A polymath rambling about virtually anything

Archive for July, 2011

My First YouTube Video

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 30, 2011

Hi! Sorry for the extended absence once again, but I’ve been generally pretty ill and haven’t had the time or energy to do much writing or much of anything in general, unfortunately. But I’m going to put something up today, dammit!

I just wanted to share with those of you who run across this blog that I finally, finally caved and started my own YouTube channel this week. And I think I’ve got a pretty diverse and cool bunch of playlists, but then I’m biased, right? LOL! Still, my new YouTube channel can be found here. The playlists I have so far are:

  • Goth
  • Industrial
  • Alternative
  • Favorite Classics
  • Bands I’ve Seen Live
  • New Wave
  • New Rock
  • World
  • Goth-Doom Metal
  • Indie
  • Poetry

Yeah, that’s right — I’m totally hip! LOL!!! I’m still adding to it and intend to as much as possible, so please feel free to check it out.

Anyway, I’ve got two kitties, Henry & Toby. They’re both SO co-dependent, it’s amazing! Worse than dogs. Henry comes when he calls. Toby takes showers with me. They’re the darnedest cats I’ve ever seen. So, I’ve used my iPhone to make a few little videos of Toby doing goofy things over the past couple of months. And after I started this YouTube channel, I wondered what would happen if I attempted to upload one of these. I looked around and saw that YouTube has a Pets category and when I looked through that category, I found videos ranging from 11 seconds to 7 minutes and everything in between, but many were quite short. The one of Toby I wanted to upload was only 25 seconds, but I think it’s funny as hell and I thought, what the heck, why not, so I did it a few days ago. I called it Toby’s AM Ritual and you can find it here. Spoiler alert: He likes to get in my bathroom sink when I shave in the mornings and drink out of the faucet. I’ve never seen anything like it and I think it’s hilarious, especially since it’s such an important routine for him, so I uploaded it. Only then did I find out there are apparently a trillion cats just like Toby, who are thirsty and go for faucets, so what I thought would be an original humorous little video is just one of many, and it hasn’t gotten very many views at all. Like, an embarrassingly low number. So, if you’re reading this, please go view the 25 second video because it IS cute and Toby needs more exposure. LOL! I’ve got another I’m thinking of uploading next week. Short but cute too, in a different way.

I guess that’s about it for today. There’s so much going on in my life right now, and so much craziness, that I wish I had the time and energy to just write it all out, but I don’t and I can’t, so thanks for bearing with me and I’ll try to write a writing-related blog post again sometime soon, ok? Cheers!

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Google+ (and my social networking history…)

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 20, 2011

OK, I admit it — I’m on Google+.  And I freakin’ LOVE it!!!  Am having the best time just playing around on that site, seeing who and what I run across.  If you want to find me there, here is my URL:  https://plus.google.com/113745399994458455981/posts.  Ever since I ditched FB last December, I’d missed that sense of … something, which I’ve tried to fill (or perhaps re-fill) with blogging, mostly on my old Xanga sitehttp://www.bukowski-rules.com/ and more recently, through my new WordPress blog here.  But it’s different, and we all know that.  Totally different animals.

Anyway, Google+.  I love what you can do with it. I love the photos, the circles, how you can post to only certain people via specific circles if you want.  I love how you can include and exclude info about yourself that somehow gives me a certain sense of (limited) privacy and security I never felt I had at FB.  I love how you can find certain people you find interesting, put them in a circle to “follow” or whatever and vice versa and how you never really have to “friend” each other to do this.  Cause trust me, while I literally did know some 99% of the 550+ “friends” I had on FB IRL, I quickly and sadly found out how few of them were really true friends.  On Google+, you don’t have to fake it. I dig that. I also like their Sparks feature, kind of like tags you’ll find on most blogging sites. All this being said, it’s still in field trials and there are still some things that could and should be done to improve Google+ before everyone in the entire world jumps aboard whenever Google decided to fully open it up.

Well, this topic made me start thinking about my own social networking (now social media?) history during my many years on the Internet (I wrote my first email in 1987!), so I think I’ll briefly touch on that, just for the heck of it. I’m just going to ignore the old BBS’s of the good old early Internet years, pre-Web. I think I’ll just skip ahead to my first known dive into social networking, even though it wasn’t called that then. Any old timers remember 2003? Yeah, it actually wasn’t that long ago. Still, a friend of me told me about a new website called Friendster where you could meet others online (but not as a dating site) and say different things about yourselves and each other and how it seemed like a pretty cool concept. So, I joined Friendster. And if anyone can remember back that far, it was really a pre-MySpace before MySpace was even founded. I consider Friendster to really be the innovator. Too bad it’s now basically dead and has been for years. Pity. Anyway, I quickly found out that everyone was on Friendster within months! And I met some very cool people that way, people I had things in common with or lived near or whatever. It’s how I met a woman who I had many things in common with (such as same alma maters, same degrees, same professors, same love of literature, same politics, etc.), who I then met IRL, and who I then (foolishly, in retrospect) agreed to marry when she proposed to me a very short time after. Sometime during 2004, though, Friendster did something foolish. For some odd reason, a TON of their users had set up accounts for their pets and they made many friends that way. Well, Friendster booted them all off the site, deleted their accounts, and created a great deal of animosity and bad PR in the process. Stupid decision.

