Everyone on Earth is Bored

Everyone on Earth is Bored

There’s an app out there that is basically like Vine, but in real time. You can look at a map, pick random people to watch, chat with them, follow them, etc. It’s called Periscope, and I found out about it because some woman was live streaming video of herself drunk driving and fellow Periscope users called the cops on her.

I was intrigued.

I remember chatroulette. I never used it much because I didn’t have a good enough connection at the time, but from what I hear, it devolved pretty quickly into nothing but naked people or people who wanted to see naked people. The two demographics didn’t mesh as well as you’d think.

Here’s what I found on Periscope.

Video 1, Tennessee:
Two dudes in a truck asking people to talk about what types of trucks they like.

Video 2, Scotland:
Tween age boy hosting his own random talk show-type stream.

Video 3, England:
Tween age girl talking about her day at school and then going on to look around the bathroom to find things with which to draw pictures. She was delightful and I added her to my follow list after her brief question/answer period about whether or not she should get “a spot of tea.”

Video 4, Germany
Guy who appears to be drunk, stoned, tired, or all three mumbling some stuff in German.

Video 5, Switzerland
Two teenage girls who clearly usually speak French take a moment to figure out how to answer when someone messages “wie gehts?” (how’s it going”) in German. They then answer him…in German.

Video 6, Boston
Guy who appears to be drunk, stoned, tired, or all three listening to the radio. Some guy keeps making comments about the broadcaster being gay and the guy just ignores him. The comment-maker eventually leaves.

Video 7, England
Two girls eating the British version of Funyuns ask where we’re from. When I answer that I’m from Nashville, one says “oooh, Nashville! Have you ever been to a rodeo?” She’s wearing a Friends shirt and asks us all who our favorite character is. I answer with Smelly Cat, which prompts one of the two girls to sing the Smelly Cat song. These girls were delightful. (At one point during this, some guy keeps messaging things like “vagina” and “seks.” The two girls just ignore him. I respond with “Emir’s keeping it classy.” The girls laugh. Emir sends me some message that I can’t figure out how to read before it fades off-screen and he leaves the room. I’m guessing his message was some sort of middle finger emoji. Also, when did adults start using emojis? Is this a thing now?)

Video 8, Scotland
Some guy playing questionable electronic music in his living room.

Video 9, England
Two girls lying in bed, at least one appears to be nursing a head cold. She blows her nose on camera and they flip the phone around to show us all that they’re watching The Big Bang Theory.

But what about Iran? Egypt? I tried, but with the exception of Turkey and some parts of Bahrain and Dubai, everything was blank. Zero videos. Same thing for China, Japan, and all of southeast Asia. (Maybe they’re all just asleep right now?) So, what’s going on in Dubai? The same thing going on everywhere else: people watching tv, people sitting around, and dudes with guitars. Dhaka, Bangladesh? Some guy singing “Love Me Like You Do.” To summarize, there’s a guy in BANGLADESH singing the love theme from 50 Shades of Grey.

Maybe this IS just another opportunity for people to attention whore themselves online, but I can’t help but thinking what a big deal it would be for any actor trying to learn a dialect or any foreign language student. Also, let’s give some applause for the lack of nudity and creepiness; people are just there being THERE. Blowing noses. Singing Smelly Cat. It’s not all PhotoShop, humblebrags, and marketing ploys. At least not yet.

Dudes with guitars.

For Anyone Not on Louisville goth’s Forum…

Somebody’s roommate found this on Craigslist. Hall of Fame worthy.

Satanic Sexual Ritual
Date: 2009-06-18, 5:13PM PDT

Looking for a woman with evil appetites.
Somebody’s roommate found this on Craigslist. Mos def Hall of Fame worthy.

We will have nasty, evil, sweaty, probably illegal sexual encounters in order to bring about the rise of Lucifer. (ie Satan)
Must be willing to do all styles of sexual positions, except Missionary. That is the Lord’s Way, and we will have none of that. Besides, if we do it Missionary, Satan gets angry and a kitten dies. I like kittens.

