Archive for February, 2010



February 26, 2010

In a recent discussion, I chatted with two guy friends about whether girls or boys should be making the first move in dating. I am completely and totally on the side where guys should always make the first move. That’s probably because I would never make any kind of move. Not saying girls shouldn’t, but I personally wouldn’t. One of my friends, however, thought the opposite (I bet it’s ’cause he’s a guy). His reasoning was that girls don’t give off crystal clear signals. And because guys will, for the most part, approach only girls they would potentially be romantically interested in, it should be up to the girl to make the first move. In short, while girls often say “no”, guys will more likely say “yes”.

Sadly, I couldn’t really argue his point. As a girl with many guy friends, I’ve always been one to doubt the ladder theory – where guys are always somewhat interested in their female friends. But not being a guy, I don’t think my opinion counts in this argument. Beyond that though, I was slightly annoyed at the idea that girls don’t give clear signals. Yet on further inspection, it’s so true and even as a girl, I can’t interpret correctly all the time. That’s terrible. What’s a girl to do? Especially those girls who want to give clear signals but still be friendly (and make new friends).

First, the situation where the girl is actually interested. I think this is relatively easy. Giving signals to indicate interest is much more obvious than when you’re just trying to be friendly. The only tricky part would be when you hit unexpected snags. For example, you actually end up sick when you have a date scheduled. Any reason to get out of a date seems like a made-up excuse, whether or not it’s true. And in that case, as the one who’s canceling, you should be the one to suggest a reschedule. Then there’s no possible misinterpretation of signals.

Then there’s the situation where the girl’s not interested romantically but is interested in being friends (because girls have two ladders).  This is the worst and I’ve determined there’s no good solution. You can’t accept any kind of invitation for fear that it will give the wrong signals. But if you decline, it looks like you’re not interested at all. Group activities, while good middle ground, may or may not work as expected. Plus, in my opinion, getting invited out with a group of friends when you only know one person – well, it can be awkward and unpleasant.

Last is when the girl is not interested. It’s not so hard to give clear signals on this one. The biggest issue is how to convey that idea without being mean. Unexpected first moves make it even harder to say no; it just doesn’t come to mind right away. As confirmed by a friend, significant hesitation is a good indication of non-interest. Might make for a bit of awkwardness, but it does the job. Apparently a fake number is also a possibility – though I personally think it’s awful. Most likely, it’s just one of those times you have to hurt someone’s feelings. Better to do it sooner rather than later.




February 24, 2010

Over the holidays I received a Kindle as one of my Christmas gifts. It was very exciting. Given the amount that I travel for work, I usually carry one or two books in my bag. The Kindle cuts down on space and weight. So far, I really like it. It’s easy to use, extremely easy to get new books, and reads much like regular paper. And it seems in line with the way things seem to be going – digital.

The tricky part is, I really like actual books too. I like holding them. I like having a big shelf to display them. It’s strange; I dislike buying books if I don’t know if I’ll like them. I tend to only buy books if I’ve read them from the library or borrowed them from a friend. So having something to display is a huge factor. A friend once told me it was vain – buying books for display purposes rather than reading purposes. But then again, I see it as one more way to share things I like. And I just can’t do the same with digital e-books. Sure, I’ve joined Goodreads to track books I want to read and books I liked. And I could write a blog post about each book, creating a digital bookshelf. But it’s not the same as walking into a house and looking at the shelf while your host is making you a drink.

Plus, I like book stores. It’s probably in part due to the fact that I like physical books and the display of books. And I’m a huge fan of libraries. My favorite part of libraries is they almost always have old book sales. I can pick up a whole bag of books for very little, read the books, and then, for all the books I don’t want to keep, I donate them back to the library. But book stores and libraries provide something more than just a place to get books. They provide a place for working (all those college students), a place to chat with friends (ah, high school), and just a place to spend time by yourself. Where else can you do that? Coffee shops are close, but you still need to have a plan to sit at a coffee shop. Having books available means there’s always a potential activity to eat up hours of time. Sadly, this reasoning does not help keep book stores in business.


re: awareness.

February 22, 2010

As much as I like my ambient awareness, it does have its limit. That limit was reached as soon as I opened Buzz.

