Stalkers: Social Media's Oxymoron

You give real stalkers a bad name
I always see much ado made about online stalkers (or as my Son calls them, creepers).  Facebook stalking, Twitter stalking, Foursquare stalking; every type of social media claims to have its share of stalkers.  People that check up on status updates, photos, comments and friend lists trying to figure out what's going on in a person's life. By some people's accounts you'd think they have a slew of Norman Bates trolling around in their social media ready to snatch back their shower curtains at any moment.  Every so often you'll see a fed up status update taking a swing at these creepers telling them to go away and get a life and quit stalking.

And to this I say, bullshit.

The idea of an online stalker is an oxymoron.  It's like accusing someone of being a voyeur for looking at you walk down the street.  Yes, if you use Foursquare or have the GPS locator feature active on your Twitter account, don't be surprised when people know exactly where you are and where you have been.  If you just told the whole world how much your ass itches, don't be surprised when they sit two seats over from you in class.  If all you talk about is booze and sex, don't be surprised when people assume you are a drunken whore.  And when you spell out your life problems in your status updates, don't expect people not to give advice and pass judgment.  I don't know where people got the idea that information put out on the web on a social media site is private information not open for indiscriminate perusal by any other person who has access to the same social media site, but it's an idea that seems to be running rampant. 

The key word in "social media site" is SOCIAL, which means open sharing with others, not privacy and isolation.  The whole point of these sites is to share information.  If you put photos up, people will look at them; if you put status updates up, people will read them; if you geotag yourself, people will know where you have been.  Notice the dominant word in the foregoing sentence: YOU.  YOU control what information goes out into the public domain via social media sites.  And yes, the internet (with the exception of your e-mail and bank accounts and the like) is the public domain.  These so called stalkers are not stealing your mail from your mailbox or peeping through your drawn blinds or following you around 2 cars behind.  Real stalking takes WORK.  These people online are looking at information that YOU freely and voluntarily put out for them, and everyone else, to see.

Oh, but your say your account is "private"?  How laughable. On Twitter, any of your followers at any time can retweet your "protected" tweets and they're out there for everyone to read (and for Google to search).  And getting around a block is as easy as an unfollow and refollow, or a public search of public timelines.  Or my favorite is the dummy Twitter account where you don't know who is actually behind the e-mail address and fake avatar of your newest follower (yea, I've been gotten by that one before).  On Facebook there are so many layers of privacy protection for each component of the site that you either have to lock down the entire thing, defeating the purpose of a social media site, or make it a full time job to police your page.  I've gone to people's Facebook pages who supposedly don't share info with people who aren't their friends, clicked on their photo tab and get to see all their pictures.  And Foursquare.... c'mon now.  You're telling people exactly where you are and what you are doing AND how many times you've been there (I call it StalkerSquare and no longer use it for a reason). These sites are designed for SHARING, not keeping things to yourself. 

So how about this for privacy?  Get yourself a diary and a photo album and hide them under your bed and you won't have to worry about so-called online stalkers.  If that's not a very desirable option for you, just proceed on these sites with the mindset and assumption that anything you put online can be seen by anyone, and you have NO control over the frequency or thoroughness of their scrutiny.  And know there are human beings viewing these things who are going to make assumptions and pass judgement based upon these brief glimpses you give them into your life.  If I have any online stalkers, I wouldn't know it because I don't worry about it.  I control what I put out there, and on a site like Facebook that's connected to my real name I only put things out there I don't mind my mother and children seeing.  If anyone else wants to take an intense interest in my profile, go ahead, knock yourself out.  I actually find it sort of flattering in a sick and bizarre way. Because, while I may limit access in certain ways, it ultimately is not private.

Perhaps the obsession with online stalkers (and also haters, but that's another post) is a manifestation of acute megalomania.  Or the delusional fantasy that you are a celebrity and these people are your paparazzi.  I don't know.  I'm not saying that there aren't people who get obsessive about checking other's comings and goings and doings online and that probably need to get themselves help and/or a new boo and/or a life.  But that is THEIR problem, not yours.  Your problem is making sure you control what they get to obsess over in the first place.

Old B*tch in the Club

This is not cute.

A few weeks ago I was watching Chris Rock's movie "I Think I Love My Wife" and there was a part when ole girl was talking about why she was deciding to settle down, and one phrase she said has been haunting me ever since:

"I'm 32 years old...... I'm the old bitch in the club."

That statement right there reached right out of the TV and punched me in my face.  It's not that this was some deep revelation that I'd never thought about before.  No, quite the contrary.  I'd been thinking about this A LOT when I've been out at the club, feeling all sorts of annoyance at the songs people were getting hype to, irritation at the ridiculousness of the attire (while at the same time feeling self conscious at my own neo-hippie attire), and frustration the next day (and the day after and the day after) at my sore joints and inability to shake a hangover like I used to.  No, ole girl didn't tell me something I didn't know; she told me something I already knew quite well but was trying my best to ignore.

When I was younger I always said I never wanted to be that old bitch in the club.  The chick that just thinks she's out there killin' the game, when the game she's trying to kill actually passed away 5 years ago.  There's a sort of a sad, pathetic air to her that makes you vow to never be her in 10 years, and instead be someone's kept wife and soccer mom to 2.5 kids and NOT have your ass still in the club.  She and her crew may try to justify their existence by labeling themselves as cougars, when in reality they are just some old chicks that need to go somewhere and saddown.

In a few days I turn 32. I was cool with 30, even cool with 31, but there's something about 32 that's not sitting too nicely with me.  I feel like I ought to be progressing forward through the stages of life, not trying to convince myself that I still belong in a prior stage.  No, I am not saying I am old.  32 is NOT old.  But it is starting to be too old to carry on like I did at 23 every single weekend, out in the club, feet hurting, listening to bad music, trying to be seen, and that being a main focus in life.  I ought to be focusing on building a life for myself, progressing in my career, making lasting relationships with family and friends that will be around long after the party is over.  It's not so much 32 itself that's bothering me, but this mounting pressure to "prove" I'm not old by pushing myself past my ever shrinking limits.  It seems like giving up on (or at least backing down from) those things is seen as defeat, as if life is over and you might as well spend your free time digging your own grave with a teaspoon.

I think I just want to be ok with the fact that I don't want to hang out every single Friday and Saturday night, plus be out all during the week as well.  I want to be ok with getting a movie from the Redbox, an Amy's organic cheese pizza and a bottle of wine and sitting on my couch on a Friday night instead of trying to figure out where the party is.  It's not so much that I am getting old, it's that the club scene is getting old.  The novelty has worn off..... I know all the DJ's mixes, I have a man so I don't need to be validated by men trying to talk to me, I'm past the age where I give a damn about "being seen" or showing off the latest fashions so I can get the approval of other females, and I can make the same stronger drinks at home for a fraction of the price, AND I won't wake up the next morning feeling like crap from the killer hangover and Taco Bell I picked up on the way home.  My body could handle whatever abuse I threw at it five years ago; now, I pay a much steeper price for what are becoming diminishing rewards.

Instead of going to the club, I want to do things that create more meaningful and lasting relationships with people.  When you're young, it's about being seen, having fun, impressing others.  Now, in my 30s, it's about making lasting lifelong connections.  I recently went to my beau's mother's 60th birthday party and was just so amazed at how many people she had in her life that cared about her that came to her celebration.  Later I was talking to her about that and she said most of those people came into her life in the past 20 years after her husband passed away, all from the organizations she belonged to and the activities she did and the help and support people gave her helping to raise her 5 kids.  That made me feel a little better because I was starting to worry that I would end up alone and friendless, as I have been going out less and thus spending less time with friends with whom all we really have in common is going out.  I'm relieved that I still have time to build a meaningful life surrounded by people who truly care about me.

Am I saying I'm done with going out?  No, not at all.  I still like to dress up, dance, socialize and engage in tomfoolery every once in awhile (and still more often than your average homebody).  And I still turn plenty of heads when I do go to the club.  But I want to start having fun my way, not try to replicate what I did at 22, or even 27 (I had a lot of fun at 27).  The same club every single weekend is just no longer my thing. I want to go to more events like festivals, picnics, performances, shows, and trips, activities where I can really connect with people instead of shouting over blaring music and scantily clad drunk girls.  I don't think being 32 in the club in and of itself is a bad thing.  It's trying to live life like I'm not 32 that is.

The (In)significance of Girlfriends

(This is follow up to the previous post, All's Fair in Love and War. I suggest you read it. Thanks.)