Must be into anal. For that is Satan’s Alley. Must like blow jobs (Swallowing Lucifer’s Gravy) and Hand Jobs (Milking the Evil Goat)
Must be into slight S&M (Safe word: Pink Sock)
Must be into erotic and evil costumes and lingerie. Leather Thongs, spikes, boots, black and evil bras that accentuate your bosom, Boba Fett costumes.
Must be willing to deep throat. (So that my satanic appendage will be closer to your black soul)
Must be into strap-ons so that I may feel the “Power of Beezlebub” coursing thru my lower intestines.

The perfect encounter will be this:

Meeting you at one of our local eatery’s. Plying you with ample alcoholic libations. Enjoying a nice piece of animal flesh. Tipping the waiter only 10% instead of 15 to 20% (Because we are EVIL!) Taking you back to my lair. Removing your Gothic Garb, laying you roughly upon my “Sacrifice Altar” (Twin size futon), and promptly begin to nibble on your Satanic Slit. (Please shave before the ritual, as it’s hard to be evil when you got pubes stuck in your fillings) Whence you are all moist with the Power of The Dark Lord’s Juices, I will remove my cape and trousers and proceed to fill you with the Sceptre of His Infernal Majesty. You will writhe in pleasure so deep, it will call forth the Evil One himself! After 4 to 7 minutes of the most intense sexual experience of your God Fearing life, we will perform a Satanic Snuggle, until you gently fall asleep in my powerful arms.

If this taps into the Primordial Jelly you have buried deep down in your Dark Soul, then contact me and we will make beautiful, agonizing “love” together. We will combine our desires and perform rituals so evil, it will awaken the Evil Ancient One from His Firey Nap! He will spill forth from the Bowels of Hell like so much premature Satanic Ejaculate!!

Hails to the Evil One!!

Twitter: Ur Doin It Rong.

I am not a social media expert. I did not major in marketing. I didn’t even have an account on LinkedIn until just a couple weeks ago. However, I do use Twitter. I know what I like. Like everybody else on the internet, I think my opinion is more important than yours. Seeing as how you people keep trying to woo me (and everyone else on Twitter), I’ll do you a favor and tell you why it’s not working.

Social media had good intentions. All of the socially awkward programmers and web dorks could pretend to have social skills by setting up accounts on MySpace and Facebook filling out surveys about whether or not “they’ve ever…”

Twitter, at its best, can be wonderful, random and comedic. Complete strangers tell me hilarious things all day long, and I get to filter out people who bore me. Famous people can give their fans what fans have wanted since the dawn of fandom: a direct link. I’m never going to hang out with anybody from Fall Out Boy, but it’s bizarrely interesting that, even if you’re famous, everything boils down to whether the waitress at Chili’s Too remembers to bring your extra mayo. It’s like there’s a party where everybody’s got a blindfold on, but people can still mingle and talk without the threat of someone getting drunk and having awkward booze sex.

Well, sort of. Drunken, regretted-in-the-morning Twittering is quickly becoming a rite of passage.

The problem is that Twitter has become “the next big thing.” Companies assume that joining Twitter will be some kind of short cut, allowing them to stop buying advertising and thinking about being in the first page of results on Google. What they’re not getting is that, for Twitter to work, you have to Tweet something that someone would actually WANT to read. Showing up at a party solely to hand out your business card is considered douchey, so why haven’t people realized that the rule applies to Twitter?

“Hey, how are you?”
“Have you seen my business’s website?”
“No, dude. Really. What’s going on?”
“Have you seen my business’s website?”

Businesses, let me break this down for you: if you add me, prompting me to look at your profile, and I see that the only thing you ever say is “here’s my company…here’s my company again…” I’m not going to add you. I’m going to leave the virtual party and let you sit alone in your living room, showing virtual vacation slides.

So, what works?

Amuse me. Tell me something fun. Talk about something other than your company’s products. If you can’t do this, hire somebody who can. Find someone who seems to embody what you company is, then hire them. (PS: if you don’t know what kind of person would embody your company’s tone and image, your Twitter is NOT your biggest problem.)

