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Cynthia Rose
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not one, but two blog updates. unusually productive for me

Well after several years of complaining for various reasons but never quite getting around to my intentions to move elsewhere, it looks like Wachovia Wells Fargo is essentially forcing me to move elsewhere. Starting September 12 Essential Checking accounts will have a $7 fee per month unless you a) maintain a daily balance of $1500 or more or b) receive at least $500 a month via qualifying direct deposits. Oh, if you sign up for online statements this fee will be discounted to $5 per month. Wow, how generous.

I'm unemployed and certainly will not have $1500 any time soon, let alone have $1500 that I can just leave in my checking account untouched to avoid this silly service fee. So I'll be closing my account. I have hated Wach/WF for a long time now, but at the same time when your credit is poor there is a sort of necessity in maintaining one checking account for several years. It's the one 'positive' thing you have going for you in the history section, plus it just becomes convenient to stick with it rather than trying to find a new bank home. Frankly, this is what I get for not taking care of this when I first said I would, so I'm only kicking myself for not getting out earlier. I guess it doesn't matter now though, I'm broke as a joke anyway.

I never understood why one would penalize you for not maintaining a certain balance in your checking account. For a savings account or CD I get it. The purpose of those accounts is, indeed, to save. But the entire purpose of a checking account is to spend. Not that one should just leave the account sitting at 2 pennies all the time but assuming you have a steady income source, bills and living expenses every month would certainly eat at your money and it just doesn't seem reasonable to expect a person to keep such a large amount of money in their checking untouched. There is going to be that day when the rent/mortage/student loans are due and inevitably where your account dips to a low amount for at least a few days after that because a large chunk of money just got paid out at once. This is not to mention that any sane person with $1500 to just sit on would put it in a savings/CD where it could earn interest, not leave it in a checking account where it will do nothing but collect dust.

Maybe this is just the poor person in me talking. I imagine if I had a regular, decent paying job then having $1500 wouldn't be so difficult to maintain and then it would just be about the principle of the whole matter....but I guess that's what irks me most about the fee. There is the lower direct deposit threshold, but I feel that is unfair to people who don't receive direct deposit or who don't have a steady source of income. This fee punishes the poorest of the poor more than anyone else.

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Around 100 protesters are demonstrating in San Francisco against BART's decision to cut cell phone service. Earlier today, the FCC promised to investigate.

Live video:
YouTube clip: BART protest Market st. SF aug 15 2011

(Photo by @micahflee on yFrog)

Depression makes people do some stupid things.

If I listed every single stupid thing I did because of depression I'd bring myself down again, so I will not do that, but I'm just really appalled at how badly I've been treating (or not) my hair.

Wigs are the best and worst thing in the world. They are great because they allow you to hide a bad day. If you are feeling like an ugly piece of crap you can put on a wig and convince the world that you are a normal looking human being while going out to eat or run errands or catch a movie. You can change your entire look on a whim with no effort. Wigs are fun and easy. They make it easier to look at yourself.

But wigs are the worst because when I'm having several bad days in a row that is a symptom of something that I probably don't need to be hiding, but the ease that they provide just provides me with a bigger crutch. Wigs are an enabler. If I have been cooped up in the house for weeks at a time, but finally need to leave to go get some toilet paper, a wig does not force me to comb me hair. All it does is hide the fact that I haven't been combing it for weeks at a time. Throw on the wig, go get the toilet paper, come back home, get back in the bed. Even if I take the wig off, I can leave on the wig cap and not ever have to look at the mess on top of my head, which probably mirrors the mess that is my psyche and my life. When you put on a wig it lets you get away with not looking at yourself. As someone who spent the better part of her teens and twenties opening medicine cabinets before sitting on the toilet so that she wouldn't have to accidentally make eye contact with her own reflection when she got up to wash her hands, it probably goes without saying that wigs have become my new security blanket.

I finally decided yesterday that I needed to wash my hair. It was feeling itchy and I don't care how depressed you are, once you get the insane idea that there are bugs playing hopscotch in your head that paranoia never goes away and spurs you to do something. I took off the wig cap and, though what I saw was thankfully not bugs playing hopscotch, of course I hated what I did see. It was such a tangled, matted, and packed down mess that I almost put the wig cap back on to go back to bed. Then I came seriously close to just chopping it off at the roots with a pair of regular scissors just to be completely done with it. But that's the other thing about wigs and depression. Depression makes you lazy, and wigs let you get away with it. I have washed my hair before but then gotten tired after a few minutes of trying and failing to run a comb or pick through it, and thus letting it remain a tangled mess. That's why it looked the way it did. I had to get over that.