Up until about a year and a half ago, it had been a LONG time since I'd held the title of "girlfriend".  Even before holding the title of "wife" for about 9 years, I was "fiance" for a year and a half, and "baby momma" for 5.  Not since I was 15 have I held the title of just "girlfriend"......until now.  I'm sure for most women the status of girlfriend is the norm and utterly commonplace, so I'm sure you have no clue why this makes any bit of difference such that it warrants a blog post (then again, many things written about in blogs don't deserve a blog post).  Patience...... let me explain.

Girlfriends (and boyfriends, too), at first glance, are afforded special status.  To gain that official title means that you play an important and intimate role in someone's life.  However, in reality..... you're one step above nobody.  Here today, gone tomorrow, and nobody (with the exception of a few) hears from or thinks about you ever again.  At best, you become "Who was that chick you messed with a few years ago??  The one with the old kids?", and hopefully not "Man, what was that crazy bitch's name you finally got rid of??"  Girlfriends are some of the most transient, non-permanent individuals in a person's life.  And thus, they are treated as such.

This realization didn't fully hit home until my Son got his first official girlfriend.  She's a nice girl, and so far I like her, but not-so-far in the back of my mind I know this is (hopefully) just a temporary thing in the grand scheme of life.  He's 16 years old, she's 17.  I don't care how much he or she thinks they may be "in love", I know there's a 99.9% chance they will break up eventually, most likely when she goes off to college in a year, if not sooner.  Knowing this (or believing this.... but what's really the difference?), I will be nice, kind, respectful toward their little relationship, but I have no plans on making her an integral part of my family.

(Notice I used the word "little".  I find myself using that a lot in reference to their relationship.  I always refer to her as "Q's little girlfriend" though I am constantly reminded by my own beau that she's not "little" and is very much built like a grown ass woman...... the adjective is not used in the literal sense.  But I digress.)

If you're thinking "Well yes, they are kids, of course you wouldn't think of her like that" then let me change the scenario.  I remember once sitting in my friend's basement talking to his then girlfriend (in her mind at least) and she was going on and on about plans to take trips and what they were going to do next year and we should all plan to do XYZ, blah, blah, blah.  I listened, smiled and nodded, gave the occasional "Oh that would be nice" but the whole time in the back of my mind I'm thinking "Chick, you ain't gonna last through the summer."  And I was right, because what I knew that she didn't was that he was a serial monogamist and I'd seen many like her come and go (and then try to hem me up in the club asking why he went).  So while she thought/hoped/wished/fantasized/delusionally believed she was The One, I knew otherwise, so I saw no need to get myself to attached to the idea of her being around.

So, this has me thinking about my own status as "girlfriend" and wondering how I am different from the females mentioned above, and so far I can't think of any reason why I'm not.  Yes, in my reality and his reality I am a very important individual (and vice versa).  But for everyone else around him who has seen girlfriends come and go, at this point in time they have no reason to take me seriously.  In the eyes of the permanent individuals in his life, I'm the current lady friend who sits in the same position as the past lady friend; the next girl who may just as easily become the ex girl.

The implications of this are twofold.  First is not being taken seriously by family, for the reasons stated above.  But second, and more vexing, is the disrespect and toe stepping by "friends".  Now, when my male friends get a new lady friend, I go out of my way to show that I come in peace and try not to make any sudden, threatening moves.  I think, however, that I am in the minority.  In reality, there is the attitude of "Bitch I was here before you, I will be here after you, and who are you to tell me how I can and cannot deal with MY friend" accompanied by that passive aggressiveness that females have gotten down to a science AND and art that's really not about the guy, but more about whatever the female equivalent of a pissing contest would be.  And honestly, unfortunately..... I can't really argue with the logic.  But logic isn't everything and it still pisses me off.  Add on top of this the notion that all's fair in love and war, and as merely the girlfriend I'm a sitting duck for toe stepping, sneak attacks, tomfoolery, and all sorts of other females' reindeer games.

(Do I sound paranoid?? Sorry......there was an incident.)

The reality is until there is some next level of commitment made, whether intentional (engagement/marriage) or unintentional (baby momma), the status of girlfriend means very little to the outside world.  Sometimes it almost feels like a joke, like I'm just waiting for someone actually to cock their head to side, pat me on the head and say "Oh, that's so cute."  I can almost hear the mental speculation as to whether I'll be the one back next year at the company picnic, or a guest at the next wedding, or at the next family function.....

With all that said, none of this really matters.  All that matters is how he and I feel about each other and the level of mutual respect we show one another.  You must walk before you can run, and walking the role of girlfriend is just one of those normal, everyday life things.  Just another one of my observations from my odd vantage point of being a girlfriend for the first time in my adult life, that's all.

All's Fair in Love and War

Maybe she wasn't such a cootie queen after all.

History is always told from the perspective of the winner, not as it actually went down.  Our history books are all written in such a way that applauds the actions of the ones in control and condemns those of the loser.  This is simply one of the spoils of war; the winners get to tell the story the way they want it to be told, and very few actually question it.  This is not only the case in our civilization's history, but love as well. 

Some time last year a good friend of mine was telling me about a new guy she was kickin' it with.  He was a musician, handsome, sexy, and despite the fact that he was staying with her (temporarily til he found another place, supposedly), he had a girlfriend.  I told her run for your life, he's playing you as live-in booty while he plans a life with this chick, you're gonna get your feelings hurt.

Well, last week they got engaged.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to people who are in pre-marriage relationships:  One is that these people are in committed relationships and their relationship should be respected and left alone, and anyone who tries to interfere is just foul and dead wrong.  The other, which was best summed up by my mentor who was a notorious flirt, is "You're single until you're married."  In the Infinite Wisdom of my 20's (and by "Infinite Wisdom" I mean "I thought I had shit figured out and then I actually lived life and was proven terribly wrong") I was of the school of thought that the latter attitude was just awful and an excuse to sleep around for as long as possible.  And even still today I get irritated when someone persists in trying to holla even after I inform them that I have a boyfriend.  But my friend's good news got me thinking about whether this issue is as black and white, right vs. wrong, as I originally thought.

Take my friend as example.  When she first started "dating" her now fiance, 9 out of 10 disinterested women polled on the street would probably tell you she was being a scandalous scallywag for messing with someone else's man.  Now in hindsight though, I would merely have to say "She won."  The ultimate purpose of dating (for most people) is to find someone to build a life with, ideally to marry.  But the fact is that many people are in lackluster, half hearted relationships that they are holding onto for whatever reason, maybe because it's not bad but not really fantastic, or out of habit, or because that's what they think they want, or whatever.  If someone else comes along that is a better match, should they bypass it because of some sense of obligation to the lackluster relationship, or go forward and pursue greater happiness?  Should the interloper walk away from someone showing interest in them because that person is supposedly in a relationship which the interloper has no knowledge of its depth or complexity?

Let's take another example: my very own sister.  She dated a guy from high school for over 5 years, but then her junior or senior year of college she had another guy incessantly in her ear, calling her all the time over the summer, not really caring at all that she had a boyfriend.  That other guy is now my brother-in-law, they have 2 beautiful boys and a wonderful life together.  Had he abided by the "rules" and left my sister alone out of "respect" for her relationship with a guy who honestly was slipping, my sister would not have the life she has today.  My brother-in-law presented himself as the better option, plain and simple.  He won.

I'm not saying that anyone who is not married is 100% fair game and that the follow up question to "Yes, I'm seeing someone" should always be "But are you happy?" because really, that just comes off as rude and disrespectful.  I'm just making the observation that when it comes to love and dating, history rewrites itself such that seemingly questionable behavior all the sudden becomes justified and endearing.  I would be willing to bet that a great number of "how we met" stories involve the scenario "he/she was dating someone already, but I really wanted to get to know him/her" or some other reason why the situation wasn't exactly ideal at the time.  During none of the umpteen times your dad tells the story of how he met your mother do you think "Man, what an asshole", but rather "Wow, he really, really wanted to get with mom."  After the fact we applaud the persistence, the determination, the romanticism, and the poor ex ("Ole Whats-His-Name") just becomes a forgotten casualty of love.

So I guess I do have to agree that, in the grand scheme of life, you really are single until you're married, not in the sense that you can willy nilly do whatever you want in a relationship and use that as a defense (try saying "It wasn't wrong because we're not married" to your boo and see what happens.... you won't be in that particular relationship much longer), but rather there are no guarantees until you say "I do".  Married people are definitely off limits, and at that point you merely become a homewrecker.  But for everyone else, relationships come and go and the reality is that there aren't always clean breaks in between them.  In the end, when it's all said and done, the only person who matters is the one who won.

