Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Me, myself, Instagram, and a summer of droppings and (unrelated!) broken things

"Hercules against the Hydra" ~ via Wikimedia Commons (Wolfgang Sauber)
Goodness, it is has been over a month since I wrote my last post. That doesn't surprise me though, for I have been besieged, beset, and beleaguered by a legion of problems, of which more anon (including the more amusing ones!).

But first a word on social media. I have historically been a Facebook fan through and through...well, not an unconditional one, I should add, as there is much that is wrong with Facebook, and I don't just mean the constant slew of ads for slimming hose and relaxed fit slacks. I never really took to the bitty bearpit that is Twitter, or the soothing aesthetics of Instagram, where beautifully shot images drift by like cumulus clouds. Beyond that, for a long time I had a downer on the hashtags that are such an integral part now of the virtual landscape. Their messy, spiky aspect upset me, especially when posters used a vast thicket of them, including hashtags in foreign languages. This struck me as the acme - nay, nadir! - of SEO savvy, but then I don't like pushiness and self-promotion in any guise, and struggle to embrace it myself, even though it is very much the modern way. For if you don't take active steps to climb out of the Google sandbox, you will never be heard in the chorus - some might say babble - of Internet voices.

And I don't know how it came about exactly that I started to gravitate towards Instagram after all...I may partly have been propelled into its arms by the increasingly strident tone of Facebook, the ramping up of its adverts, or the depressing snippets of news which cannot fail to catch your eye at every turn: Brexit, climate change, factory farming, pop stars dying before their time. Instagram is a languorous oasis of sensory delight by comparison, albeit peppered with the offending hashtags. I continued to wrestle with the concept of these, trying to see them merely as labels on the drawers of a cyber filing cabinet, and not as so many mini-portcullises, bordering on medieval instruments of mental torture. You can tell that I have a serious aversion to the things, bordering on hashtagophobia!


But gradually I came to enjoy picking out photos to upload onto Instagram - I steadfastly refuse to call it 'Insta', mind, for that way lies 'nom nom nom' and 'sleeps' (shudders). I even got to the point of having fun with the hashtags, occasionally running with ones that had no precedent on the Interwebs - hashtag neologisms, if you will. It surprises me that I was the first to coin #catmustbecateredfor, and there are only four other posts under #croissantmutant. That is worth checking out actually, for the one that looks like a ram in particular!

And then there are all the filters to play with, like some kind of instant colouring game(!) - a new toy for me, would you believe? - albeit I quite often end up posting pictures simply as nature intended.

If you would like to check out my page - which is embarrassingly light on perfume-related imagery, though I plan to rectify that by and by - I am flittersniffer on there. Just noticed how many 'glittersniffer's there are, but there's only one of me. What even is a 'glittersniffer'? Though didn't there used to be a perfume with gold bits in it?...hold on, at least one version of Donna Karan Gold and a JPG is also coming vaguely back to me. I am betting that they don't mean that though.

Okay, so a brief word on the summer of droppings and broken things - those would be flea and mouse droppings, not things that have been dropped, in case of any confusion. The poor birds don't last long enough in the house to leave any such calling card, plus it is ten mice for every bird 'present', to be fair. Yes, it has been a rum old time lately, with typically between four and five things going wrong every single day. Today so far there has only been 'a bad night's sleep' and 'a big fat dead mouse', so a good day really by recent standards. Though my eye eczema - complete with distinctly unfetching atopic pleats (you really don't want to know) - is back with a vengeance, and making blinking uncomfortable. (It counts towards yesterday's tally.)

"No idea how it got in, mum."

Here is a smattering - and splattering! - of recent mishaps and problems, to give you an idea of why I have been missing in action as far as blogging is concerned, though I have been inordinately busy in a firefighting / Hydra head chopping / Whack-a-mole sense. There was an equally lengthy selection in France, but one set is enough!
  • Throwing up headache for two days (three times)
  • Toner cartridge splatter painted a pale carpet
  • Suitcase wheel mysteriously self-destructed
  • Mouse droppings all round the perimeter of the living room
  • Unidentified droppings on all hinges of the pantry
  • Cat has ongoing flea issue
  • I have itchy red lumps - praying they are mosquito bites, being more socially acceptable
  • Found a bed bug casing, which I have convinced myself is historic (to avoid going mad)
  • Patio has suddenly sported / sprouted? both white and green lichen!
  • Phone malfunction - batteries found to be a crystalline corroded mess
  • Splashed a radio with chilli con carne, now permanently stained auburn, and tacky to touch
  • Bought a second hand set of drawers which will cost three times as much to fix than I paid for them (Moral of the story: buyer beware - of Photoshop!).
  • Bought a pair of trainers before realising they were two different colours
  • Accidentally sent my hole puncher and stapler to France
  • No sooner had I repaired one silk curtain that had perished and sheared, when I noticed that the other one has gone the same way.
  • Treated alleged water marks on a second hand table with oxalic acid - quite a H & S-conscious undertaking, I might add - only to discover the marks are metal - from some piece of industrial machinery that had been sitting on it. Procedure declared a resounding failure, and meanwhile have inadvertently bleached my drive (not pictured).

