Doing Too Much

A Short Story:

Back when I was a student at the Miami Ad School, they’d bring in a weekly “Industry Hero” (someone working in advertising or something adjacent) to do a sort of Ted Talk for the student body. Afterwards, the person would stick around to teach the “Heroes” class, where they’d assign a week-long project based on their specific area of expertise. Most of these “Heroes” were former Ad School alum.

We had a few professional photographers as guest “Heroes.” I noticed that most of them used Canon cameras and products, and so did most of the students. I had a Nikon. The Miami Ad School was sort of like going to Hogwarts, but instead of visiting Diagon Alley for a wand, animal companion and magical broomstick, you’d instead go to Best Buy for a MacBook, Adobe Suite and a DSLR camera.

Back to the point, there was one “Hero” photographer who was an older gentleman one week and he happened to use Nikon products. One student asked, “Why do you use Nikon over Canon?” As if he were using the wrong camera. His answer was great, he said, “Nikon makes lenses and telescopes. Canon makes printers. Would you rather take pictures with a telescope or a printer?” As a fellow Nikon-user I thought that was a pretty sweet answer. All of the Canon folks thought the guy was a big D-hole.

I chose Nikon because (years earlier) looking at DSLR cameras with my friend we asked, “What’s the difference?” We were told, “Nikon is better for photos of stuff, while Canon is better for people.” Is that true? I don’t know, but I do know that I prefer to take photos of stuff (mountains, outdoors, oceans and cities), because any time you take a picture of a person they immediately say, “Let me see,” and “Uh, I hate it!”

Animals and babies are cool to take pictures of because they don’t do that. So, why am I telling you this story? I started thinking about companies and brands that work in multiple industries, and how it always seems weird when seeing a company’s name on some product knowing what unrelated product they also create.

Too Many Things:

For example, Yamaha makes musical instruments, but also motor vehicles*. When I was a kid there was a car company named Daewoo, at the same time my friend’s TV in his room was made by Daewoo. Dove makes chocolates and soaps — ok, I googled it and those are two different Doves, but it’s still confusing — it would be odd if one Dove product went inside and one went outside of your body, right?

*After some more googling I found out that Yamaha Music and Motors are two separate companies, but originated and are owned from the same mothership.

At the movie theater the other day I noticed the urinal pad read “Royal Company” and I thought I hope that’s not what RC in RC Cola stands for, because I don’t want my urinal pads coming from the same factory as my soda. I don’t drink RC Cola, but if I did and this were true it would have most definitely changed my soda drinking habits.

There are companies like Sony and Microsoft that have gaming consoles, computers, TVs and all types of divisions. Samsung makes TVs, appliances and all sorts of electronics. These are all in the same sector so that doesn’t really bother me.

I started thinking of people I know, especially fellow castmates from my improv theater. We all have different jobs and backgrounds, but that’s what makes us funny when we’re put on stage together to make stuff up. We have lawyers, accountants, bankers, firefighters, teachers, designers, writers and more… No Doctors though, doctors are never funny. If you have a funny doctor, you need a new doctor. Ken Jeong (aka Mr Chang – Community and Leslie Chow – The Hangover movies) was a funny doctor once and he had to leave that profession behind to become a successful actor/comedian instead.

I for one wear many different hats each day. I work as an accountant during the day, I freelance as a writer, copywriter, photographer and graphic designer sometimes. I write and create content for my two blog/sites (this one and myVGBC.com) each week. I also sometimes make ice cream, banana pudding and sweet treats to sell to people (Ferdi’s Ice Cream — returning soon?). You can also catch me on stage at Just the Funny making people laugh every once in a while. Do any of these take away from the others? I don’t think so.

While multiple separate companies can be owned by one singular brand/company, that doesn’t mean the same two people are working on each product. It just means that the executives (aka Overlords) running the show are watching over everything. These smaller companies are just operating under one bigger umbrella, but separately. As long as you trust one of those companies, I’m pretty sure you can give the others a chance. At least until they prove you wrong. We are all more than just one thing, and I guess companies and brands can be too.

The main thing though is to definitely keep the toilet stuff and food stuff separate. Urinal pad and soda manufacturing don’t belong in the same building, warehouse, city or even state… Ever!

Same First Name

During my childhood there was a point where my best friend and I shared the same name. The weird part is we not only shared the same first name, “Fernando,” we also had the same last name “Rodriguez.”

It was fine though because he went by “Nando” and I went by “Ferdi” (as you know because of the name of this site). We also had different middle names, so no big deal (NBD).

Sometimes when two people meet with the same first name, someone stupid might say something like, “Oh, which one is the better one.” — and by “someone stupid” I mean ME, because I always say there’s a Good Rick and a Bad Rick in my life, and those two Ricks know which is which.

Unless one of the two people with the same first name refers to themself in the third person during day-to-day tasks (like The Rock used to) there should be no problem. It’s not a problem until someone else shows up.

Think about it. How many times a day do you call yourself by your own name — only if you’re introducing yourself to someone new, telling a telemarketer that you are yourself over the phone or ordering a Starbucks drink (but most people use a fake name at Starbucks anyways).

The problem comes when other people are around. When other non-[your name] people are around they are going to refer to you and the other person by that same name. Of course, there are always nicknames, last names, initials and other ways to refer to people other than by their first name.

I rarely call anyone I know by their true first name. I’ve always made up nicknames so that I don’t forget people’s real names and make them feel forgettable. I don’t even call my own sister by her real name.

I feel like this name problem may be sort of the same as being a twin. Twins know that they aren’t the other twin, the only problem is when other people are around and they start getting confused as to which twin is which. Also, twins are tricky and can always pull the old switch-a-roo on you, so be careful with twins (we all know about the Switch-a-roo thanks to Tia and Tamera from Sister, Sister).

