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Obsessed With Bejeweled Blitz

I’ve chronicled my passionate love for Bejeweled Blitz here a couple of times. If I have a few minutes to kill at work, or just need to zone out and clear my head, I’ll log on to Facebook and play a few rounds. There’s something about the falling jewels stacking up and clearing out, and the Bejeweled announcer rooting me on that relaxes me.

And then the developers upped the ante. Last Tuesday they released an updated version. It was already an addiction for me, but now the jewels are more dazzling, the sounds are all tinkly and crystally, and the announcer gets really worked up when you do well! “Good Job!” “Excellent!” Really, everyone should hear those words once or twice a day.

They also added a few new way to rack up points. They already had the Hypercube, which appears when you line up five of the same jewels. Click on that and then click on any one jewel next to it and it clears ALL of the jewels of that color off the board. To jack up the points they added the Flame, too, which gives you a flashing jewel if you line up four of the same color. You can either match that with two more of the same to get a bunch of points or if you don’t, you still get a bunch points at the end just for being on the board.

Then they added the best feature—The Last Hurrah! And that’s exactly what it is. When the game ends, it automatically searches through possible matches and finishes them off for you, giving you gajillions of bonus points.

Overall, I think each match is worth more too because I seem to bet getting a ton of scores like this:

Still can't get the 150K badge...

Still can't get the 150K badge...

I’m insanely competitive about this. You can see your friends’ scores and I get jealous when they hit 200K, 250K…and I get determined to beat them. I realized I had a serious problem today when I walked away from my computer after playing for 5 minutes…um, okay 25…and my eyes were red, watery and glassy. I had to cut myself off. And then 15 minutes later I was jonesing to play again.

The worst part? Every Tuesday the scores clear out and you start over. I hate Tuesdays.

Random Tuesday Thoughts (Facebook Friends, My Hero And, Well, You’ll See)

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Most mornings after I’ve settled in at work I’ll log into Facebook and see what’s going on with everyone. Yesterday morning there was a friend request that I was happy to see, and then there was a friend recommendation. I’m not always sure how Facebook makes its recommendations. It’s usually based on something legitimate like the high school you went to, the year you graduated or mutual friends. But every now and then there are some random ones. Like the one recommending my husband’s second ex-wife. Now, after about 14 years of not-always-peaceful co-existence, arguments, and awkward family gatherings, it’s pretty clear that me and this woman are never—not in this life or in any other—going to become friends no matter how much Facebook wills it so. But I’m still curious because she is not friends with any of my friends or my husband. I’m not friends with their son online either—in fact, I don’t even know if he’s on Facebook.

I have to admit though, I’m dying to see what her profile looks like!

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Google Search is endlessly fascinating to me. I get about 15 hits a day based on this post about Bejeweled Blitz. Apparently, I’m not the only one with a wicked addiction to this game. I also seem to get a lot of hits for Bret Michaels, Neil Diamond (mostly inquiring about his marital status), and for Costco. But the last couple of days Google sent a handful of people to me for the search “pants crap.”

Aside from wondering about the person who types these search terms, I couldn’t figure out what hell it had to do with The Daily Snark. I Googled “pants crap” and I never did find a connection to this blog—the closest thing I could find was this post with the word “crap” in the title, but my search opened up a whole new world to me. Apparently, there are anonymous groups dedicated to this. I made the colossal mistake of clicking on a link to see if they were support groups or fetish groups. Guess what? There’s a whole community of people who do this. ON PURPOSE. I don’t mean to shout, but OHMYHOLYHELL.

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My hero...

My hero...

