This Page

has been moved to new address


Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Hipstercrite: April 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Has Social Media Killed the Need For High School Reunions?

2011 marks my ten year high school reunion.

Gosh, I remember high school like it was yesterday.

Hanging out with my closest friends at Denny's until midnight, making out with Adam on the green shag carpet of my basement, running around the soccer field, practicing my tenor saxophone, writing one-act plays about pan-wielding, Chaka Khan-singing homicidal waitresses in Baltimore, wearing pant suits to gym class, forcing friends to reenact entire skits of Kids in the Hall, gawking at a picture of a shirtless Elton John.

Graduation seemed light years away, let alone a ten year reunion!

But now it's here.

And I don't give a flying rat on a flying fork about it.

How can this be???

Aren't I supposed to be super stoked about heading back home to brag and feel disproportionately superior to my former classmates for no other reason than I simply "got out"? Aren't I supposed to be planning in my head what rocking outfit I'll wear to the reunion to show off the muffin top I never sprouted? Aren't I supposed to already be designing business cards to pass out like candy with Patrick Bateman-esque fervor just to prove to them all that I went somewhere? Aren't I supposed to be coming up with a story about how I left town at 17 to join the military, found out I was excellent at killing people, became a hitman, began analyzing what made me tick, and came back to my ten year high school reunion to find meaning to my life while dancing to Pete Townsend with the curly-haired girlfriend I left behind?

I'm not thinking any of those thoughts.

The dreams I entertained senior year about marching back into my hometown in a sequin gown, spewing stories about where I've been and what I've seen while a trail of star-struck peers trail behind carrying my train simply have disappeared.

Looking at the Facebook invite for our class reunion suggested that I'm not the only one who feels that way. In fact, more people have declined the invite than accepted. Even people who still live in our town of 18,740 are bailing.

The person responsible for organizing our reunion politely stepped down from his duties in anticipation of the birth of his first child this year. So far there haven't been any takers in filling his position. I looked at the list of people attending the reunion and realized I barely knew any of them. Anyone I'd most be interested in seeing are listed as "Maybes" or "F Thats".

This got me thinking...what happened to the high school reunion?
What happened to the romance of Peggy Sue, Martin Q. Blank, and Romy & Michelle?

Facebook is what happened. Now no one has to eagerly wait 5 or 10 years to find out who married who, who knocked up who, who took over managing the local KFC, and who went on to became the UN Ambassador of Bali.

Now we're all connected...more so than we could ever want.

We peruse wedding albums to see who got the fattest and baldest. We are inundated with photos of the same baby on the say day in the same outfit at 140 different angles. We learn people's works histories, relationship histories, thoughts, wishes, and dreams. We even learn about death. Facebook has completely taken the anticipation out of high school reunions. Throw in high gas prices, high airline prices, and high unemployment and you really nail the coffin shut.

I remember my mother always telling me that the ten year high school reunion was most exciting. That people were still young and trying to impress one another and excited about life. Now no one can be bothered- including myself.

Is the high school reunion quickly dying? I think so.
Soon enough Facebook will be offering a way for us to have virtual reunions.

(title suggested by @Supertsai ...because he came up with a better blog post title than I did)

Do you still dream about your high school reunions?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We Are Squirrels

Along the same lines of my recent post about Millennials and their work ethic, "The Generation of the Confused Working Class", here is me going blah blah blah some more about the terrible "problems" my generation faces. 

I have the attention span of a squirrel on cocaine.
This is a recent development.
As a child, I was way too self-involved to be distracted by anything.
Being an only child will do that to you.
Sitting for several hours by yourself talking to Trolls will do that to you.

Now that I'm a big kid, I'm self-involved, society-involved, media-involved, and technology-involved.
Now my head is filled with a million notions of what has been and what could be.
Now I drink to make the voices stop.

On-set ADD sucks ass- and I don't even have ADD. I'm one of those self-diagnosed folks. You know, the ones that figure it's easier to give a name to something they won't take responsibility for? Like totally flaking on your friend's wedding shower because you decided your time was better spent alphabetizing your CD collection that you don't listen to and when you get to the letter "G" you take a nap for three hours, then wake up and decide that you want pepperoni rolls so you go to the store and buy pepperoni, cheese, and Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and make pepperoni rolls and you realize you feel really tired still and go back to sleep and you wake up around 4AM with cheese in your belly button and a couple of missed calls from your friends wondering where the hell you are.

