Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Idiots On The Internet

June 26, 2014

Monday June 23rd, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Two things I have never suffered well throughout my life are (in no particular order) idiots and bullies. Occasionally they show up in the same person, and that makes it extra hard to dummy up and let it pass. I have been getting better at keeping my big mouth shut, but I still suffer relapses.

I always make the disclaimer that I don’t think I know everything and never have. I am wrong a whole lot, and when it happens I readily admit it. When I’m right I will often defend it, and that is where much of my trouble lies. It doesn’t matter if one is right. All that matters is perception.

Today I got into a war of words with somebody on Facebook of all things. I thought I’d learned to stay out of those high school skirmishes, but something caught my eye and I commented on it. The next thing I knew I was in the middle of a knock down drag out verbal clash…with an idiot.

A comedian and former student of mine commented on how he was putting together a chunk of new material, and that he didn’t like most of it. Harmless enough. Someone else that claims to be a comedian chimed in with “Adding five minutes of material a month is a new hour every year.”

I probably should have let it go, but I find that statement to be flat out ridiculous and I thought it was necessary to point that out to younger comedians. NOBODY “adds five minutes a month” of quality comedy material. It’s not that easy. It’s like adding five pounds of muscle. It’s HARD, and it takes a lot of sweat and effort to achieve it. If it were that easy nobody would ever be paid.

Standup comedy is a craft – and an extremely difficult one at that. If one really wants to master it, that person needs to know the rules and have some respect for how much sacrifice goes into it. I’ve spent a lifetime paying dues, and when some imbecile fires off the stupid gun I get incensed.

What set me off was some pompous female – I refuse to call her a lady – that got on some trip about how “positive thinking could make it happen” and blah blah blah and how I was ‘negative’ and more blah blah blah. Sorry, there’s nothing negative about it when it happens to be the truth.

She just copped an attitude on the wrong day in the wrong way, and I admit I let her have it for not only agreeing with an incorrect statement, but doing it so smugly. She has NEVER been on a comedy stage in her life, and to think she knows her ass from asparagus twisted my left nipple.

She wrote back trying to insult me, and I just laughed and unfriended her. Unfortunately, she is a “fan” of comedy to the point of stalker, and now my name will be dragged through the mud yet again. I have a knack for pissing people off, but only idiots. Smart people and I get along great.

Another feud with anyone is just not what I need right now. I’ve had enough for six lifetimes, but I felt I had to defend the craft of comedy so any newbie with a clue wouldn’t see that and get the wrong idea. It’s not easy to add new material – especially when an act is just getting started.

More accurately, five quality minutes a YEAR is more realistic. Whether she hates me or not, truth is truth. I just have to learn to shut my mouth and not start fights with idiots. Nobody wins. On the up side, hopefully she’ll spread my name to other idiots so they’ll all stay away from me.

This about sums it up in regards to Facebook.

This about sums it up in regards to Facebook.

Just because we've come a long way technologically, it doesn't mean we've been able to weed out idiots.

Just because we’ve come a long way with our technology, it doesn’t mean we’ve been able to weed out idiots. Stupid transcends everything.

A Future Addiction

May 7, 2014

Monday May 5th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

The last thing I need is another time sucking vampire in my life, but said life rarely if ever lets me have even a little say in much of anything. I can see myself hopelessly falling farther behind in my pursuits more than I already am, and on one hand it scares me to death. On the other, I am thrilled to have discovered online Scrabble through Facebook. I can’t believe I hadn’t played it.

I have long said there are just too many things to do in the 21st Century, and I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. It’s the most amazing time in recorded history while simultaneously being the most frightening. Things are evolving so fast, I don’t know who can keep up. I’ve been lost for years.

Revolutionizing gadgets, gizmos and electronic miracle machines come out seemingly by the day, and most of them are absolutely mind blowing. I have enough to do every day struggling to avoid sleeping under a freeway bridge that I haven’t let myself get sucked up in the technology that only BILLIONS of others sharing this planet use every single day. I am borderline Amish.

I resisted for years to even get a cell phone, but now I can’t live without it. Even though I know the government knows where I am at all times, the advantages far outweigh that pesky little fact. I’m not involved in any criminal activities, so they’re not going to see much other than poverty.

How many billion trillion dollars are spent on video games in modern times? I wouldn’t hazard a guess, but it’s a lot more than kids in my generation spent on baseballs, gloves and bats. I know I’m officially the last of the old school generations, but things really were different when I was a kid. Who can say if it was better without all these George Jetson toys or not? But it is different.

