On pretension.

• Tuesday, September 30, 2008 0 comments
No post yesterday, likely none today. Something came across my non-desk that I want to talk about with impunity.

From the Facebook note of a dear friend, who I hope won't take this personally. [Names removed!]

"I've tried several times to compose an essay about Facebook; but it's hard for to write about something I feel so ambivalent towards. Our generation has been given a wonderful online tool to communicate with friends and express ourselves creatively, and yet we consistantly use it to post drunken party photos, create groups whose sole purpose is to acquire more members, and Facebook friend people from high school we wouldn't give a nod to if we saw them on the street.

The concluding point of said essay (which I started three times and abandoned every time) was that Facebook is a tool that we choose to use poorly much of the time. I was trying to explain this to ________ (one of the few people I know who doesn't have a Facebook; ____ has the distinction of being the only one with a group petition demanding that she join Facebook) in an e-mail where I listed some Do's and Don'ts for how I think we should ideally be using Facebook. The list expresses all the frustration I wanted to fit into that essay in a more readable format:

DO:
- Use Facebook to obtain people's contact information, especially when not available elsewhere
- Say hi to people you still care about, but don't keep in touch with in greater capacities
- Post hilarious and/or awesome pictures
- Do something distinctive with your profile
- Create clever fictitious Facebook alter-egos
- Post articles or musings that other people might actually want to read
- Use Facebook to organize Mix CD Swaps
- Make fun of Facebook

DON'T
(Notice that this list is much longer)
- Use Wall posts as a substitute for actual conversation
- Friend people from high school you will never see again
- Post dozens of drunken pictures of yourself and others
- Brag about how many Facebook Friends you have
- Make a Facebook event and invite people without first speaking to them in real life about said event
- Change your profile picture to you and your significant other doing something disgustingly cute
- Brag about your recent engagement, how great your significant other is, how you "always knew you were meant for each other," or other such garbarge
- Post pregnancy photos
- Change your status to something really emo
- Act suprised if people ask you about your really emo status update
- Clog your profile with tons of random 3rd party applications that make the page load slowly, and make it difficult for me to find your Wall
- Mindlessly invite friends to add various 3rd party applications
- Join groups whose sole purpose is to acquire more members than other groups
- Make standard "Happy Birthday" Wall posts without adding so much as a personal message
- Get married, drop your maiden name, then expect people to know who you are when you friend them

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY:
- Don't use Facebook as a substitute for real communication!

New Facebook, for all its shortcomings, seems to have at least fixed the swarms of 3rd party applications problem.

As always, any thoughts on this topic are much appreciated. "

Notes like this bug me. Maybe too much, and I tried to be nice and not go off about it. But this kind of note just kills me, and here's why.

The reasoning behind this kind of note is incredibly transparent. This is a person who, even if I did not know them, I can tell immediately had a few preconceived notions about Facebook in the beginning, before they used the service, and more importantly, had many preconceived notions about the kind of people who make use/extensive use of the program. To the former, words like "stupid," "ridiculous," and "pointless" likely fit. I would imagine to the latter, anything you'd think about someone that used something stupid, ridiculous, and pointless would likely be apt.

But then, something changed. Said person with these notions joined Facebook, for whatever reasons [likely peer pressure which they usually claim not to be affected by], and found website useful. Interesting. Perhaps even a little addictive, or maybe just a nice place to center their online life and personal contacts. They found it a good place to find people to share their favorite internet goodies with, or locate old friends, or set up events and get togethers for nearby friends. And suddenly, they had a confliction on their hands.

Perhaps they were faced that they might have been "wa-"... er, "war-" wait, "wa-ron..." No. No sir, that's a word the Fonz just can't say.

So, instead, they had to find some way to make their new found tool [Re: Facebook] okay to use, while still somehow seperating themselves from the throes of others who use it in "inappropriate ways." And so, arbitrary rules are created, based on only what they find useful about the program. And the line is drawn. On this side, everything they do, with no rhyme or reason, is right -- everything on that side is the reason they had those preconceived notions in the beginning, why Facebook still sucks and is stupid, and why the majority of people on it are hipsters, tools, and morons.

