Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Social notworking

I've been rolling my eyes lately at social networking.

Yes, I have a graduate degree in technology. Oh, and yes, I have the equivalency of a second graduate degree in technology. Thus, I wholly support the ideology of teaching with an approach toward 21st century learning, focusing on collaboration, creativity, cooperation.

But I truly subscribe to the argument that social networking is hampering the interpersonal skills needed for healthy relationships and growth. Besides the obvious drama and horn-tooting, social networking consumes so much time that could otherwise be productive.

I've read enough research and conjecture that supports both sides, all of which makes me curious to see how this generation of digital natives will fare in the upcoming years. Already I see the communication and writing skills of students making a slow descent into an abysmal pit of poor dialogue and articulation.

Today, I just continued to shake my head at Facebook, which recommended a line-up of four "friends" for me--four people who clearly have no connection to one another, four people who will never be a part of my personal life.

The first is a student who wrongly slandered me. Enough said.

The second is someone who took advantage of people I love in numerous ways. Enough said.

The third is a person who committed a grave transgression against me. Enough said.

The fourth is Tyler, who can only continue to live through Facebook and memories. Enough said.

Only one of these four will ever be worthy of my time, and he's been gone for two years. That's how well Facebook knows me. If I could only click "dislike."

February foods

Brussels sprouts.

Who ever decided to pluck tiny cabbages and eat them?

Clearly, someone with a desperate stomach.

February marked my first dance--and probably my last--with brussels sprouts. Heck, I didn't even realize for the past 40-some years that brussels ended with an "s". Seriously. I always called them brussel sprouts. And no one corrected me. Probably because I never really discussed them since I've avoided them like I've avoided scallops (which by all means should be pronounced with a short a sound, quite unlike how Hot Tub Kathy pronounces them: "Scullups.")

I'm not sure what motivated me to to choose the sprouts, which old reliable (formerly known as wikipedia) describes as: "a cultivar of wild cabbage grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4 cm (0.98–1.6 in) in diameter and look like miniature cabbages." Wiki says that the total United States production is approximately 32,000 tons, with a value of $27 million.

That's a lot of cash for a cash crop that probably originated in ancient Rome, not Belgium.

Still, I figured this was a good time to try.

I paid about two bucks for a frozen bag of petite sprouts on Feb. 1 and procrastinated for nearly two weeks. Finally, on a day that I decided to do an all-out Sunday dinner, I threw a half-bag onto a pan and roasted them in olive oil and kosher salt. They looked pretty. They looked manageable. They looked like tiny buds of gastro-inconvenience.

Long-story-short: No one liked them. I managed to eat about six, hoping that they'd grown on me. Not quite. Kendall proudly boasted that she swallowed one, not bad for a 6-year-old who this month added mango smoothies, spicy turkey jerky, and garlic chicken to her new foods inventory.

Now I have a half-bag of brussels sprouts in the freezer. The next time someone needs a ice pack? I got it covered.