For example, the guy who does Clandestine Industries’ Twitter (@jensenclan88) mainly makes snarky comments about sports figures and pop culture. I know who he works for, I looked at the site and I even know the name of his art gallery and what it’s showing right now. Only 10% of his posts are about his businesses, but I know the names of them because I’ve stuck around long enough, and I stuck around because he’s hilarious. The trick is to be a real person, with something real, random or amusing to say. It’s a leap of faith to say “represent us, but be yourself.” Most businesses usually go for the “no, really, we CAN please all of the people all of the time” strategy. As a result, they end up afraid to say anything interesting. A knife that isn’t sharp is just a piece of metal. You have to have an edge to get anything done. Is JensenClan88 a happy accident or a brilliant marketing plan? I don’t know, but I suspect it’s working.

Have some balls. Say something worthwhile. If you don’t, nobody’s going to listen to you anyway.

Xi, Axe and Jib

There are two kinds of Scrabble players in the world: the “if” people and the “is” people. The “if” people stare angrily at their letters, thinking of 7-letter words they could spell if they just had I-N-G. The “is” people do their best with the letters they’ve got, getting by on the crafty use of 3-letter words and multiplier squares.

I learned a little something about Scrabble during the time I spent working at Vanderbilt. The place was a huge machine, where it took five powerful people getting in the same room to fire a person. As a result, I spent five years at a job that I, with my German sense of efficiency, boiled down to one hour out of eight. What did I do with the extra seven hours of my day? I played a lot of Scrabble.

Unfortunately, the same five powerful people decided when to give raises. In the way that they could never agree that I was pointless, they could also never agree to give me more money. Even I didn’t have the balls to ask for a raise. It’s hard to feel entitled when a skit about your at-work backgammon habit is performed at the office Christmas party.

As a result of my years at Vanderbilt, I am now a person who doesn’t play Scrabble with friends. I play Scrabble with people who have pissed me off. I’m an “is” player. I’ll xi, axe, and jib your ass to death.

What I’m getting at is that, while it’s all well and good to be able to lay down “slaying” or “jazzed,” the game of Scrabble isn’t about what you could spell. It’s about what you can spell.

This came up years ago when record companies were approaching new media by suing the hell out of college kids. Now, as magazines and newspapers are soiling themselves and going out of business because of bloggers, paper costs and current lack of ad sales, we’re all running around like chickens, praying to jump onto the Next Big Thing before it’s over. I call this “MySpacing.” It’s cool for a while, but the party can only be so big and so fun before somebody invites some douchebags who come and puke into your return air vent. In the case of MySpace, it got overrun by friend requests from bands (are you also being stalked by Ligion?), corporations and people who over-customized their pages so hard that viewing the page crashes the browser. (PS: we hate you, we don’t want to watch all those damn videos, and you definitely shouldn’t have set them all to auto-play.)

Magazine industry, take a lesson. Suing people and whining isn’t going to change a market that has already changed without you. Hire some people who are entertaining and informative (or keep the ones you have), build a user-friendly site, and put all the crap that anyone would want to know in one place. Then encourage linking. Don’t hoard your stuff. It’s pointless anyway, because your kids are probably more computer-literate than you. Make it easy for people to link you and give you credit. If you really want to get crazy, hire someone to track the trackbacks, and have that tracker give props to everybody who gave you props. Hey, if there’s anything bloggers love more than making fun of Speidi, it’s validation. I know, this will mean validating people you not-so-secretly hate and mock. Suck it up.

You’ll have to pay developers and maybe designers (but you’ll probably just hire developers who THINK they’re designers…no one’s bitter), but you won’t have to pay for paper or shipping. From the looks of the graphic design industry, you’re all starting to get wise to this, because you’re firing all of my friends.

As for me, I am done shaking my fist at people who think that web development and web design are the same discipline (aside from the bitchy comment in that last paragraph). I can point out the douchiness of the “design is development” assumption all day, and it’s not going to change the market. The market wants what it wants. So, in the vein of music and magazines, I’m going to evolve. I’m going to become a developer.

I’m going to xi, axe and jib your ass to death.

Unless, of course, you hire me. That alone will save you 😉

Connected (For Better Or Worse)

Every so often, something happens that makes me glad to be old. Well, in this instance, I should say that several things happened to make me glad that the internet wasn’t as evolved back when I was nineteen or twenty.

These days, things which keep track of our lives are everywhere. Almost everyone in America has at least one camera on his or her person at all times, usually in the form of a phone. Many of those phones even take video. Many of those phones can access the internet. Thus, it’s nearly impossible to have a lapse in judgment that doesn’t have the potential of being saved for all eternity. This is such a part of how we live that it’s easy to forget that things weren’t always this way.

