My Future On Facebook

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This is a blog entry I hoped I would never have to write, and until 2019, would never have given a second thought to. But the world has changed, and I refuse to change with it, so now this is a point that I need to address. I wanted to take some time to think about it, collect thoughts and opinions and then make a final, sound decision.

Some of what I’m going to discuss here is going to sound like I’m beating a dead horse, but I hope this will be the definitive piece on Facebook for the foreseeable future. I am looking at this piece more as a warning and guide to others than a complaint session for myself. I think those with experience need to lend it to the younger generations.

I first became aware of social networking back in the late summer of 2005, a woman I was friends with explained the concept to me, as she had just joined MySpace and said I should create a profile as well. The idea fascinated me, and I figured it would be a good way to network with other White Sox fans, since being stuck in the mountains of West Virginia offered very little, nay, nothing, in terms of other White Sox fans to know.

So, in September 2005, I created my first MySpace account.

It wasn’t until 2006 I managed to wrangle my first White Sox friend. In 2007 I closed that first account and opened a new one because I didn’t like the screen name and URL I had given myself (ACDCFanatic1977). The new account featured the screen name WhiteSoxFan1977. That fit the persona of who I actually am much closer.

Not to say I don’t love AC/DC, but I also love other bands. The White Sox are the only baseball team I watch and follow, so the new name was a much better fit.

When I created that new account, I also created a profile on the new social media website that was drawing a lot of attention: Facebook. Also under WhiteSoxFan1977.

By late 2008 I was spending far more time on Facebook than MySpace. Facebook had a more mature feel. MySpace felt like it was a social network for children.

Then in 2009, during the World Series, I started my first Twitter account.

In the summer of 2010, I had let stupidity run amok in my life and people were starting to suffocate me, so rather than just blocking said people, I decided the right thing to do was close all my social networks and start new ones, under the URL Connorms8.

This name had no special meaning but had been given to me by Netscape in 2005. It was easy to remember and I thought it poetic to use, at a time of new beginnings.

Facebook and Twitter were easily started and filled quickly with friends and contacts. But MySpace was another story entirely. When I had closed my previous account, I had over 800 people on my friends list. When I opened the new account, I managed to compile less than 50 over a month’s time. People just weren’t using MySpace anymore.

I kept my MySpace account open until the spring of 2011, and then decided it was more bother than it was worth for the lack of action that was happening on there. I closed it and never looked back. Besides, I had Facebook and focused my energies there.

Fast forward to December 2012. I went through an ugly breakup of a two-year relationship and wanted to start with a clean slate and no mention of said relationship in my social networking pages. So, I closed my accounts, again, and started anew. Again.

In those days, starting a new account was a very simple procedure. Go to the Facebook home page, click on “new account,” fill in your name, email and password and you would then receive an email to verify your account, and you were good to go. Upload, post, comment, like to your heart’s content. But if you overdid it, you would be given a warning to “slow down” and if you continued at that pace, you would receive a 24-hour block from being able to like or message or whatever you had done to violate the rules.

I still have those same accounts, dating to December 2012 to this day. After a second ugly split with a girl in December 2017, I was desirous of starting clean again but decided the amount of work that went into it didn’t justify losing seven years of my life online. After all, I had wasted seven years in the flesh and didn’t feel like losing it on Facebook as well. So, I scrolled back through the years, month by month and day by day and deleted anything related to the relationship and felt like that would be good enough.

Everything seems to have changed in 2019. And I don’t like it one bit.

Consider first that I have had one Facebook account or another since the summer of 2007. Over 12 years. And in that 12 year period, I have been “blocked” for “violating Facebook policies” a total of five times. Oddly enough, all five times have come in 2019.

In 2017 I was accused of “posting spam” but after asking Facebook for a review, the “spam” I was posting were White Sox stories from established Chicago media and my posts were put back and no further action was taken. So that doesn’t count on any level.

I was sent to Facebook jail five times in 2019 over memes, and not one of those memes violated Facebook’s vague “community standards,” which are available to peruse in the “help” section of Facebook. My memes were generally reported under the “hate speech” banner, even though no hate speech was present whatsoever and in a courtroom Facebook would have looked more ignorant than they already look at this point.

One of the posts I spent 3 days in Facebook jail over was a meme I reposted from my own wall. I posted it originally in 2017, with no issues whatsoever. When I reposted it in 2019, it violated Facebook’s “community standards” and I spent 3 days in “jail.”

Even better came a post after that, a meme that was flagged for “nudity” despite the fact that no part of anyone’s body is actually visible in the meme except a child’s head. I asked Facebook for a review and it was determined that the meme did not, in fact, violate the “community standards” and there was no nudity in the meme. The meme was restored to my wall and Facebook went ahead and left me blocked for an entire week.

