Facebook Free

It’s funny how things work, right?  You’re thinking about something when you get a sign that confirms it or completely changes your mind.
I was thinking as I was driving to work this morning that Facebook has become a huge “time sink”.  I spend too much time checking it and play a few games on it, especially in the evening.  Sure, it’s convenient for keeping tabs on hundreds of “friends” and letting them know what I’m doing, sharing pictures, etc., but it’s burning up time I could be using to do other things, like writing.  I manage to get blog posts written, and poems, and even flash fiction, but longer stories, the kind that could potentially become books, aren’t going to write themselves while I’m on Facebook.
So, I get to work, check my email, pop open the news and there’s an article about “screen time” sucking the life out of us.  I can’t get away from “screen time” completely, if I’m going to use my computer to write, but it will be positive time instead of negative, wasted time.
If I wasn’t waiting for a message back from a business to whom I’d sent a Facebook private message last night, I’d have suspended/disabled/whataver-FB-calls-it my account this morning.  Tonight, whether I hear from them or not, I’m unplugging from Facebook, at least for a while.

Music Monday – Slippery When Wet

I finally found iHeartRadio.com at work about two months ago when Last.fm started having bandwidth problems and because I’m too cheap to pay Pandora to get more than the 40 hours of free music a month.  My first iHeartRadio station, naturally, was their 80s station.  Awesome!  I also played their 60s station, Bluestown, and Jammin’ Oldies.

A couple weeks ago, I saw Slippery When Wet in the station list.  Bon Jovi being my favorite band, I checked it out.  It plays hair, flair, classic metal, 80s hard, heavy and speed metal, among other rock types.  There’s plenty of Crue, Priest, Maiden, Ozzy, Cinderella, Rush, Sammy, Ratt, and, of course, Bon Jovi.  Dokken, Sabbath, Dio, Scorps, Leppard, and Riot also get lots of play.  So far, I’ve also learned that Queen and Styx are verboten because the Classic Rock station plays them to death. Grunge doesn’t make the list either.

How’d I get some of the specifics?  While listening to the broadcast, a “commercial” came on letting listeners know that they could become friends with Slippery When Wet through Facebook and make requests “like this instant Facebook request.”  Really?  Yep.  I hit Facebook, searched for Slippery When Wet, liked the page, and submitted a request.  I logged out of Facebook and was expecting to wait for a while, but as soon as the song that had already been playing finished, my request hit the airwaves.  I was stoked.  Talk about responsive to his listeners.  I logged back into Facebook and he’d commented on my request, welcoming me to Slippery When Wet and told me that he tries to respond as quickly as possible unless work pulls him away.  [At this point, I’m not sure if he somehow manages to run this stati0n while holding down some other full-time job or if he’s in the music business.]  I was hooked.  I posted a status update about the station and how cool it is.

So, about the specifics…  I made a few requests and learned about the classic rock prohibition.  I made a few more requests and asked a few questions.  He played “See You In Hell” in response to my request for Grim Reaper, played Slade’s “Run Runaway”, said Damn Yankees was good in response to my request for Styx.  He didn’t have Cinderella’s “Through the Rain”, but he played “Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin’ Apart at the Seams“. He didn’t have Zed Yago, but hooked me up when I asked for Steelheart’s “I’ll Never Let You Go”.

Honestly, I don’t know if the person answering the requests on Facebook is a guy or a girl or a group of folks, but the announcer’s voice on the commercials is male and it’s that voice I hear when I’m reading the comments/posts on the Facebook page.

If you like metal, hard rock, and hair/flair/glamour rock, give Slippery When Wet radio a listen on iHeartRadio.  You’ll probably like it!

Friends will let you down

For all my friends, including my wife, who’ve been having problems with their “friends”, I dedicate this post.

