Let yourself entertain you - for free

February 12, 2009 

If these tough economic times have taught me anything, it's that we are our own best entertainment.

I say this in only a somewhat cheeky way because in this age of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and more, the cheapest, most reliable and surprisingly entertaining option turns out to be, well, us.

Cheaper than a movie ticket, less exorbitant than your cable bill, we are endlessly entertaining and for the most part totally free, save for whatever Internet service provider fee you are already paying because, sheesh, this is 2009 -- who doesn't already have online access?

In fact, I would be willing to wager a small fortune of my modest reporter's salary that one of the best things you've read/seen/experienced recently (besides, of course, all the wonderful work here in The Bee, ahem) came in the form of an epic overshare.

What, you don't know about the overshare? Well, you clearly have the wrong sort of friends.

The overshare is our current national obsession.

It's the odd compulsion to post the most intimate, most inane, most intricate details of our personal life on the Internet for all the world, galaxy and universe to see.

In short, it's fantastic.

Well, fine, it might not really be that fantastic if you're the one doing the sharing because, dude, boundaries.

But if you're on the other receiving end of the sharing, it's a gold mine of totally entertaining, not always appropriate minutia.

What is your old high school flame having for dinner?

See a photo of the enormous burrito she posted on Twitter.

Why did your best friend from college leave her husband?

Read the six-page essay she posted on her Facebook page.

How are your co-workers handling their not-so-secret inter-office affair?

Status update: It's complicated.

Taken individually, these things aren't really all that interesting. (Well, the six-page essay was riveting.)

But taken as a whole, they provide a snapshot into the everyday lives of people you might otherwise normally exchange hellos with only in the parking lot of cards at Christmas.

And, on a more universal level, it's a fascinating look into the human psyche.

Why on earth do we feel the need to share these things?

And why on earth are we so willing to read them?

Simple curiosity? Maybe.

A never-ending need to validate our own existence? Possibly.

The total eradication of the shame gene? You betcha.

At times it seems the things that are meant to bring us closer together really drive us further apart.

The instant, world-wide communication of the Internet is great. But in the end what you still really have are two people, alone, in front of their computer screens.

So maybe the overshare is our way of bridging the vastness of time and space we create in our electronically intertwined lives.

Could this be our generation's primal scream into the void?

Heck, I don't know.

But I do know they sure are fun to read.

Elsewhere around the Scene:

Still don't have something special for that someone special?

Then call the Golden Valley Barbershop Chorus and sign up for its Singing Valentines Program.

The group will deliver singing valentines -- complete with a love song, silk rose, card and photo -- to your sweetie's home, school, business or wherever.

A quartet from of the Golden Valley Barbershop Chorus will arrive in white tuxedos. The program will run from

8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Saturday throughout the Modesto and Merced area.

The Valengrams are $40 each. For a reservation in Modesto, call 869-6298; in Merced, call 383-3808. ...

After a nice romantic evening Saturday, spend Sunday night partying it up.

The Brave Bull celebrates its 35th anniversary Sunday as a popular gay- and lesbian-friendly nightspot. The event will includes raffles, prize giveaways, exotic male dancers and a drag show hosted Miss Anjali and the Brave Bull-ettes. Doors open at 7 p.m. No cover, 21 and older only. ...

And finally, the first-ever Christian Artist Search is looking for the area's most spiritual singers.

The "American Idol"-style search is being sponsored by 101.5 FM KAMB Christian radio in Merced and The Creation Lab Recording Studios in Turlock.

The winner will record a professionally produced song that will be played on KAMB, $1,000 and more.

The contest is open to U.S. residents over the age of 14. Singers must fill out an entry form and send in a demo, photo and biography.

Deadline to apply is March 9. The winner will be announced on or after May 2.

To enter, visit celebationrardio.com.

Bee entertainment writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at 578-2284 or mrowland@modbee.com. Read her blog SceneIt at thehive.modbee.com/sceneit.

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