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Posts tagged ‘Internet communities’

8
Oct

desmond tutu takes on child marriage

Yesterday (October 6th) was Desmond Tutu’s birthday.  He just turned 80.  With his birthday comes a new resolve – to begin the hard work on a very serious and heartbreaking issue.  Child Marriage.

Desmond Tutu.  I love this man.   I applaud everything he stands for, what he says, thinks and writes.  I had the good fortune to see him in person, and what a delight that was.  I wrote a blog post about seeing him in person in February, 2010.   Here’s a link to that February 2010 post:   blessings, warnings, and love from Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The work they do on the global stage, is inspiring.  And, whether we know it or not, we are all part of the global community.  The Internet has made our world flat, as Thomas Friedman observes in his interesting book, “The World is Flat.  (A good read!)

When I visited the Elders site yesterday, I learned that one of the more recent trips Tutu took was to Ethiopia where he learned how vast the problem of Child Marriage really is.

Desmond Tutu recently wrote:

I have to confess that I was simply not aware of the scale and impact of child marriage. 10 million girls a year, 25,000 girls a day, are married without any say in the matter, to men who are often older than they are. These girls almost always drop out of school to attend to household chores, and when they become young mothers themselves face serious dangers of injury and even death in pregnancy and childbirth. Child marriage robs girls of their childhood, of their basic rights to education, security and health.

I thought I had a pretty good idea of the human rights landscape on this precious earth we share. What I have realised is that these girls are invisible and voiceless, making them some of the most vulnerable, disempowered people on our planet.  (Desmond Tutu, 9/20/2011)   http://www.theelders.org/article/message-men-and-boys-about-child-marriage

I will be following this issue, and will write more in coming days.  For now?  Well.  I must jump into the weekend, (though it is and will continue to be, an incredibly rainy and windy weekend, it’s not gonna wash out my fun!

Related articles

5
Oct

steve jobs has died. he was 56

Steve Jobs, the creative and visionary force – the heart and soul behind Apple Computers and Apple products – has died.  He was only 56.

Steve Jobs - Graphic / Photo Credit: ABC News

It’s been said that Jobs will be thought of as the Thomas Edison of our generation.

I am sorry for the computer industry and what he may have produced in the future.

Geniuses like Jobs are far and few between.  I am glad we had him for as long as we have.

He was a devoted family man – passionately protective of his private life.

He married in 1991.  His wife Laurene was the love of his life, as were the three children they had together.  He also has a daughter, born earlier, out of wedlock in 1978.

He was given up for adoption at birth. He met his biological sister later in life, when they were adults.  I am not certain if he’d met his biological parents.  I do know his father learned only a few years ago that the baby they gave up was named Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers, Inc.

I cannot imagine that shock.  I cannot imagine how a person lives with that.  After so many years, on a day like any other, you find out that your first-born, given up for adoption in 1955, grew up to be not only a genius, but also one of the wealthiest persons on the planet.

Yesterday, the latest iPhone 4S was launched, and it’s a thing of beauty.  Steve Jobs, in one of his rare interviews with George Stephanopoulos, of ABC, said, “We make what we think people will want and like.”

Yes they do.

People do want and like Apple products.  I certainly do.

Steve Jobs recently (August 2011) stepped down as CEO of Apple.  It was a shocking announcement though now we know why.  His poor body was unable to keep up the fight.

I wish the man who could make the perfect iPhone, iPad, iPod, and computer, could have created a human upgrade that would have lasted just long enough – 30 years, maybe – so the world could benefit from his next big things.

This is a very sad day.

Rest in Peace, Steve.

3
Oct

good night, sweet knight owl

Social Media has taken over, in one way or another, so many aspects of our daily lives.

Today almost everyone engages in some form of Social Media.  Corporations, students, professors, even university Presidents have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or a blog.  We communicate with friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, and Internet friends, nearly every day – I do, anyway.

I have an iPhone that is connected to my body by an invisible string.  I can blog from my phone, surf the web, Tweet, check out Facebook, text, email, talk, and so many more tasks from the palm of my hand.

And, now the Xoom, which is Motorola’s smart answer to the iPad, makes it even easier to stay connected and on the go, when necessary.   (I am one of those people who would be lost without access to the Internet.)

Blogging has become a way of life for me.  I started this blog a little over two years ago, and it’s been a joy, and a terrific learning experience, especially now that I’ve committed to the WordPress POST A DAY challenge.

Goodnight, sweet Knight Owl. May flights of angels sing you to your rest.

Blogging has introduced me to a wide circle of friends that I “speak” to on a regular basis.  I “see” these friends, though we’ve never met, and we “talk” without sound.

I’ve formed Internet relationships and bonds as a result of blogging.  It’s wonderful on the one hand; on the other hand, it’s rather lonely, and sometimes, sad – especially when people move on, for whatever reason, and you don’t know why.  Generally, Internet friends will keep in touch, but sometimes, they just “poof” and you never hear from them again; and you’re left wondering.

Today, Kim and Sherry told me that a very dear Internet friend of many bloggers here and elsewhere, passed away this past August.   Her WordPress screen name was “Knight Owl”.

We are told she passed away in August of this year.  The last blog post she made here was August 8th, and she sounded so chipper….Was she getting on in age?  Was she young?  There is so much I don’t know.

Knight Owl, like many of us, followed the Casey Anthony case from the beginning to the very bitter end.  She’d post rather frequently, then all of a sudden she stopped posting here.

I have been wondering about her – it was not like her to disappear for months at a time.  Now we know that her sweet soul has taken its next journey to the great beyond.  But, I don’t know why.  Was she sick?  Was it sudden?  Was she in pain?  What happened?  The funny and loving Knight Owl – why did you go?   I want to know…. but I know I will probably never know.  I should be grateful to know this much.

