August 25, 2008

When Technology Attacks

I am in Greenville to teach a workshop and to do a reading tonight at HANDLEBAR. (Come on out, why doncha, Greenvillian Best Beloveds). Since I had two free days in a hotel, sans kids and whatnot, you can rest assured I have spent my free day in the Weston heaven bed cuddled up with my lapdesk, working VERY HARD on the new novel.

And here you understand that “workingveryhardonthenewnovel” is actually a veryveryvery long German compound word that means “Obsessively Playing Pathwords on Facebook.” Those crazy Germans, the way they STRING those things together! Sure I got NOTHING done, but I am now FIFTH on the PATHWORDS LADDER, which I had to do because I have completed EVERY GAME I was challenged to play! (cough hint cough)

TRUE FACT: Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften is for real German word. I think IT MEANS “Stop playing Pathwords, you moron.” Or it means a specific kind of insurance company. I forget---I last studied German in high school.

Facebook, meanwhile, is CREEPING ME OUT in a “2001-ish sort of “DAVE? WHAT ARE YOU DOING, DAVE?” kind of way. You may think YOU control your own Facebook destiny, but I have come to realize Facebook is a living entity that is cleverly insinuating itself into EVERY FACET of my life without me initiating or even approving its actions.

I suspect it plans to continue until everything I do is connected to everything else I do by wily facebookian tendrils that will analyze my every move to predict my needs and desires, at which point corporations will pay Facebook to download ads SPECIFICALLY AIMED AT ME directly into my brain.

Facebook has, all on its own, JUST TODAY, done many things I absolutely never told it to do, including…

…downloading and turning on a chat function so that for the first few hours when I WAS actually working, little CHATS kept coming in from friends. It was a sly little program that would PRETEND to comply when I turned it off, and then it would turn itself back ON. Not only did I get sucked into multiple fascinating conversations (thus NOT finishing the rewrite on chapter 6) but THEN I realized each chat linked to Facebook, and with one accidental CLICK, I had a browser window open and saw I had SLIPPED on three slots on the PATHWORDS ladder, and before I knew what was happening, I was clicking tiles and my MS WORD doc somehow CLOSED.

…Accessed my Blockbuster movie account and started POSTING what movies I have in my Q! This is SO humiliating, on TWO levels.

1) When I talk about the movies in my Q, I say I have NETFLIXED them, using Netflix as a GERMAN VERB that means “ordered from blockbuster.” I use the VERB form of Netflix to mean “ordered from blockbuster” because I WISH I got my DVDs from Netflix.

But I was seduced by the whole TURN IN AT THE STORE to get free rentals thing, even though, to put it in SAT Terms: Netflix is to Blockbuster is as MAC is to PC. Now FACEBOOK has OUTED me as a closet Blockbuster user (read: Corporate tool) instead of a Netflix user (read: groovy and hip!) And I USE A PC, too, so I REALLY needed the slight coolness boost using NETFLIX as a verb was giving me.

2) IT POSTED MY Queu!!!! And while mostly this is okay---I gain coolness points for being publicly shown as having recently queued up FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, and MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY and MAD MEN, do I REALLY want the WORLD to know that I also am waiting with bated breath to see SPEED RACER? Hint: NO. But Facebook posted it FOR me. Also, until I figured out how to turn it off I was afraid to PICK ANY MOVIES lest I out myself as even dorkier than previously believed.,which was already UBERDORK.

…Somehow connected itself to my PHONE and is sending me TEXTS and trying to do phone applications.

I have to learn to control this beast because RIGHT NOW I am the one wearing a saddle and Facebook has the crop. After the CREEPY PHONE THING I seriously considered getting off facebook entirely…but…Facebook is where the keep the Pathwords. You should TRY Pathwords. Really. The first game is free…

Posted by joshilyn at August 25, 2008 4:38 PM

1. By Pathwords, I assume you mean electronic CRACK for spelling bee type geeks? I am so HOOKED on Pathwords. I blame it on Mir because she mentioned it in her blog, and I went to see what it was and, it slurped me in to a sucking vortex of wordfinding. I was just sitting here telling myself that I MUST NOT play Pathwords again until I finish the work project I am working on. It's a real motivator-- I'm almost done!

BTW-- you show up as in 1st place amongst the people I am linked up with on Facebook. I am so happy for you really, and not at all trying to beat your score. Um, you are really pretty-- why don't you go look in the mirror for a while instead of playing Pathwords... ; )

2. The rest of that Facebook stuff is CREE-PEE. I have not had any of those problems at all. Have you checked your profile to see if there is something you have set that is allowing it access to things?

Posted by: Jill W. at August 25, 2008 5:23 PM

I can relate to the Netflix/Blockbuster thing. I do the same with TiVo/DVR. "I DVR'd it" doesn't roll off the tongue like "I TiVo'd it". I used to have a TiVo but I don't anymore and I like that smiley TV guy so I regularly lie to the world by stating that I TiVo'd something when I most certainly DVR'd it. Unless I say "I taped it" which causes my pant legs to spontaneously peg and my bangs to stiffen into 6" mounds atop my head. I try not to say that. It frightens the children.

I appreciate the Facebook warning. I cannot get sucked into one more electronic thing. Blogs already hold me hostage, I cannot make myself vulnerable to facebook and its sneaky minions.

