Late night ponderings about mocking machines

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Street lampSometimes The Blog of Death server mocks me.

I’ll sign into the content management system, in this case WordPress, and attempt to delete the thousands (I kid you not) of spam messages sitting in the “to be approved” queue. For some reason, WordPress or my server Dream Host only allows me to delete 100 messages at a time and so the whole process takes for-freakin’-ever.

When I spend too much time on this task, I receive a server error that says my request is too large.

I hit the back button and try again.

“Your server request is too large.”

I clear my cache and try again.

“Your server request is too large.”

After seeing this message over and over, I start to take it personally. “No, server,” I think, “my request is not too large. Perhaps your capabilities are too small? Or maybe, just maybe, the spammers are too cruel. Did you ever think of that?”

The server does not reply.

The Roller Coaster Week

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I’m going to take the weekend off. No plans. No obligations.

I just need a couple of days to decompress.

For me, decompressing generally involves writing, reading, watching movies, spending time with my husband, petting our animals and baking. These are the activities that bring me joy and nourish my soul.

The week wasn’t all that bad. I mean, there were some high points. I wrote a story that was splashed on the front page of HuffPost U.S., U.K. and Canada. That same story received more than 33,000 comments and was viewed over 1.6 million times. My dear friend John resurrected The Blog of Death on a new server so I was able to post an obituary I really liked. I tried out a recipe for carrot cake and it tasted delicious. I spent time with friends, both on the phone and in person. M woke me with kisses every night.

All in all, the highs were pretty good.

On the other hand, the temperatures rose, a rain storm blew in and all of the snow disappeared. That article I wrote, the popular one? It also generated a great deal of mean-spirited and insulting e-mails/comments/tweets. I got a migraine from the storm, though thankfully it didn’t last. We didn’t win the lottery. Again. And, as sometimes happens, I let the news get to me.

This occurs to most journalists at one time or another. I’m convinced that’s why so many have alcohol problems and broken marriages. As Nietzsche said, “When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”

So many things hit me this week. The 200+ people who perished in the nightclub fire in Brazil. Did you know that the victims’ cell phones, which were placed on their bodies, continued to ring as frantic families tried to reach them? The cruel bastards who were dog fighting a pack of pit bull terriers in Florida. (When the authorities showed up to rescue the dogs, the look of relief on this pup’s face nearly broke my heart). The gunman who shot and killed a school bus driver and then kidnapped a little boy (he’s been holding the child hostage for two days now). The woman in Mogadishu who was allegedly raped by soldiers and still had the courage to report the assault, only to have the government arrest her, interrogate her for days without legal counsel and then threaten her with years of imprisonment. Her husband and the reporter who interviewed her were also arrested. Do you know what prisons in Somalia are like? People aren’t just processed and bailed out. Think more along the lines of torture, starvation, gang rape. It’s too hideous to comprehend, and yet I must, because right now, that is what these people are facing.

Almost every day is like this. The stories I cover allow me to see the goodness in some people and the awfulness of humanity as a whole. Yet what keeps me going back to work night after night is the knowledge that I am serving society to the best of my ability, and that by covering these horrific events, some readers may be inspired to respond, to act, to change the world.

Most of the time, I don’t let the horrors get to me. But every once in a while, I simply despair. On those days, I close the laptop at the end of my shift, and try to leave the misery behind for a few hours.

Hugging my husband always helps.

The Shorty Awards: Now Accepting Nominations

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Nominate Jade Walker for a social media award in the Shorty Awards!Nominate Jade Walker for a social media award in the Shorty Awards

 

The Shorty Interview with Jade Walker

Why should we vote for you?

I aim to inform, entertain and enlighten those who stay up in the wee hours of the night.

What inspires you to tweet?

News. The night. And my muse, Isabelle. If I don’t tweet, she starts threatening me with death by sunlight. THE LIGHT. IT HURTS!

Who do you admire most for his or her use of Twitter?

@ericspitznagel, @scalzi and @litsadremousis

Can you name some one-of-a-kind Twitter accounts that you follow?

@TheTweetOfGod, @FakeAPStylebook, @WriteRCastle, @OHnewsroom, @onebigphoto and @god_damn_batman

What do you wish people would do more of on Twitter?

Talk about books. That way I’d know people were still reading texts greater than 140 characters.

Take the Shorty Interview at Shorty Awards, the awards honoring the best of social media.

The Week in Pop Culture

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(Snagged from Whitney Matheson of USA Today)

Best TV show I saw: “The Good Wife.” The “Live From Damascus” episode in season 3, about a class action suit against a software company that helped the Syrian government locate, torture and kill protesers, was particularly compelling.

I also enjoyed: “Criminal Minds.” The “Normal” episode in season 4, about a serial killer who is shooting blonde women as they drive along freeways in Southern California, featured a great performance by the always aesome Mitch Pileggi.

Best movie I saw: “Zero Dark Thirty.” Can’t say I really “enjoyed” the movie, but it felt fairly authentic. As for the famous torture scenes, I believe they were filmed in a way that wasn’t particularly entertaining or sensationalistic. In fact, I expected the scenes to be even more graphic.

I also saw: “The Silver Linings Playbook.” I’m pretty sure I was the only person in the theater who didn’t care for the movie. Normally I love a good romantic dramedy, however in this case, I felt the hero and heroine lacked chemistry. Nor did I believe that if they got together, they would last. Worst of all, I couldn’t connect with ANY of the characters in an emotional way.

Best thing I read: “It’s Been a Good Life” by Janet and Isaac Asimov. I’m about 30% done, and already I find myself wishing he was still around. He would’ve made a great interview.

I also read: “Death Notice,” the first book in the Kat Campbell series, by Todd Ritter. I’ve been waiting for two years to read this novel because it featured a killer who sent a death notice to the local newspaper’s obituary writer (before the murder actually occurred). Unfortunately, I found the story to be formulaic, and the characters too stereotypical.

My current desktop picture:

dtp012113

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