Category Archives: Mission Statement

Social Media Oblivion Retrospective


On March 1st of 2018, I decided to do an experiment: see if I could go an entire month without checking my various social media outlets*. I was heavily active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and instead of taking a day off, I decided I was going to go for an entire month. Go big or go home, right? I had a few reasons:

  1. Quite simply, the companies behind these platforms are awful. I really shouldn’t have to go into detail about just how poorly these companies behave, about how badly they treat their users, and just what terrible corporate citizens they are.
  2. Social media was really negatively impacting my headspace. It’s no secret that use of social media makes us lonelier and more depressed, and that’s exactly what was happening. We typically only see our contacts’ best lives or worst drama, and we judge ourselves against that – I was completely guilty of this and it was dragging me to bad places.
  3. It was pretty much an obsession. Multiple updates per day, constantly checking for updates, needing it like a fix. In addition to not doing me any favors mentally, it was keeping me hooked.

So I decided to turn off for a bit and see if I could do it. Turns out, I could. On April 1st, after completing the month-long challenge, I deleted my Twitter and Instagram completely. I had to keep Facebook around due to connections and related apps, but I stopped logging in, and that went away in a few months.

A bit of clarification – I was very strict about how I used my various social media platforms, at least with Twitter and Facebook. Twitter was largely “interest” stuff, and the people I communicated with there were almost all people I’d never met, or maybe shared space with once. Facebook, on the other hand, was reserved solely for people I had met in person and was friends with. People I was likely to invite to a party.

Now it’s been over a year, and I’ve been “clean” the entire time. So, what has that been like?

To be honest, I don’t miss the constant deluge of information. I used to get all of my news from social media, and with plentiful commentary, but now I get it from other sources. I don’t get dragged into ridiculous arguments online. I don’t feel the need for instant validation.

On the other hand, I miss my community. I’m an introvert, so I don’t reach out to people, which means that I effectively lost my larger friend group when I disconnected from social media. That’s a function of how we operate now, for better or worse – I could rail against it and condemn it here, but I won’t, because it is what it is.

Last month I unexpectedly and suddenly lost the bulk of my in-person community, that is, my job. Not having the fallback of a larger friend community, one not built on the structure of showing up to work every day, was a much bigger deal than I realized. As I said, I’m an introvert – I don’t generally reach out, it’s just not how I operate (although I am working on that). Likewise, I don’t expect other people to reach out to me. It’s a two way street, why should I expect it from others if I don’t? So it’s not as if I’ve been sitting here wondering why few people have called over the last year. I haven’t called them, either.

Facebook made that communication easy. I could drop a quick note as a comment, basically a tap on the shoulder letting someone know I was there, and that was enough for me. People also organize via Facebook. Parties, simple get-togethers, etc. I know I did. Recently, I heard second-hand about a gathering I would have loved to have attended, with people I miss dearly and have thought about a lot over the past year. I thought about throwing my annual St. Patrick’s Day party, but didn’t want to send out a hundred text messages, and realized I didn’t even have all the numbers for people I wanted to invite. I felt entirely cut off from the world, and damned if that isn’t depressing and isolating.

Damned if I do, damned if I don’t, I guess.

So I suppose I’m going to get back on Facebook. The last year has taught me a lot of things about my interaction with social media, so I go back with eyes open and a set of rules.

  1. Stay off the damn thing. I don’t need it, I know I don’t need it, so I’m not going to be checking it every five minutes. Once every few days, just to see what’s up.
  2. Screw the “Like” button. I’m going to actually use words.
  3. Make a point to actually communicate with the people I’m friends with, not just collect them like Pokémon.
  4. With all of that in mind, try my best to deny Facebook the entirety of my existence.

So yeah, I’m back.

*LinkedIn is not a social media platform, regardless of what they would have you believe, and aside from job hunting, I don’t check the damn thing all that much because IT IS NOT A SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM.


I made only one official New Year’s resolution last year, which was to lose 30 pounds.  Considering the time-worn tradition of making such laughable resolutions and not following through, I figured I’d aim high.

It took me until June to actually attempt to start, so I was off to a good start.  However, by October, I was pretty much done.  I’ve gained about 3 pounds back from my low, but as of this time last year, I weighed about 210lbs, and I’m at 178 today.

2015 was, by many measures, a year I can only describe with a great deal of profanity, and I will be pleased to see it consigned to to the toilet bowl of history.  In that spirit, I have compiled a new list of resolutions for the coming year. We’ll check back in a year to see how I did.

