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The Tide of Social Media: I’m Facebooking Tweets on FourSquare

Today we are buried under a mountain of social media. Instant ways to connect to each other, keep from being bored in bars and just to share with the world that fact that you just ate a cheese sandwich. People have asked me what the differences are so I’m going to break it down for you:

Facebook: This is the giant, multi-use, Borg-like program that connects you with friends, frenemies and total strangers. You can share pictures, links, your relationship status, where you live, which teams you support, and beg people to work on your farm. Yes, you can play games where you waste hours a day digging for treasure, growing food, homesteading or rising to the top of a Mafia family.

On the up side you can keep in touch with people you actually like, share pictures, and see what your other friends are doing even if you could care less that they are eating a cheese sandwich. You can also keep your settings locked down to “Friends Only” (which I HIGHLY recommend). This helps to keep stalkers, your ex, your parole officer and potential employers of seeing the picture of you with the inflatable sheep. Please note this doesn’t help if one of your frenemies posts that picture in a public forum or in their pictures and they make the permissions “public”. Lesson: don’t be in a position to have those pictures taken in the first place.

On the down side, you have to deal with annoying ads calling you fat or lonely (which you may be if you are on Facebook 24/7 but that really isn’t anyone else’s business), people spamming you with products and services you will never use or wanting you to join their hamsters fan page. You also deal with a parade of posts called a News Feed that you have to sift through. There are informative, cool posts from friends and there are whiny self-serving posts that fish for sympathy in the wide electronic ocean at least four times a day. They post things like “sniff” or “My life is tragic” or “Perhaps the other world has better cheese sandwiches.”. People, if you are that depressed that you send these missives into the ether on a regular basis, get off Facebook and hie thee to a mental health professional and get yourself some real help. I’m here to tell you, that behaviour is not normal.

Twitter: The younger set is all about Tweets. Twitter is faster paced and a different breed of social media. It’s not there to whine about your day or how many bowls of mac & cheese you ate unless it was at a new Mac & Cheese only eatery – like Homeroom that just opened in Oakland – and here is a link so you can check it out!

Twitter is about small bites of information. It’s also very open and very searchable on the net. This is NOT the forum to be writing inane drivel or posting snapshots from your latest hate rally unless you never want to work again for a respectable company. While you can lock your account to only people you approve, the point of Twitter is to be followed by a horde of lemmings who hang on your every hip word. You only get 140 characters per tweet so make them count, make them clever, make them informative. There is nothing I hate more than someone who tweets nonstop, clogging up my feed with constant whining or boring things like “took the lint out of the dryer”. I will unfollow you. Don’t post stuff like that unless you can make it interesting like “Took the lint out of the dryer and it had Andy Dick’s face in it” – then post a link to a picture.

Twitter is a good tool for business. You can use it to drive people to your blog, keep up with the latest facts and media gossip. While these two social media programs are similar, they are used in different ways. Learn them, use them correctly, don’t be a douche and don’t be boring.

How Porsche Pants Saved My Peesch – A RIOTous Story

I now interrupt your regularly scheduled Friday Tech Column to bring you this breaking story.

First let’s go back in time to Wednesday…..  I was sitting around in my penguin pajama bottoms, trying to write and trying not to feel like a loser when I got a call from one of my recruiters.  She had an assignment for me the next day.  It was seven hours of data entry for a union in downtown Oakland.  It wasn’t long-term, it wasn’t a great deal of money but it was work and it got me off the couch and out of my penguin PJ’s so I took the assignment.

Thursday dawned way too early.  I needed to take BART into Oakland but the parking lot at El Cerrito Plaza is wee and fills up fast.  My job didn’t start until 9am but I knew the parking lot would be full by 8am so I got there around 6:15am, sat in the car and waited.  I did make one stop into Starbucks for a non-fat, no water, chai tea latte then killed time listening to The Hunt for Red October.

I arrived at Franklin Street in Oakland a little early, started my temp job, got a sandwich for lunch and everything was a normal day.  My recruiter told me the job “may” go another day but would in all likelihood end that day since I was helping them catch up with a data entry project.  No problem.

Well, an hour after I got back from lunch my supervisor came into my office and told me “We need to finish everything now.  We are evacuating the building.”  umm what?  It seems the verdict in the Fruitvale shooting is coming in and they are evacuating the building and sending everyone home.  Great.  Not only is my seven hours of work, cut to 5 1/4 hours but the street is now filled with people streaming underground to catch a BART train.

This could get bad.  I was living in Oakland when the shooting happened with the ensuing riots.  I was also living in Pasadena during Rodney King.  I knew no matter what the verdict was, no matter how much respected people, religious leaders or God himself asked people to behave themselves, looting and idiocy WOULD happen.  On my way to the station I hear one kid on a phone talking about “lighting shit up”.  Great.

