Archive for the 'Personal' Category


Dear Facebook, I grow tired of you…

I have been growing more and more tired of Facebook these last few months. I switched to Facebook from that horrid thing called “Myspace” soon after everyone else did, and what a refreshing change that was! Facebook was so neat and clean and orderly. No awful backgrounds and animated gifs. What a change!

All my friends were on Facebook, I could talk to them, I could interact with them without having to put up with their horrifying lack of ability in designing profile pages that was eye rape (offense intended).

Then, something happened.

Something that happened so slowly and insidiously I can’t tell you when it actually happened.

My news feed was being choked more and more with worthless app notifications and postings. I was beginning to lose track of the actual status updates of my friends. They were being buried beneath hundreds of Farmville, Fishville, and Mafia Wars updates that told that so and so needed help, or that they found a puppy they needed help feeding.

But wait, there was a fix!

All I had to do was drag my “Status updates” above my “News feed” and ta-da! No more pesky messages!


Then it happened, the big interface change that facebook went through late last year. They removed my cherished ability to get rid of all of those app updates. I was once again bombarded with Farmville and Mafia Wars postings.

Then, another breakthrough, I found a sub-site of Facebook called Facebook Lite. This was an amazing site, it just showed my friends status updates, with no ads, app notifications, or any of the other junk I had no interest in. It was like a dream come true for me. I immidiately switched to it and happily used it, content with my awesome Facebook Lite.

Then the Facebook Demon struck again.

Facebook Lite was canceled, no official reason given (although my theory was that it was too good, and it made Zynga mad because they couldn’t spam all the users anymore). I was once again without a good way to get rid of all the spam that filled my newsfeed. I was finally reduced to waging a desperate, losing battle against the thousands of apps that friends use, and that spam my newsfeed.

I am losing.

I think Zynga is targeting me, I have blocked various iterations of their games, and the only way I can explain it is that they have multiple apps doing the same spamming for their games.

Then, yesterday I came to something that chilled me to my very bones: a post advertising a Zynga game, I went to hit the “hide” button, meaning to just hide that app, and not the user… but no, no “hide app” button, I could only hide the user.


Darth Vader FML

That, on top of the recent privacy debacle that is hitting Facebook, what with their major policy changes in regard to user privacy (changes for the much worse), have made me decide to look for an alternative.

But what?

That, that will be featured in my blog post. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments, I will be sure to check them all out!


The Messenger


I sat in the back of the taxicab, watching the light from the streetlamps being reflected in the water droplets on the window. I heard nothing but the soft drumming of the rain against the roof of the taxi and the low murmur of the engine as we drove slowly down the abandoned streets.

I looked ahead at the taxi driver staring straight ahead, and asked him if we were about at my destination. He took his hand off the wheel to pull the cigarette from his mouth and said that we would soon be there. Without another word he jammed the cigarette back into his mouth and returned his full attention to the road ahead. I settled back into my seat and began staring out the window again, hoping that the rain would stop, or at least slowdown, before I had to leave the warm, relative, comfort of the car.

Within ten minutes we reached my destination, a lonely house at the end of a small cobbled street. We had driven far from the city center, and we were now in the run down outskirts of town. Factories loomed in the fog and rain, while others remained hidden in the fog. The rain had eased to a drizzle, and a thick fog was rolling in from the docks just down the road.

I quickly handed the man his money, and got out of the car. He wasted no time in leaving me there; he seemed to be very anxious to leave that part of town. I could not blame him myself; this seedy section was known for its gangs and violence, especially after dark. I wasted no time in making my way to the front door and gently knocking, hoping that he would answer quickly.

The house was a tall, but slightly leaning mid-19th century affair. It was obviously once an imposing and impressive structure, but years without upkeep and the chemicals from the nearby factories had taken their toll on the ornate decorations. All that was left was a drab, peeling paint that barely covered the grotesque carvings that existed on the walls. The entire house made me feel uneasy, as if I, or any other mortal, was not supposed to be there. It had a very otherworldly feel to it, one that I could not attach to one thing about the house, but just the house as a whole.

I approached the house with some trepidation, and lifted my hand to use the ornate knocker on the door. But then I saw what the knocker was carved as, and withdrew my hand in horror. It was an unholy thing, a terrible face of indescribable evilness, and within its mouth it held the body of a person, maybe a child. Why would anyone carve such a thing? I asked myself, and decided to instead just knock sharply at the door. I was quickly let into the dark foyer. The door closed quietly behind me, shutting out the dim lights of the lone streetlamp. I was bathed with a perfect darkness, my host unseen and unheard. Soon the sound of a striking match and a candle flared to life. I then was able to see the face of my host, an aging man with a gnarled face and grizzled hair. He did not look exactly threatening, but I was nonetheless uneasy in his presence. The whole place exuded an air of the unknown, and maybe, the unknowable. I could not pin point the cause of this feeling, but something about the man, the house, the setting, all seemed wrong.

He silently led me back into a long hallway, and then off it into a sitting room. The room was, at one time, unquestionably ornate and stately; but time had been particularly unkind to it, and it had the presence of a place unlived in for many years. The man went and sank down into a leather overstuffed armchair, and I sat down on the edge of the dusty couch. I stared intently for a moment at my silent host, and then from my bag I pulled out an aging yellow folder, thick with papers.

