worldmegan           ~

The Big Flickr Scare

Yes… this is about Flickr.

When I sit down to write a Concerned Letter, I always get a little worried. Will it be clear enough? Will it say what I need it to say? Will the addressed person understand what I’m trying to tell them, and more than that, will they be receptive? Sympathetic? And even if I manage to get all this across—a rickety boat in rough waters—will anyone even really read it?

Today Violet posted an entry about sudden, vexing issues with her Flickr account. You can imagine how this made me feel. I’m a huge proponent of Flickr. I adore Flickr. Flickr has always been exactly what I wanted in a photo sharing site and even when they’ve fallen short, they have continued to develop and polish and improve in ways that fill my heart with glee. So when someone has something less than brilliant to say about them, I notice. And in this case, having long been a reader of Violet’s blog and other writings, knowing that her material is, as I say later, reliable and fact-driven as a rule, I have really noticed. And what I have found has greatly alarmed me.

So much, in fact, that I wrote this letter to Flickr.

I recently read the following article at Violet Blue’s site,

If what she says is true—and I have never known her to be anything but reliable and fact-driven in her writing—Flickr is doing some slightly crazy things, pissing off some very large-scale users. Personally, I’m upset because I put a lot of stock in Flickr, and Violet having a Flickr account makes it really easy for me to follow a really neat person who has a lot of wonderful ideas and opinions. I consider her really valuable to the web and I can’t help but feel that if Flickr is enacting a poorly constructed system of standards on her in a way that causes her to abandon it altogether, what is likely to happen to the rest of us who use it? I know many people who are now using Flickr Pro accounts to really help them in displaying their personality on the web—but if you don’t help us play by your rules, if those rules aren’t clear and easy to use, we can’t trust you. That scares me, because I’ve always been a HUGE proponent of Flickr.

I do appreciate you reading this email, because I believe in what Flickr is—I am having a hard time processing the idea that this could be happening, and I certainly don’t want to entertain the idea that moving my accounts is a good option. But I am alarmed by what I’ve heard and I would really like to know what the future holds. Do ya’ll intend to do something about this? Is it possible that the Yahoo merge had unforetold consequences we would not see until later on? Please, please console me, as I have been incredibly, unwaveringly loyal in the time since Flickr was a teeny baby. And I really, really don’t want Violet to delete her account.

I would be so, so grateful for a response.

Thank you for listening,

Megan Elizabeth Morris

I wrote it off the cuff—thinking, someone has to say something. I’m sure many people have said something, probably far (far!) more eloquently than I did. My letter is little more than a plea to Flickr to soothe and placate one of my favorite Flickr users, but even typing that I realize that it’s bigger. Changes like this herald larger problems, and Flickr has long been one of my favorite institutions of The Good Web. I was nervous when Yahoo took over but the pastures continued to look green and healthy and affable. I am hoping to high heaven that the outlook I saw from there isn’t going to be any different now.

And hell, I know the world isn’t perfect. But when the world gets less perfect, people should know about it. Should have the chance to fix it. So many companies rise to that challenge! There’s no reason Flickr can’t be one of them.

Update, Friday 5pm: Saw another post from Violet about having gotten a response from Flickr, which makes me feel hopeful—but it will take a little time to find out what’s up, since Gmail is having issues. Pbph! Wouldn’t it be incredible if Flickr rose to the occasion? I mean, we can hope, can’t we? (And yeesh, what is up with all the web issues lately? Is this a June thing?)

Update, Saturday 1pm: Scoble mentioned these crazy shenanigans, too. AND, David Ewalt @ Forbes has a great post up, quote:

I’ve been really getting into Flickr myself the last few months and have found it an excellent, well run service. It would be a terrible shame if they screwed things up with excessive regulation or censorship.

Man, do I ever agree. In addition to all of that, one of Violet’s images on Flickr with a really interesting comment thread is here. I especially appreciate Ninavizz’s comment, clips:

The Flickr folks really, truly do mean well- tho despite being with Yahoo! for 2+ years, they continue to struggle with organizational red-tape bullshit …

Stewart and Caterina coulda both retired comfortably a couple of years ago, but both continue to put in long-hours to ensure that Flickr … doesn’t lose it’s integrity- despite the corporate absorption. They both care so deeply for the long-term integrity of online community spaces, and the individuals from all walks of life who make them special. They’re really fighting a humongo machine, and with all the Flickr peeps, are committed to it for the longhaul.

It’s good to call them out when they hit bumps in the road- but do be patient, and give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re doing everything they can.

