The Internet is really boring.

I am exactly two months into my new job as a digital strategist and I am already really fucking bored of the Internet.

I’ve been studying the Internet academically since 2002. Ten years.

I studied online gamers, web communities, bloggers, social media. I wrote academic papers and I taught Digital Culture and Society  at the University of Lethbridge since 2007. Pretty sure I was the first professor to use Twitter as part of course cirriculum anywhere in the world, but I was too bored to write an article bragging about that so I guess we’ll never know. I’ll assume that I was because it was years before I read a shitty academic article bragging about such a thing. I don’t remember which professor wrote that boring article because I was too bored by it to finish and I didn’t even bother to bookmark it.

The company I am working for is wonderful. They are selling “Social Carbon Credits” online, and I am in charge of getting the word out with no budget through blogging, social media, partnerships, etc. etc. I’ve been doing a good job at this. Their social connectivity has increased 8000% (actually) and their web traffic has a sustained uptick. All the traffic in the world isn’t going to help because it seems like no one wants anything to do with voluntary carbon offsetting. It remains an uphil battle, but one worth fighting. I work for a good company run by great people who actually are trying to make a difference.

If I was working for an celeberaty website or something I would have already been hanging from the end of a rope.

The overall malaise that I felt when I was studying the Internet for a living follows me.

I thought that if I got paid more to do the Internet that I would be happier. This was an incorrect assumption. It turns out that The Internet is boring no matter how much money is in my bank account.

I sit here at this desk reading my RSS feeds, cherry picking articles and blogging about them in hopes that someone more depraved than I am decides that they hate themselves enough to read. I respond to tweets, email people, post, repost, reblog, compose. Content is king, but most of this content is really fucking boring. So boring that it makes me tired thinking about it.

Last week, in another attempt to bost the numbers for the company website, I volunteered to answer environmental questions on Yahoo Answers and Quora. Big mistake. Not only are the questions on those sites dumb, but they are also boring.

It’s the one thing I wish I talked more when I was a professor. “Oh yeah, all these important issues are fine and dandy, but how about we talk about the real problem here, which is that the Internet is painfully dull 95% of the time.”

I would write a book about “General Internet Malaise” but could you imagine having to promote such a thing?

 

 

 

The Master and other movies

For whatever reason (boredom actually), I saw two movies this week: The Master and Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Once, when I was really depressed, I watched Paul Thomas Anderson’s film “Magnolia” 17 times in a month. One day I watched it and started it over. And yet, I’ve never successfully sat through “Boogie Nights” a movie that I admire and yet find extremely dull in its presentation.

I have this thing when I go to movies where I laugh at innapropriate times, especially when I find things dumb. At the (sold out!) screening of The Master, you would have thought I was watching a comedy. It’s not that I thought it was dumb necessarily. I just found it extremely funny. Was I supposed to find Freddie Quell anything but comedic? I liked the parts when Freddie just raged out of nowhere and acted innapropriately. There were also some increadibly dumb lines of dialogue that cracked me up.

There was a couple sitting next to me, and every time I laughed, they laughed. Soon, our whole section of the theatre was cracking up. At The Master.

This excillerating public connectivity made this movie a lot more fun than I think it was meant to be, but I left the theatre feeling really good, and thus I liked the movie.

If I were to watch this movie at home alone, I would have been asleep in ten minutes.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower on the otherhand was funny because of how bad it was. My pal Sheena gave me a copy of this book once (2007), and I read it and remember thinking it was just okay. The movie adaptation is straight up terrible and I laughed and laughed at every dumb moment of this braindead movie.

Keep fit and have fun.

 

 

The Beige Plague: Tim Horton’s as Un-Canadian

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What a marketing coup! Convincing Canadians that getting your morning “Timmies” is a patriotic act. Hockey, CBC and choking down a disguisting “double double” make us Canadian.

This is wrong. Ugly and wrong. There is nothing “Canadian” about eating bad food or drinking sub-par Canadian. If it is, we have to seriously consider closing shop and moving somewhere a little more life-affirming. This isn’t the Canada I want to live in.

Here are some things that you should know before you continue lining up to lower your quality of life:

1. “Always Fresh” is a straight-up lie.Tim Horton’s doesn’t bake their donuts and bread in-store. They “warm” everything up Subway style after importing the goods manufactured in a factory. When is the last time you went into Subway and didn’t immediately turn around and run the other way before that “Subway smell” attached itself to your clothes for the rest of the day?

Tim Horton’s uses a “par-bake” method.  The cost of purchasing a frozen doughnut from Maidstone, which flash-freezes them using the “par-bake” method, is approximately double what it would cost franchisees to bake them from scratch on-site, according to court documents

2. The chain is only 50% Canadian owned.

3. Tim Horton’s now has 3000 stores across Canada. They are pushing smaller coffee shops out of business and are generally a nightmare to work for.

