{Facebook, & Some Other Stuff}

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Most of you who know me knew this was coming.

I only got a Facebook account because I was urged to by my various agents, editors, and other public peoples, and I do try and do as I’m told periodically, so I agreed, and set up my little place in the world, and was poked and tried to figure out the mechanics of poking back, and then with relief turned off the notifications for all the little things like pretend farms and pretend mafia and pretend sea kingdoms which needed me to just do one or two things for someone else in order to gain some kind of pretend points.

I pretend well. Honest. Just… usually by myself.

Anyway. I get a lot of email from strangers these days, and a lot of friend requests on Facebook from more strangers who might turn out to be friends, and I’ve met a lot of nice people. But, I think I’ve done my time on social networking, and while I’ll miss Adrienne’s very amusing little notes on her kitchen escapades, and Jules’ pictures of her stunning children, Leila’s granola obsession, Liz’s TV lineup, Robin’s packing woes and Tim’s complaints about his class load, I think I could probably hear about those things via email, and not worry too much. Plus, Facebook never thinks all these things are as important as I do, anyway, and tends to shuffle them to some invisible place where I have to track them down, and instead gifts me with recaps of LOST and comments on the latest Regretsy offering. Which, I don’t mind, but I think I’ll enjoy rediscovering ways to keep up with my friends that don’t involve a networking site which now sells my personal information – including birthday and city – to yet more strangers. Who will, in turn, sell that information to people who cheerfully shoot advertising my way, which I neither want nor need.

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(Plus, when your PhD-information-systems-management Tech Boy gets quoted by American Public Media about how much he hates Facebook, and doesn’t trust them as a company, you sort of tend to want to ease back from the whole thing, just so as not to look, um, hypocritical.)

Upshot: if you’re my friend on Facebook, and not in real life, that’s okay. I’ll still say hello to you if we ever meet. If you’re my friend in real life, then surely you don’t need social networking to remind you of this.

Congratulations to Ms. Williams’ Speech and Theater Arts students at Goldthwaite High, who, this year, are competing in the University Interscholastic League in Prose. The University Interscholastic League was created by The University of Texas at Austin to provide leadership and guidance to public school debate and athletic teachers. The organization has been around since 1909, and the Prose competition since 1927.

Especially on the heels of Sara’s most excellent Audie for OPERATION YES, it’s an absolute hoot to imagine people reading parts of MARE’S WAR for their prose selection. How I wish I could be there to hear them. Take pictures, y’all!

I had no idea this could ever happen, but it appears that I have had such a good writing week that I have killed my keyboard.

In the middle of simmering up a lovely mess of plums, citrus peel, and sugar, I dashed to my computer to whip out a quick email.

That was Mistake #1, and you have NO IDEA how often it is repeated in this house. NO. IDEA.

I started typing… and the first ‘e’ I typed gave me a string of letters: asdfg qwert` — and then opened a bunch of Help menu windows.

Obviously, that wasn’t supposed to happen… so I frowned, and typed ‘e’ again. And then I typed the alphabet, and got an ‘e’ when I typed ‘f’, and a bunch of other nasty things started happening. I went online to Microsoft’s Help page, which is, as always, anything but, and did some troubleshooting, got on the Web and searched for my keyboard type, texted some people who should know about these things…

Oh, and I made some charcoal while I was at it.

It took me TWO DAYS to clean the burnt plums off the bottom of that pan. Two days, boiling salt water, a frosting-spreader-turned-chisel, and a pumice stone.

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And let that be a lesson to all of you. First, expect your wireless keyboard to detonate at some point. Even after you’ve taken it apart — three times — and cleaned it all the way to the little nifty-looking circuit board, in the end, it’s not as sturdy as a corded keyboard. Second, adding sugar to anything acidic means charcoal is just a step away. Don’t forget all those fun – and stinky – chemistry lessons, and beware. Third, if you’re cooking, for the love of stainless steel pots, stay in the danged kitchen. You’d think this many years and this many burned pots later, I’d have figured that one out.

