Posts Tagged ‘technology’

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.

I’m A Dinosaur

December 21, 2013

Thursday December 19th, 2013 – Island Lake, IL

This is supposed to be the best time in history to be alive, but I’m not so sure if I’m convinced. Technology offers a lot of wonderful conveniences we only dreamed about not that long ago, but the human side of life seems to be shriveling up before our eyes. Life is changing too fast for me.

I’m not saying I want the world to be Amish, but a little more stability would be nice. Reading is an example. Does anyone actually sit down and read a book or newspaper anymore? It’s all on the internet or kindle, and everything is fragmented. I know I sound like my grandpa, but I’m not in sync with how the world is going and it’s frightening. What will it be like ten years from now?

Quite honestly, there’s plenty of technology to last me the rest of my life. I don’t need to own a video game that decapitates space aliens and squirts real blood through my TV. The video games are becoming more and more realistic and life is becoming more like a video game. It’s insane.

I was left at the starting line growing up in the ‘70s. Video games were starting to take root but I never developed more than a casual interest. I had friends who had Atari games, and I’d maybe play once in a while but it was never an obsession. For whatever reason, I never became lost in it like so many millions are today. It’s a way of life for society, and I’m on the outside looking in.

Maybe I’m an old soul who lived many times before, but I’m satisfied with simple things. I am fully content sitting down and reading a book for an hour or two, and if anything I can’t find the time to do it as much as I’d like. If I had my way, I’d be able to have time every day for reading.

I do spend a lot more time than I would prefer reading and answering emails, but that’s not the same. I’m talking about plowing through a book from cover to cover and opening myself up to a line of thinking or bank of knowledge I hadn’t come across before to make me a smarter person.

It takes effort and discipline to maintain a reading schedule, just as it does to maintain any kind of daily regimen. I’ve managed to keep up with this diary for almost eight full years, even if I’ve missed a couple of days here and there. I always catch up and have an entry for every single day.

Have I physically exercised every day for the last eight years? Hardly. I’ve fallen behind and it needs to change yesterday. I’m out of habit, and it will be hard to get myself back in a groove but it’s a necessary inconvenience. If I let my health go, nothing else matters. I’ll be in a pine box.

It’s much easier said than done though. There’s just too much going on to easily make time for all the truly important things in life. Especially with my lifestyle as an entertainer, I’m constantly on the road trying to get somewhere to do a show, then get to the next place to do another one.

It’s impossible to get on a regular sleep schedule, and making time to exercise on a daily basis is harder than that. Eating right? Who can do that? My idea of a balanced meal is a cheeseburger in each hand, and I know that’s wrong. I was really doing well for a while, but I’m sliding back.

I think there’s something to be said about a simpler lifestyle. I don’t know where that fine line of moderation is, but we as a society seem to have crossed it. I’m enjoying my life as a dinosaur.

Technology passed me by years ago. I'm a Dobiesaurus.

Technology passed me by years ago. I’m a Dobiesaurus.

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.

Positive Vengeance

September 18, 2013

Tuesday September 17th, 2013 – Schaumburg, IL

I feel very good about the direction my life is going right now, even though I have exactly zero bookings for the rest of this month. I do have a couple of continuing education classes to teach at Harper College starting on the 25th, but that still leaves my weekends open for possible fallouts.

Those may or may not happen, and I’m ok with it either way. Sure I could use the money, but I’ve got so much to do that if I don’t manage to rustle up any shows I’ll spend my time working behind the scenes like I have been. That’s where I need the most work, and I’m making progress.

I know exactly what I have to do, and I’ve chosen not only to accept but embrace it. I could go on and on about how I screwed up along the way – and I did – or how the business isn’t the same as it was – and it isn’t – but that’s not going to get me where I want to go. I have to look forward.

On the bright side, I have come through the fire and am rock solid at both standup comedy and radio. I have the skill set in both areas 99% of those in it wish they did. Is that bragging? It’s not if one can back it up, and I absolutely can. I may have had some clashes with gate keepers along the way, but that doesn’t change the fact that I can absolutely do the job both on stage and on air.

What needs fluffing up is my business acumen, and that’s what I’m focusing on with a passion and positive vengeance. I used to want to ‘show people’, but now I couldn’t care less what idiots think – and both comedy and radio are loaded with them. LIFE is loaded with them, but I choose to go around them and find the good people. The ratio may be tilted, but quality people do exist.

I’ve been going back through my archives and reconnecting with the top contacts I’ve made in my entire life. If there’s a limited amount of time in a day – and there is – why would I choose to waste even one second dealing with halfwits, scumbags or people who will never ever help me?

It may take longer this way, but I’ve already waited a lifetime. I’m light years ahead as both an act and a person, and anyone who may still hold a grudge against me sees the me that is far in the past. That guy doesn’t exist anymore. We all make bad choices. How we recover is what matters.

