Slippers at work?

Lately I’ve been taking my shoes off at my desk for comfort reasons. I don’t stand up much so this really isn’t a big deal and usually I put my shoes on to walk to the copier. Sometimes if no one is around I’ll quickly walk in my socked feet across our office carpeting to grab my print out. That being said, would it be weird if I got some slippers for the office? It feels weird but is that just social convention messing with me? Are these social conventions worth challenging?

I didn’t make it…

My goal was to last until Monday with my Twitter fast but around noon on Friday I logged into Twitter under the pretense that I was only going to go in and unfollow some political people and that apparently is a gateway drug to full on Twitter use. I did unfollow a large amount of the political Twitter and only tried to keep the funny bits and the people I’ve grown to really like over the years. I’ve decided my account it going to light and whimsical from now on that I need to actually try and be funny. Not just stream of consciousness tweeting but actual joke telling. I suck at writing jokes, so this isn’t going to be easy.

One thing that was very apparent upon my return was just how stilly it all is. When you’re in it day to day it’s easy to lose perspective and get caught up in the drama. Thing is, Twitter is a very silly place where people have silly fights and do silly things. If I didn’t know any better I’d say Monty Python invented Twitter as a joke. That being said I am totally going to take more days off going forward to give my head a chance to rest. I find that when I’m Twitter too long I get Twitter brain: side effects include thinking in short quips and trying to find “the joke” in everything. I’ve been told that this behaviour can get quite annoying.

Finally, I had a discussion with a friend about starting a blog and I realized that I have never once promoted this blog in any of my posts. I guess that explains why no one read this stuff. It got me thinking that I maybe also don’t promote what I post here because I don’t want anyone to read it. I guess this is something I need to explore.

A few observations after being off twitter for a few days.

1) There are have been a few times where I picked up my phone and automatically looked to load the twitter app. Thankfully, I removed the app but my thumb went right to where it was automatically. I even mindlessly clicked the twitter link on my browser so I removed that as well.

2) Without social media on my phone I use my phone a lot less. There have been moments where I pickup my phone, look at it, and wonder why I’m doing that because there’s no notifications or new updates. It’s just a reflex action of pick up phone and stare at it because there’s always something new on social media. Also, my battery now lasts forever, yesterday when I went to bed it was still at over 80%!

3) Turns out I actually hate politics. I thought I was interested in politics, but it turns out I was only interested in the sense out outrage it causes when delivered through twitter. This week I’ve actually had time to read long form articles about what’s happening in American politics and I didn’t feel outrage, I felt tremendous sadness. Consequently, I unfollowed my news sources in Feedly and I plan to unfollow any sort of political people when I go back on twitter. What the world needs more than anything right now is some happiness and joy so I’ve decided not to add any more fuel to the fire and instead I’m just going to post funny quips and stuff, no more politics.

4) I’ve actually been reading more. I used to sit down to read and check twitter first, then 30-45 minutes later I’d start reading. Sometimes I’d even stop reading for a while just to go back and check twitter again. Now I find myself more focused on what I’m reading because there’s no distractions.

5) I’m actually writing this 🙂 If I wasn’t taking a break… I’d probably be on twitter, right… now.

My Problem with Twitter

“And my social media fast begins…. now.” That’s what I wrote on Twitter last night and it’s significant for one main reason, Twitter is all I have left. A year ago, saying I was going to take a Twitter fast meant that I’d probably just waste my time on Instagram or Facebook instead. Now however I’ve closed those accounts so not using Twitter means going totally cold turkey for social media. Honestly, I’ll be surprised if I can make it till April 1st like I’m planning.

I think it’s important for me to do this once and a while going forward because I have issues with myself on Twitter. Twitter as a service is great. It’s the best social media network in the sense of creating snippets of original content. Facebook and Instagram are both meant to allow you share your life with friends and family. I don’t think there are many people who are still chasing the idea of having a lot of followers on Facebook. I do think people are chasing that goal on Instagram, but I still haven’t cracked the code on how to get a decent sized follower count on Insta (short of being beautiful, which I am not). There is no way to repost anything on insta so I’m not sure how posts go viral or even how one gets new followers since I can’t promote things I see, it’s far too lonely in that sense. Which brings me back to Twitter.

Twitter is an idea minefield. For better or worse someone is going to tell you what they think on Twitter. Plus, there are so many corners to explore on Twitter, there’s political Twitter, sports Twitter, funny Twitter, etc. but the main thing with each is that if you’re funny and clever and interesting, people will follow you. It can literally happen overnight where you’re middling along with a few hundred followers and wake up with a few thousand.

I’ve been on Twitter since the very beginning but sadly I haven’t kept one account that whole time. My first account was just me, trying to figure things out, I didn’t figure it out, so I deleted it. My second account was also me and I kind of figured Twitter out by then but I really didn’t want to participate until I discovered people with anonymous accounts saying whatever they wanted. My first anonymous account was pretty decent and I had it for a while. I said whatever I wanted about whoever I wanted on that account. Problem though is that you make friends and want to tell people who you are, which I did. Once you do that it’s difficult to say whatever you want. On top of that I talked a lot about work, which can be problematic. A short while later I found out my friend actually almost got fired from his job for his Twitter (which was also “anonymous”) so I decided to cool it.

