The Day After The Day

 

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The computer I use at home – I’ve had this since 2012, still works well for me.

It’s been a little over 40 hours since I’ve deactivated Facebook. Yes, I know – I talk about this like I’ve quit smoking (I smoked briefly when I was 18 in the fall of 1989 – hated it) or drinking (I’ve probably been drunk a handful of times in my life – enjoy a good beer here and there), but I think that’s how you have to treat Facebook – like it is an addiction.

I removed the bookmarks from Chrome and the various Facebook apps from my phone. By the way, why do you need THREE apps for Facebook? That seems wasteful, right? Why not have an app that can update your pages, post, and message your friends all in the SAME app? Am I missing something here, or what?

About a year and a half ago, I mentioned a Star Trek TNG episode called “The Game” where everyone on the Enterprise gets addicted by a game because when you do well on it, it releases some sort of positive impulses to the user’s brain. That’s what I think Facebook has become – an unhealthy addiction.  If so-and-so from your childhood posts, it encourages you to post. If your best friend is a supporter of candidate X as opposed to candidate Y, you get feelings of repulsion, superiority, and inferiority.

Stop the madness – we’re better than this.

I’m feeling much better psychologically – though I sometimes find myself looking up at Chrome and looking for that bookmark for Facebook out of instinct. It’s just a matter of time before my conditioning of all these years breaks.

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The Eiger Sanction

Someone in my social circles recommended The Eiger Sanction to me, which is a 1975 Clint Eastwood movie revolving around a government agency man (Johnathan Hemlock, played by Eastwood) who takes a job trying to find out who killed a colleague of his. George Kennedy plays a supporting role in the movie – another solid actor from a bygone era. I’ve never George in anything bad, I’ll put it that way.

No, I’m not going to spoil the plot of the movie for you entirely. Go get the movie if you want to see it.

One other note I have is the appearance in the movie of Brenda Venus in the role of George, Hemlock’s quiet exercise coach. Venus goes topless at a couple of points during the film, sporting what appear to be augmented mammary glands. That was a bit rare for a 1975 film, I reckoned – although augmentation goes back about a decade earlier and was made popular by a model named Carol Doda.

Anyway, if you’re into old school movies, The Eiger Sanction is worth your time.

Life After (Or Without) Facebook

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Full disclosure: I wasn’t going to do this until March 1st, but I found myself sitting in my office on Monday afternoon (February 26th), wondering: why not do this now?

With that thought, I have deactivated my Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram accounts that particular afternoon. It just hit me – why do I need to be on all of these things? To be on a device with all of my relatives, former friends and classmates – so they can, to some extent, watch over me and judge me. It began to feel more and more like some sort of grandiose psychological experiment. Therefore, why is this important to ME?

I enjoy Twitter. I enjoy blogging. These things will remain around in my social media life. I don’t intend to stop blogging unless God has other plans for me he’s yet to tell me about, and that will ultimately happen one day – because that day hits all of us.

The idea really began to percolate in my brain this past weekend. There was a story in the news out of South Florida about a “town hall” CNN had staged in light of the school shooting that killed 17 in Broward County. One of the students claimed elements of the show were essentially rigged, and I publicly posted on Facebook (based on some of my own media dealings) that this was probably true.

Most people liked what I had said – but what I thought was weird was who had objected to my observations directly. One was a classmate who only chats with me to disagree. The other was someone who was a friend of one of my high school friends who I don’t believe I’ve ever met, reminding me when I pointed out that when the Pinellas Park High School shooting occurred in 1988 we didn’t blame President Reagan – he reminded me that Reagan himself survived an assassination attempt in 1981.

It was a valid point, and I conceded as such. But when people go way out of what you perceive as “their way” (again – my perception, not theirs) to argue with you, what does that say about the arguments, and thus, about us?

Hence this experiment. Facebook makes me feel most times like I’m in a padded room, wearing a straight jacket I can’t get out of. Those who want to reconnect with me will find the way to do it. I’ll lose some of the connections I’ve made and enjoyed, sure – there’s a sort of social media Darwinism that will take place, I suppose. But why not give it a try? I might actually feel a little better about life, and how is that bad if that’s what winds up happening?

I’ll probably get back to this in the days ahead. Bear with me.

The Purge In Raysville

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Tropicana Field’s days seem numbered. Here’s a photo I took of the Trop back in 2016.

The front office of the Tampa Bay Rays will deny it, but it’s getting kind of obvious there’s a fire sale going on with the Bay Area’s baseball team. Evan Longoria’s departure to San Francisco’s Giants was a bit expected, but no one seemed to expect the “purge” of Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi, and Stephen Sousa Jr. to separate ball clubs.

