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Posts Tagged ‘male bonding

Weekly #4: Happy Days Are Here Again

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Hello, Gorgeous! I must confess that I am totally obsessed with Barbra right now. Just listen to the sheer power of her voice.

On to the point: I am easily obsessed with ____. In searching for online communities about my favorite activity/hobby, I realized that I have no one favorite. Instead, I become quite easily obsessed with something, and then use the the Long Tail of information out there on the interweb to discover more about that thing. I guess if I had to pinpoint an activity that I love best, it is internet research on my favorite flavor of the moment.

Take The Social Network, for instance. I saw it this weekend while visiting HPL (more on that in my personal post), and have since been obsessed. Yes, obviously I love the Sorkin screenplay and the Reznor score. But more importantly, I love the chemistry between the actors. It hints at the male bonding that had to have occurred offscreen in order for such a strong connection to be formed onscreen. I watched several interviews with the cast, read through transcripts of interviews, and then researched cast members and their bodies of work. I searched by referencing the popular sources (EW.com, Variety, IMDB.com, Wikipedia) first and landed on this amazing clip of cast member Andrew Garfield during an ABC News interview. Then I found some stuff from lesser known sources simply by sifting through the massive amounts of returns yielded on Google and YouTube.

Chris Anderson acknowledges in his book The Long Tail the main concern with using the Long Tail of any market, which is any topic on the internet in my case: “The Long Tail is indeed full of crap” (p. 116). The same is true for the internet itself. But he also acknowledges that it is full of brilliance. The key is to be a judicious researcher by checking multiple sources of information, and not just the popular ones.

Garrett hit on this a bit last week when discussing the fracturing of media. He talked about how notions which have been proven false continue to spread as true not because of people on either end of the information access spectrum (“elites” and “non-elites”). Rather, those in the middle are the ones believing these misconceptions and spreading them as credible intel. The middle can access information via the web, but they are poorly skilled at determining fact from fiction. Indeed, it is no longer about getting hold of information, but about making smart decisions based on that information (p. 107). Interestingly enough, Aaron Sorkin talked about his disdain for the internet because of this very problem. As he puts it, “There’s just too much bad information getting out there, and I have to believe that’s mostly the fault of the Internet, which isn’t held to any standards of accuracy.”

I hear that, Almighty Sorkin. However, I think that the standard of accuracy comes from the “wisdom of the crowd” as Anderson puts it. The ratings of a user’s answer to the burning questions regarding offscreen relationships are what connects my demand to the good supply in the internet’s Long Tail. And I trust these users because they are just as obsessed as I am with finding the right answers. No internet search would be complete without the reference to or help of the social web. Of course, that doesn’t mean I rely solely on users (methinks that would knock me out of my elite status). But they are just as valuable a source as the EW reporter fawning over the actors.

I have used the Long Tail of the internet to find out about lasting obsessions such as grammar, Harry Potter and Wegmans. The speed of the internet is especially helpful for those passing obsessions like Kings of Leon. It helps reduce time wasted on something that might not matter as much to me in three weeks. Today it’s Social Network, tomorrow it could be tsunamis. Despite the wealth and variety of information sitting on the internet, I have not found defined online communities devoted to the information sitting on the internet. Perhaps the entire internet is my community, and more narrowly the social web. After all, my favorite activity would not exist without both.


Personal #1: Natural Highs

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As I tramped along the rain-soaked bricks of Georgetown yesterday morning, my thoughts involuntarily wandered to all of the natural highs in life. These highs are categorically the best because they are au naturel. They are able to produce feelings of euphoria just by being. While these highs are personal, I am sure you will find my selection to be universal. Take a look and tell me I’m lying:

1. Mother carrying baby on chest

I witnessed this scene on my way to work. The corners of my mouth turned up automatically. I felt a strong buzz and spent the next 30 seconds laughing. Perhaps this reaction comes from my biological clock going haywire around nuggets (read: babies). More likely, though, it is because every time I see this, the mother walks along as if it is the norm to have a mini human strapped to her body. I mean…your baby is hanging off of you. I would love to be a fly on the wall of the infant brain during these little adventures.

Whelp, you know what they say. One baby’s misery is a twisted lady’s delight.

2. Rain boots

Originally, I thought about mentioning my boots boots (camel-colored leather Steve Maddens…ooo wee these are nice). But then it hit me. I can walk for hours through a monsoon and still have dry feet in my rain boots. I stood in a deep puddle for two minutes just because I could. And you know what? Still had toasty warm toes. BAM…natural high. I felt like Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It. In other words, I felt invincible. Rain boots are a-MAY-zing.

3. Mango

If Diet Coke is my cigarette, then mango is my cocaine. I will pay any price for it, and when on-the-go I feel the need to smuggle it in my purse. The fact that I did not grow up with any mango in my house is tantamount to child abuse. Sure, Momma made copious amounts of pasta, but this sweet goodness? Nada. I thought it only existed on TV. Anyway, this past year I learned what I’ve been missing and never looked back. I started the day with mango to the face and have since been “walking with swagger” according to my Sassy Gay Friend (see below). Indeed, life is good.