My Dad has ADHD. He likes to talk about it a lot. Sometimes I'll call him and say, "Hey, thanks. I think you gave me whatever you have" and hang up. Or we'll be talking and he'll say, "Well, you know, I told my manager to F off when he asked me to audition for a commercial where I dress as a chicken all because of my ADHD," and I'm like, "Dad, that doesn't even make any sense. You told your manager to buzz off because you didn't want to dress as a chicken. What does that have to do with ADHD?" Truthfully, I think my Mom is the one with ADHD. She spends about half of our conversations talking to the dog:

"Lauren, I heard on the news that the weather in Austin is going to be Lucy!"
"The weather is going to be Lucy?"
"You're such a crazy little girl!"
"Get out of my armpit! She's in my armpit!"
"Mom, most of the time I completely tune out when you lecture me about the weather but now I need to know!"
"Can you believe that I got Operation Dumbo Drop on DVD for $5 yesterday?"
"Do you even like that movie?"
"Of course! Ray Liotta is so handsome. Isn't he, Lucy? Isn't he???"

I've gotten away from the point I'm trying to make here.
What I want to discuss is that sometimes my creative well is dried up as an old lady's cooter and sometimes the creative juices are flowing as freely a...dear God, staying focused on this post is difficult. I've so far answered 7 phone calls, tweeted 4 times, went pee pee once, and stared at myself in the bathroom mirror while I counted gray hairs once. No, twice.

OK, the point I'm trying to get to is that sometimes I have a million little creative projects I want to do and I don't know where to begin so I become paralyzed and don't do any of them and wake up to finding cheese in my belly button.

I like when I have a million little creative things to do. I feel like a Ninja Turtle newly ramped up on pizza and ready to fight crime. Ready to take on the world with new found piss and vinegar. Is that an expression? I'm ready to take on the world with vinegar and then I start thinking about all the things I want to do and the vinegar becomes fermented. Or is vinegar already fermented? So I sit there and I get super anxious because my head is swimming with a bunch of ideas and I just can't move. Then I get on Facebook. I've tried prioritizing my creative projects before but I just want to do them all at once. I HAVE TO DO IT ALL RIGHT NOW. Write freelance article #1, write freelance article #2, finish screenplay #1 that I started in high school, work on weird art project that I had a dream about and feel as though I should follow through on, blog redesign, learn to sew and sell shit on Etsy, write screenplay #2 that you wrote 10 pages of last week, invent some iPhone app even though you know zilch about programming and code or whatever the hell apps are made out of, finish novel, write song about how you will never finish any of these things.

I see this behavior all the time. It's not just me.
Everyone in LA is "working on a script", everyone in Austin is "working on an album", and everyone in New York is "working on an art piece". We start things and never finish them. Then we start something else and then something else and then we delude ourselves and others into thinking that some day we'll actually be that screenwriter, that musician, or that artist. Why do we get distracted? I'm pretty sure it's because of all this newfangled technology, but how does someone who wants to become a professional blogger, who depends on the Internet and social media, not let all that jazz distract her?

Phew. 14 hours later blog post complete.

Do you have problems focusing on your creative endeavors? What do you do to prioritize your creative projects?

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Girl Looking for a Connection

Earlier this week, I happened to catch a tweet from a writer in Minnesota directed at the Austin social media community. The writer had come across a suicide note posted that day by an Austin blogger and was wondering if anyone could help. I clicked on the blogger's link and didn't recognize the face she attached to her self-penned obituary. The face looking back at me seemed happy. It was a cherub face with a slight smirk. Above, in the blog header, another smiling photo with her three kids. Her blog bio explained that she was a divorcing mom and in the process of trying to figure out what life is all about. The obituary added that the blogger was not able to find what she was looking for, that she hasn't and will never be able to connect with anyone, and that it was best to move on.

I immediately scrolled down to the comments to tell her to stop. It was difficult to find the words. Cookie cutter phrases like "Don't give up!" and "People love you!" crept up in my head and I tried to push them away for something of more substance. When I finally found the words I hit "enter" and was taken to an error page. Then the entire blog went white except for the text "Forbidden". The site had been taken down.

At that moment I felt completely helpless. In such an interconnected system, I was completely unable to get my words across, but more importantly, to physically act in helping this woman. Even though I now knew what she looked like and I knew what she was thinking and she lived in my same town, I had no idea who she was and had no idea what to do.

I wrote back to the original tweeter asking what we should. I thought of calling the police, but I had very little information to give them. How would they find her? Track down her IP address which maybe has information on where she lives and go to her house? At that point it could be too late and I'm not even sure how the police handle such a call.

I was getting frustrated.