This is a club and an ownership that desperately wants out of the outdated Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, that’s for sure. The club has pitched the idea of moving to a new indoor stadium that would be built in Ybor City (a historic part of Tampa on its southeast side) that would have the look of an outdoor arena, such as the new stadium recently built for the Minnesota Vikings.

Absent that idea becoming reality and the $700-million bare minimum it would take to build the stadium there, I think the Rays would move elsewhere in the next decade. Las Vegas? San Antonio? Montreal? Portland, Oregon? Northern New Jersey? Who knows?

I’d like to see the Rays stay in Pinellas County, but that’s a ship that has apparently sailed already. Keeping the team in Tampa Bay should now be the top priority, even if that means the small move over to Tampa. But with all of these trades taking place in such short order, I kind of wonder if the ownership of the club wants to move the franchise to another city by decimating what’s left of its fan base.

Flashback: “Every Morning” by Sugar Ray

Peaked at #3 on the Billboard charts back in 1999. Lead singer Mark McGrath is currently in the first US Celebrity Big Brother season and is guaranteed a spot in the final six – though he could wind up leaving as soon as tonight.

The Pledge

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We’re a week deep into the aftermath of another school shooting, and I’ve been seeing kids protesting all over the place in the media. I’m seeing these kids accuse one of our two major political parties of, essentially, murder.

We can argue whether or not whether or not that’s the case for eons. I’m just a bit concerned these kids are being exploited by our politicians to advance their talking points, to breathe air into arguments long since dismissed. Who exploits these kids is a secondary concern to me – that they are being exploited is the bigger concern.

Personally, I believe the second amendment is there for a reason – for the right of defending yourself. I don’t understand why it is easier to get an AR-15 rifle than it is to get a handgun. Never owning a gun, I’d think those laws are ass-backward – that it should be easier to get a handgun, tougher to get an automatic rifle. But I admit to you all I haven’t spent a lot of time on the matter, as I don’t really like guns all that much.

(I would also look into how mental health in society has changed over the years, as school shootings in this country go back to 1764, with scores more occurring in the 19th century.)

How do I know that this sort of exploitation goes on? Let me tell you a little story of my high school days in the 1980’s.

There was a big push one day by a group called SADD – Students Against Drunk Driving. The one day they were at our school, we were all gathered together to sign a pledge against drunk driving. That struck me odd, as I didn’t know there were kids who believed driving drunk was a good idea. Being a student against drunk driving was like being a Christian against Christ – it didn’t make any sense, so why build consensus for something so obvious?

If anything, I thought it was giving kids the idea of getting wasted and driving. “Hey! That’s an idea! Let’s drink some Jack and Cokes and go driving!”

The campaign was made: all the kids were going to sign this ridiculous, non-binding pledge, and they used an unspoken peer pressure to get all the kids to sign. Not signing was not an opinion. God forbid you were THAT kid who didn’t pledge against drunk driving – the horror of it all!

Seeing that I was looking at a few inches of garden hose without any lubricant, I signed. The moral of the story: if they exploit high school kids back in the 80’s, I shudder to think of what those kids in Broward County who are about to be seen up in Tallahassee go through in the wake of their school being shot up a week ago. They should not be used as political pawns, but be allowed to figure things out for themselves.

Mayday

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Sometime on Friday night or Saturday morning, I had a dream. Sometimes you remember your dreams, most of the time I suppose you don’t, you just wake up wondering what the heck you dreamed about.

It was one of those dreams that’s bad, but once you wake up from because there is no way the dream can be anything but that – a dream.

I’m on a plane in the distant future. I know it’s at some point in the future because I’m sitting in front of a computer monitor on a table. The computer monitor somehow sees a certain point in the future – I’m thinking it’s five minutes ahead. By the monitor sits an LCD display with the capacity to hold two numbers, but as I look at it, no numbers are displayed.

It’s a normal flight, but in this dream, I just know I’m on the plane – I don’t know where my destination is. Some time goes by and all is well, but then I notice what is on the monitor has now changed. Instead of showing the horizon that would be ahead of us, the plane seems to be pointing straight down towards the earth. I can make out roads, houses, buildings. The LCD indicator has now been activated, constantly showing lower numbers – 90, 83, 76, 62, 48…

This can’t be good. I whip out my cell phone and text everybody I can, “Might be a problem with my plane. ” Do they still have text messages in the future? I guess they do.

I feel the plane hitting something, and alarms start going off…

And that’s when I wake up.

Then I read yesterday that a plane crashed in the mountains of Iran. Was my dream some sort of omen?