Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

Posts Tagged ‘communication

Friendship, ah friendship… hmmm

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Best friends

Best friends forever

Some time back I wrote a piece on friendship and those kitschy, gushing emails drenched in puppies and kitties and pastels that end up in my Inbox rather often. At first they annoyed me just a bit – after all, I’m not a puppies and kitties kind of girl. But after a while, I realised they meant someone was thinking nice thoughts about me, and that was rather lovely. I may not forward them on, but I usually thank the sender.

Culturally, I think we look at friendship the same way we look at romance – every time out, it’s for keeps, everlasting. And the reality is that few romances and probably as few friendships are solid enough to go the distance. Which doesn’t mean you don’t have a great season together. But they’re not the stuff of lifetime relationships.

Quite often it’s work friends or neighbours – you shift jobs and houses and you mean to stay in touch, but you naturally drift away. The season is over, no hard feelings. Or without doing it intentionally, you just drift away from some people, even after you’ve known them ten or more years. It’s sad when that happens, but the silver lining there is you can often reconnect as if there had never been a down-time.

I don't like you anymore.

How can I say this gently? I don't like you anymore.

What about folks you’ve been friends with for a year or so, and you realise you don’t know why you’re friends? At first they were great fun, but you don’t enjoy their company anymore. They may be hard work with little return, bad tempered drama queens, or simply dull, uninteresting.

I had a friend (now former) tell me I was a bore because of my obsession with pizza. It seemed odd at the time, but I in retrospect, our friendship had passed its use-by date for both of us and that was the one thing she could put her finger on. I could come up with a laundry list of her faults – but she had them when we became friends – they weren’t the problem. We’d just moved past each other. (And I am now very circumspect in my discussion of pizza…)

Proper New York Pizza

Proper New York Pizza

Lace Sky

Like the last ray of sunlight grasping at the fading day, we must let go of a friendship that is over...

The dilemma is that you don’t truly dislike them – if you did, no problem with terminating the friendship. You just don’t like them anymore. You don’t want to give them your time, listen to their dramas, be understanding when they fly off the perch, hear about proper New York pizza one more time.

This is where I want a nice, warm kitschy email that says, “Gee, we’ve had some real good times, and essentially, I think you’re a decent human being. But now that I’ve got to know you really well, I realise I don’t like you very much. Can we call the friendship off?”

Surely we could come up with something mildly funereal, delicate, sensitive yet to the point? Why does everything seem slightly sarcastic? Why are endings so bloody hard?

No wonder we hide and dodge the whole thing and end up stuck with the odd friend we don’t like at all. We need a roadmap, a plan, a course of action – a path to follow to get it right. And I think we do need to do it right, find a way to get these people out of our lives where we can. There’s not much we can do about family. Or coworkers. Or neighbours. We may have to manage toxic relationships throughout our lives.

Cats have friends, too!

Friendships – close, casual, distant, intimate or a 3 hour plane ride long should enrich our lives and bring us joy, support us through tougher times. Like every soppy, sticky, cloying friendship email spells out in detail – friendship is an amazing human treasure. Let’s keep it that way!

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

31/05/2010 at 11:29 pm

Crossing the bridge

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Auckland in the fading light

Life runs in cycles, at least mine does. Times when everything goes according to plan – or better than plan. One good thing leads to another, even better thing. People are happy and productive. Ideas flow and the energy to implement them gushes like a fountain.

It’s those times the song, “Walking on Sunshine” was written about. (Not that I would ever be caught dead humming along to something like that. Not me – no matter how happy I was. One must have standards. But I do stop and look around, appreciate the order of the universe – and marvel at the forces keeping chaos at bay.)

Another five minutes please, I’m not ready to go.

The cycle continues. Just because you are delirious with the status quo, doesn’t mean you can hit the pause button, or slow it all down.  You can try to deny it, cling on. Have you convinced yourself you’re not Sisyphus – you know what you’re doing?

The fading light is beautiful, and there’s no way of knowing what might still turn up. What you might catch if you remain diligently vigilant. So there you are, sitting there – one fisherman all alone on the shore. This isn’t what you planned. But what do you do now?

I’m sure it was never quite this blue. Not back then.

