Get to know me challenge

Well, That’s What Anxious Mom Said posted her “Get to know me challenge” and as expected, challenged all her followers (instead of picking three) to do the same. How can I ignore that? So, here you go, in all it’s semi-anonymous glory.

Share your profile picture if you have one.

geek-inside-v1-t-shirts-men-s-t-shirt

Who are you named after? No one in particular, Mom just liked the name.

What is your favorite lunch meat? Sandwich Pepperoni

Longest relationship? Current one, together 19 years, married 17.

Do you still have your tonsils? Yes

Would you bungee jump? Uh, no, as if I’d trust a rubber band.

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Always, it keeps the laces and show from stretching out.

Favorite ice cream? Mint Chocolate-Chip (the green kind, because artificial dye!)

What is the first thing you notice about people? Body language, easier to see who’s an introvert.

Football or baseball? Sports, meh.

What color pants are you wearing? Light tan.

Last thing you ate? Chicken Cheesesteak with Fried Onions and Bacon

If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Blue (III), superior to the first two, LOL.

Favorite smell? Turkey and stuffing.

Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? Doctors office.

Hair color? Brown.

Eye color? Blue.

Favorite foods to eat? Spaghetti & Meatballs, Meatloaf, Girl Scout Thin Mints

Scary movies or happy endings? Scary movies, no contest.

Last movie you watched? Twilight: New Moon (no laughing, daughter has the flu, her pick)

Favorite holiday? I don’t do Holidays, ever.

Beer or wine? Why no Bourbon?

Favorite day of the week? Tuesday (I get 4 hours alone, wife and daughter are at archery)

Which three, randomly chosen, bloggers would you like to know more about?

Who were the latest three people to follow your blog (link to their about page)?

Follow up to Comments or no comments

I scheduled my previous post yesterday afternoon to publish this morning (EST). It rolled around my head all night and I processed on the decision heavily. I’ve since turned them back on and I’ll explain why so that if you decide to read the article I posted and think about turning them off, my thinking on this might help. I pushed further into the linked articles and posts and read several points of view last night that showed both sides of the argument.

In the case of Matthew Gemmell, he writes a primarily tech focused blog and as such, not allowing comments is a good choice. Comments on a tech blog invite all kinds of responses that generally never add to the posts subject and in many ways, distracts the reader of the original intention. For example, I wrote a password themed blog entry on my old blog (no longer published) and received more than 50 comments. If I removed the ones that offered their own opinion without expanding on my post, I would be left with less than 10. Discussion is good, especially when it’s constructive and applicable to the conversation, however tech blogs generally don’t encourage those sorts of replies. The typical “You’re an idiot” themed response is more common.

In the case of Matthew’s wife though, she writes a food themed blog and as such needs to encourage comments so that recipes can be tweaked, questions can be posed and answered, and general responses on how good or bad the recipe ended up tasting. It makes sense. She has left her comments on and for good reason, as after reading a few posts, there were multiple responses on most articles that offered additional context that supported the original post.

Having weighed both sides, and waking up this morning to no comments (because I turned them off) and only a few responses on Twitter from followers, I decided that for my own blog it wasn’t worth turning off comments for a few reasons. I don’t get that much spam, if any. I don’t recall a single piece of legitimate spam in the 5 years I’ve been writing this blog. I also don’t have a lot of followers at this point and keeping up with comment approvals is a trivial amount of time. There are also a select few that I’ve taken the conversation off WordPress with and into Twitter and soon a separate chat client (have a new side project brewing that I’m excited about). I wouldn’t have made those connections if I had comments turned off. So, with that said, and after the early morning edit to the original post, I’ve turned the comments back on and will most likely keep them on into the future. WordPress lends itself to a dialogue that is often lost if taken to Twitter or Facebook in that the context of the conversation is no longer easily referenced.

To John at John Liming’s Blog, while I hope that you turn comments back on again, I understand your decision to turn them off. It is a surprisingly personal decision to make as I’ve discovered. If you do continue to keep them off, please get a Twitter or Google+ account, as I can’t in all good conscience sign up for Facebook again after deleting my account. This post explains my decision to delete Facebook. It feels like I’ve lost a connection to a fellow blogger as I can’t even click “Like” on your posts.

