Archive for the ‘Digital Front Porch’ Category


What do softball, storm damage, and music by U2 have in common? Absolutely nothing, but in my dreams from an hour or so back, mostly everything.

You see, I’m fighting a bit of a cold, and when I do that, the rare mixture of late night coughing, congestion, and medicines combined with a faint fever sometimes produce bizarre thought patterns. As I awoke to clear my head, literally and figuratively, I had to get up and leave the room for a while so as to not disturb Little Frau from her rest any more than I already had been doing this night.

I came to the reading room to silently peruse the Facebook late night marketplace, and this picture was awaiting me. I was almost as amused as the young Japanese lady appears to be frightened (but not really, I presume) in the background of it all. Then, suddenly, it all came back to me.

I knew I had been dreaming, deliriously so, for the eternity that even a few seconds or moments of dreaming can feel like at times, but I could not recall the images. Then, they were there. Imagination of touring softball fields in a neighboring state, destroyed and littered by fallen trees, kept playing through my brain. Cough, sneeze, restless rollover, and the realization that it is a bad dream…hit rewind, and play it all again. At some point, the bizarre world of this dream included a realization that I was supposed to use it all for a greater purpose. And all the while, the soundtrack of this music by U2 kept playing in my brain. That is when I knew it was time to get up and try something different.

So, here I sit, replaying and hopefully erasing the DVR of the mind that was this dream and allowing the new dose of Robitussin to take effect well enough to allow restful sleep to return. But first, I have to play the song one more time…

See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you

Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait without you

With or without you
With or without you

Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I’m waiting for you

With or without you
With or without you

There. That was weird, I admit, but it all seems to tie together somehow,… or not.

As I prepare to return to bed, I can only hope that images of Hankzilla destroying Asian markets and throwing frozen Kryptonite pastries will not haunt my very soul.

I could be in for a long night, …with or without you….


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I don’t either.   That is what I love about early mornings: stillness, silence, a clear mind, and an opportunity to consider it all.

Be still, and know that I am God!       I will be honored by every nation.       I will be honored throughout the world.”

Psalm 46:10

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Big orange ball, sinkin’ in the water
Toes in the sand, couldn’t get much hotter…
…Now I know how Jimmy Buffet feels

Not really, but as I’m stirring on this silent Saturday morning, and I’m on Day 2 sans Facebook, it feels like forever since I’ve creeped on my kids and my friends. I awoke to the Kinney Chesney tune “Now I Know How Forever Feels” running thru my brain. It feels like forever, but it’s not been.

Last night, only being at the end of Day 1, my wife was talking about pictures and status updates she had seen that I had not. Way to rub it in, Little Frau, although that’s not what she was trying to do. I might as well have been in Margaritaville.

But there’s the rub on Day 2 of the “Facebook Fast”. I might feel like “the biggest loser”, but I’m not “wasting away”. Truth be told, I’m presented with opportunities. I can read. I can meditate. I can pray. I can exercise. I can do more of all of these things, and that is my goal. I could even get up and go do a load of laundry, but I digress.

So, if you will excuse me, I’m going to go do something now: something other than FB. Maybe I know how Jimmy Buffet feels, after all…


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A friend and colleague was coming home from the airport with me recently and was perusing content on his iPhone. He said “how did we ever get anything done before email?”. We had just gotten off a cross country “red eye”, so I will give him credit for a potential momentary lapse in discernment.

I thought for a moment about what he said, and the 2011 me agreed wholeheartedly, but the base model me took exception. Allow me to explain.

You see, I began my career circa 1988. They issued me a large leather bag and a gigantic “10 key” calculator, complete with a paper tape. They also showed me the supply cabinet, with it’s wealth of multicolumn spreadsheet form paper and other goodies made from wood pulp, but no computer. And we got a lot of work done. Boy, did we ever.

18 months or so later, we were all issued start of the art laptop computers, first generation MacBooks, no less. The processors were slow, the software was cumbersome, but we were expected to use them and become “paperless”. Instead, hours worked increased, pounds lugged to the client site doubled, we printed everything, and productivity trudged along for the ride.

Fast forward 23 years later, and we still have not gone paperless just yet, but I’ll admit it’s getting better. But, has productivity really improved, or do we just work more? After all, as my friend made his statement, we were riding home in a car after a 32+ hour day, and he was reading email while our greater conscious selves were napping.

A digital native, I am not. But i consider myself a wise gray haired immigrant who knows his way around the digital continent. Email. Cell-phones. Websites. Texting. Cloud computing. We are more accessible than ever.

