Social Media Has Come Full Circle

On the surface, this might seem like a think piece on social media and social games. How social media has evolved and devolved to take us back to some sort of cyber grassroots state of loneliness and how we’re all just here to find a connection.

Nope.

In November of last year, HootSuite published an infographic on “The Evolution of Social Media.” You can check it out here: http://blog.hootsuite.com/evolution-of-social-media-infographic/.

It traces 5 years of social media. 5. Granted, a lot has happened in the last 5 years. The amount of social media users is staggering. People are using social media to innovate, to change the world, to drive business, build brands and other Important Things.

They’re also using it to connect to other people.

When it really comes down to is, the Facebook and Twitter users that companies are trying to hook with compelling content and calls to action are people who, even though they may buy what the companies are selling, are maintaining their online community because it’s their COMMUNITY. The people they interact with are their friends, or at least they are sort of friends, and it becomes very important on a psychological and philosophical level.

This isn’t news. Since AOL launched in 1985, people have used computers to connect to one another. By 1997, they could chat with each other real time. Google was born in 1998 and by 2000 the dot com bubble went kablewy and people were already wondering about the future of the Internet. That was the first year that I, personally, started using the Internet with any frequency.

I know, right? Late bloomer for sure. In 2000, as Google announced that it had indexed over a billion pages, I was taking surveys on a site called emode.com. The first quiz I took was “What Type of Dog are You?” I was a Golden Retriever.

I didn’t realize it, but emode was a social networking site. Later owned by Tickle, Inc., Wikipedia says that they provided “self discovery and social networking services.” I slowly built a profile and made a few “friends” but didn’t accept any date invitations and never sent anyone any pictures. I actually met a friend on that site that I remain friends with to this day. I’ve never met him in person, but he was the one who typed “you should make a Friendster account. It’s fun.”

So I joined Friendster. The personality quizzes gave way to testimonials written by people who knew you in real life and who had known you on the Internet long enough to say something nice about you. You posted pictures of yourself. You looked up ex boyfriends and ex friends and long lost family members. Sometimes you found them.

I’d just gotten settled into Friendster when this same friend said “Hey, everyone’s moving over to MySpace.” I said I didn’t want to go over to MySpace. But those customization options were too tempting and I caved. You could post songs to your profile and change your background. You could pick who your “Top Friends” were (a pressure-filled task) and you could have your own blog. I started blogging there, almost lost a job over it in 2005, and this blog was born in its first Blogspot iteration soon after.

In January 2008, based on an invitation from the same friend who lovingly dragged me into every social media platform I’ve actively participated in (you know who you are :)), I joined Facebook. Since then I have shared probably way too much information (though not nearly as much as a lot of people I know), have watched friends go through breakups and heartbreak, have gone through the same thing myself, and have, on the balance, had a pretty good time on it.

My friends are generous with their likes and comments. They cheer me up most days. While it’s not like it used to be (what is?) it’s still a nice place to “be.”

Lately, Buzzfeed and Zimbio have had personality quizzes clogging up everyone’s feed. “What Game of Thrones Character Are You?” and “What Disney Princess Are You” have provided delight to some, a cause for disdain and complaint for others.

But today, I saw it. “What Kind of Dog Are You?” Social media, for me, has come full circle.

And, apparently I’m a Lab.

Screen shot 2014-01-30 at 12.42.15 PM

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Real Time Review of Candyman: Day of the Dead

I watch a lot of horror movies. I like them. People ask me why I want to watch that type of stuff, with all the horrible things that go on in the world, but that’s kind of exactly why. Supernatural horror is a getaway for me. It takes me away from the horrors of the real world and gives me some meaty (oh, pun SO not intended, y’all) imagination fuel to go chew on. Does that make me weird? Maybe. Does this surprise you, that I might be weird? Probably not.

So I am currently in day umpteen of a migraine, but since I’ve learned to function so fabulously with these sucky headaches and I’ve tried sleep, quiet rooms, nice baths and more, I figure the horrid glare of the computer screen and a loud, obnoxious horror movie can’t hurt me more than I already hurt. Nice theory.

