Loren Davidson Rotating Header Image

Preparedness and the Internet

I got thrown into “Facebook Jail” today for the first time.

Personally, I’ve seen far worse stuff on FB than I got gigged for. I objected to someone calling me names and misgendering me, and I didn’t swear at them to do it. I filed a complaint, which likely goes to the Seventh Circle of Hell or some similar place – FB really doesn’t care how badly they inconvenience people, so long as they make their ad revenue targets. But that thing needed doing.

Oddly, I don’t contest their right to do that, or whatever else they want. It’s a free service, and we all blithely signed away our rights to our own content and online lives when we decided to have an account with them. They have the absolute power to shut you away from the fraction of your life that you’ve entrusted to them. For as long as they want.

But just so you know, let me tell you what FB jail looks like from the inside.

You can’t post. Obviously. You can’t even get a post in via your linked Twitter account. I don’t know about Instagram or other linked services.

You can’t “like” anything. I’m guessing you can’t even share stuff, but I didn’t try it.

And you can’t initiate or respond to messages in Messenger. No matter how serious.

It’s online government by Conan the Barbarian: Arbitrary rules, and absolutely no mercy. If your best friend dies and you don’t have the mundane contact info for their Next of Kin and you have info that said kin absolutely must have, they’re out of luck. If you run your business exclusively through FB, you can’t respond to orders, questions about orders, etc. You can’t update the regular stuff people expect you to update.

Granted, there should be consequences to violating rules of conduct. But when I see people engaging in obvious hate speech and not losing access, and I get gigged for something far less dire, when the rules *change* every time you turn around…it’s like trying to appease an abusive spouse. The goalposts keep moving, and no matter what you do, it’s never enough.

Enough of that. I’ll have access again sometime tomorrow, and I’m actually enjoying my respite from the negativity-charged wrestling match that FB has become. I’ve been dealing with food poisoning for a few days; I’ve already gotten used to eating and drinking a lot less than usual. This is just one more opportunity to try living for a bit without some of my usual habits and escapes. It’s kind of fun, actually. Liberating.

What I want to talk about is this: If all of your life is on FB or any other online service, what do you do if that service is taken away from you? How do you “route around the breakage?”

If it’s your business, how do you keep from losing it, or losing valuable income and customers?

If it’s friends and family or loved ones, how do you stay connected? What if your house burns down while you’re in FB jail; how do you get hold of people to help you? What if it happens while there’s a tornado or hurricane bearing down on you? What if you’re having a personal crisis and can’t get hold of your counselor or therapist because you only connect with them through FB?

Don’t laugh. The people who get hurt the worst in disasters are the ones who don’t believe it can happen to them. So take some time to think this through and come up with some possibilities for yourself.

Some thoughts:

1) If someone is sufficiently important to you that being disconnected from them would negatively impact your life or theirs, especially if something unexpected happens, have at least two (if not three) different ways of getting in touch with them, and they with you. This can be a phone number, an email address (yes, some people still use email), Skype, whatever. Make a list of who those people are in your life. Go through your phone contacts and/or your FB friends list if necessary, and then make sure you’ve got other ways to get hold of them.

2) If you’re running your business primarily on Facebook, get a website. Hosting sites are really cheap, and a lot of them will build your website for you or give you tools to do it yourself. Because of my music business, I’ve got a website, a blog site, Twitter, Reverbnation, my own domain with email addresses, and one or two other ways of getting info out to people that Facebook can never touch. If FB went away tomorrow, I’d lose connections for a while, but I have ways of eventually getting most of them back. And tomorrow I will be posting all of my links to FB for people to hopefully connect with.

3) Consider setting up an alternate social media site and/or an alternate way of sending and receiving messages. I’m checking out MeWe right now. Instagram works for some folks. Twitter still works for some. I think you can still get free email on Gmail, if you don’t mind Google snooping in your stuff. There are others.

