Monday, May 02, 2011

Today's Thoughts, In Others' Words

As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.
-Ezekiel 33:11

The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.
-Ernest Hemingway

If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever.
-The Crow

At some point in my life I decided, rightly or wrongly, that there are many situations in this life that I can't do much about – acts of terrorism, feelings of nationalistic prejudice, cold war, etc. – so what I should do is concentrate on the situations that my energy can affect.
-Jim Henson

No matter what side of the argument you are on, you always find people on your side that you wish were on the other.
- Jascha Heifetz

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.
-Andre Gide

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why I Closed My LinkedIn Account

Today I closed my LinkedIn account.  It's something I've thought about doing for months, if not years, but couldn't bring myself to do because of this nagging hope that it would someday become useful to me.  I think the best way to explain why I got rid of it is to start with why I joined in the first place...

I love social technology.  It's the reason that I can find a friend to go out with that's near me and the best place to meet them as rated by thousands of other people within minutes.  I'm always interested in the next big thing in social tech because I love being efficient and staying connected to people.

A few years ago I took a trip to California and visited my good friend Kurtiss in San Francisco.  He hipped me in to a new social service that texted multiple friends at once what was essentially a Facebook status update.  Seemed cool, but only if your friends were on it, and basically no one east of California or outside New York subscribed (at the time I lived in Ohio).  I signed up for the service anyways because Kurtiss was on it, so I would get his updates, but also because he told me that it was growing and likely to be huge.  Eventually, the service did get huge and now you all know it as Twitter.  (check out Kurtiss at www.twitter.com/kurtiss)

A few years before that, I was one of the first non-college students to get a Facebook account.  I had a girlfriend at the time who was in college and hence privileged enough to have an account, so I had a front row seat to everything I wished MySpace was.  I couldn't wait to get on Facebook, and once I was on I couldn't wait for everyone else to get over themselves and get on it.  These days it's kinda strange to find someone who isn't on Facebook.

All this is to say that I am very glad to be an early adopter of a social service in hopes that it will go somewhere useful eventually.  And now we come to LinkedIn...

In 2008 I had 2 different people request a connection with me on LinkedIn, so I researched it a little and it seemed like it could be useful to me professionally.  At the time, Facebook wasn't great at being a tool for professional promotion.  In fact, it was still seen in a very unprofessional light.  So I signed up and immediately was burned by the service.  There was a function where you could input your Gmail address and password and supposedly send some of your contacts invites to LinkedIn.  I meant to send around 5, and instead LinkedIn sent an invite to everyone in my address book.  SHADY.  That meant that every member of my church in Ohio that had an email address got an invite.  That meant I got tons of confused 40+ year olds asking me what LinkedIn was and why they should join.  I had to explain to all of them what it was and that I didn't mean to send them an invite.  This went on for months after the incident because LinkedIn kept hounding my contacts with further emails that looked like they were from me.  And for months I had to apologize to annoyed people asking why I kept inviting them to join LinkedIn.  It was nothing short of infuriating.  Granted, this was a bit of a rookie mistake on my part, but it was absolutely intentionally deceptive and unethical on LinkedIn's part.  I should have just cancelled the account then and there, but I gave it another chance because I'll take some techno-lumps if the result is being a part of great social technology in the long run.

There are other reasons why I closed the account.  I think it's not very user friendly.  I think it is feature lacking.  I can promote myself on the internet in better ways through Facebook, Craigslist, Monster, Twitter, or my own website.  But, today I finally came to  the most important conclusion:

I can report that in 3 years I have never, ever gained anything from using LinkedIn.  Ever.  It has been a giant waste of time.

Dammit.



P.S.  I have been itching for a good reason to close my MySpace account.  It's utterly useless to me right now.  It only lives on for 2 reasons.  Nostalgia and a tiny glimmer of hope that MySpace will turn around and become relevant again in any way through some innovation.  That glimmer is very quickly fading.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Katie Thompson Incident

Something very cool happened to me the other day that I think deserves blogging.

I tweeted this before going to play guitar in the subway:



@bdebois

Busking at Columbus Circle 1 train downtown platform from 2 to 4ish with Zach Miko. Come say hello!