And I understand, I really, really do. Hell, I went to art school -- this reasoning I'd guess dominates like, 75% of Facebook users who are also close or like-minded friends of mine. But do we really need to think like this? I will admit, I held the exact same [wrong] opinion about Facebook in the beginning, thinking everyone on it was just using it for shameless, petty, emo pretenses. But one day, I sucked it up, and joined Facebook. Why?

Because my girlfriend was on there. And I thought it'd be cute if there was a web page that said we were in a relationship somewhere.

So, you know. There are your shameless, emo pretenses.

Facebook's useful. Using it doesn't make you like everyone else who uses it, and even if it did, there's nothing wrong with doing something that everyone else does if it makes your life easier. And if you use Facebook, and maybe even like Facebook, and then sit there and talk about how stupid, and useless, and annoying it is, and praise people who don't use it [something you probably only know because you never hear from them anymore these days], well... what does that say? Are we not allowed to just like something anymore?

This sort of pretension runs deep. I'm guilty at times too... don't have a friend who's not. I know one guy who started disliking Robert Kirkman because his letter pages were getting a little too "you know how awesome I am...", but then the guy met Kirkman at a convention, and remembered, hey, this guy knows his stuff. He's good, that's why I liked him in the first place.

Or another friend, and she turns against almost anyone who doesn't act humble after they've reached success. I mean, really? Even when people do good work, work that we like, we have to turn against them for not being a nice person too? Do we work so hard to get good at what we do, only to have to turn around and say "Oh, I'm not that good." I know I don't put the time I do in my writing so one day I can pretend to not be as good as I am.

A third friend, who hates stoner movies -- but when Apatow makes a stoner movie he likes, it makes him like Apatow and Rogan less for it? [Actually this one I'm simplifying... it's probably a little more complicated than that, and said friend actually brought this strange impulse he's having up to me. ]

And is this what we value now? People who use cellphones but hate cellphones, and people who are bad at their job but they know they're bad, so we like them for that? Or worse, they're good at what they do, and then they have to condescend to us to make us think "Hey, they're okay. They're just like us."

This, of course, isn't an indictment of my friends, though I imagine it sounds like it. They can have their opinions, and I value what they think, I truly, honestly do. I'd even say "I don't think any less of them for it," but my god, that is a really condescending bullshit kind of thing to say.

It has been irking me lately, because these opinions rattle around sharply in my own head -- because yes, some of my favorite writers and creators are absolute assholes, yes, with my own work I try to write things in genres people don't normally like but will like, and hey... I don't follow the Facebook "Do's and Don't's" close enough to not to fall in the emo-hipster-trash category. All of this makes me a bit uptight, and defensive, because deep down, I'd like to think the things I do and aspire to aren't going to make people like me less. But by the logic I see by the people I consider closest to me, the people who's opinions I actually value... its hard for me to feel justified in that. I don't like the thought of sabotaging myself.

Of course, before I wrote this, I was likely only drawing quiet ire.

I apologize in advance. For stirring up shit.

Late nights with Zombiefriedkin.

• Monday, September 29, 2008 0 comments
Sunday -- usually the least productive I can be.

Today was okay. Sam posted pictures of her new friends and shenanigans on Facebook. Interesting to see. Makes me wish there were more people here I was close to, but this is what it is. She has a friend, a girl in the pictures named "Cameron Van Sant." Creepy, yes, but it gave me an idea. "Dr. Beyondo" comic had hit a wall, needed another super for it [Re: Bride of Beyondo]. Girl has a good look, so adding a new character based on, the team's muscle, named "Sun Sharda." Won't play in heavily, but everyone likes a little cheesecake.

Played around with that . Possible powers, a few funny beats with her, the costume. Think it fits idea. Came out with a second character to, a "Psi-girl," Portia, I think. Not as glamorous as the beauty queen, but when she gets angry, she makes things float. Imagine being able to read minds, but being so transparent that there's no edge to it. Just evens the playing field. Must thank Sam for the burst of inspiration. Always catch her as she's off to bed.

Mild Beyondo crisis. Teleporter in first story [Re: Bride of Beyond] was originally going to be part albino, with white hair. Have other idea for teleporter who's blind, comically called "Nowhere Man." Since Kid Beyondo [Re: Kid Beyondo] also has white hair, not sure if I want to make white hair indicative of something in the Beyondo-verse, or if I just want to replace the albino to keep the Kid unique. Likely to go with first instinct, and keep as is, particularly with "Nowhere Man" being little more than hold out from when I thought I might write X-Men one day. Keeping these original and off-the-cuff seem wiser.

