Archive for April, 2009

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twitter.

April 28, 2009

Since Oprah started tweeting and Ashton got his 1 million followers, there’s been a bit of backlash about Twitter. And with the celebrities talking it up, the masses have started flocking. More people means more opinions means more criticism. Suddenly, Twitter’s gone from the newest golden child of Web 2.0 to the destruction of civilization as we know it.

It’s a bit odd to me that people, who would normally have no interest in this kind of service, suddenly feel the need to join just because their favorite celebrity did. And they wonder why they don’t like it. Big surprise. Just because everyone can figure out how to use a technology doesn’t mean they should. If you feel like jumping on the bandwagon, give it a try; if it’s not your thing, move on. Ever try to start a blog when you’re not inclined to write? It’s hard. That’s why there’s so much blog death.

The last couple articles I’ve read have been defending Twitter, despite how stupid it seems. The expectation that everyone’s microblogging will somehow be smart, witty, relevant, etc. is absurd. Using Twitter doesn’t make you Oprah. Most people are going to have the same, relatively boring thoughts they normally do, and the people who care are the same people who normally do (i.e. mostly nobody). The difference is the potential audience. Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG wrote a piece in defense of Twitter. He makes the excellent point that if you write notes in a diary or spiral notebook or – if you’re really hip – a moleskin, it’s the same thing as Twitter. Except no one will read it, so no one will judge you – in fact, they probably will think you’re an intellectual. I prefer the online method. I’m usually at a computer; I rarely have a notebook. I also like having followers – makes me feel more important than I am.

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gossip.

April 27, 2009

I love gossip. I’ve accepted that most girls do. I have not accepted that guys do, or rather I haven’t accepted that they gossip in the same way girls do. Maybe this is because most of my guy friends don’t (at least when I’m around). Or maybe I was just oblivious to it. Or I always felt like it was one way – me gossiping to them. Now, certain guy friends of mine have started gossiping and I haven’t quite wrapped my head around it. This was suppose to be one of those things I didn’t have to worry about when hanging out with boys.

I read an article on why gossip is a good thing. Essentially, it helps enforce and propagate the rules of a social group. Through gossip, it becomes clear whether a group of people will accept or disapprove of a specific behavior. It creates an ingroup, and those in the know feel more connected. Sounds all well and good, right? But when a group is new, all the rules haven’t been solidified yet. Trying to work within unknown boundaries is extremely difficult. Eventually certain opinions will have to rise to the top, and if you’re not on the same page, you could be in the outgroup. It’s much easier to just not think about what others could be saying. Even better, get rid of that ego and assume you’re not interesting enough to be the topic of discussion.

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it’s in the details.

April 24, 2009

The thing about being in a new place is that it feels a lot like starting over. When things start over, there’s always the readjustment period when you have to relearn a bunch of things. Like navigating around town, learning what time the mail comes, picking up regional slang, etc. And then you have to make new friends. Not meet new people and hang out with them once in a while, but really make connections with strangers. Being in a new place forces you to recreate your support system.

But making new friends out of necessity poses a tricky social game of trying to guess the comfort level of strangers. Any idiosyncrasies that could be found offensive or inappropriate are pulled under control as much as possible. Sarcasm, complaining, disclosure, humor are all monitored more closely. Suddenly, you have to determine if it’s too early or too late to call, or even whether it’s better to call or text It ends up being a lot of small things that you didn’t have to think about with old friends.

During this whole relearning period, new people can’t be true friends. So when are they a real friend? What if they don’t want to “friend” you back? Earlier, I thought it meant when I had your phone number. Now, I’m starting to think it’s once you’ve figured out all these little details and it all meshes nicely with your own habits. It’s when you can show up somewhat unannounced. Or when you take a nap when hanging out and they don’t care. Or when you decide that deodorant and a change of clothes is good enough for just watching a movie. Or when you realize it’s ok to make inappropriate comments because¬† I’ll probably think it’s hilarious. Or when you learn that I’m judging and/or laughing at everything around me, so you might as well join in. That’s true friendship.

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white males.

