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Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

The 7 things thing

All the cool kids are doing it. At least the cool twitter kids. It’s a “Seven Thing You Don’t Know About Me” meme and because most of the people I met through twitter don’t know anything about me except I like to tell dick jokes, this should be easy, right? Except when you start writing something like this, it become obvious what a painfully uninteresting person you are (I mean me, not you), so you just try to find the quirkiest things about yourself because “I like coffee” is not something unique, new or interesting.  Quirks and character flaws are much better material to work with. (and thanks to empire betty for the tag)

1.  I don’t drink alcohol. I used to drink alcohol. From the time I was 13 up until about three years ago.  Alcohol was the great equalizer for me. I had always been painfully shy, socially retarded and misanthropic. Well, maybe I didn’t hate people so much as I hated socializing with them. It got worse as I got older and I found myself either avoiding social situations or drinking beforehand to make them tolerable.  As one of my favorite songs goes “I’m not that social, just a good drinker.”

Some time around 2005 my drinking escalated to a point where I thought I might be developing a problem. When you find yourself doing shots of tequila during your lunch hour and returning to work polluted, it’s generally not a good sign. Especially more than once a week.  Toward the end of that year I was drinking a lot at home, and I went from creating the illusion of having after dinnner martinis to just saying fuck it all and drinking gin straight from the bottle. Gin is, to me, the ultimate “I hate my life” drink.  And I did. Once I made some necessary changes to un-hate my life,  I stopped needing to drink to escape it so much and eventually I put the bottle down completely.   I could probably drink socially now, but I don’t, because to do so would, in my mind, be disrespectful to Todd’s seven years of sobriety.

2. I used to be afraid of everything, and had crippling anxiety. I had a fear of bridges, heights, water, open spaces, closed spaces, crowds, meeting new people, traveling, airplanes, being alone, the dark, going anywhere alone, being far from home….it got to the point where I was near agoraphobic and would leave the house only to go to work, the grocery store or drive my kids wherever they had to go.  I missed a lot of work because of my anxieties. I suffered from horrendous panic attacks, at one point having ten or more a day.  I went on meds for all this (a combination of Paxil and Wellbutrin), and even though they made me sort of anxiety free, they turned me into a robotic, unfeeling shell and I went off them cold turkey, which I recommend to no one.  I took some steps to regain control of my life, including getting rid of the person who was trying to control me.  Shortly after that, I met a wonderful guy who, instead of playing into my fears, helped me face them and take charge of them. Since then, I have stood at the top of mountain in Squaw Valley and looked down without fainting. I have gone on a boat ride and stood right on the front deck without having an anxiety attack. I have driven over bridges without closing my eyes, slept in total darkness without fear, traveled across the country twice and learned how to love socializing. I have not missed a family event in two years, which is an amazing feat for me. I have spent entire days in New York City mingling with crowds that once upon a time would have given me a heart attack. I’m still not great at meeting new people, but that will come. Baby steps.

3.  I spend my days and nights medicated, legally, non prescription. I’ve had sleeping issues since I was a kid. I have never slept through a full night unless I went to bed drunk, and that’s more like a coma, not a sleep. I’ve just never been a good sleeper. I sleep light, I hear everything.  A person turning a light switch in the house next door would wake me.  Which in turn makes me tired during the day. So I drink a lot of coffee. And occasionally, during the day, when I feel that last ounce of caffeinated energy about to leave my body and I still have hours of work ahead of me, I’ll take an Excedrin because whatever is in that stuff gives me an instant energy boost, enough to last me through the rest of the workday. So I spend my day on a caffeine high, then to wind down at night, I take Excedrin PM because without that, I don’t sleep. It will help me fall asleep fast instead of tossing and turning. I’ll still wake up at 2 or 3 and lay there for a bit while my brain does its “I don’t know how to shut up” thing, but at least I got those couple of hours of solid sleep in. Yes, I know this is a viscous cycle, but it works – mostly – for me and it’s what gets me through my days and nights.

4. Speaking of sleep. I have the most awesome dream life. Or the worst, depending on your view. My dreams tend to be long, detailed and fill with plots, sub-plots and intricate twists and turns. They play out like movies. Sometimes I’m not even in the dream, I just watch it unfold. Sometimes I play the part of director and step in to tell various characters what to do. Most of the people in my dreams are strangers; friends, family and relatives show up quite often, but it turns out that the main players in my most convoluted dreams are people I don’t know. I dream of the dead quite often, the same four or five relatives make cyclical appearances. They don’t say much, it’s as if they are dropping in to check on things or let me know they’re around.

