Category Archives: Social Networking

Unmasked (Facebook, It’s On You)

How, you ask
Does it feel
To be unmasked
After years of living
In another skin?
Does it feel like
Freedom?
Is it liberating
To not have another
Face to hide behind?

Listen, I say
If my life was so easy
I would have never
Needed to create a
Second Life
And if I’d never done that
Then there would not have been
Any need for all this palaver
No need to
Reveal myself
And place my life in danger
Put my neck on the line
Literally

With me
What you see is
What you get
Always has been
And always will be
It was never about the person
It was only about the name
I was
And still am
AlyZen Moonshadow
And I built a new life
Under my new name
– call it my homemade
Witness Protection Plan

I made friends
I met my chosen family
I made Art
I created my own brand
Under that name
And I was proud of
Who I was under that second skin

Until yesterday, when
As a cruel joke, perhaps
(It was, after all, April 1st)
Facebook decided
In its almighty
Impotence I mean Omnipotence
To browbeat me
Into revealing my real name
Dear benign malignant Facebook
Decided my 5-year-old persona
Wasn’t real
Wasn’t permitted
Decided I had to come out
And say my true name

Talk about an Exorcism!

So now the deed is done
The great reveal revealed
Are you proud, Facebook,
Of having made
A victim of domestic violence
Strip herself almost bare
And made it that much easier
For her abuser to track her down
And carry out long-held threats?
No, wait…
Facebook, You have just
Become an abuser yourself
Make no qualms about that

Now I have to start over
As not many of my friends
Recognise my new name
The one I never really used anyway
The one I don’t associate with
Now I have to
Run around doing damage control
Try to plug and repair
The holes and craters in my life
That Facebook created
When it decided
To murder me

Yes, if one day I am found
Murdered
And my child
Abducted
Let it be known now
That Facebook did it.

#mynameis
AlyZen Moonshadow

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Hanging up my (Facebook) boots

Today is April 1st. And apparently the joke’s on me. Facebook has decided to make me its latest victim of its half-baked “real name” policy. After apparently backing down last October about users having to use their real names, due to the great outcry by the world’s LGBT community, and then again this year when Native Americans spoke out, the great cogwheels of Facebook have proven impossible to stop. On and on they go, crunching underfoot millions of users who dared, for one reason or other, use a name they were not born with.

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I’m not LGBT or Native American. I am not a drag queen, celebrity or some other famous personality. I have no financial clout, no millions of followers, no influence over Mark Zuckerberg or anyone at Facebook. I’m just someone who, for personal safety reasons, does not use her real name online. (There’s an abusive ex-partner and the threat of murder and child abduction in the background, but let’s not go into that here…but if I’m found dead and The Kid abducted, Facebook is to blame).

This morning, when I tried to check my Facebook Timeline, I got a message saying I had to change my username to my real name. Not only that, if I wanted to keep my current username, I was required to provide 2 forms of ID, one of which has to have a photo and my date of birth.

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“AlyZen Moonshadow” is obviously not my real name. I’ve only been using it for the last 5 years, as a professional name for my mobile photography art and design. This very blog is under that name. My email, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Etsy, eBay, Society 6, Red Bubble, Zazzle, Fine Art America, deviantArt, ArtHog, Room, Bridgeman Studios, Kess InHouse Designs pages/profiles ALL bear the name “AlyZen Moonshadow”. On Facebook I have never been known by any other name. “AlyZen Moonshadow” mobile photography Art has thousands of hits on Google. I have over the years carefully built a reputation or brand under the name.

And yet Facebook is demanding that I use my real name. As if “AlyZen Moonshadow” is less real than “John Smith”. I’m not sure if someone with a grudge against me reported me to Facebook, or whether my time just came up. After all, to implement this insane real name policy, Facebook has to employ hundreds of people to look through every one of its more than 1.35 billion users, so it could be months or even years before your name came up for scrutiny.

I searched online for others who had had the misfortune of becoming similar victims of Facebook. Jay Smooth (obviously not his real name), a famous DJ and blogger, tweeted an engineer at Facebook, Jeff Ferland in February, when his account got frozen, and in return had his Facebook account reinstated pronto, with an apology for the inconvenience. You can read about it on Lux Alptraum’s blog here.