4) If you get into the same situation I’m in, make sure you’ve got a friend or two who can post a note to your page for you. Not *as* you, because that doesn’t work right now. But make sure that at least some trusted friends can post stuff to your FB page. For a 24-hour ban I’m not bothering, but if it were longer than that, I’d email or text someone to do that for me.

We have placed our own heads into the wolf’s mouth. We can hardly do much if the wolf decides to bite.

(With apologies to the noble Wolf for the comparison.)

Creative Week 17: Nothing new today

Hiya,

I did not finish anything this past week. And I’m choosing to not beat myself up over this.

I continue writing down interesting new ideas, lyrics, etc. I continue rehearsing the various things I’m doing. And I continue having the experiences that will feed my ability to create from that raw stuff.

I’m heading down to Key West this weekend for the tail end of Conch Republic Days. It’ll be my first time down there for this event, and I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully I’ll see a few of you there.

Cheers,

Loren

Creative Week #16: Something Fun (and timely) for Tax Day

Creative report card update: Still working on a couple of songs, including a possible update on “It’s a Wonderful Life.” All well and good. I’ve got a bunch of video from my 3/31 show that will eventually get processed; right now I’m still doing this other video project for a friend, which takes a lot of my bandwidth.

I was looking at the news online, and saw an article with the approximate title of, “What Happens if you File Your Taxes Late?” And my brain went instantly to a variant on the old “This is your brain on drugs” commercial. I found a couple of eggs in the fridge that appear to be past their “eat by” date, figured out how to do the deed without making too much of a mess, and presto – a video was born.

Here it is: https://youtu.be/rQPWBwT1qyg

I would also like to thank musician and comedian Ali Spagnola for giving me part of the idea for this video, because she’s done some similar things for other holidays. Ali, I hope to meet you someday.

I hope that Tax Day is kinder to you this year than it was to me. Cheers!

Creative Week #15: A finished product

Hiya!

So…you might remember a couple of months back when I finished the first draft of a song titled “No Place Like Far Away?” I even did the video for it while down in Key West!

Well, in the past couple of months I’ve been polishing the song. I’ve fine-tuned the lyrics, and I took the spoken part in the middle and made it line up with the groove of the song. And I think I turned out something good.

A week ago, I took the song out in front of an audience for the first time. Everyone seemed to have fun with it. Here’s the video of that performance.

I’m still working on other ideas, including at least one rewrite of something I did earlier in the year. And I’m still working on the big video project I’m doing for someone else, which is taking some of the cycles I’d normally use to split out more songs from last week’s show and from my January gig in the Keys. Eventually, I’ll have all of the good stuff out and available.

And hopefully this coming week, I’ll make time to do a live set from home. Stay tuned for more info, especially if you’re on my Facebook.

Creative Week #14: Yes, I skipped one…but…

…I’m back with the song I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks.

Not that I want to make excuses for myself, but I *was* also rehearsing strong for this past Saturday’s house concert. Which went very well, thank you, and there will be videos to YouTube. When I get some time free from my *other* ongoing video project.

I originally got the idea for this song from a Facebook meme, along the lines of, “I meditate, I chant, I do yoga, and I still want to slap some people.” And another meme/bumper sticker provided me with the title inspiration:
“Namaste, muthafka!” Which I modified to keep the song PG. And the revised version (“Namaste MF”) scans better, especially in the reggae groove I ended up using.

Here’s the link to the YouTube video: https://youtu.be/hIIaOBJGeKk

As a first-draft song, I know it needs polishing. The verses could set up the chorus better, and could be funnier. The music is still a work in progress. But for a first draft, it’s…workable.

Meanwhile, I need to find some good times to do live ‘casts about once a week, featuring music and general Lorenfoolery. If there’s a time that works best for you, let me know. Though I think I’ll mix it up a bit, because other people have time zones and lives that don’t line up with my own.

Creative Week #12: I Finish the Song

So…last week I shared half of a song. During the week, I finished it, and I’m going to share the lyric here. Not sure it quite meets what I want as a song to keep working on, but it was important to me to finish what I started.

