I haven’t touched this blog in like a couple of months, and even before then it’s been a rare thing. Basically, NaNoWriMo, Christmas, college and the panic that comes with applying for university kept me busy, as well as a few other personal projects.

That and I feel like I’m all out of shit to say for a number of reasons. Largely because things have pissed me off more than cheered me up (and I really don’t want to fill this blog up with endless rants – dammin, Jim, I’m 28, not 82), and a lot of what I have had to say of late tends to fit “comfortably” within a couple of Tweets. Oh, yeah, and I’m currently under a feature block on Facebook right now, and I don’t know the full extent of that, but the extent of Facebook’s hypocrisy. See, as far as I can tell, the block may have been a result of a comment I left on a post made by Real Radio North East, in which they asked their listeners to write three words that summed up the prior 24 hours. My contribution was “Stupid mouse broke” because, well, my stupid mouse broke that day. Overpriced piece of crap that it was. That comment had since disappeared, and I also found that the station has also blocked me on Twitter.

It was either that or the station is taking it out on me because I called them out, when they tried to claim someone else’s image as their own by slapping their shitty logo over the original.

The original image is actually a user card from someecards.

The original image is actually a user card from someecards. And yes, I was understandably pissed that they pulled that shit. They quietly took the post down an hour or two later and then tried to pretend it never happened.

In any case, it’s looking to be the case that I’m going to be stuck in that feature block for a whole month, possibly more, and I don’t even know if this post will go through to my page, or if I am even able to comment on my own page (never really had that opportunity, to be quite honest). Either for doing the right thing or posting something that was about as offensive as breathing. Which might cause a few eye rolls, but let’s face it, if you’re offended by the act of calling an inanimate human interface device stupid, you might want give your life, and your priorities some long hard reconsideration.

And yet, while I am being penalised for the most moronic of possible reasons, others continue to get away with personally attacking someone and calling them the C-word for the “crime” of “failing” to post a link and spouting transphobic shit, to name but a few examples of the bullshit I’ve reported, only to be told that no action had been taken because none of them had been in violation of their community “standards”. Seriously, Facebook? Fucking hypocrites. I wouldn’t be surprised, at this point, if the site’s support “team” was nothing but an army of robotic bros, given this and their history of allowing pages promoting domestic abuse to go unpunished for months.

So, yeah, I went off on a rant. Again. On a lighter note, I’m going to try and give this blog a little more love. I have a few ideas which I might be posting over the next few weeks. So, erm, stay tuned?

What’s to Like?

My mum is a strange creature. She’s friended my private (and only) Facebook account despite steering as clear as possible from that of my brother (not that he posts or shares much anyway) and has recently revealed that she finds my status updates funny. When asked for specifics, though, all I get is repetition.

“They’re just funny, that’s all, I dunno!”

“Some of the stuff you come out with…”

Annoyingly vague.

So, this Saturday, before running around a few shops for a few different things, we stopped for a coffee and a snack. While I was struggling to eat a cookie bigger than my mouth without crumbs flying everywhere she decided to point out one of my posts, which I also posted to Twitter, so here’s the Tweet in lieu of the Facebook post:

…Would anybody like to tell me how that’s even remotely funny?


In between struggling to work my way through Metal Gear Solid once again (last time I stopped a few chapters in for reasons I’ll point out when I finish and review it, if that ever happens) I’ve been wondering how best to draw attention to my new book review blog.

At the moment, I’m pretty much dependent on the WordPress reader, but since Automattic decided to stick “Like” buttons in there users have been able to “Like” posts without necessarily reading the posts in question, which means, sure, people are seeing your posts, but you’re not getting the views to match the Likes. It’s made life easier for bloggers to Like a post purely to promote their own blogs. Some would probably say I should follow suit, but I’d rather not. I Like posts because I like them. An additional problem is that only WordPress users have access to the reader, which limits my potential audience a fair bit, as does the fact that posts on the reader can sink under the sea of new posts almost as quickly as they appear.

I have a Facebook page, but it’s personal and private. I do publish my posts there, but only my friends see them, and even then, I often have doubts that they’re showing up on anyone’s feed to begin with because of all the pissing about on Facebook’s part.

