Grumpism.

I was actually kind of floored that “grumpism” isn’t in the Urban Dictionary.  I wanted to use it as an opening quote. How is this not a word.  Someone at work roughly defined it as the mental state of someone whom has been out educational institutions and are well into their careers that hate change, appreciating only things that have now would be considered retro.  I think this mental state would also apply to things that people do on the internet of things.  Take Facebook dramas, for instance.

Let’s back this up about fifteen years first.

When the internet gave everyone a new digital voice, many of us, including myself, chose to whine, and bitch, and complain, and sometimes say things that offended other people.  These other people would naturally include family and friends; let’s face it, unless you were showing your mommy or daddy bits, chances are the only people that read your stuff were people you actually knew.  Hell, I probably called people out by name at times, or alluded to people in such a way that the culprit could have been deduced by a grade schooler.  I had offended enough people in my online experiences that I eventually would lightly allude, or define a situation with as little detail as possible.  My whining and bitching became even more passive aggressive than it already was (kind of like right now).
Why would I write about it in the first place?  Sure, it was a good place to dump my thoughts.  In my naivety, I thought there was a certain sense of anonymity in writing online.  Truth be told, there was always the hope that I might somehow get attention to the website with the things I wrote from more than just the people I knew.  The internet was still relatively new back then, and I was just out of college.  Young and full of dreams.  Lonely, and dumb.

Enter grumpism.  Lately I’ve been reconsidering my rejoining of the Facebook (which occurred on October 24, 2014.. I just checked).  Being separated from pretty much everyone I know and being left out of some stuff at the office, I felt it was time to give FB another spin.  In just over the year in which I returned, I’ve learned how many people I know who are idiots, racists, sexist, homophobes (usually a combination of the three), hypocrites, and other choice adjectives that end with -ist and -es.  And let us not forget those who have carried on the early internet tradiction of being whiny bitches who complain about shit to gather attention by being completely ambiguous.  It’s so god-damned tiring.  How the fuck did I have any friends back then.  It’s bad enough coming from some fresh-from-college social moron, but most people I see on facebook now are fully grown, fully functioning members of society with kids, or grandkids, who should at this stage in their life be over this sorry attempt at getting attention and sympathy from a bunch of people you hardly talk to in person.  If this wasn’t text, I’d probably be grasping for air by now.

Circle back to me, now.  You know what?  I don’t care about your bullshit highschool dramas that you should have outgrew 20+ years ago.  Go back to posting useless unmotivational and annoying sayings over pleasant imagery, or God willing, something that is not horribly racist/homophobic/sexist that I might find amusing.  Deal with your shit.  Write a blog or something (like I just have.. see.. not a hypocrite).  At least then I have to actively pursue your whining.

Not really sure where grumpism really comes into all this.  But hell, it certainly got me started.

 

Tragedies are Memes

As tragedy does, the news of the attacks in Paris spread like California wildfire.  It is nearly impossible to hide from any news of this magnitude, particularly in our information economy.  In my own office, the progression went from “terrorist attack in Paris” to the television being turned on with body count totals in marquee across the screen.  And although it is “cynical” but true, as my colleague pointed out, it was the duty of the 24 hour news networks to spew forth non-information and fear mongering in order to keep eyes glued to their screens.  The typical procession of initial information, local correspondents, and then theexpert commentary and questions (flashback to Die Hard).  I was half paying attention when I heard the anchor ask “what is the risk of this happening in the US?”  Thank you, CNN.

Of course one of the largest changes over the past decade has been the introduction and increased use of social media.    Facebook was introduced in 2004 and Twitter came two years afterwards.  These and similar services have only grown as a method of information dissemination.  When I did get a chance to log onto my Facebook and Twitter feeds, it came as no surprise when I the first snippets that started showing up all had something akin to ‘my thoughts and prayer for Paris.’  This reminded me of something the comedian Anthony Jeselnik said:

The people who see something horrible happen in the world and they run to the internet. They run to their social media, their Facebook, their Twitter, and they all write down the same thing: “my thoughts and prayers”. Do you know what that’s worth? Fucking nothing. You’re not giving time, money, or even your compassion. All you’re doing is saying “don’t forget about me today. Lot’s of crazy distractions in the news right now, but don’t forget how sad I am.”[1]

There is a lot to agree with here, however it is an over-simplification.  It cannot be argued that there is a lot of “me” in social media.  These online services are basically a platform for self expression.  It is used frequently used to inform followers of news, events, feelings, photos, etc.  As such, Jeselnik isn’t entirely wrong in his thesis.  The only portion I have significant misgivings about is his point about compassion.