I have loved Scrabble since I was old enough to know what it was. I didn’t have many to play it with then so usually it was my Uncle Dave aka “Hogie” and his wife Charlene aka “Mack”. How the nicknames “Hogie” and “Mack” derived from “David” and “Charlene” is still a family secret. They’re all dead, so nobody is going to be giving it up any time soon. You’ll have to believe me.

“Auntie Mack” as she was known was a wacky cracker from my earliest memory. She was out there way past Uranus and drifting into uncharted space territory. She was one of those that had a better relationship with dogs and cats than with people. When we played Scrabble I would smoke her like a picnic ham from about age twelve on, and she would think I was trying to show her up.

I wasn’t trying to show anybody up. I just loved playing the game, and I wanted to play against the best competition possible. I didn’t care if I lost, I just loved the challenge. Scrabble was made for people like me, as were crossword puzzles. I have loved them all my life, and can’t see losing interest now. It’s probably what will carry me through my pudding years if I hold out that long.

It eventually becomes an issue with any woman I happen to be interested in. If she doesn’t like Scrabble or at least crossword puzzles I’m in for a lonely ride. It keeps the brain sharp, and it’s a lot of fun to compete with someone that’s really good. That’s part of it too. Playing someone just so-so isn’t fun either. I want it to be a challenge for both of us, and it’s tricky to find that person.

There’s a woman I’ve known for a few years who lives in Michigan, and I saw her for lunch on Saturday when I was in the area. She asked me if I liked Scrabble and she had my full attention. I told her I did, and she asked if I wanted to play on line. I had no idea one could, and I’m in it up to my triple word score. I don’t need this distraction, but then again I totally do. I love it already.

Booze? Cocaine? Not interested. Scrabble? Call the Betty Ford Clinic.

Booze? Cocaine? Not interested. Scrabble? Call the Betty Ford Clinic. I’m hooked for life.

Crossword puzzles are my thing as well - but only the hardest ones. I like it when they make me sweat.

Crossword puzzles are my thing as well – but only the hardest ones. I love it when they make my brain sweat.

3000 Idiots

March 13, 2014

Wednesday March 12th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I seem to have gotten out of the gargantuan groove I was in for a few months, but I’m going to do an about face and go right back in that direction. I was riding a major wave there for a while – probably the best one I’ve ever ridden. It was bound to end at some point, but it’s not permanent.

I am going to consciously take my surf board back out in the water and find the next one. I will not let a couple of off days take me out of the ocean. There are a lot more waves to ride, and I am on a limited time schedule. The clock is ticking, and wallowing in mud takes away from the fun.

There was a change in schedule today that I was delighted to hear about. I had recently booked a show outside of Fort Wayne, IN for tonight, but the gig called this morning and said they were going to have to cancel due to bad weather. That made my entire day, as I had no desire to drive.

I ended up being able to get some work done, and also have some time to think. I wore myself out working on the Sharing For Sheri benefit show last night and the weeks leading up to it, but I still feel it was the right decision from a karma standpoint. I don’t regret helping anyone in need.

What I did regret was making a post on Facebook pointing out that every single wannabe in the city should have been lining up to see that show last night. It was a chance to watch SIX full time professional comedians practice their craft, and also donate to a worthy charity. Every one of the acts on last night’s show would have been glad to take time and answer questions from a newbie.

In fact, that would have been the ideal time. Comedians love to talk about comedy – especially in a room full of other comedians. We were all in a good mood last night, and had anyone shown up with even the least interest in being a professional he or she would have had all the time they wanted within reason to fire questions at any of us. What a magnificent opportunity they missed.

When I attempted to point that out logically, I was rewarded with a full smorgasbord of snide remarks aimed at my profanity ridden diatribe. I felt I needed to use strong language, because it was painfully obvious few if any were going to get anything subtle. There were roughly 3000 in the two Chicago Facebook group lists, and you mean to tell me not ONE comprehends this?

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a poor turnout like this. None of the Milwaukee locals would show up when I did the benefit show for Officer Josh Albert whenever that was. It baffles me to the ends of the Earth why someone that claims to want to be a professional in any field wouldn’t go out of his or her way to network with people that have already done it. Why wouldn’t they?

We laughed about it last night. I was sitting with Larry Reeb and John DaCosse who blew the roof off the joint in less than ideal conditions. That wasn’t a comedy room per se, but when they took the stage it became one in a hurry. Their years of experience were immediately evident, and so were those of Sonya White and Patti Vasquez. Mike Preston had the flu, yet he lit it up also.

