Well, hey-howdy. I know … I know … I toddled off and you were probably thinking I’d left for good. Or had been eaten by zombies. Or had gotten sucked into a gaming vortex (which does happen, by the way).
None of the above.
I’ve just been slothful when it comes to fiction writing. See, I’ve been doing some academic writing — finally wrote up results from some research I’d done with a sister-friend-colleague, finished an academic book chapter just yesterday, and have some other academic research in the works.
I’ve also updated my email addresses, which as you might know if you’ve ever done it is something of a nightmare. There’s no simple way to get it done.
Here’s the thing:
Google is exceedingly nosy. I can’t recall if I’ve ever gone on a tirade about Apple and iOS products in this space, but I’ve always had a thing about them — their exclusivity (you figure, it’s only been in recent years that Apple stuff will even communicate with other products. Pages still won’t talk to MS Word … you need work-arounds and so on but it’s a start) and it seemed like with Siri, iOS was up in stuff it didn’t need to be.
But then, not to be outdone, Google jumped into the anti-privacy pool it seems. Mind you, I have been a great admirer of Google Scholar in particular; I recently told some of my students to use it because the more they did, the more it would recognize that they were connected to our university library and would show them articles that could be found there that were in full-text. However, I always added that it was sort of creepy how much Google and Google Scholar know about us.
Which prompted me to walk away. Well, not totally because I really enjoy Youtube, which can only be accessed in some way by Google account. And my games … I need Google Play.
However, I now use Protonmail instead of Gmail. I use iDrive instead of Google Drive. Yeah, I have to pay for both (well, not really, but to do all the things I do, I’m paying).
What sets these providers apart? Their privacy. Protonmail’s servers are not in the U.S. and iDrive uses several layers of security as well.
The thing is, it’s a pain in the rear to move everything from one carrier to another. I first put out of office messages on and forwarded everything to my new addresses. As they popped over, I undertook the task of going to the various sites and updating my email addresses manually. Yeah, hassle.
I think I’m close to finished now, having updated the address connected to this site and others as well as the various newsletters and so on that I get on a daily basis. I’m grateful it’s been a slow work week!
And there you have it, my latest rationale for not being here.
But that’s not why I popped in. I had a dream to share …
I was with friends and we were doing some street ministry it seemed, like Adopt-A-Block. There were some young people, one of whom was in a hole in the ground. He was cussing at the pastor and his wife, which set me in a fit. I approached him (well, squatted down to talk to his head, since that was all I could see. He was buried up to his neck …) and asked him how old he was. ‘You talking to me, b***h?’ he asked.
‘Pretty tough talk for a kid buried up to his neck,’ I replied. ‘So, big man; how old are you?’
He seemed to rise from the ground without assistance until he stood his full height, which was well over six feet. The top of my head only reached to near the middle of his chest. He looked down at me and answered: ‘I’m 14. Why?’
I burst out laughing. ‘What? Fourteen? With a mouth like that?’ I pointed to the other young men who stood behind him. ‘I guess you learned it from them, huh? Your gang? You know, that’s no way to live.’ They advanced toward me and my friends backed away. I stood my ground. ‘You know there’s a better way, right?’
The boy looked down at me and sucked his teeth. ‘Oh, what, you gonna tell me that Jesus stuff?’
I nodded. ‘I’ve never been in a gang. Never had to. I don’t need anyone to tell me how great I am.’ His homies bristled at my words. ‘I am my own person, strong in who I am. I don’t need validation from anyone because I know that I am strong. And you could, too.’
And then I woke up. Not sure where it came from. Well, yeah. I do know. We had a guest speaker at service this past weekend. Pastor Derick Faison talked about ‘Stand Up In It’ — one of his points that remains at the forefront for me was:
God didn’t bring you to a couch; He brought you to a cross.
Yeah. That. The idea here is that there are too many fragile Christ followers. He referenced this article, which is a great read. In case that little tidbit wasn’t enough, here is the message:
And there you have it. I am not saying I’ll be any more or less regular, but at least you know I’m still kickin.