Many people have recurring dreams; I have recurring places and people. There’s a whole world to my dreams that I’m sure I could layout like some video game map if I put my mind to it. These places have shown up often enough in my life that I can navigate them as if they were real. There’s the hotel, where I know enough not to take the stairs up to the third floor landing because some awful thing awaits me there. There’s a cruise ship, where I can make my way to the concierge and the room that takes me to a portal to my aunt’s house. There’s the high school, which is a conglomeration of all the schools I’ve gone to; I can tell you where the portraits hang on the wall, where the gym and the nurse’s office are, where the teachers park, where my math class is. There’s a college, which is really just a row of cabin-like houses and an enormous parking lot. I lost my car in the lot in one dream, upon finding it I made a mental note of it and now whenever I dream about the college, I know where to find my car.

I have experienced sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations and whatever other dream afflictions there are.  I would blame all the drugs I took in high school, but this wicked dream life has been going on since I was eleven.

5. Despite my insistence on being an independent woman, I sometimes long for the days of old, when a woman stayed home and cleaned the house (wearing pearls and high heels) and prepared the meals and had tea socials, and when her man came home from a hard day’s work, she’d have dinner on the table and a martini ready and they’d sit around and talk about the children, who spent their free time at the malt shop or doing innocent children type things, and the most ambition a girl had to have was to marry a swell guy like Wally Cleaver or maybe learn how to sew. These longing moments are pretty fleeting when I realize that I’d have to get through life without the internet and I’d have to wear a dress every day.

6.  I was with Anna Nicole Smith when she found out her husband died. I spent about a full week with her, and about a month later almost kicked her ass at a funeral. True story.

7. I love 70’s era muscle cars.  I want nothing more than to buy a ‘70 Chevelle SS or a ’72 Baraccuda and rebuild the engine and make it all shiny and new.  Make no mistake, I know very little about what lives inside the guts of a car. I couldn’t tell a hemi from a semi. But give me a car that looks like, say, a ’74 Dodge Charger and I’ll be making moves on it within seconds. I don’t need to know what it’s made of. I just need to know that it goes fast, roars loud and looks like the equivalent of a Victoria’s Secret model in boy shorts and a black lace bra. These cars are my porn.  You know how some guys feel when they see a picture of some big breasted chick with her legs in the air and a “take me” look on her face? You know how some women feel when they see a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes on sale at Neiman Marcus? That’s how I feel when I see a ’70 Chevelle or a ‘69 GTO.  No, I don’t want to fuck it, but I just might rub up against it in a sexual fashion, given the chance. Oh hell, if it had a dick, I’d fuck it.

And one bonus thing, because it’s something people ask me about all the time: I met Todd on Fark. TotalFark, to be precise. Telling non-internet people (yes, they do exist) that you met your boyfriend online is weird. Telling internet savvy people you met him on Fark gets you even stranger looks. We became friendly way before we started dating, bonding over a mutual love of the band Clutch. We realized we were a match made in heaven when I laughed at his juvenile jokes.

Ok, this is the part where I have to tag people. For those I tag that don’t have a blog, I’d be happy to post your seven things here, so there’s no excuse!
@dani3boyz
@secretsquirell
@melodik
@frageelay She did hers!
@texburgher
@sween He did his!
@sekimori
(yea, i know that’s eight)

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I’ve got a lot to do here. I was tagged with some meme where I have to tell you seven things about me, and I still want to get around to those questions about my goals and what I did or didn’t accomplish last year, and the Awesome Belt is getting a new attachment tonight.  But first. I have some anger issues to deal with.  Not big anger. But little angers, added up. Anger at people who double park, people who ram you with their shopping carts, people who order a meal for 80 at the drive through.  Tiny, almost inconsequential things that, when put all together, make you want to find the nearest bell tower and start spraying machine gun fire.

Yes, I know I can’t do that.  I don’t even have a machine gun! But I can – and you can – learn how to direct your anger in the proper way.

I’ve been doing a little research on anger management. All this counting to ten and deep breaths seems good on the surface, but I don’t buy it. If you repress whatever anger you are feeling at the moment, it will only come out at a different – and most likely inappropriate – time.