Even 12 year old Trevor Burke did a more than journeyman’s job. That wasn’t his audience but he went up and didn’t flinch all the way through his set. He stayed poised, and I was really proud of the way he hung in there and finished his set. It didn’t throw him a bit, and that’s a major feat.

The people who saw that show got their money’s worth and more, and there was a nice chunk of change raised for Sheri. The comedians were superb as a whole, and I felt great about booking the show myself. I put it together, because after thirty years I finally have a clue what I’m doing.

Why out of 3000 alleged wannabe comedians in town, not ONE would take advantage of such a rare opportunity is beyond my comprehension. But I’m not going to dwell on it and will focus on something positive. Those are 3000 of the dumbest apezoids I’ve run across in all my days.

The world is getting stupider and ruder by the minute, but I don’t have to put up with it. I have been above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to helping people and setting up shows to benefit those in need, and I’ll keep my eyes fixed on things like that. Those monkeys are in their own cage and it’s not my job to worry about their laughable lack of sense. I’ve got my own life.

I am thoroughly convinced that what one chooses to focus one’s thoughts on is a direct conduit to the quality of life that person gets to enjoy. Thoughts truly are things, and we are in control of a lot more than we think. I have been wasting my time bellyaching about a few sleazoids of late.

Why am I thinking about them? I don’t know, but it needs to stop. It’s dragging me right down to their level, and I refuse to accept that. I’ve come too far to let something that petty take me out of my groove. I had a little detour glitch these last couple of days, but now I’m back on the road.

I have been seriously contemplating whether or not to continue this daily cyber purge, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to receive several calls and emails in the past 48 hours from people that I haven’t spoken with or seen in years that have been extremely kind to ask me to keep doing it.

I’ve always done it for me since I started, but knowing I have regular readers really blows wind into my sail. It gives me purpose. I know there are a lot of other dented cans out there, and I want to connect with them and give them hope that they’re not alone either on this insane little planet.

Kirk Noland is a guy I heard from today. He’s originally from Michigan, but now lives in L.A. He started as a comedian, and we worked together quite a few times over the years. We’ve never been close friends, but we always got along fine. I remember him as funny and highly creative.

Kirk made a point to call me today not only to say some very complimentary things about my writing, but to also inform me that he too is a dented can and struggles through many of the exact same things I do. I had no idea he was even following, and it was good to hear from him. He has evolved nicely, and now makes videos. See what he does at http://www.theminutewithkirknoland.com.

Tom Mabe is another creative person that I hadn’t heard from in a while. He’s out of Louisville and had some success with his ‘Revenge of the Telemarketers’ idea among other things. Tom has also been following, and I had no idea. He’s a brilliant marketer, and is at http://www.tommabe.com.

I also know that other quality people I like and respect have either consistently shared or given me the ‘like’ thumbs up including Don Reese, Donna Carter, C.J. Vincent, Billy Elmer, ‘Rusty Z’ and many more. I’m grateful for every last one of them, and I will continue writing even if they’re the only ones that ever read it while I’m alive. The 3000 idiots aren’t worth my time, but these people are.

Kirk Noland is a creative man of man talents. I'm flattered to have him as a reader. Check out his videos at www.themintewithkirknoland.com.

Kirk Noland is a creative man of many talents. I’m flattered to have him as a reader. Check out his videos at http://www.themintewithkirknoland.com.

Tom Mabe is another guy I've always respected. What a brilliant marketer he is. Super creative. www.tommabe.com.

Tom Mabe is another guy I’ve always respected. What a brilliant marketer he is – super creative and always thinking. http://www.tommabe.com.

Comedian Don Reese is one of the sweetest human beings I've ever met - and one of the funniest. He shaved his head before it was cool. LOVE that guy. www.donreese.com.

Comedian Don Reese is one of the sweetest human beings I’ve ever met – and one of the funniest. He shaved his head before it was cool. LOVE that guy, and you will too. http://www.donreese.com.

OOPS, forgot one. James R. Zingelman - aka 'Rusty Z' is a comedian and hypnotist. SUPER funny, and a great guy. www.zingproductions.com

James R. Zingelman – aka ‘Rusty Z’ is a comedian and hypnotist. SUPER funny is he, and a super guy too. http://www.zingproductions.com

Week At The Knees

March 6, 2014

Wednesday March 5th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I am more than a little apprehensive about the events of the next week, and I’m not going to lie about it. A better word might be ‘squeamish’, or maybe just plain old ‘scared’. Dented cans are a doubting bunch by nature, and we are the way we are in the first place largely due to demolished dreams and devastating disappointment. It’s only natural that we dissect the future with disdain.

