Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bad Facebook


So here's the thing with Facebook. People are always like "oh, Facebook is so evil, because everyone can stalk me." And I defend it, I'm like, "dude, if you don't want people knowing something, don't post it on the internet. And if you accidentally do get something you don't like on your profile, just click the little X beside it and nobody will ever know it was there."

See, Facebook? I defended you. Yet you went and betrayed me anyway.

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when it's been over five years together. Telling all my friends and family about it was tough, and something I wanted to put off as long as possible. I did, however, want to tell them in person, or at least with a personal email. Still, I didn't like my Facebook profile living a lie, so I went in and got rid of the relationship field. I'm not Single, not In a Relationship, not It's Complicated, not nothing. That's nice and ambiguous without being dishonest. I figure it'll just disappear from my profile and I'll be done.

But no, my mini-feed thing says that I just ended my relationship. To add insult to injury, there's a soul-crushing picture of a little heart breaking in half.

No problem, I can just click the little X beside it. I do, and it says it did the trick. But it didn't. That little broken heart, the symbol of my deeply personal source of despair, shows up on the homepage of hundreds of random acquaintances that didn't need to know, as well as the real friends that didn't need to find out through Facebook. There's no way to change my relationship status without the whole world knowing about it.

Oh well. At least it's out there. What I'm going to do now is become an emo kid (minus the hair), listen to lots of death metal, and be completely celibate for a few years.

...

In other other news, Cloverfield was an awesome movie, and the season premiere of Lost was fine as always. I love you, J. J. Abrams. I would break free of my celibacy, sexual orientation, and gender in order to have your babies.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hiatus

Here are some reasons that I haven't had time for, or haven't felt like, blogging lately:










I'll be back in a while.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Missing Persons


Even though I only really have a few real friends, my MSN list is populated with dozens and dozens of "buddies" who I never talk to. I don't even know who half of them are. The most interesting of these people, however, are the ones who got on my list somehow, maybe I talked to them a few times, then they disappeared forever. The thing is, they are still on my list, and still labeled as whatever their last MSN username was.

Given peoples' tendency to include updates on how their life is going (see: this guy) in their MSN names, perhaps they left clues as to where they disappeared to. Here are some such people on my list (actual names changed, in case they're still alive and want their privacy):

  • theworldisalie. A lot of people accuse their friends of lying, or politicians of lying, or big businesses of lying, etc. This guy accuses the whole planet of being a lie. My guess is that he left this lying chunk of rock, either with a rocket ship, or with a shot gun. Wherever he is, he no longer has internet access, because he hasn't been online in years.

  • Sally - what a disaster! At least this person had time to let her MSN contacts know that she was involved in a disaster before disappearing off the face of the earth. Maybe her disappearance had something to do with the disaster.

  • ~M!zty~ [I wish everyone I fucking knew didn't go to jail] :~( . Obviously this person doesn't hang out with the right crowd. Since she hasn't been online since, oh, about 1998, I figure she was either a victim of one of her jailbird friends, or tried to fit in with everyone she knew and ended up in the slammer herself, drawing little crying frowny emoticons on her cell walls.

  • Alice - ate too many nachos. OK, unlike the other people on this list, I actually know who this is, and know she's not dead (if you're reading this, hi! Glad you're not dead). Still, it's funny that the last message she left to the internet before going missing was "ate too many nachos". Those interviewed about her disappearance would have to be like "wait officer, there is one thing. The last thing she told me was that she had eaten too many nachos. Do you think that could help locate her?"

    Then, of course, they'd find her in the bathroom of Joe Kool's, with a burst belly from eating way too many nachos.

In conclusion: Joe Kool's has really good nachos.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Book Review: Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert


As anyone who has studied any psychology knows, humans have one of the most advanced brains out of all the animals on this planet, but they're far from perfect. There are a lot of situations in which our brains make minor mistakes, and some situations in which they outright betray us. Stumbling on Happiness is an overview of many of these mistakes, with a special focus on mistakes we make when we remember how we felt in our past, or try to predict how we'll feel in the future.

The book is extremely easy to read. It's often hilarious, and not just in a "I'm a clever scientist so I'll throw in a reference to some obscure work of literature and everyone will laugh" sort of funny, but actually hilarious. It also stays clear of any psychology jargon or statistics. As someone studying psychology, I could complain that he oversimplifies things sometimes (for example, discussing the theory of cognitive dissonance without ever calling it by name), but really, the book isn't meant for psychologists. Anyone could read this and learn a lot about how the mind works, then go read the original research for the details. And even though I don't fully agree with every conclusion he reaches, I'm glad he never simplifies to the point of being dishonest (like some popular psychology books are prone to doing), such as offering an easy answer to eternal happiness. In science, and especially in psychology, there are no easy answers.

A caution though: the book is more about stumbling, less about happiness. As Gilbert clearly states at the beginning, this isn't a book about how to make you happy. It's about how you often suck at predicting what your future will be like, and that happens to include how happy you'll be. This book can teach you a bit about human psychology, but it cannot teach you how to be happy. He does give one scientifically verified suggestion for how to predict your own happiness, but you won't like it.

I really enjoyed reading Stumbling on Happiness. Or at least, I currently think I enjoyed it. My brain may not be entirely accurate when retrieving my past happiness while I read it. But I'm pretty sure that anyone interested in psychology could amplify their own future happiness by picking up this book.