Digital roam

For some reason, the discontinuance of Goog-411 hit me hard.  (For those unfamiliar with this service, it was Google's free information service that would ask you for city, state, and desired location; it would connect you or text you information.)

Although I didn't use this service frequently Goog-411 got me what I needed whenever I asked.  Connect me to the nearest pizza place still open for delivery at 2 AM Goog!  Not a problem, I'll connect you.  Call me a cab service Goog -- I can't see straight enough to dial!  No judgment, I'll connect you.  What robot voice is going to help me now?  I feel like my prom date just stood me up.

Yes, I realize calling information is similar to connecting on dial-up and nowadays there is an app for that; but what about the poor bastards like myself who do not own a smart phone and do not have an app for that?  Where is the justice?  Where is the compassion?  Where oh where has my little dog gone?

Is it possible to remain analog in a digital world?

I love (love, love, love) technology and progress ... but at what cost?  With anything and everything available at our fingertips 24/7, are we losing our ability to wait (apparently good things happen to those who do) and focus on a single task?  The answer is yes.

The average high school student will have five, yes five, applications running at any one time while using a computer.  Multi-tasking is now required in our society.  I know it's all fun and games with multitasking (look how many things I can do at once: check e-mail, chat, tweet, and keyword search as I'm talking to you!) but how much is too much?

We are already losing the ability to focus on a single task until completion.

Don't believe me?  I dare you try and do one thing to completion without stopping to check something else.  Double dog dare you, actually.  TRIPLE DOG dare you.  Living in an 'I want it now' society has its perks but we should be considering the unforeseen effects of having it all, whenever, wherever.

Manners


I wish more people had them.

Chem class

Today I decided to commit to my inner geek and applied to Western Governs University to earn a bachelor's of science in Information Technology.

Sally found this amazing (and affordable) online degree program at WGU and it seems to be a perfect fit.  I can learn at my own pace on my own time (in the outfit of my choosing) and credits from my alma mater can be applied toward this degree.  I KNEW that PR degree wasn't a waste and that there was reason I toiled through the trenches of J102 and J104!

Johnny 5 craves datas.
I have always been what some people might call "plugged in" and an internet nerd by trade but it wasn't until recently that it occurred to me to turn my passion into a profession.

True, I know my way around the interwebs, but I want my knowledge base to extend beyond Google and memes; I want to learn everything there is to know about data processing, too.  I want to be a Database Diva, a Code Warrior, a Programming Princess.

LOL cats and animated gifs are great, but I want to take it a step further: I want to invest in myself and guarantee job security.  Anyone who graduated into the current job market understands how critical marketability is and the uphill battle you face without it.


Frankly, I'm too old for that shit.  While love is a battlefield, I'd prefer my career path be a scenic drive with great tunes and no commercials.

I have finally found the career I've been searching for (five years later than expected) and it's full speed ahead.  I've transformed into the robot from Short Circuit yelling "More datas!  More datas! Need more datas!"   I'm picking up what you're putting down Johnny 5 -- I crave datas, too.

No, it isn't.  Sorry.
This time around no binge drinking photos will surface on Facebook (sorry kids) and gone will be texts asking for Tina on my cell phone the next morning.  I'm at peace with that; I had my time policing myself but I'm a big girl now and its time to think about the future.

Although I'm so scared of getting older (I'm only good at being young), excitement overcomes me as I take the next step of my journey.  The boyfriend always jokes about it being about the journey not the destination (to my shegrin remaining comfortable in my skin and challenging myself to be my best.

Part of being an adult is loving yourself for everything you are (and aren't) so in the spirit of credit scores, I am going to admit something to you which may or may not come as a total shock. ... I am a total geek.

My suspicions of this (rad) fact were confirmed last month when I was teased about the light reading I brought on vacation: Imagining the Tenth Dimension by Rob Bryanton.  Until that point it never occurred to me that most people wouldn't read a book about String Theory because it interested them, let alone consider it light reading.

N00bz.

Interior design

Football season is in full swing which can only mean one thing: time to get a hobby.  I can no longer count on my boo to keep me entertained on Sunday and you know what they say about idle hands.

Last season I took up beading and painting.  This season I've decided to up the stakes and turn to Interior Design.

For those of you who aren't familiar with my routines, I am one of those closet crafters who jump wholeheartedly into a project, get really into it for a short amount of time, then forget about it.  I will spark up a love affair with painting for several very passionate weeks then months will go by before I pick up a paint brush to see how they've been.  I guess I'm what you call an Ebb and Flow Hobbyist.  (If that's not copyrighted I call dibs.)

My latest lover is Interior Design.

I have always loved going thrifting to find what haters some may call junk but I call unique pieces; clothing, furniture, knick knacks, etc.  Well over fifty percent of my current dwelling has been hand-picked from garage sales, thrift stores, and online auctions.  I'm proud of the dumb shit I've accumulated: I am a Warrior Goddess of Second-Hand Awesomeness.

Before you call Niecy Nash and tell her I need a Clean House... hear me out.  I may be a closet crafter but I am not a clutter bug.  I am very good about keeping the mayhem and foolishness on the level.  I just need to find the proper place for all of my little treasures and learn how to showcase their brilliance.

I look around and know that I have some pretty bogus but mostly radical stuff; I just don't know what to DO with it.  That's where interior design comes in handy: we've been flirting with each other for awhile now and I'm ready to take our relationship to the next level.

My first project will be re-doing my jewelry display system.  Right now I have cork board covered in fabric with pushpins to display my necklaces, clear compartmental craft cases for earrings, and a huge pile of rings and bracelets that have a sign that says 'Family kidnapped by ninjas.  Need $$ for karate lessons'.  Being homeless has really made them delusional.

I spent the afternoon on a quest for two cork board bulletin boards.  I stopped at three different places and did not find what I wanted/expected/desired which does not inspire much confidence.  This Thing between Interior Design and I is still so new and exciting; I don't to jinx it! I'm taking this setback pretty hard.  If we can't do this together, how in the world am I going to learn to Feng Shui?  Or reupholster my furniture?

That being said, although I didn't find the bulletin boards I need, I did find these gems:



An old hardcover library book full of Vanity Fair articles from the 1920s and 1930s.

I've flipped through it have already found a collection of poems including one called "Men: A Hate Song", an essay written about Harry Houdini, and a diagram about what the ideal 1926 woman looks and acts like.

I can't wait to look at the old advertisements and all that Old Hollywood glamor and sparkle.
 


Why yes, those are two coasters depicting unicorns!

You can laugh but those of you who've seen Legend know that unicorns are serious business: kill one and suffer eternal winter.  That's my roundabout way of saying that if we have a winter that never ends I probably dropped one of these babies and screwed us all.  With great power comes great responsibility and I will guard these coasters will diligence.

Feel free to showcase your envy in the comments below.

Case of the Mondays

Do you ever feel like you were born in the wrong decade?  Based on my Recently Added play list in iTunes I should have been a product of the 60s and 70s.
Case in point: my new stud horse is none other than the crooner Neil Diamond.

Find us a dream that don't asks no questions, yeah
I downloaded his Ultimate Collection a month ago and find myself jamming to his tracks more often than I care to admit.  Nothing picks me up during my morning commute faster than several go-rounds of  Cracklin' Rosie.  Not only does he soothe my stress when he really takes it away around 1:43... blasting Cracklin' Rosie before 7 am is also the best away possible to annoy fellow commuters.  Soon it will be too cold to roll down the windows and serenade I-69 S but for now Neil gets me to my destination smoothly, with his sequined jacket and feathered bouffant.  See you on the twilight train, Neil.  I've got the way to make you happy, I promise!

Haters can proceed to the left and non-believers can try it out for themselves.  If you are having trouble getting jazzed for the work week come Monday morning I suggest adding Cracklin' Rosie to your morning drive play list.  Instead of being a sad sack, you'll walk into the office like this:



Get on board!  (You) don't need to say please to no man for a happy tune!

