Everything You Always Wanted To Know About TXT*

*but were afraid to ask.

A co-worker disappears into the bathroom, yet their Facebook wall magically updates. A friend tells you she can’t make it to your party because she’s not feeling well, yet her Twitter post raves about the new sushi restaurant downtown. It’s getting harder and harder to tell lies, even little white lies, when you are ‘lifecasting’. It’s also getting a lot harder to hide. People are TXTing from their mobile phones from just about every mobile location. They are telling everyone exactly what they are doing. But are they really?

Employing the 10 Ideas in 10 Minutes technique, I came up with ten things to consider (or conversely block from your mind) when you receive a text message (or IM, or Tweet).

  1. Is this person driving a car? “Don’t Text and Drive!” will be the slogan for the next generation.
  2. Is this person crossing the street? If so, they’re about to get hit by the texter from #1.
  3. Is this person operating heavy machinery? I saw a road worker texting with one dirty, gloved hand through a clear plastic bag (to keep his phone clean). With his other hand he was distractedly pushing a giant, wet, screaming radial saw into hard concrete. We’ll see how long he has two hands.
  4. Is this person standing at a urinal, or sitting on a toilet seat? It’s not like the bathroom germs can be transported via satellite, but it’s still a bit too intimate and disturbing. I suppose it’s still more polite than talking on the phone, which I’ve witnessed in a few men’s bathrooms.
  5. Is this person drunk? Look for an increase in miss-spellings, as well as odd confessions , extra X’s and O’s, and <3’s.
  6. Is this person high? Look for sentences that aren’t completed, words replaced by numbers, and strange shortened versions of common words.
  7. Is this person getting lucky? If they are sexting you, that’s okay. But if they are conversing with you digitally while having sex with someone else, well that’s just wrong.
  8. Is this person eating? Don’t text with your mouth full.
  9. Is this person in a completely different emotional state than they are projecting? How tragic to be sending out little :-) when there might be tears streaming down his or her face.
  10. Is this person standing somewhere nearby, watching you? Does that sound creepy? Because that’s what people used to do before mobile phones: stand near each other, look at each other, and talk out loud.

Act Like You’re Famous. Feel Like You’re Rich.

Having fame and fortune doesn’t mean anything by itself. You think you want it, but rarely think about why you want it. What will you be able to act like when you’re famous? What will you feel like when you are rich? If you focus more on these actions and feelings, perhaps you can benefit now instead of deferring your happiness waiting for an uncertain future. Here are some ideas to get you warmed up.

Act Like You’re Famous
How would a famous person approach socializing, commuting, chores, etc?

  1. When you go out in frumpy clothes you can pretend you are hiding from the paparazzi.
  2. Expect good service. If you were famous, you’d expect it naturally. But everyone should expect it.
  3. Wear dark glasses when you leave the house and don’t take them off. Ever.
  4. Pretend your maid or nanny is sick and you are just ‘slumming it’ with the kids/pets.
  5. Act like your friends are really your ‘assistants’. Try asking them to carry things, take notes, or cut your food.
  6. Be important. Not an ass, but important. Talk to everybody politely. Talk to everyone like they work for you.
  7. Find things to be ‘quirky’ about— for instance maybe on Wednesdays you only eat food that is blue.
  8. Blurt out catch phrases like, “That’s so wizard” and give people knowing looks as if to say, “I started that meme.”
  9. Hide your face behind your hand, newspapers, etc whenever mobs of people go by. Especially young, good-looking people.
  10. Name drop in casual conversation. Say things like, “Jordan doesn’t like this kind of fish.” When people ask who Jordan is, say, “You know. Jordan.”

Feel Like You’re Rich
How would an independently wealthy person approach career, hobbies, relationships, and relaxation?