My Twitter account is a different story. Unlike my Facebook page, it’s public and I did get a review retweeted by an author last night, which was equal parts awesome and scary. Sadly, it didn’t quite get me the views I’d gotten when Lazerhawk posted a link to my Insert Disk 7 post about his album. I should perhaps start doing #ICYMI tweets, though, because like the WordPress reader, tweets can disappear as quickly as they are posted.

As for what I could be using, WordPress still offers auto-sharing for LinkedIn, tumblr and, uh, Yahoo! I don’t think I’m really in a position to sign up for LinkedIn. I don’t fully understand tumblr either. Every time I look there, most people seem to use it purely for photoblogging. Maybe I should create an account, but despite my better efforts, I can’t see quite how it’ll be of any help. And what the hell is Yahoo! Updates?

More to the point, what other options do I have?

Falling on Conclusions

A 23-year-old woman has died after falling from a house in Middlesbrough.

As I type this, there isn’t a great deal to go on outside of the fact that police were called to the property around 3am this morning and their belief that fell from the back of the property. A post-mortem will be underway later today.

What’s crossing your mind as you read that? What conclusions have you jumped to?

For one Facebook commenter, it was “probably through drinking”.

Image from Know Your Meme

While I then pointed that it’d be wiser to have waited until all the facts were ascertained before blurting that out and more people seem to be in agreement with me than the aforementioned commenter, it’s far from isolated. It actually amazes me on a regular basis how easy it is to not only jump to any old conclusion but also voice it or even act on it with as much certainty as Optimus Prime declaring to Megatron that one shall stand and one shall fall.

Well, okay, forming wild conclusions is probably natural, a way for our brains to try and fill in the hows, the whys and the other blanks in the quickest and most logical way possible. I confess to my own brain doing that, actually. Guilty as charged. But must we be so eager to declare this cognitive Polyfilla as if there couldn’t possibly be any other explanation?

But all that’s currently known is that she fell from the back of a building in the early hours of the morning, again, as I type this (New information may arise by the time I click Publish). There’s currently no certainty that alcohol was actually involved, so for all anyone knows this woman could have been suicidal, a sleepwalker, maybe stalked, misplaced her keys and tried to get in through an upper-floor window… there are all sorts of possibilities at the moment, the majority don’t even include alcohol, and even the ones that do can’t immediately suggest she’d been knocking them back like Bender.

That Facebook comment wasn’t so much jumping to a conclusion as it was diving head first onto its sword, really. And this sort of thing happens all the time. My mum once declared that a man from some EU nation (with a name that currently escapes me) charged with a murder in the UK was “probably an asylum seeker”. People blow their stacks at the sight of seeing grim news reports “liked” on Facebook. Someone actually said that YouTube-famous filmmaker Thomas “TomSka” Ridgewell should have been charged with child endangerment after the release of his “Baby with a Gun” video, either oblivious or criminally ignorant of the fact that he uses props in all of his live-action work (None of the guns were real, in layman’s terms). I can’t help but wonder how that person normally reacts to child characters killed off in TV shows or movies.

See also the KONY 2012 campaign, something I too have been guilty of falling for, if only enough to retweet a link. That was still dumb of me.

Assuming is natural, so I can’t be telling anyone to stop doing that, but for goodness’ sakes, we as humans really do need to think before you voice them, lest you put the “ass” into “assume” in the process.

How are you filling those blanks in now?

Like It or Lump It

A local radio station, like all local radio stations, sees fit to offer us the latest news in the area whenever it rears its ugly head. Where I live it may as well be the head of a Gorgon, because it seems there’s not a week goes by* where someone hasn’t emptied a gun into his wife or killed a baby with his truck. The latter happened this week, and as ever, Real Radio North East not only posted the story on their website but also linked to it on every social network they can be bothered with, including Facebook.

