Monitoring Facebook Relationship Statuses: Update

February 28, 2011 at 3:21 AM (Musings) (, , , )

Good news: Facebook Breakup Notifier has been shut down!  Bad news: a creepier one has taken its place.

WaitingRoom is even more straightforward than the Breakup Notifier: select your crush who is, again, sadly spoken for. WaitingRoom sends that person a note saying he or she has an admirer . . . you know, in case that person was having second thoughts about the current relationship and just needed encouragement.  In the event that said crush ends things, 48 hours later, he or she will find out the identity of the admirer(s).  Oh, and the crush doesn’t need the app to receive the notifications.

Again: gross!  As one of my friends had responded to Breakup Notifier, “If you want to creep, you have to work at it.”  This is subtle home-wrecking, and generally unsettling.  Even if you were into this, suppose you get your WaitingRoom note that someone thinks you’re awesome.  You go ahead and cut the cord, expecting it to be that smoking hot guy/gal you met at your friend’s party, only to find that it’s that creepy individual who always manages to find you at networking events.  Serves you right . . . ?

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The Creepiest Facebook App Yet: “Monitoring” Relationship Statuses

February 21, 2011 at 8:54 PM (Musings) (, , , )

Yup.  Those of you with crushes coupled with stalker-like tendencies can rejoice: you can now be notified via Email as soon as someone’s relationship status changes on Facebook.  Aptly named Facebook Breakup Notifier, the app is pretty straightforward: log-in, select your friend(s) who are tragically spoken for, and wait for that glorious little notification Email that gives you the go-ahead to move in for the kill.

Facebook stalking to the latest extreme!

Yikes.  This is one of many reasons why I’m glad I don’t share my relationship status on Facebook.  I don’t even know where to begin on this one.  It’s an unsettling reminder that thanks to social media, information barriers are gradually melting away.  As a result, in my humble opinion, so are human courtesies.  We spend so much time tethered to our screens that we often forget to socialise in real life.  You know, with the people sitting next to you at the bar.  Communication has largely slipped into an “at my convenience” mentality.  We send a text message rather than making a phone call. We check a Twitter or Facebook feed to see what a friend has been up to, rather than asking.  And now we can even monitor relationship statuses of people who we might want to target for the next romantic venture.

If you care that much about someone, wouldn’t you find out soon enough if he or she is available because you talk to them, oh, I don’t know, regularly?  I would imagine that a breakup would surface in conversation fairly quickly.  Oh wait, you don’t talk to this person regularly?  How do you know you’re interested in the first place?  The extent to which technology manages to delude us continues to baffle me.

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A Social Experiment, Continued

December 2, 2009 at 2:31 AM (Happenings, Musings) (, )

Unfortunately, PlentyOfFish deletes all messages 14 days’ old, so my favourites don’t exist any more.  In the future, I’ll have to copy and paste the good ones into a continuous Word document.  I still have a few tidbits that I managed to save, though.

The site certainly doesn’t lie: there are plenty of fish indeed, and almost as many kinds.  There are the ones who just out for one thing (and it likely doesn’t involve any follow-up phone calls).  There are the ones who probably aren’t bad people, but are incapable of stringing together a coherent question (or are simply too lazy).  There are the [much] older ones who think they still have the charm from their 20s.  There are the ones who are still in their 20s and have let their charm turn into arrogance.  There are the ones who try too hard to be funny.  There are the ones who are probably hysterical, but are way too nervous to show it.  And then there are the ones who are simply too shy to send a message.

Brittany FalconerAnd then there’s me.

I’ve received messages of all kinds, ranging from “how are you” to “i cannot stop appreciating your beauty.”  I copied and pasted both of those.  At least four people have assumed that my sporting a pirate hat means that I am defenseless against pirate jokes (note: I’m not).  I’ve been referred to as an “older woman” by a 20-year-old.  I’ve learned what it’s like to read a poorly written college essay.  I’ve received a note that looked very similar to one my roommate received.  Scratch that – we alternated reciting it from our own inboxes.

Now, that’s not to say that any of these people are losers (okay, maybe some of them are), or that I’m way too cool for anyone on this site.  Au contraire.  Some people have messaged me that have merited responses, and I would even go so far as to say that conversations may have budded.  I will even admit that I have messaged some people, and – gasp – they never got back to me.  And perhaps most shocking of all . . . I’ve actually met a fish or two (and I wasn’t kidnapped!).

