Countdown to Christmas…Christmas Cards

Let us not beat around the dick on this one: the only (and I mean only) reason why I send out Christmas cards (on the rare occasion that I do) is because I feel an obligation to do so.

Not because I enjoy spreading holiday cheer.

Not because I get gads of cards in the mail and want to return the act of genuine kindness.

Not because anyone told me to.

In fact, people tell me not to all the time. A few years ago, I sent out these really expensive, plantable cards. Didn’t hear from anyone that they actually planted them. Last year I sent out no less than fifty Christmas cards. Can anyone guess how many I got in return? Those motherfuckers were handmade. Required extra fucking postage, due to the size and shape. They each had a personal, handwritten message.

All fifty. All. Fucking. Fifty.

I got two.

After that, a lot of people told me that I shouldn’t waste my time and money. My husband’s grandfather yelled – I mean yelled – at me just about a month ago not to waste my money on Christmas cards this year. He told me that I have better things I could be doing, like watching Turner Classic Movies (his suggestion) and knitting scarves for myself to wear the three days a year the temperature dips below 55 in California.

And it always starts out the same way. Every year. First it is almost natural and common knowledge (to myself) that I won’t be sending out Christmas cards. It isn’t even really a thought in my mind – I am that inherently against doing it.

Then my dad goes through his list of people that are getting cut (after two years with no return card, he cuts the person…my Uncle Ken will not be happy this year after getting slashed…). He always does this in front of me, and I always start to question whether or not I should be doing cards.

I don’t want to. But I start to think that I should.

Somewhere after there I’m in Target or CVS or even the grocery store, and I see boxes of cards. Man, the really pretty ones are only like $7 a box. I feel kind of like a cheap dick for not even doing just that. Or I go to Michaels and I see those boxes of make-your-own-cards kits. They are so cheap! And I mean I don’t have any projects to do right now (which is always a lie I tell myself to try and justify this obligatory feeling I have, which I just don’t get…).

The next thing I know, I’m addressing cards, standing in line at the post office to get holiday stamps, stressing over what to write in the cards to people I don’t know very well or (more often) cannot stand the thought of. And I’m going on my annual search for people’s addresses that I have never, and will never, take the time to document anywhere so that I can stop having to ask.

I hate myself so much for so many reasons, and this is just another one of those reasons.

Then I see things that come in the mail, and I feel like even more of a jerk. Like I did today. I’m still procrastinating on doing cards – I mean I have the postage and the cards, I just…

This year – so far – I have gotten three cards. That’s one more than last year, and there’s still time. Who knows, I may get four. I got one from my aunt and uncle, one from my cousins, and one from a blogger I have never even met in real life. It had a bookmark. And lots of glitter. Glitter that got all over my pants, and made them look a thousand times more awesome than they would have otherwise; which is still on my pants right now and makes me feel like a jerk for not wanting to do cards. (Because if someone I have never even met in real life can take the time to send me this envelope of glittery awesome, surely I can take the time to stop procrastinating and send out these stupid cards I have sitting over there – staring at me, on the dining room table…right?)

So I don’t want to do cards, but I do them anyway out of an obligation that I cannot pinpoint; and I feel like a jerk because other people do them so nicely and willingly and you don’t hear them complaining, while here I am complaining every step of the way and being very open and honest about the fact that I don’t even want to fucking do them.

Still with me? Maybe all this griping is why I only got two cards last year.

Here’s where I think my real problems are with Christmas cards: I expect some in return, and rarely get many (if any at all). And why should I, with this kind of an attitude? Moreover, I feel like I have to include a letter or an update. Like my Christmas card is supposed to include this not-so-humble brag about how wondrous my and my family’s lives are. You know like that stupid Christmas jammies video that went viral the other day: those people basically did nothing but brag about their wonderful lives for the whopping three minutes of the video, and for it they are now Internet celebrities.

I don’t have much to brag about. Certainly not enough to brag for an entire three minute video. Or a half a sheet of paper. If I were to write a Christmas letter it would say something like: “Husband at the same job, nothing changed with the under 18 crowd, we took a couple vacations around California and to Chicago, and I hate my life because I do stupid shit like this Christmas letter.”

Do you send out Christmas cards? What about a Christmas letter? Is your Christmas letter full of back patting and outlines of all the awards your kids have won? Or is it about your back pains and hemorrhoids, like my grandpa’s always used to be about?

More importantly: should I send out Christmas cards this year?

