I don’t really want a tattoo, but I kinda want a sense of how much it actually hurts to get one.
I picked up a sheet music collection of Level 2/3 holiday favorites… 175 of them. It literally takes me an hour and a half to play through the every piece in the collection that, which now that I say that isn’t really that long for 175 songs, is it?
What do you think? 14 months into this little experiment…
Maybe I’m getting old, but I think its naive to think that selflessness is anything other than a purposeful act of will on an exponentially diminishing cost-return curve. In other words, one can try, but true selflessness is probably impossible.
It just so happens, if you haven’t been paying that close of attention, that I took November off from more than just my zealous podcast consumption. I also took a one-month planned hiatus from my little webcomic project, This is Pi Day.
Obviously, since November is now part of that ephemeral experience we collaboratively think of as “the past” I’m back to posting weekly dad comics. Like today. And definitely for three weeks following today… because I’ve already drawn, uploaded and scheduled those. After that…? Well, just hope I find back a bit more free time in my life.
Since I’ve taken my ball and gone home on the social media front, and SINCE I need to write a daily blog post here, I’ll be doing a lot cross-posting.
For example, Un-touchable is today’s comic and I wrote about this particular strip: I’ve been introducing the kid to my nostalgia. Old TV shows (she apparently loves Red Dwarf), classic music (which for me is Def Leppard and The Tragically Hip) and of course all my video gaming favourites… which apparently are not quite at the same standard and can’t quite compete with an iPad or the Nintendo Switcheroo. Who would have guessed?
Check out Un-touchable at www.piday.ca
I’m having a moral struggle and I don’t know how to resolve it. I suspect some of my readers are too.
It’s the first day of December and I’m kicking off my annual blog-every-day-month, an act that is inherently meant to unleash a flood of interactivity, to communicate, to share, and to engage a whole group of people, friends, strangers, and everyone, in an admittedly eccentric and offbeat place on the web for interesting conversation. To bolster that, ideally, I would share the hell out of these posts on social media, tweet the snot out of them, link on facebook and through that bring interested people by this site for a peak at my roadside kiosk of curiosity… eight clicks to the middle of nowhere. (You thought that was a random name for blog, didn’t you?)
I’m not going to post anywhere but directly on this site. Sadly. To my own detriment, of course. But I can’t bring myself to do that anymore. There is something rotten in the land of social media.
I see the the problem as this. Every day the conversation on those (note: privately-owned) public social places grows darker. For the last year we’ve looked at Facebook and Twitter and many others as meeting areas where the conversation has slowly but surely become more hate-filled and driven by politics and writ-large with dark agendas. Yet, in the past month or so what has become increasingly obvious is that either (a) these sites are unwilling to take serious action to balance the need for freedom of speech with the ability to maintain meaning, facts, purpose and reality as a key part of this freedoms, or (b) they are actively complicit in ignoring or possibly enabling these forums to collapse into something that is chipping away at the foundations of our modern society.
As one commentator recently put it, truth is now a moving target, the once-obvious line between fact and fallacy grows fuzzier each day, and there is no sense in having a conversation with someone for whom reality is optional. I am just as interested in the metaphysics of our perceptions as the next eclectic dude you know, but I’ve just been dipping my toes in the water. You can’t have everyone jump into the truth-is-subjective crazy pool with both feet and expect society to continue to function.
Yet the sacking and burning of institutionalized reason is something I think we could manage as a society, because that has always existed. Today the larger threat seems to come from the commodification of attention. You visit social media, social media gets views and clicks and eyeballs, thus social media makes someone buckets of money. The process repeats, a little bit amplified, a little bit snowballed each time. Until… ? Does it end? Can it end?
Crazy makes coin. If it bleeds it leads. Boring is not bankable.
Thus my moral struggle. Everything I post on social media gives someone else a reason to come back and use social media. Participation creates motivation. Participation makes every participant at least a little bit a part of the feeding and nourishing this massive, rumbling, chaos machine that is slowly eating the fabric of our society.
I’m going to keep writing this blog. And I’m not going to tweet about it. I’m not going to brag about it on Facebook. I’m not going to put ads on it. I’m not going to make a single nickle from the effort. Ultimately that won’t matter to much of anyone but me. But it’s my participation in a conversation that needs to happen… just not inside the beast that is eating our words and shitting out the mess that is overwhelming everything else.
The end of my self-imposed podcast fast.
There is a random photo that I took while snorkeling of a boat sitting upon an orb of sea. I call it “random” because I had my GoPro in 1 pic/sec interval mode and the photo was a total fluke, but it captured the Caribbean as a perfect lens-curved arc with awesome sunlit blues and a boat sitting framed in perfect 1/3 aspect. If my arm wasn’t in the corner, it would be a contestant for something even more awesome.
