Previous Blogs: (2007 - 2008) / (2008 - 2014)
|I Refuse To Quit|
|9/22/2014 7:12:14 AM|
| by Dave |
|Comments (0) Hits: (148) Promote (0) Demote (0) Score (0) Permalink |
To clarify my tweet below I gave 2-week notice to my company. Although I have no idea whether I'll be whisked out or not before then as too eerily "zen" to be regarded as stable enough to maintain root access to various resources that I do (or did?), I am not currently roaming the streets. I am committed to winding down my workload and hope to enjoy being with the people who have defined my last six years in a lighter spirit.
There is nothing wrong with work or my company and there is no great explanation or drama there to account for this, nor is there anything I am hiding. It is not a cry for attention or a move to negotiate something better somehow within it. Perhaps while they secretly dink champagne glasses in the backroom - in this particular environment I really have been somewhat negilible at best, I will be pointedly drawn out to defend and explain this action for the next 2 weeks by various company folks. But to put it bluntly, I quit because I refuse to quit.
To attempt an explanation: I am just simplifying my life and to get on, in the process, with doing those things I love doing and actually flourish at. I have been mediocre, by my standard (and if anyone is being completely honest by the data itself) at what I've been doing for a long time, and have come to settle on that. Time is running out. I can forgive myself for being reckless and homeless in chancing an abrupt transition from one way of life to another, but not for wasting another minute of my control and self-oversight. This is not to say that I have quit the workforce. My next job will just look more like and feel like one, whatever it may be. It will be every bit as challenging, demanding, frustrating, and time-wearing as any I am sure, but it will be simpler in the bigger picture I am forging to craft. I'm looking for a fit that undoubtably re-distributes the taxation of stress by current configuration, and in doing so, the mental and emotional freedom to create at whim.
There are no guarantees, particularly up front. People don't assert their right to "find a fit" exclusively on their terms without risking a few nights on the ground in Union Square. The transition could take months or even a year, and I can't say that I won't regret leaving the sanctuary of a cubicle a month after this. Even my continued presence in New York is questionable if not certainly doomed. Many things have to happen quickly and in well enough form to not have me packing. But if I am I will be alive and loving life even with this twist in my journey.
I will pride myself on keeping this a relatively open affair. Where I work today, too many people "disappear", seemingly at random, one presumes either in shame or in such complete social disconnect or malcontent over their departure they or others cannot discuss. Fuck that. There is nothing wrong with me, the people, or the company I work for. To this very second, I and it are exactly at the head of where and what we are as entities. This wise or foolish move is the result of the nearly six year interactive equation between us. I loved the opportunities, I love and respect the people, and I've even come to find a certain admiration for the corporate process itself. Make no mistake, it's a money-making trough operation where people under some circumstances can wind up living in fear and the victims of perpetual managed or internalized guilt. But, it favors those for whom it works, and for whom work well for it. It is structure that measures, produces, and rewards value, and for those sharper than me I am oft to observe, a sure conduit to security and achievement. For those who work well within it, do not try my move at home.
Resigned my job Friday - it was blocking me from succeeding or failing spectacularly. Time for change!
Got out to a beach for the holiday weekend. Much like hurricanes, the irony is I have more contact with beaches here in the northeast than I ever did living in Florida.
I might be exaggerating there.
So, based on the monument can anyone guess which beach this is?
I'm off Facebook, again. I didn't even bother telling people about my latest flight, and come to think of it, nor did I the time before this. My first proclamation and foray back to it were probably interesting once, even twice. But after three or so tries I have to figure my continued written expressives on the matter could well cause others to leave Facebook.
I have new reasons for this latest departure, but the Facebook conundrum which drives me back and forth has always boiled down to two basic pressures.
Oddly enough I believe Google+ might be an okay supplement to my website, whereas Facebook wanted to replace it.
The first is that I want the Facebook "channel" as I want any in which to spread content and to improve other's access to me. For all the reasons I hate Facebook it has nonetheless always been a way, if not just one of many, to take my content to people who I know will never roam the wild Internet circa circa 1998, to encounter it. A healthy Facebook with a few hundred "friends" is today's best spamming vehicle.
I'm perfectly aware that most people ignored and probably even filtered out my missives but it feels more natural to spray my latest blog tease via Facebook these days than it does to e-mail addresses, anyway. In not so many words it's exactly why people sign up to Facebook: to see what their pals, or at least those who they awkwardly agreed to befriend, are up to. Although I use the word "spamming" loosely here, I could always rationalize that insight to my narcissim is exactly what my Facebook connections asked for in agreeing to be a friend.
