News From The Woods - April 21, 2012

NEWS FROM THE WOODS

By Bob Ketchum

Originally Published April 21, 2012


"Random Thoughts on Facebook"

Facebook has become such a worldwide phenomenon. It is a social network unequalled in the history of communication. Some use it for promotion of their business or careers. Others like the social interaction of gaming using various Facebook apps. Still others use it as a political or religious forum to express their support for the cause or candidate of their choice. Images and video clips enhance the experience. The more friends you have, the broader your news feed becomes. It is simply amazing.

I joined Facebook on August 6, 2008. Since then I have spent more and more time using Facebook to keep up with friends, follow interesting threads, and make comments of my own on others posts. Up until August of 2008, I was using MySpace to act as my "career billboard". I put much of my music on MySpace, and had some limited social interaction between friends and fans, but Facebook offers so much more bang for the buck that it wasn't long before I made the transition. Today, I still keep my MySpace account but the activity there has slowed to a crawl.

Facebook offers so much more that it soon became apparent to me that my page would become too cumbersome for some of my Facebook friends to wade through, so I made a decision to separate my interests by creating multiple accounts. First and foremost I have the "Bob Ketchum" account. This is where I maintain my Facebook friendships with friends, fans, relatives, and pals from the past. For a while I also had many musician friends that used this page in their careers, but it soon became loaded down with "music stuff" and I was concerned it would infringe on my "personal friends" that have little or no interest in music. So I created the "Bob Ketchum's Music Projects" page, where my musician friends could hang out, leave posts and pictures or clips, and leave news of gigs, sessions or stories. Last year I added the "Cedar Crest Studio" page so that I could post comments about sessions and other studio business related matters. Also, a good friend who wanted to support my career launched his own tribute page which he calls "The Philosophy Of Bob". We banter back and forth on this page, leaving bits of wisdom (much of it tongue-in-cheek) and even sometimes some gripes that we have about life and the world in general. Finally, this year I added another page called "Tales From The Control Room". It is the smallest of all the pages, the scope of which is centered specifically to friends who are in or have been in the broadcasting business. Whenever I get together with DJ pals, the conversation always winds up with some hilarious story from their days of broadcasting, so I thought it might be cool to start up a page dedicated to some of those tales. I have hopes that someday it might become a repository of funny stories of audio engineers.

So now, I can leave a personal post on one page, a comment about a recent recording session on another, a look back at a previous band or session with pictures on yet another page, and even have a place to philosophize on world events. I have streamlined each Facebook page and customized them to appeal to a specific set of friends (I am blessed with a LOT of friends). Although I have learned to refrain from making too much comment on politics and religion - you almost ALWAYS polarize SOMEONE with those subjects - I occasionally DO vent on some subject that is near and dear to me, but try to do it in a humorous fashion if at all possible. I get a lot of positive comments on my posts and folks seem to realize that all I am trying to do most of the time is bring a smile to someone's day or give words of encouragement where needed. Overall, my personal Facebook page is geared toward brightening someone's day or even bringing something to people's attention that they may have missed. No one cars to read constant negative comments about how bad the world is, and there are many "friends" in my list that seem to gravitate towards grousing constantly or harping on a pet peeve. After a while you tend to ignore all their posts, and I don't want my friends to do that to ME, so I keep it as light as possible and try not to post TOO many comments in a day.

The really neat thing about Facebook is that you can use the timeline to go back as far as you care to in your Facebook history and find things you posted months ago and forgot about, or maybe I need to allude to a previous post with a new follow up thread. Facebook etiquette is very important as well. It's like "table manners". I teach a course here at the Arkansas State University/Mountain Home campus in "Social Networking". It is a continuing education course (no college credits) and most of my class is comprised of retirees wanting to learn more about social networking and want to be able to fluently work sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and YouTube. Most of them just want to be able to keep up with their children, grandchildren, and close friends using their computers. I instruct all of my "students" in creating their own Facebook profiles and explain the workings as we go. It's a lot of fun, although sometimes it's hard to explain to someone with no internet experience what a "poke" is !!!

The other day I was researching some past comments and posts and ran across a few "random thoughts" that I had previously left, which I thought might be of interest to my readers, or perhaps even a bit amusing. I have posted a few here for consideration. I hope your Internet social networking experiences are as fun as mine!

