Monday, January 26, 2009


I love Facebook as much as the next person. I have had an account for almost four years now. I joined “back in the day” when you had to attend one of the participating schools and the web address was I was one of the first few hundred people at SPU to have an account. I know – it’s actual kind of pathetic when you think about it. Anyway, the point is that I am by no means anti-Facebook.

I appreciate that I can keep in touch with people I haven’t verbally talked to in awhile. I can share pictures with my friends and update the world on my every move. I can stalk people I am currently crushing on and those who I am annoyed with. Facebook is a noun and a verb in my life. I Facebook people, I have been Facebooked, and I am currently Facebooking. It’s such a strange concept to think that this little networking site didn’t exist just five years ago and now it’s a part of my daily life.

So, what has inspired my rambling thought on Facebook you may ask? Well every morning when I get ready for work I turn on the news – well rather a morning show of some kind, The Today Show, Good Morning America, or The Early Show. Today was The Early Show because both ABC and NBC were interviewing the dude from Illinois who everyone wants to impeach and I was sick of hearing about it. CBS was giving some brief overviews of foreign headlines so I left it there when I decided what to wear for the day and put on my make-up.

The news report that was broadcast next made me laugh out loud and kind of made me angry. Apparently the breaking news out of the UK (according to The Early Show) was that Prince Harry (the younger, pot-smoking, military decorated brother of the future king of England) was dumped by his long-time girlfriend over the weekend. This news in itself is not so upsetting or such a surprise, I’ve come to accept and expect celebrity reports on the news. It’s the society we live in today. What did shock me was when they revealed their source – Facebook.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen. Facebook can not only keep you updated on the relationship status’ of your real-life friends and acquaintances, it can also be considered a viable news source just like Wikipedia.

I have had friends prove the point of how ridiculous Facebook can be by changing their status’ and watching everyone “freak out” about their new relationship (or whatever else they decide to post). It’s funny to watch and see everyone’s reactions to a false update, but it’s also kind of dumb and proves just how childish Facebook can be – but what is just idiotic to me is the world news reporting on a break-up and quoting Facebook as their source.

Now, I will say that I did a little more research on this. I googled (another online application that is now used as a verb) The Early Show and Prince Harry and discovered a longer version of the report. In this one, they don’t state the source of their information, but quote Facebook as evidence of its validity – apparently Harry’s ex-girlfriend changed her status to single over the weekend. This is a little bit better, but still not the high class journalism that one should expect from legitimate news shows.

I guess what’s really bothering me is why I am not Facebook friends with Princes Harry or William and the reporters at The Early Show are?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Going to the Movies

Today when I went to see The Wrestler it was as if I was the only person who had ever seen a movie in the theater before. To make matters worse, I was probably the youngest person in the theater – or at least close to filling that role. Shouldn'tthese people know better?

I arrived at the theater early, as I often do, because I wanted to get a good seat. I like to be eye level with the screen and as close to the center as possible. The theater I went to today is an older one that has been restored. It has great character but the seats aren't fantastic and the aisle is directly down the middle so there are no “middle” seats, just aisle ones that get you close to the middle. It’s a fun little place, but not my favorite of the “old-school” theaters that I go to. Anyway, the point is that when I arrived early I was able to secure a decent seat on the aisle in a row about a quarter of the way from the back.

Since I knew I was going to arrive early, I had brought a book to read. So, I sat in my seat reading to pass the time until the film started. As I read the theater began to fill up with other patrons. One of my favorite things to do when I go to a movie by myself is to listen to other people’s conversations. When I went to see Frost/Nixon last weekend it was so much fun to listen to two older couples discuss several of the “good” films that had been nominated for the Golden Globes and eavesdrop on what they liked and didn’t like about various films. I felt like I was watching my future thirty years down the road, still going to movies with my friends and discussing the pros and cons of each.

As I mentioned above, I was seeing The Wrestler. For those of you who don’t know anything about this film, it’s about a professional wrestler played by Mickey Rourke who is well past his glory days. From everything I've read and everyone I've talked to who has seen it, I’d been well warned that it is a very graphic movie, not for the faint of heart. I always appreciate the warnings, but it doesn't stop me from seeing a film on my list or that is getting a lot of buzz. I never anticipate that other people are willing to disregard others’ warnings as well, so needless to say, I was surprised to see the various different types of people walk into the theater.

