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December 09, 2004 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-12-09

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The Mic'higan Dlailvj -

10B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 9, 2004

Well, that's lk
eep in the clutches of a sudden,
ADD-induced stupor while
working on a term paper last
week, I unwittingly discovered that a
random girl I graduated high school
with was taking a shower. How did I
discover this fantastic piece of infor-
mation (no, I wasn't lured to her web-
cam, you pervert)? I "checked" her
away message on AOL Instant Mes-
senger. "Checking" people's away
messages has become, unfortunately
for me and many, many other students
I'm sure, an almost automatic, and
arguably obsessive, practice that can
occur at anytime without warning. It
always happens the same way: You're
putting the finishing touches on your
psychology paper, and BAM! next
thing you know, you're wondering
why your freshman-year roommate
has an ode to "double Ds" displayed
on the dry-erase board of the 21"
century - his away message. All of
this, of course, raises a fundamental
question about the nature of the "away
message:" Is it just an inane display
or a genuine expression of personal-
ity? That I cannot answer. But what I
can do is try to analyze why and when
people put up what they do.
Away messages, of course, come
in many different varieties and func-
tion to serve many different purposes.
However, there are a handful of themes
that are too often present in people's
away messages or their "profiles."
The most omnipresent is probably the
theme of love. Without a doubt, there
are enough googly-eyed, obnoxiously
sappy poems, proverbs and quotes -
written by both guys and girls - to

e, your opinion, man w i t h Adam Rosen


make even the most hopeless roman-
tic want to vomit. Here's an example,
and I shudder as I write: "Love is
when you look into someone's eyes,
and see everything you want." Some-
body get a tissue. Here's another: "If
you can't get someone off your mind,
chances are they're supposed to be
there." Taking a survey of away mes-
sages right now, I see there is enough
of this gushy nonsense to make even
Leon Phelps, the "Ladies Man" him-
self, turn gay.
Another common problem with the
away message is that it is often entire-
ly too specific. I won't lie - I'm often
guilty of this. For example, a few days
ago I went to grab a bite to eat, so I
put this simple but explanatory mes-
sage to explain my exact whereabouts:
"Subway." Even worse, if it's that time
of the week, I'll mindlessly display
the message "shower," just in case you
really need to get in touch with me and
don't mind getting a little wet in the
process. In retrospect, this all seems
a bit ridiculous; who the hell really
cares what I, or anyone, happens to be
doing exactly at the few moments I am
away from my computer? The fact is,
I'm not at my computer anymore, so
I can't be reached through IM. Well,
at least I haven't yet succumbed to
placing a message, as a friend of mine
frequently does, flaunting the good
working order of my bodily func-
tions: "taking a shit." I believe that
the generic away message, "I am away
from my computer right now" should
suffice nicely in all of these cases.
Occasionally, away messages will
get heated; apparently drama knows

no bounds. It is infrequent but not rare
that I will observe a message saying
(or should I say shouting) something
like: "I HATE YOU" or "NEVER
TALK TO ME AGAIN." As can be
inferred, these venomous messages
are pretty much exclusive to people
involved in - or, perhaps more accu-
rately, at the end of - relationships.
Certainly, they are the juiciest of all
away messages, practically begging
the incessant away-message checker
to delve deeper and determine who
the person so passionately despised
is. This is usually as far as the mes-
sage will go, unfortunately, resulting
in frustration for the away-message
checker, who in all of his ignorance,
knows only of one small part of the
conflict. I guess while it would provide
all curious souls with a bit of closure,
a tad too personal.
Clearly, many seasoned IM users
take the away message seriously and
seek to permanently display several
of their messages through use of the
"profile" function. Think of this as a
sort of "greatest hits" of the away mes-
sage. Right now one of my friends has
a quote from Phish, a record of Michi-
gan football, a statement informing
everyone that he is doing winter break
in Mexico, a link to his online photos
(from senior year AND his semester
abroad), and a "yeeeeh baby!" thrown
in for effect on his "profile." This
is the same guy who just took down
the previously ubiquitous - among
Michigan students at least -"Kerry/
Edwards" display a week ago. The
basic question that I posed at the intro-