Meanwhile, my new (and now ex) wife was a blogging fool on Xanga. I had never heard of blogging or Xanga. I used to tease her about having more of an online life than a real one. However, she set up an account for me in February 2004 and I tentatively started out writing a few lines here and there, not having a clue what I was doing. That said, I had moved back to Knoxville from L.A. and nearly everyone I personally knew in Knoxville was on Xanga, so that was kind of cool. AND, through Xanga’s Blogrings, you got to know other people and it was awesome to run across someone you knew from Xanga while out at a coffee shop or bar, etc. To this day, I still have my Xanga site and I have blogged off and on there since early 2004.

Speaking of 2004, I think it was that time that MySpace sprung up. Well, you know how things are online — fads. Friendster was forgotten by the world in under a month while everyone jumped ship to MySpace, where it was hip and cool to have your own page there. And I jumped over to that site along with everyone else, although I didn’t immediately abandon Friendster. Wow, MySpace was different though. It was what Friendster wanted to be, but didn’t know how to be at the time. And the thing that really hooked me was that so many bands had MySpace sites, increasingly as the years went by. That’s the only reason I maintained a MySpace account through, IDK, maybe 2009? I ran across some awesome bands that way, such as Android Lust, and I loved being exposed to new things. However, I never felt fully comfortable with MySpace, and I couldn’t quite put a finger on it, other than I sometimes felt like I was being stalked in some weird way by various people I didn’t know or want to know. So, I still concentrated on my regular blogging on Xanga.

I don’t remember when I first heard of Facebook, but it was back when it was only open to college students and then, shortly later I think, to high school students as well. I had no interest. But when FB opened itself up to everyone, I became intrigued, so I signed up and was delighted that it was becoming and did become an easy and exciting way to get connected with old high school and college classmates, old work colleagues, etc., who you hadn’t seen in years and who you’d lost touch with. That was the big time seller for me! Shoot, that was years ago too, long before everyone and their brother was on it. Toward the end of my time on FB though, I had been making some critical mistakes. I wrote things on my mind. Yep. On my own FB site. I know, the audacity! And much of the time, I wrote about political issues, such as back in 2008, during the election season. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve been both a Republican and Democrat (although these days, I am pretty embarrassed to admit to having been a Republican at some point…), but when I lived out on the west coast, I was a fairly moderate fellow. Down here in the Red south though, while I still view myself as fairly moderate, leaning slightly left, I’m viewed as a flaming liberal and I quickly found out that dozens, perhaps hundreds, of old high school friends and some college friends just crucified the hell out of me for having the gall to express myself in terms of what I thought about Bush, the war(s), Obama, etc. I literally had over 100 people de-friend me cause of that! Yeah, good friends, right? Long story short, by November 2010 I was becoming seriously disillusioned with FB and my damn friends there, all 550+ of them. Frankly, not too many seemed like friends to me, even though I knew virtually all of them IRL. However, I had felt compelled to stay on FB because by that point, everyone in the universe was on it and more importantly, well over half of my own Xanga blogging pals had abandoned Xanga to move over to FB, and Xanga became like a ghost town quite quickly, where they at one point at over 40 million bloggers! But in late 2010, largely due to some completely unexpected relationship and legal issues, I was advised to do what I had decided to do several weeks earlier — delete my FB account. God, that hurt at first. However, as time has gone by, you know what? I don’t miss that damn drama one bit! I’m SO happy not to be on FB. That said, I still missed the daily connections, at least with the few people I cared about.

Most of you probably know about Twitter; who doesn’t? I joined Twitter in December 2009 and have been tweeting away ever since, mostly about useless crap. I have no idea why I have any followers at all. It’s still fun though, cause I have run across some really interesting people, most recently a cool girl up in NYC named Athena E. Stone who loves Queen possibly as much as I do, even at her young age. I really like that. I’m still on Twitter, but it just doesn’t appeal to me like other other social net working sites have.

So, that brings us to Google+. Please God, let it be the true social networking site everyone says it will be, the one of my dreams! Let it be as awesome as possible! You have to admit, while Google owns the Internet like Microsoft owns PCs, they’ve consistently failed in their weak social networking experiments, such as Orkut, a site I joined after leaving FB, since I was desperate for some sense of community. I still have a profile there, but I only know a few others who do and it’s mostly Brazilians for some odd reason.