My most recent stretch of incarceration, 30 days, was quite ironic. I posted a meme about people being “butthurt” over posts, which someone reported and I was hit with another “hate speech” violation. I decided I had just about had it with that account and decided the time had come to start all new accounts. It had taken less than that before to make me want to wipe the slate clean, and the slate was looking pretty bad now.

But it wasn’t to be. The Facebook sign up process, at least for me, is an impossible bridge to pass. In spite of the fact that I know numerous people with numerous accounts (and, in fact, when you close your account and are asked why, one of the options is “I have another account,” so it’s not exactly a rules violation) I am allowed only one account.

Facebook also does not give any information in regard to rules violations, in terms of “how many likes are too many” or anything, and no warnings are offered. If you broke a rule, you’re going to Facebook Jail. Whether the violation actually broke a rule or not, and it takes one time to break the “rules,” even if you didn’t know you were breaking the rules. It is Nazism at its worst. All in the name of creating some kind of utopia for people to feel “safe,” while allowing muslim beheading videos and suicide videos to flourish.

When I signed up to create a new account, I verified my email and then was asked to verify my cell phone number. Since my cell number is verified with my old account, and I can’t remove it due to my “incarceration,” I used my mom’s cell phone and verified the number. I was then asked to send in a head shot. Which I did. This still didn’t allow me to start a new account, Facebook actually asked me to show them my driver’s license.

This should be illegal, and there is no justification for having to show anything beyond a verified email and/or cell phone number. This is social networking. It’s actual level of importance is, shall we say, a few steps lower than what it thinks it really is.

So, after refusing to show them my driver’s license, my account was closed down.

Which brings me to today. I have one Facebook account (JasonConnor612), which is connected to my one cell phone and my one email account. It connects to my one Twitter account, my one Instagram account and my one WordPress blog account. And I have six days to go before my account is supposed to be unlocked and I am allowed to access it again to like and post and message. But I am wondering if that will happen now.

On top of wondering if I am going to be punished for attempting to create a new account, there is also the fact that over the past month, I have become much more comfortable posting to Twitter (where I actually have nearly 200 more followers than I have Facebook friends) for my White Sox friends and Instagram for those that enjoy my memes.

In the event that I am able to return to my Facebook account, things are going to be a lot different than they were previously. I’m not going to allow whoever found it amusing to report my mundane memes to ruin the party for me. Nor am I going to allow Facebook to ruin the fact that I can’t open a new account. I am going to cut my Facebook posting back to White Sox stories (they will be the “B side” to Twitter being the “A” side) and most of my memes will find their way to Instagram, rather than being posted on Facebook.

In fact, if I post one meme a day on Facebook, that will be more than I expect now.

I sincerely hope whoever decided to report me has unfriended me, which was certainly the better way to handle things. There is nothing so pathetic as a snitch who reports that they’ve been “offended” by something while sitting there with their toothy grin acting like they accomplished something. No one is impressed and no one cares except you.

Amazingly, I have posted hundreds of memes or just straight up photos of women in every stage of undress (including fully nude but now actually showing any of the “good” parts)and none of those posts were ever flagged for anything. I have posted many videos from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit page and those have included topless women but those are fine. I get Facebook jail for posts about butthurt people and pictures of a plate of bacon.

I’ll continue to post my bikini girl posts and dare Facebook to call me on a violation of something an accredited page has posted. That is where I will finally draw the line.

I have heard conflicting reports as to what happens on a sixth “community standards” violation, on one hand I have heard a 60 day violation and on the other I have heard it leads to a lifetime ban. Either way, I will consider it a lifetime ban because I will be finished with the site for the rest of my life. I have better things to do with my time.

Over the 24 days I have been in “Facebook Jail” during this current incarceration period, I have read a number of articles on a number of websites about people leaving Facebook behind for good and being happy about the decision. I can certainly see why that is the case. From the vague “community standards” that fail to disclose exactly what is being violated to the draconian “Facebook jail” to the different sets of rules for different users to the politically correct climate we live in, Facebook just isn’t working out for me.

Going forward, Facebook will be nothing more to me than a repository for White Sox news articles (and a place to discuss same), SI Swimsuit photos and videos, occasional memes that are Sesame Street-approved that I can’t find any way they could be deemed offensive by anyone whatsoever and a way to maintain contact with my friends on messenger. I will be incredibly discriminating when it comes to accepting new friends and a new friend purge will being the morning I have regained access to my account. I will never again get involved with a woman I meet on Facebook, as I have a 0% success rate there.

Though to be fair, when it comes to women, I have a 0% success rate in life. That’s why I’m finished with dating for 2020, and even if I do decide to return in 2021 or sometime after, I’ll find some other way of meeting women. It will not happen on Facebook again.

So, on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, I’ll make my return to Facebook, more than likely, unless additional action is taken against me for attempting to start a new account. If that’s the case, my account will be on a razor’s edge, but not from the website, from me. The first time something rubs me the wrong way, I am out and gone for good. I don’t need Facebook to make me happy or to network with White Sox friends or to post memes.

