DARE to resist pun and meme posting

On my birthday this year, I turned off posting to my Facebook wall.

Please be aware, that this will be one of the pettier posts I’ve made. Y’all have been warned.

I was deep into a solid depression, and birthdays are usually kind of messy, fucked up times for me. I hated the idea of people wishing me a happy birthday, when all I wanted was to not be living anymore. Strange juxtaposition, y’know? So by turning off posting, I wasn’t faced with a ton of well-meaning jovial messages that would only make me hate myself more for not being well or jovial. It worked, and took a lot of strain off. Then I just kept commenting off. I didn’t forget, I kind of liked how peaceful things got.

Here are some things. I make puns. I love puns. I’m known for my puns. People know that I love puns, and whenever friends would hear puns they’d reach out and post them on my wall. This all sounds fine so far, right? Here are some more things. I have very specific tastes in puns. I’m into weird, niche puns that need hyper-specific contexts to work. I’ve heard a lot of puns in my life. I’ve made a lot of puns in my life. There’s a certain threshold where puns just don’t impress me much, or rather, rarely the Twain shall meet. Not everyone has the same needs in a pun that I do. Am I a snob? Probably. I don’t begrudge others enjoying puns. Rather, I encourage it. At the same time, I get all kinds of NIMBY when it comes to people making puns that they just assume I’ll like. I’m on the internet a lot. I’m in a few pun related groups. I see a critical mass of internet content, because I’m a goddamn addict.

So, back to my wall. People love posting puns they’ve heard on it, and I entirely get where that sentiment comes from. They’re excited about a pun and want to share it with me. That’s a sincerely lovely gesture. On some level though, I believe there’s something else to it. Yes, they think it will bring me joy, and since I’m a pun guy they probably think that friends of mine will be pun people who will enjoy it too. At the same time, because I’m known as a pun guy, they can post the pun and get my approval in a public space. I’m not saying that I’m such a wizard of wordsmithery that my approval is tantamount to glory. I am saying that there’s part of the equation where they’re getting public acclaim for it. In my head, if that’s what they were looking for, why not just post it on their wall? Why would I need to be included? If it was a good pun, I’d see it in my newsfeed and I could give it a like. Most people probably aren’t thinking about that. I am because I’m a petty sombitch, but I wouldn’t entirely discount the idea on a latent level. If people just wanted me to see their pun, why not message me directly? It’s very personal, and shows a thoughtful touch. It’s private, with entirely pure motives. By turning off posting to my Facebook wall, I took the choice out of their hands. They could message me directly, or just post on their own wall. It’s been working.

The gross and mercenary side to this, is that there are elements of personal branding tied up in it. Like it or not, we’ve all started curating our own online spaces. We shape how we appear online, and package that for others. I want to try and make my Facebook wall the purest distillation of who I am. I post dumb puns, strange personal observations, weird internet articles I find to be interesting, and specific nostalgic stuff I experienced. It’s kind of like this page, but on Facebook. I’m pretty honest on there, because that’s important to me.

When other people posted, assuming my sense of humour, I’d end up with a bunch of things that didn’t personally resonate. It felt weird. Why were ideas that didn’t jive with me taking up my personal online real estate. To be clear, I have no issue whatsoever with people commenting on my stuff, having discussions, etc. That’s all part of it, because I can curate that and learn new things. There’s no reason why I can’t repost things people have sent me on messenger, giving them full credit. At the same time, I find it to be weirdly presumptuous for others to decide what they think should represent me. On some level, that’s peculiar, right? It was peculiar enough for me that I nipped it in the bud. I’m so glad I did.

Was this a bizarre and pedantic thing to do? Of course it was. Do you think I’m totally off-base? Well I haven’t turned commenting off on this site. Let me know below, if you… dare?

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Hot take it or sleeve it

I sent an email to HR today.

I had no complaint, but I did have a question. Is there such a thing as workplace appropriate sleeveless male attire? Most of my female coworkers tend to have bunch of options. There are tanktops, sleeveless dresses, blouses, etc. They’re all totally fine within a professional environment. Some have open toed footwear, even. This isn’t me bitching about gender inequality, because the workplace still exceedingly revolves around the needs of men (office thermostat, etc). Our workplace is pretty forgiving in terms of attire. Lots of people wear graphic tees. I sometimes do on a short Friday workday. It all goes without comment. I like that our dress codes are quite relaxed, I feel comfortable for the most part when I’m at my desk.

