Monthly Archives of: September 2011

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Movies: The Guard

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I am swamped this week. Swamped.  I just took an exam last night and my brain waved the white flag.  As a result, I’m not thinking about anything except this awesome movie Mr. B and I saw on Saturday, and you should too, if it’s playing near you.

This movie got me to thinking, what’s the real difference between Irish and Russians? And a la Stephanie, I made a Venn.


 

 

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Facebook anxiety

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I’ve written before about how much I hate Facebook.

Not only do you never know what your privacy status is (I just assume everything I post is public), but, more to the point, it sucks you in.

I’ve been talking about it with friends who agree, and I stumbled across this website of a famous IT exec recently.

Life is pretty awesome when you live it outside. Get off Facebook, get rid of your TV, and go be interesting. Don’t try to capture your interesting moments in a zillion contrived photos; don’t try to hold on to the people you meet through some ridiculous virtual stamp collection; don’t broadcast a message to your friends to brag about what just happened.

I’m not going to go crazy and cancel all my accounts and get rid of my TV just so I can be one of those people that tells you they don’t have a TV, but  I’ve come to the realization that Facebook makes me anxious.

For example, I decided that Thursday last week was a beautiful fall night to smoke hookah with Mr. B. As soon as I decided it, I thought.  Oh, I should post a Facebook update. Or take a picture of the hookah and then upload it. Why did I want to let people know that I was smoking? Because I wanted them to think that I was cool, exotic, to be jealous, and to leave lots of comments on my Facebook page, which I would later refresh to check.

All of this was perfectly normal inside my head, but it sounds perfectly stupid if you’re actually talking about it. Are all of us really living our lives for Facebook updates? So we can get a few likes on a status?   Are people posing in certain pictures a certain way because it’s more Facebook-friendly? (Yes)

Or, my favorite is when I have something going wrong in my life and I leave a vague but anxious status up like, “Oh, man.” and “Studying makes me cry,” something to that effect, because I want people to pay attention and send me sympathy messages. It can take at least 3-4 minutes to craft a really good Facebook status update. That’s time that I could be writing my novel. Or eating the challah I bought last week before Mr. B gets to it.

That’s stupid.

I also don’t want to be jealous that someone is living a more glamorous life than me.  It gnaws away at me all the time, making me extremely unhappy.  I am just a boring suburbanite in Philadelphia, but here are people joining the Israeli army, traveling for business, taking extended vacations to Hawaii, being admitted to Harvard, and taking tours of Nutella factories.

Before Facebook, I was still a perfectionist and I knew in my head that there were people achieving things and that I should hustle and achieve things, too.  But my friends on Facebook make me feel completely inadequate. Not because they’re terrible people, but because the whole point of Facebook is to pull out significant but positive events in your life. Like, you’re not going to post “Just had to get two cavities removed and my gums bled. ” or “Found out I’m too fat to fit in my jeans.” or “This house is disgusting and I just found moldy bananas in the fridge.” Right? Everyone who is poor enough not to afford a computer and doesn’t speak English is also not on Facebook, so you’re not getting the really horrible stories that make you appreciate what you have.

So you have a biased sample size.

The problem with giving up Facebook, though, is that if I didn’t check it, I wouldn’t know that a high school friend graduated from law school, that another high school friend got married, or that another friend is in Europe.

So what do I do? So I’m conflicted. Which is just what Zuck and the Gootch wanted.

People who are not on Facebook: are you happier?

For now, I’ll just keep Numair’s message in mind,

Live your life as though it is the world’s best-kept secret, as though you are living in an amazing TV show with an audience of one.

And isn’t that what this blog is?

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Friday Links

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My mom sent me an email on Wednesday with, “Twenty years ago, we landed in New York. You were five!” and nothing else.  It made me very emotional at work. I pretended that my database was making me cry.

I thought back to when I was five, my dreams, goals and aspirations.  I wanted to be a novelist. I still want to be a novelist.   I loved ponies. Still do.  And I loved Sesame Street. Still do. Then I thought to the huge difference between then and now.  I wonder what five-year-old me would think of me.

Because Now Me is the sum of 20 years of my family’s hopes and dreams, and I hope I lived up to their expectations when they left everything behind.  Except I’m still not done living up to my own expectations. I’m not a published writer, and I still have never seen the Bay of Bengal, which is my dream.  But I’m working on it.

Links:

  1. Better than mommyblogs.
  2. Somehow the fact that my family came to America with $300 doesn’t make me feel sorry for this dude
  3. Dating in China
  4. Favorite Russian writers
  5. A book I am mildly interested in
  6. And here are some books you might be interested in
  7. New Atlantic site just about cities
  8. When your publisher sucks
  9. Hire for the ability to get shit done
  10. A Holly Golightly for the Stripper-Embezzlement age
  11. Living in the suburbs  and here’s some more
  12. Jobs
  13. Jew plates
  14. Fauna friends
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How We Learned American

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I am so excited about this NY Times article about American kids learning Russian and going to a Russian school in Moscow.  Because it’s about time those hipsters get a taste of their own medicine. And by hipsters I mean American parents and teachers that teach their kids that each one is a special snowflake. More Americans need to learn how the rest of the world works.

Here’s a video where Mr. B and I recall our memories of learning English, and debate why the American school system is terrible, but mostly just talk about nothing. It’s like a real-life Seinfeld, only with horrible production quality. Guess what? They don’t teach iMovie in American schools, either.

The VeeLog: School n’ Stuff from Vicki on Vimeo.

I would LOVE if you included your memories of being integrated into the American school system and learning English in the comments.  Let’s swap horror stories.  Or how we completely mischaracterized American education.  Or talk about why you’re a Special Snowflake and don’t know 7 times 7.