In such an in-your-face-this-very-minute-information-now-now-NOW! society we read her real time cry for help and were unable respond to her call.

This situation stuck with me for most of the day. I periodically checked her blog, which to this day is still down. I followed the tweeter in Minnesota- who was even more shaken by the situation due to his own brother's suicide- to see if he had anymore info. He heard through the Twitter grapevine that she was at the hospital and getting help, but no one could confirm it. As of now, I have no insight as to who the blogger is and her status.

This situation made me contemplate how often this must happen. This was my first run-in with such a scenario, but with blogs being millions of people's diaries and forms of expression, I began wondering how many letters of help- how many outreaches for a connection- are drifting through the blogging sea. The active Austin blogging community is a very tight-knit one- many of us are real-life friends and acquaintances- and would be able to act immediately if something like this occurred. However, there are so many writers off the radar, throwing bits of their pain into the Internet wind, hoping that something will catch. If I hadn't to happen see the tweet from the gentleman in Minnesota, I may never have known about this and others maybe wouldn't have either.

When I began writing this post I knew there was going to be no ending. No commentary on suicide, no anecdotes about how suicide has effected me in the past, and no follow up as to what happened to the girl. This is a story simply about technology and suicide and how we watched the two meet.

As bloggers, what can we do in such a situation?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Generation of the Confused Working Class

yay for cheesy stock photos!
I read articles that say my generation doesn’t want to work. That we expect a lot in return for giving very little to a job. We like to run from job to job. That we have no idea what we want to do with our lives so we act indifferently towards our work. We spend too much time socializing at work. We spend too much time on the Internet.  We bitch and moan and complain about how much we hate our job and don’t understand why we dread going to work every morning.

I'm no stranger to these statements. Uninspired, unmotivated, disillusioned, and distracted are all words I've experienced at various employments. So much in fact that I've had to step back and ask myself, "Is it me or is it the jobs I go after?" (the jobs being in various creative fields, but mostly the film industry).

Tired of being constantly stressed and hearing myself complain, I began analyzing my various employments. I began my career life as a personal assistant. I did that for four years working for two different employers. Needless to say, personal assisting is typically not a lifelong job. Agreeing to be someone's , for the lack of a better word, slave, with the occasional perk is not what most people view as a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. I then moved to Austin where I continued working in film/tv/commercial production. I'd like to add that all my jobs in the entertainment business have been full-time salaried jobs through the respective employers' companies. I was never freelance.

At various times in between employment I worked odds and ends jobs (mostly retail) because I don't like not having money coming in. You will never catch me free-loading. What I discovered is the happiest I've been with work has been at the odds and ends jobs (particularly working at the Apple store for four months).

The odds and ends jobs came at a time when I would get disappointed with my "career job" and leave. I then would feel inspired that now, now I can work on my writing or whatever personal creative goals I've wanted to work on but had been too stressed and exhausted to do. What then happens is that after a few months of doing working a "whatever job", and realizing that I'm getting older, not younger, I start to feel disappointed in myself for not having a "career path"- even though I'm making headway on my writing or creative endeavors.  I then question if I should have left my previous "career jobs". I look at my friends working at large corporations with 401k plans and accrued time off and I think, "They are doing it right." The funny this is, most of them hate their job and think, "I'd like something a little more inspiring, a little more relaxed." They want what I have and I want what they have. Then we switch and then we want to go back.

In other words, it's a never-ending cycle of confusion about what to do with one's work life.

So what is it about my generation that makes these decisions so difficult?

We are the grandchildren of a dedicated working class. We are the children of their rebelling children,  that taught us to ask questions and to seek more out of life. We are the children of a vast and changing technological world. Somewhere deep down we hope that we will love our job, like our grandparents did. We hope that we will connect with a work situation and want to stay there for awhile. We will grow there. We will stay dedicated to our job and we get the same amount of employer dedication in return. That we will wake up in the morning feeling good about the job we do. Somewhere along the way we realize that is idealism. Somewhere along the way, after reading stories of recession, corruption, and disloyalty we realize that the man doesn't have our back and that they maybe never did. We realize that we’re part of the machinery and our hopes are deflated. Somewhere we realize we have other options, too many options and we get paralyzed. Somewhere along the way we get distracted with constant in-your-face information.

We are the generation of the confused.What we think exists and what we actually want does frequent battle.

So what do we do?

This is a question I've asked myself off and on for the past seven years. Do I stay on a path of working at "career companies", having average health insurance, questionable vacation time, being salaried and working overtime with no extra pay, a steady paycheck and the constant disappointment in the realities that exist nowadays or do I leave it all behind, work to get by, and focus on my true joy- writing- but dealing with the idea that I'm 27 and not working in a "career environment".

