Friday, June 17, 2016

Seven (7) Reasons Why You Should Do Everything the Internet Tells You!

I used to dislike Facebook because I thought it was just fatuous and trendy and insipid and selfish and mean and stupid and mostly just pointless, like teaching yourself French when you don't speak it already and have no resources, like books or tapes, and you have no intention of ever being around any others that speak French.

A couple years later I started a Facebook page because it seemed everybody else had one and people told me I needed one. Now, as far as I remember, everything I ever did because others told me I should, was a mistake on a scale that went from "pointless" through "mildly embarrassing" all the way to "wildly catastrophic with lifelong consequences". So, even now, I wonder why I thought that this suggestion would yield any different results. I should make those last 2 sentences into a macro and assign them to F1 on my keyboard because I obviously have more need of them than I ever did for "Help" as a useful part of my day.

So I made a Facebook page, not for me, mind you, but as part of my "web presence" for my project. It turns out if you make and publish a website, you need to have another "web presence" to elongate, fulfil and enhance your actual website. It's kind of like a Billboard for a Bricks and Mortar store. The problem is mostly that it's a billboard on a block that had 1.2 million other billboards, so some of the basic desirable characteristics of a billboard are lost in translation.

Another analogy for Facebook are those "little nickle" want ad newspapers that have a few personal ads stuffed in between a vast number of cheapo ads for everything under the sun.

So part of having a usable Facebook page is thoughtful, vicious filtering of what you see. If you don't want to spend your life paging through full length transcripts of the contents of everything that has ever been written or synthesized from writing, you must filter out way over 99% of what's out there.

The problem that I'm focused on is dealing with what's left. Just like some people have trouble filtering and of their thoughts from becoming their spoken words, there are people who can't keep from posting them on a Facebook page, or any other social media site.

When I started out on Facebook, I tried to only post what I thought would be interesting to other people. In other words, If I thought that I was the only person I was targeting as my audience, why would I want to post something? Really?

The other concern I have is the people who will post something only if they think it will inflame, provoke or insult someone else. This is the internet equivalent of the sunshine, the lens, and the anthill. Sometimes they show up as trolls and other times, I'm convinced. they just post to piss people off. Their thoughts might masquerade as opinions, but they're just extensions of personal problems, biases and hatreds. Maybe that's the point of social media, but it's a showcase and window on the worst thoughts and convictions a person can be infected with.

You might think that this is another example of what I'm complaining about, and to a degree, you're correct, except that this is pretty vague compared to what I'm thinking of. You 'd see the difference pretty quickly if I wrote the other way.

Enough, let's see. I promised 7 reasons to follow the crap suggestions on the internet.
  1. I'm sure the suggestions are well researched and thought through. How else would they get on the internet? 
  2. They write on the internet because they have your best interest in mind.
  3. They follow their own advice. Why else would they publish it?
  4. Why go to the trouble of using your own mind? They've done the work of thinking for you.
  5. You can always trust someone who spread a single, short point over 15 sequential internet pages loaded with bad-width strangling ads.
  6. The extensive bibliographies at the end of articles let you do your own fact-checking.
  7. It's maybe the only way you'll learn that P.T. Barnum was basically right but was way off on his numbers.
The old saying about what everyone has besides opinions is not only true, but still very appropriate.

Ok, your turn.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Everybody Likes Ice Cream

But that's kind of beside the point, even if it were true, which I'm also sure it's not. A lot of people don't like ice cream. At least that's the story they tell.

Do you think we all have anything in common? I don't know. The press tends to focus on things we don't have in common and that's what makes news. The only thing that's more annoying are the little puff pieces that are supposed to make our cockles heat up while we sing, KumBaya, whatever that actually means, or stokes the infernal fires of indignation within us and makes us want to throw up our hands, get drunk and throw bottles at the soccer stadium.

Headlines such as,"Puppies Brighten Day at Terminal Daycare." "Good Samaritan Blind Woman Takes in Nuclear Waste, Figures WTF" or maybe "Man Born without Arms or Legs Gives a Shit, What's Your Problemo, Ingrate?"

Basically anything that would run in one of those London Dailies with giant B&W pictures of the artist's conception of an alien BroodMother from the Slug Planet "Deexil" who lives beneath streets of Boston, collects welfare from three States and supplies Intel to ISIL. Somewhere in the middle of the issue there's always a nearly nude picture of some English waitress for those that buy the tabloid but haven't yet gotten a grasp on reading and are not interested in any form of written word.

It's my theory that those pictures of eastern block farm women without tops are a form of coded message for synchronizing the activities of the offspring of the BroodMother to coordinate attacks against civilization in general. At least the civilization that is not the direct issue of the ovipositors from the galactic SlugMother "Slimenoptera the Withholding", Queen of the Gastropodlyities.

Sorry, I'm just not in a good mood right now and I couldn't actually tell you why. Yes I could, but I'm not going to. Just play along with me for now and soon it will pass and I'll go back to trying to please everyone on earth and the more distant mollusca-infested regions.

