Pavlovazon Prime

hijinks-ensue-january-2015-book-sale-2UPDATE: ONLY 2 WEEKS LEFT!!!

For the month of January 2015, both of my books are only $5 each. Buy 2 of them and I’ll give you a free mystery mini print. After January they are GONE FOREVER

I am selling them at or below cost so they can go to Fancy Bastards that will appreciate them, rather than a bonfire. Grab them HERE. 

HEY HEY HEY, did I mention that I have a Patreon? I do, and because my Fancy Patrons blew past the $1500 Milestone Goal, I was able to completely redesign the website. The comics are about 15-20% larger as well. So far I’ve uploaded embiggened versions of all the comics from 2014. BIG BIG thanks to Fancy Bastard Frank Fenton for helping me fix some of my CSS screw ups that were breaking the site on mobile browsers, and to Fancy Bastard Dan Herman for fixing the mobile alt-text button yet again.

I get upset… or rather upsettingly confused whenever anyone starts to talk about the “reason for the season” to the “ONE TRUE ONLY MEANING OF A CERTAIN TIME A YEAR!” when it concerns a hodgepodge set of rituals, superstitions and traditions appropriated from a dozen different cultures on 3 continents over 2000ish years and duct taped together into a Frankenstein’s monster of long forgotten reasons for doing things a certain way for a certain while. I celebrate Christmas because it’s fun for me and my family. I know it’s an arbitrary conglomeration of disparate traditions, but I like putting a tree in my house sometimes. The lights are pretty. The gifts are nice. It’s an excuse to have fun with and be nice to your friends and family.  I enjoy pie.

Santa is even weirder and more nonsensically cobbled together than Christmas. Geez, just Google that weird dude sometime. Read that jolly ol’ abomination’s Wiki page. Santa is like when ever studio makes a giant meteor movie the same year. It’s hard to say who did it first, and it’s debatable who did it better (Deep Impact was better), but all of the sudden we have like 4 meteor movies and they’re all pretty much the same. Somehow nearly every culture that ever got cold decided on their own that a weird guy with probably a beard and most likely a sled or a horse would go around some time toward the end of the Solar year and separate the child wheat from the child chaff, bestow gifts on one set and shun the other. A Millenia or two later, and we just have the one guy. In 1000 years are we just going to remember every meteor movie as ONE BIG meteor movie? Will is star Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis, or just Morguce Weeman?

I used to try to stay at least tangentially aware of things that didn’t particularly interest me enough to experience them directly. I watched a lot of stand up comedy as a kid, and through that I got a sort of crash course in “these are the things people know about in general.” It’s like hearing an impression so many times that it takes on it’s own life separate from the actual person who was being impersonated. I say “used to” because about a decade ago I stopped looking at or listening to things I didn’t specifically enjoy. I’ve basically entered a state of knowing the names of current pop stars or young celebrities, and MAYBE knowing what they are famous for without ever actually experiencing them or their work in any way. For instance, I do not know who Arianna Grande is or what she sings, but I know that she exists and THAT she sings. Does that make sense? It is through this lens of “meh” that I experience most of what young America considers pop culture. I got a lawn, get off of it, etc, etc.

We honestly never told our daughter about Santa. He just WAS. He permeated the social atmosphere of the world so effectively that we never had to tell her who he was supposed to be or what he was supposed to do. Because of this, we always took a “I don’t know, what do you think?” approach when she’d ask questions about his seemingly magical exploits in a decidedly non-magical word.

COMMENTERS: Of what things or people are you just casually culturally aware (enough to keep up a conversation at work*, but not enough to explore on your own time for your own enjoyment)? Any particular experience with faking knowledge about something all the kids are into these days, what with their hair and the clothes and something about the hips hops? Oh, and how great is it to come home on Amazon delivery day and just sit there like a puppy waiting for a treat until the doorbell rings? What a wholly satisfying human experience.

[*I just realized that the main reason I am able to divorce myself from things I don’t have any interest in is because I am not surrounded by coworkers every day. It’s easy to stay in a bubble of your own interests when there’s no one nearby to break it.]

Putting Out Fires

HijiNKS ENSUE PODCAST Episode 87 “” is live!

I can’t say I’m totally in favor of tech that’s involuntarily ad supported. Maybe if it was an option for a lower upfront cost I’d be cool with it, but knowing that it’s just part of the package is a little hard to swallow. Of course Google (the actual search engine, not the media conglomerate that beams keywords into your nightmares based on specific childhood fears you wrote about on Facebook) is a piece of tech that only comes plastered with ads. So maybe that’s not such a bad way to keep costs done. Ok, in the course of two sentences I have invalidated my own opinion, or at least confused it a bit.

I remember in the late 90’s/early 2000’s when you could get free dial up if you agreed to have about 2″ of your 15″ (14″ viewable) monitor taken up with ads. I never got it to work at my apartment, but I had a few friends that did and they would make a bezel out of black tape around their screens to permanently cover the ads. Perhaps that was the first ad blocker. Speaking of ad blockers, if you use one please consider white-listing this site. I make a about a quarter of my income from ads and every little bit helps.

Despite being an iPad man myself, I am glad that there are more and more quality tablets hitting the market and taking a foothold. When I was a kid I always liked the “futuristic” shows that would depict the magical world of the year 2001 where everyone had a personal communication device about the size of a text book with them. I even made a cardboard and paper model of Penny’s Computer-Book from Inspector Gadget. Now there are at least 4 items in my house that could be described as computer books. I’m not saying a tablet in every hand drastically improves the world or the average person’s quality of life (though an argument could be made if we got down to specifics), but it does make everything feel more futurey and that is fine by me.

I feel like having a smartphone with relatively fast internet essentially makes you a cyborg. No joke. It gives you nearly instant access to essentially all human knowledge and effectively increases your memory and brainpower to superhuman levels. Sure you can’t tell me how far away the North Pole is off the top of your head, but you can find the information in less than 30 seconds. Effectively, isn’t that the same thing? What if your phone didn’t have a screen, but instead had a neural output that fed the information you requested directly into your brain? Would there be any difference in knowing the names of everyone that signed the Declaration of Independence or being able to recall and recite the information immediately? I already look at my brain’s relationship to my computer/phone/tablet/cloud storage as a relationship between two different computers. Instead of taxing my brain to remember the several hundred things on about a dozen differently prioritized to do lists (do now, do later, long term, website stuff, freelance stuff, etc.), I only have to remember to check the list. I have replaced hundreds of processes, commands, and chunks of memory with a single command and a single bit of data. You could do the same thing with a piece of paper, but that wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

I guess I didn’t talk about those new Kindle Fires much, huh? Well, it seemed like there were a lot of them. At least four. Maybe two hundred.

COMMENTERS: Please weigh in on ad-supported tech or the new Kindle Fires in general. Or share any stories about how far you have gone to defeat some measure intended to cripple a service you were using in some way. Any black tape on the monitor? Ever record early streaming internet radio to tape the edit out the commercials? If you are a weirdo like me, desperately clawing his or her way into a perceived “future,” please share your thoughts on “my phone makes me a brain robot.”