Click here to download this hot track.

Follow Friday

I've really fallen off the Follow Friday boat and I feel kinda bad about it.  Not working on Friday makes it  hard to do any sort of work ie put together a list of rad people to follow.  To make up for my lack, here's a Follow Monday for you:

@theamazingben:  He is one of my new favorites.  Great sense of humor and an awesome default that involves a mustache.  He's a graphic designer and a new resident of Ft. Wayne.  Introduce yourself.  He'll keep you laughing all week long.

@sushirevenge:  I met her last month at Book Club and she is rad.  She likes to read (Book Club may have been a giveaway), roller derby, bridge hunting, and four squaring.  She also works for a non-profit and is interested in Social Media.  Did I mention that she got us a discount on lunch because she is an Indy Twitter Celeb?

@jamespaden: New to my timeline and full of useful information about new marketing techniques.  He is a mover and shaker (he founded his own business!) and has a good sense of humor.  If you have any e-commerce questions I'm sure he'd be happy to answer them.

@shawworldwide: He's from Toronto, he's friendly, and he is into Social Media.  Add him to your list of online marketers on the rise.  If new marketing isn't your bag, he's also into sports, traveling, and staying healthy.

@jodysparks: Internal Link Builder for Slingshot SEO by day, Young Adult author by night.  She's a mom, she's a writer, she's hilarious, she's awesome.  Did I mention she loves to read, roller derby, and thrift shopping?  She's about to sell her first book.  Make sure you check out her blog!

@mahoganypoet: She is one of my favorite tweeters.  Always positive, always on the move.  She tweets about all kinds of things, from current problems she's busing solving to what her plans are for the day.  Truthful, funny, independent. 

@rebecca_grace: Another favorite tweeter.  I like her because she's sweet and easy to talk to, and often talks about things I find interesting.  She recently reached her 3,000th tweet and I'm board for the next 3,000.

@thematches: A regular of ONTD with a quick wit and great taste in music.  Recently started a Tumblr; she tweets about anything that interests her and brings a lot of life to my timeline.  I especially love her commentary.

@jana_ballard: Another Slingshot SEO lady who recently moved to Indy from Boston.  She's friendly, she loves to thrift shop, and she has great taste in boots.

@jim_brown: Sales guy at Slingshot SEO with many facets.  His favorite band in Nickelback and in another life was an amateur pro-wrestler.  He loves politics and Netflix, too.

Previous Follow Friday posts can be found in the sidebar.

Old news

Fall is almost here.

The incredible heat broke this week and the forty degree difference is a welcome change.

So long tank tops and strappy sandals -- hello sweaters and boots.  I'm wearing a flannel shirt and slippers, drinking my chai tea and Googling pumpkin patches.

After spending the morning cleaning my apartment, I added six new CDs to my collection, put the kettle on, and started reading old news; papers from months ago, when Summer was still in full sweating swing.

The feel of newspaper between my fingers reminds me of Fall.  It smells like a syllabus, new folders, and getting to know you exercises.

I know I am about three months late, but here are a few pieces that caught my eye.  All are taken from the Indianapolis Star.


 Quite a headline, eh?  Now take a look at the subhead.  Whoa.

It saddens me greatly to know that everything boils down to money.

The workers' don't want cut wages.  Who can blame them?  Everyone is being squeezed by the belt of finance.  Why would anyone want to do the same job for less?

Truth be told it really gets me riled up to think that GM is dangling this carrot in the first place.  Sure, we'll open the plant, create jobs and boost the local economy but only if you agree to a pay cut.  If we can't reach an agreement, we are just going to have to take our business elsewhere.  Yeah, Capitalism!

I can really feel your commitment to making a better America and bouncing back from your bailout, GM.  I sincerely hope you decide to end this entire argument and pay the workers what they are worth.  Show them how much you value their effort.  Set the standard instead of bowing to economic pressure.

 
The Second Amendment is being upheld.  For almost 30 years Chicago has banned possession of handguns and automatic weapons inside city limits, one of the most stringent gun laws in the country.  This decision ruled the law unconstitutional and prohibits states to rule again any citizen's right to bear arms.

I don't care if you are for or against guns.  I care that it is your constitutionally-protected right to make the decision for yourself.  Guns don't kill people -- people kill people.

Can you imagine if individual states were allowed to ban guns?  That's a stone's throw away from a police state ... with citizens stripped of self-defense.


Wait, WHAT?  115 laws?  That seems like a lot to me.  Can you think of that many things that need to be addressed, legally?  I hope they enjoyed spending tax dollars to debate the pressing issues of Indiana.  I also hope the each citizen takes the time to learn what all of these new laws are so they can be informed.  You wouldn't want to break any new laws without even knowing they existed, right?  Well, even after Googling the hell out these new laws, I have yet to find an actual LIST of the laws that were put into effect July 1.  You can find more information about the laws here, that's a start at least.

Along with the formation of a 'sexting' committee, here are some of the new laws:
  • Carding everyone for alcohol,
  • Casinos holding winning of people who are not paying their child support, and
  • GPS devices worn around the ankles of those who have committed acts of domestic violence. 
I am completely fine with being carded; it is annoying, yes, but I get it.  Unfortunately, stricter carding laws will not stop underage drinking.  Kids will be kids and guzzling Boone's Farm and cheap vodka is a right of passage.  There is nothing else to DO here but get 'Iced', ya dig?

The last two laws are good in theory, but I can't help but wonder if these specifically target those living below or hovering directly above the poverty line.  Most rich/wealthy people don't spend their time at the penny slots trying to hit the big time and I am assuming would use lawyers and razzle dazzle to get out of any domestic violence charge.

Take the kids in Carmel, for example -- they have someone managed to escape major penalty after sexually assaulting a kid on a school bus.  They are even pushing for a gag order to keep all the details quiet; their lawyers don't want this incident to taint the rest of their life.  Tell that to the kid curled in the fetal position who was assaulted. I'll be damned if anyone would bend over backwards to keep the details of this entire affair under wraps if the accused weren't privileged white boys.

Read between the lines, friends and lovers; it's all there in black and white.

    Home Avenue

    For those of you that don't know, I hail from the booming metropolis of Anderson.  When I say hail from I mean 'currently reside in', just to be clear.  I've been there for about a year, maybe a little over, and I still have no idea where I live or how to get anywhere.  I have absolutely refused to become acclimated with my surroundings and rely on my TomTom to get me to the grocery store, laundry mat, and Petsmart.  Judge me if you will, but I cannot bring myself to know the lay of the land where the following things are considered socially acceptable: sweatpants as real pants, TV as a babysitter, and hair brushing as optional.

    The following tidbits are completely true.  Yes, I know I should move.  Believe me.  I KNOW.

    1. The kids who live on/around my street can be classified as 'hood rats'.  They have nothing better to do with their time than stand in their yard and fight each other.  I'm talking 'punch me as hard as you can, I want to see blood' kind of fighting.  They also jump up and down on car hoods and tops, cat-call 12 year-olds, and try to do neat tricks with their bicycles and skateboards.  The only neat trick that has been successfully executed involves face and pavement.

    One such hood rat bit it, and bit it HARD, during a taping of Teen Mom.  Yes, Amber and Gary were my neighbors until they moved a few months ago.  Anyway, they were filiming on the front porch/yard and this kid thought he would show his sweet moves to America and peddled as hard as his hood rat legs would allow.  He gained momentum, went into the air for the jump, and landed on his face.  The camera crew did not even blink and kept rolling.  Heartless, yes.  Awesome, most assuridly.

    2. According to the boyfriend, the world record holder for DUIs lives down my street.  I've met him actually; he is older, keen on plaid, always pleasant, always drunk, and frequently wanders the streets looking for, what I can only assume is, his car.  The real question here is: HOW DOES THIS MAN STILL HAVE A CAR/LISCENSE WHEN HE HAS HAD OVER 40 DUIs (according to the boyfriend)?  How is that legal?