What did you decide for yourself? Or are you one of those lucky people that has managed to find both?

*note- this is not a reflection of my current employment but rather commentary on a broader topic that has been brought up amongst my peers as of late and something i've dealt with in the past myself. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

To Dance in Laredo

Life is always an adventure.
Even when it takes you to a border town in Texas where friends and loved ones suggest that your safety will be in great danger if you go. 

Texas is 268,581 square miles of curios. Even on the long stretches of dry nothingness or repetitious sand-colored strip malls, the state is never boring. When I first moved to Texas two and a half years ago, I felt like a child seeing the world for the first time. Everything about the state fascinated me and it continues to do so. From the freeways that ascend into the sky to the characters in cowboy hats to the forgotten main streets to the sprawl of major cities, I write a tiny love letter to Texas every day. And now this is my tiny love letter to Laredo.

Laredo, Texas borders the larger Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo. If you Google Nuevo Laredo you will see warnings from US Consulates urging Americans not to travel to Nuevo Laredo and pictures of people's heads blown open. Laredo is the 88th largest city in the country and the largest ethnic group is Hispanic or Latino at 94.9% of the population. Laredo is known as the 'Gateway City' or the 'City Under Seven Flags' due to it's time as the capital of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande. Laredo's economy is built around trade with Mexico, but due to the escalating drug wars in the area, Laredo has definitely seen better days.

This weekend I went to a wedding with a man I've known for two months. This man has known the groom for roughly the same amount of time. He hadn't met the bride until the wedding. I had never met either. With all of this being said, you would have thought we all knew each other for a long time.

We stayed at an old Hacienda-style hotel in the middle of what is left of downtown Laredo.
The streets of Laredo look like Mexico. 
From the parking garage we watched the long line of people crossing the bridge into the States.
I wore my grandmother's dress she bought in Acapulco 50 years ago.
The man wore a turquoise ring- one of two artifacts he inherited from his deceased uncle.
The bridal party wore cowboy boots.
We ate carne guisada and watched the sun set over Texas fields and danced and gawked at a tarantula and watched two very in love people marry.

We ate Taco Palenque.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Definition of Friendship

As I've gotten older, I've begun examining the words "friend" and "friendship" more and more. Both words have taken on different meanings to me, multiple meanings, meanings I'm still not quite sure I even understand. Our childhood definition of "friend" has one interpretation- you are my friend, I hang out with you, I call you, I include your name on poorly drawn pictorials of my life where we have huge asymmetrical bodies and small heads. There are no networking friends at this age, no social media friends, nobody that you go out drinking with unless it's juice boxes on the playground. These are people you care about and enjoy sticking marshmallows in the microwave to see what they do and eat tubs of cake frosting with.

Then we go to high school and the friend definition splits- you have your best friends, your friends you don't trust, and the friends that you partake in social activities with. That ideology roughly stays the same throughout college and then you enter the work force- then you become and adult- and the terms "friend" and "friendship" go ape shit.

You suddenly have your friends from childhood, your work friends, your drinking friends, your networking friends, your social media friends, you might start considering family members your close friends now, your partner's friends, the friends you make through your children. All of these people are your friends, but all of them fit into dramatically different friend roles than you were used to as a child.

This year will be my ten year high school reunion. I always thought that I would be excited to return home and catch up with my small and relatively close-knit class. However, I'm discovering now that the time is here, I don't feel that excitement at all. It's not that I don't like the people I went to high school with, it's just that I don't know those people anymore and except for all but one, I don't feel a particular kinship with them. This sad realization led me to analyzing how at 27 I view friendships.

Throughout my 20s and having lived in three states and two major cities, I've met a lot of people. These people get placed into different friend categories without conscious intent. Sometimes the friend is accidentally placed in or they nudge their way into a category they don't belong and it becomes confusing, so, periodically I do something I call "cutting the fat". I don't clear out my Facebook friends or make any grand gesture in cutting ties, I just simply decide to reexamine my relationship with certain people and make sure they're redirected into the correct friend category. I tried explaining this to a young man fresh out of college recently and he couldn't understand what I was saying. "I'm friends with everyone!" he said to me cheerfully and then I felt like a huge dick for referring to people as lard.

I tried defending myself by saying that once you get older, you'll realize that you can't be close friends with everyone, that life is too short to try and devote time to every single person that you meet, that you'd never get anything done otherwise, and that you end up having to become selective. As the words left my mouth, I thought about my views of friendship as a child and wish they still existed.