When I was in middle school and high school, the internet as we know it didn’t exist. Oh, I’m sure there were some geeks in a college dorm somewhere chatting in some DOS-looking IRC-type chat room, but chatting and internet use weren’t in every home in America. Sexting didn’t exist. TEXTing didn’t even exist.

It was about junior or senior year in high school when my friend’s family got AOL and I witnessed AIM for the first time. I thought it was the coolest thing EVER. People from all over the country could talk to each other about nothing! For free! Well, sort of for free, because you still had to pay by the minute back then. And, you could only talk to a few people because nobody was online. Not the point. It was COOL!

Fast-forward 15 years, to a time when people can drunk Twitter from a phone. I’m so glad that my crazy, high-drama years were lived out when I didn’t have such an ability. When I was in my dorm room having boy-related freakouts, I just wrote those freakouts in a notebook that I kept by the bed. Now, people Twitter that stuff, putting their insanity out on the front porch like a proudly-carved pumpkin. Baby bats at goth night will have their awkward proto-goth phases captured online for all eternity. Their friends will never let them forget their “white foundation” phase. Thank God, nobody got pictures of mine.

I have great empathy for the teenagers of today, having to deal with the awkwardness and stupidity of high school, knowing that everything they do can be put online to haunt them forever. Just when you think that something is gone and forgotten, a potential boyfriend or employer Googles you and finds out about that time you peed in someone’s plant at a party. It’s no time to be a teenager.

I’m not saying that the internet is what’s finally going to make “these kids today” lose their collective shit. People have been predicting that for centuries, and it hasn’t happened yet. I’m just curious as to what kind of legacy this will leave. Will it force us all to be better people if we know that we’re always being watched? Will we get better at accepting our own imperfections? Will liquor sales decrease?

Who knows. I hope I live long enough to find out, though. I would so hate to miss the ending of the book.

Drawls in Print

I was watching a Tivoed show last night in which these two linguist dudes go to far away places to document dying languages. You see, linguists like to look at how languages mix and intermingle, how they evolve through various colonizations and wars.

I’ve thought about all this before, but not as it pertains to some tribe living in Siberia. I’ve thought about this in terms of the English language that we speak everyday. I’m endlessly fascinated by little variances that happen between regions. I’m even more fascinated by the effect that the internet and text messaging are having on us. Am I about to indict everyone who abbreviates “wtf?” No.

John McWhorter made an excellent point is his book, Doing Our Own Thing. Little changes in English are natural progressions that happen in a living language. Am I OK with people not knowing the difference between “your” and “you’re?” Hell to the no, but I think that the inventions that we’ve come up with out of necessity are still interesting.

With the growing popularity of Twitter and text messaging, does this mean that we’re going to come up with increasingly less-charactered ways of talking to each other? The people on Twitter have found ways to abbreviate a lot of stuff because of Twitter’s 140-character limit. I even had to look up “fml” on urbandictionary.com (“fuck my life”). Will the increasing popularity of the internet slowly merge all languages into one language? It would certainly simplify things, even if it would homogenize us a lot. Will the internet cause us to lose regional slang? Will people ever agree on a way to pronounce “syrup” and “pecan?” For example…

I follow the tweets of someone who tends to greet us with “what’s good?” I finally broke down and asked him if said question was rhetorical. He’s pretty much using it like “what’s up,” but I had never heard this expression before. He only lives 8 hours away.

There was recently a big to-do about a contestant on American Idol telling judges “be careful” as he was leaving the room. Those of us in the south know that he meant it like “drive safely” or “take care,” but the Idol judges took it as some kind of threat. Idol eventually issued an apology, worded in such a way as to imply that Kentucky (home of said contestant) was some other planet.

I’m still a grammar nazi at heart, but I also really enjoy slang. It’s a little snapshot of the time where we live. “Rad” screams 1980s, and “sweet” says 2000s. If you know what a grizzy is, you’re either from the hood or listening to rap music. If you’ve ever spoken the phrase “handstapleforehead,” you’re probably goth. The way we speak says a lot about where we’re from, but the way we type does, too. In a world where we type as much as we talk, it may pay for us to learn to hear an accent in type.

