SOCIAL MEDIA CRAZE

It’s so amazing how fast technology evolves. I can remember back to the nineties, when pagers and beepers were the hot commodity. By 1990, World Wide Paging had been invented and there were over 22 Million Different Pagers in Use. By 1994, my Senior Year of High School, there were over 66 million almost tripled from four years prior. Just like Sony Walkmans, everyone had one. Of course, just having a pager was not enough. They began to make all kinds of colors and cases, also donning all types of Decorative Art.

In 1987, cell phones were just becoming a popular item and a certain particular cell phone became very popular. Fleet, which later became Nextel Communications was the hottest provider and actually invented a phone with a “Push to Talk” walkie feature. This was especially popular in the Contracting Realm of Employment. In 2005, Nextel merged with another popular carrier Sprint and at this point had over 20 Million Subscribers in the United States alone.

The next big craze was IPODS and Smart Phones. The first smart phone was actually invented by IBM in 1992. Smart phones overtook the cellular media outlet totally by 2013. Even “Regular Cell Phones” are dinosaurs today. Pagers are almost extinct and non existent. The early models just linked phones with PDA’s but today’s phones are equipped with a minimum of a digital camera, portable media players similar to IPods, and even GPS systems. Touchscreen and wifi were the next upgrades allowing users to surf the Internet at virtually any time from virtually anywhere.

In 2007, The IPHONE by Apple was introduced and now all of the Smart Phones are similar to the IPHONE in options. There is the Android, Blackberry, Symbian and many other models. There are also many service carriers with the most popular being Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and Microsoft. These carriers also provide Internet service, while Verizon actually supplies Cable TV. Everything today begins and ends with the cell phone.

It was only ten years ago where I remember having to wait until the next morning to watch the News to see what was going on in with current events. I can also remember purchasing a Daily News every AM to check out all the sports news, statistics, and highlights. Then this phenomenon became ESPN where you could see the sports news every hour. And of course, it then evolved to the “Bottom Line” on ESPN TV where all of the days sports news slides slowly across the screen. It just keeps evolving. Now you have the news or sports at the tip of your finger. They have applications on the phone that allow you up to second scores, statistics, highlights, and even play by play as well as actual simulated games that are in real time. All of these evolutions are incredible and it almost feels like something new comes about daily today.

Along with the social news media and smartphones…today we have taken it to an even further level. In August, 2003, MY SPACE was launched by Justin Timberlake. MySpace was a social media outlet on the Internet with strong music connections. From 2005-2008, MY SPACE was the most visited networking site…even more than Google. However, in 2008 FACE BOOK was created and quickly overtook MY SPACE as the Number One Social Media Outlet.

Facebook has grown to the point where it has become an actual addiction. I myself am relatively new to Facebook, having joined in 2011. However, it’s so easy to get sucked into the hoopla. One thing that is dangerous about Facebook is that it can put a strain on relationships, because of the access to whoever you want…maybe an ex boyfriend or girlfriend or coworker. It also causes a lot of drama regarding many issues.

One good thing about Face Book is that it gives every individual person the right to put whatever they may like to their site as well as control who and how many can see their material. It actually gives an ordinary person the ability to feel special. For example, a buddy of mine calls himself “The Life Coach” and he posts random statuses about life’s different trials, obstacles, etc. but he adds humor and sarcasm to the mix to get more people’s interest. Face Book can be a great tool as well as bad depending on how it is used. In my estimation, many people abuse the site including myself, which dampens its positive affect on society.

In conclusion, the Social Media Network has become the leader of everyone’s everyday lives. Cell Phones are attached at people’s body. At the dinner tables, people are more worried about what may be going on with their phone, a la text messaging, FaceBook, Internet Web, multi media players and music, etc. Believe me, I see this first hand because I am guilty of it. Also, people in record number are on their cell phones at their Place of employment, while working instead of focusing on the task at hand. And the worst aspect of this craze is the amount of people who die behind the wheel or kill others everyday, while using a cell phone and driving. There is so much more research that is being done on this phenomenon and you could write a novel. I am planning on revisiting this topic at a later date and will cover other topics. To Be Continued……

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SlAyEr: What’s your Favorite Album?