Living in a town where socializing is the city's M.O., I've been forced to utilize this unfavored ideology more frequently. This behavior has led to disappointment in the past and the awkward task of trying to explain without exactly saying it- "I don't view our friendship in the same light as you." When these times occur I've had to reassess whether my methodology is appropriate or fair. No one likes being essentially "demoted" in your life. I've been quietly downgraded by friends myself- friends in different states who do not reach out unless I'm physically in front of them or friends who used to call and hang out all of the time and now have moved on. I've taken these occurrences in stride and understand that as an adult, this is what has to happen. Friendships come and go, or they stay and ebb and flow. Sometimes a friend is with you from the very beginning and all the way to the end or they challenge your patience and understanding. On the homestretch to 30, I guess I need to realize that being selective doesn't necessarily mean bad. That being a friend can take on different meanings and that managing each relationship to the best of my ability is all I can really do.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pubes Is a Word That Never Gets Old

If you're anything like me, you spend a lot of time watching Jeff Goldblum movies with your hand down your pants not dating. You've reached an age where you've become picky, decide you'll wait to date the person that is absolutely worthwhile, and when they come along, you've realized that you're completely out of touch on how to groom your pubes.

Wait, let me rephrase that. I know how to groom my pubic hair, I'm just no longer sure what the current trend of lady-scaping is.

I mean, maybe I was never in touch. Who knows?

Society has told me that bush= bad, shaved baby head= good. Outside of that, it's not like I have discussions with my lady friends about how they trim their woman fuzz.

I guess I could ask them, but it's not like something I think about on a minutely basis:

"Hey, Lauren, did you check out that new bar on east 6th street?"

And it's not necessarily a question I want to post on Facebook (but is DEFINITELY a subject I will feel inclined to write a blog post about).

So how is a girl to know what the acceptable form of pubic hair style is, but more importantly, who decides? The girl, the gentleman friend, or society? I'm certainly a girl who marches to her own severely off-kilter, slightly mentally retardo beat, so asking a dude or society how I should do anything is not in my nature. However, I think this may be one of those topics that is a group effort. Much like 'it takes a village to raise a child', maybe it takes a village to tell you how to shave (or not) your pubes?

I did a little research and found that the scientists over at The Frisky created a poll for clueless chicks just like myself. What I discovered is that slightly more women prefer to lightly trim their nether region (35%) than completely bulldoze down the forest (33%). Also, more women tend to leave a full Chia Pet on their cootch (15%) versus creating a place for defective Southwest airplanes to land. Dyeing your heart-shaped pubic hair purple is not popular with anyone except for maybe Tila Tequila (less than 1%).

Reading up on vags, made me curious about the history of pubic hair and women. I discovered some interesting info:

-In Victorian Britain, it was popular to collect your lover's pubes as souvenirs, and men often wore them in their hats as a display of manliness. 'Cause nothing says "man" likes women's pubes on your head.

-The Merkin was created around 1450 for romantic purposes such as combating lice or hiding venereal diseases from your lover. 

-Trimming or removing pubic hair did not become popular in Western culture until bathing suits became less like straight jackets in the 1940's. 

-In 2007, a Florida woman received $15,000 in a botched Brazilian waxing accident that ripped her labia and caused her to get stitches. In 2009, NJ considered banning Brazilian waxing due to the amount of infections Jerseyites were receiving. From waxing. Not other stuff, duh.

-At various points in history, women have used quicklime, arsenic, donkey fat, bat's blood, and fire to remove pubes.

-In 2003, a Japanese trend began where women groomed their pubes to look like David Beckman's fauxhawk. I'm trying to start a trend where women groom their pubes to look like David Lynch's hair.

If I've learned anything from my inquisition it's that worrying about such questions as "how do I groom my pubes?" will lead to painful decisions like setting your cootch on fire. I guess the best approach is doing what's best for you and what's best to not make your partner run screaming in the other direction. Maybe society puts too much emphasis on women looking perfect, but this appears to be nothing new for women have been grooming their vags since before Jesus. At least now we have more humane methods of removal like someone sticking their head between your legs and ripping off your vagina with glue.

What plays a factor into you styling your pubes?

Friday, April 08, 2011

And You Made it All Ok

"Wow, I was, like, a super-bitch to you as a kid." I said to my mother on the phone yesterday.

"Nah. Not really. You were a kid. You didn't know any better."

"No, I mean, I wouldn't let you cry. I'd get angry if you cried. You had to be my mom and nothing else. You couldn't be human. I'd get so angry at you the times you showed any emotion over Dad leaving. I'm sorry, Mom."

