It really is the “Same Love”

I just bought the album "The Heist" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. I'm not going to lie: I bought it because the song "Thrift Shop" is fantastic and the video is simply hilarious. But as I went on listening to the album, I heard this song: "Same Love." The song features Mary Lambert, and to get the full effect, you definitely need to watch the music video. It is extremely well done and left me in tears.

In a blog post about the song, Macklemore says,

This song is a humble submission to help bring this conversation to the surface, so that we can reflect on the language we use, and how powerful it can be. Rethinking, and understanding the gravity of how we communicate with each other. Change happens when dialogue happens. When we confront our prejudice and are honest with ourselves, there is room for growth, and there is room for justice.

Change does indeed happen when dialogue occurs. And that reminds me of a post I had saved in "draft" status on this site because  I wasn't sure if I wanted to publish it. Essentially, my grandfather likes to send me various political messages via email and when I talk to him on the phone. Our views tend to diverge on many issues (case and point: he's voting for Romney). However, he sent me an email a few months ago right after President Obama came out publicly in support of gay marriage. My grandfather was appalled that Obama would take a stand on what he saw as a "states' rights issue." I took a deep breath and replied:

I respectfully disagree with your view of Obama. You are correct that marriage is, in most senses, a states' rights issue. Actually there this strange, somewhat unspoken doctrine in federal law where federal courts will not touch a family law issue, even if they unquestionably have jurisdiction. It's unlike anything else in the law. However, obviously President Obama's statement was in response to North Carolina's adoption yesterday of its anti-gay marriage amendment. The difference here is that, yes, while states may choose many things for themselves, there are certain issues that are not up to discussion, constitutionally-speaking. Gay marriage rights are by no means universally recognized, but there is budding recognition from the Supreme Court down that, regardless of one's views, mere animus towards gays is not a permissible stance on such issues has who is entitled to be able to marry. I submit to you that the gay marriage issue is absolutely no different than anit-miscegenation laws that plagued this country such a few decades ago. It is now settled that mere animus towards African-Americans is not a permissible stance for states to take. Gay marriage is no different, regardless of how its opponents feel.
As far as which candidate is best for our country, I definitely come from the school that neither is a great choice. However, I stand strong for the one man who won't stand silent in the face of hate.
Love you guys.
So wherever you currently stand on the gay-marriage debate, just realize that, gay or straight, it really is the "Same Love."

Hiking at Switzer Falls, Angeles National Forest

Want breathtaking views just a short drive from LA? The 4-mile hike to Switzer Falls in the Angeles National Forest is just want the doctor ordered. Here are a few shots I took last time I went.

How to Do a Google Vanity Search

Well I was surprised to see that my site has flown to the top of Google search results for something I just mentioned in passing: Google vanity searches. Yes, I admit that I'm a frequent Google vanity searcher. It's quite interesting to see where one's name appears out on the wild wild web. One can also (electronically) meet their fellow name-sharers -- an interesting experience to say the least. Even more interesting is that there are quite a few posts on the web on how to do a Google vanity search. Well, I figured since Google thinks I'm an expert on the topic I'd post the definitive how-to guide. Here goes.

What is a Google vanity search?

A Google vanity search, also called "egosurfing," is when one searches for his or her own name on Google to view the pages from across the web that contain that name. Google vanity searches presumably include the word "vanity" because one may say that it is narcissistic to think that there are websites around the web that really are interested in using one's name and publishing posts about a particular, non-celebrity person. Well, one would be surprised at what's out there in the electronic jungle.

Why perform a Google vanity search?

Because it's fun! Besides a way to cure boredom, Google vanity searches do serve an important purpose. They're a great way for people to evaluate their online presence and determine in what areas they are the most popular. For example, an upcoming actor may want to see if she or he has been reviewed by critics or had their works mentioned in blog and other news posts. I have personally used vanity searches to determine where my name or business is being painted in negative way or if my content is being used without my permission or proper citation. I then contact the poster or the website and get the issue resolved. It works! Vanity search results can be scary though; who knows how and where your name might be used. And once your name is posted somewhere on the web, it's next to impossible to get it removed (or at least to get it removed quickly).

How to perform a Google vanity search

  1. Navigate your internet browser to (sure, any other search engine will work here too).
  2. In the search box type your name in quotes (e.g., "Jared Olen"). Quotes mean that Google will return search results first that contain the words exactly as they appear between the quotes. Thus in my example, results for "Olen Jared" would not appear (or at least not near the top of the results). Also note that if you use your middle name or middle initial a lot like I do then you'll have to do another search with that initial.
  3. Click "Search."
  4. Browse the search results. If you're not too familiar with reading search results you might not be able to easily differentiate between important hits and unimportant ones. What I mean is that some strange-looking URLs will show up in the results, but these websites are really just compiling content or mashing content from other sites together. Look at the URLs (the website addresses) and only pay attention to the ones that look like they came from a real website (usually because they're .com's, .org's, etc.).
  5. Enjoy. Or not. If you find some "bad press," don't hesitate to try to resolve the issue with the poster of the information or the website owner. It's your name after all.

Sharing a Name

I just did a Google vanity search (come on, you know you do it too!) and stumbled across a "Share Your Story" page on the March of Dimes website. Apparently back in 2008 a mother began posting about her son's struggle to survive after being born with various health problems. So what's so special about this little guy? Well, he and I share a name -- two names to be exact. Jared Olen and I both have the exact same name. I've never met or heard about anyone before that had the same exact name as me. This is quite a different experience.

I just commented on one of the posts on the page, so I hope to hear back from Jared's mother. I will definitely update if/when I hear something. You can see the posts at I hope he's doing well. I will channel some strong Jared Olen energy to my fellow name-sharer!