Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Find This Message Creepy

"We noticed that you've been a Weebly user for 2 days, 11 hours, 10 minutes and 24 seconds, but you still haven't published your site!"

1. Chill out I've been busy.
2. Why is my website so important to you that you are running a doomsday clock?  Alerting me to the precise number of seconds is a little intense.
3. Exclamation point?! Seriously?!!! It's been two fucking days since starting a website, it's not like I got drunk and ran over a baby.  There's really no need to scold me. And I haven't been given any of the content yet so it's not even my fault.  You're stressing me out Weebly!

When Twitter sent me their 'where the fuck did you go?' message they at least waited a few weeks.  The automatic messaging system recognized that we needed some time apart, but gently reminded me that it was waiting whenever I felt like I was ready to come back.  It gave me my space and let me know that it still cared.  And now we're back together, still taking things slow, but I feel like things could blossom between us again.

Weebly, on the other hand, is acting like this overprotective monster and I think it might kill me in my sleep.

I have never spent long enough away from Facebook to know how they handle their defectors, and I probably never will.  I love you Facebook, you complete me.


And then this appeared in my inbox:

"It's been 6 days, 6 hours, 39 minutes and 24 seconds since you last logged in, and we're starting to get really worried.

We were just getting to know each other.  You created 1 site, 2 pages, dragged on 1 element, and then... nothing."

1. Please don't file a missing person's report on me. I still exist. I just updated facebook not that long ago.
2. We weren't really getting to know each other. Have you been watching me in the shower? I feel kind of uncomfortable.
3. It is 1 day, 13 hours, 27 minutes and 46 seconds before I file a restraining order.


Hopefully I have laid to rest all those creepy messages from Weebly as the website is now up and running at

Monday, April 9, 2012

The New Beat

In the 1950s a powerful literary movement known as the Beat Generation was born.  They were a group of iconic literary figures who pushed boundaries, challenged social norms, and sought meaning and answers through their lives and their literature.  It was an age where the people were taking control and demanding social change, and while it may have been ugly at times, it was instrumental to paving the way for the increased equality we have today.  There is no denying that their behaviour was sometimes questionable, but the writing of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Charles Bukowski has long served as an important anthropological insight to an era.

As much as I'm a huge Jack Kerouac fan, for me one of the really fascinating elements of the beats is how they formed such an influential movement of writers.  Being a writer was a cool thing to be, and there was a support network that fostered "spontaneous creativity" and built on the ideas of one another on the fringe of New York City's upper west side.

Every so often there is a literary Renaissance, and I always felt a little sad that I probably missed out by a few decades.  But in fact, I recently realized that our generation is actually living in one of the most amazing literary movements in all of history.  Thanks to the rise of social media EVERYONE is a writer. It's no longer reserved for people who publishers decide have the right to express their opinions, it's an activity and a medium that is universally available.  Thanks to today's globalized world there is a virtually limitless network of people with whom to share ideas and tell stories.

With facebook and twitter and tumblr and blogger people are writing constantly.  There is always pressure to come up with something concise and captivating.  Nobody wants to repeat the same old status every day, so they come up with their own unique voices and metaphors.  Social media forces people to actually think like writers and gain an appreciation for it.  Maybe not everyone is the reincarnation of Charles Dickens, but the fact is that social media is bringing writing to the forefront of society and social interaction in a completely unprecedented way.

Twitter even acts like a publicist when you get lazy.  I had sort of stopped doing the Twitter thing, and about a month later I got a notification they missed me.  Translation: Stop being a big dumb slacker!  The pressure to update something regularly is a kind of motivational force.  Sure a lot of the time it's people talking about what they had for breakfast or how they're really tired, but some of the funniest things I've ever read have come from the minds of people that I know and love. And it's so constant that it means we're forced to think daily.

So maybe its a literary generation that sits in the nearest Starbucks instead of camping out in some shack on the side of a mountain or a crackhouse in the wrong side of town, but hey, it's our generation.  I love that we live in a society that has embraced the introvert and made writing an important part of our social life.  I like realizing how brilliant or funny some of my friends are that I may not have otherwise known.  Even though some people make fun of the fact that everyone has an opinion now, I don't think that's such a bad thing.  Self-expression is a great thing, and the level of honesty with which people are writing with is enabling readers to  become more confident in themselves realizing there are other people who they can identify with.

Moral of the story:  I am grateful to be a part of an era where ideas are so freely exchanged and thinking is both encouraged and facilitated.  I love that we have taken the idea of "spontaneous creativity" from our generational predecessors and used technological advances to make it our own. I love writing, and I love that so many other people do too.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Aerospace Engineering 4 Kids

I have always been a pretty curious person.  I like understanding how things work and why they are the way they are, so I ask a lot of questions when I am learning something new. As a result people tend to find me frustrating, but I have always been this way even as a little kid.

One day when I was about three or four I needed to know how airplanes fly, so I went up to my dad who I considered to be the supreme keeper of all knowledge and wisdom and asked him "Dad, how do airplanes fly?"  My dad is not a physicist of any kind, so he couldn't really give me the sort of super in depth explanation I usually like, but he said he thought it was maybe something to do with forced air.

"Okay" I replied, totally content with his vague explanation. 

But Dad knew there was a catch. I never gave up on anything that easily.

"Why don't we go check your Charlie Brown Encyclopedia?" he asked.  The Charlie Brown Encyclopedias always had the answer if he didn't.

"Nope, that's okay I get it" I said confindently.

He was puzzled.  He was pretty sure his toddler wasn't suddenly an expert in aerospace engineering after the explanation "something to do with forced air" so he demanded I explain it to him.

"Okay" I said. "One stair, two stair, three stair, forced air..."

We were both satisfied with that response and I eventually went and got a bunch of Arts degrees.