Can’t get enough over-analysis?

I’m going to assume you know about my neurotic tendency to over-analyze things. Rest assured that it doesn’t stop at text messages. As many readers commented on the texting article, any kind of communication that’s not face-to-face opens up the opportunity for misinterpretation. And I’m well aware. I planned to write this post before the texting one exploded, but I figured I had to wait a while, so it wouldn’t look like I was just trying to re-do that.

I LOVE this. So me.

I think the only form of technological communication I over-analyze more than texting is interactions on Facebook. Facebook presents the opportunity for so many more subtle, silent “body language” stand-ins, causing me, at least, to analyze my creeping to the max.

I’m guilty of contributing. I often have cryptic statuses, straight from the depths of my latest favorite obscure indie folk song. But I would never put up a cryptic lyric status unless it related in some way to what I was feeling that day, or my current life situation. There’s always a “hint hint” factor in hopes that whomever or whatever it’s directed toward over-analyzes.

Okay, so this one's not from an obscure song ("Flake" by Jack Johnson) but it's been a while since I had a cryptic status and this was the most recent.

If anyone ever gets the reference, though, they don’t tell me. I always make sure to say something if I sense an underlying reason for someone’s quoted status. Sometimes the person is like, “Wow, you got that? That’s totally what I meant!” But, most of the time, they either don’t respond (To me, that’s Facebook lingo for, “You’re totally over-analyzing, but I’m not enough of a jerk to call you out in front of the world of Facebook and make you look stupid”), or they call me out in front of the world of Facebook and make me look stupid.

This girl got called out. But she was totally asking for it.

On my inaugural creep of a new Facebook friend, if I find they have 400 profile pictures and 396 of them are MySpace-style self portraits in the mirror making the duck face, I judge. I don’t know if that’s entirely out of the ordinary — I think it’s safe to say most people will get the impression that user is pretty self-absorbed and really likes the way they look. Maybe that’s just general analysis.

Why? You're fooling no one. Your cheekbones don't look like that unless you're making that face all the time ... which I guess some people are.

While we’re on the topic of profile pictures, there’s always the “hidden meanings” in them, as well. If you’re in a relationship with someone, it’s not uncommon to set your profile picture as the two of you as a happy couple. But God help you the second you change it to a picture of, say, just yourself, or you and some friends. People will start wondering if maybe you’re mad at each other. Rumors will fly that you’re having relationship problems. Maybe one of you is cheating. It’s ridiculous, I know. But, believe me, I’ve seen it happen.

I try to limit my Facebook friends to people I actually interact with in real life (or used to and want to stay in touch with). But leave it to the one thing you don’t want that random acquaintance to see, and they’ll comment on it.

That always makes me wonder just how much of my personal stuff they’re actually creeping on. I like to imagine that only the people I have in mind when I post things see said posts but, of course, that’s not the case on Facebook. It’s times like those I wish Google+ would just catch on already, with their Circles. After worrying which things Random Acquaintance could have possibly seen in the past, I usually end up placing them on my no-no list in my privacy settings … for a little while, at least.

This was likely a hack, but if it wasn't ... Well, then I guess you're asking for it by posting it on Facebook.

Say it’s your birthday. (“It’s my birthday, too, yeah!“) Everyone and their mother will wish you a happy one on your Wall (literally). And if you have a close Facebook friend who doesn’t (which I would define as someone you know in person and interact with on Facebook a lot), it’s on.

See, your birthday is the one time of the year people will creep out of the shadows and post on your Wall. Even if I agree 100% with a post of someone I never talk to on Facebook, I’d feel like a creep if I commented on it. We’ve all got to admit, there are some people we’re friends with solely to “silently” creep on. But that inhibition dissolves on someone’s birthday, where you’re almost obligated to write on their Wall, or else you’ll look like a jerk. I admit, I still hold it against at least a certain person who I know purposefully didn’t acknowledge my Facebook birthday. It’s ridiculous, I know. But it’s like a virtual slap in the face.

