Thirty Plus Four Thursday June 5, 2014

Usually on my birthday I ramble on about something epic, inane or even ridiculous. But this year to due to travel, work commitments and … I don’t know … possibly a crazy conference that I’m involved in organizing, I unfortunately didn’t have time to vomit out some thoughts to the old word processor. So instead of trying to ramble together some half-witted thoughts, I figured I would instead share a play list that I’ve been quietly compiling of my favourite songs of all time.

So yes, a post with a play list really isn’t anything too deep and nothing mind blowing, but if you’re looking for some new music to listen to over the next few days, just give it a spin.

… and yes, the play list does start and end with R. Kelly.

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Falling in Love with... Hawkeye? Sunday May 25, 2014

Last year I wrote a blog post on my birthday about a couple of things I had rediscovered in my old age – Volunteering and Comic Books. In that post I mentioned that I had reignited a new love for comic books. In particular, one of the comic books that I’ve found myself obsessed with is the new Hawkeye series.

Now there has been a huge shift in the Comic Book world since I was a little lad … or at least to me it seems like there has been a shift. An influx of indie publishers and crowd funded titles have improved the overall maturity of the genre, as well as the demands of an aging core audience.

Since that post I’ve also been introduced to such great titles as Vertigo’s Fables and Image’s “Saga” (which is drawn by local Calgarian Fiona Staples), but of all the titles I’ve picked up over the past year and a bit, Hawkeye still holds a special place for me.

Yes, I’m really talking about Hawkeye.

The goofy guy in purple that only shoots arrows… and shoots arrows… and shoots more arrows. How in gods name can that be entertaining?

I’ve tried to explain why this series is interesting to a few people and like clockwork I ultimately fail. But it really boils down to a quirky story concept and also some fabulous minimalistic design. Aesthetically, Hawkeye is randomly the most interesting comic I’ve come across. It really flips the whole concept of what a comic should look like and feel like, by doing much less than other comics.

The covers are brilliant and the artwork inside feels more like a short in a local alternative newspaper rather than a Marvel comic. There’s no bulging biceps, unnaturally protruding bosoms, over the top waistlines, glossy finishes and intense shadowing, just straight lines and a beautiful off purple hue. Hell, I don’t even think there is an issue where Hawkeye wears his traditional spike ears.

The storyline of the series is just as minimalistic and oddly fascinating. Fracton (the series author) and “Aja”;http://blog.davidaja.com/ (the series drawer…or whatever it’s called) took a massive chance on the Hawkeye series. Thinking that the series would be over after two issues they decided to just tell the story of what Hawkeye (Clint Barton) does on a Thursday afternoon. In some editions he’s trying to set-up a Home Theatre system with Iron Man or dealing with some run of the mill gangs in New York and of course there is the famous Pizza Dog issue.

There’s no intergalactic super villains or plots to destroy mankind, just a guy in Brooklyn doing normal stuff.

13 year old c.t.overdrive would be mocking me for writing this post… because it’s Hawkeye and nobody has ever liked that guy. But Fracton and Aja’s version of Hawkeye is quirky, simple, sophisticated and enduring. I’m sure this sounds ridiculous, but it’s probably one of the most fascinating and rewarding reads I’ve come across. Even as a casual comic book lover I can’t help but count down the days until the latest trade back comes out.

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The Twitterfication of Facebook and The Facebookification of Twitter Tuesday April 22, 2014

So it’s been a while since I’ve written or talked about the state of the Social Media sphere on the old c.t.overdrive. Frankly, in regards to the world of Social Media there really hasn’t been a change big enough to warrant a post and plus there are thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of Social Media Experts writing about the latest social media gaff or trend.

But today I received my updated Twitter profile, which although incredibly snazzy looks eerily similar to something… but I can’t put my finger on it.

Oh yes, it looks incredibly similar to my Facebook profile.

The Facebookification of Twitter and the Twitterfication of Facebook

Yes, it’s official the Twitterfication of Facebook and the Facebookification of Twitter are finally complete.