My aggravation has far outweighed my happiness in 2019, to a point which I consider it one of the worst years of my life and Facebook figures prominently in the reasoning. I will be quick on the draw going forward and not waiting around for another miscarriage of justice, I’ve dealt with enough of those in 2019. It will be a different matter in 2020.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Peace.

Quick Thoughts by Jason J. Connor

Quick-Thoughts

“QUICK THOUGHTS”

– I have said on multiple occasions that as bad as the past 10 years have been, 2019 was one of the better years of the decade. That was just a straight up, boldfaced lie. The fact is, 2019 has been as bad as most and worse than many. Five stints in Facebook Jail (including one instance in which I was cleared of any wrongdoing but just left in Facebook Jail for a week anyway) after zero the previous 12 years… Dealing with women I should never have given a second glance to but keeping one around for nearly a month and another for nearly TEN months… Another losing season by the Chicago White Sox (seventh in a row and ten out of 11 overall)… All this promise for a big offseason that just melted away last night with Rick Hahn’s “no urgency to do anything” white flag speech… The only thing that has separated 2019 from any other year is it’s the first time since 2010 that I haven’t wanted to die at some point during the year, so I guess I have that going for me, or something.

– I don’t know what changed with Facebook in 2019 but the Gestapo would fear Facebook had it been around in the 1930s and 1940s. In the old days, you could start an account with an email address, verify the address and you’re good to go. If you violated the ridiculous “too many likes, too fast” rule, you got multiple warnings before they shut down your ability to “like” for 24 hours. And I imagine you would have to go pretty far afield to get put in Facebook jail. In 2019, starting a new account (or attempting to, in my case, because I’m not allowed, for some reason) included email verification, cell phone number verification, head shot photo and, amazingly, driver’s license verification. To start a page on a free social networking site. If you somehow manage to get an account, and you “like” too much, too fast? Instant 30 day block. No warning, no word on how many “likes” are too many, just an instantaneous block for 30 days. And if someone just doesn’t like you? They can report a post and you can go to Facebook jail for offending someone over literally anything.

– For the first time in my life, “I’m not going to date next year” has gotten a 100% positive reaction from everyone I know. That tells you just how bad things have actually gotten. No longer do I get “you just haven’t met the right woman yet” or “things will improve.” Now everyone agrees it’s best if I just remove myself from the situation at large and stop pretending that, at age 42, I’m gonna walk into the forest and find Sleeping Beauty laying there just waiting for me. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I think in the long run it’s going to be a lot better for me, mentally and emotionally.

– It’s hard being a White Sox fan. Listening to Kenny Williams walk into the GM meetings last month talking about how it’s “business as usual, but much more.” Then a month later hearing that there is no urgency to do anything, straight from the mouth of Rick Hahn. Seven straight losing seasons? There clearly has never been any urgency. We’re just happy to show up, take our ass-whooping and go home. For those who aren’t Sox savvy, the White Sox have won three World Series titles in the past 119 years, the first in 1906, the second in 1917 and the third in 2005. They also played in the 1959 World Series and lost. Now if anything says “no urgency,” I think that speaks volumes.

– I have really high hopes for 2020 and the decade of the 2020s. But every day things just seem a little less optimistic and a little more “here we go again.” My personal failings are generally self-induced, like my awful taste in women and my stubbornness when it comes to walking away from a situation that is not ideal. But other issues, like Facebook, I can’t take much personal responsibility for. A week in Facebook jail over a meme about a plate of bacon? Find one person on earth that would be offended by that. Besides some towelhead, I mean. The beheading videos are fine, just don’t show a plate of bacon or someone will be offended. Yeah, that’s me being singled out. That’s someone with an ax to grind or Facebook itself deciding to make an example of someone. And it’s me.

– I’m dedicating 2020 to good cigars, good liquor, good food, good friends and White Sox baseball. It’s going to be the year I turn my life around and focus on me and not hours in front of my phone with some harlot, or on the couch in my man cave with some harlot, or with some harlot in any way, shape or form. And if 2020 turns out as badly as the previous 15 years, I don’t know what to do.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Peace.

2020: A New Beginning And A New Era

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As I have hopefully made clear in previous posts, I am really ready for the decade of the 2010s to end. This has been the worst decade of my life by a wide margin. In fact, this has been the first decade of my life I would give a failing grade to. I am a generally positive person who can see the good in a bad situation but the good from the 2010s are few and far between.

This blog will not be beating a dead horse and looking back at all that toxic negativity. This blog is about hope, positivity and the future. I think the 2020s have a chance to be great.

I also want to lay out what I want to accomplish as we reach the dawn of a new era.