I don’t know exactly what demographic of moviegoer I was expecting to see at this film, but I didn’t really imagine I’d see couples out for a Sunday afternoon date. The father and son combinations, groups of guys, and the few individuals, like myself, who filtered in all made sense, but they were definitely in the minority. For the most part it was older couples in their 40’s and 50’s who filled the theater – not really what I had anticipated. What followed in the minutes before the movie started and even during the film was even less expected.

About 10 minutes before the film was supposed to start a couple came and sat in the two seats two rows directly in front of me. This made me very happy because since it was unlikely that the theater would be completely full, the chances of someone sitting directly in front of me decreased. Sadly that dream only lasted a few minutes as they decided that their seats were uncomfortable and decided to move back one row – only to discover that those seats were even less comfortable than the ones they had previously sat in, so they moved again. Things were still looking up for me.

Now, it’s one thing to change seats because you’re uncomfortable, but it’s not really necessary to make a huge deal about it. This couple started going on and on and on about how the seats were uncomfortable and had no back support (they reclined rather far quite easily). I started to become annoyed with the couple because while I understood that the seats were uncomfortable, they should also know better – this particular theater looks like it was built in the 1940’s if not earlier. It’s to be expected that the seats are not going to be particularly comfortable.

Eventually this couple quieted down and settled into their final seat selection. I was still hopeful that no one would sit in front of me – but I should have known better because as soon as I got my hopes up a single woman (single as in an independent movie-goer) who takes off her coat and settles into the seat directly in front of me. While I understand the desire to be right next to the aisle (as I had also chosen the aisle seat) in my opinion, there are some unofficial rules of common courtesy that apply when going to the movies.

If the theater isn’t full (and it’s unlikely that it will become so) one should not sit directly in front of someone else, if it can be helped – especially if the person is alone. There is no reason that the lady could not have sat one seat to the left and still not had an enjoyable experience. I on the other hand could not move one seat to my left because of a couple that was sitting behind me who had strategically placed themselves in the second and third seat in the row to avoid sitting behind me. If I moved over it would be rude – just as the lady who sat in front of me was being rude. *sigh* I decided to let it go, she didn’t block my view that much, but it’s still the principle of the matter.

Just a few minutes before the movie was scheduled to being a couple walked into the theater and began talking with another couple that was seated. I didn’t fully pay attention until there began to be a commotion. The wife of the couple who had just arrived was saying something about how her coat had been moved and that the seated couple was sitting where they had “reserved” their seats. There was a little bit of banter back and forth but basically the seated couple gave in and moved allowing the coat less couple to claim the seats that they obviously believed they owned.

The real drama regarding these two couples came after the lights went down and the previews began when suddenly the wife in the couple who had changed seats turned around and said loudly to the other couple, “we did not move your coats and take your seat, just stop talking about it already.” I thought such drama was left back in high school – but apparently it’s carried into middle age. Then after the obligatory Stella Artois commercial (as they are a sponsor of the Landmark Theaters) the husband of the couple who moved says loudly, “thanks for the sales pitch.” No, thank you awkward man for making us all aware that we just watched a commercial – I don’t know if we would have been astute enough to figure that out for ourselves had you not pointed it out.

The last bit of ridiculousness was when during the opening scene of the film, the cell phone of a woman sitting at the front of the theater began to ring and become progressively louder. Her husband turns to her and says, “why don’t you just turn it off?!” to which she replies loudly and angrily, “I’m going to as soon as I find it!” This of course prompts the group of three 20 something guys sitting three rows in front of me to break into hysterical laughter.

Really? Have you not been to a movie in the last six years in where at just about every theater they remind you to turn off your phone? And for once the theater has decided that the clever little short film “reminder” is probably unnecessary and they don’t waste everyone’s time with it you forget proving them wrong and most likely cementing the future of these vignettes forever. Thank you random lady, and thank you to your husband as well for discussing your lack of foresight with you, thus allowing the entire theater to take part in your little tiff and disrupt the opening scene of the film.

Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the theater. There is such character and charm to each theater and the kind of people who patron each theater, but sometimes I wonder if people are aware that they are not the only ones in the theater. Do they not realize that there are others who have paid their hard earned money to sit and watch this film as well? Do they not understand that some people enjoy ever nuance of the movie-going experience, including watching the credits roll? I don’t care if you leave once the credits begin, but please do not stand and gather you things blocking my view.

So the next time you find yourself at the movies follow my words of advice. Act your age. Don’t pick fights with your movie viewing neighbors. If you can help it, don’t block anyone’s view. Turn off your cell phone. If you must talk to your neighbor, please whisper so that the rest of us don’t have to hear your conversation. Don’t linger in the aisles. And basically – be conscious of the people around you. Be respectful and courteous and you shouldn't have a problem and no one will write about your bad behavior in their online blog.

Oh - as a side note, I'm starting another blog where I'm going to write reviews and critiques of the movies I watch. I don't have anything up yet, but should soon. Check it out at

A Taste of What's to Come

I love to dance – you should all know this by now – so when my roommate suggested we go dancing, I wholeheartedly agreed. I have been spending a lot of money lately and so my goal was to go out with minimal expenses – and I am happy to say I was quite successful. We got on the Kiss 106.1 guest list so we didn’t have to pay the $10 cover and since I was the DD, I only bought one drink at the very beginning of the night, which is perfect because unlike some of my friends, I do not need any alcohol in my system to get myself dancing. Among the many adventures that were had last night there is one particular story that got me thinking and inspired this posting.

About halfway through the night I ended up dancing with one of the few guys at the club who was taller than me. He turned out to be an Italian, named Giovanni, who spoke little English but had been in the US for about nine months – or so he told me. Being that we were at a club, he was speaking in broken English, and slurring his words due to his intoxication it was very difficult to understand everything he was telling me. What I did pick up on was that he thought I was beautiful and wanted my friends and I to come home with him and his friends – or if we weren’t so keen on that idea they’d be willing to come to our house for the night.

At this point I decided it was time to stop dancing with Giovanni and move on to someone else. He was obviously getting the wrong idea and there was no way my friends and I were going anywhere with the Italians. I told him that I needed to go with my friends to get a drink from the bar (known as H20) and maneuvered myself away from him and into the other room where I re-grouped with my friends. Unfortunately this was not my last encounter with Giovanni for the evening – apparently Italians are persistent little buggers.

Throughout the rest of the evening my friends and I were “found” by the three Italians despite our best attempts to avoid them – it probably didn’t help that because of my height I was pretty easy to find in the crowd. I continued to convey to Giovanni that we were not going home with him and he was not coming home with us. The best response that he came up with to this argument was, “I love you,” to which I literally laughed in his face. Yes, perhaps it was a bit harsh of me – but I honestly couldn’t believe that he thought the line would work. It’s something out of a movie – not real life – and I am SO not the kind of girl that lines work on. Period.

After about 45 minutes of my persistent rejection of Giovanni’s unrelenting questions of what I wanted – no, I did not want to go get food or a drink and no, did I want to spend the night with him (even though he repeatedly assured me he wouldn’t try anything) – I finally convinced him that all I wanted to do was dance. He gave me a hug, told me I was beautiful, planted one last kiss on my cheek, and was gone. Phew.

This morning as I was falling asleep at 3am I reflected on my experience with the Italian. During one of the phases of my rejecting him he looked at me and asked me if did not like Italy. My response had been that I love Italy – but that didn’t mean we were going to hook up. I began to think about next fall and what kind of experiences I will have with the European men that I encounter. Are they all going to be this persistent and giving me unwanted attention? Are they going to tell me that they love me after 15 minutes of dancing?

I think that my experience last night was a little taste of what next fall is going to hold for me. I’m not planning to spend every night out at the clubs or anything, but from what I’ve read and heard stories about, I’m likely to be hit on more frequently than I am in America. While in some ways it’ll probably be a confidence boost, I think it’ll also become meaningless after awhile, and extremely repetitive and annoying. I can see myself becoming irritated and snapping at people who aren’t really doing anything wrong (unless they will not leave me alone after a significant period of time). I know that I will need to be guarded while I am abroad, but I also want to experience the culture and get to know real people in the places I am visiting.

