Society Evolves

The Internet has become a form of education we never expected. For the first time, we are globally seeing more and more real people. Reality TV started it, but the Internet is King, where every human can broadcast themselves or their neighbours, and we can see, for the first time in many cases, how stupid and rude and obnoxious a society we all live in. Who knew?

I believe this knowledge will change us, and we will evolve into a more aware, responsible society.

We are learning about injustice and class.
We are learning about poverty and drugs and crime.
We are learning how much of society are stupid sheep.

The shocking lower class intellect we didn’t realize is everywhere. There are a lot more stupid people than I ever imagined.

Society has a place for everyone in the puzzle of life. We make a place. We invent roles for each and every one of us, no matter how stupid or abnormal you may be. It has always been this way. Farther back than we can record history, it seems obvious we have had roles for the workers, the thinkers and the artists. We have accepted that art is a valid life choice, and we paying great sums for art, allows creative people to profit in the society as well as the thinkers, and the labourers.

Every decade or so, we give more fair and equal rights to a group of society that didn’t have them before. Races, Women, Gays and the handicapped have all seen their lives improve towards equality in the last 100 r so years. We’re still not perfect, but it is certainly harder to be a socially acceptable bigot in today’s world than it was in my Grandfathers. We still need a few generations of hate to fade away, and sadly they keep teaching their children the ways of hatred, so it’s taking longer than we’d hoped.

The Internet is instant and much less filtered than we’re used to. When somebody does something stupid, we all get to see it, comment on it, debate it and frequently laugh at it. We do however get to learn from it. We’re seeing racism and homophobia almost daily now without looking for it. It’s there, in the news and online and we’re seeing the reactions. Even die hard bigots at least know they’re not going to get praise for being openly racist. They’re learning it’s wrong in a whole new way.

I am loving getting old.

I get to watch the world go through it’s infinite loops of time and get better, each passing year – or generation, like practicing for a play.

All the world is a stage and I’d like to think we’re still in rehearsal. We’re getting better. We’re evolving.

I’m Sundaying

Sunday is a special day in our culture. It used to be the official day or rest for society, based I supposed on Christianity – but really meant as a day off for everyone… until it wasn’t, and we got greedy. Now almost everything is open on Sunday, although some still have limited hours. We all need a break day, even if we don’t work very hard the rest of the week, and it’s convenient to share the same day off as others. It just makes sense.

Sunday is a concept.

I like the idea of Sunday, even when it isn’t actually Sunday. I often post on my Facebook wall that “I am Sundaying” as an expression of laziness, no matter what day it is. If I’m not doing my usual routine, and just sitting at home taking a day off, I call it a Sunday.

Perhaps laziness isn’t the right word. When done right, a Sunday isn’t about being lazy so much as just setting aside a day to not do the stuff you do the rest of the week. For those of you that work 5 or 6 days a week at a more regular job, a lot of Sundays are filled with hard work. I’ve seen people with hobbies or the urge to build spend every weekend remodeling a basement, or rebuilding a car, or off-roading into the forest to hike a mountain or shoot a deer. The point is, to many people, Sunday is a very active day.

I don’t work a regular job. I don’t leave my home to earn my income, so there is often no difference to me between a Tuesday and a Sunday. My weekends can be any day I want, but I still choose to celebrate weekends with everyone else. Neat things open on a weekend, and since I don’t have a real hobby. I enjoy street festivals and fairs and other walk around events, and many of them happen on a Saturday or Sunday.

So I alternate as schedule permits and sometimes I have my Sunday on the Saturday, like I did today. Today is Saturday for everyone else, but I Sundayed it up, doing very little. I went and bought some meat and veggies at the market, and then just stayed home inside all day watching movies and TV. Relaxation. Sunday.

Tomorrow on your Sunday I’ll be out on Saturday adventure.

Being Funny in an Empty Room

emptyI have posted before how I compared twitter to doing stand up comedy in an empty room. You can be funny online, but your jokes and comments don’t get a reaction as you type – but rather minutes, hours or days later. In this way, I think I was wrong in my analogy, because an empty room will never give you a laugh if you’re a solo stand up comedian. A joke told, and missed doesn’t make a sound. It’s like a tree falling in a forest.

