Ramblings of a Nerd

on life, love, technology, and God.

Disclaimer: This is *NOT* a rant; rather, it is an analysis of some aspects of twitter and a fleshing out of what I think is a good approach to those aspects.

Twitter is a fantastic tool. Communication, networking, marketing, and general information proliferation. I like using twitter and similar services for communicating and sharing/finding information. I may find myself using it to network and market in the near future, but that is not my aim right now, although I never mind extending my reach in the blogo- and micro-blogospheres. For that reason, I enjoy finding new people on twitter and find it exciting when new people follow me. If they have the same sort of communicating and info sharing that I am interested in, I will follow/follow back. If not, I certainly don't mind that they follow me, but I don't want info overload (at least in regard to what I'm not interested in.)

What I find silly about twitter is that people are all too eager to follow and un-follow people. I will certainly unfollow someone who seems to be spamming, mass posting useless info, or harassing, but I tend to be patient and rational about it. If I find something offensive or bothersome, I'll let them know and if they deem it unworthy to change what they're doing, then I'll unfollow. I think that is what is important about the whole communication aspect which is so integral to micro-blogging and what makes it go around. People don't call it social media for no reason.

Something that falls along the same lines, is rapidly increasing tweeting and mass-following people. These two things are generally signs of attempting to network or starving for attention. In any case, artificially increasing posts by adding outside blog-feeds or by constantly making an effort to spout random crap just to have more exposure is a poor use of time and a weak stategy. If someone unfollows me because I don't tweet enough, that is just juvenile. If I'm not posting a lot, then it shoudn't bother you one bit because you've probably got a deluge of information coming through in your stream, so when my tweet comes around, it's a snowflake in the blizzard. One the nice things about snowflakes is that they can be beautiful things if you take the time to look at them. My lack of tweeting is not a lack of interest in micro-blogging, but an effort to put better thoughts, communication, and information out there.

Mind you, I am no expert on twitter (personally, I don't think anyone really could be, which is a completely different topic), and my thoughts on it are developing daily. This is really just meant as a piece to swallow for consideration, to help others out there for their opinions on what twitter etiquette should be. I hope you find this useful and enlightening as I found it mind-clearing and self-directive.

Well, it certainly has been an interesting 8 years with good and bad. Regardless of how much bad, I would say that there has been too much criticism of the Bush administration. I agree with some of it, but a lot of it has been nothing but negative, without (positive or realistic) accompanying suggestions for changing things. Sure, Bush (and administration) have made bad calls, but no one is perfect; there are reasons for free speech, one of them the ability to critique and offer better solutions to the way things are handled.

In these last days of the Bush presidency, he has finally shown more backbone than in many of the previous years, expressing his hope that the American people will show more respect to his successor than we have done for him, and defending his approach (regardless of whether it was efficient or effective, sticking with one approach is far better than constantly debating one and not accomplishing anything through indecision,) and is therefore laudable. Even more laudable, however, is his decision in this, the last active day of his presidency, to commute the sentences of former Border Agents, Ramos and Compean. These gentlemen were sentenced to 11 and 12 years (respectively) in prison for shooting a Mexican drug-runner. They shot him in the butt. I don't think I need to say more, except thank you Mr. President for honorable action on your way out.

Old post

Since I had one worthwhile post on one of the other blogs, I decided to breathe new life into it and transplant it here. Enjoy:

Global warming, et cetera, et cetera...

I think that this world has heard enough about Global warming and the lack of oil that we have / are developing. Everyone and his mother writes about it now-a-days, which is just peachy-keen. You know what it's like: "The government ... blah blah blah blah blah … running out of oil and not doing anything … blah blah … and global warming is getting worse because of all the oil … blah blah … if the government just made it easier for us to not depend on oil…" Because, of course, we all know that it is completely up to the government to change the way that we get around and how we drive and use our cars. I swear, people keep bitching about how the government is doing a lousy job when the fact of the matter is that they are doing a great job bringing about all of these damn bureaucratic regulations and laws that someone decided to complain to his senator about. Most everyone today would rather die than take blame or responsibility for anything. I have to admit, I'm pretty bad about it myself, but I do at least admit and try to not be so stupid about it.

The more you blame the government, the more governing it is going to do and the fewer freedoms we will have to make the choices that we should be making now. First of all, people need to stop complaining about things to the government, and secondly, they need to stop complaining about the government. My parents used to tell me that the best way to teach something is by example. In such a peer pressure filled society (adults are not immune to it) leading by example is the best thing we can do. The majority of the people that complain about the government are those that have blogs and write about it all the time on their blogs about how the government can improve something or make something better. Sometimes they even get it right and say that we are the ones that need to make the change, not just the government. But you know what--there are enough people out there blogging about you getting off your keister and making a difference. What the heck are they doing to change all of this? Oh, right, they're sitting there at their laptop at some Starbuck's or some other place with free wi-fi bitching and drinking their double shot latte wondering why the government has to make things so miserable for them and telling everyone that reads their blog that the government or the readers themselves need to do something. Hmm. Does practice what you preach ring a bell to you? Let's lead by example and start ranting and raving about how society and the country are going down a piss-hole. So what example does that give? It tells other people that they can be complacent with being upset and angry and write about it. That is what has been happening. That is why the blog craze has been hitting harder and harder, and why so many of those blogs are actually read by people. So now we just have this world of people who spend all of their time reading about all the precise ways that things are messed up and getting all of the perspectives so that they can make up their mind about exactly how they feel about it so that they can waste more time writing about their complaints and how angry they are. So, now that we all have hours less in our lives, and we are so zombie-fied from staring at the monitor for far too long, we're just too tired to go out and make an actual difference, so we're just going to hope that what we wrote inspires the next guy to do something.

