Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thou Shalt Have No Other Facebook Gods Before Me

It has come to my attention that our society is suffering greatly in the realms of etiquette and appropriate behavior. Gone are the days of prim and proper women, and don’t even get me started on what’s left of the gentleman; if a guy manages to not let a door slam in my face as he pushes through in front of me, I’m absolutely floored.

But by far the most atrocious offense is taking place in the form of internet stalkerdom…specifically in the Wonderful World of Facebook. As anyone who is my friend (or at least, my Facebook friend) can tell you, I am a guru of this modern innovation of communication and creeping. To put it simply, I am the Facebook Queen. Therefore, I find it both fitting and vitally necessary that I make this Call for Change in what can only be described as a complete and utter breakdown of the respect for Self and Fellow Man.

(I was a bit torn about this title at first…thought of paying homage to my journalism roots and knocking off the SPJ Code of Ethics, but as a general rule people ignore those and make a mockery of them (or perhaps you’ve seen local news?). Therefore, I chose to use the subtle hints of Hellfire and Brimstone to scare you sober. This is serious business, people…and I ain’t kiddin, neither.)

1. Thou shalt cherish thy Facebook account. Just as a basic and introductory statute, do not get Facebook if you’re not ready to commit to it. Hardly anybody likes the blue-fake-man-in-lieu-of-real-profile-picture, and absolutely no one enjoys writing something witty and clever on a wall only to be ignored for 17 weeks. At least check the damn thing bimonthly and write a “haha you’re funny” here and there….it’s the least you can do. Facebook is a little bit like a puppy; it seems like a fun idea at first, but it’s actually a lot of work. And if you pansy out and abandon it, it’ll eventually curl up and die and people will hate you…actually, Facebook is very much like a puppy.
2. Thou shalt respect The Wall. In the back of our minds we all know what walls really are; they’re an opportunity to be a smart-aleck in a public forum, thus attracting the awe and respect of one’s Peers Unknown. Therefore, there is a right way to compose a wall-post…and that is to notate a cute quip, briefly articulate an inside joke (making you seem lofty and mysterious), ask a question that subtly hints to an awesome upcoming event (ie “we still on for tonight? I can’t believe we got backstage passes...totally stoked!!!” Okay, maybe don’t say “stoked.”), or express affection in the most delicate of manners. “I miss your face” or “thanks for being you” are adequate; there is no place for “baby I luv u so much ur sooo amazing and ur so sexy and I just think ur awesome!!!!!” You write something like that on my wall and I will promptly delete it…and then absolutely never acknowledge your existence again.
3. Thou shalt not over-upload. I’m not going to sugarcoat here; I struggle with this one a lot. I actually consider myself a recovering over-uploader, which is why I feel qualified to tell you that, by and large, over-uploading makes you look like a major douchetard. This is not to say you can’t share your exciting and enviable life events with your Facebook Fellows…but unless there is an actual occurrence being documented (ie vacation, party, new manfriend, new pet), the urge to upload should be resisted. This especially applies to self-portraits; as of late I’ve seen several albums that were literally nothing but self-portraits, documenting what the posters must have erroneously assumed to be an attractive variety of thoughtful/emo/sexy facial expressions. This is bad. Do not do it.
4. Thou shalt not LOL. Pretty much self-explanatory; if you have above an 8th grade education, consider your LOL rights officially and irreversibly revoked.
5. Thou shalt not send application invites. Thou. Shalt. NOT. I don’t care if we’re blood-relatives or if we shared a foxhole in Nam…if you send me even just one of those “scarily accurate” Which Sex and the City Character are You invitations, I will deduct 72 points from your overall tolerability meter (and I’ll also click that “ignore all invites from this friend” button. I make no empty threats, my dear…I double-dog-dare you to try me).
6. Thou shalt honor thy Facebook status. Facebook statuses are gems in the world of internet stalking; if used for good, they can alert others to one’s poetic inner thoughts, or share and receive feedback on a conundrum one is battling inwardly. Used for evil, however, and statuses can once again make you look like a major douchetard. Therefore, when next updating your Facebook status, please keep these guidelines in mind:
