Facebook wants to turn you inside out.

This is a post I started about a month ago and had left sitting in the draft bin, but due to yesterday’s post and topic, I decided to dig it up and polish it…

Most people, unless you’ve grown up entirely in the Internet enabled world, think of “being social” as joining groups.  You play sports.  You have a book club.  You form a tabletop gaming group.  You go to a party.  You sit at a lunch table.  You go to the company picnic.  Your kids play at the same park.  And so on.  Being social involves joining people doing something.

When I first joined Facebook, it was all about joining groups.  Your college, your high school, your jobs both past and present.  Groups still exist on Facebook, but just barely.  When people post things in the groups I belong to it doesn’t show in the feed, in fact it doesn’t show anywhere unless I go look at my list of groups.  Groups are a thing of the past, now everyone are “friends”.

Facebook is all about getting all your “friends” together from every activity and dumping them all into one place.  Of course, people in general don’t really function that way, and it has caused issues for many folks as they have dived into the “social web”.  Work friends and other friends used to be separate groups, and with a lot of work on your part they still can be on Facebook, but by default they are all the same.  Facebook doesn’t want you talking about things in groups privately among your friends, they want you to put everything in your feed where everyone can see it (unless you’ve taken the time to protect your feed and group your friends).  Facebook wants to take your segregated group, integrate them with the whole and put them on a stage, and they want to put ads on the page in the column next to it.

Facebook, Real ID and other such efforts are slowly eroding privacy.  Is this a bad thing?  Not everyone cares, especially younger folks, but many of them haven’t run into an issue where something they said on Facebook or Twitter or some other forum has cost them a job yet.  Maybe they won’t.  Maybe by the time it matters for them, the people doing the hiring and firing won’t care.

I can see the draw, I really can.  I grew up watching Cheers on TV and singing alone with “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name” and the social web feels like that sometimes, it feels like this intimate group of people who you can talk to, who you can trust.  But can you?  Once you’ve racked up over a thousand “friends” on Facebook that includes former coworkers and employers, current ones, old friends from a decade ago, ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends, and all the other random people who’ve come into contact, can you really trust them all with that thought that just ran through your head, down your fingers and spilled out onto your keyboard?  Do you want that random thought to exist on the Internet forever?  I know I actually consider everything I put out there before I hit the publish button here.  I’ve scrapped entire posts because I didn’t feel comfortable with the content, and others I’ve hacked up and removed specifics to keep a level of separation.

What the hell am I getting at?  I don’t know… perhaps I’m just an old man yelling at the kids to get off of his lawn…

Finding my ‘Why’

Nearly two years ago I had an idea.  A tool to build, a website.  But no matter how much time I spent on it, I never really got anywhere with it.  I wasn’t inspired to finish.  When I first watched yesterday’s video nearly a month ago, it got me thinking about my own project.

Originally, the idea had just been about making money.  I was working a contract job that was running out and all my attempts to find new work were failing.  I had one of those moments where I realized that it was entirely possible to create a job for myself rather than rely on finding one.  Despite the idea I had, which I still think is a good one, I found that I didn’t have the drive to work on it.  The potential for money wasn’t motivation enough.

After watching the video on starting with why, I asked myself, “Why do this?”  I figured, if I couldn’t state why I wanted to do it then there was no point daydreaming about doing it.

I found it.  I know “Why”.  Stay tuned…

Movie Round-Up: May 21st, 2010

Shrek Forever After:

I still haven’t seen Shrek 3.  And I’m getting burned out on the 3D.  I’ll probably try to watch Shrek 3 sometime soon and this one when it comes out on DVD.


I might have to eat my words here, but I predict a success of Wayne’s World proportions.  My reasoning is thus: what made Wayne’s World work where other SNL-skits-turned-feature-films failed was that they used the characters and the skit as a launch board into a complete world.  All the skits with Wayne and Garth were down in the basement doing their cable show, but the movie was “What happens when the camera turns off and they leave the basement?”  Unlike some other films that were more like “Let’s take the one joke of the skit, stretch it to 90 minutes and maybe shoe-horn a plot in that doesn’t spring from the character itself.”  With MacGruber, the skits are always the same: MacGruber is in a room with a bomb and there are a couple other people there, and as he tries to defuse the bomb he gets distracted with odd topics and they blow up.  The movie is basically going to show us what leads up to the room with the bomb, what happens after, and more.  Plus, I watched the trailer and it looks funny.  The only reason I might not see this in the theater is that the wife has no interest in it at all.

