I told Blake an hour ago that I was coming to bed but I got engrossed by this Salon article about “Mormon mommy bloggers” and now it’s 12:30am.
My head is killing me, my glands are swollen, my throat is sore and my eyes are burning with fever so I know I’m getting sick and I should get some sleep, especially since I have to work tomorrow (oh yeah, I work weekends now, which I’m absolutely not thrilled about, but adjusting…) but this article really got me thinking about my own blogging habits, especially since Madison learned CSS today and is creating a site of her own. (And no, I’m not telling you where it is, although some of you may have a pretty good idea and I’m pretty sure it’s Googleable. If you find it, please be respectful and remember that she’s 12, okay?)
So these Mormon ladies who blog…they have impressively designed sites and take really nice pictures (well, a few of them do, a few in the article not so much) and it’s all very aesthetic and I’m really really jealous of this. Hell, I’m jealous of non-Mormon ladies who blog and have all of those elements too because I don’t.
Which brings me to the next thing: my site (blog, whatever) apparently gets on average about 2500 unique visitors, if I’m reading the Google Analytics correctly, so why the fuck aren’t any of them commenting here? The only comments I really get are from casual passers-by or ladies I know from art circles who come here every few months and catch up on my adventures in bursts. And the trolls of course, but they’re useless – yet dedicated! my biggest fans! – whose comments I don’t let come through because they’re just trying to negatively affect me. Admittedly, sometimes it works, but i still won’t give them what they want, which is attention, which I also suppose I’m giving them now. *sigh*
Moving right along…
So I’ve been doing this blog thing for a decade. And a lot of people have been following my antics for that long and I think that’s sort of a weird accomplishment. It kind of pisses me off to see these hipster mommy bloggers, Mormon or otherwise, get featured in things like Salon articles or The Huffington Post or the New York times and all these other places when there are so many of us who have been doing this longer and (I’m not necessarily including myself here), better. In the comments of the Salon article I linked, there are a lot of people saying that the Mormon ladies’ blogs are glossed over and not true portrayals of their lives and after reading a few of them tonight for a while, I think I’m going to have to agree, whereas myself and the ladies I chill with, we show the good, the bad and the ugly, right along with the joyous events and happy things (another confession: I know in the past I’ve been very negative in my writing because I was depressed, don’t forget that I’m A) a human being and B) a mentally ill human being). I think out of all of the lady bloggers I know, I’m probably the biggest over-sharer of the bunch.
DON’T GET ME WRONG: I am NOT complaining that I haven’t been recognized by legitimate mass media or anything of the kind, it just bugs me that old schoolers, SUCH AS myself, get passed over for web 2.0ers. Y’know? Like all these YouTube “celebrities” have their own fucking Wikipedia articles that no one argues should be taken down because none of them have really “done” anything, yet my friend Steph the Geek’s Wikipedia article was taken down several times because people complained it was a vanity article when in fact, she’s done a HELL of a lot more than these YouTube brats. Cam culture is actually this huge, sort of integral thing within internet history, yet the only camgirls I know, the forebears of YouTube itself, who have their own Wikipedia articles are Jennifer Ringley, Ana Voog and Steph the Geek (who, as I said, had to fight to keep her article up, see the discussion of it to know what I’m talking about.) And for the love of kittens, I am NOT complaining here that I don’t have a Wikipedia article so please do not even go down that road. I have done NOTHING to merit such a thing and it bugs me when people in the past have suggested I have. My only real claim to fame, so to speak, is that…fuck, I don’t even know. I don’t really think I have one, to be perfectly honest.
I’m babbling, I know. I’m sick and I’m having “racing thoughts” and I totally forgot what the point of this post was.
