Tag Archives: technology

A Quick Shout Out!

WordPress just informed me that my site had a visitor from Albania today. My very first. Thanks for visiting, person from Albania! That is so cool that I wanted to give you a personal shout out!

Dinosaur jokes aside, I really do think the Internet is pretty amazing. These days, technology can connect or disconnect people—at the same time. Glad that this is an example of the former.

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Selfies I Approve Of

You know you are getting old and/or becoming a curmudgeon when you finally hear yourself utter the phrase, “kids these days…” I don’t get selfies. Part of it is pure vanity; my arm is not nearly long enough to take a picture of myself that would be attractive. Fear of double chin and turkey neck stops me from even considering it. Secondly, if you are on vacation, instead of a pretty vista or landmark in the background, you have a picture of…your face. What, you say? Use a selfie stick? The person who thought of this invention is opportunistic pretty smart but should also be spanked. Every time another museum bans selfie sticks (you go, Versailles and Smithsonian!), the little misanthrope in me does a dance.

Recently, though, I did come across a form of selfie I could get behind: Danish Artist Olivia Muus has created the Museum of Selfies. This is an occasion when a picture is definitely worth a thousand words:

Image courtesy of Museum of Selfies Tumblr page

Image courtesy of Museum of Selfies Tumblr page

It’s art imitating life imitating art. So meta. And genius!

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I Love My Friends (aka Bitmoji Love, Part Two)

Last week, I waxed poetic about the Bitmoji app that I had heard about on the “Today” show. It literally makes me laugh out loud at least once a day. I have been trying to convince my friends to make their Bitmojis. Several of them have humored me and no one has regretted it (well, ok, they regret it in the sense that they are also becoming obsessed with it):

I need two more for...Bitmoji Hollywood Squares!

I need two more for…Bitmoji Hollywood Squares!

This is has been no easy feat. Except for the gentleman in the leotard, my friends and I are technological dinosaurs. We did not have smartphones when we were in high school. Or college. Or graduate school. (Ok, I’ll stop now!) After I kept bugging her, one of my friends above recruited her twelve year-old daughter to make hers. Thanks for indulging me, guys!

Yes, this is a thinly veiled attempt to guilt more friends into joining the tribe. You know who you are.

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I am Obsessed with Bitmoji

I heard about this new app called Bitmoji from watching the “Today” show last week. It is genius. You make an avatar of yourself and then it creates a myriad of emojis (cartoons, really) with “you” in them. Some of them are so random and/or ridiculous I have actually laughed out loud (I am a dinosaur and refuse to LOL) while sending them. Such as this one I sent to a friend who texted that she had food poisoning:

imoji (1)

There is a good one of “me” sitting on a toilet too but a lady would not post that publicly. I have been trying to convince my friends to download it, because the cartoons are hysterical and to be honest, I just want to see what they look like in Bitmoji. So far, three of them have caved. And yes, they are now obsessed too.

In case you were wondering what I really look like.

In case you were wondering what I really look like.

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Autocorrect is Completely Inappropriate

I was trying to tell my friend about my blog today. I mentioned that I am keeping it anonymous because of the nature of my work. I also like that it is my creative outlet separate from my day job. Autocorrect managed to mangle an innocent text into this:

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While we are close, my friend Paul is my BFF’s fiance. My BFF is gay. His response:

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Caution: Oncoming Human

It started as an experiment. Last year, there was a period when I would go days without speaking to another person. There were also many days when I felt incredibly lonely, even when I was with people. It is a particular flavor of pain to feel lonely in the midst of others. So when I went running, I started smiling at people with whom I made eye contact. Partly because I was raised to be polite, but partly because it made me feel tethered, to something, in some small way. Research has shown that smiling, even forced, has been shown to lift mood. I figured I had nothing to lose.

One thing I learned from my experiment was that you really can’t predict who will smile back. Friendly-looking woman in Lululemon, power-walking towards you. Nope. Grumpy-looking older man with shoulder-length gray hair. Smiles. Good-looking hipster kid with headphones on. Head nod and smile. Nice!  I get it if you’re shy, having a really bad day (though for aforementioned reasons, that may be the best time to smile back) or having a moral dilemma as to whether or not to pick up the kid your dog just dropped off on the lawn (please do), but I find the following two reactions amusing/bewildering:

  • Stone Face: These are the folk who you smile at and get zero response. Nothing. This is LA, but not everyone indulges in Botox. Maybe they think I’m slightly crazy. That’s fair. Regardless of the reason, I did my part, and that’s the only part I can control. When I come across Stone Face, I feel silly for about a second but then move on, literally.
  • Invisible Blinders: These are the folk who make eye contact with you at a distance, but as the gap closes, they stare straight ahead as if they have whiplash and a mini office cubicle sitting on their shoulders. A variant I experienced yesterday: guy makes eye contact but just as we are about to be in the same linear plane, he turns to check himself out in a store window. Okay…that might be more LA than Botox.

By far, my experience has been positive. Valets are routinely nice and often smile first. Other runners usually reciprocate (the etiquette has actually come up in the Q&A section of running magazines) with an expression that says, “Hey, how can what we are doing be great and awful at the same time?” I’ve received the rare catcall; who couldn’t use a little ego boost when you’re running? Besides, if they are even remotely creepy, there’s motivation to pick up the pace.  Some people are surprised and give you the Late Smile, almost as they’re walking past you. Those are some of my favorites. In our technology-obsessed society, when so many walk with headphones on, while texting, or using an earpiece (it used to be if you were walking and talking without a companion, people might worry you had schizophrenia), it’s refreshing to have a moment with a total stranger. A brief acknowledgment that you are human, they are human, and that you live on the same planet.

My tally for last night’s run:

  • Non-smilers: 3 Two Invisible Blinders, One Stone Face
  • Mildly embarrassing, completely hilarious moment: 1 A girl walking her dog suddenly shouted “Hello!” at me. I was taken aback but said “Hi!” A millisecond later it became clear that she was answering a call on her earpiece. I had a good laugh. Reminded me of the time my friend waved at a guy in the dorm across the quad from ours. Only after he waved with his other arm did we realize he was putting on deodorant while looking out the window.
  • Smilers: everyone else
  • People on bikes: 2 This was new for me.  One was a cyclist (clipped in and in a unitard kit), stopped at an intersection.  The other was riding leisurely on a single-speed. I challenged the latter to race me to the end of the block. I’m pretty sure he let me win. But we both laughed and I got a little speedwork in.

So next time you see an Oriental Lady smile as she jogs past, smile back. Better yet, try the experiment yourself when you’re out for a run or stroll. I’d love to hear how it goes. You might just make someone’s day a tiny bit brighter. That someone might even be you.

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