Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mary J. Blige Had It Right... Internet Privacy and Such As

When she sang, "No more drama in my life."

This whole FB defriending thing has completely exploded into a huge deal... over a stupid misunderstanding. I'm not going to go into detail about it, because life I've said I don't like to use my blog as my drama outlet. Plus, I've talked about it enough to my mom, friends, and R that I think I'm all talked out (never thought that would happen).

So anyway, on to happier things like rainbows and unicorns and candy mountains...

Hahaha, it's an old video, but it never fails to amuse me. I have to thank Miss N for introducing this to me so many months ago when she and I were nothing but young she-wolf pups.

So back in the vein of social networking and Facebook, I read this in a friend's status update today:

"FACEBOOKERS fb is at it again...violating your personal information: As of today, there is a new privacy setting called "Instant Personalization" that shares data with non-facebook websites and it is automatically set to "Allow." Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites and uncheck "Allow". Please copy & repost as I did, to spread the word"

I thought this might be one of those lame FB "urban legends" that spreads like wildfire but has no basis to back it up, so I checked it out. I stumbled upon this story Facebook's Instant Personalization Is the Real Privacy Hairball.

Well, so it's legit. I read up about it and from what I read - adding your preferences to sites like Pandora and Yelp doesn't seem like a HUGE invasion of privacy. That being said, I can see how it could snowball and turn into a new way for cyber predators to stalk their prey. What on earth is going on in this world?

Have you heard of the website It's a cyber stalker's dream. While it doesn't bring up any information that isn't already available to the public via the net (no, not that Sandra Bullock movie), it conveniently compiles all of the accounts associated with your email address or name/ home address into one database.

You can search for people by name and it will come up with all the results for people with that name and divide them by state. From there you can narrow it down, find the person's address, and often, the person's email address.

If you search for someone by email address (which you can conveniently find by searching for someone's name), it will produce a list of all of the accounts associated with the email address. It will show any public pictures from those accounts, or even cached photos from private profile before the profile was set to private.

How do I know? I searched for myself. I found my Myspace profile, which I set to private over a year ago, yet somehow the picture slideshows from my profile and most of my profile album pictures are available via spokeo's ability to scour the internet for cached files.

This seems highly problematic to me. As many of you may know, employers are now using Google, Facebook, Myspace and other search engines to check up on the goings on of potential employees.

Did you do a beer bong once back in college and someone photographed it? Well it could cost you that job, even if your  profile is private, apparently.

Even better, some (a lot) of the information is erroneous. When I searched for myself by name, the email address associated with it was my mother's. It said I was in my 60's. It provided my parent's address and even an estimate of the value of the home, estimated credit level, and estimated level of wealth.

None of it was correct. All because my mother helped me apply for student loans using her email address when I was 18.

You can "opt-out" and remove listings associated with your name, but it's considerably more difficult to remove entries for a specific email address. So someone searching you by name may not be able to find you in that way, but if they already know your email address they will have no problem.

After discovering this, I took the opportunity to start removing my own listing as well as R's, my parents, my siblings... until I found out that you can only remove up to 5 listings under the same email address. What kind of BS is that?

My only solution to this is to set very strict privacy settings for all of my profiles, allowing only close family and friends to view my pictures. I also untag any photos of me doing anything unbecoming of a lady... or an employee.

So, fellow bloggers and devoted readers, what are your thoughts about your Facebook privacy and internet privacy as a whole? Have things gone too far on their end, or are we just too lax about sharing personal information?

Clearly, this isn't the end. Where do you see the invasion of internet privacy going next?

I'd love to know your take on this. Comment away, por favor please.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Social Networking Ettiquette

Graphic courtesy of

I will ultimately get to my Social Networking installment of the Modern Day Mating Ritual posts, but in light of today's events (all before noon, wheeee), I wanted to examine the role Social Networking plays a part into our daily lives. More specifically, the importance placed on relationship status and the friending or unfriending an individual on Facebook.