The solitude is rather nice. But as the world fades away, you’re too alone. The world has taken on a strange, amber hue – the colour of danger, of warning. Rather than be afraid you adjust your vision, reassure yourself, keeping everything close to you just like it always has been, at least until recently. But you find you’re feeling blue. How long can you fool yourself?

It’s time to get up, pack up. Get moving. It’s time to cross the bridge. Find out what’s on the other side. It’s only a little bit scary.

Hah! It’s not even a bridge over troubled waters… Those are calm seas.

Put one foot in front of the other. Don’t forget to breathe.

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

12/02/2010 at 11:52 pm

Just say NO! to porn

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As naughty as it gets with Google safe-search on

As naughty as it gets with Google safe-search on

No, I’m not talking about naked people getting it on in various configurations, positions and places the rest of us probably couldn’t manage if we tried. That’s old school. It’s pretty easy to avoid traditional porn these days. I plugged the word sex into Google Images and came up with wholesome images of chastely clad people. Pornography didn’t yield anything of interest, either. I had to change my Google preferences to allow explicit images. Even then sex didn’t get me anything a ten year old couldn’t safely look at for the first few pages.

It takes safe-seach off to get this naughty pic

It takes safe-seach off to get this naughty pic

So I plugged in my first name – Veronica. Aha! Apparently girls named Veronica love being naked in front of a camera. I wouldn’t stick 98.5% of the photos there on my blog, but I had to allow explicit images to be shown in order to find one this ‘racy.’ Yes, her name is Veronica. No, I don’t look like that and never have.

The point is, I had to make a choice to look at sexual pornography on the Internet. I’d have to select and pay for a porn magazine; or a pornography channel on cable or Sky; ditto for movie theatres.

The porn I would like to say No! to is the stuff that gets shoved in my face by the media in the guise of news or entertainment.

Network news annoys far more than the rest. I turn on the news to find out what’s going on in the world and in my community. Just a few years ago sensationalist reporting was relegated to syndicated ‘news’ programmes, digging as far into the dirt of sensational stories as they could go. Now the networks are full of crime-porn, disaster-porn, human interest-porn, education-porn, government exposé-porn.

sex-bushfireLast week’s bush fires in Victoria, Australia were a tragedy of horrendous proportions. With 181 dead and thousands left homeless – there was plenty of genuine, heart-breaking news – recovering bodies, housing the dispossessed, getting the fires out only to have arsonists reignite them.

Both New Zealand networks sent their news presenters over to stand in the rubble and moan about the humanity of it all. How did this become a ‘star opportunity’ for them? You could see the disappointment in their faces that the burnt out station wagon didn’t contain the charred remains of a fleeing family. ‘Interviews,’ i.e. cameras shoved in the faces of grief-stricken survivors who’d lost family turned my stomach as their private pain was reduced to ‘human interest’ to pump up ratings. The last straw was 5 minutes of air-time given to a videotape made by parents who thought they were going to die, saying good-bye to their children.

New Orleans Convention Centre

New Orleans Convention Centre

I wish this was an exception, but it has become the norm. Every natural disaster comes with titillating tales. (Remember the dozens of ‘child-rapes’ that were supposedly taking place in the convention centre during Hurricane Katrina – absolutely NONE of which was verified later?) Sensational crimes – it’s a given we will come to know the minute details of the crime and the criminal’s personal life – but the victim, dead or alive is also fair game in the ratings war.

60 Minutes was once THE journalist powerhouse, taking on government, industry and social issues with hard-hitting investigations. Now there’s two-headed babies, interviews with pseudo celebrities and tawdry reports on crimes of passion.

And let us not forget celebrity-porn! Britanny and Paris got so much news coverage last year you would think they had contributed something to humanity.

Then there’s alleged entertainment. I used to love cop shows. Hill Street Blues and Homicide: Life on the Street were two favourites – both realistic in many ways, gritty looks at crime. Child’s play compared to the current crop of CSI and similar shows. I know it’s special effects, but I’d really rather not see a maggot eaten corpse. And the story-lines – life could never imitate this art. Apparently teen sex-clubs are all the rage, young men should be on the lookout for poisoned condoms and half the judges in the US are involved in sad-masochistic sex rings.