Talked to Savannah extensively tonight. She likes the pilot idea quite a bit [Re: Sweet Home]. Wished she'd have stuck around longer, felt like she was about to give some really good advice on this ensemble thing. Instead, got into a conversation about the nature of the beast, and compromise.

In general, I am against compromise. Sounds arrogant, but I believe enough in my grasp of story-structure and characters that I don't believe my mistakes in those areas are many. Largely, any changes that would be asked to be made would be, by that reasoning, ridiculous. This is not seen as good by people in Savannah's business. And she is far more weathered in that world.

On flip side, can't imagine what I'd be asked to change, and don't honestly see point in fighting over inconsequential things. Expect most people in power positions would ask for changes in areas that were unimportant. Often, same stories work even when story is different. I would fight more over a look, a turn of phrase, or character than a story arc or a plot point. Find it more likely the latter would be asked of me.

Feel like Savannah was frustrated with me. It looks, in this situations, like I was being curmudgeonly, immobile. Fair call. But I think I have some convictions, and would be less likely to see things as compromise that most people do. Perception strikes again.

Even pilot [Re: Sweet Home] is the result of compromise. Name was originally "White Trash Nation" and "The Living Dead." Found new name just as a haunting and sad. When Mandalay looked at "Un-filmable," Robin Budd liked the character interactions, the small town dynamic, the environment. Exists in most work; but this was just a chance to draw it into focus. Seems fun.

In my head, not a compromise. To some people, even Savannah, "compromise." So I don't know. Maybe I'm not so bad.

It's a difficult situation. In my current, unemployed state, answer to no one. Justin asked to do a comic [Re: Calamity Cash and the Town with No Name], was gracious for what I did...probably, thankfully would have accepted less. But I had complete room to move. Really, even mainstream comics are like that. Marvel prints "Kick Ass." Garth Ennis gets work. There's no code, and even if I had a more mainstream comic, likely wouldn't be told what to put in it, and what not to put in it. Told Savannah that at times, would laugh at how much you can get away with in the medium, and how much worse I could be than I actually was.

Sometimes, it's why I think I like movies. I could feasibly just write it, and sell it. They could make the changes. Not everything, some things I'm too close too [Re: The Familiar]...wouldn't stand for someone else doing a draft of them, or even making the tiniest change. Other things? I would have no problem seeing changed from script to screen. My job is done in the finished project. Might even re-write idea, any way they wanted, if they'd pay. Maybe a sellout. Maybe that's the beast. Don't know.

Having not been asked lately, not sure where I'd draw the line. Would re-write "Fight Club," but not "Lolita." WWAMD? [Re: What Would Alan Moore Do?] Hope Savannah understands. Don't want to make her think I'm sabotaging myself. Haven't done enough to be difficult...too difficult. And I really appreciate her taking time with me. Hope there's more.

She's doing well, but like many of us, unhappy. Justified, I'd say. We all are. Saying otherwise is a loss in this war we don't need. On upside, she might have the opportunity to turn one of her shorts from school [which I was a villain... and she was nice not to tell me how bad I was], called the "Goth Squad." Comedy. Goth kids who solve mysteries. Would work well as a webisode. Hope I get better internet before it gets off the ground.

Got a bit of hypochondria today. Went to WedMD [dangerous place], entered symptoms, saw a list with all my worst fears on it. Also saw "caffeine abuse" and "insomnia." Often times, simplest answer is the true one. I'm fine, just paranoid. Need to grow up.

Ran into kid I went to high school today. Punker type. Seem to remember him being in the military, used to see him a lot at mall while working there. Have forgotten his name, when I got his phone number, put it into my phone as "Johnny" [Re: The Familiar]. He called me "good people." Guess not that good. Still got his number... who knows if I'll call. Both in different worlds. Or maybe not. Maybe mine's just more hipster around the edges, and his more hardcore.

The same things can look very different. Or maybe insulting to his situation to be parallel to mine.

Shalom.

As promised.

• Sunday, September 28, 2008 0 comments
Back, as promised.

