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Hurricanes and Blogger Burnout

Dear Alexander,

The eye of your hurricane may be quiet, but mine is not. Mine is making my head spin. I’m trying to write my way out though. My writing is the only thing I’m sure of.

Your obedient servant,

MG

I wish I knew how Hamilton did it. All his writing. He wrote 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers when there were only supposed to be 25 in total. How did he never burn out? If I were writing all of that, it would be impossible not to. It would probably be easier if I weren’t a one-woman blog. But I am. At least for now.

I commented on this post the other day when I realized something: with all the mental and physical energy that it takes for me to come up with topics and write about them consistently, I should be getting paid. But I don’t have enough followers for anything of that sort yet. Even if I did, I doubt it would be a big paycheck.

When I get burned out, my content quality suffers. I hate having to post something for the sake of posting something just to stick to a schedule, because the output isn’t something I can be proud of . I want to produce content that I’m proud enough to show people.

It doesn’t help that I feel like hardly anyone takes me seriously. My friends think all I do is sit in my room all day and complain. In reality, I’m coping the best way I know how: writing. My imagination is essentially a form of therapy. I can channel whatever I’m feeling at the moment into any story I want. Right now, it’s mostly fan fiction. Hopefully I’ll be able to find my own story in the future.

Writing and job prospects? Don’t even get me started. People don’t think my writing counts as doing anything just because I’m not making money from it. I’m doing the thing I know how to do (I like to think my writing is at least halfway to decent), and yet they’re disappointed, because, for some reason, money makes the world turn.

Before my blog burned me out not even halfway through the year, it felt exactly like a full-time job. I was spend my days writing and planning multiple posts. I knew I was going to hit a wall, but I was hoping I’d avoid it somehow. Wishful thinking, I know. I’m slowly dipping my toes back in, though; I’ll definitely have to find a way to pace myself.

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You know you’re addicted when …

cnet

Today, I got around to reading an article I saved from The Washington Post. I saved it because the topic is related to my previous post, so I thought I’d write something about this as well.

Apparently, kids today (Gosh, that makes me sound like an old person when I’m not) are exploiting bugs in Apple’s software to subvert Screen Time limits that their parents put on their phones.

Personally, I can’t imagine growing up with a smart phone. I was jealous that my friends in high school had iPhones, but it wasn’t like I was begging my mother because I absolutely needed one.

Secondly, I am nowhere near tech savvy enough to find said bugs in software an exploit them. So, if I were in kids’ shoes today, I probably would’ve just put up with the restrictions and complained about the perceived injustice to my friends later.

I get it, I do

I totally understand where kids are coming from. Adolescence is the natural time in life to rebel because you think your parents and their rules are stupid because “everybody is doing” the thing you want to do. I didn’t really rebel all that much when I was coming up, but that’s a different story for another day.

At the same time, I can’t help but think that subverting the bugs is completely ridiculous. Who is desperate enough to take the time to figure that out? Definitely not me. At least, I don’t think I would be. Thankfully, I probably won’t ever have to find out.

If we’re talking about ridiculousness

I’d like to speak from my own experience for a minute. When I came home after graduating college at first, my mother thought I was so addicted to my phone that she took it away from me. Obviously, this didn’t feel fair at all, because I’m chronologically an adult, and I didn’t have any homework to do for the time being, so I didn’t see what the problem was. My mother has since given up that fight, which is a relief. However, if I had to guess, she threw in the towel because in here eyes, taking away my phone wasn’t going to change anything (read: cure my perceived addiction).

She still says I’m addicted to my phone all the time though. I’ve heard it so much she’s basically a broken record. Maybe she’d see things differently if she read the article. I highly doubt it though.

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Screen Time doesn’t mean anything

The Mac operating system got an upgrade the other day: Catalina. It’s so cool; I feel like I got a new computer. One of the things I was hoping they’d implement – and maybe someone somewhere was reading my mind, because they did – is Screen Time. It was already on the iPhone; why not have it on the Macs as well?

However, I have recently reached the conclusion that Screen Time doesn’t mean a whole lot. Or anything, really. Every time I check it, it always seems to increase. And, it can become a negative obsession.

It seems that older the generations’ – especially Baby Boomers – favorite pastime is to pick on millennials for whatever we do. We can’t ever do anything right in their eyes. As far as they’re concerned, all we do is complain. This includes commentary on how we use technology.

