Showing posts with label graphics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label graphics. Show all posts

little blue circle

I avoid Elliequent readership stats like the plague. I installed StatCounter a long time ago, but the last time I logged in was pre-Terence, when I was trying to figure out whether a guy I was seeing was reading my blog. (It was wonderfully pathetic: I'd pore over any info coming from the area of town where he worked, as if it would decrypt the mixed messages he was sending in real life. Ah yes. He visited your About page for seven seconds before clicking out through Instagram. Never mind those ignored texts, girl. Romeo here is clearly ready to take a knee. The moral of this sad little aside being that dating emotionally unavailable, uncommunicative dudes is bewildering, dignity draining, may reduce you to reverse internet stalking and JUST DON'T DO IT*.)

Blogger's interface loads a generalized view of my statistics when I open a blank post, but I try not to look at it. Dropping numbers would depress me. Rocketing numbers would alarm me. Even steadily rising numbers would make me nervous. At some point, having too many people follow my life would make me uncomfortable. The Elliequent army is small and smart and I like it that way.

All this being said, every so often curiosity does get the better of me and I peek to see how many FeedBurner subscribers I have. And while poking around last year I discovered that I can actually bring up a list of the email addresses of those who've signed up for inbox delivery, over there on the right. This flabbergasted me. It seems like such a violation of privacy. Maybe it's crazy to say that since it's my blog, but I don't think it's any of my business what you do or don't read - and that includes my blog.

But yeah, I did read the list when I stumbled across it; I couldn't help myself. Some of the addresses were familiar, a few were surprises, but most were unknown to me. Overall it was like getting passed a stack of notes saying things like You're occasionally entertaining! or I find you tolerable! or I guess if I had to choose between watching your train wreck and scouring my shower grout, I'd pick your train! But then I closed the page and tried to forget it, because I write much better with a semi-solid fourth wall.

I've wanted to post about all this, but there's a Venn diagram in my head of Whats and Whys, and I'm unsure if they should be separate topics or mashed into some meta manifesto the navel-gazingness of which might explode the blogosphere outright. Witness:



And yeah I know that's not graphically accurate but pie charts almost NEVER taste like pie, so whatever.

I don't know why it's taking me so long to get to what I want to say, but that little blue circle is where I'm headed. Simply put: despite my money-back guarantee that at some point I will annoy or disappoint you (lol as if I haven't already), I do work hard at this gig, because I believe the surest way to show my gratitude is to put out the best possible product I can.

So for one thing, I edit obsessively. The two most useful things I learned in college were how to jimmy a dorm room lock with my dad's Chevron card and that writing is revision. If you could see how many times in a row I will jump out of bed in the middle of the night, run to my computer to change something in a post, dive back under the covers, hit refresh on my phone, find another edit to make, get back up again...it's a good thing Terence could sleep through an earthquake.

I take great care with my word choices, and I really do keep in mind all the rules of powerful writing. Descriptive verbs! Active voice! Varied sentence length! I try to come up with interesting ways to approach the subjects I discuss often, and I at least aim for entertaining on those days when inspiring is out of reach. I take risks and talk openly about things I know may invite criticism. Bottom line: I love writing enough to honor it with my best efforts, and I respect my readers enough to acknowledge that they can and should ditch me if I stop doing so.

I'm not asking for a head pat or a cookie, and the cookie comment jar is closed, anyway. (No cookies means I stay hungry for your love, which arrives occasionally through email or Twitter or even, exotically, by snail. And when it does arrive, I feast like a snake who doesn't know when the next mouse will come along.) And I realize this is one of my more pointless posts. My writing should speak for itself - and I like to think it does. But it was important to me to tell you anyway. It's important to me that you feel valued. So that's what I wanted to say today: thanks for thinking enough of me to be here.

I'm thinking of you, too.

