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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Why I May Leave Facebook and Why I Might Not

With May 31 being heralded at Quit Facebook Day, I've been thinking about whether or not I want to leave. I thought I would look at the things that annoy me about Facebook before I decide. I am guilty of committing many of these Facebook sins but they annoy me all the same. If you're one of my Facebook friends, I'm (probably) not talking about you.

1. People complain about privacy but do nothing to help themselves. We all whine about Facebook's privacy settings being complicated or that we do not even really have privacy but then we're the ones oversharing with 600 of our "closest" friends. If you don't know all of your "friends" VERY well you should probably reconsider posting your address and every picture you take of your kid.

2. Let's look at the oversharing again. No one wants to hear about your gas problems or read along while you fight with your boyfriend on Facebook. It isn't worthwhile. It isn't cute. It isn't funny. It's annoying.

3. Speaking of not caring... The posts on Facebook get mundane. I know that that is kind of the point. Tell us what you're doing and all of that but after awhile the pointless updates get annoying. Some people seem to post every thought they have and it's annoying.

4. If you're going to be mundane, at least stop after one post. Facebook users post about the same thing over and over and over again. I don't care if it's your job, your kids, or your garden; no one wants to read 10 posts about it. Change it up a little bit. I just know there is more to you than that one subject you post about non-stop.

5. Ego Alert! For the first 1-4 reasons I listed, Facebook has become ego central. Admit it, there has to be some egocentric behavior going on for us to think that anyone cares about the bottle of perfume we bought or that the dog just went for a walk. I admit that I'm guilty of this, too. I also realize that this is Facebook's point. However, that doesn't detract from the fact that we go overboard with these types of posts.

6. Coy Status Updates. We've all seen these posts. "Thanks for all the support." "I can't believe that happened!" or my favorite, "My life is falling apart!!!" And nothing more. The poster doesn't come right out and say what's on their mind so instead they type of a mysterious status update. I can only assume that the poster just wants attention/sympathy. If you don't want to tell us, don't post about it at all. Simple as that.

Since I bashed Facebook, it's only fair I tell what I like.

1. Old friends. It is interesting to connect with old friends and see what they're up to. Facebook can definitely be a great way to keep in touch with old and new friends.

2. I'm Nosy. This is no secret to anyone out there but yes, I am very nosy and Facebook can be like the ultimate bathroom cabinet to rummage through since everyone tells their whole life story.

3. Deals. In addition to being nosy, I'm cheap. There are deals to be had if you "like" companies that offer freebies. I've gotten free perfume and coupons through comapny's like Clinique and Bounce that have Facebook pages.

4. I really do care. Despite the fact that I don't want to read 40 status updates all about your new couch, I do care about how you're doing. I also enjoy looking at your pictures. It's all about moderation and nothing in excess.

Do you agree with me on any of these points? What annoys you about Facebook? What do you like about it?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ronnie James Dio

The first time I heard Dio I was about 8 and I was pretty sure it was the worst music I had ever heard. My dad had the Sacred Heart album and I didn't get the appeal. If you know me at all, you know I'm a music lover and most of that is my father's influence (thanks, Dad because Mom was no help here at all) but Dio did not appeal to me until much later.

The more I heard Ronnie James Dio sing over the years, the more I appreciated his dramatic vocal range and his fantasy-like songs that made me think about Lord of the Rings like characters and settings. I also appreciated his ability to quietly call out the establishment (a.k.a. The Man), be it organized religion or politicians. I also grew to love Black Sabbath under his vocal influence far better than Ozzy's reign.

Beyond music, Ronnie James Dio seemed like a down-to-earth guy who fully recognized that music was meant to be fun and entertaining. His interviews were always amusing and it was clear that he enjoyed what he did.

Thanks for music, Ronnie. Now go do yourselves a favor and check out RJD and Yngwie Malmsteen cover Aerosmith's "Dream On" here. You'll never need to hear Steven Tyler do this song again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Irresponsible Pet Owners

Just moments ago I was certain there was a serial killer in my yard. Roxi unleashed a ferocious bark that was only justified if an intruder was lurking around. Of course, I went downstairs to see what the fuss was and I saw an intruder in the form of a very fat white and orange tabby cat.

I see stray animals all the time and being an animal lover, I feel so sad for these lost little things. But this time I'm going to push that aside and scold pet owners. The intruder cat looked well-fed and had tags. I hate to assume but I am guessing that this cat is allowed to roam free and that makes me mad and now you're going to find out why.

