What is with people being so open with their personal lives over status updates? Whatever happened to privacy or for the sake of others: discrete detail?

Countless updates on my Facebook talk about break ups, fights, family ailments, etc. There is a time and a place for that, really, I do not understand why people are twittering hospital visits and posting pictures of themselves in labor.

This sort of attention is more like gawking than it is empathy. There is a high resemblance in a “celebrity voyeurism” sort of thing making Facebook like a tabloid. You can see who is friends with who now, who is dating who, who has gained weight, gone to rehab, graduated college, got married, knocked up, and died—dare I say it.

I’d personally prefer the public not knowing out about my boyfriends who commit third degree murder or my bra size. I like to keep some things personal.

I guess if you're prodding for this sort of attention, you’re getting it, right? You’re getting the satisfaction that lets you sleep at night. The kind of doting and coddling any princess or prince deserves.

You're getting countless comments saying: My goodness, what on earth is going on with you? What happened to your sister? Are you okay? Hang in there cupcake!

If it is just sympathy and commiseration you’d like, why not make life easier and send an e-vite to everyone to come over to your house for hard liquor and weeping. Better yet, go on Dr. Phil. You already have all 456 of your friends you claim to know reading about your personal life, why not let the rest of America and select countries get in on the action? Then you might, if you’re lucky, get balloons and letters in the mail. Talk about road to recovery.

Then there are those sneaky, cleverly idiotic updates that make you wonder. The ones that could mean nine different things; the ones that you ask yourself: Who died? Wait, no…it can’t be death, maybe he meant he got fired?

All because the update read: Bob Smith can’t live after what just happened.

Then, you gasp for air as your heart stops.

"This could be really, really, bad," you say to yourself.

I mean, if it is on Facebook, it is so serious.

Then a plethora of comments follow as Bob Smith never, ever, answers. Everyone is left at their keyboard impatiently waiting because they have to know what just happened to him. It will kill them. The Internet becomes a stir of rumors being spread. People begin to search through other comments and ask around. The clock ticks.

Cut to two days later he over zealously mentions something about rescuing a kitty cat from the pound and you really just want to delete him as a friend. Rude.

Regardless, lives are impersonal now. Everyone knows everything about everyone. Privacy is irrelevant and if you want it, good luck. You're going to have to move to a remote island, ex-communicate all who you know and still have to change your name.

The gym is a funny place. I can't take it seriously sometimes and almost wish it were legal to take pictures with my cell phone.

There are so many people all crammed into one place; all so different, surprisingly. Everyone thinks going to the gym is so intimidating: especially in Orange County, especially in Huntington Beach. I find no fear. Those who fear it fear themselves.

Taking notice of my surroundings, I looked around me tonight as I usually do while chaining myself begrudgingly to the treadmill. I hate jogging in front of the mirror because I would rather not loath my panting--rather someone else's--hence the looking around.

Tonight was no different than any other day, afternoon or evening. The usual crowd was there, I just actually noticed tonight that among me were small societies lurking around.

First you have the overzealous employee at the front desk who welcomes you so happily that he is one bottle of champagne and an oversized Publisher's Clearing House check of too much.

Walking through the gym I run into the typical BBB: Buffed, Beautiful and bitchin. Scratch the bitchin though. These are the men who have arms that do not touch their sides, are wearing tank tops that are completely open from arm pit to waist line. Have silly tattoos of barbed wire around their upper arms and make excruciating faces when they are lifting, probably, too much.

Then you have the girl who is a little uncomfortable with herself being that every time she sees another girl slightly thinner than her, she turns up her nose and completely shrivels in her presence. She then stops her work out either early and goes home or keeps her nose buried in her book never looking up again to save her ego.

Often times, you say to yourself:

"Okay, I see why you are uncomfortable working out next to, uh, Janice Dickinson over there."

Looking over, you see a woman wearing enough makeup for the entire season four crew of America's Next Top Model. Her breasts are bigger than her head, her skin is glowing orange and she is wearing clothes so tight they double as a second layer of skin. Yet, she still doesn't sweat; odd, but expected.

Next: the guy in jeans. Oh, this guy has no intention of ever buying workout clothes, in fact he has never seen the inside of a Big 5 Sporting Goods let alone the active wear section of Kohl’s. He is in his Levi's and crew neck tee shirt and getting himself a complete work out--sweat and all—lifting and biking. Hell, I bet he goes in the sauna fully clothed.

Then there is the guy who loves himself as well as talking himself up. This guy typically wear’s a collegiate tee shirt, baseball hat--backwards--and athletic shorts. He is usually running on the treadmill and usually, always, keeping eye contact with himself in the mirror in front of him. In fact, I occasionally see this type of breed mouthing to himself: "yeah, you got it, it’s all you big guy!"

Lastly: the elderly man, or woman (but usually man), who has no clue how to use any weight machine. This old man is too stubborn and set in his ways to ask for help; his wife Gladys probably signed him up for the gym to get him out of the house. So every day, he studies each weight machine as if it were a math problem. He watches others as they work out and ponders their intent of wanting to look so fit. He wonders why there is a guy working out in Levi's and why that guy wearing the FUCLA tee shirt is winking at himself in the mirror. He walks around the gym for about an hour and that is his workout. Membership well paid for.