The title of this and the last post is “A Social Experiment,” but if I remember my grade school science classes at all, the scientific method requires an educated guess as to what the outcome will be before experimenting.  Admittedly, I never really went that far with my planning process.  In fact, I don’t think planning actually crossed my mind when I created the account in the first place, but I don’t consider it a disadvantage: I’m not constrained by what I think is allowed or is not allowed to happen with this . . . online dating thing.

Wish me luck.  Or a cool experience worth blogging about later.

Tonight’s Tunes
“Scenes From An Italian Restaurant,” Billy Joel
“Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin
“Love Song,” Sara Bareilles
“White Daisy Passing,” Rocky Votolato
“Dreaming of You,” The Coral
“Romeo and Juliet,” Dire Straits

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A Social Experiment

November 20, 2009 at 5:08 AM (Happenings) (, )

[Read: I Was Bored And Under the Mild Influence of Alcohol…]

Not too long ago, I blogged about being lonely in Boston because all my friends had moved away after graduation.  Two posts ago, actually.  And yes, I linked to it.  Sue me.

Very shortly after that, my roommates and I were spending a quiet evening in, enjoying some wine . . . and some more wine.  Typically when this occurs we are more easily amused than usual, and perhaps a tiny bit reckless (but never to the point of waking up the next morning severely regretting the previous evening’s activities).

For whatever reason we were discussing the Cultural Reference Guru’s boyfriend’s roommate, whom we were betting included his delightful dog in pictures for his online dating profiles (we lead very, very exciting lives).  We were all so convinced, that the only reasonable course of action would be to hunt this man down on said dating site.  While the Guru began thinking of preferences that would include the chap in search results, I decided to fill out the personality profile, just to see who would turn up.  After five minutes wasted on Likert scale questions, I thought of a better way to spend my very valuable time: answer the same questions on a site that wouldn’t ask me for money.

I had seen various adverts in MBTA stations for PlentyOfFish.com, which promises to delete users who are unfit to date.  However, like most ads wallpapering mass transit stations, I had more or less blocked it from conscious memory.  However, a month or so earlier, a friend had mentioned that she’d actually met someone interesting on the site, and that had placed it back on my radar.

That moment, there with my roommates, a little on the unrealistically boisterous side, seemed like as good a time as any to sign up:

“Whatever, I have nothing better to do!  I’m signing up!”

My other roommate, the Globetrotter, saw the potential situation I was getting myself into and reacted accordingly:

“Wait, it’s free!?  Let’s do it!”

Another ten minutes of Likert scale questions later, the Globetrotter and I were supposed to draft our profiles.  We had to pitch ourselves to the masses of eligible singles.

Slap-happy drunk.  Clearly we were making our best and brightest decisions.

Way too much time later, I had set up my profile . . . 100% free of typographical errors.

Two minutes later, I had three messages.  It must have been the marabou-trimmed pirate hat in my picture.

. . . And after glancing at the hour, you’re going to have to check back later for all the fun characters who have contacted me so far.  It’ll be a good way to kill time.  Promise.

Tonight’s Tunes
Aha Shake Heartbreak, Kings of Leon
Only By the Night, Kings of Leon

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Instant Messaging ≠ Instant Dating

February 27, 2009 at 3:17 PM (Happenings, Musings) (, , )

When did I miss the train?  When did conversations check out in favour of texts, IMs and Facebook wall posts?  Admittedly, I’ve realised that people prefer to spend 15 minutes texting each other trying to decide when and where to meet up for lunch over actually picking up the phone and achieving the same end result in 15 seconds.  I know that Twitter playfully challenges members to say anything in 140 characters or fewer.  And an instant message is so delightfully noncommittal compared to making another phone call.  Come on, how often have you had the following exchange over some chat medium?

You: hey whats ^?
Them: nm u?
You: same lol…tryin to figure out what im doing friday
Them: omg!!  that reminds me of sumthing i wanted to tell u!
Them: i met this guy last nite.  we were at this party
You: h/o, i have to go get laundry, but keep talking, i’ll brb

You haven’t even looked at your laundry basket today, and you have no intention of addressing it in the near future, either.  It’s a convenient excuse to get away from the computer, though.

Three hours later
Them: and he finally txted me like 20min ago and we’re hanging out friday!! 🙂
Them: where did u go??
You: hey sorry, got distracted, mom called
You: thats awesome tho, yay for u!
Them: lol i kno, rite??

For all your mother knows, you have run away to Mexico, begun trafficking drugs and joined the mafia: she hasn’t heard from you in three months.  But, you didn’t have to sit through your friend’s riveting story, and she wasn’t offended because you decided to ignore her as she typed “lol” and “omg” incessently for three hours.