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Lil Miss Hot Mess, one of the LGBT protestors who had had his account frozen during the Facebook LGBT fiasco, is still waiting for reinstatement, 6 months later.

Lil ole me, on the other hand, who is no one in the big bad world, and who has no strings to pull, won’t stand a chance. My request for reinstatement will simply go into the slush pile and never see the light of day. I’ll have no choice but to let Facebook beat me into submission.

Facebook is Big Brother, with emphasis on Big – big marketing, big advertisements, selling your personal details to other companies for big profits, claiming your photos and artwork posted on its platform as its own, Facebook does everything in a big way.

And when Facebook fails, like now, it does so in a spectacularly big way too.

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So I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for my Facebook account to get reinstated under the name “AlyZen Moonshadow”. I’ve tweeted some people about my plight, sent some messages on Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn, letting friends know the reason I’ve suddenly vanished off the face of Facebook, and telling them to make others aware of what’s happened to me…but in the end I’ll just have to put in my real name.

I just hope my friends still recognise me when they realise my username is different now.

And if anyone finds me dead and my son abducted, Facebook is to blame.

I think it’s high time to hang up my (Facebook) boots for good now…what’s Ello like?

Life’s Simple Pleasures

Okay, first things first. I did not take any of these photos, they are the work of many talented photographers with a great eye for detail, colour and composition. Also, I can’t claim to have tried any of the food portrayed herewith, I can only say I have drooled over their images lol.

It’s Sunday, and a day for lying in, food, family and friends. Maybe “lying in” isn’t a word in my vocabulary, as our household generally gets up with the birds. And these days, food means simple fare, and family means my son and our menagerie of animals. As for friends, most of mine are virtual…meaning you, you and you. So who better to share my favourite food porn photos of food with than you all good people around the world. ;-)

You are all invited to my virtual Sunday feast. The weather is ideal, sunny with a slight breeze. Best of all, it won’t cost you a penny to join in the festivities. Why, even as we speak, here you are!

(All photos courtesy of Pinterest)

Let’s start with table settings. Shall we have rustic? I love the idea of mismatched chairs and benches. This setting would be ideal for a Madhatter’s Tea Party a la Alice in Wonderland.
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Or, perhaps something more cottagey and formal? I’d love a whitewashed house with sash windows like in this photo. So romantic, sigh.
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Or, maybe let’s go all Bohemian Rhapsody and enjoy some bright splashes of colour? I love the blue and turquoise canopy, and the vivid red tablecloth and runner.
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And now for the food. As it’s still early, some of you may prefer something light, like this, perhaps?
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Then some salad and appetizers:
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Mmmm, yum! Next, we have a selection of hot cooked food. For those still in the mood (or time zone) for breakfast, we have these:

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And now, a medley of heartier fare:
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Not forgetting liquid refresments:

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And, to round it all off, some dessert:
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Mmmmm…I’m liking this so much, I think I’ll host another virtual party like it next month. Enjoy! Thank you for coming to my party! :-)

Dreamy

It’s Sunday, and a lazy one at that. Just thought I’d share some of my favourite dreamy photos, curated from Pinterest. I chose these because they struck a chord deep within me. It could be a look, a feeling, a colour, or a combination of elements. A picture tells a thousand words, that sort of thing.

Some of these photos transport me to distant places, places of fantasy, or stir up feelings of nostalgia.

Some are just plain awesome.

Copyright belongs to and remains with each of the photographers, of course. You can find these photos, and dozens of others like them, on my Pinterest boards under “Awesome Photos”, “Amazing Places” or even under “Photographic Artists ❤”.

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Connecting The Dots

I love synchronicities, how one seemingly unconnected thing or event can link to another by a series of strange coincidences. Sometimes it’s just 2 elements that get connected, at other times it’s a whole series of elements.

When I started working on this piece of mixed media collage, I didn’t really have any preconceived ideas. (I’ll be honest and tell you right now that I have absolutely NO IDEA what I’m doing when I’m doing a mixed media piece. It’s only afterwards that all the pieces of the puzzle come together).