At the same time I don't want the diffusion of communication Facebook promotes. I want one place in the universe to check for my incoming electronic communication. The Facebook e-mail system, not to mention the wall feeds that people use just as purposefully to send personal-like messages over, sends me chasing a separate alien inbox. It would be one thing if I could turn off Facebook's e-mail like I can its chat system but I can't. Hence, diffusion.
This diffusion issue is a new thorn brought about by my effort to produce comedic writing and to develop a standup comic persona. Unlike approximatley 10+ years of previous blogging operations, promotion now counts. As much as possible I need to plug up "metric leakage" which is something I define as lost information about those who are in some way, to varying levels of degree, interested in me. Something that happens when personal content exists on a third-party host like Facebook rather than a server I control directly. Facebook has this information but keeps it to itself, or at least the good stuff. By eliminating my FB presence I am irrigating interest and the information associated with it back onto my own platform (my DWG website), however more or less of it there may actually be.
So that's it. My umpteenth attempt to leave Facebook with new reasons and a new sense of control.
I remain active on Twitter and encourage readers to subscribe to moi'. I am also looking into, believe it or not, using Google+ as an external outreach tool since it binds directly with GMAIL and doesn't "quite" qualify as a diffusing social network so much as it does (if you struggle really hard to make it so mentally) a sharing platform. I might be able to live with that and if I do, you can plus me here.
I tend to make a big deal out of how to apply my digital devices. I instinctively want a system of incorporation that works day to day, not just a satisfaction of the services delivered by each.
I have a desktop, laptop, a 7-inch Nexus, a 10-inch ASUS tablet, a smartphone, a Kindle Fire, a Kobo (courtesy of my company which owns them), and I obsess about which of these is the permanent go-to device for which scenarios. It's not trivial considering these things are expensive and then require constant doting over configurations and other use-level details in order to interface smoothly with our daily activities. The thing you want to do on your smartphone when your smartphone isn't immediately handy is not configured on your tablet or laptop in exactly the same way. You can do it - you probably will - but you have to spend time bringing the cursor up to date. Once is no problem, but you have to do it over and over each time this incongruence in your operating ecology is encountered. It's disruptive and lowers the useful yield not to mention experience.
Cheaper hardware in combination with the concept of the the "Consistent User Interface
" (CUI) resolves all this anxiety. Let's say that the cost of these things, any of them, drops to a point where they are considered junk purchases where you can get a reliable 7-inch tablet for, say, $20 in any discount store. In time, people would trade them as superficial gifts or hold them in the same regard as cheap transistor radios, something you acquire many times over but can never remember exactly how. Things that wind up in the kitchen's junk drawer or scattered all over the house.
Now let's imagine that, at the same time, the cloud experience is perfected to such a level that the experience from logging in to using apps is so uniform between devices that the 10-inch tablet you carry around affords the exact same experience as the forgotten 7-inch tablet collecting dust under your couch. In a world like this devices are cheap enough to be densely lying around in numbers, and the experience between so exact, you no longer have to think about a system of application the way I, for example, do today.
The CUI is where it's at. You configure your layout, applications, and other mundane settings once from any device, even a friend's, and you're good to go on any of the billions around the world in the same instant.
Obviously I don't think we have this level of consistent interfacing yet. Don't confuse the fact that we have "cloud" computing (cloud being in quotes because technically the word is misused 90% of the time in pop articles including this very one), or apps that promise to synchronize bookmarks or browsing histories ala Chrome and other web browsers. Those are good starts but they aren't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about to such a great level of detail that nothing has to be done in dropping one device and picking up another, other than perhaps identifying yourself. Like, if I receive a text on my smartphone and read it, the flag indicator that there ever was a text message clears on my tablets the moment that I do so. Or, if I set a wallpaper on my desktop, the same wallpaper appears on my smartphone in compatible form. If I shift an icon a millimeter to my left on my 10-inch tablet, the same icon shifts a millimeter to the left on my 7-inch tablet, or, on the 7-inch tablet I find in the seat next to me on a city bus. Remember, such tablets would be cheap enough to leave behind so the idea of an occassional orphaned tablet on a bus seat is completely viable.
When this happens the CUI will become the "Internet" by casual viewpoint. I suppose it's just a matter of who can figure out how to perfect all angles of this thing first.
It's way too late and I'm way too tired to explore how the comedy classes went, but the short of it is that I got exactly what I wanted out of it and then some. The class focused on standup which is a form of presentation and social connection that I badly needed to improve as a person.
Without getting overly congratulatory with the process, it all helped, but more importantly it will help moving forward. The classes were great for the mechanics and spirit required of great comedians but it is the process of doing it over and over where the craft is actually honed. That means continuing with the open mics and pushing myself closer to "real" rooms. I got this.
