Category Archives: Cyber-sweet

The price of boots in China

I ordered a pair of boots on ebay a couple weeks ago and received this email afterward:

So… I waited for it to arrive.  When it had been a couple weeks and I still hadn’t received the package, I decided to look into things.  I googled the shipping status and found out it means “shipped.” Also found the shipper’s website (translated – thanks, Google!) and entered my Tracking number:

My boots were “finally” delivered to the United States of America four days ago.  I guess that’s good?  At least they were cheap…

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“Social” Media

A couple months ago, I was listening to Here and Now on NPR and they did a story about Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania, which was in the middle of a mandated “one-week blackout of instant messaging, Twitter, MySpace and Facebook.”  If you have two and a half minutes, you should go listen to it – the audio link is halfway down the page.

Here’s the general gist of it: the school didn’t allow any students to access social media via the campus internet (although they can easily do it from smartphones, as the host notes) for one week.  At the end of that week, they have to write a response paper about the experience.  Before I go any further, I should state that I am wholly against any sort of “response paper” in just about any situation.  I think that’s just stupid and a waste of time.  Class discussions (if they have small classes) would probably be more interesting for everyone involved.  But that’s not my point.

When I heard the story, I was frustrated at the apparent generation gap between the interviewer (and host) and the interviewee, a student at the school.  I freely admit that I go into this with no small amount of established frustration on the topic, but I felt like Jane Clayson made it clear that she had an opinion on the matter when she said, “Heaven forbid, [students] actually have to talk to each other.”

I see your quote and raise you one, Ms. Clayson:

“The Internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway. If you want to be a loner, you can be more alone. If you want to connect, it makes it easier to connect.”
– Esther Dyson, Interview in Time Magazine, October 2005

To me, it seemed like Clayson was implying that students without social media would turn into some kind of hermit society because talking to each other was too difficult or passé.  However, in my experience, people who are active on Facebook or Twitter are similarly socially active in actual reality.  I consider myself a fairly social person, both online and off.  If I had to live without the internet for a week, it would be a little weird.  But if I had the ability to tell all of my friends that I was offline (so they called me instead of using Facebook to tell me about an event tonight, for example), it would be fine.  The only things I wouldn’t be able to do would be: passively “hear” my friends’ funny or interesting thoughts, find out that one of my ex-boyfriends is now married and get Facebook recommendations of funny videos, great photos or interesting articles.  There are lots of other ways I could acquire this information, if I wanted to.  And you know what?  If I wanted to chat with someone?  I’d call them.

The student who was interviewed didn’t seem to be significantly affected by the blackout, but she said that she thought it was helping her classmates realize that they were “enslaved by the media.”  I’m not really sure what that means, to be honest.  But here’s my thought on the matter: The internet doesn’t change who you are or how many social connections you make – it just greases the wheels so you can make those connections more easily. Could we live without cars?  Sure.  It wouldn’t be tons of fun, but we’d still get wherever we wanted to go.

As an example, think of the guy or girl you work with who is always overly friendly, or the person you went to high school with (who could only be described as an acquaintance, not a friend) that gave you a copy of their senior photo with a phony message on the back (Love ya!  Stay sweet!).  I would bet money they were some of the FIRST people to find you on Facebook when you joined and wasted no time before writing on your wall.  They’ve been doing this stuff since long before Facebook made it so easy.

Now that I’m done ranting… What do you think?  Am I missing the point?  I’m interested in hearing other people’s feedback.

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Piece of Mind

I was on the phone with some tool at DirecTV today, giving him a piece of my mind while trying to navigate their website, when I saw this:

Piece of Mind has never been so affordable!

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Syracuse? Kansas? I’m rooting for Nojay Nimpson.

I am in three March Madness basketball pools this year.  As of last Wednesday, I was ranked first in two of them and second in the third.  Then Syracuse lost and suddenly I have no chance of winning anything.  I’m not really bitter – I’m actually glad that all the 1-seeds didn’t make it into the final four like last year.  The past few years have taken the Madness out of the tournament, but I’m glad 2010 brought it back.

Anyway, I have also discovered some other non-sports-related brackets this year that have helped me waste time during the month of March.  First, there was the Cakes vs. Pies competition (Go Ice Cream Cake!).  Then there was the Bracket of Evil (I still can’t believe that Prop 8 and Glenn Beck didn’t make it out of the first round).  But then Galen introduced me to the Name of the Year competition, and I’m hooked.

Here’s the deal.  These guys collect nominations all year long for the Name of the Year.  Then they verify that the nominees were born with that name and didn’t choose it (legal name-changers and nicknames not allowed).   Then they arrange them in a bracket, with each of the four regions named after past winners – Bulltron, Sithole, Dragonwagon and Crotchtangle, and let the competition begin.  Want to know how they seed the names?  Listen to the podcast.

