It’s time to back away from Facebook

Sometime around September of 2007, I joined Facebook. It had been something the cool kids were talking about as a solid alternative to MySpace…which I hated. (I mostly hated MySpace’s hideous user interface.) I wanted a way to connect to friends, and Facebook had recently come available to the masses…not just college kids with .edu email addresses from specific schools.

I dove into Facebook full force. After my wife, my first Facebook friend was a person who was in a theater show with me at the time. (As a side-note, this person now works for Facebook!) I started adding friends left and right: theater friends, old college friends, old Navy friends, old high school friends… You know the drill. I also started meeting new people and adding them as I met them. If somebody wasn’t “on Facebook,” I encouraged them to join because it was an easy way to keep in touch. I don’t remember who, specifically, is on Facebook because of my recommendation, but I’m sure there are at least a dozen or so. (My one rule has always been: If I don’t know you in person, I’m not adding you on Facebook. I still have over 550 friends there.)

So if Facebook is where my friends connect, why am I backing away?

Well, in 2007 my life was very different. I had a regular full-time job working for somebody else and a slightly new baby at home. I found that Facebook was a good way to keep in touch with people as our lives changed. But as I’ve gotten older keeping track of everything that happens on Facebook has become a real task. I’ve been self-employed for almost eleven years and the baby is now a junior in high school. My life is just different. Sure, I still enjoy getting updates from friends and family, but keeping up with everything has just become a chore. After the last two elections started to dominate Facebook, the platform was no longer a source of enjoyment and entertainment. It became a source of stress. Post, reply, like, repeat. I couldn’t stand visiting friends’ pages and reading their posts… no matter what side of the political aisle they sat on. As Covid swept the globe, I started ignoring most posts and decided to use Facebook for groups. I started joining groups that matched my interests: gardening, mid-century architecture, history, Disney park updates, etc. All of these seemed innocent enough. But since Facebook had become a political platform, politics started permeating those groups too. “MY GOD!!! You’re destroying that gorgeous 1957 ranch by planting that tree too close to the house! You must be a Republican, you asshole!”

Wait. What?!?

So here we are in 2021. My life is very different now and so is the world. I didn’t get into this mess to watch strangers yell obscenities at each other as I scroll past the latest update about Star Wars comics. It’s been a slow decline from “poking” friends into giving them virtual throat punches. That’s not my style. I don’t want to be a part of that. I can get angry enough on my own. I don’t need to watch it happen with friends or strangers.

So I decided to try an experiment to see if I could “live” without daily memes and Covid stories. For the last couple of months, I’ve been on Facebook a grand total of about five times. It used to be that I would open the app dozens of times a day. Do you know what I discovered? I don’t miss it! I’m generally calmer and much less stressed. I can focus on the people who are actually near me and not what is happening in a world over which I have very little control. I play more. I interact with other humans more. I create more.

So I’ve decided to start backing out of Facebook.

By backing out, I don’t mean I’m rage-quitting and deleting my account. I mean I’m just not going to be there very much. I might stick my head in twice a month just to see if anything noteworthy is happening. I’m leaving groups that aren’t directly business-related or part of small, social groups I’m involved with. I’m not unfriending anybody, but I’m also not going to be signing in to browse casually anymore. If you’re a friend and you want me to see something that’s locked into the Facebook ecosystem, send me a message. I still use Facebook Messenger. If, on my bi-monthly visits, I notice something you’ve posted that I like, I might like it or type a quick response. Don’t bother tagging me. I’m ignoring notifications. In short, if Facebook is where you’re used to “visiting” with me…well…that’s going to change.

Since I sometimes like to blab or show off, I’m probably going to resurrect this blog in some form. That’s still undecided. I also check and post to Twitter every now and then, and I really enjoy Instagram. Feel free to follow me on either of those platforms. If I know you, I’ll probably follow you back.

This isn’t a rage-quit of Facebook. I don’t hate Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t think Facebook is some sort of inherently evil organization that’s trying to take over the world. (Although I guess it might be.) It’s a company with a business plan…just like every other company. Their business plan just doesn’t align with my needs any longer. So it’s time to move on.

My evening under the stars with David Bowie

In my not-so-humble opinion, the worst album of 1987 had to have been David Bowie’s Never Let Me Down.

I wasn’t alone in that opinion as many reviewers said the same thing. But as I was flipping through vinyl at Q Records and Tapes that hot Miami summer in 1987, I couldn’t help but be enraptured by the album art. I was 15 (going on 16) and trying to figure out who I was. The vaudevillian character leaping off the front cover at me seemed like the kind of guy I could relate to…a little more refined than the alien he used to be, but still trying to explore different forms of self-expression. Just like me.

I dropped the needle onto the record when I got home and started grooving to the ultra-80s sound of a “modern” David Bowie. I found out he was going to be touring his Glass Spider Tour and told my friend Martin Parker. We bought a couple of tickets when they went on sale. The seats weren’t great, but we took turns distracting one of the security guards and were able to sneak onto the field of the Orange Bowl and disappear into the crowd.