This is what made me a Flickr fan in the good ol’ days, and I don’t like to believe, in light of everything, that Yahoo can possibly have eclipsed what Flickr is, at its core. Incidents like this make me nervous, but I prefer to believe in the basic humanity and worthiness of the thing in question. I’m grateful to others who battle on the side of worthy humanity! ;}

Update, Saturday 1:30pm: There’s a Flickr group called I’ve Been Restricted with some useful information for folks who are having similar problems.

Woo! Read about Flickr’s awesome response on Violet’s site here!

The Break Up

I just posted a way cute video at Virtual Magpie—Michael Galpert posted it earlier today and it’s awesomely pertinent for those of you in a business mindset. Go watch. :}

omg gojira

Marty posted another doodle and mentioned our rollergirls game last night—smack in the middle of the third bout and all the power goes off. I used my phone to post, um, pictures in Flickr. (Not that you can see much.)

I admit I was kinda tired during the game, but not enough to want the power to go out!! And dude, it was a crazy game. I don’t remember any of the games this season being so rowdy right from the get-go—I think Special Ops (the Assassination City Derby all star team, from Dallas) is the best visiting team we’ve had so far, and they were hot. We had a group of folks right next to us hollering encouragement to Choko Ono. I guess they were Dallas people! Marty seemed to lean towards rooting for Hell Marys, and I seemed to lean towards rooting for Hot Rod Honeys, but we BOTH were rooting for Hustlers. It looked like Barbarella was having this kooky awesome night, narrowly avoiding disaster and grinning and playing a great game, and then something happened and she slid into the penalty chair head-first, ow. It looked like she’d hurt her hand instead of her head, which is probably good. They got rid of the penalty chair after that.

It was neat to sit in the dark and speculate about what the hell was going to happen, but ultimately we went home and it sounds like they might have a rematch. Kind of lame, to have such a wild game cut short. We all dashed to our cars in the pouring rain, rivers in the parking lot, absolutely soaking wet by the time we got home, ate pie, watched some TV. But other than the tromping through rainstorms part, it was an awesome evening.

Had some goofy dreams last night, but haven’t remembered them yet.


In ur quantum box… maybe.


Today I had a totally unexpected (but really interesting) conversation with one of my cousins. We were talking about religion and spirituality, which is not something I would normally just bring up out of nowhere—but this time it had been on my mind, and all of a sudden we were discussing it.

Has that ever happened to you?

I have been feeling unhappy about the level of closeness and communication (or lack thereof) that I have with my family, my blood kin. My father and I have conversations, and I have them here and there with my mom and sister. But for the most part, I don’t really get to communicate seriously with family members. I barely know my cousins, aunts, uncles. We see each other at family functions less since I’ve moved, but the things we talk about are still all small talk. What have you been up to lately? Nothing much, just the usual, school, work, etc. Repeated till the cows come home, man.

Some of my friends in Austin are really close to their families. In some cases, family members are their best friends in the whole world—they talk about everything. Blood is not their only connection.

Man, have I been jealous.

But today it became really clear to me that the only barrier to this thing is in me—is in my assumption that my family’s “not like that”. And whatever kind of creature or unit my family is, it is still made up of people. They may not all be people I get along with, or people who would agree with me in a drawn-out conversation, or, hell! even people who are capable of processing the sort of things I like to talk about. But that’s sure as shit no reason not to try. How am I ever going to know if I don’t look into it? Pbph. How indeed.

PS. I know I haven’t talked about “meligion” yet. But I will. I swear. If you’ll just be patient, and let it, ah, coalesce in my head… scout’s honor.


Too many awesome links today, so my Wednesday list will be awesomer:

500 Years of Female Portraits. Trust me, this one is a keeper. If I could hang this on my wall and leave it running, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Campaign for Real Beauty. Em sent me this link this afternoon. I’ve dabbled in photo manip, though she’s done a ton more than I have—and this clip is really telling.

And just because I can’t help it: Cthulhu Hot Dog Roaster.

Rain Again

Today it’s pouring, and we’ve opened (almost) all the windows and turned on all the ceiling fans to get the cool air circulating and unstuffifying the apartment. It bothers me a little that I can’t do this in my bedroom, because I like my bedroom to feel open and airy. But I will put that on my Next Apartment Checklist, and we’ll take care of it the next time we move.

Here is my Next Apartment Checklist so far.