What has me most excited for the 2020s is the ascension of the Chicago White Sox from laughingstock of Major League Baseball to a viable contender for a World Series title. The decade of the 2010s was just as bad for my favorite baseball team as it was for me. From 2010 through 2019, the White Sox had one (1) winning season out of 10, in 2012, when they finished 85-77 and in second place in the American League Central. Other than that, nothing but negatives.

That is changing, however, as the rebuild that began in late 2016 is starting to bear fruit. It will be fun to follow the team as they continue their improvement for the next several years.

On a personal level, there are a lot of things I want to see change from the 2010s into the 2020s. Physically, mentally and emotionally. I have figured out my mistakes and I am ready to not only stop making them but to move on from them and forget them. Leave the past in the past.

Physically, while I made some strides in 2019, I am far from a finished product. Probably 60 pounds, at least, need to be removed from me when I step on the scale. I want to start making a workout program part of every day, much like I did back in my younger days. In my early 20s, I participated in a weight training program seven days a week and was very happy with myself. I was at my physical peak then. Right now I’m not. I’m still showing the effects of the past ten years and I want to put that in full reversal, with losing weight being the most important. I lost a lot of hair, especially in the latter part of the decade from stress, and am considering just shaving my head. This has been frowned upon by some female acquaintances, but more on that later.

I plan on working out my exercise program in the next week or so, I want to do some combination of weight training and aerobic, while adding endurance exercises later on in 2020.

I debate daily on keeping my beard or trimming it down to a notch above a five-o’clock shadow look. I’ll never go clean-shaven again, but the mountain man look may be a little too much.

I’m thinking maybe a basic buzz cut, not a razor-shaven bald head, with a light beard.

I look young for my age in spite of what stress has done to me in the 2010s and I don’t want to lose that. I have watched my mom age 30 years in the past five and I don’t want to do that at 42 years old. My mom didn’t start to really age until she was 80. I want that kind of longevity.

I also have to start getting more sleep, which means going to bed earlier and actually going to sleep, rather than surfing the web on my phone and being in bed for eight hours but only sleeping for four. I have to make myself understand that the internet will still be there in the morning.

So, if I can drop about 60 pounds, get the “look” that I want and get some sleep, I’ll consider that a victory and a good beginning for the decade. There is no reason I can’t accomplish those goals.

From a mental standpoint, there is a lot I want to do on many fronts. I want to learn. I want to put my mind to work more than I have in the past 15 years. That means exchanging girls for academics, on whatever level of academics I happen to land. I enjoyed scratching the surface on my scientific learning in 2019 and certainly hope to continue that, just on an expanded basis.

Other subjects I would like to study more in-depth include the American Civil War, of which I have been a knowledge sponge for decades. I love American history but haven’t done enough about it. I have a lot of information at my disposal and intend on packing my brain with that info.

Also on the mental side of things, I want to put more time into my MLB The Show franchise on the PlayStation 4. This has been a desire of mine dating back to the mid-1990s, when I was playing Ken Griffey, Jr.’s Winning Run on the Super Nintendo. I want to play the part of general manager and build the White Sox like I was running the team. I have been through a number of video games in an attempt to do this, including every MLB offering from Sony since MLB 98 over 20 years ago. If I fail in this endeavor again, I have a secondary option I would like to give a try to again.

Back in the 1990s, I enjoyed playing NCAA Football games and “creating” myself at UCLA, playing my career there, and then getting drafted into the NFL. The earliest version of this started in 1995, my senior year in high school. I haven’t given it a real try since 2001, but if MLB The Show fails, 2020 may be the time to do it, 25 years after the original run. I have to use outdated games (NCAA Football 14 is the newest to be released due to licensing issues, but it will have to do).

More importantly, from a standpoint of my mental health, is to nurture my friendships with the people who actually care about me and to eliminate the toxic people from my life. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I have a really bad habit of being involved with toxic people. And this is not a new phenomenon, this has followed me for most of my life, for at least 30 years now. I need to stop dealing with people who either don’t have my best interests at heart or who only want me around for what I can do for them, or who just get a kick out of seeing me miserable.

Most importantly, it’s beyond time for me to accept defeat and put an end to my lifelong pointless attempt to meet a woman and fall in love. This exercise in futility was put to bed in 1996 but for some reason in 2005 I decided to try again and from 2005 through 2019 I have experienced one failure after another, in the worst-case scenarios I could have lost my life and in the best-case scenarios I suffered daily anxiety, and there is no way that’s the desired result in a relationship. The fact is, I’ve always known I was better off alone and now I am all in on that theory.

This is not a “you’ll meet the right woman someday” kind of thing, I have put that idea away a long time ago. I live in a low-population area and I’m not doing long distance, so I have exhausted all local options and am going to make a point of avoiding anything that may introduce anyone new into the equation. The only way I would even consider entering the dating pool again is if I move out of this God-forsaken area and have an entirely new demographic to work through.

