10.30.2011

On Disappointment

Disappointment is quite easy to remedy:

Don't expect so much.

It's sad but simple. Disappointment comes when someone or something doesn't live up to your expectations. Your expectations are under your control. Sure, people should do the right thing or rise to the levels they've prepared you to expect. But that's the thing: when they don't, it's not their fault you're disappointed. Its your own.

It doesn't absolve them from sin. I'm just calling it like I see it. And after seeing person after person in my life not live up to what I believe they should be, I finally realized that the feeling I felt after they "failed" (from my perception) -- the disappointment -- is my own fault.

Like I said, it's sad. But it really is that simple.

10.25.2011

FUCK

FUCK! FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK! FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK FUCK FUCK FUCKING FUCK FUCK FFFFFFFFFFFFUCK!

FUCK!
FUCK!
FUCK!
FUCKING FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCKING FUCK FUCKITY FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCKING FUCK!


FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!

FUCK!


...There. I feel better.

10.24.2011

The Real Man's Guide To Wearing A Bow Tie

This guide isn't like my other guides. It's short, simple and sweet.

There are only four occasions where it is manly to wear a bow tie:

1. When you are in a tuxedo, at a wedding, party, or other social gathering:



2. When you are a member of the Nation of Islam:



3. When you are a 00 agent saving the world from yet another evil mastermind's nefarious plot:



4. When you are selling yummy popcorn:



ALL other times you wear a bow tie, you are a douchebag:

 Douche.


 Douche.


 Douche.


 Douche.


 Douche.


There are no exceptions. This includes barbershop quartets, because all members of barbershop quartets in 2011 are douchey.

Men do not wear bow ties for fashion. Little boys do. That's the long and short of it.

Thank you for reading The Real Man's Guide To Wearing A Bow Tie.

10.21.2011

The Secret Of Making Things Happen

I want to give you the one secret I have. It's actually the only secret I've got. And I'm going to share it with you. It's the secret of making things happen.

The reason I want to give it to you: recently, people have commented on how things are going for me, and how happy they are that things are going well. It means a lot to hear this from you guys. 

And as always, the corollary to those comments is the sentiment that sounds somewhat like "I wish I could make things like that happen in my life." This is always the corollary to well-wishing, and has been true every time I release a new book or when I started working for Fark.com or get a new journalism gig or show for Art of Akira or when I joined Studio Revolver or any other wonderful thing that's happened to me.

Those things happen because of the work I have done and the record I've built for myself. That part isn't the secret. That part everyone knows: the road to opportunity is paved with effort. The part most people wish could happen is the bit where they get to do the job they want to do for an organization they admire, or go on a trip they've always wanted to take, or speak to the public about topics they love, or publish a book with stories they like to write. 

The secret to making those things happen -- the only one I have in my life and the one I'm sharing with you right now is this:

Just fucking do it. 

It's a shitty secret, because you already know it. But for some reason, you still find a way to convince yourself you don't know how or you can't. So the secret is to just GO. No one wishes for the experience of writing, they wish for the finished book. They don't wish for the learning of syntax and user experience concepts, they wish for the prestige of working for a huge website. 

You want to talk to people about anime or comics? Or talk about the biological impacts of television on children? Or talk about animal welfare? Start. Go. YouTube.com is free to use. Cameras are cheap. Chances are, your laptop or computer already has one. Record your talks. Put them on YouTube. Share them with your friends. If you get good feedback, share them with a website or two that covers your topic (don't spam or annoy though). 

You want to write a book? Come on... That one's easy. Open your word processor. Start typing. 

Want to be a reporter for a larger organization? Blog. It's free at Blogger.com, Tumblr.com, or any number of other sites that will host your blog. 

"But I don't know how..."

Stop right there. That's not going to get you where you want to be. If you want to make it to San Francisco and you live in Atlanta, the first step is to point west, the second is to get moving. 

Sure, you can book a flight or a bus or a train ride. But keeping with the metaphor, you'll likely say "But I don't have enough money to buy a ticket..."