This is why Internet friendships are lonely.

Rest in Peace dearest Knight Owl.

10
Aug

Here’s my heart

It’s a Wednesday evening.  (Two more days until the weekend.)

I am exhausted from a long day of teaching, and it’s late right now.  I didn’t eat dinner (I forgot to), and I’m sitting here writing because, I am committed to the WordPress Post a Day challenge for 2011.  I have made a promise to myself to write every day until the clock strikes 2012.

I won’t try to convince you that it’s been an easy challenge because it’s not at all easy, but it’s never drudgery.  That’s because I love blogging.

As a result of signing up for this Post a Day challenge, WordPress sends bloggers different ideas about topics to write about.  Since I never had a problem deciding what to write about, I didn’t need the suggestions – I wrote about the Caylee Anthony murder for nearly three years and there was always something to write about!

A day or so ago WordPress sent out a suggestion for a post that I liked.   The  suggestion was to write a post about why we became bloggers and why we gave our blog its name.

Image Credit: Saper Galleries

The main reason I started this blog was to prove to myself that I could really do it, first of all.   And secondly, because I really really needed to vent about the Caylee Anthony case.  I never thought anyone would read my blog.  I didn’t think it would become anything other than a place for me to rant about the Anthony case.   I called the blog “only dreamin”  because it was my dream to begin a blog, I was only dreaming about anyone “liking” the blog.

It took a while for me to figure out what I was doing, and how to do it. It also took some time for me to figure out what my “voice” was on the blog.

My first blog post was July 11, 2009.  I had no idea what I was doing; no idea how to blog, or how anything worked on WordPress.  I didn’t know what “tags” were, I didn’t know anything and had no idea about “hits” either.  (Hits refer to people “hitting” or landing on your blog.)

I’ve always wanted to start a blog, but didn’t think I could write anything people would read.  In short, I never expected much, but my dreams were bigger than my doubts.

And then, I began to meet and chat with other bloggers, and friendships started in this little community of ours.  We all have grown to respect and like one another, too.

It was Sherry who was the very first commenter on my blog.  And when I read what she’d written it nearly made me cry, and I prayed she’d come back often.  She did!   One of the sweetest notes she wrote to me was:

God bless you in all of your endeavors! May all your dreams come true and when they do may you say, Am I dreamin’?

By the time I decided to commit to the Post a day challenge for 2011, so many new people began to visit and leave notes!    That has been the real blessing.

So, that is how this blog was born!  I thought it was a dream on the one hand, and on the other hand, it was an avenue for me to discuss my dreams (about happiness, gratitude, justice, and many more things).

I love blogging.  There is nothing more satisfying than to finish a post and press that “publish” button!  My heart stops every time I press that button.

I have not missed a single night of writing a post!  The grand total of posts for 2011, after this post is published, is a total of  222 posts.  (Yup, we are 222 days into 2011 already!)

I think this is a good time to tell my fellow-bloggers how much they mean to me.

It was in 2008 when I met Kitt in a chat-room about the Anthony case.  When Kitt came to visit for the first time, I couldn’t believe it!  I always learn something from Kitt. (Heart out to you, Kitt.)

Weezie aka Louise, has been so kind from very early on, when I first started the blog.  I have grown so fond of Weezie, and I delight in the support she constantly gives me. (Heart out to you, Weezie.)

Hilde, dear Hilde was one of the very first to visit.  Always so kind and supportive, and I love it when she “vents,” because her passion is divine.  (Heart out to you, Hilde.)

Knight Owl and Louie have been visiting for a while now, too.  No cat can hold a candle to Louie!  And Knight Owl has always brought so much knowledge and insight.  (Heart out to you, Knight Owl & Louie).

Jon is old faithful, but I think he’s so bummed about the verdict that he’s given up on blogging, and I miss him.  Jon has made me laugh so much!  (Heart out to you, Jon.)

Off-the-cuff is has incredible insight and analytical skills.  OTC tells it like it is, no holes barred, which I appreciate so much.  (Heart out to you, OTC.)

Rob is another old faithful and is another one with great insight.  Rob writes thought provoking comments – he’s pretty funny, too.  (Heart out to you, Rob.)

I love it when Venice visits, although she has a busy life, she pops in on occasion to make us laugh.  (Heart out to you, Venice.)

Kim, dearest Kim.  She has a blog, too, listed in my Blogroll.  Kim has the best spirit and more courage than I think I could muster.  My dear friend, Kim is always there.  (Heart out to you, Kim.)

EDRN and Kim and I became buddies when we tried to hula-hoop.  I never did it very well, but EDRN got pretty good at it.  Miss you, EDRN.  (Heart out to you, EDRN.)

CptKD, my dear friend, another Kim.  What a writer she is!  CptKD wrote a post for me, too.  That was a lot of fun, and a good learning experience for both of us. CptKD is another very courageous soul; and she brings an LE insight, too, which we love. (Heart out to you, CptKD.)

The fact that Dee visits and leaves such wonderful insight from a lawyers perspective is incredibly valuable and enlightening.  Dee is very generous about sharing her knowledge, and I am so grateful for that!  (Heart out to you, Dee.)

There is no better cheerleader than RahRah!  A loving and generous soul who has so much to share. Love her insight into the case.  (Heart out to you,  RahRah.)

Mainstreamfair, dear heart, has her own wonderful blog, too.  It’s on my blogroll.  If you’ve not visited her blog, you’ll love it.  Thank you for your support, Mainstreamfair.  (Heart out to you.)

