2014 in Review December 29, 2014Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging, Personal.
Tags: Blogging, Personal
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Last year the monkeys also used visits to The Louvre as a comparison. I have since donned my beret (bought for me by my friend Lesley in Paris but made in China) and am enjoying a glass of California wine to celebrate. I want to add that the majority of Planetjan’s readers are referred by Google and not Facebook.
Seeing as I only published 14 posts in the last two years (Mais non!), I’m definitely a candidate for the Flogging for Lazy Blogging Award. WordPress has put a positive spin on the fact that my top viewed posts are some of my oldies. (Planetjan Classics!) I’ve been working on writing that is not related to blogging, so I have an excuse from my mother (though it might look a lot like my own handwriting). Sometimes I want to say RIP to NPD but personality disorders still fascinate me and there are still people looking for answers. Au revoir 2014!
Here’s an excerpt:
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 96,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.
Comments Welcome August 6, 2013Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Uncategorized.
Tags: Blogging, Comment Policy, Comments, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD
I just noticed that I have over 2,000 comments in response to 219 blog posts. It’s no secret that the majority of comments are in response to my writing about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Eliminating cursive writing from the curriculum doesn’t generate the emotional response as having discovered the person you thought you were in love with isn’t capable of love.
So, in honor of all of those who’ve shared their stories of the turmoil wrought by a close encounter with a narcissist, I thought it was worth commenting about comments. Your comments.
I’m a teacher by trade, not a therapist. I provide a listening ear. I’m a survivor. And ultimately, I’m an optimist. Sound good? You’ve come to the right place.
It’s interesting because in the summer of 2012, we had quite a lively discussion going on between commenters. I was on vacation and was so impressed with how everyone was so thoughtful in their responses and kind to one another. I was beginning to feel like I wasn’t even needed! However, when someone said, “Wow! This is a great forum!” I winced. I don’t need nor want the responsibility of monitoring a forum.
That said, I have a lot of people who stop by regularly to let people know how they’re doing. Or to offer solace and a pat on the back to someone else who’s still reeling from their involvement with a narcissist. Some of these people go back to Year 1 of my blog. They’re like old familiar friends and I’m amazed at how wise they’ve become. I’ve watched them work through the “What ifs” and WTFs and move on with their lives. This brings me joy.
I always try to respond to NPD-related comments within 24 hours. I remember how horrible I felt when I realized who/what I was dealing with. I’d been “had” and who would believe me?
But, here’s the deal. I hit the Edit button and write my comment on the bottom of the actual comment in italics. I do this because I don’t want to see my face appearing in the sidebar over and over again. The downside of this is when people sign up to Follow Comments, they don’t receive a notification that I’ve replied. They won’t receive a notification until another person comments on that post.
FYI: I must approve everyone’s first comment. Once that’s done, future comments are posted automatically, but I receive a notification. Just in case. Only twice have I had to delete that first comment to block a flurry of rants that followed. I don’t like rants. Rants make my stomach churn. After a long day at school spent with 30 third graders, I don’t have much patience for adults who behave like bratty children.
When someone comments, I can see their email address. Maybe half a dozen times when someone was in severe distress, I emailed them to let them know I’d responded to their comment. I also eliminate most people’s last names from their comment. Just in case.
And yes, there are a few readers who I’ve allowed to contact me “off blog.” It’s amazing how most people’s writing voice so echoes their real one. So it was no great surprise that when I met up with Lesley, my most prolific commenter, in Scotland last month, she was just as warm and clever and wise as she was “on blog.” I also talked to Phil while in the UK and his sardonic wit was spot on as well. It’s funny, because we have so much more to talk about than NPD now. Life has a strange way of moving on. Believe it or not, but you will not always feel like this experience is consuming/has consumed you. The future awaits.
Readers can usually learn more from the comments than they can from reading my posts. So read up. And thank you for commenting!
Typeface for Comments is BigHouse.