All is fair in love and war, loved ones..... and the victor gets to rewrite history.

*Disclaimer: Idiosyncratic Thoughts will not be held responsible for any head busting or beat downs you may catch going after someone else's (wo)man. Please proceed with caution.

The Craptacular Truth about Law

Yesterday as I was visiting my beau for lunch I stopped in and said hi to his boss.  He knew I was looking for a new job and he had a connection in one of the other Big Firms here in the city and asked if I would be interested, to which I replied with an emphatic "NO".  Then he asked me about non-profit work, which I have no problem with, and he asked if I'd be interested in a Christian legal services organization.  Again, "NO".  I explained that I had no desire to go back into the traditional practice of law and was merely looking for something legal skill related, and he proceeded to give me the look that you might give....oh..... a crazy person. 

But I ain't crazy.

If I've said this once, I've said it a thousand times:  Law is not a Golden Ticket.  When most people hear the word "lawyer" they automatically think "big money" and "ballin" and "powerful" and "successful".  When I hear the word lawyer I think these words: depressed, unhappy, struggling, overworked, undervalued, underemployed, unemployed.  I'm sure people think I'm being pessimistic and just reacting to my own unfortunate set of circumstances, and that if they were to go to law school things would be different for them, but I'm not.  I have friends-- licensed law graduates -- working temp jobs, secretary jobs, waiting tables, running clothing stores, teaching, everything BUT law. Then there are my friends taking a stab at their own law practice, dealing with clients who don't want to pay, can't pay, or want to have "business meetings" to either holla at you or get as much free info out of you as they can.  You also have the government attorneys who make around the U.S. median household income, if they're lucky, and the non-profit attorneys who have to work second retail jobs to make ends meet.  Finally you have the just flat out unemployed who are plagued with the problem of being "overqualified" for EVERYTHING and can't even get a job at Target.  Most of my friends who started out with the "dream jobs" at big firms are no longer there, either forced out by the firm or by their own last shred of sanity, and finding themselves in one of those situations mentioned above.  More than one friend has voluntarily walked out of a six figure job into nothingness... no new job, no prospects, nada.

Those are some powerfully compelling arguments against law as a profession.  Yet they are arguments non-lawyers don't hear or don't want to hear.  There are still waiting lists a mile long at law schools full of people who just want to further flood an already oversaturated market with their pipe dreams of instant success and fortune.  Let's just stop the madness already.

I recently came across a blog, The Unemployed Lawyer, written by another law school alum, and while I don't necessarily want my misery to have company (meaning I'm wishing misery on someone else) it's always nice to know it ain't just me and something I'm doing wrong, a feeling that has many, many of us law grads and licensed attorneys feeling quite dejected and questioning our self worth.  She sums it up pretty well in this post that made me tear up a little bit because it is so very true:

"I went to law school, passed the bar, and now I'm doing something completely unrelated to my over priced degree. And I'm broke. Are you going to finish that drink?" 
It makes us feel pretty shitty when someone in the bar (or anywhere) asks us what we're doing with ourselves these days, and that's the "craptacular" truth we're forced to reveal (or cover up).  I recently skipped being a guest at an awards breakfast, invited because I was the top undergraduate business school award winner the year I graduated, soley because I didn't want to have to explain that yes, I was the top business grad, yes, I graduated cum laude from law school, yes, I had the Big Firm job, and yes, I'm now working a county job that doesn't even require a degree and doesn't pay my basic bills.  Because the general public is so deluded, they think we're idiots, or damaged goods, and the worst are the prospective law students who think that we must have done something wrong and that they can do it better.

Naw, honey.  If you wanna take a stab at graduating cum laude with a published law review article and see if your results are different, be my guest.  But this is across the board regardless of your class rank.  I see shining stars get shot down from the sky every day.

I guess my point is the same point that I constantly make on Twitter that law isn't the express lane to success, but also that I'm not crazy for telling that jealous mistress named Law to kick rocks, and I'm tired of being looked down upon (and looking down on myself) for reaching my goal and finding it to be an ill fitting dead end.  This break up is ending with "It's not me..... it's you" and NOT the other way around.

She's not your Little Freak

Results may vary from those shown.... proceed with caution.

So this morning I was listening to my Thursday morning guilty pleasure, Wrong Number Flirting, and the mission on which Slutty Chelsea (the telephone decoy) was put upon was a bit different from the typical chick trying to find out if her man is a philandering man whore cheating.  Today's caller was a woman (let's call her L) who had been dating a chick (let's call her B) for about 6 weeks and was SO in love with her, but suspected that B still had her foot on the other side of the fence, i.e. she was still seeing men.  This was B's first lesbian relationship but had told the L that she'd never felt like this with anyone before, really cared for her, etc.  But thanks to a Blackberry and a bit of snooping, ole girl realized her new lady friend was still e-mailing her ex-boyfriend.  Enter Slutty Chelsea and her first lesbian challenge.

Slutty Chelsea calls B pretending that her girlfriend recommended B for hair coloring services.  Per usual, Slutty Chelsea goes on to play the "you sound hot let's meet up" card, to which B responds that she's flattered, but she has a BOYFRIEND.  Busted.  L comes back on the phone, hurt and asking for explanations, to which B replies in so many words "This was nothing serious..... I was just having fun."  And then her solution to the problem was an an offer bring a guy into the mix.  Aye dios mio.

As much as I laughed in my car at the whole scenario (as I do when anyone gets busted), a bigger part of me was pissed on behalf of L and all the other women who have had their feelings hurt by someone who was "just having fun."  Dabbling into the realm of bi-sexuality seems to be all the rage now. It's almost a rite of passage for women from 18 to 25 (or beyond).  Young women play around for a bit, then box up that phase in their lives and go on to marry Mr. Right and have her 2.5 kids, and might whisper about her exploits to her fellow soccer moms over one too many martinis.  No big deal, right?  Wrong.

The thing that pisses me off the most about the treatment of gays and lesbians by our society is that they are not seen as human beings with regular human lives and human emotions.  All our society sees is SEX, which for any heterosexual person is accepted as only a small facet of their life (unless you're a porn star).  ALL people have feelings, seek love, and avoid hurt.  B treated L like a game, something fun to do til she got it out of her system, while L was looking for a real committed relationship.

Does this sound familiar?

Let's change the scenario around.  Let's say L is a black female, and B is a white male.  B has only dated white women, but has always wondered what it would be like to shag a black woman.  So he engages L in what she thinks is a relationship, tells her how much he cares for her and how she makes him feel, and later she finds out that Becky has still been on the scene all this time while B used L as something to check off on his "Things to Do Before I Die" list.  Swap "black" and "white" for any sort of characteristic (fat, skinny, amputee, little person, visually/hearing impaired) and flip flop the genders..... in all of these scenarios, one person was objectified and treated as a novelty, while the other played with their emotions for the sake of experimentation.  People are not experiments, loved ones.

Going back to lesbians..... contrary to popular belief, lesbian women are not solely here for men's entertainment and sowing young women's wild oats.  Those girls you see tonguing each other down in the club are not the representatives for women who love being with other women.  I know lesbian couples who have been together for years, have homes, families, kids, LIVES together. They want love and happiness just like any other woman.  But they want that with another WOMAN, not your freaky ass and whatever dude you want to bring around to add to the mix.  Experimenting and dabbling is fine and all, but don't involve someone who is looking for a serious relationship and/or let her know up front what your intentions are.  There are plenty of other dabblers and Nicki Minja Little Freaks out there to accomplish your purpose.  There are also plenty of lesbian women who get off on "turning out" straight chicks and will enjoy using you just as much as you are using them.  Just let them know up front where you're coming from and let them choose whether they want to proceed.  Don't play with people's emotions and mislead them for your personal enjoyment, m'kay?  It's really a simple, universal rule for any type of relationship.

So ladies, do your thing, explore your lives, just make sure you're not committing woman-on-woman emotional crimes and doing the same thing to lesbian women that you don't want done to you.

