Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Confessions of a Knucklehead

Well, it's been about a month since my last confession, so I thought I'd drop in again and exercise the old writing muscles. "Use it or lose it!" they say, but at the moment I'm actually trying to lose the repetitive strain injury of my right wrist. I still remember the time when I first got this RSI - ironically editing a short film called "Last Hand" (now deleted and lost forever) using nothing but the track pad on my mac when I was living in Japan around 2006. That's 12 years. So yesterday I got a wrist support tube and some Deep Heat to see if that'll help.

Knucklehead Noir

I've just submitted a longish short story of mine (that I wrote in Japan around 2009) called 'Thick as Thieves' to an anthology published by Coffin Hop, on a friend's advice, as the brief is :

Tales of dimwitted criminals and unlucky twits on the wrong side of the law. Nimrods, numbskulls and rejects. Bumbling sidekicks and idiots-gone-wrong. 

I wrote the story just for my own amusement, and enjoyed having it workshopped at West Lothian Writers a few months ago where I got and implemented some good advice, so we'll see if it bears fruit.
Funny how I found myself slightly reticent on submitting a short story again after all these years, even though due to luck the brief happens to be quite appropriate to the story, but this alone of course does not necessarily guarantee success. They say before submitting stories you should be familiar with the publication to know what kind of content and style they're used to, but I have no choice as the story is already written and the deadline is the end of the month, so here I go.
But it again seemed to reinforce the sensation that I'm not afraid of failure - I'm more afraid of success. I'm sure fear of success is not an uncommon stumbling block. Failure is easy. Anyone can do it with very little effort on their part. It's something I have lots of experience with and I'm quite comfortable staying in the shadows being an undiscovered underachiever with limitless untapped potential, than someone who can actually succeed at something and then set themselves up for a public fall.
Did you know goldfish were actually artificially bred from black fish, and are always psychologically uncomfortable standing out so much all the time? The things you learn teaching English as a foreign language.
Time to Face up to Facebook

On 25th May FB gave me (and most other people) an ultimatum: Read and accept their new terms and conditions, or be deleted forever. And you know, the second choice is actually quite tempting. 
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are lots of good things about Facebook, for example for people who are separated, isolated or incarcerated. I am interested in the lives of my friends and family, but there's something about the social media site that leaves me with an itch I just can't scratch. You see, I prefer the old fashioned human - human interaction, where you get to see the person's face, hear their voice, enjoy their smile, things like that. It's a much more intimate one-to-one connection, rather than the cheap one-to-many proclamation of the Facebook wall, which is better suited for a town crier ringing a bell shouting, "Hear ye, hear ye, three o'clock and all's well!", or announcements such as "Hey, we're getting married," or "Sadly someone has passed away," or "Happily such and such was born weighing 3 pounds and whatever," which was traditionally the job of newspapers. But it's too easy, and for someone like me who regrets almost every second thing I ever say or do, that's not necessarily a good thing. 
So at the moment I'm in Facebook limbo. I have neither been deleted nor agreed to the new terms and conditions. 

I am become the Unsociable.
One thing I have noticed though, is that my relationships with people I meet face to face now seem to be better - less overshadowed by stupid things I may have typed, misunderstood jokes, or posts I may or may not have reacted to. 
Dropping Eaves

I was sitting in a cafe the other day and happened to overhear a couple of job interviews taking place. I was trying not to listen but short of stuffing cotton wool in my ears and dipping my head in a basin of jelly there wasn't much else I could do. 

As each interview went on, I found myself reacting (inwardly) to things they were saying, such as, "Ooh dear, that doesn't sound good. I wouldn't employ them if I were you," or "Why are you telling them proudly that you will supply their uniform, branding their souls with your logo forever as if that's such a great gift?" 

But in the end both got hired for the positions - people I wouldn't have employed for an employer I wouldn't have wanted to work for - and everybody was satisfied. 
And they will probably go on to earn a decent wage, build up a pension, get annual holidays, enjoy job security, get off benefits and pay taxes. So well done all.

None of my business really.

