Brad Paisley Shows Us Our Own Ridiculousness, Again

Brad Paisley’s latest music video humorously depicts internet behavior. In “Online” he discussed the persona shifts that sometimes come along with online interaction when a user portrays themselves in a stronger, more confident way.

I discussed social networking the other day and, while I think online interaction serves some purposes, it can not replace face-to-face interaction. Our lives are different online than they are in the real world. As I write this, I am wearing a faded 15 year old t-shirt and baggy cotton pants, yet I could present myself as a cutthroat business person if I so chose. I could not, however, walk out my front door in these clothes and elicit the same response. Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t mean to imply that one of these is the right way, the other wrong. I think both real world and online interactions can be enlightening, educational, even empowering.

Brad Paisley has yet again analyzed our society at a wonderfully basic level. See some of his other observations in “Celebrity” or “Alcohol.” Reality is always entertaining.

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It’s Good to be Home

OzPostcard

I spent the last few days in Kansas on business. I should have been home Wednesday night, but my flight was cancelled, so I had the “pleasure” of staying an extra night. Don’t get me wrong, Kansas City seems nice. I saw a few of their famed fountains. I had a wonderful meal at Lidia’s in Kansas City, Missouri. It sure is nice to be back at home, though. My family even had a welcome home card on the table for me. No matter where I go, there’s no place like home.

Shift Your Perspective

I’m looking out the window of my third floor hotel room at a rolling hill capped with tall, full trees.  The sun is casting a peach glow on the clouds as it descends in a pink and purple sky.  A pair of birds flutter into the distance, playing a graceful game of tag.

If I were to move my head two inches to the left, I’d be blinded by a flood light.  Two inches up and I ‘d be distracted by the traffic bustling by below.  In my little space, though, this window to the world emanates serenity. 

Isn’t perspective great?

Join a Social Network, Or Else

“If you don’t belong to some kind of social network, you soon may not belong anywhere.” So claims Daniel Tynan of US Airways magazine’s “Our Digital Life.”

Social networks come in all shapes and sizes. You can find one for almost any interest you have. Socializing online carries a number of conveneniences. Many networks involve leaving messages for others, which means you can squeeze it in whenever you have time. Chances are low that you’ll experience that so-what-do-we-talk-about-now awkward silence that often occurs when meeting new people in the real world. It’s a great way to have your questions answered, or learn how others have succeeded in a project you are currently facing.

Online social networks aren’t exactly new, they’ve just evolved. I agree with Tynan that they can be valuable resources, but don’t go just for the popularity factor, go for the experience.

Online Children’s Game Brings Out Your Inner Child

A friend of mine told me last week about Webkinz, the latest craze to hit the kids scene.  Being employed in the web world, I immediately rushed out to get my own Webkinz to learn what it was all about.   

The way it works is you purchase a Webkinz stuffed animal, then go online to adopt your new pet. Upon adoption, you are given a room, food, and KinzCash to be spent on more food, adornments for your room, or even more rooms. Your goal is to keep you pet happy, healthy, and fed.  In the Webkinz virtual world, you can also play games at the arcade (and earn more KinzCash), speak to your pet through a menu of phrases, or interact with other Webkinz. 

Ok, so what have I learned and why do I find this fascinating?  Well, for starters, it seems to be a great learning tool for kids.  You have to earn money for food, furnishings, or toys for your pet.  To earn money, you can get a job or answer trivia questions in a variety of subjects like language, math, science, and sports.  Once you have money, you must budget to decide if buying that new air hockey table will leave you with enough money to feed your pet.  Diet and exercise are important to your Webkinz.  A slice of cake might make your hunger meter better, while lowering your health meter. 

Secondly, it’s become a family event in my house.  The man, the boy, and I huddle around the computer yelling out answers to the trivia questions and taking turns playing games to earn more money for our little animal’s care. 

Finally, it’s just plain fun.  After working all day, commuting, and cooking, Webkinz is a welcome distraction.  For that brief time, my brain is wholly focused on the game at hand.  My inner child is elated.

Social Networking for Kids

The adults that haven’t picked up on Second Life may now be invading the kids online virtual world, Webkinz.

I just learned of this new hit from a friend of mine who saw patrons of all sizes carrying small stuffed animals in the mall. The way it works is you purchase a Webkinz stuffed animal, then go online to adopt your new pet. Upon adoption, you are given a room, food, and KinzCash to be spent on more food, adornments for your room, or even more rooms. Your goal is to keep you pet happy, healthy, and fed.

In Webkinz you can play games at the arcade (and earn more KinzCash), speak to your pet through a menu of phrases, or interact with other Webkinz. It’s social networking for a littler crowd, except, like Beanie Babies and Harry Potter, the adults are taking this fad over. With parental monitoring, however, this could be a fun way for kids to interact with a computer.

Less Clutter, Less Stress

Ahh, spring cleaning. Ok, so I’m a little behind. I don’t like the process (who does?), but as each room becomes clear, a sense of calm sweeps over me.

Clutter is stressful. We are in a world of excess. Everywhere I turn in my house I can find something to be thrown away. I am somewhat of a minimalist. I prefer function to form. If I don’t use it or love it, I get rid of it.

With a family, however, it’s not all up to me. I’m learning to live with more stuff around. We’ve just finished cleaning half the rooms in the house this weekend and I’ve noticed I have been much more relaxed. Things that normally irk me are much less bothersome.

There is a lot to be said for an uncluttered living space.

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