Twitter for Blackberry: an Uber Disappointment

So yesterday I tried out the new Blackberry Twitter app. I've been an Ubertwitter user for over a year now, but I was eagerly anticipating what Blackberry had to bring to the table.  After all, it's their app designed for their phone, and who knows you better than yourself right? WRONG.  I used it for 5 minutes and switched back to Ubertwitter (actually never stopped using Ubertwitter, but rather parked the Blackberry Twitter app right next to it).  And here's why:
1)  No visual distinction in the timeline for DMs and @ replies.
Even though I love to read, I'm very much an "at a glance" type of girl.  I want information assimilated into my brain as quickly as possible, which is why I love the fact that Ubertwitter makes @ replies yellow and DMs green within my timeline.  As I'm skimming through new tweets, these catch my eye.  The Blackberry Twitter app (hereinafter referred to as BBT) makes no color distinction.  Sure, you can go to the menu and just go to your @ replies and DMs, but Ubertwitter gives you that option as well.  Slightly related to this is the fact that I love the prominent "In Reply To" button on Ubertwitter so I can follow a conversation all the way back.  Yes, BBT does this, but it's not as convenient.
2) Refresh > every 5 minutes.
Blackberry are you serious??  Do you know how many tweets an average Twitter user can amass in 5 minutes??  I don't either, but I know it's a lot.  I'd be scrolling forever to get caught up every time it would do a refresh.  Ubertwitter gives you the option to refresh as often as every 1 minute.  Sure it's more pull on the battery to refresh that often, but battery management is MY decision to make.  And that's what chargers and USB cables are for. BBT makes you wait an eternity to see your new tweets, leaving many Tweeps deprived and frustrated.
3) No editing for retweets.
Someone obviously didn't do their market research to realize that this feature from the Twitter website is loathed by just about every Twitter user on the planet.  It is as if nobody wants to admit that they screwed the pooch on this one and keep forcing it upon us to make us like it (dammit!). For one, I like to be able to add my own comments to RTs so I'm contributing to the dialogue, not just parroting someone else.  For two, I don't like these random strangers' names and faces showing up in my timeline when one of my friends retweets them. I want the person who retweeted's name and pic to show up, and THEN if I want to go to the original poster's profile & timeline, I can.  I'm all about choices, if you haven't figured that out by now.
4) No autofill of friends' names.
It's really pointless to do an @ reply when you misspell a person's name, because they won't see it anyway.  Ubertwitter solved the problem of trying to remember the spelling of people's names by automatically filling in names as you type.  Once you type the @ symbol, a list of all your friends pops up and gets sorted as you type out the name.  You can also scroll down the entire list and choose a name.  This really comes in handy when you're like me and have the memory of a goldfish and can't remember how a person's name is spelled, or if you want to @ reply multiple people or when you are drunk Tweeting.  In BBT, like the web, you either have to cut and paste (which doesn't work for multiple Tweeps on your Blackberry) or try to remember exactly how everyone's name is spelled.  That's just too much work.
5) Limited viewing options.
One size does not fit all, but BBT seems to think so. There is no option to make text size smaller to fit more tweets on the screen.  At most in BBT I could see 1 or 2 tweets, when in Ubertwitter I can fit around 4 for average length tweets.  Doesn't seem like a big difference, but it IS.  Ubertwitter also allows you to have different text sizes for timelines versus tweets, so your timeline can be smaller for skimming, while tweets can be larger for reading and composing.  BBT also gives you one line in which to composed tweets, as opposed to Ubertwitter providing an entire window so you can see your whole message as you compose it.  Call me a nerd, but there's a certain aesthetic quality to the arrangement of words and characters in Tweets that you just can't see in that little one line.
My verdict: the Blackberry Twitter app bites.  If you like the fabulously sucky features of the Twitter website, then maybe you'll like it.  If you're expecting Blackberry's app to do anything extra that Ubertwitter doesn't besides further clutter up your primary message list (which you can basically do anyway by enabling the "text on new tweets" option on the website, and then what's the point of having an app in the first place??) you'll be sorely disappointed.  Ubertwitter already does a great job of being fully integrated into Blackberry's features..... I've sent things to Ubertwitter that would take me forever and 5 steps to do online like sending pictures, music AND video.  I can take a picture either before or after I start composing a tweet, as it's fully integrated into not just media, but the camera function itself.  If you want visual notifications, it's hooked into that and can be customized from Blackberry's options screen.  It seems like Blackberry let Twitter design this app, and everyone knows that everyone else does Twitter better than they do.
Blackberry (and Twitter) you need to take some notes from Ubertwitter.  In fact you should have just done your product development like the Burger King did coming up with BK's sausage muffin sandwich and just copied the whole concept lock, stock and barrel.  Blackberry, I love you and we can still be friends, but you really missed the mark on this one.

This Ain't 1984....Yet, It Is

 You often hear about people Googling a man or woman they just met in order to get a little free background on them; make sure they're not a registered sex offender, make sure they're not wanted in 5 states, make sure that they aren't a featured member on some gay porn site, just a check up to see what they might not be disclosing in the first 1 or 2 dates.

But..... when was the last time you Googled yourself??

These days, we live our lives online.  We communicate with friends, we meet people, we share pictures, stories and thoughts with basically the entire world.  But that's something I don't think people think about.  We tend to think just about our "friend list" or our "followers", but in reality what you put on the internet is an open book for anyone to pluck off the shelf and peruse.

Here, take 30 seconds to do an experiment.  If you are on Twitter, go to Google and type in your screen name.  I don't care whether your account is "private" or not, I guarantee at least some of your tweets are going to show up as results.  And not just the tweets themselves, but other sites that analyze your tweets.  For example, according to, I apparently curse like a gangsta rapper.  This site is solely dedicated to examining how much cursing is going on via Twitter, and will tell you exactly how often and what curse words you use. 

Now think about every site you're a member of, every e-mail address you have, every blog your write or comment on, every picture you're tagged in, every status update you post..... that is A LOT of info just flung out into the world wide web.  You post it and forget about it with the next post.  But guess what, loved ones: it's still there.  Still there for employers, lovers, friends, acquaintances, your pastor, a stalker, or anyone to find.

So.... what do you do?  This is an unavoidable issue for the vast majority of us, and removing yourself from the online community completely is not a very feasible option.  After all, there is some utility to being accessible online.  So, loved ones, here are some strategies I use to minimize the impact my online immortal words (and images) have: 

1)  Have more than one "identity" and keep them from commingling. 

I am essentially two different people online.  I have my "public me" that is on my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts that is associated with my real name, info and photos.  I then have my "private me" with is associated with my blogs, Twitter, and Tumblr that always uses a pseudonym and rarely (if ever) uses a photo of my face.  The "public me" is the info that I don't necessarily mind an employer or a family member to see.  In fact, I have my mother AND my kids as friends on my Facebook page, so that right there acts as an automatic censor.  The "private me", oddly enough, is actually the REAL me, but being that I often say, think and write things that may make me seem crazy not necessarily be acceptable and appropriate in all settings and to all people, I like to make this persona not easily identifiable as being me.  Sure you could use context clues to put two and two together to get five, but it would take some effort and time.

I keep these two identities separated, in effect creating a Chinese Wall between the two. All these sites have the option to linking to other sites, cross posting and the like, which may seem convenient but it also creates an easily traceable path back to you.  I may link up my Twitter and Tumblr, but neither of these two are going to be linked to my Facebook page.  I don't have the option of simultaneously posting tweets as status updates, and that's is on purpose.  For me, East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.

2)  Use different e-mail addresses.

Along the same lines as the first point, have different e-mail addresses for different purposes.  My e-mail address that I have associated with my Twitter account is NOT the same e-mail address that is listed on my resume.  It is possible to do a search of an e-mail address and see every site that you joined using that address.  Also when you join social networking sites, they often give you the option to search for people via your address book.  If you don't want your boss knowing what crazy trending topic you went in on last week, don't use the e-mail address that he or she has for you.  

3)  Don't post crazy shit.

This is kind of an obvious one, but one that I see people get caught up with all the flipping time.  I cringe every time I see someone tweeting about smoking weed, or driving drunk, or any other illegal activity because that can be used against you by an employer, or worse, a court of law.  Be careful what photos your post and what photos other people tag you in.  Recently I went on my son's 17 year old girlfriend's Facebook page and saw a picture of a table full of booze bottles.  I'm not even her friend on Facebook, but was able to go peruse her pictures freely.  Also don't contradict yourself.  If you call in sick, don't then Tweet about chillin' on your friend's boat all day.  Don't post anything that will get you fired, dumped, or cause your family shame and dishonor for generations to come.    

4) Google YOURSELF.