To see a list of past winners, including my faves, Honka Monka and Barkevious Mingo, check out the Names of the Year.

Galen and I spent the weekend in Arizona with his family (photos and stories coming soon!) and he asked his siblings and parents to fill out their own bracket while we were on vacation.  I’ve got mine here… But I was just thinking I’d open it up to all of you.  Who would be in your final four?

Note: The competition has already started.  Go to the Name of the Year Blog homepage to check in on its progress AFTER YOU VOTE on your final four in the comments section.  NO CHEATING!  DAD, I MEAN IT!

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Running Update – 5k Version

Well, it’s been almost two months since I started my running routine.  I’ve tried to run at least three times a week, but have been occasionally thrown off course by a cold, a busy social schedule and Galen introducing me to LOST.  Did you know there were 25 episodes in just the first season?  And there are SIX SEASONS?!?!

But I digress.  The 8k race I’ve been planning to run is on April 18th.  I decided I needed a warm up race between now and then, so I signed up for a 5k on this coming Sunday.     My ONLY goal for Sunday is to run the whole time.  It may take me an hour, but I’m going to try my hardest never to walk, even though my “tired run” is slower than my walking pace.

So I thought this would be a good time to update you, Internet, on the things that I’ve learned.  In case anyone else is thinking about taking up running because they hate it and they want to be overly prepared before embarking on such an adventure.  (A.K.A. The list I Wish I’d Had Two Months Ago):

Gear:

  • Shoes.  I’ve learned these are very important.  I spent $100 on my running shoes, which is about $80 more than I wanted to spend, but it was totally worth it.  I went to Portland Running Company, where the sales guy watched me run up and down the block in various shoes until we were both comfortable and happy with the result.  (I actually left the place horribly embarrassed not only by the size of my feet, as usual, but by the way he said, “Oh interesting.  Usually people with flat feet pronate, but since you’re also pigeon-toed, it looks like you actually supinate.”  It may be interesting to you, sir.  To me, it just makes my feet more freakish.)  Anyway, I’m very, very happy with my shoes and the sales people were super nice and helpful.  It’s not their fault I have a foot complex.
  • Long sleeved Nike Dri-Fit under shirt.  I know there are millions of brands that make these moisture-wicking shirts, but I happen to live closer to a Nike outlet than a grocery store, so it’s the easiest place for me to shop.  I love running outside even when it’s chilly and/or raining, so this is a must.  Although, if you’re like me and do laundry rather infrequently due to inconvenient laundromat hours, I might recommend buying a few of these shirts.  The smell after a use or two is downright foul.
  • iPod shuffle.  Perfect little thing for listening to those Couch to 5k podcasts I was telling you about.  I have a big iPod, too, but bought a shuffle for running.  You can get them pretty cheap on the refurbished Apple website.  They’re so light and easy to run with and mine even clips to my clothes.
  • Nike running watch.  Galen got me this for my birthday and it’s great.  It has tons of features I haven’t even figured out yet.  Plus it’s so sleek and cute.

Tools:

  • In addition to the Couch to 5k Podcasts, I’d highly recommend checking out MapMyRun.com and FavoriteRun.com.  They’re both websites created to help people find good running routes in their areas.  In my opinion, MapMyRun is easier to use when you want to figure out how long your run was or if you want to make up your own route.  FavoriteRun is easier to navigate, however, if you’re looking for run routes that someone else suggested.  Either way, they’re good tools.

So, armed with this gear and these tools, I head into the world of 5k races.  Wish me luck.  And if you see a tall, awkward girl running like Phoebe from Friends in downtown Portland on Sunday morning (or afternoon, for that matter), please don’t tell her how unnaturally large her feet are.

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The Hammock District

For my birthday, I decided I wanted a hammock. My apartment complex has a HUGE deck/patio area on two different levels, which was part of the reason I wanted to live there. Since we actually had sun last week (!) I realized that I’m going to want to spend pretty much all my time outdoors here pretty soon, and a hammock would increase my enjoyment of that time exponentially.

The only problem is that there aren’t any trees on the deck, so I’d either need to tie the hammock to the railing, which would mean it would have to be in one of the corners… or I’d need a hammock stand.

Okay, so after I find some good cheap hammocks online, I search Craigslist for a hammock stand. No luck. I turn to Google products… Lots of results. When I sort them based on price, the cheapest one is this (click on the image to enlarge it):

Which is exactly what I was looking for, obviously.

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Mego: 2, November: 0.

NaBloPoMo

Yikes. It was harder this year than I remember it being last year…

Thanks for reading, everyone! Hopefully I won’t drop off now like I did last year. I’ve got a fun trip to North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida planned this week, so I’ll try to take photos!

And… Just so I don’t feel like this post was a TOTAL waste of your time… I bring you:

The 15 Funniest Animal Videos the Web Has to Offer and my personal addition, The Goat that Yells Like a Man (thanks for sharing, Bean!).

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