May 04

The Twaddle of Twitter

Although I’ve had an account there for a couple years, I’ve only recently warmed up to Twitter. As a writer, when it comes to social media I prefer the free-form style of Facebook. There are certain things which simply cannot be said in 140 characters.

Still, there are plenty of sophisticated people on Twitter who tweet intelligent things. Indeed, attempting to compose a complete thought – complete with the requisite hashtags and replies – in the space provided can be a worthwhile challenge.

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Especially if you’re not saying, “R U A BELIEBER 2? OMG! LOL ❤ #corporatewhore”

I set my Facebook postings to automatically copy to my Twitter account. Fully 75 percent of my tweets come from that. However I’ll go over to Twitter and post directly there from time to time. I’ll do this especially if I want to reach people who aren’t necessarily on Facebook.

Given my penchant for snark, you may be surprised that those of you who “follow” me find yourselves in very good company. Among others, my followers include the Mayor of Boise, a major news outlet, a former NFL player, members of the Idaho Legislature, published authors and even a United States Senator.

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Flattop and all.

While this is all well and good, the number one reason I’m on Twitter is to advertise SB. You know, get as many eyeballs on the blog as possible. That said, my numbers were, shall we say, lacking. So a couple weeks ago I came across one of those Twitter “follow back” accounts, which is kind of an electronic chain letter, but without the threats of eternal damnation.

It’s also free. As anyone who’s been online for any amount of time knows, “online marketing” is one of three things on the Internet you never, ever pay for.

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The other two, of course, are news and porn.
Image credit: Luke Hollins

So did this little ploy work? Well, sure. Within moments I was getting new followers left and right. Now I’m up to nearly 100! Woo hoo! Yes I know having only 100 followers sucks, but let me have my moment, dammit!

The real problem is I didn’t get a lot of follows from the aforementioned sophisticated people. However, I did get a shitload of followers among 15-year-olds who worship Lil Wayne and communicate in wingdings. That’s OK I suppose, but …

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… let’s just say I’m not reaching my target demographic here.
Image credit: ~psdlab

So, my faithful, sophisticated and snarky SB readers, help a guy out and follow me. My Twitter feed is getting stupider by the day.

Apr 27

Lane Has Some Mystery Crap to Share With Their Friends!

Beachy is more proficient with the computer with each passing day. All in all, this is a good thing. She’s relatively comfortable with Windows now, and she’s finally stopped calling the mouse the “remote.”

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Which I think she did to annoy me.
Image credit: Jim Rees

Surprisingly, we made it through the day without watching a single Smosh video. That’s because Beachy remembered she had some Facebook games going. So, we spent the better part of the morning playing YoVille and Café World. This is a slow, painful torture for me, not only because of the surfeit of cutsey tween crap in these games, but also because Grandpa’s DSL connection has all the pep of a Trabant 601.

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“DAAAAADY!!!!”

As you’re probably aware, YoVille, Café World, Mafia Wars, FarmVille and several other Facebook games are created by an outfit called Zynga. While these games have many diverse themes, the basic gameplay is the same. To wit, click to get and/or make stuff, click to annoy friends to give you stuff, complete “quests,” and experience Sisyphean labor firsthand as Zynga constantly bombards you with new tasks and features without giving you time to master the existing ones.

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Their logo should be a coked-out hummingbird.
Image credit: Mdf

This last bit is important, because Zynga offers a myriad of features and labor-saving utilities by charging you credits. That is, credits you buy with real money. Yes, people buy said credits by the millions. However, they comprise fewer than 10 percent of those playing Zynga games overall. This, along with the games’ inherently annoying qualities, probably explains why Zynga’s stock today is worth roughly one-third of what it was when the company went public in December 2011.

I admit these games are addictive to the uninitiated. I played a few of them myself for a time. Finally I got tired of the aggravation, as well as the never-ending Facebook wall posts to loan a hoe here or taste a pie there. So a few months ago I uninstalled all the apps and set my game notifications to “ignore.”

Here’s the rub. Even though I don’t play anymore Zynga still has all my game profiles loaded on their servers. Yeah, you can still visit my CityVille town or plow my FarmVille fields. Beachy still has me as her Café World “employee.” Before I stopped playing she took the liberty to “dress” me.

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Which I KNOW she did to annoy me.

