A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
When Eleanor Erickson started keeping a journal in the eighth grade, she thought she really just needed a little privacy from her three younger sisters.
She would close the bedroom door and jot down really important things in her Mead marble composition book: "My favorite shirt for school," for example, and other secrets of an awkward teenager. Little did she know keeping a journal would become a life-long passion. Now she is 40, happily married, has a 9-year-old son and works full time.
Turns out her desire for privacy is pretty fierce. In this digital age of social networking where "friends" catch glimpses of you on Facebook or Twitter, Erickson's true self is tucked away in a journal by her bedside. She can't imagine life without her journals.
"I write a blog and Twitter, but I crave that good old-fashioned writing," she says. "I have something very permanent and personal with my journals. I know my handwritten journal by the bed is where my heart is."
Erickson has a perfect streak going: She has written in her current journal every day for nearly 10 years. "They're a great place to vent and to wonder about things," she says. "There's raw emotion in there. I do not censor it. When I Twitter or blog, I'm always editing myself and thinking about what people would think."
If one thing irritates me today, it is the warp speed with which the year 2010 is whizzing by without pausing long enough for me to get my bearings, repent of my sins, and figure out what I want to accomplish this year. No, dear reader, the New Year is no longer worthy of capital letters and is remorselessly disappearing day by day. Tomorrow will be day 7, and what have I got to show for the first week?
Thus far, if you have followed my blog, you already know the following:
I have decided to pay attention to my horoscopes this year.
I am looking for sources of wisdom in the comics.
I have rediscovered my Kindle, although my daughter disputes that it is "mine."
I have desperately searched for something to take photos of after posting zillions of nice pictures of Nativity scenes and running out of them.
I watched five or ten minutes' worth of several Jazz games before writing them off. Again.
I watched the Boise St.-TCU game, cursing the BCS and all of their evil shenanigans that led to scheduling two unbeaten teams against each other to shove them out of the way. For shame.
I helped my wife take down the Christmas tree and Christmas doodads and stash them for another year. The only doodad we don't stash is a hand-carved Santa which my SLC neighbor made and for which I paid him 50 bucks. I thought Santa needed to be on display all year.
I took out the trash, changed the filter in the vacuum cleaner, and, generally speaking, was on reasonably decent behavior.
Aside from the above earth-shaking events, I accompanied my wife to WalMart yesterday. She gave me strict instructions not to mention this event on the blog as she says she is sick of hearing about her going to WalMart from all of our neighbors and family. However, dear reader, I felt I needed to update my previous primer on how to shop at WalMart.
If you will observe, it is easy to tell when you are at Walmart because they have the name on the building. I just noted that WalMart is now Walmart, lower case. The next trick to going in the store is to check and see where the Enter sign is. You will have trouble going in the door marked by the Enter sign because numerous Walmart friends and associates are busily coming out the Enter door. I apologize for the poor quality of the third photo, which clearly says Exit. Since most people tend to exit through the enter door, it stands to reason that many Walmart friends and neighbors will enter through the exit door. A Walmart employee who presumably was hired to be a greeter stands guard, so to speak, providing an anemic acknowledgement that we are there after I spoke to her. She should be assigned the duty of telling people to exit through the exit door and, next time, enter through the enter door and pay attention. After an hour and walking 230 miles, and after being admonished for going off and leaving my poor wife not knowing where I was, we escaped, having spent 90% of our government social security stimulus money, thus enhancing the GDP, lowering the unemployment rate, and adding a nickel or two to the accumulated wealth of the Walton heirs in Bentonville, AK.
After reading my blog entry from the originators of PYXLIN, the creator of LDS Journal has sent the following message:
To Whom It May Concern:
Every once in a while, I like to scour the Web to see what people are writing about LDSJournal.com to see if there are things that we should be doing better. To my surprise, I found your post about the LDSJournal service that was misinformed and incorrectly stated how LDSJournal operates. We thought it was sad that someone NOT involved with LDSJournal would make false statements about something they know nothing about. What's more, they have repeated the process on multiple occasions. They've even gone so far as to email someone, who happens to work for our PR firm, and bear false witness against LDSJournal. We thought you should get correct information to post for readers of your blog. We have updated the question in our Help Center to cover this misinformation. Please know, that we realize this error was not yours, but rather you were given inaccurate information.
