Archive for the social commentary Category

Update to the Mr. Yoo saga

Posted in Hawaii, oh nose, social commentary on January 6, 2008 by neal

Attn: Facebook users
For the must current revisions, click the link above to head to real blog

Okay, I’ll admit it, the Mr. Yoo saga might not be much of a saga. The last few days have yielded absolutely no Yoo sightings so I have no proof of his exhibitionism that I mentioned in the last blog on the subject. Sadly, despite some certain goading, I’ve heard nothing from his domicile.

I had cast some bait in the form of a letter to the editor. I wrote it on the second and it was published the Sunday after. Thus far, no bite. At least not yet. I might need to assure somehow that he reads the letter.

If you’re interested, you can go check out the slightly edited version online. Aside from inserting an unnecessary comma, removing a couple words and messing up an instance of subject-verb agreement, changing city to county in reference to ordinances (I intentionally used city because that’s specifically what the neighbor said, neglecting that Maui has a county government), and editing out a beloved semi-colon, the published version isn’t that much more exciting–it’s only The Maui News.

But for those of you deciding you’d rather not click the link to or who would like to compare versions, I’ve included the original text: Continue reading


Good to meet you, Mr. Yoo (or is it You?).

Posted in from Neal's secret diary, oh nose, social commentary on January 2, 2008 by neal

Upon arriving at my parent’s home in Maui two weeks go and at heading to my old room the first time in nine months, my mom gave me a warning that we had a new next-door neighbor and that this old man has a penchant for hanging outside his house and wetting himself down right in the view from my window on the second floor of my house. Since the, the shuttered blinds on that side of the room have been a reminder of his all-bearing presence. But during my New Year’s Eve celebrations, the notion of having a next-door neighbor was the furthest thing from my mind.

Overall, the man has been a mystery to my parents. Then I met him. I met my new neighbor in what I believe to be the worst way possible, save for him throwing the new neighbor pie back in my face. Now, I’ve come to not expect much from the residents of the house next door. The first impressions of the the man living next door upon my family’s move the house in which I grew up was poor; he took issue at nearly everything my family, and in particular, I, would do. His house stood as the lone mess in our properly manicured neighborhood. Somehow, I devised the metaphor that his house was a barf bag, pardon me, an air sickness bag. Oh, how
it irritated me when the spiders would creep from his house through the palm tree barrier that separated us from him. To continue with the metaphor, our house was a pristine paper grocery filled with the most delectable treats and his bag quite often tainted our bag–no, house. Regardless of the state of his abode, if there was something bothering him about my family and our practices, he would call. If I was practicing my trombone and it wasn’t too his liking, he would call, even if he was thousands of miles away in Canada to yell at my mother and demand that we stop torturing demented elephants or else he would call animal control on us. If our dog was making even the slightest noise, he would call, yell, and threaten to sic animal control on us, which, in retrospect, would have been a great way to rid ourselves of that wretched pomeranian. Continue reading


Posted in from Neal's secret diary, social commentary, Starbucks on December 17, 2007 by neal

I thought working Friday nights at Starbucks store 33037 at Ka’ahumanu Center in Maui was madness. While there would be a consistent line (and sometimes a line out the door even at closing time), most people would clear the lobby so that they could peruse the mall. I’m counting twenty-five no, now over 35 Russian teenagers in the store at Div and 2nd in Spokane this fine Sunday night. And that doesn’t take into account the number of kids who have come through or who are standing outside the door, smoking their cigs. But they really are quite fascinating. I’ve been a few conversations with some of them and whenever a new person comes to sit at the table right next to me, they all shake hands.

Sure these kids have every right to be here, but should they be out getting in trouble and drinking underagedly?

I vote yes.

Facebook and the Age of Angst

Posted in Facebook, me, social commentary on December 14, 2007 by neal

“You’re not one of those people who derives worth from the number of Facebook friend’s, are you?”

