Roll the dice

@troyburns (1438)
New Zealand
November 25, 2015 4:28am CST
Not all posts are created equal. Some take flight on mighty wings, while others disappear into the Black Lagoon of obscurity. I'm not sure why this is, but I suspect it has little to do with what we find genuinely interesting. Sometimes it has more to do with timing, at others it's clear that people are responding to the singer and not the song, and at times beyond that, it's simply a matter of adding your name to an already lengthy discussion so that other people know you're up and active. With all that in mind, here is my blatant grab for comments. It's a soup post with a little added spice. The idea is to roll a dice and respond to the corresponding snippet. I'm hoping that this will a) gently coerce my readers into tackling a variety of topics rather than the same one or two, b) con them into responding more than once so they can tackle the one they really want to, and c) abbreviate the amount anyone has to read, which is always a problem with my wordy drivel. Are you game? (If not, just cheat.) 1. What is it about being behind the wheel that brings out the best and worst of human emotions? We hear about road rage all the time, but what about road happiness? I confess to feeling great contentment when a fellow driver gives way without needing to, or is courteous in some other way. 2. Toward the end of his life, Beethoven was nearly deaf but could still hear beautiful music in his head. If you suddenly lost your hearing, what tunes or songs would still be clear in your memory's playlist? 3. I love collective nouns such as a murder of crows, a sneak of weasels and my own personal favorite, a neverthriving of jugglers. What would be a good collective noun for online writers? 4. Australia has recently faced its critics at a special UN gathering on human rights. While it is true that their treatment of Aborigines, women and refugees is far from perfect, it does seem a bit rich to hear that among the nations which took Australia to task were Iran, Bangladesh and North Korea. Is advice about your own shortcomings still valuable when it comes from someone who is worse than you? 5. My 19-year-old daughter has been "friends" with the same young man for more than a year and it seems likely that if things stay as they are, they'll probably get married. My wife and I really like Eric, but I know not all parents are so supportive of their child's choice of partner. Have you experienced this problem with your own child or parents? 6. If you can't think of something to post here, don't post anything. Go for a walk, read a book, dig in the garden, but don't force your emptiness on others. Not being able to find the right words is something we all struggle with at times, and there are lots of good reasons for it. But not having anything to say isn't writer's block: it's a failure of the imagination, and suggesting topics is not necessarily the right way to cure it.
9 people like this
11 responses
• United States
25 Nov 15
I am with you on number six. I only start discussions when I have something to discuss. Otherwise, I'm out living my life or commenting on other posts.
4 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
25 Nov 15
@ElizabethWallace - Yes. If you have nothing to write about, go and do something or read something that's worth sharing. Do you ever comment on posts when you really have nothing to add to the discussion?
4 people like this
@JudyEv (118536)
• Bunbury, Australia
25 Nov 15
@troyburns Sometimes I see commenting as 'being polite' but I try to add something at least relevant.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Nov 15
@troyburns I try to avoid doing that, but sometimes might be a tad guilty.
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12208)
• Northampton, England
25 Nov 15
I'll take point 6. If you've got nothing to say, shut up. Please don't write about having nothing to say. (obviously that's not directed at you today - you have 6 things to say!)
4 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
25 Nov 15
@boiboing - Thankfully,the great majority of discussions are worth reading, but we're seeing more and more filler posts - "I'm bored today", "I made 40 cents on MyLot", "I went to the toilet" (Okay,I made that last one up.)
2 people like this
@boiboing (12208)
• Northampton, England
25 Nov 15
@troyburns It's not too far from the truth though.
3 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
25 Nov 15
@boiboing - The toilet title was actually one I used for a Bubblews post in retaliation for what I saw as a money-grabbing dumbing-down of the content. I don't want the same thing to happen here.
1 person likes this
@Platespinner (16530)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
25 Nov 15
2. Funny you should bring up Beethoven and his deafness. For some reason lately I've been pondering the incredible talent/skill that some are gifted with--I love music, but the ability to connect notes with sounds in my head just isn't there. If I were to go deaf (and sadly my hearing is already beginning to deteriorate) there would be lots of music in my mental playlist, but no originality at all.