This conversation occurred at the exact moment my father sent me an email out of the blue explaining to me "why he is the way he is."

This sounds like the beginnings of a "heavy" post, but it's not. These are interactions I have with my parents on a semi-regular basis due in part to me becoming more objective over my parents divorce as I grow older, me apologizing more and more to my mother for not letting her mourn the divorce, and me occasionally snapping at my father for always being the good-time fun guy I used to idolize. I still look up to my dad, but in different ways than I used to and the matters I used to chastise my mother for now make her my hero.

I have a family of three- my mother, my father, and my grandmother (Mom's mom) and I grew up in a divorced family. I not only love my family, but I like them too. I talk to at least one of them every day and they are the first people I call when something wonderful or terrible happens. They're my buds and I can't imagine a world without them. My parents did a pretty good job of making sure their divorce did not heavily effect my childhood, such a good job that it wasn't until my 20's that I really stepped back and thought about my parent's divorce.

My Dad left when I was six for good. Or seven. I can't remember. He kind of left intermittently after I was born. It wasn't because he didn't love me. As he explained in his email yesterday, he's a free spirit, a wanderer, someone who always wanted to go against the grain and live by his own standards. As a semi free-spirited adult, I can relate and respect, but as a semi-grounded adult as well, I question if a person of such mentality should marry and have a child by 30. In his instance, I'm glad that he did.

My parents tried to make it work. My Dad relocated to Annapolis, Maryland and my mother and I would go to visit. Annapolis has always held a romantic place in my heart because it was the last time my family was one. We became two shortly thereafter and it was a rocky time full of tears, anger, and frustration- though I saw very little of this.

Being a free spirit meant that financially it was often difficult for my father to be a "normal" father. Once he left, he would collect cans just to have gas money for the drive from Maryland to New York. I would wait for hours by the window for him to arrive and when I'd see his car pull up, the world stopped.

Our routine was to rent a movie and purchase a couple of cans of Chef Boyardee and vegetables while sitting amongst the tiny hotel shampoo and conditioner bottles in my dad's friend's warehouse. There was nothing I looked forward to more than this time with my father. My mother, my caretaker, would be cast aside and if she called with a reality check I would pout and resent her for spoiling my time with my dad. Little did I know the frustrations my mom was going through with having to be the responsible parent.

"You don't know any better when you're a kid. The world revolves around you." she said to me yesterday.

It's true. As a kid, it's all about you and seeing your parents waver or falter is not an option. Reality is not wanted.

My 20's have been an interesting time of awakening. A lot of apologizing done by me to my mother and my father to both of us. A lot of tearful conversations of talking about the past. A lot of phone calls and emails like the ones last night. But mostly my 20's has been about realizing something I already knew- I'm lucky to have two of the greatest parents in the world and though the journey may have been atypical, we made it work.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Blogger versus Wordpress


When I first started Hipstercrite in 2006 as the shittily titled PlasticLA- which garnered about 8 visitors a week- the only blogging platform I knew of was Blogger. It was common and easy to use. The templates were simple and I didn't need anything fancy. I stopped blogging for awhile and started back up in 2008 where I jumped from 8 visitors a week to 10. I really only began taking blogging seriously in 2009 when I moved from LA to Austin to work on my writing and where I saw my followers jump from 4 to over 1,000. This was due in part to receiving Blogger's Blog of Note in December of 2009. Blogs of Note is when Blogger features a blog of their liking for the week. My blog wouldn't be where it is today without that honor. Between all my social media profiles and blog feeds I have almost 6,000 followers thanks in many parts to Blogger.

However, as time has gone on and Hipstercrite has expanded, the inevitable has happened. I want to move to a more professional and sleeker looking blogging platform. People have been telling me to make the move over to Wordpress and I'm about 90% ok with the idea of making that transition.  So what 10% is holding me back? Money, alienating my wonderful followers, and the fear of the unknown.

Knowing what blogging platform is best for you is f'ing hard.

This has been a stressful and educational process for me. Unless I'm blind, it's been difficult finding information about the pros and cons of Blogger versus Wordpress. When I converse with web designers they're mostly proficient in Wordpress or Drupal with little to no knowledge of Blogger and Blogger aficionados don't really understand Wordpress. However, the other day I came across an excellent breakdown of the pros and cons of Blogger and Wordpress from one of my new favorite blogs, Will Work 4 Followers, by Dan over at Single Dad Laughing. This blog is a great resource on how to become a successful blogger. He also points out that his very good-looking blogs are made on Blogger.