I need to just sit alone and type my invective laden ejecta until the tubes are cleared and the great machinery of bile is going click, click, click. Signalling the end of another period for the geyser.

While visiting, please don't put any of the wildlife into the back of your minivan out of your misguided sense of caring and eco-responsibility because it should be clear that it will trigger another harsh lesson by us where we stand a few of the endangered species up against the nearest wall and euthanize the holy shit out of them, just to teach you a lesson. But please enjoy your time here, modifying the natural wonder that is nature.

Honestly, if we really care about preserving ZEE NATURAL WORLD, why the hell don't we ban tourism into it. Have a lottery that chooses one person or a group of three people with cameras to go in and take lots of pictures, once a year, and then post them online. Anyone interested in knowing more about the resource could download the pictures and look at them, Even feel free to photoshop your extended family, living and dead, into the pictures and post them on your facebook page. Just leave the parks alone. Why encourage the equivalent of an untrained army of merry-makers to invade the National Parks or whatever and pretend to know how to camp? This is not 1820, there are enough of us nowadays to destroy Yosemite by simply looking for a parking place and how many separate pictures do we really need of Old Faithful.

Well, it's probably good that I got that all out. Especially in a place that is the internet equivalent to digging a hole beneath my pole barn and stashing this same piece written on toilet paper in a wet hole during a rainstorm. The only thing I could have to really make sure that no one ever read this, would be to convert into the form of a novel and publish it myself. In that way, I could be sure that not even my own family would ever see it.

It's a good thing I made a website at which I can go get an apology for myself. I can look for redemption there. My alternative is to find a drunken catholic priest and give him my confession. Being a lapsed and torn up Baptist, I wouldn't even know where to look.

OK well, I've beaten that to death. You're getting sleepy. You never saw any of this. ooooh.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Revisiting the Crime Scene

In the past, there's been a lot of cacophonic commotion about whether it's better to write something insipid and inane on a blog or to wait until you have something important to write about. I mean to answer that question here and now.

For instance, I started this piece with "in the past" and now that seems superfluous and silly. When else would a discussion (if there really were one, which there wasn't, but that's beside the point) have taken place. You see where I'm going with this?

Sure there've been lots of books written in the past but, there really just the same dictionaries, written in different order, over and over. That doesn't mean there haven't been some cracking reads in some of those and I'm sure they were all a lot of work and the authors must be congratulated for taking the trouble to grind them out. Thank you, authors!

When you think about it, a lot of the best books are kind of like Rorschach blottings. Absolutely inscrutable to the average bloke without taking a college course to have the superimposed meanings hammered into to you and then ejected back onto a multiple choice test so that we all agree about the genius of the author and how Moby Dick isn't about a whale and why all that money doesn't make Gatsby happy.

These intellectual scars are carried on through life and shown during dinner parties to prove that we belong up among the people at the table and not in the basement shoveling coal into the furnaces of the infrastructure. I say that the little people who hold the little blowtorches on the creme brulees are just as important as the bejeweled aristos sitting the high table with their monocles and ruff collars and we own them thanks, Thank you, creme brulee torchers!

I'm sorry to have come down so hard on the fancy manner-lords with their high-class bloaterisms, but dog-durn it, it burns my bacon to think of them sitting on those giant chairs whipping the very slaves that struggle to build pyramids for their fun and immortality.

So. in conclusion, I think this lays to rest any controversy (pronounced that other way) about the importance of writing for a blog when you have little or nothing to say.

Thank you and hail to thee, bloggers!

More later,

Monday, June 13, 2016

Craving Creativity

There must be something in the air, besides the threat of rain that would drive me to write something for this blog two, count 'em, two days in a row. Something important and special that drives me here before the lash with my keyboard under my arm. Not really, probably just chance. The dart from the dirigible scenario. Goes like this. You get in the Goodyear blimp (or any lighter-than-air ship) and fly it over the Superbowl during the game. (Yeah, I know there was a movie like this. But that's not really where this is going.) Back to my story. You go way up high, over the stadium seating and you throw a dart out the window. You really are a shit aren't you? Just kidding. Anyway, the dart falls all that distance, buffeted about by any stray air currents and birds, and whatever and then, Bango! Didn't mean to scare you there. It hits some unsuspecting person in the stands, let's call that person "Pat" (see what I did, it could be a man or a woman). Probably really hurts too. I feel bad about even writing this, but there's a purpose, bear with me. It hits Pat and everyone turns and looks at Pat with the dart sticking out. Let's say it hit Pat's thigh, yeah, that's not as bad as the head, God forbid. So, all the other people go, "Wow, Pat is really unlucky." Pat looks down at the dart and goes, "Wow, I'm really unlucky. What are the odds that, out of all the people here, say 100,000 people, it hit me." The people all around the person whistle and say, "That could've been me!" That's fate for you.