I got better at being nicer on Twitter and erased the old work tweets and cleaned up my act, I still used Twitter way too much though. This all came to a head one night at my son’s Christmas show, my wife and I had a fight about how I was never in the moment. I hastily deleted my account (I was angry) and that was that. This was before the cool down period existed so as soon as I hit yes it was gone. It was a bittersweet moment in that it was nice to not think about it but I really did miss it.

I used Facebook for a while, and then Instagram, heck I even used Google+ for a short time but none of it had the same allure as Twitter. After this I had another account which was semi-anonymous but here’s where we get to the crux of the issue. Twitter to me is like a stage. I have silly little ideas, some better than others, and I enjoy sharing them to hopefully make people smile or laugh or whatever. In return I appreciate knowing this by them using the worst invention in social media history… the like button. I could write a whole piece on the like button and I probably will but in this context the like button is my feedback for a well written tweet or a clever idea, and in this case it isn’t that I get negative feedback, it’s that I get no feedback, which I internalize negatively.

I know I do this but I still can’t stop it, I suspect it’s just the way I am but I liken it to being in a comedy club and no one laughs. Or maybe just one person does, which still ain’t great. I am aware that Twitter is a very noisy place and a lot of time my little tweets are lost in the static, I also realize that my reach is limited because right now hardly anyone follows me, but inside it’s hard for all this not to drag me down and question why I bother at all.

So, back to the whole point of this rambling dumbness, I am going to try and take a week off every month to reflect on why I bother at all. Hopefully this week will recharge me and take some of those negative thoughts out of my head. I guess I’ll see.

I watched all the Cohen hearings.

I was discussing the Michael Cohen congressional testimony with my wife last night and we quickly hit an impasse when the topic of motive arose. I was describing how Republicans weren’t really asking questions, they were merely taking shots at Cohen’s reputation as a liar. My point, like many Democrats, was that Cohen is already going to jail, what does he gain by lying more? Perhaps I’m naive but I’d really like to believe that Cohen has indeed had some revelatory change of heart and that he genuinely feels like he needs shine some light in the shady actions of his former boss.

My wife wasn’t having that at all. In her mind he’s a career liar and everything he said yesterday was to secure some back end deal from, someone, either a book deal, or some party interested in paying him money to lie more in an effort bring down trump. My wife is the furthest thing from a trump supporter, but she did think there was some nefarious alternate motive at play here.

I have trouble with this because I can’t reconcile what that means for his testimony. Criminal investigations are built on the people inside turning on their former bosses. If we discounted all the testimony of criminals we’d never be able to catch more criminals. By merely stating that the witness can’t be trusted because he/she lied before… then what could we ever base anything on since often times the only witnesses we have are people who are involved in the criminal activity?

Personally as a man with a family I see Cohen in this light, another man with a family who has had the legs of his chair at the table kicked out from under him. All the luxury is gone and it’s not coming back. He hasn’t just lost the excess, he’s lost it all. I can’t see inside Cohen’s heart but what I’d like to believe is that he’s a guy, who when faced with losing it all, is doing the right thing for the first time, because trump the businessman is actually harming America. See I think his past efforts of protecting trump the businessman, is very different from helping trump the president, let me explain.

I do believe that in business, toeing the line of legality is the norm. Do what you can to win and most important of all increase shareholder value, but don’t get caught. Morality doesn’t really come into play with business, neither does compassion. These are the qualities I believe trump the business man treasures. The problem is these values don’t really dovetail well with the presidency. So when Cohen was protecting trump, he was protecting ruthless business villain trump, the individual who built an entire brand on the pleasure of firing someone. When you take that person and drop them into the presidency… let me restate that, when you take a person like that and make him the President of the United States of America, the most powerful nation in the world, you’re bound to get incongruities. That style of leadership, and tactics won’t fly with all the checks and balances present in the design of America. It is this style of leadership that is currently harming America and I’d like to believe that Cohen sees this, and maybe this is why he’s working to expose trump to the American people.

I own this…

When I post something to Facebook who owns that? Similarly, when I put a picture on Instagram it’s mine, but I’m sharing it there so does that make it theirs? I don’t pay them money. The only transaction provided by Facebook and Instagram is the serving of ads. I use their service and they sell my data to companies who then target ads at me. I become a demographic to a conglomerate of ad agencies who then try and figure better ways to sell to me and my cohort.

I recently suspended my Instagram account because I started to find the service boring. I don’t actually like taking pictures and when I looked at what I was sharing I realized all I was doing was helping Facebook build a profile on me. I haven’t used Facebook in months and I only posted a few things last year. Even those few things I did post made me wonder why I posted them. I thought about canceling Facebook but I do need it for my son’s cadets and for coaching football. Instagram can go. I totally don’t need that at all. This leads me to my ultimate point. I own everything I post here.