That's me on stage - an hour or so before Janeane Garofalo was up. Sweet stuff - but the audience needed it's money's worth!
UPDATE PIC: An episode of Louie featuring Louis C.K. on the very same stage (Season 1 - Episode 13 "Night Out"). I'm even wearing (inadvertantly mind you) the same black T - kinda freaky. And yes, Louise C.K. for all his tenure, does a masturbation bit - making me feel much better about my own.
Louse C.K. on the very same stage! Even sweeter!
The "grad show" as we called it internally went smoothly. I don't recall knocking the room dead as I stood petrified working through my material, but I got a few, if not polite, laughs. Most importantly though I didn't freeze. In an effort to squeeze in a last-minute dry run I did an open mic in another venue no less than 2 hours before and stammered away big parts of of my set, blowing away my confidence in so little time before real showtime. It's tough because you have to be focused tightly on your set and delivery, while at the same time remaining loose enough to converse with the crowd and connect. The latter was all but tossed out in my case as I sprinted from beginning to end afraid of fumbling my internal cursor.
In the end I would say A+ for the follow-through, C for the final product. Until I am fluidly connecting with a crowd and talking to them first and making them laugh second, the best I can continue to say is that I am "in development" as a comic.
As for the video which I probably can't circulate among a general crowd due to the fact it contains blue gesturing and self-deprecating work humor, I will make a decision to post on review and on rationalization that, hey, everybody masturbates on a stage in front of an audience at least once in their life right?
It's been six weeks now and the culmination of my comedic studies will be on display tomorow @ 9:00 PM.
Here's the flyer - it should be a lot of fun, Janeana Garofalo is our headliner:
Yep, so I signed up for comedy classes.
I actually have a couple of things going against me at the outset with this thing. Things like I'm not witty, I'm not actually that smart, and as I wear a (ahem) "removable bridge", it's sometimes hard to get words out clearly which is bad because this particular course emphasizes standup. There are only a small subset of people who would shriek that none of these things are actually true: my family (some of them), my friends, my roommate, and maybe the people I'm handing the money over to for these classes, although I have to say the latter feels "too real for that" or something.
Whatever the case there's also the state of my near-autistic sense of the world and classic stage fright - all of which most certainly mean that this could all amount to a cruise through a couple of classes, some awkward monologues to an audience consisting of other petrified comedian shooting-to-bees, and a video clip to watch later when I want to reminisce about the time I dabbled in standup, something that may well come off less funny than those times I dabbled in private investigations and pimping.
Okay, I'm kidding about the pimping but you can see, I'm already working on what they call "punches".
Heather hands me a card, "Hey they have classes!"
The guy who put these classes together (Jeff Lawrence to be precise) is a blue-collar comedian who actually works clubs on a regular basis. I took one workshop at his invite before my first paid class to take place later this week and left with an enlightening perspective on the business and issues these people face.
For example, when you think of being a comic you might think to model your fantasy after a particular big-time star like George Carlin or Louise C. K. These guys get on stage and rattle on for an hour or more and are able to captivate thousand-plus-member audiences with elongated stories that also happen to contain enough build-up and punches to resemble a standup comedy act. But working comedians with far lower profiles and far lower paychecks, it turns out, don't have the luxury of mixing storytelling with punches.
The reality is that your job as a guy who just wants to earn a living being funny will be to make sure you actually are at dense enough intervals to keep people honest about meeting their two-drink minimums. That's a different game than fame. Bill Cosby? You won't be that guy. It seems from hearing what I did that in time you will, if you do at all, earn your space to be that guy, but certainly not starting out, and certainly not for years after working just to keep club owners interested in your name. To me it was an important revelation because I now know to stop working on stories that tell stories and start working on punches that build stories; and this is even before day one of a class. Even a little more of insight like this will make the money I'm dropping well worth it.
I've had to make sure I understand the ancillary value of this pursuit because chances are I'll never be good enough for a stage and don't count on it. The classes could help my blogging, could help my professional development (I think my immediate co-workers would agree I'm a lot more chatty and wit-bound than they've ever seen me just on the personal fragrance of being a standup, not to mention at least 2 other co-workers are involved with standup; it's like a "thing"), because the principles of comedy apply to everyday life. These would be the principles of honesty that offends, directness that offends, humbility and the efficient illumination of pride - the things that don't get as much press on the resume like "being a team player" or "fast learner" do.
Comedy is the true freedom of expression so a concentrated shot of any expertise at it might glance my life's other circles. Maybe it will be that something else to fall back on in the event I'm really on a discard path at work, or, at the absolute very least that "performance art" checkbox everyone who takes on New York City should try to check while actually here. Ballet or the opera may be your thing, this could be mine.