I do know that it involved what I like to call a “site overhaul” that I’m hoping to execute sometime in March with Blake’s help and possibly my friend Charlie’s excellent banner-making skills. The colours will probably remain the same because they are my colours and the “feel” probably won’t change, but I’m hoping to add more graphical elements and a better comment system. (Blake’s going to hate that I just said the latter because he spent a long time making the comments system I have now…) The reason I don’t have a more graphic website, as in a website with more graphics, is because I don’t know how to add them myself, which is another thing I’m hoping to remedy. For example, my sidebars are ALL text and the reason they are all text is because that’s all I know how to do. In my WordPress control panel, I have menus and buttons and shit that allow me to add links and things to my sidebars but in WordPress, I would have no idea how to add a .png in the sidebar that links to something. When my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project gets digitized, I will have my own link on the project’s site where you can see it and where you can see my bio and pictures of my other work and things like that, so when that goes live, I would like to have in one of my sidebars a graphic from The Sketchbook Project (they are free and available), which I can link to that. Without having to ask Blake to do it.
I guess this is a resolution of sorts, to be more independent with my own…is it work? I’ve always sort of considered it work but at the same time it’s absolutely compulsive at this point so it’s just BEING. THIS RIGHT HERE is how I function, how I process my own thoughts. I absolutely cannot imagine my life without this outlet.
I don’t know if I’ve ever acknowledged this out loud, so I’m going to do so now: I think a BIG reason as to why I became a housebound agoraphobe (currently in recovery) is because on these here internets, at least in the places I frequent, I’m somewhat of a big fish. Meatside, not so much. On the internets, I have a lot of control over the environment and the interactions I have. Meatside, not so much, everything’s completely unpredictable and most of it is beyond your control. I hate that. On the internet, you can think before you speak/type (although I basically DON’T *grin*) but meatside every human interaction tends to be completely awkward, or at least that’s been my experience.
OH, y’know what? I made a phone call on Friday. To most people this is not a big deal in the slightest, people make phone calls every day, right? Well I don’t. i think the last conversation I had on a phone was with Alex maybe 2 months ago. The time before that was with Alex maybe 6 months prior to the last one. Basically the only person I talk to on the phone is Blake and I don’t even like to do that, especially now that he has his new job, which, by the way, I fucking hate because he’s not as accessible as he used to be and he’s a lot more stressed out/snippy.
And I’m totally straying from the point I was going to make in the paragraph previous to the last one, but I’ll get there eventually.
Friday I called my mom. See, I was supposed to mail my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project on Friday because that was the deadline. I bribed Madison with Lush products to get home after school as soon as possible to run my sketchbook down to the post office before 4:30pm so it would be postmarked on time and I would have an extra half day to put the final touches on it. Since parts of my book got ruined, I was stressing hardcore Friday morning. I woke up at 6:15am because I could smell smoke in the house, as if someone had had a cigarette in my kitchen despite the fact that neither Blake nor I smoke anymore, but as it turned out there was a rogue pistachio that fell from the top cupboard into the bottom of the stove’s element and that caught on fire when Blake was making his coffee before work. I was glad though, that I was up early because I start work at 10am usually and being up so early meant that I could put arms on my girls in the sketchbook and have them be totally dry by the time Madison was to run like a crazy kid to the post office with my precious precious sketchbook.
By 9am I was stressing over this fucking sketchbook because it wasn’t perfect anymore but when I went to the project’s website to get the address I was supposed to mail it to, I saw that they extended the deadline to MONDAY. OH DEAR SWEET BABY JESUS WHO I DON’T EVEN BELIEVE IN, I was SO relieved. I knew my mom was stressed out about it too because we’d been talking about in on Facebook all week (she and a bunch of her friends were all doing it too) so I posted the link to the page that had the extended deadline on Facebook so my mom would see it but then I was afraid she wouldn’t see it in time and would mail her sketchbook out anyway, so I called her in her new home with John, where she’s been living for 2 years (or maybe 1? I dunno) and where I’d never called before. And we talked for about an hour, which is the longest conversation I’ve had on the phone in YEARS. Literally. It would have been longer but I was already half an hour “late” for work (the bosses don’t REALLY care what time I start, as long as I do the amount of hours I’m supposed to during the day so it was no big deal) so I cut it “short”.