duction of this column again comes
to mind here: Is this guy utilizing a
meaningful, appropriate forum of
expression to display his personality,
or is this just a shameless attempt at
self-promotion on a medium of insig-
Certainly, the "away message" and
the "profile" on AOL Instant Messenger
are phenomena unique to our genera-
tion. Never before has someone been
able to say what's on his or her mind,
and have some, perhaps even many,
people at least look at what that per-
son was saying, regardless of how idi-
otic or profound. All of this of course
says a whole lot about me and all of
those other people out there who regu-
larly "check" away messages. I think
the cold, hard truth is that deep down
inside, we're all a little voyeuristic -
the AOL Instant Messenger provides
with us with a totally legitimate reason
to essentially pry into other people's
lives and personalities, completely
without their knowing. And, on the
flip side, those so intent on having the
most original or cool "away message"
or "profile" realize this, and work hard
to make their good impression. So, the
next time you find yourself on AOL
Instant Messenger, frantically check-
ing away messages, you might want
to reconcile yourself with the fact that
you may or may not be a victim of an
obsessive habit. Now, about The Face-
Adam is a big fan of cheesy online
dating sites, such as Wolverine Sin-
gles. E-mail him your proposals at

The Weekend
A Medieval Masterpiece
from Baghdad: Sponsored by
the Center for Middle Eastern
and North African Studies, the
Museum of Art describes this
exhibition as an exploration of
Persian art from the l1th cen-
tury. The museum is open from
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission
is free.
The Rover: This University
Production performance follows
Aphra Behn's famous 17th-cen-
tury play, in which sisters join
the world of masquerade to
escape an arranged marriage
and the nunnery. The curtain
rises at 8 p.m. in the Power Cen-
ter. Tickets range from $15 to 20
for reserved seating, but student
tickets are $9 with an ID.
Salsa Night: Come learn alt
the right moves to make the
ladies swoon and the playas
jealous at Salsa Night at Pier-
pont Commons. The fun begins
at 9 p.m. and runs until mid-
Ann Sofie von Otter: Hill
Auditorium boasts the big-
name stars again as this Swed-
ish opera singer takes the stage.
She and eight other musicians
will entertain with this holiday-
themed spectacular. The show
opens at 8 p.m. Tickets run from
$10 to $56.
Dance Marathon charity
event: Starting at 6 p.m., Dance
Marathon will be wrapping gifts
to raise money benefitting C.S.
Mott Children's Hospital and
Beaumont Hospital at Border's
in Arborland.
Winter Term
Apply now
at the Law Library-
* Non-Law students
" Law Students
* S.I Students
Minimum pay
is $8.50 per hour!
Apply at the hiring table outside
room S-180 in the Law Library's
underground addition.


y I Y141I i {J 1
Holi~c Gf

By Ashley Dinges and Doug Wernert * Daily Arts Writers



iTunes Music Store Gift Certificate
It's almost impossible to walk through
campus without seeing students carrying
an iPod or another type of MP3 player.
Don't have $200-$300 to shell out for your
iPod-less friend? Not a problem. Apple
offers prepaid gift cards for its online
iTunes Music Store - a legal option for
downloading digital media. Gift cards
are available in $15 and $25, and elec-
tronic or paper gift certificates can also
be purchased for any amount between $10
to $200. Apple even offers the option of
havingelectronic giftcertificates e-mailed
to its recipient - perfect for friends study-
ing abroad or for out-of-town family.
Anything handmade
Although handmade gifts
can take twice as much time
to put together as a store-
bought gift, they usually mean
twice as much to your recipient.
For ideas, grab a copy of the lat-
est issue of ReadyMade magazine,
a hip magazine offering creative
and useful gift ideas. From build-
ing a house of cards out of old pho-
tographs to turning family pictures into
Andy Warhol-style wall art, the magazine
offers inexpensive, quick options for gift-
givers. Knitting - a pastime that has
regained popularity recently - is also an
easy option for homemade presents. Try
knitting a thin scarf on large needles, like
size 16, and you'll have a long, loopy scarf
done in just a few hours. Cheaper yarn
can be found at Meijer, while more expen-
sive and unique materials are available at
stores like Busy Hands on Main Street.
Clothes (for a girl, from a girl)
Buying clothes for other people can be
a tricky situation for many shoppers. But
if you are female and you think you know
your friends' styles well enough, go ahead
and buy them clothes! Clothing is always
appreciated, especially after the holiday
season when most people have been shop-
ping for others and not themselves. Plus,
clothes are usually easy to return. For-

