Interconnectivity. Social media. Social networking. It’s all the rage these days. I was, like most people, enamored with all the possibilities that these mediums presented. Until about six months ago I used many of these services in an endeavor to stay connected to virtually everyone I had a nominal relationship with.
Then I realized that I was putting a lot of effort in trying to maintain relationships or connections that honestly I didn’t even really care that much about. That’s when my relationship with social media changed. I decided that it was time to start stripping all these extraneous forms of communication and connectivity down to the absolute most basic and necessary. Facebook, Myspace, foursquare, twitter, and all the rest went by the wayside. Once I had deleted those accounts I started to look for other ways to simplify communications and reduce and protect my online profile.
First I started to beefed up my passwords and I created a new system for maintaining my online passwords. Hopefully this will ensure that my accounts are even harder to break into than they were before. I also looked for ways to protect my online browsing. Unfortunately, it’s just a matter of life these days that corporations like Facebook and Google will be data mining me. I know this but I want to reduce the amount of information that they can extract from me. That means using simple browser extensions to help block advertisers and data miners (extensions like ghostery for example). It also means using using extensions like force https to make sure that as often as possible my browser is secure. Furthermore, I want to ensure that my network is protected so that means making my wifi network private and using a VPN when necessary just for an added layer of security. All this to make sure that my online profile and footprint stays as small and private as possible.
Deleting all my social networking profiles also helps to keep my private life private. It may mean that I miss out on events here and there because I didn’t get the Facebook invite. That’s ok though as I would much rather not have all the extraneous contact with people who in the long run I don’t really want to stay in touch with.
One last way I have been simplifying is through my email. Every time you buy something or sign up or download anything online you have to enter an email address. So in an attempt to clean up my inbox I have begun a concerted effort to unsubscribe from all the lists I am on. Sometimes I spend way to much time deleting emails that I’m not going to read, but I end up getting multiple emails a day from these places (I’m looking at you iTunes). I hate spending time doing this so the easiest way is just to delete myself from their lists. It’s not like those emails every tell me anything important anyways. Although creating a dummy email address just for entering into these websites is not out of the question.
So where does this leave me?
It leaves me with email, this blog, and my phone. Everyone I know and want to keep in touch with is either on my phone or gchat. If I can’t contact you that way then I probably don’t need to contact you to begin with. My life already feels less cluttered and as I continue this process of simplification I expect it to get even better. My online footprint is becoming smaller and I feel my privacy is being better protected. As time goes on I will continue to simplify and refine my online actions in the hopes of keeping a barrier between my private and my online life.
So if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the interconnectivity these days, maybe it’s time to simplify your life and unplug from the plethora of social networking sites that are out there that are constantly vying for your attention. You might miss it initially but in the long run you will enjoy the feeling of not being constantly connected.
If I have said it once I have said it a million times YouTube is one of the biggest time vampires in my life. Sometimes I really don’t know how I get anything done at all. For instance, right now I should be wading my way through 70+ pages of notes and writing out practice essays for the big test on Friday, but instead I have been meandering my way through videos on YouTube. I just can’t help it sometimes I hit a good thread and just keep going deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. Here now are a couple of the gems that I found today (incidently I got started on this topic by finding this website that tracks TWSS comments over twitter). The first is every (almost) “That’s what she said” from The Office and the other one is some TWSS from the Star Wars trilogy. Maybe it’s just me but TWSS jokes never get old. It’s now time to go back to (or start) studying. It’s going to be hard, but I have to tear myself away from the interwebs. Enjoy.
I have been wanting to change up the look of the site or awhile now as I was never really that down with the way it looked. Since I am in the middle of a semester studying for a big test I figured now was not the time to start learning CSS. So I spent most of yesterday scouring the internet for a new theme to use, and I have settled on this one. Eventually I hope to learn some CSS so that I can tweak it a bit (still need to create a banner one of these days too), but other than that I think it is a pretty good fit. But wait there’s more! There are a lot of new functionalities on the site now. Some are small and mundane while others are simple spectacular. If you haven’t checked out the pics from the Jimmy Eat World or The Black Keys show then do so now as the new photo feature is awesome and makes it much easier to look at pics. Also the threaded comments feature now works so take direct aim at those people who disagree with you. There’s plenty more changes on the site and there will be more in the future, so have a looksy around the site and tell me what you think.
