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Journal Politics

Journal Entry – 2.2.2017

The world is different now due to President Trump.  I miss the certainty and comfort of the way things were previously. Now I wake up and am anxious to see what the news will say.  At the moment the US is upsetting its allies and as for the enemies, I’m sure we’ll soon be at war.

I’m anxious for immigrants.  They’ve first banned Muslims under the guise of “extreme vetting.”  Next will come a database, deportation of Latinos and then next in line would be the Asians.  All of this has given the extreme right a lot of encouragement and I’ve started to look into those corners of the internet where they reside.  I’d like to understand them further and try to get a pulse on where things might lead.

I’m hoping that America really is exceptional and will show it in a fight against Trump and Bannon but at the moment I also think that hate against various groups could go further.

First the Muslims are scapegoated, then it will Latinos and I’m sure then the Asians.  The first step has already been taken and approved by Trump supporters.  They will then support Latino deportation.  This is all under the guise of “keeping America safe.”  The US has to get rid of/monitor this person and that person because after all, we must be safe right!

All of this will / is contributing to a hostile atmosphere for people of any shade living in the USA.  What is most hurtful is should this progression continue in the way I’ve described above, which is entirely possible, is that I have friends and family who support this madness.  Trump has just revoked green cards – a promise that one can live and work in America – for a certain group of people; he could easily do it to many other groups.  Some of my friends and even family believe this is to make America safe.  Well, should the progression continue this affects my family directly.  I wish I could say that they would renounce their support of Trump/Bannon should even my own family get caught up in trouble but to be completely honest, I’m really not sure if they would and this makes me incredibly sad; I think the madness could run that deep. I wonder if they would demand to see some proof of legality even from us!

What has happened this past week was inconceivable just two weeks ago.  Is it really unjustified that even more inconceivable events are on the horizon given the way things have gone so far?  There is no safety valve and this sort of thing flares up across the world and throughout history.  Is the US so naive to think that it is immune, that it is ‘exceptional?’  I really hope it turns out to be exceptional but so far it really doesn’t seem to be so.

Anyway, I decided to make my feelings about Trump/Bannon known on the FB.  Here is what I wrote so it may be preserved and I can look back on this in the future; hopefully in much better times.

These are very dark and sad times. Only a short while ago America was calling itself ‘exceptional,’ and it is breathtaking to see how quickly and deeply it is falling. We’ve always told ourselves we’re the ‘good guys,’ but with a number of executive orders mandated through a free and fair election, that ‘exceptional’ takes on a different meaning entirely. America is forced to look in the mirror and is seeing a side which it has tried to ignore for a long time. These orders will, and already are, having very bad consequences that Trump supporters and the White House itself do not seem able to grasp. This isn’t a game; our reputation as a country is being highly damaged and in only a few short months we could very well find ourselves at war, with very few friends.

The silver lining is that storms pass and perhaps this will serve as a wake up call which shakes a lethargic electorate and citizenry into action. It has shaken me and I will be doing all I can to fight against this very wrong turn the country has taken. The question now is how long and how severe this storm is going to be. A wry smile appears on my face when I think the most controversial item of the past 8 years was an attempt to give everyone healthcare; just one week later it is possible war, realignment of the world order and a change in the core principles of what it means to be American.

It is amazing to see how spineless the Grand Old Party has become. It used to be grand indeed but now is showing that its representatives in the federal government are cowards with absolutely no moral compass, no bravery, not much of anything really.

For the record I’ve been both Republican and Democrat; now I’m officially neither. The point of this post is to show my friends that I’m highly against Trump, his agenda, and will be fighting back. Hopefully, this is the only political post I’ll make here; I’ve long used a different venue outside of social media for my political opinions which I find to be preferable and more effective.

Attached is a picture of the sunrise I took at Pillar Point Harbor on October 23rd, 2015. The light from the sunrise is pushing up against the dark fog. At this point, either can overtake the other: the fog could advance and blot out the light, or the sunlight will push the fog back to the ocean. I for one, always root for the sunrise.

