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BlissDom Canada and the issue of being an anona-blogger

2 Sep

Now that September is officially upon us, essentially making the proximity of autumn all but impossible to ignore, I finally feel that is safe to start talking about autumn-y things without having to face the wrath of people who seem to take personal offence to the very idea that summer might actually be over. You know, the ones that like to yell things like, “IT’S STILL SUMMER! DON’T TALK ABOUT FALL YOU’LL JINX/KILL US ALL”.

In caps lock no less!

Of course, the only autumn-y thing I actually want to talk about right now is BlissDom Canada and I’ve actually been talking about it all summer anyway so I’m not really sure why I decided that September (and by proxy, near-autumn) was the appropriate time to start blogging about it but HEY, I never claimed to make sense.

Deal with it.

Please?

Anyway, BlissDom.

If you’re registered to attend then you’ve no doubt received the super exciting agenda that was just sent out. And if you’re registered to attend and also happen to be something like me (although hopefully not too much like me. I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone), then you got RIDICULOUSLY GIDDY before even opening the e-mail containing the super exciting agenda. Because between the changing of the seasons and the release of the agenda, there is one fact that simply cannot be denied – BlissDom Canada: IT IS COMING.

It’s also going to be WICKED AMAZING, so I guess there are two facts that simply cannot be denied.

Third fact? I’m going.

Now that summer is essentially over, it seems so much closer (which, heyo, it is) but also a lot more real. October felt so ridiculously far away a month ago and now I’m all OMG, I’ve got less than two months to prepare! Should I stay in the hotel or not? What should I wear? Should I have a strategy? Are the mommy-bloggers going to like me??.

But probably my biggest dilemma so far is thus – I, as the Jam that you all know and tolerate, am an anona-blogger. My identity is a secret and it’s a secret for specific reasons:

1) To protect the identities of the people in my life, especially those whose stories end up on this blog (positive or negative); and,
2) To be able to have an outlet through which to express myself without having to worry about how my thoughts/opinions/general life choices as expressed on this blog will impact my personal/professional life.

I’m fairly certain that this is the same deal for most anona-bloggers out there. For the most part, cavorting about the blogosphere (and Twittisphere!) by the name of Jam has been working out pretty well for me.

The only exception would be situations like the one I’m facing with BlissDom.

It’s similar to the time that Boyfriend and I went on vacation in Washington D.C. Being so painfully close to Virginia, I was incredibly tempted to send dear Megan (of Best of Fates fame) a message and see if she was up for an IRL meet ‘n greet.

Then I chickened out. I chickened out and looking back on it, I regret it (although there’s nothing to say that Megan wouldn’t have been incredibly weirded out and she might have even refused to ever speak with me again and that would have been both embarrassing and devastating all at the same time. Hell, she’s probably weirded out right now! I’m sorry, Megan! Please don’t give me the ol’ unfollow-block!)

I’ve often wondered how I would go about cultivating friendships I might make through this blog in the real world. Now that I’ve gotten to know some of you as well as I have, I’ve realized that these relationships are important to me and I’d like to be able to do things like meet with people and hang out and all that fun stuff that friends do. The idea of letting some people know who I am doesn’t seem quite as daunting as it once did.

But what makes BlissDom different from simply blurring the line with my blog and Twitter friends is that there will be the issue of having both identities in one place, trying to meet people and get up to general tomfoolery all without giving away who Jam is.

I feel kind of like a super hero, minus the super part.

My mild mannered alter-ego is going as the sassy young professional that she is. She is using this as an opportunity to learn and grow and network (and maybe also get up to some general tomfoolery. We ARE the same person after all). She’s not about to let everyone know that along with being an ambitious young woman that takes her career very seriously, she’s also an angsty 20sb, anonymously drabbling her way through a quarter-life crisis. AT THE SAME TIME.

Truth be told, Jam might be spending the whole conference locked in the hotel room closet without so much as the luxury of being able to order from room service.

