Thursday, June 30, 2011

Senior Year: Now and Then

A lot has changed in 4 years...

August 7...
2007: Got my acceptance letter from CalU.
2011: My first official day of no work and internship.

Thoughts on going into my senior year...
2007: One more year of high school. I can't wait for college!
2011: One more year of college. I'm not ready for the real world!

2007: Dating the same guy since eighth grade.
2011: Single, but not alone.

Presidential election...
2007: I really need to register to vote.
2011: Has it really been almost 4 years since I watched CNN's coverage of the inauguration?

Major choices...
2007: Graphic Design.
2011: Industrial Organizational Psychology.

Jobs, jobs, jobs...
2007: What job?
2011: Community Assistant, sales associate, and volunteer management intern.

It seems like for everything that has changed, there are still some constants in my life. I've seen some friends drift apart and others become some of the best I've ever had. I've mourned the losses of friends and family. I've grown emotionally and mentally (and maybe even a few inches taller, too).

I've experienced things I never thought possible...

I was on national, prime time television...

I met one of my heroes...

I was called one of the best CAs someone's ever had...

And those constants? They're the people I call my amazing best friends and I love them to death.

...And I'm sure there will be more memories made this senior year, but for now, I've got to run to the bus stop and head home for the day.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Things I've Learned During My Internship...

An entry in progress... Think of this as part one.

Well, it's been just under a month since my internship started. These are just a few of the things I've learned so far...

  • Even if it looks like it won't rain... It will. A lot. So always pack an umbrella.

  • The bus has a schedule. It's called the "plus or minus five minutes from when it's supposed to arrive" schedule. And it will still get you to your downtown stop before or just on the time it's supposed to.

  • The lawyer who you ride the bus home with will wear basketball shorts every day that he doesn't have to be in court.

  • Starbucks' free wi-fi, like their coffee, is awesome.

  • Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune are, and always will be, a nightly ritual. Yelling out answers is perfectly acceptable.

  • Crushing your thumb between the side of a box truck and the safety gate in the box truck will hurt like nothing else...and leave you with a red thumb and partially blue nail.

  • While it will be tiring to load and unload a box truck twice and then reload it once more, the real pain will come the next morning when you realie you can't move to get out of bed.

  • There is more than one CVS on Forbes Avenue.

  • Getting to know your bus drivers is a good thing.

  • So is making conversation with your fellow passengers.

  • Making calls to volunteers is nerve-wracking, but it gets easier.

  • When emailing volunteers about the incentive points they've accrued, you very well may email the wrong person with the same name. Just apologize to the other person. They'll be more understanding than you'd think.

And so far, that's what I've learned (other than using Outlook, PeopleSoft, and other fun skills) thus far...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

College searches

It's begun. My younger brother has started to look at schools. And it's part terrifying, part amusing.

The terrifying part is two-, three-, maybe even tenfold. Scary for me because I can't believe my youngest brother, my only sibling, is going to be a senior in high school (which means I'm going to be a senior in college).

17 years ago, I was actually taller than my younger brother.

Scary because, if all pans out how it may, he'll be leaving home and I'll (more than likely) be moving back in. Admittedly, I have a love/hate relationship with the notion of moving back in with my parents. On the upside, it means a free place to stay, meals, and laundry. Always a plus.

On the other side, living with my parents could have its negatives. Don't get me wrong, I love my parents, but sometimes enough is enough. Living alone last year as a CA, while it might have been lonely at times, there was always someone to see or say hi to. And it was oddly freeing to live alone.

Anyhow, back to the college search... Greg (the aforementioned sibling) is being, in my mind, overly particular about where he wants to go. This is the amusing part, at least to me.

"I want to stay in state." (He's set on this one... I looked at out of state schools, but didn't apply to any. And you know what? I'm glad. Going to CalU has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. Seriously. Maybe that'll be another post: learning beyond the classroom, and what CalU has taught me about life.)

"These scores are higher than mine." (You'll have that. My SAT and ACT scores weren't the most glamorous. I didn't have a rocket scientist's GPA. And I'm finally okay with that. Apart from my freshman year of college, I've turned it around.)

"Why would they list a program that's not offered anymore?" (Because schools don't like updating their website. Case in point: I saw a class that looked really interesting and wanted to take it. I happened to go to an event on campus where a prof from that department was also in attendance. We got to talking and I asked about the class... Apparently, it hasn't been offered in nearly five years.)

"How far is Indiana?" (I don't know, Google it.)

"What does *that* mean?" (Uhhh... no idea.)

At the present, who knows where he'll wind up. All I know is that it's going to be a very interesting year...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Public Anonymity: Is it possible?

As I sat at my grandparents' table this morning eating breakfast, I leafed through the New York Times as I do every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. One article in particular caught my eye. Found here, this article is the inspiration for today's entry (I had originally read about the "kissing couple" on a friend's blog; in today's society, with all of the new avenues for social media, is it possible to be completely anonymous online?

Sure, Facebook allows you to have various levels of privacy settings for different friends (or in my case, friends lists. There are a handful of maybe ten people or so who can see everything, family who can see some stuff, and others still who are between these levels and next to nothing at all. Extreme? Probably. Doesn't bother me any.)

However, even if friends aren't seeing certain posts, pictures, and the like, doesn't Facebook cater to potential employers and allow them to see previous posts? (I could be wrong here, but it seems plausible). Additionally, Facebook also allows users to download a file of everything they've posted, including pictures and other files.