I always try to avoid statuses asking if “anyone” wants to do something. (Although, I did, out of desperation, ask who was up for sushi last week because I was craving it and Chris isn’t a fan of the raw fish. It led nowhere. I never got my sushi.) These statuses are traps: Either no one will comment on it, making you feel like a loser who has no friends, or all those Random Acquaintances from before will comment on it, leaving you in an awkward situation.


The “liking” option is sometimes dangerous, too. “Liking” something is usually a way of saying, “I agree casually.” Unless you write something about how bad your day sucks and someone “likes” it with no explanation.  (A suitable explanation could be: “‘Liked’ only because I agree — Not because of your situation!”) Or unless it’s one of those “Bobby went from being “In a Relationship” to “Single” notifications. Those are always fun for attracting the wrong kind of attention. The only other acceptable case for a “mean like” is if you’re good enough friends with the “liker” that you know they’re just messing with you. An unexplained “like” on a depressing status is like kicking someone when they’re down, and is grounds for unfriending.

This is boyfriend Chris, so I know he's messing with me.

On the topic of “liking,” “liking” one’s own status is almost never okay. It says: “I don’t know how to use Facebook,” or, “I’m that much of a loser.” Exceptions, of course, apply in the case of intentional situational humor.

Acknowledged, rendering it situational humor.

Then, there’s the lingering friend request. You request to be someone’s friend, and they don’t accept or deny, but they just never confirm either way. This is a polite way of getting around things. You don’t want to feel mean and deny them, but you really don’t need them creeping on you. So you just let the request linger there in Friend Request Purgatory. I admit, I currently have over 20 of these — People I haven’t talked to since eighth grade who request to be friends with me, people I have never met in my life that come here for oilfield work and see I’m from North Dakota, and people I’ve unfriended because everything they post makes me want to vomit who just don’t get the hint and keep trying to re-friend me.

Straight from my page

I thought I was crazy with my over-analysis of texting, but with the responses I got, I know I can’t be alone here, too. Or maybe I can. Feel free to let me know if I just need to take an extra dose of my happy pills with this one.

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My Super Sketchy Sixteen … with a Creepy Old Guy.

I may be a bit behind the curve, but I just heard about this “51 year-old Doug Hutchison marrying a 16 year-old” thing. Hutchison is most notable for playing Percy Wetmore, the guy nobody liked in The Green Mile and Horace Goodspeed on Lost. Not that I personally recognized him. He goes back to roles in Party of Five and A Time to Kill, too. (Ironically, he played the child rapist.) But those are a little before my time.

Cue "The Creep" by The Lonely Island.

And a lot before 16 year-old Courtney Alexis Stodden’s. Maybe.

Annnnd that's their wedding picture.

All creepiness and illegality aside, this couple is extra controversial. When I first looked into this, I honestly thought, “Okay, so this Hutchison guy is kind of a creeper. Scandalous, but whatever.” But I watched an interview E! News did with the “happy couple” which I found deeply disturbing. I didn’t notice exactly how disturbing until I caught a glimpse of myself reflexively making a disgusted face in the reflection of my laptop screen.

Stodden doesn’t look a day under 25.

Her profile picture on her official Facebook page.

“So, whatever. She looks a little mature for her age. A lot of girls do nowadays,” I thought. I read in RadarOnline’s article about the E! News interview that people were accusing her of being “fake”: Either she’s had a lot of work done, or she’s older than she’s letting on. I thought that was a little obsessive for something that seemed so irrelevant to anyone’s lives.

But then, my curiosity got the better of me. As the interview went on, Stodden’s mannerisms became more … odd. She was striking ridiculous poses and practicing making coy pouty faces into the camera during their live interview. From the sound of it, she was trying really hard to make incoherent, immature responses to every question asked, whipping herself around and fluttering her hair.

Whatever voice you're giving her in your head to make fun of her right now, I guarantee it's not even as bad as hers in real life.

So I looked her up on Facebook, and I found two different pages of hers. “Courtney Stodden” and “Courtney Alexis Stodden Fanpage.” After spending just a short time on these sites, I decided there is no way one person can possibly be this stupid. Something has to be up — She has to be older, and for some reason faking her young age and total ignorance as some publicity stunt. Either that, or she’s actually 16 with the IQ of a shovel. There is no way any guy even in his mid-20s would put up with idiocy of that degree in a relationship, let alone a man who could easily be her father.