I think the better device to use is something I call Anger Directment. I know Directment isn’t a word, but Web 2.0 is all about making up your own words, right?  I’m a thought leader, and I’m about to validize your synergy and envisoneer your transformimication. Anyhow, Anger Directment Management is about making sure that the rage and frustration you are feeling is directed toward the part(ies) that have caused the feelings in the first place.

Example: Sometimes, you curse and scream at the person driving next to you because you are in a mood. And sometimes, it’s just because that person is an asshole. Former bad. Latter good. Misplaced anger can only lead to things like estrangement, family feuds or an appearance on COPS.

I know that this is not the way you have been taught to deal with anger. Violence begets violence and all that touchy feely crap.

Well, this isn’t touchy feely time here. This is reality. This is the place where when someone pissed you off,  that whole “Speaking from the I” thing isn’t going to fly. Saying “I feel hurt when you call me a stupid bitch” is going to get you nowhere except crying into your pillow later on that night. Think of how much better a well placed kick would work in that case.

See, if someone angers you to the point where you feel violent toward them, why should you repress my anger? Why should you push it deep down where it will only simmer and fester and then boil over long after the event that put the anger there in the first place has passed? You know what will happen. You’ll end up taking it out on some random homeless person on the street who only wants a can of King Cobra, but you set him on fire to teach him a lesson about keeping warm.  Sure, that’s extreme. But it could happen if you keep repressing your rage!

Let’s invent a scenario.

You are at work. A co-worker stops by your office to chit-chat. You really don’t like this person and have no desire to talk with them. Your dislike for them is valid; this person is a self-absorbed creep who looks down your shirt when you talk and is crude, demeaning, sexist and racist.

You are trapped at your desk as he stands in the doorway. In the space of two minutes he has managed to offend you three times and question your integrity, your work ethic, your sexual needs and your lineage. Now, someone give me a good reason why I should count to ten and take a deep breath in this scenario. Why should I let this person run rampant over my feelings and let it go as if he did nothing wrong?

I know all you armchair therapists out there are thinking something like “Well, Michele, perhaps you should just look him in the eye and say I feel angry when you speak to me like that.  You know why that won’t work? Because people like this hypothetical jackass would just laugh. He doesn’t care how I feel, or how he makes me feel.  He would walk guffawing away and I would spend the whole day bitching to myself about what I could have said and what I should have said. By the time I leave work, I will be in a raging frenzy and I will take it out on the poor, unsuspecting souls who are on the road with me, which will only fuel my anger, and by the time I get home I’ll be ready to kick the neighbor’s dog just to hear it yelp.

The scenario plays out much better if I call the guy a few choice names, tell him exactly what I think of him, and then throw a cup of steaming hot coffee at his crotch. My anger is relieved, my rage has dissipated and I made my point without being wishy-washy about it. And everyone around me is spared my misdirected wrath. Works out for everyone!

My idea is genius. Instead of trying to manage your anger – which is only therapist talk for suppressing your feelings – you direct it at the right people. I mean, come on, a person who throws a beer bottle out the car window or says bad things about your family or sends you an email asking you to virtually fellate him nominating him for an award he doesn’t deserve, but his ego has eaten his soul, well that person needs to be told in no uncertain terms how you feel about his behavior. That is called positive directive anger. Whether you kick him in the balls, or chase him down the hall with a flamethrower or hurl a string of curses at him that he has never heard before, it’s all good. You are the better for it. When you are done you can sit back, relax, have a cigarette and praise yourself for releasing your rage at the right person.

If you hold it in and mutter some psychobabble to him about how your feelings are hurt and then you do your good breathing exercises, you may find yourself stabbing a little old lady in the supermarket later on when she mistakenly puts her lettuce in your cart. That is negative directive anger. Bad.

Next time the person in front of you on the six items or less express line has 12 items on the conveyor, open up her laundry detergent when she is not looking. Then offer to help her bag her groceries, making sure that the laundry detergent is packed in the same bag as her grapes. You will feel better for it, trust me. As a matter of fact, you will chuckle to yourself all the way home and your good mood will last you well into the night. And you won’t have to later on deal with the hundreds of phone calls from relatives asking if that was you they saw being hauled away in handcuffs on the local news that night.

Just follow the basic rule: If a person angers you to the point that you feel the familiar stirrings of animalistic rage building up inside you, count to ten. If, by the time you get to ten there is still team coming out of your ears, punch that person in the face. Hard. Anger released, situation settled.