Twitter, the 140 character update social media outlet, also has privacy settings. Sure, you can set settings to protect your tweets, but for many, Twitter is a way to voice one's opinion and share it with a wider audience. Some use it to see what their favorite celebrity is eating, doing, or where they happen to be gallivanting around Hollywood or whatever. It seems almost nauseating how many people follow various celebrities. I don't recall when (or where) I read it, but I believe it said that Ashton Kutcher is/was the most followed person on Twitter. Or maybe he was the first person to hit one million followers.

Because I'm a geek for social media and (some) number stuff, I did a quick Google and Twitter search. To (probably mis)quote one of my favorite characters from Numb3rs, "Curiosity: good for scientists, not so much for cats."

According to an article from the Buki Tuki (oh, Google searches, you are ridiculous sometimes), the celebrities who are most followed on Twitter are (side note: the celebrity list is from the site linked above. The numbers are from Twitter as of 1:10 PM on June 21):

- Lady Gaga (@ladygaga): 11,048,255 little monsters following
- Justin Bieber ( @justinbieber): 10,474,852 beliebers following (if fingers could have aneurysms, mine had some whilst typing the word "beliebers")
- Barack Obama (@barackobama): 8,758,037 followers (some names are easier to come up with nicknames for followers than others)
- Britney Spears (@britneyspears): 8,268,816 followers
- Kim Kardashian (@kimkardashian): 7,958,917 followers
- Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk): 6,989,951 followers
- Ellen DeGeneres (@theellenshow): 6,904,034 followers
- Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13): 6,786,591 followers
- Oprah Winfery (@oprah): 6,343,932 followers
- 50 Cent (@50cent): 4,707,392 followers

Personally, I feel as though there are only a handful of celebrities who actually write/produce/tweet tweets that are worth reading and interesting material. And some that I follow just because the tweets are simply amazing, humorous, etc. Those select Twitter feeds are:

- PostSecret/Frank Warren (@postsecret): 398, 476 followers | If you haven't heard of PostSecret, check this out. Please. It's simply life-changing.
- Lord Voldemort (@LordVoldemort_7): 1,242,864 followers | Even if you're not a Harry Potter fan, LV's tweets are hysterical. Trust me on this.
- Alimi Ballard (@alimiballard): 1,425 followers | Alimi's an actor from Numb3rs, Clarissa Explains it All, and Fast Five, among others. His tweets are simply uplifting. And sometimes he'll reply to you. He's replied to a tweet or two of mine.
- Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome): 2,401,888 followers | It's Stephen Colbert, people. Need I say more?
- Wil Wheaton (@wilw): 1,831,737 followers and LeVar Burton (@levarburton): 1,660,990 followers | Because Star Trek is awesome, and so are these two.
- And, lastly, two of my favorite TV show producers, Carlton Cuse (@carltoncuse): 64,563 followers and Damon Lindelof (@damonlindelof): 131,814 followers.

(And as a side note, I think I've only seen one celebrity who has publicly mentioned possibly putting privacy settings back on her Twitter feed. the celebrity? Martha Plimpton, from The Goonies and most recently, Raising Hope. I'm still looking for the exact tweet so I can post a screencap.)

Even Blogger allows its bloggers to have different privacy settings. I haven't played around much with these apart from comments. I'll have to do some exploring in this regard. I do know, however, that some blogs are "invite only" reads.

Other outlets for social media (Tumblr, LinkedIn, and others, including the old school LiveJournal, GreatestJournal, Xanga, and (gasp), probably even MySpace) all probably have some semblance of privacy settings. Tumblr lets you block users, much in the same way Twitter lets you block - and even report spam - users. Similarly, LinkedIn allows you to show only so much of your profile when "connecting" with another user. Admittedly, it is a little creepy when LinkedIn shows you its suggested "people you may know," how you're connected to them, and whether anyone else in your network is connected to them.

I'm not saying I'm weirded out when Facebook does this... Sure, I might have four events, eight "likes," and fifteen friends in common with the person, but by no stretch of the imagination would I add them as my friend. Maybe there's a reason I don't want to be their friend. (By the way, friend purges are one of the best things to do on Facebook apart from comment avalanches and epic comment wars.)

I may only (currently) have four people blocked on Facebook, and I've considered others. Meanwhile, I also have 136 applications. 136! That's simply obscene. For now, that's really the extent of this longer than expected rant/rave/post about social media. I think it's really fascinating and that the trend will continue to grow as time goes on. It'll be an interesting journey.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bus Stops and Blistered Soles

Somewhat of a shorter entry for tonight...

Just over a week has passed since I started my internship at the Red Cross in the 'Burgh... Twenty hours a week over the course of three days. (And that's on top of 15 1/2 at OfficeMax, but that's nothing new).

Thus far in my internship, I've been given a Red Cross email (which I definitely didn't expect), met a small group of awesome people, and more. I've made contact with potential volunteers, helped with orientation of a new volunteer, and navigated public transportation (buses are much easier to take than the T. I'm also fortunate enough to be staying with my grandparents for three nights a week. And they live pretty close to a bus stop, so it's perfect). Even if I did get lost coming home one day...

Just about anyone who knows me well knows I despise getting dressed up for any occasion. I'm much more comfortable in a pair of jeans, Converse, and a t-shirt. But alas, business casual is the protocol at the Red Cross. I often curse my feet, despite the fact I think they make me who I am (not sure why... just another random fact about me). Obscene arches and flat shoes don't get along very well.

And three blisters in the course of a day and a half? Not my idea of fun, especially when being dragged around the (craptacular) 3 Rivers Arts Festival after a seven hour shift.

Hopefully I'll have more to write next time, but for now... my un-air conditioned room awaits.