Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Fortunately for our three followers, uploading video to Blogger takes eons. So I learned to only do little mini-clips, and even this took eons. Anyway, I liked this little part of my weekend. I'm proud of my kid. This exchange was just like buttah.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Facebook Phenomenon, and Many Sub-Phenomena

So here is the reason that my last post was over two months ago: I've been sucked into the Facebook vortex. I discovered FB thanks to my friend Kelli, who sent me an invite to view her page. Up until that point I had only a vague notion of what FB was about, but figured it was a hobby I would explore more deeply in June, say, June 14th. Because at that point, school was due to end June 13th. Now, however, two or three blizzards later, we are ACTUALLY going to go to school until August 27th, approximately. Ok. I naively clicked on the link. The message said that in order to view Kelli's page, I had to have an account, but good news! It's Free! and Easy! So, I decided to lose my Facebook virginity a little sooner than I expected to. After entering my name (ok, that's legit), my hometown (wait, why?), my age (hmmm....who needs to know this?), and the high school I graduated from (wtf?), viola! I had a Facebook page!

The "Will You Be My Friend?" Phenomenon
As I tentatively clicked on various blue links and stumbled around the site a little, little did I know what was happening deep within the bowels of the Facebook machine. Within 23 minutes of opening my page, I had 10 "friend requests." This made me giggle, and it was the first of the Facebook phenomena I would discover. The broad heading could be "Things You Would Never Do in Real Life but Suddenly Become Acceptable on Facebook." When someone is your "friend" on Facebook, it means that she or he can see all of the pictures and status updates (another phenomenon, soon to be discussed) that you have posted on your page. And, she or he can get another friend on their list. There are two questionable things going on here. First, asking for a friend. Here is how many times I have asked someone, formally, to be my friend in real life: Never. Maybe when I was in Kindergarten. But since then, Never. Second, keeping a count of my friends. On my profile page, there is a box with links to all of my friends' pages. There's nothing wrong with this; I have indeed used that function to find other people. But here's the problem. At the top of the list, it actually says how MANY friends I have. Some people make it a personal goal to reach a certain number of "friends." I quote that because, REALLY? Are they REALLY our friends? Yes, many of them are truly my friends and in real life I associate with them and call them on the phone or at the VERY least think of them warmly from time to time. In fact, I use a question as my self-imposed criterion when responding to or sending out, which I rarely do, friend requests. Here it is: Do I Actually Know Who You Are? And here's the real problem with this "counting friends" function. It's like Junior High. Nuff said.

The "Laura is Trying to Decide Between a Thong and Granny Panties" Phenomenon
(also known as the "TMI" phenomenon)
Here is what Facebookers do. They update their "status." This is when you go in and tell the world, or at least your Facebook World, what you are doing at that particular moment. Here's a status update that I love: "So and so is playing with the kids." Because no you aren't, you are Facebooking. And your kids are probably watching some parent-guilt-reliever show like Dora the Explorer on TV, WAITING for you to play with them. Which you won't actually do, because you will get distracted by some Facebook application (another phenomenon, soon to be discussed) that will take forever to download, and by then the kids will be 18 and ready for college and therapy. Status updates fall under the category of "Things you would never do in real life but suddenly become acceptable on Facebook" because if a friend were to call me on the phone and say, "Hey, Laura. Right now, I'm folding laundry," and hang up, I'd think wtf? And if a friend were to call me on the phone and say, "Hey, Laura. Right now, I'm paying bills," and hang up, I'd think wtf? But on Facebook, we actually use precious minutes of our LIVES to get online and find out who is folding laundry and paying bills. I decided on the thong, by the way.

The "Application" Phenomenon, or, the "So and So Has Sent You a Death Threat. Send One Back?" Phenomenon
I haven't figured these out. At any given time I have no fewer than 10 invitations, requests, or gifts. These are things like, "So and so has sent you a drink." Then, I have the choice to "send one back" or ignore it. Here's what sucks...if I send one back, it sends my computer into one of those cyclical nightmares, where the little pinwheel comes up and spins and spins and spins and makes me want to take a sledgehammer to the damn thing. If I click "ignore," it sends my computer into one of those cyclical nightmares, where the little pinwheel comes up and spins and spins and spins and makes me want to take a sledgehammer to the damn thing. So what's a Facebooker to do? Here's what I do. I let them pile up. Facebook Friends, hear this. You will NEVER get a drink, or a snowball, or a valentine, or any other application, from me. Solicited or not. But it's not personal, and that's what also sucks. Because I don't want any friends thinking that here they went to the trouble of sitting through the spinning pinwheel for three hours to send me a Lil Green Patch and I just ignored it.

