help me out

I got this shirt in 2006 in the men’s section at the H&M in downtown Edinburgh, but I have been getting a high amount of compliments on it lately. Who are these guys? I always say “they’re American writers,” but I just think that. I only recognize Edgar Allan Poe (ahem, because I worked at Richmond, Virginia’s Poe Museum for a day…!).

I had thought F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner. But Faulkner never had an eye patch did he? And I am second-guessing now the Fitzgerald even though I was pretty sure of that one, just because I can’t find this same profile engraved-looking image on google. Hm.

Also I think this shirt proves my friend Elizabeth’s assertion that H&M’s entire bag is finding stuff in thriftstores and then mass-producing it. Can you imagine finding this shirt in a thrift store? I would freak out.

old maid

Just googling around trying to figure out how to get two kids to understand the concept of Old Maids with their positive connotations. So that we can play cards together. Might be overthinking it a little, but I found this cool thing, in the Wikipedia entry for “Spinster.” (Click to view magnifiable version.)

public data

I recently had someone I met out and about (at the Au Pied du Cochon 11th Anniversary party, actually) mention some things I had published online. Since this person does not have Twitter or Facebook, we are not “socially” linked in that way; ie, he had no real way of finding this stuff without googling me. Which he later admitted he had done. It’s pretty easy, even if you don’t know my last name. All you need to do is spell “Mary Claire” correctly and throw in the word “Mexico.” Boom.

A couple of questions come up from this situation:

1) Is it weird for this person to have access to stuff I publish online without him sharing similar information about himself?

2) Should I think again about the breadth of stuff I publish online?

3) Even if I continue to share the amount of stuff that I do, should I be restricting access in a way that allows me to monitor who is reading it?

Well, it was pretty easy to get the dude to admit he had googled me. He had sort of hidden it at first (why would you tell someone you just met that you had googled her); he mentioned some links I had recently shared as if he had found them himself. But he mentioned them both at the same time, so I knew right away. I called him on it, but in the context of “look, I know that publishing this goldmine of information about myself makes that information, well, public.” Also in the context of, “What I say is my honest thoughts, and it really is my voice, but it’s not actually my private life. I don’t publish stuff that I consider private.”

So no, I don’t mind that people can google me and find out what I think about GE’s tax evasion or how I feel, exactly, about having a maid, or whether I was drunk or went out dancing on Saturday night.

I do realize, though, that I am fortunate this dude is clearly not that much of a freak if he was willing to admit to tracking me down online. He actually seems like a pretty cool guy. But I wonder who else would do that who isn’t going to be so open about it.

Perhaps I should protect my tweets so that I can keep tabs on who is reading them. I am not sure I want to do this, though, because I am not sure I would get the interesting followers that I do if they had to go through the step of asking permission. I do think of my Tweets as being directed a general public rather than at people I actually know (unless I specifically direct a Tweet at someone).

I guess the main thing it makes me think twice is the information I publish that connects to my physical whereabouts… i.e, Foursquare. Yes, Mexico City is big, but I don’t know that I should be reporting the places to which I routinely go. And come to think of it, although the output goes to the same place (Twitter), my mentality when using Foursquare is much more “friend” than “public” oriented. I am thinking of my friends in Mexico when I hacer check-in. Checking in is a fun game, but maybe I will just stick to checking into the places I go to sporadically or something.

rio tiber tweet

Whatever lapse I’ve had on this blog is probably more than compensated for by my recent microblogging activity. Microblog aka Twitter. I got a data plan for my mobile phone, so I’ve been Tweeting like mad. Or “twiteando” as they say en español. I can tweet from the street; it’s nice, like taking spontaneous notes, something I never had enough discipline to do when it was only on plain paper.

This is some street art by I guess someone named “Tuit Callejero” (“Street Tweet”). “Tweets” posted around the city complete with hashtag. It’s pretty meta.

The text roughly translates as “My favorite excuse is that I feel like it.” “Ganas” doesn’t really have a translation into English. You could say maybe “the urge,” but “ganas” is used way more commonly and lightly than “the urge” is… having ganas is like feeling like (doing something).

Obviously I photographed this and originally posted it on Twitter. This is on Rio Tiber in Colonia Cuauhtémoc, near la Nueva Cuba.