-you get one status update per day. ONE.
-do not give us a play-by-play of your routine events (ie “Joe the Plumber is going to the store,” then “Joe the Plumber is deciding what chips to buy,” then “Joe the plumber decided what chips to buy and is now deciding what dip to buy.”) if you’re guilty of this you most likely own an iPhone…and as you’re using said minirobot to commit Facebook blasphemy, you should probably just give the little stumbling block to me. It’s like your iPhone is the ring and I’m Frodo (and you can be Gollum, I guess); I can handle the pressure of Power and Greatness. You, unfortunately, cannot.
-use the third-person. Nothing makes you look like more of a tool than a status that says “Joe the Plumber thinks Texas is my favorite football team” (actually, that makes you look like a tool for a variety of reasons).
-periodically LOOK AT your page. If it’s covered with big black “Joe the Plumber is” statements, then chances are you’re updating too much…and chances are also good that you’ve been verbally ridiculed and later defriended because of this on none-too-few occasions. Truth hurts, don’t it?
-try very, very hard not to get all emo with your statuses. "Joe the plumber is struggling"?? d-o-u-c-h-e-t-a-r-d. The only acceptable emo-status comes in the form of "Joe the plumber is." Go beyond that, and you're officially a sissy-weepy-gurly-man (or woman).
7. Thou shalt not be an over-sharer. Via status, via photos, via wall-posts…don’t become a victim of Facebook TMI. As a general rule, we don’t want to know. And absolutely never, everevereverever over-share someone else’s information! A person’s Facebook is probably their most treasured tool of personal BS (ahem, I mean PR); keep that in mind the next time you go to write “hey so I saw you called me 9 times last night…sorry to hear Josh dumped you again!!! Btw, how’s your rash?” on somebody’s wall.
8. Thou shalt relish thy tagging rights. As the proprietor of Facebook photos and videos, it is your Internet-God-given right to tag said media. However, please think twice prior to tagging your friends in socially deconstructive images…although it is your aforementioned right to do so, it is also your friends’ right to never speak to you again afterwards (and to tell sexy singles that you’re a eunuch). Also, once a picture has been detagged, A) don’t tag it back and B) don’t get pissy. People do not untag themselves in your pictures as a personal offense to you; they do so because they’ve decided the photos make them look fat/uncomfortable/drunk/gay. So man up and get over it.
9. Thou shalt resist the random friend-request. For reasons I won’t divulge, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. However, the quickest way to look like a Creepster is to add someone you do not know, so I suggest withstanding the temptation. Enjoy your stalkie’s profile from a safely anonymous distance…that is, unless you stumble across your own homegrown local version of Heath Ledger. Aaand moving on.
10. Thou shalt know the power of the relationship status. We’ve all made the joke that “it’s not official until it’s on Facebook.” And the funniest thing about that joke is that it’s not a joke at all…in Facebook terms, it is Absolute Truth. Therefore, do not change your status unless you’re ready for the onslaught of nosy “OMG, I need details!!!” feedback…and absolutely NEVER change your status before first discussing it with your belle/beau. Changing a status prior to holding a DTR with your significant other (especially if the status is going from “in a relationship” to “single”) is the epitomic definition of t-r-a-s-h-y. So I pray you, do not do it. Oh, and it my personal opinion that there is no real place for “in an open relationship” and/or “it’s complicated.” Here Facebook is being an enabler for TMI over-sharers. Either you’re in a relationship or you’re not, and knowing anything beyond that makes me (and countless others) remarkably uncomfortable.

And there you have it, folks: the Top 10 Most Unforgivable Facebook Faux Pas. I could have gone on (and on, and on)…but I figure if God feels Man is incapable of obeying more than 10 rules, then I’d better stick to a similar format (plus, to be honest with you I’m kind of bored of this project). If you come across a quandary not addressed in the 10 Commandments above, don’t hesitate to Facebook me with your question; you can even random-friend-request me if you like. Just make sure you say vague and complimentary things on my wall…and absolutely do not tag me in those pictures from City Walk. You do, and mark my word: the God of Facebook will lay Her vengeance upon thee.

