Sunday, June 28, 2015

#LoveWins

You may have heard, the Supreme Court of the United States made a landmark decision on Friday. Just like that [snaps fingers] same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states. Suffice it to say that America and a good part of the rest of the world went completely nuts (mostly in a good way).

#LoveWins was immediately trending on Twitter and if you use the hashtag they will throw in a little rainbow coloured heart just for kicks.


Rainbow themed profile pictures cropped up on Facebook and started multiplying like Gremlins after a nice long bath. I used the Facebook rainbow profile pic generator and at 7:05 pm on Friday, June 26, I changed my profile picture to this:



By 10:00 am the next morning I counted 57 of my 443 Facebook friends with a rainbow or otherwise equality themed profile picture.

By 2:15 pm the day following the decision I counted 80.

By 8:45 pm the number was up to 97 (my friends list was also down to 440 - more on that later).

When I woke up this morning the number was 108!

A good number of other people had also made comments about not changing their profile pic but in full support of it. I hope they never change them back. I love the look of my news feed now. Nothing goes better with pictures of cats than pictures of rainbows.

The White House was even lit like a rainbow that night - and it was absolutely gorgeous. Scores of corporations changed their avatars or sent out product-themed equality messages. This one is my favourites:

You should take a look at this article which listed 35 of the most notable

I like the above image for a couple of reasons. First, I think the way they used their products to create a rainbow was quite clever. "Look at how diverse our brands are!" Second, the message that "Labels are for Products. Not People." is bang on. Lastly, I like that P&G did this because they are a BIG company. They're not the biggest company to come out in support of equality, but they have more brands and products than I can name, and for them to show this kind of support with such an on-point message, in such a creative way, deserves a tip of the cap.

Now, in case it wasn't clear: this decision is a big deal. This is on par with Roe v. Wade and is one hell of an equality bombshell of a decision.

It's not all bubblegum and rainbows though and as expected, not everyone was on board. Just like the abortion debate, it will continue to rage. Just like equal rights for women, there is still much work to do. Just like systemic and institutionalized racism, hatred still runs rampant.

There is a list of companies that are against it and have been for a while. Some you may have heard of and some may surprise you (it's an 18-month-old list so apologies in advance if times have changed for any of these. From what I can tell, they haven't):


There are also scores of politicians, pundits, and prognosticators in the U.S. that have gone completely bat shit crazy (even one of the dissenting voters from SCOTUS flew off the handle). I can't imagine Vladimir Putin has any nice things to say about Barack Obama either (not that he ever does anyway). Even in Canada, where as of tomorrow (June 29) same-sex marriage will celebrate 10 years of being federally enshrined, our Prime Minister has been mysteriously silent. Nary a tweet of congratulations from the leader of a nation that prides itself on equality.

Let's not forget that in several states a person can still be discriminated against and lose their job for simply being gay. The Center for American Progress has a great infographic that outlines how far the U.S. still has to go on this issue.


But all is not lost. There are more than a hundred people among my Facebook friends alone that will support this fight, and there are literally millions more out there. Some of the biggest corporations in America are even on board and that's going to make a big difference. because in the good ole U-S-of-A money talks, baby!

So keep marching forward gays and allies. For the future; there is hope, and today; love wins.

~ Andrew

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father of the Year

Fathers.

We're a strange lot, aren't we? Active participants in the creation of a child, but relegated to the sidelines to watch for nine months after conception. I found it a really weird spot to be in and the idea of a child growing inside my wife was just mind boggling. Watching her give birth to our kids is sitting atop my list of the most awe-inspiring events I have ever witnessed. Second place is so far removed from this that you can hardly consider it a list. It looks something like this:



Once your child is born, your job as a father is to be a teacher; a role model. Your kids will look to you for advice and guidance, and you best be prepared because they will ask you questions and do things that you've never even dreamed of. I find that most of the time I just have to think WAY back to when I was young and carefree to figure out how to respond.

When I broke my arm the first thing I did was find my father and look for him to take care of me and get me to the hospital, so when I saw my 18-month old son running through the living room and take a nasty header the first thing I did was run over to him to pick him up. Of course, this was just a couple days after my vasectomy so when I bent down to pick him up I got him off the ground to about knee height and the pain in my nuts was so intense that I dropped him. The point is I was there to drop him in the first place.