(http://twitter.com/#!/bdebois/status/24534796059283457)

Later, my friend Amiee Collier (who lives in Cleveland) texted to me "Is this you?" and referenced this tweet:

@katiethompsonKT

There are two guys singin "halleluia" at the 59th street subway platform (1)with a guitar. It was so amazing. I even "woo!-ed" at them:)
(http://twitter.com/#!/katiethompsonKT/status/24552127846162432)

I confirmed to Amiee that it was about us and she said "you got "woo!ed" by one of my idols"



The amazing coincidence is that Amiee just happens to subscribe to my tweets and Katie Thompson's, read both, and put them together in her head.  Pretty awesome.  Then I tweeted:



@bdebois

Holy crap! Zach and I got tweeted about by Katie Thompson! @katiethompsonkt http://www.twitter.com/katiethompsonkt/status/24552127846162432

(http://twitter.com/#!/bdebois/status/24569681054535680)

And that's when I got a second and equally awesome shoutout from Katie:

@katiethompsonKT
@bdebois ahahahhahaaaaa:) ! You guys were so good! Broke my heart- so good:)

(http://twitter.com/#!/katiethompsonKT/status/24586389475557376)

And THAT was a good day.

For more on Katie Thompson (who is a FANTASTIC singer/pianist), check out her website (http://www.katiethompson.com) or youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/woakate).

And of course, for more on me: (http://www.barrydebois.com)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New York... The First 2 Months




I wanted to give an update on my goings on since I've moved to New York.

These first 2 months have been really great, and such a change from my life in Ohio.  In the first 6 weeks I have worked for a convention staffing company, got headshots taken, got a job with Spirit Cruises as a singing waiter, met so many great people (some famous, some musical theatre famous, and many neither), went to a few auditions (some great, and some not so), did a little modeling, made connections with people I haven't seen in years, and made a lot of new friends too.  It has really been quite a ride, and daily I say to myself and to friends how glad I am that I came out here.  No matter the outcome, I know I made the right decision for right now.  All I can hope for is the clarity of this calling for all my major life decisions.

At my apartment in Astoria, we had an overlap of roommates/subletters so I had to move out for 2 weeks.  As it worked out I'm spending these 2 weeks in Brooklyn.  I've not quite been here a week yet.  The new apartment is so beautiful, but it is a longer ride from the city than my place in Astoria and I'm anxious to get back to the life I was beginning to carve out there.  I really can't complain though because through this sublet, I've met more wonderful people and got to be involved in the reading of a new musical being co-authored by the lease holder of this apartment.

For the past 2 days, I have also been doing background work for the show "30 Rock" on NBC. It was so much fun and I got to rub elbows with most of the leads on the show!  If you want to catch the episode, it will be the season finale this season.  I played a wedding attendee.  For most of the scenes it will likely be hard to spot me but there is one quick shot where I walk in front of the very beautiful and talented Julianne Moore. (Amazing!!)  It was an awesome experience and I look forward to doing it again.

Spirit Cruises are really great lunch or dinner cruises that take you around the southern tip of Manhattan where you get delicious food, beautiful views of the city, and a breathtaking view of the Statue of Liberty.  There is also a DJ who plays dinner and dance music, and the waiters (like myself) perform Pop and R&B songs along the way.  In case anyone is interested in seeing me on a Spirit Cruise, here's a link to their website: www.spiritcruises.com  When you book the cruise, mention my name and that you'd like to be on a cruise that I'm singing on.  There are group rates available too.

While I was looking for a job, I also had time to revamp my website!  If you haven't had a chance to look it over yet, give it a look-see now! www.barrydebois.com

Over all the city has been wonderful to me, and please keep sending up good thoughts and prayers as I continue this adventure.  I miss my Ohio friends and family very much, and look forward to the next time I can make it there.  Keep supporting the arts and Downtown Canton while I'm away!  Here are some of my suggestions:

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The City That Never Sleeps... yeah, that suits me




A lot of my friends have asked me what my next project is, or if I'm auditioning for this or that, and I've had to keep skirting the answer with "Oh, I'm just enjoying a break from shows", or "I think I'll be busy". The truth is... and I can finally say it... I'm moving to New York City!


This is completely impractical.

There are better looking, more talented, better connected people that go and don't make it.

I have a good job.

My family and friends are here.

I am building a name for myself here and have lots of opportunities to perform and do good things in Ohio.

I'm 3 years away from 30.


I know. No really, I know. You are reading the words of a person who is at times cripplingly practical. And yet, after years of consideration, I'm ready to try this. I've answered most of these reasons not to do it with a pretty convincing argument. I don't care to list them all here because, frankly, I don't have to convince anyone but myself that it's the right thing to do. But for those of you who care about me and are concerned, it's really going to be OK.

SO... For you who have been so wonderful to me through the years while I've been performing around North East Ohio, thank you so much. I'll keep you posted about my endeavours in the city, and hopefully *knock on wood* I'll get a tour that comes through Ohio and you can see me again! And let's be real, some day I'm probably coming back here. It might even be sooner than I hope, but it certainly won't be with a head held low. For now, this is really what I feel called to do.