As I pointed out, social media is a self expression platform.  People have been prone to pour their hearts out Facebook and Twitter.  While this is often a conscious or subconscious grab for attention, these people are still putting their feelings out there.  While Jeselnik is correct when he remarks that posts about tragedies are a nudge for others to not “forget how sad” the authors are, to say that these posts are compassionless could easily be a complete falsehood.  There is a caveat here.  While I’m sure there is compassion in these statements, Social Media has also been a factor in limiting our attention spans.  So called prayers will likely last a brief moment as a feed scrolls to the next funny cat .gif.  The offered compassion is short lived and impermanent in our minds, though quasi-permanent in the ethereal of the internet.

Social media is a tool for the ego.  I am in no position to tell people what they should or should not do with it.  However, I do think it is important to actually think about what they are doing and to understand their motives behind it.  This is a brief essay about my thoughts on the subject matter and I want you to read it.

[1] Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts and Prayers. Directed by Adam Dubin. Performed by Anthony Jeselnik. United States: Netflix, 2015. Film.

 

My greymatter, then and now.

I remember a time when prepping for writing an essay meant plopping my overweight ass into my computer chair, turning on my Compaq Pressario All-In-One desktop, and start using ICQ and mIRC to waste time before actually opening up WordPerfect 6.0 for Windows.  Around 10pm or so, I’d pop a couple of caffeine pills (at least during my first year of College), turn on Q107, and the words would flow.  In six to eight hours my essay would be done, and I might catch a couple of hours sleep before heading off to class.

In 2015, my ritual is different.  The process still involves some form of procrastination under the guise of warm up exercise (welcome to my blog), and depending on the time of day either a coffee with more than a single shot of Irish creme or a choice between a beer and a couple shots of vodka.  This morning it’s the coffee plus extras.

No poems can please for long or live that are written by water-drinkers. ~Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Satires

And it makes me sad that it has come down to this.  Psuedo-intellectual drivel used to so much easier for me to put forth.  Then again, it’s all I ever had to worry about.  I was one of the really fortunate ones who didn’t have to worry about things like student loans when I was in school.  Working part-time didn’t come into the picture until my second year, and that was weekends only.  I don’t know whether it’s the brain noise, or age, or a healthy combination of both, but having to use a little something extra to unlock the greymatter is disappointing.  But I have to do what I have to do.  And with my first cup gone, and over 250 words deposited here, my modern ritual moves onto the next step.

Proof of heterogametic sex.

I grew up without a Dad.  Instead, I grew up with an infantile boyfriend-turned-co-habitator since the age of four or five.  I do not wish to speak too disparagingly of the dead, but to say the least, he was far from a role model.  As he did with my brother, once I reached high school age he refused to speak to me and would actually go out of his way to try and get in trouble with my mother.

Yeah.

For the most part, the only positive male role model I had was my uncle, and even then his proximity to my home was  usually hours away (save for a few years of my life).  In short, what I’m trying to say is that anything I learned in regards to being a man I more less had to learn on my own.

Fast forward to now, I am not ashamed to say that I fall at least a few paces from being a man’s man.  My wife asked me if I had ever been in a fight before, and the closest thing that came to coming to blows was when Cam started kicking me while I was at my locker in middle school.  I got tired of his insults and threw a few back at him one day.  I didn’t engage him physically.  That would have been stupid.  Zero fight experience vs. guy with martial arts training (must have trained at the Cobra Kai dojo).  So no, I have never really been in a fight.

Ima all grownd up.

Ima all grownd up.

This is all neither here nor there because for about the past fortyfive days or so, I’ve been shaving using blades!  With shaving cream!  I have never been a fan of shaving, as told by near constant scruffiness since college.  Lately, however, shaving has become a bit of a thing for me.  So much so that I just signed up for the Dollar Shave Club.  The stubble has been kept to a relative minimum, and my sense of masculinity feels so much healthier because of it.