    Whenever I walk my dog he is sitting on the porch waiting for me to pass.  He asks slurs at me if I'd like a Coke and to have a little chat; I always pass but maybe this week I will say 'Okay'.  I've also seen him blow $20 on the ice cream man and buy ice cream for all the kids on the street, so I believe at his core he is not a bad man.  A little wasted, yes, but harmless all the same.

    3. Since moving in ... the neighbor's car was stripped of all electrical equipment, my driver's sideview mirror has been TORN OFF, and the boyfriend's gas cap was stolen after an entire tank of gas was syphoned.  I'm also pretty sure I found a makeshift crack pipe in the parking lot near my apartment.  My dog has been attacked by not one, not two, but THREE different dogs.  (In case you are worried -- she owned all of them).  Don't let her sweet face fool you -- she is hood rich (na na na na na na).


    4.  Last but not least, I have seen the following things from my window/porch/in my nightmares:
    • A boy on a bike holding up a (drunk) adult on a moped.  He was so drunk he couldn't drive his moped home.  At first I thought it was ridiculous; then I stepped back and realized how sad it was; in all probability it was probably his son picking him up from the bar.
    • A man dressed from head to toe in yellow wearing five magnifiying glasses around his neck with hair like Doc from Back to the Future.
    • Children playing house ON MY PORCH which actually means putting a baby doll into a baby stroller and pushing it into the street when cars come and watching them swerve to miss what they concieve to be an actual little human.
    • A family (I am talking 4 people at least) joy riding around the block in what appears to be one of those cars you ride around the track at King's Island or Holiday World.  It's as loud as a go-cart and takes up the entire sidewalk.

    Ah, home sweet home.

    Follow Friday

    Another work week is coming to a close and I am THIS MUCH CLOSER to landing the job of my dreams.  This week I've got a great mix of tweeps to follow who have made my week rad.

    @ElFury: I met her over a month ago during one of the many chats I participate in (I want to say it was #brandchat but ...) and she has jazzed up my timeline ever since.  Not only is she funny and awesome, but she is a dog mom just like me!  Also, if you're trying to get into the Social Media field, she is a great person to talk to and get to know; she does it (well) professionally.  Plus she lives in Texas.

    @denbac: He's been around the interwebs for a hot minute; I've been laughing at his commentary on ONTD for many moons now.  Beyond that, he's helpful and has great music taste.  His tweets keep me updated on life in the DC area, and his tweets keep me laughing.  His perspective on life is infectious.  Check out what his new addiction is.

    @robcairns: He is one of the newest tweeps to be added to my nest.  I met him this week during #SMmanners chat and he had some really great input and ideas.  I look forward to getting to know him better and picking his brain.  He's very friendly and approachable.  I have a sneaking suspicion that he is a computer wiz, too.

    @zwbrownre: He is a successful realtor in the Arizona area who has a wide variety of interests.  Yes, he can find you your dream home, and yes, he can sell your house ... but there's more to him than that!  He's funny, he's into sports, and he's actively involved in Social Media.  He is also an Army Veteran, and proud to be so!  Ask him for a new album to listen to: he's great with music, too!

    @citynightlife: She's from North Carolina and if her default doesn't make you want to follow her ... I don't know what will!  She's funny, she's sweet, and she always offers her support and encouragement.  She's into celebrity gossip just like me, and has been a known to comment on ONTD.  What I like most about her updates is that I feel like I'm talking to one of my girlfriends -- she makes me laugh, she makes me think, and she's awesome!

    @saint0z: He is the only other person I've met on Twitter (so far) who loves Audiosurfing as much as me!  He always wants to know what I'm surfing and I bet if I ask him I'll have some rad song suggestions for the future.  Beyond that, he keeps it real and adds a nice balance to my timeline.  He is into manly things -- check out his default!

    @stevo707: Need your look updated?  Might want to ask him for some tips: he's a barber!  He is also very sweet and considerate.  He is an awesome uncle.  What I really dig about him, though, is his desire to connect with everyone on his timeline.  He is always following up and reaching out.  Who wouldn't want such a rad dude as part of their twitterverse?

    @msbutterfinger: All I can really say is that she and I have very similar tastes in television and movies.  Don't let her profile info fool you: there is so much more to her then being a Twitard :).  Ask her about this season of Big Brother; better yet, ask her what's happening in Illinois!  She's a mom, a sister, and an all-around rad chick.

    @lespesenerfs: Meet my favorite Franco-Afro-American!  I could not be  happier that she found me on Twitter as she has become one of my favorite tweeters!  She is funny, first of all ... and she is interested in all kinds of things.  She is a great cook, too.  If you want to know what it's like to live in France, I would suggest following her.  She may even help you brush up on those high school French skills :)

    @bertisagirl: She hails from Georgia, so expect some southern charm when you add her to your timeline.   She is passionate about tennis and is also a writer.  She is also a Gator fan.  Her updates are on a variety of topics; I like that.  I am so thankful to have a real person to follow who tweets about what she's doing and where she's going, instead of link after link after link.  Get to know her, she's great.

    BONUS: @iamspokenheart: His twitter handle pretty much spells it out for you: he's got a huge heart!  He spends his time on Twitter lifting other people up and bringing smiles to their faces.  He has checked in with me during my job hunt and kept encouraging me to push forward.  He's also a poet and loves music.  Ask him for a recommendation.

    Have a great weekend.  

    Previous Follow Friday posts can be found in the sidebar.

    Audiosurfing

    I am always late to the party.  Always.  I never jump on the bandwagon with everyone else.  I ignore said wagon and then return to it later and let my curiosity take over.

    I've done this with many, many things including but not limited to: Lady Gaga, which I finally downloaded two weeks ago; Zombieland, which I finally watched last month; and Audiosurfing, which I have been doing non-stop for the past two days.

    I feel like I did when I first started watching LOST -- obsessed.  I wake up and surf.  I try to surf at work.  I stay up uber late and wonder when it became 3:30 AM and whether or not I can complete one more surf before I collapse.  Jane Austin said it best, "You have bewitched me, body, and soul.  And I love, I love, I love you."

    I have a crush, and guys, I think it's true love.

    For those of you unfamiliar with Audiosurfing, let me break it down like this:

    Picture you favorite song. 
    Imagine riding it like a roller coaster that perfectly matches the beat and tempo.
    Now imagine graphics that also move in rhythm to the beat.

    I swear, it's like entering into a new stratosphere.

    School buses are back on the roads and folders are being purchased by the dozen.  It's safe to say that Summer slipped through my fingers.  I spent it working and job hunting.  I did not bask in the hot sun; I did not go swimming; I did not attend a single bbq.  I don't even think I ate a hot dog.

    Just when I thought the season was lost, I remembered how much fun I had a few years ago Audiosurfing with my old roommate.  A few Google searches, and few mouse clicks, and Pandora's box was opened.

    I put on my headphones, I plugged in 'Dog Days Are Over' by Florence + The Machine, and I saw my favorite song.  Yes, saw.

    Summer is not lost.

    The colors emanating from my screen feel like sun rays and if I prop a fan next to my desk, it's almost like cruising in a convertible.  Life is a highway and I do want to ride it all night long (John Cochrane style).

    Audiosurf action shots taken by yours truly.

    Perspective II

     



    Sometimes, we all need a reminder.

    Makeup Tricks From a Former Beauty Advisor

    One of the many jobs I've held was working for a cosmetic company.  I was always flabbergasted at the price women in particular were willing to pay for lipstick, eyeshadow, blush, and foundation.  Meeting my sales goal was not as important to me as ensuring my customer got the best deal; why pay through the nose when there is no need?

    Here's a few things I shared with my clients.  Maybe you knew this already, maybe you didn't.