I knew this concert was going to be huge. The publicity was insane. Bowie described it as the concert he had always wanted to do…half music, half theater. I remember seeing the huge outdoor stage topped with something that looked like a spider stuck to scaffolding. When the lights went down and the music started, I followed the spotlight to see David Bowie being lowered from the ceiling of the stage, wearing a red jump suit, and talking on the phone. He was narrating The Glass Spider story.

I won’t say the rest of the show was a blur, because I remember many parts of it quite vividly. But the one that really grabbed me was that it was unlike any show I had ever seen. It was equal parts rock concert and stage play. It was pure art: mixing music, theater, stage production, performance, visual art, and a touch of flamboyance into a story that didn’t make any sense. But at the same time it made all the sense in the world.

As I left the Orange Bowl that warm September evening, I finally had confirmation that it didn’t matter who I was or how much my ideas changed over time. I had finally found something I had been looking for: There was somebody in the world who could take that mess of mental confusion we “creatives” sometimes call creativity and mold it into something amazing.

Thank you, David, for that amazing evening in 1987. And thank you for helping me travel to dozens of other magical worlds in your short time here on our world.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m really going to miss you.

There’s been an awakening…

It was early summer. 1977. I was five years old.

My parents had taken my older brother and me out to lunch. I don’t remember exactly where, but I had taken along a small toy robot. We were sitting at the table and I was playing with the robot. My dad mentioned that, “It looked like 3PO.”

“What’s 3PO,” I asked?
“He’s a robot from Star Wars,” my mom responded.
“Oh. You saw Star Wars?” I asked, slightly disappointed I hadn’t been taken along.
“Yep. We think you boys will like it. We wanted to see it first though.”

The pang of excitement I felt when I first found out I was going to see Star Wars was intense. I had heard about Star Wars. I had seen the TV commercial. The phrase, “I’m Luke Skywalker; I’m here to rescue you,” was burned in my brain even though I didn’t know who Luke Skywalker was or who he was rescuing.

When the lights dimmed and that iconic B-flat chord came across the theater speakers, my hair stood on end. I knew I was about to experience a story that I had never been told before…in a way I had never heard it. I sat calmly in my seat, not knowing what the next couple of hours were going to bring.

As much as I’ve enjoyed watching all of the Star Wars movies over and over again, I’ve never been able to recapture the excitement I felt the first time I saw it in 1977. But right now I’m really close. The anticipation that’s been brewing over the past few months has stirred the five year old boy inside of me. He’s waiting patiently, but he’s going to have a hard time sleeping tonight.



Another post


So those of you who know me know I’m an obsessed Star Wars fan. The current media hype has done nothing to quell that obsession. I’ve been watching the trailers, reading the blogs, buying the “Journey to…” books, etc.

Anyway, I’ve decided to stop reading the blogs until the premier. This is because the more stuff JJ & Crew leak, the more likely some of those “unsupported” rumors are going to end up being true. One of the main reasons I’m seeing the premier is because by being one of the first to see it, I’m limiting my exposure to potential spoilers. I’m still a little annoyed I stumbled across this image:


Anyhoo, for those of you who don’t care about prediction-based spoilers, I’m putting some here. Why am I doing this? Because I have my suspicions and I like being right on predictions. And the only way to prove I’m right is to post them before I could possibly know…Kind of like how awesome it would have been if Zemeckis had actually predicted the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series in Back to the Future.

I digress…

Here’s my list (which may evolve):

  1. Somebody important is going to die…probably an original trilogy cast member…I’m betting it’ll be Chewbacca. I have my reasons for this and it’s not just because there’s a hint of Chewie fur under Rey’s sobbing eyes, but because I saw Peter Mayhew at Star Wars Weekends at Disney World. The poor guy could barely walk and spent nearly every minute in a wheelchair. I know he loves playing Chewie, but I’m sure he’s ready to be done.
  2. Speaking of Rey…She’s Han and Leia’s love-child. She’s also the reason Finn is there. They’re both Force-sensitive and were attracted to each other. They’re going to be the unstoppable Jedi pair moving forward.
  3. Am I the only one who remembers that Max von Sydow has been cast in this movie? Nobody’s talked about him anywhere and doesn’t have a character name for him yet. While I think he’d make an excellent Sith Lord, I’m thinking that he’s actually going to surprise us as Obi-Wan’s Force-ghost. The only other logical choice for that role would be Ewan McGregor, but having his name on the cast list would be a dead giveaway. I bet Obi-Wan and Luke have been chilling in a cave somewhere for the past 30 years waiting for the NEW “New Hope.”
  4. Han’s going to shoot somebody first. And he’s going to make a joke about it when it happens.
    Something like:
    Random Character: “OMG, Han! That bounty hunter/stormtrooper/droid was going to shoot you but you shot first!”
    Han Solo (over the shoulder with explosions in the background): “I always shoot first.”

Ok. So that’s it for now. Maybe there’ll be more later.


