Grumply Day

Everything to do with the internet is getting ridiculously expensive. If you don’t pay with cash, you’re paying with the annoyance of multiple ads. It used to be that WordPress, where I have my blog, only showed ads occasionally, and never to someone who had an account. Now, they show ads to everyone, sometimes even in a few places on the same blog. I just checked one of my blog sites, and the ads were more prominent than the post!

If you don’t see ads here, you’re welcome. I pay to make sure no ads show up, but I can’t do that for all my sites. Because of the whole mess with FB, I have to reblog this article onto another blog, then upload the photo to yet a third blog or else I can’t post both the blog and the photo on FB. I could upload the photo directly to FB, but I don’t want them to add my photos to their database. Chances are, I’m fooling myself, but at least, this way, the photo is at one remove. All of this blog sleight-of-hand wouldn’t be necessary if FB hadn’t blocked this blog. For a while, I returned the favor, but too many people said they missed seeing my posts (even though I’m sure most people don’t see them anyway since FB wants me to pay to show my posts to my friends).

I should have persisted with my boycott, especially since I have come to hate the site with a passion. They are continually doing things to make even my few minutes on the site an inhospitable experience.

When I first signed up, it was at a time when hordes of authors were signing up, and no one had a clue what to do. So I started various groups (or took over a stagnant group or two) to give authors a place to talk about writing and to get to know other authors and readers. My plan worked for a while, but over the years there have been numerous changes to the groups so now they are worthless. And yet the changes still keep coming. The latest is that any entity can join any group and post anything (can you say “spam?”). I could, of course, delete the groups, but that would mean deleting each of the thousand members individually, and that takes almost forever. (I know because I did that with another couple of groups.)

What a mess! If I ever decide to leave FB permanently, I will spend the time to remove all of my tracks. And when I do, I won’t have to worry about the ads on my other WP sites because I’ll never need to use them.

If I sound grumply (a typo, but I like the made-up word — it expresses how I feel — so I’m leaving it), it’s no wonder. I am grumply! Not only is it hot, but a strip of my lawn along the fence is dying. I think it accidentally got spritzed with Roundup (not my doing). The grass has been steadily dying the past couple of weeks since the spritzing, no matter how much I water. (If the grass hadn’t been killed, it would have started to green up by now.) To have to deal with internet shenanigans on top of all that is too dang much.

There are a couple of solutions for the rest of the day — turn the air-conditioning down a bit, turn off my computer, and grab a book. And if it is the roundup that killed the grass rather than the July heat, I’ll wait four months until the poison has dissipated and then reseed the areas.

I hope your day isn’t as grumply as mine.

But wait, I forgot! there is one great thing about today: a blooming lily!

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Triumph Over Obstacles

The garage door is finally installed! The electronic opener isn’t installed, just the door itself, but that alone is a major accomplishment. Up until now, the door was mostly just propped into the opening to prevent trespassers, but now it’s on its track.

I found it interesting that today’s tarot card pick was the chariot. As usual, my question was what I needed to know today, and as usual, it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know, but it did seem apropos, not just because of the car/chariot synchronicity, but also because of the card’s meaning of triumph over obstacles.

The triumph didn’t belong to me since I had nothing to do with the installation except for a few sympathetic or encouraging remarks, but it was definitely a triumph over obstacles for the worker who had to try to make sense of nonsensical directions. (The instructions read as if they had been translated from one archaic language to another and then finally into English.) Even once the directions were puzzled out, the diagrams and photos illustrating the directions caused problems. They turned out to be backward images of what they were supposed to be. Luckily, the worker finally figured it out. I can’t imagine the horrors the workers will encounter when installing the opener, but that’s a situation for another day.

I kept wandering into the garage to see what was going on. I worried that the poor guy would think I was checking up on him, which I wasn’t — I trust him. It was more that I enjoyed seeing the door take shape.

And because — I admit it — I was bored. Since I’ve been staying away from Facebook, I have way more time and mental freedom than I’m used to. There are no conflicting political statements to befuddle me, no mined conversations with explosives ready to be tripped, no veiled (and unveiled) insults to be fielded. I don’t appreciate Facebook’s ignoring me and my request to have the block on my blog removed, but I especially don’t appreciate their doing it at this particular time because it makes it seem as if my boycott is a political statement rather than a personal one. Apparently, some major companies are boycotting Facebook because FB is not reining in those who disagree with the current political philosophy, while other people are boycotting FB because FB is deleting the content of those who disagree with that same philosophy, a good example of damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. Or maybe the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. Either way, it’s confusing. Either way, they are herding people to a particular way of thinking. And either way, I’m out of it for now, which is one way to triumph over the obstacles FB has placed in my path.

The point is that when I got tired of The Wheel of Time world, instead of wandering onto Facebook to see what’s going on, I wandered out to the garage to see what’s going on. Luckily, the worker didn’t seem concerned, and in fact seemed pleased to have someone to commiserate with and, at the end, to share his success.

Anyway, it’s my garage, or rather, it will be. Eventually. For now, it is still the garage builder’s workspace.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Letter to Facebook

I’m not sure it’s worth continuing to fight Facebook over their blocking this blog from their site, but people I respect have urged me to write them a letter and send it by USPS. So, here is the letter I came up with. What do you think?

Facebook Customer Service
1 Hacker Way
Menlo Park, CA 94025

To Whom it May Concern:

On April 29, Facebook erroneously blocked my blog from the networking site. They said the blog goes against community standards for spam, but it didn’t go against any such standards when I was paying to boost various posts.

Because of the block, all links to my blog posts, included the boosted posts, have disappeared as well as the comments and discussions the posts generated. I have left messages via the onsite support center concerning this matter, but all such messages have been ignored.

Please, a thirty-second perusal of bertramsblog.com will tell you that the blog is not spam. It’s a personal blog, a diary of sorts, telling about my grief after the death of my husband and how I learned to survive the loss. These posts have helped tens of thousands of people deal with their own grief and were often shared on FB. Although I don’t talk about grief much anymore, writing instead about being a new homeowner, people still find my posts inspirational since the posts tell them that there is life and maybe even happiness after grief.

If you won’t unblock my blog, please refund the $355 I spend boosting articles that you have since removed from your site. You have also removed all mention of these ads, but I can send you documentation of these payments on Paypal.

Thank you for your consideration.

Pat Bertram
https://www.facebook.com/PatBertramAuthor/
https://www.facebook.com/patbertram
https://bertramsblog.com/