I’ve got a pair of days starred on my immediate calendar that quite frankly could go either way. The first is on Saturday when I meet up with my siblings in one room for the first time as adults. I have only had contact with one – my brother Bruce – but that contact has gone extremely well.

It has only been via email and Facebook, but we’ve had some very well thought out exchanges and touched on some very painful and delicate subjects without being anything other than honest and intelligent. It has been nothing but positive, and every time we’ve done it has gotten better.

I’ve had zero interaction with my other brother Larry and sister Tammy, and after many years of silence I just can’t help but be a bit skittish. In my mind I don’t intend to go in with any ugly feelings, but in the back of my brain I have a fear of unintentionally saying the wrong thing and blowing it all up. I don’t think that will happen, but it has been so long that I just don’t know.

Larry is pretty laid back and we have never had any major arguments, but Tammy and I had a big blowup twenty years ago, and that may still be an issue with her. I don’t know where she is in her head with it or me in general, but I’m sure I’ll find out. She did agree to show up, so that makes me feel good. I just hope we can get past everything and start over. That’s the goal here.

I don’t think it’s possible to avoid at least a few awkward moments, but I’m hoping beyond all hope we can get over the hump and make it work. I’m not expecting anything huge, but I want to make the best of something I’ve waited for an entire lifetime. We’re all people, and people have feelings – and faults. All I really want is for us to acknowledge that and erase any past hostilities.

The other date that is looming large is next Tuesday March 11th. That’s the date of the comedy benefit show for former Zanies Comedy Club employee Sheri Johnson. I’m coordinating at least the comedy part of it, and I’ve been doing all I can to spread the word. It’s always a challenge to get fannies in seats, and now less than a week out I have NO clue if anybody will show up at all.

I’ve reached out to local and area media, and everyone else I can think of that knows Sheri. It’s an especially tricky endeavor, as it’s for just one person that no offense most people have no idea who she is. It doesn’t mean her cause isn’t worthy, but it’s tough to get people out to support one person rather than an entire cause. If it were for breast cancer, fine – but who is Sheri Johnson?

I have done more comedy benefits for more causes than I can count, and more than a few have been complete flops. Nothing is worse than showing up to an empty room, and that’s my biggest fear for Tuesday. We’ve got a super lineup of talent booked, and I hope we can pull off a stellar night for Sheri. She’s in rough shape right now, and can use the financial support. From a karma point of view, this is the right thing to do. It just is. I did my best, but is it good enough? We will soon see. Donate link: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/sharing-for-sheri/140736.

Not one but two events in the next week have me more than a little concerned.

Not one but two big events in the next week have me more than a little concerned – but all I can do is wait.

One is personal, and this is the other. PLEASE help spread the word if you can. Sheri can really use some help right now.

One is personal, and this is the other. PLEASE help spread the word if at all possible. Sheri can really use some help right now.

The Polish Princess

December 29, 2013

Saturday December 28th, 2013 – Tucson, AZ

I’m still riding sky high and then some from all that’s been happening in the last few days, but I’m not naïve enough to think my problems are over for good. Life will still go on – troubles and all – and I’ve still got lots of work to do in a lot of areas. The thing that will make it better is that I will finally have an opportunity to live my life without the tumor that’s been there for so long.

I called my radio friend Max Bumgardner to tell him what’s been developing. Max is a dented can too, and we’ve really bonded because of it. He totally gets my situation, and I get his. We’ve often talked each other off of the ledge, but today I called to tell him how thrilled I was that all of this is happening. I couldn’t get through it without weeping openly, but they were all tears of joy.

There is such strong emotion here, it’s almost scary to talk about it. These feelings run so deep I’m not sure where they end. These are feelings we’re all born with, and the need to bond with a family is something we all share. When it’s been amputated early, there’s a lot of damage done.

This all feels so good I can’t fully describe it in words. Even if it blows up in my face – and for all I know it totally could – I’m not going to let it defeat me. I don’t think it will at all, but I have a thick skin about it since it’s been a source of pain for so long. I assumed it would be permanent so this is nothing but a huge bonus. I am loving every second of it, and it’s been a blissful event.

The other thing that’s been missing in my life is the closeness of a family of my own. Now that the healing process has begun on one end, the next step will be to find someone with whom I can build a lasting love relationship. I’ve always been guarded in this area, and the reason is obvious.

That blockage is gone now, so there’s no excuse for me not to have someone special in my life to share my adventure with. I’m not sure who it will be, but I know there’s someone out there for me and I’m putting it out there to allow it to happen. I never thought it was possible for what has begun to happen with my siblings, but it has. If that can take place, anything else is a possibility.

