Sunday, August 3, 2008

Chronicles of Life ... a humbling experience

Alas and alack, I fear my number of MySpace friends will never equally or exceed the number I have on Facebook.
Yes, I too joined the ranks of MySpacers. There's a whole world out there and I want to know it.
Unfortunately, MySpace is nowhere near as cool and sophisticated as Facebook use to be.
But I digress.
When I first joined Facebook, I was all about hunting folks down and adding them to my friends list. Such is not the case on MySpace.
Very few people even know I have an account there. And I am not motivated to add all those same people as MySpace friends.
I have in some shape or form met every one of my 898 Facebook friends (if only I can break 1,000).
Only random rappers and the like send me friend requests on MySpace. I keep thinking there is a connection somewhere.
“Do I know you?” I write to them
“Yo Ma' I'm bout to drop my second album, add me so you can fly high with a real playa,” they respond.
Hey, I can't be mad for someone trying to hustle. After all, I'm on MySpace for readers.
So yes, I add them and send a link to my blog. There's no harm in a little shameless self promotion.
I have found some family and friends on MySpace and added them too. It pays to actually know someone.
I probably have about a good 20 friends on MySpace now. It should have been 22, and therein is the start of my fear.
For whatever reason, some people just don't want to be my MySpace friend anymore. So they deleted me.
Who in their right mind would delete me? Clearly whatever is wrong with them is no small matter.
In both cases we were once MySpace friends for several days. We also knew each other pretty well in real life.
But things happen, friendships end, family members are disowned and voila, the communication stops.
Does it have to extend to MySpace too? Is it too much to ask for a cool 1,000 friends?
Obviously, some people just don't want to be a team player.
And to think I was going to include them in the acknowledgments for my forthcoming novel. OK that is definitely a lie, so let me retract that statement.
To think, I was going to, oh never mind, I was probably going to delete them first.
Now the truth comes to light.
My ego is so big it amazes me sometimes. I merely play if off by saying, “I'm not conceited, I'm confident.”
No one can believe in you more than you. I am my own biggest fan.
Every now and then I need an ego boost.
It's kind of like the Echinacea pills I take when I feel sickly. They're my immune system booster.
Having as many MySpace friends as possible is definitely a boost, especially since it's dedicated to my blogging (Facebook is the social network).
Granted, I do a little spring cleaning to my phone and Facebook each year. Sometimes you have to evaluate who do you really know and talk to, and who is just of no use.
Well, they deleted me before I got to that point. Talk about a blow to the ego.
Maybe that's the real problem.
Pride is probably my biggest issue. It is my “tragic flaw”
Instead of being upset that a friendship (that was once beyond MySpace) was irrevocably ended, I am annoyed I was deleted first.
She/he who deletes first wins. I came out a loser this time.
Oh well, with an ego as big as mine, one needs to be humbled occasionally.
Besides MySpace friends come a dime a dozen. Real friends last a lifetime.

The Hartwell Chronicles … learning to balance

Instead of simply reporting, I’m also learning.
I started attending budget meetings for two of the governmental agencies I cover around the end of April.
All those big numbers can be confusing. I haven’t understood math since I stopped piano lessons.
Looking at all the money they bring in made me realize a harsh reality: I am po’ and penniless.
I don’t have a penny or pinto bean to my name. Here’s a little mathematical equation for you; journalism degree + entry level reporting job = po’.
Why I’m so po’ I can’t even afford the o and r. OK maybe I’m not really THAT poor, but it does feel like it at times.
I did not go into journalism for the money, a point my mother loves to bring up. I did it for the love of writing (and by reason of insanity). But I never thought I would be in such dire straits.
I had a nice little salary to live on when I first started working. I thought I was Ms. Baller Supreme. Trips to the mall, out to eat and across state lines were a common occurrence.
Then reality kicked in.
Yes, the check was “big” until health insurance started coming out. Suddenly things were looking mighty slim.
Not to mention, my lack of budgeting skills eventually started catching up with me. Maybe I should have taken note at the first budget meeting I attended last year.
I usually know how much money I have, but after about the third purchase I stop paying attention. That definitely leads into trouble.
My biggest budgeting problem has been rent. I pay on the first and they don’t cash it until the 21 at the earliest.
That drives me crazy. I mean it looks like I have money when I don’t.
And what do I do? Spend it.
Then I have to call home asking for a loan. Well actually I only did that twice, and once was for rent.
I never really had to develop a budget before. My momma paid all my bills. But now I pay the majority.
And after nearly a year of no budgeting, I’m realizing its importance.
It’s time for me to keep better financial records. Every purchase I make, even if it’s a pack of gum, is written down now. And I’ve evaluated what are necessities compared to luxuries.
Case in point is television. The only time I really watched TV was when the Boondocks were on.
The season’s over, and it’s available online. The same goes for Everybody Hates Chris and House of Payne.
So long TV. They disconnected my cable last week (but at least I still have Internet service).
I am also guilty of semi-reckless spending.
Now I don’t go out and by the latest pairs of Jimmy Choos, but I have my share of frivolous expenses: namely food.
Hey, a working girl’s got to eat, right? Fair enough, but those $10 lunches start adding up over time.
I’ve taken up cooking more to combat that problem. Leftovers are just fine with me.
I think frugality is going to be the name of the game for the next few months. If it ain’t free, it ain’t for me.
And considering my current locale, it shouldn’t be too hard. There isn’t that much to do in Hartwell that is too expensive.
A college degree is supposed to help bring in the green. But it also depends on your own financial responsibilities.
I wouldn’t be in my current po’ state if I had properly handled my finances. Poor, not po’, would have been my title.
But sometimes you have to learn the hard way. I think I’m done learning now.