Tag Archives: facebook




Categories: Family, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My apologies for the delay between this and my last post. College is back in full swing, I recently moved, and I’ve been working my butt off on my super-secret project. Recent events, however, have prompted me to write. I need to get something off my chest.

First, a little biography. I’ve never met my father. He has never been a part of my life, having left my mother and me when I was but a wee babe. I know very little about him, except for a few minor details. [Apparently I look quite similar to him, which is a credit to him. Despite the other things he might be, at least he’s goddamned sexy. ;)]

Last night I was contacted on Failbook by my half-sister. I’ve never met her, though I’ve known of her existence for about ten years or so. I’ve never tried to contact her before because, frankly, I could care less about her or my half-brother. I already have a sister, and her name is Mirel Vera Allegra Jones (though hopefully her last name will be Santiago again soon enough, but that’s a topic for another day).

I do feel for Jennifer, my half-sister, because she did not know for certain that I existed until last night. In that, we have something in common; we’ve both been wounded by the man who calls himself Allen and whose genetic material Jennifer and I share. My empathy for her situation does not change the fact that she is a stranger to me, however. My mother always told me never to talk to strangers…

This morning, then, imagine my surprise when I received another Failbook message from a stranger: my absentee father’s current wife. I’m taking the liberty of re-posting her message here:

Hi Darius my name is Melody Duncan I am Jeniffer Duncan’s step mother..yes that means Allen Duncan is my husband..I am not going to feed you a line of BS why he didnt stand by you or your mom, but I know sence I have been with himfor the last eight years he has been a good man …I do know when he was younger he drank alot and smoked a lot of pot. it wasnt until his other son David was 13 did he finally get his sh.t together…It look like you have done well for yourself and you should be very proud of how you turned out…you see neither one of his other two kids finished high shool, and I see you went to college..and you have a beautiful wife and child… and you are there for them.. I think he couldnt handle what ever was going on at that time in his life you and David are only 7 month apart…so how do you choose which family to stay with?? I do know you do cross through his mind form time to time… but there is nothing he can do to turn back time and make things right with you..I do wish you the best in life in everything you do.. Take care and may god always watch over you and your family………sincerly Melody Duncan

And here’s my reply:


I would argue that a good man would try to make amends for the mistakes of his past, even if he knew they were doomed to failure. It is the attempt that speaks to a man’s character, not the results. A good man would have revealed the truth to his other children. Therefore, your description of Allen as a “good man” rings hollow. Actions, indeed, speak louder than words.

It is true Allen cannot turn back time, nor is there much chance of making things right with me. If I do cross his mind from time to time as you say, I wonder if the number 9,360 crosses his mind as well. That is the number of dollars the court ordered him to pay to help support me. If one were interested in making amends, that number would be a good place to start.

You see, Melody, in my thirty years of life, I’ve let go of the hate and anger and shame of being a bastard child. All that remains is a sense of injustice and a desire for retribution. I don’t feel owed love or compassion or affection. There is simply the matter of an unsettled financial obligation. Thankfully, time has a way of sorting these things out and making them right.

To that end, I’d prefer not to hear from you again unless it’s to tell me of Allen’s death. I harbor you no ill will; I simply have nothing else to say to you. If Allen wants to contact me himself, my info is pretty easy to find in cyberspace (and has been for quite some time).

-Darius McCaskey

I’m not really sure why I feel the need to share this, except that I am a believer in calling bullshit when people are deluding themselves. Maybe I’m hopeful I can shame someone into doing something they ought to have done of their own volition long ago. I dunno. Maybe I’m just an asshole. >shrug<


New Essay: “ZOMGWTFBBQ!@#”

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Categories: Essays, Geek Stuff, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

History may record the late 20th century as the beginning of the end of western civilization. The Computer Age gave way to the Internet Age, which is giving way in the 21st century to the Social Networking Age. Technology continues to progress at a blistering rate. The current generation of consumer-level microprocessors are one thousand times faster than the most advanced supercomputers of just twenty years ago. Connection speeds have improved at a similar exponential rate. The internet is everywhere. The current crop of mobile devices would look like technology from “Star Trek” to someone from the 1990s. Our society is wired (or wireless) and constantly connected to the internet. There’s a price to be paid for being “always on,” however. The brief, random, and artificial nature of the internet has made us confused, distracted, and superficial.