So this time I decided to force myself to at least try to wash and detangle it first before giving up completely. Washing was not hard, but it seriously took me at least an hour and a half with a pick to work my way through every knot and twisted up bunch. Once I did that I then had to blow dry it and I still ended up breaking a couple of teeth when they got caught on a small knot in the back that I'd missed. When I was finally through I sat there and looked at myself in the mirror. I thought it would still look horrible, and granted I do have some dead ends that need to be chopped. But I didn't look so bad. I'm always surprised when I look at myself in the mirror and realize I'm not ugly. I sit there and stare for a while, not out of vanity, but genuine surprise. So all in all I spent about three hours in the bathroom realizing a basic fact that other people take for granted when they wake up every morning. I'm not a horrendous human being.

I don't think there is a moral to this story, really, except that I made this a public post because after I found out I have depression, I promised myself that I would never again not talk about it...not that I will ALWAYS talk about it but that if I find myself hitting another low point I will actually say something instead of feeling like shit and then beating myself up because I don't 'deserve' to feel like shit. Unfortunately depression does not limit itself to those who 'deserve' to feel bad about their situations more than others. It's pretty nondiscriminatory. It visits the healthy as well as the sick, the employed as well as the unemployed, the rich as well as the poor, the married as well as the single, the privileged as well as the disadvantaged, the pretty as well as the ugly, the spirtual/religious as well as the non-believers. If anything it probably visits the 'better off' set more, and that's why it ends up feeling worse. We sit there and ask 'why me? Why can't I be happy?'

I'm about to leave the house without a wig on my head for the first time in months. Baby steps.

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I have been half-jokingly saying this almost the whole time Obama has been in office, and the US credit rating dropping on his watch doesn't help matters. But to be fair, whoever won this term was going to essentially be a lame duck. Insert gazillionth Obama/Hoover comparison here. (I think Hoover was unfairly maligned as well)
Someone shared this with me.... I said 'that's about right.'

what did I mean when I said T.A.R.?


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Lessons imparted in this exercise:

1. Canada, Mexico, and any country in Central and South America don't actually exist. Of course any "real" American already knows this, right...
2. The entire continent of Europe has its own official flag...I honestly did not know this
3. Africa is really just the world's largest zoo + people who live in huts, don't wear shoes, and only know the colors green, black, and red + a random picture of Ashanti (but wait, she did have that one video where she was riding an elephant; maybe she is the zookeeper)
4. Asia is where porn is made.
An exercise on Google Image Search:

1. Search "American" and look at the results.
2. Search "European" and look at the results. Compare with "American".
3. Search "African" and look at the results. Compare and contrast with "American" and "European".
4. Search "Asian" and admire the results.

I found the above enlightening.

i have finally finished the layout for my blog and it looks fantastic! now i just need to blog about something...

Another day, another person's (extremely...sorry!) long-winded post on Google+ versus Facebook. I have to admit I am a bit tired of these "versus" articles, not so much because of the huge amount of them, but because there is no need for versus. You see, my opinion is that not only can G+ and Facebook co-exist, but in fact G+ NEEDS Facebook to survive in order to ensure its own long-term life. Or rather, I need Facebook to survive.

When G+ launched, they were looking at four basic groups of potential users, which I have boiled down to a Saved by the Bell analogy because I'm really basic and corny like that:

- techies/nerds (Screech)
- people who like having exclusive things/the self-appointed 'in' crowd (Zach, maybe Lisa)
- people who enjoy networking, but hate the inevitable influx of "noise" that comes with it (I'll explain this shortly, but we'll call this Zach and Lisa's other friends)
- the 'laymen' networkers - people who just want to stay in touch with or keep tabs on others (Belding, the extras at The Max, the guy who owned the Max...was his name actually Max?)

Google has in my opinion ranked these categories in the order that I listed them, and this is the order in which Google has been attracting people to G+ so far. They've got the techies head over heels in love with them; the people who like feeling important went into a frenzy over the invites; and the people who hate internet noise have cooed over how clean and uncluttered G+ is, as well as how easy it is to filter everything they say and who they say it to via circles. The only crowd left now is the laymen.

They've got the order right: they need the techie approval because this lets them know they have the technical aspects working. A non-techie person can't see when something is functioning correctly (which is the point of a properly functioning piece of tech, but is utterly useless feedback to a beta program). We will definitely notice if G+ is doing something wrong, but we don't have the knowledge to tell them why it's wrong or how to fix it, so if something is buggy or not very intuitive to us, we will simply get frustrated and leave. The techies are the ones who recognize when something is seamless, when something is a disaster and should be aborted, and when something needs some tweaks but is worth tinkering with because there's some real potential. If it's good or has a lot of potential, they tell some of their techie friends, who then collectively rate and verify that Screech is correct. They write a bunch of articles about it and publish them for other techies to read. More tinkering and collective verification has them all giddy as they realize they're on the verge of true greatness. Great things are a waste of space if they're not shared with (or sold to) others however, and they need more people to truly test how far this thing can go.