Now consider the whole scenario from the standpoint of the very agent of fate, in this case, the pilot of the blimp, let's call him "Lumpy". He's the one that caused this fateful calamity that people will talk about for 99 years and that the news cycle will pick up and run with until something more interesting comes along. What are the chances that this average schmo gets hit at the Superbowl by a dart from the sky. The guy (or gal) becomes famous for a while.

Well, Lumpy threw the dart out the window had a fair idea that it was going to hit somebody, I mean, it is the Superbowl and there's a lot of people. He couldn't have aimed the dart at Pat even if he'd wanted to. Remember the air currents and the birds. It was unlikely the dart would hit more than one person, the angles are wrong. So it had to be somebody, and it was Pat. The equation was satisfied. It would have been equally satisfied and valid if it had been Joe or Mike or Lucinda or Harvey Jim. But, in this case, it was-- Pat, right.

So the truth is Pat is unlucky and it was pure chance. Everybody else is correct as well, It is lucky it wasn't them, and Lumpy knows that it was pure chance, but it had to hit somebody.

Well I'm glad we were able to get together and talk about this and I hope it's given you something to think about. It has me. (That's an interesting sentence right there, isn't it?)

Adios, amigos.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Alright, I Wrote Something.

Growing up there's a common bit of advice that goes; "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." I don't know why they add the "at all" to the end, maybe that's just me. Anyway, even though this is generally sound advice, especially where I grew up, it doesn't apply to writing a blog. With a blog, you need to write something even if it's crap. So here's my crap for the day.

All you really need to get by.
Firstly, I'm so very stinking sorry I haven't written anything here for a while but my, ummm, the dog ate some of the keys from my keyboard and the light burned out over my desk and the chair, I don't know, there something with the chair. Anyway, that should cover the "why" of the thing. But I'm back now and everything's OkeyDokey.

Secondly, since I started the ordinal approach to writing here, I feel that my thoughts are a great deal more organized and that should count toward an early release when taken into account for my quarterly evaulation. I'm doing a lot better, I haven't had anything to drink in a long time now and I really feel regret for what I did. It's clear that I was not in my right mind when I broke into the station and stole the whatever it was and I'm not like that anymore and I've seen the error of my evil ways (baby). Etc. etc.

Thirdly, I hope that by writing my aching heart out on this page, good things will happen and the world will be a better place for you and me, (you just wait... and seeeeee...) Really, though, I'm serious. I'm not trying to be flip here. I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows. Wait, OK, I heard that somewhere else too, But I'll betcha you haven't. I'm now officially the
oldest person left on the planet that remembers anything about the old days, and what I say goes. You hear me. You people need to treat me with a little respect, goddammit! R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.

Fourthly, I'm pretty sure that's not a common word. I don't remember the word "fourthly" being used in recent times. Omar Bradley said it once in a commencement address at the Point. (West Point) Probably, anyway, and if Omar-Goddam-Bradley can say it, then it's good enough for me, and the rest of you sons-a-bitches can just kiss my ass.

Fifthly, well I guess I'm done for now. I want to thank you for sticking with my through this last difficult period of my life, starting about three paragraphs ago, and I want you to know that I trust and respect some of you out there. If there's anything I can do for you, you know where to find me. Except if I'm taking a nap. I do that now a days. Yeah, well what's wrong with that? Up yours, fella! My taxes paid for that bullhorn.Get the hell off my lawn.

Take care now. More later.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Interim Notes.

Checking in once again just to let everyone know that I'm still here and working. For the past few weeks. I've been working on another project, creating a website called "Somebody Owes Me an Apology" (.com) that you can visit to get or give an apology.

It seemed like a simple project when I started but I soon became "disabused" of that idea. I must have tried 6 different platforms for the idea, and did a huge amount of reading to try out different techniques to accomplish my end. Then after I got the whole thing done, I re-did it in a completely different way and there it sits.

I'm trying to add content to it daily, which is a good exercise for me
. It definitely gets me writing and that's good. I've even doubled back around to working on the book again as part of my daily routine.

For the Bad Times projects, I'm working on a back story to fold into the main story to make the characters more understandable and hopefully give the reader a little more emotional skin in the game.

That's the idea at least. We'll see how it goes. More later.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Once again.

I know what you're thinking. "What's up Vander Beek? Are you avoiding us on purpose."

Well, the answer is not exactly and Yes. I've been avoiding the whole second book thing while I sort out how things are supposed to work there.

The back story of AT is important but I suppose that I'm afraid I'll blow that too. He deserves a better biographer than me. He needs to be a much more important person in his own life and in the life of those populating the second book. If I can achieve that, I will be satisfied enough to move on to other projects of different types.

I've been thinking about the relationships that are there in the book and they lack color and depth, much like my own. If I'm going to make him like me then I should just be brave and go ahead and do it. Otherwise, I should buck up and figure out how people make relationships in which they are loved and cared for by others. Kind of the opposite of myself.

Maybe there's something in between, where he sees that he wants to be cared for and about, but can't see the steps necessary to make that happen, like me. It's a good thing no one comes to this author page to read this.