I’ve come to terms with that.  Instant messaging has its place between friends.  What threw me for a small loop, I guess, was when someone I barely knew selected it as the weapon of choice in the courting arena.

Once upon a time, our blogger sat herself down at a hotel bar sporting her faithful little black dress and a killer pair of legs.  Small wonder that she attracted some attention.  It was a delightfully traditional exchange: boy meets girl, girl judges that boy isn’t utter scumbag, girl gives boy number.  Both parties agree to potentially meet the following evening if boy is still in town.

Since then, I have all but forgotten how this gentleman’s voice sounds.  I’ve received some text messages, and I’ve even been poked on Facebook (the most ambiguous form of “communication” ever).  No phone calls.  I should have given him my screen name over my number: at least receiving messages through AIM is free.

If I’m not mistaken, this chap said that he’d be back in Beantown in a few weeks.  Not to issue a challenge or anything (okay, I’m absolutely issuing a challenge), but I may be more inclined to clear my schedule in favour of a meet-up if my phone rings.

Today’s Tunes
“I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” Stevie Wonder
“You’re the Boss,” The Brian Setzer Orchestra
“Changes,” David Bowie
“At Last,” Lou Rawls & Dianne Reeves
“Amazing,” George Michael
“Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy,” Queen
“Homecoming,” Kanye West feat. Chris Martin
“I Need Love,” Robin Thicke

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A Lucky Lass, Indeed

February 8, 2009 at 7:08 PM (Friends, Musings) (, )

I’m always reminding myself of how blessed I am to be surrounded by so many people who care about me and support me, and the recently renewed concern for my grandfather has only amplified that awareness.  I have two coaches who will provide me with advice, hugs and attentive ears over a beer at any hour of the night.  I have a studio full of friends who always ask me how I’m doing, and actually have an interest in hearing my honest answer.  Among those coaches and friends are people who have on countless occasions been willing to drive me home from the studio because I missed the last bus or train and couldn’t afford cab fare . . . even if it meant they would need to drive for another hour in the opposite direction before they got home.  I live with three people who not only tolerate my antics, but occasionally seem to welcome them.  They feed me, booze me, listen to me, sit with me, watch dumb TV shows with me, and generally spoil me as needed.  There are people who are hundreds of miles away (or in some cases, fewer than 10), who will drop everything to spend time with me on the phone (or in person) to get my mind off of whatever is eating me.  I have two parents and a brother who have done so much for me that I’d probably destroy the WordPress server if I tried to list it all.

I don’t know how many of you read this, but if you do, you probably know who you are.  Thank you.

Today’s Tunes
“Dramastically Different,” The Beastie Boys
“Think For Yourself,” The Beatles
“How Can I Keep From Singing?” Enya
“Fall For You,” Secondhand Serenade
“Breathe,” Kylie Minogue
“Blind,” Hercules and Love Affair
“London by Night,” Frank Sinatra

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The Power of the Morning Swim

January 26, 2009 at 6:19 PM (Musings) (, , )

Last night, I was seething, to put it lightly.  I’m talking “woe to the soul who dares to stand ‘twixt me and, well, just about anything” enraged.  I won’t delve into details, because they’re irrelevant, but, have you ever thought to yourself that you’ve gotten over an incident with someone, only to realise that upon seeing that person, it takes every ounce of self-restraint in your being to keep from retching, throttling the person, or both?  It makes me think of a Julie de Lespinasse quote: “You know that when I hate you, it is because I love you to a point of passion that unhinges my soul.”  Granted, the quote’s a bit radical for my situation (I’d like to think, at least), but I found it in someone’s Facebook profile once and it’s stuck with me ever since.

Anyway, the person in question hadn’t done anything wrong yesterday, I suppose – or maybe so, but it’s all subjective – but being in a particular environment under just the right circumstances still cultured a knot in my stomach the size of a small grapefruit.  As I battled my fight-or-flight reflex, I remembered something someone had told me several months ago: “You never really get over someone, I’ve found.  As you push them out of your life, the effect they have on you stays with you, but gets buried with time, and you tell yourself that you’re over them.  As soon as they turn up on the radar again, though, you’re just as much of a mess as you were the last time you encountered them.  I know that I personally had some people in my life, who I wish never to see, or even hear their name, again.”  I guess I had managed to reopen my first wound.  I wasn’t so much angry with the person, but with myself for being so easily affected by someone.