1. Windows looking over a drop, not a walkway. I would open the windows much more often.

2. Bigger, more cleanable, more open kitchen. The kitchen is small, which in itself isn’t awful. But it’s also very enclosed, which makes any insect or cleaning problem ten times worse. In addition to this, the large appliances don’t fit the spaces made for them, which means—this is disgusting—there is this incredibly, awful, awful buildup of grime and dirt and god knows what else in the tiny alleys. There are gaps between a quarter-inch and three quarters of an inch or so, filled, filled with this awful gross grime… because it’s impossible to clean it without removing the appliance. And I didn’t notice this when we moved in, heaven help me.

3. Either IN the corner apartment, or far away from the corner apartment. Being right next to the corner apartment means that we are privy to everything going on in our neighbor’s lives. It also means that they’re populating their porch with stuff, which means that all of their stuff, including their cigarettes and ashtray, are right outside my bedroom window. So… it’s effectively as if I don’t have a bedroom window. More than that, they smoke outside that window all the time, so I can’t really ever open it unless I’m going to sit there and monitor to make sure I can close it before someone lights up. This makes me really sad. And in addition to all this, because the neighbors have made the area outside my bedroom window their patio, with chairs… they talk outside my window. And I can hear everything they say, just as if they’re standing next to my bed. It’s very disarming. I don’t know what to do about it just yet, but I’m thinking.

4. This won’t be a deal breaker, but I want opposing windows. I want windows on more than just one side of the apartment, or even a balcony. I want to be able to promote air flow, especially on rainy days but even on hot days. It can get pretty stuffy in here.

Some of this I’m still hoping to do something about. We have never had a relationship with neighbors before—we’ve never really had neighbors before! I would really like to bake them cookies and explain to them about the noise. I don’t know that there’s really a way to deal with the rest, because I didn’t say anything as I watched the patio furniture get fruitful and multiply. But now, instead of a chair and an ashtray… it’s two chairs and an ashtray and some plants and a squirt bottle. And some old cigarettes.

I was feeling good about the rain when I started this post, but now I’m feeling sad and a little bit hopeless. And… my Next Apartment Checklist isn’t very concise. And we’re not going to move out at the end of this lease, which is in July.



I’ve been allergic to fruit just about as long as I can remember. Of course, I ate it anyway (for the most part) and I still do. I stay away from cherries because they’re the worst. Kiwis are pretty bad, but I like them and still eat them. But fruit, I love fruit. I eat a lot of fruit.

Apples used to bother the hell out of me. I suspended my ban long enough to be Eve in The Apple Tree. (I actually finished a lot of those apples backstage, even though I was only required to take one bite onstage near the end of the first act.) But after that, I went off apples again until very recently. The itching of the sensitive skin inside my mouth, the way my throat felt contracted, it wasn’t worth it. I never had an allergic reaction bad enough to alarm me. The discomfort would last awhile, I’d drink a lot of water, and eventually it would go away. I never went to a doctor, for instance, and definitely not the emergency room. Not a big enough deal, really.

But since we moved to Austin, I’ve been eating the occasional apple. And in the last two weeks, when I started having groceries delivered from Greenling, I’ve been eating several apples a week. The apples from Greenling are organic and they bother me surprisingly less than I’m used to being bothered by apples. Could it be I’m getting used to the fruit? Or could it be a case of pesticides, or lack thereof?

I do feel that my fruit allergies have been generally less bad since I moved to Texas. I’ve been exposed to a lot more organic food, that’s for sure. But I don’t know—the fruit here is sweeter, too. And even in Ohio, I had noticed that the sweeter the fruit (or the more sugar I added), the less my allergies complained.

To make things more interesting, I picked up a carton of blueberries from Sam’s Club last week. They were definitely not organic… and they made my allergies crazy.

None of the organic blueberries I’ve had in the last few month have done that.

What do you think of that?

Because it’s TV night:

“Marriages don’t fail because couples get bored. They fail because while they’re dating people pretend to be the person they think their partner wants and then, well, there’s only so long you can keep that up.”

~ chick in a random episode of House, “Clueless”


Watching The Pursuit of Happyness with Marty, I thought, This is the kind of movie where he will win, in the end. He has to. And other movies, I know I have thought, The end is going to be bad. And I will just have to sit here and take it.

But this one, I stay with it. No matter how many rotten, demoralizing things happen to him, he’s in that kind of movie. It will get worse and worse but in the end, it will all come together. It will be worth it. He will be lifted up, and so will we.

It’s not what’s going on now. It’s not what you’re going through now. It’s what kind of movie you’re in. I know what kind of movie I’m in. What kind of movie do you want to be in?

I’m pretty sure… we get to pick.

Greenling vs. Anxiety: FIGHT!