Former Slayer Guitarist and one of the founding members, Jeff Hanneman died last week. There was a lot of speculation that the death had somehow been caused by a “Spider Bite” from years past that had caused the flesh eating disease necrotizing in his body. On Thursday, the Band made it publicly known that Jeff had died from severe Cirrhosis of the Liver, caused by heavy drinking.

Jeff was with Slayer from the beginning and was a mainstay in the band. Jeff was also responsible for writing some of Slayer’s most famous songs including Reigning Blood, South of Heaven, Hell Awaits, Seasons of the Abyss as well as Angel of Death. “Angel of Death” is actually written about the Nazi Death Camps. In fact, the first line of the Song is Aushwitz.

Slayer, who has often been criticized by religious groups regarding their Dark Symphonies and Heinous topics of music. Slayer has covered a wide range of topics such as Serial Killers, Necrophilia, Satanism, Religion, Anti-Religion and Jeff’s personal favorite warfare. So why was Jeff so enamored by War. It’s simple, he came from a generation of war veterans in his blood line. Slayer’s album sales are estimated to be over 20 Million.

Since their inception in 1983, the Band has released Eleven Studio Albums, the first being Show No Mercy and the Last being World Painted Blood. Slayer is among the Big Four of Heavy Metal along with Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. Most of their albums are heavy and hardcore with speed to the bones. When South of Heaven was released, the band took a different approach and slowed the style down to a more dark and slow paced rhythm.

So, I am sure many of my readers are huge Slayer Fans. So tell me…what is your personal favorite Slayer album. My personal favorite happens to be Seasons of the Abyss. However, all of their albums are top notch and I can never get sick of the Fast Paced Guitars and heavy relentless drums. Also, Tom Araya has the perfect voice for the band. Well anyways, this is like the level when DimeBag Darrel from Pantera passed away. This is that big. The metal community mourns a true legend and giant. Rest in Peace Jeff, you will be sorely missed. Here is hoping that Slayer’s legacy will live on!

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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ALICE N’ CHAINS?

What song do you think of when you hear someone mention the band Alice In Chains? Alice N’ Chains was a hard rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington in 1987, by Song Writer/Guitarist Jerry Cantrell and Lead Vocalist Layne Staley. The band also consisted of Drummer Sean Kinney and Mike Star on Bass. Alice In Chains had its roots as a Garage Band that was formed by Layne Staley. His original band was named Sleze and Staley became a vocalist after flirting with the idea of becoming a drummer. After struggling for a few years the band decided to change its name to Alice In Chains. However, due to concerns by some critics, they quickly changed it to Alice N’ Chains so that it would not be linked to female bondage. This tactic was used to stop any of the parental lyric activists of the time. During one of Alice N’ Chains time at a studio known as Music Bank Rehearsal Studios, Staley met Jerry Cantrell and they soon became room mates. Both musicians agreed to join each other’s band and after Layne’s band flopped, Staley joined Guitarist Jerry Cantrell, Drummer Sean Kinney, and Bassist Mike Star. After Kelly Curtis and Susan Silver got their hands on the recent demo recording from Alice N’ Chains, it quickly became a priority to push this band hard. Curtis and Silver were also the managers of the Band “SoundGarden.” After a few EP’s, the Band’s debut album “Facelift” was released in 1990 and peaked at Number 42 on the Billboard 200 during the summer of 1991. During its first six months, Facelift only sold under 40,000 copies which was considered a failure by most music critics. However, after the single “Man on the Box” debuted on MTV and became a staple music video, the album took off and Man in the Box hit Number 18 on the Mainstream Rock Charts. During the next six weeks, Facelift sold over 400,000 copies a huge improvement. In 1991, the band landed the opening slot on the Clash of The Titans Tour featuring Anthrax, Slayer, and Megadeth among other Metal Bands. After success with their first album and then releasing the EP “SAP”, Alice N’ Chains released its second album “Dirt.” Six of the albums 13 songs had a dark theme that dealt with the subject of addiction. This was no accident as all of the band members were struggling with one form of addiction or another. Dirt was released in 1992, and hit Number 6 on the Billboard 200 Charts. Dirt produced five Top 30 Billboard Hits including “Rooster”, “Would”, “Them Bones”, “Down In a Hole”, and the title track “Dirt”. In 1993, after opening for Ozzy Osbourne on the No More Tears tour, Mike Star left the band and was replaced by Mike Inez on Bass. The Band then toured on the Lollapalooza Tour in 1993. After a long time on the road, the Band decided to return to the studio and produced an acoustic masterpiece in 1 weeks time! The acoustic EP was called “Jar of Flies.” After its release, Staley entered rehab for Heroin Addiction. In 1994, the Band was supposed to tour with Metallica, Danzig, Suicidal Tendencies and Fight, but during rehearsal Layne began using again and the band was kicked off of the tour. The in 1995, Alice In Chains released the Self Titled Album, which hit Number 1 on the Billboard 200. The album achieved the bands highest success and the band then did a few unplugged albums with MTV. However, Layne Staley became a loner and did not leave his Seattle Condominium. On April 19, 2002, Layne Staley was found dead in this same Condo. He had lost his ten year battle with addiction. After an autopsy, it was found that Staley had died from a combination if Heroin and Cocaine and also a weakened immune system. 2 Months later, Jerry Cantrell released his second solo album and dedicated it to Staley. In 2005, the Band did a reunion tour even though they never officially disbanded. During the reunion tour, William Duvall took over lead vocals and Duff McKagan joined the band for the tour on Bass. Then on September 29, 2009 Alice In Chains finally released another album called Black Gives Way To Blue with William Duvall at the helms. Many if the albums songs dealt directly with Staley and his battle with addiction. This album was a huge success and brought former Alice N Chains fans together with many from the younger generation who really never got to see the real band. Since then, another former member of the band, Mike Star was found dead from an apparent overdose. Alice In Chains unfortunately will always be linked to the horrible disease of addiction, but the band will also always be remembered for its union of Grunge and Heavy Metal into a unique mixture of the two styles. Alice N Chains will release their fifth studio album some time in 2013. Alice N Chains will always be one of my favorite bands. They have always produced great sound and many fans can relate to the dark lyrics and themes. I am looking forward to their new album. RIP Layne and Mike, you both are more than a name!

