Tag Archive for plenty

Identity

My pleading had finally been answered and a 1200 baud modem had been purchased. I sat in front of the computer, the card was installed and the software was waiting. There was a copy of MicroCenter’s weekly ad in my lap, and on the back page the list of BBSs had a few circled. I dialed up a place called Safehaven and created a new account. In the earliest of days, I was Jason Blood (though sometimes I was Etrigan). When I moved away from dialing up BBSs and instead calling up my ISP, I became Logan5.  In 1999, I logged into EverQuest for the first time, and while I played around with a few names, I settled on Ishiro (later Ishiro Takagi). These days on Xbox and in a number of other places, you’ll find me as Jhaer (the “h” is pronounced, so it sounds like “hard” but without the “d” and with a “j” sound crammed on the front of it, one syllable).

In each form, I was always me, though I’ll admit to a bit (or a lot) of role play under various guises. But in 1998 I started putting my thoughts on the Internet, and while I was deep into Logan5 (though sometimes J) at the time, I decided to post as simply “Jason” (though often as “jason” – I used to have a long diatribe on why the lack of capitalization mattered, but for the life of me I can’t remember any of it except something about the importance of the self over the collective… yeah, like most kids in college, I went through one of those “I know everything better than everyone” phases too). As part of this, over the years, my social circles have all known about my interests, and I’ve never kept them from my employers. In fact, there are a couple of jobs over the years that I didn’t take and plenty more that probably didn’t bother to make me offers based entirely on their apparent stance on games as a frivolous hobby. So when it came time to enter a social network, like Friendster or MySpace or Facebook, it never occurred to me to not use my “real” name. I am me. Even when I wear another name.

Back in June of last year, there was a kerfuffle surrounding Blizzard’s new Real ID. It was totally and completely out-of-place there, and to this day I’ve only linked my Real ID with maybe five other people (my wife, my best friend, my best friend’s wife, and two other long time “real life” friends). This year, both Facebook and Google+ have taken a much firmer stance on real names, going so far as to ban accounts that don’t use real names.

Now, personally, for myself, I could not care any less. I use my real name on the Internet, and I deter identity theft by maintaining an identity not worth stealing (though if you wish to steal my identity and then pay off my debts, feel free). However, I do understand that some people want to maintain two identities. Even I did at the beginning. In the BBS days I was extremely protective of who I was, if only because in my real life I was kind of a dorky nerd (this was junior high and high school). It wasn’t until I was in the 11th grade that I broke down that wall and actually started meeting the people I’d only known online face-to-face.

— as a brief aside, let me take a moment to let that sink in and allow you to realize how different the world of 1989 is from today. I was a 15-year-old boy whose parents let him, actually encouraged him, to go meet complete strangers he’d met on the Internet. —

And I don’t mean to denigrate people who maintain multiple identities as something I’ve outgrown. My online journey after the age of 15 simply didn’t have much separation. The bulk of my friends we the people I met online, and we took those online friendships offline whenever possible with outings to movies, parties, etc. It was a conscious decision on my part.

Anyway… Facebook and Google+ have been taking a fairly hard-line on all of this, and while they manage social networks, I don’t feel like this is an area they should be so adamant about. Occasionally, the use of real names on the Internet will temper what people say, but not often. Despite posting with a real name, plenty of people are going to continue to be asshats simply because, real names or not, they just don’t consider the feelings of the people on the other side of the screen. Honestly, they are in the business of providing traffic and demographic data. As free services to us, the users, we aren’t the customer, we are the product. Should they care if I’m on their site socializing with the people from work or socializing with people who play a common game with me? I don’t think they should. They should only care that I’m on the site, and into which column they can put me down for selling my eyeballs for ads.

All this was brought on because I saw that Tobold got banned from Facebook. It’s a shame, because he was one of the few people who played games there and actually participated. With him gone, all my games just got harder and I’m less likely to play them. See… that’s the deal with a social networks: ripples.