Even then, I’ll be a bit standoffish, but I would definitely be a lot more open to “fate.”

Emotionally, a lot of these changes will help me eliminate the stress and anxiety I feel most days that I just try to suppress. The problem is, suppressing stress and anxiety is what got me into the physical wreck I am today. From 2010 to 2017 I put on almost 100 pounds, lost a lot of hair, suffered from stomach ulcers, lack of sleep, twitching eyes, a wrecked immune system and migraine headaches. As I eliminated the stress and anxiety, a lot of these things began to clear up. If I can eliminate all of them, I can begin to rebuild the wreckage that was once my body.

I have also been trying to “clean up my act” a bit on social networking. I am in the midst of a 30-day suspension on Facebook that could lead to a lifetime ban from what I have read and having my account permanently closed, due to memes I have posted that were considered “offensive.” This is borderline hilarious, due to the fact that one of the times I was sent to Facebook jail I reposted a meme I had posted one year previously and nothing was said about it. In fact, I have spent five hitches in Facebook jail in my life and all five were in 2019. In the previous 12 years, I had never been in Facebook jail. Once, I was accused of “posting spam,” which was actually White Sox news stories. I fought the law and I won, as my stories were returned to my wall and no action was taken. I can say 2019 was the worst year I ever spent on Facebook and I hope that will improve going forward, assuming I have a Facebook account to go back to in two weeks time.

I have cleaned up all the sexual posts, bad language posts and the kinds of things that make one look less intelligent or socially unacceptable. I also plan to ravage my friends list and remove people that shouldn’t be there, and I will be very discriminating going forward in terms of who is allowed into my circle. There will be a solid vetting process with who gets into my life.

So, if I can work myself back into shape, get the look I want, eliminate the stress and negativity and toxicity from my life, start learning again, accomplish what I want on MLB The Show (preferably) or NCAA Football, successfully end my dating life and make my social networking pages a reflection of the guy I actually am rather than the off-color comedian I had always wanted to be, I will consider 2020 to be a success. And I think if I accomplish even 10% of my goals, 2020 will be a major improvement over 2019 and a massive improvement over the rest of the 2010s.

I’m staking a claim on the 2020s as “my decade,” the one where I bring out the best in myself and allow God to put me where I should be rather than fighting tooth and nail to make bad decisions and put myself into problem areas that I should never have been involved with in the first place. I have the tools and the ability to make the best of this decade and I’ll do everything I can to accomplish that goal. I want to forget the 2010s ever happened and look strictly forward.

There is no reason I can’t be living my best life in 2020 and every year after that. Its just a matter of actually applying myself to the task at hand and doing it. There is nothing holding me back. If I were to fail, I have no one to blame but myself. But I’m going to do all I can to succeed.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Peace.

Escape From My Toxic Mental Prison

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In my previous blog entry, I discussed the fact that the decade of the 2010s was the worst of my life, by far. I also discussed how I had high hopes for the 2020s.

A major part of what I’m leaving behind in the 2010s and looking forward to in the 2020s is the escape from my toxic mental prison that the 2010s are responsible for.

The fact is, the vast majority of problems I mentioned in the previous blog were self-inflicted. I ended up in a toxic mental prison through my own stupid decisions. My inability to walk away from toxic situations rather than being inundated by them has been at the forefront of my problems for as long as I can remember. They have just gotten worse in the past 15 years and especially in the past nine years. That will be changing now.

I am trimming people out of my life at a rate I have never even come close to previously. Rather than letting other people dictate my life to me, I have become proactive in this area. I’m tired of putting myself second and always kowtowing to people who don’t deserve that kind of respect from me. I’m just tired of always feeling like I’m drowning.

I have even fought with myself about things I should have just let go.

I am making a point of removing any woman from my life who had any kind of romantic interest in me because no matter what the future does hold for me, a relationship will not be among them. There is no kind of toxicity worse than a relationship and I know that from every one I have ever been in, or ever considered or wanted. That’s not for me.

Furthermore, I am eliminating people who only have me around for their own selfish gain. This hitch in Facebook jail has shown me who is and is not a real friend. Some friends have reached out to me through other means (text message, Instagram, Twitter) while others have just sat and waited for my return. Others still have unfriended me.

Good riddance for good to that last group. Whoever they are, they need to stay away.

Basically, it’s time to strip away all the people in my life who are not White Sox networking friends, and my inner circle of one. I need to clear not only my life but my conscience as well. I need this for my mental health, my self-esteem and my will to live.

I’m so tired of living on pins and needles, worrying about what is going to befall me day after day. That doesn’t work for me. I’m tired of being upset, stressed and angry and rotating between those emotions. I’m ready to be happy, I think I have earned it.

In 17 days, I get out of Facebook jail and I will begin blocking people who have caused me to feel this toxicity. In 28 days, the calendar turns over to a new decade and it’s time to turn things around. The 2010s did a lot of damage and it’s time to clean up the mess.

