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Amusing Ourselves To. . . I Forget

My brain is distracted.

I realized this when I was reading a book called The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains and I would hear the siren call of Facebook. I put the book down and lunged for my computer so I could look at stuff like this:

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There, all better. Now what was that book saying?

Something about how distraction has always been around since the advent of electronic media, but:

(N)ever has there been a medium that has been programmed to so widely scatter our attention and to do it so insistently.

I knew it was happening to me. I saw it when trying to read The New York Times online and finding I could only make it through three paragraphs before losing interest and clicking elsewhere–usually on ads for the Chillow pillow

chillow

I can read the physical paper in its entirety as long as I can continue to check Facebook every ten minutes.

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It’s probably unsurprising, but reading print materials activitates different parts of the brain than reading online. For instance, as you read this, the part of your brain that regulates break dancing has been stimulated. That book readin’ activiates them language, memory and visual processing parts. Now you tell me, which is better?

breakin

I’ve experienced the moment when it feels like the whole world recedes as I look at a Buzzfeed list of the craziest bras ever created. That’s what the Internet does. It grabs our attention only to scatter it like a bra made out of birdseed.

In Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death (disclaimer: I tried to read this online and made it three sentences in before giving up. I’m reading a print version now), he brings up the two varying views of the future: George Orwell’s and Aldous Huxley’s. Orwell predicted a totalitarian world where information was scarce. Huxley’s world was one of excess where people willingly gave up their autonomy in exchange for their distractions. Information was everywhere.

I wonder whose view is more spot on?

snowdenkimyeIt would appear that the notion of the U.S. government collecting the phone records and Internet searches of millions of Americans, an act that is in direct violation of the 4th amendment, would be somewhat troubling.

Shouldn’t it be?

I don’t know because while I was looking up the NSA story, I was sidetracked by a video of Justin Bieber pissing in a mop bucket.

My journey ultimately ended here:

facebook3There, all better.

How to Potty Train a Toddler

It has come to this moment. Mini Speaker7 has hit the age where he needs to find a pot to piss in or be resigned to a life full of diapers, so sayeth some parenting blog that routinely makes me feel I fail as a parent. I probably am more of a C-minus kind of mother.

Mini Speaker7 is a few months past 3. He’s a boy, and apparently boys are harder to train than girls, dolphins and some species of monkey. It has been slow-going, which I partially attribute to my laziness, but, hey, those reality television shows aren’t going to watch themselves.

For the past few months, I’ve been regaled with success stories of child-size shitting and urinating on other “friends” Facebook pages. These children–much, much younger than my son–are pooping prodigies:

pottytrainingsuccess

This has been discouraging because while reading my Facebook newsfeed for two hours, my son shat through another pair of underwear.

I honestly have no idea what I’m doing, and was hoping that my skilled toilet use would be enough. In fact, I recently earned a doctorate in urination from the University of Phoenix.

Some potty training experts say you should just lay down some tarp and let your child act as if he was a drunken idiot at an all-day outdoor concert, glowsticks included. Others exalt the potty “sessions” where the child alternates between screaming “I’m not wearing underwear! I’m not!” and “I’m not wearing diaper! I’m not!” until you suffocate yourself with a diaper genie.

This headline is a bit of a misnomer. A better one would be “How the fuck do you potty train a toddler because, seriously, have you met a toddler? They are out of their fucking minds.”

This is what I’ve attempted:

  • A potty training incentive sticker chart thomaspeechart

My son screamed “Take it off! Take it off!” when I stuck on a sticker.

  • Bribes. At any given moment in my household, you can hear either me or my husband stating the following in a sing-song voice: “If you go pee-pee on the potty, you get a truck. If you go poopy, you get two trucks!” These are the moments you hate yourself.

My son has consistently been a late-bloomer. He arrived early, but has since taken his time in doing many tasks. He walked at 20 months. He crawled at two. He learned to jump about a month ago. He will get there. It is likely he will know how to spell “toilet” before he actually uses it. But he will get there.

As my father likes to say: “Small kids, small problems. Big kids, big problems.”

That is true, but small kids can really produce some massive turds.

What the Fuck is Pinterest?

Seriously. What is it?

Because I just spent two hours pinning things, and I don’t know what happened to my life.

Like with so many other things, my awareness of Pinterest began on Facebook. That’s where I learned the weekend goes by much quicker than Monday and that rainy weather is a bummer. I was going to like someone’s status update about needing coffee, when this ecard caught my eye.

That sounded like so much fun! With real sledding, there’s the cold and the snow and then the walking and sitting and walking again and it’s like, what am I at work?

But what the fuck is Pinterest?

According to Pinterest, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard.

Great. What the fuck is that?

It’s a place to organize and share beautiful things one finds on the web. 

So like a book marking site?

No. 