The BART station looks like New Years Eve and 4th of July at the same time.  Solid streams of people head downstairs to catch outbound trains.  The big issue is since this isn’t “Peak time”, the trains are not running with as many cars or as close together.  So instead of trains with 9-10 cars four minutes apart, we are getting trains with 4-5 cars six minutes apart.  The platform has a few police officers on it and I start a quick mental inventory of what I can use for a weapon in my purse.  A quick search turns up assorted lip gloss, a writing notebook, a pen, my receipt from Starbucks, my wallet, my iphone, a purse hanger from Club 33, and a hard peppermint candy.  Great.  I don’t think even MacGyver could make anything out of that.

The one thing I knew, no one was going to get my iphone so under the concealment of my long coat, I took my phone and stuck it in down my pants and into my knickers.  Now my peesh is protected with bullet proof glass.  Go me!

The first train pulls up but it’s so packed only 1/4 of the people waiting can squeeze in.  People are starting to panic.  All they want to do is get on a train and get out of Dodge before the verdict is read and all hell breaks loose.  I’m feeling pretty calm since I now have my bulletproof peesch protection and I’m armed with my dreaded peppermint candy super weapon.  I pushed and shoved my way onto the second train.  No, actually there was no pushing involved though I put my loud voice to good use bellowing over the din “Can we please fill in the aisles so we can get more people on the train?”, “Squeeze in everyone, let’s just pretend we’re in Tokyo or Mumbai or…”

“Boston!” a perky brunette woman chirped up.  “Yes!  Boston!  Who’s been to Boston?” and thus started the Sargent Comedy Hour.  As we rolled out I pitched in with quips like “Make a new friend but don’t get too friendly!” or “I hope no one ate beans for lunch.”  Everyone on the train was great.  We made sure the people who needed to get out were able to squeeze through the throng before packing more people in.  All and all, everyone was orderly, in good spirits and I didn’t have to unleash peppermint destruction on any marauders.

After calling my Mom to let her know I was OK, because I know she would freak out if she heard this on the news, I went out with friends to a whisky tasting far away from Oakland and the rioting I knew was a foregone conclusion.  This morning, I turned on the TV to see the results of the usual bad elements and thugs.  Yup, stores looted, cars smashed, graffiti sprayed and now in the light of day the near deserted streets just look sad.  Citizens are working to scrub off paint, sweep up glass and shake their heads at the animals who think it’s fun to assault people who had nothing to do with what happened.  Great.  These are the people who should be in a cage with the key thrown away.

Just to make things all that much better, I saw the place where I had been working not 15 hours ago on the news.  It had been vandalized.  Well at least we’re fine, life goes on and I may even ride BART into The City today.  Though I’m still going to be packin’ some peppermint candy heat!

Childrens Fairyland and Wild Alpaca Lovin’

So last Friday, I met Carrie and her evil minion (who I will say is sooo pretty you completly forget about her being evil and striving for World Domination at the age of 2) at Children’s Fairyland at Lake Merritt in Oakland for an afternoon of fairy fun.  Here is a link for those of you who don’t know what this is and YES it is for kids and not some gay theme park.  That is Disneyland on Gay Night which is the BEST time I have ever had at the park but that is another blog.

As we approached the gate, the minion tore off into the park in search of world domination with Carrie in hot pursuit.  Adults just do not understand that the World Domination of Fairyland is an all afternoon undertaking that must be accomplished as quickly as possible with lots of running, sliding, running, sand throwing and more running.  There is a method to the madness.  The adults have just forgotten as now we are old and tired and just want a beer and a nap.

Another note is that adults are not allowed into Fairyland unless you have a kid with you and kids are not allowed in unsupervised.  So, if people like me want to spend a day at Fairyland I need to borrow a kid because this bright, happy pre-school place could easily be the Uncle Ernie Carnival of Sicko Fun for pervs and no one wants that.

First there is the clock tower that is a slide.  The slide twists a bit and there is sliding fun.  A little boy, I will call him The Sidekick in order to protect his secret identity, was not so sure about this.  I mean when you are 2 feet tall, just climbing the stairs is WAY scary.  Hey, I HATE getting up on a ladder.  I remember (vaguely) getting to the top of the slide and not knowing if you should go down and trying to decide and it’s kinda scary and now there are kids behind you so you can’t go backwards and it is just a lot of pressure for a two year old.  I mean screw your latest stock acquisition, this is serious!  Well the sidekick did do the slide to much applause and adult cheering (because you need to reward risk taking as long as it doesn’t include setting your siblings on fire).