Sigh… I’m too young to be too old for contemporary culture. I’ll keep choosing carefully, trying to avoid that lowest common denominator, which keeps sinking to new depths. Of course, I’m not exactly saintly – I hooked you with sex, but I got you to the end playing fair. 😉

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

15/02/2009 at 4:56 pm

6 little thoughts

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Math joke: What comes before 10?  The postie.

A woman’s complaint:  My sweeper is so weak it wouldn’t suck a maggot off a chop.

The master penis operates the TV monitor, CD player, DVD player, radio, and surround sound.  When I hold the master penis in my hand, I am holding something borrowed.

I needed to laugh, if only for a minute

Titirangi wood pigeon

Titirangi wood pigeon

Why do people say actions speak louder than words?  Why do they say that words lie?  Words do not lie although the action of the speaker may be one of betrayal.  Actions betray far more often and more deeply than words ever could.  Speaking is an action.  Words can be stolen.  How could we ever be honest with ourselves without words?  How could we ever kill without action?

Dazzle is the most perfect word in the English language.  To be dazzled is to indulge in pure joy.  Dazzle me.

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

11/02/2009 at 11:13 pm

Help! My Facebook friends are spamming me!

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Facebook, Facebook – your myriad evil genius continues to amaze and befuddle. You’ve got it right – it’s doing what you want… but sometimes it seems like you’re turning my life into an endless version of the 12 Days of Christmas – a post-modern 365 Days of Facebook Requests. I suppose it’s a matter of time before some clever muso records it for You-Tube and gets a million hits. But you read it here first.

Today's Facebook 'requests' from my friends

Today's Facebook 'requests' from my friends

How is it that folks who wouldn’t dream of forwarding a piece of spam, a blatant hoax, chain email or other piece of junk to me – have no problem sending me bogus requests to add endless games,  spyware and outright rip-offs to my computer? I’ve got a small group of Facebook friends – all people I actually know and who know me. I can’t imagine the number of ‘requests’ people who have hundreds or thousands of friends get. Fortunately most of them don’t send notifications and requests to all their friends. But those that do… please think about what you are doing.

I’m not against any of these little programmes on principle. I’ve previously mentioned my fondness for anagrams and play a few myself. Twirl is a favourite time-waster when I am writing. A round is two minutes long and I can convince myself I deserve a little break. Just had one. Didn’t send anyone a notification about it. Didn’t request anyone to get it.

So here’s a familiar screenshot

fb-heart-access

I give them access to my Profile information, photos, my friends’ info and any other content it wants. In turn, Valentine’s Day Share the Love programme promises to donate money to charity. Okay – I do that. I rummage around and see they will be giving away a certain number of $50 Amazon vouchers (but only to residents of the US, UK and Canada – which leaves me out.) If you choose not to accept the $50, it will go to the World Food Programme. (OK, my $50 can go to charity.)

They’ve managed to donate $150 so far this year. Hmmm… how many millions of hits have they gotten with this programme? I have 14 ‘gifts’ waiting for me – multiply that out to even 1% of Facebooks subscribers and their ad revenue must be skyrocketing.

Then I notice that “Spread the love” is the same company that makes the “Crush” app at the bottom of the page. They are trying to con a $3.5o DAILY charge on the cellphone bill of anyone who doesn’t read the find print in their search to find out who would like to ‘Kiss them’ and who would like to do ‘MORE.’ (Fortunately, I don’t know anyone in Hamilton…) A couple of suckers there would fund their donations nicely and move our ‘spread the love’ entrepreneurs into a fine house on the hill.

fb-crush2Now I am not on a crusade against this particular outfit. They’re all as bad as each other. I’m just sick of seeing endless notifications from friends who can’t be bothered to click the “Skip” button and send everything they look at to every one of their friends. And it is especially annoying when it’s from a scam company like this.

There are thousands of legitimate causes on Facebook that raise both awareness and money. None of them do it like this.

Expecting Facebook to change who it accepts as advertisers is unrealistic. As long as they are in the black, with over 250 million hits a day and an endless stream of new subscribers, my annoyance won’t matter. I’m not going to delete my Facebook page, either – it’s useful. It does what it’s supposed to do.

