Twitter vs. Facebook

Since I’ve become more active on Twitter lately, I’ve been getting more visitors to this blog, which I’ve shamefully failed to update since 2008. To be honest, I’ve been expressing myself mostly on Facebook and been happy with that. But if you’re here because you clicked the link in my Twitter profile, maybe you can speak to some of the following:

1. When I send people a friend request on Facebook, they almost always accept my friendship, even if they are more important/famous/talented than I am, which is pretty nice considering Facebook’s 5000-friend limit. When I follow someone on Twitter, they almost never follow me back, even though there’s no limit on the number of people you can follow.

2. When I post an update on Facebook, a few people usually “Like” it, including people I don’t know very well. When I directly tweet someone on Twitter, they almost never tweet back, even when I do something like send a helpful link or offer a free book.

3. People who send me friend requests on Facebook are usually people who have some sort of connection to me. Most people who follow me on Twitter want to market something to me.

What does all this mean?

(a) Twitter’s service is set up for broadcasting, not interactivity. Understandably, on Twitter people are less likely to be reciprocal or interactive than on Facebook, which facilitates relationship and interaction.

(b) My Facebook friends are just humoring me, and Twitter is a more honest reflection of how few people truly like me.

(c) People who favor Twitter are bigger jerks than people who favor Facebook.

Comments welcome.


Filed under social media

Public Creativity Outlawed in Boston

I think I’ll start a blog series: Things I hate about Massachusetts.

Yesterday, the mayor decided to crack down on all those street artists and musicians making a racket outside his office:

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, upset by the drumming and chanting of street performers outside his office windows at City Hall, recently asked his staff to do something about the din. This week, city security officers descended on the plaza around nearby Faneuil Hall and imposed new restrictions on the artists who have become accustomed to entertaining the crowds on the historic site, known on tourist brochures as the Cradle of Liberty.

The officers shooed away clowns and caricature artists. They ordered music and dance acts to contain their performances to a single, small patch of brick – measuring 15 feet by 15 feet – near a stand of trees. And they erected steel crowd-control barricades in a wide swath around three sides of Faneuil Hall, to make sure the performers didn’t sneak back.

Steel crowd-control barricades???? Really?????? These are MIMES, people!!!!! The worst they can do is pretend to hit you!!!!

And have you seen Boston’s city hall? It’s a Brutalist monstrosity with concrete walls 2 feet thick. There’s simply no way Mumbles Menino can hear somebody playing a dulcimer on the street below.

This is pure and simple mean-spiritedness. And there’s nothing in the whole world that gets up my nose more than mean-spiritedness.

Here’s the link to the full story, in the Boston Globe’s Cradle of Liberty No More.


Filed under music, religion 'n' politics

Randy Pausch: Official Announcement

Update: The server seems to be back up for now, and updated with the announcement of Randy’s death.

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Alas, it’s true. RIP Randy.

This morning, as most mornings, I checked this weird URL——to read a clumsy HTML page. The sporadic updates of Randy Pausch on his life and health.

There hadn’t been any updates for a month. June 26th’s entry was about a failed chemotherapy treatment, and the one I saw this morning, dated July 24th, was puzzling. I can’t even get to a cached page now; the server’s now completely down. But it was the first anonymous post on the page. “A friend” said that Randy had taken a turn for the worse and was now in hospice care, unable to continue to maintain the page himself. The page had been updated by his wife before, and any information from other friends or colleagues was always sourced. For such a major announcement to be made anonymously was just plain weird.

My first thought was that the page was hacked. But then a few minutes later, I saw a CNN announcement that Randy had died; again, with no attribution and very few details. A hoax?

But now the major news outlets have the story, from a CMU spokeswoman.

Bye, Randy. I know you didn’t want to go.

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Lasciatemi morire

I promised this earlier, so I’m providing a link to Jewel’s rendition of “Lasciatemi morire” on YouTube. I don’t like blogs that are nothing but a series of embedded videos, and YouTube videos have a notoriously short shelf life, so I’m not going to embed it here. But here’s the link. If the link’s expired, just search for “Lasciatemi morire” on YouTube, and you’ll probably find this and many other renditions.

I’m not going to trash Jewel’s performance like some of the other YouTube commenters. She’s obviously had some classical training, and I’m really envious of the way she can roll her r’s. I can’t. But it sounds like she’s driving the high notes. They’re easier for me: when I sang the high F in Lasciatemi yesterday, it felt like I was floating on a cloud.

My guess is that in singing pop she’s been chesting a lot and just hasn’t been using her high notes, or maintaining breath support. It’s hard to stay in good enough shape to sing your best, and I’m sure being on tour doesn’t help. I say, if the high notes don’t feel good, either don’t sing them, or take the time to get warmed up first.

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Eighth Recital Down

Three people came: My husband, mother-in-law, and therapist. (Yes, we all sat in the same row.) 

I was the best vocally I’ve been so far, and the least anxious. In fact, I barely shook at all. I thought there was something wrong because I wasn’t scared enough. Did that mean I was going to totally screw up? In the end, I realized that I was over-analyzing, and decided to just enjoy the feeling of performing while calm. Everybody sounded better than ever, in fact. This is the first recital I’ve witnessed that I think could have been on TV or some sort of public venue. In fact, it’s a shame that it wasn’t. 