I guess I always knew that only about 20% of my friends actively blog, tweet or otherwise broadcast their lives. That’s not many people to keep up to date on, and even then, I get behind pretty quickly. Buzz suddenly opened up this world to almost 100% of my friends – 100% of my closest contacts to be exact. So, unlike with Facebook, I feel compelled (or obligated) to read their posts. And having that awareness about everyone is a bit too much. In my opinion, it’s so much like other sites (Facebook, Twitter, Reader, etc), wouldn’t you have already joined one of them?

And then there’s the fact that I now have three forms of communication in one spot: email, chat, and updates. Email and chat have found their place in people’s communication paths. Email for long, non-urgent messages or anything you want to broadcast to large groups. Chat is for urgent messaging and one on one conversations. When do I use Buzz? It may be the one time I’ve seriously thought that status updates are absolutely ridiculous and useless (and maybe I should just quit Twitter).

But most distressing to me was that Google didn’t do what they do best. Organize. There was absolutely no organizational ability within Buzz. Instead, Google’s given this fantastically easy way to create and share without any ability to sort, filter, or otherwise organize the content I’m receiving. Why do I love Gmail? Because I don’t have to sort my own mail; I just search for things I need. Why do I love GChat? Because it saves all my chats in a searchable way. But Buzz – everybody and everything was all thrown together; it was like Twitter before they made their list feature. Except with Twitter, I don’t see your followers (thank goodness).

See, every time I checked Buzz (because it was telling me I had new items), it was always someone I didn’t know at all commenting on a post I’d already seen. I don’t care! And I definitely don’t need to be notified. It made it seem like Buzz was a big hit among my friends. But really, it was only two or three people I actually knew posting information and the rest was noise. Even worse, it was noise I had to scroll through in order to see my new items. Overall I’m gaining awareness (good!), but definitely not on my own terms (bad!). But it does make me want to create better content for anyone who does follow me.



February 19, 2010

I signed up for Twitter over two years ago and let it sit for over a year. I’ve also started several blogs, all of which quickly went quiet until I started this one. And I’ve joined so many social networks that I don’t even remember. But it’s just more recently (in the last year or so) that several friends are using social media beyond Facebook. And suddenly my ambient awareness has exploded.

Through all these different forms of communication, I’ve got a handful of people I know better than when I just knew them in person. Strange, right? Maybe not. When we’re all broadcasting the smaller details of our lives, it’s easy to stay in the loop. It’s completely different from when you call someone on the phone and attempt to recall the highlights of the last several months. Those conversations boil down my life into events – job promotions, travel, holidays, major activities, life changes. The Oh I passed out in the mall last week” conversations never happen. But with both blogs and Twitter, I’m suddenly getting those updates – even if I don’t read it til over a week later, I still know it happened.

The weirdest part for me is in my long distance relationship though. My boyfriend and I try to talk almost every day. With the time difference and scheduling conflicts, it just doesn’t always happen like that. Falling asleep mid-conversation and not even remembering the phone call happens to me much more often than I’d like to admit. But he follows all my posting. So he knows what’s going on even if I’m not telling him personally.

However, he doesn’t blog about his life. It’s funny. He shares his location with me through Google Latitude, which to me is a ridiculous thing to share (I appreciate it definitely, but it still feels stalker-esque). And yet, I don’t know where he went Saturday night or what the last game he bought was or that he was contemplating going out of the country, leaving this week, unless he remembers to tell me on the phone. It’s a weird thing to have that level of awareness with some people, but not everyone.



February 17, 2010

Disclaimer: I almost self-censored this post for a couple reasons: 1) It feels more angst-y than I’d like. 2) It’s more personal than where I usually aim. 3) I don’t much like discussing the lives of friends because it’s not my place to put it out there. And yet, here I am posting for reasons I can’t even write down.

I’m having doubts about long distance relationships. Not mine specifically, but in a general sense. See, when I graduated college and went to work two time zones away from my boyfriend, I also knew a couple other people doing the same thing. I wasn’t in a boat all by myself. Therefore, all the warnings about how a long distance relationship will never work fell on somewhat deaf ears. Why should I listen to them? Most of them had never done the distance thing, so who are they to give advice?