I came home last night emotionally drained, and sorely tempted to have at least one more drink before going to bed.  I refrained, instead vowing to swim in the morning.  Before retiring, I asked the little wanderer if she had any interest in joining me for an 8.30 A. M. swim, and she tentatively agreed.  Although I was exhausted, I tossed and turned for what felt like an hour before finally falling asleep.

My alarm chirped at me as menacingly as usual this morning, but for once, I was determined not to opt for a snooze.  In contrast, I lept out of bed to brew a pot of coffee.  I knocked on the little wanderer’s door first, and heard nothing.  Knowing that she’d been up late working on grad school applications, I decided not to disturb her.  However, once I started the coffee, I heard an equally annoying phone alarm: this time it was the little wanderer’s.  I held my breath.  Although I was planning on swimming regardless of company, I still hoped I wouldn’t be going alone.  Calorie-burning misery loves company.

I was in luck: my suitemate emerged and welcomed the the cup of coffee that awaited her in exchange for swimming companionship.  My mood was still less than savoury, but knowing that I wouldn’t be swimming alone lifted my spirits somewhat.

I hoisted myself out of the pool an hour later feeling like a new person.  The endorphins had outdone themselves: I may as well have just scored my dream job, I was so content.  Although I still harbour some bitter feelings, those are tucked away for now, and I don’t plan on letting them get to me for as long as I can help it.  When they do take over again, though, it’s good to know that they’re somewhat water-soluble.

Today’s Tunes
“Four Minutes,” Madonna feat. Justin Timberlake
“Keeps Gettin’ Better,” Christina Aguilera
“Miss Independent,” Ne-Yo
“Dangerous,” Kardinal Offishall feat. Akon
“If I Never See Your Face Again,” Maroon 5 feat. Rihanna
“So What,” P!nk
“Gyrate,” Da Muzicianz feat. Mr. Collipark
“American Boy,” Estelle feat. Kanye West
“See You In My Nightmares,” Kanye West feat. Lil Wayne
“Viva la Vida,” Coldplay
“Womanizer,” Britney Spears
“I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz
“Love Song,” Sara Bareilles

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Curse You, Mick Jagger

December 21, 2008 at 2:10 AM (Friends, Musings) (, , )

Yep, two blog posts, one day. Don’t worry, it won’t turn into a habit.

Being the sporadic, borderline dysfunctional jukebox I am, it almost made sense when, after I’d been whining to myself for a good two minutes, the Rolling Stones’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” popped into my head and would not leave me alone.  In this case, what I want is closure, and I’m pretty sure I won’t get it.  Thanks for the mockery, Mick.

I was involved with someone for a substantial amount of time.  On a personality level, things were okay: we got along splendidly.  However, when it came to two-way communication and dependability, much was left to be desired.  Usually friction was minimal (and unnoticed by the other party), so I let it slide, reasoning that if it’s small, it shouldn’t merit a big fuss.

Unfortunately, even small things build up into something big, and eventually, the small things themselves were growing larger.  I was looking for support where there was none, and I was getting agitated, to put it politely.  Finally, I decided that the matter deserved some attention.

Many level-headed friends advised that I simply walk away, but I was so convinced that the person I had initially met and grown to like so much was still around somewhere – granted, that person was probably under a rock somewhere, and required some serious coaxing, but I was cautiously optimistic.  I told myself that my friend probably had a good reason for acting so ignorantly, and I assured myself that enlightening this person would change everything – after all, I try to stay involved with intelligent, reasonable people.  This couldn’t be too difficult.

I met this person for dinner and lay all my cards on the table: my frustration, my confusion, my disbelief, my hope, my fear.  I hated to place myself in so vulnerable a position, but I’m a sucker for “What If?”s and didn’t want to walk away from anything wondering what could have been, had I only said something.

I felt rewarded for my actions: my dinner companion was recognisably upset, and after some further discussion, we finished dinner on a high note, agreeing that we needed to take better care to communicate with each other, because we valued the relationship we had and didn’t want it to dissolve.

One week went by.

Two weeks went by.

Three weeks went by.

This person could have dropped off the face of the planet, for all I knew.  I had sent a couple text messages, but either received no response or a disinterested one.  Rather than waste time screwing up the composure to address the situation again, I decided to walk away.  I deleted all screen names and phone numbers: I never saw them contacting me; there was no point in using up phone/buddy list memory if they were never used.  This person had proven not to be worth any of my time, let alone the amount I’d already wasted trying to be a good friend and preserve the relationship (I won’t say how long – it’s embarrassing to think about).  I’d been blinded by beautifully crafted sentences and fashionable sensitivity.  I had fallen victim to someone who needed constant attention, but was only considerate of the needs of others when the mood struck.  I felt so used.  And stupid.