Top Ten Words for 2010 January 4, 2011Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging, Food for Thought.
Tags: Austerity, Gaslighting, Humor, Merriam- Webster, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Merriam-Webster's Top 10 Words for 2010, Nonversation, Top Ten Words, Top User-Submitted Words for 2010
I was at my favorite bookstore (and it wasn’t even raining!) when I saw a poster listing the Top 10 Words for 2010 – the first being “austerity.” Gee, who saw that coming? The Top 10 Words are (drumroll please):
You can go to Merriam-Webster’s Top 10 Words for 2010 for definitions, uses, and lists from years past.
I was most pleased though that I knew all of the words on the list, not that I have much occasion to use these gems in casual conversation with children who still believe in the Tooth Fairy. I have to admit that until President Obama used “shellacking,” I’d never heard of that unless it was hobby-related. And “doppelganger?” How 2009 is that?
I love words and wordplay, so I had to go back and review words from previous years. Geez, there was a word from 2009 and I didn’t have a clue what it meant. It was like getting hit with a cold fish in the face. Just see if you can spot it, smarty pants. I’ll give you a hint – it’s not “furlough” cause I’ve already got five of those babies under my belt.
What I found way more fun though was Merriam-Webster’s Top 10 User Submitted Words beginning with “nonversation.” (The site is riddled with ads so hit Skip to Page on the top right. The Top 10 User Submitted Words are on the left hand side under the title “Nonversation.” You can hit Next to see all of these words.) “Talk about a nonversation!” is going to be one of my new buzz phrases. Though most are cyber-related, “gaslighting,” a word those who know a thing about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are on a first-name basis with, is on that list also. Finally!
I wouldn’t say that things are a changing as I write this, but look how much has changed since 2004!
Merriam-Webster’s #1 Word of the Year for 2004:
1. Blog (noun)
[short for Weblog] (1999) : a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer
Being Facebook Friends with Stephan Pastis – Rats! September 8, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging.
Tags: Comics.com, Facebook Friends, Humor, Pearls Before Swine, Stephan Pastis
I’m a big fan of the comic Pearls Before Swine. Brain surgeon that I am, one day I mentioned to my trainer Louis that he happened to have the same last name as the comic’s creator Stephan Pastis. “He’s my cousin,” Louis replied.
He then proceeded to dish the dirt, the way only those with a familial connection can. Okay, Louis is too nice to do that, but he did tell me that out of all the characters, his cousin is most like Rat. Then he showed me Stephan Pastis’s blog.
Louis hadn’t read his cousin’s blog in a while. We laughed ourselves silly reading about Louis’s wedding in It Is Dancing That I Fear. I came home and promptly added stephanpastis to my blogroll. When he posted about how he was desperate for Facebook friends, I succumbed and he “friended” me. Cool.
But I made the fatal error of commenting on one of his facebook status updates. How was I to know that so many of his 4,498 “friends” also felt compelled to comment? My computer dinged every time another person added a comment. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. Never again.
I recently read Pastis’s post Love Thy Neighbor, or at Least Give Them Nicknames You Can Remember which is laugh out loud funny. If you’re living in a cave somewhere and haven’t seen Pearls Before Swine, you can learn all about the characters at Pearls Before Swine on Wikipedia. The strip is also on Comics.com. Enjoy.
My World is Flat January 7, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging.
Tags: Blogging, clustrmaps, Education, Geography, Humor, maps, Narcissist, Outliers
I’ve always loved geography, especially if it involves sticking map pins in foreign countries that are then tethered in place with colorful yarn. (But, that’s the teacher in me.) Being a sucker for maps, I added the ClustrMap in the sidebar of my blog on Dec. 28th to show where visitors to my blog are coming from (geographically speaking, that is). The stats upgrade daily (or almost), but the 12,194 visitors who came before I activated the ClustrMap aren’t accounted for. I refer to them as The Missing.
