Tired of the downtime.

This seems to be about the 3rd time in the last 60 days that Bluehost has had downtime.

Granted, the downtime works out to be for less than a few hours at a time, and during the wee hours of the morning for the Americas (when most of my readers would be reading) anyway, but it still bugs me that my site is down so often. I am seriously considering giving up having hosted space because of this.

For a while there, I was “hosting” at WordPress.com and just pointing my domain to them instead. The problem with that is that the Jamaican bloggers aggregator didn’t have access to my feed because it apparently reads only self-hosted WP sites and not the WP.com feeds. I’ll have to research why that is and consider whether I really need that aggregator to pick me up. Maybe the benefit outweighs the need to have my site up. We’ll see. I have to think about this less emotionally.

Honestly, the biggest plus of going to hosted at WP.com is money – of which there is little while I am not working… the biggest downside is the inability to interact with my site from a command line. (I am a techie, after all).

And maybe … there is another solution like Bluehost that will be cost effective but less unstable. If my readers (assuming there are any of you left) have suggestions, please do drop them in the comments below. I promise to stay tuned and keep up with your comments better than I have in the past. 😉

Restructuring my words

I am looking back over my writings and realising how most of it is self-focused.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, in general. It works; it has worked for me. Bringing me to the keyboard and getting me to write. But it gives me no pleasure. And that is what I am examining these days. It’s a self-perspective that is probably interesting to a very slim number of people in this day and age. There was once a time when everyone was writing about their lives from their perspective. The blogging era isn’t that far gone that I don’t remember how fashionable it was to have a blog and write in it everyday.

These days, the kind of writing that resonates with me is less the blow-by-blow commentary that my writing sometimes is. These days the kind of writing that interests me is the kind of writing that uses personal glimpses to make a generic point about all life. And THAT is how I want to write.

I recently came across a piece that claimed to give the recipe for effective and prolific writing. The writer suggested that they are able to write everyday about the same thing because they write around a central theme. Ah … I remember now – it’s a Medium author I happened on a few years ago and admired and he was writing in response to possible reader questions about what he finds to write about everyday. He made a very strong point that is resonating with me – the notion of writing around a central theme.

My blogging has heretofore been self-focused, essentially focused on the central theme of me. And me as a central theme is interesting to only me … well, maybe not quite accurate. Some people might find my life interesting because of who I married, where I come from, and where we go to live every few years. Which is fine, but it’s not enough for me anymore.

Over the course of my life, whenever I’ve felt like something is played out, I change it. Before I went natural, my hairstyle and colour changed almost constantly. I theorize now that it was because none of those styles and colours suited me quite like locs do. And now that I’ve found what I am comfortable with, I have no desire to change it. Maybe if I took that approach with everything else in life, I may find comfortable spaces. If I find that one thing I want to talk about everyday, all day, then maybe that is what I can restructure my writing around.

Empathy is a theme that has been a thread running through my life. I recently connected with a preparatory schoolmate who reminded me that I was just as rabid about empathy as a child as I am now. And it struck me as really profound that a theme that was prominent as a child is still heavily featured in everything I do in life. It spoke to me on some subliminal level. If this is a thing that I am really passionate about, maybe it is something I can structure a writing practice around. Maybe ….

Thus I begin my journey to restructure my writing around the theme of empathy.

I don’t know what it will look like when I am done. But I do know that this is where I start.

Here’s to new beginnings that are not really beginnings. 🙂

First semester done; on to second semester

It’s been a wild ride for the last 3 months or so. At times I thought I might not make it. The only thing that kept me going was the money already disbursed for my loan. This degree is so damned expensive, I MUST hold on and do my best or else I’ll be paying for loans with nothing to show for it.

I had two classes this semester last. A theories class and a policy class. I absolutely have no interest in social work policy. Not really. Even though this class made it clear that if I wanted to effect any real change on a large scale, policy is the way to go. But even with that knowledge, even with the frustration with the way things are now, I’m still not interested. I wish they would give the option to skip stuff you aren’t interested in. But then it wouldn’t be as rounded a degree then, now would it?

The theories class was fun and challenging. The first thing I need to do for next semester is review all I learned I first semester theories. That is tough too because a lot of the theories we touched on made no real sense to me. Of course, one hopes that all that will come around this semester.

But I’m rambling.

The good news is I made A and B+ this semester. Which means I get to keep going. The bad news is, as challenging as this semester was, it was an easy one. It gets much harder from here.


Here’s hoping I can hang in there.

Business cards from the school

So, I ordered business cards from the university because I thought it’d be cool to have business cards to hand out when I am out and about either for school or not. I mean, the nature of the degree will have me out and about interviewing folks about their work, their lives, and their opinions/views. I think it’d be a nice touch to be able to hand them a card that says, “Oh hey! I say I am a student of USC, but here’s a card that confirms that.” Good idea, right?

Yeah … right … I think …


I don’t know what I am going to do with so many of them …

Gaming – and me

It’s been about a week. I’m just as exhausted but there is one thing new.

I had always been a bit of a gamer. When I was really young (maybe 12?), I often pleaded with my mother to be allowed to go to the corner arcade where I tried (and usually failed) to play Galaga. I never really hit the top-five scoreboard, but I sure had fun trying. I guess it was a sign of things to come.

