I saw a political cartoon somewhere, where big numbers representing 2016 were in the center and there was this little man giving the number six a big ol' kick off into the neverland that is outside the frame of the cartoon. And I laughed that knowing laugh that everyone has done at one time or another, involving the rolling of the eyes. This past year has held some difficulties and disappointments for me as some years do. Not the roughest year I've ever had, that's for sure, 1990 was the worst year I ever had in my personal life, followed by the next couple of years after. So no matter how much of a struggle I'm going through, I always use that as my benchmark and then I can be grateful that, well, it's nowhere near what 1990 was. I've been criticized before about how I always manage to "land on my feet", but it's crucial to having a happy life and maybe they'd find that out if they weren't so busy spreading crap around. Just as we, so many times, create our own misery, so also can we learn to create and appreciate joy. Trying to find joy in making someone else more miserable than we are is just counter-productive.
No matter what the year has been like, I can always say I've learned something. Sometimes I learn something about people I loved and thought they loved me. Sometimes it's a new skill. Sometimes it's improvements to my life or my surroundings that have come about from things I've learned. And sometimes it involves revelations that are almost magical and I believe they come from God. If I could give people just one piece of advice, it would be, "Be open to possibilities and never stop learning". Oh, I guess that's really two. Almost everything that happens to us is not totally a bad thing if we can come out of it knowing something we didn't know before.
I do a lot of dinking around on the Internet. It's better than going to the library because of the search function. Just plug in your question and botta bing.
Sometimes, I just want to be entertained. It might be when I'm just too physically tired from doing stuff around here, or maybe I can't go visiting neighbors for one reason or another, but yet I'm not in the mood to watch One. Cowboy. Show. After. Another . It's times like that when I can just dink around on Pinterest or You Tube or go to other people's blogs and visit the blogs they have on their sidebars. If all else fails and I can think of something I want to know more about, there's always that search function, too. I feel like it's worth what my internet access costs, as it keeps me from griping to Hubs about the type of stuff he's watching or an approximated number of times that we've Seen. It. Already. Or all those news programs where it seems like there are only about ten things that happen all over the world per day and we hear about that over and over, sometimes for several days, as "breaking news" and then there are those programs where five people sit around and argue about it till I just want to scream. I truly don't care what that pretty little girl that doesn't even have enough sense to buy her clothes in adult sizes thinks about anything. So, therefore, it preserves his sanity as well as mine, and makes me a more pleasant person to be around, which keeps Hubs from going out into the community and griping about me and how bad he has it, having to live with me, The Ugly Troll That Lives Under The Bridge. Men!! They simplify everything. Every now and then I hear some guy say, "She threw all my things out in the yard and locked me out of the house for no good reason! Oh, yeah, right. I betcha there IS a really good reason.
All that said, the Internet does have it's drawbacks, and one thing that I don't guess any of the people that worked to bring it into being ever realized is how so many people would get dependent on it. Yes, even addicted to it. I saw, last week, the results of a poll on what people would choose if they could only have one thing out of three choices: Internet, Alcohol, or Sex. The overwhelming majority chose the Internet. And I don't think anyone ever thought that some day people would all be putting sensitive information out there for prying eyes to see; information that would allow other people to take over their lives, just because some piece of software they wanted to use, or some website they wanted to visit, insisted on it before they would let them in. That's straight out of a 1950's horror show, long before anybody had any idea how Univac, a machine that was first used by the Census bureau in 1951, could grow and blossom so fully and broadly. There are a lot of bad things that can happen on The Internet. There are a lot of people who have found a way to mis-use the internet in order to see things they shouldn't be looking at, to reach people they should have some protection from, or people who should have protection from them. At the same time, your computer can spy on you and make a record of everywhere you went and what you looked at while you were there. Hackers can send you a legitimate-looking email with an interesting-looking link in it and when you take the bait, they can record every keystroke you make. You, or one of your kids, might download what you think is a free game and what comes along with it is that you've given someone remote access which enables them to see your screen on their monitor. And they can take control of it right in front of your eyes. So, be careful. Don't ever click on a link sent to you via email. Do a right-click on it and get a properties box so you can see what the URL is. If you still want to go to it, navigate to it yourself using what information you have and using the search function. At least then your security software will be looking at it and you can see that it's safe before you go there. Don't ever download anything unless you trust the source. You already know that, right?