Now, to be honest the change in both Twitter and Facebook isn’t really that ground breaking. Both Twitter and Facebook have been working to incorporate the UX/UI benefits of their two successful offspring networks for quite sometime. For Twitter it’s been working to adopt ideas from Medium and Facebook with it’s ever popular Instagram. While these sorts of changes are technically dramatic given the scale of both networks, these alone are really just cosmetic and minor functionality changes to adapt to the changing design aesthetic and functionality demands of our internet usage. I wouldn’t say they’re ground breaking changes that warrant a blog post.

But in my opinion, this change really does signal something else. To me this solidifies the end of Social Media phase of the Internet’s evolution. Similar to how the explosion and dominance of Social Media killed the Web 2.0 phase, we have officially reached peak Social Media.

Let me put it this way, with the two largest Social Media golden childs (Twitter and Facebook) working to mimic their network’s UI and interactions after their competitor’s and spending more time focusing on becoming a key communication channels and personal data resources rather than on social innovation, where is the future of Social Media heading?

Think about it, when was the last time a new social network really disrupted the online social space? I would say we haven’t seen any real innovation in the realm of Social Media since Instagram and that is at least five years old. Does anyone think that there is a Social Media network like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or even Foursquare that will revolutionize the way we use the internet in the same way?

Maybe, but I’m not seeing it right now.

Now don’t get me wrong, Humans and Society will always Innovate. It’s in our nature. And for me to say otherwise would make me sound like the guy who proclaimed that we should shut down the patent office because nothing will surpass the Fax machine. But right now with the way in which Start-ups, Entrepreneurs and Innovators are focusing their attention it doesn’t seem like we’ll ever see a time period of crazy innovation and evolution in the Social Media atmosphere like we did towards the end of the 2000s, when everything changed.

I guess what I’m getting at is a question that is asked of me a lot nowadays and that is What is the next big Facebook, Twitter, etc? To me I don’t think there is anything on the horizon. To me we’ve come to the end of the golden age of the Social Media phase.

Will there be something new in the future. I can almost guarantee it, but it won’t be a social network like we’re used to. That phase of the internet is over.

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The Right Honourable Mulroney: Year One Tuesday April 8, 2014

So today is TRH Mulroney’s official first birthday.

Yes, if you’ve been following me on Twitter, Facebook, Vine or any other social media outlets, it probably feels as though Mulroney has been apart of our lives for over 12 years. But truth be told it’s only been 10 months (for us) and a full year of life for the wee-man.

And while before Mulroney arrived on the scene, I only sort of understood the allure and obsession that Dog owners have for their pets. But after a year with Mulroney, I get it.

There really is something special about owning a puppy.

Sure neither Caitlin or myself have had a proper sleep for the past ten and the famous poop blitzkrieg of July 2013 was something I will never forget, but all that short term pain negates the long term awesomeness of TRH Mulroney.

And while my lovely wife, who has the enormous job of looking after the little guy pretty much on her own nowadays, can probably explain how he test our patience each and every day, it’s really the little moments that make him amazing.

So to The Right Honourable Mulroney…

Thank you for an amazing year …

… and for all the chaos and joy you’ve brought to us….

Happy Birthday M-Dog

… even if you do look like a deranged Chewbacca at the moment.

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Paddy Not Patty: 2014 Edition Wednesday March 12, 2014

So… Monday is St. Patrick’s day. Yes, it would be really hard to miss this fact. But as a red blooded irglishman, it’s my duty to remind everyone that it is Paddy Not Patty.

Yes… I pull this web site out around this time every year, but it’s a good reminder. So before you go off to get slaughtered on expired pints of stale Guinness have a bit of a read.

And while you’re at it also memorize this nugget.

Shamrock isn’t just any auld piece of clover: it’s three-leafed. Tradition holds that Saint Patrick used shamrock to teach the Trinity. Give it a bit o’ thought before ye slap a lucky four-leaf clover on yer plastic leprechaun hat.

Also while I’m lecturing people on this, I do have to be honest and admit that from 2004-2007(ish) I was guilty of ordering my fair share of Irish Car Bombs.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day all.

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