Once our Screeches are fairly convinced that they have a solid product on their hands, they clue in some people in group two. These are the people who either want to be first in everything because it makes them look fashionable and trendy (Lisa), or want to impress a specific other person and realize the fastest way to do that is to be first in something so they'll look good (Zach). They want all that is new before anyone else has it, so they can flaunt it (Lisa again). They aren't often techies themselves but recognize that technology is all about being ahead of everyone else - ergo, this category ranks very high on the list of exclusivity, and they make sure to have some tech-advanced people in their closest social group (Zach again). This is where real life deviates a bit from TV, however; where Zach often manipulated Screech for his own purposes and Lisa merely tolerated his presence, in the real world Screech is manipulating Zach and Lisa's overarching high-school-mentality needs to be first for his own purposes - in order to get them to be part of the beta testing and create buzz. The Screeches hype up this new G+ as the next big thing; they help Lisa and Zach set up their accounts, then tell them that it's invite only and each account only has a limited number of invites. Invite a few, then rub it in the noses of the rest? Lisa and Zach are excited and can't wait to show this off! Lisas and Zachs don't verify that something is good; they verify that something is cool. They go out and brag to all of their other friends and anyone else who cares to listen.

So we have group three, the other friends. This isn't to say that Kelly, Jesse, and Slater aren't cool like Zach and Lisa, but they don't care so much about being 'first' at every little thing. They do however care about staying connected to the ones they love and like the most and having common interests. If Zach and Lisa both start talking about G+, then it must be something pretty nice, or else they wouldn't care so much about it (especially Lisa, who already has an eye on that new Socl dress...just in case...). Zach tells Kelly and Jesse, and makes sure to show off in front of Slater while doing so. Kelly will surely invite Slater as soon as she sets up her account, but just the fact that Slater is two invites removed subtly lets Slater know who has the upper hand for now. These friends then proceed to invite other close friends and family, while Jesse also invites her classmates and favorite teachers because she's an overachiever and realizes this is one more way to constantly be studying and organizing group projects even when she's doing something 'fun.' Word spreads about how clean and simple G+ is. Group three is not needed to verify that anything is good or cool; they verify whether it is actually useful for enough people to make available to everyone, or if it's destined to be a limited edition only product because there won't be enough demand.

Now Lisa is the one who makes sure to make a big spectacle about it while walking into The Max in front of the extras so they all know who the queen bee is. So this is perfect; now the extras know! Some may try to score invites, but others will have to be content to anticipate the public launch. Max knows, because everyone likes Max and tells him when he drops by the table with their pizza, though he's too old to actually hang out with. He'll probably get an invite just before G+ goes public. Belding figures it out too, either after it's opened up to the public or because he gets an invite from one of Jesse's teachers. Slowly but surely more extras will start finding out about it and more buzz builds up as more people state how much they love G+. This is great, right? Right?

Or this may be the point where G+ needs to stop.

See, the problem is that we as a society have been trained to believe it's impolite to tell people to GO AWAY. It's ingrained in us that if someone wants to be our friend, we are to reciprocate this friendship on an equal level, even if we know their motivations are less than friendly or that we don't have enough in common with them to merit inviting them into our lives on such a closer level. This mentality is wrong, but Facebook has perpetuated it and emotionally exhausted us by making it extremely difficult, sometimes even impossible, to get away from people whom you really wish you could tell to go away, but for various reasons can't. +Mike Elgan may refer to this as a partial cause of social networking fatigue. I call it the "this party sucks and my feet hurt, but I'm not the one who drove tonight" syndrome. Anyone who has ever been ready to go home but went with a driver who's not ready to leave knows exactly how I feel. G+ has offered us an opportunity to, if not be able to tell people to go away, at least get away from them on our own.

When old high school or college classmates whom we didn't speak to much send us FB friend requests, we usually add them because we don't have a 'good' reason to reject them, and we tell ourselves we might need them for real-world networking one day. We then proceed to never speak to them, rendering our one reason for adding them invalid. I doubt many of us really want to add all of our co-workers or bosses, but we also don't want to create any awkward tension at work so if they request us (some jobs may even require it), we unhappily add them. When that well-meaning but highly annoying person we've been avoiding for months finally manages to find us despite our profiles being hidden (damn you Facebook for forcing us to at the very least allow requests from friends of friends!) we suddenly find the motivation to learn exactly how those privacy settings and filters work, even if it takes us the better part of three days to find and set them. When our second cousin once removed sends us a friend request, we usually add them because they are family and we do usually see their mother around once a month, and we know if we don't add them we'll hear about it at the next Sunday dinner. "Aunt Ree-Ree said you didn't add cousin Ray on Facebook. Now why wouldn't you add your own folk? That's your blood you know. Now if you don't have family in this world who do you have? What do you have to hide from somebody that you can't even add Ray? Is there something you're doing that we need to know about? Because let me tell you, you can try to hide from others but you can't hide from GOD. What ever you do in the dark will-" "My GOD, Big Mama, I'll add him when I get home! Now could you please shut the f*ck up and pass the macaroni?!"