I’m also a husky dude who sweats a bunch. This is less comfortable. My entire back, my chest, my belly, they’re all problem areas that accumulate perspiration by my simple existence. I’m never not somewhat sweaty. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to install a fan at my desk. I wear plain t-shirts most days. They’re tidy enough while remaining basic and unassuming. What options do I have for cooling down through clothing? If I’m normally wearing t-shirts, are they suddenly no longer appropriate if my arms are showing? I’m not talking some kind of loose workout shirt that shows off chest hair/nipples. I just want more airflow. Are arms inappropriate? Most people have them. Why are male arms less appropriate than female ones? Once again, I’m not complaining, I just find it arbitrary and would appreciate clarification. Hell, if I could wear a sleeveless blouse, I’d consider it. We’ll see what HR says.

Little Mermaid controversy. She’s black now. Who cares? I’m not gonna take this space for easy dunks on entitled racist dipshits. There’s a talking crab with a French accent. Suspension of disbelief is part of the whole Disney arrangement. Like pretending the new Lion King is live action. What I think is more interesting is our collective take on dissenting responses. Is anyone actually concerned that the anti-black mermaid mob has a point? Do you think Disney really cares? They’re printing money by making the film. That’s all that matters. Like the “Star Wars White Genocide” blockheads, and “Ein as a husky? Cowboy Bebop is ruined!!?!” dorks, these are opinions that aren’t worth our time. What would happen if we let them shout into their echo chamber without responding? What would they do? Would these children tucker themselves out? Get bored and move on? Give up the ghost? I know it would take immense self control not to correct someone on the internet (I’m definitely not immune), but it could be done.

The thing is, we give them the attention, and it convinces them that their opinion has even an iota of credibility. We’re responding, getting riled up and giving the trolls what they want. News sites desperate for content run stories on the controversy, then they try to present both sides. The other side is tilting at windmills. We can just let them. It’s an option. What will they do? The chances that Disney would recast are considerably negligible (not that I trust Disney whatsoever, especially after the James Gunn bollocks). I know we’re all desperate for that sweet, sweet, hot take, but it’s not worth interacting with these ideas. The world is enough of a tire fire that hot takes are an unlimited, renewable resource. These clowns can be (and are) wrong, even if they don’t know it.

I may have a chip on my shoulder, but it’s only cause I have to wear sleeves at work.

I’m a crunchy kinda guy, myself

If Rob Thomas became a surgeon, would he be a Smooth Operator?

It’s hot today, as if t’were six inches from the midday sun. I know this, because I went for a run within the midday hour and it was hotter than the ninth sphere of Hell. Sure, that wasn’t a tall bar to o’erleap, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I don’t know I’m peppering this with archaic contractions, but I suspect I’ve run out by now.

I was thinking today how having this writing project basically disqualifies me from any serious public facing positions. Not that I planned for a governmental career, but if anyone did even a scant dig, there’d be a colossal amount of dirt they could find (in context or otherwise). I say stupid shit constantly in an effort to hit my half hour writing target. I’m sure it’ll come back to bite me at some stage, and that ultimately doing this will hurt me more than it helps. So it goes. With the absence of any impending future, I may as well just continue.

I wonder if we’re gonna hit a tipping point with online pasts haunting those in the public eye. Everyone by now has no doubt said some idiotic or misguided things on the internet. Unless they were birthed as a fully formed adult from a test tube. Will there come a time where that stops mattering? Where people can just pivot into a new narrative that sticks? Where nobody is judged for past online indiscretions? I fucking hope not. I’ve said some foolish, truly idiotic and myopic things on the internet, and I think it’s fair that I answer for them when my time comes. I definitely know that there are a bunch of people who’ve posted hateful and bigoted things. If those prove to be entirely consequence free, how will they learn they’ve erred?

For the most part, I’ve probably grown and changed. Maybe once a week I’ll notice a terrible post pop up in my Facebook memories. I see them as a good sign that the crude, ignorant opinions I had in my early 20s have shifted. That I’m more conscious of how I approach the world. It’s maturity, and a very visible sign that I’m acquiring it slowly. I don’t know a better personal goal in life than meaningful self-improvement, so noticing how far you’ve come is a boon. I’m sure at some stage I’ll look back at what I’ve been writing at age 32 and marvel at my own ignorance. Fingers crossed, anyway. We’ve all got space to evolve.