After that it was off to the animals.  There were guinea pigs, two of them and they were black.  Sorry, they were guinea pigs of color, and seemed to be quite happy.  I did remark that they looked mighty tasty.  There were also ducks and bunnies and two burros (who showed us their butts).  We also saw a cement frog with a plastic tube stuck up it’s butt.  We didn’t know if the frog was getting an enema or if this was just part of frog fun.  We were having such a nice time and then I saw it.  Yup – the squirrel.  Actually there were a few of them that then proceeded to dog me the entire day.  I had to explain to the Sidekicks parental units about the squirrel thing, why they were evil and out to get me.  I thought skinning one in the middle of children’s Fairyland would be a bad idea so they lived……for now.

One of the highlights is the coolest “underground” maze where you go down the rabbit hole and the walls are all painted with scenes from Alice in Wonderland with characters you can look at.  Now that they have a fresh coat of paint, they are really pretty neat.  It is also a lucky thing that the card maze at the end of the rabbit hole is short for adults so you can see over the cards since the minion had a plan which involved ditching the grownups.  Needless to say, her plan didn’t work as we could see over the cards.  HA!  Foiled your plan for World Domination #1!

It was then suggested that we check out the “creepy chapel”.  OK, there is this little wee chapel with benches inside and faux stained glass and a fake organ and a wee alter.  I have yet to see a bunch of 3 year olds conduct a service here so I am unsure as to why it is here other than some church ladies donated it.  I mean these kids aren’t getting married or sprinkling water on each other or having funerals.  (or are they…. wait for it)  I went into this chapel and saw this stuffed bunny sitting on a bench that someone left behind.  I put him on the alter so he could conduct a service for this empty creepy chapel for little kids or as a sacrifice – take your pick.  Carrie commented that all the creepy chapel needed was a kids cemetery to complete the aura of creep.  As a person who hangs out in a lot of cemeteries I will tell you that kids cemeteries are definetly the creepiest.  So around back are a few kids, dressed as angels, dancing around a christmas tree.  Hmmm, are they dead?  Are they in a play?  Still trying to make the connection.  It’s hurting my brain so I stop.

Now the squirrels are everywhere and they are following me. #@$&%(@# squirrels!  Go away before I let the Evil Minion use you in a super secret machine that will complete her plan of World Domination.  It is made out of a juice box, a few french fries, a hair scrunchie and…. o no, I think I’ve said too much already.

So before snack time we decide to have a little train ride.  As we are going into a tunnel – I see it – THE KIDDIE CEMETERY!!!!!!!!!!    I am soooooo not joking!  There are headstones of kids that say things like this is what happened when Suzie didn’t keep her hands and feet inside the car or (my personal favorite) “No More Birthdays”.  How brilliant and fucked up is THAT?!  It had a sense of pathos along with me cackling in Edward Gorey glee.  You know, that is gonna scare the pants off some little kid.  If they could only read….  LOLOLOLOLOLOL

Anyway, after a snack we go to the little western town they have just finished and the kids LOVED the ponies.  Not real ponies.  These are little fake ponies the kids can climb on.  They are gay ponies.  I don’t even know how to describe these ponies.  Ummm, they have HUGE and I mean HUGE Farrah Fawcett hairdos with big smiles and lots of teeth.  We figured one was a 1970’s John Travolta gay pony and the other one was a David Lee Roth Hair Band pony.  Damn, I thought I had seen it all.  But wait, THERE’S MORE…..

We head back to the animal area and check out the pony, the sheep and the Alpaca. We had seen them earlier and had remarked that the pony looked in pretty bad shape, the Alpaca just kept bleating and looking pathetic and the sheep just looked evil.  On closer examination of the little cards, we found out that the pony is a rescue, hella old, blind in one eye and has arthritis.  The sheep also had special needs though I think the main one is that his father is SATAN and the Alpaca…..  Well the Alpaca..Juan Valdez… wasn’t just bleating for nothing.  You see we learned that when the animals are let out of their enclosures after closing to run around, the Alpaca goes right for .. the goats.  He loves the goats.  He moons over the goats.  He wants him some goat lovin and if you get in his line of sight between him and the goat pen, he really freaks out.  We tried to take a message to the goats that Juan really wanted some goat lovin but the regular sized male and the pygmie female didn’t return his affection.  Unrequited love.  Sorry dude, I feel your pain.  You know, I saw that alpacas tongue.  Those goats don’t know what they are missing.  Come on goats, go interspecies for a bit.  I mean, Alpaca – goat, that is kinda close.

Well the day draws to a close, the evil minion and her sidekick share a little snoggin’ that is so bloody cute the picture will no doubt be shown at great length for years to come.  That’s how it is when you are two, chase some squirrels, slide on the slide, kiss your sidekick, plot to take over the World.

A great time was had by all (except by the goats who are just really confused).  Your mileage may vary, shipped by weight not by volume, some settling may occur during shipping, objects in mirror may appear larger. Information in this post may not be used in a manner inconsistent with packaging or directions. Opinions expressed in this post are just those… opinions. Moral implications should not be drawn nor inferred as evil if my experience and opinions differ from yours.