    1. The only cosmetic to really spend money on is your foundation.

    Going to a department store to have your color matched perfectly will cost you -- but it's worth it.  Drugstore brands cannot offer the same coverage or color matching that most department store shades can.

    You should also 'get your color' done twice a year: your skin gets darker in the summer and lighter in the winter.

    2. Your natural shade of foundation may be lighter than you want.  Don't panic -- there is bronzer!

    Bronzer is my favorite cosmetic in the entire world.  A little bit makes me sun-kissed.  A little more transforms me into a Brazilian goddess.

    Many people are concerned their face is too pale when using their natural shade of foundation and often buy darker shades.  It looks better if you stick with what your momma gave ya and throw bronzer on before leaving the house.  Trust.

    3. There is almost no difference between drugstore brand lipstick, eye shadow, blush, mascara, and eyeliner.

    Why spend more money for basically the same thing?


    Other tips
    • Use cold cream to remove makeup before you go to sleep.  It's around $5.00 a jar.
    • Another alternative: CRISCO.  Yes, this sounds gross, but many women swear by it.  My grandma had perfect skin and you bet her secret was Crisco.
    • Witch hazel is an excellent toner.
    • There is no way to erase wrinkles naturally; the creams you buy from stores will only reduce the look of wrinkles over time.
    • Caster oil (unscented) is the perfect before-bed eye cream.
    • Contact lens solution doubles as eye makeup remover!
    • Spritz your face with non-aersol hairspray to keep your face in place all day/night long.
     
    Baby powder is a jack of all trades.
    • Brand new heels?  Make the breaking-in process a thousand times less painful by putting baby powder in the shoe; you will stretch it out and not feel a thing! 
    • Don't have time to wash your tresses?  Throw some baby powder on your roots to soak up any excess oil.  No one will ever know!
    • Combing baby powder through your hair before going out will keep your hair from becoming stringy; be careful -- only a sprinkle will do the trick!
    • Use baby powder to prevent chafing.  Great for runners.
    •  Make eyelashes appear fuller and longer by dusting baby powder on your lashes before applying mascara.
    • Get rid of shaving friction when using an electric shaver by using baby powder before shaving.

      Follow Friday

      Getting back into the swing of things after Journalism Camp proved more difficult that previously predicted.  I only made it to one chat this week (#brandchat) and barely made it to that one!  I played ketchup the entire week and now here it is, Saturday morning, and I haven't made a Follow Friday post!  SHAME ON ME!

      Here are my picks for this week's Follow Friday.  Introduce yourself and let the fun begin.

      @dwmdm: He's Canadian, he's smart, and he designed my new header!  Who wouldn't want to follow someone who selflessly gives their time to someone they've never met face to face?  He is always pretty funny.  Check out what he said about Sno-Cones.

      @rachelmccarver: I met her as a freshman at Ball State University and we are still in touch; if they doesn't speak volumes I don't know what will!  You want more?  Okay: she's a wife, a dog-owner, a high school teacher, and she loves celebrity gossip.  She also is the one who started me watching Big Brother (and I showed her the light LOST).  You should ask her where 'Da bomb like tick tick' came from. #SheIsRad

      @martinssecrets: He's an author and father of 6; he's always got something going on!  He's friendly, he replies back, and he'll teach you a thing or two about the publishing industry (and about life as well).  He is also into art, music, the real estate business, and marketing.

      @hillarytribbett: Also a graduate from Ball State University, she works for the non-profit organization Live United.  She uses Social Media as part of her job and is a great example to follow on how to do it right.  Not only that, but she is the next big thing in country music!  She is a performer/artist/songstress/goddess.  I like the sound of that.

      @tic_not_tock: He's a used-car salesman.  He lives in southern, Indiana.  He loves to read.  He is also a gamer.  I myself am not a gamer but I can appreciate his excitement/enthusiasm about it.  He's very nice and replies, which is awesome.  Did I mention that he's also a blogger?

      @squigglejay: I hadn't talked much her with before this week, and boy am I glad I did!  She has a huge heart and her dog is adorable!  Her tweets are interesting to follow and I love that she shares photos.  I also have a sneaking suspicion that she loves celebrity gossip, just like me.

      @themichellebell: She's a commenter at ONTD and she is hilarious.  She also lives in Boston, one of my favorite cities in the USA.  She posts updates, pics, and replies often.  I also dig her glasses!  Her music taste is pretty rad, too.  Check out the funny picture she posted of a fake flower.

      @dcguru: He's a beach body coach!  If you don't know what Beach Body has to offer, definitely send this guy a tweet.  Besides being buff, he is incredibly inspiring and positive.  Who doesn't need a little sunshine on their timeline?  He followed me because he liked my smile; I followed him for the same reason.

      @blackoutmonster: I've been meaning to add him to my Follow Friday Favorites for over a month ... He is handsome, he is funny, he loves Britney Spears.  He also hails from Abu Dhabi/Dubai.  It's awesome talking to someone from across the globe in real time.  He keeps his twitter light ie funny and he posts lots of photos.

      @10thousandroses:  She also tweets from Boston and she loves music.  Her background may give you an idea of her favorite artist ... just saying.  She's funny and she's a pop culture diva.  She updates about all kinds of things, from music, to tv shows, to weather patterns.  Check out her tweet about Shark Week; it made me laugh.


      BONUS: @mattdantodd: He's a dad and a pastor.  He's funny, witty, and encouraging.  He cares about what's happening locally as well as globally.  He is also considerate and inspiring.


      Have a safe and awesome weekend!  Previous Follow Friday posts can be found in the sidebar.

      Revamp ... not the Twilight kind



      I've spent my day revamping the blog.  I've added content, cut dead weight, and added new links and features.  Make sure you check out the new pages at the top as well as the new links on the sidebar.

      I'd like to thank Duncan (@dwmdm) for designing the top banner for me!  You are truly a hero and your generosity will not soon be forgotten.

      I've made it easy to connect with me on various Social Media sites (notice the icons in the sidebar) as well as subscribe to my RSS feed and e-mail me.  The Currently On Repeat page contains music suggestions and the Days Gone By has samples (with links to the complete work) of some old ancient posts.  Learn a bit more about me in Who is Ledia? and feel free to submit your own questions for me to answer!

      Follow Friday posts will now be listed in the sidebar.  Make sure to check out the other sites I recommend as well; most are fellow bloggers I adore!  If you'd like your site to be added to the list, by all means ... have your people call my people.

      So... what do you think?  Love it?  Hate it?  Any suggestions are very much appreciated!

      It's da bomb, like tick tick

      I have returned from a week of shower shoes and Atrium food.

      Being an RA was definitely different than I expected.  When I lived in the dorms as a freshman I spent most of my time outside of the residence halls; I worked, I played, I avoided hall checks.  Living in LaFallApart was a challenge and being on the 8th floor of a non-air conditioned dorm permanently raised my body temperature a few degrees.

      This time around I spent 8 glorious days at Woodworth and experienced the luxurious side of the dorm life.  I now had a window air conditioning unit and was the one performing room checks.  Flying first class up in the sky...
       
      Being around high schoolers for a week made me realize two things.
      1. High schoolers are ruled by their emotions.
      2. Being part of The Group is a top priority.

      I am still ruled by my emotions to a certain extent, but these kids experienced the highs and lows of each day 100 percent.  When they were excited, they were EXCITED.  When they were sad, you could feel their melancholy reverberating off the walls.  I haven't been around teenagers, with the exception of my sister, for a long time and I forgot how strong the desire to fit in can be.

      Case in point -- during our dance on Wednesday night, one of the students requested Sandstorm.  Yes, you read that correctly: SANDSTORM.  Talk about a throwback!  Anyway, three kids started banging on the floor in a very Jersey Shore manner and before you knew it, close to 50 kids were pounding the beat out on the gym floor.  They were so in-tune to what everyone else was doing that they all jumped up to fist pump within seconds of each other.  Amazing.


