Heath

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Homepage: http://www.heathallyn.com/


Posts by Heath

Dream 11

Auditions and death
Winding roads through darkened woods
Brian and his dad

Twitter @reply Etiquette (Mostly Relevant to Celebrities Who Circumvent It)

Twitter has a wonderful system in place for @replies. If you start a tweet with @username, that user will see it. Anyone who is friends with both you and the user will also see it. Anyone who is not friends with both parties will not see it. This is good. Here is why.

Let’s say that you’re friends with both Han and Chewie. Han posts “@chewie Ha! She called you a walking carpet!” You will see this reply and get to laugh along with your buds.

Now let’s say that you are not friends with Leia. Leia tweets “@Han I love you.” and Han tweets “@leia I know.” You will not see either of tweets because you are not friends with Leia and probably don’t care.

Now let’s say you are Boba Fett and actually want to see who Han has been replying to because it may help you track him down. You can go to Han’s profile page (click on their name and then click “Tweets” or go directly to their page, i.e. www.twitter.com/han) and you will see ALL their tweets, including replies to anyone. And, when used correctly, you can click on a reply and it will expand and show you the original tweet as well so you can see what the reply is referencing! Awesome!

Now here’s the problem. Some people (all celebrities, in my experience), for some reason think, “Hmm, if I just @reply, then not all my followers will see that reply. Only the recipient and anyone who is friends with us both will see. I want to force it on EVERYONE!” So they tweet something like “.@han I want my money, Solo!” or “via @han That @greedo had it coming!” or they start their reply with an open quote before the @.

Since the tweet doesn’t start with the “@” symbol, it’s not treated like a reply, but like a normal tweet and all of your followers will see it. This also means that people can’t click on the reply to see the original tweet and thus will probably have no idea what your reply is talking about. This is annoying and spammy. Let me give you an example.

I used to follow a certain celebrity on Twitter. This person interacts with his fans a lot, which is awesome. However, instead of tweeting “@superfan Thanks! I’m glad you liked it!” which would mean that I would not see his reply since I do not follow @superfan, he tweets “via @superfan Thanks! I’m glad you liked it!” and since that doesn’t start with “@” it now appears in my Twitter stream. So as he sits there replying to tons of people, my Twitter stream is flooded with all his replies which I may or may not care about. If I want to see everything he tweets, I can go to his page and see all his witty interactions (and then click on them if I want to see the tweet he is replying to), however I would rather not have my Twitter stream spammed by all these replies that were forced upon me by bypassing the “@reply” mechanic. I ended up unfollowing this person because he rendered my stream virtually useless (he also likes to write long messages simply broken down into 140 character chunks, which I also think is a misuse of Twitter, but that’s another story).

So please, stop thinking you know better. The system is designed that way for a reason. If you are replying to a tweet, just hit the reply button or start the tweet with @username of the person you are replying to. Those who want to see all your replies can, and those that don’t won’t. If you abuse the system, then the people who don’t want to see those replies have no recourse other than to unfollow you.

Keep in mind that I am just talking about replies. There are also “mentions” where you are basically just tagging someone else like, “Hey, everyone, @luke lost his hand so send him well wishes.”

@reply

Don’t spam your replies
Those who want to see will look
Don’t break the system

Fitbit

A motivator
Must get my 10,000 steps
Encourage movement

Ode To My Fitbit One

One day at work, an email was sent out about having found someone’s “Fitbit.” I think there was another email or two about people who really liked theirs and would hate to lose them or something. This got me looking into this “Fitbit” thing. At first, I wasn’t really interested. Basically just a pedometer that counts your steps. It just didn’t seem like something I would care about or use. Yet it stayed on my mind. I kept researching. Started considering the Nike Fuelband, Jawbone Flex and others. After a whole lotta internet reading, I decided the Fitbit One was the one I was most interested in for various reasons too long to go into here. Suffice to say, do your own research and see which one sounds best for you. One day I finally just decided to get one from Best Buy and try it out and judge for myself.

I’ve been shocked at what a difference it’s made. I definitely think it will work better for certain types of people, but it’s definitely worked to motivate me. Having that goal of 10,000 steps a day is constantly planted in my brain. I park further away or take a longer route somewhere to get those extra steps. I get home, and while previously I would have just parked my ass on the couch and watched TV all night, if I see that I still have a few thousand steps to go, I’ll go walk a couple of miles to hit that goal. If it’s raining, I’ll run in place while I watch TV. When playing gigs with my band, they have been known to look on in confusion as I do laps around a courtyard, parking lot or whatever is in the area to get my steps for the day, and it also makes me more active on stage, putting on a more energetic show. That simple little number drives me to try to reach it however I can, always encouraging those little extra bits of activity. On the one day I forgot it at home, I went home at lunch to get it because I didn’t want to lose those steps!

At work I set a timer and ever 25 minutes, I walk around the building. This actually serves multiple purposes* and usually nets me my 10,000 before the work day is done (or at least very close to it). Of course, I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can do that.

All in all, I think it’s definitely had a positive impact and at least doubled the amount of physical activity I get in a day, or more. It does have other function such as estimating how many calories you burn, showing elevation change (equivalent to how many flights of stairs you’ve walked up/down), tracks your sleep patterns if you want (though I am dubious of this accuracy), and more. And as silly and trivial as it is, I like the little positive message it gives me when I pick it up like “HUG ME,” or “YOU ROCK, HEATH.”

As I said before, it probably works better with certain types of people. Maybe more obsessive or compulsive people. If you’re like me, you’ll feel the need to hit that number. Other people might just ignore it and think “I’m at 4357. Eh, whatever.” If you’re competitive (I am not at all), then you can also add friends and see your comparative step totals as well. It’s also pretty small and versatile as to the places you can wear, keep or hide it. That’s one great reason I prefer it to any wrist worn devices. I highly recommend this little device. I give it 10,000 steps up.