Love and Gratitude,
Barry DeBois
www.barrydebois.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Co-Hosting My101.7 Thursday Nov 12 from 7am to 9am...



I will be Co-Hosting on MY101.7 with Gary Rivers from 7am to 9am on Thursday, November 12. I'll be chatting with Gary and promoting "An Old Fashioned Canton Christmas" (www.cantonchristmas.org).

If you don't live in the Canton area, you can listen online at www.my1017.com!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

If Only In My Dreams

I'm finally liking Christmas again. I don't think I ever hated it, but I started off loving it, possibly too much, and it's been a bit of a roller coaster since then.

When I was a kid, Christmas was one more magical escape. It was another chance to believe in wishes and elves and flying. I remember feeling my excitement grow as the world became increasingly red, green, and white. People were kinder to each other, and there was always this sense of anticipation. I loved every ceremony. Trimming the tree, wrapping the gifts, Christmas Eve candle light service, waking up way too early at Mom's and seeing what Santa left, breakfast at Grandma's with the fancy plates and silverware, then off to Dad's for more gifts and food.

But as with nearly everything I loved as a child, there was a fall. A disenchantment. An earth-rattling disappointment. Like the moment you realize that all the people you know and look up to, your parents, your minister, your grandparents, your teachers, are completely fallible and flawed. I don't remember what age I was, but I do remember the first Christmas that I no longer loved it. I don't know what hurt more, my loss of "Christmas Spirit", or my knowledge of my loss. Christmas came and went that year and I was emotionally unaffected. I felt robbed. I mourned the loss of an era in my life when I could just enjoy and not question.

When I was a senior in High School I became deeply spiritual. I read the Bible daily and hung out with Christians who weren't afraid to answer my tough questions. More importantly, I wasn't afraid to ask these people tough questions. That was an enormous change from my childhood experience up to that point. Questions were generally not accepted with a welcoming conversation. I became very Christ-centered, and my view of the Christmas season had a new season of it's own in my life. One of deep spiritual connection and holy gratitude. But as I have learned with everything that's shiny and new, the shine eventually fades and you're left with realness again. For better or worse.

Then I became an adult. Christmas became buying shit. Who wants what and hasn't been bought it yet. And with a family my size, that's an expensive and stressful chore. Add a girlfriend into the mix, and you're a broke young professional running around on Christmas Eve with all the other dads at the mall buying useless crap and resenting everyone's importance they've placed on this ritual.

Why why why couldn't Christmas be what it was when I was a kid? You were chauffeured around, the world looked like Disney World, and everyone made such an effort to speak nicely to you and each other. And perhaps most importantly, you weren't socially obligated to give useless crap to every one. When I was growing up, my family could probably have been described as economically lower-class across the board, but by the time I was an adult, everyone was doing just fine financially. We didn't need to buy each other sweaters because we had 7 sweaters in the closet. I wondered how to make it all worth it again. Then I came up with an idea for our family to take all the money that we would spend on each other, and give it to a family that was actually in need. The kids would still get their gifts, but the adults would adopt a family.

Finally! A purpose for the gifts again. We bought for a family what was probably a pretty wonderful Christmas one year, and I felt really great about it. Of course, you can't please everyone. My Grandma, one of the sweetest little ladies you could meet, wasn't happy. She wanted at Christmas to buy things for her family. I learned that year that getting gifts from Grandma was as much a gift to her as it was to me. She loves blessing her family and missed that immensely the year we adopted a family. Right or wrong, we didn't want to break Grandma's heart, so we went back to buying each other gifts.

So where am I headed with this? I think the best moments I've had at Christmas were the times when I was closest to God, the few times when I gave a family member the perfect gift that wasn't just another box on the pile, and when I was helping someone or a cause that truly needed it. Well, those first and second instances, I can't help you with. But the last one, giving to where it is truly needed, I would implore you to do.

The areas to which we are all drawn to give are different, and that's ok. You can't save the world alone, but you can make it better in the ways and areas that you are able to. Personally, I am most drawn to the the needs of kids and the arts. That's why being attached to an organization like An Old Fashioned Canton Christmas is really important to me, and easy for me to pour work into. I believe in the 2 organizations that will benefit from our production. The Stark County Hunger Task Force and The Canton Palace Theatre are time-tested organizations that do great work and are in great need.

Shameless plug, or sincere appeal? I guess all that I care is that you read it and will consider it. I also think you won't be disappointed with this production. It's really packed with entertainment for all ages. If you're interested in the show, which is November 14th at 7:30pm at the Palace Theatre, go to www.cantonchristmas.org for more information, or www.cantonpalacetheatre.org for tickets.

May this season be your favorite yet.