Stitchy you're no bitch.
Fleshy squirm it's seen as hip,
Woe is, you no fit.
No joke, did you know they stopped teaching cursive in schools? Perhaps not everywhere, maybe not even in most districts. But it's a trend nonetheless. Apparently we so rely on keyboard entry in the productive working world, now, that schools would rather use the time once spent teaching cursive for something else. This strikes me as a radical extraction of standard curriculum like halting the teaching of multiplication tables (which to be clear, isn't something that is actually happening) because calculators are everywhere. Man, I would have loved that.
I don't know if this is a good or bad thing, but it does mean that adults (starting from somewhere in the 20s on up) now have a secret pen language all their own! Cool right?
Well I have to populate this blog now that I have a new engine. I don't have a solid editorial direction yet but hey, why should this be any different than any of my other blogs?
For days like these I'm just going to quickly recount my rants and activities since my previous post, or at least the signficant ones. Bear with me my while I establish a pace and voice.
This week it's....
Conversion to Battle Blog
First, yep, I finally converted my personal blog over to Battle Blog 2.0. Let me explain why this is so particularly exciting. Most people reading this don't know that I authored this blogging platform from the ground-up.
Granted, among real coders this is seen as no real achievement and in fact many have built better with less fanfare. And among regular people, well, the simple fact of the matter is that as blogging engines go there's only one today: WordPress. It has become so pervasive that it has become a standard for rapid content publishing. Like knowing you can spin out VLOOKUPs in Excel you can feel confident that a steady paycheck is never far away if "working with WordPress" is in any way a resume bullet point.
Even despite all this Battle Blog is important to me because I am its author (dammit) and because despite the ho-hums I endure in talking about it, I know that had I done it earlier before blogging as a form of publishing took off, Battle Blog would have been just as viable and as ready for the market (for the time I mean) as any other that later went on to be sold or traded for millions of dollars. It's like Ebay, which was a pretty creaky project started, written, and released all in a single weekend. Back then there was only innovation and a release, and plenty of time to polish things up while they lived in production. Battle Blog is my harking to that!
Battle Blog does not have a huge user base. The first iteration I'm oft proud to point out was briefly used by an ex-Nikon VP for a national technology weekly intended to be distributed by USA Today. His team had the engine cleverly deployed into several blogs, each representing a certain personality type, and each addressing a particular aspect of technology. It looked great! For the time it was up that is. It seemed the enterprise switched to WordPress in about a year's time. Aside from that, the engine was used by several families, of one at least that used it to offer progress reports on the health of a cancer-stricken girl. I still remember warmly being able to contribute to the family's effort to rally and communicate, even if indirectly as the developer. As the web changed and as a number of security holes were exposed, instances Battle Blog pre-2.0 pretty much dried up.
Technically Battle Blog 2.0 hasn't even been released yet. A somewhat quirky "alpha" version is posted but I wouldn't call it "production ready". The version I'm running here and now is spades ahead of the alpha and I'm quickly coming down to polishing off the back-end interface which looks unfinished, and, after so, pushing the real deal. Even then it won't be widely used but I suspect a few classic ASP developers or legacy operation masters will make use of it. It's one market distinguishment is that it provides democratic content controls built-in. Once up and running registered users can vote content up and down instantly. I can envison small to medium-sized business owners using it to communicate with their staff, and to subject issues to democratic review. A sort of "personal" or "business-grade" Reddit if you will.
Until then however, and perhaps forever if I never "quite get around to it", Battle Blog is my personal platform of choice. When you've built something like this on your own it's hard to give up the sense of control you have over it. I can pop up a WordPress blog with no problem but I could never "control" it, losing presentation elements or having other strange things happen, the minute I install a plugin. I just don't see the need nor want the hassle.
If you want the history of Battle Blog, you can read it here or you can read the extended history describing its origins from my rabble-rousing days at the University of South Florida. If you want a Battle Blog, ping me.
My Old Stuff
This blog is preceded by years of entries on previous blogs. I've linked to those in the above header bar. There is The Nut Who Runs That Website, which covers the time I ran (not walked) from a budding career as a private investigator, then the Dave the Web Guy blog which can be regarded as the first incarnation of this one. To get this blog rolling I've "borrowed" a few blog entries from the last and they can be see directly below (I may carry over more of those entries I wish to maintain a high visibility for). I toyed with the idea of importing the previous blog entries to this one, but in addition to being a technical nightmare where I'd have to re-map the data fields (and data types, grrr) to make it work, I think each new blog launch should equate to a fresh start. And, so it shall be.