Sunday, March 21, 2010

So Where the Hell Have I Been Lately?

I am a man of many interests. I play guitar, watch lots of television, read (need to do this much more), study improv techniques to help with the stage fright and the writing (signed up for BIG's advanced course this spring), manage a fantasy sports team (baseball starts next week!), and connect with people - I've been doing that since I could walk. But writing tops them all: scripts, blogs, tweets, songs, and even technical documents and business rules at work.

I hear rumblings that blogs are passé; that they are losing steam. That's like saying newspapers are dead. Wait a minute. Delivering yesterday's news tomorrow may be outdated, but journalism and credibility are not. It's just harder to find. Delivery methods of newsprint and door-to-door delivery is nostalgic but inefficient. And anyone can write information on the internet. It's up to us to find reliable sources.

And I am not a journalist. I don't pretend to be. My blog is observational: my personal observations and opinions. However, I do actual research when dissecting a topic. And, no, not just with Wikipedia, though it is a fountain of information.

For the past few months I have not been giving my blog it's due attention. Honestly, I've been microblogging on Twitter and I can't stop. The content boundary is 140 characters: I can make someone laugh in that space. Repeatedly. Every day. It's like a sitdown comedy club with no cover charge and no audition. To be accepted as a comic and as someone funny it takes time, good judgment and patience - but it's well worth the reward.

I write jokes for free. Every single day. Some day I'll make a living at it, but I'm not concerned about cash flow on Twitter. Getting a warm reaction and retweets (appreciation shown by others through reposting your tweet) is very rewarding. And it hones my craft.

I enjoy Facebook, but there are essentially no limits to the length or variety of posts there (for me or others). I pop in to check out statuses of friends and family, drop some comments and hellos, and bolt before three days pass and I haven't showered or eaten because I can't stop the tangent/URL hopping. Luckily I don't play Farmville or Mafia Wars; otherwise I'd never see the sun again.

My blog posts are not diary entries of personal quests, rehashings of someone else's information, or mini snippets of opinion about what happened on The View yesterday - which would be: someone made me laugh; as much as I hate to admit it, I love Barbara Walters; and Elizabeth's credentials of reality show alumnus (Survivor) must remain top of mind (AKA consider the source).

On Twitter, I converse with some fabulous people. I have even made some real friends. I consider these relationships just as authentic as with classmates and coworkers. In school and at work, we share only what we want to share with our friends. Many know a little; those we trust and like know more. The same is true on the web. You learn over time who is genuine, who is casual, who is just marketing, and who you need to keep at arm's length or blocked entirely.

Those who know me personally know that I speak my mind always, giving respect where its due, and enjoy taking on Big Brother, bullies, misogynists, idiots and assholes. I don't enjoy confrontation, but I detest oppression, ignorance and what I view as wrong even more. Writing allows me to speak honestly and to be heard because I believe I have something to say. If people disagree, I welcome a dialogue. If people hate me, I welcome them to stop listening. It doesn't mean I'll stop speaking.

But I am not giving up my blog. I love to share observations that are thought out, and worth sharing, that are much longer than 140 characters. And more than anything, I love to make people laugh.

I really will try to post more. I now have a fabulous home office - my girlfriend Barb and I finally created a space we both needed and now love!

For those who just aren't into the Twitter thing, I understand. I do think there's some good content you're missing (and I don't just mean mine).

Actually, I think there's a lot of good content we're all missing. The timeline on Twitter is where you see the tweets from accounts you follow. One reality is this timeline is in constant motion. The more people you follow, the faster the information flows. I would guesstimate a large percentage of what I tweet is actually missed, unless someone consciously goes back to review past tweets. Or if they're really skilled with a third-party tool managing the information they want to see. Archiving what you write also requires some third-party intervention. Otherwise, it's lost to the ether of the twittersphere.

On Twitter, I'm GCGeek. If you haven't checked out Twitter, I encourage you to give it a try. And look me up!

And please let me know what you're thinking about this or any other post. Suggest topics you'd like covered on Do I Amuse You? And let me know who you are on Twitter.

Since I've been gone for so long, the least I can do is offer a sampling of some of my favorite tweets from the past few weeks. I hope you like them! [You'll notice a few "hashtags" - words without spaces marked with a # sign. These serve as search tags as well as subject classifiers and sometimes punchlines.]

During the various Snowmageddon/Blizzaster Events:
Even in a blizzard, saying "What happened to global warming?" is like Warren Buffett looking at his checkbook and saying "What recession?"

I'm not a journalist-until I stick a mic in my hand, point a camera at my face, and start talking about what's happening in the background.

