Farewell to Facebook

I recently decided to disable my Facebook page. I only created an account to track down a novelist for a school project in the first place, and aside from the general privacy concerns and bevy of reasons you can read about here, here and here, I found that it was a negative influence on my life in general.

For example, I recently realized I was getting most of my news from Facebook. When something major happened, like a war breaking out or an earthquake, I’d read about it on Facebook first. This means a couple of things: first, I was only getting the news that the 300+ people on my friend list found compelling (and there are really only 100 or so who post regularly). Given that a large chunk of those people are folks I grew up with or went to school with, this means I’m getting the vast majority of my news from people who are, essentially, exactly like me in regard to socioeconomic class, race, etc. That’s not a very good way to learn about the world around me. Second, as was the case with the Casey Anthony trial, I was not only getting the opinion my friend group supported, I was getting it over and over again.  I’m not above being influenced by public opinion, so when I found myself parroting Facebook posts as truth I became understandably concerned.

While the “people just like me” argument applies to socioeconomic class and upbringing, I am a very different person than I was when I hung out with all these people.  Since I attended Catholic schools, most of my “friends” on Facebook are Catholic. I’m an Atheist, and it was often a struggle not to impart MY belief system on those around me the way others’ beliefs are often imparted on me.  However, that brings me to my next anti-Facebook concern: drama.  If I had a nickle for every time a conversation involved the term “Facebook,” well, I’d have lot of nickles. People getting upset in the “real word” about posts, pictures and relationship status updates that all take place online … it’s just gotten a little silly.  Also, I ended up “friends” with people I barely knew and oftentimes didn’t even like very much, but I hesitated to delete them for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. I also refrained from calling them out on their often misguided or completely uneducated ramblings, because I didn’t really know them well enough.  That left my news feed filled with drivel I’d rather do without.  I know you can hide posts, but eventually that, too, becomes silly.

As many anti-Facebookers will note (but I feel bears repeating) Facebook is just a huge time-suck.  I realize I should be able to police my own online activity and stop myself from getting sucked in when I have better things to do, but I’m a master-procrastinator, and Facebook provides just the type of distraction I like to abuse.  At a certain point, I could predict what people are going to post, how often they were going to post … hell, I could probably have told you what they were going to have for breakfast. Do I really need this amount of information about people I haven’t spoken to in ten years? Nope. Do I really need to get worked up because some ultra-conservative Christian Republican who I met ONCE is dumb enough to support Sarah Palin? Definitely not. I’ll save my spikes in blood pressure for more worthy adversaries.

In the end, it was Facebook’s decision to use its considerable power to stop protests in Israel that made me angry enough to  disable my account. That sort of action just goes so far above and beyond what social networking sites should be allowed to do, I found it appalling. My decision was reinforced by Facebook’s disable process … it would NOT LET ME disable MY page with MY information without telling it why. I filled in the answer “I shouldn’t have to.”

Anyone who really wants to stay in touch with me shouldn’t have much trouble doing so. I may give Google+ a fair shake, if for no other reason than to see if someone can get it right when it comes to social networking. Regardless, I imagine my friend list will be much shorter on Google+ than it was on Facebook, and it isn’t going to include people I don’t actually care about.

Fill In the Gaps

I’m ripping off a project that another blogger ripped off of another blogger who ripped it off of someone else. Or something like that. I found it here, and I’ve been intrigued with it ever since.

As an English major, I am utterly annoyed when someone quotes or mentions some great piece of literature and I have to respond “I haven’t read it.” Similarly, when great contemporary works are mentioned I feel as though I’m falling down on the job if I don’t keep up. I realize I can’t read every influential piece of literature in existence, but I feel that attention should be paid to those works which have formed the basis of the literary world. The contemporary works that continue the tradition of great literature are even more impressive, for they manage to recreate age-old plots in ways unique enough to astonish us all over again.

The idea is to read 100 books in 5 years that are all “important” pieces of literature – to “fill in the gaps” in one’s literary background. Obviously this is a subjective matter, and I have yet to compile my entire list, but I’m soliciting suggestions. Meanwhile, I’m picking up books like Pride and Prejudice whenever I can so I actually have the books to read when the times comes. I figure this way I have something to read at all times, and the things I read can contribute to this list rather than to the deterioration of my IQ. As some of you may know, I have a tendency to read junk when school isn’t in session.

Aside from all that nonsense, the quarter is plugging along and SOS is gaining members thanks to the t-shirts, so thanks to all who donated! I’m writing so much for school this quarter, blogging is difficult to fit in, but I will try to be a little more diligent with updates.

In the mean time, you can check out this link if you’d like to see some truly adorable photos of Vicki and Joslyn crossing the finish line for the Derby Festival Marathon. Huge congratulations and admiration are due to Vicki for running the marathon, and the same to Chip and his l’il bro Joe for tackling the mini!

Because You All Want to Hear About My Weekend …

I had a very nice weekend in Louisville, where I got to have a girls’ night, host a baby shower, and see my beautiful niecii. There are three now, in case you weren’t keeping track.

I don’t have photos of girls’ night, but I had a wonderful time hanging out with Laura, Melanie, and Julia. I didn’t even mind the fact that they made me watch U of L play – it was a good game, and I’m glad the Cards pulled it off.