Last night I finally got to see Jimmy Eat World live in concert. After all these years of being a fan of them, and constantly missing out on their shows, I finally made one. First off I will always be grateful to neverbesocial for introducing me to Jimmy Eat World back in those halcyon Phoenix days. (Actually I have to thank him for introducing me to quite a few of my favorite bands. He has been a sort of musical Gandalf guiding me through the perilous path of new music. Although I still can’t stand Mates of State or Portugal the Man, but hey whatever I can’t be expected to like everything he does.) Anyways I got to the show earlier than I did for The Black Keys a few weeks ago, but despite that, there was still a huge line–over a block long–by the time I got there. The people at Terminal 5, however, kept the line moving quickly and I was able to get inside before I froze completely to death.
Once inside I went back up to my spot on the third floor railing, grabbed an empanada, a couple beers, and got ready for the show. I can’t tell you how excited I was for this show. I have been looking forward to seeing JEW for a long time now and the fact that my first concert was going to be the Clarity tour only added to my exhilaration–as Clarity is one of my all-time favorite albums. So I suffered through the opening act–they actually were not that bad, but I just didn’t feel like waiting any longer to see JEW. A little bit after 9:00 JEW came out to the rousing cheers of the crowd and commenced to playing Clarity in it’s entirety–including Goodbye Sky Harbor. It was a fantastic show and they sounded great, and considering this was their first show on the tour, I expect that as the tour rolls on they will tighten up their sound even more. After they finished playing Clarity they left so they could take part in the obligatory encore–bands really need to stop doing that as it’s pretty contrived–and then they came back out and played some of their b-sides and then finished off the show with Work, Pain, The Middle, and Sweetness. The crowd went absolutely ape-shit for Sweetness and it really is the best song to finish the show to as everyone left completely pumped after that song. Well there is not really much more for me to say that the pics and videos can’t say on their own. So enjoy the pics and videos. (By the way Jimmy Eat World if you all are upset about me posting these pics and videos online just twitter me to take it down. No need to release the hounds.)
Merry Christmas to everyone out there on the internets. In keeping with the spirit of the season I have compiled some of my favorite videos to help bring joy to you. So your welcome.
First up is one of my all-time favorite Christmas cartoons: How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s the greatest although the ending is a bit weak. I would have liked to see the Grinch stay grinchy instead of turning into a bit fat sap, but, oh well, nothing is perfect although this cartoon comes close. I have to admit that the Grinch taught me a lot about the spirit of the season. Thanks Grinch.
Next up is some clips from Red Sleigh Down, one of the funnier South Park episodes. Money line: “This is Baghdad God what a shit hole, I mean, oh wow these poor unfortunate people.” Full episode here.
I was supposed to be working on finishing up my paper today that is due on the 11th (which should be a day off, but don’t get me started on that one). Instead, however, I have been hanging out with my old friend procrastination. This afternoon I spent a few hours playing Gears of War 2, and then I went for a walk grabbed a couple slices of pizza. Lately I’ve been hanging out on the Internet looking at random shirts like this one. I have also spent way too much time on YouTube watching videos like this one:
I’m not sure what it is about monkeys or idiots hurting themselves, but damn do I enjoy watching them. So much so that I’ve wasted hours watching random videos of monkeys doing all manner of silly shit. The best part about monkeys is they don’t even have to be doing anything crazy, just watching monkeys on the Discovery channel cracks me up. Monkeys, midgets, and Japanese game shows always make me laugh, and YouTube has a plethora of hilarious videos to keep me occupied and help me procrastinate. Well time for another Rockstar, and then, hopefully, I will be able to get some work done, after I finish watching Saving Private Ryan that is.
Ok there has been a derth of funny quotes from Overheard In NY lately, but this week there were quite a few good ones. Here are my favorites:
Crazy guy to suit: Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. Suit: Get the fuck away from me before I stab you.
Mother of four-year-old boy (looking at display case): Wait up for me, Jack. Don’t go on the escalator without me. Four-year-old boy: It’s okay, I can do it. Mother of four-year-old: No, Jack. Wait for me. Four-year-old boy: It’s okay, mom. I can go up by myself. Mother of four-year-old: Jack. Don’t go up without me. Four-year-old boy: Mom. It’s okay. I can do it. I’m wearing my lucky Batman underwear.