And you might well wonder what’s up with all the pink/orange/red in these photos. Well. It’s something in the water, I’m sure, but a sure sign of spring around these parts is the annual Dyeing of the Tresses. This year I took part, thinking it might be fun to go off my usual boring ways and appear in public in a disguise.

Yes. I am a dork. I have never seriously dyed my hair before. (Except for all the times I dipped the tips in Kool-Aid, which really comes off on things and does nothing to dark hair – but it worked on my blonde friends really well.) Since I didn’t really know what I was doing, and my hair was just sort of confused by the whole process, I am now the proud owner of a sort of coppery orange striped head of hair. Think red-furred lemurs.

Every time I catch a glimpse of my reflection in sunlight, I have the urge to laugh.

And really, that can only be to the good, right?

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17 Replies to “{Facebook, & Some Other Stuff}”

  1. I did the charcoal in a kettle routine once with potato soup. It was wayyyy back when we had corded phones and I was on the other end of my flat, oblivious to the billowing smoke on my hot plate.

    Cookie Monster blue seems to be the prevailing hair colour in my neighborhood this spring. Would love to see a photo of your fine tresses :mrgreen:

    1. Did I get a photo of the henna striping disaster? No, I did not… SO! No pictures for you.

      Actually, I can’t even see it unless I’m backlit or outside. And then: orange!

      I really want Cookie Monster Blue. REALLY.

  2. Ha, I am laughing so hard now. Your hair sounds gorgeous — good for you! As you know, I just dived into Facebook a few months back. I have to say I find it excellent for networking and as long as I don’t allow it suck me in too much every day, so far so good. We shall see …

    Enjoy your hair all the bright colors around you …

    1. There’s a part of me that loves FB, and loves what it can do, and the people it brought to me from the past.

      Aaaand there’s a part who is breaking out in hives from having to revisit the past, and is running away from that as far and as fast as she can…

  3. Hey–that was fun to see my kitchen mishaps mentioned there as a positive thing.

    I don’t blame you one bit for ditching Facebook. I flirt with the idea, too, every now and again, but it has become kind of a useful work thing–a nice way to keep up with patrons and volunteers, specifically. I work with a lot of teen vols, and a LOT of them communicate primarily through Facebook. Something kind of radical for me that I did a month or so ago, though, was I created a new personal rule where I am allowed to log into Facebook (and my email accounts and anything else I do online) ONE time per day. I take care of what needs taking care of, and then I log off. I did this primarily because I’m having troubles with my arm, but I’ve found that it’s allowing these things to suck up less time and energy. Also it’s preventing me from putting off taking care of the things I need to do (part of the rule involves me responding to everything I open, or filing it, or deleting it–but not letting it sit waiting for me to get back to it). I slip some days and log on more than once, but, overall, this has been a really positive thing for my arm, my productivity, and even my sanity.

    1. Previously people wanted me on FB as a way of reaching out to my fanbase.
      That actually didn’t happen — tons of booksellers, librarians, Moms, and people from high school: no actual YA’ers. And that’s fine – there’s an email link on the site if anyone actually needs to ask me anything.

      I really do love hearing what people are doing, but at some point, I also have to separate myself as a writer and … oh, maybe write?? Kurt Vonnegut said writers are supposed to be close to the edges — not in the middle of a great big social experiment. So, I can at least justify my feeling of “what am I doing here?” in that way… If I actually was part of direct services to teens, I’d be right in there, even Tweeting and texting all day.

        1. Player Piano (1952)
          – from Ch. 1 –
          “You think I’m insane?” said Finnerty. Apparently he wanted more of a reaction than Paul had given him.
          “You’re still in touch. I guess that’s the test.”
          “Barely — barely.”
          “A psychiatrist could help. There’s a good man in Albany.”
          Finnerty shook his head. “He’d pull me back into the center, and I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” He nodded, “Big, undreamed-of things — the people on the edge see them first.”

          The best kind of uncentered, I think.