If brevity is the soul of wit, our wired society is at least witty. Internet shorthand, whether it’s the character limit imposed by services such as Twitter, overly simplistic Facebook “Likes,” or IM acronyms, creates confusion through lack of clarity. On Twitter, for example, users are limited to 140-character updates. These stunted messages force adoption of abbreviation. Common phrases such as “OK. Thanks. Goodbye.” become “Kthnxbai.” To the uninitiated, this string of characters is meaningless gibberish. Sorting out the meaning of these truncated phrases leads to confusion and misunderstanding. It’s just as easy to misunderstand systems that are overly simplistic, like Facebook’s “Likes.” A system that’s too simple fails to accurately capture the nuances of real-life thoughts, beliefs, and preferences. A Facebook user might “Like” the Republican party based on a belief in fiscal conservatism. If the same user is a social liberal, however, they may also “Like” the Democratic party. Based on their “Likes,” one would be at a loss to explain their political views. This would lead to confusion at best, and outright misinterpretation at worst. The same is true of instant messaging jargon. The sheer number of acronyms employed by users is confusing: deciphering their meaning, more so. Woe be to the sender of a “LOL” IM in response to news of a breakup or death in the family. Experienced IM users know, of course, that “LOL” means “Laughing Out Loud,” but newer users could just as easily think it to mean “Lots Of Love” or “Lonely OnLine.” By embracing the brevity and simplification of our lives, the internet causes chaos and confusion, leading to social breakdown.

Another element contributing to the decline of our society is the random nature of the internet. Email spam, online ads, and search engine results bombard us with information: some relevant, some not. Our email inboxes are a prime example of this distracting randomness. Nigerian princes promising unfathomable riches – if only we share our name, address, bank account and Social Security numbers – distract us from the bill notifications sent from our cable company. Links to porn pictures compete with the pictures Grandma sent from her latest cruise. Males and females alike are spammed by ads for cheap Viagra. Thankfully, there are spam filters in most popular email programs. They are not always effective, however. Oftentimes, spam filters fail to catch every junk message; other times, they catch too much, forcing users to sift through a mountain of bogus, distracting messages anyway. The random garbage that piles up in our email distracts us from the truly important communication we receive. Even run-of-the-mill websites are an exercise in distracting randomness. Nearly every site on the Web has advertising on it. These flashing words and videos naturally distract the eye, leading users away from the actual content of the page. Trying to read a newspaper article online becomes an exercise in futility when ads for techno-gadgets, concert tickets, and a thousand other random products distract us from the box score of the latest football game. If we run a search to find a “better” site, we’ll likely end up just as distracted. Googling a common term may return hundreds of thousands of results. While most may be relevant to our search, many of the results may have nothing to do with what we’re looking for thanks to SEO (Search Engine Optimization: tricks website owners use to make their page appear higher in a search engine’s results). Trial and error is the only process available for determining if a link is germane to one’s search. Sifting the virtual wheat from the digital chaff distracts us from whatever our original reason for being online was.

