Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ettiquette for the New Age: Cell Phones

I was simply going to call this blog post, Ettiquette for the New Age, but I quickly realized that this topic deserves quite a bit more than one post.  I should make the disclaimer that I am neither an expert on ettiquette, nor am I completely free of guilt in committing some of the social "crimes" I will ennumerate in what I am sure will become quite an extensive series.  I'm merely someone who endeavors to see to the comfort of those around me, and who is just opnionated enough to share my ideas on the itarwebs.

And so, without any further apology or ado, I would like to propose that we agree on the following regarding that thing we won't leave home without; our cell phone:

1) My cell phone exists for my convenience, not yours.  No I'm not ignoring you, I'm busy, I have no service, or my phone is off.  And what's more, even if I am ignoring you, that's my perogative.  Oh and PS, the more you pester me, the more I DON'T want to talk to you.

2) Your friends do not live in your cell phone, and to spend most of your time looking at it is to suggest that the company of those around you is somehow inferior to the small plastic noisebox in your hand.  If you need to take a call or make a text, step away and allow your friends' conversation to continue normally.  Don't force your friends to sit in awkward, angry silence while you monopolize both conversations.

3) Try to keep cell phone conversations short when in the car with others.  In this situation, NOBODY can walk away.  Please try to respect the time of the people who actually care about you enough to be in your presence.

4)  Plays, concerts, movies, weddings, graduations, meetings, family dinners, religious services, court hearings.  What do all of these events have in common?  Cell phones should not be invited to them.  Ever.  Turn. It. Off.  Or it goes in the Champagne Fountain.

5) Don't be the guy who just lets his cell phone ring during any of the above-mentioned situations.  We all know it's you.  We've all forgotten at some point.  Just reach into your pocket or purse and silence your phone, and we promise not to throw you in the laser-shark tank.  If you're EXPECTING an important call, put your phone on vibrate so you can discreetly check call ID and excuse yourself if you need to.  Just don't disturb *everyone* by having the conversation in the middle of the event. 

6) Learn how your phone works.  Know how to turn it on and off, activate and deactivate your bluetooth, silence it, put it on vibrate, take and make calls, dial, put numbers in your phone book, and send a text message.  If you have a smart phone, become familiar with those tools as well.  Your cell phone is a powerful communication tool and there is no reason not to use it to it's fullest capacity.  Not to mention there's nothing more frustrating to a down-on-their-luck tech geek than someone who has the phone they want and doesn't know how to use it.

Alright, I think that's all the bile I have to spill on this topic for now.  In short, be considerate of others when using cell phones.  They are not leashes or replacements for face-to-face interaction.  They are only tools to aid with communication.

The End.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Blue Frog

I was not what one could call a "popular" child.  I like to think that my different interests lent me a different perspective on life, but really, being a music geek and an only child, I had no social skills.  And every playground has bullies.  Even if a punch is never thrown, girls can cut you to the core without ever lifting a finger.  I will also remember one bully in particular, who was my albatross.  I don't know if she was particularly mean, or just particularly talented at finding the exact right words to cut me to the core, but boy howdy did she.

When my grades started to drop, my mom asked me what was up.  I told her that kids were making fun of me at school.  She asked me what kind of things they were saying, and I told her.  Her response, "well honey, it wouldn't bother you so much if you weren't afraid it was true.  If they told you that you were a blue frog, what would you say?" I told her I would laugh.

Her point was well taken.  I realized that I needed to become comfortable in my own skin.  That way if people said something that was true about me, I would know that it was a part of me that I accepted, and if they said something I knew to be false, it would go in the same category of "blue frog."

I lost the concept of the blue frog today.  Someone said something to me that utterly shattered my peace of mind.  And I realized that it wouldn't bother me so much if I didn't fear it was true.  So, magnifying glass in hand, I'm going to perform a little omphaloskepsis today and see if I can't either decide to put those words in the category of blue frog, or perhaps make some changes so that those words no longer apply.