  4. Happy orangeness! You are such an adventurer. Burned pots! Killed keyboards! Goodbye FB!

    I hear you loud and clear; my weariness with the whole thing is also coming to a head. It’s not just the privacy thing — there’s this weird thing that happens. The more “friends” I get, the more reluctant I am to share anything via status updates. Who are these people, anyway?

    The selling of private info is scary and inexcusable. Everything always comes down to money. It should come as no surprise, really. Nothing in this world is ever free. We should have known that from the beginning.

    You are my favorite red furred lemur 😀 !!

    1. EXACTLY. The more “friends,” the less I want to say, the more I feel like I’m in a crowded room, being overheard…

      It used to be okay: the ultimate introvert communication device. But it’s not working for me, and I can’t exactly articulate why, but…

  5. I totally understand how you feel about Facebook. I, too, am only there because of my publisher and have already left once. At heart I’m way too antisocial for social networking (even the term kind of makes me gag) and the privacy settings stuff recently just increases my bleuch feelings about it. But I’m going to miss you there because now one of the cool things about being on FB is gone.

    And I had no idea you could kill a keyboard either. $%#@! Although I do have some experience with having a coppery orange striped head of hair 🙂 – fun! Hooray for spring!

    1. That’s one of the only reasons I’ll miss FB, too. You’ve always posted such fun music shorts! But, then, you also do that on your blog…

      The biggest concern for me in all of this is that I’m antisocial, too. I’m six thousand miles away from family and people with whom I grew up, and I know I that absence does not make the heart fonder, it gives the heart straight up amnesia. I’m going to lose people if I don’t keep jumping up and down and waving my arms… and FB makes it so easy — so, so easy. Just click “Like.” Just leave a single sentence to a friend’s post. Just make lightweight social chit-chat, and have ten thousand “friends.” Part of me knows that none of it is really real, and I have heard from a whole lot of people over time that “you take this way too seriously.”

      Yeah, I know I do. But there are some people from high school that I am absolutely not going to “friend” and it’s flat out insane for them to expect me to. Or, does “friend” now have no meaning???

      Ugh. I just want it to be over. I am neurotic, antisocial, and snarky. Somehow, that’s just not the ideal for FB, and I just need to back away…

  6. Oh did you hear my squeal when I saw my name?

    I will always send random pics of the girls. How about that?

    I have flirted with this notion myself so many times, too — dropping my account, that is. And the part in this post about Tech Boy made me snort-laugh.


    1. See – that’s what family does: sends random kid pix to each other.
      How much more would I prefer to be thought of as family than to be “friended…”

      And yes, Tech Boy’s like, “Oh, no pressure, you know, but this reporter called me from Minnesota yesterday…”

  7. i am so bad at keeping up with people in my life, and so without facebook my worry is that i’m going to suddenly be disconnected from keeping tabs with my close and extended social networks. which is a shame, really, because it seems our lives have become so fractious that we really only can keep up with people in short status updates.

    but as recent studies have shown, with social networks the tail is beginning to wag the dog, and kids who now text and email don’t know how to communicate with each other face to face. which begs the question: is facebook the surrogate for the problem it creates?

    i think i’m with you on this dumping facebook thing. and hopefully one day our paths will cross and we can catch up each other on all the status updates we never sent 😉

    1. You know what I’ll miss about Facebook? That little heads-up about people’s birthdays, which I would otherwise have never known. (I know. I *should* know these things, yet I don’t. Even the nephews, who have only recently come on scene in the last year or two, I can only identify birthday wise by saying, “May-ish or June-ish.” I’m sure my sister is thrilled.)

      Other than that, I feel both annoyingly exposed on Facebook and reduced to a soundbyte — and that my interactions with others has been equally reduced. Email takes more effort – you can’t just check “Like” — but maybe we should all get out of the habit of a.) thinking emails have to be pages long to say a weekly “hello” and b.) that our responses must be equally involved or there’s no friendship.

      I’m just going to blog – and limit my time-eaters as much as possible. At least no one is trying to sell me anything here.

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