      All recreational activities were considered lame until a handful of students started to participate.  I found in interesting that, generally speaking, the outsiders of the camp were the first to join in group activities and get the ball rolling.  They danced, they butchered sang karaoke, they made fools of themselves, and most importantly, they didn't care!  Because these campers had the courage to stand out others joined in.  Ironically, their willingness to participate is what singled them out in the first place ... repeat cycle. 

      After watching the hierarchy of high school play out for an entire week, I was amazed at the things I'd witnessed.  The popular kids from different schools and different states found each other and formed a clique; the nerds, the jocks, and the outcasts all followed suit.  Yes, they interacted to a certain extent, but as a whole everyone knew their place and mingled within their peer group.  And I thought classism no longer existed!

      As an adult, it was particularly heartbreaking to watch certain students try to mingle outside of their clique and be rejected.  They often felt ostracized and, because they are highly emotional, their sadness was plastered across their face.

      One of my favorite campers watched the dance from a distance because his peer group was not participating; he wanted to dance but was worried his moves would be made into a joke.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that everyone on the dance floor made an idiot of themselves (see fist pumping).  He later confided in me that he was also upset because the girl he liked at camp decided to date (for a whole week) someone else, someone 'cooler' than he was.  He had spent the entire week trying to show his adoration for this vixen.  For one reason or another, he was not chosen.

      I am so glad high school is over.

      Me as a high school senior

      Follow Friday

      Journalism Camp this week at Ball State has been rad and very time consuming.  I never thought I would have Twitter withdrawls ... but I have so I guess that means I have an addiction.  Although I have enjoyed my time at BSU surrounded by yerds, nerds, and jerds in general, I am will be happy to return to the real world on Monday.

      Here are my picks for this week's Follow Friday Saturday.  Adding them to your timeline will be the best decision you've made today!

      @sammymojito: He is one of the first people I connected with on Twitter and I still enjoy his tweets and conversation!  Sweet, handsome, and encouraging.  What more do you want? Okay fine -- he will reply back!

      @dynamite4life: He is @sammymojito's brother and equally awesome!  He always tells me good morning, and keeps tabs on the wheelings and dealings of his followers.  He's sweet, he's a Notre Dame fan, and he has excellent music taste.

      @paulpoteet: You might know him if you're from Indiana -- he's been a meteorologist for (at least) 20 years!  Not only does he keep me informed on the weather, but he tweets and retweets pretty interesting stuff.  I also like that he interacts with his followers and always seems to be doing something rad.  He is also quick to thank his fans, which is a thumbs up in my book.

      @anythinglime: She is hilarious.  She has a great sense of humor as well as sense of style.  She's also smart and recently married; did I mention she's a dog trainer and BSU alumnus?  I suggest following her if you like dogs, love to laugh, want to know what it's like to live in Florida.

      @teamcreepz: Her sense of humor adds a lot of sparkle to my timeline.  She is not afraid to share her opinion/call people out, which I find endlessly entertaining.  She's a huge fan of hockey and instant netflix, and has great taste in television and movies.

      @gokeysupporter: She is just goofy.  She won't clutter your timeline with garbage and is always happy to interact with her followers.  I also love that she is up front with what she's feeling: if she's excited, you'll know it!  She has a lot of enthusiasm and loves to meet new people.

      @tommyismyname: I met him a few weeks back during a chat and I am really glad I did!  Not only does he pass on relevant information dealing with social media, marketing, and the like, but he also beat boxes and cracks me up.  I don't feel like he is pushing links down my throat.  He is also charming, funny, and approachable.

      @grizz83: I haven't been following him for very long but in the short time we've known each other, he has kept me laughing.  Who would have thought that a grizzly bear could be spot on?  I must warn you though ... this bear has an opinion about everything! :)

      @dennisay: I think he's hilarious.  He is always doing something awesome or talking about the awesome thing he is going to do later.  He is an excellent replier and a self-proclaimed nerd.  He has good taste in TV, too.

      @kjoebbb: She is an animal lover!  She rescues animals, has a cat and dog, and is a college student.  She updates a lot, which some people may not like but I dig.  She is sweet, friendly, and helpful.  She is also quick to share her opinion on what's happening in TV Land.

      BONUS: @djsamhouse: he's a DJ in LA who interacts with his followers.  Ask him for a song recommendation!

      Find previous Follow Friday awesomeness HERE HERE HERE and HERE

      Hope you have a great weekend!

      Follow Friday

      Here are my picks for Follow Friday this week. Get excited people.


      @josephthomas:  The Glo-Stick gif posted above is his favorite (or at least I claim that it is).  He's funny, he posts lots of pics, and he will interact with you if you are rad enough.  Give him a shout out!  You won't regret it!

      @grimalkinrn: Accidentally stumbled into #SMmanners chat and kept me laughing the entire night!  Funny, ridiculous, and great at random discussions.  Claims to be a Mean Girl and hate John Mayer.  Say what you need to say, say what you need say.

      @lizzayn: She's a writer and huge sweetheart.  She keeps you up to date on the happenings (as well as her writing) but she won't flood your timeline.  She also has kept encouraging me to reach for the stars which I dig!  If that's not convincing enough -- she has a quote from Gene Wilder in her bio!

      @zombienicole: I seek her tweets out when scrolling through my timeline.  She keeps it real, she keeps it fresh, she keeps it funny.  I love her honesty and her bravery.  I also love the pics that she posts!  Tell her hello, she will most likely respond!

      @insanetruckdriv: Ever wonder what it's like to be a truck driver?  NOW YOU KNOW!  He tweets daily about life on the open road and shares his adventures from all across the country.  Pretty awesome.  He has a great sense of humor, too!

      @willdobbs: He is into Social Media and always sharing information and tips.  He's friendly and great at interacting with his followers.  I hope to get him to participate in the #SMmanners chat very soon.  Following him will keep you in the Social Media loop.

      @risingspivey: This woman is going to change the world!  She is encouraging, outspoken, and amazing.  Her interests are varied so you don't have to worry about her clogging up your timeline with the same old stuff all the time.  Ask her how you can become a #ChangeAgent.

      @serrot: She has an incredible sense of humor and a wide variety of interests.  She is always interacting with her followers and keeps any and all conversation lively.  She is always awesome about relaying important information from all over the web!  I have come to rely on her connectedness to many different issues, etc.  I dig her taste, too.

      @diggs31: He is a total sweetheart and I love talking to him (just about) every day.   He is FULL of positive energy.  He is a great conversationalist AND asks me really interesting questions.  I always get excited when I see him on my timeline.  Introduce yourself to him!  Seriously!

      @paulpannone: Want to know anything/everything about the wedding industry?  I suggest you follow him, as well as @ewednews right now.  Not only is he a great blogger and fact-gather, he is also incredibly friendly!  One of the first people I connected with on Twitter and I still dig him.

      BONUS: @KyleMcShane: I met him this week during the #SMmanners chat and he had a lot of great input.  He's into Social Media and he knows what he's talking about.

      Need more rad people to follow?  Previous Follow Friday posts HERE HERE and HERE.

      Britney Spears sells 100 million records

      It's official: Britney Jean Spears has sold 100 million records.

      In honor of this great accomplishment I am going to walk you through the time I've 'spent' with the Living Legend.  Do not read further you suffer from Stansophobia (Fear of Stans)!

      My love for Britney Spears can be traced back to a bus ride where my sixth grade best friend passed me the single ...Baby One More Time in a very under-the-table manner.  She very discreetly encouraged me to give it a shot.  I was a wee bit skeptical about this unknown artist: my best friend's favorite song was 'David Duchovny' by Bree Sharp.  I raced home, placed ...Baby One More Time in my Discman, and pressed play.

      After listening to the single approximately 10 times, I watched the video repeatedly on my PC.  From that moment on I was a Britney Spears fan.