Fast forward to when I first discovered the Internet, I also happened to discover Internet gaming. It started with text based and 8-bit local games like Digger and online games like MUDs (or Multiple User Dungeons). I moved on to Diablo and Starcraft later on and ended up with things like Unreal Tournament, Baldur’s Gate, and Sacred before my friend Jenny turned me on to World of Warcraft (beyond which, there was no looking back).

I am still a gamer. I wouldn’t call me a hardcore gamer because I do have other interests. I mean, I am blogging again which is not something I think I’d be able to do were a hardcore gamer. I think a hardcore gamer spends as many of their (free?) waking moments as they can playing games. I like to think I am not like that. It’s worse now that I am in school. I don’t have as much free time as I might have otherwise.

The thing is, though, that I’ve rediscovered the first MUD I ever played: Discworld MUD. It’s a text-based role-playing game that is based on the novels of Terry Pratchett. I have to admit I’ve never gotten around to reading all in the series. That’s bad. And I should stop calling myself a reader since I can’t even work up the motivation to read the books one of my favourite games is based off. But while I enjoy playing the game and envisioning my own little world within which I exist, I really am not all that enamoured with the story. Is that bad? I feel like that’s bad.

Anyway … here I am again and it’s August 2016, and I am sorely addicted to two games. Not a happy place to be in if I am heading into an intense graduate degree program. Although, my student advisor thought it was a good thing to help me do self-care. The gaming will be stress-relief for those days when I just so burned out on reading and learning about things like gender disparities and neurobiological developmental delays.

Right now, though, they are only serving to help me procrastinate finishing my final two assignments of the semester. I must do better. /nod

First semester — and me — almost done

It’s nearing the end of a semester and I am feeling the burnout.

University of Phoenix did their stuff using weeks and they did 5 weeks of intense everyday activities and no synchronous activities. There was a ton of group work and you had to engage asynchronously at least 4 out of every 7 days. It was quite annoying; especially when group members waiting until Saturday morning to engage with you on stuff that needed attention all week. For me, in the latter classes especially, that was reduced somewhat by the presence of my dear friend Jenn. But it still didn’t make the experience any less annoying. I was happy to be done with that whole mess.

I was remembering my brief stint at Colorado Tech online with it’s once-a-week live sessions with fondness. Enter the University of Southern California Virtual Academic Center and my attempt to do a Masters in Social Work. ( I know right. Such a drastic change from everything I’ve done up until now. ) I thought it’d be great to have a full 15–16 weeks worth of once-a-week class time with the other students and the possibility of less group work.

Sure, there is less group work, and class time is awesome ( when there isn’t a ton of noise outside, I’m not tired, and Rusty isn’t whining to go out and play with the other dogs ), but the intense schedule is maddening. I have two classes on right now. On any given week, I have about 5–10 pieces of reading to do for that week’s class plus right now, I am working on a group presentation and an individual paper as final papers … due in about 3 weeks. I haven’t even started the individual paper yet because last weekend was a quiz that took altogether way too much out of me and the presentation where I felt like I had to go learn everything all over again just to be able to add my stuff in.

I am tired. I have 3 weeks left … nay 2!!! And I am so very very tired right now. I don’t know how I am going to manage when I have 3 and 4 classes in a semester.



This election cycle has been more exhausting and traumatising than any that I can remember. Not even our most violent elections in Jamaica come close to how traumatised I am right now and we still have another 4 months to go before it’s over.

I feel beaten down and sore. There is so much violent rhetoric everywhere and nothing anyone says can be taken on face value. No one is trustworthy and everyone is corrupt and a liar. Some more so than others until you talk to someone who actually supports that one and then … not so corrupt. It’s exhausting. The number of media houses who are willing to examine this race from an objective perspective is slim and people stick to their preferred outlets even when they know how biased they are. I really wish that the public was more discerning than they are.

I don’t even know how I got so gung-ho about voting either. I haven’t been this interested in voting since I was first able to vote as a young adult in Jamaica. And that was a pretty disappointing experience. I voted for a woman I thought would have more interest in contributing to bettering the community than anything else. Boy was I disappointed. Whatever progress was made was invisible to me and it tainted my view of politics and government for years afterwards.

As I grew older, though, it became clearer to me that politics was less about me and more about community, the most needy, and optics. And it is that last bit that poses a conundrum for me because I am of the opinion that it really should not matter what people think of you, but at the same time I am very much in favour of not behaving like a complete numbskull in public either. Which isn’t necessarily contradicting stances, mind you. One can be one’s true self without being an ass so long as one is not actually an ass.

And this brings me to this whole 2016 election. We’ve got an ass and a hardass as choices. I dunno … it’s kind of shitty that the one year I decide to be good citizen, my choices are between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. And while I am of the firm opinion that one of these is worse than the other (and I am not here to say which that is), I really am tired of the way in which people have taken these elections and turned it into an excuse to belittle one another, alienate one another, and shut one another down.

As someone on a friend’s Facebook thread said, this election season is way too long. Most marriages can’t last with this level and duration of vitriol. Why are we doing this to ourselves?