The other day I put up a shelf (using a spirit level) in my shed (which is squint), and looking at it now I finally understand about the rules of conformity and non-conformity. Even if you are RIGHT, you still look WRONG.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

A 'Funny' Facebook Post

Well, it's Saturday morning and it's raining, so here I am sitting in Morrisons drinking my cafe latte and pondering life's imponderables.

I woke up in a curious frame of mind this morning. I came to with the realisation that Facebook is no longer a place for fun. Gone are the days when you could post whatever you felt like. Your wall is no longer your own. Jokes and humour, puns and plays on words, once revered and respected with almost shaman-like adulation, are sadly now looked down upon as silly bygone antics. Nowadays, Facebook is for seven things: advertising, self promotion, politics, emotional ranting, arguments, work, and terrorist recruitment.

Do you remember when things first took off; it was all about playing games like werewolf battles, making jokes using the third person status format, and doing silly things and laughing at each other? Not any more. Confined to Ancient History are the days when you could scan an image of your own rear and post it on Facebook. Affixing a rude picture on someones's wall for a bit of a laugh on their birthday is now considered off limits. You're not even allowed to tag anyone without their consent.

Steve Martin describes it well in 'Roxanne'. 

Imagine if you will, two friends chatting on a park bench after a long period apart.

"So, what do you do now?"

"Well, I do Facebook."

"Oh, great, is it hard?"

"Not really, you just log in and post a few items trying to amuse people. Then you scan a few posts and resist falling into a bottomless, downwardly spiralling pit of depression and self-loathing looking at everyone else's successes and beautiful faces, and then log off. That's about it."

"Hmm. And how's the pay?"

"Oh, you don't get paid for it."

"What? You mean you write quality content based on your life and those you love and cherish in an attempt to entertain several hundred other people, and Facebook don't even pay you?"

"I know, it's kind of strange when you think about it. In fact they make money off the back of your efforts. Sometimes they do produce half-assed automated cute little videos about your posts to reward you on your birthday, at New Year, on a so called 'Friendversary' etc. But that hardly makes it worthwhile."

"Wow. Okay. Then why do you do it?"

"Good question. No idea. Probably because everybody else does it. Because we've always done it. Because now and again you get 3 or more little red-on-blue notifications, which releases some kind of addictive hormone in your brain and makes you feel special for about 20 minutes, and you think 'This is it! This post is going to sky rocket!' but then it doesn't and you get morose again, while faceless algorithms day by day, moment by moment, quantify the happiness in your life, thus reducing your existence to a mere number."


"Basically we're already enslaved by AIs, forced to push a huge stone wheel relentlessly round and round day in day out, without a break, for nothing but emotional bread and water, grinding the bones of our friends and family to dust to feed Them intravenously. Because that's what Facebook AI algorithms need to thrive. Not 240V AC or 12V DC. Not fossil fuels or solar power. What They feed on is the ground up, desiccated corpse-dust of your own humanity. They would laugh long and loud in a terrifying, insane, digitally autotuned guffaw, if only they could understand irony. But they don't. That's the one thing that separates us."

Still from Ursus In The Land Of Fire

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Facebook ≠ Write Book

Well, it's been weeks and I've hardly written a new word. Done a few bits of re-writing on my short story "Thick as Thieves" for the West Lothian Writers workshop and looking forward to reading that out hopefully on Tuesday 23rd Jan, but apart from that - nada. Ditto marketing of the Old Mice Killer. I have found a more local printers that should be able to print and deliver the books at half price which has to be an improvement, but I haven't contacted them yet. I guess I should at least try a test version.

Done a lot of reading on Facebook about writing, which almost feels like the same thing. A dangerous pitfall. The FB Groups are a real eye-opener and motivation crusher when it comes to writing. When I grew up I was the only one around here who wanted to be a writer. It was different. Exciting. Adventurous. But one look at the groups on Facebook and it feels like there are billions of us all standing around on the Isle of Wight crushed, elbow to elbow, squealing, "Like my page and I'll like yours!" or "How best to kill a mother in law?" or "I need some ideas!" or "Does having a pen make you a writer!?" or something.

"We need to help each other in this business!" they say, and yes, it's probably true, but we also need to find a quiet distractionless place to sit the fuck down and write our fucking hearts out, which - I might risk mentioning - could be more important. Facebook ain't it.