I don’t know how big of a deal this will be (how many of you, dear readers, are actually going to BlissDom Canada anyway?), but it does raise a lot of questions about how anona-bloggers are supposed to go about making any real and lasting connections without sacrificing the things we choose to stay anonymous for. Is it even possible? I’d like to think that it is. Hell, I’m sure there are a lot of them that do it now! Hence me reaching out now.

So I want to hear from you, dear reader – Are you an anonymous blogger or do you at least keep a somewhat significant chunk of your personal identity a secret when you blog? If so, do you go to blogger conferences and events? How do you manage to marry your real life with your virtual one?

Do you think it’s possible?

Are you in the same boat as me?

Even if you’re not, share your thoughts! Let’s hash this thing out.

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Wherein I over-analyze my general lack of purpose in life

1 Sep

Yesterday I tweeted today about a blog that I happen to stalk secretly called Sea of Shoes. It’s written by an exceptionally stylish teenager (I think she’s 18. Maybe 19? Aw fuckit) named Jane. Jane is a lover of fashion and other beautiful things and does a outstanding job at capturing the people, places and things that she loves in photos. Often her posts contain little by way of writing but the image-heavy way she opts to express her passion tells you everything you need to know. The blog is beautiful and inspiring, much like the author.

It also makes me feel somewhat inadequate, and I will tell you why.

I kind of wish there was something in my life that I was THAT passionate about. Sometimes I want for that spark that would lead me to something that I could feel satisfied and content in devoting my time, maybe my life, to exploring and cultivating a fine taste for. It must feel so liberating to be able to have some sort of thing in your life that you can create worlds around and chart paths from. I don’t have anything like that.

Is that weird?

Don’t get me wrong, there are things in my life that I would definitely say that I’m passionate about, but there’s no one all-encompassing thing. I lack… purpose? That’s why the universe was granted a blog about a 20-something wannabe professional angsting her way through a quarter-life crisis instead of something a little more specific.

Sorry about that by the way.

All of this having been rambled, I’ve never really considered this a bad thing. I mean, let’s be real – for the most part I’ll fight the idea of being labelled or pigeon-holed based on my interests.

Just because I like dogs does not make me a crazy dog lady! GEEZE!

Still, as I get older, I’m starting to notice that a lot of people seem to be settling into their thing and sometimes I wonder if I’m missing out due to my inability to commit to any one thing.

Holy damn, I’m just rambling here.

Your thoughts – I’d like to hear them

Jam in America: Partie Deux

7 Jul

After 8 or 9 merciless hours of driving through hellish heat in an airconditionless car from Washington DC to Canada, we were almost at the border. Because we took his car, which is a standard, which I can’t drive (YET), Boyfriend had done all of the chauffeuring. With the longest haul of the trip behind us, I patted him reassuringly on the arm and told him, “Good job! You got us back to Canada! And we didn’t get eaten by hillbillies!”

His response was a cocky (pun sort of intended), “My testicles give me a natural sense of direction.”

To which I responded, “Good thing too because those testicles also prevent you from being able to stop and ask for directions.”

Yes, the epic road trip/American vacation/Canadian invasion that was our four day stint in DC has come to an end. For all the stressing I did leading up to it (and for approximately the first 24 hours of it. Although that wasn’t so much stress as it was RAGE, but more on that later), it was a pretty friggin’ awesome trip.

I love America. The difference between it and my home and native land are often subtle, but it’s those subtle differences that seem to make each place we visit so charming (even when it’s not necessarily the most charming of places. Hell, sometimes the places we wind up are down right hostile, but there’s usually some redeeming feature that will make us go “Aww! Well will you look at that! How AMERICAN!”). Our drive was a pretty one and, thankfully, not the least bit hostile (although, let me tell you what now, state police are lurking MASTERS. It’s times like these that I’m grateful that Boyfriend is an old man trapped in a young man’s body because if I had been driving, we would have been ticketed thrice over. Because the concept of learning from my mistakes is beyond me, apparently).

Anyway, once we got some parent-related business out of the way, we were finally able to relax and enjoy ourselves. This wasn’t our first visit to DC but that place seriously never gets old to us. I don’t know what it is about it but we just love going there. Because this was supposed to be a nice, relaxing vacation (which, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m no expert on) we planned nothing and instead flew by the proverbial seats of our pants/shorts/skirts/whatever the whole trip (I’m a firm believer that planning ruins the zen appeal of taking a break from reality so boo and hiss to it I say).