When I was about 21, there was a girl named Kim who worked at a bank that totally did it for me. She was 18, and what a knockout. She had beautiful eyes, a mane of hair that always looked great and a dazzling smile. She was a Polish girl, and had a pair of pierogis that were hypnotic.

I was totally smitten, and would wait in line at the bank to have her wait on me. Sometimes the line would move to where I’d miss her, but then I’d pretend I forgot to fill out my deposit slip or something and go back to the end of the line so I’d get to talk to her. Geeky yes, but so worth it.

Through the miracle of Facebook, I was able to reconnect with Kim a couple of years ago, and we’ve written back and forth and even talked on the phone a few times. She’s divorced with two beautiful kids, and of all the women I’ve ever met she’d be my first round draft choice if I had to choose just one. She still looks great, and there’s just something about her that rattles my cage.

I wrote her a letter and told her of what’s going on in my life. I’m not sure what her situation is but I told her if she’s single I’d love to get together at least for lunch and just talk a little. Maybe she’ll blow me off, but that’s ok. If it’s not her, someone will eventually say yes. I’m ready now.

When I was 21, the hottest woman I ever saw was a Polish girl who worked at a bank in Milwaukee.

When I was 21, the hottest woman I ever saw was a Polish girl who worked at a bank in Milwaukee.

Cyber Slavery

October 4, 2013

Wednesday October 2nd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

I would really like to know who if anyone is able to hover anywhere even close to current with everything that’s going on in life these days. Show me even one example, and I’ll shut my mouth and admit the fault lies within me. But as it appears now, it’s nobody’s fault. We’re all swamped.

Life is getting way too complex for my tastes, but there doesn’t seem to be any relief coming in the near future. The internet was the best thing that has happened to human communication since the printing press, but also the worst. We are now chained to it and are a society of cyber slaves.

Just as one new doo dad is able to be figured out, three more pop up and it’s maddening. I can’t come close to getting it under control, and I feel helpless and overwhelmed. I used to laugh at my grandparents for their lack of getting hip to “high tech” items like calculators and cassette tapes.

I can’t imagine what they’d be like today. Gramps tried to stay with his times, and was as good at it as anyone I knew of. He was constantly trying to stay well read and informed, but he worked at it throughout his life. He was always going to the library, watching TV news and checking out the latest trends whenever he could. He’d read newspapers all the way through every single day.

That adds up over years, and he could carry on intelligent conversation with just about anyone he would meet because he was prepared. Who can do that now? With the depth of knowledge to acquire on so many subjects, there just isn’t time to do it all. Something somewhere gets left out.

Fantasy football is a great example. Gramps was a big football fan, but I can’t picture him with enough time to do the research it takes to know all the players that deeply to be able to wheel and deal every week trying to outsmart an opponent. It becomes a full time job to learn it that deeply.

And if one does, everything else gets ignored. There’s no choice. There are only 24 hours in all of our days, and we can only put so much effort into so many topics. Then it becomes a decision of wanting to know a little about a lot of things or a lot about a little. Nobody can manage it all.

Then there was my grandmother who chose not to evolve at all. She never drove a car, rode on an airplane or even listened to FM radio. Her favorite polka show and Paul Harvey were on AM. She didn’t need anything else and didn’t want it. She had her black and white TV and enjoyed it.

Today I find myself somewhere between Gramps and Grandma, but I can’t say exactly where. I try to keep up with as much as I can, but my point of need for more was reached long time ago. Myspace was good enough for me, but that faded away and Facebook became the new standard.

That was fine too, but then Twitter showed up. Then LinkedIn. Now I’m getting notices for all kinds of things I haven’t heard of, and they tell me I have ‘followers’ and ‘friends’ I don’t know. Those I do know I can call on the phone or email. I don’t need to be in another online cyber cult.

Emails, voicemails, tweets and calls keep me busy enough. What about actual face to face time with real humans? Who has time for that? We’re all too busy drowning in our sea of cyber clutter and it’s past the point of being out of hand. Podcasts? You Tube? What’s next? I’m afraid to ask.

The 21st Century slave master to us all.

The 21st Century slave master to us all.

More Rejection Please!

September 21, 2013

Wednesday September 18th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

As crazy as it may sound, I need to have more rejection in my life. LOTS more. It’s no secret I haven’t been doing my due diligence as far as handling my bookings goes, and there’s absolutely no reason for it other than I can’t stand that part of the business and have focused on other things.

That’s going to have to change in a hurry, and it has already started. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this is of ultimate importance, and if I ever want to achieve any real success at what I’ve spent so much time and energy on already I’m going to have to learn to like it or hire someone.