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MY ADDICTION

Ok…So this post goes against the grain of my usual topics, but I felt a strong urge compelling me to stray for the norm. There is no secret that the Holidays are especially hard people with addiction and that they require support during these critical times. I am writing this blog to help other current addicts or people that are in Recovery. This is a tribute to all those who have lost their battle with addiction (a disease), those who are in their current addiction and either won’t acknowledge they have a problem or cannot admit it for whatever reason, as well as those in recovery like myself. Part of what we learn through recovery is to help others that are in denial or refuse to fight their pain stricken disease. Part of the way we can give back is to share our stories, good and bad, through success and failure, and even in relapse. What recovering addicts do know is that relapse is very real and can happen to any of us…experts say some 60 % of Addicts will relapse at some point or another in recovery. If nothing else, this should show how hard it is to beat addiction. It’s just as hard as beating Cancer, Diabetes, AIDS, Heart Problems, or any other type of physical disease.

This is my story. My name is Jason and I am an alcoholic. The biggest step for any addict (for purposes of my story an addict will be described as any person that has an addiction to alcohol, drugs-Illegal and Prescribed, gambling, Sex, and work although there are many other addictions) is to admit that they are powerless over their addiction which is a disease of the mind. Addicts are not bad people by nature…in fact it is shown that it is usually the opposite trait that is shown in addicts. Addiction is strong and very real and is taking millions of lives every year. I believe it is just one of the many tools of the Devil to take people off the narrow path to Salvation. So anyways…sometimes I can ramble so I will try to keep this quick and to the point. As I said, my name is Jason and I am an alcoholic. I am not embarrassed to admit that although I must admit this is the first time I am admitting that I have a disease in a public forum that is not relegated to “the rooms” (AA, NA, SA, or any other addiction rehabilitation program. Well only by the grace of God, on January 6th I will celebrate One Year and Four Months of continuous sobriety. I have not relapsed “yet”, the key word is yet, because an addict is only one mistake from being back on the wagon. The key to my specific sobriety has been my adoption of the “One Day at a Time” philosophy that is adopted in Addiction realms all over the world. Ok so one might say, “How do you know that you have a problem?” Addiction comes in many shapes, sizes, forms, and severities. Some people that are addicts were predisposed to the disease meaning that they inherited this disease from one or more family members, usually a parent. Other people that suffer with the disease have went through some type of sociological or environmental trauma that dramatically affected the person at a young age. What happens here is that the child does not develop normal coping skills and instead adopt addictive techniques to cope with all of the pain and hurt and stress of everyday life. Some people are born addicts. Other people grow into addicts. No matter how you become an addict is not the important factor, but instead the similarities that these addicts face. My addiction is clearly came about as the latter of the two types…as my parents were not addicted to alcohol or drugs at any point in their lives and neither was any of my other close family members. No my addiction to alcohol started when I was very young. I grew up in a tough family environment and had to deal with terrible trauma and issues. I lived in a family that had a mentally ill member. For anonymity, it is not important to tell you who the member was. However I can say that I dealt with dramatic trauma throughout my teenage and young adult life, the most important time that a person will learn important coping skills. Well, unfortunately I dealt with attempted suicidal experiences, mental and physical abuse, abuse of multiple family members. This does not make my family BAD!!!! It’s just an unfortunate part of life that many families deal with a mentally ill family member. I also became parentified at a very young age…meaning I was the caretaker even though I was in much need of care myself and did not get it. Through this process, I developed several mental blocks and personality disorders that have affected me into my adult life. The key and important part of this is that I am finally dealing with these issues and getting the help I so needed a long time ago.