I figured I needed to do some real-life research so I went to the Pinterest website, became really confused by the jumbled nature of it, joined it, “followed” boards I don’t understand and created new boards.

I still can’t explain what it is though. Here’s my first board:

I next pinned this:

And then I stopped at this:

Because seriously, I should be packing for my impending move to a new house not pinning. Wait…can I just pin my furniture to a board I call “New House?”

Dearest Reader: Speaker7 is attempting to write a post every day in November so she doesn’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). She wishes she could pin all of you except she doesn’t know what that means. 

Obligatory Facebook Post

It’s not even halfway through NaBloBlowsBigAss, and I’m not going to lie to you, gentle reader, I am struggling to fill in my little wordpress writery box with a daily post.

So this is why this post is about Facebook.

Facebook is awesome. It allows you to reconnect with people you barely tolerated in high school. It is a perfect platform to share your ability to quote Bon Jovi songs or share insights into the days of the week and how they affect you. Monday is Glumday, amirite?

And you can become friends with Doritoes®.

But sometimes Facebook is not awesome. It is not awesome when people engage in facebookery that is less to be desired.

This is why we need Facebook Etiquette or Facetiquette™ or Fetiquette™ or…look just don’t engage in the following:

Facebook fights

Yes occasionally someone is going to post something that you disagree with vehemently. Maybe Monday isn’t Glumday for you. But is it really so important to get into an argument with someone you went to art camp with 25 years ago?

Do you really think you will change this person’s mind by starting off your reply “Look, you fucking idiot. . .” No, you won’t. It’s best just to move on. Like someone’s post about  puppies instead. No one comes off looking good in a Facebook Fight or Ffight™.

Facebook Guilt Trips

I know you want people to pay attention to you. That’s why you posted that Instagram of your half-eaten breakfast burrito and wrote “Breakfast burrito! Yum!” But do you have to next post this?

This is a huge guilt trip. Not only do I have to prove my worth by clicking the like button, but then I actually have to copy and paste this tripe into my status update so you will know we’re actual friends? Here’s a clue: we’re not. That’s why I ignore this, and will continue to ignore you until you stop posting this shit.

Facebook banalities

Yes you do breathe. Your heart does beat. And you eliminate waste on a regular basis. But do I need to know about this?

No. No one does. This also goes for updates like “I have nothing to say.” That’s almost as bad as admitting you don’t know what to write for a blog post so you write about Facebook.

Facebook Mysteries

Oh you engimatic poster, you! You just love the cryptic status update that keeps us on our toes. Shit like this:

The best part is you will never say what exactly was fucked up, leaving us hanging on the minutae that envelopes your daily existence. And it works…for a second, until I hear Kim Kardashian has tweeted her ass has fallen off. That is some important stuff. That’s why it’s now my status update. And don’t say you don’t know why.

Facebook hate-a-thons

Okay, okay…I get it. The guy you wanted to win the presidency didn’t and now you are filled with rage. I feel you. I lived through the 2000 election. Remember that shit? The guy who actually won didn’t become president? Remember? That was a bitter pill to swallow. Still, I don’t want to read your rage-filled rants of nonsense:

I am pissed too. I am pissed that I actually exerted energy in my eyeballs to read this.

Facebook Non-Controversies

No one is taking your Christmas away. No one is pissing on the American Flag. Yet you post this:

None of this shit is real. You know what’s real? My apathy.

You know what is acceptable? This:

I am joking. This is also awful.

Dearest Reader: Speaker7 is attempting to write a post every day in November so she doesn’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This is the twelfth post. Don’t believe the haters. She will beat Satan. 

Things You Should Never Do

1. Research tonsillectomy on the Internet and read posts by people written five days post-surgery. The person who had an easy go of it is not busy posting his easy-peasy experience on the blog. He’s not going to make time to write “This was such a blast, I’m getting another set of tonsils put in so I can get them taken out again ;) ” He’s too busy enjoying his life.

No, the person who is posting is the one who feels like she’s asphyxiating on her tonsil scabs whenever she’s not sipping Gatorade. “I haven’t slept in days. If I don’t drink, it feels like I swallowed 400 jalapenos doused in lava. My teeth have started falling out like I’m the fucking Fly in David Cronenberg’s film.” And this person is topped by the next poster who says she wishes it felt like 400 jalapenos doused in lava. “That would be picnic in the park compared to my agony. Try 7,000 ghost peppers coated in napalm.”  She claims lying down will bring about her immediate death.

You contemplate buying this:

But opt for a Lazy Boy recliner instead.

2. Purchase a Lazy Boy recliner at an actual Lazy Boy recliner store. You would think this would be a simple transaction. You point to the chair you want, you pay some form of compensation, you leave with the chair. You believe you will avoid asphyxiating on your tonsil scabs and you will not have to wear something that resembles the cone dogs wear after surgery.

But no.