Wow, I bet that's how she always pictured it.

First off, she repeatedly refers to herself as an “inspiring” actress/photographer/model/singer/anything else she can think of to sound “good.” Even after people correct her. A normal human who wanted to be taken seriously would learn that she had made a mistake and change it. Stodden seems to only put it more prominently and more often, reinforcing the blonde bimbo persona.

She's giving me no shortage of material to back this up.

Let’s just take this exchange via Facebook comments on this photo:


And that was the exact point that I decided I needed to blog furiously about this. Not only does her long response defy all logic for how little cognitive functioning a person needs to maintain basic human mechanisms like breathing and blinking, but the incoherence of her short, afterthought comments boggles my mind.

The thing that sent me over the edge, though, was her last comment. It seemed to go just a little too far. I don’t know about you, but I think I see a zipper. “… so you should respect me and stuff.” It seems to me that any 16 year-old who’s trying to prove her maturity would avoid the whole “and stuff” default teen suffix. Its belittling, childlike, and it seems like she wanted it that way.

Um, can I take you back to your ... gutter?

But that’s just me speculating. I really don’t see why an older woman would pretend to be 16 and marry a 51 year-old. I guess I don’t see what a 51 year-old would see in a 16 year-old either … besides the platinum blonde hair and I-claim-they’re-real-but-there’s-no-way-in-hell chest.

How many bras does she have on here?

Maybe Stodden is just a really dumb teenager. And, in that case, Hutchison should probably hire a nanny or something for when he’s out of town. And not let Stodden cross the street unsupervised. E! News claims they have her birth certificate, but claiming they have a little piece of paper isn’t going to convince me. Her body definitely looks … aged, in more ways than just her development.

From her Official Facebook -- Taken when she was "13"

Either way, with celebrity stories like this which, I admit, are a guilty pleasure, I always find myself asking, “Why do I care?” I usually don’t have a good reason, but in this case I do: There’s just something too weird about her … and there’s that off chance that she’s an alien robot sent here from some distant galaxy, and her only way in to infiltrate the government is through Doug Hutchison. (She’s already defiled the flag!)

Creeping justified.

Et tu, Zuckerberg?

Oh, and speaking of Google+, can we say “irony?”

I really didn’t think this was real when I first searched his name just out of curiosity. (As you would expect, countless fakes also appear.) But according to an article I recently found, it turns out Mr. Zuckerberg is actually the most-followed person on Google+ so far.

I get a kick out of that. I suppose he had to check out the competition. Curiosity killed the cat … just sayin’. (In my experience, Google+ is still pretty lonely.)

Google+: The coolest kid on the social networking block

I’m not gonna lie, I’m feeling pretty savvy and exclusive right now. I just got on Google+. Sure, I realize Google recently reopened invites in hopes to “double” the numbers of people using the service in its “field trial,” and that millions of people are now on it (see the end of this post) but as someone who’s constantly connected and loves anything new in the form of social networking, I’m loving the chance to be a part of it. Plus, I’m still a couple weeks ahead of the curve, with the expected public release of Google+ speculated to be July 31.

Just to prove it -- I made sure to add that the welsh corgis thing in the screenshot. That way you KNOW it's me. And don't judge my circle names haha.

Of course, it’s not exactly a Facebook killer yet, for me at least, since I only have like five friends in my Circles. A friend who invited me to Google+ was discussing with me whether it could be a Facebook killer in the future. It’s hard to say. Here’s why:

Circles — The strict privacy settings, while awesome, inhibit creeping: the name of the game on Facebook. Your account comes with four predetermined Circles: Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and Following. When you connect with new people, you have the option of placing them in as many Circles as they belong in (and you have the ability to create new circles to fit your personalized needs). Your friends will never see the Circle you placed them in, only that you’ve added them to your Circles. So, say you find your high school’s prom queen, with whom you never particularly got along. Of course, you’re going to want to creep on her to see if karma’s bitten her in the butt yet, but you don’t exactly want her to see everything you’re doing. If you place her in a Circle with limited visibility to your online antics entitled, “People Who Suck,” she’ll never know the difference. Keep in mind, she can do the same to you, rendering your attempt at creeping futile.

