Algorithm

Facebook’s videos for me led off with Dancing Queen by ABBA, then something by Kid Rock, then Journey doing Wheel In The Sky, then a speech by Donald Trump. followed by another ABBA, Elton John singing Candle In The Wind, and Donald Trump again, this time with three rabbis.

What kind of fucked up algorithm am I trapped in?

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Weirdos I may know

For a couple weeks now all the people Facebook thought I might know were deeply cleavaged babes of enormous pulchritude who would never, in fact, know me or admit they knew me. Today, suddenly, I am getting all these dangerous looking types the first of whom, either coincidentally, eerily or providentially, is a dead ringer for Rasputin. Either Facebook read my last post, or Zuckerberg is trying to tell me something. In any case, that is one fucked up algorithm.

Virtual chick magnet

(2014)

I’m getting bombarded by ads on Facebook for women who want to marry me or date me or just fool around. And not only Facebook, it doesn’t matter what the website is I’m looking at, there’ll be ads with smiling ladies who want to marry me, right next to news about massacres and plagues and billionaires gone wild. It began as mostly Russian women but now the Chinese have joined in. There are a lot of lovely mature Chinese women looking for love, they tell me. They smile sweetly. My Facebook page shows me as married so I have no idea how I slipped into a lonely aging male database. Or an aging my wife doesn’t understand me database. Actually, though, I think they only want me for my money. But I don’t have any money, I’m a writer. And charm only goes so far.

Whatever happened to the charming Filipina girls who were dying to meet me? And for a while it was hot blooded Latina women, I remember. They looked fiery and exciting, but they must have gotten tired of waiting because it was back to the Filipinas soon enough. Filipinas are much more patient, apparently, than those hot blooded Latinas. In the meantime, though, I must have crossed some magic age line and now they’re all Russians and Chinese. No matter, I just went into Google and found a profile I didn’t know I had and put down my status as married. Way married. That should take care of all those girls. Now they don’t have to get all hot and bothered.

Keeping in touch

Just looking over my Linked In contacts, none of whom I have ever interacted with, and it occurred to me that I am incredibly bad at keeping in touch with people. Not with friends…I’ve had many of the same friends for decades. Friends I got. That’s not the problem. It’s the circles beyond friends that I can’t seem to maintain. For example, I spent 15 years working at Disney and loved it, knew all kinds of people I was very close to, almost none of whom I have bothered to keep in touch with at all. They reached out, too. I never bothered reaching back. And even the tiny handful I did keep in touch with I barely ever talk to. I spent ten years at US Borax before then and I don’t even remember the names. You are supposed to remember the names. And college? Forget it. High School? You have to be kidding. I can name scarcely a dozen people I went to high school with. Have seen maybe half a dozen since then. College is even worse. There were three roommates. Actually more than three, I just remember those three. I can’t even remember the name of the roommate who fronted me the bread so I could buy my first drum kit. I’m hoping I paid him back.

Then there’s the LA Weekly–I spent seven years there, had a big impact and have maintained connections with nobody. Not a one. Not deliberately, I just sort of dropped off that planet. All those readers, I just disappeared on them. Poof. Gone. In fact, I knew literally hundreds of people on the jazz scene, a lot of them extremely well, and I lost touch with nearly all of them. And jazz people, the musicians anyway, aren’t the easiest people to get to know. You have to prove your worth to earn their respect. Apparently I did. Then I dropped them all. I wrote a long beautiful email and disappeared. (I did that at Disney too.) And I lost touch with almost every single writer I was tight with then, that is my professional colleagues, and all the publicists. All the radio people and booking agents. Record company people. Promoters. Even the musicians. The whole scene. I remember actually purging my contact lists. I remember it felt good, somehow, liberating.

But this is not the way to function in a social media world. All these networks are vital. The people you worked with. The clients and colleagues. Maintaining those connections. Keeping in touch. Meeting new people. And the social media–Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Google Plus and on and on. If you learn how to use those effectively you do well. Get gigs. Make money. Become influential. Why can’t I grasp these concepts? They seem simple enough. How do I explain this to myself?  Especially as I’m still doing what I’ve always been doing, still cutting myself off. Case in point: when Mark Zuckerberg told me Brick was a verboten name and I shut down my account rather than bend to His will, I lost contact with most of the people I knew on Facebook. Hundreds of them. I made a half-assed attempt to re-connect with some, and then forgot about it. I now have a Facebook account (I use my wife’s name) but a fraction of the Facebook connections I used to have. Which doesn’t seem to bother me in the least. What am I not getting here?

Maybe I need a social secretary. Back when I was at the Weekly I had a very good friend at Disney who wanted so bad to be my social secretary. Man, she would have been great at it. I mean perfect. A dream. She offered repeatedly. I never did take her up on it. Don’t know why.

Of course, that’s all moot now, since I’ve lost touch with her.

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Time

I’ve become fascinated with Facebook’s sense of time…it’s free of real time chronology….I keep seeing obituaries for people dead years ago, and news stories from the past get people outraged anew. You can will time, or more likely, Facebook wills you to accept whatever is posted as of the now, even if it isn’t. Time shifts suddenly, or it stops, or goes backwards, goes forward. Time hovers. Sometimes time disappears completely, and you’re looking into another universe where what was never was, string theory come to life. Done correctly, you can never die, or you can have died already, and we can all have your stuff. Combine this with all the fake news, and it’s all completely surreal. Take this post, for example, I wrote this three days ago next week, except I never wrote it, and it’s completely untrue. So there.

Selfie

I’ve never taken a selfie. In fact I never take photos at all. I’m a writer, and there are rules about those things. I did take a selfie once, though, accidentally. But that was before selfies had been invented and I just deleted it. Had I known Facebook would also be invented I would have saved it, along with the cat pictures I took and would never admit I took. Those were deleted too. The fun thing about digital photography is the delete button.

I accidentally took a shoefie once, but shoefies still haven’t been invented so I deleted that one too. I once took an analog shoefie, however, and still have that one. There was no delete button then. All you could do was throw out the picture when you got it back from the Fotomat. But it was such a nice picture of a shoe I kept it. I’d put that uninvented shoefie right here, but it’s tucked away somewhere with a zillion other pictures of my past life and I don’t feel like looking for it right now. I’d see all that hair and I’d sigh and get all morbid and pensive. Nothing worse than a big guy gone pensive.

Like I said, I never take selfies. Look what happens.

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Obamajam

Every time a prez or a pope visits Los Angeles, or a Michael Jackson dies, there are traffic jams for a couple hours.  Except now they get on Facebook and the whole world shrieks. Remember when Carmageddon was gonna end civilization as we know it?

It didn’t. 

I was just down on the prez’s motorcade route a bit a go and had no idea he’d even been there a couple hours earlier. Traffic was normal, the secret service all gone, and civilization remained. Even the birds flew.

I think in a decade or two Facebook and Twitter will stop controlling our thoughts and actions, and we’ll all start thinking again.

The 405 in the Sepulveda Pass. Sometimes it moves.

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