There is the finding of serial numbers and entering of serial numbers into a device called a computer. There is the misspelling of the last name several times and repeating of spelling. There is paperwork. A stool sample. There is the ad infinitum mention of Guardsman, a furniture protection plan that “only costs 3 cents a day” because “you don’t want to ruin your new chair with an exploding pen.”

In the time that passes, you could have likely built a chair, destroyed it with an exploding pen and built a replacement chair. You realize you filled out less paperwork bringing home a small human from the hospital.

3. Use an exploding pen. Especially while sitting in your new Lazy Boy recliner that lacks a Guardsman furniture protection plan. You thought it would be a good idea to get your will in order since you are undergoing a surgery that causes everyone to bleed profusely from their gaping tonsil-less craters. You want to make sure your blog is taken care of in case of your inevitable demise from reading too many tonsil horror stories. Then your pen explodes and you think why me? But you don’t write this as your status update on Facebook because you fucking hate enigmatic status updates.

4. Write enigmatic status updates on Facebook. Seriously, who do you think you are? Erica Kane?

What the fuck does that even mean? And now you have a sudden interest in this person who you barely know and only accepted her friend request because you shared a math class 20 years ago. You are so riveted you check back on Facebook frequently to see if there’s any updates.

Oh my god, you wonder, what rilly did happneded between them? By this point, 12 people have commented “What’s wrong?” or “Stay strong, girl.” Hmm.

Then she hits you with this:

Wowza! Wowza is right because eight hours have passed. Eight hours you could have used to search the interwebs to find out how to clean tonsil-crater blood off your new non-Guardsman Lazy Boy recliner. Damn, the tonsillectomy blog recommends Guardsman.

5. Go on the Internet for anything.

Well This is Embarrassing. . .

I nearly forgot today was my one-year blogging anniversary or as I like to call it blogginganniversary™. Please don’t tell my blog because it will be pissed.

Oh, I guess it knows now. Sorry baby. Look, I’ll take you out to dinner…any Arby’s you want. And here’s a fistful of dandelions I picked out of the sewer grate. Let me stick one in your hair.

All better.

I knew something was off-kilter. I watched a little Today show today, something I haven’t done in months. I learned Kathie Lee pees in the shower, and it made me actually like her a little.

See, I used to always blog about the Today show, and then a lightbulb went off because the bulb blew and I got a replacement bulb, switched it on and *bing* (or whatever sound an idea lightbulb makes) bloganniversary™.

Why have I been so absentminded?

Well, I’ve been reading and recrapping a horrible book and watching and recrapping a horrible reality television show. I have lost 15% of my brain matter according to a survey I took on an Arby’s placemat. I’ll admit I have not been my 100% percent self. More like my 75% self.

I likely need a refresher on percentages.

I had planned to blog today about the latest episode of Bachelor Pad 3 where the contestants actually create an entirely new STD out of chlamydia, herpes and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. But that will have to be for another day. Today is all about you, sweetheart. Or me. Is it us?

Them?

Hello?

When I started this blog, I had high ambition. I planned to change the world. That’s why my first post was on Facebook status updates.

Wait…was that my intention? Oh, right. I was bored. Kind of the same thing.

This past year, I feel like I’ve really grown as a writer. Why just last August, I was recapping episodes of Bachelor Pad 2. And now look at me. . . recapping episodes of Bachelor Pad 3. 

Maturity.

I don’t know what’s in store for this coming year. Bachelor Pad 4?

I cannot wait.

Happy Bloganniversary™ Speaker7! I mean me. Or is it us?

Putt-putt

If you’ve been reading this site recently or not reading it, which happens a lot, you are aware that some wires were yanked out or chewed on causing new posts not to appear in the reader.

The brilliant and macabre photo-lovin’ Angie Z suggested sending out a flood of quick posts to unclog the internet tubes. “You don’t have to write too much,” Angie said. “Maybe just ‘fart’.”

So that’s what this is. A fart, or putt-putt if you are sophisticated or easily offended by the word f–t.

There’s also this:

This was posted on someone’s Facebook wall. And, well, um, it’s. . . uh. . . nice? Sure, we’ll say nice and leave it at that.

Please excuse my putt-putt.

 

Facebook Facepalm

National Public Radio aired a story offering friendly advice to teachers about posting on Facebook. The basic premise is that teachers don’t have the same leeway as others because of the nature of the job. So this status update would not be the best choice:

Neither would this photo:

The story went on to give examples of teachers who lost their jobs over such infractions as calling homosexuality a “perverted sin,” referring to their students as “future criminals” and posting photos of themselves covered in chocolate sauce gyrating next to a stripper.

Fair enough.