Do the very same thing that you regularly do for the guy or lady you met in the club last week.  Every so often, do a check-up and Google yourself and see what comes up.  Put in your name, your name in quotes, your e-mail addresses, anything that someone (i.e. an employer) would obviously use to find you, and just see what comes up.  My first result that comes up is my LinkedIn profile, which is exactly the sort of result I want people searching for me to see.  My Twitter account doesn't show up, my blogs don't show up, nothing that I would be worried about anyone seeing shows up.  Through this check-up process, I did discover an social networking site I was no longer using that was still connected to my e-mail, which prompted me to go delete the page.  If I hadn't Googled myself, I wouldn't have even thought about it's existence. 

Basically this all comes down to not just common sense, but constantly being mindful that everything online, no matter what your privacy settings are, is public.  If you don't care about your image to potential employers, clients, or future mother-in-law, by all means say and do whatever you want and while you're at it go get a huge face and neck tattoo.  There's a time and place for everything, loved ones.  Just don't make it all the time and everywhere by putting every aspect of your life on the web.

*And if you have no clue how 1984 has anything to do with this, please go read a book.

Public Snooping... just don't do it

This is how snooping SHOULD be done.... and in that outfit, too. He might be less mad.

One of my new guilty pleasures has become Thursday morning's Wrong Number Flirting on a local radio station.  Basically it's the telephone and radio version of the "sexy decoy" on talk shows.  A female who suspects her man may be cheating calls in, tells her story, gives some background, and one of the radio hosts plays the role of "Slutty Chelsea" and calls dude up with a somewhat plausible story and tries to get dude to hook up with her and/or admit some other fact that his girlfriend/wife suspects he's hiding.  For example, last Thursday's guy was a math tutor and his girlfriend suspected that he was cheating with his female pupils, so Slutty Chelsea called pretending she needed "late night tutoring sessions."  Another week it was a baseball coach and Slutty Chelsea calling as a MILF in need of coaching for her son.  Or my favorite was the woman who suspected her fiance had been engaged before and her ring was a hand-me-down..... Slutty Chelsea called claiming to be a friend of the girlfriends, and not only did dude try and have a date with her (because he thought he remembered her) he also admitted to being engaged before and that they only reason his fiance got the second-hand ring is because they were both fat and that was the only place he could get a plus sized ring.......*ouch*. 

As entertained as I am while I drive Mini-Me to school each Thursday morning, I also delight in the loathing that I have for the women who call in to set their dudes up.  They're usually whiny, insecure, passive aggressive little nags who flip out when someone is prettier than them.  For many of them their only "evidence" that their man may be dipping out are the fact that he interacts with women and "acts weird".  I'm not much of a fan of snooping in the first place, but if you must do it, do it in private.  These women, however, choose to investigate with thousands of people in central region of the state listening in. And this is even worse than the talk shows, because at least the guy consents to going and sitting on Steve Wilko's stage, and if he doesn't have enough sense to know some bad shit is gonna come of it, that's on him. But to just blindside a dude and take your snooping to the public domain by tapping his phone conversation via a popular radio station......cuán patético. 

My favorite part, however, is to hear the guys' reactions.  Some of them are, in fact, low down dirty dogs who get busted, and it's funny to hear them fumble through an explanation.  But for the innocent guys, I like to hear them go OFF on their girlfriends.  Sometimes they try and make it seem like dude is an asshole for getting pissed, stressing that there's nothing to be upset about because he "passed" and isn't "in trouble", but I think they are perfectly justified in being pissed off to the highest level of pissivity.  Not only does he have to deal with an insecure, whiny chick who's probably already cracked all his passcodes and checks his pockets daily, he's now got to deal with the world knowing that his woman just tried to throw him under the bus on a crowded street.  She's taken what should be a private matter and made it very, very public, and didn't even have the she-balls to do it herself.  They act like they can't understand why he's so mad.  I'm a rather private person (despite what you read on here and Twitter), so I perfectly understand and sympathize...... in fact, I can often be seen driving in my car screaming at the radio "Yea, dumb ass, that's what you GET!"  I laughed allll the way to work one day over a woman who ruined her own engagement surprise.  Ha ha, bitch.  Ha.

Whether you're an advocate of snooping or not (I'm not), or believe it's justified when you find something incriminating (I don't), this is just entirely the wrong way of going about it.  Relationship problems should not be aired to the general public in graphic detail, whether that's on a talk show, radio show, blog or Twitter (and yes, I admit I've been guilty of such in the past, but I've checked myself).  You shouldn't need the mass media market to back you up.  I can't stand that show "The Marriage Ref" because I don't think you should leave it to Madonna and a live studio audience to work out your marital issues.  You should just grow a pair (ladies, too) and confront your mate one-on-one, not hide behind some show and let them do your dirty work that you're too much of a wuss to do yourself.  The very fact that there are thousands of people like me who eagerly listen and laugh at what otherwise should be a serious issue should deter, not encourage you.  These women have reduced themselves to cheap forms of frivolous entertainment and unwittingly dragged their dudes right in along with them.  So yes, they deserve to get thoroughly embarrassed and read the riot act in public, where they put themselves in the first place.

So handle your private business in private, loved ones. If you are so immature as to have to get a third-party to trick your mate into revealing information, maybe you need to rethink whether you're mature enough to handle a real relationship in the first place.

Everything Ain't for Everybody

"You know what they say..... everything ain't for everybody.... but I tried anyway......"

I have been a Blackberry user since 2007.  I remember when I first got my Blackberry Curve I got teased by one of my friends because he said my phone was so "corporate".  I couldn't get the iPhone I wanted (and the reason I switched carriers in the first place) because it wouldn't work with my firm's enterprise server, so I was stuck with a Blackberry or a Treo (been there, done that). At first I resented the little bastard..... I wasn't "corporate", dammit!! (even though I was working as an associate at the largest law firm in the city at the time)  I wanted a sexy phone, too!  But ultimately it became an issue of utility over form and I dealt with it.

Since my first Curve 8300, I've had a Curve 8350 (well, the guts of it anyway, after my friend spilled a pint of Blue Moon on my 8300 and another friend gave me his 8350 with a cracked case, so I got out my little screwdriver set and swapped out the body.... easy stuff), a Bold 9000 (which I LOVED), and now a Tour 9630.  I don't know if someone was smoking crack while the designed the Tour or whether I just have really, really bad luck with phones, but I am now on my 4th replacement Tour (so 5th phone total).  If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same result, then apparently I am stark raving mad.  But this past weekend made one thing abundantly clear to me: I'm just a Crackberry fiend lover.

So, my 3rd replacement Tour, as all the others before it, started effing up.  Freezing up, screen delay when turned on, trackball lags, just acting a plumb donkey.  Sprint (bless their souls) is very good about replacing phones on warranty versus making you use your insurance, and their policy is that on your third replacement you get to switch to a different model. Unfortunately, the Tour is currently their best Blackberry, and the Tour 2 won't be out for months, so on my 3rd replacement I decided to forgo that option.  However, on this 4th time I was just fed up.  I lucked up and got Ben the Assistant Manager this go around and he offered to let me pick any phone I wanted. *cue hallelujah chorus*

Let me back up.  My beau prides himself on his ability to get things for free.  And one of the things he's been able to get has been not one, but TWO phone upgrades at no cost.  His latest and greatest triumph came in the form of the HTC Touch Pro 2, currently Sprint's most expensive smartphone with a retail price of about $600.  And it does everything.... walks your dog, tells you how great you look, signals alien space crafts, all the bells and whistles.  We would have races to see who could look up some random bit of information faster between his HTC and my Blackberry, and yes, he would usually win.  He would always mockingly (but jokingly) point out some cool feature that his phone could do that mine couldn't.  It was sleeker, sexier......and not corporate.

Back to Saturday and Ben the Assistant Manager.  So I wouldn't come off as trying to get over on anyone (which I wasn't) I feigned ignorance and acted like I was just *so* put out by the fact that they couldn't offer me another Blackberry and asked him what my options were, when in my mind I knew exactly which damn phone I wanted: that Touch Pro 2, so finally, FINALLY, I could shake my smartphone inferiority complex.  I pretended to browse down the row of display phones before finally saying to Ben the Assistant Manager, "Well I GUESS I'll try out that one."   And of course the first message I sent was to my beau with the "neener, neener, neener, lookie what I got!" text.  Victory in the form of a sexy phone was finally mine.

