Monday, April 30, 2012

Thoughts on Facebook Timeline

I upgraded to the newest incarnation of Facebook (the "Timeline" for you historians reading this in the 22nd century) the other day. Normally I don't upgrade anything unless it's mandatory as I don't like change, but Facebook told me that it was gonna update next week anyway whether I liked it or not so I figured what the fuck, why not. Also I was bored and it seemed like it would give me something to fiddle with.

So I upgraded that shit and to be quite honest I'm not that keen on it. Now I know there's droves of people who complain every time there's the slightest little change to Facebook's layout, but I haven't had a problem with any of the changes. Even the ones I thought were a little bit extraneous (i.e., the most recent update to the chat system), I grew accustomed to them almost instantly and they never bothered me at all.

Now this Timeline thing has been around for a while - some of my more advanced Friends got it months ago I guess - so I've seen what it's all about before, however, some of its more irksome qualities really got in my face now that it's infected my Page. I'm not quite a Facebook junkie, I don't play Farmville or any of those other games they got on there (I'm more of a social junkie - I compulsively check not only Facebook but also my e-mail, comments on my webcomic and blogs, various forums I frequent, Twitter, on the offchance that someone wants to talk to me), but I'm on there enough that changes do affect me.

The most irritating thing I find about Timeline is the fact that there's two columns of stuff, which makes it hard to read other people's Pages. Not that I sit down and religiously read other folk's shit, but you know if there's a hot guy I wanna stalk it makes it sort of inconvenient. Also, you have to put up, like, two Profile Pictures which is weird. Why two? I had a helluva time trying to find a wide enough picture for my Cover Photo that wasn't copyrighted to somebody other than myself.

I ended up putting the above picture on there because it's an octopus and that.

Anywho, after I got that done, I started exploring Timeline's other features. There's a thing called Activity Log, which is I guess a log of all the acitivities that I did on Facebook since the dawn of my account... not really sure what the fuck the point of that is but whatever. There's also an option to post Life Events, which range from graduating high school to having a baby to buying a house to getting a tattoo. Everything you could possibly think of, except criminal records. All you have to do is punch in what happened, when, where, with who and slap a photo in and it adds it to the timeline of your life.

I sat there and dutifully added life events to my Timeline - moving to Gagetown, buying my first car, kissing a dude (seriously, one of the optional events is "First Kiss"). I quickly got bored and started making shit up, but there's a lot of real stuff on there so my Friends can learn all there is to know about ME!

Then I started wondering, what the fuck is this for exactly? Does anybody actually want to know any of this shit? I don't really want to know this kind of thing about other people, except for maybe the aforementioned hot guys I'm stalking, whose profiles are all maddeningly devoid of helpful information, like criminal records. So okay, if some dude wanted to know what I was all about without talking to me, he could sit down and read my profile, although most of what I've got on there is lies. Other than that... what's it for?

Advertising, that's my guess. Timeline asks you all kinds of questions about your life, pretending to be interested in the Real You or something, tricking you into sharing your information, but all it really wants to do is fine tune what kind of ads you're likely to click on. People who have more than one tattoo are statistically more likely to want to buy X, people who dropped out of high school are more likely to buy Y, it's all a formula. I figure posting half truth half bullshit is almost my liberatrian duty, skewing their numbers and potentially throwing off advertising everywhere by the slightest degree.

Now imagine if everybody in the world did that. They wouldn't be able to get inside their heads to sell us shit... or at least it would set them back while they tried to come up with a new statistic - people who lie about wearing hats are more likely to buy argyle socks or some shit. But at least we can fuck them up a little bit. Come on people, let's do this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Country Radio

So I've got a bunch of pages in the upcoming Mondo Mixtape #2, an upcoming print collection of comics by various artists and... here's one of them, concerning the trials and tribulations of listening to the radio on a regular basis.

Anyway, there's waaaaaay more like this and better in there. The book will be available at Mondo Comix. Furthermore, you can buy the Mondo Mixtape #1, which also features one of my comics, here. It's really rad, y'all should check it out.

