Mind Overload

MIND OVERLOAD
I’ve been attempting to write blogs over this last couple of weeks. But dang it! My mind is just too overloaded with topics, opinions, forethoughts, afterthoughts, and images. I am having so many issues at this time with the goings on in the world. I have to rant a little, or vent or something. I want to talk about how I feel. Maybe some people will be upset by this blog, some might agree, and maybe others will just come and read to critique my writing. Either way, I have things to say.

 
Now I am never one to be at a loss for non-fiction words. Meaning, I might be bewildered and bumfuzzled (I don’t think that’s an actual word but it’s an accurate description of how I feel), and even broken hearted over world news, but I am not usually at a loss for words regarding it.

 
When I write fiction, I sometimes write my characters into a corner, or a hole, but they usually do find their way out. I have gotten something that I can describe as “writer’s block” – although I’m not sure I totally believe in it, but I usually get my thoughts back. I get back on track and proceed, even if slowly, with the story. However, I have to admit, every now and then, I allow the weight of the world to infringe upon my focus. Sometimes I become too emotional to write a word on a news topic.

 
However, if I can muster the energy, I usually find myself weaving a poem or some fictitious tale centered on a headline or an emotion that waves over me due to the look on someone’s face captured on one of those world-famous photo shots.
Lately, however, I feel like I’m on meltdown. So much to write about, whether it be to blog about, or create fiction or poetry regarding. I feel helpless while I watch the heavy hand of Russia squeezing Ukraine. And while I write this blog, I may as well give my opinion on that… I hate Putin. So like me, love me or hate me now, it is how I feel. I would like nothing more than to see that idiot gone…Whatever it takes.

 
Next comes the weather. Once again – even after a tortuous and deadly winter, world round we are plagued by terrible weather. Recently, here in the U.S. many have come under attack by those black, swirling monsters that moan and groan, twisting and turning like ferocious cloud devils. They’re frightening beyond words. And when they strike, you need to be prepared. They don’t come with much warning, unlike hurricanes, tsunamis and snow blizzards. No, they just come down from the sky almost as if they have minds of their own and twist up anything in their path. I heard one once. I didn’t see it, but I heard the beast. It caused an immeasurable fear in me. I was a kid then and I think the monster that that child’s imagination drew up is still ingrained in me.

 
I am afraid of the Earth and its atmosphere for the first time in many years. However, being educated, I understand, to some degree, the way the Earth works. The way the weather works. The way the Earth moves beneath our feet. I try to downplay it to people I know who don’t understand Earth in the way I do. I say it so nonchalantly, “Hey, the Earth’s moving. It’s changing. It always has. It always will.”

 
I look at the Earth and the weather as doing their thing. I am a very spiritual person. I believe the Earth is a living, breathing entity. Yet I try to explain things to others I know only from a scientific point of view. Yet, in the same breath I’ll say, “It’s Mother Earth purging. Ridding herself of us.” I look at the Chicago headlines, I look at the bitter self-interest of Putin, I look at garbage dumps and steaming smokestacks spitting black smoke into the blue sky and I think, “The gods are making us pay.”

 
I have so much on my mind in my own personal world as well concerning friends, family, hard times, illness, let downs, and back stabbings. This adds to the weight of the world upon my shoulders. I cannot go through life without worrying about other people. It’s my nature to care about the people I do not know. The people in Ukraine, Philippines, Mississippi, or California. I just saw a blurb on TV about Mount St. Helens and I started fidgeting.

 
When I heard about what Hurricane Katrina had done to New Orleans, I was devastated and I cried tears as if I had lost someone I knew and loved. Jesus! I’ve never even been to New Orleans. But it’s a part of my place. My United States. Hurricane Sandy kept me glued to the phone and the computer as the storm bore down on the East coast and New York and other places. I was awake all night. I was sad as the streets filled with water. I was not angry at the hurricane. It can’t help it. It is a non-feeling entity. I was not angry at any god either. I was just heart-broken.