(This one taken from "The Philosophy Of Bob" page)

Subject: The Mathematics of Bob:

What Makes 100%?

What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?

Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%.

How about achieving 103%?

What makes up 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:

If:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then:

H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

And

K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E
11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But ,

A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

And,

B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T
2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

A-S-S-K-I-S-S-I-N-G
1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that while Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there.
It's the Bullshit and Ass Kissing that will put you over the top.
Now you know why some people are where they are!


(This was my April 1st post to the "Bob Ketchum's Music Projects" page)

Hey EVERYONE!! I have finally been discovered. Got a call from a major record company that head one of my tunes online. They did some checking, found the album and have decided they liked it so much they will distribute it! I get 75% of the publishing rights and they said they didn't care if I was over 60, it was still damn good rock and roll! How 'bout that???

(Here is a rather lengthy late-night post to my personal page)

2:00 AM

It's been a beautiful night tonight. It's now past midnight. I am working late on a video project which must be sent out tomorrow so I have no choice but to stay up until it is finished. Robert is at church summer camp and Jane had a hard day at her job so she hit the sack early. A lot of time on this job is waiting while the video files render, so it's not a good idea to multi task while the processor is pre-occupied. I manage to move around the control room doing various sub chores, keeping busy as my usual MO is to be doing several things at once, all running in the background, while I answer the phone, juggle appointments, let the dogs in and out, leave a Facebook comment, and tend to the many duties I do every day. Usually there is one primary job that keeps my mind working while the background things just run on. But when I am rendering, one computer is essentially locked up, unless I am rendering two different projects at the same time which leaves me with only one poor computer I can "play on". Right now, the file is rendering for burning to a DVD. On another computer I am dubbing the audio off the video project for a different job application. I am sitting at my third computer at the moment, doing my word processing for News From The Woods.

It's very quiet in the house. It has been conspicuously so since Robert's departure on Monday. Ranger is lying at my feet while Fritz is upstairs in our bedroom. About thirty minutes ago I saw that I had a block of about thirty minutes coming up and decided to hit the hot tub. I grabbed a Mic Ultra out of the fridge and walked out to the tub, only a few feet from the studio entrance. After removing the hinged top and turning on the jets I stepped in and slowly sank up to my neck. As I allowed the jets to pound the soles of my feet into oblivion, I glanced up into the night. It was so beautiful. We finally got a decently cool summer night. There was hardly a cloud in the sky. The Big Dipper had lowered a few degrees to the West since the last time I took notice. I sat there for perhaps ten full minutes watching small meteorites and the occasional satellite pass overhead. There wasn't a single boat out on the lake. I could hear the tree frogs and cicadas play their concert while fireflies ("lightnin' bugs" for you locals) danced around the back yard, the entire lake and night sky their backdrop. I had an uncontrollable urge to heave a big sigh and let the air escape slowly from my lungs. Then taking in the smell of the night and the grass and the mimosa I slowly sat up for a second so I could look out over the lake. Ranger, who had followed me outside, was contently sitting at the very edge of the grassy hillside with his back to me, keeping guard over his domain.

I thought to myself, this is just about perfect. I rarely stay up late anymore and I remember how I used to love the late night. As a life-long musician, our days start at noon and we just get warmed up by 7 PM. In the old days I could work all night in the studio and walk out the front door at sun up. Even when gigging for a living, your "day" starts at 8 or 9PM and ends, sort of, around 1 AM or so. Of course, there's pack up and load out, travel to the room or the next stop, and re-live the adventure in a new city or for a new audience every night. It doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me now, and for the life of me I don't know why I did it when I think of it in that context. Yes... I know the answer. I'm a lot older (and wiser). But after years and years of living a certain lifestyle, it's not only difficult to make the transition but sometimes it can be dangerous. I recall the bad times at the old studio in town when my 3rd marriage was coming to a painful end, I took a sign-on job at a local radio station. I had to be at the studios at least thirty minutes before I cut into the satellite feed and "go local", which was at 6AM. That meant I had to be up by 5 at the least in order to just make it. The first week went pretty well, although it was hard to be "Bob the Chipper Morning DJ Guy" . My mind didn't start to function until at least 7:30. I really did work at it because we needed the money but by the second week I slipped into a routine where I got there, signed on, read the news and weather, then when I joined the network news I had five minutes to run to the bathroom, throw up violently, throw water in my face, and then get back in time to cut away at the end of the news and start playing music. Then, for the next couple of hours I played a lot of classic cuts that clocked in at over 5 minutes each. Recurrent favorites my audience came to expect were "Hey Jude", "MacArthur Park", "Green-Eyed Lady" (the album cut), "Riders In The Storm" or "Light My Fire" (also album cuts).

