Category Archives: Facebook

Poetry Book, Future Feature Readings, and Poetic Excitment

I have neglected this blog for a long time, because I’ve been fairly busy with school, but I want to re-establish my online presence here and now. I am breathing, poet-ing, and living life all the time. In the course of these events, I have a few tidbits of incredibly explosive news.

Firstly, I have decided to self-publish a chapbook of poetry, which will be entitled Skinny Dipping with Strangers, named after the featured poem of the same name. Hypothetically, this poem will be released in early January or as early as late December! I will be working on it even harder once I finish final exams and begin my winter break!

Secondly, I will be performing at a number of shows in the upcoming months, including the open mics I already frequent. The soonest will come this Wednesday on November 20th at the 827. I will be performing a 25 minute feature, after which will follow an open mic and poetry slam! For all the information, check out the event here: http://www.the827.com/#!open-mic-night/cdoa

Or you can join the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/556583157768045/

If you cannot make this performance, that will be perfectly fine. There will possibly be another Charleston-centric event I shall update you about on a later date.

Likewise, if you’re not in the Charleston area and clambering to experience Derek Berry’s poetic gymnastics, I have three great options for you. Firstly, I will be working in the coming weeks to produce a few low-budget videos of my performances, and maybe even some music-video-type projects for poems! Secondly, I am going to work on getting a professional recording of the poems that will appear in the book (and some other poems too) which I will be giving away for free to those that purchase the book.

Finally, I have a very exciting announcement. I will be featuring in the city where my spoken word started off– Augusta, GA! On January 2nd, 2014, I will perform a show at M.A.D. Studios, hosted by Catherine Zickgraf. I will also post again about this in the future. You can come out and see me play home field.

In other words, get psyched for the possibilities for the future. There have been other poetic concerns clouding my mind, but I don’t want to share them until they become officiated. Keep in touch, and I will keep everyone updated.

 

The Desk

Four weeks later, the “Happy Birthday” Mylar balloon survives, defying gravity as it levitates beside his bed. When he wakes, he usually startles, peering into the darkness and waiting for IT to attack in his clownish terror. But the boy does not lay in his bed, but instead hunches over the desk writing on index cards, his arms, the walls, and his mind– any sort of memorization trick he can think of.

Periodically, he reaches for his laptop, opens up Facebook, wastes fifteen minutes reading a bland twitter feed. When he looks up to see the books and papers and notebooks stacked around him like a fortress, he closes the laptop and returns to work.

The boy is me, naturally, too lazy to use first person because after studying this much, can you even be sure that you inhabit your own body anymore? You’re a robot, a clone, that strange alien double agent sent into a high school to infect the student body as well as the teacher, but there are a few resistant students who team up and fight against you. Either that, or everyone’s losing their minds.

Studying might not be the right word, though. More like boarding up a house in Florida before hurricane season or gathering your army for war. Washington, I have crossed the Delaware. I have faced the enemy, and he is no Fuhrer or vaguely-racist-depiction of Communism, but final exams.

As much as I would like to say that these exams are why I haven’t blogged in so long, I can’t say that. After all, the Mylar balloon has been there the whole time, egging me. Write, write write, and no doubt, I have been writing. Perhaps a little more than a week from now, when the waiting and preparing ends, I can write more. Also, I will be putting up videos of poetry performances in the next few days, so look out for those.

Modern Mating: A Fable

Indian Summer, the sun shining like an IPad 2, the birds tweeting: “Can’t wait to head back down South. #winteriscoming”.

                Jane sat on a bench alone eyeing the boy who sat facing away from her with a laptop propped on his knees. She spied on his Facebook profile, wishing she could log on to quench her lonliness. Out here in the real world, she felt only sorrow and awkward failure, never able to properly communicate with those with whom she wished she could.

                Jane craned her neck, hoping it would signal to the boy she wanted to talk to him. For some reason (maybe because he wore Dr. Dre Beats headphones, which block out sound like a plane door being wrenched open mid-flight, the sound-machines designed to optimize the boy’s listening experience as if he were in the studio with the artist which through his open Spotify playlist she could tell was Smash Mouth which she herself had not even heard since she was seven), he did not notice her initiation of the conversation.

