Friday, August 28, 2009

Twitter, Tweeting & Celebritwits

Out of boredom & mild curiosity, I went and looked myself up today on Twitterholic. (Sorry – no link – Google it or Bing it like I did) I had them ‘crawl” my stats and they came up with some interesting observations. At least they were interesting to me but only because I was stuck on yet another conference call from hell and when I am stuck on one of those, well, watching paint dry would be considered interesting & exciting.

Now according to Twitterholic I joined Twitter on September 17, 2008. I remember seeing an article somewhere about a service that would let you “tweet” your thoughts or update your status 140 characters at a time. I found great humor in this because I couldn’t even begin to fathom expressing myself in 140 characters much less 140 words. Hell, based on the length of some of my old blogs that I had written on another site, 140 paragraphs or 140 pages were barely enough to contain the misguided verbiage that poured forth from my fingers to my keyboard. I gave it a try. No one responded. No one “followed” me. So I did what any good attention whore who wants more people to read his stuff would do, I left. I did mention it in a blog and even made considerable fun of it. I figured it was yet another web based service that I had signed up for that I would never see or use again.

As the weeks wore on I started to hear about Twitter being used in politics and in the race (euphemism, I know) for the presidency so I went back. I got passionate and did all I could to dispel the non-truths and to report on the stories that the media was so conveniently “forgetting” to discuss. All 17 of my followers were inundated with my 140 character blurbs and after the votes were counted, I forgot all about Twitter again.

But others did not forget about Twitter. The media saw the “power & influence” that could be accomplished through Twitter and suddenly everyone everywhere was starting to talk, type & tweet about it. Celebrities discovered it and the race was on to see who could get 1 million followers first. I was still mystified (much like I am today) by this sudden infatuation and I figured that this would just be the next fad. But Ashton Kutcher somehow beat CNN to that 1 million mark and Time Magazine soon after had Twitter on the cover. More celebrities flocked to the site which in all honesty has to be an absolute nightmare for just about any Hollywood Publicist who has a client that needs to be “guided” and kept under control. Unsupervised drunken tweeting is even worse than drunken texting because with a text message, only the recipient sees it. If you are a Britney Spears or a Kim Kardashian or Lindsay Lohan and you drunken tweet, you have anywhere from 1 to 3 million people following you who can read it.

And read it the gossip pages do. I don’t know why any celebrity is even on Twitter to be honest other than blatant narcissism or they have a brilliantly fading career and are trying to hold on to some semblance of notoriety. I guess that it is better than sitting on a former lover’s front stoop or bushes at all hours of the night & early morning but that is beside the point and almost totally irrelevant. In fact following celebrities has proven to me how irrelevant we all really are to the majority of celebrities on Twitter. I have “tweeted” a message to just about every celebrity that I follow (and some that I don’t) as a test to see who if any would reply. To date, the most famous people to actually return one of my tweets (and in full disclosure – none of them follow me so they would actually have to read their @ folder to find them) have been syndicated columnist & humorist Dave Barry, best selling author Ridley Pearson and the female explorer from the band of bickering adventurers on Expedition Africa – Mireya Mayor. I’m not even sure if Kathy Griffin would use this group to start climbing up the social ladder. So I wonder, do celebrities ever answer people they don’t know ? It certainly doesn’t seem like it so why should we care what they are saying in this heavily one sided “conversation” ?

Now that brings up another point about Twitter that has bugged me while I have been delayed on a plane, train or automobile - which based on the amount I travel is a lot – and that is how many of those followers that everyone boasts bout having are real ? I know that out of my massive 121 followers I have at this moment, at least half of them (if not more) are twitbots and are only following me because I happened to type in a keyword or phrase that triggered them to click on follow. I also know that a good deal of those that do follow are also no longer actively using Twitter but never bothered to delete their profile. So I have maybe a handful of followers at best that actually read what I write so they must be even more bored than I am.

And with that, I am sure that I have bored you more than enough for today. I’ll post a link to this blog on Twitter in hopes that it will help vault me up the rankings (Currently # 272,155 overall and # 5,100 in NYC) but it won’t and I won’t care.

