Trouble entering giveaway

The internet, says my husband, is not as nice a place as we’d like to think. It is more like a dark alley, and every second of every day, there are hands reaching out to rattle the doorknobs, checking, checking, checking all down the alley for any unguarded portal.

I hate that image, it gives me the heebie-jeebies; so I thought I’d share it with you.

Apparently in the past month, my blog has come under attack by an unprecedented number of spam subscriptions. In an effort to address that issue, we tightened some security settings and inadvertently shut down the comment section. Also our email sending service, as I informed you, went on the blink for undisclosed reasons of its own, and failed to notify my readers of the giveaway.

All that to say, it was the quietest giveaway I’ve ever started. The funny side of the story is that in my original post, I’d written “Today, September Farm is offering you a chance to win one of their Small Samplers free of charge. (Seriously, did I just see you jump out of your seat? I know there’s exciting stuff here, but my gracious. Calm down.) Each Small Sampler includes…”

I hit publish, and the next morning I awoke to no comments. Zero. Not one, and I thought, “Good grief, people, I didn’t mean that calm…”

Even after we figured out the email notification issue and I breathed easier and sent another email to let you know about the giveaway, it took us another hour or two to figure out that comments had been disabled. We fixed that (we thought) and are still hearing reports that commenting is not working properly. So our problems are not behind us.

How is it that I can lump along writing about nothing for weeks and things go fine, and as soon as I collaborate with someone else and care about it more, everything blows up as predicted by Mr. Murphy? Believe it or not, we are not doing this to exasperate you. But I’m so sorry if we’re succeeding.

I need you to do me a favor.

If you want to enter the September Farm giveaway and are having trouble leaving a comment on my blog, please email your comment to sharizook@gmail.com and I’ll take care of copying and pasting it to the right place.

If you’re not sure if your comment already posted, double check by searching the page. (Control + F enables you to “Find” text, including your name.)

If you are having trouble accessing parts of the blog, subscribing to my posts, leaving a comment, or otherwise living a happy life online, and you would like to help us solve the problem, please email my tech-support husband at ryan@zookcomputer.com. Your feedback helps us address the issues!

Most of all, thank you for hanging in there with us and our technology. Blogs are human too…

Or something.


As of Nov 14, the September Farm giveaway is closed.

The astonishing things I heard

Today I heard I have a brand-new niece. I feel radiant with joy, especially that I got to see her and snuggle that sweet bundle in my arms.

Today I heard that the silly little gift I sent on request to my friend Luci yesterday was helpful. She remembered a song my parents sang years ago, but not well, and asked if I would send her a brief-solo-by-way-of-facebook-messenger. Wow, that stretched me. I stepped out during church to record it, and because of the time difference, she and her husband learned it in time to sing it for their church to match her husband’s sermon on identity. Can you believe that? Modern technology is amazing.

Today I heard that my dear friend and mentor’s father passed away, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. I feel happy for his successful end of life, and sad for her family.

Today I heard that I get to host a delicious giveaway on this blog, coming soon. I feel excited.

Today I heard words of comfort from people who know about difficult things. I feel encouraged.

Today I heard that the twins we love and fostered are finally free for adoption into the home of our friends. I feel wistful, but also delighted out of my mind.

Today I heard that if I don’t speak until I have something to say that will astonish the whole room (cf. Pride and Prejudice), I’ll never find it easy to say anything at all. I am not sure what I feel about that.

Today I can’t help hoping I don’t hear any more news. You never know what it will be…


What was your news of the day?

Facebook!

You guys had good thoughts. Thank you! Renee asked an excellent question (“What do you hope Facebook could be for you that it wasn’t before?”) and Cheryl described most clearly the qualms I felt myself when I was in it.

Here is why I hated facebook:

  • Competition
    • You can slant yourself any way you like, and the one who looks coolest wins.
  • Pressure
    • Stay tuned or you’ll miss something. Say yes please please pretty please to five friend requests. Care about all these people. Think of something great to say. Update frequently so others can watch your life over your shoulder.
  • Triviality
    • Conversation is reduced to the most short, silly, and meaningless. Lol.
    • And connections aren’t always as deep as they seem. Ouch.

Here is why I would think of rejoining:

  • Presence
    • I can think of two family relationships that my presence there could significantly improve.
    • My husband is a sort of virtual widower. I’d like to show up so he can be married to somebody. With a tag.
  • Network
    • Sometimes I miss important pieces of communication because people relied on facebook and I wasn’t there.
  • Influence
    • Walking away rarely changes anything—how much less standing back and throwing stones? If I care about my people, why not make the investment of actually showing up in the places they do? Could I join those who fight the pressure/competition/triviality from the inside?

Hmm. If I rejoin, there are several policies I’d have to have in place for sanity’s sake. First, my sister has to join too. Hi sis. The pressure is starting already. Second, if I recognize your name you can be my friend; no more agonizing over degrees of intimacy and personal interest. I can customize my feed to focus on real-life friends. Third, I keep my blog out of it. I love when you guys share my stuff there, but I don’t plan to myself. I think it would split your input in two, and I so much prefer your thoughtful comments here to any number of laconic “likes” there. Fourth and finally, anytime I am given a chance I chose real life over virtual. Yes to a ladies group, yes to a prayer meeting, yes to coffee with a friend, yes to sharing in Sunday school about the things I face. Connection happens best in tangible places.

Enough said. I’m thinking on it… but probably not for long because my hubby says Go.

Help!

(Which brings me to another question. Do you always do what yours tells you?)

Facebook?

Confession: I’m thinking of joining facebook.

Or perhaps I should say rejoining facebook. I had an active account for a year or more, and then suddenly realized I hated it and quit cold turkey. (I still have lung damage.)

I heard some wise ladies say last summer that instead of standing back from the “river” of technology throwing stones at it, watching others get swept away, we should wade in with wisdom and prudence, and become people who keep their feet.

This is a good point and worth pondering.

What do you think about facebook? Like it? Hate it? Both?

Quote of the day

Confession: Everything was locking up for me today. First my Kindle. Then Grooveshark. Then my laptop. After ten years of marriage to a tech man, I’ve learned a few things—not to bang the offending item on the countertop, for instance… and that restarting often helps… and even to open Task Manager and fiddle around exiting random processes. But I was getting nowhere.

Each time something stopped, I fiddled around to the best of my ability (and I tell you, I’m a mean fiddler), and then, disgruntled, I trundled off to Mr. Fix-it so he could take a peek. In five minutes we were back on track. Every time.

Five minutes!

After the final episode I thanked him sweetly and then confessed

“I wish you would once in a while find yourself in a bewildering situation from which only I could save you. I think that would be nice. Wouldn’t that be nice?”

He was obviously in favor. “I avoid those kinds of situations like the plague.”