I found a remnant of card that had music on it, and it became the starting point of this piece. It was a triangular corner piece, and the only place that fit was the bottom left corner of my cradled wooden panel. So, with a musical theme in mind, I chanced upon a piece of vintage dress pattern tissue that had a curve to it, that reminded me of the curved lid on a grand piano. Ta dah! 2 dots connected. I then randomly added some washi tape to my panel.

The middle part of this piece originally had a pattern of birds, berries and flowers on it, that I’d gone over with red and green watercolour pencils. I wasn’t happy with the effect, so I used a light green Tim Holtz crackle paint to cover it up. That came out well, but left some parts uncovered – the little red rings around the berries.

So, I used a printed tissue paper from my own Reject pile (pieces of my own digital photography art that I’d printed onto tissue paper but rejected due to colour inconsistencies, ink blobs or smears, and tears). This one had a big showy flower on it, with some red berries. Perfect. More dots connected.

I’d used a block stamp with French text on it, on the top right and bottom of my panel. The one on the bottom was fine, however the stamp on the top came out with text missing from its middle. So I decided to fill that gap with a stamped birdcage. Said birdcage came out with parts missing from its middle too, so I covered That up with a white “Cherish” stamp made using gesso.

After that, I added some more leafy elements (a stamp on the otherwise empty bottom right corner). I also added 2 bird stamps, a large one and a smaller one. The little bird stamp lacked detail, so I added some white dots to it. I had to add some white, as otherwise the only other element containing that colour was the “Cherish” stamp. I also noticed a bare patch next to the big bird, so, in keeping with the bird theme and to fill the gap, I found and added a picture of a bird’s nest. More dots connecting here.

It was then I noticed how the little bird’s white dots echoed the spots on the washi tape that I’d added earlier. I decided to tie the various elements in tighter, by introducing white dots to the grand piano lid outline.

And now I’m reminded of the Art of Australian Aboriginals, specifically Dot Paintings. Yet another example of connecting the dots.

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Some close-ups:

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Just more of my favourite things

Just a random selection of images that I’ve curated from Pinterest, Google Images and Facebook. I like to post them here and reflect back later to see what patterns or trends emerge, if any.

Sometimes these images spark off ideas for new creative projects. Other times it could just be a colour I like, or a feeling I get from looking at it.

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Happy weekend, all!! :-)

FREEBIES! (Remains of the day)

Yes, it’s time again to give away more backgrounds for your creative endeavours. These are close-ups of an Art project I did a short while ago. I like to keep such images to blend with other images for future projects. You may want to do the same too. Go ahead, indulge!

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And people call Them “Primitive”??

I recently saw a video on a friend’s Facebook wall, about how many ancient Tribes are under threat of extinction due to modern man’s “intervention”. Yes, you read that right. It’s PEOPLE I’m talking about, not animals.

Modern Man has a lot to account for, mostly negative when it’s regarding fellow human beings and animals. Kill, maim, capture, rape, torture, exterminate!! If it’s different, it’s a threat!! Shudder.

Sure, we live in a world of technological wonders, where anything we can imagine is possible…if not now, then in the next 10 minutes. But we seem to have lost our humanity along the way. And instead picked up plenty of ignoble traits. Shame on us!

The video clip (just one of many by Survival International) had captions which read like a Wish List for the “Modern” World:

No Debt
No Bombs
No Prisons
No Poverty
No Homeless
No Pollution
…and people call Them “Primitive”??

I was compelled to leave a long comment about those Tribes on my friend’s Facebook wall. I’ll share what I said here too:

These people are living the life that most of us dream about – a life with no debt, everyone contributing to the whole, communities rich in culture, where the young look after the old and the old look after the very young, everyone suppports each other and helps out in the fields, hunting or gathering. There is respect throughout, and the handing down of ancient healing and shamanic knowledge.

It’s the Western World that has twisted the whole idea and gotten it wrong. And it’s they who think these Tribes should get “civilised” and join the modern world. But why?? So these Tribes can be exposed to the corrupt world we live in? Where there’s all manner of manmade diseases that they won’t have any natural immunity to? Where they will encounter amorality, violence, wanton excesses, rampant consumerism, selfishness, greed and ego? Where they will be relegated to ghettos or reservations, put through the “System” and treated like second or third class citizens, on the dole, forced to live in modern houses, their children forced fed an alien education stripped of morals and ancient teachings, so that they forget their own culture and history but have to assimilate what the government decrees should be learnt instead?