It's as easy as drag and drop.

I always try to keep my personal Facebook profile as private and squeaky clean to those who might use information against me as possible. (Not that I do terrible things, but sometimes I have whiny, venting statuses. Sometimes I post “inappropriate” humor. I don’t need future employers to see that.) But they’ve made the privacy settings such a labyrinth to try to navigate that it’s become physically impossible to heighten my privacy to a level it was before they made all their changes. This is where Google+ comes in — While Facebook says you can control exactly who sees everything you post, they’re not taking into account that you might not have known to do three backflips and drink a glass of chocolate milk upside down, a necessary step to ensure the change goes into effect. I’ve seen people’s comments on statuses of people I’m not even friends with. Granted, I am a seasoned creeper. If I could do it for a living, I would. I’ve found ways to get information I want on even the most private of profiles. I don’t think Google+ will allow me to do that, but we’ll see once my circles grow a little.

Facebook's privacy setting options -- Although many users don't even know how to get to this page. Facebook seems to bury the option.

Photos — Google+’s photo uploading capabilities are both awesome and terrifying. You have the potential to set up instant and automatic uploads from your phone’s photo gallery. Yeah, don’t freak out. All the photos go to a private album associated with your Google+ account on Picasa (which I’ll talk about a little later). You can then decide who you share your photos with, if anyone at all. This feature still freaks me out a little bit. I don’t want to end up accidentally seeing pictures of my friends that were meant for significant others only, if you know what I mean. Hopefully everyone will use their power of privacy control wisely in this area. I can’t say much about my personal use of the feature — It worked well to upload my existing photos from my phone. I like the idea that they go to Picasa, too, where you can easily store them on your computer in folders and edit them before sharing.

This is what it looks like when you start uploading photos instantly from your phone. They're visible only to me (except this screenshot) until I click share and select the Circles I'd like to share individual photos with.

Speaking of Picasa, word is that with the public launch of Google+, Google plans to retire the non-Googley sounding names of Picasa and Blogger, their popular photo sharing and blogging platforms. In an effort for Google accounts to be streamlined and have a distinct Google identity, rumor is they will change the names of the services to Google Photos and Google Blogs. The services themselves won’t be dismantled, just streamlined. It’s been speculated that other Google brands with non-Google names will be affected, but YouTube will remain YouTube. (Cue collective sigh of relief.)

Seamlessness — Come on, Facebook has been flopping a little lately. First their initially widely-buzzed-about-but-rarely-used e-mail service, and just last week, the “something awesome” Zuckerberg was getting everyone hyped about turned out to be Skype integration into Facebook’s preexisting chat feature, and a sidebar on the right side of the screen shoving everyone you talk to most at you. Google+ has something similar and more.

Huddles and hangouts are Google+’s ways to connect with friends. Huddles are “super fast group messaging for your circles” according to the Huddle app that comes with your Google+ app download. It’s basically like a group chat (or it could be a one-on-one chat, I suppose), only Google+ will actually notify you on your phone if someone messages you from a Huddle when you’re away from the computer. Facebook’s app has been notorious for automatically showing you as available to chat, and then not notifying you on your phone (or later on the site) when you receive a message. So, basically, people think you’re ignoring them. Can we say drama starter? Google+ huddles not only notify you, but let you respond quickly and efficiently from your phone just like texting. Sounds like it’ll be awesome once I get a few more friends to huddle with.

Hangouts are almost exactly like Facebook’s new video message integration, only not through Skype. The only problem I have with these features is that my computer doesn’t have a built in webcam, so my lack of enthusiasm about them may be a result of my bitterness.

You can start a hangout of your own or join one of your friends'.

Besides the perfection of these features, Google is a proven brand on many levels — Gmail, Docs, Calendar, etc. All of these accounts are streamlined in one place when you sign in on Google+. Convenience to the max.