Marinade Dave is someone I am honored to call friend.  What a writer!  He has been so generous with his vast knowledge about the Anthony case, and about Orlando.  We were all so pleased that Dave was hired by Orlando Magazine to cover the trial.  He did an incredible job, too. (Heart out to you, Dave.)

Nan11 doesn’t have a blog of her own (I don’t think), but she’s a wonderful writer.  Maybe she’ll start a blog, too – hint hint!  (Heart out to you, Nan.)

Humble Opinion’s blog was the very first blog I ever read on the Casey Anthony case. What a great job she does and has done, to record the events leading up to the trial in the Anthony case.  I don’t always have the time to visit her blog, but love it when I do. (Heart out to you, Humble.)

Damaged Pets is a writer who has great insight about the Anthony case, especially.  I get blown away nearly every time a comment is left because you get right to the core issue, Damaged Pets. (Heart out to you.)

Although I don’t always agree with GasCanGeorge, the comments give me a different perspective to consider, a different point of view.  The beauty of living is that we all think differently.  How boring it would be if there were no diversity of thought!  (Heart out to you.)

Faith is very kind and  knowledgeable and I always look forward to hearing from her!  Like her name, her faith is so great.  She is a true believer. (Heart out to you, Faith.)

Shyloh has been following the Anthony case, like most of us had, since day one, and her insight is rich, too.  I love the name “Shyloh” too!  (Heart out to you, Shyloh.)

And Lona1 is hysterical and always finds the best You Tube videos to share!  I love to laugh with Lona!  (Heart out to you, Lona1.)

Whistler’smother is another blogger with terrific insight who I love to hear from.  Thank you for all the time you visit!  (Heart out to you, Whistlersmother.)

KatyDid always has something kind and thoughtful to share…. I enjoy her visits so much!  (Heart out to you, KatyDid.)

Linda, NancyB, Colleen, Addie, Another Andrea, Darlene, Michael D, Marcie, Margaret, Brandon Bob…. You continue to teach me so much….. (Heart out to all of you.)

And lastly, Sherry, who I mentioned earlier as one of the first to visit and write lovely and encouraging things to me, has been such a dear friend to me.  Sherry, I think the world of you and I thank you for all you’ve given to support me these last couple of years.  (Heart out to you, Sherry.)

I am sure I have forgotten to list so many….  It’s not that I forgot you, it’s just that I am bleary eyed and my mind is mush, mashed mush to be exact.

In closing, I’m not only dreamin’ any longer because so many lovely people have jumped into my heart and filled it right up!

11
Apr

Can We STOP the 48 Hours Show?

I had every intention to write a post about the wonderful news that Yuri Melich is a finalist in the America’s Most Wanted All Star contest – such wonderful news – however, I am fighting mad about this 48 Hours show!

Well, before my 48 Hours rant, I do want to say how great it is that folks all over the Internet – from blogs, forums and chat-rooms – came together to vote for Yuri!  Hal Boedeker said it best, “He has so many fans that he is a finalist in “America’s Most Wanted” All-Star contest.”   Indeed, Yuri has endeared himself to many of us.  We are witness that he never wavered in his commitment to Caylee.  For that I know we are collectively, and profoundly, thankful.

I would be remiss not to express gratitude to John Allen, Eric Edwards, Appie Wells, the late Michael Erickson, and many others – too many to name – who went above and beyond in their search for justice for Caylee, who lost her life before she knew she had a life to live.

48 Hours of Defense Excuses

Many of us are raging mad at CBS’ 48 Hours show for airing a program about the Anthony case that features: Jose Baez, Linda Kenney Baden, Kobilinsky, Cindy and George Anthony, and others partial to the defense of this case.

If you’re unaware of the show (airing Saturday, April 16th), here is the link to the trailer of the 48 Hours show:  48 Excuses

However, those of us who are passionate for justice for Caylee are a formidable group – we have a strong voice, and we can use it.

Remember how we all came together to get the Anthony’s off of the Oprah Winfrey show?  I believe we can do it again!   If we bombard CBS with strong feedback, we can get this show canceled, or at least postponed until AFTER the trial has concluded.

Therefore, leave your criticism and comments here:  Feedback link: http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/feedback/fb_news_form.shtml?tag=ftr

It is not just the fact that the show will clearly be slanted toward the defense; it’s not entirely about the probable profits from the show; for me it’s mostly about the fact that the trial is less than a month away and this show could taint potential jurors.  I have no doubt this is a ploy to either delay,  or create appellate issues when the defense later cries about not being able to find impartial jurors.

I am not suggesting that this show will in anyway help the defense team; there is nothing under the sun that will help them at this point.  What I am suggesting is the fact that this is a sly trick to generate more sensationalism, which always benefits the defense.

We need CBS to postpone this show AND to recognize the case is about Caylee.  Period.

This is a desperate attempt by a defense team aware they’ve lost before they’ve even begun.  If this defense team had a modicum of ethics or ethical behavior, they would not embrace a guilty client in this way; they would not scratch and fight to win at all costs; fighting for innocence when it’s clearly a lie.

An ethical defense would be zealous, passionate, committed to acting on the right side of the law. But, this defense’s slithering snake-like approach is like an assault on our system of justice and practice of law.

Our voting for Yuri in the American Most Wanted All-Star contest won’t begin again until April 21st.  So, lets collectively take the time to bombard CBS and do our utmost to convince them to postpone or cancel the 48 Hours episode scheduled to air April 16th.

We are a force.  We can do it.

Updated links 4/12/11:

This is the link to the CBS blog relating to the show, it is flooded with comments.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8601-500251_162-7362272-0.html?assetTypeId=58&blogId=

This is the facebook page linking to the only sponsor revealed for the show so far, Breathe Right:
http://www.facebook.com/BreatheRight?sk=wall

Thanks go to Farrahrani for providing the above links.