                She then tried something more drastic, something that may have come across as so forward and attention-seeking, the wild prey could be scared away. She muttered to herself, “Bored, hmu.”*

                *H.M.U.: Acronym for “Hit Me Up”

                He did not, however, hit him up, and she felt cheated as he liked “Scarlett Johansson” who surely he only followed on Twitter because of her breasts, but in no way her acting abilities. Such a cursory glance offered all of this information to Jane, who could sense things about people. She called this naked intuition.

                She began to resort to less lady-like measures, which included blurting out in repetition “I’m single,” “I’m in a relationship,” “I’m single,” “I’m in a relationship” and whipping out her phone to snap pictures of her cleavage. But with no Instagram to which to upload these pictures, she soon felt her efforts defeated.

                Then she was struck with the most awful idea, a notion so radical that if she were French, they would slice off her head with a guillotine. And the guillotine would be branded with an Apple logo and cost three times as much as normal guillotines. She decided, in a fit of hysteria, lunacy, or brilliance, that she would attempt to evoke vocal contact with the boy.

                He was super cute, wearing his hair like Justine Bieber, with the complexion of Edward Cullen, the combined eyes of every band member in One Direction rolled into one. She strut over to him, trying to only reveal certain angles of her face to appear most attractive because he would have to buy her a few movie tickets and they would have to sit through a few boring Adam Sandler or Madea movies before she could show him “her true self.”*

                *Her true self was a pimple on her neck, inconveniently right blow her left cheek. She also considered it a great secret that she clandestinely loved Dashboard Confessional, but who doesn’t? Also, sometimes she possessed the horrible habit of wearing a dream catcher in her hair as an accessory.

                Jane: Hi, whats up? J

                Boy: Heyy, do I know u? Ur not on my contact list

                Jane: No im jane

                Boy: Cool, wanna go out? 😛

                Jane: Sur! :O

                Boy: Were do u wanna go? O.o

                Jane: A new movie this wk end. Billy Madison 2

                Boy: Pick u up at ate

                Jane: XoX 😀

               

                Twenty years later, Jane married this boy over Skype via her IPhone.

Guest Blog: Tolerance (Or Lack of) On Social Media (Part 2)

{Yesterday, I post a blog from Will Victor (juggler, scholar, Taylor-Lautner-look-alike) on the Chik-fil-A controversy and its effects on Facebook feeds. Read Part 1 first, then commence with reading the rest. Share your thoughts below.}

Read Part 1

After having shared the said analysis of the online ideological war, you may ask me, “Will, why do you maintain your position in no mans land?”

You may tell me to listen to Danté, who once said that “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.” So, why remain neutral? Why choose to stay in “no man’s land?”

The answer to this inquiry lies not in that I have no opinions.  I certainly have opinions on these issues. In fact, I could tell you all that I personally think about every controversial topic from abortion to the social safety net. My neutrality lies not in that I don’t have an opinion—rather it lies in accepting the reality that every one of these controversial issues has two sides, and more often than not, the reasoning used to justify supporting either side is entirely valid under the assumptions upon which the opinion was based. To give an example, I will share with you two opinions on homosexual relations. The first will support the morality of homosexual relations, and the second will debase it.

In favor of:

“Due to advances in modern psychology and research, we as humans understand that homosexuality is not abnormal. Around 5 percent of the population of humans is homosexual, and homosexuality is not a choice. It is an orientation that is determined by biological, genetic, and environmental factors. Further, to hide from one’s identity and suppress homosexual urges is psychologically harmful according to the APA. Thus, homosexuals should be supported in their decision to have relations with one another.”