Like I said, I can't help but laugh a little.

It seems to me these days that America has made Religion one of its new accessories. I remember all the way back to my High School days when I went to "bible study," the perks were very perky. We got snacks--not Pringle snacks--good stuff like pizza and soda; stuff our parents wouldn't dare feed us. We got to hang out with our friends on a school night; one more excuse to get out of the house so we didn't have to do our homework or the dishes. It was all fun and games until I started seeing kids show up who I knew never had a biblical bone in their body. I gave them the benefit of the doubt then; however, I know now it was for the free pizza.

Sunday's were a debacle of cute boys so of course girls wanted to go to the High School segment at my church. Now I can't generalize for everyone, only a few of you. I am just reporting what I saw.

It doesn't stop there. Then came this whole "I hate Jesus, let's worship something greater: Kabbalah."

Really? Do you even know how to spell your religion? I guess that religion has its perks as well: you get a cool red bracelet. In fact, I even saw them being sold at Target. You know you make it big if you're religious paraphernalia is sold at Target. I never saw yarmulke's or mitre's there.

This growing trend is evident all over America. Everyone needs their personal Jesus--be it Jesus or Marilyn Manson--or a spiritual journey they find in what they do not know is Eastern Religion; not something they discovered over an awesome acid trip.

Maybe it is an inextricable identity crisis? People do not know where to turn when something goes wrong therefore a celestial being will aid in times of need.

How can someone go 20:80. The 20 being the percentage of time thinking about whether or not their actions are right or wrong and the 80 being the percentage of time the wrong is performed.

I am no evangelical saint which is why I am not declaring myself a devout anything for that matter. I am guilty of deceiving the house of religion, as is the next.

Church doors remain open--in most religions--people do things their bible says they shouldn't. I find it ironic to see tattooed pastors and "social," bible study leaders. This is not a problem in one given religion. It is a problem in most.

I would respect faux religious people more if they would detach themselves from leading positions and come to terms with the fact that their practice of puritan value is deviating their own science of thought. Yes, my morality has taken over my ego causing me to judge; however, forgive me for I never waved a religious flag of anything. I only know what is technically in front of me causing an eluded view of your religion.

In the mean time, I will keep questioning until the requested act is performed; you're only availing yourself to greater opportunity of repentance right?

I study all religions in the theological belt and take what I can out of each. I ponder the foundation behind most, and wonder why everyone isn't a follower of something simpler like Confucius or Buddha--at least Confucius wants you to be happy doing things you like--excluding murder Jeffrey Dahmer.

If Michael Jackson can be worshiped, so can all your gods. Just respect thy religion and try not to use it as a tea party for socializing.

Judi A. Gorski remembers sitting backwards on her toilet, painting on a canvas propped against her bathroom wall while construction workers bustled through her home finishing renovations. Bringing food into her self-made studio, she would shut the door behind her for it was the only place of solace from the sounds of hammers and drills just feet away. This is just one of the stories she tells about her paintings which all have her own history embedded in them.

Her home, where she lives with her husband Steve and her dog is also her studio where she paints, and her gallery which rests on 48th Avenue facing the ocean. She openly invites anyone by appointment to come view the three floors of artwork she has on display in her home. Her warm, charismatic personality is not only evident when she talks passionately about her artwork while walking throughout her house in slippers, but also in the paintings themselves. She paints vibrant beach scenes which she holds close to herself because she grew up near the ocean.

Keeping her busy as an only child, Gorski remembers her parents giving her crayons during summers in Long Island. Becoming a likeable hobby, her childhood pastime matured into eclectic and colorful art of what she knows best: the beach.

“I was always swimming and by the beach. I would just sit in quiet and draw when I was young,” Gorski said shrugging her shoulders.

After her parents decided to move to Florida, they enrolled Gorski in the University of Miami. Feeling pressure from her parents to have a respectable major rather than art, she felt disillusioned by school and did not finish any classes besides art: the one thing that she was passionate about.

“I loved art classes, I got A’s, I knew that’s what I should be doing and that was of course the end of my parents giving me another nickel,” Gorski said laughing to herself.

Looking for fun at the age of 19, Gorski set out for a hitchhiking trip in the early 1970s with a few friends.

“It was such an adventure, I was not scared at all,” Gorski said with her eyes full of compassion as she talked about her hunt for magical mushrooms.

To make an income while hitchhiking, she did artwork on woodblocks until she ended up in San Francisco; there, her life really began. Deciding that the lifestyle she led was nothing she wanted to pursue any longer, she turned her life around. Working in a law office to make her parents happy, she met her husband Steve who encouraged her to pursue her passion of art.

She found herself marrying Steve and going back to school. At the age of 40, she excitedly invited everyone she knew to celebrate the completion of her schooling at San Francisco State University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in art in 1991. She opened her studio and gallery in her home, where she still lives today and has been happy ever since.

