How Did I Survive Before This?

Somedays, when I am sitting on my bed with my laptop sitting in front of me with my phone to my left while typing on my iPad, I wonder what did we even do before all of this technology. I remember the day we got internet in our house. I was 10 years old. It wouldn’t be for several more years that I would get my own cell phone (which only had the capability to make phone calls and play endless games of snake). There was no such thing as an app, or a blog, or even social media at its most rudimentary level. Now, I am rarely out of arms reach of my three major devices, all of which can pretty much do the same things. Yet I can’t seem to imagine my life with out any one of them. It is not the devices themselves that I love so much, despite what Apple may believe. It is the apps, the website, the email lists that I can’t seem to manage without.

This week, I talked to my regular group of ladies and asked them what were the digital gems that they could not live without. And now I am going to provide you with a combined list of our favorites.

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This Is Where I Leave You

This Is Where I Leave You

This weekend, the film version of Jonathan Tropper’s This is Where I Leave You (read my previous post on the book here) was released in theaters. The film stars Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Corey Stoll, and Adam Driver as the Altman family. The patriarch of the Altman family has just died and he last request was that his family sit Shiva to mourn his death. For those of you who do not know, Shiva is a Jewish custom where the immediate family members of the deceased gather in one home to observe a seven day period of mourning. To honor the death of their father, these four adult siblings gather in their childhood home for one week.

The film version is a notably condensed version of the book. There were things that I noticed that were cut or changed for time, and a few that were surely changed because of the difficulty of filming. There was one scene in particular that I wondered how they would film, and the answer was that the would skip it all together, which I felt was unfortunate, but understandable. There were some semi-major plot points that were changed, explantations that I felt were missed, but most of all, I missed the voice of the narrator. The book is entirely narrated by the Jud Altman (Bateman) and I really missed his commentary on what all was happening.

I still enjoyed the movie, but I mostly just made me want to re-read the book. On the other hand, I saw the film with my mother who felt the movie was even better than the book. I thought that was interesting, but this is the reason I think she felt that way. When I read the book, I heard the voices of Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and all of the rest of the cast who were all so exquisitely cast. My mother did not. Therefore she missed out on the characterization that only these actors could have brought to these roles. When I read the book, I basically saw the extended version of the film in my head. I would be interested in hearing what someone who has not read the book at all thought of the film.

Overall, the film was great. It was really well made and was exactly what it needed to be. If you did not read the book at all, or did not hear the story told with Bateman’s voice in your head, I am sure the movie will be everything you are hoping it will be.

The Return of Television

Network Television’s Fall Premieres start to roll out this week. As if fall wasn’t amazing enough on its own, it coincides with one of my favorite events, fall television. Every year, I go through all of the new shows to determine which ones I will be giving a shot. This year, I will be passing that info onto you. So, here is a list of the shows I am most excited about this fall. New shows, olds favorites, and shows that I had initially written of, but decided to give a second chance to. Continue reading

Where Did All My Privacy Go?

Slightly less than ten years ago, I got on Facebook for the very first time. Back then, Facebook was a small social networking sight that connected college students. At that time, Facebook provided about as much information about a person as the original AOL profile. There was no wall, no tagging. The only information you could find about me was what I wanted you to know.

Over the years, Facebook has changed, now you can view, not only all of the information I have posted about myself over the past ten years, but also anything others have posted about me, photos others have tagged me in, and, worst off all, places other people have tagged me. Not only can you always find me, but I can always figure out where other people are. Rather than the old fashioned Facebook stalking and Google searching we used to do to pick up bits of information on another person, you can accidentally stumble upon people’s whereabouts by glancing at your newsfeed. So, you have information I don’t want you to have about me, and I have information I don’t want about you.

I have been trying to figure out why some social networks work for some and others for others. I hate Facebook, but my parents love it. Apparently the lack of privacy does not bother them. Personally, I am a big fan of Twitter. Twitter is just short snippets of information. People who follow me can only see what I post, not information posted about me. And, just because someone follows me does not mean I have to follow them. Which means, my Twitter feed is comprised of only information I am interested from people that I think are funny. My sister loves Instagram, she loves that it is so easy. It is just a series of images she can glance at and only zone in on the ones that catch her eye.

My question is why is it that some people don’t mind this total lack of privacy? Why do some people feel the need to take it one step further and over share on their walls? Why is it that some people are more than happy to post their every location and tag all of the people that they are with? Why is it not enough to share every detail of your life, but mine as well?

There have been several articles written in the past couple of years about the influx of narcissism and how certain social media sites are contributing to it. It is difficult to say whether these sites are causing people to become more narcissistic or whether the growing narcissism is why people have become so taken with social media, but it is obviously playing a part.

It is an interesting query for which I have no real answers. All I can say is that every so often, it is probably a good idea to step back from the screen, talk to some real life people, and maybe think before you post.

Happiness Is… Getting Down to Business

For September, I will be focusing my Happiness Project on business. Now, I am not talking about work, but my career. I have not been concentrating on this area of my life enough in the last few months, but now that I am starting a new design season this month, I am going to spend some real time working on the business aspects of my life.

My three goals for this months are:

To update my website. I have not done this in a while, but this month I am going to really take a look at it and make sure everything is streamlined. I know I need to update some of the features and make sure all of my professional social networks are connected to the site.

To tweet from my professional Twitter account. I rarely use this account. I rarely use my personal account. But this month I am going to make an effort to Tweet more. As I get started on this next production, I am going to Tweet throughout the process in hopes of making more of a habit of utilizing this account.

To work on renderings. I have been working on my sketching skills for the past couple of months, but this month I am going to take it to the next level. I have renderings for past productions that need to be redone. I have no renderings on my website and I am hoping to redo some of the ones I have done in the past and get them into my portfolio.

As always, I will let you know how it goes at the end of the month.

Happiness Is… Saving for a Rainy Day: Part II

During the month of August, I focused my Happiness Project energies on financial happiness. You can read the before post here. My three goals were to create a budget, determine financial goals, and find additional sources of income.

I did create and stick to a budget. I think I planned well based on my projected income and allotted a good amount for non-essentials as well as savings. I think the most important thing to consider while creating a budget is to be sure to have money for things you like to do. If you do not have money for entertainment and even “little luxuries” (like a new nail polish for fall), the process of saving money is miserable and, I believe, you are more likely to blow it.

I also came up with a few ideas of things to sell on Etsy. I am going to be getting started here soon and will post pictures and links when I get that all to a more finalized place, but I am very excited at the prospect of making money off something I enjoy doing rather than a constant state of working for the sake of money.

I am also about to start designing again this fall (now, really). I have been on a bit of a hiatus, but now I am getting back into the swing of it and I could not be more excited to make a living off the thing I am most passionate about once again.

I did not really spend enough time focusing on figuring out a budget for the big move. I am working on it, but this past month has been crazy at work. You may have noticed how spotty my posting has been, which is because I have been working way too many hours. I am preparing to leave one of the jobs I have now, which may seem counter-intuitive for a girl who has been spending the past month trying to make and save more money. The thing is, it is not worth having a little extra money if you are too stressed and exhausted to do the things you enjoy doing in life. I enjoy writing, I enjoy crafting, I enjoy reading; yet, I have done very little of this lately. So, I am leaving one job in an effort to improve my state of happiness, which is the actual goal of this whole project. I will probably try to find a job to replace this one where the hours are more predictable and hopefully in an industry that I may enjoy more. We shall see how it shakes out. All I know for now is that the money is not worth being miserable.