      I become the proud owner of my first Britney Spear's album after initiating a CD trade: Celine Dion's Falling into You for Baby One More Time; ...Oops I Did It Again was purchased at a Plato's Closet with my allowance and spare change that had been collected for weeks.   I distinctly remember watching her music videos on MTV, recording them to VHS, and watching them over and over (and over and over and over).

      For my 17th birthday I received her Britney album as well as the DVD accompaniment; I made everyone watch the DVD during my birthday dinner and listen to the album en route to and from the mall.  (Keep in mind that I already had all of the videos from Baby and Oops on VHS, as well as the Behind-the-Videos.)  That same year I purchased her Live in Las Vegas DVD; I still watch it once every few months.

      Her album In the Zone came out when I was a freshman in college.  I downloaded it weeks in advance and listened to it non-stop, burning copy after copy for every man/woman/child who knocked on my dorm door and inquired about the voice of an angel that was blaring through my desktop speakers.  Release day I skipped class, rode the shuttle bus to the parking lot, drove to Target, bought the album (which I already memorized), drove back to the parking lot and listened to the entire thing, singing every word.

      That same year my roommate and I memorized the steps to the Crazy video.  I never told her I already knew it by heart from the VHS days; my sophomore year I wrote an entire paper about the media frenzy surrounding her first marriage, ironically also shot in Las Vegas.

      The week Blackout was released I went on vacation; my gift to my neighbors was leaving the CD on repeat with a sign that read 'Hope you have enjoyed listening to Britney's new album xoxo Leah'.

      The year of her Circus Tour I took my college bff to Chicago (actually she took me as I was vehicle-less) to SEE HER LIVE.  Here is a picture of my reaction to seeing Britney Jean Spears for the first time:

      My reaction to being in the same room as Brit.

      To this day, that was the single-most incredible moment of my entire life.

      Go ahead and keep that white wig on.  I C U JUDGING ME.  You only make me Stronger.  I will tell you to your face that there is no argument you can make for me stop loving her.  I was Born to Make You Her Happy.

      I know more about Britney Spears than you can begin to fathom.  Does this make me Crazy?  Possibly.  Is scheduling a Google Alert to delivered to my inbox everyday make me Toxic?  (I personally think it makes me Lucky.)  Will I boldly enter a discussion about her with complete strangers/haters?  Everytime.  You may think she's Outrageous; but as for me and my house, I say, Gimme More.

      Britney Spears makes me feel like I am sitting in a packed movie theater opening night.  The air is electric; your heart races, your palms sweat, and you take a collective breath when they Kill the Lights.  Will you be disappointed?  Sometimes.  Does this mean I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet a Woman?  Definitely not.

      Follow Friday

      I can't believe it's Friday Monday already. This week has been insane and ridiculous and I could not be happier that tomorrow is Saturday Tuesday.

      Here are my picks for this week's Follow Friday Monday. Previous picks can be found HERE and HERE.

      @JohnAntonios met him during a #PR20Chat this past week and he is knowledgeable in both Marketing/PR and Social Media.  Most importantly, he's a blast to talk with!

      @carlajo Carla is fabulous and has her pulse on that happs in Indy.  She is in the PR field (and rocks it) and is hilarious, thoughtful, intelligent, etc!  I suggest adding her if you need some life in your timeline.  Also, did I mention she's beautiful?  Just sayin'.

      @running5k2day Sweetest lady in my timeline (or at least one of them).  She is a mother of TWINS and she still manages to talk with you!  She's got positive energy and never makes me feel bad about falling behind on my chores.

      @sergioni He's hilarious.  He is up-to-date about the happenings in Hollyweird and always makes me laugh.  Always.  Did I mention he's hilarious?  Beyond that, he's really sweet and he interacts with his followers.

      @jj_newberry He is also hilarious and is a constant tweeter.  Some may not like this, but I LOVE it.  He makes me laugh with his commentary and there is always SOMETHING going on.

      @peachonice She is one of the first people I ever followed on Twitter, and she is still one of my favorites.  She uploads pictures WHICH I LOVE and had some pretty profound things to say.  She also interacts with followers.

      @bryanricard One of my newest twiends from #BrandChat.  He impressed me with his know-how.  Follow him to learn something about Marketing/PR/Social Media

      @toryk She is a Social Media diva just like me!  She works in the field (and plays in it, too).  I met her during the #PR20Chat and ran into her again during #ForbesChat.  I love a lady who contributes to her field and who had great music taste.

      @misterbrogue I added him to my nest last week during Follow Friday and have not regretted it at all!  Photographer, philosopher (maybe), and all around rad dude.  Be warned -- he's interested in meeting new people and interacting.  If you're boring he'll give you the boot!  I consider this a compliment and have really enjoyed talking to him over the last week or so.

      @thespacebase He's lives in Tennessee.  He has great taste in books and music.  He's married to a Roller Derby Goddess -- what more could you ask for?  Oh, he's funny too!

      @grenkappa He's from Florida.  He's got a sweet smile.  He talks back -- I highly recommend following him.  He loves to talk about music so get the conversation started!

      BONUS: @smartalecjosh12 We have the same taste in TV shows and I love it.  I can talk about Buffy, Dawson's Creek, Bones, you name it!  If you have awesome taste in TV like we do ... I think you know what to do.

      Follow Friday

      It's been brought to my attention that having 1094 people for #FollowFriday on Twitter can be a bit daunting. What's unfortunate is that I like to give a shout-out to the people I interact with on a weekly basis, and if it happens to be a busy week, this can add up to a lot of people.

      I haven't quite decided if I will completely stop mentioning all my favorite tweeps, but in the mean time here is a list of my Must-Follow for this week.

      @Divacoachdabney I met her this week during #BrandChat and she had a lot of insightful input on branding, marketing, and social media.  I'm looking forward to getting to know her better (and learn, too).

      @hotmixprincejay He's a DJ and he's hilarious.  He keeps up with the trends in sports, news, and Hollyweird.  I one day hope to be on his must-follow list as well.

      @sarayelich She tweets a lot (some people like that, some people don't).  She is funny and random and her mom is a florist.  She has a variety of interests and I enjoy reading her updates.

      @mrwordsworth I met him this week during #MonitorChat.  His tweets are great.  Funny, sarcastic, witty -- I highly recommend you follow him to give some humor to your timeline.

      @girlspintout A mom and a beer fanatic.  What's not to love?  She is working to unite the women of Indy (and soon, the globe!) who love beer.  Support the cause!

      @bodewadmi He posts a lot of interesting links and interacts with his followers.  I am a big fan of interaction -- if you don't respond, what's the point?

      @ambusctrs101 If you want an example of how a business twitter should be run, follow this company!  She does a great job of mixing business and personal to keep it interesting.

      @karimacatherine I met her this week during #BrandChat and ran into her again during #MonitorChat.  She knows a lot about marketing, and I highly suggest you learn something from her.  Don't be intimidated -- she is very approachable!

      @141chars She posts links about social media so you can stay in the loop.  Only drawback is that she doesn't respond.

      @gazelma She is a blogger and a very interesting woman to follow.  Her fashion blog is great and so is her take on pop-culture.

      BONUS: Follow @homelessnickle.  Recently moved (or is in the process of moving) from Indy to Chicago.   His blog kept me motivated to keep being myself during my job quest.


      Previous list of Must-Follows can be found here.  You should follow them as well.

      Tin can

      My mother received a troubling message from her realtor yesterday and it is completely my fault.

      He called to complain about my POS car being parked in her driveway, saying that it was 'bringing down the value of her house'.

      At first I was embarrassed because, let's face it, my car is not exactly the chariot it used to be. Yes, one side is smushed in. Yes, it does not have A/C and there is a slight crack in the windshield that I discovered this week. And yes, the hubcaps were taken off during Dreamboat Annie's last surgery and were never put back on (never found actually).