23 Hours

The fourth book in David Wellington’s vampire series, 23 Hours, continues the story of Laura Caxton and her pursuit of the blood drinking monsters.  This time, due to the events of the last book, Caxton is in prison and the world’s last vampire comes to play.

I’m a huge fan of Wellington’s work, read and loved them all.  So it is no surprise that I liked this one too.  After seeing so many books using vampires as romantic objects, it is nice to return to this world where they are more like sharks, mouths full of teeth, death on two legs.  Anyway, I hope I’m not spoiling too much when I say I’ll be eagerly awaiting book five.

Jury Duty

I really wish this was a post about how I was going to serve on jury duty, but it isn’t.  As a person who is ready and willing (even eager) to do his duty I will probably never be summoned.  The wife, however, got a summons and is spending this week on a jury.

One of the things I learned this week as she attended her days of duty is that in some places because of the number of people trying to get out of jury duty they’ve had to make changes to what excuses are valid.  No longer can you be automatically excused if you are the sole breadwinner in a family.  Single mother?  Not excused.  Former police?  They’ll still let you sit on misdemeanor cases, just not felonies.  Medical issues?  Only if they prevent you from sitting still for stretches of 4-5 hours.

Another thing I learned is that some companies hate America.  Yeah, I went there, and yeah, I’m exaggerating.  However, our county pays $25 a day for service.  The wife makes that in about 3 hours of work.  To do 5 days of jury duty, she’ll earn $125 but miss out on about 30 hours of work.  (30 / 3 = 10 * $25 = $250)  So the result of this week is that it will cost us half her wages.  (It’s not 40 hours because she works retail, and therefore weekends.)  She talked to her boss and the company she works for makes no concessions for jury duty except the promise not to fire people if they end up on a lengthy trial.  I spoke to my own boss, he said I’d be paid my normal wages AND it wouldn’t cost me any vacation days either.  Probably another reason I won’t be called to serve.

The jury system is one of the things about this country that I love.  It is sad to see people treated quite poorly for their service, not by the government, because I understand they can’t really foot the bill for everyone’s wages (and seriously, they have to treat people equally, if the wife and I were both serving, it would be wrong for me to be paid more for my time on a jury because I make more in the private sector), but by the companies they work for.  Plus, it contributes to the idea that a trial by jury is actually a trial by a group of people who are probably a little upset for having to be there because of the impact it is going to have on them financially especially when the economy sucks.

Anyway… it was on my mind, so here it is…


I’m really enjoying David Wellington’s work.  From his Zombie Island to his 13 Bullets, he’s tackled zombies and vampires in a way I have found refreshing.  With Frostbite, he does the same for werewolves.

Probably not his best work to date, but a solid effort none the less, this is the story of a girl who goes out into the wilderness to find the werewolf that killed her father only to wind up becoming one herself.  I’m eager to see where he takes this when the sequel comes out toward the end of the year.

Goodbye 2009…

Looking over the last year, it started off rocky as I remained unemployed for a couple of months, but I did find work, and as a bonus I actually enjoy it.  I’m working at a small company again, only this time the boss seems to know what he’s doing and things are progressing rather than collapsing.  I’m still working on spending less and getting our budget under control, but I’ve also lost around twenty pounds and I’m floating around 194 and having trouble getting lower… looks like I might have to actually change my diet.

As far as gaming goes, I’ve canceled my last subscription MMO.  I simply don’t have the available time to make $15 a month worth the price.  Instead I’m playing some Free-to-Play games with micro transactions where that $15 makes for easily three or four months worth of play.

On the writing front, I failed the NaNoWriMo again, but made it further than I have before, and I completed a very short story, The Last Christmas, that I am quite proud of, enough that I posted it and plan to make revisions and keep working it.

In just about every way, 2009 has turned out to be a pretty good year.

I’m looking forward to 2010, but I’ll save that for tomorrow.  For now let’s just send 2009 out in style…  have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!

Movie Round-Up: December 25th, 2009

It’s Christmas, so these are going to be short and sweet…

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel:

No.  Just, no.  Not if you paid me.

It’s Complicated:

You know, reading the description of this movie, I wouldn’t mind seeing.  But I’m certainly not going to pay $10 to see it in the theater.


Just like the movie above, it looks like its going to be decent, but not at the theater.  I’ll wait for this musical on Netflix.