While writing this, I took a Saturday morning phone call from a colleague in another department a few moments ago, and he was looking for the cell phone number of a colleague in mine. And he apologized for the “interruption”. Does that word even apply, anymore?

Points of contact are up, no doubt. More things have our attention. But does more get done, or do more things go on our to do list as “undone”?

Don’t get me wrong; I love the new digital world order. I would not go back, I don’t think. I have fully embraced my new nationality. But, it might be nice to visit the fatherland. I guess that is what books are for.

So, I guess my point here is that we can get work done, maybe even more without our “devices” to keep up with and upgrade/follow/maintain.

I’m going to log off now and go out to mow the yard. My friend has already done the same with his.

If you need to reach me, I’ll have my cell phone, just looking for the next interconnected unproductive opportunity to visit. 🙂


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Facebook: land of the parental creepers, or the digital front porch?    Maybe both.

In the south, there’s nothing like a good glass of sweet ice tea on a hot summer day.   I sometimes think it ought to be on the government’s list of controlled substances.   Back in the day, before there was air conditioning, people would share glasses and share time out on the front porch, enjoying a cool breeze and watching the world stroll by.

You see, before television, the internet, and Facebook, people shared their lives one moment at a time, person to person, face to face.     Here in 2011, things aren’t quite the same.    We work long hours, go to work out after work, run the kids to and fro to and fro, and then we come home, plop down in our recliners, and watch episodes of The Biggest Loser.

But we do something else, as well, here in the age of 2011; we stay connected – digitally connected.    In an era when we don’t see each other quite so often by the whites of our eyes (or the red, when times are just so), we keep up with one another in different ways.

The Facebook: that world-changing invention of the Harvard few.     What was not intended to be used by us 40 somethings has been embraced in unique and significant ways.      Sharing vacations, sharing pictures, sharing stories, jokes, and even digital vegetables (Farmville, anyone?), we trade time and information in ways that redefine the meaning of the word “connected”.

And I have to admit: I like it.     No real surprise there, for those who are my “digital friends”.

So before we close up this entry, let’s share a few suggested “rules of engagement” for our time together on the digital front porch (with a little country drawl thrown in, just for some 3D effect):

– Don’t just sit there; tell us a little ’bout yourself

– Honesty is still the best policy, even from behind a screen and a keyboard…

– Don’t hog the conversation; oftentimes, a good listener is a welcomed guest out here

– Don’t worry about the young-uns racin’ up and down the digital drive out front.     They’ll find the speed bumps, sooner or later, the easy way or the hard way, and payin’ em too much attention will just distract you from your guests in the other rockin’ chairs.    Besides, if you worry about what they’re doin’ too much, somebody might call you old and cranky, and that just wouldn’t do…

….not out here.    Pull up a chair, pour yourself a glass, and tell us what’s on your mind.

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Day dreaming heads in the sand

Day dreaming, gee, but its grand

I’m in love with an ostrich

All the neighbors complain, ya see

But she loves me

Can’t help it if you don’t understand it…

Yes, it’s that famous chase scene song from Scooby Doo featuring The Creeper.   Who can forget him?   He followed those blasted kids around, trying to scare them away from his territory.    But the kids always emerged victorious.

Which brings ua to our topic today.    Facebook; that glorious land of TMI: too much information.    Especially when its coming from those blasted kids…!      

What exactly is Facebook, anyway?     Is it the proverbial “Digital Front Porch” for my generation, sharing with friends of our own age what is going on in our lives: challenges, victories, and defeats?   (more on that topic in a later post)   

Or, is it like wandering into a party to which we were not invited: an electronic techno pop virtual equivalent of our kids playing Dance Dance Revolution until all hours of the night?

Admittedly, our kids found and embraced Facebook before the older generation did.   Setting up a Facebook page for me was simply an exercise suggested by my wife; an effort to get to know our kid’s friends and follow up on what was going on with their lives.   

 But, a funny thing happened on the way to becoming Creepers.     We, or at least I, found that I liked this thing they called “The Facebook”.     A digital front porch, indeed.        And yet, each of our generations is sharing and embracing the Facebook world in a different way.    And, we each are equally adept at embarrassing the other with our posting and viewing patterns.    Need I say more?

I’m conflicted here.    Can you tell?    TMI is just that: stuff I’d probably rather not know.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I’d venture to guess my kids would say the same.    Touche’?  

Maybe I am in love with an ostrich.    Day dreamin; heads in the sand.   Pretty earthy, huh?    But that’s what ostrich’s do best when they get scared: they hide.

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