30
Nov

creepy bullies – oh, they byte!

It was in June of 2009 that I experienced, for the first time, what it was like to sort of slip, without realizing it, into a Matrix-like, other worldly third dimension replete with bullies, bullets and bytes that pierced my unsuspecting soul.

When I was under attack, it felt like I was plummeting down that proverbial rabbit hole.  A rabbit hole without a bottom.  Spinning and spinning and reeling from these written attacks via email and in a chatroom about the Casey Anthony case.

My bullies were a group of women who I didn’t know, but who I chatted with on the Internet about the Casey Anthony case.  They grew slowly to be so vile and ugly.  So devious and prank-ish with a clear intent to hurt me – actual death threats against me and others – using childish pranks and curse words the likes of which you just don’t hear in polite society.

And now, over a year later, they are back taunting me again.

They’ve been emailing me threats, posting cruel and viscous taunts here on my blog.  It’s so startling to see; so ugly, so utterly without grace that they do this.  I find it difficult to grasp how they live with themselves.

I wrote a story about my experience with these bullies in a posting in 2009. For a bit of history on this story, please read my post titled “This my friends is no game, this is cyber-terrorism.”

In that story, I referred to them as “Judge and Jury.”   Their first names (I think) are Debbie and Trish.  And, sadly, they have a new devotee bully named Marie.  Marie was once a target of theirs.  They attacked her with such a vengeance once upon a time.  But clearly she’s forgotten that now.  Now, Marie has joined their platoon and is a fierce bullier herself.  She is just as cruel and vile as they are, if not more so.

These particular bullies have threatened that if I so much as DARE to mention them again here on this blog, they will retaliate against me and cause me so much harm that I won’t know what hit me.  Hah! I am not in the least bit scared of these blowhards.

Yes, these woman who have called me names, have written vile hyperbole on my blog, which I won’t repeat here – gutter talk that only people without consciousness would write….  These women call themselves “well adjusted!”   Now, I thought that was actually quite funny!  Between the threats, the sophomoric curse words, and the taunts, one bully told me how well adjusted she was!  Isn’t it rich?

But, seriously, they are cruel.  Demeaning me for having an education (they have none); calling me a stupid a__wipe.  Discussing the fact that because I have never married, I am a sick Lesbian (I am not – but I am single), a spinster who should join a lonely hearts club.  They claim I am psychotic and they have decided my mother did a piss-poor job raising me.  Oh there’s more gross talk; it’s just too ugly to repeat.

A Definition of Cyberbullying

So how do people cyber-bully?  In this digital age, it is easy to get your hands on the tools of the trade.  The venues include: Internet chat, Internet sites like MySpace or Facebook, text messaging or any type of technology to deliberately demean, harass, frighten or threaten harm to another person.  The reason it’s so insidious is due to it being anonymous.

The Cyberbully Personality

Bully’s believe that because they sit behind a computer monitor they are safe and can spew as much hate as they can muster.  Cyberbullies seek out prey that appear weak or vulnerable to them.

The most bizarre thing about most cyberbullies, they will turn off their computers and turn into normal people who go about their business without a care in the world.

Cyberbullies come in all shapes and sizes.  They are young, old, educated, uneducated, smart and bold.  They are out there and they are dangerous, especially to young people.

Recent cases in the news

You may remember the recent cyberbullying incident at Rutgers University in which a student committed suicide after classmates supposedly filmed him engaging in a gay sexual activity.  A bright eyed, intelligent Tyler Clementi jumped off the George Washington bridge as a result of the taunts and the pressure that these bullies imposed.

And there’s the case of Megan Meier, the pretty young Missouri teen who chatted via the internet with a mother of one of her friends, all the while thinking it was a boy she adored.  When the “boy” turned on her, Megan, so distraught, killed herself.

Sadly, there are hundreds of stories out there about teen suicides resulting from both bullying and cyberbullying.  It is a serious, serious problem.

And, it’s a tough crime to solve.  Slick, Internet savvy bully’s can hide their identity with no problem.  But, here on WordPress, it’s not so easy for the bully.

WordPress captures the I.P. Address of the poster.  The I.P. address is your internet fingerprint, traceable back to you.  Now, it’s not that easy, mind you, and it’s very expensive to trace an I.P. address, but I’m told that lawyers, FBI and local police have a way of connecting an I.P. address to an individual.

I do take some comfort in knowing that I need only to bring these posts and I.P. addresses to the authorities, if needed.

I will do it, too.  That’s not a threat either. It’s just a promise I’ve made to myself.

30
Nov

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying.

The article above (link) includes excellent advice for those of us who are or who have been victims of cyber bullies.

The video below pertains to young people, who are the most targeted group.  Adults bully too – sometimes relentlessly.  More on this topic to come.

28
Nov

HOPE for a BETTER WORLD

This is a short, but powerful, video featuring one of the most famous speeches by Harvey Milk, given in 1978.

Listen to Harvey Milk.  Listen to his message of  hope, peace, equality and justice for all.

We are all one people in this wide world.  Let us stop bullying each other.

Our classrooms are filled with children who, because of ignorance on the part of their parents, condone Gay hatred and thus we have young people committing suicide.  Young people who were born Homosexual but are too young to understand what it means to be Gay.  They are too young to know that being Gay is RIGHT for them.  Children who are too young to appreciate that no one should care about an individuals sexuality because it belongs to the individual.

There is no right or wrong in being Gay or Straight.  One is not better or worse than the other.  Believe this.  Live this for the sake of our children.  For the sake of children who will grow up to be lovely human beings, not necessarily because of their homosexuality, but because they will have grown up with a sensitivity that will become a lovely sensibility.