Today was a wash. Got to thinking, got depressed. Had a big afternoon breakfast and spent majority of day doing nothing.

Contacted no one, though Maya
Eller contacted me on Facebook. Remember clearly the two of us sitting way too close together upon first meeting in a crowded music room, talking about concerts. She said she has a husband now, and they are working on a "graphic novel" together. Felt vaguely less special. Still, nice to say I was working on one myself [Re: Calamity Cash and the Town with No Name]. Must remember to thank Justin.

Good to hear from her though. Glad to hear from anyone, which makes anyone no less special, despite the way it sounds.

This evening was the first evening
blog's "dashboard" came in handy. Lovely feature.

Should read more. Watched "House" today... funny how that show is ingrained in my life over the past several years. Still, makes me smile. Sometimes, I think plot doesn't matter, only characters. Could watch good characters make a
sandwich.

Watching "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" too. Good show, but watching too many episodes at once makes me feel a bit desensitized. Hardly laugh out loud at it though, not unlike watching someone fall down... you want to, but there's also saving face. Still hilarious.

Blog's spellcheck makes me giggle. Even dogs come to recognize their own name.

Try to do better tomorrow. Lose focus for one second, and...

Shalom.

Chasing Dreams.

• Saturday, September 27, 2008 0 comments
Chasing dreams this morning. Fell asleep around 5 or 6.

My mind opts either to terrify me, or give me what I want. Right the world this morning. Visited Doug this morning, he's moved into a new place, and has a new job. He and Aaron live in trendy condos set among catwalk jungles where people have no problem sleeping outside, naked. Doug's calm, seems happy, always the strongest indication someone isn't, while Aaron keeps the place up to the pulse, with iPod ports in every room, big screen TV, entertainment center. All the accoutrement that goes along with a new bachelor pad. Some lessons learned in the nineties still carry over today. Reassuring.

Other things, visits to relatives in houses that don't exist anymore, same relatives screaming at me about child abuse, and how my problems are not the only ones in the world. At parties, more friends appear than blood, with Sam there, always laying down, relaxed, and everyone mingling, like Bennington and WV know each other well enough to not need me to make the introductions. Marlene Sauer is there... boyish haircut but red lipstick, smiling every time she sees me.

I hadn't thought of her in months.

The girl's there too... but we don't talk. My mind just lets me run into her, down the produce aisle, across the End of the World, in the hospital waiting room. I miss her, more than anything.


So those are dreams, and this was a waste. More, helpful, interesting, later today.

Not a total wash. Julia tells me comic was done by Brandon Bird. Obscenely cool.

Letters to strangers.

0 comments
Rough morning. Dozed off around ten, which would have been fine, but almost missed call from Ally. She's leaving for Pittsburgh today. Actually, she's leaving for Baltimore today, where her, Justin, and Glen will be meeting Mike Mignola, and I imagine other cool comic-related peoples. Met Mignola myself once at Bennington... came off like a right herb, I did. Still awesome to have met him.

Anyway, long and short is that it sounds better to just say she's leaving today...which is true, she's going straight from there to her new home. Proud of her. Also, sad. I hate goodbyes, and ones like today make me think of graduation, and of saying goodbye to the girls, and everyone crying, and Sam crying so damn hard and hugging me so damn tight, and I just pushed up my glasses and sucked it up and didn't let a tear fall. I'm an idiot like that.

Speaking of the girls, Julia sent me an awesome link today [
http://www.mingdoyle.com/comics/greenarrow.html]
. Definitely worth a look, but not knowing Ming Doyle bugs me. Should commit time to that tomorrow. Today, it's all been Hirooki Goto [Re: Fire Pro Edit].

I miss everybody.

Still, I said goodbye. Will likely see Ally again soon. She has some of my books. I have a few DVDs. Still down. Friendlies are like the truth these days [Re: Mark Twain].

Worried this is starting to sound like Rorschach's diary [Re: Watchmen]. Since the blog isn't "officially" open though, don't care. May stick to this format, may not.

On Work. Forgot to message Savannah back. Should keep at that, for pointers, and just because it's fun to think about the pilot in the works [Re: Sweet Home]. She's also very encouraging, though worried about a friend of hers.

