not Locke’s appearance). A boy (the boy from Flight 815?) tells Not Locke that he can’t kill “him” — Sawyer or Richard? (I think Richard; Richard is somehow special.) Ben only lies once! Sawyer sees right through Not Locke, even with two-thirds of a bottle of whiskey in him (my favorite moment of last night’s episode).

And Not Locke takes him to that spooky cave.

I think the writers/producers of Lost are exploiting our assumptions about black and white, namely, that white is for the good guys and black is for the bad guys. I don’t think it’s as simple as that.

To me, the names all over the cave wall and ceiling are proof that Jacob is crazy. Insane crazy. Hell-bent on proving the Man in Black/Not Locke wrong — that there will be an ending; that the Island does need protecting; that some day someone else will take his (Jacob’s) place. At the same time, though, I think Jacob is setting up “the candidates” for failure. He manipulates people so they come to the Island, and then leaves them to their own devices. A terrible twist on the idea of free will.

And by doing so, by attempting to keep things in balance, Jacob keeps the Man in Black trapped.

That’s all over now, though.

Did you notice whose names were not on the cave wall? Kate, Claire, Rose and Bernard, Mr. Eko, Frank Lapidus (whom my husband insists on calling Frank the Penis), Ben, Juliet, Miles. Are they wild cards? Dispensable? Not candidates to do one of two things: protect the Island or help Not Locke escape his trap?

I know: it seems like a lot more questions. But I think the story is getting told, the mysteries are being revealed. They’ve got fourteen more hours.

I am loving it.

40 Days and 40 Nights*

I am giving up Twitter for Lent. I’m pretty freaked out about this decision. It’s causing me a lot of anxiety.

And that’s kind of the problem.

I like Twitter. I get Twitter. Twitter makes me feel connected.

I spend too much time on Twitter.

So I’m going to go without it for 40 days and 40 nights. (Holy Thursday cannot get here quickly enough. Already.)

I’m not giving up social media altogether. I’m going to keep blogging; I’m going to keep reading blogs and commenting. (I’m getting better at doing this. Maybe less Twitter will mean more commenting.)

I’m going to check in at Plurk.

But I have to step back a little bit, and assess how to better use the time I spend on Twitter. Maybe I’ll get more sleep or do more cleaning. Maybe I’ll play more games with my kids. Maybe I’ll read more books. (That sound you just heard was Dan slapping his head and saying, “D’oh!”)

I’ll be going to next week’s tweet-up anyway (I already have a sitter!). I really like everyone I’ve “met” on Twitter, and as I primarily tweet with Pittsburgh people, I’ve developed a whole new circle of friends. It’s the ‘social’ in ‘social media’.

But it’s time to assess my Twitter use, and perhaps develop an alter (read: professional) ego to make it more useful to me (for networking, not for “marketing” or anything douchey like that).

Plus, it really is the hardest thing I could do for Lent.

If my posts suddenly become very short and frequent, you know why.

What do you think? Am I crazy? Is it futile? Will all these people I’ve made friends with on Twitter leave me? Will they even miss me? (Probably not.) Should I give up something else instead?

*To clarify, I will not be breaking my Twitter fast on Sundays. I was not raised with the “rule” that Sunday during Lent was a free day. It’s true that I don’t have to do anything above fasting or abstaining from meat on Friday, but as I am already a vegetarian, I like to go the extra mile.

Random Thoughts: The Bored Edition

1. More snow. Is coming. I’m a little worried.

2. Kate fell asleep on the floor yesterday — something unprecedented. She had fallen asleep in the car, and as we brought her into the house, she woke and started fussing at us. I thought she was going to go into a full-blown tantrum (it had been that kind of day). She curled up on the floor, barely in the house, boots and coat still on — and passed out again.

3. She then proceeded to fall asleep on the stairs, and then, for the final 20 minutes of this very broken nap, in my lap on the couch. She wanted to sleep — she clearly needed to sleep — but no way no how was she going to do it in her room.