Gorski’s artwork, which reflects Ocean Beach, includes everything from waves to locals; neighbors and strangers who surf and walk on the beach.

Pointing to a painting of a woman named Judith standing in a swim suit and washing herself down with water, she cheerfully explains how Judith is a body surfer and well known on the Great Highway.

“She promised to give me body surfing lessons if I gave her painting lessons,” Gorski said while laughing at the thought of such a youthful and wild activity.
Another painting in her home, which is the one she sat backwards on her toilet working on, is a favorite of faithful buyer Jim Dekker.

Dekker, who is 58 years old and a teacher in San Francisco, has been a collector with his high school sweetheart Lorraine, for the past seven years. He says that Gorski’s work is very sentimental to him and his wife because they grew up in the Sunset District and both love the beach.

“Because of our backgrounds, her work touches many memories, experiences, sights, smells and sounds,” said Dekker. “We loved her work from the very first, and we love the way she has treated us. She has welcomed us into her home, and we are proud to think of her as ‘our artist.’

Noticeable to many locals who live in the Ocean Beach area, Gorki’s artwork has become quite familiar. Her work was featured in Java Beach CafĂ© for a number of years and is now hanging on the walls of Wise Surfboards for sale; it was even featured in Pottery Barn advertisements. Gorski also worked on the renovation of the Ortega Branch Library Mural with the original artist and has donated some of her artwork to schools and organizations.

“I feel like I am doing good in the world…and I am a vegetarian again,” said Gorski proudly smiling to herself. “I want to go out of this world better than I came in.”
"Heart shaped jacuzzi" by Sarah Thibault

ating is so different these days. In my opinion, no one actually dates. With Facebook, eHarmony, MySpace and everything else, who needs the real deal? Facebook chat has become the equivalent to telephone conversations. Commenting has now become the way to ask someone out. Online profiles, for me at least, kill all the fun in being young. You learn too much about each other too soon; like how many beers Frank the tank had last night. Gag.

No wonder girls have insecurity issues and sit at home wondering: “Why hasn’t he commented me back,” or “Why can’t I get a boyfriend?” That is what this world has come to.

Can I begin with: Dating is not an Internet profile nor is it a place to dwell on why you have no one. You have no one because you are dwelling over status updates on why you have no one.

I hear so many girls say: "Why can't I get a boyfriend?" Get? Are they for sale somewhere? If so, where? Is it some Kmart type place where there are different aisles for different boyfriends? Aisle seven is the manly-man where tools can also be found--no pun intended. Aisle eight--the metro man who loves facial products--you get the picture.

I hear so many girls say: "How come she has a boyfriend?" Then I, Negative Nancy, look over and the girl is missing a tooth, wearing a Dora the Explorer tee-shirt and humming Olivia Newton John while her boyfriend, the one wearing an "I'm with Stupid" shirt with the arrow pointing up, is lowering his Phat Farm jeans even lower. Really, you want that? By all means, be the home wrecking woman you are in that case!

Whatever society has instilled in women that make them--us, ugh-- think "WE NEED BOYFRIENDS," disgusts me. What happened to independence, sovereignty, and strong willed man eating machines with killer confidence?

I am looking through articles to amp my little excerpt here and the titles in these are enough: How to Meet Guys who want More Than One Thing, Where to Find Love, How to Stop Dating "bad boys (that last one makes me laugh a little, because really, all you have to do is stop),” and last but not least: Sometimes, When You Ask, the Universe Says Yes. Redundant, redundant, redundant.

These, ladies and gentlemen, are the articles giving women across the Universe incomparable advice on how to snag you, you prince charming you.

Here is what I say. You want answers? They are in the title. Don't click "read more" because you should be able to help yourself here.

First of all, if you are only meeting guys who just want one thing—whether it is sex or your wallet—you are clearly hanging around in the wrong areas. Dark alleys and sports bars after a hockey game is a definite no-no.

Second: Where to find love? Well, get off the couch and go outside. If you are behind a love profile maybe that is your problem; you can’t wear that to work. You have to brave the world anyhow, therefore hiding behind a picture of you from ten years ago is going to do you no good. Facebook does not love you back at the end of the day, well...maybe some of you it does.

How to stop dating bad boys you ask? Well, If a guy tells you the last book he read was Maxim or Captain Underpants: run.

Lastly: Ask and you shall receive. This is just a quandary if I ever read one. I ask the universe for things all the time: gum, gas cards, Brad Pitt,--but only Brad Pitt in that one part of Benjamin Button where he is young--- skittles, money, a yacht adorned with bottles of Crystal; I never receive. So if you are sitting at home making a recipe for the perfect man, I suggest you put the pen and paper down and go for a walk. The fresh air will do you good.

Sit back, live your life and someone who is right for you will find you...eventually. You are not going to die the proverbial cat-lady, you will not have to go gay, you just need to live your life. You can't search for stuff like this or read articles about how to fix this problem.

It's like looking for your car keys; you know you had them when you were driving home, but after that it's a loss until you erratically find them in the freezer.



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