Peace.

The New Era Begins

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Around noon on Saturday, August 24, 2019, the new era begins.

The new era of me on social media.

There will be changes. Not just cosmetic changes (i.e. a new profile pic) but real change, change in substance and change in style.

My reputation precedes me when it comes to the ladies; I love girls, I always have and I always will. There is nothing more beautiful than the human female form, it’s perfect, down to the last detail. And I have always celebrated the female form on my social networking sites, be it in the form of memes or just basic photos of women in various stages of undress.

My male friends have long enjoyed these posts, as have I. However, due to the changing nature of the beast we call Facebook, I will no longer be posting these memes or photos because one person’s simple photo celebrating a beautiful woman is another person’s reason to come unhinged and report the photo as being something it is not.

This will also apply to my memes that are not about celebrating the female body. In the past I had no reservations about posting memes on any subject, no matter how controversial, so long as they were funny. I have no learned that literally anything can be perceived as “offensive” if a person wants to be despicable enough. So I will no longer post anything that could be in any way perceived as offensive to anyone, which means no memes about women in any way, no memes about relationships or marriage, no political memes or anything connected.

From here on out, my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts will feature Chicago White Sox stories, stat pieces and news, which has been a hallmark of my social media presentations for over a decade, and my memes will be the most mundane I can find, featuring Star Trek, science, cats and dogs, pun humor (as long as it’s not sexual in nature) and nothing featuring any level of bad language. Everything right down to the word “damn” is now persona non grata on my wall. My wall, and profile, will be the height of class and dignity from now on.

And I don’t want it to sound like I am doing this against my will, per se. Yes, I enjoyed posting beautiful women for everyone to enjoy, I enjoy dirty jokes and limericks and puns as much as the next person (and maybe more so), but I am not taking any chances on being locked out of my account for an entire month, especially since I am the only person on earth who is not allowed to have a secondary account; I attempted to start one and it was closed on me.

I also would like to change the narrative about myself.

While there has always been enjoyment in posting as I have posted in the past, there is also the thought of how I am perceived online, and “immature” would probably be the nicest way to word it. No one has ever been openly offended by my posts, at least to my face, though clearly someone has been or I wouldn’t have spent 14 of the past 21 days in Facebook jail. I want to get away from that and be taken more seriously as a man and as a human being.

I am also making a major change in the way I interact with others. I have always been very liberal with the like and love buttons. I enjoyed giving people feedback on their posts and I’m not one to shy away from complimenting when the circumstance dictates. From this point on, it will not matter what circumstance dictates, because I will be refraining from participating to the extent that I have in the past. I will continue to engage in baseball talk with the guys, which is literally the only reason I am on social media in the first place, but everything else is over.

Finally, I am going to be a lot more discriminating when it comes to accepting friend requests. In the past, if you were a White Sox fan or a local single female or I knew you in person, you had an automatic “in,” and others would be included on a case-by-case basis. That will no longer be the case. White Sox fandom will continue to be an automatic acceptance, but other than that, I’m going to be using the “decline” button on a regular basis and be more vigilant.

Maybe at 42 it’s just time to grow up and use social networking for the only reason I got it in the first place, to network with other White Sox fans. That’s what brought me to the show in the first place. I had my first social media account, MySpace, in 2005. I got Facebook in 2007 and Twitter in 2009. I held out on Instagram until 2016. I closed my MySpace account in 2010, but still retain the other three. And I have been going through each one, removing any questionable content as I serve out my sentence in the Facebook Penitentiary. And it has been therapeutic.

Going forward, I hope this makes for a more enjoyable experience for all involved.

Peace.

Simulating My Life: Sports Video Games, 1995-2019

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As age begins to get the better of me, I spend more and more time reminiscing about days gone by, and a couple of days ago this lead me to thinking about video games; specifically sports game simulations and the whole “create yourself” concept.

This is the idea of creating “yourself” within the game and playing CF for the New York Yankees or center for the Los Angeles Lakers or quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. That’s YOUR name up there. Your height, weight, hair color, etc.

My first experience with this came in the form of Baseball Stars, a game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, released in 1989, Baseball Stars allowed you to create an entire team by name, including your franchise itself. A favorite among my friends for many years and still in my NES collection to this day. It was a simplified game in terms of the actual gameplay; the ability to create players and teams made it stand out.

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By 1995, a second version of the game had been released and the concept of player creation was removed. By that point, a large number of licensed sports games were hitting the market and the niche was “real players” and/or “real teams.” NBA Live had both. Madden NFL had real teams, but players were identified by jersey number only. RBI Baseball had real players, but the teams were identified only by their home city.

Tecmo Super Bowl was the exception, featuring real teams and real players. The idea that you could sit down and play an actual video game that featured real NFL teams and the actual players, by name, that played on those teams, was amazing.