In opposition to:

“On planet earth, nature has defined laws that govern itself. We call the system of morality that arises from this fact “Natural Law.” In the context of homosexual relations, natural law can conclude that homosexuality is immoral because of the following: a penis is a human body part that is meant to fertilize an egg inside of a woman. An anus is meant to expel waste from the body. These two body parts are not meant to be put together. This is quite obviously the reason why homosexual relations are immoral.”

It is easy to see how these two pieces of evidence are based off of different assumptions. The former implies that what is moral should be defined by what is deemed “normal, and healthy” by scientific research in human psychology, while the latter defines moral as determined by “natural law.” This leads us to conclude that the argument that is occurring is not just about gay marriage, it is rather about some difference in each person’s concept of the source of morality.

It is quite easy to see in the example above that two arguments can be simultaneously valid because each one is based off of a different assumption. This is why I maintain my neutrality in these issues. I’m tired of people acting like the other side is completely crazy. Many fail to recognize that the opposition is using a different set of assumptions to create their argument.

Maybe, if we better understood this, we would stop throwing ideological grenades at one another. And when everyone noticed that the mortars stopped exploding they would poke their heads out of the trenches, and approach one another peaceably. Maybe then people would start to explain their respective worldviews and either agree to disagree, or search for real compromise.

It is my hope that the armistice will come soon because I genuinely dislike watching the sentimental Facebook Christmas stories be eaten up by the bombs of ideological warfare on my mini-feed.

Privacy? We May Need It, but No One Wants It

Facebook, over the course of its existence, has changed many times its privacy settings. Some people limit everyone from seeing pictures on his profile and some allow anyone to see all info. In fact, privacy settings are very rarely used by Facebook users under the age of 25. Middle aged users tend to use privacy settings more prudently. We teenagers, we allow anyone to see what music we like, what books we like, and what celebrities we admire but get offending when someone “stalks” us.

It annoys me that some people will say they have read my blog or seen a picture, then apologize for “stalking.” If we were really a generation afraid of unwanted attention, we wouldn’t have Facebooks, tumblrs, and Youtube accounts. We would not recklessly share our inner lives with a computer screen.

No, we don’t mind that anyone may be stalking us because it stokes our ego. We feel better that someone is paying attention; who cares how creepy it seems? If all info is available, all info is free-game. No one is a creeper or stalker for looking at another’s profile, just worshipers of a single ego.

There is a voyeuristic pleasure we receive with allowing others to see into our “inner selves.” What we portray on social-networking sites like Facebook, however, we can manipulate. We can make ourselves appear exactly how we want to appear. A moralistic Christian? Post Bible verses all day and list Jesus as an inspiring figure. You don’t even need to go to Church. Want to be seen a stoner? Why not simply like “weed” on Facebook? It won’t even matter that you don’t smoke as long as you perpetuate a certain image. And we enjoy intensely luring others into believing they’re learning our deep, dark secrets when we have shaped those secrets meticulously.

Teens are like D-list celebrities who complain about the paparazzi, then wear sheer shirts onto the red carpet so pictures of their nipples end up on the internet. We love that attention. Attention is the new love. Facebook is the perfect mirror to preen in, making ourselves into what psychologist Maslow would call our “self-realized selves.” We’ve reached a stage where we can lie without making any facial expressions because words on the web give no social cues. On the internet, we can create new identities.

We’ve seen this time and time again where some fourteen-year-old girl meets her internet boyfriend for the first time at Target only to be kidnapped by Buffalo Bill. But creepy skin-wearers aren’t the only ones who reform their identities via the internet. We do it too. Facebook merely is a better tool to facilitate how we get others to perceive us. Back in the day, we would subscribe to certain stereotypes, then dress in a certain manner. Today, we’re allowed far more uniqueness to express ourselves through what the pins on our Pinterest boards say.

The internet offers the perfect fantasy. A social illusion, where you are the all-important person. Any person following your blog does not simply appreciate your insights but is a “creeper” obsessed with you. Aren’t we all in love with that idea, that celebrity status where people check Twitter just to see whenever you poop in public?