But then I got home.  Actually first I was trying to play with it in the car (kids, don't try this at home) and damn near wrecked a few times because I couldn't manage to work the touch screen right and the keyboard is so long it can't be used one handed.  Ok, I told myself, I just have to get used to it, set it up, customize it.  I started doing the set up and customizing my settings, and slowly began to realize that while it did all these great fancy things, it didn't do what I needed it to do.  No push (i.e. real time) e-mail, no custom notifications (I couldn't use my Perry the Platypus sound for texts (!!), or vary the vibration types), no Google Talk application, no Pandora app (?!!!?!!!), and no Twitter application that seamlessly integrated the camera and media on my phone.... really no Twitter app at all.  Navigating through the phone wasn't as easy as it was on my Blackberry, and admittedly when it comes to my phone usage I'm an OCD ADD user.  I need everything I need, right there, easily accessible, functional, and admittedly..... basic. 

Then there was the issue of it just being wrong.  The weight of it felt wrong, the keyboard slide out and two hand usage felt wrong, and it just looked wrong in my possession.  I'd glance over at it sitting on the table and think "That's not my phone, that's HIS phone."  I had already mentally associated it with my beau, and it was his identity, not mine.  It worked for him and the way he used his phone, which I now appreciate is very different from the ways in which I use mine.  I realized that while it is a great phone, it was no better than my mildly attractive "corporate" Blackberry.... just different.

So despite his insistence that I just had to get used to it, the next day I took it back and asked for another Tour, this time brand new out the box instead of another refurbished replacement.  I'm hoping that makes a difference because I have a feeling that the problems I was having were common to all these refurb Tours and I was simply getting someone else's recycled crap.  And if not, and it's truly a piece of crap, I'll just keep swapping it out until the Tour 2 gets released and get my hand on one of those.  I've just accepted that this is a small price to pay (or not pay, thanks to Sprint) for what I'm comfortable with and satisfies my needs.

Of course there's a bigger life lesson here, which was so aptly summarized by Jilly from Philly at the beginning of this post.  It doesn't matter how great someone else tells you that something is, or what you should want, or how great something works for them.  In the end it's about YOUR needs and the life choices you make to meet those needs.  Too many people go through life seeking what they should want-- in a career, a mate, a lifestyle--not what they actually want, only to be sorely disappointed when they wasted their time on someone else's ideal.  It's not that you were misled or that the other choice is inferior.... it may just wrong for you.

Where I Wanna Be.......?

"I would rather be able to appreciate things I can not have than to have things I am not able to appreciate."

When Donnell Jones' "Where I Wanna Be" first came out, I was really pissed.  I liked the song in the abstract, but the lyrics greatly upset me.  I was 21 years old, recently married to my one and only boyfriend, and had two kids ages 6 and 1.  I just thought Donnell was the biggest asshole in the world.  What the hell is this "finding where I wanna be" bullshit?? WTF do you mean that if you love someone you need to leave before you cheat on them?? I felt outraged on behalf of whatever woman was the inspiration for that song, and I'm sure I'm not the only high school sweetheart that felt a little..... threatened.

But then, like with so many other things, I grew up.  And hindsight is a mutha.

High school sweethearts are like puppies.... everyone ooohs and ahhhs and "that's so cute!" at them, but don't think about how they piss and shit all over your house and chew up all your furniture.  The idea of high school sweethearts is nice and all, but in reality you may not only be selling yourself short, but selling your relationship short.  Before you start mentally composing your "Nuhh-uhhh!!" comments telling me about how long you've been married to the captain of the football team for which you were a cheerleader, or how your grandparents got married at 12, just wait for my twisted logic and hear me out.

We often cannot appreciate what we have until we experience and appreciate what we don't have.  And this is where the utility of dating different people comes into play.  Every relationship-- even the crappy one with the psychotic stalker -- is instrumental in your growth as a person and as a potential companion.  You get to learn what you like AND what you don't like, what behaviors are normal and which are extraordinary, and the successful and unsuccessful ways of interacting and communicating.  The ability to compare and contrast is invaluable whether you realize it or not.  I realize it in hindsight because I was not able to compare and contrast, and neither was my ex-husband, because all we knew were each other.  He didn't know how tolerant I was, or how well I could cook, or how phenomenal good I was as a lover, because he had nothing to compare it to.  And I didn't know how I deserved to be treated by a man, because I had no way of comparing.  Our relationship existed in a vacuum, as do most high school sweetheart relationships. 

When I started seeing other people, it was like a whole new world opened up within myself.  You mean to tell me I'm NOT a crazy psycho girl that my ex always told me I was, but am really actually a pretty laid back chick?  So I really AM a fantastic oral advocate (he tried to tell me I wasn't) and can turn a man on at the drop of a hat (he tried to say.... well, never mind... he had some "issues")??  And yes, I can cook my ass off?  No, dudes aren't supposed to sit back and watch their woman fix shit around the house??  All of these things weren't revealed to me until after I had something to compare my first and only relationship with.  And yes, I'm sure there were some positive things about him that I didn't see til I started dating............. I just can't think of any right now.

There is also something to be said about the power of choice.  When you're dealing with toddlers, one technique parenting "experts" tell you to do is to give them the ability to choose between two options when in actuality they'd really rather do neither.  If Suzie doesn't want to put on her sweater, you make the situation a little more tolerable by giving her the choice between her red sweater or her purple sweater.  People, starting before they can even communicate, like to feel like they have control over their lives, and choice is one way of exercising that control.  Being able to choose Option A between A and B is a lot more satisfying than just only having Option A.  It's the psychological benefit of that choice, that control.

While human beings are just slightly more complicated than sweaters, the same concept applies.  I have a friend who is dating a woman he originally dated back in undergrad.  Since then he's been married, divorced, dated woman locally and across the country.  But he said that they now finally realized and accepted how good they were for each other.  Dating (and sometimes marrying) other people gives you an appreciation for what you have now. I'm not saying that before you settle down with the person you potentially want to spend the rest of your life with that you have to go out and play the field one last time to be extra sure. I'm saying that the experience of dating more than one person (not necessarily simultaneously) at some point in your life (hopefully before you meet your soul mate) helps you to be more comfortable with your ultimate choice because you have a better awareness of what your likes and dislikes are, as well as how your mate stacks up in the grand scheme of things.  And also just because you actually have a choice.

So back to Donnell.......I get it now.  Perhaps he went out and dated a few <s>psychotic</s> chicks and realized that his original lady really was the one for him (tho good luck getting her to come back.... that's a whole 'nother issue) or perhaps he realized she wasn't The One, thus saving them both from wasting a lot of time together (and making him, not Usher, the artist behind "Papers").  But at least now he KNOWS [insert GI Joe quote here].

*Also posted at Adventures in Divorce, 3/19/10

Say it with love, say it with meat

I'm all about fairness and equality (even if fairness and equality aren't always about me), so in that spirit I want to share a little info about the guys' response to Valentine's Day.... yes, I am talking about Steak and Blow Job Day (or SBJ Day for short).

SBJ Day is on March 14th and is considered to be the complementary holiday to Valentine's Day just for the guys.  It's your opportunity to really show your appreciation for your man that you should be showing all year long, but that doesn't stop V-Day from being celebrated.

SBJ Day is about exactly what it says..... no flowers, candy, gifts, cards, jewelry, stuffed animals.  Just a steak. And a blow job.  That's it.  You have to admire the simplicity of it really.  I guess you could fret over which cut of steak you'll buy, or just which Superhead inspired "technique" you will use, but honestly, I don't think he'll care, and it's just another unnecessary layer of complexity that we women tend to put on everything (yea, I said it). 

The origins of the holiday are somewhat ambiguous.  It was founded some time around 2002, probably as a joke, but not surprisingly it actually took hold.  Go survey 10 people in the grocery store, and I'm sure an overwhelming zero percent of them know about it.  But I know about it, dammit.  And now you do, too.
And because I'm such a proponent of fairness and an advocate of properly "showing appreciation", here are a few helpful ideas to make your SBJ Day experience a success: 

Steak Recipes-- Steak is a pretty basic food to cook, but can go horribly wrong if not done right.  Here are 3,008 recipes for beef steak to choose from, ranging from the basic to the complex.  Here is a guide to how to choose a good steak and a guide to choosing the best cut of steak for various recipes.  Or if your skills in the kitchen are lacking, you can always take him out for a steak though it is much harder for you to serve it to him naked. 

