The only bona fide celebrity that I tweet is Judge Alex. Russ Carney may be well known among screen writers for all I know, but among the general public I don't think he has celebrity status. I communicate via responses to blogs with Matt, who may very well be famous in the UK, but I don't know that for a fact. For that matter, neither do I care. I like people for who they are and not because of absence or presence of celebrity status. Still, the dynamic of celebities communicating with fans is interesting. It's something that wasn't practical before the Internet, and especially before the arrival of Twitter.
My mother would greatly prefer that I not pester Judge Alex with my trivial questions and comments. If she paid more attention and realized that I occasionally correspond via tweet or blog responses to Russ Carney and Matt, she'd probably tell me to quit pestering them as well. She finds my tweets to Judge Alex a major source of embarrassment. I don't tweet under my actual name, so unless she tells others about it, no one who knows me except my closest friends and the relatives who spy on me through this blog and Twitter will ever know that the tweeter in question is her daughter. Beyond that, it's not as though I'm discussing sex or anything of such a delicate nature with Judge Alex or anyone else online. I have mentioned certain cyclical matters in correspondence with my online friend Rebecca, but she's in my age bracket and female, so it shouldn't be an issue where my mom and her embarrassment are concerned.
Anyway, I'm not sure if my mom thinks she is going to run into the judge on one of her infrequent trips to Southern California or even less frequent trips to Florida, and he's going to take one look at her and exclaim, "Oh my God! You're the mother of that awful Alexis who keeps pestering me with her inane tweets! How could you give birth to and raise such a pitiful creature?!?!?" or if she has some other scenario in mind in which she is outed as the guardian of The Pesky Tweeter. She knows I'm not breaking any laws or, other than one question that may have been a bit out of line, even violating Internet etiquette, so she doesn't forbid me from tweeting Judge Alex or anyone else. I rarely mention any Twitter interactions with Judge Alex or any other adult to my parents (I don't really have to because every keystroke on my computer goes to my parents' computers as well, so if they check, they can see everything I type), but often when she sees me typing she'll ask, "You're not bothering that Judge Alex again, are you?" Fewer than two times out of one thousand do I have to answer affirmatively. Still she persists in worrying.
Judge Alex sometimes responds to my tweets. His schedule for responding is something that eludes me. Because my mom is a psychologist, I've been exposed to learning theory, including the work of B. F. Skinner and his schedules of reinforcement. His idea was that there are four basic patterns of reinforcing behaviors: fixed interval, variable interval, fixed ratio, and variable ratio. I won't explain the terms because my more intelligent readers either already know about them from Psych 101, or they'll figure it out because the terms are reasonably self-descriptive. My less astute readers, who are probably limited to my relatives on a certain side of the family, wouldn't understand even if I explained in language a four-year-old would typically comprehend.
Anyway, my project for my Statistics class is to identify and produce evidence supporting my theory of what determines when Judge Alex does and does not respond to my tweets. My instructor has said that I cannot tweet him more frequently than I have in the past for the purpose of producing data because to do so would skew the results. Furthermore, I wouldn't do that anyway, because I value Judge Alex's time enough that I would not fill up his "@judgealexferrer" page with needless tweets. I, therefore, must determine, based on over a year's worth of tweets posing questions to him (tweets merely commenting to him won't be used in study) whether the judge's pattern for answering me is entirely random or if it fits a reinforcement schedule. Does he answer one out of eight of my tweeted questions, or does he respond to me once every twenty days, or do his responses vary more? He's walking a tightrope in dealing with mildly annoying people such as myself. He surely doesn't want to respond with such frequency that he encourages me to become his daily pen pal, but he's in the entertainment industry and uses his Twitter page as a tool for connecting with fans and increasing the number of viewers of his television program. For that reason, he probably doesn't wish to alienate tweeters and lose viewers in the process even if said tweeters and viewers annoy him slightly.