Earlier today, I worked very minimally to post a blog about The Avengers. I am really excited for The Avengers and definitely want people to know how much of a comics book geek I’ve become (especially superheroes), but it was for that reason I wrote the post. That, and because Avengers is such a popular search item currently, I figured it would boost my view count. Does that not just shout megalomania, Tony-Stark-style? I didn’t feel passionate about revealing my thoughts; I was too tired to write and forced myself to just because I hadn’t for two days. We’re all on the internet like it’s some high school party, keeping up appearances.
Obviously, I’m not immune. I’m consumed, sucked in, and obsessed. I crave attention as well and am as self-centered as Superman if he hadn’t found Earth and had instead floating in space his entire life thinking he was the only living organism in the universe. Of course it affects me. That’s the nature of the beast call ego-centrism. When my psychology teacher inferred it passed after adolescence, I wanted to laugh. Our generation may never grow out of this, never stop fueling our own need for obsession and rejection of privacy in return for new-age love.

No need to stop feeding the ravenous machine that is Derek Berry’s ego, so comment and like and view this post sixty times to give me delusions of internet-grandeur. Just giving you something to think about.

Internet Trends Are No Reason to Be an Idiot: #YOLO

“Oh, that’s a very funny status my friend– I mean, that person who happens to be in my chemistry class but I’ve never talked to before– posted. Maybe I should leave an equally funny comment, or…. I could un-originally post a *rageface* because LOL, YOLO!”

Memes, internet fads, and pictures of f**king cats: I hate them all. But if you want to Brace Yourself for being Forever Alone because like a pretentious Willy Wonka, you post so many captioned pictures that it becomes a First World Problem, that’s your business. Maybe. I honestly don’t understand the obsession, and I also hate memes’ torture of decent grammar.

“Hey guys, I heard this really funny joke, so I’m going to apply it to everything in life until people want to stab my in the eyes.”

For those who live in nursing homes or under rocks... this is a meme. They are annoying.
Photo credit: http://nuevosmemes.tk/scene-wolf-11/

I really hope it’s just a teen thing. What if pretty soon, you’re grandmother joins in until life is nothing more than Awkward Penguins and spitting your cereal out each time something incredulous occurs? But if I can stand not to implode the world over idiotic internet trends, there is one thing I cannot allow to continue. A motto for poorly-clad, soon-to-be-pregnant preteens: YOLO.

These four letters sprang up all over Twitter and Facebook within a matter of days and continue to trend. Admirably, people take the advice far too seriously.

The phrase “You Only Live Once” has been around for quite some time, meaning “Hey, don’t give up on your dreams because you’re pretty much going to die.” But then again, maybe YOLO isn’t the best philosophy in life. If you spend your life thinking of things to do simply because one day you will die and, unlike zombies, will never be re-animated, you must spend your life making very poor decisions. Just because you live only once is no excuse to do the following things:

– Inject heroin into your veins

– Post naked pictures of yourself on the internet

– Run in front of my car at BI-LO screaming “YOLO” (I will hit you, you crazy crackhead middle schoolers)

– Get admittedly-funny-now-while-we’re-drunk-but-not-even-close-to-funny-later tattoos, such as having YOLO written across your forehead. As if you need to proclaim your idiocy more efficiently to the world.

– Take sixteen shots of tequila in a row

– Have a foursome (What’s a condom? Who cares!? YOLO!)

We take something seemingly normal to say and turn it into an internet trend, but you don’t expect it to wear out and seem stupid after awhile? Once anything hits the internet, it’s ruined, worn out, beaten like crazy until it’s dead, then raised from the dead, then shot in the head because that’s how you kill zombies. I’m not trying say that YOLO is always bad advice, but I’m not sure that everyone understands what it actually means.

“Didn’t do my homework. #YOLO”

Oh, so you blame the fact that you’re a lazy procrastinator on the fact you only live once? Great. You live such an adventurous life. I’m sure you used that time wisely, ogling over pictures of One Direction band members on Tumblr.