According to ClustrMaps, every so often, a new cycle starts and The Map is wiped clean. So one day The Map looks like it has the measles and then the next, there’s not a spot in sight. This has freaked some bloggers out, so now Clustrmaps (which is free), notifies users ahead of time so they can prepare for this Cyber-geddon. Bloggers, evidently, are a sentimental bunch and like to hoard copies of every measly (and measled) map on their hard drives.
I hope to see crater-sized circles soon, all but obliterating the earth as I know it. (Sorry, but given Americans’ dunce status when it comes to world geography, I couldn’t bring myself to write WE).
In the first week that I had The Map, I couldn’t help but notice that there were no dots on Africa. My husband, who just finished reading Malcom Gladwell’s brilliant book Outliers, thinks this is because much of that continent’s population is busy gathering mongongo nuts (Gladwell) and having recreational sex (my husband). No hits in Iceland? Easily explained. Richard said they obviously lost all of their computers when the banks went belly up. And what about Alaska? The only person I knew of by name from Alaska didn’t seem to be much of a reader. But, Richard is inclined to believe it’s because all those Alaskans are busy catching and gutting the few remaining fish on the planet. The strange thing is that my husband is starting to make sense, which is taking some getting used to.
When I saw I a dot smack in the middle of Australia, I actually got out my atlas, as I knew all of the major cities are on the coast. Could some aboriginal person be sitting atop Ayers Rock cruising the internet? My friend Cathy had a different theory. She imagined some poor sot working at a sheep station in the interior and the only other person within miles just happens to be a narcissist. (See Top Posts) Then I wondered if a sheep could be narcissistic, and we didn’t want to go THERE!
So, wherever you’re coming from (geographically speaking or otherwise), welcome! Thanks for stopping by my planet.
No Mo’ Snow January 3, 2009Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging.
Tags: Blogging, Holidays, Humor, Paperclay, Post Christmas, snow, Snowmen, Wordpress
It’s official. The last Snow Day on WordPress blogs is January 4th. My friend Elisse first told me about the “snow falling” feature, which I immediately activated. I grew up slogging through snow and having my car spin out on icy roads. I know all too well the smell of damp, sweaty wool.
Since I’ve acclimated to California, I rather enjoy wandering out to the curb to pick up the newspaper in my bare feet – in December. Or complain that it’s FREEZING, when the temperature has plummeted to a measly 46 degrees. No sooner do the words come out of my mouth, then both my husband (who’s from Idaho) and I both burst out laughing. What wimps we’ve become.
I’m sorry to see the snow go, as I liked having the power to control its direction using my cursor. And come Monday, I’ll have 20 third graders to keep under control, with less predictable results. Last night I fell asleep on the couch in front of a fire with the tree all lit up. We’d already decided to take it down today so this was akin to attending a wake (something I’ve never done) or sitting shiva (something else I’ve never done). In advance.
I’d taken some of the holiday decor down and was procrastinating about the rest. Then yesterday I tripped on a wire reindeer made from coat hangers and meant to hold Christmas cards. As I stumbled across the room with this bear trap with antlers latched to my foot, it all became clear. It was time. So Christmas 2008 is a wrap. No mo’ snow.
Planetjan in Pakistan? November 28, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, Blogging, Humor, India, Islam, Mumbai, Pakistan, Politics, The Pakistani Spectator, War on Terror
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No sooner had I put up my post “Barack Obama as American Mythology” then I received a request for an interview from Ghazala Khan atThe Pakistani Spectator (TPS). “We at TPS are carrying out a new series of interviews with the notable passionate bloggers, writers, and webmasters. In that regard, we would like to interview you, if you don’t mind,” he wrote. Who, me?