4. Given the resurgence of the tantrums over the weekend and the falling asleep every where, I am wondering if the ear medications are working. Today is the last day for drops, and she’ll be taking the antibiotics by mouth until Wednesday. She’s been complaining that her ear itches. Is that a bad sign?

5. My kids love Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (the movie). Kate actually refers to it as Chancey with a Cloud of Meatballs, which slays me. I like it too. I’ve ordered it four times on our television. Guess I better go out and pick up that DVD.

A Good Date

Aside from being completely underwhelmed by the Grille on Seventh (I’ve never said this about a restaurant meal before, but the food was boring; it made me think that old people must dine there a lot: very bland), Dan and I had a great night. Our seats for Ben Folds with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) were perfect (on the floor, right of the stage, about eight rows back). We could see him perfectly.

The highlight (for me) was when he brought out a tenor to accompany him on “Narcolepsy”. I was going along enjoying myself, digging Folds’ piano chops, and the PSO, and thinking that Folds has a pretty nice voice to go along with everything. And then the tenor opened his mouth, and I was blown away.

I should try to catch some opera sometime.

Anyway, the audience participation (de riguer) and the rousing “Army” that closed the show, pretty much sealed the deal.

This song always reminds me of finding and marrying Dan. Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

Ear, Ear: Revisited

It seems, five days into antibiotic treatment, that Dan and I have stumbled onto a new wrinkle in the whole 3-year-old behavioral pattern.

If you take an already strong-willed 3-year-old (is there any other kind?) and add a raging ear infection you get the human equivalent of a thermonuclear device.

I imagine, when you are a toddler/little girl, chronic ear pain is like having a beehive in your head. The incessant buzzing of pain must just short out all the circuits. So when, on top of the pain, things don’t go your way (i.e. your mom says ‘no’ or your dad asks you to say please) you just lose it. And that buzzing makes you a crazy, screaming monster for, oh, if you’re Kate, 30, 40 minutes. Until you’re pooped out, and still in pain, and you just want a big hug.

Thank goodness for Alexander Fleming.

Kate is sleeping through the night again. As a matter of fact, on Wednesday (two days into treatment), she fell asleep while I was singing lullabies. That is unprecedented.

The epic tantrums have tapered off. There is still some pouting and stomping, but much (much) less screaming and hitting. I haven’t had to put myself in timeout in days.

She is cheerful again. A tad overactive as bedtime approaches (I think that’s no naps + cabin fever), but laughing, not flipping out. She’s eating well again, too.

I don’t know how Dan feels, but I have been breathing a big sigh of relief. It looks like we’ll survive Kate’s terrifying 3s after all.

Knock wood.


I did something the other day that I’ve never done before.

I put the kibosh on a shirt my 5-year-old daughter picked out.

We were at Target, and we were doing a little light shopping. We picked out some Valentine cards and treats for their parties on Friday, and I thought it would be nice if they each got a special little shirt, too.

In general, I let my kids pick things for themselves. Usually I give them two or three choices, just to make it easy. On this particular day, Dan was with Flora in the ‘girls’ section — not toddlers, which is where I was with Kate.

When I found them, Flora was holding a purple t-shirt, in her size, that said “YUM” on it.

And I said, “No, you can’t get that.”

Dan looked surprised; Flora was downright distressed. “But it’s my size,” she protested. “I know,” I answered, “but you have to pick another shirt in your size.”

I didn’t make a huge deal about it, but I did take it away from her and put it back. We picked out another shirt, and then Dan saw the Paul Frank shirts, and picked one of those out for her. We also got matching leggings.

I didn’t like the shirt because the message I saw on it was that my daughter was a consumable. That she was the something yummy.

And I am intensely disturbed by that.

I don’t want my daughter to be seen that way — especially when she’s only 5 years old. I imagine I’ll feel the same way regardless of her age. And I certainly don’t want my daughter to see herself as something to be consumed, either.

Am I making too big a deal of this? Would you have let your daughter pick out and wear this shirt? Where and when do we decide what is appropriate, and when do we let our children (not just girls) decide?