The Panhandling Phenomenon
Here is something people (normal people) NEVER do in real life: ask friends for money. And yet, I have had TWO Facebook friends actually ASK for money. One asked for money to help pay for the veterinary care of a pet because by not putting the surgery on credit, she and her husband are teaching their children to live debt free. By begging? And another friend was a little more subtle. He just quietly created a link to a site where friends could--listen to this--CONTRIBUTE MONEY TO HIS HONEYMOON FUND. I am not going to say anything more about this.  

The "Mystery High School Friend" Phenomenon
Sometimes, I receive friend requests from people claiming we went to High School together.  The first time I got one of these, I saw that we had several mutual friends, so I accepted the request, albeit reluctantly.  I figured that although I had absolutely zero recollection of this guy, it would eventually come to me.  A while later I ran into another Facebook friend (and yes, a Real friend) at Target and I asked her, quietly, in case he was in the next aisle, just who the hell he was.  She didn't know either.  She had friended him for the same reason I had, because it seemed we had some friends in common and maybe, hopefully, it would eventually come to her.  A few weeks later I was running with another friend and asked him, quietly, in case the mystery guy was running behind us, if he knew who this guy was, because he was a Facebook friend, too, and guess WHAT!  He had friended him for the same reason I had, because it seemed we had some friends in common and maybe, hopefully, it would eventually come to him.  Here's what sucks about this.  First, I feel bad for the guy, because how awful to be the Friend No One Remembers but Accepts as a Friend Anyway In Case it Eventually Comes.  To be honest, this is why I so rarely send out "friend requests."  The second thing that sucks about this is this.  What if this guy is a Bad Guy? What if he's weaseling his way into a bunch of peoples' lives in order to pull off some giant con scheme? What if he is conducting some Facebook Experiment and it will come out that we are all just a bunch of sheep with no ability to think independently?  What if I watch too much TV? 

The "Tag! You Look Like a Crackhead!" Phenomenon
Here's something I hate: tagging photos.  Here's why.  Facebookers can put pictures on Facebook, and they can put pictures of their friends, and they can do it without asking permission from their friends.  What this means is that I can be out doing something in real life, not on Facebook, with friends, and they can take pictures of the process, with me caught in some unfortunate pose, closely resembling a convict or a crackhead, and they can post them on Facebook, and they can "tag" me, so that ALL of my friends can see I've been tagged, and they can LOOK at the photo, and they can SEE me looking like a convict or a crackhead.  Granted, I can "untag" myself if someone posts a picture I find objectionable or just plain ugly, but usually not until half of my friends have already seen it and thought to themselves, Wow...age has NOT been kind to Laura.  I didn't realize she was a crackhead.  

So anyway. I still have a Facebook page.  And despite all of the bad press I have given it, it's fun.  This could be my last blog post for a good long time, so those of you giving me hell for leaving Grandma up for so long, don't hold your breath. And, assuming that you have made it to the bottom of this drivel without getting bored and starting a game of solitaire, feel free to friend me if we're not already hooked up. I'm trying to get to 500.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I think this video was inspired by my Grandma Ketcham.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We headed to Shawn's folks for the holidays, where we did a whole lot of nothing, and in fact we are STILL doing a whole lot of nothing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Corbin's Lesson

The other day I was teaching a lesson in a fourth grade classroom on finding area and perimeter of irregular polygons. The teacher and I had the kids use toothpicks to create a floor plan of their "dream bedrooms." They could put anything in their dream rooms they wished, and unsurprisingly, they did. Swimming pools, hot tubs, roller rinks, skate parks, baseball diamonds, trap doors, art studios, recording studios, game rooms, ice cream counters, ornate hamster labyrinths, personal libraries: they were all there.

While the other kids filled their 12 x 18 inch papers with elaborate wishes and nooked and crannied floor plans, Corbin had just one small rectangle in the middle of his paper, with the words "My Bed" in one corner, "My Brother's Crib" in another corner, and "Our Dresser" and "Closet" in the remaining corners. We thought maybe he had misunderstood the directions and didn't know he could make up anything he wanted, so his teacher asked him about it.

Corbin explained, "Well, everyone wants these really cool things in their rooms, but I just want what I already have. Sometimes people don't even realize that the things they want most are the things they already have! It's like in the movie The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy tapped her shoes together at the end of the movie and said, "There's no place like home." She was right! There is really no place like home!"

Sometimes I teach kids. Other times, they teach me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Kellie was 4th in the Freshman race at Districts last weekend, and because she's previously beaten one (or two? I can't remember these things) of the three girls who were ahead of her, she needed a little cheering up. Molly, in her afro (a gift from Kellie), did a great job helping Kellie out of her little slump. I love these pictures. Girlfriends are priceless.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Even though I link to my nephew's blog, I still occasionally lift a video here or there that makes me smile. This one stars Jonas, describing either some bizarre dream, or an idea for a screenplay or novel that he's maybe trying to pitch to his dad. Considering the quality of some movies and books out there, this one could have potential.