4 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
25 Nov 15
I'm going to resist commenting on all of your points, since I need to get some girls up and fed this morning but I couldn't resist #5. Thankfully my son has shown wonderful taste in his choice of a girlfriend. He's an active kid and extremely bright, most things come easily for him. His girlfriend is a childhood cancer survivor with some major physical limitations who has had to work hard for just about everything. She has taught him much that I had pretty much given up on getting through his thick, stubborn skull. I don't know whether their relationship will lead to marriage, though I wouldn't be surprised, but I do know that she has been a positive influence on him and I hope she'll remain a friend of the family no matter which direction their involvement goes.
2 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
25 Nov 15
@Platespinner - 2. Can you hear familiar songs or tunes clearly in your head? I've always been able to unpack music so that I can hear individual instruments and rhythms, which is probably why I like mashups. Reassembling songs note perfect mentally is the tricky bit, but I can do it with music I know well. (Right now I'm "listening" to Susanne Sundfor singing "Running to the Sea")
2 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
25 Nov 15
@Platespinner - 5. Your son's girlfriend sounds like a good match. It's important to choose someone who will help you become a better person,but it's also important for parents to be supportive. Sometimes, though, the choice is so obviously wrong that I think parents have a duty to voice their concerns.
3 people like this
@Bluedoll (17078)
• Canada
25 Nov 15
It is a game or seems like one to get the least amount or more comments. Though why anyone would want the least amount I'm not really sure. Can you think of a reason? I would give you my parking spot. By the way when we give something to someone in this case it is emptiness, make note here I was tempted to write just that one word and leave but thought it might be interrupted to mean something other than the intended purpose. My question is why is every action or should we really be specific here and say when we write something in text on a computer is it forcing? I've read a lot about words being stuffed down a persons throat and wondering what that actually looks like? I think #4 is so true. Perhaps it is also true that once we have read something it might be hard to erase it. Forgetting would be easier? Did this comment just roll snake eyes?
3 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
25 Nov 15
@Bluedoll - It does sometimes seem like raw numbers matter to some people more than the interest level of their discussions. Maybe 'forcing' is too strong a word ('throwing' might be better) but when we post discussions there is an expectation that followers and others will respond to it. You rolled a seven!
1 person likes this
@Bluedoll (17078)
• Canada
26 Nov 15
@troyburns A seven well you could always edit this post and and throw in another topic. I see a forever expanding post in your future. Perhaps another number for @salonga as well as we discuss if emptyness is really lacking imagination though it could well be. Sometimes I'm blocked by intimidation like in the words of the great Fredrick, "I can't write - no one likes me".
2 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
26 Nov 15
@Bluedoll - That intimidation you describe is a genuine cause of writer's block, along with stress, tiredness, monotony. I'm taking more of the "discussions" about nothing that seem to be posted out of habit or desperation. I'm naive - I think we should only write when we have something worth saying - but that doesn't always happen at places like this.
1 person likes this
@PhredWreck (6051)
25 Nov 15
I've never gone for the whole 'timing' argument, but I am one of those that scroll the 'most recent' category and look at everything that's been posted. If you posted it 12 hours ago, I saw it, and if I felt interested, I responded. I don't have any die, and gambling is illegal, I already have had enough run-ins with the law. I am not forcing my emptiness, you are more than welcome to just scroll on past this response, it won't bother me a whole lot, although you may hear me quietly sobbing "No one likes me!" in the corner. Do you know how hard it is to be named Mike on a Wednesday?
3 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
25 Nov 15
@PhredWreck - Surely gambling is only illegal if there is money involved? I'm pretty certain that lots of people like you, which is why you could post a discussion which was totally vacuous and get loads of responses. Not that you ever have,of course. You'll need to explain that Mike business to me - I'm a bit slow sometimes.
2 people like this
25 Nov 15
@troyburns Commercial with a camel that is popular, camels have humps, Wednesday is known as Hump Day, one camel yelling "Hey Mike! Mike! Guess what day it is?" Being a Mike, I have had it posted to me so many times it is nauseating.
