On being anti-social, in a social media world…

Yes, I’ll admit it, I like nothing more on any given work day than to close my office door, and tune out the outside world so that I can concentrate; other people be damned. I have my moments when I want to stand at the water cooler and chat about this or that, but 98% of the time, I’m alone in my space, doing what I love to do, design, draw and create interesting images. It isn’t that I hate people, no not at all, I just find myself not caring so much about whatever they have to say if it should stray from the particular project I’m working on, or have scheduled to begin in the not to distant future. Perhaps I sound cold, or callus. I assure you I am not. Blunt like a grey cinder block? yes, I’ll give you that. My wife likes to refer to me as a robot some times, purely in jest I believe.

But words are petty and actions speak louder than words. Probably why I like to write out letters rather than speak on the phone. I’m sure that having the time to carefully choose ones words, and craft a funny, nasty, churlish, or instructive letter makes me fell smarter than I really am. I can come up with a decent vocabulary when I have the leisure to do so, but when I speak in person, I sputter and swear, and generally repeat myself and am at loss for words that actually say what I mean. A charismatic orator I am not. I did a whole slew of on stage performances when I was in grade school, high school, college and university, but the desire to be front and centre has withered and wasted away. I can give a clear and concise speech, hell I’m too worrisome to just try to wing it, so I’d write it out and learn it, like a good little thespian would. But as any director of mine will tell you, I tend to mouth the words of the other actors as they say them, so I know when I am supposed to speak next. Ha. Talk about losing the suspension of dis-belief. But I’m slowly edging off topic.

The topic, being some what anti-social in a world that is now dominated by “social media”. I imagine on all outward facing fronts, I seem rather social. I have a Youtube account where I post videos, a Deviant Art account where I upload artwork, a NAPP account for my photoshop portfolio, a facebook account, and I tweet some times. But to me, these things aren’t social. It ends up being something I can broadcast what I’m doing without actually having to call or speak to individual’s about what I have done, or am not doing. Remember when, back before ICQ, if you had something really great happen, or you had a birthday, you actually had to call every one of your relatives one after the other, to thank them for cards or gifts or just to say hello. Forever repeating the same sentiments over, and over, and over again, until your ears hurt from pressing the phone to your head for what felt like days on end? Do you remember that? I do. But now, I just post it, and then if anyone cares to they can read it and know what’s going on over in my corner of the country. I’m sure the term “lazy” fits into that lack of desire to call or make an effort to reach each friend or family individually. But, I tell myself, I’m busy, I commute several hours a day, I have this to do or that to do. Isn’t it just easier to broadcast messaging tailored to no one in particular so that everyone who reads it doesn’t feel like they are coming up against an on-slaught of private jokes and inside quips?

So, I know you, odds are I even like you, I just don’t want to talk to you. I’m hard of hearing, and everything these days is just way too loud. I can’t discern your voice from the stereo, or the train, or the traffic noise. I nod my head and say uh-huh a lot, even though I didn’t hear a word you said. I’m a terrible lip reader, so watching your mouth the whole time only helps a little. So, no I don’t want to talk to you. Bastard!, you say, Jerk! who do you think you are!?! you say. I say, I am you, because you do it too. We all have some of these anti-social social media tendencies. Facebook wouldn’t be at how ever many billion users if we weren’t. (Although many of you aren’t hard of hearing, just pacing and waiting for your turn to talk). Is that what your communications feel like these days, not collaboration, not listening, but hearing noises, waiting for a pause, until you have the chance to jump in with your two cents.

This is slightly off topic, but some times near the end of my commute when the train is much, much quieter, and there are two people sitting and chatting on my good side, I listen. Some times, two people are talking and having two very different conversations. Each one is single sided, but they flow together like the people are actually communicating. I found this to be astonishing at first, but it is like those “give away” scenes at the end of “The Sixth Sense”. When you see it the first time you think all is as it should be, but when the twist is exposed, so too do you see the holes, and you think, How Did I Miss That? How did you, indeed.

So to sum up. Do I hate people, Nope. Do I prefer constructive written communication over verbal, yep (Expecting that such foibles as emotion, sarcasm or some such isn’t employed as it tends to go a miss, unless expressed in a very poignant way [side bar, has anyone figured out a proper sarcasm font or type treatment yet???]). Are you being social when broadcasting via social media, Nope. When was the last time you had a decent conversation with your television set, or radio? The internet is different as you can achieve instantaneous responses, but with trolls and what not, is that a fulfilling social connection or experience? Hardly. When we are face to face, do we listen and communicate, or wait for a gap in the noise and jump in with our own two cents, not always, but I see it an awful lot more now than I did prior to the internet boom.

If we can find a quiet place to chat, and I’m not at work, then lets do so. Just turn your phone off and I promise I will listen to you.



Toronto Fan Expo 2012

I realize I am rather behind on my postings as of late, but some times I just don’t feel like saying much. You should thank me, otherwise I would splash an awful lot of meaningless drivel across these blank pages, and drive you all mad. Not that this post will rise much above the Christopher Hitchens classic word for less than stellar; “Piffle“. What a great word, I think I will work that into the roster.

