Relationship status: ‘It’s complicated’

By October 10, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

The first thing on my girlfriend’s list of things to do once she got married?

Change her Facebook status.

And I don’t mean after her honeymoon. She updated her status as soon as she left the altar. She was still in her wedding dress.

It’s interesting how often — and how much — we broadcast our personal lives across the very public networks of social media.

As soon as people get engaged or break up or get married — or now, get divorced — they change their relationship status on Facebook as a way to tell the world, “Hey! Look! See what just happened!”

I get that you want to publish accurate and up-to-date information online. I’m a journalist, I can respect that. And I even get the need to broadcast to people in your network that you’re engaged or married.

But break-ups? In Facebook? On Twitter? That just seems, well, tacky.

I witnessed the awkward break-up of a couple on Twitter once. It started by one person “unfollowing” the other. And all hell broke loose.

And I’ve heard from friend who say their new significant others urged — if not outright pestered and pressured — them to change their Facebook status immediately. If not, that meant they were hiding the relationship, they didn’t really love them, they weren’t committed — and that led to an entire night of useless arguing.

There are more than 800 million active Facebook users, most of whom indicate some kind of relationship status, which can now range from single to in a domestic partnership.

And there’s even an app — the Facebook Breakup Notifier, which was released in February — that helps people keep taps on potential partners. You can choose the friends whose relationship status you’d like to track. (Like old boyfriends, recent flings, that crush you had in high school.) And when his relationship status changes to “single,” you pounce.

“You like someone. They’re in a relationship. Be the first to know when they’re out of it,” promises the app’s website.

It’s a weird world we live in. Can anyone explain it to me?

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Postcards: Derek’s doing fine!

By October 9, 2011 Postcards

Everyone’s asking, “How’s Derek doing?” Well, he’s doing well — as you can see. He’s standing here in front of Lake Mendota, the northernmost and largest of the four lakes near the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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Today’s happy shot

By October 8, 2011 Food, Happy Shots

The best Saturday starts with Champion Malassada — from friends!


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Sick? Eat pho

By October 6, 2011 Food, Happy Shots


When I’m sick, I tend to skip meals, sometimes going an entire day on just a bowl of rice.

But for the past few days, I’ve been battling a cold. Sore throat, coughing, congestion and a headache. And I’ve been craving one thing: pho.

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with raw beef or chicken and a plate of fresh basil, mint leaves, lime and bean sprouts.

It’s really the warm broth and easy-to-eat noodles that make this my go-to dish when I’m sick. (And one of my favorite bowls comes from Saigon Restaurant Vietnamese in Chinatown.)

What’s your go-to dish when you’re not feeling well?

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What would Steve Jobs do?

By October 6, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

I’ll be honest: I didn’t know much about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs until he died yesterday.

Sure, I knew that he as the visionary behind the once-floundering tech company, changing the way we navigate the web — and, let’s face it, life — with iTunes, the iPod and, most recently, the tablet. Because of his design and ingenuity, we browse the web, get our news, communicate with friends and share our lives differently.

And yeah, I knew that he was a college drop-out — what amazing person isn’t these days — and made the smartest (if not luckiest) business decision to buy Pixar Animation Studios right before “Toy Story” hit theaters.

But I didn’t know one thing: how passionate he was about this job that he loved. I mean, really loved.

We all have those moments where we’re sitting in our cubicle, pondering how we got there. You hate your job, you hate your boss, you hate the fact that you do nothing productive or meaningful for 40, 50, 60 hours a week. That’s a lot of time to waste — and you’re doing it.

You always hear people talk about loving your job, working in a career that you love so it doesn’t feel like work at all. Yeah, yeah, whatever. Try paying a mortgage, student loans and credit card bills from Christmas 2007 on an [insert dream job] salary.

But it was something Jobs said during a commencement address at Stanford University in 2005 that really struck me:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”

Watch the entire commencement address

He’s right.

Life is too short to do something we hate 2,080 hours a year.

So look around. If you’re not happy, if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, if you feel like you’re living an unfilled life — stop, drop and roll. Happiness may be waiting for you to clock out.

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