Friday, May 28, 2010

Musings and Meanderings (redux)

The birthday hangover was less about alcohol this year, and more about the flurry of activity on facebook that accompanies a birthday and the stark silence thereafter.
Fame reaches you for a brief second (all eyez on me) and dissipates almost immediately after. Which is good; roller coasters are fun because free-fall lasts about 6 seconds (and feels like forever) - actual free-fall would give me space sickness. (Not to be confused with Space Madness)
I'm not musing about fame, though; public facebook accounts, blogs, and comedic aspirations give the lie to any protestation. I've already written about the fact it's a chimera, pointing to Infinite Jest and DFW's words on the subject.
The day after 100 FB updates is. . . jarring. It's like "whoops, life goes on". And the crazy part (my crazy) is the first update I posted I expected 100 comments on it. But writing isn't like that. (even when it's silly bullshit like status updates) In fact, I love Robin Hobb's take on it a couple years ago - Vampires of the Internet and it is ultimately counterproductive.
As a fiction writer she's 100% correct. My fiction is abortive and jarring to me; I can't seem to get past the "produce a ton of shit that's awful to get to a gem". The awful part drains and dispirits me.  I suspect the instant gratification of comedy (write joke, perform joke, know instantly if it works) gave enough scraps to sustain me through the grueling process of crafting garbage.
Writing doesn't have that respite. It's digging the tunnel from Alcatraz. Don't tell anyone lest they alert the guards and the muse flees. Only if you plunge into the Bay waters, and somehow make it to shore gasping and vomiting sea water is there some sort of reward for the craft.
It goes without mentioning most of us drown prior to that.
Which is actually a hopeful thing; I always become concerned at the sheer amount of people who "write". How could I possibly make a living here? The space to carve is crammed with bodies to elbow from the trough. Programming's major benefit is the symbology is simply lost on most normal folk; even if they wished to program they are simply not wired for it. Perhaps writing is the same way, but I can't help but see crappy writers (Dan Brown, I'm looking at you) making it HUGE while excellent ones hang themselves in their bedroom.

Circling back around to birthday facebook updates -  I never paid attention to others' birthdays; my own wall posts to people are capricious at best. For example, two comedians had birthdays within two days of each other earlier in May. I status updated "Happy Birthday" to one of them, and didn't the other. It's not like I'm saving up the updates, or preserving my typing hands. I just didn't do it.
I didn't feel like an asshole about it until it hit my birthday, and I felt how good it is to get all those wishes.
Then it hit me. Yep, I'm kind of an asshole. Now, this comedian was not waiting for my update. I did not ruin his birthday. But I didn't pile on the good feelings.
And then, two days later, I'd reversed my curmudgeon attitude and piled on to another comedian.
That's when it became a little bit offensive, I'd imagine.

I remember when screwing up gifts was the hardest thing to deal with in interpersonal relationships. No wonder I feel disconnected from my fellow man almost always, sober or otherwise.

I can't even handle status updates.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Halfway to seventy!

Assuming I don't die tonight, I'm going to be "celebrating" my 35th birthday tomorrow.
Which is crazy since I'm pretty sure I'm ten. The highlight of my day yesterday was having to leave the GameStop store because the fart I squeezed out was too vile for words.
Today was spent resisting the siren's call of Red Dead Redemption, which I failed; I stopped at the same GameStop and picked up a copy as I biked home from work. Sadly, the fart had dissipated.

Time flies. I started performing standup at the end of 2001; I'm not where I'd like to be but I understand why. Breaks are horrible for standup; there's a ton of nuance that is lost when you stop performing regularly. Sometimes it requires the equivalent of an engine rebuild to get going again and regain instincts.

But I've rebuilt the engine, dusted off the old bits I'm willing to keep, and been writing new ones like crazy. The sensibility's a little different now. There's a worry that the room's too cool for me now. The hard (brittle) edge I once carried is a bit dull.
I'm married. I have Things To Lose like a house and wife. I have a good job. I have three cats that are pretty hilarious and awesome.
The whole nihilistic oblivion I once sought seems childish.

