The End of an Era

It has now been 92 hours since I made it impossible for me to log on to Facebook. How did I do this? It was simple.

I opened Notepad.  Then, I created a random password consisting of about thirty-five random characters in a row that I produced by closing my eyes and doing a big piano glissando up and down the computer keyboard.   I copied it, put it in the “change password” field on Facebook, and promptly deleted it from Notepad.  Then I logged off.

Since Facebook requires one to post their old password prior to creating a new one, and since I now have no idea what my old password is, I will simply never log on to Facebook again.

Why did I do this?   Let’s look at the hard facts.

(1) I just punched in facebook.com on my browser to see how many notifications I had received in the past 92 hours.  Interestingly, the number is 184.  That’s twice 92 – and I kid you not.  This means I was receiving one notification every half an hour.

Now, let’s say I would spend fifteen minutes addressing each notification.  (That, by the way, is a very conservative estimate, knowing me.)  15 times 184 amounts to 2,760.  2,760 minutes amounts to 46 hours.  In the 92 hour period of time, that means I would have spent half my time on Facebook, dealing with the notifications alone.  Can I afford to spend half my time on Facebook?   No, I cannot.

(2) I am a person who has been diagnosed with severe adult attention hyperactive deficit disorder, otherwise known as ADHD.  What this means, as far as Facebook is concerned, is that whatever stimulus is the strongest and most immediate will be the one that grabs my attention. 

One morning, for example, I logged onto Facebook in order to grab a video from my daughter’s video files to send to a friend of mine.  Before I could find the video, a friend of mine who was feeling depressed logged on, and I spent two hours in an effort to console him.  Point is, his depression struck me as being of more immediate importance than the elusive video my daughter had made, which was buried somewhere deep within her video files, and therefore less immediate.  Once my friend was comforted, no sooner did I begin once again to look for the video, when another friend of mine showed up,  wanting to discuss a subject about which I am passionate.  Her passion striking me as being of more immediate importance than my daughter’s video, I quite passionately discussed the important subject with her for another two hours. Then I had to go to work.  In the meantime, I forgot all about the video, which was the only reason I had logged onto Facebook in the first place.  Thus are the effects of Adult ADHD.

(3) As one who is Sicilian by genetic predisposition, I have a very difficult time letting go of the past.  It therefore stands to reason that if I want this situation to improve, I ought not to be hanging around too many people whom I knew in the past, and instead throw more of my focus on developing positive friendships in the present, that will lead me to a more positive future.   Moreover, reconciling with certain figures from the distant past has more than once proved to be disastrous.

And here’s where the story gets good:

(4) At one point in my life, I made a casual comment on my Facebook that was misinterpreted by a well-meaning Facebook friend.  All of a sudden, three cops came pounding on my door.  They handcuffed me, ransacked my hotel room for narcotics and firearms, (of which I had neither!) and hauled me off to an insane asylum.

I was released the next morning, but highly inconvenienced by the ordeal.  My blood pressure shot up sky high, and I had to sit on a gurney in an emergency room for about six and a half hours before it was low enough for me to be legally hauled away to the nearest local loony bin, twenty-five miles South of my hotel room.

There, I managed to convince the baffled psych techs that I was neither suicidal nor homicidal.  I was released in my T-shirt in freezing cold December weather, and I wandered around for three days until the debit card refund for my hotel room cleared to my account.  (Obviously, I lost the hotel room, where I had paid for a two week stay, because when the 9-1-1 team showed up to haul me off to the psychiatric pavilion, all of the tenants came out of their doors to see what all the ruckus was about; and due to the police involvement, the hotel manager did not want to rent to me any longer.  I also left most of my clothing in the room, along with some books.  The motel room owners claimed no responsibility for items life in the building.)

