Tag Archives: internet

Gratitude: Connectivity

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Seriously, do you remember life before wi-fi? Before dialup? Were we truly even alive?

In some ways the internet is making us all stupider. We don’t have to remember things, because the internet remembers them for us. We don’t have to search for things; the internet does that too, which means we miss out on all the things we would have learned if we undertook our own, more arduous searches. The internet supports the rise of a lowest-common-denominator culture where there are no gatekeepers and anyone can publish anything, so the authority of the average piece of writing can never be assumed. Also, it’s destroying our ability to focus and concentrate. And it’s probably wholly responsible for the rise of white supremacy in America and the election of the current president.

But also, the internet brings us everything: new friends, old friends, music, movies, books, games, homework help, advice, cat pictures, instant news, school, an easy cheat to “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” and the basic sum of all knowledge discovered by our species. Can you imagine going back?

I don’t want to go back, anyway. Not if I can’t telecommute, digitally spy on people from my past, instantly discover the answer to almost any question I might have about the world, share my art with 1000s of people minutes after I complete it, and chat, for free, with anyone, anywhere, any time, in a format that allows me to also do 50 other things without the person I’m chatting with having any idea what percentage of my attention is focused on the conversation.

Despite its drawbacks and abuses, I’m grateful for the internet.

 

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Gratitude: The Public Library

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Pima County Public Library, Martha Cooper branch (Garden District), rear view

Can you believe that there are otherwise sensible people who don’t “believe” in public libraries? Yeah, this seems crazy to me, too, but these people exist. They use arguments like, “I can get any book I want on the internet” and “Google is faster for research.” Never mind that fact that some people can’t get any book on the internet, because, just like the people for whom public libraries were originally constructed, they can’t afford that technology. Never mind the fact that search engines prize popularity over objectivity and readability over depth, delivering so many fast results that you could spend the rest of your life sifting through all 1.58 million of them, without necessarily finding the results you needed. Besides the primacy of facilities available to anyone who wants them, staffed by professionals trained to discover, curate, and deliver reliable content, libraries serve as public meeting spaces, classrooms, clubs for nerdy kids, safe spaces for those with terrible homes, and temples to knowledge. Many people couldn’t get jobs, or tax information, or any one of hundreds of things most of us take for granted, if they didn’t have access to library computers. As more and more common functions become more online (typically making them more difficult to access in meatspace) libraries allow those without computers to simply participate in their own culture.

My property taxes are somewhat itemized, so I can see that, last year, I paid $50 toward these services. That’s $50 for 1 year. I pay more than that for one month of internet service at my house. And you can have all the internet you want at the library. Even when it’s closed; in my town, library networks are strong enough that you can park your car in the street near the library and get online. That’s on top of all the other things you get inside the library when it’s open. And that $50 doesn’t just get my family and me through the door. It helps keep the doors open for everyone.

If you want to stand up and say that you don’t believe in libraries because you think a certain percentage of the population shouldn’t have access to information, good luck with that argument. Obviously, there are people who will wholeheartedly agree with you, but I assume these are the same people who don’t believe in public roads, or public police forces, or public fire departments. At this point in human history, access to information should be considered a human right, like clean air and fresh water, but, of course, there are people who don’t want you to have those things either. And if they can keep you out of the library, you might not even know that you have a right to those things.

So, all hail the public library. I am grateful that you continue to serve as a sacred hall of knowledge available to all who seek it.

So Superior

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Our go-to has long been the woman who can’t eat anything but cheesy potatoes.

Today was a better day, obviously. The Man was a great comfort to me. Of course, staying mostly off the internet is the best medicine. But if you, like many people, find that you can’t do that, if you’re staring at photos of people you hated in high school and former lovers whose lives all look more put-together than yours, there’s always the woman who eats nothing but cheesy potatoes, or old clips from Maury Povich or Judge Judy, and, of course, People of Walmart. It’s crazy easy to feel superior to the rest of the world if you just know where to look.

Anyway, I’ve got your number, basement dwelling neckbeard troglodytes. I know just where you live. In your mom’s basement.

Totes Inappropes

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Microsoft? Ew? Not going to touch that one.

It’s sort of a wonder that this blog is as accessible as it is; in person, I can be extremely inappropriate. Maybe I’ve never been thrown out of a day spa for using salty language during a company team-building exercise like some kitties I know, but, on average, outside of the elementary school and my dealings with children, I’m really not rated for anyone under the age of 17. I can make anything sound inappropriate. That’s why I’m not allowed to accompany the man to the hardware store or to the car parts store. I am totes inappropes all the time, but especially when the world is asking for it.

This one started with “clapback.” I guess that term was IRL slang before it was all over the Internet but I definitely associate it with semi-famous people arguing on Twitter, to at least the same extent that I associate “clap” with “gonorrhea.” Every time I hear it, which is increasingly over the past few months, all I can think of is a ping pong clap infection. You have to both get treated, people! Hashtag and Buzzfeed really speak for themselves; I know (from experience) that what I’ve done in panel 2 never works in real life, though. Nothing stops those people. Only the last one eluded me for a while. Originally I was going to make a 3-panel comic but the truth is that this template is easier to work with, so I ran through my knowledge base to find a 4th thing to make fun of so I could use this one, and “Google Doodle” it is. I guarantee if you asked someone to check out this Google doodle 25 years ago, their response would be much, much different.

