Thursday, March 31, 2011

How to make (and lose) friends on Facebook

A lot of people ask me why I'm so popular and how they also can be really, really cool. I am actually very modest, so I usually tell them we shouldn't even joke about that kind of stuff.

But if they persist, I will often give up some really good pointers on awesomeness in general. Obviously, only some of us were born really good looking, but that is not the only way to be cooler than others.

If you want to become super liked by everybody in life, here's a couple of my tried and true methods of what to say on Facebook (since Facebook is replacing real life for many of us, anyway):

1) Talk about Politics

This is huge. Many Bookfacers or Facebookers or whatever they're called will hardly ever say anything on Facebook, but rather just lurk in the background watching everybody else babble. WRONG.

This is just not a good idea. Life is short (unless you live to be a hundred or whatever, but most people that are that old hate computers anyway) and you only live once. (I'm pretty sure.) So, seize the day and add to the vibrant and dynamic national discourse on politics. Or something.

For starters, you have to pick a side, kind of like which team you want to root for. The two sides you pick from are "Democrat" or "Republican", Left or Right and also known as (I am not making this up) a Jackass or an Elephant.

This is critical. You HAVE to pick a side to get started. (Note - generally speaking, they are equally corrupt and clueless, so don't worry about picking the "correct" side.)

Some other people who are weird and don't have friends will sometimes say they are "moderates" or "independents" and will even REGISTER as an Independent. Whatever.

These misfits do not even have a team mascot like us donkey and elephant folks. I don't even know what it would be, if they did. Maybe a sloth or koala bear (they're so cute!), but most likely a smooshed possum in the middle of the road, because it couldn't decide which way to go.

But admittedly, the upside is they can despise and make fun of both Democrats AND Republicans, which is kinda cool, if you think about it.

Next, if you really want to be influential with your political posts, do not ever ask what anyone else believes or thinks about an issue.

Asking others what they think about stuff is a rookie mistake. In fact, I wouldn't even recommend telling others what YOU believe. If you want to be known as a heavy hitter, just start off by saying how stupid and/or wrong the "other side" is.

BAM! This immediately places you in a position of superiority and makes it known, "I am better than you and I know more than you". It is difficult to argue with that.

Another method is to use sarcasm. This is another great way to make it clear that you are too smart and superior to actually engage in discussion about politics and social issues. You are simply right and the other side is too dumb to even try reasoning with.

Now I personally NEVER use sarcasm. But many do find it useful. Experiment. See what works.

2) Talk about Religion

Religion is a great topic for Facebook, because it already is rooted in so much harmony and peaceful goodwill toward others.

HAHAHAHA! Just kidding. You will lose a good chunk of your Facebook friends when you talk about religion. That is why it is so important to accept every single friend request you get, even if you do not know them.

This is because as long as you tell them the Good News of Jesus each day, you will regularly offend and lose some from your Friend's list, so accept EVERYBODY who sends a request!

(I have 14 "friends" from Albania alone. Crap... 13.)

Now with religion, you actually want to be a little more subtle with your attacks... I mean your sharing, than you do with stuff about politics.

You starting off with, "you're going to hell" or "God doesn't even exist" or "dogs don't go to heaven" is just going to make everybody mad. And If you offend EVERYBODY and they delete you as a friend, how can you rant and rave and have anybody listen to you? Do the math, dummy.

So subtlety and courtesy are clearly important, because even then, people will eventually get annoyed enough to "HIDE" you. I am fairly certain dozens have hidden me.

But then again, saying things like "God maaaaay or maaaaay not exist and maaaay or maaaay not love you" is a little TOO wish-washy.

Find a happy balance and then you can, with a genuine kindness and compassion, start telling others they are wrong.

3) Talk about Yourself

Now we're getting to the important stuff. I have a friend on Facebook (I don't think she deleted me again yet) that once posted this as her status update:

"A friend calls, laughing @ my status update, "Who cares if you bought shampoo!?" - Newsflash: FB is narcissism. Lovely delicious narcissism."

At the time, I thought to myself, "WOW, that is soooooooo true" and so I proceeded to reply with something more relevant and funny. I do that a lot.