I also got started on a new song inspired by a couple of memes I’ve seen online, the type that go, “I meditate, I smudge, and I still want to smack some people.” I’ve got a chorus and a collection of possible lines; my goal is to finish this song for you for *next* week. The working title is “Namaste, MF!”

Meanwhile, here’s the *finished* draft lyric for “Georgia Sand, Florida Clay:”

I was somewhere on the outskirts of Atlanta

At a quiet bar, waiting for Rush Hour to clear

When the woman at my right downed a shot and then she sighed

And in the corner of her eye I could see the start of tears

 

Can I offer you a drink for your sorrows?

She said yes, and we chatted for a while

I said, “You could come escape; if you follow me tomorrow

To my place down by the beach, I bet it could make you smile”

 

CHORUS

Will you stroll on my Florida Sand

And leave your Georgia Clay

Will you come south, maybe take my hand

Even though it’s a little far away?

 

I was only halfway joking, and she chuckled in reply

And said, “You’re really very sweet, but I can’t accept

It’s not just that you’re a stranger, see, I really have to try

To mend my wounded life and make an end to my regrets

 

So I can’t stroll on your Florida Sand

And leave my Georgia Clay

I’d love to talk, maybe hold your hand

But I just can’t run away

 

I left her my number in case she ever changed her mind

Paid our tab, and I headed south again

Something about her eyes makes me think of her from time to time

Perhaps someday she’ll call, and tell me then:

 

“I’m coming to stroll on your Florida Sand

And leaving my Georgia Clay

To talk with you, and hold your hand

And we can share our days”

Creative Thing Week 11: Half a Song, and…

Yes, I’m still creating. And yes, I’m still working on some projects that will take some time before I can share a semi-finished product with you. I tried tracking my instrumental project last week, and wasn’t quite to where it’d work. But I’m closer now, thanks to more rehearsal. Hopefully this week…

I do have half or 2/3 of a new song that I’m working on. When I made my “eclipse trip” up through GA last summer, I had an idea come to me of “Florida sand and Georgia clay.” I didn’t know what to do about that then. A couple of days ago, while listening to some Jesse Rice music, I got a song idea that works with that particular contrast. I don’t quite have the whole thing yet, but I’ve got two verses and a chorus. The song will probably be verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, (bridge, chorus). And I may tweak the later choruses to fit the story. I think it will end up being an unrequited love song. Here’s what I’ve got:

Florida Sand, Georgia Clay

I was somewhere on the outskirts of Atlanta

A a quiet bar, waiting for rush hour to clear

When the woman at my right downed a shot, and then she sighed

And in the corner of her eye, I could see the start of tears

 

Can I offer you a drink for your sorrows?

She said yes, and we chatted for a while

I said, “you could come escape; you can follow me tomorrow

To my place by the beach, I bet it could make you smile

 

CHORUS

Will you stroll on my Florida Sand

And leave your Georgia Clay?

Will you come south and maybe take my hand

Even though it’s a little far away?

(unwritten verse 3: She politely declined and we went our separate ways)

(unwritten bridge: I wonder how her story turned out. Wonder what might have happened if she’d…)

Creative Thing Week #10 – Brainstorming a Song Idea

I don’t have a finished product this week, though I’ve been spending time brainstorming new material and listening to some different songs and instrumental tracks to help inspire me. I’m just about to where I hope I can track my first guitar instrumental with minimal mistakes, and I’m pretty much up and ready to go on the new version of Logic Pro. So maybe next week I’ll have an instrumental work in progress for you.

I’m also rehearsing some things I’ve written/composed in recent weeks, because I’ve got a gig coming up at which I want to debut them. And they shift and settle into more polished places as I do, and that’s all good.