Up in the Air:

I’m a big fan of Jason Reitman’s work, especially since Thank You For Smoking.  And George Clooney is great.  Everything I’ve heard about this film is good news, so I totally want to go see this.

Sherlock Holmes:

Oh, hell yes.  I’ve always liked Holmes, but not when he just stood around out-thinking his opponents.  I prefer Holmes to have a touch of action and adventure to him.  From the first trailer I saw of this I knew I was going to see it, and see it I will.

Movie Round-Up: October 30th, 2009

This is going to be the “Small Film Edition” of the Movie Round-Up, mainly because I don’t want to make a post just about the only wide opening this weekend:

Michael Jackson’s This Is It:

Never has there been a film so ominously appropriately titled.  Personally, I’m a big fan of the old MJ.  The Jackson 5, his solo work up to about half of the Dangerous album.  And there is no denying that he was the King of Pop… but he was also the King of Odd.  While it is possible that I might one day see this film if it becomes available for streaming on Netflix, I absolutely won’t be rushing out to the theater to see it.

Now, on to the smaller films opening this week…

Gentleman Broncos:

This one is from the director of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre, both are films I found funny but not really worthy of the devotion and cult following they have received.  Gentleman Broncos looks to be cut from a similar cloth and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it when I get a chance to see it.

The House of the Devil:

The only horror film opening on Halloween weekend, sadly its only in three theaters.  But that’s okay, you can see it through Xbox Live and a few other On Demand services.  My main draw to the film, besides it being a horror movie, is that one of the stars is A.J. Bowen, who I know.  I’ve enjoyed his work in The Signal and even Creepshow III, so I’ll probably find the time to watch this one at home if its still available on Xbox.

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day:

In 2001, I took a three month contract dig working overnights as a server engineer.  My job was to periodically check the servers and make sure they were doing their job, and if they weren’t I had to fix it.  To the credit of the people who built the servers and software, they rarely weren’t.  This meant I had approximately six to seven hours each night, just me and one other engineer doing nothing.  I spent a lot of time browsing the net and listening to music, we even installed games until they took away our 3D graphics cards.  Since every PC had a DVD-ROM drive, we also watched movies.  Mostly I watched my own movies from home, but one night the other engineer slipped me a burned DVD, written across the white label was “Boondock Saints”.  And thus I was introduced to the original film.  I absolutely adore the film, it is not perfect, nor even in my top ten, but I’ve seen it a couple dozen times and I still enjoy it as much as I did the first time.  It is just so well crafted and the characters are so interesting…  When I heard a sequel was being made, my first reaction was “Yes!” but then I thought about all the sequels that suck and I was worried.  However, I’ve heard enough good news about this one to get me excited again.  It is opening on 65 screens, none of which are in Atlanta.  Hopefully it will go wider… if not, I’ll catch it on DVD where it can join the first film in my movie library.

Thirty-five and One Thousand

35… Well, I haven’t had a midlife crisis yet, so I’ve got that going for me…

Today is my birthday… again… so, lets look back at “Thirty-four” and see how I did.

I got my work ethic back, I suppose.  I have a new job, though it did take a few too many months to get one (Thanks Economy! You suck!), and I enjoy it.  I’m back to working for a small company, so gone are all the retarded hour long meetings where nothing gets done but settling on who to blame for why nothing got done from the previous meeting.  We have projects, we do them, and then they are done.  Ahh… the sweet life.

Over the past year, I got myself under two hundred pounds, which is pretty nice.  But I’ve kinda plateaued.  I just haven’t found anything yet to motivate me to take it further.  Wii Fit Plus showed up on the doorstep this week and it promises to fix the major issue I had with the original, that of having to stop between every exercise, so we will see how that goes.  I’m also still struggling with getting my diet under control.  The main issue is that I’m hungry all the time, and I need to learn to ignore it.

And as for projects around the house… yep… still need doing, but again, I’m not going anywhere.

I did try the NaNoWriMo as well as Script Frenzy, but I finished neither.  The attempts, however, were important and should lead to better participation this time around.

That explains “Thirty-five”, now for the “One Thousand”.

This marks my one thousandth entry on this blog.  Kinda neat that it happened today.  Do you believe in signs or omens?  Sometimes I think I do, and sometimes I don’t… but I can’t help but wonder if this means something.  Its not exactly a pile of mashed potatoes that looks like the Devil’s Tower, but it is what it is.

Anyway.  This is my thirty-fifth birthday.  This is my one thousandth post.  Enjoy!