Month: July, 2012


The Inflated Price of Pictures…

Instagram is a social network where you can share pictures that have been doctored to look pretty sweet.  Seems anyone can create instant works of art worthy of a thousand words.  Facebook and Pinterest pages, are spread with Instagram photos, enticing people to ‘get to know each’ other visually, and share their lives, with updates about, events you weren’t invited to, or being late for a dentist appointment you care nothing about.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Facebook… much; I see the necessity of it, but I’ll save that rant for another post.

The task of developing a photo used to take longer than an average work day, and required equipment that would take up most of your living room.  Pinhole cameras, made in the 4th & 5th century weren’t able to ‘capture’ real life until the invention of silver nitrate and silver chloride in the 19th century.  The process of ‘developing’ took about a couple of decades to perfect, resulting in an average waiting time of a few hours.  And the mail delivery system allowed deliver of a freshly developed photo within days.  The whole ‘photography’ ordeal was reserved for people with the time, energy and interest, making photos a beautiful composition of art and science.

One hundred years later, with smartphones, taking a photo, developing a photo and sending a photo, takes less than one minute, and that includes the picture travelling to a satellite in outer-space and back!  One minute! While I agree that this is a technical marvel, I can’t help but feel it’s also a middle finger to real photographers and photo-journalists.  I think my issue with Facebook and Instagram is that most of the posts and updates are lame, and the ‘artsy’ pictures of new shoes and take-out meals don’t really interest me.  I recognize the ‘art’ in a meal, or the ‘beauty’ in shoes, but don’t Instagram it, add a couple of filters and a lame caption for me to see–What is it you want me to feel when I look upon your ‘work of art’?  Boredom? Disinterest?  Jealousy?

The upside to all this is that Instagram acts like a gateway drug, and can lead people to their true creative endeavour, but a lot of misled folks will be left strung out and high on a ‘gram’.  I don’t mind reading up on people and seeing images of how life is going.  But now that pictures have become the new currency, it seems ‘Instagram inflation’ has deemed regular words worthless.  No longer is a picture worth 1 000 words;  it seems more value is placed on pictures than words despite being ‘doctored’, and of course, as a writer, this saddens me.  I take comfort in knowing…

Words don’t lie. People Pictures do.


X-Mas In July

Flog the Nog & Fire the Mistletoe

Mulling over the title for days, I really wanted to write about the fun and exciting anticipation of neatly wrapped gifts, frenzied shopping experiences, and the warm holiday spirit.  My intention was a ‘check in’, so to speak, now that we’re over half way to either the end of the world as we know it, or just another ‘Festivus for the Rest of Us’… In either case, it’s good to get this out of the way….

I thought about the presents, the warm feeling of the season and the Christmas songs and TV specials… Then I cringed a little.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy Christmas, but like most, I’m just not ready to think about it, yet.  But ‘The Winter is Coming’… I still really wanted to do something with the title since it was actually July, so I thought about writing a letter to Santa in hopes to feel a bit of that blissful holiday energy…

Dear Santa,
Hope all is well with you, and you’re in jolly spirits, liquid or otherwise.  I trust the elves are slaving away in the factory, or whatever it is they do during this time.  I’m sure with the big day fast approaching, you and the Mrs., are busy making lists and checking them twice.  I pray for a day when lists with people’s names on them are abolished and equality reigns, but it’s not my show.
Speaking of which, I would like to inquire how I keep my name off the ‘naughty list’.  I am aware the year has yet to finish, but I am not sure when your ‘nice list’ fiscal period ends.  So far this year hasn’t been the greatest for me; I’m sure it was simply ‘my turn’ to experience some ‘growing pains’, which I understand is part of life, so I harbour no ill feelings.
Despite my novel being rejected by scores of publishers and literary agents, I pressed on, kept writing and got better at it.  And although the crowd-funding campaign I worked on for months was a failure, I am grateful for the time spent learning how to write my very own graphic novel.  I’m also grateful for the lessons learned through the heartbreak of my ex leaving me for someone else, and the courage I found to write about it.  And despite being a failure to my father, the journey back home, though painful at times, has shown me how much I’ve grown.  Instead of getting the well-paying ‘dignified’ job I was well qualified for, I took the job I was offered to humble myself and said ‘I’d see what the universe had in store for me’. Yet, I’m still kind of wondering what was behind ‘door #2’.  Indeed the obstacles faced were difficult, and perhaps due to my stubbornness I couldn’t have learned those valuable lessons any other way, but while I’ve learned from the misfortunes that have occurred in these past few months, I can’t but help but wonder why I wouldn’t be allowed to stray to the naughty list just for a little while?
Having recognized the invaluable ‘gifts’ of wisdom, courage, strength, patience and forgiveness I received from ‘life’ experiences, I suppose I shouldn’t ask for anything else.  However, if there’s room on your sleigh for a elf-knitted Charlie Brown cardigan sweater, it would be greatly appreciated.  As you know ‘The Winter Is Coming’, and it would be nice to keep warm while I attempt another kick at next year’s the ‘football of life’.
The Writer


Reviving The Lost Art of Conversation

You: Hey!  How’s it going?

Me: Good! Good…You?

You: Good.  What’ve you been up to?

Me: Oh, not much. Just living life.  Ya’ know…

You: I know!

Me: How about you?

You: Same old, same old.  Just getting through the day… I’m exhausted.

Me: No kiddin’! 

You: How about this weather, huh?

Me: I know! It’s crazy.

You: Makes me not want to do anything.  But you know…

Me: Yeah… I know.  Wish I didn’t have to work.

You: I know.  How is it going over there?

Me: Still the same, but with a little less enjoyability.  You still working at the same place?

You: Yeah.  I need a vacation though…Or a new job.

I’ve had way too many of these ‘nonversations‘ where upon reflection, I’ve learned and said nothing.  I’m guilty of perpetuating these lame talks by not offering anything of real substance.  I’ve even gone as far as to consider myself boring, and avoided conversations so that I didn’t waste people’s valuable time.  Okay… Truthfully I didn’t want to waste mine either, but sometimes I had nothing to say (much like today’s random post).

The real conversation killer is that line “I’d complain, but who’d listen?”  I’m listening!  Just don’t bore me to death with the complaint.  I’ll decide if I care or not.  Or give me a ‘Thanks for listening’ tip (with inflation a quarter per minute is the going rate).  Furthermore, I’m sure whatever the complaint is will make my life seem better by comparison; thinking on that, I’m a little angry that I wasn’t offered the complaint that would have most certainly lift my spirits!

Someone told me, when asked, “How’s it going?“, I should always respond with a “Way too good“, and then immediately walk away.  I figured it was worth a try….   When used properly, this response not only recovers the lost art of conversation, it also  guarantees you will NEVER have another nonversation in your life again.

Try it. Seriously.

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