Some go online to make a social connection, but the artificiality of the internet makes that nearly impossible. Online dating sites, massively multiplayer online games, and social networking sites claim to offer genuine interaction, but instead promote superficiality because of their artificial nature. Dating sites like Match.com allow users to create a profile or browse other profiles to connect romantically. These profiles are sales pitches, designed to portray the user in the best possible light. By answering a few simple personality questions and uploading a picture, the user says, in essence, “Look at me! Don’t you want to be with me?” The desperation and artificial sense of competition created by online dating sites leads users to present an inauthentic version of themselves. With a glut of superficial profiles to sort through, users make snap, superficial judgments based on how cute a user’s picture or how riské their profile is. In MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games, like World of Warcraft), the game itself creates an artificial ranking system. Based on the in-game items a player has collected, the player’s character is assigned a “gear score.” For many players, this gear score is all that matters when deciding to ally with another player. Instead of deciding to forge a relationship based on personality or playing skill, these players rely on an artificial number. This superficial ranking prevents many enjoyable connections from ever being forged. Numbers are important in social networking as well. Sites like MySpace and Facebook list the number of “friends” a user has. This friend count becomes a kind of prestige in the online community. The more friends one has, the more popular and desirable a connection with them becomes. This artificiality leads users to collect online friends like people used to collect baseball cards. There’s little real attachment to individual friends (cards), save a few rare and important ones (Babe Ruth’s rookie card). This superficial treatment of real people cheapens the online experience and contributes to our communal decline.

The internet – glorious arcade, shopping mall, reference library, and cocktail lounge rolled into one – is confusing and distracting us while simultaneously making us superficial. We’re perpetually connected, but we pay a terrible price for connectivity beyond our monthly broadband bills. We gather hundreds of online friends to improve our superficial online status. We’re bombarded by random offers of riches and all-natural male enhancement. In that barrage, we fail to notice the message from a potential employer or old college buddy. Perhaps it’s better we missed the past friend’s message: we may be completely confused when he or she writes “ZOMGWTFBBQ!@#”


À Tous Mes Amis Francophones

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Categories: Randomness, Tags: , , , , , ,

Bonjour! It’s been a long time since I had any semblance of regular practice at speaking, reading, or writing French. I have lost much of my previous proficiency with the language. This saddens me deeply.

In high school, I earned an award from the American Association of Teachers of French when I participated in Le Grand Concours. I tested into a French Lit (taught in French, all assignments to be completed in French) class in college after only two years of study in high school. My point is, I used to kick ass at French. I don’t anymore.

I would like to regain some of what I have lost, but I need help to do it. So, dear readers, I’m begging you: if you can read/ write/ speak français, drop me a line. I need practice to gain back my skills. Send me an email, tweet, or Facebook message en français, s’il te plait. Merci!


This I Believe


Categories: Rant, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I decided last night (after a fairly heated exchange on Failbook) that I would put this post up so that people considering whether or not to create or maintain a friendship with me would know what they’re getting into. Consider it truth in advertising. Also, on the off chance that NPR ever asks me to do a “This I Believe”segment, most of my work will already be done. Yay for advance preparation!

Fair warning: this post is probably not safe for work. These beliefs are in no particular order. While I do hold some convictions more strongly than others, their order in this list in no way denotes their importance to me. This list is pretty thorough, but not comprehensive. Also, some of the things you’re about to read are intended to be humorous and light-hearted; some are not. You figure out which is which.