      Just because one of her windows rolls down irregularly and the CD player no longer works does not mean she is not a trusty steed. We have been through a lot together, and some bonds are not based on superficiality. I don't care that she has scratches, dents, and plastic pieces that hit your feet when you ride shotgun; she gets me where I need to go.

      As I continued to mull over this message, rage started to surface. If he is blaming his inability to sell a house on the appearance of my car, which was only parked there for a short amount of time, he is obviously an idiot. If a potential buyer falls in love with the property then reneges because of my car, they too are idiots.

      I'd be more than happy to accept a new car if it will help sell my mother's house. I'd be even happier to have a buyer who accepted the house, Tin Can and all.

      Paula Cole

      Where have all the cowboys gone? A great guilty pleasure song from the 1990s and also an interesting interpretation of the music industry. It seems anyone these days can get a record contract. You do not need talent, a voice, strong lyrics ... all you really need is an 'image' and the opportunity to sell yourself (but that's an different entry all together). Hell, I could be a county music star with some help from an excellent lyricist and auto-tune.

      My argument is this: I know for a FACT that there are plenty of artists and groups who do still care about the music, the message, the lyrics but they are hidden gems that require mining and a map to find.

      Some of my favorite artists many people have never heard of -- so how do you get talent to go mainstream without selling out? Is it possible to become famous and stay connected to who you are? Take Green Day for example: their latest album is a far-cry from Dookie. Evolving as an artist is important, but when does evolving stop and selling-out begin?

      I understand the powerhouses in the music industry are interested in profit but how refreshing it would be to see a shift and bring the focus back to the music, instead of the sludge that is barely tolerable on the radio waves these days.

      Avril Lavigne wanted to be a country singer and was formed into a faux-punk-rocker to sell albums. Imagine what sort of impression she could have left if she was able to live her passion instead of putting on heavy eyeliner and fishnet stockings. True, her persona and 'talents' made her a household name, at least for awhile, but at what cost?

      Is it still possibly to make a impression by being yourself, sticking to your guns and not taking no for an answer? The loss of genuine talent is already being felt by yours truly.

      I sat around July 4th listening to folk music and wishing I grew up in the 60s and 70s, when music seemed to mean something. There is part of me that still believes the world can change with a strong voice, a guitar, and something to say. Am I am that naive to continue to see music as a tool? Has our generation somehow lost our ability to reach the masses through lyrics and music? Will we be remembered for getting 'Tipsy'?

      Follow Friday

      Looking for some new people to follow to breathe new life into you time line?  Here is a list of ten of my Twitter favorites:

      @1LovelyDreamer: Recently started kickin' her body back in shape and inspires me to do the same!  Friendly and thoughtful, she makes sure to wish you a great day!

      @1NickFury: Makes me smile every single day!  Always there to encourage me, I look forward to reading his tweets!  He wishes you a good morning and makes sure you have one!

      @MR2L33: Absolutely hilarious and keeps me laughing throughout my day (and night).

      @SmashFizzle: Great about RE important information and interacting.  Also her sense of humor is impeccable.  Check out her blog HERE

      @SavingSallyX: Nn her way to bring a social media queen!  Hilarious and a FourSquare enthusiast.  She also posts cute pics of her adorable puppy and has great Instant Netflix recommendations.  You can follow her blog HERE and support her throughout her weight-loss journey!

      @WhiteKid_Wasted: He keeps me laughing and always has something 'going on'.  Big fan of his replies and use of song lyrics.

      @shaia8: Very knowledgeable of computers, software, programming as well as being positive!  he has helped me with several Mac-related issues and I'm incredibly grateful!

      @ScientistMaggie: She's a scientist with huge aspirations.  Learn something!

      @TimandNorah: I love reading his tweets -- he's funny, he's into great music, and his profile picture makes me smile everytime I see it pop-up on my timeline!

      @Matthod: He has GREAT information for anyone who is involved in the Social Media field.  I've learned so much from him in the few short weeks I've been following him.

      BONUS @madejustforhim: She is sweet and always replies, which I love!

      I've linked their names to their profiles to make following them a snap.  Once you do follow them make sure you introduce yourself; I'm sure you'll be twiends in no time.

      Please feel free to comment with other great tweeps to follow!  If this turns out to be successful I may do it every Monday -- or maybe friday to coincide with #FollowFriday on Twitter.

      Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      "Concerning trees and leaves... there's a real power here. It is amazing that trees can turn gravel and bitter salts into these soft-lipped lobes, as if I were to bite down on a granite slab and start to swell, bud and flower. Every year a given tree creates absolutely from scratch ninety-nine percent of its living parts. Water lifting up tree trunks can climb one hundred and fifty feet an hour; in full summer a tree can, and does, heave a ton of water every day. A big elm in a single season might make as many as six million leaves, wholly intricate, without budging an inch; I couldn't make one. A tree stands there, accumulating deadwood, mute and rigid as an obelisk, but secretly it seethes, it splits, sucks and stretches; it heaves up tons and hurls them out in a green, fringed fling. No person taps this free power; the dynamo in the tulip tree pumps out even more tulip tree, and it runs on rain and air."


      — Annie Dillard (from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

      A/S/L

      TTYL. LOL. IKR. IAWTC. IDGI. HRU.  BTW.  BRB.

      It has become possible to have an entire conversation almost entirely in abbreviations.  You can convey thoughts, expressions, etc. with a few letters in a sort of code that is universally understood.  Or is it?

      I for one embrace abbreviations.  What slowly started years ago has exploded as social media and commentary take center stage in most people's daily lives.  I began using 'internet speak' in everyday life as a joke with the best friend.  BRB.  TTYL.  LOL.  At the time the people around us had no idea what we were saying and we thought we were hilarious and clever.  Turns out, the joke was on us.  I now cannot break the habit of 'internet speak', even if I tried.  Feel free to admit that I Can Has Cheezeburger talk has come out of your mouth, or fingers, at least once.  Go ahead.  Acceptance is the first step.

      What is so tricky about the abbreviation epidemic is that not everyone is in on it.  A year or so ago, there was a billboard near my place of employment that said, "BTW Don't Text & Drive. TYVM".  I immediately read it and understood TYVM to mean "Thank You Very Much".  The best friend understood it as "Text Your Voice Mail".  Essentially the entire message was lost because she did not comprehend the abbreviation.

      I like to send texts the boyfriend with as much abbreviation as possible and I am elated when he responds to my question.  I assume he knows what I'm talking about.  I recently learned that he does not.  "Oh, you mean that actually means something?  I thought you just hit keys by mistake and didn't realize it."

      Ummm... I guess he is in the 'idgi' category.

      What happens when the person receiving your message misinterprets yours abbreviations?  Do you really save any time using them if you have to explain it later?  IDK.

      TTYL.

      Rage against the machine

      According to this article, The New York Times reports that 45 percent of employers questioned in a Harris Poll said they checked social networking sites before making hiring decisions. And 35 percent of employers using Internet research in the screening process decided not to hire a candidate based on what they found there.

      Hold on, pump the brakes.

      Almost 50 percent of employers creep on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. to check out potential employees and them make 'informed' decisions about potential employees based on their findings?  Without even meeting them first?

      I don't know if it's the fact that I didn't get a cup of coffee this morning, or if it is because I'm still sore from my first yoga experience two days ago, but this outraged me.

      I have long since adhered the 'Take Me As I Am' philosophy: if you have a problem with the way I choose to spend my time outside of the workplace then I'll pass on the opportunity.  I have far too much to do, see, and learn to waste my time worrying about your opinion.  Yes, this is potentially naive as well as harmful, but I cannot justify trying to hide my true self for the sake of an employer's satisfaction.

      Is there a single company that not only understands that people have lives outside of their offices/encourages such things?  Have we become so subservient to our paycheck that we are willing to compromise ourselves?

      Sure, there are things I could/should delete off Facebook and Twitter, but doing so would be cheating, at least to me.  To deny the fact that I used to play beer pong and sing karaoke on Thursday nights would be lying.  Why should I erase part of my identity so I can 'fit in' to your idea of an ideal candidate?