Imagine my delight when I flipped through the OnDemand menu and found Candyman: Day of the Dead. I realize that might sound like an odd statement, but I just loved the first two of those flicks. The original Candyman was actually scary, and Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh was so much better than I expected it to be so I was pretty pumped when I started this movie. The Candyman was a Clive Barker character, so how bad can it be?

About 20 minutes in I thought, “Holy crap, this is awful. I should blog about it.” Which brings us to now.

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This is not a good movie, folks. Even if you like horror movies, and even if you liked the first two, it just isn’t good. A few notable things:

Score

The first two films were atmospherically similar, mainly because of Philip Glass’s amazing scores. The music was beautiful, creepy, almost heartbreaking.

Adam Gorgoni did the score for this stinker, and while I have nothing against the guy, he didn’t even try to create something that was even half as cool and atmospheric as Glass’s simple masterpiece. There was some soothing flamenco music as the main character was making out with the gorgeous Jsu Garcia, who played an underdeveloped yet pivotal character in the film. Do we even call it a film when it went straight to video? Who knows? But, in a really convoluted way this brings me to my next gripe point.

Sloppy, Lazy Cultural Stereotypes

The movie takes place in (Miami?). There is a heavy Latin influence, with The Day of the Dead and everything, and it’s done pretty well although it fails to drive the plot forward, but that is sort of how the second one went with the whole New Orleans Mardi Gras thing. It provides a nice flavor and some good actors, so no complaints there. I did read an IMDB review that said it was poorly done, and that the old healer lady talked like Yoda but whatevs. Actually? The Day of the Dead thing does propel the plot because GOTHS kidnap the main character and take her back to their underground lair, where they plan to offer her up to Candyman as tribute because they, like, worship him all of the sudden. This is pretty bad in and of itself, but the king goth guy is SO bad. He’s like the love child of Ben Stiller, Keanu Reaves and Trent Reznor and he obviously went to the Keanu Reaves on His Worst Day School For Acting For Actors Who Want to Act Real Good. I actually stopped the movie there and rewound it a bunch of times to make sure it was as bad as I really thought. It is.

More Lack of Continuity

While it didn’t surprise me that the main character in the third installment was Caroline McCheever, daughter of Annie Tarrant, who was the main character in the second movie. Annie was played delicately, if not too sedately, by Kelly Rowan. She did a nice job, I guess she was too busy to reprise her role in this one. I mean sure, Caroline is 5 or 6 at the end of the second one and is obviously in her 20′s or 30′s (or 40′s – who can tell the true age of a Baywatch babe?) in this one, but they got Elizabeth Hayes to play Annie and she doesn’t really look old enough to be her mother anyway so, meh.

Also? They call the main character “Carolyn” all through the movie up until when Candyman shows up and says her name. Which is CAROLINE. Named after Caroline Sullivan, lover of Daniel Robitaille, who becomes Candyman after he’s killed by an angry mob + BEES. Angry mob + bees is a sucky way to die. In the origin flashbacks in Farewell to the Flesh Caroline Sullivan is played by Caroline Barclay. She’s played by Laura Mazur in Day of the Dead and the scenes are very late night Lifetime bom-chicka-wow-wow. It’s definitely a different portrayal. In Farewell to the Flesh they are all in love and tortured. In Day of the Dead they are all, well, you get it. It didn’t work for me.

Caroline

OK, I’m just going to say it. Donna D’Errico is not a very good actor. I won’t say anything about her appearance at the risk of insulting those Donna D’Errico fans out there (‘cept, BEWBS) but they got a cute Baywatch babe to scream a lot, and following in the footsteps of the awesome Virginia Madsen and then the totally acceptable Kelly Rowan, her character lacks dimension (except for BEWBS) and complexity.

So, to sum up, this is not a good movie. Tony Todd as the title character is consistent and creepy, as he should be, but considering the fact that he co-produced this film and then later went public saying he “didn’t care for it” he wasn’t enough to keep it in the same league as the second movie. And it couldn’t touch the first one. Just watch that one.

