22 July 2010

Update: International Friendship and Understanding

A little update on the post below.

As you can see, my blog is routinely getting more and more interest overseas. In fact, frequently, I get more comments from people in Asia than I do from my American friends. How can that be?

When I see these comments, sometimes, they don't view correctly on the poor, tired laptop that I am using currently. I click on the sender's name and I don't really see what's going on with them.

In our Age of Internet communications, I have found that lots of people like to "follow" people on twitter.com as a way of getting attention for their own twitter account. If I make the mistake of clicking on that, too often I get an unwanted eyeful of some cyber-Lolita, hawking her wares very openly. So I've been a little reluctant to allow the unknowns of Asia to post comments on my blog.

That is until yesterday.

I was at work at Voice of America and sitting across from the Asian Bureau Chief. Diane Gao is from China originally, very educated, intelligent and oddly patient with the deskmate that likes to tease her incessantly. (Why do I do that? Do I have a death-wish? Many at VOA seem to, but I work there only part-time, and appear to be a happier person than my fellow government workers; so the question remains unanswered. And life goes on... teasingly.)

Diane speaks and reads fluent Chinese. So when two Chinese comments arrived within a minute of each other last night, I mentioned it to her. Abundantly patient and curious woman that she is, she walked around to my side of the cubicle to review the comments and I got an eye-opening lesson in international goodwill.

The comments, it would seem, are aimed at boosting my site response. They are trying to help me boost the income of my blog. There's no porn-y blogsite to trail back to; just goodwill towards all.

(I had translated them using the "Google Translator," but Diane informed me those translations have been utterly, completely wrong. Which makes perfect sense, considering that the google translations were utter nonsense.)

I was a little surprised. Even the names are innocuous. It's all so very "hello Kitty!" isn't it? So if you see a few more written responses in some beautifully feathery Asian-style script around here in the future, you'll understand.

So here's to improved communication among the peoples of the world. I really have to blog more frequently. The People of the World, MY PEOPLE, are waiting.

09 July 2010

Ongoing Battle: Red Piano versus Guilt

Does anybody really like the sound of a phone ringing these days? My cell phone rang Wednesday with one of two good friends catching me, mid-step, at the gym.
"Hey, want to go to the auction with us? We're heading there right now."
"Um, I'm at the gym right now. Isn't it a mite early?"
"Yeah, auction doesn't start until 6pm."
"Oh, I could make it closer to then."
Five hours later, I started bidding on this:
An hour later, I walked out with it. It is titled "Mamuut Red" by George Khubua, who is a Georgian (as in former Soviet Republic of Georgia) artist. It's painted in oil on canvas.
When I got it home, I discovered a little stash of guilt, tucked behind the frame.
Not gilt. Not geldt. Not anything of value, just guilt. Why? At $60, it's hardly likely to crash the budget.
I feel guilty because I have worked to maintain a household that I can walk away from on a moment's notice. I have endeavored not to fill the holes in my life with "stuff" that will never be satisfying. I've curried the notion that I had no commitments and remained foot-loose and fancy free.
Some of you may know that currently, I don't have a bed where I live. There is also no couch. I haven't had the sense to buy a set of flatware, glasses that match, more than three dinner plates or a can-opener that isn't second-hand.
Yet two nights ago, I bought this painting.
I do like an uncontrollable smile, though, at least once a day. Don't you? Don't we all like a little visual on happiness?
This little red piano makes me smile. I wish I hadn't been sucked in by it, because it is what it is which is something I'm responsible for. I think if I could stop feeling guilty, I might smile more.