Retooling

Okay, I’ll go ahead and say it: This site is not dead.

How often have you stumbled across a website with that title (in CAPS) on one of its posts and thought, “Yeah, it’s not dead…yet?” Me too. But I promise, it isn’t—at least, not because I have abandoned it. Since my last post, I’ve been thinking of ways to revive it…while feverishly working on my other blog, Una di Noi.

I had a reason for my concept. I wanted to be random because people are random, completely unpredictable. We have some many different sides to us, like a dice has more than one faces. But I became discouraged when I found this article that talked about narrowing your focus to one topic:

…its very important that you stay on a specific topic on your blog. If you’re interested in more than one topic, then you need to start more than one blog…A blog with only one post a day that’s on one topic, is much more likely to attract a reader than a blog with 5 different posts about 5 different subjects.

I understand his point, but who really wants to manage five different blogs? I already have three!

I’m working on rethinking Prattler’s Paradise. I may ignore this man’s advice and make the site reflect more of myself. I don’t want to split myself up into domains, but I do want you, the reader, to enjoy this blog. If the randomness is hurting it, I may have no choice.

So, if you’ve stuck around all this time, thank you. There’s just a little trouble in paradise. Don’t worry—I’ll take care of it.

Friends or Entourage?


Facebook
: a great way to stay in touch with the people you love. But social networking has a deceptive touch.

Most people have Facebook accounts and the Friends List included with them. (And even if you don’t have a Facebook, you’ve probably heard of this anyway.) If you’re out of this loop, here’s a lesson on becoming friends on Facebook:

  • Find someone you know, someone who knows someone you know, someone who shares your interests, someone who looks interesting, etc.
  • Click on their name, and in the next dialog box, click “Add as Friend” to send them a “friend request.”
  • If they accept your request, you’ll get a notification saying, “John Smith has accepted your friend request.”
  • Congratulations! You are now friends forever!

Don’t you wish relationships were this easy to start and maintain outside the Net?

That’s the superficiality of Facebook. Your “friends” could be the super fan who faints at your concerts, the girl in your school you’ve never met (but who requested you because you attend the same school), a random person in Brazil who thinks you have a cutest smile, or the man who’s trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest Friends List. Do those connections really mean anything?

How many “friends” do you have? Ten? Fifty? Five hundred? Well, aren’t you a star? But how many of them talk to you more than once a month? What are your conversations about? How many of your “friends” know you, instead of knowing about you? Have you met them all in person? Most importantly, how many of them truly love you?

The list shrinks, doesn’t it? Maybe ten people out of a thousand. The other 990 rot on your Friends page; they’re nothing more than your entourage. You may even have forgotten each other.

So, tell me. Who are your real friends?

Twitter…I Don’t Get it

Basically, it’s like constantly updating your Facebook status, which some people do anyway. So you could say:

Jane Doe is eating breakfast.

Then, ten minutes later:

Jane Doe has finished eating breakfast and is headed to the gym.

And people “follow” you? And everyone thinks Facebook is stalker paradise now!

Why would you want anyone watching you that closely? I thought we called that spying. I could understand if it were someone very close to you, like a spouse or a child, but isn’t that what cell phones are for? “Honey, I’m about to go to the grocery store. What do you want for dinner?”

Is privacy dead? I agree that too much privacy is a negative thing, but too much transparency can be just as harmful. And between Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace, we’re all walking windows now!

Adventures in Japanese #1: How to Learn a Language

I call this “Adventures in Japanese” because, obviously, that’s the language I want to learn. I am looking for a free or inexpensive resource (under $50) that teaches you kana, kanji, pronunciation, grammar, etc.—everything you would need to communicate if you were dropped in Japan—the essentials for understanding a language.

But people have different ideas about what and how to teach.

This is not how to learn a language:

  • Learning “survival” expressions (“thanks,” “where’s the bathroom,” etc.) that will only help you in select situations.
  • Learning how to ask if someone speaks English. This is similar to the “survival” expression category, only the purpose is to escape knowing the language.
  • Learning random words. It’s great if you can count to 100, sing color songs, and point to a Big Mac and say baagaa (バーガー), but if you can’t form a sentence, you’re still stuck.

Right now, I’m using dictionaries and piecemeal sites (one about verbs, one about kanji, etc.) to teach myself Japanese. But I want to find something that incorporates everything. I bought My Japanese Coach a month or so ago and was very pleased with it—until I figured out that some of the information is wrong! (Actually, I knew it kept showing incorrect kanji and kana stroke orders because I had prior knowledge—but I ignored my discomfort.)

I tried the site Human Japanese, but judging by the audio files, I do not think the people who made this resource are native speakers, so I’m hesitant.

JapanesePod101.com seems cool, but they offer so little for free.

If anyone knows a good site, game, program, etc., I’d love to hear your suggestion. Thanks!

Waiting for Balance

Last night, I dreamed I had a boyfriend. It felt wonderful.

No, there wasn’t any sex. There was just the pure pleasure of someone’s company and love. I don’t remember much of the dream, except for one thing: the moment we first held each other.

I’ve always told myself I don’t want a boyfriend. I’m surrounded by shallow men who prefer beauty to quality. Relationships are stressful. Why would I want that kind of burden on me? I’m moody enough already.

But my subconscious mind seems to be telling me I’m fooling myself. I am lonely. There’s a void another woman could never fill. Sister-to-sister relationships are only so fulfilling, and women need men (and vice versa) for balance.

Maybe I have no balance in my life.

I’m certainly not desperate for love. Not just any man will do. Aren’t my standards reasonable? What’s wrong with wanting a man who loves me for my mind instead of my body, who loves me even when I’m miserable, and who doesn’t want to please me but just be with me? I know Prince Charming doesn’t exist, but I won’t settle for a pauper.

Where is my Adam? Will he ever find me? Should I be looking for him?

Maybe I’ll just keep waiting…

Game Engine Blues

I’ve been searching for a good game engine to help me turn the two million ideas I have into real projects. I want something that installs quickly, works on MS Vista, is easy to learn (but not too easy—I don’t mind a challenge), has lots of features, and is inexpensive (under $100 for everything you need).

I’ve tried almost every free engine you can name, and none of them have been the right fit.
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