Point west. Start walking. If you REALLY want to get there, you'll do that before you do anything else.

The hard, honest truth most everyone doesn't want to tell you: the words "I can't" are fucking bullshit. There are olympic class sprinters with no legs, people. The drummer for Def Leppard has only one arm. ONE ARMED DRUMMERS AND NO LEGGED SPRINTERS CAN. You can do anything you want. You just don't WANT to. 

Start working. Figure the rest out along the way. When you open your word processor and start writing your book, you'll get to a point where you wonder how chapters should be formed and the book should be organized. You'll go research that, either by reading other books and mimicking their style, or by reading how-to materials. But you'll figure it out on the way.

Another secret, but it's not my secret, it's a universal secret: no one who does anything creative knows what the hell they're doing. No one. They just start. They copy what they like. They start finding their own path. And as time goes on, they don't learn the one way HOW TO, they learn many, many ways HOW NOT TO. And they let that experience guide them the in the right direction. But they still run into walls and get bruises and fall down a lot.

Those who are unafraid to take the bumps and feel the pain of forging their own path are the ones who make it to the finish line.

Trying to map out the route to your goal is honorable and noble. It's also yet another thing that feels like work, but isn't work. Dave Sim, the godfather of self publishing in comics and author of a 300 issue, 6400 page story said it best: writing notes, organizing ideas, penciling doodles and concepts feels like work, but the work doesn't begin until you start penciling, inking and lettering panel 1 on page 1. 

You WILL end up with a lot of trash. You will delete entire chapters or an entire book. You will scrap your videos. You will end up killing your own articles on your blog, because you feel they go nowhere. But you MUST realize that that's part of the process. 

If you can't point west and start walking; if you're obsessed with process instead of delivery, you're like everyone else: you want the reward without taking the journey and battling the dragon. You want it handed to you on a silver platter. 

Even Albert Einstein pointed out that, at a certain point, reading and researching too much is damaging to the creative process and ends up stalling the creator out:

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
~ Albert Einstein

As I said on my Notes to Self site: I attribute all of my success to luck. The harder I work, the luckier I get. 

Go. Do. Don't sit there and wish. Wishing gets you nothing. It occupies the mind and feels like work. Making notes? It streamlines the process of what you want to do, but until you DO it, you're not working. You're streamlining. Research? Reading? Asking around? All of that stuff, while VERY helpful, doesn't write your book or get you speaking dates or publish your article or gets you that development / creative gig at a big website. It's necessary to improve quality and do things well... But before you do things well, you should just do things.

Another Dave Sim quote: Get good, then get fast, then get good and fast. But what Dave left out: Before you get good or fast, you have to start. 

So start.



10.18.2011

I Went To Occupy Wall Street. This Is What I Saw

So, with all the blah-de-blah and hoo-de-doo I've been posting about Occupy Wall St. (and the subsequent Occupy [insert city here] movement, which has reached over 1000 cities so far), I heard a ton of feedback. Most of it fell into the "I agree, people taking action always beats people sitting on their asses and complaining" category, agreeing with the only actual point I'm trying to make.

But some of it has come back to me as "Nuh uh!" And a whole lot of misinformation, slander, ridiculous statistics and general nonsense. So, I decided to get my camera, fly my ass up from Atlanta to New York City, and see it for myself.

Below is a slideshow of 87 of the over 800 photos I took. I selected these because I felt they really told the story of what's going on there (and also, because of 800 or so photos, roughly 600 of them are blurry because I'm a shitty photographer).  After the slideshow, I'll share a few of my favorites / the most poignant. If you'd like to read the captions, be sure to view the set on Flickr.


(Can't see the slideshow above? click here for the full photo set with captions)


Some of the highlights are below -- but please do view the full set.



Walking toward the NYSE, you could see cops at the far end of the road. The chanting was very dull from this distance, but grew louder as we approached.  


Cops were EVERYWHERE. Anything near the NYSE was blocked off and guarded. 


