Sunday, November 25, 2012

Exceeding the Limits

My first blog was a result of being forced onto MySpace in December of 2005, when I was living in Japan. I say forced without really meaning it, but it's true that my old school e-mails were responded to with crickets since all my friends were cavorting together in the virtual space of that now basically defunct site. I hopped on, created a profile, and soon fell head over heels in love with blogging as the perfect way to keep everyone filled in on my life in Japan, as well as keep up with their lives stateside. Here is the first post, from 22 year old me:

Hello everyone! I have finally accepted that there is no life without myspace, as all of you have been telling me. However, as you all also know, my computer knowledge consists of standing up, walking across the apartment, and asking who ever actually knows how to do anything how to do something. So, please be patient with what will probably be, for quite a while, my eyesore of the myspace world.

It is snowing here and I'm feeling all Christmasy- kind of gooey inside. We went caroling last night, much to the amusement of everyone passing by. Honestly they probably thought to themselves "Great, so this is what happens when we let these foreigners into our country- they get drunk off of cheap convenience store beer and then sing off key outside the train station!" We actually tried to move inside, but were politely kicked out by a police officer who was shorter and smaller than myself. So. A good time was had by all.

 On the work front my children are badly to horribly behaved, although there are quite a few exceptions, and those few I am clinging to for dear life and sanity. I have one little darling who seems more preoccupied with throwing blocks at me than learning English, and a few others who choose to use their time in my class to clean out their nostrils and then suck the contents from underneath their fingernails. Then we all pass the vocab cards around and it feels a little like bacteria roulette. But, honestly, I can't complain. Japan is a beautiful, safe, great country. I am learning to play these huge drums, it's called "taiko", and it's so amazing to hear. My Japanese lessons are going really well, and I think I'm picking it up pretty quickly. I've met people from all over the world, and although I was already a very open minded person, I have discovered that there is always room to grow more than you ever could have thought. When I'm walking around after dark, and I feel safe, and I pass by a six year old, in a little school uniform with a pointless but adorable yellow hat, walking home alone, I think "Japan rocks". Of course, when I am squatting over a Japanese style toilet in a train station bathroom that smells like open sewer, only to realize I forget my toilet paper- well the sentiment is different.

Somewhere around this time I communicated with an old film professor of mine, who basically said "Ew, MySpace? Have I taught you nothing? Have you no standards of creation? No no no, check out this new thing, called Blogger. You can easily upload pictures and make posts and have your own website apart from MySpace." I was too lazy to move to yet another site, was wrapped up in traveling and teaching, and also just kind of forgot to check it out. Plus, at the time, I didn't even have a digital camera. I photographed the first half of my Japan experience with disposable cameras. Yes, that's right, not even a real film camera- disposable cameras. Oh, Kyoto. I'm so sorry I captured you that way. I hope you can forgive me.

After I came home from Japan I kept up the old blog until everyone left for Facebook, at which point I finally checked out this Blogger thing in the beginning of 2009. Dammit, it was as easy as my professor had said! Plus, it was much nicer than the bedazzled armpit of auto play songs and skeevy pics of wanna be "models" that MySpace had become. I was a convert.

Around this time I got more into blogging, and reading more blogs, and over a few years it became clear that a shift had happened from the often anonymous, wall of text journal like entries, to lifestyle blogs where the writer was some kind of star in their own home decorating catalog/online arts and crafts fair. Everyone, it seemed, was a professional photographer, and somehow knew how to wear clothes and pose in them, often with a cute dog/baby/husband/all three. Cupcakes were a thing, even though they were, in my world, still just small cakes for lazy people, and apparently pigeon toed feet desperately needed to be documented lest one forget what kind of shoes one owned, or, worse, what one's feet looked like. The ratio of pictures to text slowly but surely flipped. Before, most blogs I read had no pictures- they were on Live Journal, or they were on MySpace, for one, but for two most people didn't have digital cameras (dating myself all over the internet tonight, huh?) or if they did, it was cumbersome to upload pictures.

I've read apologies from bloggers for "long" posts with no pictures, or "get ready, this one's epic!" when they clock in at a puny two paragraphs. Two paragraphs does hardly a wall of text make, in my  rambleblog book. A part of me thinks it's kind of sad that people can't read a few paragraphs without needing to be distracted, like a raccoon, with a shiny pretty photo. Is your attention span so short that it can't be tasked with reading a few paragraphs and working with your imagination in order to create the pictures for you, in your brainhole? I like pictures as much as the next person lucky enough to have working eyes, but not because I don't want to read, it's because I like a nice picture. I mean, I'm an adult. I don't read picture books in general unless I'm in teacher mode with kids at the carpet who are squiggling around my feet, so I can hang with words-only posts.

The point of all this is that I've run out of free storage space for images, thanks to having my American road trip blog on this account, too. The thing is I don't even want to blog without being able to add in pictures, which is strange because for so many years I happily blogged without being able to add in pictures. I'm clearly not against photo blogs or picture heavy posts. I mean, this is coming from the girl who has exceeded her photo limit; I'm not trying to be a Luddite. I like pictures to add to the story, instead of telling it for me, and yeah, I still like the option of having a picture here and there. This means that I will be giving Blogger some cash in exchange for image storage space. I'm just speaking more to the general trend of blogs being more about pictures than about writing, and more about presenting images than about telling stories. I remember reading so many hilarious, anonymous blogs that were totally picture free. The writing was incredible, and I looked forward to it like new chapters in a favorite book. I don't remember any pictures, at all.

Sure, there will be a lot of photos on this blog. Yes, I like taking random pictures, and sometimes they do perfectly capture a moment in time in a way words can't. The storage space will soon be purchased, and happily used. But there will also be walls of text, like this post that is pointless but gives me a space in which to think and write. That's the primary reason I like to blog- I like to write. I enjoy it, even if no one is reading. I like going back and reading old posts and being able to remember everything so clearly, because I wrote it down. I like telling stories, and I like navel gazing, rambleblogs that help me work out things in my head.

I also like earplugs, for kind of drowning out the sound of the herd of children above my head. It sounds like they are dragging all the furniture of the house from one end to the other, while playing pots as drums. And screamlaughing. Lots of screamlaughing. I'd take a picture of my ceiling and pair it with a cutesy photo of me frownsmiling and pointing to my earplugs, but unfortunately I'm all out of storage space...

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