Spring blues

I’m feeling a bit conflicted today. It’s my mother’s fault..probably. She called me today ticked off about an (inaccurate) threatening letter she had received on my behalf.  I can’t remember the last time I ever had any difficult words with my mother.  In fact, probably not since I was about nine years old.  I’ve been through the details with her and sorted out the drama to some extent but it’s left me a little…blue.

My ethos in life is to have a Positive Mental Attitude.  It’s done me well for the last few years in the face of bags of stress from endless government paperwork, emigrating/immigrating, working for myself (and sometimes for others) – plus other truly emotionally-shredding things in the last year that one just can’t discuss with a blog.  No, nothing to do with my marriage – she’s lovely and my step-daughter is lovely too – just, stuff…you know..stuff.  Made worse really by the fact that it’s nothing to do with my wife or myself but we’re left to pick up the pieces and stick emotional bandages on the trauma.  At least if it was of our making then we could blame ourselves or suffer some sort of remorse or guilt but when you’re totally on the receiving end of piles of crap because of someone else’s reckless behavior then it’s a bit galling having to go around and sort things out and wait for the hammer to fall, even though it’s meant for them not you.

Sometimes that little survival pack of PMA energy runs down below the fill line and even I, Mr Positive, can feel a little…happy-challenged.  It’ll pass.  I ate a whole packet of Apple Sour Punch Straws which cheered me up no end.  But..you know..meh..

A few more months of the silliness we’ve been forced to put up with (for the last seven months or so) and then we should be on the way to sunny outlooks.  Well, literally, since in a month or so the snow will be gone and the Spring temperatures will march upwards back to that lovely, balmy barbecue weather we are so lucky to enjoy here in Omaha.  To any Brits reading this – I can thoroughly recommend living in what geographers call a “semi-arid” region.   Rain?  I’ve forgotten what rain looks and feels like.  Result.  Snow, on the other hand – you have NO idea what REAL snow is.  Brrrr.

So – a list of good things, just to cheer myself up:

  • Lovely wife.  Seriously; I couldn’t imagine not being with her.  I know now what people mean when they say that.  She is the perfect Batman to my Robin; the perfect Dr Watson to my Sherlock; the Ying to my Yang.  Result.
  • Ditto to the step-daughter.  Such a good kid and I’m proud to be her stepdad and I genuinely think her life is better with me in it too.  Awww.
  • My dogs – who keep me company whilst I work and who live for cuddles and friendship.  Everybody should get some Big Yellow Dog cuddles – they’re ace.
  • The Parrot – who has taught me that birds can be smart..but also awkward and wily.  I am gratified that my hand-speed (a side effect of many years of full-contact martial arts training in my youth) has not diminished and is approximately five nanoseconds faster than a grumpy Amazon parrot can snap its beak shut in the direction of my fingers.  She says “woof” in a human voice to the dogs and that makes me laugh and forgive her finger-snipping ways.
  • My work – I still have to kick myself to realize I do the job I always wanted to do since the age of 14..and get paid well enough to do it.  I still have a huge guilt complex about the inequality of generous remunerations that society places before people like myself in comparison to the mostly-inadequate amounts given to midwives and visiting nurses like my sister.  Both are arguably skilled jobs but, really, someone who takes life at its most frail is surely worth more to us than that?  Apparently not.  It’s nice to wake up and want to work and be able to.  I never forget that.
  • My family, both in the UK and the American side (even if some are in Italy right now).
  • Good health etc etc.
  • Also, America is a truly brilliant place to live and Americans, in general, are much more fun to be around than you could ever imagine.  The biggest problem for most Brits is that they are exposed to American culture and lifestyles by films and TV.  This is like learning how to speak French by looking at pictures of Canada.  America is HUGE and each state can be significantly different in culture, food, body shape, traditions, landscape, weather and so on and so on.

Really, overall life is just so brilliant.  Can we just fast-forward a couple of months though?


MySpace is not your space

I got a begging email from MySpace today and, suitably nostalgic, I logged in and took a look.

I’ve canceled my account now – when you do it there’s a chance to say why. I think my optional “account cancelation reason” pretty much makes it clear. I’d love to talk to someone at MySpace about what, as a consumer, I just don’t get about the site.

The redesign is HORRIBLE…but I visited anyway to take a look again at MySpace – perhaps I’d just not given it a chance.

Within minutes of updating my profile – despite having privacy settings set up and not really having much on there – was spammed by several obviously spamming accounts with pictures of barely-clad girls inviting me to go to phishing/porn sites.

This is just very very poor.

The design of the site is just impenetrable and seemingly purposeless. The question that remains unanswered, for me at least, is “what would I need to use MySpace for?”

Sadly the answer is..nothing. So I come back to cancel my account to prevent further spam and to avoid my details being used by people I don’t choose for purposes I do not require or wish.

I know I can change privacy settings – mine were already set to balance privacy over usability – but without a reason to use the site (any really, why is MySpace there?) then the best action is to run away as fast as possible.

I hate to be negative like this – I am a professional developer, designer and UI specialist and it’s crushing to receive horrible feedback on your product – but seriously, MySpace needs to raise its game or it’s going to die a death of a 1000 cuts and that’s really sad. 😦