Movie Round-Up: July 31st, 2009

Aliens in the Attic:

Looks like good family fun.  Not something I’d pay $10 to see in the theater, but I can imagine plenty of worse ways to spend two hours at the movies.

Funny People:

I want to see this film, but I’m not sure I’m going to make it.  It will definitely find a place near the top of my Netflix queue when its available if I don’t.  If you haven’t seen the RAAAAAAAANDY clips, do yourself a favor and watch them.

The Collector:

Did you see Saw?  Yes?  Then you’ve pretty much seen this.  Sure, its not exactly the same, but this movie isn’t much more than elaborate MacGyver like traps that hurt and/or kill people all designed by a faceless nameless villain whose motives we never learn and *SPOILER ALERT* who wins.  It would be nice to see more horror movies that aren’t just an introduction to a series of low budget ultimately high grossing pieces of crap.  But its show business; as long as people keep paying for this junk, they’ll keep making it.  I wouldn’t pay for this even if it were the only way out of one of this guy’s traps.

Adam:

All I really knew about this film before seeing it was that it was about a guy with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Its only open in four theaters at this point, but it may show up in more and if you look you might still find screenings of this in some markets, and it is worth seeing.  I think it really depicts quite well people with this illness and how they and their loved ones come to cope with it and make it part of their lives, working with the illness instead of railing against it.  A warm, funny, touching film that I really enjoyed watching.

Concluding the WriMo

I didn’t win.  I ran into a few obstacles this year.  I fell into the switching stories trap.  I also got sick… nasty stuff.  And I also suffered from a general unemployment malaise.  You know, you would think that with all this free time I’d get plenty of writing done.  But it turns out then when I’m unemployed I spend all my time looking for a new job and worrying I won’t be able to pay my bills.

Anyway… I did manage to get further than I ever have before.  I got just over ten thousand words on one project and probably twenty thousand across all of them.  I’ve never cleared ten thousand before.  So, even though I didn’t win, I managed a milestone.

But now it is December, and the NaNoWriMo is done.  However, I don’t think I’ll stop writing this time.  I’m going to try to block out at least an hour every day for working on something, and I’ll even try to make it the same something as often as possible.

Sharper Than A Serpent`s Tooth

My guilty pleasure returned with Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth, another book in the Nightside series by Simon Green. As always, it was a fun little escape with interesting characters and plenty of action. I’ve reviewed this series before, so check out those if you want more details on the books.

As a side note to this review and something someone brought up on a message board I frequent… its a shame that books are getting really huge these days. Even kids books like Harry Potter and the Artemis Fowl books are clocking in at over 300 pages, with many books screaming past 500. There is nothing wrong with long books, in fact sometimes good long book like one of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books is exactly what I need. But its also nice to sit down and blow through a 200 page or less book, get in, get down to the story, and get out. The Nightside books drew me in because they were well written and short. One book, a half dozen hours of reading. Is it because there is less of a market for shorter books? Is it editors demanding thick novels? Or is it authors running wild? No answers here, except that I think one of the ideas I’m working on will be a series of short books, not huge bricks.

18 June 1998

I keep going to these job interviews where they give me a logic test. On average they are about 25 questions long. Most are aaround 20-25 but then there was that one company that had a 78 question test. In any event, I go to these places and they hand me the test and say, “I hope you have plenty of time, this’ll take about 2 1/2 hours… maybe 3.” 30 minutes later I turn the test back in and miss maybe 2 or 3, but more often none (I missed 10 on the 78 question test). They laud praise on me like I’m the best thing since sliced bread, and then DON’T offer me a job.
Am I missing something?
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Today’s Song: Radiation Vibe by Fountains of Wayne… it’s been a while since I loaded this album in the CD player (happens when you have 400 CDs), but after another disappointing job interview hearing this tune just made me smile… a feel good song.
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Today’s Movie: Westworld. After watching Outland I’ve been getting into this “older” sci-fi mode. If you have never seen Westworld, do so… Yul Brenner as a gunfighting rogue android is worth it alone.