Why does being accepted as a Facebook friend carry such weight? It almost seems as if the "friending" via social networking is a step above and beyond just knowing a person in real life or having acquainted with them in real-life social situations. It's telling the rest of the internet world "I approve of this person. This person is worth knowing."

In fact, I know several people who jokingly say that a relationship is not "official" until it's made it's debut on "the book."

It's funny because it's true. Every relationship starts out about the same... boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl gets all weird and paranoid in her brain trying to define the relationship.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Modern Day Dating Rituals Part III: Online Dating

I've been avoiding writing this post, because I had ideas in my head, but wasn't quite sure how to translate them to text. Then I decided the best way to go about it is to just start writing. So that's what I'm doing.

Today: Modern Day Dating Rituals - Online Dating

Need to catch up?
Read Modern Day Mating Rituals Part I: Introduction
Modern Day Mating Rituals Part II: The Bar Scene

So, between the end of my relationship with my long-term ex and meeting/becoming infatuated with R, I tried out the whole "online dating" scene. I joined and put together a profile.

Girls, if you decide to join an online dating site, you probably don't even have to worry about the content of your profile. If you have a picture, the responses will pretty much just roll in. 99% of the unsolicited responses you get will be a no-go. It may be that the guy just physically isn't your type, or you don't think you have much in common, but more likely it will be due to a massive Online Dating Fail.

What is an Online Dating Fail? Well, it can encompass many things from the initial email through the first several dates... but for now we'll focus on the introductory email. The guys guilty of the Online Dating Fail are the ones that send awkward, uncomfortable, creepy or scary emails and should be avoided at all costs. Lucky for you, I've provided a guide below.

Online Dating Fail: Avoid These Guys

The Date Rapist
This guy has probably made a guest appearance on "To Catch a Predator" and has stock in Rohypnol. His initial email is really skeevy, overtly sexual, and overall just yucky. Words suck as "lick" and "suck" should not be included in a first email unless you are talking about taking me out for ice cream.

The Desperate Guy
He emails you once. Twice. Three times. He asks you out for dinner. Coffee. Movies. Drinks. You have never even responded to his first email, but the emails keep rolling in. "I think I may have clicked the wrong button the last time I tried to email you, so I'll try this again!" Um. You didn't. And please don't.

The Intense Guy
He wants a commitment. And he wants it yesterday. You may just be his last hope for love! Respond right away and we can begin naming our unborn children!

Finally, the most common offender: The Guy Who Doesn't Read Your Profile. At all. Be prepared to answer questions or reiterate your dating specifications repeatedly, or just do what I did. Don't even respond. How do you spot this guy? 5 easy signs will tip you off to his wily ways.

Five Signs He Didn't Read Your Profile:

5. The email reads like a form letter. 

It's usually over the top with lavish yet meaningless compliments: something that is completely generic and can be applied to anyone. Usually, this suitor tries to impress you with lame metaphors and promises of 'things chicks like' such as: foot rubs, long walks on the beach, bubble baths, visiting orphanages.... whatever. You can also identify these emails by the excessive use of one or more of the following lame emoticons/ascii pictures:

  • Winky face - ;-)
  • Smoochy face - :-*
  • Tongue out face - :-P
  • Heart - <3
  • Rose - @---}----

It might read something like the following:

"Dear female, Your blue/green/brown eyes (circle one) are so beautiful. They remind me of the ocean/a soccer field/the fur of a bison. Your hair is a lovely color and/or texture, and I'd like to spend hours braiding it while sitting under an old oak tree while we nosh on our picnic of exotic cheese and fine wine. I love to give women foot massages and I only worry about pleasing a woman in bed. If you are interested in eating cheese and getting a foot massage while I gaze into your blue/green/brown eyes, please email me back. @--}--- A rose for milady. I eagerly await your reply.

<3 Your Romeo"

4. He asks you questions easily answered by reading your profile. 

Mentions specifically to your lifestyle, background, likes/dislikes, interests, or hobbies go unnoticed and his email is chock full of questions about these things.


