Brett Baker's Guide To Twelitism
It’s not goodbye… I promise

see you later

"Such is the patriot’s boast, where’er we roam, his first, best country ever is, at home."
~ OLIVER GOLDSMITH

The best advice I ever heard about writing came from a movie. Sean Connery’s character in ‘Finding Forrester’ said “You must write your first draft with your heart.  You rewrite with your head.  The first key to writing is to write, not to think!”

So that’s what I’m doing. Because thinking about how to say goodbye, when I’m going home, is too difficult for my mind to grasp.

Twenty two years ago when I signed my name on the dotted line I had no idea where my journey would take me. I couldn’t even dream of places like Song Ton Si, South Korea. Lakenheath, England. Istres, France. Brindisi, Italy. Ahmed Al Jabar, Kuwait. Sheik Isa, Bahrain. And the ever so easy to pronounce Bystřice pod Hostýnem in the Czech Republic. Now, my story is incomplete without those destinations.

But they were merely stops along the journey. Way stations as I traveled to “the cradle of Texas liberty”. San Antonio. For nearly seventeen years I have made my life and my living here. In that time one marriage failed, another came and went. I had my heart broken and perhaps broke a couple myself. Some dreams were realized while others were dashed.

It’s hard to imagine living in one place for the better part of two decades and never calling it home. When people would say “Oh, you’re from Texas.” I was quick to tell them “No, I just live there. I’m from Nebraska.” Sure, this made me sound like a bit of a jackass. But to me it was an important distinction. Because for all that Texas has given me, it could never replace the one thing I hold closest to my heart. Being a Nebraskan.

Turns out though, it’s not that simple.

When I think of parting with so many of you it makes my heart hurt and my eyes get misty. The last few years here have been some of the best of my life. When I first met most of you I was in a deep hole of an emotional abyss. But through friendships, old & new, my community helped pull me out and set me back on solid ground.

So when I leave this city I know that a part of me is now a San Antonian. I know this because leaving hurts. A lot.

If you’re reading this then chances are that our paths have crossed at some point. I hope you know that I am all the richer for it. Unless you’re a San Antonio Spur, then I want you to know what a colossal waste of space I think you are. Please find the nearest hole and bury yourself in it….  But after that, it’s all love. 

For those that I’ve worked with at the Air Force News Agency & KSAT 12, I hope you know how honored I was to be among your ranks. You made me better. You made me fearless. You made me confident enough to handle any challenge the job throws at me. But more than the work,  I’ll remember the friendships. My mentors Bob Jones & Greg Simmons did more for me than they will ever know and I’m forever in their debt.

For those I met away from the bizarre world of broadcasting, I thank you for giving me a more well rounded existence. When I started spending time with people who didn’t know a VO from a drop frame, I found myself griping less and listening more. No one will ever confuse me for a power player, but I know I traveled with San Antonio’s true  elite. The smart ones, the funny ones, the ones with heart. You embraced me and I am forever grateful. You will always be a part me.

To all of you I say so long but not goodbye. Take care. And I will see you later.

Your friend & 1/16th San Antonian,
Brett

T***t Blocked By A Victoria’s Secret Model

@BigRedinTejas can you go away or do I have your permission to block you? you know, since i need your permission to speak my mind apparently”

And that’s how my tempestuous, albeit brief, relationship with Victoria’s Secret model @chrissyteigen began and essentially ended.  She did in fact “block” me.  I did not shed a tear. Hell, I didn’t even follow her insensitive ass in the first place.

The list of people who have blocked me is long and distinguished. Mostly athletes and entertainers from across the spectrum of the interwebs. I do take a perverse pride in this.

For the uninitiated the “block” on Twitter is a simple means to a problem. Got a spam bot? Block it. Got a curious ex-significant other? Block’em.  Run across a loud mouth, pain in the ass that calls you out on your bullshit? Block me.

One of the things that I was delighted to learn about Twitter is that all of us are just one tweet away from another. Naturally I set about exploiting this. Some of my intentions were pure. Some were not.

I’ll admit it, some of my blocks were merited. When I suggested that @Rachel__Nichols change her name to @Rachel_Hit_In_The_Face_With_A_Bag_Of_Nichols I was probably a bit out of line. OK, I was way out of line but it seemed true & funny so what the hell. In hindsight I wouldn’t do that again. Ultimately she’s a hard working professional who can’t help but deal with the unfortunate hand that nature hath dealt her. That said she works at ESPN and seems to be doing well so I don’t dwell too much on my jack assery.

There is always a gray area in some of my jabs. If a target has a sense of humor then it’s game on. Such was the case with ESPN’s Trey Wingo when I questioned his RT of someone that I happen to think is a bit of a hack when it comes to Twitter. So, Trey fired back this gem. “@BigRedinTejas yes…clearly as a head writer for Letterman @EricStangel doesn’t know comedy…like you.”

Now that was funny. Oddly enough Trey didn’t block me but Stangel did. Apparently the head writer for Letterman also has a thin skin.