YOLO cannot be a motto for living wild, because really it’s just an excuse- something to say- to justify your own stupidity. By saying “YOLO,” people try to make it okay to make bad decisions. When was it ever good to make bad decisions? But I guess when the greatest advice in your life is the advice you get from a Drake song, you already have some serious issues.

If you want to save the world from water pollution because #YOLO, good for you. If you want to snort cocaine off the rim of a toilet because… #YOLO, well… It’s annoying and pretentious. By even using that phrase, you advertise your own lack of development in your frontal lobe. In a court of law, you cannot be freed merely because #YOLO.

Seriously. Stop it.

Have an idea? How about use your words (not pictures someone else drew and used a caption under) to express how you feel?

And if you want to do something stupid, do it because it’s stupid, not because it will give some false vilification that your life was worth living.

Are Yahoo! Writers Real Writers or Middle School Students Paid in Trident Layers?

For the longest time, which isn’t that long since it constitutes maybe two years, I have been receiving a bulk of my news from the Yahoo! website. Today, I decided to take a step back and wonder why. Well, the titles are often promising, even if the articles don’t pull through. And they have that nifty scroll bar so you can read the headlines very quickly. But the more I read Yahoo!, the more angry I get at the poor quality of journalism shown by its writers.

There are some staff writers who write news, which is hardly ever news. The latest breaking news story is about Ashton Kutcher singing country. The rest of their content, they take from various blogs which contribute to Yahoo! But the writers are unprofessional, not at all meticulous enough to catch spelling mistakes, and down-right petty.

Take a gander at this article about technology, about what gadgets “turn women off.”  Okay, I understand the basic concept. If you wear

a blue tooth in your ear, women will steer clear of you because you seem too high-tech.

But then the writer also prattles on about how important brands are, how if you’re not carrying an Apple IPhone, no one is going to talk to you. Now I’m starting the see the trend. These writers are petty eighth graders paid to worship brands, restaurants, and politicians while dissing on others in the judgement of the head editor. And this biased, chest-puffed trash is what news has become.

Seriously, you’re going to write “news” about how women love certain technology, then just describe all the technology you personally own?

For the credit of Yahoo!, they do cover some controversial and serious topics. Anything that explodes online finds its way within twenty minutes onto Yahoo! I wonder, however, why it only takes twenty minutes. Let us take for example the KONY video released about a month ago. When people began sharing it on their walls, many people criticizes the supporters for jumping on a web bandwagon. But then again, people see something and need only click to share.

Many complained that no one checked their facts and that the video was riddled with falsity. But these are Facebook users and twitter users. There’s very little social responsibility for us beyond keeping up with who is in a relationship with who and who posted what pictures from what party last night. If this seems rather pathetic and ignorant, it is, but at least I can understand why someone just

checking their Facebook wall would not need to go on a scavenger search for truth.

And the day KONY2012 exploded, Yahoo! began posting about it as well. It is most certainly their responsibility to check facts. Days later, they upped the ante by criticizing KONY supporters while days ago supporting them. It’s not about facts or news or even interest. They work harder on their catchy headlines than any other part of their stories.

Besides not checking facts, the writers make a number of other follies. Most annoyingly, writing news about things that do not and will not ever matter. Read this breaking news story about the new Russian revolution going on– Oh, sorry, I meant, about Carrie Underwood’s leg: http://omg.yahoo.com/photos/2012-academy-of-country-music-awards-slideshow/

If I have to read another article about celebrity clothing or who divorced who after thirty days of lackluster marriage, I’m going to pierce my eyelids with fire pokers. For that reason, I’m giving up Yahoo! I am still going to use Yahoo! for my e-mail account, but beyond that, nope. I vow to from these day forward find an online newspaper with real news. With news that matters and news that isn’t petty and hockey-fashion-related on any day. Maybe I’m a grumpkin who can’t stand happy-feel-good stories, but seriously, another cat video?

That’s not a story. It’s a cat video.

I don't read the news. I just gossip with this girl who doesn't understand the importance of fiscal stability over chewing gum.

6 Most Annoying Facebook Status Updates

The worse-than-attention-whores attention whore status

Like if you breathe air!