After 2.5 years, I’ve figured out that long distance requires an effort that non-distant relationships don’t need. Both people need to be fully committed. It’s just too easy to seem uninterested or hang up when you’re mad. And to keep some sort of spark, well, it’s a whole bunch harder on the phone than in person. Plus, when you factor in any psychological proximity effects… there’s a good chance you’re going to start connecting with someone physically closer to you. All of which, I’ve got under control.

But I got a call from a friend the other week. His long distance relationship has hit a point where the distance has created a problem that may or may not be solved by decreasing their distance. Another friend just ended a relationship – with the distance being a strong contributing factor. And suddenly I’m the only person I know still in a fully functional long distance relationship. And maybe the odds are against me and the boyfriend. That’s a bad feeling.

For the first time ever, I heard exactly what I’ve been feeling voiced back to me. Every concern, every frustration, every reason. It sounded like what I told myself three months ago. It sounded like everything I’ve been avoiding thinking about since then. What made it worse – the advice I wanted so badly to give was the advice I know I would never take if I heard it. All at once, it became very obvious that it wasn’t me. It wasn’t some unique obstacle in my relationship I just needed work through. This is why people find it hard to make long distance work. The decisions and the compromise and the effort and the need for a plan and the not knowing if it’s going to work.

But at the same time, if I make it through this, I make it. I beat the odds.



February 15, 2010

Despite having only lived in places with winter most of the year, I’ve never been that into winter sports. Ok, I’ve never really been that into any kind of sports, but definitely not winter ones. I’ve been downhill skiing once (15 years ago), cross country skiing once (10 years ago), and ice skating (once every 4 or 5 years). And I’ve never been snow shoeing (or ice fishing if that somehow counts as a sport). I can do sledding; that’s it.

Anyways, I went ice skating with friends the other week. There’s a nearby park that creates an ice rink and rents skates (and skies too). The last time I went skating was some time in college, probably the earlier half. It was hard! Obviously, I’ve never been a skater, but I did not remember how long it actually takes for me to feel stable on the ice. Though the hardest part was walking in skates from the warming house to the rink. Skates, snow, slight inclines do not make a good combination.

And it was cold! Obviously, no-brainer, Wisconsin winter is cold.  But the whole having a car with covered parking thing has really made me forget quite how cold it gets when I actually have to be outside for extended periods of time. Long underwear is a must-have. In addition to hats, scarves, gloves, and boots. That’s when I realized I’ve only been ice skating on indoor rinks. There’s no wind inside; it makes a big difference. The ice is smoother too.

Conclusion: Fun time for all as long as you bundle up.



February 12, 2010

Oh apparently, men have a new mid-life crisis. Rather than feeling stressed about providing for a family, men are hitting a point when they feel that the modern women don’t need them. This post makes me sad for both men and women.

First, take a look at the women described in this article. All of them – Type A, successful, motivated, completely in control… Does anyone else get the idea that they’re a bit crazy? Successful attorney, small business owner, and has time to throw fancy dinner parties? I bet she finds time to go to the gym and keep the house clean and be a fabulous cook too. Let’s be honest, that type of togetherness is intimidating for anyone. These are the women that make other women feel bad. And perfection in one partner isn’t going to lead to relationship bliss; one person’s going to feel worthless. Just my opinion – if you can pull it together that successfully, either a) you must have one part of your life that’s severely falling apart (in this case, their relationship?) or b) if anything does start to fall apart, you won’t be able to handle it (just like those kids that get A’s and cry over their first C).

Second, these guys are ridiculous. What guy would actually stick around once it’s been deemed “that [you’re] supposed to impregnate her by the end of the year”? If you have a “punching fear” about staying in your relationship, would you just sit on your butt? Grow some balls and get out of that relationship! Or if leaving is too scary, at least stand up for yourself. But their solutions are to secretly lease a second apartment or propose and then back out. Ugh. These guys are afraid to commit because they’re not really happy. Maybe it’s because it’s because their girlfriends feel a need to control every part of their life (including when they’ll have kids). Maybe it’s because their girlfriends don’t let them travel, play video games, and just hang out (because those girls definitely don’t just sit back and relax). But really, they’re probably just afraid that they’ll become the housewife of the 1950’s – just following whatever their partner wants. And women, who struggled out of that position, should understand how few people would consciously submit to that life.

I never should have read that article.