I’m choosing to recover by updating myself to the world of right now and forging a battle plan to win now and in the future. The number of those that still look at me as Beelzebub incarnate is laughingly small compared to the ones that like and respect me – or more importantly those who don’t know I exist. There are millions of those, so it’s like I have a fresh new world to conquer.

I don’t need to conquer all of it, and that’s getting much harder to do. There aren’t the big stars there once were, and that’s good because it gives me a chance to rack up a following big enough to rake in a healthy living. Those who would be fans are out there, and I’m going to find them.

That will begin by revamping my entire web presence, and I’m already started on that. I’ll have a new and updated website by the end of the year, and today I had a phone meeting with a person I intend to hire to help me with my marketing. I have three or four people I want to hire, but first I need to keep doing what I’m doing and work on my off stage organization. I’ll have to get back to my act at some point, but for now this is exactly what I need to be doing. I know this is right.

Rolling With Change

September 17, 2013

Monday September 16th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

The advent of the technology age has made the majority of society nothing more than slaves to the computer. We walk around like zombies, oblivious to the beauty around us as we continually text, email and talk on our cell phones to other people in other places. Life as we knew it is dead.

I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but it sure is different than anything we’ve ever known. I can’t imagine what my grandparents would say if they came back today for an hour and observed what daily life has become. I wouldn’t even know where to start as far as bringing them up to speed.

I can picture holding up my cell phone and asking my grandfather to take a wild guess what he thinks it is. I wouldn’t even ask Grandma, because she was out of it when she was alive. She died in 2004 which is not all that long ago, but she had never driven a car or even owned a color TV.

Grandma was anti technology, and I think it scared her. She did carry a loaded gun in her purse wherever she went, but I guess they had those in the old days so it wasn’t much of a stretch. That technology she was willing to accept, but anything of an electronic nature she wouldn’t go near.

Gramps was pretty hip, but he died in 1981. What was the hottest hi tech gizmo then, a garage door opener? A solar powered calculator? A digital watch? It’s laughable to think how primitive we all were just a little over thirty years ago and what impressed us then. We were such goobers.

I remember thinking how cool and cutting edge I was to have a cassette player in my car. Now cassettes are lumped in with all the rest of the outdated forms of technology like 78rpm records, 8 track, Beta and VHS tapes and even CDs. Pretty soon there will be holograms performing live.

The juggernaut of progress keeps gaining speed, and a lot of people are getting left in the dust. Unfortunately, I’m one of them. I’m now officially the old fart I never thought I’d become. I like a lot of the modern conveniences, but I admit my needs were met years ago. I don’t need a faster cell phone, but they keep making them anyway. And I don’t need it to be a camera or calculator.

I was fine without a cell phone at all until they told me I needed one. Now I can’t live without one, but it’s nothing more than an electronic leash. The government or anyone else can track me down anywhere I happen to wander on the planet. Is that good or bad? It sure doesn’t thrill me.

Today I spent several hours shrinking my email backlog from over 200 down to under 10. I’ve been behind on that for I don’t know how long, and I wanted to clear it up so I did. I answered as many as were still relevant, but others had expired as far as expired dates etc. Who can keep up?

I also read some really insightful articles on a website http://www.connectedcomedy.com written by an extremely sharp guy named Josh Spector. He’s not a comedian, but writes about what it takes to survive as one in this new reality. The business has changed, and the choices are adapt or die.

I’m fighting with everything I’ve got not to get left in the skid marks like a lot of funny people I know and like who choose not to move forward. Being just a standup comedian is not how the game works anymore, and how can anyone win any game when they don’t understand the rules?

$2,739.73

June 7, 2013

Wednesday June 5th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I have a calculator I bought years ago at a rummage sale for a quarter, and I happened to find it in an old box today. I don’t think I’ve ever used it even one time since I bought it, so I decided to play around and crunch a few numbers to get my quarter’s worth. I let my imagination run wild.

   Does anyone even use calculators anymore? Other than trying to figure out how much it would cost to fill my gas tank, I can’t think of a time I’d use one. If I really needed it, I think there’s one on my phone, right? I think so anyway. I’m still trying to figure out how to make it ring properly. It tweets and beeps and farts and does everything more than what I bought it for – to make calls.

   The world is passing me by on a daily basis, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. I’m trying to keep up, but it’s not even close. I am getting smoked like smuggled marijuana in prison. Hey, there’s a funny thought – a joint in the joint! Ok, back to reality. I’m a big human dinosaur. 

   Technology is in charge, and that’s how it is. It’s frustrating, but it’s too late to turn back now. It’s all here to stay, like it or not. Some of it I really like, but there’s too much to keep up with on a daily basis, and I feel so lost I don’t know who to complain to. Our humanity is being neutered.