Some parts of life just flat out rot, even for the most glamorous of occupations. I’m sure being an astronaut has its fun parts, but crapping in a space suit doesn’t sound like one of them. Life is often a tradeoff, and we have to make sacrifices of things we don’t like to achieve things we do.

I still enjoy being a comedian, and if I want to continue I need to find a way to stay booked on a regular basis where I can make a living. There are more comedians out there looking to get the same bookings I am than ever before, so I’m going to have to step it up a few notches to survive.

The painful truth is, 99.999% of humanity doesn’t know I exist. That’s true for most everyone, but it’s especially bad for politicians and entertainers. If I am ever going to have a career instead of just a job in this business, I need to overhaul my methods and do it right. It’s been a weakness.

Getting rejected is unfortunately a major part of this game, and I’ve had a heaping helping of it for decades onstage and off. Sometimes I’ve handled it well, and other times beyond poorly. The onstage rejection I’ve learned to completely ignore. I have leathery thick skin, and have tanked it so many times it doesn’t affect me at all. Off stage is where I need to improve greatly, and I am.

Nobody likes being told they’re not good enough or worse yet totally blown off altogether, but that’s what happens on a daily basis as we try to procure work from people most of us wouldn’t choose to have personal contact with in any way if we didn’t need what they have. It’s insincere in my opinion, but also necessary. If we want work, we have to be known by those who have it.

I’ve always preferred to work for people I like and respect, but times dictate that is not always possible. Work is harder to come by than ever before, and nobody can afford to blow off possible bookings just because of a personal jag. Fortunately, I’ve already had my fallings out with most of the top flaming weasels in the business, and/or they have excommunicated me from their fold.

My big mouth has gotten me into trouble, and I’m not going to deny it. I tend to say what’s on my mind, and often it hasn’t been popular with the powers that be. It wasn’t necessarily smart to be that way coming up the ranks, although I still find it refreshing to know I had the guts to do it.

Guts are one thing, but smart business practices are another. I could’ve just as easily kept quiet and gotten a lot more bookings over the years than speak out and burn bridges like I did. It’s too late to change those particular situations now, but it isn’t too late to change how I handle myself. There are all kinds of bookers I’ve never worked for before, and I have a totally clean slate with all of them. Most if not all have no idea who I am, and it’s up to me to sell them on my ability.

I’ve said it before and it’s true more than ever – my true profession is now sales and marketing. It always was, I was just too stupid to see it. I was busy trying to be the ‘artiste’, but that’s never where the real money is. Art is fine, but that pesky word “starving” is all too often in front of it.

I’m not a fan of living like a cockroach, even though I’ve grown very accustomed to it over the years. I don’t mind a frugal existence, but I want it on my terms. Ramen noodles and Spam don’t taste that bad, but they’d taste even better if I had a million dollars in the bank. Just knowing that I could have filet mignon any time I wanted would do me fine most of the time. I’d like security.

So, is that “selling out”? I’m sure depending on the person being asked that term would pop up immediately, but so what? I’m sure had I been asked the question twenty years ago it would have made me flip out and go off on a tangent about staying true to one’s artistic vision and all of that.

I’m still very much into artistic vision, but there has to be business acumen along with it or it’s a dead end street with no way out. I know a lot of talented people who have sold themselves far too short – or worse yet not at all. If nobody knows I’m out here, how can I ever expect a career?

This is often a Catch 22 for most performers. Going to New York or L.A. was traditionally the main way to “get seen”, but that’s not where the pay is. Comedians or bands needed to get out on the road to pay the bills, and that’s the trap I fell into at an early age. It’s great to cut one’s chops on the road, but at some point there needs to be a payoff. I am now ready to get in line for mine.

I have been paying extra attention to this part of the process of late, and today I took part in an online seminar talking about marketing skills for entrepreneurs of all kinds. It was a solid hour of interesting tips and hints to make everyone’s online presence better, since that’s so crucial now.

I’ve got Facebook and Twitter accounts for both my comedy and ‘Schlitz Happened!’, but I’ve not taken them very seriously quite honestly. The seminar today had three ‘experts’ I never heard of preaching how important it was to grow and maintain relationships with social media contacts.

They made a lot of sense, and that’s just for ‘regular’ people with ‘regular’ businesses. I should be ten times ahead of the curve if I’m in the entertainment business, and that lit a fire in my pants to get out there and DO it. I need to be seen by more people, but that comes with more rejection.

Too bad. I chose to be in this racket, so I’m only cheating myself if I don’t put myself out there to EVERY SINGLE PERSON that could possibly book me for a show, and make myself readily available to get hired when an opening occurs. It’s a numbers game, and if I’m not out there with everyone else how can I ever expect to move ahead? This is a simple truth, but I haven’t done it.