On Thursday I went out of my way to be as obnoxiously Canadian as possible, what with it being Canada Day and all. Case in point: my boobs

What can I say? My ladies: they're patriotic

Our stay itself was wicked. We slept-in every day and I hit the gym in the mornings (something I actually ENJOY doing but don’t have the time to when I’m at home). I made up for this by eating copious amounts of greasy food that was in no way good for me but tasted soooo good. I’m STILL dealing with the food baby. Blarg.

We went to a couple of Nationals games, caught some fireworks (making up for the fact that we missed both Canada Day and 4th of July celebrations) and spent hours wandering the Smithsonian Museums of Natural History and Air and Space (The Natural History Museum was the ONLY thing I demanded we see. I LOVE that shit and it so did not disappoint. Mmm, natural history). We strolled the streets and the National Mall and paid the Canadian embassy an obligatory visit. We even found this amazing pub that had over 300 different beer selections from around the world where we got inordinately PISSED, somehow managed to navigate the metro back to our hotel and rattled the headboard for a while IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE.

Can you believe that they wouldn't INVITE ME IN? The NERVE

George, Tom, Abe and Teddy in the Presidents Race at the Nationals game. Spoiler: TEDDY NEVER WINS

It's a good thing I wasn't high because this exhbit? You know, the one that put our insignificance into context? Yeah, it BLEW MY FUCKING MIND


Are you ready for this?

OMG WTF WHHYYYY???

Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo (get it?)

I even found the hotel stationary and wrote letters to Tara (Bite the Bedbugs) and Jaimie (Grumbles and Grunts)! I loves writing letters and stuff.

We left on the 4th and in order to up the ante on our otherwise lackluster celebration of America’s Independence we decided to pay tribute to some American history by stopping in Gettysburg on our way through.

And then we got lost on the auto tour. And then we found it again. Aaaand then we got lost again. What was that about your direction savvy testicles, babe? Yeah. Right.

While it was a great trip overall (and VERY much needed. Uhg, I haven’t been that relaxed for such a long time) it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Ok, so it was all sunshine. The weather was perfect.

But rainbows, it definitely wasn’t all rainbows.

For one, it wound up being much more expensive than I had anticipated, which, when traveling is generally a given. Still, when you’re broke in general and have carefully budgeted your trip, any somewhat sizable unforeseen costs can make anyone a touch grumpy.

There was also a wee bit of tension between Boyfriend and I for those first 24 hours that I mentioned earlier. I don’t really know how to explain it in any concrete terms but I just felt like I saw immaturity at times when maturity was needed and irresponsibility in places where there was simply no room. I watched, completely flabbergasted, as he would detach himself from me, from us, in situations when I needed his help.

Maybe it was just the stress of travel. Maybe it has to do when the fact that he’s a guy, a young guy, and he just doesn’t know any better. Maybe it’s all in my head.

BOYS, FRIG.

Then of course there was the fact that life was waiting on the threshold of reality when I returned, waiting to spring a colossal amount of bullshit in my face as soon as I walked back into my regular routine. The Hobbes to my Calvin, if you will.

I swear, I left the country for four days and the world fell apart. Business related troubles for my parents. Drama between Middle Brother and his ex (SCANDELOUS drama, which I really will have to write about once I have all the deets. Like, it blew my mind guys. Our life? A made-for-TV-movie in the making). My car had a flat tire when we got home. A new client treating me like a moron.

But I guess that’s just the law of vacationing (again, purely speculation) – the world doesn’t stop just because you do.

On the plus side though, I returned to find out that Youngest Brother finally got a job and isn’t hitting the family up for rent money anymore and my dad managed to take care of some much-needed home improvement projects in my absence (what is it about my presence that hinders productivity?). Good news all around!

Anyway, that was a lot more gloom than I anticipated indulging.

I HAD A GREAT TRIP TO AMERICA AND I LOVE DC!