Greenling Delivery has not only bested my anxiety—my that time of the month anxiety, even—but it has picked my anxiety up, brushed it off, and given it cookies. (Or, in a more literal sense, gorgeous organic groceries.)

At twenty after five I was worrying like crazy, thinking that something had gone wrong. Maybe I’d missed the call from the gate, or my information was wrong in their system, or something else had happened. I didn’t know, so I left an admittedly rambling voicemail and then sent an equally rambling email. I began the email by writing “quick run-down”. It was not a quick run-down. It was a rambling hopeful-but-worried run-down. I felt a little silly for calling them two weeks in a row, but I felt that they should know if something had gone wrong.

I’m starting to realize that my anxiety, in regards to Greenling, is pretty solidly unfounded. They’ve been on the ball for both deliveries when I was a silly, worried mess. Maybe it’s because my delivery is on Friday, or maybe I’m used to dealing with companies who don’t take very good care of me. It doesn’t matter! Because Greenling is clearly not one of those companies.

And what do I know, after two orders? Maybe I’m wrong. But I don’t feel wrong, because even when traffic sucked, the guy who delivered the box was friendly and conversational and it was obvious that things had just run a little long today. He was SO reassuring. It was SO awesome. And then I had beautiful, unbelievable groceries!

So I’m done with this delivery anxiety thing. I have this feeling they’re actually going to do what they say they’re going to do. And… I feel kind of bad for overreacting. I guess if I keep getting food this perfect, I can safely assume they’ve forgiven me.

Ya’ll rock, dudes. Thank you for bringing me awesome groceries.

Towel Day

Tomorrow is Towel Day. Perhaps I should wash some towels?

Conflict –> Communication (2)

Meta-communication is something very dear to my heart these days. I’ve had so many acculturated behaviors and automatic responses so deeply ingrained that were it not for a handful of particularly awakening people and texts and incidents, I’d still be doing the same thing everyone else is doing. Communicating, not knowing how to communicate.

We act so quickly, we don’t think about what we’re doing. And we will fight it out without realizing that just a little bit of thought can change the entire course of our lives. It changes the way we think and the way we react to stress. We are capable of doing so much better if we just spend a little bit of thought on it. And spending thought on communication, communicating about communication, is, of course, meta-communication.

Meta-communication leads us to answers that tell us how to heal our communication ouchies, and avoid the messes we get ourselves into over and over and over again.

Memory can be pretty freaky. Apparently there’s a lot of scientific evidence that our memories are far worse than we would expect them to be, filling in the blanks, etc. We really expect our memories to be pretty accurate but it sounds like the more accurate we think our memory is, the less accurate it actually is—science says this. (Somewhere. I have no sources, but I trust the messengers.) It’s really interesting to me that our most vivid memories are likely our least dependable. That says something about the human imagination, doesn’t it? It also says something about Sunnydale Syndrome, which is what I’m calling the propensity to remember things the way you’d rather have experienced them…

As recently as yesterday, Marty reminded me that we get to pick. I go through little cycles where I’m suddenly afraid over a decision I may or may not make in the future. Is that not the most insane thing in the history of the world? I get to make that decision. I get to choose the outcome of the situation. And if you believe in a thought-formed universe, this point is even more dramatic. We don’t we trust our future selves? Don’t we think they’ll know what they’re doing?

More is under our control than we tend to expect.

Harry Potter and the Permission to Disappoint—isn’t that what it’s called? I’ll keep an eye out, I’m sure that’s it. I give you—and me!—the permission to not be perfect. I give us the permission to want different things. Just because we’re standing in the same room wanting connection doesn’t mean we have this perfect, magical synthesis, suddenly the same. I give us permission to be different people, or whole different worlds. And man oh man, I give myself permission to disappoint others. Because sometimes, they’re just going to have to sit down and take it.

You can tell by the brevity of the second half that I’m getting sleepy. But this material is too important to me to just let go. It’s already done awesome things to my brain and it’s still going. We’re going to the next workshop on Saturday, May 26th—this coming Saturday. You can read all about it on the Usual Error’s event page. It’s going to be excellent, and it’s going to make me some kind of fabulous Saturday!

Which reminds me, why aren’t more of you on Upcoming? Got somewhere better to be? Friend me!

Interlude: Tags

Well, I tried installing a plugin that would allow my WordPress sites to use tags, and it seemed to be working fine… until I ran a boring ol’ search from the Search / Archives page. Then I realized that the tags plugin had broken my search functions. Oops. I deactivated that plugin, and everything’s hunky dory again.

But now I’m attached to the idea of having tags. How attached, I wonder?