Also, spoke briefly to Glen's friend Kyle. "Kyle Christian Quinn"... the man has the name of producer. Offered me an idea for a short -- piece about a guy who writes letters to strangers about his problems, idea catches on, everyone starts doing it. Light to heavy drama. No timetable, and he said it didn't have to be more than 20 pages. Then reassured me that he wasn't looking for a feature. Then said he'd love to do a feature.

I think I like this guy.

Best to wait until I meet him in person, but basic good feelings here. Good vibrations, Hunter would say.

Took down some notes, have a treatment in mind already. Not sure if he'll be crazy about the first shot, but the idea is an open enough one that endless takes could come. Another thing to work on, but exciting. Might have a draft in a couple of days.

Watched the debate tonight. Might account for current ill feeling. I had forgotten how utterly useless debates are for anything. Proves little, perhaps nothing. Sad most people will vote from what they see there.
Maybe they've already made up their mind. Small comfort.

Feel sorry for Obama... current events seem to call even the most earnest promises into doubt anyway. Meanwhile, McCain is some strange, shape-changing beast, adapting with a nudge from stern, record-oriented politician to mold-breaking maverick. The irony -- definition of maverick is an unbranded, motherless calf -- a record of no allegiances and wild unpredictability. So many claim he sold out to get here, but did he, really? Is this not just the same McCain? Could he not win, revert, alienate his new "base," or become something entirely different?

Mercurial. Funny thing with mercury, hold it long enough, it'll make you crazy. And think of the man's age... just how crazy is he now?

I still think of McCain as that young man, showed in black and white on his first go round at this office, young and hurt and scared. Tortured. Heart goes out. Still see that pained desperation in his face these days, but feel less pity. Again, Obama... this seems all like some wild dream, some altruistic bid for changing it all. But McCain. There's hate. It's personal. The face looks the same.

I still don't believe he'll win come winter. But if I'm wrong, and the country votes the old man in, the country deserves what it gets, whatever that will be.

Tomorrow should try to be more productive. No one here all weekend. Got time.

Shalom.

The first kiss cuts the deepest.

• Friday, September 26, 2008 0 comments
Getting started today.

Tired. Keeping this minimal to begin with.

First real "leg work" on the comic today [Re: "Calamity Cash and the Town with No Name]. Justin was worried about the setting, specifically the diner, so we headed to Teays Valley to the little diner there for some reference photos. Wound up going all the way back home to get a picture of a garage we likely would have gotten anywhere, but it was the one in my mind while working on the script. Largely, an excuse to dick around. Still, Justin's making real headway with the sketches [http://justincornell.blogspot.com/]. New ones showing up everyday, everything is well above par. After doing the town, he'll likely be able to get started. 45 pages, and counting.

Not considering pin-ups, cover. He's already concerned about printing.

Talked at length about other writing duties, specifically, profiles for us and the characters. With "SULK," waited to the last minute, made mistakes. Minor, lovable mistakes. Likely get started on these while he's working this time.

Also covered some background. Thinking Tana Cash [Re: Momma Cash] was likely a flower child. Something changed. Still no origin on that one, but it was a time period that produced Thompson and the Manson family as easily as it did, so moving character towards flaming, homicidal sword or retribution is not unlikely. Figure she started killing late 70's, early eighties. Justin has a pinup planned.

Other things. Continued to talk to Savannah about the necessary ingredients to write a pilot. Despite "workload," am intrigued by the challenge of something new. Never done a TV script, Savannah is sweet to help me. Idea is mostly rehashed work, "White Trash Nation" idea combined with something Jackass-esque, all the 90210 ridiculousness makes me anxious to write something a bit more down to earth. 45 pages, likely [huh. same as the comic.], commercials taken into consideration, cold open, 4-5 acts. "Sweet Home."

Desperate to write other comics. Hoping "Bride of Beyondo" and "Kid Beyondo" get time soon. Anxious to get them down before I lose them. Keep having ideas for "Conserve" [Re: Future Story], not sure if there's enough to do it yet. "The Book" I could also knock out in a couple days I think -- very SULK, little Pomo in there. Should get started on one of these soon.

Thinking a lot of Christmas. Seeing a friend off tomorrow. She's getting out. Goodbyes are lousy.

Shalom.