The man was now staring at the folder in my hand, and I eyed him to see if he would finally speak. He still held his silence, so I thought it would be best to start, least I be there all night in the dreadful house.

“Excuse me, but I believe that you knew a Mr. Ellington?”

My host stared at me for a moment, and then slowly nodded his head.

“I am sorry to say, that he passed away last week, and his last remaining relative, his grandson, went through his papers, and found this.” I pushed the yellow folder a little farther on the low coffee table.

He just sat there, staring at the folder, not saying a word.

I rolled my shoulders and continued, hoping that something I was about to say would cause this silent old man to speak. His quiet unnerved me even more that the house did. “These papers were instructed to be burned, but Mr. Ellington’s grandson requested that they be delivered to you. Do you have any idea why he would have requested this?”

The man still just sat there, in his damnable silence. A panic was seeping into my bones, and ice water was infusing my veins. Why was he affecting me in this way? Why would he not speak? He sat there, not saying a word, and yet he was doing more damage to me now than a thousand years of torture could do.

Why was this? I had no idea. I could not think straight, I could not think at all. I was spinning down and down into a mental black hole from which there was no escape.

I had to get out; I had to escape this man and his booming silence. I let out a wild yell and flew out of my seat. I ran for the sitting-room door and yanked it open, before turning around for a last time and seeing that the accursed devil-man had risen from his seat and had taken steps towards me. His face was no longer the face that I had seen in the foyer. It was twisted, evil, and cunning. It was a face of a thousand nightmares of the peoples of the world. I couldn’t stand it; I had to get away from this grinning face of death. I tried to run through the door, but he grabbed me and pulled me back into the sitting room. I crashed into the coffee table and the papers in the fateful folder flew up and made a graceful arc in the air before raining down on me like the rain that still beat outside.

My head swam with colours and visions, and before I blacked out, I saw the front of a piece of paper that had landed on the floor by my head. It said, in the shaky and unsteady hand of a person gone mad,

I have discovered the truth; you will not have me like you had my uncle. Take my offering, the messenger, instead.



So, I went to a symposium held each year by my senator. Supposed to bolster leadership.


Everything was going find, they offered a pretty nice continental breakfast (their warm apple cider was outstanding), and then we went in for the big speech by the senator himself. It was a pretty long speech, but he made some good points, and didn’t interject his politics into it to much, much less than most would have, I think. That being said, it dragged on in spots, but it wasn’t too long overall, so that is not my biggest complaint.

Then, the arguable highlight of my day came when the next guess speaker was talking, and he was taking questions from the audience. This guy was like a charity worker, thingy, not exactly sure what his title would be. But anyway, he was taking questions, and a guy comes up, and I had seen him before, and he certainly didn’t fit in with all the stuff-shirts that populated the symposium, he was in a hood and baggy pants, and had a slightly unbalanced swagger in his step. So, he gets up there and starts talking about how he uses medical marijuana and he wants advice about that. And it kinda left the speaker stunned, and he said he wasn’t qualified to answer that, and then everyone got a slight chuckled out of the whole incident. It was just so unexpected, and out of place, what else could people do?

So, after that highlight, we went for our photo-op with the senator, what fun. Nothing to say about that.

After that we ate lunch, okay, but since my group ate last the food was pretty cold, but not ice cold thankfully. Had a nice long lunch break, mmmm….

After that blissful time, we got to the meat of the day, the time when we went and discussed different issues. The way it was set up, there would be two people (with supposedly opposing viewpoints) that would talk, and then we would have free-form discussion.

My first meeting was about Food & Energy security, overall it went pretty well, although I got bored and started doodling on my notes.  Other than that, overall it was pretty good. We had on one side a guy from the corn grower’s council, chief biofuel guy, and on the other side we had a PhD from a university. Not exactly opposing viewpoints though, I thought they agreed to much…

Then after that I attended a meeting on climate change.


Where do I begin? Maybe by stating that it seems that whoever chose these people didn’t understand the phrase “people with opposing viewpoints.” They were both democrats, both worked in a green-related field (one was a lawyer/consultant for environmental stuff at a firm, and the other was a PhD at a university), both were democrats, and I don’t think they ever disagreed once. WTF? They are supposed to argue, present both sides of this thing, not to agree with each other or not say anything at all! I was mad by the time it was over, and oh how I wish I had the amazing power of anonymity during that discussion, and was able to think as fast as I talked, how I would have let them on fire. If only it had happened on a forum or IRC… but I didn’t have the internet on hand to find my facts and back everything up, plus I tend to hold back when I am face to face with the person I am saying is an idiot more or less.

I guess my point in all this is, that everything was fine until the end “Climate Change” session, which really made me mad. They should have gotten to people with opposite viewpoints, and then told all the people that believed it to go to one side of the room, and the ones that didn’t believe it to the other, and then we have a good old fashion debate, which I would probably have been good at. Because I am not good at just freeform discussion, but a debate, now that is a different story…

So, overall, an okay use of my Saturday, even if it had its low points.  Although I am still mad.

And that guy will always be MMG (Medical Marijuana Guy) to me.

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