Apr 26

Friday Crap Roundup XI

It’s another Friday in the 2T, so it’s time to pollute the Internet with another Friday Crap Roundup. Beachy is in a foul mood because some kid trashed a killdeer nest at school today. As for me, it was yet another boring-ass drive down here. At least I got to use the air conditioner today.

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But come Monday, bullies goin’ down.
Image credit: Вasil

This Here’s a Union Blog Now

In terms of finding stuff that’s funny and/or stupid, this week sucked. Maybe I should try harder, or maybe people should try to be funnier and/or stupider.

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Well, this guy opened a library, but who gives a rat’s ass?

Anyway, for lack of material the week’s highlight is that I officially became a union thug. That’s right, I’m now a member of the National Writers Union, which is a local of the United Auto Workers. I figure it’s high time I went out and shopped my skills for income, or something like that. So if you wanna hire me, you know where to find me.

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And no, I don’t get the juxtaposition either. Just go with it.

And Now, a Shameless Plug

Hey! In case you hadn’t heard, you can like me on Facebook. You can even like Djoser and Sneferu now!

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Cute kitties! You can friend cute kitties on Facebook, or something ….

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter as well! Pinterest too, I guess. Can someone explain the appeal of Pinterest to me?

Track of the Week

Ah, what the hell. Let’s take it down another notch to finish the week.

Smooth.

Apr 15

No Snark Today

I went into today’s post with a few snarky things to say about Facebook and their recent timeline change. Then I read about what happened in Boston.

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The City of Trees stands with Beantown.

Now I don’t feel snarky or funny. I don’t think it’s appropriate today anyway. Mark Zuckerberg’s skewering will have to wait.

Apr 12

Friday Crap Roundup IX

It’s Friday and I’m in the 2T again. Beachy has one of those teacher inservice days, so I had to interrupt her Smosh and Fred Figglehorn habit to write today’s FCR. Believe me, that’s not an easy task. Once I’m done I get to take her to Hop 2 It. Oh joy. At least she’s paying her own way this time ….

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NOTICE: FATHER CARRIES NO CASH
Image credit: Channel R

But First, A Shameless Plug

I’ve known Travis Hill since we were in fifth grade or something like that. He’s into hockey, writing and snark, just like me. If you enjoy SB, I venture to guess you’ll like his stuff too. You can find it here, here and here.

He doesn’t know I’m doing this, and when he finds out he’ll probably have some off-color remark for me. That’s part of his charm.

Speaking of Remarks …

SB got its first real comment in well over a month earlier this week. Feel free to comment at this site, you slackers. Constantly deleting Engrish spam hawking fake Air Jordans gets old after a few weeks.

Anyway, commenting on “Messing With Spammers,” Ray told SB he also encountered the infamous “gr8tits2play.” He wrote in part:

How can I report this user? That ISP address or whatever. Oh well my only option is to report it on Fling and hopefully they will warn others. I didn’t sign up for the other site because I couldn’t find her user name, so I Googled – you guessed it – gr8tits2play. should I respond back with something, or don’t reply?

(Ed note: link NSFW)

Good questions, Ray. You did the right thing by reporting the account to Fling and by NOT signing up to “her” site. The dating site is probably not going to “warn others,” but it should delete the offending account with extreme prejudice. I imagine they’ve already done so as of this writing. I don’t recommend responding unless you’re going to troll them like I do. That just invites more spam.

As for tracking where the e-mail came from, what I do is find the originating IP address in the e-mail source. A “View Source” option should be available in e-mail clients such as Thunderbird and Outlook. Finding the source in web-based e-mail, such as Hotmail, can be problematic.

The source consists of a bunch of computer gobbledygook. What you want is something that looks like “Received: from [1.2.3.4].” The numbers in the brackets are the IP address. There may be several lines like this; the one you want is usually the last one.

Once you have the IP, do a search on an IP lookup site such as IP2Location. The result should tell you where the IP originates and what ISP it’s registered with. This doesn’t work every time, but it’s the best way I know of to track an e-mail’s origin. If someone out there knows a better way, please share with the class.

Of course this only works with an actual e-mail. If all you have is the communication on Fling (or wherever), you’re not going to be able to track the original IP, although the site admins can if they so choose.

By the way, if you do troll them let me know. Definitely share if it nets you hilarious results.

My Message in Your Modem

SB reached an auspicious milestone earlier today. All you Rush fans out there should appreciate this:

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And the geeks shall inherit the earth.

