In defense of selfies … cliche or art?

The tide is turning on the art of selfies.  After Ellen, President Obama, and other celebs started participating in the absorbing process of taking pictures of themselves and then posting on various social media sites, the novelty of selfies wore off.  In some circles selfies have become ‘old school’, hackneyed, and subject to ridicule.

My daughter, who seriously lifts, takes selfies of herself before and after workouts and often has her trainer take snaps of her in process.  She posts these images frequently with words of encouragement to other lifters and, probably, to herself as well. The pics, I now understand, are for her a pictorial record of her progress.  A picture speaks a thousand words or is that a thousand pictures speak thousands of words.

Because of her mom’s seeming obsession with selfies, my granddaughter recently challenged her mother to desist from the selfie taking on a long holiday weekend excursion together at a water park.  My daughter agreed, reluctantly.  What is one to post on Facebook if one’s most available model, oneself, is no longer available?

My daughter basically succeeded but instead had others take pictures of her and many of these got posted.

Around that time I came across the article below about an art student who used selfies in a novel way to re-stage various Old Masters (remember the heavy, rather dark dutch paintings) using selfies for each person posed in a given painting.  This project was part of her university studies.

W&L graduating senior perfects the art of selfies – Virginia News And Politics.

This article reminded me that Rembrandt and Van Gogh, in particular, had drawn or painted many self-portraits of themselves through their lifetimes.  Even Rockwell did at least one self-portrait.  These ‘selfies’ are treated with respect and as masterpieces in some cases.  Are those works trite?


So let’s not be so quick to demean selfies.  It just could be an art form.


AOL … not so fuddy-duddy afterall

The news is abuzz with the probable purchase of AOL by Verizon.

Dear Reader:

The news of the pending purchase of AOL by Verizon for $4.something billion has amused me this last day or so.

A few years ago a headhunter told my husband to not use an AOL email address in his resume or business cards because it would make him appear technologically stodgy. Hubby is a technologist in the computer services industry and didn’t quite buy into that opinion, but he did create a gmail address.

He told me about the advice and I snorted.  I jumped from CompuServe in 1994 to AOL when it became an ISP and, also, I may have had a crush on Steve Case.  Initially, a person’s screen name was limited to 7 characters. When it was possible I changed to a longer screen name  so that I could be more easily identifiable.  Yes, I have had an email address on my business cards since 1994 and before that I had my CompuServe ID number on my cards.  Do you remember those long stringy number IDs?

I needed to maintain a certain continuity in my email address for professional reasons, thus I stuck with my AOL address as my primary address through all these years.  I have two email address pet peeves.  People who change email address often and then use complain that they are not being included on communications.  The other pet peeve has to do with those cutsy (or so they think), inane, email addresses that give no clue as to the identity of the owner …  “squawwoman” and “mustangannie” come to mind. Maybe as I wind up my practice, I may become”xenachick”.

So I stayed with AOL as it morphed from ISP to content provider, to publisher, to entertainment portal, to news portal and now as internet video innovator.

AOL and I  may not be so stodgy, after all.


Blogging 101–Changing Tag Line

Having already confessed that I am behind on my #blogging101 assignments, I am proud to announce that I have just changed the tag line on my main blog …last Monday’s assignment.

Working on the WordPress platform for the last couple of years has been a learn as I go process. The options available have been intimidating so I have made few changes in the look and feel of my blog until today.  I know one of the upcoming lessons encourages bloggers to try new things, try new themes.

Changing my tag line today impressed on me that I have committed to a reason for blogging other than to have a voice (can writing be a voice?) or an outlet about life.

Maybe through this process I will discover my purpose.


Storm Pax

Storm Pax and I have so much in common.  It came in with a mixture of the symptoms of winter storms … cold, snow, ice, sleet, wind.  I awoke yesterday,  the morning of Pax, with a mixture of the symptoms of the common cold … chills, sneezing, dripping, sore throat, maybe a temp.

In Prince George most of the impact of Pax was the anticipation of Pax.  We watched it approaching (is Pax a he or a she?) on the weather maps.  When would it arrive?  Would it bring snow or ice and what timing for either? Would we lose electricity?  How long would we lose it?  What if we ran out of  _____?

My own cold had no such anticipation.  It was upon me.  I was in the grip of the juicy, nasty brunt of it.  I would take a nap and awake to a new, different set of symptoms.  No longer sneezing or dripping, but stopped up,  unable to hear well and with a headache.  Another nap taken and an awakening to a return of the sneezing and sore throat and thus the day progressed.

In between naps I made efforts to continue Pax prep … cooked up some chili, meat loaf, and veggies (such things are easier to heat up on my Coleman camp stove when we lose power); filled all of my ice tea pitchers, large bowls, doggie water bowls, and water bottles with, well, water. (Oh, nearly forgot the London Broil I roasted.)  I was totally determined that we would not starve or suffer dehydration  if we lost power.

Finally, my daughter reserved a hotel room for us should we really lose power for the duration … so much cheaper than a whole house generator.

Awoke this morning with slushy snow on the ground, a heck of a lot of cooked  food in the refrigerator, a sore throat,  a juicy cold, and power.

The Passing of a Brother

Last week one of my younger brothers died.

His death came via a year of hospitalizations for acute crises, tearful family phone calls and the growing, gnawing realization that his passing was inevitable with only the date being uncertain.

I received the call early last Friday from a brother-in-law that Paul’s end had come the night before in a state distant from my own.  Another phone conversation followed with a sister bereft with grief and sobbing so hard she could hardly catch her breath.  She was not at her home yet but was in her son’s apartment on her way back from a mission trip in Joplin, Missouri.  Her son was at work.  I urged her to contact him.  She need someone with her to deal with this “inevitable” family sadness.

Initially, I felt numb.  This passing was  expected, after all.  In a few hours however, I knew I was not so immune to this loss of a brother.  My energy level was low and I felt oddly disconnected to the usual routines of my life.  By the following day I realized I was remembering my brother as a child, an adolescent.  I was remembering our childhood, our adolescence.  We grew up together.  He was only three years younger than I.  As my mind processed various events and escapades from our past, I more often had a smile around my lips and not tears.

Yes, his death was inevitable … with only the date being uncertain.  The same is true for the rest of us.  My husband reminds me from time to time that “none of us are going to get out of this alive.”    I often laugh at this somewhat macabre reminder, but now it is almost a freeing reminder that it is the time before we die that is what we control, enjoy, experience, etc.   You select the verb.

Writing such personal thoughts do not come easily to me.  To describe me as stoic would probably be understatement.  However, I have sobbed to the point of nausea upon the death of a beloved pet and embarrassingly teared up  watching “Bottle Shock” and the “Loving Story.”

Yesterday, one week after being informed of my brother’s death, I awoke to the frenetic reporting of the Aurora, Colorado shootings.  This mass murder brought on many more reflections.  None of us get out alive, but does it make a difference if death is slow and the result of disease or condition than if it is the result of a sudden criminal act?  This is a rhetorical question for now, but it will be percolating in my subconscious for a while.

The reality is that most of us have little control over the timing and circumstances of our deaths.  Suicide, euthanasia, and advance medical directives are qualifiers of that statement.  But basically life is what we have around us at this moment.  The next moment is not promised.  Christians will disagree with this “in the now” orientation because for them life is everlasting, but that belief does not persuade skeptics.

Goodbye, Paul Cunningham.  May you rest in peace.