In the meantime, I urge you all to find your own blue frogs, whatever they may be.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy National Star Wars Day

Since it's May the Forth (be with you), many SW fans have dubbed today National Star Wars day, I thought I'd share some thoughts about the movies.  However this will not be a recap of the movies, an analysis of their historical significance, or even a list of trivia about the movies.  This will be more of a montage of vignettes, my own personal memories of the movies and their significance to me.


I really don't know how old I was the first time I saw Star Wars: A New Hope.  There are pictures of me as a four-year-old kid dressed as Princess Leia, so I can only assume that it was very early on.  I do, however, remember the first MEMORY I have of watching that movie.  I was about six or seven, and my parents had been divorced for almost three years.  My dad had just bought a house, the house that to this day I still think of when I picture "home".  It helps that he still lives there...

Anyway, we had finished putting all the boxes in the right rooms, and it was late afternoon.  So my dad sets up the TV (the most important thing, after the fridge), and opens a box of VHS Tapes, and pulls out the tape on the top.  It has a girl and a boy in white on the cover, with the boy holding what looks like a glowing sword.  "What's that, daddy?"  "This is one of my favorite movies, baby girl.  Want to watch it with me?" "OKAY!"

And so, the music starts.  I'm reading just fine now, but the words are moving a teeny bit fast, so dad reads.  I'm not sure what "rebellion" or "empire" mean, but I'm hooked.  Pan down from the stars, and the movie begins...  I sit still and don't move from the couch for 2 hours, which I'm sure to any parents reading this is utterly amazing. 


It's 1999 and I'm a junior in High School.  And I can't wait to get out of school.  I'm leaving at lunch to go wait in line, because me and four of my friends are going with my dad to watch the midnight showing of Phantom Menace.  We pile in the van and head for the spectrum.  The place is a zoo.  There are news crews, documentary makers, and people dressed up as Original Trilogy Characters everywhere.  There is even one brave soul with an AMAZING Queen Amidala costume.  I mean, seriously.  I have no idea how she made it before seeing the movie, but she did it, and did it well.

My friends and I had a ball.  We had To-Go Cheesecake Factory food (because it was one of the few places in the mall at the time), talked to fellow Star Wars fans, and basically had the time of our lives staying up and out late at night.

After what was litterally seven hours of waiting, we get into the movie theater.  It's pure pandamonium.  I swear, it's like opening day on the floor of ComicCon.  People have props, stereos, costumes... And I got to be there...

Of course, then I actually had to sit through the movie...


When I was a softmore in High School, they began to re-release the original trilogy on the big screen so that those of us who had never seen the movies as they were intended to be could experience the magic ourselves.  And I had the hugest crush over on Paul Hollowel, a fellow sophmore and choir-geek who was a transfer from Diamon Bar High School. 

And then the magical thing happened: he asked me out on a date!  To see Star Wars! I was so excited.  So I got dolled up and got to go see Star Wars on my first date ever.  Geek, thy name is Claire.


Some years later, I had accepted my plight.  Not only was I a geek, but I was a lonely geek.  You see, I was a Star Wars fan, like all my friends.  However most of my friends were huge fans of Empire and Jedi.  No love for New Hope.

The thing is, that really is the best movie.  No, this is not open for debate, it's my opinion and better men than you have tried to change it, I guarantee.  New Hope was the first in the series, and was something of a lark for everyone in the production.  Nobody really knew how successful it was going to be, and the actors were all relative unknowns.  They had no idea that the project they were working on would inspire millions of people, and millions of dollars in merchandising. 

Anyway, so there I am, being all lonely in my love for New Hope, wearing my Classic Princess Leia costume to ComicCon and Halloween.  Just a lonely Self-Rescuing Princess looking for her Han.  And then it happened.  I met someone incredible.  He liked the Beatles, and Eddie Izzard and he was a HUGE geek.  I mean, epic.  As in, matches my geeky level.  I know, right?  And, amazingly, New Hope was his favorite movie.  But the most amazing part, was that he also liked me. 


So those are my best memories having to do with Star Wars.  What are yours?