Much love.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Feds are going to confiscate my Bic

Today is a weird day. I've officially begun my new graduate assistantship (the reasons why I have a new one are both mysterious and ominous to me), and I'm therefore now sitting in the grand Gaylord library, gazing upon the football stadium across the street and wondering how in the blue blazes I ended up here. I mean, if a year ago you'd told me I'd soon become a librarian.........but then, my life has never had much organizational structure so I shouldn't be surprised. I will say that I've already been referred to as the "hot librarian," and this nickname has made me at least 30% happier about my new job. He who originated said title will not be named (as I have no desire to make him stop saying nice things about me), but let it be known that I give serious brownie points for clever nicknames that are also complimentary. Anonymous Man has already mastered the skill, but you should probably keep that in mind.

Today is also weird for a second reason: it's day 2 of the semester, and I've yet to decide what classes I'm taking. I mean, I know that I'm having coffee with Kris tomorrow and that I'm going shopping for vintage clothes on Saturday, but as for my graduate course schedule....yeah, that's pretty much up in the air. Sigh, I can no longer deny that I suck at being a grown-up. In my defense, however, I tried my damnedest to be responsible and pre-enroll over the holiday. Unfortunately that meant choosing classes all by me oncey - something a 24.93-year-old should theoretically be able to accomplish without much bloodshed or trauma. Not for me, however...I am the queen of getting myself into the wrong place at the wrong time (and of just generally making dumb decisions), and yesterday's class meeting was certainly no exception.

So, some background: I found this class via OU's enrollment website. It was outside of my department but similar enough to intrigue me, and the course description seemed both relevant and highly academic. Sure it was a doctoral level class, but I'm a smart girl, right? (I find that, while on holiday and therefore removed from reality, I am far too educationally ambitious for my own good). But I hadn't been to school in weeks, and I'd almost entirely forgotten how much of my self-professed "love of learning" is total BS. I don't love to learn; I love to think. And I love to choose what I think about, and I would never choose to think about the theoretical frameworks of multicultural communication studies....but I digress.

Point being I was stupid, and I picked a class so far out of my league that I blame OU for not saying "uhhh, no" and refusing to let me enroll in it. Approximately 3 days before the first class session I began to have that "hmmm, I think I may have really screwed myself" feeling. But to my cred I'm remarkably good at believing my own lies, so it wasn't until I actually attended the class that I realized exactly how much of a toolbag I am.

Just picture it: I walk into Territory Unknown, and the warm-welcome I receive from my professor includes the phrase "I think you're really courageous." Umm, never a good sign. Then, I come to notice the (5) other students in the class are staring at me with both awe and trepidation. A few blissfully clueless moments pass before I realize it's because they think I must be a genius...for what other person would strut, unaware and unphased, into a PhD-level course in a foreign department? (A genius or a fool, and they kindly (and incorrectly) gave me the benefit of the doubt.) So 5 minutes in and I'm already battling my fight or flight instincts.

Then I'm given a syllabus, and I have to call upon my pride to keep from running out the door at a breakneck speed. The reading list is, simply put, insanity incarnated. The assignments are utter madness, and the sheer volume of formal presentations strikes fear and horror to the depths of my soul. I keep my eyes trained on the paper and my head down (as I know the colorless nature of my face will give me away), and I begin reasoning with myself as to why I can't flee the scene.
"You got yourself into this, you moron. Be a woman and keep your butt in the chair."
"If you leave now and can't enroll in another class, you'll be even more effed than you are right now."
"Your schoolbag's too heavy for you to get far and the Prof will catch you before you're out of the building."
"Everyone here thinks you're brilliant, and if you run away they'll
probably figure out that you're not."
That final argument gave me the strength to stay, because let's face it; it feels good to have people believe you're awesome...even when they're completely wrong. So, I stifled the scream rising in my throat and committed myself to 2 hours of torture.

And torture it was.