Where someone “Liked” it. This I paid zero mind – after all, the Like function is a bit on the vague side – and went on to read the comments where I saw several people berating the aforementioned user for liking the fact that a child’s life was taken before their second birthday. The thing is, though, as much as I myself abhor anyone approving of the universe sending an infant to an early grave, jumping down the man’s throat for clicking Like, much like the review-bombing I mentioned in my last post, is perhaps a little premature. And ill-advised.

I suppose it’s understandable that they do. I mean, if I were an average Joe who couldn’t work his way around the desktop without getting totally lost and thus took the Like function that literally, I guess I’d be jumping down his throat too. But I’m not, and I’m perfectly aware that Like has been adapted by the users themselves for other uses, some beyond mere approval. Most likely the liker could have simply wanted to acknowledge the post itself, thankful to the station for keeping them informed. Perhaps, although less likely, he’s using ifttt to send the link to an Evernote account to read later. It’s possible. However, people still insist on boarding the “OMG HE LIKES DEAD BABIES” train because they couldn’t have possibly known any better.

The problem, of course, lies in the name: Like. A word that’s too specific yet at the same time too vague. There seems to be a perceived etiquette attached to a function that, were it not for humanity’s exploitative nature and willingness to eschew an unwritten “rule” in favour of making one’s life a little easier, would have become very restricted and woefully underused. But not everyone carries that exploitative spark and for every user that has learned to exploit Like to their own perfectly legitimate ends, there seems to be a few more that haven’t clicked and likely never will, instead comfortable in the fallacy that anyone who clicks Like below a news story of a teenager struck by a drunk driver on her 18th is a sick and twisted individual with a lust for the death and suffering of others. I think I’m going to drive myself nuts if I try to enlighten every one of those fools, but at the same time it irks me something awful when those very fools are so eager to slam the use of a function without truly knowing the purpose behind that use.

Damned if you do and all that.

* = An exaggeration, but one can’t help but feel that way sometimes.

I’ll Return After These Messages

A pretty useless post for the sake of posting, I’m afraid.

I think I’m at one of those stages in my life that could be considered “difficult”. Not in the emotional sense like most people, though. I mean difficult as in playing Doom on “Nightmare” skill level or trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle with a piece count greater than that of the total population of Wyoming. That kind of difficult.

This month, I’ve had the rather delightful (Oh, hey, sarcasm!) news that I could be made redundant later in the year, so I should really be getting off my arse and preparing for that likelihood. Which, to a degree, I have. I’ve cancelled most of my subscriptions, including the two I had going for City of Heroes. Truth be told, I hadn’t logged into that game since last year’s NaNoWriMo kicked off, so that should have happened sooner. I’ve also gotten around to selling my old iPhone 3GS, but that was more down to the fact that I just had no use for it after I upgraded and I’d been hoping to put the money from it toward the Collector’s Edition of Guild Wars 2. I still intend on doing that. I will nip whatever needs nipping in the bud, but not that.

Yet at the same time I feel like I could do more, but I can’t think what. This might have to do with the fact that I really am a disorganised bastard at the best of times where my personal life is concerned, on top of being a serial procrastinator of late, else I’d have likely gotten a novel finished by now instead of hampering myself with the stream of ideas that have me pondering whether to shelf Sophia Dawn for the time being. That, I might add, didn’t get too far either. I’ve rewritten a couple of chapters of Sunrise, then I knocked out a couple of short stories, then nothing. Instead of pressing on I’m questioning in my head as to why every fantasy world depicted seems to stick to medieval sword-and-sorcery or pondering the merits of using Twitter to tell a fictional story in a similar approach to what users have employed with historical events such as WWII and the Titanic.

I can almost the kids born post-1997 screaming “Dude, the Titanic was real!?”

Other distractions have come into play. I’ve been spontaneously looking into tumblr today. Why the hell am I looking at tumblr? What could it possibly offer me? What hole could it hope to fill that Facebook, Twitter and WordPress already haven’t? I have no idea, yet somehow I want to find out and I don’t know if that’s good or very bad. I have no intention of leaving WordPress, though. Ultimately, though, I’ll have likely wasted time better spent getting my crap together.

And, of course, I’ve wasted time bashing out this ramblefest of a post, haven’t I? So I’ll just stop right now.