   I think the era when it was the ideal mix between Flintstones and Jetsons has passed. There are a lot of great things about technology and the modern era, but there are drawbacks too. The same is true for the ‘good old days’ as well. I don’t think prairie life was the ultimate thrill ride either.

   Hunting for my dinner and sleeping in a cabin with my unshaven wife and eight melon headed offspring I need as farm hands doesn’t tickle my doo dad at all. Yes, there were no preservatives or genetic altering added to my food and it probably tasted better than McNuggets, but that’s it.

   Back then, I’d be dead by the age I am now. Even in this era, I’m shocked I have lived as long as I have. Every day I’m alive is bonus time, and I’m trying to make the best of it but it’s getting tougher by the hour. I try to be blind to the insanity that’s going on everywhere, but I just can’t.

   I still say money would solve 95% or higher of my current problems. A windfall would put me in a much calmer mindset, and I wouldn’t have the constant stress of having to make decisions to pay my bills in the short run rather than be an asset to humanity in the long run. It’s exasperating. I’d only need a reasonable chunk, but today I pulled out the stops and went for a million bucks.

   I started farting around on the old calculator, and punched in 1,000,000 divided by 365 days of the year. It comes out to $2,739.726 so we’ll round it up to $2,739.73. That’s how much anybody would need to make every single day for a year to have a cool million. Leap year it’s $2,732.24.

   That number alone blows my mind, but that’s gnat poo. There are professional athletes that are not even in the starting lineups of their teams that make multiple millions a year, and they have a contract that’s guaranteed for more than one year. I couldn’t begin to imagine what that would be like. Well I guess I could imagine it, but I’d like to LIVE it. I truly believe I could handle it well.

   What is money anyway other than a manufactured shallow symbol of the exchange of energies from one party to another? Unfortunately, in this existence it’s absolutely EVERYTHING. That wasn’t my call, and I’m not saying I like it – but it’s the truth. I’m not going to lie, I’d love to get a million bucks legally and without hurting anyone. Right now I’d be delighted with $2,739.73.

"Got change for a million bucks?"

“Anyone got change for a million bucks?”

I've got the zeros part down.

They won’t take these at the thrift store. 😦

Catching Up Late

December 23, 2012

Wednesday December 19th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   It sure didn’t take much for technology to pass me by. For as geeky and nerdy as I can be about a lot of things, gadgets have never been of much interest to me. I couldn’t care less about playing video games, even though it’s a multibillion dollar industry worldwide. It just never grabbed me.

‘Pong’ was my first exposure to that world, and I have to say I was less than impressed. I know that was the dark ages and they’re light years ahead of that now, but I have absolutely no interest in getting caught up. My time is limited as it is, why do I need to blow away virtual space aliens?

I probably should also know a lot more about computers than I do, but that doesn’t interest me very much either unfortunately. I could have probably made a nice side income fixing computers or designing websites, but I just never went in that direction. I chose something stable – comedy.

It’s laughable how dumb that choice seems now, but that was what interested me so I chased it and excluded everything else to the point of being embarrassingly deficient in having knowledge about things millions of others have known of and used for years. I’m a self made ‘techno-tard’.

That being said, I finally broke down and bought myself an iPod a few weeks ago. I’d meant to do it for years, but I just never got around to it. My music tastes are mostly old school funk, and I have plenty on CDs, cassettes and even 8 tracks. I felt no pressing need to get all 21st century, but I’ve been doing a lot of exercise walking and I wanted to upgrade what I listen to while I do it.

I did it on the cheap as I tend to do, and went to a pawn shop near my house and scored one for $80 with tax out the door that will more than meet my current needs.  The guy who sold it to me was right about my age, so at least I didn’t feel totally humiliated by having a teenager mock me.

I’ve been experimenting with it for a couple of weeks now, and I love it more every day. I like the fact that I can burn only the songs I like and leave the rest off so I never have to hear them as long as I live. Everyone knows what it’s like to buy a CD and like only one song. What a waste.

I have a ton of CDs that I only like a few songs on, and I’ve been feverishly building myself an outstanding collection of tunes tailor made for me. Music radio stations are in trouble because no program director on Earth can choose what you like better than you. I’m enjoying the freedom.

I’ve got all my Parliament/Funkadelic CDs loaded in as well as everything else I like including stuff I really haven’t listened to all that much. I hope to add and subtract over time and develop a broader musical scope. What amazes me most is the amount of songs I can pack onto this thing.

My current count is 2518 songs, even though not all of them are going to stay there forever. I’ll keep farting around until I get more familiar with the process, but that’s a lot more songs than I’ll probably need in about six lifetimes. When I worked at The Loop in Chicago, I was told the play list hovered around 400 songs, with some getting shuttled in and out to freshen the pot from time to time. It may be late, but I’m catching up at my own pace. What’s next, a daisy wheel printer?