The thing that I’ve learned about the Internet, and the thing we’re going to be discovering over and over again as time moves forward, is that a single joke or cat picture on the Internet may in fact generate laughs forever. An Internet pun could be immortal. It can be shared and passed around the world virtually for years to come, long after the original author has vanished.

In a way, it’s sad, because a great joke deserves the reward of applause or laughter. If I’m funny, I want to know you agree. I want to know I’ve made you laugh. It’s not the sole reason I am funny, but it’s the reason I’ve built my personality around humour and making people smile. When I am funny on Facebook, I don’t hear a sound. I make a joke, or a comment and I put it out there. I have to then wait for it to propagate and some people will (hopefully) choose to reply with Facebook’s version of approval; the like button.

It’s not the same guttural feeling as laughter or approval, but our brains are adapti9ng, and accepting it was similar. When we bomb, and nobody likes, we feel that rejection, but not in as harsh a way as a silent comedy club, and we move on to the next joke. Some people have monetized the like button and bases businesses on it, but I just like to know people smiled when I made a joke. A like is the online clap.

Err.. perhaps applause would be a better choice of word.

The neat thing about the timelessness of the Internet that wasn’t the same as a comedy club, is that a single status update, or blog can continue. We can read it today, or we can read it tomorrow, or we can dream of it being read in 2030 by people in silver jumpsuits, and still finding it worthy of a smile or a like click.

Blogs are like this too, and a well placed keyword or hashtag can make any published work live on and be laughed at by anyone, anywhere at any time. It’s neat to think that a knock knock joke I tell here in my blog, could be laughed at a year from now. I may never know.

I have mixed feelings. I’m happy to be able to make people smile forever, but sad I may never know.

Knock Knock?

Who’s There?

Control Freak, now you say Control Freak Who?

 

 

 

Rage makes me laugh

Writing a blog everyday is a different project than occasional blogging. The responsibility to sit in one place and just write is new, and on day, its already become an irritation. I knew I’d grow to hate it soon enough, but I expected to get past day 4.

Note: written on phone. Posted without review.

In any case, I committed thus morning in my 10 second video to writing about how funny anger us, so at 740 at night, sitting outside the Toronto fall fair midway, I write this.

Rage makes me laugh.

Since before I can remember, I have hated anger. I grew up with a loud father that had a temper. I feared loud. I still do.

I have always avoids being angry, so I didn’t lose control and become loud. I lived my life forgiving and giving in to avoid a fight. I have sustained reasonable success.

This aversion to anger has given me a unique perspective to seeing other people’s anger and rage.

It can be hilarious. My definition of rage is spontaneously irruption anger. Most rage is an infuriation at something, and quite often it isn’t real or close to worthy of the rage.

The funniest by far is road rage. An irrational anger thrust on often undeserving travellers who either made a mistake or just happens to be in a place inconvenient to your plans. Road rage cracks me up, and if you let it, it’ll make you laugh too or at least smile. Seeing other people blow a stack over something so common and normal is just plain silly.

Thus all started this morning while on the way to an onsite client visit, I was driving through the rich area of town where people only drive high end cars, or they’re the service industry.

This older lady, maybe in her 60s but with a fresh salon quality haircut is turning right onto the main roadway I’m travelling. There are three lanes going our direction, and the right law she’s turning into is free. In a moment, we detect she isn’t so skilled, and her right turn will need more than her lane, but also a wide margin spilling into ours.

This is of course, a complete normality to any regular driver. People take two lanes to make right turns all the time. However, and this is where I get to the rage that us funny to me.

The truck in front of me lost his cool, and honks. Not a toot toot notification honk, but a full pressure lingering rage honk. A honk that was an audible swearing.

Zeppelin side thought: cars should have two horns. Nice No angry.

Now the idea of a truck honking is not too gut busting by itself, although almost all horn honking is funny to me, but the Hilario is part was the woman’s reaction.

The lady in the Lexus, although clearly in the wrong, became enraged at the trucker for getting angry at her.  She started waving her arms in the air, as ragers are known to do, and silently screaming at the driver, as he swerves to avoid her and speeds away in a huff.