Believe this.  Stop the hatred.  Stop the bullying.  Condone kindness, empathy, and appreciate the different colors and the different sexuality that others own.

Live your own life without fear or judgment.

Just.  Live.

Say no to fear.

Somewhere in Des Moines or San Antonio there is a young gay person who all the sudden realizes that he or she is gay; knows that if their parents find out they will be tossed out of the house, their classmates will taunt the child, and the Anita Bryant’s and John Briggs’ are doing their part on TV. And that child has several options: staying in the closet, and suicide. And then one day that child might open the paper that says “Homosexual elected in San Francisco” and there are two new options: the option is to go to California, or stay in San Antonio and fight. Two days after I was elected I got a phone call and the voice was quite young. It was from Altoona, Pennsylvania. And the person said “Thanks”. And you’ve got to elect gay people, so that thousand upon thousands like that child know that there is hope for a better world; there is hope for a better tomorrow. Without hope, not only gays, but those who are blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us’s: without hope the us’s give up. I know that you can’t live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you, and you, and you have got to give them hope. -Harvey Milk, 1978

26
May

talk of life. talk of death.

I have been terribly busy with work, projects, real-estate, life, going to the theatre, and all kinds of things wonderful.

I am training a new group of employees at work – in the second week of a three-week long seminar.  It’s exhausting, but also very invigorating to  see the change and the learning happen.

As far as the Casey Anthony case, I am out of the loop! But, I am still very much thinking of the death penalty as it’s a dialogue that I would like to keep going – it’s important to keep talking about it.

I found the quote below today…. I think it rings some bells.

This is what it comes down to, don’t you think?   Death is the end of a beautiful journey, but I also think the journey continues with a beauty that is unimaginable to us.

“I’ve lived. I’ve really really lived. I’ve failed. I’ve been devastated. I’ve been broken. I’ve gone to hell and back. And I’ve also known joy. And passion. And I’ve had a great love. See death for me is not justice. It’s a … end of a beautiful journey. And I’m not afraid to die. The question is, are you? ”  ~Grey’s Anatomy

15
May

on writing & blogging; training for real life

As a writer, I am constantly humbled by the depth of thought and experience that  my Casey Anthony case readers/bloggers share here.  Frankly, some of the writing blows me away because I see such talent – talent that I only dream will one day show up in my own writing (I have only been blogging for a few months an have much to learn).  I hope that as I become a more experienced blogger, what is inside my head will make it to the page with increased depth of thought and with passionate clarity.  Thank you for coming along with me on this journey of mine.

I would love nothing more than to make this blog my full-time job….lately I’ve been dreaming about doing just that – but I’m only dreamin’ for now.  Someday. Maybe.

I have a full time job that is pressure-filled.  I write and teach for a living.  The technical term for what I do is called “Instructional Design” which means I analyze what Learners need to learn and I put it down on paper for trainers to use to train others in a classroom setting.  I develope elearning, too – it’s my favorite venue. Most of the work I do involves writing for a classroom setting.  However, in my job, I am also the trainer.  What I write, I also train.  It’s two jobs in one.

I have been an Instructional Designer for over ten years now, prior to that, I worked as an actor (that’s another story for another day).  I loved working as an actor and miss it terribly but I couldn’t keep up with the bills with any consistency (some months the pay was plentiful, other months not so much).  I miss the theatre terribly, but I’m on stage in the classroom, too.  So it’s all good.

I currently work in a university setting.  The people I train are university employees who need to learn new systems, new procedures, etc.   On Monday, I am training new employees “New Hires” we call them.  I’ll be in the classroom with them for three weeks.

So, right now (write now!) I don’t have the time to police this blog and I never dreamed that I’d have to.  But, when people are disrespectful to my readers, insulting their intelligence, demeaning their efforts to express themselves, then I have to take action and I did last evening.  I was forced to ban a person from continuing to write here.  I gave this person fair warning, but they wouldn’t stop blasting away at the people I admire – my friends who post here.

I am told this person also uses other email alias’s to post and disturb others.  Please accept my apologies if this happens, I will do my best to monitor this situation during the day.

So, what’s this post all about, you may be asking!  Well, it’s about writing and blogging, and training myself as as writer, using this blog as my laboratory.   I am passionate about the law and justice and would like to follow every missing person case in the news, write about all the injustices that I see such as the great horror we’re experiencing right now with the oil spill… I wonder if words can really express the enormity of what the environment is ultimately facing via this travesty in our glorious sea?  The wildlife that will be destroyed is too much for me to think about because when I do think about it, I want to scream in anger and rage against BP.  All I can really do is drive right by their Gas Station when I need gas.  That’s my punishment.  But, then I think – well that won’t work, really, BP needs to keep working and earning money to fix this mess they caused.  And THEY caused it.  Haliburtin and others have blame, don’t get me wrong, but BP’s name is blazed on the brand that makes the money, so I hold them accountable.

I’m all over the place here!   Let me close this by telling you how in awe I am of your writing – I am talking to the people who write here.

After reading what you share here, I find my self constantly saying: “Oh, I want to write like that!”

You have taught me so much and I thank you for investing your time here.  And, you know, judging by the consistent rise in readership here (I see the stats and more people are visiting every day), it’s not just me they are coming to read, it’s you.   So, thank you for what you give.

Thanks for putting up with the occasional mean commentator.  I won’t let them come here and destroy the good camaraderie that we have built and that we enjoy here.

I love blogging…. If I could afford to, this would be my full time job…. Maybe that will happen one day!

Dreams do come true every now and again.

Thank you again.