April 20, 2009

Ever notice that the default Facebook picture is of a white male? I didn’t. And I certainly didn’t notice that the icons representing the “world” on the login page are both male and female (and orange). Of course, the feminist blog I read did.

Because I never noticed the icon itself, I would have never seen the implied message that unknown users are white and male. However, when killing time on Omegle chatting with strangers, I had that exact realization. Without any real reason, every person I talked to was, in my mind, an American (aka: white) guy until it was specifically mentioned otherwise. It’s a completely unconscious assumption that only become obvious because of my surprise at learning I’m wrong. In case you didn’t realize, there are a lot of people on the Internet that aren’t American. Big surprise, I know.

And for other unknown reasons, I think it’s completely obvious from my text that I’m a girl. Not that I use girly language or massive amounts of emoticons, but I feel there must be something inherently female about the way I communicate online. While default icons may subconsciously influence our assumptions, I think it’s more based off experience. Most people I interact with are white males, and they know that I’m a female. That mindset continues when I start talking with strangers. If I had a more diverse social circle, maybe I’d think differently. Do people in other countries automatically assume they’re talking to American males too?

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horoscope.

April 18, 2009

Last few months I’ve been reading my horoscope almost religiously every day. It helps that I’m continually signed into my Google account and it turns up on my iGoogle page. It’s really the only positive to using the iGoogle page instead of the classic search. I don’t believe that my horoscope will predict my day, but it usually gives me some sort of expectation. Because of this, daily horoscopes are in no way as good as a monthly horoscope. The monthly horoscope will usually let me look forward to some vaguely positive experience at some ambiguous point during the month. By the time my experience should have happened, I’ve probably forgotten the horoscope prediction.¬† Daily horoscopes, on the other hand, are even more general and, very quickly (and obviously) become wrong.

What I’ve noticed recently is that my daily horoscope could be a bit self-fulfilling. It tells me that it’s a good day to have an adventure, so I can see it as motivation to do something out of the ordinary. It tells me that I have a significant amount of tension in my relationships, and I start feeling like there is. It tells me to take time for myself, and I use it as an excuse to be lazy over the weekend. In general, horoscopes lean to the positive, so the effect isn’t terrible. But lately, mine has been a bit ominous, making me a bit more nervous and impatient than usual. It better not lead to me imagining problems that don’t exist.

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re: weight.

April 17, 2009

A while back I posted about weight, and got the comment about airlines charging more for obese passengers. Apparently, United has started doing just that, at least to some degree. On some level, this is terrible. It makes me feel as though I should be somewhat morally outraged – which I’m not. On the other hand, they’re stating that obese is someone who is “unable to lower the arm rest and buckle a seat belt with one extension belt”. Even though I’m not so big, I really don’t need to be sharing my seat with the person next to me.

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easter.

April 14, 2009

I spent Easter weekend visiting the boyfriend’s family in Philadelphia. Neither his family nor mine celebrates the holiday, so for us, it’s just another lazy weekend. We played games, watched movies, and caught up on sleep. We also ate ridiculous amounts of delicious food.

Since I have not been willing to do extensive research into the Chinese food in Madison, I have to get my fill when I visit other cities (this is the same with any kind of seafood). Also, if I’m unsure of the quality of food, I’d much rather eat American fast food than take-out Chinese. But Philadelphia is the best because it’s home-cooked. So here’s this past weekend’s menu:

Saturday lunch (which was really as soon as I arrived): Cornmeal soup and chive-filled dough pockets

Saturday dinner: Korean barbecue – extremely delicious beef and I learned how to eat unpeeled shrimp (although I won’t eat their heads)

Sunday brunch: fried potatoes with scallions and rice balls with sweet filling

Sunday dinner: lamb kabobs, tofu and pork, mushrooms with snow peas and red peppers, Chinese eggplant, and taro chips

Monday lunch: lamb and noodles

Monday dinner: fried rice dish, two vegetable dishes that I’m not sure what they were (turnips and Chinese broccoli maybe)

Combined with a a few days of restaurant eating for work, it’s definitely a “fat happy” week.