So I had been debating on whether or not to bother with the FanExpo 2012 in Toronto this year, and when the Friday came I had decided that I wasn’t going to go. Too busy, too hot outside, no money to burn… blah blah blah. Then a construction crew outside our building mashed a gas line and the work day ended around 9:30am that morning. After waiting outside at a safe distance for a suitably boring amount of time, with no work being done, we were allowed to re-enter the building, which stunk of natural gas. I managed to get off a couple of important projects, and was then told to leave shortly after 1pm.

So here I am on a hot, sunny Friday afternoon, and I am unable to work in my office. So I figured, ah fuck it, I’ll catch the train back into the downtown core, and go check out the line up. If it’s huge, I’ll just circle around and head home. After a brief and unexciting walk I bought a ticket and wound up inside the convention centre with about 50,000 other people.

I was somewhat impressed with the scale of things, until I realized it was all contained in the one room, and that everything just about was cash only. Damnit, I didn’t even consider that. Can you tell just how much of a comic convention Noob I am? Saw some pretty awesome Lego displays, Ooh’ed & Aah’ed over quite a few statues from Randy Bowen and Side Show Collectibles. Looked at a whole lot of toys, and comic books, and bought a few graphic novels, mainly “The Walking Dead” 14 ,15, 16.

I saw Jose from EP and some other dude doing an on sight interview. Saw a lot, and I mean an awful lot of people in costume, and quite a few scantily clad ladies as well. I had a lot of fun. My one complaint was it was way too crowded, and I couldn’t find anyone who could tell me where anything was. I missed out on the guidebook with the site map, so I just wandered about for 3 hours or so. I now MUST go to a proper Sandiego Comic-Con. Any takers??

Las Vegas: Oh the beautiful people…

Man, do I love Las Vegas. The place is an insane asylum open 24/7, and cooking at about 110 degrees during the day (At least in Mid August). I wonder just how many light bulbs there are on the strip? Anyone care to go and count for me? Ha. Maybe next time then.

I went for a brief vacation last month, during monsoon season no less (read: humidity, extreme temperatures, lightening storms and rain in the desert). I had a tonne of fun. I usually do. Listen to me, speaking like I have a summer condo there that I frequent, really I have only been twice. Once with my brothers, and the most recent trip was with my wife, one brother, several friends and some acquaintances. Both times I have gone I have had an awful lot of fun, mixed in with some very long plane trips, lay overs, delays and general disarray. Next time I’ll pay for the direct flight, non-stop there and back. I would however have no qualms about staying at Caesars Palace again, that was very nice on the inside. Not only that, but the AC was pumping good & strong the whole time too. Not to mention the fact that the pool was almost empty and very refreshing. (I’ll glaze over the fact that people sit & drink in it all day and never get out once).

The main point of the trip was to do some touristy things, like see the Hoover Dam (we went, it was hot, but beautiful) See below pictures for further insight



. We didn’t stay long as we were on a tight schedule, and were heading off to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon as well. After a very long 5 hours of driving, and a sadly uneventful traipse along Historic Route 66 (the sucky end apparently) we made it to the largest hole in the ground I have ever seen. It is a bit more than that in reality, I just wasn’t in a terribly good mood at that point. Hungry, tired and I seriously needed to pee. After five hours of traveling we could only stay for 30 minutes or so before the sojourn back to Vegas, as some of our group had to catch a flight home back to Canada. (See below for more photo’s and possibly a video of the world’s prettiest ditch).

The real reason my brother and I wanted to head back to Vegas, was because the first time we were really hyped up to go to a shooting range and fire off some massive guns, but one of our older brothers put the kybosh on that during our first trip. So back we came, and on the Saturday afternoon, we hopped into a cab from Caesars car port and made a beeline straight to The Gun Store. I made a point of firing two smaller hand guns and a sniper rifle, (the 1911, a 20-something, and a .223 sniper rifle with scope). It was awesome!. I sucked for the first 4 of six shots with the 1911, because I made the rookie mistake of sighting with only the rear end of the site and not following from stem to stern. I got much better after I realized this. Although, never having fired a hand gun before I did manage to hit the clip release on the grip while sighting up with the 20-something style hand gun. I felt rather stupid, but you live and you learn. Even with the weight and strain of a real fire arm I have a fairly tight grouping.

Zombie clowns had best beware, as I prefer the head shot at 30 paces. As long as they don’t move more than a foot from side to side swaying in the wind, similar to the targets in the enclosed range we were in, then I will be just fine.


In fact I enjoyed myself so much, I am signing up to get my gun license here in Ontario, to go target shooting with a Springfield 30-o6 (or similar variation of) that I have got my eye on from the Pro-Bass Shop in Vaughn.

I’ll amend this later to add in the photos and
video. I’m tied up at home with a Hallowe’en costume project for my dog, and some Markham Fair art entries I have to start & finish for the end of the month.