I guess overall I feel like there is nothing wrong with dancing with someone and a little bit of flirtation – but when it’s done it needs to be done. I don’t want to have to be struggling to get away from some creeper in a foreign country when I’ve said over and over that I’m not interested in his advances. I don’t know if that’s an American thing to expect no to mean no or a female thing. At least now I know that if there the foreign man is relentless in his pursuit I will be able to stand my ground. I will not be swayed or convinced otherwise. I have good intuition and am responsible enough to know when to say yes and when to say now and last night proved it to me again.

But it’s still a funny story none-the-less.

I’ll leave you with a picture from the Trinity website that was posted today – proof that I was at the club last night. I’m in the background in the left hand upper corner …

Monday, January 12, 2009

Quarter of a Century

I don’t often feel old. In fact most of the time I feel the same as I always have – or at least I think I do. Age is one of those gradual things that slowly creeps up on you. I think we always feel the same because there’s never a huge jump. We get older one second, minute, hour, day at a time – not a year at a time. It’s hard for me to fathom that it’s 2009 and that I’ve been out of college for 2 ½ years – which means I’ve been out of high school for 6 ½ years. That’s crazy! I’ve been working at SPU for over two years now and I have no idea where the time has gone.

I think part of my lack of feeling old is influenced by the fact that I hang out with younger people. I work in an office with people who are older than me, but whenever I go out on campus I see college kids – and so I still think of myself that way. I’ve finally started dressing like an “adult” but on weekends or after work I’m immediately in my sweats or jeans and comfy clothes. I haven’t really grown up. I just pretend. Lately I’ve been having moments where I am realizing how old I am and it’s kind of weird.

I was talking with a friend the other day and she was telling me that she’d be willing to date an older guy and then proceeded to tell me about this 23 year old guy she kind of had a crush on. I suddenly realized I didn’t know how old she was - obviously, younger than 23. I felt instantly old. Not that 25 is so much older than 23 or 22 (her age) but I just became very aware that an older guy for her was a younger guy for me.

I don’t think I’m old – 25 is not old – and I’m not “past my prime” as one friend likes to joke, but it is strange to think about the next five years of my life and what they will be like. I can guarantee that they will be completely different than the last 5 years. I’ve always thought I’d probably be married by 25, and if not married at least dating someone. It’s funny how life is sometimes.

The place I am right now is a good place. I’m in transition – or at least heading for a transition. I am honestly glad that I’m not married or dating anyone seriously. There are some major things I want to do with my life still and having to factor another person into those plans would only make things harder. I have quite a few friends who are married or engaged or about to be engaged and I am so incredibly happy for them. They are happy and are living the lives that they want to life. I’ll get there someday too I’m sure – I’m just not there now – and that’s ok.

Twenty five feels awfully close to thirty and I know that every year I get closer to that milestone is going to feel strange. But this is life. It’s what’s supposed to happen. We all get older and suddenly realize that we’re older at the most random of sudden moments.


I don’t feel like I know enough to be this old – maybe if I fail the knowledge test I can go back to being 24 …

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Please Think for Yourself

I watched the movie Network Tuesday night. It’s a 1978 “classic” that is listed at number 64 on the AFI’s list of the top 100 movies of all time (only 8 more to go until I’ve seen all 100). As with most of the movies I watch, I turn the DVD on and sit down to spend two hours watching something I’ve never heard of before and don’t really know the plot for. Immediately, I was intrigued with this movie. The whole plot centers around the entertainment industry; how ratings work, how programming happens, and what makes or breaks a network. It’s the very thing I want to know and do with my life – but not to the level that is in the film. No, I do not want to stoop that low.

The most interesting piece for me was watching the film in light of recent media coverage. Comparing what I know from my communication classes in high school and college to the media of today to this movie, there are some striking areas that overlap and to be frank are quite disconcerting.

One of my favorite classes in high school was an introduction to radio. Our school was fortunate enough to have an FM radio station built into the school and if you took this particular class you could have a radio show after school. It’s ironic that I stumbled into this class because it was the only thing that fit into my schedule. I didn’t want to be there because I thought it was a class for slackers (which to be honest it was) and I had no interest in media – media was not for a kid who took Honors and AP classes. I was a bit snobby – I admit it now. But I ended up loving that class. Because of it I was able to have an after school radio program with my friend my junior year and it also awakened my love affair with the media that had always been there but I had never pinpointed before. I learned that media could be a legitimate academic subject and something that speaks volumes about the world and influences us in such a way that we hardly even notice.