Fog vs. Sunrise @Pillar Point Harbor – October 23rd, 2015

 

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Journal

A visit to Facebook

I thought my recent visit to Facebook would be worthy of its own post:  Facebook is one of the most powerful companies to have ever existed and so this post serves as a marker in time that I’ve actually been to this place.

Facebook

The reason I was there was for a work event which allowed me to meet many of their employees, the great majority of them very young!  The explosion in technology is still so relatively young:  after all it has been only twenty years since the mainstream were able to get on the internet.  I wonder what things will look like in another twenty years; will these employees be replaced and discarded by even younger kids as older people have been today?  I’ll enjoy looking back on this post twenty years from now to find the answer as well as compare what Facebook looks like then compared to what it did in 2016.

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Journal

Quitting Facebook

Since the new year is an excellent time to adjust one’s habits and routines I’ve decided to experiment with a number of changes. 

One of the biggest is to stop using Facebook.  So far I’ve gone three days and the feeling is one of tranquility and peacefulness.  It is not that I have anything against Facebook or agree with the reasons of the usual anti-Facebook crowd.  Facebook to me has been invaluable since I have a vast amount of acquaintances throughout the world with whom I would have lost all contact and even memory if it wasn’t for Facebook.  Facebook helped me keep those connections from completely dying.  

But now, seven or eight years on I’ve finally had my fill, like one who has eaten too many sweets and feels nauseous or perhaps like one who has drunken too much and now feels like throwing up.  

Perhaps it is my overindulgence that has lead to my current feelings.  I’ve started three groups and a page and am without rival in sharing old pictures of me and my friends.  But this circus has run its course and it seems as though I’m watching the same act over and over in my infinite news feed. 

It is not that my news feed is boring; there are a wide array of subjects and material.  There are the women who post image after image of themselves, sometimes four or five per day.  Upon obtaining a boyfriend these same women post image after image of them kissing their boyfriend, change their profile picture to them kissing their boyfriend and henceforth every activity is with this boyfriend.  

For those with families, children are the main subjects.  I do enjoy seeing these family photos and what my friends lives are now like but like any reasonable person one or two family albums are usually enough.  

There are those who post every random thought, minute daily detail or shred of internet distraction.  Some use Facebook as therapy and reassurance.  Those that need constant comforting from their friends as their lives are not turning out as they had hoped.  Others have pretty fantastic experiences and travel the world, post beautiful pictures and are really living life to the fullest.  There are many many others, but even though the movie has been grand, it has run for a very very long time and I now prefer to spend my time doing something else. 

I think one of the main attractions of Facebook is the pleasure people get when others “like” their status updates.  A higher “like” count equals more joy.  I too was addicted to the “like” but realize I’ll feel much better by getting off this drug completely.  

I do feel a bit cheated by Facebook.  In the land of Facebook there are no real deep connections, no substance, everything is superficial such as the “like.”  I’ve never had one deep conversation nor reconnected with my friends.  In the land of Facebook I’ve received thousands and thousands of “likes” but not more than five phone calls from these friends in over five years!  The long, in-depth e-mails I used to have have dropped to zero.  Not one long, interesting catch up e-mail in over five years.

All of these old friends who I’ve missed over a decade or two have suddenly all appeared all at once.  It seems as though it is a terrible nightmare.   I’m having a party, almost everyone I’ve ever had a conversation with in the past two decades shows up but instead of a hug and interesting conversation to catch-up they just give me a thumbs up.  I walk through this enormous crowd and nobody can speak, they just look at me, smile and give a thumbs up or poke me.  Very few are able to utter a sentence or two but mostly it is just a blank smile.  Some of them are stuck to their boyfriends in a kiss.  Their eyes turn to me and mumble a greeting but with lips continually pressed against their beau.  

Some of them are able to get a private message to me but out of the entire party only five or so have this ability.  It is better than poke, better than a sentence but never has been more than a paragraph or two and usually just contains the standard greetings in longer format.  

Before Facebook I often thought how wonderful it would be to catch up with many of these people.  Well, here they are, all together in the same place, but the nightmare I’ve described never changes, it is the same dream night after night.  

So, I’ve decided to wake up.  I don’t want to have this dream anymore.  I don’t feel like sharing and I think many people have had their fill of my pictures as well!  So let us have an amicable separation.  It is not that I still don’t find FB attractive anymore, I may, and I may ask for a late night rendezvous once in a while but on the overall I think it is much better and healthier to have a formal separation.  