There’s a news source for everyone

In my search for better news sources in the sea of leftist, rightist, moderate, etc., I have discovered that the news you read is typically aligned with your belief of what resonates as truth. Having had several interactions with people on Twitter lately, I’ve found a very disturbing trend that I think is part of the problem. There are several people who have now blocked me on Twitter after accusing me of being a troll. Whether I’m a troll or not remains to be seen, it meant something different back in the day when I did online gaming. A troll on Twitter seems to be a person that disagrees with your viewpoint or opinion. Oh, were you waiting for a more detailed description or definition? Yeah, me too. My experience is that it has now become impossible to have a debate on Twitter with someone else since it has now become so easy to filter and block out anything or anyone that makes your opinion questionable. No wonder the online space has become so polarized and divisive.

Taking sources of news out of the picture for this paragraph, it would appear to me that a rogue report or stray tweet that seems legit based on the number of retweets and likes will often be taken as fact. Upon further scrutiny though, the report or stray tweet doesn’t hold up and replying as such to the originator of said tweet gets probably one or two volleys¬†before you’re called a troll and summarily blocked. How can that be considered anything other than seeing the world through your own set of rose-colored glasses? Everything requires scrutiny, checking, re-checking. The scientific method is applicable to almost everything in that you can pose a hypothesis, develop a theory, test it, and repeat as often as needed. I ask myself the question “is this real?” as many times as articles and tweets I read. Two or three verifiable sources with multiple facts to back those sources, then checking the facts further generally will yield results that can be trusted. This of course takes time and patience, and as we all are aware, both are in short supply for the majority of the American public.

Now, turning the sites onto the news sources (mainstream media), there is a news source for every walk of life. News is published when there are people to consume it. A site like CounterPunch.org leans right. New York Times and Washington Post leans left. The truth I’ve discovered is that there isn’t any unbiased, non-left, non-right news source out there. They’re all slanted one way or another based on the audience they’re publishing the news for. If you’re aware of a news source that isn’t biased in any way, please share as I’m looking for something that is literally just the facts. As most of my news is typically op-ed’s, I have to take large swaths of time to make sure that what I’m reading is the truth. To share or not to share, that is the question?

No one is really right, or wrong. Technology has created this ideology of an information island. You surround yourself with people that think, feel, and express themselves in the same way. You congregate in blogs, forum groups, Twitter feeds and share news with each other that reinforces the beliefs of the group; in other words, self-reinforcing group-think. Those of us who find their way onto your information island that aren’t cut from the same grain, an anomaly in the matrix, a sneaker in a closet of wing tips; are properly dismissed and thrown to the sharks to find another information island to invade. What we’ve lost the ability to recognize is that in order to grow and learn as a people, we need to question the norm and listen to others that don’t agree with us. The founding fathers, I’m sure, had their detractors and enemies, but they persisted by working together to create the Declaration of Independence; eventually signed by everyone. Abraham Lincoln pushed The Emancipation Proclamation at a time when a war was being waged over the very subject of slavery. I know he had his detractors and enemies, but persisted by finding solutions that forced compromise on all sides for the greater good. The trend to reject a different idea or opinion because technology makes it easy is extremely troubling to me and something I make every attempt not to get sucked into.

I’m proud to follow In Saner Thought and John Liming’s Blog because they both have opinions, views, and ideas that more often than not differ from my own. Regardless of whether I choose to alter my view or not, I’m thankful for the opportunity to offer my own comments, receive comments in return, and in some cases we agree to disagree. That’s OK. We’re entitled to have disagreements and differences, that is truly what makes us such a remarkable species. No one is threatened, no one is fighting. Amazing what adults can accomplish when their minds are open enough to accept that we’re all different in our own ways. The news should be straight facts, like it used to be, so that we can discuss our views and opinions in a healthy manner without the threat of violence. That’s something we’ve started to lose on a scary scale.