This is totally fucked up, I know, but it’s also why I see a shrink once a month, but that phone call mentally exhausted me. Like, I needed to recover from it. One meatside (so to speak) social interaction messes with me and if I have too many “things” in one day, I can’t deal so I freak out completely and need extra psychiatric medication and lots and lots of “quiet time” to come down from it. I’m strong as an ox in some respects, but a fragile flower in others. I also get obsessed with time and I have no scope of how long things take because I’ve been homebound for so long, but that’s probably best saved for another post.
So back to my whole “I’m basically an internet addict” thing. As I’ve mentione din previous posts, I’ve been using Foursquare as an immersion therapy tool, the goal of which is to rank on the leaderboards against my friends and to earn stupid badges that are not even real. It’s dumb, I know, but it works and the people who follow me on Twitter (and now Facebook) seem to like following me around as I check in places. (Although not everyone is happy about it, I know Alex filters Fourquare posts out of her Twitter feed.) Foursquare is the ENTIRE reason I spent most of my first paycheque on a $700 smartphone, which probably sounds absolutely insane to most people, but you have to factor in the fact that I *am* somewhat insane and everyone told me that I should spend my first paycheque, being my first paycheque EVER, frivolously, so I did. And I saw it as both a tool for combating agoraphobia, but also as a means to take my internet friends with me wherever I went. No matter where I was, I could read Live Journal and comment, I could check my e-mail accounts, I could even watch the naked ladies uploading cam pics on Camwhores.com from a hospital emergency room when Alex’s brother lost HIS mind. (Which is still lost by the way, but that’s a whole other post and not really my story to tell so if Alex writes about it publicly I’ll just link that if anyone cares about the rest of that story.) Now that the internet was portable, I felt more empowered to leave the house because if anything awkward happened or whatever, I could tweet about it and have 5 people tell me it’s okay or give me a pat on the back for getting through it. The phone also has the most obnoxious alarm ever created which is necessary for me to get to work on time. My phone isn’t just a phone, it’s a tool of survival. Flame me all you want for being materialistic in this regard but keep in mind that prior to this year, the most I left the house was maybe, MAYBE once a month, now it’s usually every 4 days. I still can’t go anywhere by myself, but I think once life circumstances change (long story) things will improve in that area.
Having said that, a new hair salon opened up down the street from me and I’m considering, now that I’m being forced to take a 2 hour break from work every day so I can work on weekends *grumble*, having professionals dye and cut my hairs from now on as opposed to good ol’ L’Oreal Blondissmes and a prayer. Oh yeah, and letting a 12 year old cut my hair and giving me “layers”…I’ve been thinking about this for weeks but I don’t know the salon’s name or phone number and they’re too new to be Googleable or in the phone book so until I have that name and number, nothing can happen but I don’t know how to obtain that information. I supposed I could ask Madison to write it down on her way home from school. My point though, is that I’m taking steps and if I don’t do it my way, it’ll never happen at all so people have no place to give me flack about it. (Not that anyone IS at the moment, I’m just being pre-emptive.)
By the way, my head is KILLING me and I should be sleeping. I’m not sure I can though. :o/
So these things, plus a billion more, are what’s keeping me up right now. I probably sound manic, but I’m not, just overly thoughtful and rambly and sick. It just kills me that these “Mormon mommy bloggers” are getting like, 50+ comments on each post they make and I wonder what kind of traffic they get or why that’s happening while my blog (not including posts x-posted to Live Journal) gets maybe one comment every 4 posts. Is it maybe because their blogs are connected to a network of churchy folk and mine is sort of in limbo? Like really, who IS my audience? At this point I have absolutely no idea who I’m writing this all for. I mean, myself obviously, although I don’t re-read my own posts, and Blake reads most of it and I think my mom does too and a few “internet friends” do, but for the most part, I have no fucking clue who you people are. And I’d like to, so tell me dammit. Tell me who you are. I can tell my IPs where people live, but that’s so little information as to who a person is and what their deal is and why they’re reading that I don’t even bother to look them up anymore. Live Journal people I mostly know because they of course have LJs too and at least half of them actually use them beyond reading purposes.