If you would like to speak with me directly, I will happy to answer any questions you may have about LDSJournal.com.
Please take a moment to read this link to the Help Center for LDS Journal [which clarifies this frequently asked question].
I thank you in advance for your help in clarifying this error. We hope readers of your blog will no longer be misinformed about our service.
I apologize to Nick Jones and LDS Journal, recognizing his fine efforts to bring LDS Journal as a free service to everyone. To all of our readers interested in journaling, please check the LDS Journal link above, then, if you are interested, check, the PYXLIN link, and make your own decision about which one you want to use. But the last thing the Curmudgeonly Professor wishes to do is send out erroneous and misleading information, and he should have checked out both journaling services first before his post. I hope this clears everything up before leaving anyone with a false impression of the differences between the two services.
Down through the ages people have kept journals, diaries, daybooks and other forms of written and keepsake records of their lives. Some have been written in elegant leather-bound volumes in permanent ink, some have been written in pencil on school lined tablets, some on bits and pieces of anything and everything and stuffed in shoe boxes. Writing a journal usually seems unimportant on the day we are writing it because the events and people we are writing about are so close to us and so ordinary in our lives that these written comments hardly seem exceptional. Time, however, endows anything written in the past with a nostalgic patina and glow that erases the ordinary everyday character of today's journal entries. The most valuable legacy people can leave to their descendants is a legacy of journals, letters, and photographs.
Today we are at risk of losing much of our historical heritage. Fewer and fewer handwritten letters are being sent. The ubiquitous cell phone and computer email have replaced the bundles of neatly tied letters kept in old cedar chests for posterity. Text messaging, online social websites, and group emailing may have made communication instant and efficient, but have destroyed the historical treasure of paper messages. I try to keep a file of email letters, but these homogeneous and impersonal messages hardly evoke the same reactions when I read them as letters my parents wrote to each other in the 1930s with their three-cent postage stamps and memorable messages. Now our messages vanish into cyberspace. People are so used to not writing letters that even the social grace of writing thank you notes seems to have vanished with increased busyness and the lack of focus on keeping in touch.
Technology and modern communication outlets do, however, offer some tremendously innovative methods of providing substitutions for the bygone letter-writing eras, and even go a few additional steps in providing enriched forms of journals and records of our families and of our lives. Traditionally, journals were written by an individual and then perhaps, but not necessarily, read over in whole or in part when someone died. Photos were stuffed in shoe boxes and slide trays and buried in attics and closets and retrieved again upon someone's death. Thus, the values and benefits that could have been widely disseminated during the journal keeper's life, along with the photographic record of that life, were lost until someone died. And then, only if someone took the time to organize the journals, reproduce them, and scan and make available thousands of photos and slides, would anyone else ever have the opportunity to look at them and develop a deeper attachment to and appreciation of someone's life.
The opportunity to keep photo journals on computers, with both written and photo entries, and to post these journals on websites, blogs, and other media forms, is a rather miraculous means of providing instant dissemination of information to families, friends, and others who otherwise may never have seen these photos and written entries. Photo journaling provides a means of keeping families closely in touch, sharing news and events, and strengthening family ties. When we think of journaling, we traditionally think of someone with a quill pen and a bound leather volume laboriously penning immortal thoughts never to be revealed in one's lifetime. The possibility of adding photos, however, offers tremendous new and expanded outlets for providing life stories as a collection of daily journal entries. Just as written accounts of our lives provide a window into our inner selves, photos provide an additional window into an approximation of what reality is like. Photos, of course, always carry an aura of mystery because we are never sure exactly what the people and places represent, just as we are never certain about what people have meant when they write certain words. But taken together, photos and words tie us both to the present and to the passage of time in ways that we can only begin to appreciate in the here and now. The ability to disseminate these photo-journal entries to the entire audience of our families means that these word and picture images will never be lost, because someone, or many people, will preserve permanent copies both through printing and storage on electronic media.
So we may shed a tear or two at the letters we no longer receive, but we can smile as we begin to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities we have to provide a more valuable and permanent method of communication than transitory emails and cell phone messages. Time passes quickly, so now is the time to start.