Lady in car at full parking lot to man in car: Damnit, where we gonna park? Man, getting his keys: Don’t worry, I’m going to pull out. Lady in car: Yeah, I’ve heard that before.
–W Broadway &Canal
(day after steam pipe break)
Cop without respiratory mask to cop wearing respiratory mask: Hey…take that off. If you’re going to catch anything, you already caught it. Cop with mask (as he takes it off): Yeah, from your mom!
–Grand Central Terminal
Dude: So I finally saw Lisa’s* tits. Good stuff, man. Friend: Yeah? Are they big? Dude: Not at all. But it’s better that way. A handful is enough. Friend: So it’s like nuts? Dude: What the fuck? Friend: No! I mean they say a handful of nuts is enough protein for the day! That came out totally wrong! Dude: Whatever you say…Tinkerbell.
–67th & Columbus
And my absolute favorite one:
Female lawyer: Did you see that video where that girl from South Carolina was asked why Americans can’t read maps? Male lawyer: Yeah, she was a teenage beauty contestant. I tell you, I’ve heard drunk girls with two dicks in their mouth make more sense than that bitch. Female lawyer: Don’t call her a bitch. She was probably just nervous. Male lawyer: Excuse me, she’s a beauty contestant. The only difference between a beauty contestant and an inflatable doll is where you blow into them. Female lawyer: Excuse me, but I was in a few beauty contests when I was a teenager. Male lawyer: Really? So tell me, why can’t Americans read maps?
Today I dusted off my XBOX 360, and checked out some of the new games and demos. One game that I ended up buying for the arcade was Castle Crashers. So what’s good you say? Well, honestly, pretty much everything from top to bottom. If you can’t tell from the above picture it is an old-school side scroller that is slightly reminiscent of the old TMNT’s arcade game–complete with the retro cell animation look. The plot of the game is pretty simple. You’re a knight (of various colors, but there are a ton of extra characters that you can unlock) who have to go save four princesses who have been kidnapped. You will travel throughout all different kinds of terrains to look for them–volcano, desert, forest, ice et al–and all of the terrains have a distinct look and feel. They really did put a lot of details in all of the different areas–which brings me to the art work.
The art work and character design is completely rad, with characters that look new but also familiar (personally I’d say some Futurama, Simpsons, and Ren & Stimpy influences–and probably even more that I don’t get). The gameplay is furious. It is not quite a straight button mashing game, but there are times where it is close, and after a few hours of playing you will be hard pressed to use your hands for anything but the most pedestrian of tasks. There is also a ton of items that have to be collected and found, which some people don’t like, but I have always like collecting items in games. I’m weird like that. Also there is a ton of humor, and hidden easter eggs throughout the game. Stuff that you might not catch until your secon or third time through.
One of the best parts of the game, however, is that you can play 4-player online co-op. More games need to include this feature, because it adds immense replay value to the game. I’m already looking forward to some long seshs hacking and slashing my way through the game whilst drinking some nice cold Colorado Kool-Aid. Besides the main game–that has 20 levels–there are a couple of mini games that it comes with. One is “All You Can Quaff” which is a game where you have to mash buttons to eat food faster than the other knights–this game absolutely kills the hands. The other game is an Arena fighting game where you have to fight a bunch of enemies. Each round you play they increase in number.
So that’s pretty much it. It’s a great game, and if you have a 360 you should definitely buy it because it is worth it. Castle Crashers is a great addition to you XBLA, and it’s an even cooler throwback to the old side scroller days. Go get it…now.
For those of you, who like me, can’t stand watching The O’Reilly Factor here is the first part of O’Reilly’s interview with Obama. The second part will be released next week. It’s a pretty good interview, and it will be interesting to see where this interview goes next week. I find it odd that O’Reilly pretty much assumes that diplomacy will get us no where with Iran or any other Middle Eastern country. He pretty much dismisses the idea as pointless, and just wants to go to war already. It’s amazing how quick some people are to ring the bell of war who have either never served or never been in one. It’s easy to be a hawk when you know your not the one that is going to have to fight.
Like I’ve said before there is a cornucopia of goodness available on YouTube, and today I discoverd some true gems so I decided to share them. I have long been a fan of old school Michael Jackson, but mixing MJ with a dancing midget is a true treat. Watch the little bastard do a moonwalk, and tell that isn’t genius. I hope I get to see this dude sometime live in the NYC subways. Just have a look and see for yourself.