But some people are the opposite and almost never say anything. But you don't JUST have to be a lurker (or "creeper") who doesn't say anything for months at a time and then makes short, sarcastic comments on other friend's posts. Seriously. Stop it, it's kinda creeping us out. (You know who you are.)

Let loose and blabber. Yes, there are SOME of your friends who will get sick and tired of hearing that Johnny just pooped in the big boy toilet for the first time or know that your 4 year old said something adorable for the 100th time this week. And others will not be fascinated by your wonderous superpower of being able to look out a window and see what the weather is outside.

But that is OK! The fact is that we are actually super bored and annoyed by the things you ramble about in PERSON too. But again, that is not as bad as it sounds.

We put up with it because we love you (maybe... not YOU, creeper... you know who I mean...) and we know there is a secret agreement in life... and it basically is that we will tolerate listening to you go on about yourself and in return, you will listen to us go on about ourselves.

Also, "how about this weather" has been known as acceptable "small talk" for a long, loooooong time. Let's just say "Roman times" for the heck of it.

So, there you have it in a nutshell or some other metaphor on compactness on how to be awesome on Facebook (like me).

There's WAY more advanced stuff too that is a little over your head, but this will get you started.

Just remember, every time you post something, everybody sees your face in your profile picture, which is why they call it "Facebook" in the first place. So show off your opinions and beautiful / weird face every day!

And you silent ones need to go over to Seriously, you're freaking me out.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cardigans can be cool - (Maybe, I don't know)

I am old. Carbon dating shows I am almost a half century and only getting older as each day passes.

But at least one of the good side effects of getting old is the valuable wisdom and knowledge you build up over the years. For example, I learned these two undeniable truths of life:

1) turn that damn music down!

2) turn the damn thermostat up!

The second one is because old people are almost always cold. I deal with this so much that I bought a space heater for my bedroom, the office and the car. (Only one of those is not true.)

I regularly persuade Amy to let us move somewhere a little warmer (like Ecuador, which MEANS "equator", so you KNOW it's good) and she is slowly but surely not budging on it.

Her last compromise was that I move down south somewhere and scout things out and she will "...follow after shortly. Maybe. Not really."

Anyway, my latest struggle with aging ungracefully (the last was God transplanting a bunch of my hair from atop my head into my ears) is that I don't even get freezing cold all over my old body.

Now, just my hands and arms get cold and usually the right one. Which is why God invented Cardigans.

I told Amy I was going to get a cardigan or two for the first time and she actually had a very good suggestion when she pointed out, "NO". She finally relented and agreed I could get one, just as long as I, "...keep right on going to Ecuador".

So, it only made sense to enlist the help of my 19 year old to go clothes shopping. This is because at 19, children are exponentially cooler than their parents. (They don't begin to understand how cool their parents really are until they are 24 or 25.)

Shopping quickly became quite the adventure yesterday. Brittany is a lot like me in that we are both huge pains in the ass. We are also never, ever wrong. EVER.

Now, this clearly poses a unique conundrum or some other big word, in the cases where we are both 100% right about something, and yet somehow have different answers.

(Obviously, this only happens when SHE is wrong, but you can see the potential problems that this causes.)

So, we worked out a system where the two of us would grab some armfuls of clothes and meet back up at the dressing room, where she would grab my armful and toss it aside before making me try on her armful.

The end result is that what clothes we ended up buying were probably less dorky than I could have picked by myself.

Or, at least I think so. I will have to wait until she is 24 or 25 to know for sure.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stuff about religious stuff

(This is my response to a post a friend made online about "keeping God's commands" to show our love for Him.)

(Dear online friend)

Thank you for commenting. I always welcome any and all to weigh in. And your comment was well thought out and written.

I do not think I disagree with anything you say and also appreciate the way you clarify that it is a bit of a nuanced and deeper issue than just "justified by works versus justified by grace".

I am intrigued to better understand how you and our friend see the keeping of His commands in the greater scheme of things.

But let me expound a little on where I am coming from.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am mostly mindful of His grace and love, much more than anything else.

