ah, the memories
Originally uploaded by juliehicks75
I wish there was such a thing as a friend-o-matic machine, where you could put a list of all the BFF traits you want into a slot, press a big red button and wait patiently while your new best friends are slowly spit out one at a time, all for the low, low price of $1. This would make my transition to England a hell of a lot easier since I'm leaving behind such a great group of friends here in Columbus. That's really all I can say about it right now, because I suck at writing when I'm melancholy.


Hints for Internet Stalkers

When you live your life on the internet like many people do nowadays (especially those of us in the Interactive profession), you open yourself up to "googling" and other forms of light-weight internet stalking. That's why it's best not to put anything out in cyberspace that is secret or damning or otherwise inappropriate for your mom, potential employers, coworkers or even enemies to find. At the same time, in order to stay relevant and interesting in the online space, you must put yourself out on a limb at least a little bit, or else why the hell even contribute to the social networking monster that is the "interweb" at all? I mean, seriously, if you're going to do nothing but post pics of your babies or comment on sport team standings, why even bother?

The general rule of thumb is to find the balance between anonymity and exposure that is humorous, interesting, relevant as well as safe all at once. It's a hard balance to find, but once you do, it's easy to withstand a bit of internet stalking and fanatacism now and again. My good friend Amy does this the best of almost anyone I know, both on her flickr and her blog. Amy is a role model for not saying too much or too little while still staying interesting, and that's primarily because she knows first hand how easy it is to find shit on someone if you're skilled enough.

Internet stalking, social networking and online personas have been a topic of conversation for me and my friends/coworkers a lot the past year. We've all worked on projects pertaining to these topics, and admittedly we all spend hours a month googling not only each other, but ourselves, our bosses and anyone who is remotely interesting or incredibly boring. It seems to be human nature these days to stalk on the net, and the people I worked with are some of the best, primarily because they design viral and social network campaigns for a living.

So, my dear friends, what is the key to being a really great internet stalker?

Let me give you a few important hints:

1. Keep your stalking to yourself. If it gets out you do it, it could bite you in the ass. Plus it's kinda of creepy to openly stalk people you barely know online, even if everyone else is doing it too.

2. Be thorough, complete and accurate in your research, especially if you decide to violate rule #1. Else you might end up looking like a complete ass to everyone around you, or worse, get bitch-slapped by an angry victim.

3. Your comments will follow you everywhere. If you hit on someone by commenting on their blog, or say something crass or rude, there is a high chance those comments and your info could be indexed by a web-crawler and the next time someone googles YOU, what you said will be found and reflect poorly on you. Or expose you for the jerk you really are, whichever is the case.

4. Always assume that everyone you stalk is more technically savvy than yourself. There is no such thing as anonymity online anymore, and the data collected about you and your habits online is not within your control.

The good news is that most of us who live our lives partially on the net have a sense of humor about it, and don't really care if our friends, family, coworkers or other sad folk would rather read about us on a computer screen than get to know us in person. Plus, we find it really fucking funny when we get to blog about the creepy stalking behavior of others. :P

Good night everyone.



Autumn is awesome.

My street in the fall
Originally uploaded by juliehicks75
That's all I really have to say, really. I mean, to expound a bit, I guess it's mostly that I love the fall colors and smells. And I love football season because I can go to the grocery store on a Saturday when the Buckeyes are playing and shop almost completely uninterrupted. And I like the cool temperatures, those are definitely nice. Except when it sleets, like today. Not so fond of sleet. And I guess Autumn isn't the BEST season... I mean all the leaves on the ground can be pretty annoying. I'm definitely happy to no longer have a yard to rake . That part of the fall really sucks. Hard.

I guess I'm really enjoying and savoring Autumn this year because it is the last one I'll spend for awhile in Columbus or even the US. I'm going to miss it here I think - except in the winter. I'll never miss Ohio winters. Never. Seriously. That part I can do without.


Cultural Difference #1: Fancy Dress Parties

My darling Will and I are going to a Christmas/Holiday party in London on December 5th that is a movie-themed fancy dress party. And no, fancy dress does NOT mean ball gowns and tuxes in the UK. Fancy dress parties in Britain are all about costumes... and they are thrown for absolutely no reason at all. Unlike the US, the Brits seem hell bent on costume parties year round, not just at Halloween. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:


This custom of having themed costume parties any time besides October is foreign to me. Not only do the Brits throw them for holiday parties, but apparently dressing up in themed costumes is popular for Hen Nights (bachelorette parties) and big birthday bashes. For example, Will was out recently with friends and came across a group of women out celebrating their friend's big 4-0. The entire group was dressed up in Medieval-themed fancy dress. Yes, I said Medieval... When I questioned this, he agreed it was incredibly bizarre. Good, I thought, he thinks dressing up in the middle of the year is weird too, I feel safe now. But no.... apparently it was not the fact they were dressed up that Will found bizarre, but instead it was strange because normally women dress up as naughty nurses, slags or something like that for a birthday event! Seriously? I mean, why?! What gets me about this response is that, to my lovely British boy, wearing a costume in public outside of Halloween is perfectly normal , but apparently going the medieval route is a little too much.

I just am not sure if I will get used to this penchant for fancy dress that the Brits seem to have. Maybe I'm just too cheap or easily embarrassed? Not quite sure... but if this is hard for me to swallow, how in the hell am I going to be able to handle Christmas crackers?