  • I believe choice and free will are the greatest and most frequently squandered gifts humanity has.
  • I believe you are ultimately responsible for your own life and must deal with the consequences of the choices you make.
  • I believe rape in all forms is one of the most heinous crimes possible, because it denies the victim choice in one of the most private and inviolate parts of their life.
  • I believe the Chicago Blackhawks will win the Stanley Cup this year.
  • I believe people are betrayed by their biology more often than they would like to admit.
  • I believe I’m a conflicted and hypocritical person, but I’m working on it.
  • I believe it is the height of arrogance to presume to speak for anyone but yourself.
  • I believe it is the depth of self-loathing to allow anyone to speak for you.
  • I believe in peace, bitch.
  • I believe there is a power greater than myself in the universe, but I don’t pretend to understand what it is or how it works.
  • I believe humans can live better lives through the practical application of chemistry, biology, medicine, engineering, and imagination.
  • I believe I love my daughter more than any other person in this world, including my wife, whom I love very much.
  • I believe my wife understands the preceding statement and feels much the same way.
  • I believe the preceeding two statements do not diminish the relationship my wife and I share, but enhance it instead.
  • I believe marriage is a social contract between two individuals, not a holy institution. As such, it should be available to all consenting adults, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.
  • I believe government-issued underwear are very uncomfortable.
  • I believe it is better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
  • I believe words are innocent. They have no meaning except that which you ascribe to them. Make them your own and define them: don’t let them define you.
  • I believe the following statement is true.
  • I believe the preceding statement is false.
  • I believe most people take themselves too seriously.
  • I believe I have many acquaintances, but few friends. You may be one.
  • I believe things on the Internet are not real.
  • I believe fascism by committee in the guise of social justice is the most insidious lie ever told to Americans.
  • I believe American federalism is not a perfect governmental system, but it’s as close as we’ve gotten so far.
  • I believe the Framers of the United States Constitution would not recognize our country as their own.
  • I believe the American federal government has little to no authority to legislate social issues.
  • I believe abortion is abhorrent, except in cases of rape and incest. However, I would never presume to tell a woman what she may or may not do to her own body. That’s between her and whatever higher power she believes in.
  • I believe anyone who would claim I’m not entitled to an opinion regarding reproductive rights because I have a penis is the worst kind of hypocrite.
  • I believe we are not alone.
  • I believe freedom of choice is the only true freedom.
  • I believe thou shalt not kill.
  • I believe Metallica sucked, then got good, and now sucks again.
  • I believe Rush is the greatest rock band of all time.
  • I believe pity is something reserved exclusively for children and the mentally handicapped.
  • I believe disagreeing with one aspect of a person does not invalidate the entirety of that person.
  • I believe magic is nothing more than the judicious application of human will.
  • I believe in striving today to be better than I was yesterday.
  • I believe the only valuation of my worth as a human being that truly matters is my own.
  • I believe “I” is the most beautiful word in the English language.
  • I believe, if you don’t like what I have to say, you can kindly go fuck yourself.



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Categories: Angst & Wrath, Tags: , ,

The official release of Angst & Wrath is almost here! Squeee!

If you haven’t already, become a fan on Facebook. Facebook fans of Angst & Wrath will receive a link to preorder the book for $5 off the normal retail price. Today is the last day to get the special offer.

Not a fan of paper? No problem: the $5 off code applies to the PDF download version of the book as well. (Note that the ePub version, compatible with iPhone and iPad, is not available for sale yet.) What a deal!


Facebook Fans FTW

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Categories: Angst & Wrath, Tags: , ,

As we approach the official release date for Angst & Wrath, I feel it necessary to let the world know that I love my fans on Facebook. I love them so much, in fact, that I’m giving them a chance to purchase Angst & Wrath before the rest of the interwebs and at a five dollar discount off the normal price. Become a fan of Angst & Wrath on Facebook, follow the link and get some poetry. It’s that easy! 🙂


T Minus One Week

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Categories: Aegis Studios, Angst & Wrath, Poetry, Writing, Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be just over a week away from the official release of Angst & Wrath, my debut poetry book! I’ve received my proof copy of the book in the mail and it looks just as great in person as it did on screen when I was laying it out. It’s almost better, honestly. There’s something nice about seeing your name in print. Of course, I’ve had that experience before with the various role- playing game books I worked on when I was involved with Aegis Studios, but this being the first time a work is all mine, I have a slightly different kind of fondness for it.

Poetry was my first love as a writer. Publishing this book is almost like reuniting with someone you’re madly in love with but thought dead for a decade. In a way, putting this book out has rekindled my relationship with verse. I’m as head over heels for poetry as I ever was. Maybe someday we’ll get married…

And while I’m still going to be crafting poems for a follow-up book (tentatively called Exercises in Exorcism), my next project is a children’s book I will be working on with my wife. More news to come on that front.

While you’re waiting for the official release of Angst & Wrath, why not follow me on Twitter or become a fan of the book on Facebook?