Let’s Network … Or Something

Hey! Now you can “like” me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. The Mayor of Boise, members of the Idaho Legislature, and the Idaho Statesman all follow me. Why not you?

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In other words, the city knows my every move.

Oh yeah, for what it’s worth I have a Pinterest account too. I don’t use that much, though.

Track of the Week

I like me some trance, y’all.

We’re not in Kansas anymore.

Apr 05

Friday Crap Roundup VIII

It’s Friday at the Command Center, so it’s time for the Friday Crap Roundup! But first, I have some cleaning up to do ….

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Cats and Kleenex. Gotta love it.

Trolling for Fun and Profit

Right. Now that that’s taken care of, let’s turn our attention to other beings who strike without warning.

You may have seen this video make the rounds on Facebook this week. It’s a hilarious “interview” by Brick Stone with members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. Stone skewers them for all they’re worth, and then some.

“We’re done here.”

“Brick Stone” is actually standup comedian Dave Sirus, who turned guerrilla comic trolling in general – and baiting the WBC in particular – into his main schtick. He’s starting to get some good ink for it too. I’m happy to help.

Bashing the Classics

Those of you who know me well may know about my healthy disdain for English Lit classes. And for those who didn’t, well now you do. Here’s a diatribe on the matter I posted on Facebook recently:

Reason #1804 why English Lit sucks: Kids don’t want to read books like The Old Man and the Sea, or My Name is Asher Lev, or Frankenstein. Why? Because they’re all about FAILURE. Adolescents have enough pathos as it is. Let them read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or something. It may not be about success, but at least the characters chose their own terms.

I was compelled to read all three of these works at various points during junior high and high school. Hemingway’s prose in Old Man communicated his imagery very well, but after 50 pages of reading about a back-and-forth battle between some dude and a marlin, it got a bit … old. Then after three days of fighting the damn thing he finally hauls his catch in, only to have it eaten by sharks before he returns to port. How … utterly depressing.

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Kind of like watching the Outdoor Channel for hours on end, until your dish is stolen by wolverines.
Image credit: Experience Kissimmee, Florida

As for the others, Frankenstein was beyond turgid, while My Name is Asher Lev was so goddamn depressing it made Old Man look like an episode of In Living Color by comparison. I don’t think I ever finished that one, to hell with bad grades.

Naturally this sparked a mixed reaction and a debate on my Facebook page. Others mentioned books such as Lord of the Flies and The Grapes of Wrath. I never read either one, so I couldn’t comment intelligently.

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I’m such a Philistine.
Image credit: scatterkeir

I’d be very interested to hear what you have to say on the matter, dear reader. Please feel free to comment and debate. I may respond in a later edition of FCR. If nothing else, it would be a break from the tedium of deleting spam comments hawking third-rate knockoffs of Michael Kors handbags or some shit.

The Moose and Spam Update

Earlier this week I unexpectedly heard from Moose Factory Boy™, who told me to expect a call or text “very soon.” Well, the most recent text I received as of this writing was from my ex-wife, who informed me Beachy is off of school next Friday. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t referring to that. No word from Myrtle whatsoever.

I haven’t heard anything from my Nigerian 419 scammer either. Apparently he/she fell for my “Church of Satan, Reformed (Nunavut Synod)” gag.

Both of these developments are a damn shame. I need material to keep this blog going. This crap doesn’t write itself, you know.

Track of the Week

Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the national anthem of the Great Basin:

A fan-made video, and a damn good one I might add.

Apr 02

Bits and Pieces

Despite it being absolutely gorgeous outside, I spent the better part of the day filling out hospital forms related to my head injury a couple months ago. Since there’s nothing even remotely amusing about that (like I could remember it anyway), I didn’t have a lot of time to think about what the hell I was going to write today.

But I got to turn on the A/C for the first time this year.

Despite that, I have a couple stories possibly developing for your reading enjoyment. I guess it’s time for one of those potpourri posts. You know, a little of everything but not a lot of anything. That makes sense, right? Good. Let’s get started.

Return of the Moose

For a while I genuinely thought I was done writing about him, but a couple days ago none other than Moose Factory Boy™ showed up in my Facebook mail. His message? “I’m sure that you will be receiving a text/call very soon.” Um, OK. I assume he’s talking about Myrtle, but with him you can never be entirely sure.

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Could be something like this.

