Facebook, I Loathe Thee

I just couldn’t stand it anymore: I needed to see it from the inside. The average Facebook user seems to be reluctantly addicted. It is something like: “Yes, I’m on Facebook. I check it thirty times a day and I hate it but I keep coming back.”

In an emergency situation, they say the first 48-hours are the most crucial time to respond to the event. In this case, while severe addiction may qualify as an “emergency situation,” the first 48-hours have definitely been telling. Some things I’ve observed:

– Other users (they call them “friends”) are very happy that you’ve joined. Lots of jubilation is expressed via yaaays, whoo-hoos, horrays and some hurrahs.
– This jubilation is coupled, however, with a sort of razing. Phrases like “you caved,” “welcome to the dark side,” “welcome to the greatest waste of time on the internet,” “it was just a matter of time,” or even “ha ha ha,” are used to express the apparent joy shared by the community.
– Where are the British people? Are there only North Americans on Facebook? Or is my community just too Canada-centric to connect internationally?
– What a gross waste of time.

Anyhow, the up side is that I can play fake Scrabble with my sister and spend hours looking at class photos from the 80’s and 90’s. I had some good laffs and ohmigod! moments, which has made it worth while.

I know, I know: I’ve expressed my disdain for Facebook before. My foray into social networking started with a turn-of-the-millenium stint on Friendster, which I aborted abruptly one day. And I fear the same fate for Facebook. I only got into MySpace for The Dears, and I’m kind of only getting into Facebook for the same reason.

Only time will tell…lots and lots of poorly allocated, lonely and wasted time with my laptop.

Heartstabbing Internettery

Now I’m obsessed with DrownedInSound and Pitchfork. I usually try to avoid music media like the plague, for fear of reading something totally frustrating either about The Dears, or stumbling upon glowing words about something that is totally unmusical rubbish. Lately I can enjoy these sites because: 1) I’m resigned to these facts, and 2) Nobody writes about The Dears anymore anyhow so I can browse freely without accidentally getting stabbed in the heart by offhand remarks.

Speaking of which, here is a classic example of hilarious message boarding: Words that put you off listening to a particular artist or song (or 101 ways to legitimise hating something).

Could you imagine if we took what people said on message boards seriously? What if people had to live by their words, and were forced to strictly stand by everything they wrote? Shortsightedness aside, this is kind of a funny discussion about the laziness of journos and critics: you know, that whole pigeonholing thing that I’ve never been fond of. There are a lot of words out there. Very descriptive words that allow for precision in identifying an opinion. But since people don’t read anymore, our vocabularies are miniscule, and describing music as “stunning” is all we have left. Can we just have that and end it?

Oh, also have you seen this? It’s officially NOT cool to be Canadian anymore: Arcade Fire have revealed their American-ness. I knew the Butlers grew up in the States, but no…not Regine! Say it ain’t so! Funny how this kind of information reveals itself. Anyhow, it’s just another example of how confused Americans are, and how they long for identity and for lines to be clearly defined so they can understand things. Of course, Canadians don’t care. We’ll take it. We’ll claim anything and call it our own…especially if it’s successful. That’s the Canadian way: perpetual underdoggery.

Smiling is for Losers

I stumbled upon this comment about The Dears on the internet the other day:

“great band, saw them live in 2006. what i want to know is, why did [Murray] have a baby with that keyboard player? she’s pretty, but what a po-faced git she is! crack a smile love!” – from a comment on one of our videos on YouTube

What’s a “po-faced git”? I know it’s definitely an insult, but I may have to check the Wiki on this one…ok so Wikipedia was not useful, but I did find a definition of ‘po-faced’ as “…the look of insufficiently disguised distaste…” and ‘git’ as “…somebody regarded as totally worthless or useless.” Anyhow, the name-calling itself is less insulting than what this person says just before: “why did he have a baby with that keyboard player?” Now THAT is incredibly harsh. Obviously this person has never known the feeling of love, or of being loved, and that is the saddest thing of all.

And so, what blog-fueled bitchfest would be complete without a proper “in my defense” bit? I haven’t been smiling for years. Why should I start now? Actually, I have started to smile a bit more onstage. It’s just why should I smile and look happy and bop around if we’re performing sombre pop songs about loneliness, depression, revelation, love and hate, isolation and discovery? It’s heavy stuff and sometimes being jokey just is not appropriate. Dear sir, have you actually listened to a Dears song lately? Anyhow, I don’t really care; it’s not going to affect my onstage performance. I just am trying to understand why someone else would care so much?


On a totally random visit to Technorati (actually, not totally random, I wanted to check my “Authority” which is still pretty low), I searched for the term “Yanchak” in the blogs. To my surprise, three blogs turned up: one was mine, another wouldn’t load, and the third was a new site called simply Yanchak.com: The Official Home of the Yanchak Family and Family Reunion. I didn’t know there was an official site, and I was also was unaware of – and therefore absent at – the recent family reunion. These must be a new strain of Yanchak…I wonder where these organised Yanchaks are from? Though the name is from my dad’s Ukranian family, the website’s colour scheme (red and white) and imagery (white eagle), belies a definite Polish vibe.

A more careful search of “Yanchak” reveals…well, a lot of Yanchaks. Fittingly, the web reveals that Yanchaks are mainly either brainiac scientists (like my dad) or artists of some kind (like my mom). I did find, also, an article in which my sister, Laryssa Yanchak, got some big ups for playing a feisty barmaid in the new Brad Pitt movie with a long title: THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD. Her role was described, by the New York Observer, as a “far-from-unenticing female distraction from an essentially male-oriented narrative.” Haven’t seen the movie yet, but seeing my sister larger-than-life, on an enormous theatre screen will be weird.

The Why? Blog (Contains Darkness)

Why are we fascinated with suffering? Obviously we try to avoid all forms of suffering, yet we can’t leave it be. Take the “coming of age” story: growing up is the single most definite, painful, and – dare I say – excruciating ten years of our lives (for some it never ends). The sucky thing is that adolescence gets piled right on top of whatever other crap life had in store: poverty, hunger, hateful family, bad luck, bad health, bad breaks, or just plain being born under the wrong sign. Just when life seems like its going to start to get interesting, it turns to bollocks. Right when the idea of independence ruminates, when self-awareness buds, the sh*t-storm gathers in the sky and rains down, long and hard. So then why were “The Wonder Years” and “Malcolm in the Middle” so huge? Because we love the pain. We glory in escaping from our own pathetic lives into someone else’s more pathetic life. Masochists! Bring on the crap, because we’re all in it. We are it. It’s therapudic, because together we’re all beautifully pathetic and unfortunate losers.

The Naming of the Blog

Picking a username is like picking a dj name. I used to dj before everyone was a dj: I was pre-iPod. I lugged a huge carrier bag of CDs (ridiculously, still in their cases) to the Bifteck two or three nights a week. Then I destroyed the shoulder strap (and my shoulder) of several Salvation Army-acquired bags carrying vintage Phase 4 and Perez Prado vinyls to Blizzarts Sunday nights. That’s where I was implored to come up with something more clever than: “DJ Natalia” or the even more hated: “DJ Natalia Yanchak.” They were printing flyers and even though nobody came to our night, I agonized over the name. Still I came up with nothing. Its idiotic. I already have a name. That’s what a name is for: to identify youself. So. Welcome to my blog, aptly named after me, the author. What to expect? I’m not sure yet, but I assume it will shape itself. I can only guarantee the occasional nugget of darkness, which attracts us to blogs in the first place.