Tag Archives: asian f

the best prayer of all

when i started my facebook friendship journey, it was january 2011 and i had 325 friends.  i figured it was a long distance run with a timer set at exactly one year.  i didn’t meet every single friend, but i got the asian f.

on the third episode of season three of the hit series glee, mike chang’s father demands mike be drug tested and drop out of the glee club because he has received an a minus on a test. mike and the other kids referred to the ninety percent grade as an “asian f”. one could say i got the asian f, because ten percent of my facebook friends didn’t get a visit from me. i was surprised to find out i was friends with spambots, dead people, prison inmates, and some friends who maybe just didn’t like me enough to make a facebook friendship a face to face friendship!




this past weekend, reveling in my newly minted homelessness, i visited rock island, illinois to see my facebook friends #27 eric fields and #9 heather tyler.  i don’t really think of my friends as being numbers but i found it was easier for me to keep track of what i was doing by giving a friend a number based on when i saw them.  my first facebook friend was my son eastman.  heather was the ninth person i visited last year.  eric was the twenty seventh.

sometimes when you have a goal that is really important to you and really big, it helps to divide it into smaller chunks and keep track of the small successes as they pile up.  many times i would look at the “number” of the friend i had just visited and look at the day of the year and i would think “i’m doing okay” which is a pretty good feeling to have!

eric and heather are married and live with eric’s family in rock island. recently, they have experienced an economic reversal: they need a place to live and some work. if you live in or around rock island, illinois, do you have any ideas for them?


after visiting with eric and heather, i went east to see my facebook friend #322 charles henry.  charles became my friend after january 1, 2011.  i got a lot of new facebook friends but i stayed focused during the year on the “original” 325 friends.

you might ask yourself why i would think it was so important to meet my facebook friends.  well, sure, there’s the inte-ma-lectual inquiry into the nature of social media and networking systems in the early twenty first century. . . but there’s also this:  i was a fifty year old empty nester with no reason to open the front door except to welcome the pizza delivery guy.  i was scared to leave the house and i consoled myself with the delusion that i engaged in the world and had an active social life because, hell, i had 325 friends on facebook.  and when i left the house i got crushing panic attacks.  absolutely convinced i’m having a heart attack.  terrified of the world.  ready to cry and scream.  i still do that all the time, but i am learning to just keep driving.

charles shares some of my problems:  he has panic attacks when he leaves his “safe” area which is a radius of about two miles outside of his home.  he has panic attacks when he has to wait out a red light.  he went through a period of being housebound when he was younger and then, after many years of feeling great, he again struggles.  he has been unemployed and he is working through a divorce.  one would think meeting him would be a downer.  one would be wrong.

facebook friend #315 tony tyner, #71 bonnie bradlee, me and #322 charles henry met at charles’ home. we had a lot of fun and next month, charles will pick out a restaurant outside of his safe area and we’re going to do this again! oddly, on august ninth i’ll be having lunch in a manhattan restaurant with a facebook friend who is housebound in staten island. she has been opening up her boundaries a lot in preparation!


one of the many things we talked about was faith and our respective relationships with God.  although we four have differences, we agreed that the best prayer begins with “thank you for. . . ”

what’s your prayer for today?

it’s january fifteenth and i’m a little behind on my new years resolution. . .

at the beginning of the new year, the ancient babylonians made promises to the Gods that they would return borrowed items and repay their debts.  the romans made their new year’s promises to janus, the two faced God for whom january is named.  and the medieval knights made a “peacock vow” right after christmas to reaffirm their commitment to chivalry.  these days, a lot of people make new years resolutions.  fully 40% of americans make resolutions.  the most popular ones being losing weight, exercising more, getting a better job, getting control over one’s finances.  but 88% of people fail at their resolutions, almost half giving up before the end of january.  last year, i resolved to meet all 325 facebook friends that i had at the time.  for a variety of reasons, i managed to meet up and have real face time, with 292.

in the third episode of season three of the hit series glee, mike chang's father demands that the principal force mike out of the glee club because mike has received an A- on one of his tests. the A- is referred to as the asian F, in part because of the stereotype that asian parents expect perfect grades from their children. i met 90% of my facebook friends last year so i guess that's an asian F.


this year, my resolution is to meet 12 facebook friends who would like my help getting out from behind the computer screen.  i think we sometimes use facebook friendships as a way of avoiding the chaos, confusion and just plan scariness of modern life.  and some of us have our worlds get smaller and smaller.

i made three new years resolutions:  one, i have to lose ten pounds.  i gained that much over the course of last year–damn, those taipei soup dumplings, the weiner schnitzel in dortmund, the smashed peas in bristol, the seven course meal in eastbourne. . .  the next is a little more embarrassing.