A few months ago, a few months in a row, my site became unaccessible mid-month because I was reaching my allotted bandwidth usage, which was a first. I asked Kevin, my good friend and site host, why this was suddenly happening and he said that it appeared as though people were going through my gallery a lot. He raised my bandwidth usage so these outages wouldn’t happen anymore, but it made me wonder why suddenly apparently a lot of people or at least more than “usual” were going trhough my gallery which really only exists because I don’t have or use ftp software. I upload things to the gallery to link in posts and that’s literally the only reason it exists. It seems to me that the only real motivation for going through my gallery would be to get to know me better which would appear to mean that maybe either new people were coming to the site who were unfamiliar with my, uh, work, or old people were…I don’t even know. Anyone got a theory as to why this might be happening? Because I haven’t the foggiest idea and found it very peculiar. Truthfully though, I haven’t looked at my Google Analytics in a long time because the stats really weren’t that interesting anymore. Hardly anyone links me because of my Camwhores connection and unpredictability/lack of filters, particularly when it comes to FUCKING language. I know a ton of girls with sites, a lot of whom I consider good friends, but my site doesn’t fit in with theirs because most of them are porn or pay-for-porn sites and their customers/viewers don’t wanna read my shit, they just want to see tits. And sometimes I show tits, which means my more straight-laces blog friends don’t link me either because their readers only want safe for work content, so I’m kinda fucked as far as linkage. Y’know what my primary source of traffic is? Steak and Blowjob Day because I wrote a stupid article about sucking cock in like, 2002, that apparently is very helpful. My site has very little to do with sex anymore and it 95% safe for work, but I keep that article and the ones like it up because those seem to be the crowd-pleaser and are a good place to put my Camwhores affiliate links.
The reason I bring up links is because links are where traffic comes from, traditionally, yet my traffic is all mostly independent; people coming here directly from my url, presumably bookmarked. I find this baffling. WHy are they so quiet? SPEAK UP! New blood comes from Steak & Blowjob Day and Camwhores and they’re not exactly looking for fairies, angels and mermaids, pictures of kids, videos of Blake doing stupid things and 4,000 word blog posts about basically nothing so I’n guessing most of them don’t stick around. HOWEVER, these people have to be the ones going through my galleries and eating up my bandwidth so WTF?
I just find it all very confusing. Nothing I do is linear or even all that explainable and I think I’ve always been clear about the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing on these here internets. Not a whole lot of what I do is really all that intentional and as I mentioned, most of it is compulsive.
~*A FEW DEEP BREATHS & AN ATIVAN LATER*~
Usually I don’t kill myself like this trying to figure it all out, I just let it BE and most of the time I’m okay like that, but nights like tonight I just want it all explained to me. I want to know who these people reading are and why they’re reading. Maybe if I knew that I could make this a better experience for them but maybe they all remain silent because they don’t want to interrupt or make me change a thing. I have no idea. Maybe they’re shy? Maybe they hate my crude comments system? WOuld it be better if people had to register to post on my site? Like have an account? Because I think that’s possible with WordPress…somehow. Like if people could post using their Facebook accounts or their openIDs or whatnot, maybe I’d get more comments? (Does this sound like I’m begging for comments? I hope not because that’s not what I’m going for here, I’m just trying to figure out why, if so many people read my crap on any given day, they are so damn quiet. What are they thinking? Why don’t they make contact? Am I an alien being viewed from the outside of a glass bubble or what?) I just wish I had some help understanding it all. Comments, maybe introductions, would help me understand it all but no matter how many times I’ve mentioned this phenomenon, nothing ever changes. The explanations don’t come.