4. Bread

Ah bread. Bread, bread, bread, bread, bread. Delicious, fluffy bread. That’s all I have to say about that.

5. Male bonding

Whether shown via a war miniseries on HBO or the brothers from Supernatural, I get a serious high off of this. I cannot think of anything more crucial to humanity than male bonding. Democracies have been saved and demons have been vanquished because of the power of this phenomenon. Any time I see guys express feelings and bond over a common experience, it’s as if I just looked up at the sky and saw God wink at me. The exuberance I feel manifests itself in me hiding behind a blanket and giggling uncontrollably.

6. Harry Potter

Along with the rest of the planet, I am obsessed with J.K.’s perfect creation of adolescent angst. The difference between the rest and me is that they are Muggles, and I am not. I am a wizard in the wings, and I have a wand to prove it. (Note: I prefer wizard to witch, as witch has a negative connotation). I don’t think I could self-actualize without this literary masterpiece, specifically books 5-7. Whenever I feel low, bored or confused, I automatically turn to HP. The answers are always there. Freezing and foggy out? Expecto patronum! Creepy man gaining on you at night? Protego! Fight with a best friend? Book 7, Chapter 19, Ron comes back. The fact that the series is finished creates the same mixed bag of emotions that J.K. felt: “I’ve never felt such a mixture of extreme emotions in my life, never dreamed I could feel simultaneously heartbroken and euphoric.” Luckily, I will be flying via broomstick to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in less than one week. Cue DaughtryI’m going home.

7. Political realities reminiscent of West Wing

First, let me tell you that I firmly believe the Bartlet Administration is interwoven into the fabric of American history. Sorkin is God, and The West Wing is real. Nothing confirms this belief more than when I see the happenings on the Hill reflect an episode I just re-watched for the 20th time. Obama’s not-so-secret addiction to nicotine? Bartlet’s been there, done that. Arms deals to Gulf nations that don’t quite match up with our democratic standards? CJ said it best: “They’re beating the women, Nancy!” A weathered Obama stifling his beliefs to play politics? Bartlet didn’t stay up for five nights for nothing.

A natural high is expected from a show this brilliant, but when reality tips its hat to this fictional world, it’s as though I’m auditioning for Up with People.

8. Antoine Dodson

When I watch this, my soul hugs my heart tight. Every. Single. Time. Antoine Dodson is the best thing since sliced tomato. I love him! I love him for the man that he wants to be. And I love him for the man he almost is.

9. Shameless dance parties

I basically wish my life was a musical, so the reason why this gets me going is obvious. However, there’s a difference between me just dancing office-to-office at work and a “shameless dance party.” The former gets me prepped for a long day of staring at a computer screen, while the latter results in sweaty delusions of grandeur. For instance, last weekend pals and co. danced as if our lives depended on it. We were drenched, overwhelmed and had incredibly high opinions of ourselves. In brief, we looked like the cast of Glee. In fact, we looked more like Elaine — 10 drug-induced Elaines. Such is the awesome power of the shameless dance party.

10. Sassy Gay Friend

The only thing better than Brian Gallivan’s creation is the real thing. My Sassy Gay Friend (SGF) is the best part of my day. If I didn’t find him waiting to mock me at work every day, I would fall down and die. We literally don’t stop laughing when we are together. Whether he is imitating my mother or regaling me with tales of his Boy Scout past, I am in a constant state of manic joy. He regularly hints at our impending “break up,” but I love him all the more for it. He is one part wit, one part hilarity and one part sass. I always say I just want a straight man with his personality, but then I realize that is impossible. The very virtue of said man being straight negates 2/3 of the SGF personality. Ah, such is life.

11. Rebecca Rose Ruiz

Rebecca, a.k.a. Triple R, is my sister for life. My Pi Phi sister for life, that is. I had the honor of rooming next to her in the sorority house during my sophomore year. There are three things about Triple R that are by themselves not that special, but when combined are awe-inspiring. 1. Triple R is a wordsmith. She can spin words like Charlotte can spin a web. It’s not just me who thinks so – check out her work at The NYTimes. 2. Triple R is funny without trying. For instance, when a muffin was thrown at her face with rocket force, she didn’t yell, kick or scream. Instead, she ran away sobbing. Hilarious, no? 3. Triple R is a baby genius. I think she’s only 20. Maybe 21. Really folks, I have no idea just how young my “peer” is. Oh, and remember how she works at NYTimes? Yea, her work was nominated for a Pulitzer this past year. Awe-inspiring.

I have many, many more, but that will have to do for now. Perhaps this will be Part 1 of a series. In any event, I’m off to go get high naturally.

Feel free to answer: What are your natural highs?