ever 21 at Briarwood Mall is a safe and
inexpensive option because of its massive
amounts of merchandise. For friends who
have an edgy style, try nearby vintage
stores like Retro Threads and Primitive
Vintage on State Street or Henrietta Fahr-
enheit in Nickels Arcade. Of course, YCI
Clothing on South University Avenue and
Poshh on Liberty Street are more expen-
sive options that also offer a wide variety
of unique accessories like purses, shoes
and jewelry.

DVDs, Videogames, etc.
It's the ultimate safe gift. With more
DVDs out than ever before, it's easy to
find something to complement your loved
one's collection, whether it's the latest sea-
son of their favorite TV show or a special-
edition release of their favorite movie. A
couple can't-miss ideas are "The Lord of
the Rings" trilogy which will be released
next week and "The Simpsons: Season 5,"
which debuts on Dec. 21. For the gamer
in your life, "Halo 2" and "Grand Theft
Auto: San Andreas" will keep consoles
humming over the holidays, while any
ESPN sports game - a steal at $20 each
- will be easy on your wallet.
Clothes (for anyone, from a
No matter what anybody tells
you, it is virtually impossible for a
guy to pick out clothes for somebody
else. Even if the well-intentioned fel-
low has the right size, style and color
in mind, the choices in a clothing store
can easily overwhelm him, and there's
no need to make the recipient return a
poorly selected garment. A simple request,
such as "a Michigan hoodie from Steve &
Barry's," can still go wrong. The safe bet?
Simply steerclearofclothing stores during
the holiday season.
Anything related to romance
While jewelry is the exception to
this rule - but be extremely careful
with your selections - romantic gifts
should be saved for Valentine's Day.
A stuffed teddy bear or a bouquet of
flowers, while cute at first, will soon
be forgotten. The best gifts should
be something the other person wants,
and romantic gifts are better suited as
surprise tokens of affection. This cat-
egory also includes sex-related items.
Keep your hormones in check during
this season. Give because you love,
and not because you expect something
in return. It's what the holidays are all

m I 1 11


Don't Mliss your Wolverines in the 40th Annual Great Lakes Invitational!
A, g eP.OAti Alf5 L
40th Annual Great Lakes nvitational
Wed.,Dec 29
Michigan vs. Michigan Tech *434 PM:.x
Michigan Stae vs New Hamnpshire * 8&N lPM
:m Dec3
Third Place Game * 4:30 PM3
Championship liae *:&00 PM
Titelstare saailt tiet Ain eaftei
h~ ettiii e;eat313-3W71575 eo rttoh
-U & sa¬ęt
,C, s Je p

Edible presents are usually appreci-
ated, especially for college students.
For the more ambitious, try baking a
cake or pie from scratch. No time or
no culinary expertise? Grab a box of
Pillsbury Funfetti holiday cake mix at
Kroger or Meijer. Not only does the
mix work for cake and cupcakes, but
check inside the box for a recipe for
Funfetti cookies. They're a simple
solution that takes less than 10 min-
utes to bake. If you're really strained
for time and money, candy canes
decked out in brown pipe cleaner to
resemble reindeer are always a nostal-
gic option.

Baby Killer
Due to a recent event on the
UM campus, I have run a se-
ries of Food for Thought ads
entitled Baby Killer. I can say
from experience that the emo-
tional price military personnel pay
as a result of war is very high.
What is needed to help them
heal is a Thank-you, not name
calling; especially Baby Killer
Gary Lilie & Assoc., Realtors

332 Maynard
(Across from Nickels Arcade)

Come Check Us Out!!
First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor
1432 Washtenaw
(between South U and the Rtock)
Fellowship, Fun, Musk, and Meaning,
learning & serko, mundoles & morel -b
see our web page for detals:
wwafrrator enimsrano m -_n- Anti w

Man-Thur 11-10
Fri & Sat 11-11

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