I’ve deleted Facebook from my phone, and removed the permanent tab in my browser.  I have other interests in this universe known as cyberspace and it just doesn’t make sense returning to the same planet over and over again.

I do hope to keep all my relationships alive, but like plants that need continual watering and sunlight, relationships take effort, even a word or poke every few years to remain.  

Yet I find plants easier to maintain.  I’m one who remembers my friends, remembers the times we had and can pick up right where we left off.  I’ve found this is an uncommon ability.  Some “friends” never bother to write back when I do put in the effort.  I’ve reached out in many ways.  Phone calls, messages or posting something to others pages.  I’ve found the level of engagement or even a response to have severely declined over the years.  Perhaps everyone is exhausted of the FB drug but have become so dependent they do not realize it is FB itself causing the fatigue.  

I read an article recently that everyone is creating their own “brand,” on FB.  This article was actually about divorce and sharing the divorce on FB but in a positive way in order to maintain the brand.  For me, my favorite joy is sharing old photos as a way to reconnect but I quickly learned that some people may consider old photos damaging to their brand.  It is very hard to tell as some react with utter joy, many remain silent and one with a de-friend!  

The person who wanted to de-friend me told me that her Facebook page was “professional” and as all of her work colleagues were here FB friends they didn’t need to see an old picture.  She didn’t even have the courtesy to just remove me from her friends list but instead asked that I remove her from my friends list!  I wanted to retort that she might be confused with LinkedIn since that is the appropriate network to be “professional,” however I did consider this person a friend so just accommodated her wishes.  Furthermore, I didn’t post it to her page, I posted it to a group and tagged her so her own network wouldn’t have seen it.  But, I didn’t feel like explaining this as I was dumbfounded that what I would have considered previously to be a good friend was not.  

This brings me to another point and that is I’ve found that at 37 years old a good portion of my friend network are losing their memories.  Specific events aside, when I connect with a friend I’m immediately able to pick up where we left off as I mentioned above.  I remember the feelings and the deep sense of connection with these people.  At 37 most people will have either forgotten, or perhaps do not even wish to remember now that their lives have changed.  There are those that continually wish to forget their own past, or at least selectively remember it with a very minimal of it reappearing in the present.  I’ve come to understand that a majority of these types of people only want to live in the present.  These are the people who do not want to see pictures of last years haircut let alone recall who they dated in high school.  

In closing, I really don’t need Facebook as I have another.  This blog is a way for me to record my own life.  I don’t need likes but I do need to write, to put my thoughts down so they are not forgotten.  I want my thoughts to be available 300 years from now for my descendants who will load these posts into a hologram that resembles me and speak these very words.  I want to record the beauty of life, this life that I’ve rediscovered.  Life is a wonderful experience full of beauty and mystery if one just pays attention.  Life really is nothing more than an accumulation of experiences and these experiences are so valuable to me that I want to record them as our human memories are unreliable and frankly not very good.  

WordPress for me is an excellent format to record a life.  That is what I want to do.  I don’t need likes, I don’t need targeted ads, I don’t need the clickbait nonsense of “what happens next will amaze you click here.”  I need substance.  I need friends who actually want to make an effort to keep in touch.  And thus, with the beginning of a new year I no longer need Facebook

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Random

My new FB cover photo

image

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Journal

I am not alone

ATB – You’re Not Alone (Official Video HD):

Just rediscovered the WordPress blogging community! I’ve kept my own blog for eons but it is my own install and I never really sought out a wider WordPress community. The other night I felt like reading others personal blogs and found a way to browse an almost unlimited amount of personal blogs using the WordPress website tag cloud.
This comes at an opportune time as I’m tiring of Facebook. I need posts with more substance, to experience others lives and feelings through well written blog posts. For me, Facebook is now just a way to keep in touch and keep updated through pictures on my friends lives. Other than that there is very little substance.

I plan on becoming a much more active member of the wordpress community. When I rediscovered it last night I thought of the song above. There are others out there with a need to write about their lives. I am not alone!