My mother’s favorite thing to say is that I’m addicted to my phone. If I got rid of my phone, all the problems in my life would be solved somehow. So, for a while recently, I was obsessed with my Screen Time numbers. Constantly checking to see where I was at, and chastising myself when it went up. It wasn’t healthy at all.

I was so obsessed with how much I was using my phone that the things I was using it for – mainly podcasts and music – no longer gave me the same enjoyment. Everything I loved about it became a burden. And it’s not exactly the best indicator of how much people use their phones if the numbers constantly increase, is it? It’s more of a technological guilt trip than anything else.

I wish people could understand that technology isn’t bad. Not every streaming service is a waste of money, even though there’s too many to count at this point. Apple Music is amazing because a lot of music inspires my writing. It’s nice to have access to almost everything at my fingertips.

What matters is how people use technology. And I don’t know where my creativity would be without it, so people need to keep quiet and let me do my thing.

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Lacking Lyrics

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Don’t get me wrong, I like Apple Music. I’ve been downloading Spanish music like crazy. There’s just one problem: lyrics.

When I first signed up, I was under the impression that I’d have access to the lyrics for all the songs in my music library no matter what. However, that’s not the case.

Lyrics aren’t necessarily retroactive – that is, some of the songs that I bought before Apple Music don’t have lyrics, and some do. It’s annoying because I really don’t feel like re-downloading everything I already have. It would take forever.

Some of the songs I’ve downloaded since Apple Music don’t have lyrics either. I downloaded One Direction’s Take Me Home because I randomly had some of the songs stuck in my head even though I hadn’t listened to the album in forever. I quickly realized that not all of the songs had lyrics. I tried downloading the deluxe version, but that didn’t make a difference. What’s up with that?

And there’s another weird thing: some of the lyrics seem to be out of order or completely wrong. Take “Master of the House” from Le Misérables for example – according to Apple, the first verse is as follows:

Come on, you old pest

Fetch a bottle of your

What’s the nectar of the day

However, in listening to the song, that’s not how it starts at all.

An example of the latter situation is “Buenos Aires” from the 2012 revival production of Evita:

On the 9th February 1935 in Buenos Aires, a polo match between a leading team of Argentine players and the touring British side. The British ambassador said he had never seen a social occasion quite like it. Even by the standards of Buenos Aires society, the gathering at the polo ground glittered. The Rolls and the Daimlers, the hampers from Harrods, the clothes, the diamonds, the crystal, the wines, the procession of nannies from England and France. The result of the match, oh yes, the home team won! But, as the British ambassador pointed out, that did not reflect badly on British horsemanship; three of the Argentine players were educated at Eton!

Ricky Martin does say some of the above in the song, but not all of it. The rest of it is completely different. Why is that? I was thinking it might be a description of what’s on stage, but why would that be in the song?

Apple has some explaining to do.

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Podcasts Uncategorized

Apple Podcasts archives

Some people call it Apple Podcasts. Some people call it iTunes. It’s all the same to me; nomenclature isn’t what I’m after here.

I love podcasts. I listen to a lot of them – maybe too many, they take up most of the storage on my phone at the moment. I’m interested in all of them though, and I try to listen to every episode. Except when I can’t.

“When I can’t” is the problem. I don’t know why, but sometimes the different podcasts randomly delete episodes from their feeds. Sometimes they delete downloaded episodes as well, instead of just removing the downloads from my phone to free up space.

It’s all good if I can access the episodes I haven’t listened to elsewhere. Sometimes, however, that’s impossible. I recently had to delete a podcast because I couldn’t find the older episodes.

Maybe I’m just too anal that I want to listen to all the episodes, no matter how old they are. But my question is this: why can’t all the podcast episodes be accessible from Apple? Is there a reason they randomly disappear? It’s not fair, if you ask me. If not Apple, they should at least be accessible in one other place.

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Lacking Consistency

I thought I’d come back from my blogging break, but it seems that I haven’t. I’m sorry about that. However, I just started a creative writing class on Wednesday, so I should be able to post some of those things here.

I think part of it is that I haven’t felt like I have anything new to talk about. I know I have ideas in my brain somewhere, they’re just not at the forefront where I can readily access them. It’s disappointing, honestly.