As for the Facebook friend who made the dubious 9-1-1 call?   Long story short, I basically never heard from him again, except for a total of exactly two fairly unpleasant interactions in the following four years.  Must not have been much of a friend.  But he sure seemed like a friend for a while there, because he was the only one out of my some 300 odd Facebook friends who was concerned enough about my well-being to even consider making such a call.  And this leads to my 5th reason:

(5) These hundreds of people on your Facebook “friends” list are by and large not your friends.  You think they are your friends, because you befriended them when you were both in your teens or early twenties, and it was wonderful to reconnect with them.  Perhaps they are friends of friends of yours, or maybe even friends of people who are not your friends.   You know how to find out who your friends are on Facebook?  It’s easy, which leads to my sixth reason:

(6) I gave my phone number and email address to all of my Facebook friends some time prior to my abrupt departure.   Outside of the handful of people whom I already knew to be my true friends, you know how many of them actually called me?   Exactly three.  Thank you, Paul, Mari, and Holly.  Now I know who my friends are.  :)

(7) When I found myself arguing politics pointlessly with a total stranger in New York City who would not only never change his mind, but was probably drunk off his butt and had no idea what I was even talking about, enough was enough.

What all of this points to is:

(8) I have had five Facebooks in the past ten years.  Every one of them started out fine, then in some way imploded.  Every time I started a new one, I mistakenly thought I had overcome my dysfunctional obsessive-compulsive addictive relationship with Facebook.  I was wrong.

What did Albert Einstein have to say about the matter?

einstein insanity

Touché.

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Gratitude List 692

1. Man, this Seattle’s Best Coffee is good.

2. I have three pairs of shoes today: snow boots, running shoes w/spikes, and regular dark walking shoes. There was a time when I couldn’t possibly manage more than one pair of shoes, and in fact had to sleep with them on every night, for fear they wouldn’t be there in the morning if I took them off.

3. I have seven pairs of thick winter socks now – one for each day of the week. There was a time when I had to line up every Monday morning outside of Elmer’s Van and compete with a bunch of other homeless cats for a single pair of socks that had to last me an entire week.

4. Whenever I wake up lamenting a “luxury problem,” (i.e., that I crashed out at 8:30 last night and woke up at 12:30 am after only four hours sleep), I need only remember a certain night of waking up at 12:30 am to the sight of a young man who had earlier stolen my brand new HP laptop while his partner pistol-whipped me. At 12:30 am on that particular dark and stormy night, the young thug rousted me out of my sleep to insist that I join him with two crack whores in a hotel room, in order to play five long chess games in a row.  My point? At least I have a roof over my head, and total privacy — and when I wake up at 12:30 am, that rapscallion and his two rather unappealing crack whores are nowhere in sight. I’ve got it good today, believe me.

5. Seems to me I can probably get a piano lounge job of some kind if I can ever figure out how to get to the nearest such dive and back without a car (approximately one hundred miles North of  here), or else work out a way to take a bus and somehow not lose money on the gig renting a hotel room.  (Hint hint hint.) 

6. Thank God for this page. That man’s counsel helped me to solve the biggest barrier I was having toward cultivating a healthy recovery, and a much much healthier life.

7. Had a really wonderful time with my pastor and his wife, family and friends yesterday out at the farm. Recorded three tunes on the Kawai upright, and uploaded one of them to my you tube channel.

8. Great long talk with Nick yesterday.

9. Romans Chapter Twelve, especially the closing verses — what an inspiration.

10. Using the wee hours to compile my character breakdown for the workshop, per Ms. O’s request. Moreover, I’m working on them in a nice one bedroom apartment with a “spare master bedroom” just in case any of my friends and family want to come up for a visit someday. If my Christmas is this much better than the one I had two years ago, think how much better it might be two years from now, if I keep this up. God has done for me what I could not do for myself. All the Glory goes to God.


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It’s not that I don’t have the talent.
It’s just that I don’t have the wheels.  

ANYTHING HELPS!
GOD BLESS

 

What’s in a Name?

I hope you all have a very blessed and meaningful day today; and that whether or not you are a Christian, each of you will take a few moments to reflect upon the person and character of Jesus Christ.

No matter whether one believes that he was the Messiah, or a great prophet or teacher, or an incredible psychologist or magician, or the Son of God, or even God Himself, I think there can be no doubt (as Emmet Fox said) that Jesus Christ has had more impact on humanity than other single figure in the history of the world.