I support writing a lot, which is why I'm doing it right now. It helps develop the brain in so many helpful ways, and it helps one sort out one's thoughts and be more logical in the way one thinks. But the point of honing one's mind in this way is so that one can act in a more logical way. There is such a thing as too much of one thing or another, and right now we've got too much festering anger, to much complaining, to much preaching, and too much sitting around and talking. People, get your rears out of those chairs and get outside and fix your bike if you're concerned about global warming or oil. Go plant some trees or flowers to help reduce the greenhouse gasses. Get on the phone and find someone to carpool with and tell them why you want to carpool without complaining about the government or anything else. Quit griping and be positive. Nobody likes to hear a whiner or someone who complains all the time. People do like positive, exciting, and active people that make a difference. It's not that hard. And best thing about it is, you'll feel better about life and yourself if you start doing and stop analyzing and thinking about it all. You'll have more energy, you'll be more positive, and you'll be happy--you might even forget why you complained in the first place, instead acting on what you can change to make this a better world for everyone.


In part of trimming down, I am consolidating blogs, and will now only be posting to this blog, ODAAT, and MFYM (with an occasional reference or blurb on 8OC). Obviously I haven't posted much on most of my other blogs, but this is in part due to lack of commitment, over-extension, and simply too many places to say most of the same stuff. So, I have limited it to two personally run blogs, and two group blogs and therefore I'm shutting down my two rather old blogs (With this ring and A Grain of Ry). Stay tuned!

Trimming Down

I was on a diet during Advent, and within 2.5 weeks, I lost 20 lbs. But that is not the kind of trimming down that I want to talk about here. Minimalism, abandoning materialism, restricting self-indulgence, cleaning house, getting back to the basics, eliminating distractions; however you name, this is the kind of trimming down I am talking about.

All too much, mankind becomes focused on one thing. While in my perception, that is not intrinsically bad--in fact it may even be natural, seeing as it is God on whom we should be focused 24/7--it has come to be bad thing. Fixations, obsessions, and compulsions are what I am referring to. They come in all shapes and sizes. A great example right now: Going Green. I am certainly no tree-hugger, but as a Catholic Christian, I find it imperative and nothing less than our responsibility to take care of what we have been given. Unfortunately, people have become entirely enthralled with this issue to the point of mule-blinding themselves to anything else.

Most of these fixations have a starting and ending point, and generally are looked upon at some point as a phenomena, and hindsight being 20/20, we all look back and think "what the heck was that all about?" or "why didn't we think if that sooner?" There is one, however, that seems to be timeless, without any sort of defined beginning or end, although waning and waxing with culture: materialism. I find it interesting that a lot of other fixations, obsessions, et cetera, follow logically (or illogically) from materialism.

Obsessions cause us to lose sight of the more important things in life. They pull us away, divide our attention, distract us. I have discovered this to be part of my difficulties with consistent focus. Sometimes I can, most of the time, I cannot. I don't actively obsess over things, but I do inactively, subconsciously. I want this, I must have that, I have to know about this or that. Following the information diet outlined in Tim Ferriss' The Four Hour Work Week (see also http://www.fourhourworkweek.com) has helped shed light on this. It clued me in to just how much time I was misdirecting to media, semi-social interaction, and empty extra information. With a clearer mind and less stress now, I've seen things from a perspective that I haven't known for a while, if ever. This has allowed me to begin to perceive the material distractions (obsessions) that I have in my life, and just how little I actually need, or even want, compared to how much I have and spend. So, I'm clearing out a lot of stuff that I have. Most of it will go to Goodwill or to someone who might want it, some may just have to be trashed. Even some things that may be useful in the future will be eliminated, because sometimes the cash savings of reuse is not worth the mental clutter it causes.

Trimming down like this will allow me to better focus my abilities in the direction that I need and want instead of allowing myself to be distracted. I already feel the difference. In fact, I am more emotionally sound than I have been in years. This is the beginning of the bee-line to streamlining my life and creating the environment and opportunities to live the dreams that Maria and I have for our family.

Look for my progress here, and individual exercises, practices, and steps that I will be taking or have taken to make these strides.

8OC post

Another new post over at 8OC.

I just posted a rambling post over at 8OC.

I'm not sure it'll be around much longer the rate it's been going, so I figured I'd spend the time to try to revive it. If you like the blog, or even just to post, send your love (or hate if need be) through the comments. It'll help either get it back on it's feet, or seal the impending doom.