In the meantime, at the top of the list of my brainstorming is something titled “Walking Each Other Home.” I want it to be inspirational, and maybe a love song. I don’t have enough pieces yet to know how it’ll turn out. But I can share a possible chorus, and I’ll share some of the more interesting lyric sets I’ve come up with so far. And you may see a more-finished version of this in the future.

First the proto-chorus:

Wouldn’t life be easier

If we walked each other home?

We could all get where we want to go

If we walked each other home.

 

And some lyrics:

The slamming closed of a heart’s own door

Is the saddest sound there is

 

Forever trapped in too-small armor, bonsai of the soul

 

The world is full of magic, for those with eyes to see

Like the sparkle in your gaze every time you look at me

 

Cassandra tried to anchor the news, but everyone changed the channel

 

And that’s where it all sits right now, along with some other bits that I don’t like as much. 🙂 Hopefully a bit more brainstorming will give me something I can use.

In the meantime, thanks for listening and have an awesome week!

Loren

Week #9: More Creative Goodies

This is going to be a “prose week” for me. I’m still working on a number of different creative ideas, including ratcheting up my guitar-playing skills so that I can create instrumentals. And also re-familiarizing myself with Logic Pro, so that I can record and produce at least some of my own stuff. These are important projects for me to be working on, even if it takes me a while to turn out anything I can share with you.

I created new lyrics/prose on four out of seven days this past week, and was working on my other creative-related projects (above) on two of the other days. So I’m still spending time trying to focus on my creative self every day, though I can improve on that.

I *did* get what might turn into part of a song at some future time. I was thinking about my time in the Virgin Islands last June, remembering how polite and friendly everyone was down there. And I came up with a very rough verse and a possible chorus. At the moment, it seems to be about the entirety of the USVI, but I may narrow that down, broaden it, or do something else with it going forward. Here’s today’s very rough draft, for your enjoyment:

Looking eagerly out the window, as the plane came in to land

The runway’s gotten longer and the planes have gotten stronger

Since my first trip down with my family, when I was a very young man

Some things look familiar and others strange; there have been so many changes

 

“Good morning, good afternoon, good evening”

People will greet you every day

From the streets of Charlotte Amalie to the beach at Fredriksted

The Virgin Islands are where I want to lay my head

Creative Thing Week #8: Wonderful Life

In our last exciting episode, I described how I hadn’t managed to finish anything for last week, despite having spent some significant time up at the South Jetty in Venice, observing life and writing stuff down, among other things.

Well, this week, among other things, I’ve used a lot of that material in a new song. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

One big difference this week was that I spent more time focused on working with my creative muses. I’d like to get to “daily,” but this week I only had one day on which I didn’t create at least a couple of lines of doggerel, so that’s pretty close. And yesterday I dug into the accumulated lyrics of the week, and pulled out and assembled this song. Again, it’s likely not the best thing I’ve ever written, but it’s more or less complete (the bridge is a bit sparse) and it has music. I think I had some Jim Morris running through my head while creating lyrics, because the song at this point definitely has that sort of feel to it.

You probably want to hear the song now, right? Well, here it is: https://youtu.be/_g1dNFU5TmA

In addition, I managed to spend a bit of time brainstorming with a couple of my fellow artists on Friday, in between their sets. In the process, I came up with a chorus for something they’ve both been noodling on a bit, and got some constructive feedback on an old idea I’ve been knocking around for years. It was a helpful reminder of one of the reasons why I live here now, where my fellow artists track through fairly regularly.

I’m learning some worthwhile things about my creative flow and process, doing this exercise. And I’m already eight weeks in! 🙂

Copyright © Loren Davidson, all rights reserved

To buy any of Loren’s music, go to iTunes and search on “Loren Davidson.”

Or buy Loren’s music on CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/LorenDavidson

Just want to help support me in making more music? http://www.digitaltipjar.com/lorendavidson

Loren’s Website: http://www.lorendavidson.com

Loren’s Facebook artist page: http://www.facebook.com/lorendavidsonmusic

Loren’s ReverbNation artist page: http://www.reverbnation.com/lorendavidson