And because of this, His love is shed abroad in my heart and I desire to do right. I don't strain to do things I do not want to do, but rather wish do new things as a new creature in Him. This is because His commands are also now written upon my heart.

I have learned a lot as a father about how and why that relational description of the Lord is used often in the Bible.

I have two kids, one in 2nd year of college and the other a senior in High School. When I look at how my relationship with them has developed over the years, I see that there was a time where constantly correcting them and telling them what
are the "rules" was necessary. We disciplined and even at times had to punish them to guide them in the way they should go. But we also always lavished love and affection upon them daily. They knew that our love would never be more or less, no matter what they did or did not do.

The end result was that they were quite mature in their early teens, much more so than many adults I know. I have such confidence in them to do what is right.

But they never strive to improve their relationship with me or their mom by going to great lengths to systematically show to us they are keeping all the "rules" that we have taught them to keep over the years.

They approach us with openness, grace and love and allow us to approach them the same way. And through that, our relationship grows stronger and stronger every day.

I am not casting any aspersion on present company at all, but I must make clear that in my 3 decades as a believer, one of the things I have learned about believers in general is that we LOVE to be religious. And we love religious STUFF of any and every variety. We love to fill our lives with lots and lots of religious STUFF, regardless of how it manifests itself.

Some of us like to fill it with stained glass, incense and statues. Others like to fill it with loud praise and worship music and jumping around. Others like to dive headlong into conspiracies and consume themselves with stuff about the end times. Books, tapes, CDs, seminars, conferences, prayer meetings, 3 to 5 services a week, not counting special occasions and revivals.

Regardless of the medium, we like to surround ourselves with our religious STUFF to remind us (and others and God) how much we love Him and how we are good people. Better people than if we were not doing all this STUFF.

And we feel quite justified when we do this, increasingly convinced that He is happy and satisfied with us and how we are living our lives, like the stern and begrudging Father that He is (in our minds).

Do my children occasionally stop to think about how they are living their lives, whether this pleases me and their mom? Of course they do.

But they are not consumed with it. It is not the overriding thought they have every time they think about us. It is a small part of our relationship. The vast majority of our relationship's foundation is based upon love and respect for one another and for others.

Again, there are no hidden criticisms of you or our friend within this. It is merely a small insight into my faith and how I see things. In my relationship with the Lord, I am consumed by my love for Him, His love for me and His grace above all other things.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Holy sun, the crap is out!

I am not quite all the way awake this Saturday morning, so naturally I quickly figured the best thing to do would be to start writing every random thing I can think of and post it on my blog where it will remain forever and ever.

I got up to get my coffee this morning and immediately knew something was wrong.

In Oregon, it rains every year anywhere between 360 and 366 days. Now, I knew my fellow Portlanders were getting a little weary of this and I scheduled work for this Saturday, so that the sun would come out.

(I actually have magical powers, including being able to make it rain by forgetting an umbrella and sunny by forgetting sunglasses.)

In fact, that is how I first remembered that I have to go in to the office today, from the unnatural yellow hue outside.

I have to go into work, because there are some incredibly sensitive and mission critical tasks to be done that I can only do during off business hours, such as turning the server off. Also, turning it back on.

Luckily they are state of the art Microsoft servers, so turning them off and back on will only take between 5 minutes and 6 hours, depending on how sunny it gets.

There will also be some heavy lifting, as I bought four new servers last week and they weigh over 8,000 pounds total (individually though, they are only about 5,000 pounds a piece.)

So I am going to definitely need the assistance of at least one other grown human who would rather be out in the sun and possibly even one Corgi.

I am not really complaining about having to work on a Saturday. I know I am fortunate to have a job in this economy. And computers are actually very rewarding and enjoyable at times. They have forced me on many occasions to learn just how capable and inventive I can be, such as being forced to invent several new cuss words.

But computers are still the heart of business or life blood or something red is the point and they are not going to go anywhere anytime soon.

And as frustrating as they may be, they are nowhere near as surly and difficult as my 18 year old son that I am trying to wake up to go into the office with me. We need to hurry, this sun isn't going to last forever.