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August, 2011:

Facebook Friends and their Birthdays

On my way into work this morning, I was listening to KCBS – our local news station. They had an interview with the appropriately-named David Plotz, who wrote an article for Slate Magazine about a recent experiment in which he put three fake “birthdays” on his Facebook profile, to see what people would do. Well, apparently a lot of people wished him happy birthday three times.

So he wrote this article about how phony it was for all these people whom he didn’t really know to wish him a happy birthday. He says that while he appreciates that sort of greeting from people in his “real circle of friends,” it’s meaningless when it comes from people who don’t know him.

Okay Mr. Plotz – I have one question for you, which the good folks at KCBS didn’t think to ask this morning: If the people who aren’t in your “real circle of friends” are so “meaningless” to you, why did you accept them as Facebook friends? If you’ve just got them there as experimental rats or as “networking” resources, you’re guilty of at least as much superficiality as you accuse them of. Mr. P(l)ot(z), meet Mr. Kettle.

At this writing, I’ve got close to 3,000 Facebook friends, or nearly twice as many as David does. I don’t manage to send birthday greetings to them all, but I do try to get to most of the people I’ve met in person – and I’ve probably met close to a thousand in person at one time or another and keep up irregular correspondences with quite a few. And when someone turns up on my birthday feed, I go to their page and use it as an opportunity to remind myself of why I “know” them – did I meet them at a show? While down in Key West? Do they know somebody I know?

I do get to turn Facebook friends into real-life friends at least a couple of times a month, and it brings me great joy to do so. I have some truly amazing friends.

And when my birthday – my real birthday – comes around, I will appreciate the notes I get from everybody, like I did last year. Before Facebook, not that many people knew when my birthday was. Life can be as much of a drag or a blessing as we want it to be. Taking the little “positive strokes” that come my way, whether they’re “real” or not, helps keep my world on the “blessing” side.

I guess I’m glad I don’t have to live inside Mr. Plotz’s life. It sounds like a drag.

Crowdsourcing Contest!

I’m going to try something new and fun on Sunday.

I’ve got this show over at Forbidden Island in Alameda. It should be a good show in a very visually-interesting place. I’d like to get recordings of parts of the show, and if you’re going to be there, I’d like your help. To make it fun, I’m going to make a contest out of it.

I want to try it like this: If you’re coming to the show, film one or more songs, either on your smart phone or borrowing my Flip camcorder. Afterward, upload your videos to YouTube or Facebook and tag me in them. I’ll look them over, and the best one gets a free live CD, personally autographed – either the physical CD, or downloads; your choice. I can’t autograph the downloads though. 🙂

If this works out well, we’ll do it again. 🙂

Feeding the People

I’d like to ask for some help, and I’m not entirely sure the right way of doing it. I’m a little awkward about stuff like this.

One of my passions is gardening and food. I don’t grow a lot of my own food, but I’ve reached a point where I keep myself in fresh fruit all summer and garlic all year, plus other bits here and there.

I get to eat three square meals (or junk meals, as the case might be) a day. I’m fortunate. Not everyone does. Food is one of those basic things we don’t notice until we don’t have it. And it’s hard to concentrate on *anything* else if you’re hungry. Especially if you’re a kid.

Part of being a Parrothead is the whole concept of “Party with a Purpose.” In order to be a Parrothead club, you must do charitable work – it’s part of the charter. And a lot of my Parrothead/Trop Rock musician friends put on fundraisers, raising tens of thousands of dollars for worthwhile causes. I envy them their ability to do this.

Today I decided to get off the stick and do something for our local food bank. It looks like they’re doing a decent job – every dollar they receive buys up to $5 in food, and a whopping 96% of every dollar they receive ends up helping feed someone. That’s a pretty good percentage.

They have a virtual food drive that you can join. You can either donate money directly, or you can click on items in a shopping-cart format and see just how far your dollars will go toward feeding someone who for whatever reason isn’t managing to feed themselves.

I’d like to offer something to encourage you to donate to help feed people. If you’d rather donate to your own local food bank, that’s cool too – I believe in helping people locally when possible. If you donate $20 or more by the end of August, I’ll send you an autographed live album. Donate $50 or more, and I’ll throw in copies of my last two CDs, Every Day’s a Holiday and Island Standard Time. All autographed and personalized. Just forward me a copy of your email receipt to music1 -at- lorendavidson.com, and include your mailing address and whom you’d like me to make the CDs out to.

I’m not good at asking for stuff, so I hope you’ll see past any awkward language here and hear that I really want to do something positive, and hopefully leverage that beyond my own meager abilities. I made my own donation today, and I feel pretty good about that. Will you make yours?

Thanks for listening,


Wasting Away Again at my Desk

I’ve written a few songs about Key West, and other spots in the Keys. The first one came about after my first trip down there, and was somewhat about my re-entry into my previous life, already in progress.

You see, while the weather here in the Bay Area beats heck out of, say, Michigan – especially in the winter – coming out of the front door of Oakland Airport into 53 degrees and a drizzly overcast was a bit of a shock, after 80s and sunshine. And I had had a particularly marvelous trip, the like of which I’ve been able to replicate, more or less, pretty much every time I go.

Well, to make a long story short, I started spending way too much time watching Key West webcams. And nine years ago, there were only a few – Mallory Square, a couple of cams pointing toward the sunset, things like that. I don’t even believe that the Live Duval St. cam had been set up yet. Now there are over 60 cams covering life in the Keys from Key Largo to Key West. And I still go look at them, now and then. I think the cam feeds may be blocked at my office, but I’m only there three days a week. And I can still look up YouTube videos like this one, even at the office.

I’m very much about creating Paradise wherever we happen to be. But sometimes it helps if you can look up pretty places online and just kick back and enjoy them for a while.

Sunday on the Island – Forbidden Island, that is

I’m getting ready to play my next scheduled gig, rehearsing, doing up the set list, and making sure I check in with folks so they have the details and will show up. It’ll be at Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge, on Lincoln Ave. in Alameda. It’s one of the nicer tiki bars I’ve been in, with an excellent line of libations. They even have a “rum club” called the Kill Devil Club. You can work your way through their entire long shelf of rums; when you finish the list, you get your name on a plaque on the wall.

Alameda has been one of my favorite places to hang out in the East Bay for about the last ten years. My first solo gig was just down the street at McGrath’s Pub, where, ironically, I don’t think they do live music anymore. The opportunities for music come and go depending on the year and season; this will be my first gig in a tropical-themed place here in the Bay Area in years. Hopefully it’ll go well and we can do this every few months on a regular basis.

I’m planning a reasonable mix of covers and originals, in part because I’ll be playing to their regulars as well as my own. I’ll be bringing out one or two very new songs that I’ve only played out once or twice as part of the show.

Doors open at 3 on Sundays; the music starts at 6 and runs ’til 8. If you’re in the Bay Area, I hope you’ll come check it out.

New Place to Hang Out

I’ve just set up my new blog here on WordPress. This will be a place where I’ll post news, pictures, and the occasional song and/or video.


My main Website remains here, and I’ll be using this as my “What’s New” section of that site, at least for now.