According to census data from Ancentry.com’s founder Paul Allen, Google+ is growing exponentially, and probably has somewhere near 5 million users even in its field trial stage. He based his estimate on the amount of people with certain last names who had profiles on Google+. In fact, since I initially drafted this post about an hour ago, that number has skyrocketed to an estimated 10 million Google+ users by the end of the day Tuesday. To this information, Mark Zuckerberg retorted that Facebook recently reached 750 million users, but didn’t proclaim the milestone because it doesn’t matter how many users they have anymore. Rawr hiss.

All in all, Google has a solid product with Google+, but only time will tell where that will get them. Personally, I can only handle having one primary social networking presence. I have a Twitter, but I rarely post on it (mainly because it’s basically got to be public, or else why even have one?). I think Google+ could have the power to overthrow Facebook, but it’s all about who joins. People will go where their friends are. Maybe we’ll be watching The [New] Social Network: Google+ Edition in a few years. But who am I to say? I used MySpace as my primary social network until my first semester of college in 2008.

Super Sweet 16…and Pregnant

There are few shows I find myself hopelessly addicted to, which is good because I only get like 10 channels. But, there are a few reasons I miss cable. One of them is my fascination with pregnant teenagers.  I can’t miss an episode of Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant.

When 16 and Pregnant first came out, I thought to myself, They have enough pregnant teenagers willing to put their pregnancy on TV to make a whole series out of this? As I’ve now learned, there’s no shortage of teens who find themselves preggo and proud enough to be on MTV, and that’s a good thing:  What else would I do on a Tuesday night at 9?

The recipe for every episode of 16 and Pregnant is almost always the same:

  • Teen gets pregnant. Oops.

"Oh, crap."

  • Teen tells boyfriend, who:
    A. Runs away screaming
    B. Sticks around until the kid is born, and then runs away screaming or
    C. Asks her to marry him, at least attempting to make an honest woman out of her. (This usually ends catastrophically.)

Like this episode, which ended with this guy speeding away in a fit of rage with his twin infants in the back seat of his car, leaving his baby mama on the side of a busy road in the rain ...

  • Teen tells parents, who either:
    A. Freak out and disown her or
    B. Support her
  • Teen has kid
  • Teen realizes raising kid is harder than she thought
  • Show usually ends in tears

In this case, because Father of the Year ended their relationship via text message, calling her a "stretch-marked b****" and asking where he could "sign off" responsibility for their "mistake."

Teen Mom basically picks up where 16 & Pregnant leaves off, illustrating the way the young moms’ lives haven’t gotten any easier.

The shows are intended to be a form of birth control, providing a raw perspective into the unglamorous life of a teenaged mother. But many of the girls’ lives seem anything but unglamorous since their launch to celebrity status, featured on entertainment TV shows and in magazines. I can’t walk down an aisle in the grocery store without seeing headlines like “TEEN MOM’S PREGNANCY SHOCKER” and “SEE TEEN MOMS IN BIKINIS” (which, if I didn’t know better, might prevent me from opening the magazine).

Monsters, strange men, and felons! Oh, my!

As if we don’t get enough of drama-filled pregnancies between the tabloids and TV, each of the Teen Moms has countless Facebook fan pages, some official, and some … hardly. Hey, you go, girls. I’ll admit I’m a fan of them — I couldn’t do what they’re doing even in my early 20s. But these pages have grown to several thousands of fans who swarm every post the teen moms write with hundreds of comments, which usually turn into in virtual fan catfights. Meow.

The teen moms act annoyed with the amount of prying these fans are doing online, constantly sending them messages asking them to confirm or deny rumors they see in the tabloids. (And I hate to say it, but it kind of makes me think, Come on, you’re sorta asking for it.) In any case, the fame must not seem too bad, since others are jumping on the bandwagon.

In a recent incident, Jordan Ward, who was featured on the first episode of this season’s 16 and Pregnant, has just announced she’s pregnant with her and her husband’s second child … at 18. And her husband was just deployed with some branch of the military — or maybe he’s just gone for training. It’s hard to know for sure because she recently took down her official Facebook fan page that declared what she was doing every second of the day. (The link above is to her identical twin sister’s Facebook fan page … All of these things contributing to my point.)

Chelsea Houska, a South Dakota teen featured on 16 and Pregnant and later Teen Mom 2, battled baby daddy drama with the very public help of her friend and roommate Megan Nelson. (Who, by the way, gets the award for Friend of the Year. The 18 year-old not only lived with Chelsea and her baby, she helped out regularly, even occasionally giving up her weekends to babysit.)