Other blocks have come about naturally. When Terrell Owen’s show debuted on VH1 I live tweeted all of the awfulness with as much disdain as I could possibly muster. The beautiful part about it was that this future hall of famer, for ego and football, initially mistook my tweets as compliments which led to this immediately favorited tweet. “@BigRedinTejas thanx 4 tuning in! ;-)” Well @terrellowens, you are welcome.

The great thing about a block is that I know that my words were read by the blocker. Did they do any good? Who knows. Since I was blocked instead of thanked I’m guessing no. But my voice found its way to the one I most wanted to read it. Petty? Perhaps. Satisfying? Always.

And such was the case with Chrissy Teigen. It all began when my friend @PeterBurnsRadio  retweeted this gem. “RT @chrissyteigen If you’re ever having trouble falling asleep, ask a new yorker what they were doing on 9/11.” Shortly thereafter she started to feel the heat of people who actually have a soul & realize that there are some things you just don’t joke about. 9/11 being one of them. So what does the less than super model do? Replies with this gem. “jesus christ. replace “9/11” with “jfk assassination” or “michael jackson’s death” and relax.”

That’s when I suggested that her previous tweet be filed under the mythical file of “just doesn’t get it”. This brought us to today.

So she blocked me. This says a lot more about her than it ever will about me.

Beggers can’t be choosers… Because they’re pathetic.

Every once in a while it’s a good thing to take stock of yourself.

Are you getting enough exercise?

Are you connecting with your family?

Are you begging strangers to read your random musings?

Are you being the the best you that you can be?

Wait. One of these things is not like the others. Exercise, that’s important (BTW, my stock is low at the moment, I know this.). Family, that’s really important for obvious reasons. Striving for self improvement, that’s an admirable trait. So… That leaves begging random people to listen to your daily spiel as the odd duck out.

As it should be.

Follower count is one of the most talked about elements of any tweeters online profile. But when it comes to you, it’s a discussion that should be had by other users, not by yourself. Why? Because while it does have it’s place, follower count should be totally irrelevant to the tweeter. What should be important is having a platform to share your daily thoughts and observations. Sharing your world with those that are interested in sharing it with you.

Now here’s the trick, if you actually have anything of value to offer, people will find you. Your voice will be heard. Your voice will be shared by the people who are taking stock in what you have to say. That means the followers will come, but it does take time… Unless you’re Charlie Sheen.

By begging for followers what you are telling me and the rest of the twitterverse is that you are more interested in the number than the dialogue. And that, for lack of a better term, is bullshit.

I’ve never once asked people to follow me. They either dig me or they don’t. It’s not something that I want to control or influence because I want the relationship, such as it is, to be legitimate. In turn I don’t follow everyone who follows me. I do look at their profiles & read their feeds to see if they are communicating in a way that I can connect with. If they are, great. I have a new voice to listen to and learn from. If they aren’t, that’s OK as well.  But the one thing I know is that I’m not asking them to opt in. It’s a decision of their own choosing. As such I’m not obligated to follow them. That’s about as pure an understanding that you can have.

So when I see a tweet asking, nay, begging for followers, it makes me want to figuratively puke. In fact if someone I follow begs for followers or even muses about their follower count, I’ll stop following them because I know that that to them I’m just a number, not a person. Well fuck that.

The great thing about being a Twitter user is that you have the chance to build your own community. A community of people whose voices matter to you and a community of people to whom your voice matters. If you do it right you’ll have some overlap. That overlap is a special place where the dialogue is shared, where it has the chance to have some meaning. That’s something worth taking stock of.

You’re So Vague. You Probably Think This Blog Is About You… You Might Be Right.

It’s becoming more obvious.

I can’t believe that just happened.

Sometimes it doesn’t .

What am I talking about? More importantly, what are you talking about? Without context those three lines are about as vague as it gets.  Just blurbs without any rhyme, reason or substance. They are also an example of the growing number of vague tweets that  I see every day.

Do you have something to say or are you jerking my chain?

If you have something to say, then by all means say it. Use those 140 characters to unburden yourself. Use them to shed some light on your thoughts, feelings and emotions.  Don’t make it a guessing game for your followers. Chances are they are plenty interested in what you have to say, so say it. Don’t waste their time.

Take the time to be real, not narcissistic. When you tweet out something that reveals little to nothing yet opens up a box full of questions without providing any answers what are you really doing? I’ll tell you. You’re being annoying. You’re being a tease. You’re being insipid.

Think about it. What would you do if a friend walked through your living room and said “I guess you just never know a person.”  and then continued walking out the back door? You’d want to know what in the hell they were talking about.  That’s essentially what a vague tweet is.  An aimless bullet that floats about and never hits a target. So why pull the trigger or, in this case, send the tweet?

Of course I’m not going to deny anyone of their right to be a moron, even though I advise against it. But I also don’t want to hear from them when I stop following them.  It’s not personal, I just don’t feel the need to validate your form of self indulgment with my time.

As I’ve said before, if you have at least one follower you don’t tweet in a vacum. People read what you write. If you write crap, chances are you’re a crappy writer and more than that, a crappy communicator.

So the choice is yours. Do yourself & those that follow you a favor, be vital not vague.