The Star Wars Virgin

The Star Wars Virgin

Ok, so I know I haven’t blogged in a while. Honestly, I’ve been really busy. I also haven’t had much to say. But something interesting happened today.
The Star Wars Virgin
Earlier today a friend shared this Star Wars video with me on Facebook. It was all six Star Wars movies playing simultaneously. I thought it was kind of cool, so I reposted it. Soon afterwards I received this Facebook message from one of my closest friends. (I’ll call him “P”)

P: ooooooh. I’m sooooo renting star wars tonight.

Me: lol

P: You know I’ve never seen it.

Me: What?!? Any of them?

P: I’ve seen chunks here and there.

This really came as a surprise to hear. I remember seeing Star Wars in the theater in 1977. I loved it as soon as I heard the first downbeat of the overture. While I’m sure the sound was coming through the equivalent of an AM speaker, to me it sounded like the gates of heaven were opening.

When “Empire” came out in 1980, that led to three years worth of schoolyard speculation. There are certain things in life that can only be experienced once, and that three year cliffhanger was one of them. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to experience it again. I figured experiencing it through somebody else’s eyes would be the next best thing.

P: Here’s the question.
Should I watch them in the order they were made? Or the order of the plot?

Me: I was just wondering the same thing. I’m going to post that question on my wall for the other Star Wars nerds to comment on. Don’t worry. I won’t reveal your identity.

And so it began. I posted the question to Facebook and received some great recommendations:

Since IV and V are the only ones worth watching I’d start there.

This is tough but I am going to say plot order…. and I say this because they get better. If I were to sit down through 4 5 and 6 then get introduced to jarjar in a short period of time I might lose it.

I’d recommend 4-6 and then skipping the prequels all together. The quality of the writing takes a massive hit. The quality of everything, actually.

Then there was my personal favorite:

I think of it the same way I do the Foundation series. I think it’s important for the characters and events to grow in size and legend, so you know why leaning the history is important.

But overall, there seems to be quite a bit of support for The Machete Order. Basically, that’s IV, V, I, II, III, VI. This article explains why.

So after discussing some options with “P” he insisted I not provide any spoilers. I never realized that there might actually be spoilers to a story that’s so well known, so I asked him what he already knew.

P: Darth vader’s his dad.
Leia is somebody’s sister.
Teddy bears live in trees.
Han shot first.

Me: Do you know where “Han shot first,” came from?
(Because that’s not really a spoiler. It’s more of a culture thing.)

P: There’s a poker game or something and an alien starts a fight. Only originally he didn’t start the fight, he just pissed Han off and he shot him
I mean, I’ve see the Family Guy star wars episode and that kind of stuff.

Me: OMG. This is like one of those interviews where you ask a seven year old boy to tell you about kissing.

P: I hate you.

I’m having too much fun at your expense. I’m sorry.

P: no, it’s fair. I opened myself up to it.

Yes. You did open yourself up to it, P. And now you’re the subject of a blog post (as I mentioned you would be.)
So stay tuned. I’ll be posting P’s reactions to the movies one at a time – including the order in which he chose to view them. At least he understands it’s not an easy task to become Star Wars educated.

P: one does not simply walk into … Tatuine.

Me: Tattooine.

Me: You have much to learn, my padawan. (Including the definition of “padawan.”)
Nice mashup of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, btw.

P: I’ve never seen Lord of the Rings.

Me: Dear God. Are you living under a rock?
I’m turning you into a sci-fi/fantasy case study. There are going to be actual medical journals written about you.

P: I have a bad feeling about this.

Why do I create?

Although I love writing, I make a living as a graphic and web designer.

I was at a local graphic designer’s social mixer last night. These gatherings occur semi-frequently to encourage networking and idea sharing. Since I’m always on the lookout for new clients and new ideas, I was handing out business cards and getting to know people.

My business card has a rather unique shape for a business card; it’s a 2.75″ diameter circle. I designed it to attract attention and it does its job well. I’ve grown accustomed to getting some kind of comment as people realize I’m handing them a business card and not a plastic-laminated coaster. I’m not ashamed to admit that I look forward to the attention my card gets. It’s nice to be noticed.

One of my encounters this particular evening was with a software developer. We exchanged handshakes, stole glances at each others’ name tags, and casually exchanged business cards. When I handed my card to my new acquaintance, however, I was surprised at his reaction. He turned it over in his hand and read the front and back. Instead of making a comment about the card’s unique shape, he looked me straight in the eye and asked me what I do.

I admit I was a bit taken aback. “What do you mean, ‘What do you do?'” I thought. “You just read my card. I’ve taken the liberty of printing it for you.” Not really expecting the question, I didn’t have a response. I mentally listed ways of describing what I do without making him feel like an idiot.

My response came unnaturally. “I design; I create.”

“Why do you create?” he asked; a second unexpected question.

“I don’t know,” I answered. “I’ve never really thought about it. It’s what I love to do and it’s what I do.”

Not wanting to be rude (and not wanting to look like an idiot myself) I casually steered the conversation back on him and we went on to discuss the merits of web apps versus downloadable apps on mobile devices.

Our conversation was interrupted by a presentation and we went our separate ways afterwards – handing out business cards and shaking hands. Our dance was over and it was time to switch partners. But my mind lingered on his question.

Why do I create?