She then notices me in my car, holding back my laughter with a big smike. Our eyes lock and I now my head as if to say; Some people.  I always agree with both sides of any anger fault. It feeds the fire to agree.

Next, she actually rolls down her window to talk to me, her witness. My smile has made us friends.

She says; what was that all about? So he goes around. Jeese.

I drove the rest of the way home with a big smile on my face.  It’s not that other people’s anger specifically makes me happy. I’m not enjoying theur mystery at all. I’m mocking it.

Zeppelin side thought: hardly anyone rolls the window down anymore, and certainly not any Lexus driver ever. Another old term kids don’t understand.

When you think about the idea of road rage, you can’t help but agree it is absurd. People can jump from zero to 11 in the blink of a brake light, and turn red and bust a vein, because of something so minor and commonplace as a turn without a signal.

Of course I’m not befitting real traffic ass holes and idiots. A lot of people crash and die because of careless and bad drivers, but the most common road rage you witness is lane changes and minor offences.

If you drive with a yeller, you know what I mean.

Note: do not laugh at them when you’re in the same car.

I don’t want to be famous. I just want a few fans.

In my previous writings, I have stated this many times. I don’t want to be famous. I just want a few fans. Fans are usually great, but being famous can be a terror. On Monday of this week, I started a new goal to write a blog of some sort every day, and the truth is – I really don’t care if anybody is reading it. In fact, the idea of people reading this blog changes the way I write it. If I start to care about being famous, then I have to worry. I have to feel insecure about whether it’s worthy of fame. What will people make fun of? Did I spell things correctly or use my comas in the correct place. Would me parents or 6th grade teachers be proud if they happen to see it.

Fame has changed a lot in my life time. It used to be that famous people were part of an industry. It was a hope and dream for many, and most of it happened in sports, or the movies and television made in only 4 cities (at least for North America). You might be lucky enough to be interviewed in front of a house fire n the local news station, but apart from the entertainment industry, most of us would live our lives without being famous.

Being famous was never a childhood fantasy of mine, although I did dream about being a writer on Saturday Night Live.

The Internet changed this, and showed us that just about anybody can become famous, and many of them do so without wanting it. Instant fame was a new thing. You could be a sensation just because somebody happened to film you falling down, or being drunk. Andy Warhol’s vision of 15 minutes f fame for anyone was becoming a reality more and more.

When I was young, I wrote things down, and put them in a drawer. I wrote to myself mostly, and called it a journal because diary seemed more structured. I never intended these things would be shared. Today, I write things down still, but some I do share. I put online, for the public to see and judge. I have mixed emotions. On the plus side, it opens up a new audience I can help and perhaps make smile, but the negative side of me thinks it’s also letting people in, and allowing them to see the sides of me I usually keep quiet. I become critical of my own work, and often delete whole sections. I write less freely when I know it will be seen.

The ideal mix of both, is to write in the public area, but not to tell anyone. I’m sharing with imaginary friends… people I don’t know. People who can judge me all they want, as long as they don’t post a comment telling me what an idiot I am.

This blog is an experiment. Some posts may be a huge success, and some with just be an obligatory piece. This is only day 3, and I have a checklist of ideas to write about, so it won’t start getting hard for a while. Taking away the obligation (in my mind) to be good at it helps. I don’t care if you like it.. I’m doing it for me. To exercise a mental muscle and get better at it.

I don’t want to be famous. I just want a few fans.

 

 

 

Most of us are Criminals.

 

Life is full of rules. Some we don’t really care about breaking, and some we do. We’ve made the idea of breaking rules so socially acceptable that there is a famous line; “Rules are meant to be broken” which in itself, is an absurd statement.

Some people define themselves as rule breakers. As bad. Some people like to be thought of as bad boys, or refer to their dating preferences as liking the bad boys or bad girls. I do not. In general, I believe I follow rules — even silly ones, because I understand that a rule that may seem unreasonable to me, may often have a deeper purpose.

When we feel strongly about a rule, we gather together and our representative Government turns it into a law. Laws are not meant to be broken, and it most cases – we are punished for doing so. However, some laws ARE meant to be broken, or at least bent. Perhaps not “meant to be”, but certainly some laws are less enforced than others.