There are roughly 48 hours left in the month of November, and having given up a few of my baser electronic pleasures for this particular page of the calendar, I figured it was worth commenting on the effort as my temporary technopurgatory draws to a close.
To be clear, I gave up three things:
1. Downloading and listening to podcasts.
2. Doing any non-automated twitter.
3. Posting instagram (that was tied to “promoting” my creative work.)
Numbers 2 and 3 were meant to give me a break from drawing and posting my comic and since I was neither drawing nor posting on the blog, both came along fairly easily.
The podcast thing was meant to give me a break from at least one gushing fountain of unfiltered opinion about foreign politics, and to read or listen to some literature instead.
So, where am I?
1. I’ve currently listened to about 60% of a really good (if really long) book. A fifty hour epic novel of ancient Japan called Shogun by James Clavell landed on my audiobook reading list and while the first couple hours had me questioning my selection I’ve actually spent most of November immersed in the fictionalized history of samurai stories. I don’t know how authentic or historically accurate the novel is, but it’s a ripping fish out of water tale that has captured my interest in learning more about this period of history.
2. I read some more Vonnegut. I’m working my way through his library, and squeezed in pushing through Breakfast of Champions which is probably one of those “this is so weird, crazy, and racist that it’s none of those things because” kinda books. I’m still sorting out how I feel about it, but I think I peeled a few layers off that loco-onion and maybe I’ll have more to write in a few days.
3. I redesigned this blog. But if you’re a regular reader and you’ve been regularly reading, you probably already know that.
4. I posted a lot of YouTube videos. There are a couple reasons for this, including but not limited to that (a) I got a new camera that I want to use and (b) my account is soooooooo close to being monetize-ready that I’m actually just posting a load of content (good content, but not necessarily content I’d post in a different reality) to speed up that process.
5. I played a lot of video games. I don’t know for certain that this is considered a benefit to having sequestered a few categories of social media from my life, but I’m making a note of it if only because it may just be me quenching my addictions through a slightly different channel.
6. I’ve been sampling Amazon Music. It arrived in Canada a couple weeks ago as a “no additional cost” feature on my Prime account, so it’s given my ears something to do while the podcasting is no part of my daily routine.
On Friday morning, December 1, I’m going to queue up a few of the podcasts I’ve legitimately been hankering for this past month. Some comedy. Some film commentary. Maybe a little news and politics because, I mean, well, I’ve been reading it elsewhere so I’m not going to be surprised or anything.
I’ve got a new comic scheduled for the next day. I’ll be back in the land of the twit-heads and dumping images into Instagram a few minutes later, I’m sure.
Did I learn anything? I don’t want to give the effort so much weight as to suggest it was a transformative spiritual experience or anything. It was just me avoiding the digital candy in my life, after all. But like anything I never hurts to take a step back from the creatures that seem to be consuming your life and make sure that you can still back slowly away and lock the cage door if needed.
Working on my own amazing and creative ideas from wherever I happen to want to work from.
With not quite twenty-four hours gone by since I crossed the finish line of a ten klick trail race on Sunday morning I thought I’d feel a little worse than I actually do.
I’m not usually a trail runner, if only because every trail race I’ve ever done has resulted in a minor but side-lining injury. Pondering this thought on Saturday evening, the organizers having sent a caution email about the slipperiness of the trail conditions due to the light thaw we’ve been experiencing, I barely slept the night prior to the race. Instead, tossing and turning, getting my anxiety all twisted around the gap in my memory between where I heard “trail race” and still signed up to participate.
The three hundred or so runners were split between the 25 klick distance and the 10 klick… the latter of which was well good enough for me. That ten klicks still took a solid hour and a half, and Pica, who was on sweep duty landed back at the finish at roughly the three hour mark. It was a tough race.
I tried strapping the new GoPro to my chest using the chest harness. That was a mixed bag. Good, because I definitely needed both hands to clamber up and over various obstacles. Bad, because I remembered too late that my chest is far-from-stable when I run, swaying back and forth. I caught about 40 minutes of footage and boiled it down to a watchable 14:
I woke up on Monday morning feeling a lot better than I thought I would. I’m still not totally convinced about the trail running appeal, but they collected a lot of frozen turkeys for the food bank, so it ranks pretty high on the good cause-o-meter. For the next little while though, I might just stick with the asphalt.
While I wait for the Kid who is in her Saturday art class, I’m sitting in a McCafe drinking a $1 coffee an mooching free wifi to kill some time and to write some posts. I’m using a Bluetooth keyboard tethered to my iPhone which is plugged into a portable USB battery pack all while I track the time on my GPS enabled smart watch and listen to music on headphones so small I forgot I was wearing them. It struck me as worth writing here that the largest thing on my little bistro table is my coffee cup. I know we’re all all used to how small and clever things are these days, but every once in a while it still catches me off guard.