Fans apparently enjoyed Megan on the show so much that they prompted her to create a Facebook fan page. Megan must have really caught baby fever living with Chelsea and her daughter because, not long after her rise to “fame,” it came out that Megan is pregnant herself. Her page now has over 23,000 fans, who clamor for every detail of her pregnancy, from the sex of the baby, to the name ideas, to details about the baby shower and where she is registered.

Megan’s dad now even has a Facebook page with over 1,000 fans, as well as other “randoms” who may or may not have appeared on the show for like 10 seconds. Some teen moms and fans have even set up fan pages for their babies.

But the really troubling thing is when average high school girls get pregnant and create fan pages for themselves. Since I first noticed this happening last fall, the teens have refrained from labeling them “fan pages,” making the fame whores a little harder to spot. (This was probably due to the blatant ridicule they endured by others on their public pages. I wish I had taken a screen shot.) A few girls placed themselves on the 16 and Pregnant Facebook page before the season started, tricking fans who thought these girls would be featured on the show into becoming fans of their personal pages.

Because that's what finding out you're pregnant when you're 16 looks like. OMG so fun!

Since then, teen mom “fan pages” have developed a semblance of a community support forum rather than a place to gain fame. Even Megan Nelson’s page now includes a disclaimer in the info section declaring that her page is NOT a fan page. (Although it used to proclaim it was in the page’s title.)

Of course, there are still countless pregnant teens who sneakily seek the kind of attention MTV’s teen moms are getting, like this couple who posts every detail about their pregnancy on their page, and frequently comments on the pages of the girls featured on MTV to gain traffic.

The fact that teen parents have a way to come together and support one another online is fabulous. And I’m not saying MTV is causing the teen birth rate to explode. (It’s actually doing the opposite.) I’m merely observing with surprise that a general air of “Meh, oh well,” has gradually increased toward the phenomenon of publicizing teen pregnancy. When I was in high school, people treated the few pregnant girls like they were diagnosed with a terminal illness — and that was only 3 years ago. But after 16 and Pregnant, girls in the situation can think, She did it. So can I. Still, I’m both loving and hating that the show has made teen pregnancy seem a little less scary. Especially since the days when this was preached:

Ahhhh!

Wild Wild Williston: Part II

It’s obvious the once-forgotten town of Williston, a dusty little placed nestled in North Dakota’s back pocket, is undergoing some major changes spurred from the oil boom. Finding housing to accommodate the influx of residents is at an unprecedented high. But that’s not the only thing changing.

Williston's slogan, referring to the Bakken Oil Formation that was discovered in the region. This can be seen emblazoned on bumper stickers, hats, and other apparel.

Williston’s like most other small towns in North Dakota. Everyone knows your business before you even do. Comparatively, Williston is considered a “city” in North Dakota, with a population of around 13,000 before the oil boom. (Williston’s not expected to stop growing anytime soon, as space for another 4,500 people in man camps is being planned.) Still, somehow everyone either knows everyone or knows of everyone through the grapevine. You know that whole six degrees of separation thing? Williston natives probably have about one or two degrees of separation from one another, at a generous estimate.

Obviously this is a little dated, but you get the concept.

Still, Williston’s always seemed a little behind the curve. Up until a few years ago, the few radio stations that didn’t play country almost exclusively played music from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Because of this, I know every word to songs like “Diamond Girl” by Seals and Crofts and “Missin’ You” by John Waite. (Most non-country stations have since shifted to Rock or Top 40 formats.) For these reasons, in the few years since I moved away, I’m happy to see the Williston Herald, the local newspaper, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau get online — even on Facebook.

Like!

More and more social media sites are being put into place to get people familiar with the city, since many who come from around the nation had no idea Williston even existed until they heard about the job availability. WillistonWire is an e-Newsletter that compiles all Williston-related news from surrounding news outlets. One of my friends has recently created a forum for Willistonites called Williston Basin Forum to gather and weigh in on issues that affect them.