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But that didn’t quite cut it. My friend Joe and I craved the concept of having OURSELVES in the game. Wearing the jersey number we wanted. But this was not yet feasible. So, I took it upon myself to create my own universe, using an old NES game called John Elway’s Quarterback, and Tecmo Super Bowl. And it went something like this:

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John Elway’s Quarterback was an arcade-style game that featured no real players and no real teams, which made it perfect for the simulation I wanted to run. I used it as a college football game before such a thing really existed. I would play a schedule I made up on my own, using the “Los Angeles” franchise as UCLA, and since the game did not feature any type of post-game statistics, I would sit with a binder in my lap and a pencil, and when “I” completed a pass in the game, I would see how many yards that completion covered and write it in my binder. At the end of the game I would count up my completions and yards and know how I had performed in that game. I did this for four simulated seasons, and then moved on to play Tecmo Super Bowl as a draft pick of the Cleveland Browns.

In addition to being my favorite NFL team, Tecmo had apparently been unable to obtain the rights to Browns’ quarterback Bernie Kosar from the NFLPA, so he is simply named “QB Browns” in the game. This offered me the opportunity to select my own number (I wore number 9 in my simulation) with the Browns. I played seven seasons with the Browns, winning three Super Bowls, before leaving as a free agent to return to California, signing a deal with the (at the time) Los Angeles Raiders. I played one more season with the Raiders before I started to get bored with the whole concept of the game.

Fast forward a couple of years and I started anew, with a new console and new games that upped the ante considerably: College Football USA 97 and Madden NFL 97 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. This was a step up in every way.

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While College Football USA 97 did not include the option to create a player (which it did on the Sega Genesis version of the game but I didn’t get it until many years later) it did include ALL NCAA Division I football teams. And Madden NFL 97 did have the option to create a player, so I basically did the same simulation over again, four years of games with the UCLA Bruins followed by creating myself with the Pittsburgh Steelers, as I didn’t have the option to play for the Browns in 1997 as the franchise didn’t exist in that form.

I never actually played a game with the Steelers, as I ended up ending my run in order to start playing Ken Griffey Junior’s Winning Run on the Super NES instead.

By the time I came around again, things had changed exponentially. I had bought a Sony PlayStation and bought every sports game available from 989 Sports, Sony’s proprietary division that produced college and professional sports games.

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NCAA GameBreaker 2000 and NFL GameDay 2000 were truly amazing. I could create myself, by name, height, weight, hair color, facial features, hometown and a number of other settings. Not only that, but I could download myself onto a memory card from NCAA GameBreaker and then upload myself onto NFL GameDay for the NFL Draft. And it was here that I found my most lasting success, fleeting as even it may have been.

Four seasons at UCLA, playing both football and basketball for the Bruins. I was then drafted into the NFL by the Carolina Panthers, a franchise I was never a huge fan of but decided to run with it; I even went out and bought a Carolina Panthers Starter parka, back when that was a thing. It was to be short-lived, however, as my created self suffered a knee injury in week two of my second season with the Panthers and I was on the retired list at the end of the season. That $100 jacket may have been a mistake in hindsight.

My next run at this simulation was in 2013, with the release of NCAA Football 14 from EA Sports along with Madden NFL 25, the 25th anniversary edition of the game, for the PlayStation 3. I wanted a true full-on experience, so in addition to UCLA football I also bought a copy of NCAA Basketball 10, which was the final release of that franchise, as well as a copy of MVP NCAA Baseball 07 for the PlayStation 2, the second and final release featuring college baseball. But, I learned that unhappy, time-consuming relationships don’t mix well with time-consuming video game simulations, so I never so much as got started. I boxed up my games figuring I would try again in the future.

No such luck, as NCAA Football 14 was the final college football game ever released, still to this day. So I keep them, hoping maybe someday I’ll take one final run…

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Which brings me to today and my latest simulation attempt, completely off track from previous attempts. This attempt has begun with me simulating a self-simulation. I created myself on MLB 2005 for the PlayStation 2 and then simulated my career, playing 14 seasons with the Oakland A’s, Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox. I manipulated this a bit, as I had been a big Oakland A’s fan in the 1980s and began following the White Sox in 1991. I kept my statistics and outlined my career running from 1982 to 1995, those years beautifully encompassing my public school years, from my entrance into kindergarten in 1982 to my graduation from high school in 1995. From here, I will simulate myself as the general manager of the White Sox, on MLB The Show 19.

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While the game will drop this Tuesday, I will not be doing anything with it until the Operation Sports Full Minors rosters are released in the roster vault at some point this spring. At that point, I’ll start playing, making the roster moves as I would as GM. I hope to continue this through the end of the season and when the 2020 version of the game is released, just transfer my up-to-date saves to the new version on a yearly basis.