But I would really love it if my Facebook friends would stop and think before they send ‘requests’ to everyone. You are being used to advertise these companies. Are your friends actually interested? Is it something genuinely interesting/valuable/fun? Or is it a scam? Personally, I’m always up for a new word game – I’d love to check out your new discovery. I’m a sucker for a movie quiz. If you discover something really cool – let me know!

But please stop spamming your friends. You wouldn’t do it in email – please, please, please stop doing it on Facebook…

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

07/02/2009 at 3:55 pm

Blogging is a saintly exercise

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I’m a month into this blogging thing, and have discovered it’s one of the most fun, creative things one can get up to on the computer. And even when I’m off

Read my blog! It's great! It's funny! It's topical! It's ful of useful information and handy hints! Read it! Read it! Please! Please! Please!!!

Read my blog! It's great! It's funny! It's topical! It's ful of useful information and handy hints! Read it! Read it! Here - I'll give you some candy...

the computer, I’m thinking what I’m going to post next, wondering who is reading what I’m writing – and what do they think?

Then there’s promoting your blog – face it, your friends and family, who may well love your blog and check in regularly, well, they are a pretty small group. 20-30 hits a day. And yet, you know there are blogs out there getting millions of hits every day. How do you get a slice of them?

Adding an RSS feed to my Facebook page was a good idea. Linking from other people’s blogs. I tried doing some posts on mailing lists – but it really felt like I was spamming, even if it was selective – but that just felt icky, so I gave that up quick. But the numbers did go up from all of these things. Google hits were going up. Then one day I had a huge jump – somehow a site called Alpha Inventions had send a couple hundred hits my way. I followed them up. It’s a blog-reader – or blog scroller, that pops up a new blog every 4-5 seconds. If it’s something that interests you, you can click on it and read it. If not, you just wait for the next one to pop up. And… you can plug your URL in and your site goes into the viewing queue – the catch is you are bumping some  else out of the queue and you will eventually get bumped. But I’m getting more hits – which is great. I just hope they turn into regular readers.

Blogging forces you to write something new and interesting every day. The oldest rule of writing there is – writers write. If you ain’t writing – you ain’t a writer. Somehow blogging is making me feel downright saintly, unlike my regular columns which are jobs, albeit ones I love. I’m feeling so saintly, that novel is calling louder and louder. No… I don’t think I’m going to set it in the Blogosphere.

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

01/02/2009 at 3:07 pm

Time Twister

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Sometimes when I am remembering, I am not remembering at all, but creating what has already happened in the past in a new way, a new light, a new version, maybe one I like better, maybe one I like less.  Sometimes when I think I am remembering, I am not thinking of anything at all.  And remembering becomes a state of nothingness, where all is not lost, but I am.

Orphan's cemetery, Blauvelt, New York

Orphan's cemetery, Blauvelt, New York

The line of human interaction is a tenuous one at best.  I think of hearts and minds connecting like the scene on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel where God’s finger connects by electricity to Adam’s as he reaches skyward.  But as God would not use as mundane a force as electricity, neither does the power of hearts and minds.

It is Saturday morning, 10:56, no 10:57.  I was lost for a minute.

Did I ever tell you about the time I decided to become a boy when I was in a foster home when I was four?  I wanted to be a boy with red hair and freckles who could run really fast and climb to the top of the monkey bars and swing fearlessly from the very top.  And when I was a boy I wouldn’t be scared.  And my name was going to be Mikey and I was going to wear blue pants and sneakers and shirt with blue and gold stripes.

When I was bigger, about eight, I wanted to play with the boys so I could say fuck and shit like they did.

I liked Jay Black when I was seven because even though he was a boy, and he was two years older than me, he let me play soldier with him.  And he never asked me to take my pants down.  Not until I was thirteen anyway, after I kissed him.  By the time I was thirteen, I knew better than to take my pants down.  And we were too old to play soldier.  So we had no more in common.

Saturday morning, 11:38.

Minutes tick by irretrievable.

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

31/01/2009 at 12:15 pm

Posted in dreams, time, Writing

Tagged with , ,

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