I’ve had this discussion with my wife a number of times about how she uses the term friend much more loosely than I do.  Her use has always been much more like Facebook’s, which is to lump most everyone into a group she calls friends.  While I have almost 400 ‘friends’ on Facebook, I can count the number of real friends I have on one, maybe two hands.  These are people who I would go out of my way to help if they needed it and, more importantly, I believe they would do the same for me.  The majority of the rest of my friends list is made up of acquaintances and co-workers.  Now, that’s not to say I don’t care about the folks on my friends list…I do, and I am more than willing to be an ear (or set of eyes) via email and Facebook to listen to you vent, discuss what may be going on in your life if you need someone to talk to about it, but I’m not going to be hopping a plane to come visit if you need a hug or a slap upside the head…and that’s the difference.  With my real friends, if they asked or I thought they needed it, I’d be on their doorstep ASAP to help out or smack some sense into them and expect no less in return.  From those I call friends, I would never expect any of the behavior described by Jody Watley in her big hit featuring Eric B. & Rakim:

“Smiles they hide behind
Never know what’s on their mind
Could be true deception
Jealousy and envy reign
Never want to see you get ahead
They just hold you back”

Back to the subject of this post, though, I think that when people have trouble with “friends” they should take a good look at whether that person is/was really a friend.  If they are/were, it is probably worth making the effort to fix the problem.  If they aren’t/weren’t, there’s probably no need to bother…and certainly no need to worry about it.

BTW…Don’t ask me which list you fall into.  I’ll not tell you and if you’re one of my real friends, you shouldn’t need to ask if you are.

Check out the video for Jody Watley’s “Friends”…

Random Hairs

Random Hair on My ArmI was sitting around checking FaceBook on my phone…(Android, BTW, I’m an iHater)… when I noticed this dark hair sprouting from my arm.

When the hell did that get there?

I’m not a very hirsute guy. I’ve got an average amount of hair on my arms and legs, a lot of thick hair on my head (except for the nearly bare spot on top-back), and a small to average amount on my chest. I can grow a wicked-thick mustache and, for lack of a better word, soul patch, but it takes about a week for a beard to look like more than just unshaved stubble…and I’m quite certain I could never grow “Da Beard.”  So, what’s with the random single hairs that just pop up out of the blue where no other hair is growing?? And I really do mean pop up…like yesterday it wasn’t there and today…”Whoomp! There it is!” [hehehe…couldn’t help myself]

It’s kind of like that “speak of the Devil and he appears” thing…okay, not really. I wasn’t talking about hairs before it showed up.


Put on your Big Girl Panties

I’m sure there are those out there who will be offended by the title of this post.  To that I say “Too Bad!  Put on your big girl panties and stop your crying.”  That’s the whole point of this post.

We’re rapidly becoming…nope…we have become a nation of fops, hyper sensitive to any gentle nudge on our egos, much less a pimp-smack, in your face confrontation that leads to a moment of self-realization which could, in turn, lead to self-actualization.  [Wow…didn’t intend to get so deep on this post.  I’m going to take a minute here and absorb what I just wrote.]

This post started when I realized that I had been dropped by a “friend” on Facebook.  Yes, I can see you all thinking “Pot…kettle,” but, no, I’m not overly sensitive and posting because I’m mad or sad or glad.  I’m posting because I’m fairly sure I got dropped because of something I posted as a comment to this “friend” a couple weeks back.  This “friend’s” favorite team in the world lost their college Bowl game.  In posts after that game, I made it known that I thought his team had been over-rated all year and this friend, another person, and I went back and forth about the team a bit.  A couple weeks later, an NFL game is on and we’re all three commenting on the game.  Some play was called one way or another (I can’t recall the details clearly) and this “friend” starts talking about how that was exactly how a play in the Bowl game had happened and if those refs had ruled the same way the NFL game’s refs ruled, the game would have gone differently.  I told this “friend” to (paraphrased due to poor recall — maybe I need some Ginkgo biloba) “Get over it.  Your team lost their Bowl game.”  “Friend” replied something about the team again and I replied by asking “Has anyone ever told you that you have an unhealthy obsession with [insert team name]?”  So, you be the judge.  Was I too hard on this “friend?”