There are two sets of laws I have in mine, that the majority of us break almost constantly. Traffic laws, and vice.

The system has made the penalties for both, worth reasonable risk. We are fully aware we may get caught breaking these laws one day, but the eventual penalty for doing so is worth the risk. We do the math. Every day, we may drive 10km or more over the posted speed limit, but somehow it seems worth it, to get there a few minutes faster. We rationalize we probably won’t be caught, but even if we are, the penalty is one we’re willing to accept, or fight down to a reduced value we’re willing to accept.

ticketThe same is true of parking convenience. In, many cases, parking rules are not so absolute. If you have the cash, it may be worth $60 to park where ever you want. It’s a gamble with enforcement that favours the player, not the house. One of the only gambles where we usually win, despite the fact that the law might be right, and we are clearly wrong. It’s still a win. Some people even park in handicap parking spaces because they can justify the actions against getting caught. Right or wrong don’t matter. It’s simply a math gamble of whether they’ll get caught, and whether they can afford the penalty.

It makes you wonder: Is the real reason we don’t commit harsher crime really just a risk analysis of the potential to get caught, or do we really just think parking and speeding are “light” laws that don’t really matter? Cash cows for the municipality. Perhaps a bit of both.

Sometimes we move our own line of what is acceptable crime as the need arises. Addiction to drugs, sex or gambling are often blamed for moving our moral line and users or gamblers may come to a point where they become a criminal willingly to solve a problem or get a fix. Getting away with speeding is one thing, but you don’t directly profit from that crime. Addicts need to break laws where they actually earn some profit for doing so.

There may be a nearly perfect Virgins out there that don’t smoke or drink or drive and have never gambled, but I suspect not too many.

The list gets bigger as we think about what other ways we are all criminals; stealing cable, downloading torrent songs, shows and, movies, sharing Netflix or memberships, running a cracked copy of your OS or other software, keeping found items, destroying money, making a prank call, using online copywrite clipart on Facebook. These are all crimes with a variety of punishments that many of us risk every day.

…and more. Our system is set up to allow some crime and not others. It would break if we enforced some of them.

I wonder what life would be like if we only enforced crime sometimes and changed the risk variables. I know we’d all scream and protest if we were ticketed for every traffic crime. Even though I know I’m wrong, I still hate it when you actually get caught making a right turn against a sign or find that fine on your windshield after coming out of the store you were only in for 2 minutes. If these offences were all punished fairly, we’d hate it, but we’d adapt. I’ve seen science fiction stories written where little crimes were punished the same as big crimes, and big crimes had far worse penalties. Even in Star Trek, poor Wesley was almost killed for stepping in the wrong garden on a foreign world. To them, it was a capital offence.

I ponder things like this. I wonder, how life would be different if the risk percentages were less, or more. I have always said that my ideal universe would punish crimes against trust the harshest of all, but that is a topic for another blog. Dumb or smart, people break the law when they believe the risk % is lower than the reward payout, often cash, drugs, debt or life threatening reward.

Change the % and change the world.

Monday. Fresh Start Day. No More Coasting.

Some people hate Mondays. Ok… many people hate Mondays. There is even a great song about it that I happen to love.  People do however seem to like January 1st, whether it falls on a Monday or not. Everyone starts talking about the new year as a fresh start, and many even commit to resolutions, many of which are ignored January 2, or a few weeks later.

Contrary to the public opinion, I think Monday is a great day, and I am so happy we get to have one every week. To me, it is like a mini New years Day every single week, 52 times a year.

Happy New Week.

Unlike New Years Day, we don’t get all the Mondays off, although at least in Canada we get a few. We don’t get super drunk on Sunday and regret dancing with the Boss’ wife. However, Monday is still a ritual day. We return to normality after a weekend of adventures, and proceed to do our jobs, or live our lives. Returning to work after a break is a refreshing time. A time of renewal and regrouping. It is indeed the actual definition of a fresh start.

To me, it is my favourite day for just this reason. I get to start over and feel good about my plans to actually complete and accomplish the tasks I left unfinished Friday. A day to start with work clearly laid out and a specific plan. It is often my most productive day too. Mondays get a bum rap. People are always bashing Monday.