I got tired and sort of bored, so this might not have been interesting like I wanted it to be, so I submit this word cloud to entertain you. But since I couldn’t get the word cloud to work, the list of words I was going to use are:

BEWBS, whydoesthebetteractorblackfriendalwaysgetkilled? GREGOR!

and some more. The Gregor thing? This cop in the movie is played by Wade Williams and I was all “I have seen that guy somewhere before!” and it turns out it was, of course, on Buffy. Season 5. Gregor, the head of the knight guys that were out to fight Glory.

And with that, I show you exactly how big a nerd I really am.

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I’m Afraid to Touch My Boobs

I lost my job on March 19,2013. While I rustled up about 6 jobs to replace it, I wasn’t able to get health insurance. My health insurance ran out April 1st and since then I have applied for a single policy with every insurance provider I could think of. The thing is, I have psoriasis and migraines. At certain points, doctors have petitioned insurance companies to get medication they thought I needed. From what I understand, the medication that has rendered me uninsurable is Enbrel, an injectable biologic drug that suppresses the immune system. You can read about my psoriasis situation in older posts about my dermie to learn more about what it is and how it impacts my daily life.

Anywhoo, the last time a doctor prescribed Enbrel I was going through a divorce, had just moved, was way stressed out at work, and a mess. The medicine arrived, I took one dose, read about it on the internet and decided not to take it anymore. The side effects are too dangerous, it didn’t work for everyone, and it wasn’t work the risk. I’d rather be scaly.

Little did I know the decision to take one dose would impact my life so much. After being turned down for individual policies I talked to yet another insurance broker who attempted to get me Anthem Short Option policy. She said she’d only known one person to be denied, and they were actively on the expensive medication. But because Obamacare is coming I DID get denied. There was the option Virginia Assured insurance, but it was about $1000 per month, which is impossible.

I can sign up for the new health insurance, which is great, and I’m going to do that any day now, I swear. The insurance broker told me it didn’t matter when I registered. From what I’ve been reading it is way more expensive than people anticipated, so I’m kind of afraid to go through with it.

Which brings me back to my boobs. I never used to do a self breast exam, mainly because my doctor told me that I’m such a hypochondriac that I’d drive myself batty, but when my cousin Lori got diagnosed with breast cancer at such a young age, I started.

Every month now, though, I am terrified to touch my boobs. Because what if I found something?

Note: I tried to put a picture of a metal bra right here because I thought that would be funny but for some reason WordPress won’t let me. So, look here: http://www.coloribus.com/adsarchive/tv-commercials/charlie-bras-iron-bra-2132255/

I did some research to see how much it would cost me if I DID find something during a self breast exam. The answer? A lot. A really lot. Here’s the breakdown:

Cost for initial doctor exam: $145
Cost for mammogram: $80 – $120 with a two week wait for results. A place here in Richmond does them for $200 and gives instant results, but I don’t know if that’s with or without insurance. (It’s the Paredes Institute, in case you need to contact them).
Cost for BRCA1 or BRCA2 tests : $3000, but in all fairness not usually covered by insurance anyway. To learn more about those tests visit the National Cancer Institute Website.
Cost for a partial mastectomy, not including breast reconstruction: $15,000 to $55,000
Cost for a radical mastectomy plus pathology costs: $39,000 – $65,000
Please note that a money.msn article stated that RealSelf says the costs for a mastectomy, anesthesia and reconstruction “can exceed $20,000.” I got those other numbers from costperhealth.com. Either way, it’s expensive, yeah?

Those costs don’t even touch the total cost of trying to treat breast cancer. Some chemotherapy drugs, without insurance, can cost way more than $10,000 per treatment. There are programs in place for people without insurance, and a lot of the charities can help raise money for treatment.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and out of respect for my dear Lori, who died at the insanely young age of almost-36, I wanted to put this information out there. For once, a post that started about me turned into be something more informative.

As for me, I’m still afraid to touch my boobs, but I do it anyway, and I’ll pay out of pocket for a yearly checkup because I’m due for an appointment before my shiny new insurance kicks in.  I guess I could rant and rave about how it’s hard to get good (or any) healthcare and how everybody is out for money and nobody cares and blah blah blah but maybe things are going to get better.

I was going to try to make this funny but it didn’t work. Sorry.

 

 

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