Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Fleeting 15 Minutes of Game

I got burnt out there for a while. I know people who keep much more punishing schedules than I do, but writing and other creative pursuits... it is hard to simply tighten your schedule and keep going when you have extra work to do. Sure, the work tends to expand to fill the deadline - and beyond, at times - but just cramming in more deadlines might work for more logistical tasks but not so much for creative ones.

For instance, I imagine being the president of the United States is a very busy job. He (and not she) gets by on very little sleep. If something else needs to get done, well then Mrs. Landingham simply squeezes in an extra 15 minutes. You can't do the same thing with writing - at least, not with any expectation of actually producing something worth reading. There are certain limits you come up against in terms of inspiration, energy and time management. I learned the hard way you can't just say, "Oh, another project at the same time? I'll just add another 15 minutes to my day to do it." Nope. Sometimes it takes longer than those 15 minutes. And besides, that cuts severely into my video game schedule.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

There's a market there; don't get me started on the 12 steps

I was talking to my buddy the other day about the ongoing economic melt down in the US.

He pointed out that basically what happened was that people were selling the fact that a large percentage of the US population had no money.

Think about this for a second. Anytime there's a steady supply of something, someone is going to find a way to sell it. Our entire society is built on oil, not because of some kind of conspiracy or swindle, nor is it a result of not caring about the environment (all of which only makes sense if you're looking at history through the warped mirror of hindsight) but we make everything - big E everything - from oil for the sole reason there was so much of it, and for a hundred years it was cheaper than dirt. And I know this through my exhaustive research. They sell soil outside my Loblaws and it looks expensive.

So now for the past ten years or so, in the US there has been more and more poor people clinging to the idea of a middle class lifestyle. That means a mortgage and planning to spend most of your life paying for your home and yard. As people became less and less able to pay for this "rest of your life" lifestyle, finanacial institutions began to cater to this growing market, by accepting their debt and then turning around and selling it. A large amount of wealth was created - billions of dollars - by selling the fact that people had no money.

Anytime you have a supply of something, someone will find a way to make money off of it. Or otherwise exploit it.

A desperate hunger for a moment of celebrity? Reality shows.

A fear of "the other?" Neo-conservatives.

Trees in Canada? The British Empire. (I kid you not. Ask me about it sometime.)

A need for creative validation? Screenwriting contests and self-publishing.

Love? Celebrity perfumes.

Self destructive behaviour? The big L Liberal Party of Canada. (Hey, Stephan Dion. Do you cut?)

Vanity and narcissism? Facebook and meaningless, rambling blogs.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Uh oh... get ready to yell at me.

Now, I don't want you to think that I'm not some anarchist, or some kind of beer swilling dope who thinks that all politicians are the same and there's no point voting.

But here's thing (and often people end up yelling at me when I bring up politics) there's an election going on both here in Soviet Canuckistan and down in the land of the freedom fries. And they are both being framed as good, ordinary folks vs. artsy and brainy elites.

Especiallly in Canada, where we don't have an Obama to rally the liberals - in our case the actual big L liberals.

That's something that gets said a lot in Canada. Big L Liberals and Big C Conservatives, to distinguish the parties from the ideology. I'm just not sure if that's big I ideology or not.

Our artistic community is up in arms because the current government, led by a zombie we call Steve, is looking to gain votes by slashing arts funding. We absolutely pour billions of dollars into the arts, which encompasses everything from a guy masturbating under bleachers to a TV show airing on CBS. Neither of those two things strikes me as needed much in the way of government funding. A - can't one of the bigest, richest TV broadcasters in the world make a TV show without the Canadian government ponying up, and B - how much does it cost to masturbate?

But there are plenty of much more deserving projects that get funding from many different levels - municipal, provincial and federal. Being an artists in Canada is so much easier than it is in the states, due entirely to government funding. I think government funding creates a system predisposed to art aimed solely at other artists, but that's another blog post for you to get angry about.

Here's my point. We in the self identified artists community shouldn't think that we have to somehow convince every farmer or every pot grower that we should get more government money. We shouldn't make it our mission to put Paul Gross in front of a camera everytime someone suggests slowing the cultural bribe.

Cause let's be honset with oufselves. That's what we're talking about. Big L Liberals (remember them?) use arts funding to get artsy types to vote for them. And it works. Big C Conservatives, however, do things a little smarter. They take money from artists to get quote-unquote plain folk to vote for them, and give their bribe money to rich people and corporations and get them to vote for them.