Why My Blog is Doomed to Fail

Could I be any more melodramatic?  Probably.  The truth is that this blog isn’t necessarily about the destiny of the b(itch)log to fail, so much as it is just a blog about why I won’t ever be featured on Freshly Pressed.  Wordpress suggested it might Freshly Press me if I come up with a catchy title, though, so I tried…

For those of you not hip to the lingo of the blog-o-sphere (and you may all shoot me if I utter such atrocities as blog-o-sphere again), Freshly Pressed is the daily showcasing of what WordPress considers the cream of the crop, so to speak, of recent postings on blogs hosted by the Internet giant.  It claims to be showcasing those besties for today, when in reality the majority of the Freshly Pressed blogs I have read are – on average – a week old.  But let’s not bicker over mere days, what I want to really do is bicker about who gets Freshly Pressed and why.

For a while, being showcased on the front page of WordPress was one of my ultimate goals.  I started this because I attended a writers meeting where the speaker said that her blog had been Freshly Pressed; only to my dismay, I learned later that while the blog had, in fact, been featured, the topic was something many of us would rather not have learned about:  the graying of her pubic hair.  (That is an image now forever burned in my head, thanks Freshly Pressed.)  For a while, I even researched what I could do, and of course went by the guidance of the WordPress editors.  They said to post good content, I posted good content.  They said no typos, I triple-checked my work.  They said original photos, or at least a credit, and I did everything they wanted.  And yet after weeks and months of trying, I still was never featured.

Of course, with over 370,000 bloggers, tallying close to 500,000 daily posts, of course it would seem rare form for me to expect to be featured on Freshly Pressed.  Surely there are gads of writers much better than me out there, posting topics much more relevant than things like literature, marriage advise, and carmageddon.  I was convinced that the odds were just too stacked against me:  too many good writers, mixed with too many uninteresting posts by me.  And then I visited Freshly Pressed last week to find that they had posted a blog about some random guy’s completely mundane and uninteresting week.  It was so boring that I don’t even remember what he did:  something like take a bus to work and run away from someone because they had a bee on their sleeve.  The guy didn’t even credit his stolen pictures – every bit of the blog flew in the face of what WordPress says not to do; he even had a few misspelled words.

Now, it’s possible that WordPress has a computer which randomly selects blogs to showcase.  This seems plausible given the basic fact that blogs on graying pubic hair and some random guy’s week don’t exactly warrant the titles “cream of the crop.”  Really, I’d lke to think it’s more than that, though.  I like to imagine people at WordPress reading my blogs every time I post them and saying “well … there it is … another post we can’t feature!”  Here are the reasons I like to think why:

I never take my own pictures.

It’s true.  I don’t.  Never.  I think maybe two of my blogs – ever – have contained photographs that have actually been taken by my phone, other than that they are always stolen from other places on the Internet.  I always follow the WordPress rules of crediting (be it underneath the photo, or on the direct photo link), but I never take my own photos.  Why, you ask?  Because unlike the rest of the world, I don’t believe I am a professional photographer just because I own a digital camera and a nice camera phone.  Unless it’s a topic that I can emphasize with one of the many random photos I do take on my camera phone (most of which my faithful blog followers will not understand anyway), I prefer a nicer, cleaner photo, or a video.  Hey, that’s just me … I don’t hold delusions of grandeur.

I swear a lot.

It’s true.  I do.  Always.  My blog’s homepage even includes the word “bitch” (even though it’s intended to be a play on the word blog – b(itch)log).  Something I realized recently is that the most intelligent people I know swear, and swear often.  In all honesty, we could wax philosophical on this one, because they are just words.  Just because colloquially they are considered bad by a group of old ninnies who still think “poppy-cock” is offensive does not actually make them bad.  And anyway, I don’t say anything that doesn’t find its way on primetime cable.

I’m honest and talk about things people don’t care about.

Yep.  I am honest, brutally so.  And people don’t care about a lot of the things I talk about, even though they should.  Why would I be featured on Freshly Pressed when I talk poorly of planking and owling, when probably the last month has featured at least five or six blogs on the excitement of the ridiculous Internet trends?  And why would I be selected to be featured when more than half of my blogs are more misanthropic than anyone should be?  Honesty and educated topics are not what people want.  Gray pubic hair is.

Look at this WordPress!! It's a PHOTO CREDIT for a photo that is much better than anything I would have taken on this topic! Thanks Melonbloggers!!

The truth in it all is that either the computer isn’t randomly selecting me, or the editors at WordPress just really don’t think there is anything special about my writing.  Maybe they even think it’s downright bad.  Am I bitter?  I was at first.  I was outright resentful; possibly I still am.  In truth, I think that not being Freshly Pressed has given me to the impetus to keep blogging.  Not that I think I will ever be Freshly Pressed – but as a matter of proving that in at the end of the popularity contest, it’s always the nerds and unwanteds that wind up the most successful.  So my blog is doomed to fail at the game of WordPress’s Freshly Pressed front page “cream of the crop”athon… but to be honest, gray pubic hair lady and the pansy who ran away from the bee are not my kind of crowd anyway.