By the second week I was going into the production room during my show and recording 2-3 songs in succession to a broadcast cartridge (like the kind we put the commercials on) so I could play the whole thing on the next show if I was having a particularly hard time and needed ten, twelve, (or TWENTY) minutes. I finally got so sick I was sick when I woke up. At the time I was living in the back of the studio, surrounded by a black wall of plastic. I had a bed, a dresser, and a TV with a Betamax and a Nintendo, all neatly tucked into the back end of the studio, hidden behind racks of equipment and metal shelves filled with obsolete audio, video, and broadcast gear. It was my personal little "hidey hole" and for a time there while I was at the pits of despair it was my sanctuary. I recall my 2nd engineer Chris Patton practically took up residence there with me. Before I took the radio job we'd spend all night playing this stupid "interactive" game called "Out Of The World". It was one of the first role playing games and we got into it, playing for hours on end eating graham crackers and washing them down with a quart of chocolate milk. Pretty bad, huh? Of course, all that came crashing down when I took the radio job, and then the job came crashing down on top of that. And to add the icing on the cake, due to some recent storm damage (another story entirely) I was raising a healthy crop of mold on the lower walls of my sanctuary. This could have greatly affected my already aggravated case of "up earlies" a thousand fold. In the end, I could not even get out of bed without gagging or throwing up and I had to give my notice.

I slid back into the late night routine, mostly because I'd been doing it all my life up to that point, so it was fairly easy once I cleaned up the mold. And it wasn't long after that when I moved back into my mom's house to be my step father's care giver after mom died. And from then on I stayed with the late night lifestyle until I met Jane and when we had Robert my world once again turned upside down. But this time it was in a different way because Robert was a real enough reason to change my lifestyle. It was hard for the first year and I know Jane cut me a lot of slack for a long time as well. I remember falling asleep slumped over Robert's crib while making sure his Tigger doll kept playing its tune until he dropped off. Some nights were worse than others, but at least I never got sick or threw up.

And then the hot tub's auto shutoff triggered at fifteen minutes and I was snapped back to present, remembering that Robert was at church camp. As I soaked my ancient body in the healing but still waters of the hot tub I could once again hear the insects, and I looked up just as a shooting star shot across the sky with such speed that for an instant I thought it was an illusion. I stood up, dried off, covered the tub, and escorted Ranger back inside the control room and shifted mental gears back into multitasking. I need to remind myself more often to do that because that fifteen minutes was the best fifteen minutes of the day.

(Here is another post, when I was upset with Facebook engineers for yet another "new improvement" which we could have done without)

Posted recently to the Facebook home page:

I noticed a Facebook sidebar ad for "Want to work for Facebook"???? Well, I want to apply for a job as "consultant", because Facebook so obviously needs someone in that position!!! I would be responsible for giving you VERY VALUABLE feedback about how to make Facebook better. There are literally HUNDREDS of suggestion I can make that would not only benefit your operation but it would also patch up the growing rift between you and the user. For instance (and this is a "freebie" - consider it my resume) - Give the user the ability to look at a database of all their messages. Provide a check box to the side of each message. This WONDERFUL feature would allow the user to simply check off all the message threads he/she wants to delete in ONE QUICK AND EASY MOTION... INSTEAD of having to go into each and every message and then going through a four step process in deleting the thread. I KNOW that "re-clicks"are valuable to your traffic data, but seriously.. at THIS point do you really NEED to say "forty-five million people click on Facebook every second" any more? C'mon, Facebook........ YOU are the Wal Mart of Social networking. Have a heart. BE all you can be. I have many more suggestions which will streamline your operation while simultaneously building good will with your user base. AND... I'm cheap (but not easy)

Friends! Petition Facebook to hire me and I will help make your social media experiences pleasant... instead of a drudgery! VOTE FOR BOB! HIRE BOB!