All that plus Alberta. If they don't get a majority this time, they must really be as dumb as us small L liberals think they are.

I often fall back on a simple phrase when I talk about Canadian creative types, and it applies here. If we want people to get worked up about losing cultural funding, we have simply got to make our stuff better. Stop complaining about how much we contri ute to the economy. Stop whining that American movies are going to one city rather than another. Stop patting ourselves on the back everytime someone turns on a camera.

We have to do better.

Because, trust me, the better we make our art, the more quote-unquote plain folk will give a shit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Blog Like Me

If you think about it, blogging is the absolute height of vanity.

It's not quite so bad if you have some sort of beat - that is, your blog is journalistic or informative in nature. It's vain, sure, but not as vain.

The absolute limits of vanity is a blog like this one, where I'm not adding anything to your daily lives. [add here your own personal list of different ways to say nothing. Hint: start with 'zip.']

There are two internets out there right now. There's the one that we all know and love, full of useful (ha ha!) information and an ease to find that information. Keywords... page rank... back links... what have you. This is the information internet.

Then there's another internet all together. It's new. It isn't about information, useful or otherwise. It doesn't work the same way with keywords and all that other stuff. It is the entertainment internet.

Think about it for a second. How do you find what you're looking for online? You pull up Google and type in a few keywords. How do you decide what movie to go see, or what book to read, or what music to listen to? Do you type "funny, date movie, boobs, teary reconciliation, pot smoking" into Google and watch whatever movie comes up?

Come to think of it, that's not a bad collection of concepts. I think I'll write that movie. Make a million.

More and more people turn to he internet for their entertainment, but will they find what they want to find? This blog, in particular, is almost impossible to stumble upon because it doesn't follow the rules that Google uses to determine the quality of the information it provides. This blog is pure entertainment in the sense that I don't think you'll learn a single thing by reading it, except what a jerk I am. Maybe I should make that my keyword?

The way the internet works now is going to have to change fundamentally in order to make it easier and better for people to be entertained. How? I'm not exactly sure.

In the meantime, how about you tell your friends about this blog!

Monday, September 22, 2008

One of those moments...

You ever had one of those moments when someone says something more or less off hand, but it makes you stop and think about something you never did before?

I know people dealing with me have never had those moments. I don't say anything off hand. In fact, I can be pretty direct, and I think I have a tendency to make people defensive.

The other day Mike down the corner was making me a coffee and asked me how my day was. I gave the usual, "Oh, I'm exhausted, and in the middle of ten projects, all of which have to be done right now..."

And he said, over his shoulder as he tamped the espresso, "You ever have a day that's just... yeah! All right!"

And I stood there with my mouth open. I asked myself, how many good days recently can I count? I'm so busy and burnt out, to me a great day is when I get half of what I need to get done before 10 at night. Like treading water is the best I can hope for.

It was just one of those moments, when you start to look at yourself in a different way.

I'd like to find more days that are, "Yeah!" Maybe I'm just not that type of person?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Probably the Worst Yet

It's a little depressing when I look back at my postings. The intention is to do one post every day. The most I have ever managed has been 16.

16? One every second day? And that's at my best. In August I posted exactly once. I suppose I should be glad I posted at all in August. Yep, that's right. Look on the bright side.

And a whole bunch of those sporadic posts have been god awful. But here, I am, writing a post about how I don't post enough. This has easily got to be the worst post I have ever done. At least there's no where to go but up. Bright side... bright side... bright side...

My very good friend, mentor and writing guru likes to compare being a writer to being a musician. He likes to say, "If you skip practicing one day, you notice. If you skip two days, the band notices. If you skip three, everyone notices." Hard to see a bright side there. I wonder how this idea applied to Sid Vicious, whose live performances are notably for the fact that Johnny Rotten used to actually turn off his amp so the crowd couldn't hear him slowly strangle yet another bass guitar. Maybe with him it was, "You skip being a dickhead one day..."

I guess if you want to do anything well, you have to practice.

See? This post couldn't even stay on any one topic. Rambling mess.

Worse post ever.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

All About Nothing

Ah... I got nothing today.

Enjoy the sun!

Or, whatever your local weather/time of day happens to be.