 
I am an emotional empath of sorts. This is how I’ve been my whole life. When the Twin Towers were destroyed, among other things, by a bunch of garbage, I was numb. I could not fathom any reason for the disaster and only tried to imagine what kind of sick, twisted, filthy beast would do such a thing. Osama Bin Laden and his group of hell-bound mindless mini-me’s were and are nothing but filth to me. I was not afraid of him. I just hated him and still do. There is no forgiveness for a man who preaches to others to die for some cause, then hides himself in caves and wherever else spineless asshats hide themselves when they cannot talk themselves into doing what they have convinced others to do. Oh, there are no virgins or heavenly place for Osama…Oh no. I just wish that they had cut off his head and impaled it on a stick. *shrugs*

 
When I hear about the women of the world being stoned and imprisoned for being raped…Now that’s something I have a lot to say on. Or being sold as a young girl to some old pig to be married. It makes me want to vomit. I want to set every man on fire in those countries. Listen to me you psychotic beasts!: You only torture women because you are weak. A weak person blames another for his faults. It’s not her fault your penis gets hard, it’s your fault because you are weak and cannot look away. And to the women of those countries I say: These men blame you because they are pathetic, they cannot resist temptation. Take up arms and take your stand and your rightful place as the head of the household.

 
I have a whole lot to say about the monsters of the world. I have my own monster list. It may not match those of my readers, but that’s okay. I am not here to compare monsters…some of who are in my own back yard. But mostly, they are somewhere else, far from me, but not totally unable to touch me.

 
People have their own concerns, like the government watching them. I know people who are possessed by this subject. And live and breathe it. I say, I don’t give an F if the government is watching. If they want to watch, let them watch. We have people starving and dying in the streets of the USA. Why should it be up to the government to protect them? Feed them? It should be up to us to do it. Donate food and clothing instead of throwing away things other people need like the stuff is unnecessary shit. But the stuff is necessary for someone.

 
But, no. We’re too concerned if the government is reading our emails to Grandma. Who cares? Take me for instance. I’m a writer. My life is all over the web. Well, so I guess the government and its employees are the only ones not allowed to read my work? If you put up a page on Facebook, anyone can see it. I’m more worried about people stealing my money and my identity and robbing me blind. I do not care if the government just scanned a resume I sent to a potential employer. That is time and energy wasted while fires burn, kids starve, and good people die for no reason.

 
But instead, we worry about our emails to Grandma. If you are not committing crimes, then why do you care? Besides, the government’s always been watching. If you are 16, 36, 66, or 116 years old…guess what, the governments always been watching you since the day you were born. Yes, why is everyone acting like this is new? Why? Because some asshat decided to attempt to be a hero by telling us what we already knew? *Yawn…next topic.*

 
I’m more concerned about child abuse, animal abuse and how well our troops are being treated in the field. I am broken by school shootings and bullies, and 12 year olds sexting and sending porn of themselves. I am awe struck – in a bad way- by priests molesting kids. I am worried about a family in Ukraine I know little about…and now, thanks to the selfish, power-hungry Putin, I may never meet. I do not care if the U.S. government is reading this blog. Good. Maybe they’ll enjoy it. Please feel free, U.S. Government, to leave a comment below! As for that matter…I hope the Russian Government is reading it too. Putin, feel free to explain your ruthless, selfish actions in the comments section below.

 
This is how I feel. Worrying about the government reading your public blog or your private email to your mistress is just hogwash. It’s something to distract you while even worse things go unnoticed by you.

 
So, there you have it. As you can see I am on emotional overload due to topics past and present. So many important matters, so little time, so little patience. I am glad I was able to vent a little on this blog post. But I know I am not the only blog writer who feels this way. Who has so much to write about but the topics are hard to approach, or you feel so sensitive regarding an issue. What do we write about? There’s so much going on. How can we focus on one thing while ignoring another?

 
As a writer and as a U.S. citizen, born right in Chicago, I have the privilege of writing what I want. Oh sure, some people won’t like it and maybe someday I’ll write a piece that might piss of my government, but they’ll all get over it. In the meantime, I will write what I know, and what I know is how I feel about things. I’ll write so that others in the world know that they are not alone. The world is watching. The people of the USA are watching. We care. We just stand frozen against the thought of taking a stand. The world is different now, since the days of Prohibition, or even Rosie the Riveter. It seems we stand to lose so much more if we voice our opinions. Yet again, maybe we’re just selfish even as we truly have nothing to lose.