1. I don't want your cat in my yard. If I had nice flowers, which I don't, I wouldn't want a cat using them as a litter box, a toy, or whatever else a cat might use them for.

2. I don't want my 80 pound dogs to eat your cat. I'm glad my dogs were inside when the visitor was in our yard. Cats are fast but if this cat had not been fast enough I would have felt very guilty.

3. I don't want my dogs getting their eyes scratched out. My dogs belong in my yard, your cat does not. If my dogs would have gotten injured I would have been beyond angry.

4. The world is filled with weirdos. I am sure you can find article after article in a newspaper or the internet about animals who get used for God-knows-what.

I know that animals can easily slip past an open door and I sympathize with all of the people out there who have missing pets. I would be devastated if any of my animals were lost but when people knowingly let their animals roam the streets that is just irresponsible and inflicting your pet on to other people. Keep your pets inside!

Quick Disappointments: Dylan's Candy Bar

Dylan's Candy Bar is an upscale candy store created by Dylan Lauren, Ralph's daughter. I've yet to try Dylan's actual candy but I scored some of her lip balm on the cheap at T.J. Maxx recently.

The balms come in the should-be yummy flavors of Strawberry Licorice, Coconut Bon Bon, Birthday Cake Batter, and Chocolate Cupcake. Despite these tasty sounding balms, they really have no taste at all. Not only that, they don't stay on your lips long. If you find them cheap, go for it but I wouldn't spend too much on these.

Dylan Lauren should stick to candy. Or should she? Is her candy any good at least? Let me know if you've tried it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

It’s Mother’s Day! In honor of the day I wanted to spend some time telling you about my awesome mom.

My mom told me today that she was not a perfect parent to me and that she wished she would have done some things different. My response to this was well, who is perfect, parents or otherwise? Thinking about it, I think that some of these so-called “imperfections” were the key to my mom’s successful parenting.

My mom was the “cool mom”. One summer morning when I was 12 or 13, I woke up to find my friend Sara downstairs talking with my mom. Sara had not come to see me. She came to bring a coffee cake she had made for my mom. So what made my mom so cool that my friends would prefer her company? Did she let all the kids drink booze on her watch? Not a chance! My mom was cool because she was funny, she would talk and listen to my friends, and when you were at our house you knew she cared about you because she made you follow the rules.

My mom let me read anything I wanted. One of my 8th grade students desperately wants to read the Twilight series but her parents won’t let her. I think that this is a shame. I was allowed to read any thing I wanted when I was a kid and it made me a good reader, a book lover, and simply a more interesting person. I will never forget the time I was sitting in the hall outside my 5th grade classroom reading Testament by David Morrell (ever heard of Sly Stallone’s First Blood? Morrell wrote it.) when my principal came by and asked what I was reading. I was free to choose what I read and I still appreciate it so much. Reading took me to places I could never imagine and taught me about events and people, both real and imagined, that school would have bypassed. It isn’t the kids who are given the freedom to read what they want who push the limits, it’s usually the kids who are censored.

My mom let me listen to anything I wanted. I should start by saying that my mom should be grateful for this because my love of good music meant that she never had to endure a New Kids on the Block phase with me. You’re welcome, Mom. I was that kid you were jealous of who had Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue albums in the 5th grade. These records did not come without a conversation though. Usually it involved my mom laying it out for me that a lot of these musicians make risqué music to make a buck because it’s controversial. This meant that I wasn’t blasting it through the house just for shock value and I had perspective to see through gimmicks. I truly believe that these conversations are why I don’t fall for everything I read, see, and hear.

My mom let me be. I wasn’t forced into activities or sports that I didn’t want to do. My mom was no soccer mom and I am so thankful for that. My mom also did not dictate who my friends were. Many of my friends were having sex, drinking, smoking, and taking drugs by middle school. I never did any of these things. I was a free thinker and my mom trusted me. That isn’t to say that I never got in trouble or that my mom didn’t keep tabs on me, but I was raised to believe that there was more to life than keeping up with my friends. Most of the time, my friends thought I was pretty neat for doing my own thing and sometimes I faced exclusion. My mom trusted and respected me enough to know that I would make the right choices and I usually did. By letting me be myself, I found out who I was at an early age and had a strong sense of self awareness.

Mom, thanks for being you and letting me be me. Happy Mother’s Day.