Well over a month had passed before I saw this person again.  When I did, after my stomach recovered from its sudden cartwheel, I prayed for some kind of acknowledgement.  An apology would have been ideal, but I would have settled for an oblivious, “Hey, haven’t heard from you recently.”  ANYTHING that would have told me that my actions (or conscious inactions) didn’t go totally unnoticed.

Nothing.  Nothing at all.

Casual conversation, as if nothing had ever happened.  I’d never felt so empty before.  I couldn’t understand how someone with whom I’d been so seemingly close could just treat me like a friendly acquaintance.  Effortlessly.  I’ve interpreted this in two ways: this person is an excellent actor (and a sadist), or this person really is too self-absorbed to notice so-called friends when they’ve been hurt.  Unfortunately, I think it’s the latter, and I’m certain that I can’t do anything to make this person look beyond a mirror.  Even if a realisation DOES eventually hit – “Huh, strange, this person I used to be pretty close with doesn’t really talk to me any more . . .” – I doubt that it’ll be thought of as something that person could have prevented, or even turned around.

And THAT is the closure that I’m afraid I’ll never find.

Tonight’s Tunes
“Rag Doll,” Maroon 5
“Got to Be More Careful,” Jon Cleary
“Watermelon Man,” Herbie Hancock
“Big Lie Small World,” Sting
“Don’t Think of Me,” Dido
“The Book,” Sheryl Crow
“1973,” James Blunt
“Fox on the Run,” Sweet
“Fool in the Rain,” Led Zeppelin
“Shiver,” Maroon 5
“Back at Your Door,” Maroon 5
“Hot N Cold,” Katy Perry
“Killing Me Softly,” Lauryn Hill
“Good Girl Gone Bad,” Rihanna
“We Were Born For This,” Paramore
“Slip Away,” Si*Se
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” The Rolling Stones
“Where Do I Begin (Love Story) (AwayTeam Mix),” Shirley Bassey

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Speaking of Roomates . . .

September 9, 2008 at 7:11 PM (Friends, Musings) (, )

“Bashing” my roomate last night reminded me of the wonderful company I’m keeping in this apartment.  For those of you who were wondering, the star of my last post was laughing hysterically whilst I read the post to her as I typed it.  Maybe it’s because this is the first time I’ve REALLY gelled with my roomates; maybe it’s because last year’s situation was less ideal; maybe it’s because we actually decided to live together, rather than having met via the coincidence of Craigslist or a similar medium.  Regardless, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that I thank my lucky stars at least twice an hour that we all get along so marvelously.  Some social stuff I appreciate:

Apartment dinners.  We cook for each other.  Not only does it make life easier when we’re putting together one meal for the four of us versus each of us preparing our own meals, but we’re all decent culinary artists, if I do say so myself.  In addition, it’s much more enjoyable to dine in company, rather than dining alone.  We’ll probably have dinner together at least twice a week.

Mutual love-hate relationships with the fitness centre.  Commonly heard phrase: “Yeah . . . definitely not waking up at 8.00 to go to the gym tomorrow.”

The above may possibly be a result of late nights watching TV and movies.  Everything from Scrubs to the VMAs to, yes, The Cosby Show.  We’re a somber group here.

Laughs, and a good many of them.  I’ve been reduced to tears a couple times over the last few weeks.

 

Ladies, cheers to these and many more delightful times to be had!

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My Damn Roomate . . .

September 9, 2008 at 4:22 AM (Friends) (, )

My damn roomate makes me dinner.  And it’s delicious.

My damn roomate keeps the kitchen clean.  And I avoid washing dishes like the plague.

My damn roomate has fine wine tastes.  And I like wine.

My damn roomate reaffirms my opinions of people I dislike.  I won’t mention names.

My damn roomate makes me giggle.  This is particularly appreciated when I’m sleep-deprived and loopy.

My damn roomate gives me Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.  There goes my diet.

My damn roomate named my plant “Herb.”  This makes sense, since Herb is, in fact, an herb.

My damn roomate is snoozing on the couch.  And I’m too lazy to put sheets on my bed.  Note the conflict of interests.

My damn roomate is watching The Cosby Show.  She isn’t black.

My damn roomate finished my coffee.  Along with my other roomate.

My damn roomate can only hope that I don’t identify her in this blog so that psychotics may have the  tools with which to track her down.

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