The good news is, I can and will change it immediately. I already have a proven act, now I just need to let more people know it’s available for hire – and at reasonable rates to boot. I’m sure I’ll get rejected a lot in the process, but I’ll also get more work too. I’ll make that trade in a second.

If you aren’t my Twitter friend, would you please connect with me? I’m @dentedcandobie and @schlitzhappened. I also have a King of Uranus @UranusTweets. I’ve got Facebook accounts at http://www.facebook.com/dobiemaxwell and http://www.facebook.com/SchlitzHappened. I do appreciate it.

A Slap In The Facebook

September 12, 2013

Tuesday September 10th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

Success in life not only is about who a person knows, but how one develops each relationship. It requires constant maintenance, and there are always those checking in and out like the players in a basketball game. Everyone’s time is limited, so there needs to be a plan in place to succeed.

I’ve been going over my extensive list of contacts lately, and that’s another area of my life that can use a total overhaul. I haven’t had much of a plan, and it shows. With just a little solid effort, I feel ultra confident I can improve my life significantly in a relatively short time and I plan on it.

Today was a perfect example. I got on Facebook and checked the list of who else was on at the time and instant messaged about twenty people I hadn’t talked to in a long time. I popped in for a quick second to say hello, and every one of them answered back within a few minutes and said it was good to hear from me. It wasn’t invasive, and in fact quite a pleasant experience all around.

Most of them were other comedians, and a few others I’d worked with in radio. There wasn’t a reason to contact them other than to say hello, but the point is I made the effort. Who couldn’t do the exact same thing with a more targeted list of people on a consistent basis to build a network?

I thought I’d been pretty good at staying in contact with people through the years, but I can get a whole lot better. Facebook is an amazing tool, or at least it has the potential to be amazing. It’s always a matter of what one does with a tool that determines results, and I see a need to improve.

I’ve managed to acquire close to the 5000 friend limit on Facebook, but I can’t really say how I did it. I didn’t actively set out to do that, it just kind of happened. People would send me requests and I would say yes. I requested people to be my friends, and they said yes. There was no plan in place, but eventually I got up to 5000. Stragglers come and go, but it’s always right around there.

I was looking through my contact list today, trying to categorize where everyone came from so I can figure out the best way to stay in contact without being a pest. I like the idea of newsletters, but I don’t want to invade people’s privacy. There’s a delicate balance, and I never want to cross the line from friend or acquaintance to cyber psycho. Once that line is crossed, the game is over.

I see all kinds of wackadoos on Facebook who over post in my opinion, and I never want to be one of those. I don’t care about your melon headed kid’s first tee ball game, and care even less to see a picture of the guacamole you had for lunch or with whom you ate it. Does anybody care?

There are more than seven BILLION people these days, and America has only the third highest population. If I made a dozen contacts a day – a pretty high number – it wouldn’t make a dent if I did it seven days a week for fifty years. I have to carefully choose who I spend my time with, but the good news is I can make that choice. It’s time to make a list of my most prioritized contacts.

I do need to weed out a few time vampires, but everyone has those. Let them bother somebody else. I’m going to go around them, and focus on those I need to be in contact with and start from there. Doing what I did today gave me hope, and I could tell right away it was the right decision. The Facebooks and LinkedIns of the world have their downsides, but they’re still valuable tools.

I QUIT!

May 23, 2013

Tuesday May 21st, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   There’s a major upheaval going on inside my head, and I couldn’t be more excited. I know that I need to completely rewire my beliefs down to the core, and as scary as that may be I’m ready to dive in with both feet and make a full commitment. Upgrading my car was a very positive start.

   The next thing that needs to be tweaked heavily is my model for career success. The world I’m in now both professionally and as a whole is completely different than the world I started in, but that can be said of anyone. We’re all learning to adapt and adjust, but the older we are the harder it is to do. Comedians of my generation were spoiled. We got to experience those fabulous ‘80s.

   That was an amazing time to be a comedian – probably the best ever. I’m delighted I got to see and experience it firsthand, but those days are gone forever. I can’t go on conducting business as if times haven’t changed. They absolutely have, and comics from my generation are hit hardest.

   We all clearly remember when there were more clubs than acts, and anyone with a phone and a functioning car could get booked enough to at least squeak out a living. It only lasted for a short time, but boy was it fun. It’s nothing like that now, and that means I have to come up with a new plan – or have a plan period. Back then nobody thought about anything other than their next gig.