Whether distant relatives or old classmates or annoying bug-a-boos, these people are to some degree or another extras in our lives. I'm not saying this to be a snob, because we are ALL extras to other people depending on the type of relationship we do or don't have with them. I'm also not saying this to excuse Facebook's mistakes, because it does have them and they need to be corrected if FB is going to continue as a viable company, rather than go the way of Myspace. What I am saying is that as many gripes people have about Facebook, the biggest gripe you will ever hear is about the people on Facebook, not Facebook itself. Facebook's flaws only highlight all of the human flaws that we haven't been able to get away from, until now.

I hate the game notifications, like most people (including the ones who play the games). I really do not care how much other people love their haters. I don't want to know that someone saved $7 on ten products and took pictures because they think my feed has apparently now become Extreme Couponing: Webisode edition. I am so sick of people updating about every little hiccup and bump their kid has, as if their kids were the first ones to ever get diaper rash. I want to throw my computer out of the window every time someone is "all smiles!" - which probably says more about me than them, but still, this is the most overused and pointless status update I get every day (it usually comes about 24 hours after "Lovin' all my ~haterz~ rn!!! Ur my motivation" and "I GET SO TIRED OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN TALK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE! UGH! GIVING IT OVER TO GOD!"). There is something about it that just grates my last nerve and I'm tired of it. Being inundated by Bible verses from known hellraisers is eye-roll inducing, to say the least. And the people with glue stuck under their caps lock key? Don't even get me started.

But on the other end of that tenuous FB 'friendship' is someone who loves playing games to relieve stress, someone who has a tight budget and was able to pay their light bill because of that $7 they saved, someone who is updating other family members who do want to know about every little hiccup and bump on their kids' health, someone who really DOES have that many haters and feels really happy when they accomplish something to shut those nay-sayers down, someone who really seeks peace and solace from those Bible verses, and someone who is JUST REALLY EXCITED ABOUT LIFE, OKAY? These people need somewhere to unleash their joys and frustrations. Can we just...let that place be Facebook?

I once found myself in a rare position where Target was so crowded that you could not maneuver around people in the must have been around Christmas. I just remember thinking, how did this happen? The idea that A Target aisle could not be big enough frightened me. I wondered if the people in my way realized how problematic this was. I feel the same way about a possible mass migration from FB.

Now you may be thinking, isn't it in a business' best interest to attract as many customers as possible? But this isn't necessarily true; it depends on that company's ultimate goal. If that company's goal is to make as much money as possible, then yes, they need to do so. But if it's the company's goal to offer the highest value possible while also making a lot of money (not necessarily THE most money possible) then at some point they need to turn people away because they simply will never be equipped to properly serve X amount of people.

The allure of G+ for me at the moment is that it's the Target to Facebook's Wal-Mart and Twitter's Dollar Tree (you'd be amazed at some of the things you can find for just a dollar, some of it even useful :-) ). Just as there are some people who genuinely love and even prefer Wal-Mart and/or Dollar General over Target, there are people who truly see nothing wrong with FB - and as far as I'm concerned that is great! For all the grumbling we do about FB there is at least one person for each of us who will counter with, "I don't see the big deal." Those people do not need to come to here. Not only do they not see the big deal with what is wrong with FB, but they won't see what's the big deal with what is right about G+. They will not appreciate the wider aisles and the friendlier customer service. I get the distinct feeling now that many of them don't even know that groups and filters exist on FB, and if they do they don't really see the purpose in them. So I cannot possibly expect them all to properly figure out how the circles work. (I was at first mystified in fact by the number of people whom I've seen say they find G+ difficult to came so easily to me whereas FB hides everything and makes you go through three or four extra steps just to do it. Now I believe it's because G+ is making people aware of features they simply didn't know were there on FB, and you can't complain about something if you don't even know it exists.) They will find a way to crowd the aisles and wear the workers' nerves thin. Then we will hate it, and we will follow Lisa to Socl and start this cycle all over again.

G+ needs to capitalize on all the things we hate about FB - most of all the crowd. Don't make us feel like we're trapped in a Target at Christmas or at a bad party, because as previous sites have shown, people always eventually find another way home.
Hopefully my jump from a tv show comparison to parties to retail analogies made sense. Again, FB has its purposes and we need it to survive. In order for that to happen, G+ should realize that its purposes must be somewhat different and that bigger is not always better.
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