From behind the shades……swampy abides

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Little Green Reflectors and an email test

So I saw this note that you could email in your blogs to blogspot (like I haven't already been mailing them in for years anyway) and since I had some time to kill before my flight (Swampy is at the airport ? Will miracles never cease ?) I thought I would give it a try.

It is getting to be that time of year in my neck of the woods where the little green moving reflectors start to appear in mass numbers along the side of the road. On the drive from my house to the highway this morning I counted no less than 13 deer next to, walking down or crossing over the road and usually at a last moment's notice. Luckily I didn't have to eat my brakes this morning for any of them. I once had a big old rocky mountain deer actually jump over my car out in Wyoming but that is beside the point. As I was saying, that 13 doesn't even include the buck in my backyard that I surprised when I came out the side door or the 2 dead ones I saw by the side of the road. Look I know Bambi is cute and all but I absolutely abhor the creatures. They are foliage destroying, disease ridden, hazardous to your health long legged vermin.

And I think that this little classic clip sums it up best.....

From Behind The Shades in First Class (yes I got upgraded, care for a spare cashew ?) on Oceanic Flight 815...swampy abides

Friday, August 21, 2009

Killing time on a lazy summer afternoon

I am pretty sure that it is pushing 90 degrees outside and that the humidity is in that range too so the mean streets of NYC are most likely sweaty, smelly & hot, yet I am sure it is still more appealing than spending the next 90 minutes here in my hole of an office at the paycheck factory. Of course I can't think of too many places that would be less appealing than my desk today especially since I have spent most of the day in a vain yet valiant attempt to avoid all semblance of work.

I have to jump on yet another airplane next week. I have flown more this year than I have in any other year since 2000 and let me tell you, the once glamorous life on the road is that no longer. There once was a time when people dressed up to get on airplane but no more. You get people in all states of disarray and some in what might even pass for their pajamas. Don't even get me started on the people who insist on taking off their shoes. There once was a time when people checked their luggage and the boarding of a plane was quick & easy but no more. Now due to the incessant gouging by the airlines for checking luggage ($15 for the 1st bag, $25 for the 2nd - more $$$ for oberweight or oversized) everyone is bringing on every piece of luggage they can wrangle no matter what the size. I swear people are jamming their children & their livestock into some of these bags and then they get pissed when they don't fit in the overhead or when there isn't any room and they have to gate check it thus making us late for our pushback so we miss our slot for takeoff and get to spend the next 45 minutes at # 32 in line.

I need to stop thinking about flying - I am getting more agitated and my usually pathetic typing is getting even worse. I will rant some more from the road on Tuesday night.

Toques off to Chef Rick Bayless for winning the inaugural "Top Chef Masters". If you didn't want some kickass mexican food (and no I am not talking chalupas from taco bell) after he was done than something is very wrong with you. I bet Rick would destroy Bobby Flay now if they had a Iron Chef America rematch (Bobby beat Rick in 2005 in Battle Bison).

Speaking of Iron Chef for a moment - the chairman is going to be on Dancing With The Stars this fall - as if Kathy Ireland wasn't enough of a reason for me to watch already.

and now back to Top Chef Las Vegas - at first glance it would seem to be not a bad collection of cheftestants. I like the chick from Philly that makes boys cry and I am pretty sure that I have eaten at the Woodfire Grill in Atlanta where the leprechaun that won the elimination challenge works. I am a bit surprised at the number & complexity of the tattoos on the cheftestants but I wasn't surprised in the least that the Chile Relleno stuffed with dirt (or whatever it was) was the losing dish. Wolfgang Puck was a GREAT guest judge and I almost fell off the couch when he threw the bacon donut across the room.

Speaking of relity shows on Bravo, Project runway came back last night but now it's on Lifetime. Heidi Klum is still not of this world, Tim Gunn would still lose a fight to isaac Mizrahi and nobody still cares about Nina & Michael. that being said, I look forward to catching a repeat this weekend just to see what kind of hot messes they dug up.

No comment on real Housewives of Atlanta other than they have to be really ashamed of themselves in the Peach State.