25
Apr

“I wish I hadn’t cried so much” says Alice. (Realities of Adult Bullying)

When considering the phenomenon of adult bullying (in cyber-space, at the workplace, or anyplace) an image and metaphor that aptly describes the experience is the scene from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, in which Alice floats and spins down the long and meandering tunnel of the White Rabbit’s obscure rabbit hole.

Although Alice’s rabbit hole was both whimsical and surreal in that fictional portrayal, today, the reality and the terror of such a plunge is very real.

The world is no fantasy for the target (i.e. victim) of bullying.  There is emotional violence at play.  Yes, it’s violent behavior.

The reality for the victim of bullying is persistent emotional aggression that is aimed directly and persistently at them.  Self respect can go right down the proverbial rabbit hole when it happens.

Down, down, down. Would the fall ever come to an end?” (Carroll, 1865)

Borrowing an Alice in Wonderland metaphor, when a target is under siege and gets swooped  into a rabbit hole of bullying by aggressors, they begin an implausible and impossible decent into a cold reality that is similar to a prisoner held in a land of lawlessness.  Similarly, authors Tracy, Lutgen-Sanvik, & Alberts, in their Nightmares, Demons, and Slaves: Exploring the Painful Metaphors of Workplace Bullying, present an exhaustive study that illustrates how targets of workplace abuse use various metaphorical frameworks to describe the pain and the hurt of their workplace bullying experience:

…battle, water torture, nightmare, or noxious substance. Abused workers frame bullies as narcissistic dictators, two-faced actors, and devil figures. Employees targeted with workplace bullying liken themselves to vulnerable children, slaves, prisoners, animals, and heartbroken lovers” (Tracy, et al, 2006).

Such metaphors serve to describe the extreme psychological pain felt by the victim.

Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well. (Carroll, 1865)

Workplace Bullying has grown pervasive in the 21st century.  The evidence suggests that bullying robs targets (i.e. victims) of dignity, and employers of productivity, and has grown as pervasive as sexual harassment. (Davenport, Schwartz, & Elliot, 2002, Namie & Namie, 2007, Daniel, 2006)

Authors Tracy, Alberts, and Rivera, in association with Arizona State University, for the Arizona Board of Regents, provide a self-help article for victims of bullying to help emotionally devastated victims tell their story so it is cohesive and expressed as an unemotional narrative. (Tracy, et al, 2007)

In How to Bust the Office Bully: Eight Tactics for Explaining Workplace Abuse to Decision-Makers (2007), Tracy, et al., explain that, because of the emotional and painful nature of the trauma, targets of bullying face a bigger challenge when they attempt to explain their plight.

Victims who have descended into a state of emotional despair and have difficulty expressing their story without becoming emotional, are less likely to be credible to a Human Resources (HR) group.  As it is commonly seen in today’s academic literature, the fact is that very frequently targets who tell their stories are often deemed “petty…a problem employee” and often end up holding the blame (Tracy, et al, 2007), and descending further into the rabbit hole of despair.

I wish I hadn’t cried so much!’ said Alice, as she swam about, trying to find her way out. `I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears! (Carroll, 1865)

In their popular text, The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job, Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie, founders of the Workplace Bullying Institute , and pioneers in the grassroots awareness campaign about bullying, provide a widely quoted definition of bullying:

Bullying….. is the repeated, malicious, health-endangering mistreatment of one employee (the Target) by one or more employees (the bully, bullies).  The mistreatment is psychological violence, a mix of verbal and strategic assaults to prevent the Target from performing work well.  It is illegitimate conduct in that it prevents work getting done.  Thus, an employer’s legitimate business interests are not met (Namie & Namie, 2003).

A chief difference between targets and bullies is the result of a dichotomy between cooperation and control. For the bully, there is a need and desire for total control.  Control is the foundation of all bullying. The bully’s deliberate and insidious methods to hamper the Target’s ability to succeed in either word or deed, are typical examples of a need for control resulting in aggression.

…for it might end, you know,” said Alice to herself, “in my going out altogether, like a candle…” And she tried to fancy what the flame of a candle looks like after the candle is blown out… (Carroll, 1865)

An insidious offshoot of the bullying phenomenon is called mobbing, or bullying by a group, which refers to how, either purposely or in ignorance, the target (of the bullying) is driven from the workplace by more than one person.  This is also a phenomenon that has caught on via the internet.

Psychological terror or mobbing in working life involves hostile and unethical communication which is directed in a systematic manner by one or more individuals, mainly toward one individual, who, due to mobbing, is pushed into a helpless and defenseless position and held there by means of continuing mobbing activities.  These actions occur on a very frequent basis (statistical definition: at least once a week) and over a long period of time (statistical definition: at least six months’ duration). Because of the high frequency and long duration of hostile behavior, this maltreatment results in considerable mental, psychosomatic, and social misery (Namie & Namie, 2003).

Currently, there is no federal or state legislation banning workplace incivilities, aggression or bullying (HR Focus, 2008), and HR professionals are aware that the law rarely provides protection for generalized harassment claims. (Namie, 2007)

Alice felt so desperate that she was ready to ask help of any one…. she began, in a low, timid voice, `If you please, sir–‘ The Rabbit started violently, dropped the white kid gloves… (Carroll, 1865)



11
Oct

oh my farmer friends

celebrating together

celebrating together

I have been farming with my friends. 

Friendships thrive where things grow and where happiness is harvested.  

The group:  Deb, Sookie, Lil-Andrea (aka Mafia Princess), Fancy, Sheila, Jen, and Karen have become cherished, dear friends.  We are one another’s support group, and friendships have grown, in some cases, into true friendships, beyond the one dimensional “internet” friendship dynamic.    

