Tag: blogging

10 Year Blogging Anniversary!

I am very excited because today is a special anniversary for this blog. I have officially been blogging on smilingldsgirl.com for 10 years! I can hardly believe it. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was quitting my job and trying to figure out what to do next. It was such a strange, surreal time for me, and I needed an outlet to express my feelings. A blog seemed like the perfect solution and it has been such a blessing in my life.

I have been able to work through very tough times (I have even vented on occasion). I have shared the joyous times. I have gone through phases and diets and started my separate movie blog http://54disneyreviews.com and then my youtube channel. My time may be more divided now than it was originally, but I still love and value this blog. It gives me an outlet to share my heart and just talk about the silly things that come into my brain (that is what I promised in the header after all: my silly thoughts on life!).

I feel like you have all gotten to know the real me on this blog. You know my tastes, beliefs, opinions, interests, weaknesses, strengths and even my politics on occasion. I am so grateful for every last comment and like and for anyone who has taken the time to read my silly thoughts. There is nothing that brightens my day more than when I write something and it touches someone or makes them smile.

Thank you so much for the last 10 years and let’s have 10 more! Sure love you all!


Decade of Smilingldsgirl Ideas?

I am very excited to announce that in just over a months time I will be celebrating a major milestone for this blog. It will be a decade since I first started it on 5-12-2008! Can you believe it? 10 years I’ve been writing “my silly thoughts on life, family, politics, work, religion, music, swimming and more.” That just blows my mind! I know I’m a bit more sporadic than I used to be but I think I still keep it relatively current and updated. I still try to have a lot of variety in this blog and just write about the things I want to talk about. Often they don’t get very many hits but I enjoy the process of writing.

So, here’s where I turn to you. I would like to do something for the next 6 weeks to celebrate that milestone. I was thinking I could revisit some of my most popular posts, or I could write about each of the silly thoughts I proposed in the title, or I could try to post something every day for 6 weeks. That would be a challenge!  I could do something on movies, Disney, being Mormon or single or any number of topics. I could have topics in a hat and draw one out each day.

What do you think would be fun? What would you like to see from me? I would love to hear your suggestions and thoughts.

NPR Ideas Series

Overrated and Other Modern Nomenclature

I had an interesting conversation with a friend on twitter this morning. He was upset about an article entitled “Why Guardians of the Galaxy is Overrated- Especially When Compared to Farscape“.  In his mind the use of the term overrated was polarizing and an attack on all those that like Guardians of the Galaxy. That it cuts off conversation and tells people they are wrong. I don’t disagree that the word overrated is overused (it’s an overrated word you might say!). However, I think there is a much worse problem going on.

If you look at the article in question she spends 16 paragraphs (about 4 pages) detailing the issues she has with Guardians and why this show Farscape does the same thing better. I’ve never heard of Farscape so I found it quite interesting. I don’t find it threatening in the least that she isn’t in love with a movie I enjoy- Guardians of the Galaxy. That’s what makes life great is people with different opinions and perspectives. It would be one thing if she just trolled and said “Guardians is overrated” but she detailed quite thoroughly why she felt that way. What more can you ask for?

My biggest concern is that so often people look at the headline or title of an article and have an immediate visceral reaction. “This person doesn’t like Guardians. How dare they!” and then they shut off and don’t read/watch what is being said by the contributor. As a blogger it can be incredibly frustrating to work hard on an piece and have someone focus on one tiny little thing that they disagree with. Like the  other day on my Boss Baby review I mentioned I felt it was the 3rd worst Dreamworks movie after Home and Shark Tale. Despite spending nearly 10 minutes explaining my issues with the film someone in the comments just focused on the one passing mention I made about Home. It was very frustrating.

This leads to another problem. It comes down to an issue of nomenclature. As a society we assign certain words to fit situations, people, emotions and everything else. These words can change over time. For example, on airplanes people flying used to be called passengers and now the accepted word is customers. Someone may feel passengers is a more appropriate word but it really doesn’t matter because society has deemed otherwise.