Posted by: Em at August 25, 2008 5:23 PM

Wait, is pathwords like Quizzy's word challenge in Webkinz? You should play on there. The bar is set much lower in terms of whose butt you have to kick to get ahead. So what if they're just learning to read? I spelled "aluminum". Take that, kindergarten!

Posted by: Em at August 25, 2008 5:29 PM

Have you checked the help section of Facebook? I would look under the topics of Privacy or Security and see if you can figure out what is up. If not, it has links so you can send Facebook a report about the Hal-ness of your account. Maybe that can tell you what is going on and hopefully fix it.

Posted by: Jill W. at August 25, 2008 5:30 PM

Haha I keep getting notifications that "Joshilyn Jackson beat your personal best on PathWords!" It's killing me ;-) I might just have to challenge you and suck out more useful time from BOTH of our days :P

Posted by: Heather at August 25, 2008 5:40 PM

More cyber crack awaits? Facebook taketh my time.

Posted by: Lisa Milton at August 25, 2008 5:58 PM

ha. have you tried word twist yet?

cuz that is where the cool kids hang out.

Posted by: the planet of janet at August 25, 2008 6:19 PM

have to say, yeah, word twist is so much better than pathwords.

but maybe I only think that because the touch pad buttons on my laptop are starting to get wonky and it is harder to play pathwords without reliable clicky-draggy stuff going on.

Posted by: elizabeth at August 25, 2008 7:15 PM

Hate to break it to you, but I don't think you can delete your Facebook profile, like ever. Ever ever.

Cue scary music...

Posted by: BonnieAnn at August 25, 2008 7:18 PM

I don't see it on your appearances page but you might want to mention to your BB's that you're appearing at the Decatur Book Festival this weekend. Friday at the Writer's Conference and Saturday afternoon at 2 different venues. Plug, plug....

Posted by: Bridget at August 25, 2008 7:30 PM

I'm getting notifications about you beating my personal best too - but having already been sucked into epic Pathwords sessions courtesy of a work-mate who is as competitive as me, I doubt I'll be challenging you anytime soon.
As well as checking the security and privacy tabs, you should also have a look at the applications tabs and see what you've (unwittingly) authorised apps to do. "As little as possible" is the rule of thumb. If you can't make the app stop bugging you, remove it - and vote it down (I think there's somewhere to do that) so they actually monitor it. Also, take your phone number off the site sharpish! You can make it as private as possible but some apps will just pick it up and shunt it into an auto-dialler anyways.
On a side note - I wish we had Netflix in Ireland...we have a few movies-by-mail companies, but their selection is pretty dire. You have to order box sets one disc at a time, and they send them out of order! Even Blockbuster is better than that : )

Posted by: Rompompom at August 25, 2008 10:22 PM

You see why they introduce this to college students? Who has more time unaccounted for in the world than college students? It keep me from starting on many a paper.

Posted by: nik at August 26, 2008 1:50 AM

UBERDORK! Snorfle. I thought that was ME.

Posted by: Brigitte at August 26, 2008 6:32 AM

yeah, i am now going to go friend you so I can challenge you to WordTwist. PW has NOTHING on WT. PW is merely the gateway drug.

Posted by: babelbabe at August 26, 2008 10:10 AM

I am intrigued by WordTwist. It sounds like a game I've played on Yahoo that I LOVE.

So... Joshilyn, should I challenge you again?

Posted by: Aimee at August 26, 2008 10:45 AM

AImee -- YES pls. I somehow missed it.

Also, I am over the plant game. I do not want to save any more rainforests by hedging creepy fruit faced people into a rose ghetto.


I am fickle.

Posted by: Joshilyn at August 26, 2008 11:43 AM

You are fickle -- but so am I, so that's cool. I sent you the WordTwist invite. But I am still obsessed with Pathwords, too. AND with Scramble. SO.

Agreed about the creepy fruit-headed babies. I'm thinking of selling off the banana-head in my garden. Any takers?

Posted by: Aimee at August 26, 2008 12:07 PM

I discovered Facebook 48 hours ago and it has completely taken over my life. I have spent more time in front of the computer in the last 2 days than I have in the last 2 years. And what is Pathwords? I have to try that but I don't see how...someone tell me how!!! Um, please? Thank you. *backing slowly away from the screen...*

Posted by: Amy-GO at August 26, 2008 1:18 PM

Amy-GO, I don't know your real name or I'd find you and send an invitation. But if you click on 'Applications' over on the left, and then click 'Gaming' on the menu on the right, you will find Pathwords by scrolling through the list. Then you just need to click Add Application, and you are in!

Posted by: Aimee at August 26, 2008 1:27 PM

Ack! I've been on facebook for a couple of years now (or maybe just one, who knows) but I haven't had anything like uploading things from my computer. That freaks me out. And why do people insist on sending me those weird fruit headed babies? They're creepy. I'm over that thing even before I've started.

Speaking of online word game crack, I can spend hours on, which supposedly sends rice to poor third world nations. I hope it does, because I've fed three countries this year alone with all the rice I've sent them.

Posted by: erinanne at August 27, 2008 3:32 PM

Have you ever heard of the book "Cult of the Amateur" by Andrew Keen? *G*

Posted by: Jess at August 28, 2008 6:11 PM

I was dizzy already...the beach blonde thing ya know. But now my head is spinning.

Posted by: Cele at August 30, 2008 12:19 AM