As of this writing I haven’t heard from Myrtle, or anyone else for that matter. Whether or not she gets back in contact is anyone’s guess. If she does, great. If not, oh well. Dating hasn’t been a real high priority lately.

What’s the 419?

Speaking of dating, I’ve had an ad in the Boise Craigslist personals for a couple weeks now. Now before you accuse me of contradicting my previous statement, bear in mind this ad mentions Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Bandido Nation, Svalbard, Aotearoa and Erik Estrada‘s teeth, among other things. Not exactly Cassanova-type material.

To their credit Craigslist recently reformulated their policies, implementing an anonymous reply function. This has cut down on the spammers and the scammers significantly. A few still get through, including our friend “Tracy Miller.”

“Tracy” contacted me and assured me “she” was real and wanted to meet. My reply was, “And I’m real. Did you find Erik Estrada’s teeth?”

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Yeah, I’m milking that for all it’s worth.
Image credit: trainman74

The reply mentioned nothing about Estrada, but Tracy did tell me about how she was a fashion school student living with a friend and her grandmother. She talked about her friend getting married and how she wants to get married herself. She talked about her love for God and how much of a good Christian she was. There was a bunch of other drivel I didn’t bother reading.

Most importantly, she responded outside the Craigslist system, which allowed me to track the originating IP:

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Peek-a-boo!

Of course, being the magnanimous guy I am, I replied:

Hey Tracy:

No kidding? I’m into religion too! For the past eight months I’ve served as a dark deacon with the First Boise Church of Satan, Reformed (Nunavut Synod). Just this past weekend we sacrificed some goats during a sunset ceremony up at Table Rock to culminate our annual “Cinco de Chivos” festival. We used to sacrifice children, but we were sued by the Most Antient Order of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli for trademark infringement. And, well, long story short we don’t do that anymore.

I’m not photogenic either. Especially not after my recurring bouts with leprosy. But I don’t let it get me down. Even though I only have eight fingers now, I can still type at 60 words per minute!

By the way, since you’re a fashion student and all, I’m guessing you know quite a bit about fabric. Do you know how to get goat blood stains out of linen?

Writing that was a hell of a lot more fun than filling out hospital forms. I tell you what ….

Mar 29

Friday Crap Roundup VII

I’m back in the 2T for the first time in over a month. Beachy is currently transfixed by a show called Four Weddings on TLC. The fact an eight-year-old is into this is a bit disconcerting. However, given that she shushed me during a Lumber Liquidators commercial, this is evidently the wrong time to ask. I guess now is as good a time as any for the Friday Crap Roundup.

Getting Bombed

Dang, Good Friday indeed. As of this writing Superfluous Bloviations has already doubled its all-time daily hits record. There’s still a good six hours left in the day too. Call me crazy, but I suspect The B-52s fan club found me.

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The Love Shack is full today.

The one vote for Devo is mine. Oh well.

Seeing Red

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or in Oman, or something, you probably noticed the same-sex marriage issue dominated the news this week. I have just south of 700 friends on Facebook at the moment. I estimate about 400 of them changed their avatar this week to this, or a variation thereof:

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I think it pops well.

I find it curious that red – the same color the Republican Party uses – was chosen for this campaign, however I certainly support its aims. Although I personally have little use for marriage, I think it’s wrong to deny it to anyone else. Either make marriage legal for everyone or remove the concept from the state entirely. Anything else is half-assing it.

These are absolutely landmark cases the Supreme Court is considering, but I feel at this point the worst-case scenario decisions only delay the inevitable. Same-sex marriage is here to stay. Twenty years from now we’ll be wondering what the hell the big deal was.

Northern Remains

A few days ago I mentioned in passing another web site I run called the Quebec Nordiques Preservation Society. Earlier this week I was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal of all outlets about it.

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Yes, I’d love to see them back in the NHL. No, I’m not Canadian.

It wasn’t much of an interview. I last worked on the QNPS over eight years ago, and I’m not involved in any of the current efforts to bring the NHL back to Quebec City. Accordingly I very strongly doubt I’ll be quoted in any article. Yet people are still looking at this obvious web leftover from the 90s. Amazing.

Track of the Week

I recently rediscovered this album. It was one of my absolute favorites in high school. Such a shame Sting went all soft rock on us.

Love the bass line.

By the way, if Beachy wants a regatta setting for her wedding, she’d better be prepared to get married in Burley.