Who needs $150 an hour therapy when you have me? Thank me later.

Tell your neighbor’s dog to thank me, too.

Michele  is available to speak at your company’s next team-building meeting.

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twitter, spam and dick jokes [updated]

(This is about twitter and contains words like tweet and unfollow, so if you’re not on twitter, this is going to be of no interest to you, unless you want to know how much disrespect I have for internet marketers and social media whores who are nothing more than spammers)

Twitter has been useful to me in several ways: I’ve made connections with other writers; I’ve made quite a few new friends and reconnected with old friends; I laugh a lot during the day and I seem to make other people laugh. Oh yes, I link to my blog posts, of course. I have 791 followers. Throwing links to my blog posts out there only makes good sense. But it’s not all I do. I converse with my followers, I reply to their tweets, I laugh at their jokes and read their blog posts and click their links.

There are a lot of articles out there on how to use twitter as a tool, whether it be a marketing tool or networking tool. That’s all well and good, but what those people don’t understand is that twitter has become a communicating tool, and simply pimping your product/service/site and doing nothing else is not communication.

On the surface, it may seem like a lot of these companies and people are playing twitter right. After all, they have thousands of followers. But about 90% of those followers are people who are using twitter for the same things; to market and promote and, if not that, to figure out how to make money by helping you market and promote. You have thousands upon thousands of people all following each other and tweeting basically the same things. And trust me, someone who spend ten hours a day writing tweets promoting their company is not reading the tweets of everyone else promoting their companies. The only reason they follow you is so you follow them back. Those follower numbers become meaningless when no one is really paying attention to you.

The number of people you follow also becomes meaningless after a while. If I get a notification that someone is following me, I’ll click on their profile and the first thing I look at it is, how many people are they following? If it’s in the thousands, chances are pretty good that they really don’t give a damn about anything I say. They’re not following me because they find me witty or interesting or they like my blog. They’re following me because I’m another number in the follow column, and they are hoping I’ll just be a happy little reciprocal follower. But that’s not going to happen. If you have thousands of followers, you are not conversing. I want conversation.

What I don’t want is to follow someone who tweets nothing but ads. I don’t want to follow someone whose every tweet has the same URL in it with a different topic (see, alltop.com). Guy Kawasaki may be some kind of marketing genius; I don’t know because I never heard of him until I got on twitter. But I think he’s going about his twitter campaign all wrong. He’s alienating people instead of gaining potential money makers/customers. He’s got about 31,000 followers and he’s following about 31,000 people. How many of those thousands is he listening to, and how many of those thousands are listening to him? It’s a vacuum. A very large vacuum, yes, but I don’t think he’s reaching as many people as he thinks he is. When you have thousands of people doing your bidding by tweeting links to your sites, you become, in essence, a spammer. Whenever I see a tweet with alltop.com in it, I think of it as spam. Especially if that person replies specifically to me:

Me: I’m thinking of going to California next month
Other tweeter: @bigvictory that sounds like fun, go to california.alltop.com for some great ideas.

Unfollow.

Why? Because it’s like comment spam in a blog. It’s like writing a post about your vacation and having someone leave a comment that is nothing more than a chance for them to plug something. It’s spam. It’s unsolicited advertising in a forum where there is no advertising. Kawasaki may be a genius in other areas and I’m sure he’s making a crapload of money doing what he does, but I don’t think he is going to get out of twitter what he’s trying to. The thousands of people who are helping Kawasaki by tweeting his links are doing nothing more than engaging in mutual masturbation. They are all following each other.

It’s not just Kawasaki. It’s everyone who calls themselves a social media expert. If I get a follow notification and I see that the person calls themselves anything to do with social media and follows more than 1,000 people, I ignore them. They don’t want to read my tweets. They don’t care what I have to say. They are just marketing themselves. And that’s great. That’s what they do. I just don’t think twitter is ever going to be the great marketing tool they think it will be if they continue to use it as nothing more than a spam vessel.