And speaking of semi-famous people on Twitter, the author of Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, Christine Baldocchino, retweeted my comic making fun of people who didn’t like her book. I still don’t understand Twitter, but it is beginning to work for me on some level.

Happy Friday! Make sure you don’t get that clapback and remember to keep your Google doodle to yourself unless you have enthusiastic consent to share it.

Queen of Hearts Mandala

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Off with her head. Off with all their heads.

I’m starting to suspect that posting mandalas actually decreases the traffic on my blog, but goddamnit I have all these freaking mandalas and they need to be uploaded and I’m going to post them on the Internet. So there.

In other news, I read that the standard style book is changing and “Internet” will no longer be capitalized come this summer. That makes zero sense to me. That’s like saying that we’re going to stop capitalizing “America” or “Europe.” The Internet is like its own country and deserves to be a proper noun. Sigh. /end nerd rant.

This weekend was a wreck. I’ve been sick all week. I thought it was just a combination of allergies and the residual stress of my bullshit nightmare journey at the beginning of the month, but The Man, who also thought it was just allergies, has had all the same symptoms, but 2 days in advance of mine, so clearly he caught a weird cold and then gave it to me. And I’ve probably given it to everyone I’ve hung out with since I got back, because our friends are all pretty casual and we sharing drinking vessels and other things that touch your face. Sorry guys. It’s really just a mild cold. But still annoying.

Also, it rained all weekend, which is just completely ridiculous. I didn’t move to the goddamn desert to watch it rain constantly. On the plus side, in 50 years when the entire east coast is under water, climate change may very well turn the desert verdant and arable. If the Big One hits California and it falls into the ocean, Arizona could be the next Garden of Eden. Still, it wasn’t what my brain needed.

I’m writing a sad comic for Tuesday. It’s about my life.

Wrong on the Internet

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This is how I draw when my head hurts. 

Generally speaking, I do my research, and look up new or confusing ideas, and maintain a healthy sense of skepticism toward concepts that seem unlikely to be true. Usually, I try not to say anything unless I’m 100% certain it’s right, and will make a persuasive contribution to the discussion will be. usually, I know what I’m talking about. Usually.

I can admit when I’m wrong. I might not choose not to verbally concede minor points when arguing with strangers about larger issues, though. There is no way that you can reframe the discussion to persuade me that the American military budget is not bloated, monstrous, and an offense to humanity. And then right after learning the difference between discretionary and mandatory spending, I had a nice chat with a lawyer friend about why the first amendment doesn’t prevent rabid lunatics from screeching that you are going to hell while you attempt to enjoy yourself at happy, peaceful, family-friendly events. Because community standards only exist at Antioch. In the real world, jerks have a protected status to continue their jerkiness.

Ultimately, that’s the problem with any system of governance: the jerks. If people could just wrap their minds around Wheaton’s Law, we literally wouldn’t need any other law. People would just think about how their actions would affect others before they did them, and then they would choose not to do jerky things. Even if bad things happened by accident, Wheaton’s Law would persuade those with the power to fix the problem to the best of their ability. Even if people didn’t like the outcome, they would accept that they needed to work toward their own goal without being jerks about it.

But I’m just being silly. If human beings could wrap their minds around any of that, we wouldn’t need laws, or government for that matter. Sometimes I’m a jerk on the Internet, too. So, it’s all just a fantasy.

At least this comic got done. It looks simple, but it’s taken several days, primarily because every time I sit down to work I get a migraine. I have a migraine now, but I was determined. Clearly, I need some kind of course in cartooning, like The Trickster’s Hat, with a couple month’s worth of exercises. Even though I love how easy they make it, the tablet and Photoshop alone can only take me so far. Only a lot of hours of sketching on paper will take me to the next level.

 

 

You need urgent care after you get the bill

If you think WebMD is bad, whatever you do, don't subscribe to the CDC's mailing list where they send you updates on all the latest and deadliest diseases you might have.

If you think WebMD is bad, whatever you do, don’t subscribe to the CDC’s mailing list where they send you regular updates describing in graphic detail all the latest and deadliest diseases you are probably suffering from right now.

It was the Rabbit who told me about the CDC mailing list and diagnosed herself with every global pandemic for a year before she realized that this in itself probably didn’t constitute healthy behavior and unsubscribed. Personally, I don’t like going to the doctor because my experience is that doctors typically don’t listen to or help me. Usually they tell me there’s nothing wrong, and if they do treat me, it has minimal effect. Fortunately, I do have good health insurance, courtesy of my wholly legal marriage to The Man, who is gainfully employed.

As for WebMD, it’s really fairly useless for diagnosis, when you get down to it. If you want to look up the course of a particular disease, it’s an OK resource, but if you search your symptoms, you pretty much always have cancer.

Kids can’t play doctor anymore, anyway. If they get caught, they have to have psychiatric evaluations and become registered sex offenders. And why would they bother looking at each other when they can just Google porn?

I’ve been trying to spend less time online. The real world has some things to recommend it, too.