Your profile reads: "I come from a big family - I have 7 brothers and sisters. Having so many siblings really worked out for my parents, as we all joined the circus. My mom was the bearded lady, my brother Judd was the dog-boy and I was a tightrope walker. Random facts about me: I'm allergic to all things red and I hate scary movies."

His email reads: "Hello! I find you very intriguing. So, do you have any brothers or sisters? I'd really like to take you out sometime. We can go see the latest installment of the SAW movies (so you can cuddle up real close during the scary parts) and we can share some yummy movie candies - do you like Hot Tamales or Swedish Fish better?"

3. You have posted a specific age range, and he's not in it.

He's out of your target age range, and not by a year or 2. Try 20+. You post an age range of men 23-30, I betcha that over half of your emails are from men over 50. Hey, look, there are 20-somethings that are really into older men, but I'm not one of them. If you could be one of my dad's cohorts, my vagina probably sealed itself up out of pure disgust.

2. You live in L.A. and have specified a dating radius of 25-50 miles. He lives in Lebanon.

Some people are into the idea of a long-distance relationship for the right person. But unless you have specifically specified as such, why is he wasting your time? Oh right, because he didn't read your profile.

1. Your profile mentions that you are a lesbian/republican/Orthodox Greek Christian. You are only interested in other women/like minded republicans/other Orthodox Greeks. He's none. He emails you anyway.

Let's say you are a lesbian. Always have been. Always will be. You have no interest in the peen, and you've made this well known. He emails you anyway which could mean that he didn't read your profile or he has no regard for your lifestyle choices. Additionally, he's probably a creep that has a fetish about bedding a lesbian. No dice, dude.

Now this one never happened to me, because I'm not a lesbian, but I bet it's happened sometime, somewhere, to someone. But the same principal applies to: your religious beliefs, your view on having kids, your political stance etc.

Of course, once in a while you will be get that rare email from a dude who seems normal enough and asks you relevant questions related to the content of your profile. These are the ones worth exploring. When you do, follow these simple rules:

Rules for your First Date with your Cyber-mate

1. Plan to meet in a neutral place

Um, I can't stress this enough. Almost every guy I ever met from was non-stalkerish, but I did have one experience that made me thank my lucky stars that I met my date at the restaurant and not at my home.

2. Plan a short date

Dinner, drinks, coffee - whatever, but set a time limit on it. If you commit yourself to pre-dinner drinks, followed by dinner, followed by a movie, followed by ice cream? Well, you'll have a tough time extracting yourself mid-date if the guy is a creep. If things go well, you can always tack on another activity on the fly.

3. Avoid sports related or physically challenging dates

If you are cool meeting up with your new potential soul mate in gym shorts and a t-shirt, more power to you. But if you are like me, you try to dress to impress for a first date. Therein lies the problem. Going bowling? Great, but don't bother wearing your cute strappy sandals, because you're gonna have to stick your feet into recently deodorized rental shoes. You might also want to take a pass on your sexy low rise jeans. Unless you want to show your date your 7-10 split.

4. Don't get sloppy

Keep your wits about you when it comes to the drinking. I've made this mistake more than once. You will either end up leaving yourself vulnerable or you will end up doing something assy and embarrassing.

5. Last but not least, play it cool 

Say the first date went really well and now you are a smitten kitten. You may have jokingly discussed the "big spoon, little spoon" dynamics of canoodling before bed time, but a small bit of advice? The moment he drives off is NOT the time to text him: "You can be my big spoon anytime. ;)" This may or may not have been based in reality and I may or may not know the culprit of this egregious mistake on a very personal level. In fact, this person may or may not be me. I'll never tell.

I honestly think every girl should read The Rules. On first read, it seems outdated and old fashioned. I definitely balked at the idea of playing "hard to get," and enticing a man in a game of chase. Refusing to take last minute dates (ie: booty calls), keeping phone calls short and sweet to leave him wanting more... I thought it was kinda BS, and I'm not into mind games. But then I realized it's not so much about mind games or playing hard to get, it's about having respect for yourself and demanding that respect from the men pursuing your attention. It's about having a life of your own and not putting everything on hold while you wait with baited breath for that phone call. If he's waiting until the last minute to ask you out, he's not spontaneous, he just didn't have anything better to do. If he really wants that time with you, he's gonna lock it down ASAP.