  1. Spend more time doing what you love to do. Is that so difficult?
  2. Stop worrying about your job. Pretend you do it because you love it, not because you are obligated.
  3. Don’t spend time worrying about your possessions. Pretend you can replace anything. Besides, you can’t take it with you.
  4. Say rich things like, “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you things that make you happy.”
  5. Say rich things like, “If you have to look at the price, you can’t afford it.”
  6. Wear a cheap suit because it’s ‘ironic’.
  7. Write a will where you leave $50,000,000 to your cat.
  8. Instead of being envious of people with luxury items like expensive cars or watches, practice feeling pity. Pretend you have exclusive, custom made, hand-crafted items that cannot be bought, and won’t exist for others until they go to auction after your death.
  9. Tell people that they are looking at the world’s first future trillionaire. Tell them that your accountant needs an accountant. Tell them that it costs you thirty-thousand, nine-hundred ninty-nine dollars and ninty-nine cents just to stoop down and pick up a penny.
  10. Buy stock— even if it’s just one stock. Then you can say you ‘own’ microsoft or apple or ibm. And it’ll be true!

If you take on some of these characteristics in your day-to-day life it does a few things: it injects some humour, it causes you to relax a bit, and it reminds you that so much of what we experience is a matter of perpective. Regardless of what materials you possess or who people percieve you to be, you can alter how you look at your own life. I’m not condoning delusion, but I am giving you permission to use your imagination again. When we were kids we pretended to be all the things we wanted to be. Why did we stop?

60 Reasons to Celebrate

Today is my Dad’s 60th birthday. Here are 60 reasons why I think he’s the greatest:
1-He’s generous.
2-He taught me how to ride a bike.
3-He let me shoot real film when I was 5.
4-He’s built more than one cedar-strip canoe.
5-He has plans to build a cedar-strip sea kayak.
6-He taught me how to drive stick in a 1980 Volvo.
7-Except for Grades 3, 4, and half of 5, Dad was a teacher at the school I attended.
8-He can fix anything.
9-He can do plumbing.
10-He can do electrical.
11-He can do woodworking.
12-He can do metal smithing.
13-He can do small engines.
14-Did I mention he’s going to help convert a pick-up truck into an electric vehicle this year?
15-He bought our family’s first Macintosh computer in 1984 and changed the course of my life.
16-He has never ever been too busy for me.
17-He has never ever been too tired for me.
18-He has always listened intently to everything I’ve had to say.
19-He has survived prostate cancer.
20-He has survived back surgery.
21-He has survived the jungles of Paraguay as a kid.
22-He has survived the jeers of kids calling him a DP (displaced person)
23-He worked on a farm to support his family from the age 5.
24-His first teaching gig was in Southern Manitoba in a 1-classroom school house teaching grades 1 thru 8 all by himself!
25-He can build a quincy.
26-He came from a family so poor they honestly wore underwear sewn from potato sacks.
27-He’s the best Grandpa any kid could ask for, and my kids are so happy to spend time with him.
28-He can make great coffee.
29-He can make good wine.
30-He’s a fantastic cook.
31-He beat his terrible allergies by changing to a mostly vegan diet.
32-He once drew the entire map of Canada on the chalk board from memory—backwards!
33-He taught shop for over 25 years without one serious student accident.
34-He draws hilarious horses because they don’t look like horses.
35-He can measure most things in his head, and think in three dimensions.
36-He owned a VW Bug for a while, the old one.
37-He owned a ’67 Chevy with a back seat over six feet wide.
38-He knows how to raise most animals including cows, goats, chickens, rabbits, geese, and horses.
39-The only movies he really likes are dramas about humanity.
40-He could always tell where a TV plot was going which really impressed me as a kid.
41-He loves gardening.
42-He’s into old heritage seed catalogues.
43-His favourite store is Lee Valley.
44-He built a shed in the backyard and then added a split-level playhouse addition complete with kitchen set, railings, windows, a slide, and then a 2-piece swing set just for my kids.
45-He never complains.
46-He’s a great mediator.
47-He has great fund-raising ideas, like letting the students shave his head and beard if they reach their targets.
48-He used to take me out for chocolate shakes at Grapes when I was sad as a kid.
49-He drove us safely through the Rocky Mountains many many times.
50-He has always been supportive of every endeavor I’ve taken on, or that my wife and kids have taken on.
51-Speaking of support for artistic endeavours, he has built my Mom an amazing studio in almost every place we ever lived.
52-He took me to see the Muppet Movie, Pete’s Dragon, and Superman II at the Drive-Inn.
53-He took me to E.T., Ghostbusters, Romancing the Stone, and Return of the Jedi, among others.
54-He always stood up for me when I used to get into trouble.
55-He showed me, by example, how to be a loving, giving, partner.
56-He knows how to make people feel special.
57-He tells great stories.
58-He’s humble.
59-He’s a certified canoeist, and loves outdoor camping.
60-He taught me how to love learning.