Me, my little brother, and our dad - taking in an inter-county baseball game

When I was learning how to play sports, whether it was baseball or hockey or either of my ill-fated single seasons of soccer or lacrosse, my dad was there to show me the ropes and help me practice, so when my little girl wanted to start playing soccer the first thing I did was head over to the park to kick the ball around with her. When trying to encourage her to run like the wind after the ball I couldn't resist kicking it as hard and far as I could into the wide open field so she could chase it. Of course, the odds of me hitting her right in the middle of her face with the ball and knocking her over were astronomical. The point is I was there to kick a soccer ball into her face in the first place.

When I wanted a haircut my dad would take me across town to his barber and read the newspaper while this old Italian guy would fix me up with the perfect haircut, so when my son wanted a mohawk the first thing I did was get out the clippers. Okay, this one of those times where deviating from the fatherly guidance I received would work out, right? Of course, realizing that we had a big family photo shoot next week, I opted for no mohawk and ended up shaving his head and "ruining his life". The point is I had well maintained professional hair clippers to use in the first place.

Lastly, when I wanted to know how to behave and what words to use for any given situation I would keep a keen ear open for what my father was saying. He was a very well-read man with an English degree and always chose his words carefully, so when my wife sent me running upstairs to get the camera because our daughter was doing something cute and I heard, "Never mind. She stopped doing it," I naturally yelled out, "Shit!" Of course, this would have to be the precise moment our daughter would choose to speak her first distinguishable word. The point is she's going to need words a lot worse than that out in the real world and I'd rather she learn them at home first instead of on the street or the Internet. How else would I have been able to take her to see her first movie rated 14A last night? I'd like to think the solid foundation of expletives I've taught her more than prepared her for the movie Spy, which didn't quite rival Wolf of Wall Street for f-bombs but still had a fuckload of swearing in it (and two brief glimpses of a penis).

In another mind-boggling mystery, I can't quite figure out why I haven't received my Father of the Year award yet. There's always next year, I guess.

Happy Father's Day to my dad (whose own award is in the mail I'm sure) and to all the other dads out there lucky enough to have kids as great as mine.

My kids "Princess Pants" and (The) "Dude"

~ Andrew

Sunday, June 7, 2015

You Owe Me Nothing

I was going to do a completely different post this week, but then I came across this train wreck of a comments thread on Goodreads and I just had to voice my thoughts on it. Unfortunately, the author (of the book, not the review) has since deleted all of his comments, fortunately, some genius decided to capture it via archives.is (which should scare the crap out of anyone who suffers from the delusion that they can post something online and then bury it later).

http://archive.is/rFgtE

I had to read the whole thread because apparently I enjoy the carnage of watching someone completely self-destruct. Every time the author commented I would think, he can't possibly make this any worse, and then he went and made it worse. The real work of art here is how he swiftly took one negative review of his book and turned hundreds, if not thousands of potential readers into people 100% guaranteed to avoid anything he's ever written or will ever write. That expression, "There's no such thing as bad press"? Well, Dylan Saccoccio is finding out the hard way that there are clearly exceptions to that rule.

http://memecrunch.com/meme/6N7MG/picard-do-not-engage/image.jpg

There are many reputable authors out there who will all give a writer the same advice on responding to reader reviews: don't do it. DO NOT ENGAGE! Reviews on book sites like Goodreads, Amazon, Barns & Noble are not for writers. Reviews are for readers. You can write the best god-damned book the world has ever seen and there will still be people that think it sucks donkey balls. Get over it. You know what should thrill you to the teeth? The fact that someone literally took hours out of their day to spend time with something that you created. You may have even received some money for this transaction. If you are a writer, it's almost guaranteed to be less than a cup of coffee, but someone out there, probably a complete stranger, spent time AND money on your creation. If that's not enough for you then I think you're in the wrong business.

You know what readers owe us? Nothing. Nada. Bupkis. Zilch. Diddly squat. Nothing. Did I say nothing? I did? Well, I'll say it again, NOTHING. To put it bluntly, readers owe us exactly one-fifth of sweet fuck all.

Robert Niles has a couple great quotes and was speaking as it pertains to reporting, but this sentence is wholly applicable for all types of content:

"They [citizens] have the right, and ability, to go about their lives without ever once glancing at your publication…"

In short, by simply picking up a copy of your book or stopping by your blog and giving your work more than a second glance they've already given you a whole lot.

Be thankful for that.

In summary, read my stuff. Maybe you love it, maybe you hate it, or maybe you're somewhere in between. Either way, I'm glad you spent some time with it. That is, after all, one of the reasons I create it in the first place.

Shameless plugs:



~ Andrew.