But honestly if I’m gonna evolve, I mostly want wings. If I can get some big ol’ bat wings that would be perfect. Great for fitness, very fashionable, and a fantastic way to avoid transit costs.

Please, science?

Yeah, but a Trillion dollars is way cooler than a Billion

An unusual, possibly informative and likely boring entry today. It’s also probably riddled with factual inaccuracies. I had to do a short presentation at work, so I whipped this up in 40 or so minutes.

Here goes.

My hypothesis is that the future of broadcasting is going to greatly resemble the structure of cable in the early 90s. With all of these companies splitting their online content into exclusive services (Disney taking its content from Netflix, NBC taking back Friends and The Office, etc). My uneducated guess, is that larger companies will start creating “packages” of these services (maybe a Corus subscription comes bundled with Prime Video and Tidal or something).

Because of this, my guess is that people are going to find it too expensive and confusing to get all the content they want. Many will likely turn to other methods.

Today I’m gonna try and do a little ELI5 (Explain Like I’m 5) on Torrenting.

Let’s jump back 20 years, because some of you are literal zygotes and might not remember this. Napster. Remember when Justin Timberlake told Jessie Eisenberg that a Billion dollars was cooler than a Million dollars in 2010’s The Social Network? That was one of the guys who made Napster.

Napster was peer to peer (P2P) software that allowed users to share mp3 files over the internet with other users. It was all searchable, and if you found someone who had the song you wanted, you could download it directly from them. It was amazing, revolutionized how music could be shared and sold. It was also a colossal breeding ground for copyright infringement.

Eventually this split into a bunch of copycat software. Morpheus, Kazaa, Bearshare, Limewire, etc etc etc. These programs let users download all manner of file types. Images, video, etc etc. Mostly, a lot of movies and TV shows. I downloaded a lot of anime. Because I was 14.

I want to state that P2P software and file serving are not illegal. The software can be used for very legitimate reasons. It mostly isn’t. It’s debatable whether or not most modern streaming and download services would exist without the advent of P2P software, because if there’s one thing these industries love, it’s locking people into the outdated status quo for profit. Why let people download an album for cheap, if they can charge $30 for a physical CD? In my day I bought a lot of $30 CDs.

Enter BitTorrent.

Programs like Napster, Limewire, etc all work around making files available through a specific client, and you download from the person who has that file. BitTorrent is a little different. With Torrenting (the verb for using this process), a file is split into a number of sections, so you can download from many many people simultaneously.

Reddit user Slukaj puts it this way:

Imagine you want a copy of a book. You get online and say “Hey, anyone have this book?”
A conventional download would be like one person saying “I’ve got that book. Let me give it to you.”, and then giving you the whole book.
A torrent is more like 200 people saying “Hey. We’ve each got pages of this book. Let us give you the pages and you can put the book together yourself.”

Torrent files work like little beacons. You download a torrent file of the content you want, and it says “hey all you people who have this file, I also want this file” then it downloads little bits from those people in a random order, and assembles them into a complete file you can use. Then you can in turn upload that file to other people who are looking for it. Quick, easy distribution.

My guess is that Torrenting is going to become more and more popular as the streaming service market diversifies into exclusive silos. It’s not definite by any means, but I think it’s worth knowing about. A quote:

According to Sandvine, distributors of the Global Internet Phenomena report, “Back in 2011, Sandvine stated that BitTorrent accounted for 52.01% of upstream traffic on fixed broadband networks in North America. By 2015, BitTorrent’s share of upstream traffic on these networks had dipped to 26.83 percent, largely thanks to the rise in quality, inexpensive streaming alternatives to piracy.

File-sharing accounts for 3 percent of global downstream and 22 percent of upstream traffic, with 97% of that traffic in turn being BitTorrent. While BitTorrent is often used to distribute ordinary files, it remains the choice du jour for those looking to distribute and trade copyrighted content online.”

Karl Bode: “The Rise of Netflix Competitors Has Pushed Consumers Back Toward Piracy” – Oct 2 2018

For reference, Netflix is 15% of the total downstream volume of traffic across the entire internet. BitTorrent is currently 1/5 of that.