Speaking of fruit, I picked up some Sweet Cherry Syrup & some Blackberry Grilling Sauce while I was in Spokane earlier this week and I also got some Marionberry Vinaigrette & some Marionberry Pepper Jelly while I passed through Portland. (Marionberry is a fruit ? I thought it was a crack addicted, ho banging, washed up politico) I can't wait to cook with all of them. It also brought the number of spices, sauces & whatnot up to 162 on my shelves in the kitchen.

Speaking of food, I went to go visit the candy machine from the 6th Circle of Hell earlier today and it is still a huge disappointment. One chocolate bar and it was a Mounds.

The sky was blue when I started typing and now it is turning black - no it didn't take me that long to type - the predicted thunder & lightning storms are coming in just in time for me to start to head for the train. Oh Happy Happy Joy Joy. (was that Ren & Stimpy ?) Oh and speaking of old TV shows, Hulu has added Season 5 of Moonlighting. Why ? The show was crap by then. I want Season 1 & 2 or no seasons at all. I want to see Bruce Willis with real hair.

Well I have wasted enough of your time & mine. No refunds without the proper forms filled out in triplicate. The gators are on summer vacation but I expect them all back after Labor Day so those of you that did somehow manage to stop by accidentally or on purpose can say & do as you please without any repercussions.

and that's the view for now from Behind The Shades....swampy abides

(trying out new endings since someone else beat me to my old blog title)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It has been so long since I last set pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as the case may be) that I am not sure where to start, what to say or how to say it. I am actually at a loss for words which considering my historical propensity for verbosity is actually quite humorous & telling at the same time. It does figure that I am currently at 38,000 feet while trying to sort all of the things out in the mess that is my head. I can gaze out the window at the passing landscape but I am too detached from it all to be able to focus on any one particular thing long enough to know or pretty much care what it is in reality. I can only give it a passing thought and move on. It is there for a brief instant and then it is behind me & forgotten. Much like this airplane though, I do have one singular goal and that is to get to my final destination so I can just go home. It really is too bad that my ruby slippers are in my other suitcase.

(Julia Roberts flick being shown on the plane – don’t look up)

In the time that I have been not writing (because to be honest, 140 characters at a shot is not writing) a lot things have changed and also stayed the same. President Obama has started to turn on the very same media that elected him. MSNBC still doesn’t use the right side of the TV screen and Fox News still doesn’t use the left. CNN is still somewhere to the left of center but even they can’t make up their minds as to where they want to be. LOST ended it’s penultimate season with a Jughead inspired reset (perhaps) but still didn’t answer the questions of Jacob, the 4 toed statue, the 2nd plane crash or the 2 Lockes. Paula Abdul left American Idol (maybe), Michael Vick returned to the NFL (woof) and now Brett Favre has unretired again (conveniently once the two a day practices have ended) but this time he is wearing Purple & Gold instead of Green & Gold or Green & White. All I really know is that the Black & Blue just got a lot more interesting. Someone won the Stanley Cup (intentionally blocking) but I can’t tell you who it was. Someone won the NBA Title and I can’t tell you who because I don’t care. I think the Yankees are in first, pain & suffering have returned to the Fenway Faithful and the Mets really suck. Some celebs hooked up & got nekkid somewhere. Alyssa Milano seems to be trying real hard to be the “Walter Cronkite of Twitter" and Ashton Kutcher spouts lame platitudes to his 2m+ followers in the name of his “teacher”. Sarah Palin actually quit the day job so many people told her not to quit last year. The Hangover was the first no kids movie I deemed worthy of spending $100+ to see. I met 2 authors that I have always admired from afar and realized how far out of their league I really am. My garden went to hell as soon as I left for my longest vacation since my honeymoon and after 15 years of marriage, it was great to get that unexpected second honeymoon even if the kids were with us.

So I guess what I am trying to say in a mostly incomprehensible collection of misguided missives and transient thoughts is that it’s nice to get a second chance at writing again for a third or fourth time. I wasted my English major in college and have done irreparable harm to it in the ensuing years but like a Phoenix named Fawkes, it has arisen again. Who knows what or where it may strike next but keep your eyes & ears on this space and I may just surprise you. I know I may have surprised or disappointed myself.

From behind the shades, swampy abides……