Further, how do we send the ‘right’ messages to our children? In other words, how do I enable Flora to either not pick the Yum shirt because of the message, or to pick it because she embodies the IRONY of the message? (Admittedly, not when she is 5 years old. She grasped sarcasm pretty quickly; I’m hoping she gets irony at least by the time she’s a teen.) Or is that latter point too much to ask? At any age?

Snowmaggedon at the RPM Compound

A story in pictures:

We will not be using our front door until springtime. I had had it all dug out, but when the driveway finally got plowed on Monday, they buried it again.

This is the parking pad beside my house — the third time I shoveled it.

Standing in the middle of the shared driveway, looking toward my ILs’ house. This was after the first plow (Monday) and before the second plow (today).

The view the other way.

This is my car, conveniently plowed into my driveway. Thanks, Township. Thanks a lot.

For more, you can go to my Picasa album.

Lost: What Kate Does

(Aside from get on a lot of nerves…)

Runs. This we know. In this episode, she runs away from the Temple (arguably toward Sawyer). I think her sobbing on the pier is because she knows she’s lost him. I don’t particularly care for the heartbroken Sawyer; I like the swaggering con man (I still have such a weakness for bad boys!). But Kate witnessed the end of the triangle right as Sawyer threw that ring into the ocean. She can either go back to Jack, or be alone.

In the sideways story, she helps Claire. She actually doesn’t run, staying by this stranger’s side. For all the bitching I do about Kate, I will say this: she has a weakness for a person in need. Claire’s plight moved her on the Island, and it clearly moves her again in this sideways story.

The suspension of disbelief was difficult for me. Okay, yes, young pregnant girl far from home needing some support, turning to the only other person she has actually encountered — even though she’s a gun-toting outlaw. But here’s my theory about that: Somehow these characters as they meet and interact in the Sideways Story (as I’m going to call it) are recognizing each other. Some instinct is pulling on them to help each other, trust each other. We saw it last week, when Locke and Jack actually reached out to each other instead of fighting as they did on-Island. We see it again when Kate finds Claire, stays by her side; we see it when Claire gets back in the taxi. That flash in her eyes that said, “This is crazy but it doesn’t feel crazy.”

We’re seeing the LA version of “stand together or die alone.”

In the original timeline, Kate makes no bones about the fact that she killed her (step)father. In the Sideways Story she tells Claire she didn’t do it. Does the Sideways Story have her falsely accused of something else? Or is Sideways Kate just trying to justify Claire’s trust of her?

Speaking of Claire: I’m sure I am not alone in saying this: Crazy Claire, as she appeared at the very end of the episode, certainly reminded me of Rousseau — another woman who had given birth on the Island, and lost her baby. Honestly, I don’t think “the dark thing” claiming people is more than madness, although it may have an organic origin on the Island.

Speaking of bad boys: Sayid is alive; gets a taste of his old medicine; is infected with… that darkness thingy. (Favorite line of the night: Sawyer: “He’s an Iranian torturer and murderer. He definitely deserves another go-around.” Bitter much? I also really enjoyed Miles rejoinder when Jack asks to speak with Sayid alone: “We’ll be in the food court.” Season 6, now with more sarcasm!)

I knew Jack was going to try to take that pill. Jack is savvy this season, figuring out how to be the puppeteer and not just get jerked around by his strings. I’m kind of liking it. He knows he’s penetrated into something, the inner sanctum of the Island, and damnit, he’s going to get some answers.

The question is, though, if the Others went to all that trouble to heal Sayid in the Temple of the Funky Water (trademark to Dan, my husband), what would that pill have done. Were the Others surprised Sayid is alive again? I don’t think so, but I do think they know such a thing is bad, bad news. Hence the poison. Would it have killed Sayid (again)? Or just killed the infection?

We didn’t get much in the way of answers this episode — or if we did, we’re not seeing them. I’ll be re-watching “What Kate Does” this weekend because Dan missed about 10 minutes dealing with my car and a tow truck (another story for another day). Thank goodness for FiOS on demand.

I’m off to do my rounds of “what the pros think of LOST”. Feel free to tell me what you think!