The shower was for Kory’s cousin Matara, who doesn’t much care to have her photo taken, but I told her she’d thank me later. Little does she know I’m a photo addict and can’t help taking pictures, no matter who the subject is. (Yes, I just ended a sentence with a preposition. I’m almost done with the quarter, so deal.)

Anyway, the best photo I have of Matara refuses to upload properly, so I’m using the second best.

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And here are all of the lovely ladies who attended:

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Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s Chip’s house (where he kindly allowed us to host the shower) but I really like that photo. Everyone looks great.

My absolute favorite photo of Riley also refuses to upload properly, so you’ll have to settle for this:

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If you didn’t already know what cute looks like, that’s it. For further proof, see the following:

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I would also like to point out that Riley has gone from this:

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To this:

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Goofy dog.

Home, Sweet Home

Here are a few pics of the new place.  I’d love to write something pithy or creative, but this quarter is kicking my ass in a way that I thought it would not.  I expected to coast through, but I neglected to account for 19th century British authors.  They are some seriously verbose people.

At any rate, here’s the new house:

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It’s actually quite nice, although the exterior needs some work.  Luckily, I’m only renting for the moment.

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I own appliances for the first time in my life.  It’s a little weird.

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Do you like my knife holder?  It’s my favorite kitchen apparatus.

We stay insanely busy, and I haven’t made it back to Louisville in entirely too long.  I intended to come this weekend, but my son has THE PLAGUE.  By which I mean, chicken pox.  We’ll see how that works out.

And, We’re Back

Sort of.  The shuttle where my puny little blog lives died a painful death a few weeks ago, probably from a lethal dose of crappy blog entries.  Rest assured, I will not let you suffer the same fate!

I’ll post something new as soon as I know we’re back up for real.  In the meantime, go watch TNT’s new series “Leverage.”  Highly entertaining.

A Day of Rest (Not)

I have day off mid-week today, something unheard of while school is in session thanks to my full course schedule and my job at the writing center.  So, am I relaxing in a bubble bath, or curled up with a good book and a glass of wine?  No, I’m cleaning my neglected house and offloading photos from a month ago.  However, I can’t really complain since I spent the weekend playing WoW instead of being productive.

Anyway, finals are next week(wish me luck) and then I will have more free time than I know how to handle, so I’m sure you’ll hear plenty from me then.  UNLESS all of my talents are being poured into the novel I’m supposed to be writing, as NaNoWriMo has snuck up on me again.

Until then, here are some highlights from the last few weeks:

Katie turned 3:

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And Karen turned the big four-oh.  We surprised Karen with dinner, planned by “Tricky Vicki” with great success.  She actually had Karen convinced that she picked the restaurant for the evening, when we’d been waiting there all along.

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She doesn’t actually need these glasses, but Dad sure thought they made a funny gift.

You know how I can only get one of my beautiful nieces to cooperate for the camera at once?  On this particular evening, Katie wasn’t exactly cooperative, but Joslyn really went out of her way to  take a bad photo.

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Let’s hope SHE never actually needs these glasses.

Labor of Love

*tap, tap*

Is this thing on?

Things have been rather busy lately, so I am just now getting around to posting some photos I took over Labor Day weekend. I don’t expect to be posting a ton in the near future, since school and my new tutoring gig will keep me fairly busy.

First, this is my favorite shot of the weekend. I know you can’t see her face too well, but in black and white Katie looks so classic, and the shot reminds me of something from a magazine.

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Next we have JoAnne and John, who are such a cute couple it’s nearly impossible to be cranky around them.

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Don’t ask about that last one. I said they were cute, not normal.

My favorite subject of the weekend was Sarah. I told Kory she is his future bride, but he just looked at me funny. I wasn’t kidding. She’s a very sweet girl and man, is she photogenic.

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They will give me beautiful grandchildren. (Did I really just type that?)

Speaking of photogenic, here’s Melissa.

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Contrary to appearances, Melissa was not sitting in the back yard naked. Sorry fellas.

No post would be complete without a Riley update – she wore herself (and myself) out running around trying to snatch hotdogs from plates and terrorizing small children.

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I leave you with my second favorite photo of the weekend – I left the redeye in intentionally, because I think it’s funnier that way.

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I love kids.

Video

Chip kindly posted the video from King’s Island here for your viewing pleasure – be sure you watch until the middle, it’s totally worth it.

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Good Samaritan

Some days, I am simply appalled by the way human beings treat one another.  Most days, really.  But today I saw one of those things that restores your faith in your fellow human.  I was leaving school and a man had pulled his car over to retrieve something from the road.  At first I thought he’d left a backpack on the roof of the car and lost it as he pulled off, but then I edged closer and saw him gingerly pick up what was literally the biggest turtle I’ve ever seen in the wild (not that the WSU campus is “the wild,” but it’s not exactly a zoo or a pet store, either).  Seriously, this bad boy was the size of a hubcap.  I’m going to have to start carrying my camera with me at all times just for instances such as these.

Anyway, here’s to you, Good Samaritan.  I’m sure the turtle appreciates it even more than I do.