I wish I had started this three years ago when year-to-year saves became feasible.

While the desire still burns within me to go back to the NCAA Football 14/NCAA Basketball 10/MVP NCAA Baseball 07 games and head back to UCLA, I see that as more of a future option. I am so completely invested in baseball at this point its going to take something major to push me back to other things. Like a potential 2021 MLB strike.

Basically, that’s what I’m holding out to see. If there is, in fact, a work stoppage, I’m boxing up everything I own of a White Sox persuasion and replacing it with everything UCLA I can get my hands on. I won’t lie, there’s a part of me kind of hoping for a work stoppage just for that reason. But we’ll see how I feel when 2021 rolls around.

That’s my life’s experience with sports video game simulations. I’ve loved it every step of the way, and I hope I can make the adjustments to make this new round as satisfactory as previous years. In the early days of this exercise, Joe and I would go so far as to keep our own newspaper headlines and storylines, which certainly added a major creative outlet to the whole experience. I am so ready to do that again. It’s time.

Thank you for reading, and God bless.

2019: My Year, My Rules

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As we pull into the station at the end of 2018, I have to start by saying it was a very good year. It was a B+ year. Which given the abject misery of the seven years that proceeded it, I think I’ll call that a win. Yes, it had its down moments, and there were more than a few, but that’s to be expected in any year. Hell, the best years of my life (1995 and 2010) had their fair share of down moments.

The year started off horribly, and I literally didn’t know where my life was going from day to day. Luckily, everything worked out and things started to look up. I knew there was no way 2018 could be perfect, but it could be very good. It was just a matter of me keeping my eyes on the prize and going forward.

I met a lot of new people in 2018. That was truly a breath of fresh air. And I needed it. Some have been great, and I hope will remain friends for life. Some have not been and have already been eliminated from my life. More will follow.

In what may have been the biggest mixed-bag of 2018, I got to watch all 162 Chicago White Sox games and every spring training game that was televised. But watching a team that finished 62-100 isn’t exactly a treat, either. On the negative side in terms of baseball, I neglected to play a season on MLB The Show, again, for the 18th consecutive season. I first planned to play a full season with my own transactions on MLB 2000 for the original PlayStation in the year 2000. I’ve failed to do so every year since, always coming up with some excuse why it didn’t work.

That will change in 2019. I am updating the rosters daily, beginning with the first transactions at the end of the 2018 season, with daily attention since. Trades, free agent signings, retirements, etc. I’ve kept them all up to date.

One of my biggest issues in 2018 was my inability to stay out of some type of relationship situation, or the desire to pursue such things. It wasn’t until August that I finally realized I was spinning my wheels and that I was better off not trying to find something that I knew wasn’t there to begin with. But even with that revelation, I still kept trying to beat the system. That won’t happen in 2019.

I’m a single man now, and I’ll be a single man on December 31, 2019. This isn’t up for debate or meant as a challenge being issued. It’s a statement of fact. The situation doesn’t matter, the answer to anyone who attempts to lure me into anything beyond a basic, online friendship, will be “no.” No questions asked.

I was told I was being unfair and closed-minded. Perhaps. But that doesn’t matter to me. I have to live the life that works for me. And this is it.

My life went through a number of upgrades in 2018, not just out with the old and in with the new as far as removing the gutter trash and replacing them all with a much better group of people. I bought a new 55” Smart TV and TV stand, a new stereo for my bedroom with a built-in card reader for a little project I undertook this year, a new stereo for my living room, a new cigar humidor which I filled with some amazing sticks and are seasoning for a great 2019 and a new phone, which I had not upgraded since 2016, but needed to in order to use some of my favorite apps.

I’m not expecting a lot of change on that level in 2019. I’ve been a very lucky man most of my life, when I want something, I go buy it. That was a big part of my life in 2018 and I made the most of it. I’ll go on a case by case basis in 2019.

I lost 20 pounds in 2018 but that’s not even a blip on the radar of what I hope to lose in 2019. Stress helped to put roughly 60 to 80 extra pounds on me between 2011 and 2017, and once the causes were eliminated, I started to drop back a bit but not nearly enough. If I could lose 60 pounds I would be absolutely ecstatic.

I hope to get back into grilling and biking in 2019, which will require me to get a new grill and a new bike, but those are both items that will help me a lot.

I have also been through a multitude of things I would like to watch in 2019, and I finally decided I would like to watch the entire available Star Trek series, from the original 1960s series through The New Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, as well as Discovery and all the feature films available.

If I watch one episode per day, that will more than see me through 2019.

So, as 2018 comes to a close I can look back with mostly happy and enjoyable memories of the past year while also knowing 2019 is going to be even better, because I will live 2019 under my rules. I answer to no one, except myself and my Lord.

In closing, I want to with the best to everyone in 2019. Make it a great one.

God bless.