I checked out the link to the Pakistani Spectator, which seemed to me to provide relatively mainstream political and entertainment news. There were interviews with several other “notable” bloggers (one was in Bakersfield – a known hotbed of radical activity – and he admitted to drinking copious amounts of alcohol), so I figured no fatwah would be forthcoming. And there was that ad in the sidebar announcing that you CAN lose a pound a day without dieting. It was right next to an on-line poll about what to do with those Talibans. Here are the poll options: Dialogue with Them, Crush Them, Let America Deal with Them, Give Them a Free Hand, Jirgas(?) and Limited Operations, or finally, I am Confused.
I agreed to the interview and Ghazala Khan emailed me the interview questions, which required me to do some hard thinking. Not an easy thing to do when you’re overwhelmed with Parent/Teacher conferences and Thanksgiving looms. But I emailed my responses and woke up the next morning to find that the “Interview with Blogger Jan Marshall” was right below a photo of Barack Obama.
Political news is available through TPS in Urdu, but not entertainment news. So, boo hoo – no Urdu for you. You can read the interview by going to the following link. The Pakistani Spectator. Scroll down through the political news. Us “Notable Bloggers” are relegated to Entertainment under Interviews in the middle column. My interview has since been bumped by more recent interviews, but you can find it if you go to the top of the page and click on Interviews. The Interview archives are organized by the date published. My interview was published Nov. 24th just days before the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
With all of the turmoil in that region in the world, I think all of us can benefit by knowing more about each other.
Why I Blog August 24, 2008Posted by alwaysjan in Blogging.
Tags: Blogging, Humor, Language, Life, Teaching, Writing
“Enough of your BS!” is my husband’s way of telling me he’s tired of hearing updates on my blog stats. It’s bad enough that when I turn on my computer, he announces, “That’s Jan booting up.” When I pop open my breakfast Classic Coke (children, do as I say, not as I do), he announces, “There’s the second sound that tells me Jan is alive.”
When my friend Lesley was visiting from England, she grabbed her camera and snapped pictures of me, so as to capture, “the blogger in her natural habitat!” Every time I was having a creative surge, she or her daughter, Lucy, would circle me like naturalists, and in that oh-so-charming English accent, narrate their observations on the strange habits of the “lesser blogger.”
As you can see, I have to put up with a lot from these malcontents, who envy both my passion and keyboarding skills. These incursions into my creative space are what I call blogus interruptus.
Before I started blogging, I often worked as a writer for hire. I was good at it and paid well. But I can’t say I enjoyed it (other than cashing the checks). Writing screenplays is like being an architect who designs buildings that are never made, or building the best sand castle ever – just before high tide.
So, why do I blog? I blog because words ricochet around inside my head 24/7, and blogging provides an exit wound. Words are my best friends. They’re the friends who always want to play and never save a seat on the bus so I can’t sit there. I like to play fast and loose with words, spinning them like gunslingers twirl six-shooters. Sometimes I shoot myself in the foot, but the more I blog, the better my aim has become. Life is funny like that.
I also blog because I’m an artist. Sometimes I work with paint, but increasingly, I like to paint pictures with words, and I like to use LOTS of color! I’m a Fauvist sitting at a keyboard trying to get the colors just so. (It’s so true – it’s all in the rewrite!)
I blog because I know I’m not just talking to myself. I like having an audience. I like it when people comment or I find they’ve linked my blog to theirs. And when all eyes are me, I don’t want to disappoint. Writers don’t have a right to bore people. I know a thing or two, and like to share my experiences and observations. Humor is my Trojan Horse. It allows me to get inside the gate so I can be heard.
As a third-grade teacher, I have a built-in audience, and although I have way too much fun with my students, they’re not my demographic. When a student told me he wasn’t coming to school on Halloween because it’s the devil’s birthday, I blurted out, “But my birthday is in April!” He walked away with a quizzical look on his face. But you got it, didn’t you?
Finally, when I’m sitting at my keyboard and writing, I feel like all is well with the world. I think about my audience – family, friends, and all of the amazing people I never would have “bumped into” in cyberspace had it not been for my blog. This brings a smile to my face. Then, I begin to write.