On the other hand, I have a couple friends that I went to high school with who are so entertaining in their busting on each other that they really should have a radio show.  The are both staunch supporters of their college teams and week in and week out, they sling mud, throw punches, and even throw in the occasional low blow…all virtual…on Facebook…for the reading pleasure of all of us on their friend lists.  Of course, many others, including me, join in every now and then, and it’s completely possible that a rare comment strikes a real nerve, but it doesn’t stop the fun.

My point here is this:  I don’t intentionally try to hurt people’s feelings.  Usually, if I don’t think someone can handle what I have to say, I don’t say it, or post it in the case of Facebook.  So, on the few times that I do cross over the line into someone’s personal virtual space, I expect to either be virtually chastised for being insensitive or privately told that what I said was hurtful.  In the future, I will try not to cross the line again.  I’m not completely insensitive.

On the other hand, if you’re one of those folks who are so fragile that everything wounds you deeply, you probably don’t need to be on Facebook.

Working Hard or Hardly Working

originally posted 3/16/2009 4:18 pm

I’m a geek!

I freely admit that I am, although I am way out-geeked by some folks I know.

Like millions of others, geeks and non-geeks alike, I am also on Facebook.  Like a smaller population of Facebook users, I play a number of the games created by Zenga for users to play for free.  I still haven’t joined the gazillions of folks playing the pay-to-play online games like World of Warcraft, but I digress.  The Zenga games I play involve a few basic actions:  create your persona, use energy to do missions, buy properties to increase your hourly currency so you can buy more abilities/weapons/etc so you can do more missions.  Throw in level increases based on experience and you’ve got a very rudimentary RPG.  I love RPGs (role-playing games) and am still playing Dungeons & Dragons with paper, books, and dice.  (I know, off topic again.)  So, these games also allow you to attack other players to gain experience and currency.  I don’t get into this much myself, but there are some folks I know who love to do this.

I hit my Facebook account a few times a day at minimum.  At least a couple times a day, I go to the games I play, do missions until my energy is gone, spend or bank my currency and logoff.  Yes, I am able to hit Facebook from my computer at work, and yes, I do hit it now and then (during periods of downtime, over lunch when I’m still at my desk, or for a two minute break from coding —see my job is even geek) to change my status or even hit the games quickly.  When I open the games I usually have notes that I was attacked by someone or someones, frequently multiple times if they beat me.

Recently, I’ve noticed an interesting trend which lead to this post.  When do you think the heaviest hits on my characters takes place?  Over the weekend or evening/night during the typical work week?  Nope.  I see very little activity on the weekend.  Almost all the real damage to my personas and their properties takes place during what would be considered by most to be the standard work day in the North American time zones.  Now, as I’ve said, I do ocassionally hit these games during the day, but the amount of time I spend compared to the amount of time it takes for all the attacks I suffer during the day is very small.

I know a guy who keeps one of these games open for a large percentage of his time at work so he can do missions and attack other gamers.  He also watches for when he gets attacked to that he can respond.  As far as I know, he is the only one in his office who does this, but I have to wonder how many of these guys are out there at work with their game of choice open all day.  Add this time to time spent reading news, chatting with co-workers, etc. and you can easily see where my title came from.

Now, some would argue that if we block sites so people can’t get to these time wasters, productivity would go up.  I fervently believe otherwise.  Block these sites and people will spend more time talking, reading print media, etc.  The only way to increase productivity is to have something productive for people to do and have a manager who makes sure they are getting the job done.  If the workers get their jobs done quickly, let them be rewarded by a few minutes of downtime.  Let them take a quick break from a stressful task to hit a leisure site (that’s tasteful, non-offensive, etc.) without having to take a coffee or smoke break.  It keeps them at their desk where they can still be reached by email or phone.

Of course, I’ve now skewed in a different direction than intended, but I guess that’s ok.  It’s my blog after all.


Old Bob wrote (3/17/2009 9:20 pm):
The last paragraph sounds like the basis for a Dilbert strip. All we need now is the pointy-haired boss and Catbert.

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