  1. Only wildly overspend and fret over the perfect gift for people who will appreciate it. Do all the rest of my shopping at the dollar store.
    I am notorious for overspending on my significant other, even when they do not reciprocate. Now that my significant other is significantly less significant, I need to stop doing that, because they are significantly underspending now.
  2. Keep my friends close, and keep my enemies out of my business.  Social media interactions with people I know in real life are being culled to a segment of people who a) want to continue to be linked to me and b) haven’t tried to stick a knife in my back over the last few months.
  3. Lose the last 10 or so pounds I need to lose.  Getting to 168 would put me into ‘average weight’ on the BMI chart, which I know is complete nonsense, but it will make me feel better about myself.
  4. Work this ball of flab into some semblance of shape.  Despite losing 30 pounds, I am still not what one would consider all that attractive in the midsection.  Flatter, to be sure, but still quite slug-like.
  5. Write at least one blog post a month here.  Because I need to get back to writing.

That’s it.  I’m working on becoming a better human being, but that’s always going to be a work in progress with little in the way of quantifiable success.  These are solid goals.

So, as it says at the top of the page, Slàinte Mhath, and a happy New Year.

Moving right along (left along? whatever)…

Ha ha suckers!  In under the one year mark!

But yeah I’ve horribly neglected this blog.  I’m going to try to fix that.  Probably won’t, though.

Here’s my Political Compass results for the year:



That’s -9.12 Economic, -8.67 Social, which is pretty much inside my average for the last four years.  Still a pinko commie bastard.  Here’s my results from previous years, if you’re keeping score.

Checking My Political Compass

There’s this neat website I found around a decade ago called the Political Compass.  It’s basically a short test with a number of rather generic questions about your views on various economic and social issues.  It’s short – takes about five minutes – and it gives you an X/Y axis position for your political views.  The X axis represents your economic views, from left to right, and the Y axis represents your social views, from the extremes of Authoritarian to Libertarian.

The test forces you to answer all of the questions, and gives you four options: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree and Strongly Agree, which prevents hedging.  It forces you to take a stance.  The best part is that after it’s done asking you its analysis questions, it gives you your results!   That’s right, no entering your email or a ton of demographic questions.  It’s just a test to give you a result.

I take this test every year in May.  It happens in May because that’s the first time I took it, and just happened to take it again almost exactly a year later.  Now, I take it once a year in May, kind of as a benchmark for where I’m at.  Spoiler alert: there are only minor fluctuations in my numbers after 2005.

Here are my results for 2013:

That’s -9.00 Economic, -8.05 Social.  Basically, I’m a left libertarian.  Waaaay left libertarian.

Now, the fun comes with the analysis of where I measure up compared to the various 2012 Presidential candidates.  You might be surprised to see Barack Obama hanging out within one point of his “ideological opposite” Mitt Romney up in right-wing authoritarian land, but if you are, that means you really haven’t been paying attention.

Here are my previous nine results:

May 2012: -9.62 / -7.38

May 2011: -9.12 / -8.21

May 2010:  -8.12 / -8.67

May 2009: -7.88 / -7.44

May 2008: -7.50 / -6.97

May 2007: -7.75 / -7.49

May 2006: -8.50 / -7.33

May 2005: -7.25 / -8.51

May 2004t: -8.00 / -5.79

So go take the test!  I love seeing where other people place on the spectrum.

This is the story so far…

From 2005 to around 2010 I blogged fairly regularly, first on my now-defunct LiveJournal, and then on a more politically-centered WordPress site.  Unfortunately, Facebook and Twitter came along and wrecked up the joint.  All of my friends fled LiveJournal for Facebook, so I didn’t really have an audience anymore for the long screeds I was routinely cranking out.  I migrated over to WordPress for most of that, but eventually the lure of 140 characters drowned that out, and the posts became less and less frequent.  Eventually, an entire year had passed since my last post, and I knew that the experiment was over.

But I’ve got all this stuff in my head that I want to fling at the Internet!

So here I am, back again with another blog.  This time, I’m going for a rather broad spectrum, just like my Twitter account.  I’m not going to limit my time here to any one subject, but I can guarantee a standard level of vitriol, dark humor and sarcasm.  Sports, politics, gaming, religion, music; these are the many and diverse subjects that I intend to vent my spleen over.

Finally, an explanation of the title of the blog, Slàinte Mhath.  Slàinte is Gaelic for “health,” and is a traditional Celtic toast.  The extended form, the version I use when raising a pint or a dram with friends and family, is slàinte mhath, or “good health” in the Scottish Gaelic.  Of course, it’s Gaelic, and those people have no respect whatsoever for the English or their way of pronouncing the Latin alphabet. It’s not “slayntee mahath.” It’s pronounced “slahncha va.” Get it right.

It also happens to be the title of an awesome song by Marillion. If you don’t know who Marillion is, well, now’s the time to find out.