Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Facebook Fast Epilogue

Well, the Facebook Fast has come and gone without much fanfare.  In a move that has apparently become pretty popular, I gave up Facebook for Lent, lasting 40 days and culminating on Easter this past Sunday.  Basically, I was spending too much time on the site doing nothing productive (looking around at pictures and checking statuses) so it was time to cut back.  


To be honest, I did not miss the program much.  I was wasting a lot of time on the site and wasn't really even using it to connect with people except new friends and to accept event invitations.  My blog readership certainly went down because most people were clicking the link I'd put on Facebook before I quit.  Aside from those things I really did not notice my life changing much.

In fact, I'd say it improved quite a bit!  My feeling of needing to keep in touch with people was cut off immediately on Ash Wednesday when the fast started.  I enjoyed being "off the map" as far as the Internet was concerned and preferred that people could not reach me as easily as they once could.  It gave me a sense of freedom.


While the point of Facebook is to bring people together, I felt more connected with people once Facebook was removed from the equation.  If I wanted to see someone, I had to call or email them.  If I didn't have something to do, I'd have to text a few friends to see what their plans were.  If an event was coming up that I didn't know about, I'd have to rely on friends to tell me or go out and find it.  As a result, I started dispersing the duties of Facebook to other things like Twitter and simple word-of-mouth.

When Death Cab for Cutie announced their Pittsburgh date yesterday, I heard about it on Twitter because that is the site that is giving me my breaking news now.  My friend's going away party that was advertised on Facebook?  Other friends told me.

Did I miss stuff?  Probably.  You know, like all those concerts and open mics that I am invited to and never attend.  And all those people who had babies that I was not aware were even pregnant.  Something's telling me it won't matter much if I missed that some girl and some guy from high school that I haven't seen in 7 years are now engaged or dating or complicated or moving to Kansas or back in town or starting a new communist state in the south of Nova Scotia.  If it's important, someone will tell me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Music for Music's Sake

When do you listen to music?  In the car on the way to work?  On your computer at work?  While you're making dinner?  When was the last time you sat down and just plain listened to music with no other distractions?

For being such a lover of music, I realized recently that I rarely listen to music for the sake of listening to music.  Music is always something added to a another activity as filler.  My attention span is bad, so I need to have at least two stimuli to keep me from losing my mind.  Sometimes, though, music needs to be fully experienced on its own to get the full effect.

Saturday was Record Store Day across America.  Music stores had some rare merchandise and performances to celebrate the record.  I sifted through the vinyls when I stopped in at The Exchange in Squirrel Hill and came across a lot of great records.  But they were records I already had on CD or on my computer, so why would I need a vinyl copy?  I can't even put those tunes on my iPod!  I saw Come on Feel the Illinoise! by Sufjan Stevens in this selection and decided that someone needed to own it, so I got it for my roommate, Andy Redfield.  Once I got it, though, I thought about how great it would be to just invite some friends over to listen to the album.  Where have the days gone when we just got together to listen to music and talk about it.  We rarely sit back and think about what the music makes us feel.

This realization was reinforced by the broadcasting of the Coachella festival in California this past weekend.  Many of the biggest acts were broadcast, such as The Black Keys, Bright Eyes, and The National.  On Saturday I watched the Friday performances while working on a paper.  Saturday night I did the same, but we set aside time to watch Mumford and Sons plugged into Andy's TV late that evening.  I even stayed up until about 3am to watch the beginning of Arcade Fire's set.

Sunday night I was really hit with an overwhelming appreciation for music.  The Strokes performed at 12am EST and I sat up at my parents' house all night watching.  The Strokes aren't a particularly entertaining live band and generally rely on their incredible music to speak for itself.  The camera work on the broadcast was intriguing because it was all in black-and-white and stayed zoomed in on certain members of the band the entire time, unlike the other performances.  The music was encapsulating and I loved every riff and scream.  After a while, I just laid in bed watching and enjoying.  No other time have I ever just watched a concert so intently.

I've been babbling quite a bit, but here's my challenge for you.  Pick your favorite album and just listen to it.  Listen to it a few times.  Listen to the intricacies and the lyrics and the details that made you fall in love with it.  I've been experiencing Funeral and The Suburbs by Arcade Fire over and over again and they keep getting better and better.  There is nothing more invigorating than beautiful music.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Hopefully I'll be coming up with a real post soon, but for this Thursday morning I'd like to take a walk down memory lane for some of my favorite posts:

My first post.  I don't know how much I love it, but this post came at a big turning point in my life after I had left my youth ministry job in Mars with intentions of moving back to the city and eventually starting graduate school.  A lot has changed since then (like, umm, graduation in 17 days), but I still definitely prefer an urban atmosphere like I did then.

My post-Seattle remarks.  Visiting anywhere out west will definitely make you want to go sometimes.  Who knows if I'll ever end up in Seattle, or anywhere west of the Mississippi, but if I do it will be a result of this trip.

A letter to my friends and family.  This was written in remembrance of a great friend, Caleb Altmire.  We miss you, brother.

Have a great Thursday!  I hope to bring you some new, original thoughts soon.  In the meantime, follow me on Twitter!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Scattered Thoughts

I am feeling a little under-the-weather today, so that warrants some random thoughts that are basically unrelated.

1.  I don't really want to share any details about the job search in a public forum because I have a few different exciting positions I'm in the process of interviewing for.  No favoritism that the Internet needs to know about!

2.  That being said, it's hard to keep up with the ever-growing world of social media, as described in a recent blog post for my job at CMU.  You have to keep a clean-sheet on the Internet, keeping an eye on everything you said and do that will represent who you are.  Make sure to Google yourself and see what comes up!

3.  My friend Abby made a cool blog post about the 5 Love Languages yesterday, which I really enjoyed exploring again.  The 5 Love Languages explores how we show affection and how we prefer to be shown affection.  Contrary to what some believe, Physical Touch tends to be my strongest LL.  Quality Time and Words of Affirmation aren't far behind.  So let's go get coffee, greet me with a hug, and tell me how cool my shoes are.  Check the survey out for yourself here!

4.  Schoolwork and the job search are piling up in April, so I'm sorry if I don't see you before then!  I look forward to graduation on May 1st and East End Brewery's Keg Ride on May 7th; a great way to kick of summer in Pittsburgh!

5.  Check out my friend Monica's blog that she just started the other day.  We share a lot of the same thoughts about social networking.

6.  I love "Maps" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  Check it: