Sunday, December 11, 2016

Goodbye Twitter

I'll be pulling the plug on Twitter in 2017.  I'm probably going to leave the @kingcabbagecast account up so that I can post new episodes, but if it becomes a time sink, it's going down too.  I mentioned this a bit on Twitter (yes, I know), but want to expand & react to a few things people asked.

First, I should say that I've been an evangelist for Twitter for a while.  I'm on Facebook strictly to see pictures of my kids at school, but I really love Twitter.  There's a non-reciprocity to it that means I get to follow brilliant people like @eveewing and @tressiemcphd , I've formed genuine friendships with people who I've later met in real life (or not yet met), I'm a more critical consumer of news and fiction because of Twitter, and it's been a community for me while I was a stay-at-home-dad.  There's a lot I love about Twitter.

But ...

*I* don't have a particularly healthy relationship with Twitter.  (I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I also want to talk about my experience specifically).  It's on my phone, and I check it A LOT throughout the day.  In fact, I can check my main account, switch over to the secondary account, switch to my email, then back to the main account which'll probably have one or two new Tweets, and keep that up for a while.  Not healthy.  To be avoided.

I've been pretty vocally supporting sci-fi/fantasy books/authors/discussions/etc, and trying to boost and make space for historically marginalized/historically oppressed voices, and the books and stories they're telling.  I think this is an entirely good thing, I have learned a lot, I am reading better books and expecting more of what I read because of all of this.  Twitter encouraged me to do this, and gave me a space to do my own boosting, and that's wonderful.  I *also* think that I've used this as an excuse in my head to not practice other forms of activism in the real-world, and (for me), it's important to get offline.

My concentration isn't what it was.  I have a hard time reading a book for as long as I used to without pulling out the phone & getting distracted for a while.

There's an art to the 140-character discussion, or put down, or share-a-link-with-comment.  And it's a really useful skill to learn, and I've hardly mastered it.  *But* I've forgotten how to write my own ideas at a sustained length.  I'd like to do that.

I've noticed that my mood is far more dependent on twitter than I'd like, which these days means I'm anxious and angry a lot, and I don't parent as well because of it.  In fact, I get anxious and slip into habits like "just checking Twitter" and then boom.

I'm still not entirely sure what I think about filter bubbles and the dangers of groupthink & being able to sit in your own community vs being able to find people with common interests and also gain the confidence and support to stand strong in your own truth.  But I know that I've had some interactions online & offline where it's clear I'm assuming the discourse of folks I follow so much that I'm having trouble talking and respecting other people who's ideas are worth respecting & talking about.  Again, this is a *me* thing, not a *twitter* thing.

At least one person suggesting paring back and filtering, and I'll say two things about that.  One - I'm bad at it.  I've deleted Twitter from my phone only to find within a couple days that I was regularly logging in via the web app.  Twitter makes engagement easy, and I've made it an easy habit.  Second, I do pare back a lot.  I unfollow many people (hi, hope I haven't offended you!), I mute people, terms, etc.  I *could* do more, but I already put a fair amount of overthinking into overthinking who I'm listening to & why.  For *me*, that road doesn't lead to more control.

We're moving to a new state in 2017.  I'm going to go from stay-at-home-dad to looking for a job.  One thing Twitter has provided is a sense of community, which I think I'm going to try to get in-person.  (I *like* being with people in the real world, but also it is a skill I have to practice because I'm pretty shy).  And I'm going to be leaving Twitter, like deleting the jsuttonmorse account leaving.  There are a lot of you I'd like to keep in touch with.  I'm going to practice email correspondence, and probably even snail mail.  What else do the kids these days use? Should I be on Slack (I think I am, but should I be in a group?)  If you'd like to keep in touch, I'm off Twitter & FB, but otherwise would love to be in touch.  Let me know your preferred method.  I'll still be publishing Cabbages & Kings.

I do have a few things I'm going to need help with.  If you've got suggestions for these, let me know
1 - I get most of my news from Twitter.  I used to listen to NPR, I still listen to many podcasts & NPR a bit.  I don't spend much time on actual computers, though that may change.  Blogs you'd recommend? Other ways you get news? People or institutions you like?

