Sunday, October 22, 2017

I get asked, every now and then

I'm not sure what it is. Every now and then I get asked stuff. Some of it is practical (How do I do Ironman?) some of it is process (How do we migrate this data?) some of it is curious (Why aren't you on Twitter anymore?), and some of it is weird (bribe me with a glass of wine in private.)

So the Twitter thing is recent, but it ties in with other things related to retirement and life in general. I was a late convert to Twitter, thinking that if I had anything to say, it was going to take more than 140 characters. For a while it was ok, and I learned some editing skills to hone what I was saying. But the artificial nature of it chafed me. Mostly I used it tell people I'd blogged, and respond to other people I know.

About the same time I stopped listening to the news, and radio in general. The news was full of people trying to push my buttons or reporters doing their job reporting without context the stupid things and lies that various people in power and wannabes were saying. I started getting really selective about where I got my news.

It annoys me when video starts on a website without my permission. If I wanted to watch it, I would have clicked it. If I haven't clicked it, by definition I don't want to watch it and it's a distraction. Many videos annoy me, what with the long intro of meaningless graphics and brand building, and the host taking forever to get to the point. This is why I like text. I'm extremely good at processing it.

The music on the radio baffles me. Little of it is music to my ears, but then I think the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are new music. No, I don't know anything about the Tragically Hip or why people are upset about one of their members dying. Sad for the fans I guess, but it's inevitable. The newest band where I can reliably recognize their music? Pink Martini. Don't get me started on commercials in any medium.

Back to Twitter, I noticed more and more snark and gotcha and outright bullying happening, and nothing being done about it. Then the Idiot in Chief down south essentially threatened nuclear war in a tweet.

Yes. The man with his finger on the nuclear button, threatening North Korea with nuclear destruction, via Twitter. Say what you like about North Korea, I don't care. But they are the legitimate government of the country, even if it is reprehensible in many ways. There has been lots of diplomatic to-ing and fro-ing between them and everybody else, with varying amounts of it public. The North Korean end is mostly a semi-rational screech at best, and pre-Trump, everybody else's responses have ranged between paternalistic, to serious discussion, to veiled threats, all with varying degrees of rationality.

Now Trump 'negotiates' via Twitter, threatens nuclear annihilation, and in the great scheme of things that is not productive. On a smaller scale, how can that not violate Twitter's terms of service? They let him babble the stupidest most hateful things, and do nothing to throttle the bully pulpit. One could easily argue they are enabling the most dangerous man in the world to be even worse.

The other thing that pisses me off with Twitter isn't properly their fault. Have you noticed that a lot of so called news articles are just reprinting tweets? Or rather, re-re-printing tweets. The report says what the tweet says, then there's a screen shot of the tweet. Come on people, I don't need both.

Real world events are complicated, much to the dismay of conservatives everywhere. There is no one true (TRUE!) answer, no solution that will fix everything. All they want is to do is use that promise to springboard into power where they can do what they like for themselves and their buddies, regardless of the reality around them. As near as I can tell, they want to roll the clock back about 50 years, or to what their parents/church/community told them in their first childhood.

Real world events are certainly more complicated than a series of tweets, and I want to see them treated this way. I want to see world (country/province/civic) leaders speaking in coherent paragraphs about the issues of the day. I want to see the people that oppose them also speaking in coherent paragraphs about those issues. I want reporters to connect up those paragraphs and contrast them with what experts in that field say. I want to be able to tell if leaders have changed their thinking over time as the science has advanced, or if their own opinions evolve. I want to hear the reasons leaders hold the opinions they do, and be able to determine if they are starting from a reality based position and tweaking a position based on what they think they can sell to the electorate, or if it's magical thinking based on a work of fiction, or them living in fantasyland.

Twitter is conducive to none of those things, so I've decided to ease Twitter out of my life. So far I haven't missed it. I don't think there's anyone I actually know on Twitter that isn't on Facebook or Instagram. Maybe I'm missing out a few jokes, but oh well. I'm getting better at skipping past news stories at the first appearance of a tweet.

It's been a wonderful summer living on my own schedule. Sometimes I've chosen to get up early to do a photo thing, or get to the pool when it's quiet. Sometimes I've been so busy the day passes in a blur, and other days I've done nothing more energetic that cuddling a cat. It's been good to think about the things I want in my life. I like being able to step back from events a bit, comment where I think appropriate, and let other things sail on by.

This photo has nothing to do with today's blog. It's from a photo ramble a couple weeks ago, dressed up in Photomatix a bit. Pity about those straight lines in the clouds, I'm not sure what that was.


  1. Hey! You're the second person today who's told me he gave up twitter - and for similar reasons. I still have an account but seldom use it now. Can't stand what a toxic mess it's become. In point of fact, I'm starting to feel some of the same things about Facebook - which is a farm shame. Social media held such promise... anyway, glad you're enjoying the retirement thing. Hoping to be doing it myself in another year or two.

  2. You have expressed all the things I find annoying about the news and Twitter. Not so much the music, though, my 8 yo is making me listen to the "Top 40" music, which in reality is the same 5 boring songs on the boring, I've had to put a limit on how long we listen to the radio. I guess you could say I'm getting old. I dunno if I'll ever get off Twitter since some of the ppl I like to follow are only on twitter. But I am more selective as to what I'll actually read on twitter.


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