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name.”
– Philippians 2:9

What’s in a name? A lot more than one might presume. The Greek word for name, onoma, is defined in the New American Standard New Testament Greek Lexicon as being “used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is aroused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, i.e., for one’s rank, authority, interest, pleasure, command, excellence, deeds, etc.”

whats in a nameApply all that to the name of Jesus Christ, as opposed to say, the name of Roy Moore (to cite a random example) and I’m sure it won’t take much more than a few minutes’ contemplation to discern that there’s a lot more to the Name of Jesus than meets the immediate eye.

Think about it! This is my gift to you, and your having pondered all this would be more than sufficient gift to me, on this blessed day.

Finally, I gave myself a number of gifts last night; and why don’t we all give ourselves some gifts today. Let’s gift ourselves with the things that will truly be live-giving in our spirits and cause us to reflect more life, love, joy, peace, and happiness to all those around us, and moreover, to our own selves.

And most of all, to the Name of God. 

God bless us, every one.

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Gratitude List 690

1. Great day yesterday.

2. Got the heater situation worked out, and had heat on in the house for the first time.  Good thing too since it was six degrees Fahrenheit when I awoke in the middle of the night to crack the window.  

3. Slept a bit fitfully with odd dreams but for a period of ten hours, all told.

4. My pastor stopped by and brought a bunch of food. 

5. Worked things out with a new friend, and am no longer uneasy about this new friendship.  

6. I’m getting victory over an annoying die-hard lousy sinful habit, having seen its relationship to my low self-worth.

7. Ran the 3.6 mile course again.  It felt easier this time.  Ran it in 17F degrees and did not feel overly cold.  Enjoyed it very much, and felt a lift in my spirits afterwards.

8. Acted according to my integrity in a certain situation and wound up getting a new subscriber to the newsletter, a software engineer from San Francisco.  Told this to G.G. and now he also wants to subscribe.

9. “Just One Victory” by Todd Rundgren.

10.I woke up in the middle of the night and realized that I am not under condemnation.  It’s Christmas Eve and tonight we’ll all be singing.  Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.   

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Holiday Moods

I’ve been playing the piano lately.   It helps to have access to a Baldwin grand piano at my church.   A while back I posted a youtube of a couple tunes of mine that came out surprisingly well.  This spurred me on, so I decided to work up a bit of a Christmas-style medley for the holidays.

I call this “Holiday Moods.”  It’s a blend of a little song I wrote to the words of Isaiah 30:29.  Behold:

Ye shall have a song,
As in the night,
When a holy solemnity is kept;
And gladness of heart,
As when one goes forth with a pipe
To come into the Mountain of the Lord:
To the Holy One.

Nice poetry, no?  You can probably hear those words in the notes I play.  After that, I went into a rather startling rendition of the carol, “The Holly and the Ivy,” followed by my arrangement of the main theme of “Jupiter,” from The Planets by Gustav Holst.  That segues into the time-honored Martin Luther hymn: “Holy Holy Holy.”   Here’s the youtube:

I hope you enjoyed that!  Happy Holidays to you — and to yours.  

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Are You Homeless?

I walked into the Courtyard Cafe this morning wearing my running shoes with spikes on.  We need to wear spikes around here to walk comfortably in the treacherous snow.  My ordinary shoes were slung across my shoulder as usual.

I asked a worker here if the spikes were creating dimples in the hardwood floor.  He said they probably were.   I mentioned that I hadn’t been in Idaho for very long, and I was still getting used to all this stuff.

Suddenly, a lady sitting across the way asked me: “Are you homeless?”

“No, I’m not,” I replied.  “But I’m curious.  That’s an odd question.   People don’t generally ask me if I’m ‘homeless.’   What prompted you to ask that?   Is it the way I look?   The beanie?  The beard?”

Ando Smiling“No,” she said, possibly lying. 

See that guy to the right?   That’s how I look.  This is my most recent look, after having lived for just about a year and a half now, here in Idaho, after escaping twelve years of on-and-off-again homelessness (mostly “on”) in a State I hope I never have to set foot in again, quite frankly.

“You’re dressed like every other guy in this town,” she continued, possibly telling the truth.   