OH! I KNOW! E-mail me! Sunny@SunnyCrittenden.com Make the subject line something topical though, like “HEY SUNNY, READ THIS!” because I delete most e-mails from people I don’t know without opening it because I don’t use anti-virus software and I’m paranoid about spam and viruses. Kevin or someone told me once that some of these e-mails I get are like “tester” e-mails where the person or company or bot or whatever that sent it would know if I clicked on it to open it or not and if I did, they would know that subject lines like that work so they’d use them on other people more often so I delete most e-mails that are suspect without opening them for that reason. Now that I’ve written that out, it sounds like someone probably fed me a line of bullshit and now that I think about it, I’ve no doubt deleted e-mails from real people who read my site. The key, I think, to getting me to open a piece of e-mail that’s legit is to use my name in the subject line or something. If anyone felt inclined yet doesn’t want to “share with the class” in the comments, totally feel free to e-mail me. I went through a phase a while back where I was getting a TON of e-mail, mostly from horny guys who had seen me naked, so I stopped replying for quite a long time to discourage e-mail, but I think I’m in a place where I’m ready and eager to begin receiving it again.
Something else I’ve been debating this week is my address. Now that I have a job, I have the means to get a PO box again, which is, I *think*, $120/year. I haven’t had one for the past couple of years because no one was sending me anything and my only income was from paintings and Camwhores, which doesn’t amount to a whole lot. My painting money allows me to replenish my art supplies and to get Blake & I Starbucks, which is right across the road from Michael’s and Curry’s (which is an art supply store that is having a 25% off canvases sale this weekend that I totally forgot about until now and hopefully I can get there tomorrow because I suddenly feel the urge to paint on irregular sizes canvases rather than square ones…holy tangent…)…and my Camwhores money is only about $20-$50/month and I usually buy my own food with it, like popcorn at the movies when Blake earns free movie passes through his work. My point is that until now, my earnings have been extremely meager and I think there are people out there who want to send me mail. It’s just this feeling I have and without going into details, I do have evidence to support this theory. SO this is why I would want a PO box.
I am of the belief that the world would rather hug you than hurt you and a large part of me doesn’t think it would be dangerous or reckless to publish not only my home address on my website but a link to my house on Google Maps so everyone can see the street view not just of where my house is but my whole town, especially if we move to where I want to move, which I happen to think is a very interesting town. My mother-in-law is probably reading this right now and shrieking in her head that this is a horrible idea and that if I do this I’m endangering the lives of my children, which is debatable I suppose; in the past she’s given us/me grief about not editing out our house number when I take pics of the front of the house. I actually DO edit out our house number 95% of the time, but sometimes I forget or I figure no one cares so I just leave it. I mean really, who wants to stalk me anyway?
At the same time, I am really really paranoid about kidnappers and stalkers. I never used to be but then I got this persistent troll whose IP is from Toronto and that made me worry a bit more. If my kids aren’t home by 4pm, I freak the fuck out and have 911 on speed dial because I know time is critical in kidnapping cases. I know Wes wouldn’t be prepared if something happened, meanwhile Madison would be because I’ve drilled it into her head that there are a LOT of strangers who know a LOT about her and that puts her at risk. I think it’s a very slim risk, but it’s still present. She and I have discussed this risk at great length and we’ve come to the conclusion together that yes, the risk is slim, and she’s fine with me sharing things about her anyway as long as she gets final approval (most of the time) and I’m getting off topic again…
So, people of the internet, do you think I should pay for a PO box that may or may not ever get used? Or do you think it’s safe to put my home address, which wouldn’t cost me any money, on my website? Is the Google Maps idea going too far? I should also mention that one of the “Mormon mommy bloggers” has her home address on her website, which I found interesting, and she’s basically doing a whitewashed version of what I’ve been doing for 10 years so…also I haven’t really discussed the address/PO box thing with Blake so I don’t have his take on it yet either. I’m just curious as to what my more internet savvy friends think of this.
And I think that’s the end of my babbling for tonight. If I continue I won’t get up in time to be finished work at a reasonable hour to make it to Curry’s to buy discounted canvases and possibly to go see True Grit AND be home in time for the season premiere of Big Love. If I don’t wake up in absolute misery healthwise…we’ll see.
By the way, this post is 4,854 words long. I think that may be a record. Kudos to your attention spans.