 
I’ll keep on writing. I’ll write poetry about gods of old and about friends that come and go. I’ll write fiction about vampires and witches, and maybe cops and their criminals that dig holes and throw things in ditches. I’ll write blogs about the actions of governments or about writer’s block. I can post tidbits of my fiction in progress or post book reviews. I’ll write whatever the hell I want, and the governments of the world can continue reading whatever the hell they want…if they feel my blog is more important than what Putin is doing.

 

Thanks for reading!

We Are Still Human

And so, I was sitting in the break room on Christmas Eve and it was fairly quiet in there. It was quiet at my job that day period. Phones rarely rang, and despite that everyone should’ve been jolly, everyone was walking around like zombies minus the moaning and groaning.

Everyone in the break room was eating alone at different tables, playing with their smart phones (myself included), ignoring everyone else. My associates all looked so lonely sitting there, scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and texting to people who weren’t texting back while we sat lonely, not daring to look up unless someone see how much we needed their company.

Well, not everyone was doing that, and those zombie-mood breakers raised my attention from my phone to them. I am nothing more than a people watcher. As a writer, it’s my job to put my life on hold to watch you live yours. Someone was talking. Yes, this young guy sat down in a booth with a girl. They were about the same age and seemed to be familiar with one another. There were other young women in the room, and I’m sure he was familiar with more than just her. Why’d he choose her? Maybe he likes her? Maybe their desks are positioned close together and so they chat a lot.

I contemplated as I watched everyone in that room. Then it hit me. Why he chose her and not any of the other girls. Girls I’ve seen him talk with before. Why her? Why now?

Ahh…She was the only one not scrolling through her phone when he entered the break room and scanned the area. Where is her phone anyway?

He sat down across from her and put his phone face down on the table.

Yes, we still enjoy each others company more than we enjoy those phones. We’re still human. Android does not run through the veins of everyone. Thank heaven.

Paranoia: Copyright Infringement & Destroyed Work

PARANOIA: COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT & DESTROYED WORK

So here I am, back talking about crap that no one really cares about. I have issues, you see.  😉

Well, not only am I anal retentive regarding my story titles, but I’m fearful of copyright infringement. So paranoid that I’ve guarded my work with guns and knives over the years. Yes, I’ve said it. I know I’m not the only one. I realize that I’m not the only writer who’s hesitated to put any of their work on the World Wide Web.

It’s not that I’m a great writer, but I feel some things I write are more than okay. They might even be great in and of themselves. Sometimes we create that one wonderful piece of work when the Muse puts forth her best effort…once every decade.

I want to be able to offer my poetry to others and post excerpts or even full chapters of my books beforehand. Today, things are just as safe on the Internet as they are exposed and vulnerable. Meaning, our writing or drawings, etc., are protected by the Web, but they are also dangling in that Web, bared to would-be plagiarists who wish to take our stuff and re-word it in attempts to make it their own. Well, I might add that some don’t even bother to reword it. They just take what they want and hope that we, any member of our posse, or a fan doesn’t spot it.

How is our original work protected then? Well, once we post it…it’s there, for good. Well, for now anyway. If World War III sparks, then all is lost and we’d have little way of knowing if someone on another coast is claiming our work as his own. After we post something under our name on our blog, or Facebook, MySpace, or any other site, it’s embedded there, seemingly burned into the atmosphere forever – indefinitely anyway. So it can be proven, say, if you posted it before the other person posted or published it. That’s good.

Okay, well, I know there are authors who have written an entire book, or most of one, on their blogs or website. I don’t think I’d ever go that far – despite it really engages readers, but I’ve always liked the idea of giving people a look at a work in progress just like I’m doing now with Angel Maker. However, I cannot guarantee how much of Angel Maker will make it to my blog. Maybe only through Chapter Two; then I’ll post excerpts and tidbits from consequent chapters to keep interested peeps up to date on my progress with the story.

I penned my first poem at probably 11-12 years old or so. I’m 43 now. I was stingy with my work even as a kid and was reluctant to let others read it. Even my own mother. Today, however, I read my chapters to her one by one as I proceed with a story. She can’t see and read like she used to so I read it aloud.