I won't burden you with all the details, but let me just say that after that class I will not live as long as God originally intended. For the first hour I fought the urge to cry out in terror, and for the second hour I fought the urge to cry out in soul-crushing boredom. I underestimated the course in more ways than one...not only was it waaay more of a Smart Kid Class than I could handle; it was also taught by one of the most monotonously droll people the Earth has ever known. (Lovely woman, remarkably intelligent, could kick my butt at just about any standardized IQ test. But oh my sweet baby Jesus - THE DROLLDOM.) I kid you not; the entire class period was dedicated to reading the syllabus. Reading it. You know, out loud. Then, if we weren't reciting verbatim that "articles A1, A2, and A3, and subarticles a1-17 are to be read for class on March 19th," we were pondering the cyclical and identical natures of research proposals and presentations. WHY GOD WHY. I mean this in all seriousness, a violent part of me that has been made dormant by millions of years of meticulous evolution began to resurface over the span of that class period. I actually imagined taking my Bic and stabbing her in the eyeball with it...and when I became disturbed by this sadistic desire to hurt a sweet little woman, I turned the daydream inward and thought about stabbing the Bic in my own eye. And then I began once again fantasizing about running away (in all honesty, that fancy never fully left my mind). By the end of the class my thoughts were roaming about somewhere in Nor-Eastern OK, but even my best attempts at imaginative escapism could not ease the misery of those two hours. I have been scarred by the events of yesterday, and I'm only partially kidding when I write that.

So, needless to say I dropped that course like a vicious snapping turtle (...what?). I implored my Academic Advisor to help my wayward, wandering soul, and she agreed to look into some classes that are less likely to make me want to hurt myself or others. But until then I'm sittin' pretty with not enough hours and no real idea what to do about it. So I guess it makes sense that I go vintage-clothes-shopping this weekend; because if I get kicked out of school for not being a full-time, responsible, grown-up grad student, I'm going down with fierceness and style. God have mercy on my soul.

Much love.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No Justin, I will NOT cry you a river.

Recently I was asked what the last movie was to make me cry (I cannot remember how this came up in conversation, but it made perfect sense at the time). And despite my innate female/sentimental/hormonal tendencies, I struggled to arrive at an answer. After several moments of hemming and hawing my conversationalist and I finally came up with The Notebook, and we quickly left the topic for equally random and ingenious subject-matters.

But ever since then, I’ve been thinking. Thinking about crying, tearing up, weeping inconsolably, having emotional breakdowns…you know, normal girl stuff. And I’ve come to the conclusion that, although I’ve engaged in all the aforementioned activities, I am not a normal girl (you needn’t add a sassy comment in response to the “normal” thing, because I will cut you).

Seriously though…not normal. I am not a crier. I did not cry when Jack Dawson froze to death, I did not cry when Hedwig died, I did not even cry when my sister got married (although that may have had something to do with the panic attack I was experiencing, being the Maid of Honor and having had forgotten her to-be-husband’s wedding band). And on that occasion when I do cry, I become tremendously uncomfortable and pissed off at myself. I am not that friend who cries, then buries her head in your understanding arms for a good long “shh…everything’s gonna be okay” hug. I am that friend who cries, makes a horrified face, and unceremoniously walks out of the room while you’re still thinking of nice things to say. Yeah……sorry about that.

But after giving this psychological weirdism of mine extensive mulling-over, I now know who is to blame for it all (you didn’t think I was at fault for my own problems, did you?? Hogwash!). The responsible party is, without doubt or hesitation, my oldest-only-sister Rachel.

Do let me explain how I’ve come to the conclusion of said sister’s utter horribleness. Rachel is amazing. She’s brilliant, and articulate, and her skin is flawless and she’s skinnier than I’ll ever be. Rachel is also the most competitive human being you’ve ever met in your existence. If she can beat you at it she will try…and probably succeed. Example: every year as chillens Sister and I went to our grandfolk’s home for an Easter egg hunt, and every year Sister found more eggs than me. Every. Year. And, Sister also managed to find all the eggs with money in them, whereas I found only those containing partially-melted-lime-green-duck-shaped-marshmallows. If by chance Sister did not beat me at something immediately off the starting block (and those moments were painfully rare), she would manage to catch up with my humble victory and squash it into the ground by being Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger at whatever I had done. I will again provide you with an example: one epic day I very innocently (and probably accidentally) learned how to blow a bubble with my chewing gum. Before Sister. We were on some sort of family road-trip, and both Sister and I were busy entertaining ourselves in the backseat (her by reading classic literature, me by doodling in the margins of my Where’s Waldo). Then “pop!” I’d blown a bubble. My parents oooh-ed and aaah-ed while Sister looked on…and by the end of that very day she had not only taught herself my newfound skill, but had learned to blow bubbles twice as magnificent as mine. True story.