Edit: Two days later, and I’ve found a little hack to fix the search problem—so I think I’ll keep the tags. Should make things interesting for awhile! :}

Conflict –> Communication (1)

Today we peruse my notes on Turning Conflict Into Communication, and the (slightly) disorganized thoughts that stem therefrom.

There has been much discussion, of late, about HALT. I think acronyms are usually cheesy, but the concept is very sensible. Consider pausing your communication attempts if you are Hungry, Angry, Loopy, or Tired. The L was changed—I won’t say by whom—because the traditional “lonely” is a great reason to communicate, and we have all seen the aftereffects of loopy communication. Almost pointless. Have you tried to have a productive conversation with your boyfriend in pain from pending root canal? Or on Darvoset? Not happening.

Some conversations are really unditchable—but you can find a good pause point if you focus, and then you have time to regroup. I often add circumstances and stop a conversation if one or more participants is too uncertain of how they actually feel to continue productively. (Often that person is me, and I feel strongly that I should know myself before diving into problem-solving situations that affect other people!) But I don’t do this all the time, because it’s obvious to me now that sometimes confusing conversations can turn into clear conversations really fast.

Wow, do I have a problem remembering this one. We’re all on the same team. I don’t know why I forget this so quickly. I’m not some kind of relationship mercenary, battling for the higher ground, or the higher pay. And although it’s very cultural—talking to friends who are getting involved with new people, and want the “upper hand”, get me angry—I never feel that my issue is cultural. I mean, it could be. Hell, it probably is. What isn’t cultural? But I’m growing and learning and I’m still programmed. That feels like… a missing link.

The reason the “upper hand” conversation makes me angry is because when we walk into a situation wanting the upper hand, we’re setting ourselves up to feel like victims if we don’t get it. Not that having the upper hand actually consists of more than feeling like you have the upper hand—but still.

When you spar with that new boy, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of intentional non-communication. And wow, the badness that can ensue. We want them to read our minds, and then we play passive-aggressive games when they don’t. And don’t you think for a minute that I’m limiting my irritability on this subject to women. When I think of old relationships, old behaviors, old reactions—not just in others but in myself—blech.

Of course, being on the same team isn’t just about working together instead of against one another. But it was on my mind. That happens.

Involve yourself with people you can talk to honestly. People who not only have your interests at heart, but people you can believe have your best interests at heart. People you can trust to be on your team, instead of people who will mindlessly enact the traditional enemy role. I keep thinking of gender battles, games on the radio. And then I think of same sex relationships, and how it can all play out just the same way. Who trained us to use these things? Did they have any idea what they were doing?

Communication and terminology. Wow, this is a theme today. Many a difficulty is based on a standard of misunderstood definitions. I thought this thing had been ironed out, but it wasn’t ironed out in a way that both parties actually understood in the same way—so it turned into a whole new thing, that thing, another thing to be ironed out. We say something that has meaning to us and so often, to someone else, it has a meaning so dramatically different that if we really outlined the scope of it, if we all sat down and wrote our personal idiolectical dictionaries (yeah, I made that up), we wouldn’t believe it. We wouldn’t believe how different people can be whole different worlds.

So, we can realize this. We can remember it and respond calmly and rationally, collectedly, when misunderstandings occur. We can try to clarify as needed. We can calibrate our terminology to try to grasp, clearly, what another person means when they say “apple juice” or “bananasquid”. You can specifically decide how to deal with the difference in terminology, decide how you want to tone the relationship words and degree words, emotional things, non-concrete concepts. We want options when one of us thinks purple means yellow.

Imminently appropriate to the next topic, Intent, is a book I’m reading right now— That’s Not What I Meant!, which Vixen lent me. I’m having a hard time getting through it and I’m not sure exactly why. I want to read it. It’s material that really interests me. Could it be her writing style? Could it be that my attention is elsewhere lately? Intent is important. (At least, I think intent is important.) We jump to conclusions and fill in the blanks with our own experience until the thing we’re assuming we have in front of us isn’t that thing at all. Happens all the time. Finding out what someone intends by that alarming statement they just made can help to avoid all kinds of unhappy encounters.

I am particularly fond of the scenario where Person A asks what Person B intended by that rotten thing she just said, and Person B pauses for a moment before saying, “Well, I was just being an ass!” Sometimes that happens, too. Seems easier to live up to it, doesn’t it? Especially since Person A and Person B are both people I like a lot, it’s really easy for me to see how admitting asshattery can move things forward. I admit asshattery on a regular basis, myself.

Ah, it’s that time again… that time where I end this post and make a new one, that time where we realize how many pages of notes Megan really has…