My intro patter and acting were the actually the weakest ever. I’ve always used those things to win the audience over to my side and compensate for my poor singing. This time, I knew my singing would be on target, I didn’t feel that desperate need to overcompensate, and so what did I do? I became completely lazy about preparing my patter and adding any gestures to my pieces. Jeez. (Although that trombone move on “By Strauss” was a nice touch, I thought.)

I feel self-conscious about that lack in my performance, so lesson learned. Next time, I work on the whole package. 

Now the fun begins: Planning the next recital. But more on that later. For now, I’ll leave you with my current favorite commercial. If my coach would let me sing “boom-dee-yada” at the next recital, I would.


Filed under geek, music, recitals

Next recital

My next recital is next Saturday, June 14. I’m singing “Lasciatemi morire” (Let Me Die), “Passing by” (an Irish song), and “By Strauss” by the Gershwins. “By Strauss” is a piece I asked to do myself. I’m not going to climb on the piano, but this will give you an idea:

I first saw this piece performed in Las Vegas. I was 17, with my family, and it was one number in a topless, Rockettes-type show called “Folies Bergère.” Somehow, the music penetrated my embarrassment about not only seeing a topless show with my family, but the fact that I’d have to go back to school and tell my friends that I’d spent spring break with my family in Las Vegas. I’ve remembered this song this whole time, and decided it was time to perform it myself.

We also saw Roy Clarke, Wayland Flowers and Madame, Andy Williams, and Dionne Warwicke. How cool is that?

By the way, here’s Lasciatemi. I can’t embed it, but you can hear the music by going to this link. This is even the key I’m singing it in (f minor; low soprano):

For even more trivia, Jewel apparently covered Lasciatemi. But I’ll look that up another time.

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Song of Solomon

I’d like to refer again to the post where I renounced my original pledge never to write about politics on my blog. The thing that put me over the edge was Andy Ihnatko’s complaint that Hillary Clinton, in not conceding the nomination to Barack Obama, showed a lack of the Solomonic wisdom of, say, Al Gore.

How soon we forget. Actually, it’s kind of good that we’ve forgotten about Monicagate already, as much as the Republicans would have us remember it as an international scandal rather than the personal tragedy that it was. At the time, for the sake of her country, her family, and party unity, Hillary stood by her man.

How can anyone say this is a woman who’s incapable of personal sacrifice for her party and country? Don’t you think she would rather have emasculated Bill with his own cigar trimmer? Better yet, make him do it himself while she watched? No, she knew that a divorce in the White House was the last thing the country needed. Instead, she danced with her husband on the beach, allowing the press to photograph her from behind in a swimsuit. If Hillary is elected, I’d like to see Andy Ihnatko allow himself to be photographed from behind in a swimsuit. (On second thought, scratch that.)

And now, Hillary has stated that, if Obama clinches the nomination, she’d be open to being his VP. After all, if asked to choose between McCain and Obama, a whole lot of Democrats may simply stay home on Election Day, out of either protest or depression. At least that way, she can get herself on the ticket. Yep, for the sake of her country and party unity, knowing that this year is her first and last chance to get into the White House, Hillary is willing to spend yet another 8 years playing second fiddle to a powerful, charismatic, and lucky man rather than give the White House to a Republican.

Remember, Solomon wasn’t the one making the sacrifice in the Biblical tale. It was a woman, who’d rather give her own baby to another woman than let it be killed. It was a woman who made the wise, but excruciating, decision.

I know this isn’t my most well-reasoned post, not that any of my posts so far have been. It’s just the words of a weary woman sipping pinot grigio from a juice glass watching CNN count down Obama’s last 4 delegates.

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Filed under CNN, religion 'n' politics

Jimmy, I love you

But sometimes you really get up my nose:

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Jump the Shark

Henry WinklerRecently I heard Henry Winkler interviewed on NPR about the latest children’s book he wrote about a fictional boy who shares his own learning disability — a severe reading problem. To this day, Winkler does readings from his books by having memorized almost the entire text so he won’t have to read from the page.

Winkler is best known for his Fonzie character from the ’70s TV show “Happy Days.” In the first few scripts, since Fonzie carried lots of the show’s content, he had lots of lines. Winkler says part of the reason that he developed Fonzie’s facial expressions and single-word phrases like “Ayyyyyy” was to take some of the excess verbiage out of his part. Less reading for him.

But that’s not why I’m writing about Henry tonight. Toward the end of the interview, the NPR interviewer said, “I have to ask you, before you go, about the whole ‘jump the shark’ thing.”

Winkler said, “I have three things to say about ‘jump the shark.’

“First of all, no one remembers that ‘Happy Days’ remained the number one show for six years after the ‘Jump the Shark’ episode.

“Two, every time someone mentions ‘jump the shark,’ they show a picture of me on water skis and in swim trunks. Well, I had great legs in those days, so I have no problem with that.

“Three, I’m the only actor to have jumped the shark on two shows, ‘Happy Days’ and ‘Arrested Development.'” (But the second time he merely hopped over a dead shark lying on a pier in reference to the original.)

During the interview, Winkler said “Ayyyyyyyyy” with more attitude and lassitude than he ever did in the ’70s.

Henry, I love you for your attitude, lassitude, and humanity.

And I bet you still have great legs.


Filed under All the good ones are taken