I remember when I first broke down and posted something on the Internet. Back in like 98 -99. It was fan-fiction poetry. I put it up on a website I had back then, and it drew a lot of attention. In fact, the owner of the largest fan site of particular wrestling superstar (mind you, it was WWF’s Attitude Era!) asked if she could post it on her fan site – the largest, most popular website on the Web – in the world. The feedback I got from that poem was phenomenal. Yet, ‘til this day…I wonder if it’s somewhere under someone else’s name. The site is closed now and has been for years and I wonder if I saw it somewhere else, how could I prove now that it was my work? Outside of the fact that I have it saved on a disk somewhere.

I write this blog because I once was a victim of creative theft. It wasn’t that big of a deal. Many years back I caught a person who posted something of mine on her website and didn’t give me credit. She gave no name of the author and when others commented on it, they told her how good “her” work was. She never acknowledged the piece wasn’t hers. After numerous emails from me politely asking her to remove it, she finally did. There was a small fight, but not too bad. It was just upsetting that people liked the piece and she wouldn’t give the real author – me – the credit.

I had an acquaintance who once who wanted to learn how to write novellas in a particular genre. So she took a book and rewrote it…sort of…line by line. Is that plagiarism? Of course, she did it as a lesson and research. It was later destroyed and there are no copies in existence. I would’ve never even thought of doing that. I mean what if someone took your book and changed the setting and the character’s names and did that, but decided to publish? Oh, jeepers!

Now do you see what I mean? Paranoid. I could write pages about how I didn’t even like turning in book reports, research and term papers to teachers and professors. No. I kid not.

How do you other writers feel about infringers and breach of copyright?

Next, let’s talk about losing our work. As I mentioned above, for now our unpublished work can be stored on the Web. If you post or store your writing on a blog, your own website or a writer’s group, etc., whatever you post will still be there after your home or office burns down or blows away during Hurricane I’m-Going-To-Destroy-All-Your-Shit rolls through.

But what about that new stuff you’re laboring over nearly every day and you never thought to store it somewhere in the spider web of space? OMG! Tornado I’ma-Destroy-It blew down your house & you forgot to grab your computer or flash drives during evacuation to the basement. Now what?

So? What? What do you do if you’re not saving to the Cloud?

I save mine on three different flash drives. I do this so in case one fails I’ve got two more. Since this bad weather’s been driving us bonkers this last couple of years, I’ve taken to carrying one of those flash drives in my purse & I update it every time I write. So if my house burns down while I’m gone, my stuff is safe. I’m contemplating buying a waterproof/fireproof lockbox for said flash drives and important notes.

The truth is, my work being destroyed by fire or weather is more of an obsession of mine than infringement.

Have I gone insane? What do you all think? How many of you have ever considered that the only copies of anything half written are the copies on your hard drive and that one flash drive that you keep on your writing desk. What if you lose it to thieves or to destruction of your home or office?

Okay…Let me know what’s on your mind. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep things safe?

Again, thanks for reading.

Do We Need to Cut Back on Social Media, Web, Our Cell Phones?

DO WE NEED TO CUT BACK ON SOCIAL MEDIA, THE WEB, OUR CELL PHONES?
Just rambling on….

This is a post I threw together on a whim. Just some jumbled thoughts on the Internet, social media and cell phone usage.

I think that anyone now a-days can be guilty. Know, however, that I am drawing from my personal Web experiences as both a writer and a run-of-the-mill Internet surfer. And you know me, I’m sure to ramble off subject a bit because I love to add my .02 to everything. Hence, my tagline, “And, your point is?” Haha.

Have you ever wondered when enough is enough when it comes to the amount of time and energy you waste on the Internet and social websites? Do you know, and are you willing to admit, how you abuse yourself and waste precious time on the Web?

As a writer, I do spend a good amount of time on the Web. It’s how I do research and promote myself. I remember the days when I had to go to the library to find information. Or contact a teacher, professor, doctor or some other expert on a particular subject. Of course, don’t get me wrong…writers still have to those things too, especially if writing on real-life subjects. You know, writing about true crime, or a biography, etc. Even if the crime ends up a work of fiction, statistics need to be real. Readers are not stupid.

Now then, often times as a writer I get sidetracked. I flip on my computer to get busy on Word. I power up FireFox to research women serial killers and end up on Facebook. How does that happen? Well, I’m sure there are some women serial killers who use Facebook, but I am not friends with any of them…to my knowledge. FTW? Anyway, yep, so there I am on Facebook for the next hour…or maybe two if I get on a game or start PM-ing with someone.

In the old days, before I got on Facebook, it was MySpace. Before that it was Yahoo Groups and Y!-Instant Messenger, along with plenty of niche or specialty website message boards. Before that, it was Hotmail on a constant basis. Note: I got my first Hotmail account back in 1996, which is when I was first introduced to the Web. Wow. I was so excited. I entered college in ’96 from a world where things like the Web didn’t exist. Imagine my surprise when I found out that those huge-ass floppies were gone and we were using those smaller square 3” storage disks. Oh, and we no longer had to boot up the computer using those old start-up disks I experienced way back in 1988. Ah, those were the days of the old word processor and Lotus 123.

Okay, my history with computer technology is for yet another blog at some point. Maybe. So, here I was, in 1996, doing online research. Also, there were all sorts of archives on the Web for so many things. I was impressed. I got my first personal computer, a Compaq, in October, 1999! Woo-hoo! I was in heaven. I couldn’t wait to get home from school or work and power that sucker up. Hotmail and my favorite website message board awaited me!

So, I love my gadgets & technology. I love my dumbass smart phone that I’d like to smash with a hammer and I love my laptop and my Kindle. I love social media, and WordPress, of course. I enjoy being be able to self publish books on CreateSpace or Smashwords, etc. One of my first-ever favorite sites was Amazon.com. When I first met Amazon…eons ago… I was in heaven. I found books there that I couldn’t find anywhere, even in many libraries.
I like advances. While I don’t have cable TV right now… due to cutting household costs mostly…I have Sirius radio in my car. I’d rather have Sirius than cable TV. And actually, when I as a teen and a helluva lot smarter than I am today (back in, probably, 1986) I invented (in my head) something similar to Sirius radio. I said to a friend, “Hey, what if there was something like cable radio?” I was a fool. I thought it was futuristic and a long shot. I never tried to pursue it. I’m such an idiot as I could be a millionaire today. So, I am always about moving forward.

Let’s not get off track. So I end up on Facebook, Goodreads, and often I get sidetracked by other people’s blogs and websites. Especially other writers or the people I follow on WordPress. My research falls to the wayside and I’m playing CandyCrush and reposting my Facebook friends’ crazy status updates. Then there’s Twitter. I don’t spend as much time there as I should. All my original Twitter posts feed to my Facebook author and personal pages too. What a mess!

Two hours later, I’ve got nothing done. Sometimes when I’m bored or have something like writer’s block, I get lost online for hours! This isn’t solving my writer’s block. It’s making it worse because I’m not attempting to write anything.

Half the day can be gone before I know it. Or I look at the clock, it’s noon and I’m still in my jammies. I’m not the only one, I know. It’s happened to you all too, especially maybe if you live in a cold climate where it rains and snows a lot in winter. Sometimes on a day off from school or work we are forced to turn to the Web for entertainment. It doesn’t just happen to writers, it happens to all of us at some point. It’s just some people suffer more than others. We neglect our writing and editing, our homework, or forget about our test, we abandon the housework. We become addicted to Facebook’s Farmville, CandyCrush, Wheel of Fortune, etc. Or we’re on MySpace, or Tweeting about nothing. Or we’re over reading the blogs of all our Women’s Rights activist pals, or scouring YouTube for cat videos, and checking news sites for Royal Baby happenings. Nothing’s done. Nothing. We forget to water the plants, feed the cat, walk the dog and eat lunch. We forget that we went to bed married last night. The laundry’s piled up.

As a writer, I get lost online sometimes. In fact, very often. I start out with good intentions and screw it up. I start clicking links from one article to the next. Next thing I know I’m reading stuff that doesn’t apply to my research and clicking the “follow” buttons to track more people on Facebook or Twitter. Whaaaattt? I’ve threatened myself over and over. The other day I had so much writing work to do, I got off Facebook and stayed off even though I had to access the Web a few times to look things up. I got a lot done.