*Aside form my step count this also falls in line with the “Pomodoro” technique or other similar techniques that claim you are more productive when you take breaks every 25 minutes. It also helps with the “20/20/20” idea to reduce eyestrain for people who work in front of computers, the idea being that every 20 minutes you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. In addition, it also is supposedly healthier to get up and move around every 20 minutes or so and not sit down all day. Many of my colleagues have gone to standing desks but I’ve also read that standing all day has it’s own adverse side effects and after much research, it seemed to me the getting up every 20 minutes was the best of both worlds and healthiest compromise between sitting or standing all day.

Dream Theatre #10

In last night’s episode:
I arrived on the set of a commercial I was working on to see my friend Suzanne Shaw Lyons for the first time in over 20 years. I think she was doing something on the crew side of things and I can’t remember if I was cast or crew. Later we met up with my uncle, Brown Cooper, who is a Director of Photography and who was shooting this commercial. We all chatted and he mentioned something about another big commercial he had lined up. We asked if he needed any cast and he said that actually they were casting for the main married couple in the commercial. Susie and I immediately grabbed each other’s hands and launched into an improvised “audition” as a joke, acting like a married couple and saying that he should cast us. I remember holding up her hand with her real wedding ring on it and saying (in character) something about how I’d got her this beautiful ring and thinking how fortuitous it was that she was married so we had that handy prop!

That’s about all I remember. Even in my dreams I’m working (doing what I love). No word on if Brown cast us or not.

Dream 10

Friends and relatives
Dreaming of my chosen craft
Working while asleep

Dream Theatre #9

In last night’s episode, my friend, Mark, had this awesome house (not his awesome real world house, a fictional dream house) with mostly glass walls to the outside and huge, sprawling multi-level swimming pool. It wasn’t so much one giant pool, but more like several levels and lanes that added up to one contiguous pool. Mark had given me a spare key and basically told me I could use the place whenever I wanted. I was over there early one morning and had just taken a shower when I heard stirring. It was only then that I realized that Mark was still there and was getting up to get ready for work. I had thought everyone was gone and so suddenly I got really nervous about getting “caught” in the house even though he’d given me a key and permission to use it. I somehow still felt like I was abusing the privilege or something.

When he came out I tried to play it all cool. Since I was wet and in a towel, Mark asked if I used the pool often. I couldn’t tell if he was just asking out of curiosity or if it was more a sort of annoyed interrogative tone. Not wanting to reveal that I’d just showered there as well, I made up some story about how I had just showered at my own place and then remembered some reason I had to come over and had just been so absent-minded and still half asleep that I didn’t realize I was still wet and just in a towel. Someone else had come over by this point (maybe our friend, Jesse, but I can’t remember for sure) and we talked about how cool the pool was.

Then we went horseback riding. I have only ridden a horse a few times in my life but I was really enjoying it. At one point Mark got off his horse to do something and his horse ran off. I volunteered to go search for it on the horse I was riding and I think I remember using my phone or some device as a GPS or something.

Later, in a separate mini-dream:
I was at a bar with Brian, Akasha and some other friends where this twin brother comedy duo was playing. They were very strange looking, I remember. Larger guys with very close set eyes and round faces. Brian was actually working behind the bar. As soon as the duo came on and started playing and making strange faces, Akasha kept trying to get Brian’s attention in that way when you don’t want someone to miss something you know they’d enjoy. Like the duo would make some face and Brian would not be looking because he was busy behind the bar and so Akasha would yell his name because she didn’t want him to miss that funny face they were making.

Dream 9

Houses and horses
Swimming pools and borrowed keys
Comedy duos

The Dark Corners of Our Minds

I don’t know exactly what propels me to write this. I suspect it’s at least partly because of Eddie. Eddie committed suicide a few years back (addressed in its own post here) and I’ve found it surprising how much I still think about him and feel his absence in this world despite the fact that it has no practical effect on my day to day life as I hadn’t spoken to him in many, many years or really had any active friendship for a long time. His website is still up (a little internet sleuthing showed me that it’s paid for through 2015, I believe). And I’m still sad that he got to some place where he felt like that was his only solution.

Now let me get intensely personal. I consider myself a generally positive, well-adjusted guy. Yet I have had many or my own dark periods. Periods when I kind of just didn’t want to live any more. Now, I do think that this is still quite different than wanting to kill myself. I never wanted to actively take action to end my own life. It was more like “You know, if I just don’t wake up tomorrow, if the universe wants to take me in the night, I’m good with that.” I’ve had random trains of thought about how I could just “disappear” or if one were to end their own life, how it could be done so that you just disappeared and no one ever knew what happened to you. We’ve all had dark times. We all have dark corners of our minds, but for many, they don’t want to admit that, even to themselves probably, much less to the world. It’s scary and people don’t want to feel freakish or worse yet, have others judge them as somehow deficient.

Now this is probably the most important part of this post. Why do I write this? It’s not a cry for help, or attention or for everyone to tell me how much I’m loved and would be missed or anything like that. I’m good, really, and I know all that thanks to all my wonderful, loving friends and family. I write this because if anyone reads it and has ever had anything even remotely resembling feelings like this…

You are not alone. You are not broken, or deficient, or crazy or a freak. You are human. People are scared to talk about darkness, especially inside themselves so you may feel alone or like no one could possibly know or understand. I am not a mental health care professional. I don’t really know what to say other than that. But much like Eddie, we all probably have a much farther reaching and profound effect in this world than we will ever know.