Also? I love my Twitter friends, who did a glorious job of keeping me company on the long trip there and back and, of the American crowd, welcoming me virtually to their beautiful country. Special love goes out to the delightful Meredith Blumoff, who said she’s sending me baked goods. It doesn’t take much to buy my love, folks.

So I’m back in action, pretty much refreshed and feeling more confident despite having a lot to think about and sort out. At least now I feel ready to deal with it all.

Until next time, DC – so long and thanks for all the fish.

And by fish I clearly mean good times. Because, let’s be real, Douglas Adams, I am not.

Or a dolphin.

Anyone? Bueller?

Ok, I’m done. What’s new with you?

I do lazy SO well

25 May

Long weekend (in Canada) + my birthday = blogging be damned.

Here’s what I would have blogged about had I not opted to be lazy instead:

Va-va-voom, ladies

• Is it good or bad that I didn’t recognize these women as being “plus sized” when I first saw these photos? I like the article that I nabbed them from, but I think (no, I know) that my perceptions of body image are just so damn skewed. And maybe it’s shit like this that is to blame:

These ladies were touted by Glamour as representing “big” ladies everywhere. Maybe in the world of fashion, but in the real world? Fuck off. No wonder everyone hates themselves. I myself am not a big lass but I am still right on board with the overall opinions expressed in the comments. Eff.

• On a related note, my friend and I went bathing suit shopping this weekend. Every time we visited a store and failed it was like we were acting out a miserable tableau of the however-many steps associated with grief: We’d start of giggling and chatting through the walls of the dressing rooms then slowly get quieter until there was nothing left but devastated silence. We would meet in the halls after we were dressed, quiet and defeated. And by the time we were almost done there was no more giggling. No happiness WHATSOEVER. But we eventually emerged victorious (after THREE heartbreaking hours of self loathing). It sucks so hard that something so simple can make you feel so bad about yourself no matter how you look. I think Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere does an excellent (and much more eloquent) job of expressing the nearly universal female sentiments of bathing suit shopping here.

*sob*

• My birthday was, as to be expected, a full-on weekend affair. Three solid days to forget all about my quarter-life crisis (Editor’s note: Being as I’m not really sure how long I’m going to live and therefore can’t really pin-point what year said crisis should begin, I have dedicated the entirety of my 20s to it. Fun!) Of course, that having been said, there was a bit of angst when my boyfriend dropped the ball on what was supposed to be an epic long weekend away to some place cool. He managed to redeem himself in such a way that downgraded my “*insert your choice of expletives here*” epic disappointment to “you hapless sod” eye-rolling over dinner and sexy times (what?) BUT WE ARE STILL GOING TO SOME PLACE COOL, DAMMIT.

Also, two of my best lady friends came home from their respective big city lives and helped me celebrate with copious amounts of adult beverages by the pool and one hilariously misspelled cake.

• I feel like a royal tool for not realizing that one of my favouritested-not-real-bands, Gorillaz, released a new album back in March and I’m just realizing it NOW. Epic fanfail.

• Finally, I started to get myself on Twitter so I can assault the interwebz from multiple mediums but do you THINK I could find a suitable username? And what pisses me off the most is that “almostmaybe” was TOTALLY available when I first thought about signing up back when I launched the blog but I didn’t snag it and now some KID has gone and changed her pre-existing name and STOLEN IT (do you think I can convince her to change it again or would that just be bullying?).

Honestly, all the good shit is taken: almost_maybe (and I HATE underscrores so that’s saying something), jam, thisisjam, jamtastic, jamzilla – and half of these people barely use their accounts! RAGE.

Aggravated, I then just started trying out random expressions of my rage and even they were taken, again by people who “wtf don’t get it”

I laughed so hard. And then I died a little.

Eventually I just gave up and I settled on @yesthisisjam because I hate the idea of @_almostmaybe or even having to use the same lame-ass handle as what used to be my e-mail address, @almostmaybejam (GROAN).

So, HUZAAH! Let us be Twitter buddies! Also, you can now e-mail me at yesthisisjam @ gmail . com.

CONNECTED!