Happy Birthday Dad!

10 New Superheroes

Inspired by Hellboy2, The Incredible Hulk, Ironman, and of course the Dark Knight, I thought it was time to brainstorm a few comicbook hero ideas. Using the patented 10in10™ technique, I rattled off the first 10 new superheroes that came to mind over a 10 minute span. Now I just need to hire an illustrator and get 10 minutes with Stan Lee…

1. Glassman – He can walk on glass, walk through glass, absorb glass and form objects with/of glass.

2. The Frog – He has the strength of 50 men, but the body (and accompanying size) of a 5-inch amphibian. At least he can walk upright.

3. The Statesman – This physics genius and former sidekick to Doc Hawk, can change his physical state at will to become a liquid, a gas, or even plasma. He can control his form in all states, but has a harder time controlling his emotions as he spreads himself ‘too thin’.

4. Doc Hawk – A mild-mannered author, quantum physicist, and wheelchair-bound ALS sufferer by day — a rogue mech-warrior with a penchant for projectiles by night.

Stephen Hawking Builds Robotic Exoskeleton via the Onion
Doc Hawk (image via the Onion)

5. Silk -Hair stronger than steel cables, this night-loving villian finds many uses for her long, uncuttable locks. Think body armour, satelite receiver, etc.

6. Captain Breakdown – One of many popular Enviro-villians, Captain Breakdown can cause practically anything to decompose, including stainless steel! If his powers were turned to good, he could help the planet Earth solve the plastic crisis.

7. Mr. Wax – Look out Madam Toussaud, because there’s a new wax master in town! Mr. Wax can change the shape of his face to (almost) match anyone he has seen. His achilles heel is the inability to animate his face during mimicry. Works great when impersonating dead or sleeping people.

8. Faxx – Faxx has the unique ability to send copies of herself across various data channels, including cable and satelite. The one drawback is speed. At current broadband rates, even at 500Mb/s she can take a few hours to upload. Faxx has been known to keep a copy of herself in her own Gmail account.

9. Twitch – Twitch can move small parts of her body at supersonic speeds for short bursts. Think concentrated seismic activity in the palm of her hand. She can create stress cracks, move heavy objects short distances, make a lot of noise, and of course shake down villians.

10. Insomnimaniac – A hyper, slightly crazed hero, who can create dream states in waking minds. The victims believe they are lucid dreaming and suffer from illusions that they can see or do anything. Insomnimaniac’s true intentions are unknown.

10 Titles For Books I Will Talk About Writing But Will Never Write

1. Everything That Happened In My Life (So Far) Could Have Been Predicted By A Quantum Computer

2. Sleep Deprivation for Fun and Profit

3. Mario is Jesus – A Spiritual Journey Through the Worlds of the Super Mario Brothers

4. Destroy All Art (Before You Begin)

5. Everything is Dead. Long Live Everything.

6. Ignorance is Not An Admissible

7. Creativity is Ridiculous

8. How I Quit My Job In Advertising to Sell This Book

9. Black Plastic Lightning

10. Asterisk*