I pay for my domain and I pay WordPress money to host this site for me. So I own it. WordPress isn’t advertising on my site and they aren’t trying to get me to buy anything (other than add ons I don’t need). Everyone should do this. Start a site and and pay to host their content. I think ultimately if people had to pay money to share their thoughts the internet would be a much quieter and more civil place.

A Fresh Start

I’ve heard that there’s an age where the music you’re listening to at that time sticks with you for the rest of your life. I see it all the time with older people being stuck in a certain age. They feel that “THAT” music is “REAL” music and anything else is garbage. For my Mom it’s sometime in the late 50s and early 60s. I’m not sure what it is about those years of our lives that makes music so impactful but I certainly see it in myself as well.

For me the era that was most impactful was the early 90s. It was late in my high school years and early in college that I guess I really started listening to music and hearing it for the first time. I’ve always listened to music but the early 90s is always my go to for when I want something comfortable to listen to. Mainly I listen to the Accuradio 1990s Alternative station but the audio quality isn’t great so I started adding those albums on iMusic to build up a playlist. Before I knew it the 90s had taken over my phone and there wasn’t much else on there. During car rides I found myself pressing the skip button endlessly, not because I didn’t like the song, but because I was just so tired of it. At that point I realized I was stuck in a musical rut and had to break out.

My phone currently has no music on it. I erased everything so that I wouldn’t be able to fall back into the same boring stuff. Now on my car rides I pick an Apple Music station, but it HAS to be a modern station that plays music from the last 5 years and I can only skip a song if it’s truly terrible. Lately I’ve been listening to Apple’s Adult Alternative station and I’m enjoying it. I can’t really comment on what artists have caught my ear because I don’t actually know any of them. I guess that will come with time.

What this comes down to is forcing myself out of my comfort zone and trying new things. We all get stagnant in life doing the same things over and over again and I don’t think that’s good for anyone. Sometimes we have to be uncomfortable to grow, that’s probably why they call them growing pains. I think everyone should do this kind of thing once in a while to find new and interesting stuff, since there’s a lot of cool stuff out there that we never see since we’re buried in what we already know. I think I’m going to start trying this on other areas of my life as well. Right now though I’m really enjoying this new sonic journey. Give it a try, maybe you’ll like it too.

Morning News Observations…

I recently started watching news in the morning and it’s quite startling the differences in reporting between the different networks. This morning the big story was the buzzfeed story about how the president of the United States may be involved in perjury  by directing Cohen to lie to congress. Every single news source has this story as their top ‘Breaking News’ item and many of them have panels discussing these allegations. If true this is a huge story that has the potential to alter the political landscape of America. Even if this story isn’t true it needs to be discussed which is why every network is running it. Every network that is, except Fox. I’ve now been watching Fox for about 30 minutes and they are currently running a story about a cop who wears the badge of the Officer who saved his life. Prior to this piece there was a segment on the ‘Crisis at the Border Wall’ because apparently there are caravans of illegal immigrant who are trying to storm into America to kill everyone. FYI, as I’ve been writing this the story about the Cop wearing the badge is still going on, it’s been going on for like 5 minutes. Oh, there was also a brief story about how the Democrats want to raise the minimum wage and how that will ruin America.

This is shocking to me. I’ve read articles about Fox’s selective reporting but I’ve never actually seen it first hand. They are now back from commercial break and the Fox News breaking story is again about the caravan of people on route to America… wow. All I can say at this point is that Fox and Friends is basically just propaganda. If Fox was the only network I watched I’d probably believe that America is in urgent danger. Meanwhile Fox isn’t actually showing any evidence of people rushing the border, it’s just a reporter standing on an empty street saying that America is in danger. So basically if all you watch is Fox News you’d believe that America is in danger, and that the Democrats are responsible.

Hold up, Fox News just mentioned the perjury news, for 15 seconds. In passing, before they reported that Kellog’s is making a breakfast cereal based on the Easter candy peeps. They then went on to talk about peeps for about 90 seconds….

iPad isn’t a computer

Despite what Apple says an iPad isn’t a computer, well not a full fledged computer, like, say a MS Surface. This weekend as a test I turned off my laptop and tried to go iPad only just to see how long I’d last. I did this to see if a iPad Pro could be my next device. I didn’t make it more than a few hours before I wanted to tear my hair out. Touching a screen is no substitute for a mouse. It felt like I was surgeon forced to use a butter knife, like I was painting the Mona Lisa with finger paints, like… well you get it. (All I wanted to do was create a silly meme and it was so arduously painful to try and precisely select anything.)

Also the iPad has no file system. My workflow usually involves finding the file I want and double clicking it to open it in the appropriate app, an iPad forces you to open the app and then find the file. Working on multiple files or keeping a group of files together as a project it impossible.

I mostly use my iPad for watching football film on Hudl, reading comics, and some books that incorporate diagram that are hard to read on a phone. I think I’m going to stick with this light duty work for the iPad and leave the heavy lifting to my Mac.