Monday, April 23, 2012

It might be time to lay off the booze

So I got asked out last week - I'm still kind of reeling from shock so bear with me here. There's this feller at work who's been figuratively beating around the bush, asking every coupla days what I'm doing on the weekend. I always tell him that I'm busy eating cake and crying but this past week he actually asked me out legit. I responded as I always do when I feel uncomfortable - by yelling "I have to wash my hair", then running and throwing myself in the nearest river.

Of course, the guilt started to set in not too long after. There's nothing wrong with this dude. He's nice enough and he ain't too bad looking, so I started wondering how come I turned him down. He isn't what I would call 'my type', but then what does that mean exactly? Why would I consider fucking one dude but not another?

I thought about that for quite a while and reached the conclusion that he and I didn't really have anything to talk about. We'd had maybe one or two conversations over the course of three weeks and then he starts asking me to spend the night in Fredericton with him. "Come spend the night with me" is a really shitty pickup line anyway, but you know it'd probably work for somebody whose company I enjoyed. The only things this particular individual ever wanted to talk about with me were tequila, gambling and cocaine, none of which are great recommendations. Even if I was inclined towards promiscuity I would probably stay away from that, if only because it's sort of boring to talk about.

Then my thoughts turned inwards and I found myself asking "wait a minute, what the hell do I do?" My only real claim to fame is being a really cheap and obnoxious drunk. Probably eighty percent of the conversations I have with people end up being about how fucking wasted I got that one time. In fact, there are several people I know who have never seen me sober. I'm one of Those People, I realized with horror.

Short story long, I figure it's time to at least lay off the heavy, regular drinking. Either that or start drinking gin every night instead of beer, play cards in an opium den at least once a week, and fuck hookers until I contract syphilis, thus becoming an awesome Lady Rake. Actually that sounds more fun and at least it's a commitment.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I Can't Even Take a Picture

So this morning I was looking at my room and realizing just how far I've let myself go. I'm just coming out of a particularly long fit of depression and you would definitely know it to look at the place where I sleep.
The last time I saw my floor it was covered in little pieces of sticks, dried up mud, books and broken glass. I'm pretty sure the glass is still there because there's a tiny piece in my foot right now. Not really sure about the other stuff, I will find out after the excavation.

The visible layer is so much dirty laundry I don't even know what to do with it all. For the last five months I've been picking out underwear to wash when I've been wearing the same pair for a little too long (you don't want to know how long 'too long' is, trust me), and washing very little else unless I absolutely have to. Mixed in with the clothes which are being slowly ground into the floor is some spare change, receipts, miscellaneous garbage and empty cigarette packs. I haven't bought a pack of cigarettes since January. There is a small hole in this layer of filth for my alarm clock so I can at least sort of know what time in the afternoon I'm getting up.

The piece de resistance - and the proverbial last straw - is the single empty Alpine Lager can atop the whole thing, the result of taking a beer to bed with me because hey, why not, the cats don't mind.

I really wanted to take a picture of this whole thing before I started deconstructing it but one of the symptoms of living in what I like to call the Lair of Despair is that I can't find any of my god damn shit. I have two digital cameras at my disposal - a little Pentax video camera, and a Nikon on indefinite loan from my brother for stills. When looking for these cameras I found the following:
- Pentax battery charger
- Nikon battery
- Nikon camera bag

Things I did not find:
- Pentax camera
- Pentax battery
- Power cord for Pentax battery charger
- Nikon battery charger
- Nikon camera

The really startling thing is that I always tried to keep all of that stuff together. Also peculiar - last night I decided to find my CD player so I could at least listen to some Bowie while drinking beer in bed. I found my CD player but not the power cord. The question I have is not where shit disappears to, but why some shit disappears and not other shit.

All of this stuff will, of course, turn up in the fullness of time but whether it takes a day or a year is up in the air. Until then, I'll just have to describe all of these things to you.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Drunk Dancing (An Illustrated Review)

I was going to write today about living in hillbilly country but that post isn't finished so instead I figured I'd tell y'all the more comical aspects of my drinking problem. I'm not one of those people who can have a few drinks and just enjoy being drunk. Nope. I'm the type who has to prove how sober they are by trying to have intellectual conversations, start fights, have sex and drive a car, all with no success whatsoever. But more than anything, I like to dance. Who doesn't? I can even say that I really hated dancing until I started drinking regularly.