---

* I've meant to post about Baggage Reclaim for ages, and I will at some point, but I'm just dropping the link for now in case anyone reading happens to be in dire relationship straits and need a life jacket, stat. Along with helping me make other huge changes related to my self-esteem and emotional life, I credit Natalie with teaching me to bring my dating standards up, and to hold out for the something better incredible that turned out to be Terence.

quick and dirty, day two

On a scale of one to wrecked, day two left me for scrap by the side of the road. I'm a mess. I've got a strained left thigh muscle and a wonky left foot, probably from pulling some sort of Rumpelstiltskin skank-style dance move on the uneven ground. I ate very little and barely slept all weekend, so I'm nauseous and exhausted. There's an itchy insect bite on one of my palms and my jaw feels like it's been moonlighting as a wood chipper. Chaucer keeps pacing around me like one of those grim reaper cats in a nursing home so who knows. Today might be the day. If so, all I ask is that no one look at my browser history.

More thoughts on HardSummer and the inaugural round of Ellie's Festival Bingo below. But first, some people someplace, doing some stuff!


I had my doubts beforehand, but Whittier Narrows turned out to be an excellent new home for HardSummer. One of the best things about the park is how the layout and landscaping allow for lots of "dance pockets" as I like to pretend I've named them. Small clearings perfect for those more interested in having room to move than in Instagramming the DJ's nostrils.

We spent more time chilling at this fest than I have at any other. My usual MUST SEE MUST DANCE MUST GO NOWWWW impatience was gone. The sound was flawless all around the grounds, so we were able to just sit on the grass, cuddle, talk, and enjoy the music.

Clockwork whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and the crowd danced the dust up into a haze to be re-experienced later as the dreaded black "festival snot." That's right my pretties. It's not all daisy chains and sunlit tresses.

The bigger the pocket, the bigger the moves.


Behold this contraband-wielding criminal! No, not what you think. It's the capped water bottle that's verboten. Crazy, right? Hello, massive dehydration risk. But full, capped bottles make for dangerous missiles - that's the justification for selling them without the caps, anyway. And tripping on a full bottle could Jack U up. (He tipped the girl who sold him this bottle, and we assume that's why she left the cap on.)

It was a quick and dirty two-dayer close to home, but satisfying and crazy fun in its own way. In fact, a talk Terence and I had Sunday regarding differences between attendees got me thinking about some of the commonalities of my own festival experiences so far. Thus was born this unholy graphic, stamped to reflect my HardSummer 2014 results:

This was such an interesting exercise, and not just because it made me reflect on where I've been; it's also a great reminder of where I want to go. If you're a fester yourself, it's fun even to just think about what you'd put on your card. (Am happy to share the blank unstamped version with anyone who wants it.)

Notes for public consumption on this round...

Admittedly I left my comfort zone in a pretty superficial way - with my clothing choices. But those choices ended up winning me an embarrassing moment stamp, too, so I think that counts for a little more.

My random act of kindness was just a simple one that was shown to me once: seeing someone obviously overheated and possibly overstimulated, and offering them some of my water.

Dillon Francis played nearly the exact same set as the one he'd played at Ultra earlier this year. And while it's an incredible set, it's one I'd been listening to for weeks on SoundCloud. I knew almost every bit of it. So my favesie DillDill wasn't quite as much fun as he could have been. My bad, and lesson learned (no shaking the presents before Christmas morning!).

I know I learned something. I'm sure of it. I can't be in Terence's company for that long without learning a shit ton about music alone. But I can't remember anything specifically, because I have the retention of a goldfish. (What I taught is some random trivia headed for a future post.)

Surprising musical discoveries for the win! Breach rocked our wooooorld. We couldn't tear ourselves away, and while I'm too lazy to look up what headliner we skipped to stay put, we agreed it was a no regrets situation. Five stars. Much delicious. Would definitely return.

The warm twilight rain reflecting on lasers during Jack U looked like gold glitter falling from the sky. I'd never seen anything like it. So beautiful, so lush and refreshing.

 --- FYF Fest and TBD Fest are still on deck, so I've got a couple more shots at bingo this year. I for one have got my sights set on that bottom right corner square. Oh yes. I do.

statshot



inspired by blatantly copied from The Onion

truth in advertising

It occurs to me that this might have come in handy at some earlier date.



