Saturday, September 05, 2009

Taking control

Bejeweled—how can I quit you?

What did I do yesterday? Precious little, besides sitting on my backside in front of this computer. And what did I accomplish with this computer? Nothing. And I went to bed a little bit disgusted with myself. Labor Day weekend is here. It is the traditional turning point, from Summer into Fall. For me it is time to take control.

I joined Facebook awhile back and in so many ways it is a great thing, but it's out of control here at my house. Because I am a member of quilting listservs and online groups, and because I blog, I guess, I get lots and lots of "friend" requests from people I don't know. I'm not talking about virtual friends who I really feel like I know even though I've never met them face to face. I'm talking about names and faces I've never seen or heard of before. I accepted a lot of those, when I saw how many "mutual friends" we had. This needs to end. I need to get rid of the guy who only friended me to try to sell me thread. I need to get rid of the quilter with the offensive (to me) political and religious views. Heck, I need to get rid of the ones who post five times a day about what they just ate or that they just returned their library books. I DON'T KNOW YOU. I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR LIBRARY BOOKS! Sorry to yell. It's not your fault, it's mine. So I'm "hiding" and I'm even going to do some "unfriending." Going to whittle this thing down to a managable size.

Don't misunderstand me. Most of you are staying. Most of Facebook delights me. Anne's headcheese sandwich was the highlight of my day yesterday. Oh no, wait, maybe it was my niece's saga of the van full of mice. Good stuff!

The damn game
Another aspect of the dark side of Facebook—games. It started with SCRABBLE, introduced to me by Elaine. This is good. It is benign. It tests your brain and creates interaction between friends. And SCRABBLE is slow—takes up very little of your time. Then came FARKLE, a virtual dice game, which involves only a little strategy and a lot of luck. It captivated me for awhile. Then I discovered BEJEWELED. Beware people. This game is THE WORK OF THE DEVIL!!!! Sorry. Yelling again. Once again, my own fault. This is where my yesterday went. Hours. Hours I will never get back. It has no redeeming social value, no skills to develop, no hope of ever mastering it. I'm done with it. (Oh Lord, help me be strong...)

Google Reader
Google Reader is another good thing that can take you to bad places. It makes it easy to read one's favorite blogs, by giving you a list of only the blogs with new entries. You can even download a little button that simply whisks you from one new blog entry to the next, by-passing the list. How can this be bad, you ask? It encourages you (well, me) to subscribe to blog after blog after blog. Before you know it you have queued up 43 new posts to read on Go Fug Yourself. I find making fun of celebrities' bizarre outfits and hairstyles great, amusing fun—but really so much snark is not good for you. So, buh, bye. I also dumped the Portland blogger who complains about everything and the design blog that seems to have run out of interesting things to say, and, and, and... I have lightened the load considerably.

OK, this is a good feeling. I'm not telling anyone else what to do. You're adults and you can make your own decisions and besides that's another thing I'm deleting—blogs that pontificate and tell you what to do. I am not even swayed by the sound of Ray playing BEJEWELED behind me on his computer. I am woman. I am strong.

Perhaps now that I have my virtual act together, I can tackle my closet and then do some laundry. Maybe I can make some art.


  1. Oh, jeez, you have hit a nerve. You are right about Bejeweled - argh!! Last week, I went for 5 days without playing. Now I am trying to limit my time. But I really need to just quit it.

    FB? - I just hide everything and everybody that annoys me. It is so liberating.

    I love the google reader because I think it gets me through the blogs I love so much easier. And thank you for that little button idea. I love that. I stopped the Go Fug Yourself long ago.

    I have a timer in my studio. I set it for 20 minutes and allow myself that much time to be on the computer. Sometimes, I get sucked in, but it is a reminder of how I am wasting my time.

    Good luck!! I am right here with you.

  2. Now you know why I try to limit myself to no more than 5 games when I play. I have been completely addicted to the silly game before I started playing on FB. I even resisted starting for a while. I am a games fool. Even more so because I am so competitive.

  3. Funny -- these are all the internet adresses that I have resisted to sign in to. Facebook: I heard it spreads your personality all over the globe. Games? I'm luckily immune. Time robbers -- yes they are. And I chose to cut those that don't give something valuable in return -- like sharing work and thoughts with sensible people.

  4. --snort--

    Luckily, I don't like games -- my life is competition enough.