Alternatives for Non-Beef Eaters-- The name of the holiday just says "steak", but not what KIND of steak. If your man doesn't eat beef, here are some alternatives that are still with the spirit of the holiday:
  • Fish steaks -- Fish steaks are cut perpendicular to the backbone, as a opposed to fillets which are cut parallel to it. Salmon, swordfish, halibut, turbot, tuna, shark, sturgeon, and mahi mahi all make for good steaks.  Here are some fish steak recipes for your non-bovine eating man.
  • Vegetarian "steaks"-- Thanks to advances in food science (or magic), there are a wide assortment of vegetarian "meats" including the vegetarian steak. Or you can grill him up a portobello mushroom which is considered the "steak of the mushroom world". 
BJ Tips and Tricks -- Um, yea..... not gonna put myself out there and give away my personal secrets.  I will say though that the key to a good BJ is effort and enthusiasm and no teeth.  If you approach it like a chore, it will be received as a chore.  Ladies, it's not that bad, and if you are over the age of 23 still turning your nose up and saying "eww, I'd never"..... shame on you.  Grow up, put on your big girl panties and handle your business (before someone else does for you).  However, if your oral advocacy skills aren't quite up to par (or just need a refresher course), Sunny Crittenden's BJs 101 is a pretty good primer.

SBJ Day Cards-- not really necessary (since the name is not SBJC Day) but may be a nice touch, something to send to him early in the day in anticipation of what to come later (no pun intended, but feel free to use it).  Remember, the most important sexual organ is between the ears.  And the verses on the cards are actually kinda funny.

So there it is.  No sense in feigning ignorance now.... you know what you need to do.  So ladies, get your marinades and your lip gloss ready and show your man just how much you care.


She really wants to stab you in your ear.

I work a job. It is not a career.  I deal with 1) lawyers and 2) the general public, two groups who say and do the most asinine things.  Everyday I think I'm about to go crazy from the things I hear all day, every day, without fail, so much that I can pretty much anticipate what a person is going to say when they walk through the door, with about 70% accuracy. 

'Here are the top 5 (or so) things I'm sick of hearing in my office every single fucking day, and the response I REALLY want to give instead of smiling and nodding:

1) "Did you change the office around?"  You've been coming here for 30 years, you old coot... yes, obviously we changed things around a bit.  And it's been several months.  If you had some actual clients, maybe you'd have discovered this earlier instead of being one of the people that reminds me of a very obvious fact every single fucking day and forces me to respond "Yes, we remodeled the office back in October." 

1a) "Am I in the right place?  It looks different."  Again, muthafucker, you've been coming here for 30 years.  Things change.  Adapt. I would start saying no just to fuck with you, but I like my paltry pay check.

2) "Those are some pretty flowers!"  They're FAKE, you numb nutz.  Do you honestly think the government springs for fresh tulips-- purple ones no less-- just to decorate our shitty office?  For $5.99 at Wal-Mart, you can have your very own and stop reminding me how awful and garish the ones sitting in front of me actually are, even if your old ass it too blind to see the fraying edges, plastic seams, and the fact that the vase has absolutely no water.

3)  "I've been doing it this way for 30 years!"  Well, idiot, that just means you've been doing it WRONG for 30 years, and perhaps it's just the case that the government lucked up in this shitty economy and hired someone with the intellect and the balls to actually call you out on it.  It's my way or the highway right now, buddy.

3a) "Well my attorney told me to do it like this."  Your dumb ass attorney told you WRONG, and he, like you, is a moron.  I hope he's got his malpractice insurance up to date.  Attorneys are not gods.... just because they say it doesn't mean it is true.

4)  "This is the right form....I got from your website."  No, you didn't.  Please quit lying.  Or go back and check the URL of the website you did get it from, because it wasn't any of OUR sites that you got that form that is 3 years outdated.  But don't sit here and argue with me about the fact that you, your attorney, or your bank are too incompetent to get the right forms and make it seem like it's our fault for your shortcomings.

5) "I need to pay my taxes."  Stop.  Look down at the paper you are thrusting at me.  What room does it say to go to?  Now look at my door.  Is that number on my door?  No?  Then get the fuck out of my office and quit making me get up and down unnecessarily causing additional stress on my bad knee because your ass can't read.

As a bonus, I need for people to grab a dictionary and use a modicum of thought to understand the following concepts:

Decedent (is not a descent)
Transferee (that's you, idiot... yea, the one getting the money)
Deduction (makes your taxable amount smaller)
Exemption (the amount you get tax free before the state sticks it to you on the rest)
Cause number (is not the cause of death)
Date of death VALUE (is not the date of death)

You asshat......

My heart weeps.... R.I.P. Eboni

I was working on some other posts for you all when my friend called me this morning to tell me that my loctician, Eboni Dodson, was killed last night by a drunk driver.  Apparently she was having car trouble and she and a few others were trying to push the car off of the road when a pick-up truck hit her car.  The others saw the truck and were able to move out of the way but she was inside the car and was hit. 

I've known Eboni for years.... she worked in the same salon as my nail artist and was a mutual friend of a good friend of mine so I've been to social gatherings with her a few times.  Eboni started my daughter's locs two years ago, and I myself turned to her just a few months ago to start my new set of locs.  I loved her sweet, funny, talkative, outgoing and overall positive nature.... just the type of person who should be cultivating and styling locs. I only had the chance to sit in her chair once, but was looking forward to the day when my locs were finally fully matured and I could return to experience more of her talent.  Sadly, now I will never get that chance.

My prayers go out to her young child, her girlfriend, her family and friends.  My heart weeps today over the loss of such a beautiful person.  Rest in Peace Eboni.... you are loved and missed.

"If you are what you say you are..... a Superstar....."

I have a confession to make:  I'm jealous of you all.

Yes you. And you. And you and you and you.  You out there in the blogosphere, you out there on Facebook, and especially you people out there with all your tweets on Twitter.  Just green with envy.

Every single day I read about all of you who are getting up to go to church, on your way to your workouts, cooking your all organic whole grain co-op grown vegan meals, telling others how to have a dating life as fabulous and exciting as yours, espousing your positivity and wisdom and goals to save all the children of the world while getting your PhDs in astrophysics, the fabulous vacations you're going on, the designer clothes you're planning on wearing tonight, the hot club you're kickin' it at later, and let's not forget that perfect 0.5" x 0.5" pic of you in your Twitter avatar.... seems like everyone out there has their shit all together and life is just fabulous.

According to what I read in the blogosphere and the Twittosphere, you all are super healthy, spiritually balanced, perfect figured (wo)man magnets who are all educated and wildly successful.  And ya know, that makes me feel pretty shitty sometimes.  I'm divorced, under-employed, am officially "overweight" by BMI standards (although I would say I'm more in the zaftig category), I don't go to church,  I drink too much wine Diet Pepsi, I'm grossly in debt, often moody, and spend way too much time on Twitter.

Let me repeat that again...... "spend way too much time on Twitter."

The realization that keeps me from flinging myself off my apartment balcony into the retention pond below to end my comparatively worthless existence is the myth of the Twitter Superstar.  You know these people.  Folks with 10,000 followers hanging from their short and curlies, the person whose tweets fill up every other entry in your timeline, the person who always has abundant wisdom and wit for the Twittosphere, telling you about all the wonderful things they're doing and how you should be living your life so you can be as happy and popular as they are.  And for every tweet of theirs you actually see, there are 10 other @ replies to their friends that you don't see.  If there's a break in their tweeting for more than an 30 minutes, you assume they have died.

Seriously..... how much can you really be doing when your updates come from the web like a rapid-fire automatic machine gun?  And even for those with mobile Twitter apps, how much can you really be doing with your head down and thumbs twiddling away over your Blackberry or iPhone, firing off a tweet every 10 seconds to appease your Twitter Groupies??  As a self professed Twitter abuser I can tell you the answer: not much.

The unfortunate beauty of Twitter is that you only know what people tell you in 140 characters or less.  And they can tell you ANYTHING.  And I have on good authority that some of you wildly popular Twitter celebs have the personality of a tofu brick in real life.  One thing I've noticed over the years that even in real life, there's a general rule that the more a person talks about how smart (or attractive, or well off) they are, the less likely that assertion is actually true.  And I would be willing to wager that this rule applies to other sorts of boasting, because if you're really about something, you don't have to constantly beat people over the head with it by constantly informing everyone about it.  And this is ESPECIALLY true in the Twittosphere where there's no way to cross check the veracity of your statements (at least on Facebook all of your status updates, wall posts, and pics have to jibe). Honestly, to everyone besides the Twitter Groupies, it makes you sound kind of douchey.  Mildly amusing maybe, but you can save that seat on your jock for someone else.