This guy? He’s my hero. He is the defender of all things Mo. I’ve had a rough week or so and he’s been there for me, listening, giving advice (when asked), and stands behind me when things go upside down. In a few weeks, we’re going to be celebrating our 10-anniversary and I can’t help but feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

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I switched my drink at Starbucks last week. For years, I’ve gotten my venti Skinny Vanilla Latte every morning, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. But a friend of mine recently read my tarot cards and told me that if I wanted to bring change into my life, I needed to change up my routine. Simple changes bring bigger ones. I’m sure it has someting to do with being open to new opportunites. I’m not sure why I decided to enact change with my cofffe, but I’ve started drinking a venti misto, which is half coffee, half steamed milk. And I add a packet of Splenda. I’m kind of digging the change. I’m not sure if it’ll stick, but for now I’m test-driving it. However, it turned the staff at my Starbucks upside down.  I’d walk in, and by the time I got to the register my drink was there. I just had to pay. I didn’t have to say much more than good morning and thank you. So when I told them I was changing my drink, all of the employees went into shock. There was a disturbance in the force. Now they view me suspiciously. I may switch back, but then again, I may try something entirely different. I’m feeling kinda wild.

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For more randomness, don’t forget to check out Keely’s blog at the Un Mom.

I Should Totally Take Credit for Crashing Bejeweled Blitz

…because every person I know now has signed up for Facebook because of this post!

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However, I’ve sort of screwed myself because I haven’t been able to play for two days.

Happy 1st Blogoversary

Today is the 1-year anniversary of my blog.

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The Daily Snark is 1 today!

I can’t believe it’s been a year already. I could spew all the cliches about time flying, and it seeming like yesterday. But I won’t—even though they’d all be true.

I started The Daily Snark because I needed a creative outlet. I wanted—scratch that—I desperately needed a place to go that was my own. A place where I could be my sarcastic self. A place where I could get back into the habit of writing. And where I could write whatever I wanted.

When I started the blog, I had exactly one reader, my real-life friend Lesley from Um…What?? For a couple of weeks she was literally the only person who’d click over to read what I wrote, no matter how lame, how mundane. She was my biggest cheerleader. I think she even paid her mom to click over occasionally so it looked like I actually had some readers. Then I picked up a few readers from the WordPress.com home page. I was giddy over getting a couple of hits a day. And then I’d get a few more. And I’d think, Damn, this is awesome. I am the shit. I was all, “Dooce, you’d better watch your back. There’s a new blogger in town.”

Snort. Um, yeah.

About a month or so after I started this blog, I finally told my husband. He’s very private and I wasn’t sure he’d be thrilled that I was spewing our personal life all over the interwebs so I didn’t tell him at first. I’d furtively type away when I could get a few minutes, and he never wondered why I suddenly became so interested in my laptop. But one night in the middle of our vacation I was feeling no pain from all the rum punch we were drinking in the Cayman Islands. As we sat at the bar on the dock of our resort and suddenly I was all:  Soguesswhat?IhaveablogandIactuallyhavereadersandeverything!

Once I explained what a blog was and how much fun I was having writing again (and promised not to write about our sex life or any other super personal details), he was very supportive of it. In fact, he told just about everyone he knew.

Over the past year, like every other blogger out there, I’ve struggled with the To Blog or Not To Blog dilemma, I’ve been obsessed with blog stats, stressed about not posting regularly enough. I try to remember that this is supposed to be fun. Sometimes it is. Other times, it’s a struggle. But I love that I have this place to come to write about whatever’s on my mind, no matter how random, how snarky or how serious. And I appreciate every single one of you who come by here.

Here are a few highlights from the last year:

1. Neil Diamond may have nearly ruined my marriage, but he brought me a crap load of readers. This most gets a ridiculous amount of Google searches, nearly a year after I wrote it.

2. After posting about my Bejeweled Blitz addiction, I realized I’m not alone. Millions of you out there need an intervention as well. I get about 50 hits a day on this post alone.

3. I think this post about Costco is one of my favorites. If you’ve ever been, you know why. If  you haven’t, I’ve probably scared you away.

Social Media or Anti-Social?

I had dinner Friday night with my best friend. She’s been a part of my life for the past 13 years or so. The first three or four years we were merely co-workers—although I’m sure she saved my bacon on more than one occasion. I was laid off from that job after nearly four years, but she was instrumental in getting me hired in a different division a few months later.