There have also been other social networking sites I was talked into joining at one point or another. Hi5 was one. Gag. Terrible. Did not stay there very long. I can’t even remember the others. So I guess I’ll end by touching on the “niche” social networking sites, the ones that are theme-based and aren’t “true” social networking sites in the sense that FB is. My favorite is the professional networking site, LinkedIn. Wonderful site, great business plan, wildly successful, especially for what it is and is meant to be. There are now other professional networking sites, at least one of which I was invited to join, did and promptly left. No comparison.

There are literary sites too. Goodreads might be best known, but I never liked that site and quickly grew to hate it for so many reasons. One thing that irritated the hell out of me was that several of my books were on that site, owned by and reviewed by various members and users. The thing that truly pissed me off was when one of my books got a bad review by some asshole in some Middle Eastern country I can no longer remember, who admitted in his stupid review that he hadn’t even READ my book, but it sounded stupid so he was giving it a 1 out of 5! WTF? Are you shitting me??? Bye Goodreads. I had a gazillion friends or whatever they’re called there, and I didn’t care about any but maybe 20 of them. A far better literary site, I believe, is LibraryThing, which I think actually preceded Goodreads in its existence, but for some reason, has never caught on as much. Maybe that’s cause it started out strictly as a personal library cataloging site, but it expanded as time went by and I think it’s excellent.

Well, there are a bunch of other blogging sites, and I’ve obviously joined one here — WordPress — while still not having abandoned Xanga. I also occasionally blog on my Red Room author site, but that’s not too frequently. And I’m sure I’ve missed so many other blogging and social networking sites I’ve seen and tried out over the years, but I’ll stop now as I’ve gone on much longer than I intended to (and it’s long past time for breakfast!), so back to my original topic, Google+. How many of you reading this are on it, and what do any of you reading this think will happen with it? Will it be a Twitter killer, like many expect, or even an eventual (possible) FB killer, like many people hope? Or will it merely be Google’s final attempt at getting social media right for once? I want to know. Please, please leave any comments you might have about this. Cheers!

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Sorry For My Absence

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 11, 2011

Hi there. I’m sorry for my extended absence since the last time I posted. I have not been feeling well at all, for the most part. At all. I won’t go into all of my various afflictions, but one that has played a prominent role in my life for the past year was just diagnosed in May as Trigeminal Neuralgia, also known unofficially as “The Suicide Disease” as it is commonly thought to be the most severely painful illness/condition known to mankind. Yeah, good times. Trust me when I state that I would not ever wish my last year on my worst enemy. Yep.

Thursday I had an appointment with my pain management specialist. Naturally, I had to wait for what seemed like hours before I got to see him, but he’s a good doctor and he cares, so I’ll cut him some slack. I’m being scheduled for another Stellate Ganglion Block surgical procedure quite soon. It’s just being used as an occasional temporary pain blocking procedure. The next step will be my having to undergo a Radiofrequency Thermal Rhizotomy surgery. All of this to avoid the one procedure all of the doctors, specialists and neurosurgeons go out of their way to avoid — the MVD brain surgery. Apparently, a few too many people die as a result of that surgery for medical professionals to feel really good about going in that direction. The irony is that is the only treatment option that actually is a cure for TN — the other options are just temporary pain blockers, and that’s all. It’s quite frustrating. If I ever have to go that route, I’ll be put on Big Boy medication that makes Morphine look flat out silly, Fentanyl being the first and foremost. Massively addictive and 100 times more potent that Morphine, allegedly. And, by all accounts, getting off of Fentanyl and others like it is much worse than getting off Heroin. Would really like to avoid this. Of course, I’ve been trying to avoid being put on Fentanyl just as I currently am, as I live today, prior to even thinking about MVD surgery. It would be completely disabling, although in truth, TN itself is largely disabling, so I guess it’s a trade off….

Well, enough whining about that. Actually, I’m not trying to whine, merely explain. This topic is on my mind for several reasons, but as it relates to this blog because I feel like I’m neglecting my editing duties at Ray’s Road Review, the online literary journal where I serve as poetry editor. My buddy and RRR founder, Chris Duncan, graciously cuts me slack on this, but I still feel not only an obligation but a desire to work on poetry submissions. It’s one of the few creative outlets I currently have.

Meanwhile, I’ve got some big stuff going on in my private life. Complications, frustrations, other health problems too, as I indicated, and this morning, yet another doctor appointment. It gets tiring, but we all have our own crosses to bear, do we not? So, I just wanted to write something, to touch base with those few of you who know I’m here in blogland, and who care. I do appreciate it. Cheers!

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