Today, as I write this blog – it is a Monday and I have a new idea. A concept that came to m as I was resting well this past weekend. I’ve been looking for a new goal and project to jumpstart my happiness. A new “something” to dedicate time and energy to, that I feel I can accomplish and feel good about. So many of my weekend ideas don’t get done on Monday. I ignore them because I have actual paid client work to do, or fun activities to distract me, but I’ve fallen behind on progress.

When you work at the tasks in front of you and nothing more, you coast. This has been a year of change for me, and my new life progress and happiness isn’t as content to coast anymore. We are taught perpetual motion machines can not exist because all coasting eventually slows and halts. I feel like my life has been coasting down, and I’m ready to put my foot down, give it a kick off, and speed up life again, like a skateboarder speeds up his board after a nice coast.

SC_006I enjoy writing, and it’s a place where I actually feel pride when I complete a piece. I have been writing journal entries since as far back as I can remember, and only share a fraction of them on this and other blogging sites, as well as Facebook. When I post something new, a few people see it and I generally get good feedback and compliments. For some reason however, I have not really done much of it.

Today is a Monday. The sky is blue. I’m ready to start again, with a goal: 100 days of blogging.

I am going to try to write something here of some substance and creativity every day from now till into November and maybe even beyond. Throughout this process I may even take a course in creative writing, or more. I may actually begin to– wait… let’s edit that sentence as I write it.  Not “I may”, but rather; I will find new and interesting things to do in my life, and blog about them Perhaps a new course to take, or teach. New life challenges and accomplishments. I have no idea where it will go. Coasting won’t cut it.

Of course – I have said all this before in my mind. I have taken on new years (or new Monday) resolutions just like everyone, only to give up and quit days or weeks in. Today I set my goal to go 100 days of blogging, and it will be hard.

Follow along here, and on the inspirational web site: http://giveit100.com

https://giveit100.com/@frogstar42/d37bv3/1

Note: I tend to do very basic proof reading and editing of my own work, and some of thee blog posts are almost certainly going to be written on my phone or tablet from distant locations. Try to make your comments nice and let the grammar police be polite.

 

McDonalds. Free Entertainment

mcdI have an attitude in life that has served me reasonably well, especially in depressed time. Failure can sometimes be funny, and anger is almost always funny… if you look at them from a different perspective.

Just now, I have returned home from what some people would call a frustrating visit to the local McDonalds, and rather than describe a bad experience with the wrong food, I instead choose to tell the story of my entertaining visit to the local McD’s.

As I entered the store, I happed to watch a funny miscommunication drama unfold at McDonald’s. I think I was the only one that saw what was happening, and it made me smile, because I could predict the outcome like pre guessing the punch line of a joke while it’s still being told.  As I waited for my turn, I got to watch the whole thing unfold as expected, and then I had the pleasure of ending the story by re-telling it to the teenage cashier, and in the end, we both got to smile and joke about it. She said; “Well that’s a new one” and then moved on to take my order.

beeIt started with an older man in a Billy Bee delivery uniform. To me, he looked quite memorable, but I suppose after a shift of fast food sales, every old man begins to look alike. Old people seem to love McDonalds. They’re everywhere.
Within the first moment, it was clear this was one of the extra special customers, complete with bad hearing and limited English. I’m sure they’re the favourites of anyone who stands behind a counter for a living. He entered the store just ahead of me. As always – the line/queue situation at this particular location is dreadful. There is limited space behind the counter, and it is constantly filled with three groups of people. You can never tell the difference between who is in line waiting to order, and who is waiting for food, and who is coming back through this small narrow area to throw out their food and exit.
This fragile old man was standing in the wrong place for some time, and I had the opportunity to be serviced ahead of him, but I hesitated, and I’m glad I did. He story began as he stood off to one site, behind another lady waiting for her burger. Our teenage girl catches his attention and asks about his coffee. As first, I thought perhaps he was a regular, and she was just getting his usual coffee for him, but after a moment it was clear this was not the case. She had somehow mistaken him for another customer who had already ordered a coffee and a muffin.
In a rushed and somewhat urgent tone, she asked; “what kind of coffee?”, and he replied. Pepsi.  This was when I figured out he was placing an order, and she was asking about a different order, but only I detected this.  Like many people with a language barrier, or poor hearing, they learn to adapt and give in.  Since she seemed rushed, and was asking about coffee, even motioning towards the coffee machine as she spoke, he gave up almost instantly and answered with “Black”. It was the easier option I suppose.  It made me momentarily sad, because I realize people who can’t communicate well must give up so often in life. All of us can probably recall a time or two when we’ve repeated something two or three times, and then just given up and said Yes.
As she poured his coffee, she then admitted to having forgotten what muffin he asked for, and he replied; “I like blueberry”.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the counter, closer to where I am standing, I witness a totally different man with no similar attributes receive a carrot muffin and begins complaining it is taking forever for his coffee. “Where is my coffee?” he calls, not knowing it has been given to the Bee man. The two were at far ends of the counter from each other, being handled by the same cash woman, scooting back and forth between left and right, with no clue that she was actually dealing with only one order, and two people.