I have been working on some fan fiction though, which has been really fun. And unexpectedly cathartic. I’m processing feels that I thought I’d already processed, but the story is bringing them up again as if they’re fresh. Sometimes it gets so intense that I have to stop writing.

My biggest personal disappointment though is not being able to finish a novel. I’ve been bouncing from idea to idea for years. I’m able to start writing the stories, but they just seem to fizzle out after awhile for some reason. Hopefully having deadlines in my class will help me to stick to something.

I’ll try to get back to regular posting soon. Thanks for sticking with me!

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Google, please stop

At this point, it shouldn’t be a secret that I love – and admittedly have a crush on – Emily Blunt. My posts about Mary Poppins Returns are more than enough proof.

Unfortunately, Google has noticed this as well. The first thing I saw when I opened up Google on my phone the other day was an article about her Met Gala dress. That wasn’t what I was searching for at all.

It makes me feel like I’m unhealthily obsessed with her, even though I know I’m not; her work just so happens to mean a lot to me. I’m not one of those crazy people who is going to find out where she lives and stalk her. I know she’s (apparently) neighbors with Jimmy Kimmel, and that’s enough for me.

Nor do I want her to myself. I’m not a home wrecker. She and John Krasinski are pretty much relationship goals. If they ever get divorced for some reason I will be very, very sad.

So, Google, can you please not shove Mrs. Krasinski in my face so much? I’m not saying I never want to read about her (or John, for that matter), but I don’t need to be bombarded with articles. Okay, thanks, bye!

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I thought I was over it

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A while back, when I was doing some research for this post, I watched The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. It had been awhile since I’d read the books or seen the movies. Plus, I’d since come to the conclusion that while the story is good for what it is – romance – the writing wasn’t very good because the end of the series was very anticlimactic. And Bella and Edward never fight. How realistic is that? It’s not. At all.

However, as I watched the movie, all of the feelings I had while reading the books came back to me and hit me like a ton of bricks. It was weird; I wasn’t expecting anything of the sort. Maybe it’s because when I read the books, I was at my father’s house, and they kept me sane during that time. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself after I finished reading.

Even the question of “Why didn’t Bella choose Jacob?” popped in my head, even though I know perfectly well why she chose Edward. It’s because when you’re around people who make you feel good, you don’t give up on those relationships. Or when you’re doing something that makes you feel good about yourself, you don’t give up on it just because it gets hard.

I might not like the writing so much anymore, but I guess The Twilight Saga still means something to me.

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A Little Bit of Hope

This, my friends, is more than just a screenshot. It’s a validation of my feelings.

I know I touched on this a bit before, but it bears repeating. Because like I said, I’ve struggled with the line between fiction and reality my whole life. It’s so thin that I can feel it getting blurry in an instant. And that “blurriness” is what’s scared me. What’s been holding me back from truly acknowledging my feelings.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been afraid of crossing that line. In my younger years, I’d get ahead of myself, and I paid the price for it. My peers teased me a lot. I can look back and laugh about it now, but it was super uncomfortable at the time. So I eventually learned to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself.

Now, whenever I have really strong feelings about fictional characters, I always make sure that I know they’re not real, even though it sucks to admit it. Sometimes I wish I didn’t worry about that line so much. I mean, it’s invisible anyway, so it’s not like someone is going to recognize any signs of me going past some random point of no return, right?

I’ve been thinking about Charlotte Hope’s reply since it happened. And I think I finally realized what she means by “I don’t think it’s weird”: It’s okay to have these feelings about fictional characters. It doesn’t mean you’ve crossed “the line”.

I could very well have said “Is it weird that Catherine of Aragon …” instead of using Charlotte’s Twitter handle. Part of me thinks that maybe I should have. But another part of me wanted to experiment with whether she would even see my tweet, so I chose the riskier option.

Charlotte understood that I was referring to her portrayal of Catherine of Aragon. And, in doing so, she made me realize that I’ve never let myself truly think of my favorite characters and other people I look up to as family. I think it’s about time I work on that. Work on being comfortable with these types of feelings, and my chosen family.

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5 blogversary!

Today marks five years since I’ve started this blog. I almost can’t believe it. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. I’d like to thank each and every one of my followers for sticking with me through my ups and downs. I hope you’ve enjoyed my content so far and that you will continue to enjoy it. Feedback is always welcome and appreciated.