I've been working with a wonderful web designer who is proficient in Wordpress and studying Blogger in order to help me better with my situation. He has also been really patient with my back and forth on the two blogging platforms. He and I have come up with a list of pros and cons of Blogger versus Wordpress and though Wordpress definitely comes out ahead in terms of the next step, it is still a difficult decision to make. If you're thinking of making the leap from Blogger to Wordpress here are some of the questions and obstacles I've faced listed below.

*Note- I'm in no way an expert on Blogger or Wordpress so my info below could be off. If you see anything that is incorrect or that I may be forgetting, please let me know in the comments section!

-I'm already on Blogger so I won't have to worry about transferring content and followers over.
-Blogger has looked after me (loyalty to platform).
-Will cost me less money to customize versus create new blog at Wordpress.
-Has a wonderful vast network of bloggers.
-I'm familiar with it and it's simple to use.

-Blogger now offers up to 10 static pages, but makes it difficult to divide old content onto them if you want to create separate categories of your content (i.e. wanting old 'Austin' tagged posts to get placed in a new 'Austin' static page).
-Doesn't offer a lot of widgets, especially progressive and useful ones.
-Less snazzy looking templates (old school-looking) and often boring. Even when customized doesn't always look that great.
-Web designers are less knowledgeable in customizing a Blogger blog.
-Less control over SEO as compared to Wordpress.


-Better SEO than Blogger.
-Ability to self-host and own content.
-Snazzier looking templates.
-Tabbed pages to divide up content or have bio page etc.
-Better platform to incorporate advertising.
-Easier to create posts from mobile device.
-More progressive widgets.

-Will cost more money to transfer content/followers over and set up new design/template.
-Wordpress is a platform I'm not familiar with yet.
-I can either use the free version,, which has limited templates and doesn't allow customized templates or plug-ins, or I can use the costly version,, which requires me to find my own host and deal with my own back-up/spam/upgrades. Though self-hosting might not be much money a month, having someone knowledgeable in all of this (for I am not) and to take care of my blog for me could end up costing me a lot (see more here).
-Potentially screwing up my migration of content and followers from Blogger over to Wordpress.

What are your thoughts? Should I try to drum up the extra money to put this blog on Wordpress or should I stick with the platform that I'm familiar with?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Moms and Facebook

You'll never forget the day your mother joined Facebook.

You thought, "Aww man! This is awesome! Now Mom and I can share cute messages on each others' walls and I can see photos from that wine trip she took with the family and got super loaded and she can see photos of me and my new hairdo and criticize it. It will be great!"

Then you started to think differently when your Mom began liking every God forsaken thing you ever do on Facebook and she posts ADD-like messages on your wall that say, "Where is a photo of this new guy you're seeing?" or "I remember when you were just a little thing. Why did you have to grow up? WHY?"

Sometimes she Facebook messages you demanding to know where you are and why you're not picking up your phone, and if that doesn't get your attention, she moves on to 12 Facebook friends of yours/complete strangers of hers and asks where you are.

Sometimes all Moms do is get on Facebook to berate you for swearing on your profile and call you out on your forced ironic persona that you emanate through your photos and profile info. Or tell you to wear a friggin' jacket 'cause she saw that it's going to be 35 degrees where you are living and you don't want to get sick, do you!?

Sometimes Moms play a lot of "What kind of (noun) are you..." quizzes and they begin taking them seriously and bring them up the next phone call conversation, saying, "This test told me that I was Jackson Pollack when I'm clearly a Georgia O'Keefe! Who comes up with these tests? I want to know!" and then she is in a bad mood the rest of the day.

Sometimes Moms like sending chain letter messages to everyone they know on Facebook or have an entire wall filled with status updates about the weather or posts 400 pictures of their dog or get easily riled up when someone disses Obama and suddenly finds themselves entering a flame war or posts messages on their wall that were clearly meant for another person or....

When Facebook was invented, parents had no idea what the hell it was. When it became more popular, they laughed at this newfangled thingymajig that was influencing the youth, all why quietly planning their attack. Then the day came where you received a friend request from your parent and life has never been the same.

Facebook is the equivalent of a little camera hiding in the teddy bear of your baby's bed. It's the only resource for Moms to keep tabs on their adult children. They lurk and prey and stalk and quietly document every photo, comment, and update you post on Facebook. What for? I'm not sure, but I have a feeling there will be a day when Moms use this documentation against us.