A major variable for which I may not be able to control is the judge's schedule and just how busy he is at any given time, although it's possible I can look at his other FB and Twitter activity during specific intervals of the time period examined and factor that in as well. My instructor says he is willing to read all the tweets and provide an objective adult opinion as to whether any given tweeted question was too silly to be taken seriously by an adult, and that I should probably have one other adult do the same. I certainly won't involve either of my parents. I'll probably politely ask a staff member at my treatment facility to take on the job. God knows my parents' insurance carriers or the school district or my attackers' parents or whoever is paying for my treatment is forking over a truckload of money. It's the least these people can do for me. If the reading material is all printed out and highlighted, it shouldn't be a terribly cumbersome task, and if it were a member of the psychological staff performing it, reading the questions I asked would perhaps give the person some insight into my state of psychosis (or preferably my lack of a state of psychosis) before the incident triggered my sleep difficulties and general state of paranoia (except it's not necessarily paranoia when the fears are based on something that everyone except the perpetrators and their parents agrees really happened).
My grades in four of my classes will be based primarily upon project grades. I've already completed my literature class composition, which deals primarily with comparing poetry of Shakespeare, Housman, and Frost with work of mid-to-late nineteenth century lyricists, since poetry has all but disappeared from the modern culture except in the form of rap music, which is really poetry and not music. Comparing the works of the masters with rap "lyrics" (it's a stretch to call rap "music," and lyrics are words set to music, so the words to rap "songs," while sometimes profound in their own unique way, are not technically lyrics in my opinion) but I couldn't have stood to read, listen to, or write about rap to the extent that would be required for my project. I'm not putting down those who do enjoy rap, which is a population extending from the majority of people in my age bracket all the way to individuals over thirty, and even older with some demographic groups. Since hearing much of it gives me a headache, I'll leave the analysis of it to my brother and others who enjoy it more than I.
I still need projects for Independent Study Government and APAIS (Advanced Placement Advanced Independent Studies). The research will probably be the same, or partly the same, for both courses, but the papers submitted will be different. I feel lazy for not having even started the projects for these two classes, but realistically, once I nail down the topics and collect the data, writing the papers will take very little time. I'd like to be finished with at least one of the two projects before winter vacation. Actually I'd like to be finished with both before winter vacation, but my teachers will be less than thrilled if I reappear at school at some point near the beginning of February with all of my work for the entire year already completed. Idle hands perform the Devil's work, or something like that. On the other hand, I don't have to show the completed projects to the teachers, so maybe I'll get as much finished as I can before going back to school full-time. I've already decided that the topics will somehow focus on "Judge Alex." The quotation marks indicate that the research and topics will focus on the "Judge Alex" courtroom television program as opposed to Alex Ferrer, the person. For Government, it's an easy tie-in, as small claims courts are a not insignificant part of the judicial branch of government. APAIS is so loosely defined that almost no project would be rejected if it involved sufficient research and writing.
If I so desire, I'll get extra credit in the APAIS course by assisting two students who are writing a musical, but I don't want to rely on that project as my sole criteria for a grade in the course because I'm concerned about the direction the other two students are headed with it. I don't mind helping them; I just don't want a substandard grade on my transcript if the others can't be convinced to make a few revisions. (Certain parts of what I've read are less than cohesive and don't entirely make sense.)
I'm here until early Monday morning, at which time Daddy and I will take a flight back to an airport near my treatment facility. It's after 4:00 a.m. and I'm still wide awake, so it seems apparent that my sleep difficulties are still with me. I'm not particularly stressed out about it, though. Instead of worrying, I try to use the extra waking hours productively. Then when feel like sleeping, I will have lots of time for it.
Móra na maidine dhuit!
P.S. My friend Matt has posted a very thought-provoking story on his blog. Read it if you have time. http://notamormon.blogspot.com/
P.P.S. Great job again, Matt!
P.P.P.S. Rebecca, I hope you are getting better!