Thursday, April 25, 2013

Critical Discussion

The next few days are going to be really crazy for me. I have copy edits to review for book 7, a Requiem rehearsal tonight, a party tomorrow night, a Requiem rehearsal Saturday morning, a totally different choir concert Saturday night that I'd thought about not doing (it's not mandatory), but there were only three sopranos and we were all seconds so they needed someone who could sing first, then normal church stuff Sunday morning and then the Requiem performance Sunday night. Since most of this music is pretty challenging (and high) I should probably stay as quiet as possible when I'm not singing. At social events, I will be a good listener. Is it bad that I'm kind of hoping we get the forecast rain tomorrow so my former client's outdoor party is delayed to next week (the plan in the invitation)?

I had a fit of nostalgia yesterday for my early days on the Internet, and while I was waiting for a conference call to start (that awkward time when you don't dare step away from your desk in case they call a little early, but they're always a little late), I looked up whatever became of Usenet. That was my introduction to the Internet, and it was like the heavens opened up when I found that there were forums where I could discuss things with people all over the world. Somewhere along the way, I ended up mostly on Television Without Pity, and then there was an ISP change where they didn't say anything about the newsgroup access and I never looked into it. So I looked it up and found that the current ISP no longer offers newsgroup access, and some searching revealed that apparently Usenet has mostly become a big file-sharing thing for people who don't want to torrent, and that's why it seems as though ISPs no longer automatically offer it. It's a separate thing you have to get through some other place. I suspect if that's the case, there's probably not a lot of non-technical discussion going on, the way there used to be before the Internet was multimedia. I was mostly hoping to find an alternative to TWOP because they've had so many technical issues lately and some of my favorite forums have become a spiral of negativity in which a few of the more vocal people only want to criticize something, and they criticize that same thing over and over again and pile up on anyone who dares disagree, and soon the people who don't share that view just drift away because it isn't worth dealing with People Who Are Wrong on the Internet, so then the negativity really increases and becomes just the same few people talking to each other and patting each other on the back about how right they are. Usenet was usually big and chaotic enough that it was hard for that to happen. You could killfile people who annoyed you so that you didn't have to see their posts. And it wasn't so heavily moderated that you couldn't call someone out on being a jerk. That sometimes made things more intense and flame wars erupted, but it also meant it was hard for a small group of people to completely change the tone of a forum. Maybe I should look for individual fan sites for particular shows, but then you get into a lot of non-critical squeeage and then the shipping takes over and ugh. There's got to be a good place to do some reasonably balanced (able to see the pluses and minuses) literary-type analysis of television. I think I mostly want to get away from the "female characters are terrible" attitude (which generally comes from female posters -- I guess women actually on the show are competition for their TV boyfriends?) and the "saintly bad boy/boring if he's good, damned if he ever does one thing wrong good boy" attitude. Not to mention the "they didn't do it the way I wanted, so it sucks and all the fans are mad" routine. I may be dreaming about finding that anywhere on the Internet. Or on earth, because people are people. Maybe I should private message a few of the less obnoxious regulars I like discussing things with and start an e-mail chat loop.

Not that I have time for that sort of thing at the moment. Even after my musical weekend ends, I have a big to-do list. I made a master list for everything in my life yesterday, and it wasn't as overwhelming as I feared, but it was still a lot. I've got to prepare a conference workshop for the following weekend. I have a lot of household stuff to deal with, like painting the bathroom, getting the kitchen plumbing repairs done and getting the living room ceiling fan replaced. I've got a book coming out in May, and that will require some work. And there's the stalled office organization project that means it's currently in worse shape than when I began. On the up side, I only have two more real sessions of children's choir before the sharing program night. That removes a little stress.

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