We all originally met and became online buddies in a drama-filled chat room about the Casey Anthony saga.  When the Anthony case moved off of the front page of the news, what followed was chat room antics and cyber-bullying that got bizarre and hateful.  That is when the group found Farm Town, on Face Book.  

What started as a silly place for farming, fun and sharing has grown into a community that allowed us to mouse-click our way into each others hearts. (By the way, if you have not yet discovered Face Book, do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s a wonderful medium for staying in touch with loved ones and friends.)

Farm Town is a highly interactive online game in which groups of friends work on each others virtual farms – in real time.  There’s a chat functionality, too, which makes it completely enjoyable. 

The object of the game: to plow, plant, harvest, and sell farm crops that you “farm” on a colorful piece of virtual land.  The seeds literally grow and mature into fruits and vegetables to be sold in the virtual Farm Town marketplace.  There’s even a real estate office where you can “buy” additional land.  (Pictured here is an example of the avatar/farmer-characters that players of Farm Town virtually embody.)

Strong bonds have developed.  We are cheerleader’s for each other’s big and small victories.  We are a lovely bunch of coconuts…. nuts for each other.

We are from all corners of the United States: California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Alabama, Florida, and Rhode Island, yet the internet has brought us together like close neighbors and dear friends.  And now we have learned to do voice chat (VOIP) and some have learned how to video chat, too, which strengthens our bond even further.

My farmer friends, I love you all unconditionally.  We are farmers and harvesters of everything postive, fun and crazy!   

From the bottom of my heart I thank you all for your friendship.  ((((Hugs))))

2
Aug

have you been a victim? take a quick cyber-bully poll

Have you been the victim of a cyber-bully?   More and more I am reading about this hateful phenomenon and I’d like to get a sense, via a quick poll, how prevalent it may be.  (The poll is located to the right of this page.)                   

To be clear, below is a cursory definition of what constitutes Cyber-bullying.  There is also a link to the Wired Safety organization for additional information, as I’d encourage you to get a better feel for the nature and the definition of cyber-bullying:

Parry Aftab, an Internet privacy lawyer and executive director of WiredSafety.org, notes …. The law, amended in 2005, prohibits people from using the Internet anonymously with the intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person. (Seattle Times, 11/23/2007)

The question is “In my lifetime, I have been victimized by a cyber-bully.”  You may respond in one of three ways: 

  • Yes, definitely. 
  • Yes, no big deal.  
  • No, never. 

I added the response “Yes, no big deal” as a way to gauge the impact the bullying had on you. 

I’ll leave this poll open for a couple of weeks and will publish the percentage of responses. 

Stay safe – children are being victimized in great numbers, hold them close and monitor their online friends…

Peace.

Andrea

30
Jul

putting on my Pit Bull…(only dreamin’)

What I am about to write is the absolute wrong thing to say or send when you are being harassed by a cyber-bully.  You never want to antagonize a bully – you always want to ignore them.  Always.  (Yes, I am learning my lessons, learning well.) 

With cyber bullies, because they are cowards – they post and run, leave or send evil messages under cover of darkess and most victims don’t get the satisfaction of standing up to them. 

So, I am going to have my say, here and now!  I’m getting it out of my system right now!  Okay, letting it go, letting it fly, growling like a Pit Bull and spewing what I’d really like to say to these cyber-bullies.  (PS: I’d never have the nerve to send this to the bullies that have harrassed me;  but to dream about it is very theraputic.)

My Bully Fantasy Script:

This is for all the bullies, all the haters out there who, for “sport” think it’s a grand game to harass and belittle people. 

This is for the good and kind people, too.  For John in Florida who inspired me with the Pit Bull image.

Me: You are very sick and troubled people.  I am tired of your sick postings, your spying tactics and your evil and underhanded ways.  Why eat hate for every meal???!!  I know you enjoy spreading your hate and anger – you feast on it like a rabid animal.  Why would you be so cruel?  Why would you be so vile and heartless?  No one deserves your wrath – turn it inward and see how it feels, why don’t you?

Why are your hearts so dark?  Why are your minds so full of disturbed things?  I will never understand the cruelty that must live within you 24/7. 

Attack / Post / Run.  That’s your game.  You attack again and again but you run away, like a coward!  Attack – post – and run!    So easy for you, isn’t it?  But, oh so cowardly; oh so underhanded, oh so hatefully aggressive.  You don’t discuss or talk – you attack when the target (victim) of your hate is not there to defend his or herself.  You attack like an inhuman boor!     

So, you big bully, if you ever again try to hurt me, I will fight like a Pit Bull from now on!   If you should even so much as THINK about harassing me again, or trying to cause harm to me, or try any other underhanded or cruel measure to try to hurt me….  I will bring a lawsuit against you in a mad rush of Pit Bull fever the likes of which you’ve never seen! 

I will get a bloody army of Pit Bulls and we’ll bite and we’ll bite for days and days!  We’ll bite and bite you from all sides, from all angles!  

Why won’t you clean out your damn heart…???  It’s filthy. 

Eck…. bleck…. phew!!!

Okay…! That felt pretty good (even if it’s only a dream).

28
Jul

this, my friends, is no game, this is cyber-terrorism

I have been so busy lately that having time to write here is pure luxury.  So, I am grateful for today…. for this moment to share what has been very much on my mind of late.  

As my friends and family know, I have met and have chatted on the Internet with a small group of women for a few months now.  Chatting is brand new to me – and what an experience it has been!  It’s been at the same time good and awful. 