There are people who do it right. Like @zappos, who talks about his company, yet has actual conversations with his followers. It makes him likable, it makes people check out his company and it also makes ME more likely to tell people in twitter how much I love Zappos. I don’t feel like I’m carrying his spam flag, because he’s not a twitter spammer. There’s Bret from Mashables and John Gruber who have thousands of followers but converse with those followers, and say interesting things. I follow them because I enjoy reading their tweets. I’ve never gotten anything more out of a Kawasaki disciple than a link that looks like spam. And that’s the other thing about Kawasaki; he may be smart in a business way by enlisting thousands of people to do his twitter bidding for him, but that’s not smart in a twitter way. If someone’s twitter timeline has more ads than their email spam folder, there’s going to be a lot of unfollowing going on.

There are hundreds of articles out there on how best to use twitter. My advice, if you are using twitter to gain anything, be it readers, users or whatnot, is to be yourself and to pay attention to the people you follow. Talk to them, reply to them, converse. I joined twitter to plug my writing. I did that. I met a lot of other writers on twitter and we’ve helped each other out in many ways. I gained some readers for my blogs and found a lot of interesting blogs to read. But in between the links to what I write, twitter has become my playground; to me, it’s not a marketing opportunity as much as it is a place to tell dick and fart jokes and gain a few friends, followers and readers while I do that.

Maybe I’m just too well ensconced in my own little twitter niche and I have no idea what’s going on out there beyond the people I follow. Maybe there are thousands of twitterers who love seeing nothing but links to alltop all day long. Maybe some people find that riveting. Maybe the people who talk about the cute things their kids do and Thanksgiving dinner and how much their farts smell are a tiny percentage of twitter. But it’s a fun percentage. It keeps me happy during the workday. It makes me laugh. Plus, these people read my music reviews. And I read their blogs and listen to their podcasts. No one who spends their day throwing spam-like links at your twitter timeline is going to do that.

In Kawasaki’s most recent twitter post, he says:

If the concept of using Twitter in a commercial manner interests you, keep reading. If it doesn’t, then you can continue to send and receive tweets about how cats are rolling over and the line at Starbucks

It’s truly my belief (and hey, I may be wrong, it happens sometimes) that all the people using twitter as a Guy Kawasaki commercial are talking to each other, and it’s the people who are talking about cats and Starbucks – and telling dick jokes – that are making the truly important connections.

Update:

Trying to respond to all, but please keep in mind I am at work, and it’s hard for me to respond in full at the moment (especially with a very spotty wireless connection). I do want to say that this was not a slam on Guy Kawasaki as a person. I just think what he did with the alltop tweets was equivalent to spam. He may be brilliant otherwise (I’m not an Apple person, nor do I pretend to have a technological background at all) and a great speaker and wonderful person, but I question whether the alltop idea would work simply because most of the same people are looking at them, that being the same people who are also tweeting them. It’s like preaching to a choir. I’m not going to back down from the fact that I think it’s nothing more than spam, but I will back down from bashin Guy himself, because I don’t know him.

As for following too many people: isn’t there a point where the singal to noise ratio is overwhelming?

Re, the unfollowing: I have only unfollowed the alltop tweeters when that was ALL they tweeted. I have some very interesting people on my follow list who at one time did the alltop thing but I kept followin them because they also had something interesting/funny to say.

Also, I really don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to use twitter, per se, but there’s a right and wrong way to market yourself in such narrow confines. I’m sure the social media experts think I’m the one who is using twitter all wrong.

I appreciate Guy sending people over here; I have not seen the tweet so I have no idea what he said (I am on limited time right now), but the fact that he sent you all here and most of you had something really worthwhile to add to the conversation makes me appreciate him.

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things found through twitter

An interactive map of foods in season in your area
From alan

Interesting article about computers changing our brains
from templesmith

This made me laugh stupidly
from sweetshrubs

Of all the ridiculous social networking applications I’ve tried in the past year, I like twitter the best. I still have no freaking clue what to do with my facebook, and the only thing myspace is good for is finding local bands.

Now, I need new people to follow on twitter.
You can follow me here.

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twittering

I signed up for this Twitter thing. Why? Because all the cool kids are doing it. And because I like saying the word Twitter.

I have no idea what the purpose of it is or what it does, but that never stopped me before.

That’s it. The orange thing over in the sidebar. In case you are interested in the minutia of my life. Or maybe sometimes I’ll just feel like saying something but not blogging a whole paragraph about it. Who knows. I just like widgets and gadgets.

Notice on my twitter thing that I have ZERO friends. NO FRIENDS.

Come on. Twitter me.

Is that how the kids say it? Twitter me? Twitter with me? Hey baby, wanna twitter?

Jesus, I need sleep.

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