Open Letter to Carmike, Patrick Stump, and youTube

Readers, it’s confession time.

Sunday night, before arriving at goth night, I went to Franklin. To a movie theater. To watch a taped performance of a Fall Out Boy show. I know, I know, but I figured that having a camera’s view of the show would free me up to hide in the back and dance my ass off when they come to Memphis. (See what I did there? Also confessed to plans of driving to Memphis to see them. Will I stop at nothing?) There were only 20 or so people in the theater, which kind of makes me feel like FOB have gone full-circle. As in “it’s so completely uncool to like them that admitting to liking them is kind of punk rock.” You’re not buying that rationale, are you? Fine.

The theater, for reasons unknown to me, showed a rock concert by only using the two speakers up front by the screen. Rock concert. Quiet sound. You can do the math. The speakers running up the sides of the theater didn’t do anything until after the credits rolled and the “hey, go buy the new album” trailer came on. Also, there were several points during the show when the video wasn’t synced correctly with the audio. Either that, or FOB’s fans are without the ability to mouth the words at the right time, and guitar solos can appear to be getting played by no one. Nitpicky enough for you? There were also little title cards that would precede bits of interview footage. When writing words across a screen that’s 30 feet by 70 feet, kern your type. Every time a title card came up, I could hear Wendy in my head singing “kern yo’ type, bitch!”

I was willing to forget all this and figure that the whole experience was still worth 10 bucks and 90 minutes. Willing to go without publicly admitting going to this. But something’s stuck in my craw. Something’s BEEN stuck in my craw through all of the interviews that I’ve accidentally seen/read. Shall we?

Patrick, I love you, but your filter needs a little work. Before you talk on camera, think “what’s this going to sound like to someone who doesn’t know me?” Step outside of yourself and imagine yourself as the listener. I’m doing it right now. Were you?

For those of you who weren’t there, Patrick said some things about how everyone is so busy promoting themselves and filming with camera phones that they forget to actually experience life. He also said something about how YouTube is really just MEtube, and how we’re all really, really self-involved. I’m not saying every word everyone says should be run past a PR person. That would be gross and insincere. I’m just saying that he might want to dial the superior attitude down to a comfortable 7.

On the “everybody has a camera phone” topic, I can understand how someone who spends his time looking down into an orchestra pit filled with tiny glowing LCD screens would think that filming is all people do. You’re like “hello? I’m sweating my balls off up here!” and they’re looking at their phones. Just accept that those people have chosen not to rock out with reckless abandon. Those people chose to look through a tiny screen. Not the path I choose at shows I care about, but hey. What those people do is their business, unless they’re doing it in my personal space. If they choose to spend money on a ticket and then stare at their phones, they have the right to do that, even if it’s kind of stupid.

On the you/me Tube subject, youTube isn’t only about girls with no talent trying to get famous for doing something stupid. Yes, there are plenty of those (I venture to say you’ve run into a third of them, all wanting record deals), but there are just as many people doing something worthwhile. For example, there’s a girl in England who openly and honestly posts vlogs about cutting herself. It’s melodramatic and masochistic, but it’s also ballsy as hell. The point is that I said to myself, “damn…if she can do THAT, I can certainly use this to record possible stand-up comedy bits…to hell with what people think.” If we let it be, youTube can be the ultimate reality tv, the ultimate high school reunion, the ultimate open mic night, and the ultimate experimental theater. Besides, people put old Journey videos on there, and those things are hilarious.

I also find it a little troubling for you to be sitting around telling us how self-centered “people” are. I don’t know if you noticed, but you’re a singer/guitarist. History indicates that one singer/guitarist can out-ego all the rest of the world combined. I don’t know you, but you don’t know me either, and your wholesale indictment of all people using new media implied that we are all Tila Tequila. One who openly admits to not being very into the internet ought not to make broad judgments about what goes on here. I’m here more than you are, and I like these people. Not all of them, but enough of them to make the trip worthwhile.

I say this in love: superiority is not a good look. Don’t make media black and white. We exist in shades of gray. We never outlive our words, so we should make sure we’re comfortable with what we leave behind. Imagine yourself as the listener and think before you speak.