I will return with 'normal' blog posts though, once things have calmed down. I would like to review a new perfume from Swindon(!) for example, and more besides - but first I sense there may be a few more Hydra heads to chop and moles to whack...!

UPDATE: I have just remembered that there was another trigger for taking up with Instagram again...I managed to fix my broken blog link in the bio after several hours of deep Googling - turned out it lacked a security certificate in the format it was in, plus for some strange reason the 'www' part of the name was causing an issue, so I took that off. So there's another example of a broken thing I managed to fix!


Hamamelis said...

I had such a laugh, not at your expense!!!, and continued to write a long comment how similar if not exactly the same mishaps have befallen me (throw up headaches, red itchy bumps, mousedroppings, battery isssues, blueberry smoothie on the floor etc.) only for the comment to disappear before publishing it, in total resonance with the Hydra conspiracy! Anyway wishing you courage and grit in all that Hydra bashing, and I totally understand your blogging hiatus. No FB/Instagram here as you know, but enjoying some of the perfumista Instagram pics, so I will visit yours! Hamamelis

Anonymous said...

Oh no, you are under the Chinese curse at the moment, living in "interesting times". As the Chinese say (to compensate for their curse I suppose) "all things pass - this too will pass". So you may look forward to a calm period soon.

Understand and agree with everything you say!

Swindon????? A perfume from Swindon????? Words fail me, but as I live not so very far from "Swine Town", I am very intrigued.

This has cheered me up in recent days:


Tara said...

Oh V, it has been a torrid time. Although similar to Hamamelis 'Accidentally sent my hole puncher and stapler to France' did raise a smile.

I sincerely hope this is the end of it.

Instagram is a calm oasis compared to the ranting on Twitter and FB. I like the Stories and Lives too. Hashtagging can be amusing so happy you're coming round to it. I'm not surprised you came up with a unique one.

Intrigued about the Swindon perfume. I know you have a connection with the place.

Vanessa said...

Hi Hamamelis,

I wouldn't mind you laughing at me one bit! I need to laugh at myself more, and the incident with the radio and the mince was too random not to be comical at the same time.

How very apt of Blogger to eat your comment - on this post of all topics. ;) Thanks for persevering with another attempt. It is comforting too to know that you are no stranger to many of my issues - makes me feel less hopeless and disaster-prone!

Vanessa said...

Hi Jillie,

I am a big believer in 'this too will pass', indeed it is my mantra much of the time. Val the Cookie Queen is very fond of that one too, and says it to me often.

If you have occasion to take a train from Swindon station, there should be a poster advertising this perfume on the concourse somewhere. Well, depending on how long the campaign was. My being MIA may mean it has been and gone now, but I hope not! I will find out before I do the post in question.

That greeting card is brilliant! A fine example of a standard croissant with mutant cat. ;)

Vanessa said...

Hi Tara,

The hole puncher and stapler mistake is also hard to take seriously, and I feel chuffed to find I have back ups of both for just such an eventuality. Only a mini-stapler, but it should see me through till I am reunited on my next visit to France in November with the larger implement. ;)

Instagram is calm indeed, and I like how slowly it moves. Almost glacially so compared to FB and Twitter. I haven't got into the Stories or Lives yet, possibly because they involve animation and I like the 'still life' aspect of the images as they stand.

Must get to the perfume review soon. Swindon is not the exact provenance, but the nearest town of any size.

Undina said...

I sympathize with you: it's not fun when Universe conspires against you. Let's just hope that the pendulum swings into the other direction soon.
One thing I don't get: how "a big fat dead mouse" is a bad thing?

Both FB and Instagram are too fluent for me: I prefer a paced meaningful conversation to a sporadic outbursts of short updates. As for the hashtags, they rather annoy me: I'm not sure if most people who use them, starting from Twitter, actually realize what is their purpose. And tagging anyone but people you actually know feels a little tacky to me: I suspect either self-promotion or soliciting/hoping for freebies from tagged companies. But it's me. Maybe those are actually grateful customers ;)

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

So many more things have happened since I wrote this post, including noticing stone chippings, scratches and a dent on my car - none of them my fault - problems with the installation of a gas pipe, a big fat spleen gift from Truffle, and a broken sash window cord! Not ideal in this hot weather. I am literally waiting for the next thing to hit me, which is not a good state of mind, I know, in case I am bringing the bad stuff upon myself in some way.

The big fat dead mouse is bad, because I nearly tripped on it, it has a bit of blood on it (blood phobia!), and I had to remove it. I don't wish death on any mice, though they can be annoying when they get stuck in my house leaving droppings. ;)

I know what you mean about tagging companies you don't know. I am not sure I have ever done that. Is that done with the @ sign kind of handle rather than hashtags? I use hashtags on Instagram purely for 'virtual filing' purposes, as I say.