Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Get Out Of My Facebook, Politics

Given our climate and the recent downpour of politco updates on my newsfeed, I thought I'd share this addition to thought catalog...

Get Out Of My Facebook, Politics
Sep. 14, 2012
“Facebook is the perfect platform for constructive political discourse,” said no one ever. Like, EVER. Even Taylor Swift agrees. But really, the only political thinking Facebook was made for is the kind you do when wondering whether or not to de-friend someone. The only thing I really want to know from your Facebook is who you’re dating, where you went to school, and whether or not you got fat. I’m not interested in your paraphrased version of some article you read in The Atlantic last week… because Facebook is just not the place for it.

It was literally not made for it.

Facebook originally started as a website to make snap judgements… like whether or not someone was hot based on a single photo. It’s come a long way since then, but I still don’t think it’s any esteemed forum for political change. “Liking” a political figure or someone’s comment is not the same as voting or forming an opinion about something like healthcare in real life. Facebook was made for broadcasting and disseminating likes and generalities… not discussing them at length. Everything from the small size of the status box to the caption under your photos is meant for brevity. Facebook is meant for generalties, not specifics. And unfortunately, politics is nothing but messy specifics. Facebook just isn’t the place to spout long-winded arguments and opinions. Logistically, it’s almost a  misuse of the site, and aesthetically, it just looks bad to the eyeballs.

Facebook encourages extremes.

In this same respect, Facebook reduces peoples’ opinions to dichotomies. Left or Right. Liberal or Conservative. Care or Don’t Care. With such limited space, it’s difficult NOT to sound politically extreme on Facebook. And to me, this is dangerous. Because, in real life, is anyone really 100% Left or Right? I think people and ideas are too dynamic. Not that we should all become moderates, or that I want to make a statement about party politics, but in terms of Facebook, this extremism makes it difficult to respect others’ opinions (especially those on the opposite end of the spectrum). Rather than emphasizing commonalities, I think Facebook highlights our differences with very little room for real conversation and explanation. And this makes it hard to have the kind of discussions necessary for positive change and improvement.

Fairweather Politicos.

Around election time, Facebook suddenly becomes ripe with political minded stati, links, pictures and comments. And unless you hide half of your “friends,” it can be exhausting to just look at. So herein lies another problem… the Fairweather Politicos. And Facebook encourages them. No need for months of prior election interest or doing anything other than catching bits of news by flipping past CNN or watching 15 min of The Colbert Report. You need not explain your thoughts on the Democratic Convention any further than 1-2 sentences idly crafted on your iPhone or typed behind the safety of your computer screen. While it can be hard not to chime in on something everyone else seems to be talking about, I don’t think one more lazy voice in a din of garbage will do much good. Facebook just makes it easy to spit anything out, and in terms of politics, this isn’t good. Politics is often about choosing your words carefully, and on Facebook, it’s a chaotic free-for-all… which doesn’t foster any serious discussion, political or not.
It’s not that we can’t have politcial opinions or express them virtually, but I would hazard a guess that most of us are not experts. Or even moderately so. And Facebook leaves a lot of room for thoughtless comments and remarks that you can’t really take back. It’s this spread of thoughtless politics, not politics in general, that I’m not a fan of. I just think there are better avenues to express them, and we should utilize these rather than leaving a string of provocative comments on someone’s ultra conservative status. Because I have yet to change my vote based on a comment… but maybe that’s just me?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Shrimp Burgers? Say What?