Now, there's one drinking establishment I frequent more than any other and one night, during a particularly raucous dance, some cruel individual decided to bring a video camera and record the entire party. That wouldn't have been so bad except that an acquaintance happened to get a copy of that recording and showed it to me.

Embarassing would be a bit of an understatement. The embarassing part was when I started screaming nigh incoherantly about (I think?) wanting to fight everybody in the bar. It went entirely downhill from there. As words cannot describe the dances performed by myself and one other person who shall remain nameless for protection, I have captured the whole thing in a series of sketches. Please forgive the roughness of the sketches, I may have been drunk when I did them.





And there you have it. Tune in next week for some other stupid and disturbing thing.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Going to Town: A Hillbilly's Guide to City Slicking

Though I am not an indigenous hillbilly, I've been living in rural New Brunswick for almost four years now, which is more than enough time to go native - or at least pick up a weird accent and start thinking cow tipping is funny. Another thing that changed is that I now find going into town almost ridiculously exciting, be it the teeming metropolis of Fredericton, or the endless traffic circle that is Oromocto. I also learned that it is traditional for New Brunswickers to go totally batshit in Halifax and you know, I've been from Edmonton to Berlin but nothing was as strange as running up and down Barrington street with two French guys looking for cocaine.

But more to the point of this article, there are a lot of things I took for granted when you live in the city that I notice now. Not the big stuff, but little things that everybody should take note of if they live in the city, and that visitors must experience when doing the city. So think of this as a catch-all travel guide to anywhere with tall buildings, sidewalks and readily available contraband substances.

Ride the Bus
What could be better than sitting on a moving vehicle in an uncomfortable chair between a screaming child and a man who smells like urine and tells you at length about his secret plan to overthrow the evil robot regime? How about paying money for that experience? I never thought twice about taking the bus when I lived in the city, I just did it, even when I could easily have walked where I was going (I was a fat and lazy child). Now that I need to take a car just to get to the city, riding the bus seems silly. But it's one of the charming things about living in an urban environment, a neccesary experience for tourists, and really handy when you're too drunk and high to walk far and too poor for a cab.
The Downside: In Halifax the very last bus runs at I believe 1.30AM, and in Fredericton they hardly ever run at all.

Take Advantage of the Public Water
City water tastes more consistant than well water, and it's got chlorine in it which is pretty neat.
The Downside: The Man is controlling the water. That's scary.

Give Money to a Beggar
I always forget about the beggars. We just don't get them in the country (we don't get hobos either for some reason). And there are so god damn many of them, particularly in Halifax in the summertime. You can't walk two blocks without being accosted, which is another good reason to ride the bus - the nutters on the bus generally don't ask for money.
The Downside: Well, it's kind of sad that there are that many beggars. I much prefer the buskers (or 'musical panhandlers' as I like to call them), which we don't get out here either. If there are any musical panhandlers reading this, why not come to Gagetown this summer? You can make an assload of money and there's fuckall for competition.

Do a Barcrawl (Obviously)
Every city I've been in has a bar district, where numerous bars are placed close together for convenience. In Gagetown it's pretty much just Legion>Pub>Buddy's House>Home(optional) so long as you don't mind driving. As fun as that is, visiting eight bars in one night just can't be beat.
The Downside: They're a lot stickier about carding in the city so if you're underage, a barcrawl may not be the thing to do. A cafe crawl is okay if you can't drink.

Feed the Pigeons and/or Rats
Though there are sometimes raccoons, and deer spotted in the biggest of cities, the most plentiful wildlife is always rats and pigeons. And though people are discouraged from feeding these animals, that's not really enforced, and it's much safer than feeding the coyotes and the bears.
The Downside: Pigeons and rats are both riddled with parasites and disease.

Get a Macchiato at 3AM
Ah, my personal favourite. This just goes to prove that you can take the girl out of the city, when you bring her back she's going to want a fucking macchiato.