As she hands the old man his coffee and muffin with a friendly smile, expecting that transaction to be complete, he further confuses her by asking for his receipt.  She can’t quite figure out why she can’t find it.
To him, nothing was wrong, except maybe he’d gotten a coffee instead of the Pepsi he wanted, but otherwise, he didn’t know how to express that he wanted to pay for an order she assumed he’d already paid for.

I stepped in with a smile and explained it all, and we both smiled.  You’ve confused this man’s new order with that man’s old order. He’s waiting for this coffee, and this man hasn’t paid. She was embarrassed but nobody knew of the confusion but me, and now her so she cleared it up, took the money and moved on.
Next up was me, and I know the order I make at McDonalds has never been easy. In the early days of my youth, we never got to go to McDonalds, because back then, I always wanted a Quarter Pounder with cheese; PLAIN and at McDonalds in the early 70’s that meant a long wait. Sometimes a very long wait. So much so that Burger King’s entire marketing campaign was about making burgers YOUR WAY… McDonalds was about THEIR WAY.
Although it’s far better these days, and McDonalds has a structure in place for quicker custom orders, the way I like my 1/3 Pound Angus burger still takes some explaining.
I’d like an Angus bacon cheese combo, but I want it with BACON, LETTICE, TOMATO and CHEESE ONLY. This apparently is harder than a train traveling from Chicago math problem for trained McDonald’s counter staff and always takes a while to explain. After 2 years on practice, I never know exactly how they’ll react. You see, the Bacon and Chees Angus doesn’t come with Lettuce and the Supreme Angus comes with lots of other stuff I hate, and no Bacon, so there is no Bacon Angus with cheese and lettuce only. The secret is to order a Bacon Angus with cheese and ADD lettuce and tomato ONLY. I assume there is an only button on their cash system. Usually it works after a 20 second lecture, and I get the right thing.
Today they decided to throw a loop at me and introduce the NEW Angus BBQ burger which I am told has bacon, lettuce and tomato and cheese and a bunch of other stuff. She orders that.
As I wait, I see the bill, and nowhere does it say lattice and tomato so I inquire. “I think this will arrive wrong because it doesn’t say lettuce and tomato ONLY”, as I am accustomed.  “No No” she assures me. “This is the new one.”
It arrives. It is wrong. No surprise. No lettuce or Tomato. Plain beef and cheese with bacon.
I simply say; “It has been entertaining today, and you’re to busy and stressed, so I’ll eat this anyway – but I wanted you to know I was right and you were wrong.”
Perhaps that was a touch on the mean cranky customer side of things, and I do understand it’s a hard job.
Rather than be mad… I laughed, ate and wrote a blog about it.
“Oh, that’s a new one” she said. Then, I placed my order, and despite clearly expressing my options, and then telling her straight up clearly that what she had just charged me for would yield in an error when the food arrived, she assured me it would be fine. I tried to say No a third time, but it was clearly a very busy time, and she was flustered already after almost giving away free food… so I waited.

Food arrived, clearly wrong as expected, but not so wrong as to be a problem. I ate it, and filed out the online survey in store, thus receiving a free but useless coupon for a free combo, which I could not print from my cell phone.

I love McDonalds when it provides me so much entertainment. Well worth the admission price.