We have come so far down the wrong path, that we now see ourselves as progressive and modern, and these Ancient Tribes as backward and uncivilised. When in actual fact it is US who are backward and uncivilised, squabbling like children over stupid invented realities like Money, Property, Land and Ownership, and starting wars because someone said/did/is something different to what we’ve been brainwashed to believe in.

It’s high time we looked towards creating a simpler society, or literally got back to our roots. We need to be more like these Tribes, we need to help them survive and thrive instead of dragging them kicking and screaming into this chaotic world we live in. We need to change our own perception of what is inherently good for us and what we’ve been brainwashed to believe is good for us. WAKE UP, WORLD!!

Want to help? Then donate to, or better still, join Survival International, the only organisation that champions tribal people’s rights.

Take a stand now. Be the Change you want to see.

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Walking With Giants

When I read in the paper that The Giants were coming to Perth, Western Australia, I got really excited. At long last, some Culture and Art for this long-neglected backwater part of Australia. And for Free too. These things usually miss Perth by a few thousand miles, and end up being enjoyed by Sydneysiders and Melbournians, but this time Perth had managed a coup.

“The Giants” is the name given to a set of giant marionettes and props, by street performing company Royal De Luxe. More information on the company can be found on their website here and also on Wikipedia.

Nothing like this had ever come to Perth before, this would be the biggest free public arts event in Western Australia. It’s part of the Perth International Arts Festival.

The story being re-enacted by The Giants this year is based on real life events, that of a little girl in a lighthouse on Breaksea Island, who used Morse Code to signal soldiers leaving for Gallipoli. Hers was their last contact with Australia. Soon after, letters began arriving from these soldiers asking about the “Little Girl on Breaksea Island”. Jean-Luc Courcoult, the founder and director of Royal De Luxe, further romanticised and modified the story to fit in Aboriginal elements. Here is his take on the story (taken from the Perth International Arts Festival page):

In the south-west corner of Western Australia, there were Aboriginal communities full of mysteries, one of these mysteries was a boat that had come up from out of the sand, only the prow could be seen, the rest was imprisoned in the ground.

One day, the Little Girl Giant, busy with her travels, fell into one of the Aboriginal communities of the Noongar Nation, into one of those families who are in love with the barrab (sky), the boodja (earth), the yorgam (trees) and keap (water).

She was so welcomed that she decided to stay with them for a long time.

She then witnessed the evolution and change of these inhabitants in the face of the transformation of the Australian continent. She lived there as though it were a beelya (river), full of dreams that jumped like fish.

One day, one of the community’s children brought her an old book full of drawings. It was dog-eared, crumpled, aged. It told the story of a little girl in a lighthouse full of love and sorrow, who watched soldiers leaving Australia on ships, carrying hope into lost battles. It was 1915 on the beaches of Gallipoli where the sand, reddened by the blood of men, frightened the moon. Through the book, the Little Girl Giant, as she looked at the sky, saw the past, the present and even the future.

Her gaze plunged into the centre of the battle, and she could see men disappearing, like being suddenly wiped from the earth as an eraser would rub out on a drawing. She also saw a boat sink, snatched by a gust stronger than a cathedral and laid down on the bottom of the ocean, then an Australian diver, sent to find survivors, stuck in air bubbles. As he could not see a living soul on the seabed, he decided to stay there. Miraculously and without knowing it, he started walking and this removed the tubes and the air that filled his lungs. As he turned his head, he saw dozens of boats lying in the sand. Methodically, he entered each ship and brought dead men out of them. He dug the ground to bury each one and he continued, his muscles toned by an infernal will, so much so that around each sunken boat, there was a graveyard, like small heaps of sand without crosses, only small bellies emerging from the dust. There were hundreds like this around each boat, peaceful. With a madness which cannot be named, he continued his work. But from graveyard to graveyard, his body grew thicker, denser and without realising it, one day he was able to overturn the ships. He had monumental strength. He had quite simply grown like a child in a bath who suddenly realises that his feet are touching the taps. It was simply the story of a Giant who became big at the bottom of the sea.