It’s the same way with a word like overrated. There is a human experience of watching/reading something that most people seem to love and not loving it. That happens and will continue to happen from now until the end of time. So how do we discuss or talk about that experience? I’m sorry but the nomenclature or word society has chosen is overrated. I have yet to hear another option that is as concise or as instantly understandable for this type of discussion. It’s also important to understand this is mostly a discussion of titles and headlines. For example, in the article in question she only uses the word overrated once. The rest of the piece is her explaining why she feels the way she feels. Nevertheless, when coming up with a title for the article it is hard to debate the most universally accepted word to describe what she is saying is overrated.  I mean what is she going to say “Why I Don’t Like Guardians of the Galaxy as Much as Most People and Here are the Reasons why Farscape is Better”? I mean what she already has is unwieldy but this is even worse.

Recently I did a podcast with a friend of mine on Disney movies that we like or don’t like as much as most. I don’t know what else we could have called this podcast but Over and Underrated Disney Films? If any of you have some great way to say this then please let me know. It is the responsibility of the listener to then absorb our arguments for why we feel the way we do and see if they agree or disagree. Again, I don’t know any other way to say that?

The fact is we have to accept the nomenclature society has chosen for certain experiences. Overrated is the word we have chosen to describe having a contrary opinion than the majority. As a content producer I do not see any way to avoid using it or any other word to use. That’s just the way words and language work. We don’t talk like they did in Regency novels even if it is more technically correct. Why? It’s not the socially accepted way to talk. Certain words move in and out of fashion and if you are going to publish media you have to use the words people will understand. It’s just the way it is.

I guess my only advice might be to try to use overrated or any other hyperbole sparingly. The other day I was complaining about people using the word masterpiece to describe everything. Maybe try to throw in some other adjectives every now and then. 🙂

So, in conclusion, there are two problems here. First, people get too caught up in a headline and don’t actually read many opinion pieces. Second, society has yet to come up with a better word to describe many situations and until they do we are stuck with the overrated ones.

Thoughts on SJWs

sjwRecently I became aware of a new acronym in the internet nomenclature- SJW. This stands for Social Justice Warrior, which is officially defined by Urban Dictionary as “a pejorative term for an individual promoting socially progressive views; including feminism and civil rights”.  When the term is used correctly it is basically a way to describe an intellectual troll. So these aren’t the people who are just saying someone is a moron or an idiot for liking a movie or book.

No, these are the people who won’t let others have an opinion because their views are ethically and intellectually better. If you have been involved with the internet world you have met someone like this. For example, I’ve heard people claim as if it is a fact that the Little Mermaid is sexist and that Ariel is a bad role model. I happen to see the character and movie differently. A normal person would let me have my view, an SJW will never let it down.

That said, the problem with this grouping is that it has now become an easy accusation for anyone who makes an intellectual argument against something. Let’s take the movie Birdman. I personally found that movie to be misogynistic in troubling ways. Some people would call me an SJW for having this feminist view. However, I don’t think I am an SJW because I allow other people to interpret the film differently. I was a bit frustrated when it won tons of awards but for the most part I don’t care if other people love it. More power to them.  The world would be boring if we all liked the same things, for the same reasons.

I have no problem with people bringing feminist or diversity concerns into a discussion of art, movies or books. This is a good thing we should be discussing. The arts and literature are important catalysts for change in our society. Sometimes reading or seeing a problem is the only way we make things better. It’s not being an SJW to say ‘I wish there were more Asian actresses in movies” or “I wish a woman was allowed to lead a superhero film”.  That is a good discussion to have and creators need to know we want those things.

Like I said, where it crosses the line into the SJW is when you shame others or harass them because they see it differently.  That’s being the reverse of a warrior in my book. It’s being a social justice tyrant! You have to remember that change takes time and rarely is something so misogynistic or hateful that there isn’t a reason someone might like it. Try to see it from others points of view and then explain your own view as succinctly as you can (I know this is a lot to ask for the internet!).

And if you know it is a hot button issue for you than maybe step back a bit and make sure you won’t post something you will regret.  It’s as simple as that. Give people their space to have different opinions, explain yourself as best as you can and then be patient.

On the other side, internet world- try to listen to people’s concerns instead of immediately branding them an SJW. They may actually have something important to share.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What do you think about SJW’s and these types of discussions?

