Monday, June 30, 2008

The death of personal blogging -- more than just an excuse for my lack of posts!

I know it's been more than a week since I posted anything. Truth be told I don't have that many people reading this, so I doubt anyone noticed, but once you start something, you feel obliged to keep it up. It's like my inner monologue and I feel guilty when I neglect it.

My excuses are the usual -- I was ill for more than a week, my kid's schedule was overwhelming as he finished school for the year, then started summer camps, and plus my family took five days away as a short holiday. But hey, none of them prevented me from blogging, so much as prevented me from thinking about blogging.

Which is why this article in the Tyee was so interesting. It's called the Death of Pleasure Blogging, and the author argues that blogging for the heck of it is so five minutes ago. Business and media blogging is growing, but pleasure blogging is becoming too much work. Microblogging --- updating your status in Facebook or Twitter or the like -- is easier.

The move from big blogs to smaller ones says a lot about our cultural attention span. One or two lines of text are about as much writing as we can handle -- either creating or consuming it. Which begs the question, why did I write a bloated 750-word blog exposé? I could have just Twittered it in a line or two.

I've yet to embrace Twitter, but I admit to updating my Facebook status more regularly than I do this blog. But in my defense, I use Facebook for my side business. So it's not really personal blogging, is it? ;-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gen Xers rule summer movies

Via the Globe and Mail's movies columnist Johanna Scheller I read about how mid-lifers like myself are dominating the movies this summer.

Think of all the 40-somethings in Sex and the City, Robert Downey Jr (46) in Ironman, Ed Norton (38) in the Hulk, or Adam Sandler (42) in that Zohan flop. There must be the usual summer teen flicks, but if they're out there, I haven't heard of them yet.

Schneller calls it "the summer of 42- age 42, that is. Or 43, or 53." And I agree, I see many men and women on screen now who are actually my age. But Schneller, who I assume from her photo is a Boomer, naturally credits all this to her generation, not mine.
It must be acknowledged that this spurt of midlife movies could be simply the last roar of that terrible beast, the baby-boomer ego - the cinematic equivalent of a perimenopausal woman firing off her extra eggs before her womb goes dark. Never before has a generation held so fiercely to the belief that it's the only one that matters; some of summer's films make hay with that belief.

And yes, that does make sense, but isn't ironic that most of the film stars she cites are in their late 30s/early 40s, and therefore not of the baby boomer variety but rather the Gen X era. Isn't it fun that now that boomers are looking for their youth, but not wanting to look too far (like into the eyes of a 20-something), they look to our generation. No doubt all those 60-somethings sitting in dark movie theatres are living vicariously through the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker -- a Gen Xer if ever there was one (come on, remember Square Pegs!)

After all those years of us seeing mostly them in our pop culture, they are finally looking at us. Maybe it is the summer of 40 -- sure makes it easier for me to have joined the fourth decade!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Generational quiz -- what is your media use?

I was reading some older columns from one of my favourite bloggers, Penelope Trunk, and came across this terrific quiz she posted.

She hypothesizes that what really labels us into a generation is not so much the year of our birth but rather our experience with digital media. I took her quiz and came out square in the middle of Gen X, so I think she may have a real point.

Go ahead and try it. Did it work for you?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Goofing off is good for your workday

According to this brief article in the Globe and Mail, letting workers take time to answer personal emails, check Facebook and surf the web is good for productivity and morale.

If bosses actively encouraged employees to take one 10 minute e-break in the working day, their overall productivity levels would increase.

One 10 minute break? Oh yeah, cuz we'd only ever check our personal stuff once a day, right?!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Global warming is messing up my training

It's been a pretty cold and rainy spring here in Vancouver. We had about five days of heat and sunshine on the May long weekend, then back to cold and rain. I actually wore my fall boots and raincoat yesterday. So imagine how hard it's been to get me motivated and outside for triathlon training?!

I don't like biking in the rain. I freely admit that I am a bit of a whoos when it comes to that. I love to bike in the sunshine, when it's pretty hot and the speed of the bike creates a lovely wind to cool me off. But getting wet while biking is just miserable. It's bad enough that in this city to commute anywhere on my bike involves plenty of uphill slogging, but to do that in the rain? No thank you.

OK, I gave in on the weekend and did a training run in the rain. And last night I went out to running clinic even though it had been pouring all day. But the running wasn't a hardship. Somehow, it miraculously stopped raining for the one hour of my clinic. The man who runs the store we run from, he has some kind of magic going on, because it never rains from 6-7 pm on a Monday when clinic is on. I am now a true believer, because the rain stopped at 5:45 and started again as I was heading home.

Now I have this fear that the day of my actual triathlon race (July 27, btw) it will pour. Stupid global warming!

Monday, June 9, 2008

How's businesss?

Whenever I see friends or acquaintances at social occasions, I'm usually asked "How's business?", and I never quite know how to answer.

On the one hand, the question is kind of like "How are you?", a question we ask each other every day without really caring about the answer, so the correct response is "fine," whether you are or not. So in this case, the answer to "How's business?" is "great" or "fine." But is that the right thing to do?

When I was in my 20s and working freelance or on contract, I always said business was great, because you don't want anyone to think you're not doing well. At that age, one does not ever admit shortcomings. Life is perfect, just like in the magazines and in movies, and if you're unhappy/alone/out of work/etc., you'd never admit it.

In my 30s, as I got more experienced and more mature, I began to tell people that things were less than perfect. Some admissions are easy -- Raising babies is hard and I'm tired, I can't afford the home I want, I'm out of shape -- these are common social complaints that actually can bond you with others in the same situation. You have a reason for parts of your life not being perfect -- you're 30-something with kids.

But with business, it still took a while for me to admit when business wasn't great, but lately I've started to come up with better answers. Like "I'm having a slow quarter", or "I could be busier", or "I'm looking for some new projects now." I find this way the people I network with, whether business or personal, will know that I'm open to new challenges. Still, it is admitting a failing on my part, and it takes a certain ego to do that, something I only have on odd days of the week.

It can also come off as whining, I guess. I'll have to think about this one some more. How's your business going?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

How old do you think I am?

After a killer work week, my hubby and I were thrilled to get a sitter Friday night to go to an actual party -- not just a gathering of parents and kids, but all grownups, music, drinking, and staying out late.

It was a fabulous night out, and I think we earned some respect from our 13-year-old sitter when we stayed out past 11. I think she thinks we're old fuddy duddies because we are almost always home before 10. Well, she's right, but Friday night we actually had to pry ourselves away from the party to get back at a decent hour for a 13-year-old.

At the party, I got chatting with a lovely young couple -- two beautiful 20-something boys who were lots of fun. At one point I made a comment about something from the 70s, when they both said they weren't alive back then. So I laughed and said, oh, I guess I just dated myself. And they said, no way were you alive back then. So for fun, I said, "OK, then tell me how old do you think I am?" They both together said "30." Me, 30?!

Now that's a lovely compliment, and when I told them my real age both refused to believe me, which was a bigger compliment.

But my favourite part came the next day when I realized that neither of them got the joke when I said "How old do you think I am?" Because that is a line from a commercial that predates them. I'm sure everyone my age remembers the old Oil of Olay commercial that asks "How old do you think I am?" (sorry, tried but failed to find a clip on youtube to link to that). But I'm pretty sure that was an early 80s ad, so these 25-year-olds wouldn't know I was trying to drop a pop culture reference.

Another example of the generation gap, but this one wrapped up in a huge compliment for me.