In college I took a class about media and journalism. Not my favorite class per say, but looking back it was probably one of the most practical classes I took and one that I recall often. We read a book in the class that talked about my generation and how gen xers and the generations to follow – I actually fall somewhere between the x and y (also known as the millennial) generations – don’t read newspapers. We watch TV or go online for our information, and the information we find is not true journalism. It’s influenced and biased and more gossip and entertainment news than anything else (yesterday I saw an article on MSN about the Bush family pet dying – yes, this is the breaking journalism of 2009). When I was in this class I believed passionately that this was ok. I argued that the times were changing and we didn’t need our news to be so cut and dry and boring. I still agree with that, but I’m starting to worry about my generation and those that will follow. Are we lemmings being led by the media? Do we even have an opinion? And if we have an opinion is it really ours or just something we heard and are now regurgitating.

I myself am not exempt from this – I do not think I’m any better than you. In fact, most of this post is inspired by things I’ve seen on TV or in a movie or heard on the radio. I am admittedly a huge media junkie – but I like to think its ok since I admit it. I’m actually probably worse than many of you who are reading this simply because I know my friends and I know they are all very intelligent people. I just think it’s scary the way the world is going.

I was reflecting on the media coverage of the recent Presidential election and I am thoroughly convinced that the media elected Barack Obama. I’m not saying that the American people didn’t go out and vote for him – they definitely did. What I’m saying is that had the media stuck to the facts and not added their opinion the election process would have been completely different. The result may have been the same – but the road there would have been totally different. I’m not saying Barack Obama will be a bad president I’m just saying that I don’t think he has been examined as closely as people think he has.

Don’t believe me? A well educated friend of mine voted for Obama because she knew his name. She didn’t know anything about his policies and hadn’t heard anything one way or the other about him other than she recognized his name. This is totally the media’s influence in favor of Obama. The coverage he received was far more positive than the coverage McCain received. Just look at SNL. On my way into work one morning I was listening to the radio and someone had called in to play a game for a contest. All he had to do was name the two candidates running for president. The caller said, “Barack Obama, and the girl with the Tina Fey glasses.” How are we an educated society when this is what the average person knows? No wonder the other countries make fun of us.

I don’t really have any answers and in the grand scheme of things I don’t really know all that much period. What I do know or at least feel is that I think we all have to be careful. The media has such a huge influence in our lives that if we’re not careful it’s easy to be manipulated. Use your brain and think about what is happening. Even when you’re watching a “reality” TV show – nothing is reality TV. Everything is controlled by the producers and manipulated by them. And don’t kid yourself – The Hills and everything related to it is completely staged. Even the news is manipulated simply by what they show and don’t show. What is “news” is what gets attention and gets ratings and more often than not the news is stuff you don’t need to know because the real news is too boring.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Network. It’s long but I’ve abridged it quite a bit too (as noted by the brackets).

“[…] less than three percent of you people read books […] less than fifteen percent of you read newspapers […] the only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn't come out of this tube! This tube is the Gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers... This tube is the most awesome God-damned force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls in to the hands of the wrong people […] So, you listen to me. Listen to me: Television is not the truth! Television is a God-damned amusement park! Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, side-show freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business! So if you want the truth... Go to God! Go to your gurus! Go to yourselves! Because that's the only place you're ever going to find any real truth. […] But, man, you're never going to get any truth from us. We'll tell you anything you want to hear; we lie like hell. We'll tell you that, uh, Kojak always gets the killer, or that nobody ever gets cancer at Archie Bunker's house, and no matter how much trouble the hero is in, don't worry, just look at your watch; at the end of the hour he's going to win. We'll tell you any shit you want to hear. We deal in *illusions*, man! None of it is true! But you people sit there, day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds... We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality, and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you! You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even *think* like the tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God's name, you people are the real thing! *WE* are the illusion! So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off! Turn them off right in the middle of the sentence I'm speaking to you now! TURN THEM OFF...” – Howard Beale Network
free counter