Mar 22

Friday Crap Roundup VI

I almost didn’t make the deadline today. Yet here I am for the 41st time. Maybe a slow weekend will get me back in rhythm. That said, it’s time for the Friday Crap Roundup! Um, yay?

Respect At Last

I’ve mentioned a couple times Idaho State University is my alma mater. What I haven’t mentioned is how utterly dreadful most of their sports teams are. Case in point, the football team hasn’t won a road conference game since 2006.

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And being constantly confused with these guys doesn’t help.

So it’s good to see Idaho State finally won a national championship in something this week. What is that something, you ask? Well, we have a national champion mascot in Benny Bengal. He won the 2013 U.S. College Championship Mascot Division in Anaheim this week. It’s always good to win something.

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And when you’re an Idaho State alumnus, you take what you can get.
Image credit: ISU

He’s All Right

As I’m sure many of you do, I occasionally post memes and other images on Facebook I find amusing. This little gem produced a lot of buzz on my page this week. Absolutely freakin’ brilliant.

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Kenny Loggins is actually alive and well. Jesus didn’t look like him anyway.

History With a Dope Beat

Speaking of brilliant, I love the Epic Rap Battles of History series on YouTube. These guys are not only pretty accurate with their history, they’re also good musicians. Hell, they even got Snoop Dogg to do a cameo. Or is it Snoop Lion now? It’s so hard to keep up with these things.

This one is pretty tame by their standards. Many of the others are NSFW.

Track of the Week

Churning out this stuff every day has been particularly difficult recently. Nevertheless, I just gotta …

… Whip it good!

Feb 17

Adoption From a True Story

If you’ve been on Facebook recently, you may have noticed adult adoptees posting their information in hopes of finding their birth parents. This has been encouraged by the adoptionfind blog and this Facebook group, among other sources. I understand some have been successful doing this. I’m all for it.

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I’m happy to help this guy, among others.
UPDATE: I’m told he was among the successful ones.

However at the risk of writing something a bit more serious than I want, I feel a need to say something about adoption which may not fit the narrative. You see, I’m adopted as well. I was three weeks old when I was placed, so obviously I don’t remember anything about it.

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I’m not THAT good.

What may surprise some is that I don’t consider being adopted a big deal in the slightest. I hesitate to write about the subject in the first place. I do so mainly to address what I consider some erroneous generalizations.

By all measures I had a good childhood. My adoptive parents are my parents, end of story. I never viewed being adopted as a stigma in any sense. As a matter of fact I’m often smug and irreverent about it. In high school I joked my adoption was just a cover story, and that I was actually born in Dresden as part of a Stasi genetic experiment and smuggled to the United States in a crate of oranges. Yes, I’ve always been a bit odd.

I’ve known I was adopted my entire life. I’ve never considered it some dreadful, horrible secret. Not even close. If someone accused me of being adopted, my reaction would have been something along the lines of, “Well, duh.” Truth be told until I was about eight years old I thought it was strange NOT to be adopted. In essence, I thought babies were issued by the government like driver’s licenses.

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And building permits.

Accordingly I was told I could contact the state about my birth parents when I turned 18. That was over 20 years ago; I never made any serious attempt to do so. Indeed, it was just recently I discovered Idaho only releases contact information if both the adoptee AND the birth parents register with the voluntary adoption registry.

Now I’m well aware my experience is atypical in many respects. It’s certainly not my intent to project my story on others. I don’t want to take anything away from adoptees who are actively looking for their birth parents or vice versa. I strongly support such endeavors, as well as reforming laws to make the search easier. However, I take exception to the notion all adoptees are necessarily “hurting” or “incomplete” because of their history, as propagated by cheesy TV movies and what not. That’s simply not how I feel about it.

As adoptees I’d like to think we’re more of an inquisitive group than a maudlin one. Do I think about my birth parents from time to time? Sure, but I’ve never harbored anything more than a sort of morbid curiosity about my origins.

That all said, if either of my natural parents somehow stumble upon this blog they’re absolutely welcome to contact me. I’d be a bit surprised, but not weirded out in any sense. I’d invite them over, have a drink, something like that. I suppose it would be like hearing from someone I haven’t seen since kindergarten. If I don’t hear from them, well, such is life.

Baby Boy “Andy”
Born 15 July 1973 7:46 am Pacific
at Kootenai Memorial Hospital (now Kootenai Medical Center)
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Birth parents born c. 1955

All right, I got that out of my system. I promise to be funnier tomorrow.