4. Tim Horton’s is one of the reasons Ian Blurton ended C’Mon, who “couldn’t stand the thought of eating or drinking Tim Horton’s ever again.”

5. The lids, which were supposed to be replaced years ago, haven’t changed in 10 years and never fail to spill all over you.

6. You will feel sick afterwards. You will hate yourself for ingesting their beige slop.

7. No one has ever felt an ounce of inspiration inside a beige Tim Horton’s. Unlike the coffee shops I hung out at in my youth wich were the fodder for writing and music and ideas, Tim Horton’s does the EXACT opposite to you. You will feel sad walking out of a Tim Hortons and you will hate yourself for going in.

8. Canadian comedians who rely on “Timmies” gags for cheap laughs. Nothing spells lowest common denominator like “Timmies” humour.

9. Hearing someone call Tim Horton’s “Timmies”

10. Tim Horton’s new Panini’s are foul. Mushroom-soup sandwhich, mmmmmm.

On: Losing your mind, finding yourself and the long climb out of a deep hole

A year ago. I started on a drug called Cipralex. In my last attempt to breathe some life back into this blog (around this time last year), I talked about how I had spent a good chunk of my PhD life severely depressed, and I think writing those words on the screen caused me to actually try and do something about it.

I went to my Doctor and said to him “I’m depressed and I have severe anxiety about just about everything” and he gave me some “magical pills” that was supposed to cure everything.

I filled my prescription and hopped on a plane (literally) to Los Vegas to see Morrissey with Jane. That trip was, unbenounced to her, a complete nightmare for me. My brain was in the process of rewiring itself and I was in the process of trying not to lose it.

A few months went by, and the pills weren’t really helping in the way that I had anticipated. I didn’t feel anything anymore, and life was really sort of “happening” to me. I still had ambition to do lots of “stuff” (undefined), but I was lying to myself on a daily basis on what I could accomplish in such a state.

Some things happened with my band KETAMINES, we sold a song to Target to be used in a dumb commercial about Mom Jeans, went to SXSW, and planned a huge tour with the help of our awesome new booking agent Annie at Panache (“she books Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees you know” would become my selling point, as if we would somehow get some of that magic dust sprinkled on ourselves somehow by saying this to anyone who would listen).

All of that momentum was all being set up for failure because I was, at the time, really sick. By the time that I left for tour, I was taking my pills (sometimes), I was smoking marijuana multiple times per day (something that was very, very new to me) and drinking heavily.

The first part of that tour was a complete blur. There was one point, in Chicago that I actually “blacked out” (ironically, at the HoZac blackout fest) after lecturing Ryan from Teledrome about getting his shit together.

By the half-way point in Wawa, Ontario, my bandmates started to clue in that something was off. I think they were starting to get really annoyed with me, but I pretended not to notice. I was having a “good time” up to that point, but I was out of my head.

We got to Wawa with a huge bag of psychadelic mushrooms that we got at a punk squat we played at in Montreal. They “weren’t working” so we ate all of them in one go. I don’t remember much of what happened after that, other than I ended our nightmarish party by locking myself in a bathroom, turning off the lights and crying for what felt like a long time.

I would like to say that it was “rock bottom” for me, but I think that I stayed at rock bottom for a long time after that. Hasty plans were made during this period in which I was going to move to Toronto and start life over, doing precisely what I was denying I was doing to everyone around me, that is “running from my problems.”

I would say that it took me until mid-July to start rallying and coming to terms with my life and what I had done to the people who loved and cared about me the most. By that time, I was already in Toronto – broke, jobless and terrified at what was coming next.

Yet, that long climb out of this deep hole was exactly what needed to happen to me. Running from my problems was a mistake, but climbing out of the deep hole that I dug for myself – with my friends, with my label that I care so much about, with my bandmates, with my son – life affirming and probably, in the long run, for the best for me.

I am weaning myself off the cipralex, I avoid drugs and excessive drinking. I have re-started doing music with brilliant people. I have a new career that I am finding challenging and rewarding. I am productive again. I have found new love and new friends.

Most imporantly, I feel happy. I feel happy for the first time in many, many years. I am ok now.

Yet, that hole is so close that I am conscious of getting sucked back into it. I often feel deep pangs of regret at how I treated certain people during this struggle to find a way out of my self-constructed “swamp of sadness”  – Jane, Evan, Martine, Ryan, Jeff, Tony and especially Hayden.

I want to do what I can, in time, to ease the hurt and distrust I caused in them. And maybe this is another attempt at a public apology for treating the people who loved me the most so poorly for so long.

How could it happen? Why did it happen? Will it happen again? I don’t have answers. But I do have a renewed sense of purpose, and a deep sense of not wanting to make the same mistakes again.