    But I do like your blog, especially the yelling parts!

  5. You go girl!

    I've only recently joined FB and beyond the first two days where everyone found me, I don't get too many friend requests. I'd vowed to not friend people I either don't know in person or who's blogs I don't follow, but one or two have snuck in. It feels kinda mean to click "ignore" on someone who's heart is in the right place. I too must be strong though and stick to my rule. Then there's people I do know and who's path I will probably cross again in the future. Don;t want to ignore them, but might not want to listen to them all teh time either. Hmm. I hadn't really realized how compartmentalized I had made my life until I joined FB and all those lines I had drawn have been blown away! I know that there's ways to limit what you and others see on FB, but even that isn't nuanced enough for my needs. I'm so glad I've been able to resist the games. Must stay away!

  6. DAMN STRAIGHT...and now that you are on a tear, I still have that second bag of fabric for you to choose. I like purging it is the only thing I can get done on a relatively regular schedule. It is also very humbling to realize that the item or relationship you just had to have wasn't quite so "valuable" after all as it really didn't take you to the place you thought it would. So now that you aren't gonna play the games (I haven't gone beyond Majhong or solitaire for my addictions) when can I put you on the calendar for the rest of that fabric =D.


  7. You gave me a good chuckle today, thank you!
    This is the single most important reason I do not have a Facebook account. My husband does, and I spend plenty of time already on his computer when he leaves it alone just playing this game. ARGH! Then I remind myself there is plenty of fabric calling my name and try to tear myself away from the glowing screen of distraction...

  8. I'm like Gerri, I hide the people who annoy me and I hide all of the games, virtual gifts, surveys, polls...whatever. That has made FB much more pleasant!

  9. Ha ha ha - go Terry!!! Good for you!!! Yes yes yes...!

  10. Anonymous2:17 PM

    We all have problems tearinfg ourselves away from the's one thing that's helped me - I've organized my subscriptions in Google reader into differnt Groups ("folders"), according to the main topic of the blog (quilting, dyeing, design...). The group at the top of the list is "First read", the blogs that I really want to stay in close contact with. This way, when I should be doing other stuff, I can read the blogs that I really care about, or hit a topic I'm feeling in the mood for inspiration from, and I save the new posts in other folders for times when I'm brain dead...and scroll through them really fast or just hit "mark all as read" if it gets overwhelming. This certainly works well for me! Good luck taming the time suck that is the internet!

  11. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Now. I bet you feel better after all that virtual "space clearing," doncha, hon'? I joined FB several months ago but I STILL don't get it. It's like waving to someone as they drive by. I'd much rather sit down for a nice cup of tea and hear what's on your mind. I may stick with FB a little longer, but I have an idea mine's going to be put to sleep sometime soon.

    Games are no problem for me, meaning I don't do 'em. After my recent return to blogging, I found during the catch-up reading that maybe I hadn't missed a few of them so much. I just wish Bloglines didn't use a trash can and ask me if I was SURE I wanted to put this person in the trash. Oh, the guilt.

    I like to pan for golden-nugget writers. So don't you stop!!

  12. Whew! We're in! And to think headcheese made your day. Wow - you really do need to rethink Facebook if that's all it took.

    I, too, have been "Farkled" and now "'jeweled"... ONE MINUTE...GO! One minute sounds so managable, until 120 of them have gone by. GULP.

    Now Google Reader - I haven't tried that one but think I will. I really only have 2 blogs I read faithfully ( - if you don't read this, you should - and another one...something about sewing...). Thanks for the tip, unless you've lead me to another Googalian hell.

  13. Yep, you hit a nerve. I have also been getting rid of those who befriended me to just sell something. I wish there was a way to identify these folks before you hit the accept button! As for Bejeweled.. I have been playing a version of it on my Palm pilot then iphone for years now. I love it when I travel. I have managed NOT to get into it from Facebook. It doesn't take much to distract me as it is so I am considering myself lucky that I didn't get sucked into that... yet.
    I also like Google reader.. you can see who did what in a flash.
    I am hoping that as the heat dissipates here, I can get back to creating.
    Good luck on kicking the addiction. :-)

  14. I could have written this!!!! I agree with all of it except...I have no problem defriending people that go on and on with their political views or my favorite...her breasts and breast feeding and her sore breasts, etc., etc.
    I do love FB though. I've connected with so many old friends who have moved and love hearing what they're up to. Bejeweled Blitz is something else. Just one more, just until I get a 50,000 score, that was more.
    Google reader is great...I was into Polymer Clay for a few years and loved those blogs and now that I'm back to quilting, I'm learning so much. In fact, because of a blogger I'm going to dye my first fabric tomorrow. If I can get off the computer!!!