Over the years we’ve gotten closer. She knows me. She knows almost everything about me. She knows about all my ups and downs, my frustrations, my accomplishments. We share our dreams and fears over cocktails and dinner.

Friday night over one of our not-frequent-enough dinners we were talking about Facebook—I’m pro; she’s con. I was yammering on about all these people I’ve reconnected with—old friends from grammar school and high school. For me, it’s been exciting to catch up with people again at this point in my life. People who, for the most part, good friends at one time. Others were acquaintances—kids who were part of a very extended circle—but I’ve enjoyed finally getting to know them now as adults, without all the bullshit and drama of high school insecurity.

My friend doesn’t see it that way. Her thought is that people drift in and out of your life at specific times, and when that time passes, you move on. I’m sort of taking editorial liberties with this, but I think it’s the gist of things. She jokes about having a scrap heap—a jumble of people who have come in to her life and for various reasons have gone. Sometimes it’s a matter of outgrowing friendships. Sometimes it’s a matter of not being treated well by someone. You wash your hands of them, and that’s it. I have my own version of that scrap heap. Very few make it off the heap and back into my life.

So when I was telling her how happy I was that I’ve caught up with specific people, on Facebook, people that I didn’t just drift away from, but had deliberately cut out of my life,  she reminded me that there were reasons I was no longer friends with them, and she pointed out to me the ways that I’ve changed since I’ve becomes so socially active online. And not necessarily in a good way.

I like to think that all this social networking I do is sort of healthy. I am not the most social person I know in real life. Far from it. I’ve always been painfully shy but I’ve tried to overcome that as an adult. But I still get nervous and insecure when I have to meet new people. I still hate the idea of making small talk with a group of people I barely know. It’s not exciting to me or an adventure. I am bad at networking in real life because I can’t stop tripping over my tongue. I get so nervous that a person’s name goes right out of my head. I am full of non-sequitors in conversation because I can’t get out of my own way and listen to whomever I’m speaking to. I wonder if people are calculating how many seconds it will take them to get away from me. I wouldn’t blame them because I’m usually calculating how many feet it is from where I’m standing to the bar.

For me, my online social life is safe. I can relax, hidden behind the security of my lap top. I can take a second to think of what I want to say (although I’m sure I hit Publish too quickly sometimes), which makes me feel witty and smart. I’m fully aware of how pathetic and anti-social this sounds. I don’t really think I’m either thing, though. I do actually leave the house and meet people and have real-life friends and relatively healthy relationships.

But I do wonder if it’s made me a little narcissistic. I think in status updates sometimes—for Facebook and Twitter. I try to think of clever, funny comments that get people’s attention. That all falls in line with sometimes being obsessed with my blog stats.  And none of that is in line with why I started doing any of this to begin with.

I started this blog because I needed a creative outlet. It was never supposed to be about stats and comments. I wanted to start writing again. This blog was supposed to be an online journal of sorts, a place where I could go and write about what I was feeling or thinking with my own little sarcastic twist. Twitter was just supposed to be an extension of IM for me—another way to keep up with friends and see what they’re up to. Soon, my list of people I followed whet from 10 to 180. And, weirdly to me, my list of followers shot up to 175 at one point. Swoon! They want to know what I’m thinking! It’s sort of like Andy Warhol’s concept of 15 minutes of fame. Facebook was definitely meant to be a way to stay in touch with people, but it’s made me a little out of touch with myself, my real-life relationships and the people who matter.

It’s probably a safe assumption that my friends and family are less then thrilled about being surprised on this blog with  big revelations I have about myself and my life. Where I used to talk to them about things, work out issues over long (sometimes uncomfortable) conversations or just have a good laugh, now I sort of vomit ideas on my blog. I have a thought! I must blog! It’s a little chicken shit. Thank god I haven’t found a way to replace cocktails with friends with an online version or I’d probably be friendless right about now.