(Sometimes I DO tend to vent over something that bothers me)

All righty then.... I am RIGHT behind some dodo in a huge SUV, driving 30 MPH in a 45 zone in the LEFT LANE! Got it? Now, behind ME is a line of five cars on MY tail.........There is ONE CAR in the right lane and they are about three car lengths ahead of the car in front of me........... I can see the person in front of me checking out the line behind him in his rear view mirror...........
Q: Does he even consider his situation or is he happily piddling along minding his own business, oblivious to the world around him?
....Never mind... I already know the answer.....

(Or even this one)

OK, ONE MORE TIME.......................
Yes! I AM an American and proud of it.
No! I do NOT do apps.
Yes! I am pissed off at my government.
No! I do NOT support ANY of the current candidates.
Yes! Today's music sucks..... thoroughly.
No! I'm not a fan of the new Facebook Timeline.
Yes! Tech Support for Americans SHOULD speak English.
No! We should NOT be the world's police force.
Yes! We should legalize and tax marijuana.
...I am entitled to my opinion. You can do that when you live in the greatest nation on Earth.

(Here is one posted recently on the "Philosophy of Bob" page)

I am often asked "Why do you refer to it as the Holy Hot Tub"?

Well, I will tell you......

It is because that is where I communicate with my God. I sit there, outside in the elements, and contemplate life. I tell Him what a marvelous planet he has made and how sorry I am that mankind is ruining it. I tell him that I know I am selfish in asking for my health to improve, giving me more time to pass along a smile to others. My knees are bad these days, so instead I sit in the HHT and do my praying... for my family, my friends, my country, my fellow Brethren, for life to get just a little bit better so maybe people won't argue and fight and steal and covet and be consumed by Greed. When I am sad about something, it actually does make me feel better to tell Him about it.

I know he won't answer me. That is His Way. I don't care. In my mind he's "around" and watching us all - with mom and dad "up there" as well, watching how we live "down here". It's all relevant. It is what it is.

Now... you all don't need a HHT. You could use the Front Porch of Forgiveness, or the Blessed Backyard View, or even a private Place of Solace. Find a suitable place which is comfortable and close. . . . . . A place where you can relax and contemplate Life. . . . . Where, even with your ailments, maladies, aches, pains, and disappointments you can look around in your mind's eye and realize that no matter HOW bad it is.... someone else has it worse than you. Then you can be thankful for what you have been given in Life, and you can reaffirm your determination to make Life a little better for your neighbor even if you cannot do it for yourself.

The Fab Four had it right: And in the end, the love you make equals to the love you take......

And THAT, my friends, is why I call it the Holy Hot Tub.

(And here are a few short random musings)

Never wake a napping musician....unless the nap is caused by excessive amounts of alcohol...and if said musician cannot be slapped conscious, at least roll them over on their side to keep them from becoming another Bon Scott or Jimi Hendrix...

a...Philosophy of Bob...Faithless is he that says farewell to the Holy Hot Tub, when the road is darkened by the forces of the Evil Insurance Empire...for surely, Bob shall rise forth and severely SMITE the Evil Insurance Empire & they WILL know the Wrath of Bob and must surely come to their senses...amen...

To all of those with a broken heart: Keep reminding yourself that is is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. It won't help much, but it might give you some comfort to know you're not alone.

The other day someone asked me "What's the frustration like of having such a long career in a business that hasn't recognized you?" (and THANKS for perking me up, BTW!)..... My answer was that I feel like Steve Martin in "Three Amigos" when he was up on the wall trying to get the attention of Martin and Chevy: "LOOKUPHERE! LOOKUPHERE!"

SO... I'm in the line of traffic waiting to let Robert out for school... here was the vehicle line up: Beemer Dinan, Chrysler Sebring, Excaliber, Caddy Escalade .......guess which vehicle is mine??? :)

This has gone on long enough. My father's generation said "no" to alcohol prohibition. Why can't my generation do something about this senseless and wasteful national expense? You say you don't want to decriminalize marijuana? Fine. Then ban alcohol as well. Alcohol is a far worse drug that grass. And don't start with the "gateway drug" crap. I've heard all the excuses and I KNOW it's mainly the lobbyists (alcohol, tobacco, etc.) keeping the lid on an escalating movement to take this potential resource out of the hands of the drug dealers. My $.02

I hope this year at least ONE of my projects gets discovered. I'm getting too old for this sh** !! I mean, how can you explain a 64-year-old "overnight sensation" ???

HAPPY FACEBOOKING !

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