  15. I haven't been on Facebook long, felt coerced into joining because of friends who insisted there was no other way to share pictures with me. I'm still working out how to use it in a positive way for ME and do see some value to it.

    I too let a lot of unknowns become friends - a little fear that I may miss out on someone truly enjoyable and worthwhile, and that has occasionally been the case. On the other hand, there are a few that I've given more than a fair chance of getting interesting and they're about to go. I hate using these social networks purely as a marketing tool as some are.

    Part of the "problem" which others see as a plus is the way you can link your twitter and blog posts to Facebook. Those short uninteresting things you mention? I'm betting they are actually tweets. I use google reader and so if I see you on Facebook with a blog post, I'll wait until I run across it in the reader. But I can see how you might reach a larger audience (or people too busy to spend time anywhere but on Facebook), so I can't fault doing that.

    The key is to be in control of Facebook and not let Facebook be in control of you! Sounds like you have a good start.

  16. Mah Jong was my downfall. Spider solitaire was another. I already have too much trouble focusing. Don't do FB and I can't imagine why anyone needs or wants twitter.
    Your yelling made me laugh. Thanks. Right now I'm resisting the urge to find out about Bejeweled...must resist...

  17. Have at it, girlfriend! Hoorah!

  18. What is Google Reader?
    I met my long lost friends at my high school reunion last October. I don't think there are any others I want to "meet." I don't understand FB at all.

  19. You are so right - it is all so addictive. I started playing Mafia Wars, which requires you to get a big "family" so I have lots and lots of strangers who are friends. Amazing the types of quizzes they take, and post the results. The political rants they go on, but don't want to hear any opposing opinions. And the things they share.

    Yes I too am trying to wean myself away. It's been a while since I played Bejeweled. I had to quit cold turkey.

  20. Hi Terry, I certainly hear you in your comments, and agree. I recently started to use FB, as in just a few weeks. Already, I'm paring the friends list down, not participating in quizzes or games, deleting friends I know and like who only post drivel, and am considering if there is any value here, or not. I spend way too much precious time on the computer. Enough!

  21. Anonymous9:31 AM

    I couldn't agree more about Facebook, also Twitter etc. etc. I can't immesh myself in all the inane chatter and I'm wasting precious time I could be creating something worthwhile. Or taking a walk to get some exercise.

  22. The first time I hit "ignore" on FB it was sooo liberating.

    And I was on a posting my breakfast roll...Rachel's yogurts ARE THAT GOOD! :)

  23. I'm chuckling reading your post. I ignore all the games on FB, I've got little enough time to be creative without losing more to a game. My Google Reader somehow jumped up to over 900 unread blog posts this morning. I'm thinking it's time to cull the list again. Unfortunately, that takes computer time too!

  24. Before reading your post, I'd not heard of Bejeweled (yes, I've managed to avoid the game part of Facebook). Now I spot the name in an article about depression. Apparently there is research being conducted about how video games can help people with depression and Bejeweled was one touted by one woman suffering from depression. She plays it at night when she can't sleep. So maybe playing Bejeweled was healthier for you than you realized! LOL

  25. Hi Terry the successful way to handle all those people on FB who say things either you want to hear or never want to hear is too create categories for your news feeds. I have about 6 categories, this makes it much easier to see the feeds from close friends, family, old schoolmates, fellow art quilter friends, etc.

  26. Did you write this post just for me? To get me off my hinnie and off this computer?? I could have written it myself! I've unsubbed from most of my Yahoo groups, the others are on digest, I've unsubbed from most quilt shop ads-I have enough fabric that needs used up, they are making more if I need it. I've hidden annoying FB people because I don't know how to unfriend, but blogland sucks me in. And Bejeweled! Evil, evil game! And Oh Lord, help me too!
    So I scrolled down your page before I hit the little x and now I must go read some more........but later, right now I will dance with the vacuum cleaner!
    Thanks for the kick!