      Those photos/posts/etc. don't tell you about my tremendous character, my loyalty, my sense of humor, my work ethic, my creative thinking.  You will, however, see me making poor fashion choices and possible horrible hair days.

      I work hard.  I live life.  I refuse to change for anyone but myself.

      Am I alone in this 'radical' way of thinking?

      Is the future creating an employer-friendly Facebook/Twitter while also maintaining a 'real' one?  That sounds like an awful lot of work to me.  How long before those lines become blurred and you no longer remember which identity is truly yours?

      I know you're out there, dream employer.  I know you will look passed the short bangs and smudged eyeliner to see my potential.  I can't wait to show you everything I have to offer; I have a feeling you are going to be blown away.

      Possible motto

      I get up every morning determined both to change the world and to have one hell of a good time. This makes planning the day difficult.   

      E.B. White

      Kafka II

      I am sad to report that Kafka is no longer with us.  I did the best I could; I watered him every few days (when I remembered) and put him in indirect sunlight (just like he wanted!) but he has crossed over.

      I made the mistake of telling everyone at my apartment for a birthday celebration not to touch Kafka upon arrival.  "HEED THESE WORDS: DO NOT touch his leaves!  I know they are beautiful but RIFE with POISON!  If you touch your mouth and sap is on your fingers your throat will close up and you will lose your ability to speak!"  After that all they wanted to do was touch it/get other people to touch it.  They would lure new arrivals into the kitchen and remark on how beautiful the leaves were, they look so soft and glossy, would you like to touch them? Boys. 

      After the birthday party started to wind down several gentleman, white knights really, decided it was time to get rid of the Death Plant.  My last memory of Kafka is a blur of t-shirts and jeans as the sound of muffled laughter carried him down the stairwell, through the door, and into the great black night.  The best friend turned to me, sadness visible on her face and stated, "You have never been able to keep a plant alive.  Not one."  The knights returned from battle, satisfied in slaying the Dieffenbchia dragon, giant grins on their faces.  When I asked where he was taken, they relied, "We saved your life tonight."

      Wherever you are Kafka, I hope you are in indirect sunlight and being watered every few days.

      Although you are gone, you did not die in vain.  If it wasn't for you, there is a strong possibility that all the dogs at the Anderson pound would be roaming the streets and all of us would have suffered through a karaoke rendition of "Who Let The Dogs Out."

      Rest in Peace.  I am sorry you fell victim to Black Thumb Beatty.

      Kafka

      You may remember that one of the goals I set for myself is to keep a houseplant alive. Today I bought my first houseplant and have named it Kafka. 

      I wanted to go with Alejandro, but the boyfriend insisted it looked like a German plant.  How something leafy and green can resemble any sort of nationality is beyond me, but there was no way I was going to name it Herman.  We settled on Kafka.

      It was purchased at Meijer for under $20 and seems to have a several battle scars from its journey beginning in Homestead, Florida.  Some of the leaves have patches of sadness -- some discolored tips that are yellow, some brown dead spots, some rips.  I accidentally ripped part of a leaf off when rolling up the window ... oops.

      After returning home I Google-d and found some rather disheartening information.

      Dieffenbachia is a moderately easy to care for houseplant that likes humidity and sunlight.  Otherwise known as dumb cane, their stems are green, their leaves are white and yellow, and they can grow up to 5 feet tall.   So far, so good.  I continued reading and learned that they are called 'dumb cane' because your throat will swell and you will lose your speech if you eat their foliage.  You are supposed to use protective gloves when working with the plant just in case sap gets onto your fingers and eventually ends up in your mouth.

      What?!

      How did I manage to pick a poisonous plant for my first green thumb project?  I know why -- I thought it was cute.  I looked at its large spotted leaves and thought it would coordinate well with the living room.  I also saw the rips and browning leave patches and immediately felt sorry for it.  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for the underdog.

      Dieffenbachias are to be kept away from children and pets; I don't have the former (THANK YOU JESUS) but the latter is left unsupervised five days a week while I go to work.  Kafka is already pretty large and I had every intention of leaving it on the floor, in front of the window to soak up the spring sunlight.  It now lives next to my desk on top of the filing cabinet.

      So far I've ripped a leaf in the car and watered its dry soil.  Three hours into ownership and Kafka is still alive and well.  I'd like to write more but these rubber gloves are hot and difficult to type with.  Wish Kafka good luck.

      STATS
      Approx. height: 20" -- that's a little over one and a half feet
      Largest leaf length: 14" x 6"
      Smallest leaf length: 5 1/4" x 2 1/3"


      Narcissim and the scan button

      I've been swearing in my car a lot lately.

      A huge factor of my trucker mouth is the plethora of potholes that are eating the streets of Indianapolis and surrounding cities.  Driving has become like a live-action game of Mario Kart, except there are no cubes full of prizes: instead there are flat tires, destroyed under-bodies, and bent axles.  I can guarantee that the repairs to my vehicle last year had little to do with my actual car and more to do with pits on the motorways.

      There is a pothole large enough to swallow your car in the Perkins' parking lot in Anderson.  That is not an exaggeration: in fact, driving anywhere has become a high-stakes game of chicken.  Do you swerve toward oncoming traffic to avoid a massively deep pot hole or hit it dead on and risk popping your tire?

      Cities across the nation have acknowledged this pothole epidemic and started programs to allow civilians like you and me to Adopt a Pothole.  Unless I can write that off on my taxes, I'm not interested in spending my hard-earned wages to fix what I thought was the city/state's responsibility.  Indianapolis officials encourage you to fill out a form to be submitted to the city mayor about the pothole plague, but I wonder how effective that will be.  Shouldn't the fact that an online form to report potholes exists be a red-flag that this is a definite problem?  (Here is an article from the Ball State Daily News about this growing problem.  Here is an article about the profit of potholes for local businesses.  I'm all about stimulating the economy, but at what price?)

      Although I have no idea how to fix the problem myself, I am toying with idea of starting a pothole brigade.  A can of orange spray paint and a ski mask is all I need to start righting fixing the roads.  A spray-painted circle around potholes will at least give drivers a few second heads up so they can slam on the brakes and prepare for impact.  The only major concerns are how many cans of spray paint it will take to mark all the potholes in my area and how itchy ski masks can become.  I also wonder the legality of such actions; an acquaintance of mine was arrested for creating his own crosswalk near the Ball State campus after repeated phone calls about the dangerous intersection went unanswered.

      The other source of profanity comes from my stereo.  Because my car is a P.O.S. I do not have a working CD player.  It gave up the ghost about a year ago and I do not have the funds to replace it or buy an iPod leaving me at the mercy of the radio.

      Apparently you need no talent (or even a decent voice) to get a music contract these days.  Shitty artists are a dime a dozen and I spend more time scanning stations to find a song that doesn't make me cringe than listening to actual music.  When I do find a jam I actually like it is overplayed to the point of puking and once again I am forced to scan.  Is there an end to this cycle?

      I would like to take a brief moment to acknowledge the death of one of my childhood icons: Ludacris.  He used to light up the sky and now he is doing compilations with Justin Bieber.  How the mighty have fallen.  I've also noticed a trend of extreme narcissism in a lot of songs: every song by Jason Derulo starts with, you guessed it, "Jason Derulo"; even the catchy Bad Romance's repeats Gaga over and over.

      Are you worried we will forget who is singing?  Is it too much to ask for signed artists to focus on the music instead of getting their name out there?  Is there a radio station that exists that doesn't play over-played singles over and over and over?  I'm all for an infectious beat, but part of me is looking for substance, too.  Perhaps the focus is no longer on quality but simply quantity.  I know so many talented musicians without contracts who would bring credibility back to the music world; why not give them the opportunity?  I can guarantee they won't mention themselves as part of a chorus.