2 - I keep track of my reading here.  I don't like Goodreads' mobile experience.  Anything else I should log reactions and images of paragraphs & things on? I like that Twitter can be archived in stuff like Storify, and that it has threading.  What do you use?

3 - Again, I'd love to keep in touch with you.  If you'd like that, let me know what you'd prefer & I'll work to make it happen.

Feel free to chat in the comments, or on Twitter in the next couple weeks, or send me an email - jsuttonmorse at gmail, or whatever other way is best.

Friday, April 1, 2016

A few notes

This is mostly a story about a parenting moment, but first a few links.

I was on Marketplace's morning report being the voice of a trend (Stay at Home Dad's not in the workforce) on Monday.  If you want to hear my kids being cute, the story is here.

Speaking of Links, I put together a bunch of SFF links recently.

I also tweeted some thoughts about how my reaction to reading women in fiction has changed.  Embedded after the dad story.

So, this morning I took Tadpole & Sprout (5&2) to the grocery store, and for the first time in a while they didn't want to ride in the shopping cart but instead wanted to push kid carts ... the parents among you are cringing already.

Fortunately the store wasn't very crowded on a Friday morning, so I OKed, and we went through three basic phases that had as much to do with me as them.  First, they wandered after me, enjoying the carts, occasionally bumping things or people and behaving exactly as you'd expect while I got increasingly frustrated that they weren't following directions.

Let's just unpack this for a moment: by not bringing my own cart, I didn't really leave myself much out.  I could (and eventually did) pick up Sprout & drag her cart along, but there wasn't a way to corral the girls.  The thing to do here is to engage with them, give them tasks, and focus on making them want to go where I want them to.  Praise the marching and pushing of carts, let Tadpole lead us on a circuitous route, have Sprout practice marching.  Accept that we're going slowly.

But I don't like grocery shopping.  I actively dislike it, always worried that there's going to be difficulty finding an unfamiliar ingredient, and so I tried instead to insist on obedience.  Follow me or else.

This brings us to stage 2.  I realized, later than I should have, that I was losing my temper in particular with Sprout, so I bent down, gave her a hug, had Tadpole join in, then picked Sprout up & carried her.  She didn't really like it, but I can manage a squirming 2-year-old one-handed.  Tadpole managed well enough.

So, now we're on Stage 2, the "let's get out of here as quickly as possible without more damage" phase that many parents will recognize.  The one piece of this that was absolutely good was that I've trained myself when tempted to yell to just kneel down, hug the girls, and absolutely put a stop to the thing within my control that is the most stressful.  I wish I'd done it sooner, but we all got a hug and Sprout stopped being silly with her cart.

Then a miracle occurred: walking down an aisle looking for something I wasn't quite sure was there, a dad in front of us knocked his shopping cart into a stack of soup cans knocking 10-12 over.  This was wonderful.  We stopped & I immediately sent Tadpole to help pick them up.  She's great at helping put stuff away.  (Thanks R for training her at home & her Montessori school!).  So she got to help.  I got to stop worrying about stupid groceries and instead be proud of myself for helping a stranger in need.  Sprout got to wave at the kid in the shopping cart.  Another family was walking by and praised our good deed, so two different people expressing gratitude!  More importantly, all of us got out of the semi-frustrated headspace we were in.  After that moment, Tadpole went from managing to keep up with me to actively being helpful.  The end of our shopping trip was genuinely fun for all of us.

So anyway, that's my story about frustrating shopping expeditions and the kind stranger who knocked over some soup cans and made my grocery run this morning much better.

And now on an entirely different note and prompted by reading a story where "living it up" meant two different women finding sex and a first chapter where a woman's friend was a young thing in a slinky dress is a Storify of a few tweets from this morning on casually objectifying women in fiction.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

New Pop Filter

Got a new pop filter for my microphone & asked the girls (Tadpole is 5, Sprout 2) to help me test it out.  Here's the first two songs of Hamilton, plus Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold, by my kiddos.