Really? You’re so desperate for people to “like” your status and in extension prove your escalation on the socio-popularity scale that you’ve given up putting pictures of your cleavage as your profile picture and instead have resorted to this. This “like if…” disease has spread from Youtube to Twitter to Facebook and even to the comment sections of some blogs. No matter where I see it, it is annoying. It is a strange cry for help, crying for people to show other people how many people LOVE YOU “IF YOU LIKE MY STATUS.” Sorry, but just because someone likes your status doesn’t mean anyone really likes YOU.

The Genius Friend Hackers’ Status

OMG, you totally got hacked!!!!! Because you left your computer open!

Your friend left his computer on with you in the room, so that gives you free reign to go to Facebook.com where doubtless your friend never logs out from. Then, you can claim to have “hacked” them by leaving an obviously dumb status on their profiles. Your hacking skills are simply superb, you wondrous computer whiz you! Right up there with Lisbeth Salander. I bet you could hack into the Pentagon, or at least their Facebook page in the event they never log out and leave you, their wholly untrustworthy friend, alone in a room with their laptop.

The Passive Aggressive Status

Someone really is such a jerk. Really, I’m not trying to talk about anyone in particular here, but sometimes, people are so mean, especially people whose names rhyme with Penneth and start with same letter that word “Kangaroo” starts with. Not that I’m pointing any fingers. But some people are just jerks!

If you have a problem with someone, especially a significant other, confront them about it. Maybe if you actually talked about your problems with the person with whom you have problems, those problems could be resolved in a normal way. You, however, have chosen to leap to the interwebs to bash that person’s honor for all your friends, relatives, and knitting club members to see. Wow. Well, you really got that guy! I bet, seeing this, he really decided to change his ways. Jerks worldwide must have realized how much of a jerk each was being upon reading your inspirational words.

The Chain-Letter Status

If you are reading, do not stop because if you do, you will die. Tonight at midnight a hobo clown with acne will somehow appear in your room and eat your liver while you’re still alive. And then he will make you listen to Kreayshawn, undoubtedly the worst female rapper since Nikki Minaj and somehow even worse. Then he will dance to it. If you wish to escape this fate, post this as your status and annoy the hell out of your friends because they will see Kreayshawn mentioned again, and again, and again. You have until midnight.

I believe I have said enough.

There’s a FOOTBALL game on! Status

My team is better than whatever gay, stupid team they’re against. Dear stupid fans of opposing team, you must have a seriously horrible life based on your decision to support that particular team that my sports team is playing against, though one week from now I will be updating about how loser-idiot-like the refs are for making my team lose.

Oh, and….. TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!! SUCK IT!

I literally want to strangle everyone who does this. If you’re so passionate, why are you on Facebook? Put your Blackberry away and pay attention to the game.

Romeo’s status update

I love you, insert vomit-inducing pet name here.

Maybe you can tag that you’re in Verona while writing this status, but soon I swear you’ll be posting from your casket. This is horribly stupid and unnecessary. If you love someone, tell them. But bellowing it from the proverbial housetop of your profile page is just pathetic. It gets worse when you start wall-posting each other the way most couples might chat. If you have that much to say to each other, why not go on an actual date so you can actualize the love that you feel so compelled to spread over the cyberweb. And if I think that’s bad, I certainly can’t wait for next week when you two star-crossed idiots break up.

The “I’m not too update to drunk my status” status

Js Gut hoom. Lst nite wuz totlly crazy, brah. Still so wsted… flasblas

Oh, you’re drunk? That’s nice. You’re so drunk from partying last night that you came home, opened your laptop, typed “Facebook.com” into the URL. Then you signed onto your Facebook account somehow correctly spelling your e-mail account jersyshorefan00404@gmail.com right on one try. Then, you typed this status with gangster grammar, which no one can understand. Instead, how about going to sleep until 2 o’ clock in the afternoon so that tomorrow you can wake back up right in time for your afternoon shift at the gas station.