Plus, dudes like girls to have their own lives. Just sayin'

So, is online dating worth it? Not totally sure, I guess it varies for each person - I never met my soul mate, or even anyone close to it from, but I did meet some cool people. Conversely, I also met some total creeps that luckily provide me enough fodder for an entire post dedicated to weirdos I've gone out with.

You'll just have to wait for that. Next time is Part IV: Social Networking

Friday, April 16, 2010

It Was Just A Dream

Hey Ya and Shake it Like a Polaroid Picture!

So, I know that I will have almost no time to blog this weekend because R's brother and sister in law are coming to visit. So I'm gonna make this a short and sweet entry to tide you over until Monday so you don't miss me too much.

Have you ever had a dream that seemed so real that when you wake up, you could swear it was real?

I'm lucky (or unlucky) enough to remember almost all the dreams I have. Well there must be a crossed wire or two up there because I never have good dreams, only nightmares. They usually play out one of two scenarios: Either someone is trying to kill me or I'm having a knock down drag out fight with a loved one. Sometimes both.

For about 2 years in college, I had recurring dreams in which Hannibal Lecter was trying to kill/eat me. In one such dream, he had cloned himself and all of his clones had invaded my sorority house looking for me. In another, Hannibal had me cornered on the shoulder of a very busy expressway. He kept trying to push me into traffic, and when I'd put up my hands to block him, he would try to eat my hand. So I had the choice of being hit by a car or eaten alive. I think given the choice, I would choose the car.

To this day, if I saw Anthony Hopkins in real life, I would need me a pair of "Oops I Crapped My Pants" brand adult diapers.

So anyway, last night I dreamt that I found out that R was cheating on me. That bastard. We got into a huge fight at my childhood home and I was smashing vases and plates in the kitchen. Then I punched R.

Meanwhile in the land of reality, R was leaving for work at the ungodly hour of 5 am. He leaned over to kiss me goodbye and woke me up. I looked at him and backed away, staring daggers at him. Then I almost punched him. Luckily I realized it was only a dream before I took action. I was super pissed when I woke up because the dream felt that real.

How come I can't just have happy or sexy dreams like most normal people?

Happy weekend everyone! Stay out of trouble!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Whiners are Weiners

I originally had intentions to use blog as an opportunity to vent about certain aspects of my job that make me want to gouge my eye out with a teaspoon, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt like this isn't the place for that. This is my happy place and I don't want to contaminate it with all that negativity. But hey, if you are a complete masochist and you actually want to read a 30+ page manifesto about everything that is fucked up with the company I work for, shoot me an email and I'll be happy to indulge you :)

So, after I had that profound moment of maturity (doesn't happen too often...) I logged on to the 'book and browsed the activity on my newsfeed. I saw this:

Kayleigh I am not aloud to complain for a month. No thinking complaints, not speaking complaints and no being around people who do. If I complain, or have a complaint tosay I have to also come up with a solution so that it will no longer be one. I challange EVERYONE to do it with me. Lets be different ♥

Monday, April 12, 2010

Opening Day, Public Transporation, iPad, Googleholics Anonymous and Other Assorted Seemingly Unrelated Topics... But They Are!

Opening Day, Public Transporation, iPad, Googleholics Anonymous and Other Assorted Seemingly Unrelated Topics... But They Are!

How's that for a long-ass title to get us rolling today? Suck on that, "Don't be a Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood!"

So, hey. Have you missed me? I hope I still have a few readers after dropping off the grid for a few weeks. I'm not flaky, I swear. The truth is, my life has been kind of boring for the last few weeks. Not that I'm complaining. Sometimes I need a little boring from time to time, but the down side is that I've been blocked for weeks. Nothing interesting happening = no blog topics worth writing about. I will continue with my Modern Day Mating Rituals postings soon, but I need to get back into the groove of writing, thus you have a random mish-mash post about the happenings of my day. Lucky you, eh?
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