Of course now there's such controversy about how they believe the election was tinkered with by hackers and I just idly wonder why, if that has happened, shouldn't that make the election null and void and shouldn't we have to start the process all over again? I mean, isn't it totally opening up a whole can of worms to actually let someone take an office that was ill-gotten? Unprecedented, of course. But I've heard that word bandied about more times than I'm comfortable with in the last month or so. I know a lot of people who want to change the spelling of this word to "UnPRESIDENTED", if you know what I mean. Sigh*... Whatever, it is not in my hands and nobody cares about my opinion. I'm praying that God has His hands on us and will make everything turn out right. I have to leave stuff like this up to God, because He is the only one who can see the whole picture, and He is the only one who can take a bad thing and make it into a good thing. I don't know, really, who we should trust and who we shouldn't. Everything I know is mostly just stuff someone has said. Everybody's saying something different from everybody else and I don't know who to trust or how to tell who's telling the truth and who's not.
Now it seems that there's such fear about power grids being hacked into. And I sit here and wonder why we have EVER let such a thing as our utilities become dependent on The Internet. Utilities were being provided to homes since long before the computer was ever invented. And we always had clean water, all the electricity we could pay for and natural gas if the lines were laid for it. Trucks came to restock our grocery stores and gas stations and the like, and life went on. These are things where the phrase, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" has never been more true. And, oddly enough, that phrase was originally used by computer programmers. Some people have Wi-Fi in their homes and they use their cell phones as the control to do all kinds of things at their homes while they are not there. I don't do that, because I don't trust it. I'm almost always home, anyway. So it would be a waste. I can see a possibility of a future where we don't know how to do lots of things without the internet. When that day comes, we are all in deep doo-doo. I mean, it's certainly cool to be able to let artificial intelligence do stuff for us, but didn't we all learn in high school that sometimes "being cool" can get us in an awful lot of trouble?
The last time I logged onto Pinterest I found they'd loaded me up with "things I might be interested in", based on some things I'd looked at in the past. Now, if they weren't keeping track of that, it's just too much of a coincidence that they would be able to guess what it is I'd enjoy seeing. They give you a board of your own to pin things on, but I haven't done anything with mine, so they're not getting their information from that. You can't get on there and look if you don't have an ID and a password, so you are forced to give up your anonymity in that way. I find this annoyingly invasive in a certain frame of mind, but when in a good mood I might actually find it helpful. It's a double-edged sword, as some people say. And yes, looking at Pinterest can chew up a considerable part of the day. Been there, done that.
Even with this blog, I often go back and delete things because I start thinking I've gotten too careless and divulged Too Much Information, considering how there's no way to know why people are reading what's been written. I want to think people are friendly and they come because they are entertained, or they find something of interest on the blog. But it's not always that simple. Sometimes I look at my blog stats and find I have had hundreds of hits a day from Russia on this blog that doesn't normally get but 40 or 50 hits a day, TOTAL. Now, I'm really torn here. I'm at a disadvantage because Americans have all been taught to mistrust the Russians. I talked to a tech who told me it may be something as simple as someone just repeatedly clicking "Refresh", trying to overload the server, and that a hacker can make it look like it's coming from some other country other than the one they're actually IN. It's all so complicated. But the server isn't mine and so if anybody makes it go down, it won't be my responsibility to fix it. Lately I've become more careful about e-mail, too. Years ago, I was advised that when I open up a new e-mail account, to make up words for my security hints that are not the same ones I use anywhere else. That has been really good advice.
So I've decided to make a few changes with how I do my blog. I've been considering monetizing my blog, so that I get paid for every visit, and for every time someone clicks on a link. I mean, if I'm going to get over 1,000 hits a day from people that are not actually coming to read, I might as well get some benefit from it, right? I may start writing shorter posts, dedicated to one main topic, rather than doing these kitchen table posts where every paragraph has a different topic. They take so long to write. I don't know..... my mind wanders, it's just my way. Not sure if I can be that organized, and not sure I want my blog cluttered with ads. More thinking about this is in order.
I hope you all had a good (and safe) celebration of the closing of 2016 last night. Hubs and I have seen so many of these celebrations during our lives it's just boring now to us. And feels a little stupid. But to each his own. May we all have a good 2017 and somehow learn to live in peace with each other. Hugs xoxoxo