But throughout this blockbuster case of sibling-rivalry, there has always been one thing Sister cannot do; Sister cannot not cry. Sister cried when she went to camp, she cried when she got her blood drawn and she cried when a Junebug flew up her shirt. She cried when her goldfish started swimming upside-down, and she cried when our father said the vision of God was under her bed (this was after watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, and she feared her face would melt off upon seeing Our Lord Jesus). And in my little demure, soft-spoken baby-sister world where I was constantly overshadowed by Rachel’s fabulousity (and by her loudness), I saw a golden opportunity.

I could win at crying.

More accurately, I could win at not crying; whenever Sister cried, I would not. When our mother greeted us after school by announcing “its flu-shot day!” and Sister’s bottom lip began to tremble, I swallowed my own rising hysteria and acted disinterested in the prospect of a giant scary needle piercing my flesh. When Sister and I were both shipped off to Kanakuk (her with her two friends, me with my no friends), I bravely climbed the stairs of the Missouri-bound bus while Sister wailed uncontrollably and made promises to “be extra good if she could just stay home.” And when our gerbils endeavored to murder each other and almost succeeded (the bloodbath began when my rodent (coincidentally named Jezebel) tried to steal her rodent’s babies), Rachel bawled at the sight of the carnage while I remained the stoic one…the brave one…the WINNER.

Unfortunately for me, being a non-crier is not a very marketable skill in the universe of grown-ups. Nobody’s going to hire me or date me or ask me onto their TV show because I didn’t cry when Edward disappeared for 366 pages of the second Twilight book. That kind of achievement is productive absolutely not at all, and in fact means to some that I am dead inside (ahem, Kristina). Simply put, nobody cares about crying when you’re an adult. Somewhere along the maturation process crying stops meaning you’re a baby and starts meaning you’re emotionally available. And just in typing that last sentence, I realized something so traumatically demoralizing that I struggle now to articulate it; in the world of mature, human relationships, being a crier is often better than being a non-crier.

Sister. Wins. AGAIN.

So here I stand, a 24.9-year-old non-crier (who is dead inside and/or emotionally unavailable), having just lost the ultimate and final battle in my lifelong war with Sister. It is a dark and dismal day. So dark is it in fact, that I may retire early and dramatically bury my face in a pillow. But let there be no doubt; said pillow will remain dry.

Much love.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bare Naked Lady

For those of you who’ve known me as a grad student, you’re familiar with my near obsessive dedication to The Huf (OU’s sweet action gym, for my wayward non-Sooner readers). I’m pretty sure Kristina worried I would exercise myself to death last semester, as I’d spend hours each day pedaling and stretching and lifting and running (boo, hiss). But fear not, World-with the alleviation of all things school I quickly abandoned my workout regime. My break has consisted of sleeping, peeling oranges, and checking Facebook every 4-8 minutes. I am lazy, I am a bum. I am watching my sexy biker muscles atrophy before my very eyes, and I’m loving every second of it.

But I did take one Huf-ism home with me for Christmas, and today I would like to share it with you. As I am technologically challenged and did not until recently own an iPod (and now I still can’t operate said iPod, so…fail), I made a beeline to the magazine stash at the start of every workout. Typically I opted for the latest InTouch Trashazine so as to keep up on the marital status of Heidi and Spencer, but one fateful day the tabloid supply was woefully depleted. Shooting eye-daggers at the Debutant Sorority Princess next to me (who had been on the stair-stepper far past the 30 minute mark and was hording all the good pop-culture literature), I drearily resigned to reading Self Magazine: a publication filled with pro-women, pro-health, pro-positive articles that I find boring and ridiculous. I don’t care how to sustain my bone density; I want to know why Whitney really left The Hills. But this day I had no choice, and I headed to the stationary bike with my Self in hand.

Trying not to be a cynic and knowing I had 45 laborious minutes of cycling to kill, I started with the uber flowery Love Yourself section (for you men out there, all chick magazines have this section. I completely hate it). But this one was different. This one suggested an activity so syrupy and absurd that it peeked my interest, and I did something I’ve never done before: I tried it. That night I went home, and preparing for my post-sweaty-grossness shower, I stripped. Then, remembering back to the aforementioned article, I took a deep breath…and stepped in front of the mirror.