A lot of people wanted to watch Game of Thrones. A lot of people did not have access to HBO Go or Crave. A lot of people found ways to watch Game of Thrones. There will be more GoT style tentpole shows, and these will be more expensive to access as they diversify across providers. There will very likely be a point of fatigue where consumers don’t want to pay for five different TV streaming services. My assumption is that they’ll have one or two, then find ways of acquiring content from the other ones.

I don’t think BitTorrent is an emerging technology, but I do think that until something else more efficient or accessible comes along, BitTorrent is going to become a re-emergent technology.

You are what you eat, and I’m definitely an acquired taste

I have several ingrown hairs on my right elbow. Usually I’d sic’ my girlfriend on ’em, but she’s been off working festival stuff. So I’ve been forced to take it into my own hand (singular, not plural. It’s hard to reach my right elbow with my right hand). It’s involved moving that squishy skin from side to side and pick. Thing is, it’s quite the precarious angle. So that’s been taking up most of my day. I feel like I might get to see her tomorrow, so hopefully she can take care of it then. Fingers (plural) crossed.

I feel weird about all these Keanu memes, friends. Keanu seems like a pure and good soul, who’s suffered too much for one lifetime. Recently he’s been out there a lot, saying thoughtful things and generally inhabiting the space Andrew W.K. once did, but with a less party oriented attitude. I think Keanu is spiffy. He’s also been enacting in wonderful behaviour for long enough that I don’t feel like this is attention seeking behaviour for marketing purposes. He has a history of benevolent acts, whether it’s been getting more money for the behind the scenes staff on The Matrix, giving up part of his salary for Gene Hackman on The Replacements, or generally being the most fucking stoked person in the universe when he got to meet Sonny Chiba. Watch it. It’s the sweetest thing in this goddamn world. Keanu is a great great fellow.

Still, this all has me afeared. What if people ruin Keanu by running this memery into the ground? What if Keanu sees it all and feels tokenised? What if it affects his desire to do this stuff, because it’s cheapened somewhat by its viral significance? What he starts to feel that it’s all a stunt, and its effect is lessened? I’m not even imagining that Keanu will stop being the treasure he is, but I do believe that marketing has the ability to ruin pure and good things all too quickly.

Oh, it turns out I don’t like hard, salty liquorice. It’s news to me too. I absolutely LOVE soft British black liquorice. I’ll practically inhale the stuff. We had an international snack day at work today, which was neat. If there’s one thing I love more than trying food, it’s trying more food, and new food. Apparently though, that doesn’t apply to hard, salty liquorice. It’s too intense, and that’s saying something. To keep this in mind, I eat 5-6 cans of olive oil tuna a week. I literally drink the olive oil. Still, hard salty liquorice is too intense for me. I eat a kilo of kimchi with a fork weekly. Still, hard salty liquorice is too intense for me. I eat New Zealand Marmite with a fucking spoon, and this shit is too intense for me.

A tiny, tiny part of me thinks that maybe I didn’t try hard enough to like it. Fortunately nobody else was taking any, so they gave me a big ol’ plate full. Let’s see if this is a taste I can acquire.

As opposed to this entry, which was strangely pathetic

Here lies nothing.

Yet.

But by the magic of time, by the point you read this there’ll be an entire page of content, brimming with… well I don’t know the answer to that one. It’ll be something. Quite something. Hopefully.

More likely, I’ll probably keep up with the stream of consciousness until it turns into enough of a soft, dense idea to sink my teeth into. But we’re not there yet. I dunno, I’m kind of aggrieved that Netflix took Toni Erdmann off its Canadian service. I’ve spent years meaning to watch that film. Sure, a three hour German farce is a pretty tough sell, but it’s supposed to be fantastic. My girlfriend and I got so far as to watch half of it, but she noped out and we never got around to finishing it. At some point she said I was fine to watch it on my own, but half of a three hour film is still an entire feature film. So I procrastinated, had all the best intentions in the world, then did nothing for maybe two years. Now it’s gone, and I’ve got no recourse but to find other means to watch it. I mean, it IS the internet, there’ll be a way. I just wanted to watch on my lunch break, is all, and the computers tell us as we log in that we have no right to privacy on our work systems.