My Mom is on Facebook, and so is my Dad. Hell, I have a 90 year-old Grandma on there somewhere too but she's never had a profile picture. And she told my Dad she was offended by my candor on Facebook. I defriended her ass after that (actually, I didn't, but I just looked at her profile and it's apparent she hasn't used the thing since November). My Mom and I have a relatively harmless Facebook relationship. She respects my cyberspace and I respect hers. At least I thought. The example of a Mom contacting 12 Facebook friends when she couldn't reach her daughter for 5 hours listed above? That one was my Mom. It was after that moment that I realized she was a loose cannon and I couldn't trust her with social media. After pulling a 12 year-old moment and screaming, "Mom! How could you do that?!?!" for about 15 minutes, she has since become better and I feel like a raging dick. Now she sends me messages, saying, "Who the hell is so-so who posted that ignorant crap on your wall? They seem like a dumbass." I like this Facebook interaction much better.

I know I sound like I'm being hard on Moms and insinuating that they have a complete and utter lack of Facebook etiquette knowledge. I am. That doesn't mean that they aren't awesome and smart and wonderful and kind of like the best people on the planet. They are. It's just that they do weird Moms things on Facebook and it's scary. Hey Mom, if you're reading this- which I hope you aren't because I specifically asked you not to read my blog so I can write about things like this, but you are a Facebook fan of my blog because you love me like that, so you're bound to see the title "Moms and Facebook" and read this post- you know that I think you are awesome, right? You know that I love you more than anything? This post really isn't directed at you. Besides contacting a bunch of my friends on Facebook because you thought I was lying dead in a dumpster somewhere, you actually have pretty excellent Facebook etiquette. It's other people's Moms that scare me.

Just please don't ever ask me to show you Twitter. You wouldn't like it, I promise.

Have you had any interesting Mom experiences on Facebook?

Friday, April 01, 2011

To He Who Should Not Read My Blog

I don't write about my social or romantic life on my blog very often, if at all. This blog is not the platform for that- it's supposed to be a blog about being a fuckin' hipster, dammit- and in some areas of my life, I'm actually a somewhat private person. I also realize that saying roughly, "Oh hey, I just wrote about you on a public forum for anyone to read!" may or may not have the ability to freak someone out. In addition, it's rare for me to feel compelled to write about someone- a truth that I've commented on before- but I guess, in this instance, that is finally not applicable. I'm writing this tonight because, honestly, it's what is on my mind lately and being a writer, it would be silly to ignore.

And though I plead with you on a daily basis not to read my blog, you will anyways.

So, here you go.


To He Who Should Not Read My Blog,

I haven't known you for very long. 

This is a fact we discussed last night. However, with all that has taken place within that time it feels like I've known you forever. 

It is not just that though. Something about you is reminiscent and comforting- an observation I made the first night I met you, the night our mutual friend finally got us in the same space. 

The night you were wearing a light tan leather jacket from the 70's and I was wearing a petticoat with tuxedo jacket. I was trying my best to look like Blair from Less Than Zero and you were just being you. A man who has a closet full of clothing from your youth that you still fit into and hand sewn costumes. 
You know how to sew. I don't.

The night we realized that our creative influence both comes from the same man- David Byrne. You started reciting dialogue from your favorite movie, True Stories, and once in awhile you and I will sing songs from the movie, though we may not always remember the words.

The night we realized we could probably talk to each other until we're exhausted. 
Which is something that hasn't seemed to happen yet. 
And I doubt will.

In the short time we've known each other, we survived: being shot at by punk kids while sitting in my car talking, and though the kids were really really upset that you and I were not making out- enough to shoot a gun at us- you were a gentleman and didn't kiss me until after we thought our lives were in danger; my car being broken into the night I went to see your film, which I was nervous about- the screening, not the window- and where I met roughly 100 of your friends and you later constructed a Muppets cardboard window for my glass-filled car; SXSW, a void where life as we know it stands still, where we saw movies and walked for miles and waded through a sea of drunk people and stayed up late; carrying around a drunk celebrity we had to babysit and who tried to unsuccessfully convince me to sleep with him; you jet-setting to Europe twice, where you wrote to me every day about your adventures; me having E. Coli; my illogical fear that someone is breaking into my house every evening and you coming to my rescue. 

In other words, there has never been a dull moment.

And though we could probably do without more guns and broken car windows and drunk celebs and deadly infections, I'm looking forward to many more adventures with you.

It makes me nervous to post this, but I know you will probably like it and you will probably bring it up later today and I will probably try to change the subject and I will probably scold you for reading my blog...even though I'm secretly excited that you care enough to.