I’m not saying that I’m going to quit blogging (sorry, you won’t be let off the hook that easily!) or Twittering or even trolling around on Facebook, but I am going to be smart about it. When something is bothering me I will step AWAY from the keyboard and get some good old-fashioned face time with the people who matter. I’ll stop taking all the wrong things so seriously and start remembering what’s important. Without real social connections, nothing else is really real.

(How’s that for Buddah-like insight?!)

I wonder if there’s a rehab for this?

I’m addicted to Facebook.

There. I said it. I’m not proud of it. But acknowledging the problem is the first step, right?

The whole thing started innocently enough. About a year ago a friend asked me to sign up on Facebook so we could play Scrabulous when we had downtime at work. I was a little reluctant because I was afraid to put too much information about myself online (this, my friends, is called irony), but I signed up, put minimal information on my page and kind of forgot about it. Over the summer a couple of good friends from high school found me on there. We caught up and it was like 20 years hadn’t passed.

Over the holidays I was totally dying sick and spent a lot of time in bed, napping or zoning out to the TV. I was bored out of my head after a while. I didn’t have enough energy to get up and do anything so after checking out all the blogs I read, I logged into Facebook and actually spent some time digging around to see who was there.

I found a boy I went to grammar school with, and through him I found my best friend from 1st through 8th grades. It was so great to catch up with her again (Side note: I also realized that my best friends in life have been Ann, Ann, Leslie and Lesley. Is that weird?). I’ve also reconnected with a bunch of friends from high school.

For the most part it’s been great. I’ve missed some of the people I’ve reconnected with. But it’s funny—and not in a good way—how some of my old insecurities have resurfaced.

I’m older, I’m happy, I’m happily married, I have a great career, and nothing to complain about. But old grudges and past slights never really go away. Some of my online conversations have dragged me kicking and screaming back to a time of raging insecurity. The other night I e-mailed with a woman I haven’t seen since I was 13, and I felt a flash of anger, resentment and insecurity at the end of the exchange.

I will never forget a few key things about her, the first being, when we were in 5th grade, she broke my arm playing Dodge Ball. She was a total tomboy, tough as nails. I was a small, painfully shy, quiet kid who read a lot. We were playing on opposite teams and she had been picking on me and taunting me all through recess. She chucked the ball at my face with all of her might, and when I put my hands up to block it, the force snapped my forearm. I wore a cast for 6 weeks. Later, in 7th grade I had a Halloween party. I just wanted to invite my best friends, but since there were only 40 kids in my class, my mom made me invite all of the girls (there were about 15 of us), not just the ones I wanted to invite. (Don’t parents know there’s a reason you don’t want to invite everyone?) Needless to say, at some point during the party I ended up in tears in my room, wishing she would just go the fuck away, stop picking on me and leave me alone. Having someone totally ruin your party blows. And when you’re 12 it’s the end of the fucking world.

I thought all these years later things would be different when I talked to her, but oddly they aren’t. She thought those stories were hilarious; I want to scratch her fucking eyeballs out. But part of me wants to thank her. Because of girls like her, I learned to stand up for myself. I learned how to be more assertive and push back. I know how to manage bullies and fight like a banshee if I have to. (And in 8th grade I learned how to perfectly aim a softball. Right in her back. Payback is a bitch. And so am I.)

I love seeing how everyone looks now. For the most part we’ve aged well as a group. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take some pleasure out of the fact that some didn’t! Personally, I think I look better now than I did then. Plus, I don’t think I ooze insecurity anymore, which helps.

Aside from that, reliving the days of school dances, Madonna, New Wave music, bad perms, foot-long cans of Aqua Net (Sebastian hairspray if your mom was cool), Glamour Shots and every other bad ’80s cliché, Facebook has been totally awesome.

I am a junkie. And Facebook is my crack.

Senior Picture (1987)

Senior Picture (1987)