As long as there is social networking, there will be those people who abuse the system to re-create the lives they wish they had, not the ones they actually have.  But there's a fine line between selective sharing and the megalomania of Twitter Superstars.  I just hope you have your next gig lined up..... cuz it won't last forever.

"If you are what you say you are.... a Superstar...... then have no fear........" ~ Lupe Fiasco, Superstar

My Chemical Romance

(Originally posted on 9/21/09 at Adventures in Divorce)

No, not talking about this Chemical Romance:

I'm talking about THIS chemical romance:

That, loved ones, is the molecular structure for Oxytocin..... the chemical that induces labor (the synthetic form is Pitocin.... I'm sure every mother has at least heard of it), the chemical that is released during breast feeding that "lets down" the milk (otherwise we'd be leaving puddles of milk everywhere all the time) and causes bonding between mother and baby, and it's the chemical that helps us create emotional bonds with people in general. Oxytocin also reduces fear, increases eye contact, and increases trust and generosity.

It's also the chemical released in much greater levels in women than men during sex.

(Of course, there are other chemicals involved in this whole process, such as vasopressin and dopamine, and this is not intended to be a comprehensive lesson in the Science of Sex. My point is.... well, you'll see my point.....)

As much as I hate to concede biological and evolutionary defeat on this subject...... women biologically are unable to completely separate sex from love (or some other comparable emotional attachment) leading to many busted windows and stalker behavior misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Intellectually we may be able to say "it's just sex", but Mother Nature has other plans for us, and you don't go toe to toe with Mother Nature.... you will ALWAYS lose, even if you don't lose right away. She's like a Vegas casino.... you may get lucky on a few rolls or a couple of pulls, and may even walk away with a jackpot. But play long enough and eventually gambler's ruin sets in and you end up looking like THIS.

So let's take a look at how this plays out. Ladies, you meet a guy/know a guy and you get into a FWB scenario because, for whatever reason, a full blown relationship is just not in the stars at that time. And you're fine with it because you get your needs met without the drama, there's no expectations, and you're just having fun. For a little while. All the while that you're getting that Mighty Mighty O, your body is steady kicking out oxytocin, which is making your body form an emotional attachment with this person and doesn't give a damn about what your brain says. According to "What is This Crazy Thing Called Love?" by Dr. Shirley Glass, "A trick of nature induces women to bond with an inappropriate partner after sex because of oxytocin which enhances orgasms and increases a woman’s emotional attachment to her sexual partner. That may be why you keep the creep with whom you sleep." Combine this with dopamine (the "feel good" hormone, which also increases oxytocin levels) and you're REALLY hit. Basically you are addicted to the warm fuzzy feeling (i.e. high), and like anything else that induces a high (e.g. drugs) you're gonna go through withdrawal when you stop.

So now you have this otherwise irrational bond with this person which is the equivalent of chemically induced insanity because in your mind you know this person is bad for you, yet you still are saying "I wish I knew how to quit you". I must admit..... I've been there. More than once. And honestly, in hindsight, it's a scary thing. I look back on two individuals in particular and think "What in the HELL was I thinking???" The best way I can describe it is like in the cartoons where the character is under some spell, and their eyes are all glassed over, and then the hero(ine) comes along and breaks the spell, and then suddenly the victim comes back like "Where am I?? What happened??" Basically, you're just like Prince Eric in this scene from The Little Mermaid:

Waking up from your stupor doesn't usually happen that fast.... it takes a clean break and some time. But once you've broken that addiction, you're good. Any time I've tried to backtrack and replicate those original feelings it was a monumental waste of time never the same because I'd already realized he was really Ursula the Sea Witch not as great as I'd originally thought he was. But originally you couldn't tell me he wasn't the greatest thing since sliced bread, even with the logical side of me saying "Don't do it.... reconsider.... do some living." I was merely a slave to chemical romance (".... he was my Voodoo Priest and I was his faithful concubine......").

So, with all that said..... ladies, don't fool yourself into thinking you can maintain a long term Friend with Benefits. Short term.... maybe. And it might be a little easier if he treats you like a complete asshole. But who the hell wants to have a string of flings sufficiently short enough not to develop this chemical bond and end up looking like a big ole slore? I used to think I was hardcore and cold blooded enough to manage it, but I'm officially waiving my white flag to Mother Nature. I don't mind being a slave to chemical romance, but only if my heart, mind and soul are imprisoned as well.

Those unruly teens

So it's been about 3 months now since I started my second foray into locs, and I must say that I'm very pleased with the progress. A lot of people find themselves frustrated with the "teenage" phase of locs. They're no longer the cute little spirals that they were 2 months ago, but rather, just as the name implies, they are somewhat unruly and have a mind of their own, and are a little harder to control. It is during this phase that "budding" starts to occur and you have a perpetual case of the frizzies. This is the phase that deters most people from locking, especially if you're one of those people who can't stand to have a hair out of place. These are the same folks who will ooooh and aaaaah over your mature locs and tell you how they are "thinking about" locking (with their bone straight perm), but will talk about what a hot mess someone with teenage locs look. Insert your favorite cliche phrase here, but the one that comes to mind is "you can't make wine without crushing some grapes"...... oh, wait..... maybe it's "you can't make omelets without breaking some eggs." But I don't like omelets, or eggs period for that matter, but I do like wine. A lot. So we'll go with that one. In any event, basically shit has to get messy before it's perfect.

I have actually been quite enjoying the teenage phase this time around (I wish I could say the same thing about dealing with my son). My locs are the perfect size such that the ends are perpetual curly-q's, which look a lot like how my un-loc'd hair looked when I put gel in it and shook it out. The curly-q's sort of mask the chaos going on underneath. I'm also enjoying the fullness I get after 1 or 2 days following a re-twist. This is actually the look I was trying to go for when my hair was un-loc'd, but it would never stay that way for very long and was a pain to have to wet and gel all the time. Now I literally get up, take off whatever head covering I had on the night before, put a few drops of Carol's Daughter Lisa's Hair Elixir in my hands and vigorously tousle the fuck out of it. A fluff and a shake and I'm ready to go.

Products.... every natural girl's favorite subject. The most common discussions I read between natural hair ladies is about what products people recommend. And for good reason; the right products can make all the difference between hot and hot mess. Thanks to my very thoughtful beau, I'm currently using Carol's Daugther products in my hair, and I LOVING them. I use Black Vanilla Herbal shampoo (after washing my scalp with some t-gel shampoo cuz my scalp is quite mutinous) and retwist with Loc Butter. The gift set also came with Hair Milk and Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie conditioner, but conditioner on baby/teenage locs is bad (m'kay?) so I use it on my daughter's locs.

I had a bit of hesitation with using the Loc Butter because one of the ingredients is beeswax, which is a naughty no-no for grooming locs due to build up (and attracting dirt and causing stiffness). However, I've found Loc Butter to be satiny smooth, not tacky, and doesn't cause any more build up than Organic Root Stimulator Loc & Twist Gel, if not less. And it smells fantastic. And speaking of smelling fantastic, I am in love with Lisa's Hair Elixir. I wish I could cover my body in it (but then I'd have none left for my hair) because it smells SO good. Though I put it on my daughter's hair one day (because I was feeling generous, but normally I'm a product Scrooge) and she said "Ewww Mommy! Now I smell all herb-y!" I love the smells of pachouli, lemongrass, rosemary, peppermint, sage, and all those other "herb-y" essential oils so it is perfect for me. My hair ends up smelling good, is shiny, and the loc butter gives it just enough hold (I hate skinny overtwisted locs on my head). Bueno.

Oh, and just in case it's not readily apparent, I haven't been back to my loctician since she first started them. I do my own washing, retwisting and styling. I think everyone with locs should at least learn how to do basic loc grooming (wash & retwist). Sadly, a lot don't. I really could do basic loc grooming as a side hustle, but I've already explained the reasons why I don't.

So there we are. Wild, happy, unruly, drama free locs. I love it.

*I would be remiss if I did not once again emphasize the dangers of product addiction. When it comes to locs, less is more. You could cultivate locs with 2 products: Shampoo and a light oil. That's it. All the butters and creams and gels and pommades are just extra grooming products and aren't going to make your locs form any faster. Just remember, the more product you put in your locs, the more product will be (and possibly stay) in your locs.  So be easy.