From Valentine's Day:
Dear God. When praying for a few extra inches by Valentine's Day, perhaps I should have been more specific. @SnowMyGoodness

Tell you what: Don't expect me to find the perfect romantic gift and I won't expect you to find the right car parts. #NotAFanOfVD

IMO dating is the process of finding a partner. I don't ask my boss to interview me each year to remind her why she hired me. #NotAFanOfVD

Live during the Grammys:
I like Green Day but they remixed their old songs. And Billy Joe fixed his teeth and thanked his kids. I bet he drives a Buick too. #Grammys

Taylor's accepting a Grammy. You know Jay-Z's got his foot on Kanye's throat right now. #Grammys

Live during the Oscars:
And the award for most sanctimonious introduction and feigned humility goes to...

Wow. Seems all the big stars are sporting beards these days: Keanu, Jake, Tom. They all have facial hair, too.

Playing DJ:
Heart – City's Burning. From Private Audition. One of my favorite guitar songs to play. Ever! ♫

And Random tweets:
If you do what's right and are kind to others, it doesn't matter which God you're pleasing. At least in my book.

My spam is really stepping it up. They went from "Want to make it huge?" to "giant". Who do they think I'm dating, the fifty-foot woman?

Dear Chammps: Thanks for charging $6.09 for pint drafts of Sam Adams. Golden taps or does this pay for that stupid extra "M"?

If a tree falls in the woods on Pat Robertson, and no one's there to hear him make a sound, is it still wrong for me to smile?

[In reply to @Caissie] Al Roker: weatherman, novelist, hard-core rapper. Once he does a season of the View he can retire as the most unqualified everyman.

It's March Madness, where I just toss out state names to be part of the conversation. Freaking Kansas, you know? And Cal? Whew! #IHaveNoClue

I just paid $80 for a spare MacBook power cord. 80. Freakin. $. I wonder if Steve Jobs paid three-times-a-reasonable-MSRP for his liver?

1) When your girlfriend says "pick up a bottle of wine on your way home", you just do it. No questions asked and definitely no whining.
2) And if you're Jesse James, "Don't bang anyone on the way home." You wouldn't think you'd have to say it, but you know men.

I hate when a sweater rides and the elastic at the bottom produces a faux bump. Like that extra crotch popper fold in every pair of Levi's.

Note to self: "YTF you hatin on me?" is not an appropriate response to my performance appraisal. Even in a recession and shit.

My coffee is either too weak (used < recommended scoops) or too strong (judging by color). Until I taste, it is both: Schrödinger's Coffee

A journey of 11 steps starts with a shower. Good morning, friends.

Despite retirement my dad has been teaching for 50 years. His advice on my writing: Just keep at it & if it's meant to be it will happen.

♬ Bus stop, bus go, she stays love grows. Under my umbrella. ♬ That made it to #5 on the UK charts, and I can't write a hit song?

REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar & Night Ranger at B'more's Pier Six Pavilion Sept 4! Better find my Members Only jacket, cargo pants and hair.

Steve Wilkos looks just like Cal Ripken...without the integrity.

I'm no longer calling myself a non-practicing Catholic. You don't need practice at judgment or guilt.

Perhaps adding VP to my title will remove the invisible mute button that seems perpetually stuck when I speak to higher-ups. #CorporateLife

When you get that close to my car's ass with your little sporty self-indulgent feat of German engineering, all I can say is Dousche!

Monday, March 01, 2010

RNC: Looking for Money Instead of Ideas

For some reason, I'm on a solicitation mailing list for the Republican National Committee. In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm a registered Democrat. I registered to participate in primary elections, and between the two parties, I'm more left than right.

But I'm not a big fan of the two-party system because it's ineffective. There are so many perspectives, they simply can't be diluted into two "sides". But that's a topic for another day.

Today, I'm curious about the spirit of these RNC solicitations. There's a Democrat in the White House, and a majority, albeit tiny, in Congress. If you really feel the current administration - who apparently have wreaked utter havoc in one year with all issues beginning January 1, 2009 - are doing things wrong, you should: a) work with the current folks to do things "right", b) offer alternative ideas instead of adolescent-grade insults, c) try to get more bees with honey instead of vinegar (use kinder language).

But I'm not the head of the RNC, Michael Steele is. Why did I choose a picture of Mike with a dog? It makes about as much sense as the letter. And I understand the letter is meant to rile up right-wingers that are already anti-anything-not-right-wing, feed the paranoia and divisiveness all to get more money.  I was just hoping they might start to offer some ideas on what "we" should be doing instead. Oh yeah, I forgot "hope" is four-letter-word these days, too.

Instead of me interpreting their tone or their tactics any more, you can read their recent letter to me here: 2010 Republican Platinum Card.

OK, I do have to make one comment. The "platinum" card is cardboard, not actual platinum or even plastic. But do you think a credit card analogy is the best marketing idea in an economic recession?

Stay classy, RNC.