Sometimes when I don’t allow myself access to Facebook or Twitter on my laptop because I’m writing, I might check it from my cell. This is because I hate my dumbass smart phone and won’t play on it long. I do not talk on my cell when I’m driving. I don’t text or access Facebook or Mapquest either. If I’m in a situation that needs Mapquest, I pull over. If I feel the call I’m getting is an emergency call, I pull over. There have been times that I have texted or tweeted while behind the wheel at a stop light but never become engrossed. But that’s wrong too, I know this. It pains me to see drivers doing these things while their wheels are spinning, and I pray to see the day when getting caught driving…or even at a stop light… and talking/texting, etc., comes with fines so large they’ll break us. It’s ignorant. People don’t even realize the things they do…or don’t do…while talking on cells and driving.

Three days prior to this blog post, I was almost killed by a woman talking on her cell, smoking a cigarette and drinking water. Driving too fast, she wasn’t paying attention to the road or the stop light, and made a turn on a red light and couldn’t control the wheel with no hands. She was holding all three: cell, smoke, water. I don’t think the shit will ever come out of my undies. She plowed past me so closely & so fast, the wind from her SUV shook my 4-door Dodge Avenger. She lost control and drove up on the curb and smashed into a parked car in a lot which then slid and smashed into a car. In that car there was a woman and her infant and a dog. They were waiting for someone to come out of a shop there.

If I was one second closer she would’ve hit me going about 35 mph in her SUV while making that illegal turn. Hang up! There is absolutely no one, and I mean no one, that you need to talk to while driving. No one. Not your kids, your doctor, your sister, your employer, and you don’t need to hear your voicemail messages either since you shouldn’t be calling anyone back. Pull over. There are parking lots and residential roads all over. Pull over. I know what you’re already thinking…No, that woman was stupid. I’d never do all that stuff at the same time and I can drive and talk at the same time. Okay…whatever. Well, this topic too is for another day. Let me not get sidetracked.

I do not take my cell phone to the dinner table, at home or while out with friends, and play on Facebook or Twitter. Do you? That’s a sign of addiction! When I’m alone in Taco Bell, I’ll often Tweet or update Facebook. I rarely eat fast food, but I like Taco Bell. One of the Bells I visit near me has interesting clientele and I love to watch them. They do funny shit. So I post it. But if anyone brings their phone to my dinner table, they’ll be asked to set it aside, turn it off, etc. That’s just bad manners to sit at the dinner table with your friends or family, playing on Facebook over Thanksgiving dinner. I hope you all don’t do that either. You should have more respect than that, and don’t allow others to do it at your table either.

Back to the Web. When does our time wasted become too much? Do you know the signs? Maybe if you know all you have to do that day is relax, and Facebook games are your way of doing that then by all means, indulge. I’ve been there too. But how much of your life do your 300 strange Facebook friends take away from you, your family and real life friends every day? How many nice-day walks are you missing? How many phone calls go to voicemail? When’s the last time you took the dog out on his leash? You sit on Facebook and the world just keeps on turning. It was 9am, now it’s 3pm. Where’d the day go?

Some of us never realize we’re addicted. Am I addicted? Personally, I don’t think I’m 100% addicted. I can still shut the computer off and walk away. I can watch an entire 2+ hour movie at home and never look at my phone. And when I’m at a family gathering, I stay off of Facebook. Now and then I might post a pic or a Tweet from my phone about something ludicrous a family member just did, but it’s because we’re on Facebook and so are our real life friends and it is fun to embarrass my brother on Christmas Day. It’s fun. Period. But I will not sit during our entire holiday gathering with my eyes glued to me cell. I like to use Facebook for fun, but sometimes it turns into a monster, or it turns us into monsters. Yes, it does. And a few of us really and totally are addicted. Some of us are partially addicted. Some of us don’t think about it until we power up the computer. Then we get stuck on social media and turn into zombies, losing track of our day; our lives.

So many times I’ve said, “I’ll finish writing this chapter, then go for a walk.” I boot up the laptop…next thing I know I’m on Facebook, or Yahoo or Outlook. The chapter may or may not be finished, but the time for the walk never comes. I’ve missed a lovely day.

Sometimes I hear big roars of laughter outside my home. My mom’s on the porch with some neighbors laughing hysterically. I find myself enjoying the noise, but never budging to join in. Then I ask Mom what the hell was so funny, and when it comes from her, it’s not so funny. I missed it because I couldn’t walk away from Facebook for a few minutes.