   We were able to easily bring in a livable wage almost immediately – even as an opening act – so that virtually NOBODY even thought about merchandising except my friend James Gregory from Atlanta. Kudos and then some to James for being the nationwide leader years before I saw anyone else do it. People used to snicker at him for selling his wares, but who’s laughing now?

   James was smart enough to treat comedy like a BUSINESS. That’s exactly what it is, but most of the rest of us weren’t that smart. We stupidly assumed everything would ‘just work out’ for all us and even stupider than that we assumed it would last forever. I’m embarrassed that I did too.

   Nobody pictures getting older or the times changing, and NONE of us saw the internet coming – not even James. That was the giant fire breathing cross between an elephant and a dragon that mysteriously appeared out of nowhere and completely changed the game. It took a while, but it’s here to stay. Anyone who enters the game today has a whole new set of paradigms to deal with.

   I can’t speak for the others of my generation, even though I know more than a few aren’t liking the way things have evolved. I’m not thrilled with it myself, but I have to enter into a mindset of today in order to continue or you can make my next check out to ‘Mr. Edsel’. It’s a new world.

   Unfortunately, funny has little or nothing to do with the game today. It’s all about being able to get noticed. Who has the most Facebook friends? Who can put asses in seats? It wouldn’t matter in the least if the ‘next big thing’ in comedy wouldn’t get ONE laugh. If he or she could fill seats in a comedy club, they’d be instant headliners. I didn’t create this world, but it’s where we live.

   If Charles Manson and O.J. Simpson were to be released from prison and decide to do a tour of comedy clubs, they’d sell out coast to coast in minutes. Again, I’m just reporting the truth. I wish it mattered who’s funny and ethical and nice, but none of that has anything to do with anything. I don’t have to like the way things are going, but I do have to deal with it. The ‘80s are over on the calendar, and they have to be over in my head too. It was a great time, but I can’t live there now. I am now an internet marketer specializing in humorous content. As far as a comedian – I QUIT!    

Twitter Shmitter

February 1, 2013

Wednesday January 30th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   There comes a point when I think it’s acceptable to ask just how much technology do we really need? I think that point is now. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve been deeply over my head with all of it for several years now. Five year old kids can run circles around me, and I know it.

Email was pretty cool, I must admit. I think I bought my first computer in 1996 or right around there, and it was a desktop behemoth somewhat akin to the old wood grain TVs our grandparents had. I had a dial up AOL connection and I thought I was George Jetson. The future had arrived.

I reconnected with old friends online, and made new ones. I was fine with that level of business and had it not gone any farther I would be a happy man today. I was never into video games or at the cutting edge of needing to have the latest gadgets and that’s where I got trampled by the herd.

Cell phones were another hurdle. I scratched and clawed against getting one for years, as I just couldn’t see a practical need to carry a phone with me for any other reason than my car breaking down. With my luck with cars I should have been one of the very first on the planet to have one.

I finally broke down in about 2000 and signed up for a cell phone when I was working in radio in Salt Lake City. The station had a group discount plan, and I still remember joking on air about how stupid I thought it was for everyone to have to haul them around like modern walkie talkies.

I found nothing wrong whatsoever with how the old system was of a phone at home and others located at strategic locations that could be used by anyone who needed them. Why would we all need to carry our own? Well, I guess none of us actually need to but it sure has caught our fancy.

Who walking the earth in the 21st Century could imagine life without a cell phone? I left mine at home the other day and needed to call someone, and actually tried to find a pay phone. Good luck with that search. I might as well look for two, and if I’d happen to find them I’ll bet Jimmy Hoffa will be talking to Amelia Earhart. I am officially a member of the last dinosaur generation.

That’s funny to me, as my grandparents used to look at me as Mr. Spoiled Brat with all the new technology they never had – including indoor plumbing and running water. I heard about all their struggles growing up ranging from milking cows to cutting wood for heat and I’d laugh about it.

Now everyone is laughing at me. I was at the cell phone store the other day because my what is supposed to be a smart phone wasn’t functioning properly. It turns out the phone was totally fine but I was the moron for not knowing how to program it. Phone – smart. Owner – not. How ironic.

The latest obstacle I’ve been fighting is Twitter. Everyone seems to be on it, but I can’t for the life of me see why. Short blasts of meaningless tripe from Ashton Kutcher or Nicki Minaj aren’t a priority in my life, but neither was all the other stuff I now couldn’t live without. I think I need to be very careful before I totally poo poo the idea, but I’m too busy with Facebook and Linkedin and trying to keep track of everything else I’m not able to keep under control. Life passed me by.