I had my first drink at age 15. Yes, for most people that are alcoholics, that is considered late in the scheme of things. Nonetheless, after having my first experience with alcohol…I learned that I loved putting this substance into my body. In fact, when I was in my party stage as a young adult I was always the one who could not handle my alcohol, but yet i was always the one that drank near the most. I drank till I blanked out or passed out. This was a weekly occurrence for me. U can remember one time when I got my first sports car, my Trans-Am…I thought I was such a bad ass. I always wanted to fit in so I would hang with the “cool kids”. Little did I know that these experiences as a young adult would form me into a person that I did not recognize. Anyways, one night after a party me and a friend were dropping off some Chics and I came up to a Red Light. A Grand National pulled up next to me and revved his engine. Of course, I wanted to show off and as the light changed green I shot out like a bat out of hell…I was beating the other hot rod until I blacked out for five seconds. Well if it were not for my friend, I would have died that day. As I came too we were heading straight for a telephone pole and my friend who was super alert at the time after smoking a joint, pulled up my emergency brake causing my car to spin out of control…and then miraculously I came to a halt. Wow!!! I was red with fear…but that was just the beginning of my journey. The older I got, the more I enjoyed alcohol. Yes I enjoyed it so much I made alcohol my God. I was what they call a functioning alcoholic. Yes I had a decent job that I was good at and I was able to graduate college…don’t ask me how lol…but I was drinking more and more. At this point when I was around 19, I graduated from Natural Ice to Rum. Captain Morgan was my drink of choice, Captain and Coke. I could not get enough. I remember my hangout Joey M’s I would literally drink till I would pass out on the bar and have to be carried out. I thought this was SO great. It was such a great feeling. And it allowed me to receive plenty of attention…especially from the girls. Well, at this point I met a girl and was rebelling from my parents so I moved into her house with her mom and stepfather. I soon realized what my idea of a true alcoholic was…a person that drank all day. Not only did he drink, he became very abusive. He even let me drink with him, actually encouraged me to drink. Well, soon after this I decided I had enough getting beat up and I got my own apartment. Bad idea…my drinking increased. I can remember going through 3-4 Handles of Captain Morgan a week. I was drinking out of control. People must have known I had a problem, but I would never admit that. I continued drinking this way for a few years, covering my pain and hiding it through the alcohol.
At this point, life circumstances forced me to move to New Jersey. I started a new position in my company and I thought I was invincible. At this time, I was working in Glassboro, right near ROWAN college. I thought I was “The Man” a 26 year old adult living my life like a was a kid again. I was hitting all of the fun bars…Landmark, The Hot Spot, etc. I would work the 2nd shift and then go to the bar and slam alcohol like it was water. I would then drive home drunk, countless times, even got pulled over a few times but always got out of it. Then I met another girl with whom I fell in love. We bought a house together, but the relationship quickly went down hill, she cheated on me and I grew anxiously depressed. Instead of communicating my concerns about the relationship and the direction it was going, instead I would “drink my sorrows away.” Well this only lasted for a short time as she knew I was drinking a lot. Anyways…one day I was trying to catch her in the act and I was driving drunk like a maniac on 295 and got pulled over. I got a DUI…lots of Money and lots of grief. This was 2007. So do you think the DUI would have woke me up…no way. I lost my license for a year but I continued to drink away. Me my friend and his girlfriend would spend countless nights drinking into the late hours of the night. At this point, my tastes changed to Vodka and Red Bull with an occasional dabble with Jack Daniels. This went on for close to a year and then I got my license back. So do u think this would deter me from drinking…No Way. I got my license back and soon after I was drinking and driving. Driving under the influence was the norm for me. I was able to hide