I mean, do any of us have privacy anyway? I know here in Canada we’re part of the Five Eyes network. In case anyone forgot, that’s the whole Commonwealth-ish arrangement where Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States all say they’re not spying on their own citizens, but spy on each other’s citizens and hand that info over when asked. It’s a big ol’ loophole that shouldn’t be legal, but obviously laws only apply to simple citizens, not the government. Or anyone famous enough. Or people with money. So like, the law only applies to those not powerful enough to fight back. So probably anyone reading this (except for whichever Five Eyes employee got tasked with the unfortunate job of monitoring the excessive bullshit I put out on a daily basis. I hope they like puns at least.

Oh, speaking of which, if you had one of those bright yellow vests and put black horizontal stripes on it, would it become a Hive Vis Vest?

That one was especially for anyone in the F-Bee-I monitoring this. Love y’all.

I was thinking about Ben Affleck’s back tattoo today. Like, JFC dude, I don’t know if this is hubris or a cry for help. I know he hated playing Batman, but did he have to take it out on basically every future makeup artist he works with on films where he’s topless? That’s kinda selfish, dude. On the other hand, maybe he just wanted to create jobs for people. Only Affleck Knows, which sounds like an inscrutable film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.

As we wind this entry down, I think it’s safe to say that we never really found our thread to pull at. I’m not sure why I’m throwing y’all under the bus with me, but them’s the breaks. Honestly, I assumed that it was gonna devolve into some anti-surveillance rant, but I got distracted by my bee pun and the Batffleck tattoo. Oh and Nicolas Winding Refn. Will you ever forgive me? Oh wait, I forgot. Only God Forgives.

So yeah, Here Lies Nothing was strangely prophetic.

I don’t have to like all of it

When French Jews are about to eat fruit, are they all “Beret Pri Ha’etz”?

Have merci.

I can’t remember the last time I was thoroughly without internet. I’m not talking “I didn’t check Facebook for an entire five hours” without internet (but seriously, that was probably January 2017). I mean no connection, or attempt to log in on any device. No googling, google mapsing or gmailing. No reddit, AV Club or Vox. Zero Magic the Gathering strategy websites, or games of Magic Arena. No checking reviews, ordering online or finding Instant Pot recipes. Nada Netflix, Hulu or Seeso (R.I.P.). I don’t doubt that it’s been years. Switching/logging off is a thing of the past, and that’s weird.

I’m crazily connected at most times. If I’m at work, I have two screens and my second is virtually devoted to Chrome. It’d be no exaggeration to say I’d churn through 50 tabs an hour (including reloading any of the aforementioned sites that’d failed to upload new content to my very real frustration). Whenever I have a stray thought or recollection, I look it up. If I don’t know how to pronounce a word, or what its true meaning is, that’s information I’d rather know than not. No matter that I forget it almost instantly (safe in the knowledge that if I found it once, I could probably do it again). In the moment it feels important to jog my memory. I need to Have Opinions on pop-cultural phenomena. I probably read upwards of 20-30 thinkpieces a day, and a bunch of them are about media I don’t even watch/listen to. I just like to feel that I’m informed (though as I said, sieve brain means it’s likely getting dumped straight away). Yes, I know what diminishing returns means. If I didn’t, I’d look it up.

When I’m on transit, my phone is normally glued to my hand. Because my network signal is at best spotty, I’m dipping in and out of internet connectivity. Nevertheless, I’ll continue to cycle between Facebook, Reddit and Twitter (while nothing loads). I do try to put the phone away while I’m hanging out with people. I’d never pull it out on a date or friend time unless deliberately prompted. I cherish any face to face time I can get my hands on, and without an iPhone that doesn’t involve Facetime itself. Still, I feel like even that discipline is sliding away as societal norms shift. Mostly if my girlfriend and I are eating dinner together, I’ll have the phone face down (and always on silent). But maybe one of us will look something up, and once that seal is broken it’s awful difficult to close it up again.

This isn’t an AA meeting. I know that I’m addicted to online connectivity, and I’m sure I’m far from the only exception. For most of us, this is life now. The boundaries between The Internet and IRL have blurred, and I’m not 100% on board. I’m also not a total curmudgeon, and I think for all the humanity we’ve lost face to face, there are also myriad examples we’ve found in cyberspace. It’s not doom and gloom that most communication happens through a system of ones and zeroes. The Internet has afforded me countless opportunities and wonderful connections. It’s fundamentally changed my life, but I think an important aspect to note in that is that my life has changed. We’re all evolving in ways both hindering and helpful.

I checked Facebook at least 17 times while writing this. I had no new notifications.