8 Year Anniversary

8 yearsI just wanted to share with you guys that today marks my 8 year anniversary as a blogger! I can hardly believe it has been so long and yet in many ways it seems like I have always done it.  I think back to that girl who started the blog. I was unemployed and rebuilding my confidence after a rough 3 years. I thought it might give me something to do and could be fun.

I had never thought of myself as much a writer but it turned out people responded to my essays. Sometimes they even responded more than I bargained for like when I dared say The Godfather is a little overrated…(I’ve come around on that one even though it still not a favorite of mine).  But for the most part people have been incredibly supportive and kind. I know I’m not the greatest writer in the world but I feel like you guys have understood my heart through  my words. You have no idea how rewarding that is.

In the last few years I have split my focus between the movie blog, youtube channel and this blog, which has proven difficult. But I will always have a special place in my heart for this blog and I plan on keeping it as active as I can for as long as I can.

Thank you for all the support and to the next 8 years!

The Small Yet Big of Modern Life

small yet big lifeBy most reasonable standards I lead a small life.  As Nora Ephron said ‘valuable but small.  And sometimes I wonder do I do it because I like it or because I haven’t been brave?’  That question kind of hangs over me and when I’m feeling up to it I ponder its implications.

How is my life small?  Well, I’m single.  I don’t date a lot or hang out with lots of friends.  I used to but most of that has passed on to infrequent yet prized get-togethers with individuals.  Swim season is a bit different because that tends to be a group activity and I do have book club.  Still, there is something about having a marriage partner and children that stretches a person outside the circle of a single influence.

My life is also small because I have chosen to work from home and I am not currently going to school. I have had people tell me I should get a regular corporate job because I’d have a better chance of meeting someone than in my current situation.  You might as well tell me to sign up for a stint in prison because I could meet someone there.  My happiness is just too valuable to sacrifice for the small chance of widening my circle of friends/dates.

Nowhere do I feel smaller than at church.  I am part of a family-based faith.  People are friendly, even bending over backwards to include us single saints, but the difference is always there.  They are living a huge part of the gospel that I am not.  In that sense, it is a smaller life than they get to lead.

But wait…

If my life is small how come I will post a video in a few minutes and it will get viewed by friends (yes friends) in London, UAE, Germany, Florida, DC, California etc? Same is true with my blog posts.  This very post should have between 150-500 views this week alone.

I’ve been having terrible headaches lately and have received advice from people all over the world.  Isn’t that such a weird thing?

So under a certain lens my life is very big. I’ve gotten to the point on my youtube channel (over 800 subs!)  and movie blog that I post most days.  Not only is it a blast going to the movies (and other reviews) but it satisfies such a creative longing I didn’t even know I had.  Every day I write, film, edit, promote, design material for all of my content (and also for work of course).  The creative energy is really quite remarkable.

Then of course you have all the social media that helps us connect with friends and make new friends.  I am soooo grateful for this service in my life.  I can’t tell you how many days I’ve started tweeting or following a post on facebook and it has brightened my day.  Of course, there are the trolls and rude people but isn’t that the case in any group experience in real life or online?  I think so!

At this point I have been blogging for 8 years (you longtimers- can you believe it?).  I’ve been on facebook for 9. I’ve had times where I wonder- do I have anything left to say?  But then an idea will come and my fingers will fly!

So, my life is very small and big at the same time. Perhaps this is just modern life for everyone?

Do you feel that way about your life at times?  How do you deal with moments of loneliness that we all experience from time to time?

Continuing on with the Nora Ephron quote:

“So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void.

So good night, dear void…”

700 Subscribers Q and A Request

I have exciting news!  Over on my youtube channel I am almost at 700 subscribers.  To commemorate that number I thought I would finally do a good old fashioned Q and A.  Of  course, I naturally wanted to include all of you, my loyal blog readers.  Although, there isn’t much you don’t know about me!  Still, ask me anything.  Ask me about movies, music, swimming, faith, work, books, whatever you like.  I will do my best to answer whatever you throw at me.

You can put your question in the comments section on this post, the video or email me at smilingldsgirl@yahoo.com.  I look forward to chatting with all of you and seeing what you come up with.