This was the north end of Ziccutti Park at the corner of Liberty and Trinity, where the occupation is taking place...

...And this was the south view. The park was PACKED. 


A view of one of the many American flags hanging up around the park. The vibe at the occupation was not anti-American at all -- it was very much in support of the actual American dream. 


Occupiers were VERY protective of the flowers, plants and trees at the park. They understood that keeping the park clean and neat was essential to removing reasons why they'd have to leave.


Several people had live streaming broadcasts of the occupation via cellular connection. If you look closely, you can see me behind this guy with my camera.


The organization of this occupation was nearly staggering. Food, clothing, deodorant, water -- all given away for free by volunteers, paid for by donations. You can see more of what was given out and how it ran in the full photo set.


This was one of the hardest working people I saw up there. She prepared and served food all afternoon.


The occupation work schedule. They had food, sanitation, media and speaking staff and engagements planned out. 


The thin line between occupation and police. 


Cops were very mobile at the occupation. They had motorcycles, horses, cars, vans, trucks and even segways.


At every good dissenting event, there's a drum circle. This is no different.


People had stencils to make custom shirts all around the park.


Even yuppies attended. Bag Dog is not amused.


My friend and Fark.com coworker Tony Deconinck helps a lady down a very small stair. People were stumbling there all afternoon, and he stood there for over an hour helping people not fall. Such was the spirit of this thing -- you just wanted to be good to each other.


Anonymous had a huge presence at this thing. And no, no one fucked with their shit.


A self-appointed sanitation worker discusses what needs to be done. Behind him, you can see the bin of socks, underwear and other goods that were free for those who needed them.


I just really liked the perspective on this shot. 


There was a central hub of live broadcasting in the middle of the park. Everything was live-broadcasted. The occupation got smart -- they know that they need eyes on them at all times to keep disinformation to a minimum.

A speaker (in the black sweater) speaks to the crowd. In lieu of microphones and megaphones, the crowd chanted back what was said every sentence, so that everyone could hear the message. 


A member of Anonymous got beat down by cops on Wednesday, and the photo ended up in the New York Times (he's on the left, being held down). He was back Saturday. 


Screen printers made free shirts for anyone who wanted them.


Veterans for Peace were a heavy presence at the occupation as well. This veteran is being interviewed by someone who identified himself as a "Conservative Blogger." The conversation was very respectful; the blogger was mostly interested in the reasons why a veteran would support the occupation.

A real life Guy Fawkes. 


Yep, this is a protest full of young, clueless, unpatriotic, shiftless children... Right?


As I said, there are many, many more in the full photo set. The primary goal of this adventure is to try as hard as I can to put a stop to disinformation and falsehood being spread about the occupation. While I was there, everyone was calm with one another, but angry with the situation. They were respectful. They kept the park clean, and they never once instigated battles with cops or with those who disagreed.

Tourists in I <3 New York shirts, who very obviously were not from New York, passed by periodically, and a few of the more southern / midwestern types would yell "GOD BLESS AMERICA!" or "DIRTY HIPPIES!" at the occupation. No one confronted them. No one fought. In fact, the only actual altercation I saw involved a man in an Iowa State sweatshirt shoving a girl on the sidewalk. Those near her rushed to pick her up, and shamed the man into leaving. 

Later Saturday night, long after I'd left, the occupation marched on Times Square. I wish I had been there to get shots. From what I could tell and from what I heard, the occupation were peaceful and the demonstration was mostly peaceful.

Your turn. Before you go passing opinions on any occupation in your city that's being reported on as rude, aggressive, destructive, hostile or anything else, why not head down and see what's going on for yourself? Maybe ask them what it's all about? 

Maybe you can get out of your chair and do something. If you disagree with it, go down to the one closest to you and talk it out. Investigate it. Discuss it. Have open discourse. Don't just sit there and whine to your coworkers or neighbors or family. Do something.

If you support it... Well shit, you know what you should be doing right now.