The Internet chat that I am a member of is focused around the horrific but fascinating Casey Anthony case.  (If you happen to live your life in close proximity to newspaper headlines, or watch cable news, or if you are a true-crime buff – as I am – then you know that Casey Anthony is currently awaiting trial in a central Florida jail cell, having been accused of killing her 2 year old daughter.)  If you are aware of the case, then you know how wretchedly maddening, yet interesting the cast of characters in this drama are – how the stories wind and spin out of control in the media circus that it has become.  It’s very much a Shakespearean tragedy, but worse.

Anyway, on to my story, or rather, on to my letter to two women who have stalked and bullied in cyberspace a whole community of people.  I am their most recent (and thankfully, last) victim.  Telling my story will also explain part of the other victim’s stories, too.  And, chances are, when the victims read this, they may comment here and explain their horror, too.

My story is subtitled:  The Dangerous Games My Cyber-Bullies Played

These are two people who I would love to hate, but cannot.  I met these two cyber bullies, I’ll call them Judge and Jury, a few months ago in a wonderful and fun Internet chat community.

I grew to enjoy Judge and Jury a great deal – we had many laughs – as in LOL, LMAO, or ROTFLMAO!  Well, our conversations were, for a good while, stimulating and interesting, fun and silly, smart and, at times, drama-filled, but generally filled with a lot of laughter. 

And then…oh so slowly, almost without perception, signs of jealousy and sophomoric behavior crept in.  Ugly back-biting began to erupt and became the norm, which caused Judge and Jury to attack other chatters with a warlike vengeance.  Soon they began to plot “attacks” against other chatters.  They punished the “treason” of other chatters via what they called thier “Pearl Harbor Attacks” (against other chatters).  In the Pearl Harbor attacks, Judge and Jury would “post” dozens of screen shots (JPG pictures) that were distasteful and/or embarrassing to the victim of thier attack.  

And, after one or two of these episodes, I began (oh so slowly) to see the vicious intent behind the games.  And then, shortly thereafter,  I was looking down the lens of their cannon… they were gunning for me with a vengeance so evil it is disturbing.  (PS…You will have to suspend your disbelief while reading this odd tale.)  

Judge and Jury threatened my employment, threatened me, and laughed at the thought of my dying, or loosing my job.  They constantly discussed my “sick blog writing”, they accused me of being gay, and so many more terrible and hateful musings.   And, irony of ironies, one of the cyber-bullies claims to be a Mental Health Professional.  (Reminder as you continue reading – these two women are in their late forties, early fifties.)  So, here is my letter to them – which I will never send.  

The Letter:

Dear Judge and Jury:

I am writing this to put a stop to any retaliation thoughts that you two may try to hatch.   I saw the disgusting and sick things you wrote, and frankly, it is unconscionable that someone your age, in your profession, should be behaving in this cruel and evil fashion.

The conversations that I witnessed literally made me sick to my stomach.  And, so I am saying this with all honesty: if you attempt to retaliate against me or anyone of the chatters, I will take action, as chat archives can be accessed via subpoena; surely you would not want those evil writings to be made public? 

You see, I found your writings thanks to your persistent visits to my blog.  Because my blog reveals the URL of your chat room, I simply had to click the URL to see for myself your sick collection of screen shots, your vile emails, your persistent and perverse cyber-bullying tactics, and your devious stalking of me.

I saw evidence of your delight in the suffering of others.  How you relished and celebrated thoughts about what could be occurring related to my health.  This is paraphrased, but I actually saw you both engage in this conversation about me – wondering if you’d hear from me via email, you said:

“I wonder will she email us, do you think?  Nah, we’ll probably get an email from her brother saying she’s dead – her brother will contact us that she’s dead and will ask us: ‘are you the friends that Andrea spoke so dearly of…ha ha ha!”  “Yeah, she’ll die with a death-grip on her little dog; she’ll be all swollen and teary, hugging her damn dog with a death grip.”

I saw you discuss my employment; you had my employer’s website and other sites and items related to me in your room and how you’d love to get me fired from my job! And you wished you’d gain access to my LinkedIn account to “mess it up”. 

And, I saw you write the following in regards to another chatter, who’s picture you stole, and wrote foul things upon.  You said about this chatter:

“She’s so f-ugly.  Pull up her picture – let’s write this:  AM I A MAN OR A WOMAN?  LOL.  She will have a sh*t-fit, and I will love it. She has no f*ckin idea we have her picture.  When she sees it, I hope it makes her cry. I will laugh as she cries….ahhh, she’s cryin’ I’ll be laughing that she’s crying.”

When you finished writing your hate on her picture, and showing the picture in the Internet chat room, you said this: “Man, we rocked it!” “Well, hell, this was fun.” 

I saw the months and month’s worth of screen shots and evil writings that you two had shared.  I had no idea that you were playing such sick games, and for such a long time.  I was amazed at how you two relished and delighted in the suffering of others.  You celebrated my health problems…you laughed and mused at my death!   You laughed that I would die with a death-grip around my dog.  How could you think, much less SAY/WRITE such things?

Where is your compassion?  Where is your humanity?  Where is your honesty?  How could you be so cruel?  Why would you engage in such behavior?

I am not so naïve to hope for an apology or to fanaticize that you are recalcitrant and see the error of your ways… I would hope… but I know better.

I do feel sorry for you. I am very sorry that you chose the path of hate and evil as I know that somewhere in your heart there is kindness, and I will continue to pray for you. 

Lastly, despite your hatred of me, despite everything, I do forgive you, and I honestly wish you peace, and I hope that, as you move on in life, some measure of humanity and kindness will gracefully soften your heart and lighten the guilt that I, quite frankly, hope that you feel.   

Still with sadness,

Andrea

Post Script:  Judge and Jury have been shut out of the Internet chat community – FOR GOOD!  ♫♥♫♥♫

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