2 people like this
25 Nov 15
GEICO "Guess What Day It Is" Caleb The Camel Commercial
2 people like this
@Inlemay (16484)
• South Africa
25 Nov 15
My 31 year old daughter met a wonderful young man and they were together for six years and then a month before the wedding, he declared that he did not feel comfortable to make that commitment in front of God, I am still picking up the pieces of her heart that shattered at that moment. So thats my call on Number 5 - I pray all young ladies find their Mr Right
3 people like this
@JudyEv (118536)
• Bunbury, Australia
25 Nov 15
That is so sad. We split up for a while but well before things got serious. I took a bit of convincing second time around but 44 years on....
3 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
26 Nov 15
@Inlemay - What shocking timing, although if the fella in question is a commitment-phobe it might be better that he called things off before the wedding. A terrible disappointment for your daughter :(
2 people like this
@Inlemay (16484)
• South Africa
27 Nov 15
@troyburns we wont know, he is part of the past now
2 people like this
@Platespinner (16530)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
25 Nov 15
Stop making me exercise my grey matter!!! 1. I've always wondered why many drivers seem to completely forget the basic life rules that they learned in kindergarten. Warning signs that a lane is about to end due to construction, seems to be an invitation for some to take advantage and push to the front of the queue (a personal pet peeve). Overall, though, I tend to be pleasantly surprised when drivers are kind and considerate and are willing to wait the extra few seconds to let me in---certain times of day traffic is a nightmare around here!
3 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
25 Nov 15
@Platespinner - I can't promise to give your brain a break. Sorry. Not sure why,but courtesy on the roads means more to me than,say, someone holding open a door. I suppose that driving is quite stressful so we get angry easier, but also greatly appreciate kind gestures.
2 people like this
@valmnz (12465)
• New Zealand
26 Nov 15
Oh please, please, please, let it be 6! I shall continue rolling until it happens. I promise I won't write any more posts until the divine emptiness of 6 is thrust upon me. You should have expected that from me by now
2 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
26 Nov 15
@valmnz - Why would I expect anything but the very best from you, Val? I did think that number three would be right up your alley - A scrawl of online writers? A trafficking?
2 people like this
@valmnz (12465)
• New Zealand
26 Nov 15
@troyburns too much thinking for Friday morning Robin. Having worked four days a week for many years, I still have Friday-it-is, I've downed tools for the week! You know I don't like thinking! But, now you've sort of issued me a challenge that I'll allow my brain to mull over for a while. Be prepared for a wait though.
1 person likes this
@salonga (27998)
• Philippines
26 Nov 15
Hmmm intersting.... but I thought all the while that writer's block is synonymous with failure of imagination
2 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
26 Nov 15
@salonga - Not really. A lack of imagination can lead to writer's block, but there are lots of other causes too. I also think there's a big difference between struggling to find the right words to express an idea, and simply not having anything to say. I hope that makes sense. :)
2 people like this
@salonga (27998)
• Philippines
28 Nov 15
@troyburns Thank you, you have just educated me.
@JudyEv (118536)
• Bunbury, Australia
25 Nov 15
I need a post of my own to answer all the ones I want to! We loved it when drivers 'thanked' us overseas if we let them through or whatever. They would blink their indicator and Vince would flash his lights to say 'you're welcome'. Our daughter-in-law can't stand us for some reason which makes visiting very awkward. We have tried really hard not to tread on toes but it is difficult. We feel sad that this is the situation but there seems little we can do about it. It is great that you like your daughter's friend. And I hope I don't write empty posts.
2 people like this
@troyburns (1438)
• New Zealand
25 Nov 15
@JudyEv - Sorry to hear about the conflict with your daughter-in-law. (I can't imagine anyone not being able to stand you.) Relationships with in-laws are rarely easy. My wife's mum is easy to get along with - her dad, not so much. My own mum never really liked my sister's husband, and now that they are divorced it looks like she was right to have her doubts.
2 people like this
@Auntylou (4327)
• Oxford, England
27 Nov 15
My father always used to be polite , considerate towards other road users and the son I have driven with most is also good. saying that though, he gets a bit antsy in tailbacks and lane dodges :o(