My addiction very well from people who knew me the best. I continued to do well in work and I continued to let the alcohol flow. At this point, I began drinking by myself more and more. I would spend endless nights and days drinking at my bar in my basement. Then my life changed…I met the best woman to ever happen to me and she had 2 boys. We fell in love and although my drinking may not have been at the level it was before, I still could not resist the taste of alcohol. To keep my scent or secret under wraps I would by alcohol…vodka every other night and I would buy her a bottle of wine. This happened for most of our relationship but I never let the secret out that I truly had a drinking problem. Of course…I was not ready to admit that I had a problem. Anyways, as time went on I began to drink more and more and I was hiding it at this time. After work, I was stopping at the liquor store and buying multiple air plane bottles of Jack as well as my choice of alcohol for the night. On my drive home, I would acquire a nice buzz from the airplane bottles before I even entered the house. Then I would pound mixed drink after mixed drink like I was just drinking soda. The amount that I was drinking was out of control but I was too proud to notice it. Anyways, I would get really belligerent when I was drunk and started being nasty to my girlfriend and her kids. It really was affecting our relationship. At this time, we were going thru some difficult times financially and this did not stop me. I was spending money that I did not have on booze. It was not a good situation. Finally, a light clicked my head. I was becoming too mean to the boys and I realized alcohol made me a nasty person. Then one day it happened…I had a meltdown and my girlfriend intervened. I was slamming a whole bottle of vodka when she snatched it out of my hands. I then ran to the garage where I began pounding beers. She came into the garage and said…I will not sit back and watch you kill yourself and us in this way. At this time, I finally got it, I was powerless over alcohol. I was an addict. She helped me check into a detox center where I spent seven days. It was the most scary week of my life. I was truly alone and depressed. Little did I know this was the start of a lifestyle change. After Detox, my girlfriend stuck by my side and I knew every day would be a struggle. After Detox I entered an outpatient rehab center that dramatically changed my life. I learned that it is ok to put yourself first. By this I don’t mean being selfish. I mean put your health first. I have learned so many other great things through my recovery. I wrote an emotional good bye letter to my addiction, which took a lot of courage and grit. You actually go through a grieving process while in recovery. Who could imagine that…all of the steps of grieving. The most important thing that I have learned in my recovery is one day at a time! This is the motto that keeps me sober everyday. My girlfriend and her boys have since moved away…my doing as
I wanted to work things out on my own. Being by myself has taught me a lot of things that I did not know about myself…some good and some bad. Eventually I will get past the pain and anguish that all addicts go through. I think it is important to note that addiction is not the plague. However, a person must want to beat the disease and only the strong survive. Just like the cancer patient who undergoes chemotherapy…recovery is a life long healing process. I am sure that I left a lot out of my story. My hope is that this story will inspire someone to acknowledge that they struggle with addiction. If only one person does this, then my story has served a purpose and breeds success. I want to help others who have an addiction. I want to raise awareness that addiction is a disease of the brain and should be treated just as seriously as heart disease, cancer, AIDS, and even Alzheimer’s disease. People that are addicts are normal people just like you. They just have had the unfortunate accumulation of a terrible disease that cannot only destroy your mind but also your body. So in conclusion, I hope that my story has made a difference and I pray that someone will find hope and comfort knowing that there are many other just like you. After the recent shootings in Connecticut, the stigma against mental illness must be addressed with the utmost care. One Day at a Time My Friends. Anyone that thinks they may have an addiction can contact me through Facebook or email. I am more than willing to help. In fact, it will help me go through my recovery. Light Speed…God Bless!
Jason

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