There aren't enough hours in the day to tackle Troubleshooting.

departure/arrival

I spent the last few hours before I left LA with A. I stress-ate my way through buttered bread, onion soup, and meatball sliders at Bottega Louie, so I had plenty of room for the chocolate/raspberry tart he surprised me with for desert. When our waiter brought the small pink box to the table, A. smacked my hand away before I could open it. "Not yet," he said. "You can't have it until you come back home." I asked if it was a puppy or a pony, or what I'd really always wanted - a puppy/pony hybrid. "Excuse me," he said to the server. "Is there a pony in there? The lady would like a pony."

He hung out while I packed, and put some things on my iPod for me: a chapter of an audio book he wanted me to hear, and a few variations of a cheesy 80s love song we'd been singing all week. He played them one by one while I was getting ready, saying each time, "This is it, baby. This is the song." Each time I'd laugh and say, "No! This is not it!" and beg him to play the right one - the original version. He refused every time, pretending not to know what I meant.

When we got in his car to go to the airport, he had the correct version of the song all cued up and ready to go. It started playing as we drove out of the parking garage. It was meant to make me laugh, which it did after a few moments, but at first I lost it a little bit. He'd even cut the song down to the refrain we'd been tossing back and forth; he had that bit in the playlist as a separate track, as well. At the airport, he parked and walked me in, taking over the check-in process for me at the digital kiosk when I froze up. When we reached security, he pulled me aside, tapping at his phone as if responding to a text. "Hang on, one sec, just gotta answer this..." He held the phone up and pulled me to him. The song we'd been listening to in the car - the inside joke of the week - began to play, tinny but loud enough to be heard by nearby travelers and the TSA agent, who smiled at us. "It's your going away song," he said. "Dance with me."

Waiting at the gate a bit later, I texted him. Don't you dare answer this because you're driving, but I want you to know that you astound me with your ability to make every moment I spend with you exciting, fun, romantic, or all of the above and more. He answered, You make me want to be a better person. I love who I am with you. I love how we are. I texted once more before takeoff. You picked a great seat for me, I said. It's extra roomy and I'm pretty sure my blanket is cashmere.

Baby, the last time that I smiled as much as I do with you was when I discovered the upside to puberty. "You mean there's a plus here? That thing does something fun?"

During the flight, I made him a reference tool, so there'd be no question while I was away:



His is personalized with both of our names (and a different color), so I thought I'd throw this neutral version up for anyone who wants to pin it or send it to her boyfriend (it's perfectly sized for iPhone screens).

----

There's not much to say yet, about my father. We're on hold, waiting to talk to his doctor and hopefully at least one specialist early next week. I've done everything I can to get him organized, comfortable, and ready for whatever comes next. I feel helpless in the face of the bigger picture, but the small things I can do - clean out his refrigerator, help compile questions for the doctors, pick up prescriptions, mail his taxes, run errants - at least make me feel useful.

Until we know exactly what he's facing, we can't make any plans. So the rest of this weekend is just wheel-spinning and distraction. There's more to say, I know, about what this is like, but I'm blocked on it. Weirdly detached, and floating above all of it. Not sure where to draw the boundary, as far as sharing. Is this even my story to share?

He's in a pretty good state of mind, I'd say, considering. He's in pain, depressed, scared, and overwhelmed. Who wouldn't be? And he's ready for me to take charge, consumed as he is with trying to navigate his way to a place of physical and emotional comfort (acceptance?). But he hasn't been particularly emotional. Not in front of me, anyway.

My own worst moment was when I was filling his prescriptions, and the pharmacist explained the difference between his twice-daily pain med and the one for when it's "really, really intolerably bad." That was a big acid splash of reality in my face. Here we go, I thought. That's what's ahead.

Also: I had a really weird reaction to the Easter clearance "section" at the local grocery store. It was just some shopping carts filled with stuffed animals and candy, but it depressed the shit out of me for some reason. Where Easter Goes to Die. A three am Netflix viewing of Melancholia didn't help. Brutal. Watching it was like being beaten with a silk pillowcase filled with Fabergé eggs. Fabergé eggs in a Xanax omelet.

It's hard to make this more interesting than it is. Pain. Fear. Sadness. Cancer. Just a bunch of ugly words that don't deserve a pretty treatment, anyway.

we could have paradise

I've been obsessing about infographics and banners lately. Making these got it out of my system a little bit.


Feel free to use, repost, etc.