Facebook pages surrounding Williston have been popping up for a while. They never seem to pick up much speed, but one in particular caught my eye. Called Williston Rumor Mill, it definitely perpetuates the online component of the city’s physical rumor mill that churns daily. Some people take it really seriously, while others post outlandish joking rumors. Regardless, it’s updated often by users and has 912 fans (and counting). Taking a look at the page, it’s pretty much the Facebook version of my high school experience. And I think that’s what makes it so interesting.

Hm, never noticed that on my last trip to Williston.

While I’m sure social media has been a great way for people new to the area to make connections, it’s definitely got a creepy factor. Growing up, Williston was never really a haven for creeps. From the time we were about eight until we got our drivers’ licenses, my best friends and I would ride our bikes throughout town all day, going to stores and restaurants without having to worry about traffic, let alone creepers.

But today, girls my age who still live in town often say how many inappropriate comments they get from guys of all ages, even just going to Wal-Mart (the only major store in town). Even six hours away, I periodically get Facebook messages from guys moving to the Williston area for oil work, sometimes asking for me to be their “friend” and “show them around,” and sometimes just saying things like, “Yo hun I’m moving to Williston! What’s yo number so I can get atchu?!” Creepers.

"Do the creep!"

The times, they are a-changing in Williston and surrounding areas, and it’s interesting to hear about its evolution from friends and family and see the transformation myself when I make my seldom visits.

What do you think about the changes happening in Williston, whether you’re from there or not? What have your experiences been?

The Battle of the Clouds

For evoking such fluffy imagery, the competition just got fierce in the market of music cloud storage.

"They're so fluffy I'm gonna die!"

I don’t claim to be a tech junkie, but I do get excited about new technology that’s going to make my life easier. So, when I was introduced to the idea of cloud storage for music and documents early last year, I was all over it. For those who are still a little unsure, cloud storage lets you upload content from one computer and access it from any other computer in the world just by signing into the account associated with your cloud storage. Google Docs and Facebook photo albums are examples of document and photo cloud storage.

It seemed Amazon had the majority of the music cloud storage market for a few months. When Amazon introduced its cloud player in March, they started all existing Amazon users with 5GB of cloud storage. Of course, there were incentives, like increased storage space for certain music purchases. Along with cloud storage, Amazon introduced their Cloud Player for playing the music you upload to the cloud. They simultaneously released an Amazon Cloud Player Android app, eliminating the need for Android users to upload music directly to their phones. Amazon’s Cloud Player also has the capability to stream music you haven’t purchased to try it out before you buy it.

Amazon may not have been the first company to come up with the idea, but they introduced the most polished product in the area to date, capturing worldwide attention. It seemed other companies took note.

Yesterday, I heard Google is trying their hand at a cloud player. And why not? They did it right with Gmail and Google Docs. Details surrounding Google Music Beta are pretty secretive, since it’s still in beta form and you have to be invited to try it out. (Snooty, I know. I requested my invitation, but so far am feeling like the only kid in my class not invited to a birthday party.) A guy that sits next to my boyfriend in class is in somehow, so I’m trying to weasel a direct invite through the grapevine. But what I’ve heard from rumors of the fabulous, beautiful elite chosen group, Google Music Beta offers 20,000 songs worth of storage, making Amazon’s 5 gigs seem stingy.

Google Music Beta

And, finally, as I logged onto my computer tonight, I was pestered by QuickTime to install the latest update of iTunes. Another update, another 60 page license agreement no one’s going to read. I usually put it off as long as I can, but I saw in the description that this update includes a beta version of Apple’s answer to cloud storage, the iCloud. (iKnow, it’s iEverything.) Apple’s offering the same 5GB Amazon offers, but the full version of iCloud won’t be released until this fall. Of course, there are the typical Apple restrictions, like an extra $25 per year to upload music to iCloud that you didn’t buy from iTunes. But, according to preliminary reviews, techies seem to find Apple’s iCloud superior once again.

Since I’ve only tried out the Amazon Cloud Player, I have no comment yet on which I prefer. But, until we’re all allowed into the secret Google Music club, there is an extensive iCloud-focused review that features a detailed comparison table of the three options near the end of the page. Which one are you liking?