Naturally, I have a newfound respect for those closer to 40 than 20. We're wiser, duh.
I'm pretty sure that's a direct function of age, but there's some truth to it. My concept of time is different now. Planning is for the longer term.

The concept of "ten years gone" makes sense in a way that didn't at 25. The first time I ever read a "how to be a standup" article was when I was 25 years old. The gist was 5 years to get decent, 10 years to get good. I said "well fuck that, I don't have time for that shit."

I'd be at 10 years right now if I'd said "let's do this."

I'm happy with 8 that's really about 5. I'd be happier with more showcases and less open mics, but on the ten year timeline, that won't even matter.

One thing hasn't changed in ten years I guess; my navel gazing is still disgusting to behold.

Happy Birthday to Me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Free Samples!

And then my Facebook Fan page is now up:
My Fan Page
Hopefully that will work for the 17 people who read my blog.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Facebook: The Case Against

I've been thinking a long time about Facebook and whether or not I want to be on the site in general.
It is, technically, a tool for promotion. Fan Page, twitter feed, link to the blog (which is going to show up on Facebook in about an hour) all sorts of nifty crap that can be done on it. That's the plus. A way to manage a fan base, in theory.

Except it sucks at keeping dates unless I let a third party app do it, which then has access to almost all my data. Admittedly, my data is not that valuable to anybody but Wizards of the Coast.
So I'm back to using a google calendar on a website.

So what sucks about Facebook?
Spam - every single asshole who thinks it's ok to steal part of my attention by inviting me to a shit gig, fuck you. Seriously, I hate every single one of you and your invites.
Spam - Hey, you know why I never responded to your event? Because I don't like you or your event. In fact, your event is probably why I don't like you anymore. Why did you send me something asking why I didn't respond? IT'S BECAUSE YOU'RE A SPAMMING FUCK.
Status Updates from other comedians, talking about shows I can't get booked on. Ok, this is totally my problem, within my control to change how I feel about it. But I am a little sick and part of me digs the seething envy and resentment. Can't be good long term.
I've heard the argument that FB is a tool to find out where the shows are at and try getting booked that way; while I acknowledge this may be true, if you're showing up in rooms and performing regularly then you'll get word/booked anyhow. And if you're not showing up in rooms, well, I know how that goes because that's been my Master Plan for the last year and I'm doing almost nothing but open mics right now.

And the big nasty - privacy. Right now you can actually Get Out of Facebook, and have most of your data go away. The way they've been running, that's almost certainly not going to be forever. They surreptitiously change the Privacy Policy and their Terms of Use, never for the user's benefit.

And it only makes sense when you realize YOU are the product. Facebook isn't the product - We are. And we're letting Facebook get paid for our shit, for nothing.
And they're abusing it mightily.

Anything Facebook can do, I should be trying to do on my website.
Status updates? Twitter's mighty fine; I can have them appear at the top of my blog No Problem.

Blogs? I've got an RSS feed. Twitter also pushes them out.
Dates? Can't do that on FB.
Fans? They'd be mine only until Facebook decides they're not; I don't have control on whether or not they shut my fan page down, or decide I violate the terms of service, or someone reports my blog as offensive again.

Bottom line: I don't have control of my data at all. And that's beginning to wear thin. Google has the Data Liberation project, where they ensure you can extract your Gmail, your blogs, your calendars, your whateverthefuck to allow you to switch services.
Facebook's actively trying to prevent that.

Plus, it's such a time waster. It's a thief of time, and I'm already running thin on it. I can't imagine what it would be like with kids.

I think Diaspora* is in my future, or perhaps just Google Buzz and a web redesign in WordPress or something.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New Blog

I finally figured out a decent blog topic that I'm passionate about, and can write with regularly. Since this is still the dumping ground for anything horrible, comedy, or kitty oriented, I'm not going to confuse the issue here with a new subsection of blogs.

Rather, I'll just make you visit another blog to waste your time.

Which is a pretty good strategy, in that it's a Dick Move, the kind of thing this new blog is about.

Notice there's no C in dick. This is not because I'm horrible at spelling, but because Google won't let me have a blog with dick in the URL. PenisMoves didn't have the same ring.

Moving forward it will probably end up as but I'm not interested in doing tech stuff today.