In the Noongar country, the Little Girl Giant closed the last page of the book. The little Aboriginal child, his eyes full of colours, was sad then, in his gaze a rainbow flew away to the clouds.

He understood then that the Little Girl Giant had to leave to re-join her family, and when the sun lifted the horizon, he hurried to fetch his father. Whilst the stars hid in the sky, lying behind the morning light, all the people of the Noongar Nation saw a tear come from the Little Girl Giant’s eyelid. As it touched the ground, a small puddle was swallowed up by the soil. In this very spot, a tree could be seen growing in the space of two hours. From a small and barely awoken sprout, a trunk developed, full of branches with leaves that the wind enjoyed moving. It was just a tree in the boodja (country).

Then she thought that the buried boat could sail the earth to find the diver. The Aboriginals began digging and within ten days, the ship was ready on the ground. The Little Girl Giant climbed onto it and the Noongars began to sing the rain. Accompanied by the sound of the boomerangs, she crossed Western Australia. The sand made waves, the boodja filling with water. In short, she arrived in Minang boodja (Albany) from where she sent a hot air balloon, like a moon over the ocean, to call the diver. Then she headed to Whadjuk boodja (Perth).

Upon her arrival in the big city, she placed her head underwater and blew bubbles which echoed at the bottom of the ocean. Everyone knows that whales can hear sounds from 5,000 kilometres away when they call each other and that the sound of people’s footsteps on pavements reverberates to the centre of the earth.

The air bubbles that were pushed by the tide floated around the Giant Diver. With their large, small or tiny shapes, they followed one another like a convoy of boats and one after the other, they exploded in front of the Giant’s eyes. They expressed signals like Morse code: a point, a line, two points then nothing and again two lines and a point. It was a language the man of the sea knew well. He could then read sentences in which each message ended with ‘come’. No sooner had he understood he was surrounded by a tornado of fishes. They circled him faster and faster so that the swirl of force became a gust of wind. On the surface, the agitated fog started to cough so hard that a storm swallowed the bottom of the water, throwing the diver into the sky all the way into the clouds. Then, like a lost body, he fell down unconscious in Perth. The earth trembled and suddenly a great spray of water burst out of the ground between two buildings. A geyser was born, as if to greet through space the arrival of the Giants.

The show took place over 3 days from 12-14 February 2015. Click here to access a map of the Giants journey from day to day.

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The Kid and I went on the 2nd day, Valentine’s Day, hoping to catch both the Diver and the Little Girl Giants. We chose a spot along the route where both Giants would be walking, perhaps even coinciding. However, best laid plans and all…as it turned out, the Diver, after spending the night sleeping at Perth railway station, woke up late and threw his schedule out the window. He decided to look around the area and interact with the public first before setting off on his long walk. Meanwhile, the Little Girl had walked much faster than we’d anticipated, so that by the time we got to our vantage point, she’d already walked past.

So we ended up having to chase the Little Girl up and down the streets of Perth. At our second point of enquiry, we were told that the Little Girl had just gone round the corner, and true enough, as we walked through the streets of Northbridge, we spotted her walking in the distance. We managed to catch up with her a few streets down, where she had thankfully stopped at an intersection for a breather and did some exercises.

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And here is a short video I shot of the Little Girl Giant doing her exercises.

The Little Girl Giant Exercises: http://youtu.be/0y1y39RIeZY

Art Abandonment # 3 : Rockingham

For our 3rd Art Abandonment exercise, the Kid and I decided to drop some Inspiration Cards I’d created and printed, into random letterboxes around our neighbourhood in Rockingham. (For American readers, this is Australia and it is NOT illegal to post unstamped, unaddressed letters into mail/post/letterboxes. Local politicians and real estate agents do it all the time. Even Australia Post workers post brochures and other junk advertising mail into people’s letterboxes).

The Art used this time was from my Inspiration Deck, a set of cards with inspirational sayings that I’d created on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and then sent off to be printed as 3.5 x 5.75 inch cards. I’ve already posted about these cards in an earlier post.

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Hope the folks who get these unexpected surprise cards appreciate them. The Kid and I enjoyed our “Reverse Robbing” exercise, even if we got rumbled a couple of times by people coming out of their houses or twitching their curtains at the windows.