(I did notice upon moving to this particular city that just about every man in my age group wore a beanie or cap, had a beard, and usually carried a backpack.  It made it easy on me.  Nobody assumed I was “homeless.”)

“You said you were new in Idaho, so I thought you might have been homeless.  I’m sorry if I offended you.”

“No, you didn’t offend me at all,” I clarified.  “Nothing wrong with being homeless.  I just wondered what it was about me that got you to think so.”

She drew a breath.  “A lot of people who are new to Idaho were homeless in another State.  It’s because here, people are just people.  They don’t judge you for being homeless in a place like this.   They don’t think of you as a scum bag or a loser.  They just figure you’re down on your luck – and they try to help you out.”

“Are you homeless?”  I asked.

“No,” she replied, looking a bit puzzled.  

She then walked to the counter and came back with a breakfast for me in a to-go box.

“Merry Christmas,” she smiled — and walked out.  

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Source of Happiness

feed starving artist

WordPress, as we all know, is free.  I paid an annual fee to get the domain name, and another annual fee to remove the ads and gain access to chat support.   The total is $35.99 a year, which I suppose even an impoverished sort such as myself ought to have been able to come up with.

However, I was working when I made that decision.  I am unemployed and considered disabled at the present time.  Long story short, the automatic payment failed.  So I contacted WordPress with these words:

I don’t have any money right now.  I didn’t get a warning on this.  I’m disabled and I don’t get paid again until the beginning of January.  Is there any way I can get an extension?  WordPress is my main source of happiness.

(To say that WordPress is my “main” source of happiness was a bit hyperbolic, but I did want to let them know how much I appreciate this site.) Anyway, this was the very kind reply I got from the Happiness Engineer, who will remain unidentified:

Your plan doesn’t expire until January 16, 2018, so you can definitely wait until the beginning of January to pay for your site. To make a payment manually, you can go here:

https://wordpress.com/me/purchases

If we can help with anything else, please let us know.

Resting assured that I wasn’t going to be thrust into the red or robbed of my wherewithal, I relaxed.   In the meantime, a friend of mine on the East Coast wired me fifty bucks for groceries.  Then suddenly, I received a mysterious receipt for my “payment.”  My response:

Um, I think there has been a mistake?  I told you I could not pay this till January.
You said it was not due till January.  Then all of a sudden I get a “receipt” for a payment.  I check, and it was taken out of my PayPal.

And what can I say?  I was honest with you.  I told you I am poor and disabled.
You told me it was not due till January 15th.  I agreed to pay it at the beginning of the month, when I get my check.  You robbed me of my grocery money.

Please return every penny of that 35.99 that you robbed from me to my account.  My PayPal is andrewpope109@gmail.com.  Thank you.

Their reply:

Looks like the subscription renewed automatically. I apologize about the trouble!  I’ve gone ahead and gave you a full refund, and you should see the money returned to your account in 5-7 days.

To let you pay for this on January 15, 2018, I prepared an invoice for you here:

https://manualpayments.wordpress.com/?u=24d2cbc6a1

If there is anything else I can do for you, let me know!

Note the grammatical licentiousness here:  “I’ve gone ahead and gave you a full refund.”  I thought that was cute.  Anyway, here’s what I had to say next:

To “let” me pay for it on January 15th?  It was not DUE until January 15th!!!

So I hear Automattic is hiring?  Do they take long distance employees?  Or do I have to move back to San Fran and probably land on the streets again?

Thank you for taking care of this.  I’ll send you the medical bill for the heart attack you just gave me.  Enjoy your day.   I suppose I can go another 5-7 days without eating until this clears.
 
Take care and God bless you.  (At least you didn’t get away with it.)  Geeze….
Their reply:
 

Glad to be of help! Have a nice day as well.   If anything else comes up, please let us know!

In conclusion, if anybody mistakenly thinks that this post is a “cry for help” and not a social statement, please refer to the blog post simply entitled Social Statement, and then read The Story on the home page of this web site, in order to find out what Eden in Babylon is all about.
 
Dayight’s burning, peeps.  Let’s get this show on the road. 
 

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Anything Helps – God Bless!