Self Magazine claimed every female should spend 5 nek-ed minutes in front of the mirror each day. Apparently women are overly-critical of themselves and need to accept and love their bodies (what. an. epiphany). So, I was to look at my birthday suit and declare one fabulous thing about my body before every shower. Out loud. The article even had some suggestions, like “I love the graceful curvature of my lower back” or “the definition of my clavicle makes me feel feminine.” So incredibly stupid…am I right? And yet I was intrigued.

That was a month ago. Although I sometimes ditch the self-esteem exercise when I’m running late (which is most always), I’ve surprised myself by keeping up with Naked Time since that day in the Huf. “Hark!” you say. “Self Magazine is a Godsend!” And indeed I have heeded their advice, making the article a not-total-failure. But my daily affirmations are just a tad more….weird, for lack of a better word, than I believe the author intended.

So far I’ve yet to run out of nice things to think about my buck-nakedness. However, that’s not to say I accept my body any more than the next self-deprecating female. Far from it. I still hate my scraggly chicken legs and I’m no fonder of my boyish frame than I was in November. But I have discovered some odd Frankie-isms that I proudly declare each morning during Naked Time:

“I love how, if I hold reeeeal still, I can see my heartbeat in my stomach.”

“The scar on my neck makes me feel edgy.” (If you don’t know what it’s from, don’t be scurred. Ask me.)

“I’m proud of how square and misshapen my feet are from their days in pointe shoes.”

“My weirdly defined external oblique (tummy) muscles make me look like Pink.” (umm… those are gone now.)

“I like my small and unbendy ears.” (Can you bend the top of your ears down? Yeah, I can’t.)

“My elbows are super sharp and would probably make awesome weapons.”

As you can see, I’ve wildly distorted the article’s advice and intentions. If that author only knew what I’d done with her work, she’d likely up and quit her job (as well she should, because COME ON. What a dumb idea.) But in my own way, I’ve benefitted from the magazine. I’ve grown. I’ve matured. And if not those things I’ve at least learned how to creatively insult my body. And that’s a valued skill for any insecure, under-confident, self-loathing woman like myself.

So thank you, Self Magazine. Thank you for the gift of Naked Time and innovative self-criticism. For without it, I never would’ve noticed the chicken pox scar on my leg that is kind-of-sort-of shaped like Snoopy.

Much love.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Frankie Avenger: Take 1

It has, for many moons, been my intention to start (another) blog. I am getting my MA in Journalism after all, and the vast majority of my close allies already have to endure my self-indulgent prose via email and Facebook messages. Therefore, it’s logical and indeed considerate for me to put my ramblings here; this way, you can ignore them without feeling bad.

As it is now the start of yet another year (my 25th in fact, which is troubling), I will begin by enumerating my New Year’s Resolutions:

1. start another blog (done)
2. stick to said blog (umm…check back in 6 weeks)
3. learn guitar
4. finish reading through the bible, cover to cover (it was last year’s resolution to read it over the course of a year, and then grad school started and it all went to pot)
5. learn Photoshop (a gem of photo-editing genius that currently abides unused on my desktop)
6. be a better person in general

Number 6 is likely my most favorite resolution, as it is entirely vague and therefore a rather difficult one at which to fail. Who can say I haven’t been better? I’m sure in some ways I’ll be better this year than I was last – I’ll probably learn from some past mistakes (God help me if I don’t), and in doing so I’ll be improving my immortal soul. Flawless. The others are less fluffy; I could indeed not learn guitar, and by doing so make myself feel lame. I’m hoping that by putting this out on the WWW for…dozens…of people to see, I will internally obligate myself to finish what I start. We’ll see though; I’m not known to succumb to pressure, even when it’s my own.

So there you have it. It is my wish, at the end of 09, to be able to write about me, play songs for me, edit pictures of me, be a better me, and know a fact or two more about God. Good thing I included that last one…otherwise, you might get the wrong impression that I’m self-involved.

If you’re curious to see if I uphold resolution 2, check back in 5-7 business days. It’s my plan to blog once a weekish, but I’m a right-brained-fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl, and as a rule I do not commit myself to unnecessary scheduling. I do hope you’ll pop in from time to time; if nothing else, you can use my entries to embarrass me later in life. And trust me…I will embarrass myself on here.

Much love, and to be continued (God willing and the creek don’t rise).