white wine, we have to talk. . . . i like you too much. so we have to break up. i'll still let myself drink beer but the white stuff's offlimits. if you see me with a glass like this in my hand, call me out on it!


and the big resolution is that i will take what i have learned and visit twelve facebook friends who are stuck.  and i will do what i can to help “un-stuck” them.  but january’s nearly over.  i have to get moving.  people who are successful at new years resolutions do two things:  they engage in interim goal setting and they announce their intentions and ask for support from their friends.  in order to make my facebook new years resolution work, i will have to meet one facebook friend a month.  and it can’t just be one meeting or one interaction.  it’s going to have to be a little more intense.  but i have made the first step:

on january 26th, i will be in pennsylvania meeting with a facebook friend who has been housebound for some time.  she would like to be a “better” mother and see her son succeed at things like little league games.  i will be meeting her for the first time.

on january 29th, i will fly out to boston where i will meet with a facebook friend who has similar issues.  i hope she’ll let me take her to lunch at the “top of the hub” restaurant in boston because one of the focuses of her anxiety is heights and elevators.

if you want to succeed at whatever you’ve chosen as your new year’s resolution, you should announce what you plan to do and you should celebrate your interim successes.

sites and stats for the beginning of december

new year’s resolution december 31, 2009:  lose five pounds, give up demon rum, be nicer to my neighbor mr. radnor

new year’s resolution december 31, 2010:  to meet every one of my 325 facebook friends at least once in the calendar year

weight on december 31, 2009:  138

favorite form of alcohol:  champagne, white wine, just hand it right over

friends i have seen as of december 4, 2011:  268

number of friends who have defriended* me or deactivated their account:  11, two having done so AFTER i have seen them–one because their girlfriend found out they met me and the other for reasons that have nothing to do with me so nine are people whom i will not see this year.

number of friends whom i have defriended*:  2 and one is gilbert gottfried

weight on december 31, 2010:  138 pounds

weight on december 4, 2011:  140 pounds

length of time the “no alcohol” new years resolution lasted:  four days

number of friends who have become so famous that now i’m a “fan” and i can’t get communicate directly with them:  three

number of friends who are spambots:  six and i really really don’t want a new iphone.

number of friends who are animals:  one cat and one dog and i don’t think i should bring them together.  there is a large dog community on facebook that i have become aware of.

number of friends who are confirmed to have passed on (or become late, as long as we’re going to use euphemisms):  5

william clark is the american explorer most definitely dead since 1838. still, he is f2fb friend #60 and i "saw" him in princeton, new jersey. his biographer lanny jones is f2fb friend #59 and was our chaperone. briefly, facebook deactivated mr. clark's account on the basis that he was a "fraud" of some sort. my friend has been restored to facebook.

number of friends who just won’t respond to me, period, and i have to stop contacting them because i’m feeling like i’m being a stalker:  18

number of times i have been stood up by my friend in cleveland:  five and i’m giving up

number of times i have flown into los angeles and driven into san diego:  twice

number of friends i still have left to see in los angeles or san diego:  five (if you have any suggestions, bring it!)

number of flights i’ve taken this year:  39 (not bad for someone with a fear of flying)

number of flights i’ve taken this year without a ritual pre-flight beer or pre-flight ativan:  3

number of countries i’ve visited:  13

northern most place i have traveled to:  a layover at kotzebue, alaska on my way to nome, alaska.  i could have spoken with santa or russians but everybody was on their coffee break.

southern most place i have traveled to:  a layover in kuala lumpur, malaysia on my way to mumbai–i don’t remember much about malaysia because there was a heavy storm, a rough flight into the city, and there was wine available at the bar outside of the gate for the flight to mumbia.

number of overnight road trips (some as long as two weeks) in my car--14

new years resolution for 2012:  don’t know

will i finish this year’s new year’s resolution:  don’t know, but probably going to have to settle for an asian f.

in episode 3 of season 3 of glee, the character mike chang gets an a minus and his father attributes this "asian f" to mike's devotion to the glee club. my asian f will come about because of a combination of spambots, deactivations, defriending, and people just not wanting to see me--oh, and alex grace having the nerve to move to mexico city AFTER i had already been there.

plans for december:  a trip to new york which will last just about thirty six hours, a trip to the pacific northwest which will include british columbia, and two other road trips.

the person i was:  scared

the person i have become:  less scared

the person i would like to become:  138 pounds

question i have wondered this entire year:  are you really my friend?  or are you “just” my facebook friend. . .

*the new term is “unfriended” which makes it sound like the un-cola 7-up!