“I missed a spot shaving. The spot looks like a mustache.”
Jarod Kintz, So many chairs, and no time to sit

Season’s don’t fear the reaper.

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” – Bob Harris, Lost in Translation

When my grandmother passed away I don’t even think I shed a tear.  I knew it was coming, but I’m pretty sure we all did.  And it’s not like I didn’t care about my Grandma.  She was always cool.  We played games.  I spent summer weeks there.  Maybe it was the distance?   But even when I went to her funeral, I felt unmoved (though the service come faith propaganda surely didn’t help).  While other’s cried, I remained rather emotionless.  I’m still not sure whether I should feel guilty for this or not.

This, naturally, begs the question about whether I’ve become cold or not.  I’d like to think that I haven’t.  There are still moments in storytelling that draws the occasional tear from me.  There are other times in recent history where I Niagara Falls temporarily relocated to my tear ducts.  So really, what is it?  Have I just become numb come to terms to the idea of deaths and people dying?  I’ve buried my brother-in-law, my mother-in-law, my uncle, and now my grandmother in roughly a decade and not once did I get upset about it.  I dunno.  Questioning it here hasn’t really brought any clarity to me.

Distance is a shield.

“Daniel supposed he had a secret life. Most people did; it was hardly possible to live without one.”
P.D. James, Original Sin

Living on the west coast of Canada, I’ve become shielded from everything that goes on back home.  The true is also in reverse– people have no idea what I’m doing with myself here except working and being married (is that actually an action?).  For all anyone in Ontario knows, I could be an alcoholic recluse who spends his time writing bad poetry trying to reach the inebriated grandeur of Edger Allen Poe.  In some ways it’s comforting to know that what I do and who I am slowly becomes a mystery to my friends and family.  Again, this is a two way street.  When I come flying across the country, a sense of re-discovery takes hold as I get to catch up with those that I care about.

Edger Allen Poe

There’s news that I’ve been humming and hawing about putting up for display since I initiated the process in June.  As of last Thursday, I now have my full class 6 license.  For those outside the province of British Columbia, that means I can legally ride a motorcycle.  In all honesty, this process indirectly lead to me starting this web site.  A guy in his late 30’s getting his motorcycle license?  Can that feed any more into the MLC cliché?  I haven’t went out and bought a bike yet, but I’m casually looking.  Riding season can last 11 months of the year here as long as you bundle up.
It’s really a complete reversal on my opinion of motorcycles that I had for most of my life.  Actually, nix that.  It’s not that my opinion of them has changed, but more a realization that I’m mature enough now to be a lot more responsible about it.  Being responsible doesn’t negate the feeling and excitement though.  Riding is fun, and a much needed new experience for me.  TheWife™ is also cautiously excited as well.  She looks forward to going on joyrides of exploration on the island, as do I.  It’s also good to know that I’ve scratched another thing of my list of possible future regrets as I continue to take stock of the ones that I already have.

 

I’m b-a-a-a-a-ck. (I think I’ve said that before)

The signs are found all around us.

The signs are found all around us.

Sometimes you need to walk away for a while, ya know?  I’d like to say that my time away from the medium allowed me to put things into perspective but, hell, who would I be kidding?  All I know is that when I stop putting my thoughts down I feel like I stop becoming a person.  Further, my ability to write ends up going to shit.

I feel as though AIMLC needs some explanation, although it does seem pretty self explanatory. It dawned on my a couple of months ago that I was approaching the age of 37.  37 is the half life for Canadian males born in 1977.  I quickly learned that the mid-life crisis is more than just a cliché or marketing tool to sell Porches to balding or greying men.  It’s akin to being the prototypical late 80’s or early 90’s stereotypical blonde.  Being a blonde wasn’t so much a hair colour, but more an attitude.    With that in mind, why not embrace the fact that my time is running short, and I have a limited amount of years left in me to get shit done.  Fuck.  I refuse to roll over and play apathetic.  And this?  This is a document of it.  Now, queue the inspiration quote:

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

-Mark Twain