I am jobless right now, so for the past few months I’ve spent a lot of time on social media. Spending the time on Facebook that I should be spending writing fiction, poetry or preparing my next blog, etc. It’s crippling. I know this. When I have a job, I spend less time online and can go for a couple of days without spending a whole lot of time online and don’t power up the laptop at all. I can keep up on my phone that I love to hate; therefore, not spending hours relentlessly on Facebook.

So my addiction is intermittent. But it’s there. I fall off the wagon. I have to beat myself metaphorically over the head to get me to read the books I want to review, or to get those 2,000 words written, or edit some manuscript pages. Yes, even my greatest love…writing…is infected with Facebook. That’s when you know things could become an issue, when your greatest loves are affected.

When I don’t get done what needs to be done, I feel sick and I hate myself. That’s how we all feel after we indulge in things we’re addicted to when we shouldn’t be involved. It’s how we feel when we’ve eaten to capacity and now are eating another piece of pie. Or when we sneak a smoke when we haven’t smoked all day. Or when we know we’ve had too much alcohol, but can’t say no to peer pressure. And I’m sure there’s a million other exampled you guys have experienced or witnessed. Yes, I should’ve been writing, but instead I was on Facebook.

In recent years, I’ve witnessed some real social media and Web addicts. These people look like zombies, stay up all night for no other reason but to facebook with friends or tweet and play Internet games. They lose their lives. They have no “real” friends. Their families are constantly pissed at them for not participating in family events or for constantly staring at their cell phones. I’ve seen a few that won’t even take the time to make a sandwich, or feed the dog. I’ve met people who tell me of carpal tunnel and arthritis in their back, elbows, wrists…all from living on the Internet. I believe most of us, who have full movement of our bodies, do not stay on the Internet that long. Yes, we love to access and update from our phones, it’s fun, but remember, there’s a time and place for everything, and it’s not while driving or at the Thanksgiving dinner table, or in the hospital room of your dying grandma. If you do those things, you’re probably an addict.

Facebook gets blamed for a lot. And more and more we’re hearing about folks becoming addicted to it or its games, among other things. When did it start? Well, not this year, or even last year. Maybe not even in 2005. In 1999, I was spending hours on message boards. And hell, that was long before Facebook. While, yes, it’s another avenue for Internet addicts, it’s not the first nor it will it be the last avenue of Web addiction.

Just before this past Thanksgiving season, when I was still employed full time, I started a system. No cell phone usage at certain times of the day or week. And not at all during the TV shows I watch with my mom. She’s going to be 78. She fell ill June of 2012. Her thyroid almost killed her then she got Shingles. She STILL has Shingles. Now she’s got a heart that beats too rapidly sometimes. They think it’s thyroid or thyroid medicine-related. So she’s on a pill for that. And if one day I wake up in the morning and she’s not breathing anymore, I don’t want any thoughts to go through my heart similar to, “God, I wish I hadn’t been staring at Facebook through the dark while I was supposed to be watching The Vampire Diaries with her!” So, when we’re watching shows we enjoy together like Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries or some mini-series like Under the Dome, I leave my cell in my bedroom and I put my books down. I do not bring my phone to the dinner table. I’ve never brought my cell to our dinner table, but up until about 14 months ago, I used to check Facebook or Twitter though the dark while watching TV. I don’t do this anymore, especially when Mom and I are watching our shows.

I also had a schedule when I was working, and now that I am back on the job hunt, I’m trying to practice restraint again because I realize how much time I’ve been blowing on the Web doing everything and anything except research or job hunting. I have all this free time to write or blog and I’ve been wasting way too much time on Facebook. Next thing I know, I’ll be working again and complaining that I have no time to write…and dwelling on all the time I wasted on Facebook instead of writing during my months of unemployment. I’m limiting my Facebook time via my laptop because if I don’t, I’ll power up and be on Facebook for hours. Also, I’m re-evaluating when and where I access social media on my cell phone and trying to be less ignorant about it, and of course, I don’t want to become a killer behind the wheel of my car. So I will continue the practice of ignoring my phone while driving.

I’d like to know about you guys. Are you addicted to social media? To your electronic gadgets? How much mindless time do you waste on the Web and it’s addicting avenues? How has this affected your life? Do you even know it’s being affected? Are you carelessly putting pedestrians and other drivers at risk to feed your addictions of talk, text, and social media?

Share your stores with us if you’d like to.

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