So, as many of you know, I currently have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. For those of you not aware of its power, it has the charm of the Lotus Eaters in it's ability to entertain and inspire while taking up colossal amounts of lost time. However, Pinterest and my new favorite blog, introduced me to a recipe that has completely blown me away and will, not surprisingly, take over your taste buds...
Forewarning, I know that the words shrimp and burger don't necessarily sound like they go well together, but once you try these babies, you'll agree that they're a match made in heaven.
Ok!  To start off, whisk together the mayo (the recipe calls for light, but I just used regular), green onions, parsley, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and garlic.
Process a slice or two of whole wheat bread in the food processor to form crumbs.  You’ll need 3/4 cup of crumbs, but the number of slices needed to produce this amount will vary depending on the type of bread you use.  You could use white bread to make your crumbs too. Instead, I stumbled upon this delicious gem while shopping at the HEB. Same effect, twice the flavor!
Next process the shrimp until there’s a mixture of finely chopped pieces and larger chunks. Be careful and don't pulse them too much or they'll turn to mush.
Gently fold the bread crumbs and shrimp into the mayo mixture.
Gently form the mixture into patties. You may want to make them a little on the thin side so they don't fall apart or burn too easily. 
Cover the patties and refrigerate them for 30 minutes.  I ended up leaving them in for closer to 45, so they were more firm and easier to handle. 
A nonstick skillet is really useful for this recipe.  You can use a regular skillet, but you’ll need more oil or butter, and your burgers might stick even then. I used olive oil and added a small amount just to cover the bottom of the pan and to make sure that they didn't stick too much. 
Gently place the shrimp patties into the pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side.  The cooking time will depend on how thick your patties are, of course.
Serve as-is, with lemon wedges on the side, or on buns with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce. I used homemade herb mayo (basil, italian seasoning, dill, parsley, and mayo)
Shrimp Burgers
Serves 4
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
Lemon wedges (for serving)

1/2 cup of Goya Breadcrumbs
1 pound extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined 
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 scallions, sliced thin

1. Add the shrimp to the food processor, pulse the shrimp until there is an even mix of finely minced and coarsely chopped pieces, about 7 pulses.
2. Whisk the mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and garlic together in a large bowl until uniform. Gently fold into the processed shrimp and breadcrumbs until just combined.
3. Scrape the shrimp mixture onto a small baking sheet, divide it into 4 equal portions, and loosely pack each into a 1 inch-thick patty. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
4. Heat the oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Gently place the shrimp patties into the pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side.  The cooking time will depend on how thick your patties are, of course.
5. When plated, gently squeeze lemon on all patties and serve on a toasted wheat bun. Then enjoy it with someone you love :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Joys of Home Ownership

Brad and I can't deny that we love having a place of our own but sometimes being a homeowner has it's trials and in our case, a hole in our roof.

On Friday, we had all intentions of coming home after work, throwing our stuff together, grabbing the little one, and hitting the road to spend the weekend in Dallas with the familia. Our house, however, had other plans for us.

I was about 5 minutes from the house when I'm on the phone with Brad and he says, "Shit, I think we have a hole in the roof. It's raining inside the house." I get off the phone with him so he can expect the situation and speed home.

I come to find out that we not only have a slight hole in our roof, it has been unbeknownst to us, been raining on our poor baby. Manny was minding his own business in his crate when the water from the ceiling started falling on his head. Luckily, it wasn't a gusher, otherwise, Manny would have been even more upset than he already was.

We called our friends asking for suggestions for roofers and left countless messages with no avail. After looking at the forecast and the sky, we then had to make the difficult decision to postpone our trip. Rain was definitely in the forecast and we just didn't feel safe leaving our holey roof alone for the whole weekend. We're sad that we didn't get to see our family, especially my baby brother who was visiting from Iowa, but we'll try another weekend soon.

Thankfully, Rocky the Roofer, is back from vacation and is on the case! Hopefully we'll have a diagnosis soon and estimate that won't annihilate our bank account.

About Mariam

Life is sweet

Life is sweet

And they lived happily ever after

And they lived happily ever after

One day a beautiful Jewish girl met a nice Jewish boy and made their mothers very, very, very happy

One day a beautiful Jewish girl met a nice Jewish boy and made their mothers very, very, very happy

About Me

For those of you who know me, writing has always been one of my passions, with the exception of my Masters or any ridiculously long testament within the wide world of Academia. I've only had the pleasure of blogging a couple of times, mostly for a few classes in graduate school, but figured it was time to organize my numerous thoughts and musings with all of you out there in cyber land. I created this page because my mind is always running and often times my thoughts get lost in the hubub. Plus, my friends have always said that I'm a great storyteller, so I'd love to share them now with you. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this... Throughout the past 33 years of my life I've seen, heard, and experienced so many different things as well as had many adventures and dream of so many possibilities. But in short, what it comes down to is this..I'm just a little Jubana trying to make a difference in the world. Everyday I live my life to the fullest and have fun doing it. Life can't always be about work or how much money you make. There's so much more to life than that.