Now I don’t want to seem like a scold or anti-freedomy™, but broadcasting your awfulness to the world is not always the right course of action especially when your job is to teach students to take tests made up by people seeking to annihilate all forms of public education. I’ll admit I like to cover myself in applesauce while gyrating next to stuffed animals I dressed up as strippers–in fact I’m doing it right now–the difference is I don’t take pictures of it or let people know about it…oh, sh*t. Unlike.

But should this just be applicable to teachers? Yes, teachers are revered in our society–just ask Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, but if I am not allowed to call my students sludge buckets for the entire world to see, why are you allowed to inundate me with updates about your hiccups?

Now this has never been done before–a blog first, or blirst™–but I’m about to devise a list of Facebook Etiquette, or Facebookquette…no, that doesn’t work…how ’bout Speaker7′s Guide to Non-Asshattery on Facebookery? Score. I’m going to trademark it. ™

Speaker7′s Guide to Non-Asshattery on Facebookery or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb™:

  • Don’t write about your hiccups. Or that you’re tired or hungry or yearning to be free. No one cares, unless you’re an actual baby. Then I would be impressed by your ability to spell hiccups, and I would steal you away for an appearance on the Today show calling you the Facebaby™.
  • Don’t post photographs of your fabulous vacation destination that looks nothing like the hellhole I call home. I can’t afford a vacation, jerk, so thanks for rubbing it in my facebook. Oh, you’re not home? I’m going to go break into your house.
  • Don’t post that you’re going to break into someone’s house. That’s going to get you arrested, and you saw how hard that was for Paris Hilton. She’s a warrior.
  • Don’t call Paris Hilton a warrior. Even though you are kidding, humor doesn’t translate well on Facebook, and people will think you’re stupid and out of touch. Paris Hilton is sooooo 2000.
  • Don’t write FML about anything unless you a literally fucking your life, and if you are doing that, post pictures.
  • Don’t write angry diatribes about slut women or gay immigrants under my status update about watching the Republican debate and vomiting into a bucket. We clearly don’t see things from the same perspective, and ranting like a dehydrated former child star won’t change things.
  • And finally, never use Facebook.


A Pink Slip Isn’t Pink

So you’ve just been handed a letter. You may be confused at first. You thought pink slips were pink. That’s what television has taught you–that, and when you stand up to someone, someone else will inevitably start a slow clap, which builds to thunderous applause.

This slip is white, and it’s not a slip, but just a piece of high-end letterhead. Wait, shouldn’t we use random scraps of paper, preferably used coffee filters and toilet paper toss offs, especially since we are in a budget crunch? Let’s focus. The pinkish-hued white letter slip reads that your employer may not meet be able to meet its contractual obligation for the next school year with regard to your employment. Huh?

You might be fired.

Like this:

Oh, and I just bought a $702 toilet, you say. The man who gave you the letter looks at you strangely. You realize that wasn’t the response you wanted to give even though you did just purchase a $702 toilet.

These are bad economic times, and you are in a profession that many people think is irrelevant because of the Internet, so you knew this was coming. That doesn’t mean that you can’t handle the news with panache.

Here are 10,000 or maybe 6 (it depends on how tired I am and/or how much wine I drink) tips to follow when given a pinkish-hued white letter slip of laid-offness:

  • Try not to throw yourself on the ground and thrash about. This could cause rug burn or floor burn if your floor is sans rug. You might get a staple embedded in your back or someone’s toenail. Toenails fall off at an alarming rate. If you feel compelled to thrash, go outside and roll around in the grass, unless you’re wearing white. Who wears white after Labor Day? When can we wear white? The day before Labor Day, and then never again? So many questions. Look out for dog crap
  • Don’t cry. What are you John Boehner? He cries when he runs out of a tissues, which is hourly, friend. If you feel the tears brimming and the bottom lip shaking, excuse yourself by saying “Oh, I think a bee just flew up my nose” or “I just saw kids running” or “I just heard Danny Boy.” Whatever, just think of something to get you out of the room. “Hey everybody, half-priced toilets at Target! Let’s go!”
  • Sure it sucks, but this is not the time to tell the world what you think of it–that’s reserved for when you are delivering a drunken toast at a wedding. You’re still not technically fired so going through a bullet by bullet list of why the person who gave you the letter sucks bees is not the way to go–unless someone else is around to give the slow clap. Do anything and everything to get the slow clap.
  • Don’t post on Facebook that your boss is Satan. Yes, your boss is Satan but your future Satanic boss will ask you for your password to Facebook.
  • Do buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket. If you win $540 million, you can call anyone Satan.
  • Don’t plan a Twilight wedding and changed your surname to “Cullen”. This has nothing to do with this post, but in general, just don’t do it. The world thanks you.
  • Do use your laidoffness as an excuse to not do anything like cook. We’ve been eating out a lot, and it’s been fantastic.
  • Do plan for the future, e.g., I plan to drink this second glass of wine, cry while watching Dance Moms and pass out.

Slow clap.