On a normal day, I’d like to think that people would not even consider asking me this question. I view Facebook as something like a social tool and a lot like a toy (oh, wait, isn’t that former part similar to what they say?). Facebook offers a myriad of applications that range from semi-practical to totally useless. I use it as my primary method of sharing tidbits of entertainment with friends as it provides an easy way to link video clips and images. The wall provides a slightly warmer (and considerably more mindless) way of connecting with friend whom you don’t care about/know well enough to call. When I’m bored, I can peruse my friends’ photo albums, looking to see how they have fared since the last time I saw them thirteen months ago. Additionally, I can leave comments solely for the purpose of entertaining numero uno. All of the above functions, as well as Fight Club, Superpoke, and all 9 to the nth power applications are fine and dandy in and of themselves. Even using them to a point that would make even the most reclusive computer nerd sick is understandable.

Now, I don’t want to isolate my reader (yeah, I’m talking to you as you are the only reader), so I’ll admit that I’ve had my share of Facebook faux pas, one such being my goal to catch up with my brother in the wall post count (currently, he’s at 3294, but I’m on my way with 1067). And back in April of 2005 when Facebook had just opened up to Whitworth, I entered an unspoken competition with Cole Casey to have the most friends. It was so unspoken that he didn’t even know it was going on until quite some time down the road. *

But there’s a limit that should not be crossed. In my opinion, that limit is more qualitative than quantitative. Of course people will exceed that limit, but when I think of these people, the preferred weapon of choice is World of Warcraft or Second Life.

But today, something was different. I woke up this morning, overwhelmed by the number of items on my to do list and slightly dismayed at the inadequacies of the previous day’s text message conversations. So I began compulsively checking Facebook. I began with my profile but that only kept my mind occupied for a couple of minutes. As Facebook is a two-way street, I ended up posting on some friends’ walls. I needed to get things done today, so I paced around the house trying to figure out my schedule. Distracted, I returned to Bridget, my faithful MacBook Pro, and in order to show my concern for my friends, I checked the mini feed to see how other friends were doing. And then I got to reading others’ wall posts and wishing more people would contact me. But I stopped myself as I was feeling kind of creepy. I updated my status. I edited and filled in some information on some photos I had uploaded yesterday from my mobile. Then I paced around some more. Others’ photos came next. I found some missing tags and filled those in. I took a shower. I commented on a string of profile pics. I ate some M&Ms for breakfast. I began messaging friends and responding to new wall posts. I actually began searching for YouTube videos to share with friends. I updated my status again, this time with something half-way witty.

At one point, I had enough and, leaving Bridget upstairs, I had a quiet time in the basement. It was the hardest 40 minutes I experienced all day.

Shortly before noon, my dear friend Penny came over. But she wasn’t quite Facebook; obviously she wasn’t relieving my social angst and feelings of insufficiency. Then I realized I was way beyond that line. Actually, it was Penny who helped with that when she asked me the question that opens this post. One word for Penny: Ouch.

But what hope was there for me? The answer is there was no immediate hope. I left for a secluded place, namely Westminster Hall’s lounge, with hopes of clearing my mind and maybe even getting some leisure reading done. There, I found myself on the department computers at three different times checking Facebook, making sure that friends’ finals and gin bottles were being finished off well. Trying a last-ditch effort to rid myself of Facebook-induced angst, I switched my method to real life. Maghan and Kamesh, you saved saved me.

So, if there’s little to no hope for me, what hope is there for the generation of angsty high school students brought up on coffee drinks and emotional music? When I was in high school, I was lucky to have a cell phone. But I still communicated with my friends primarily through face-to-face conversation. What will happen to these people if one person’s Internet is down? If Facebook is down?

My closing thoughs: panic and chaos will prevail. Not every child would make it through. Miscommunication would be responsible for some of the resulting hysteria and the hysteria will be responsible for the rioting and the rioting will result in bodily harm. There would be a reverse baby boom as an entire generation with no social skills dies off without ever procreating. And the old people and those socially awkward will have the last laugh.

*Oh, and just so you know, I’m currently beating Cole in my competition by a 15% margin.