Monthly Archives: November 2010

And…Scene

The most dangerous habit I have now is to watch a movie while I’m eating dinner. Any sort of forward momentum I may have with my projects or creativity is halted the moment I press Play. The rest of the evening after the credits is a mental waste while I swirl in the eddys of motivation and try to justify spinning back up so soon before bed.

I should stop that.

Over

The world does nothing to build us up. Its sole purpose is to chip away and take until we have nothing more. When a man’s instinct is to tear himself down instead of doing what’s necessary to repair the damage, that’s it. The song is over. The game is lost.

Resume

Back in Austin after a few days in my hometown. Managed to sleep more than 6 hours this morning, and took my time getting out of bed and cleaned up. My coat still smells like cigarette smoke, and before I went to bed I had to clean my CPAP hoses and mask because they reeked of Pall Malls. Still need to do a load of laundry to clean the fur and smoke off of all the clothing I wore on my trip.

Trying to get my head together and decide what to do with my time. It should go without saying that I live my life in little epochs separated by events. A holiday trip home certainly classifies. I had my concerns and projects and threads of thought before the trip, but after coming back, I have to wonder which ones I want to carry forward into this next epoch. All the concerns of the world will come at me before I’m ready, so I’m not too interested in accelerating their return. Work resumes tomorrow, laundry resumes today, and I went grocering last night. Life continues on, I guess. Decide what baggage to leave behind.

Sing ‘Cause It’s Obvious

Those few of you who follow my postings, you’ll be pleased to know that I’m travelling to Texarkana this week to celebrate the Foodeating holiday with my family. I’ll be there for a few days, but before I know it, I’ll be itching to leave town again. But not until I make my rounds and see a few of you. I’ll be giving you a heads-up when the time comes. If you’re desperate for some Shawn time, hit me up on Facebook. You know where to find me.

On an unrelated note, last night’s Dresden Dolls show was fucking phenomenal. It was the last show on their current tour, and they pulled out all the stops. Amanda Fucking Palmer and Brian Viglione were at the top of their form, and it was a joy to watch them play off of each other’s musical asides and hit all the right notes at the same exact time. If that’s not the musical form of simultaneous orgasm, I don’t know what is.

They played most of their hits, which was a treat, but it was the weird little covers they played that made the whole thing worth it; a few of the songs were lullabies told with musical accompaniment, some are from the historical cabaret canon including “Mein Herr” from the movie “Cabaret”. During the first of two encores, they played an incredible cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, which gave me a new appreciation for the song and the craftsmanship that went into writing it. Sugar and spice.

What hit me most about the show was their inclusion of the audience. Not only was it OK to participate in the show by cat-calling and singing, it was compulsory (some girls near me knew every single word). They went as far as to pull 20-odd hand-selected people from the audience up to the stage to have them help perform “The Jeep Song”, and that was incredible. I wish more bands got involved like that.

It seems we, as a society, have lost our heritage of pub songs, work songs, and sense of being OK with singing in public, even if we can’t do it as well as the professionals. A travesty, really. But the Dolls do their best to remind us it’s OK.

“You motherfuckers, you’ll sing some day.”

Palms Down, Posts Up

So, I considered giving a palms-up apology for getting so behind on keeping you kind folks updated on the state of my life with frequent blog posts, as though I owed you a debt of timely updates and regular musings on a set, announced schedule. But you know what? That doesn’t matter one iota. My little blog doesn’t matter. There is no schedule, so there is no matter to attend to. I don’t have to apologize.

The “I’m so sorry for being late” sort of apologies are just wrong. This isn’t English class. You’re not running late to your best friend’s wedding. It’s a personal blog, and that’s faulty thinking. The kind of thinking that new webcomic artists are guilty of. The thinking that convinces them that their audience will vote with their feet and turn away if the artist doesn’t keep up his/her end of the bargain and post on a fixed schedule. The thinking that being a day late, or just not posting for a week, will anger everybody so immensely that the blogosphere will be rocked with the same vitriol and slander usually applied against a kidnapper. That thinking is false and obsolete.

Yes, it’s obsolete in this day and age of technological wonder. We have RSS feeds now (here’s mine!). We have software and services that people can use, if they so desire, to automatically check for new updates and alert them on anything new. Nobody has to personally check a website for updates on a regular basis ever again. Freedom!

See, if I tell you that I plan to write a long, thoughtful post every Sunday and ask you folks to tune in to read and comment, then without the technological publishing advantage of using feeds, you would be required to visit every Sunday for the freshest stuff. If I fizzle out on that high-minded goal, either because I’m lazy, have nothing in my head, or because everything I want to say has already been said on Facebook, for instance (hypothetically, of course), then without the aid of modern technology, you, my readers, would have some amount of right to get upset at my slack, or else you’d just go for months without checking. Both of which, historically, are actual outcomes.

But this isn’t 1999. We have automation now, technology where we can “time-shift” posts for people to fetch and read on their own schedule. It’s like someone using a DVR to grab every episode of a show whenever it happens to come out and alerting the viewer when it has arrived. That’s not our future; that’s our present! We don’t have to actually check for ourselves and wait with bated breath for the next post, or bite our tongue if that post is late, because when it comes out, it comes out. End of story.

I have to wonder how much of the content streaming from the blogging and webcomic world is wasted on writers apologizing for a lack of updates. I’m guilty of it, and I know you know other people who are guilty of it. It’s a waste of time mentally kowtowing to a great and faceless Other out there reading your posts. Progress to the next stage of technological evolution. Stop apologizing and just start writing. You owe no karmic debt to your little audience. When your audience grows to millions, then that’s when you have license to apologize for not posting regularly. But by then, I would assume you’d be making a living through your posts. But these little blogs? Don’t sweat it. Just write and move on. Don’t show your palms.