In middle school we had three Danielas in my class. Three Danielas who were all friends. We collectively decided that they would go by Dani A, Dani B and Dani E (based on their last names).

Just don’t ever be a triplet or more than that because that would just get down right confusing for the entire world.

And now I leave you with this to explain the picture I chose for this article, in case you don’t get it…

Why 3D Movies?

There was a time, back in the late 00s (if that’s what you call the time between 2005-2010?) that some movies were also being released in 3D. And for some reason, I chose to watch many of these movies in 3D. It wasn’t until James Cameron’s Avatar was released that we learned what 3D could be. I watched Avatar in theaters at least three times (once in IMAX 3D).

I’m going to break up this post into two distinct periods of 3D:
Pre-Avatar (before December 18th, 2009)
and Post-Avatar (after December 18th, 2009).

Pre-Avatar: Watching 3D movies was great. Back when I was a kid some movies were released in “3D Vision,” which meant wearing some goofy red and blue glasses. Most of these usually featured some type of gag where a character might throw something at the audience (as seen in Muppet Vision 3D at Walt Disney World, multiple times).

In the year 2005, we saw the beginning of the 3D BOOM! In 2005, the number of 3D movie releases wasn’t that crazy, but each year it continued to grow — exponentially. By 2009, most of the big box office releases were converted into 3D — most likely for bigger box office revenue (3D tickets cost a few dollars more). People were watching these movies in 3D because we didn’t know any better.

Welcome to Pandora

Post-Avatar: At the very end of 2009, Avatar was released. The 3D in Avatar was a totally different type of 3D. James Cameron created some new future-Japan cameras that would create an immersive experience (especially in IMAX theaters). Whether the movie Avatar was good or not, it definitely pushed 3D technology forward. (The world is still waiting on that James Cameron Aquaman movie, starring Vinny Chase — #ReleaseTheCameronCut!).

From that point on most studio movies were released in 3D. 3D televisions became a thing in people’s homes — people were sitting on their couch with goofy 3D glasses on while watching TV. 3D versions of Blu-rays were being sold. And of course, every Marvel movie had a 3D option.


For a while I thought, I guess I have to watch everything in 3D now. But at some point it was too much, I made a choice. I had decided to only watch movies in 3D if they were filmed specifically for 3D — not converted to 3D in post-production as an afterthought. I also began thinking this way of IMAX movies, Was it filmed with IMAX cameras? Anything Christopher Nolan is usually filmed with IMAX cameras.

In recent years, I thought 3D movies had mostly gone away — or maybe I had been avoiding them? Then of course, the theaters shut down for most of 2020 and some of 2021 (thanks to the pandemic). The other day when picking out tickets for Black Widow and the return of the MCU to the big screen I noticed they had a 3D showing. We went with IMAX (non-3D), but it was weird that the 3D was in a normal, small theater.

We’re now at a point where it’s not about 3D, it’s about IMAX, DOLBY VISION and DOLBY ATMOS (big sound). However, James Cameron is back in his movie lab creating the next two big Pandoran Adventures, Avatar 2 and Avatar 3. And when these come out, in an even more immersive 3D I feel like the film industry is going to go through another 3D renaissance, but let’s hope that’s not the case.

I feel like a 3D experience is a fun treat when it’s a rare treat. When watching content in 3D becomes a normal occurrence you barely even notice it. That’s what made Muppet Vision 3D at Walt Disney World so special for all of those years (they even have the added 4D parts where they spray you with water, plus the theater gets wrecked throughout the movie). When everything is in 3D then a ride on Star Tours becomes less special.

So, let’s keep 3D movies to special occasions. Christopher Nolan has his IMAX movies and let’s give James Cameron 3D and cool ocean documentaries.

I am not a Robot… }o; I think

There’s one main reason why I prefer using my MacBook Pro over my PC for most of my “internet surfing.” People still call it surfin’ the internet, right?

Anytime I buy something or create a username for any website I come across a CAPTCHA quiz where my computer gets to decide whether or not I am a human. What’s with all of the pop quizzes, internet?

Old School Time Vortex of Words Captcha

These quizzes used to consist of strange combinations of letters and numbers that have passed through some wild time vortex. Those were easier than the visual ones of today. Anytime I am forced to choose which boxes contain [the secret item of the day] I’m only about 50% sure I’m right.

Is the pole part of the traffic light? Do jetskis count as boats? Is a boat still a boat if it’s on a trailer and not in the water? If most humans wouldn’t eat it, is it still considered food?

I didn’t know I had to go through an existential crisis to sign up for Bed, Bath and Beyond’s email list, or to buy concert tickets. Why are all of these robots wasting their time buying concert tickets and joining mailing lists? Who programmed them to do this?

They also never flat out tell you when you’re wrong, instead they move on to a new word. Maybe you’re just a dumb dumb, try again to convince me you are not a robot.

Why MacBook over PC:

Back to my main point: On my PC I have to actually choose which pictures are boats, roads, crosswalks or whatever they’re asking for. My MacBook (most of the time) assumes it’s still me and not a robot hijacking my Mac. So, it rarely goes into the guessing game. Instead I check the box I am not a robot (checkmark), and I continue with my purchase or whatever it is I’m doing.

So, although Macs are more expensive than your normal everyday PC, it’s definitely worth paying that extra money, just because your MacBook will remember that you are not a robot. If you don’t mind your computer accusing you of being a robot time and time again, then go ahead and get that DELL (or HP, or whatever Windows PC).

Dunkaroos are Back?

Remember Dunkaroos from the 1990s? The purple packet with cookies (or Biscuits if you’re from London) and some cake frosting for dipping. Plus, there had that fun cartoon kangaroo mascot with an accent. Of course, every 90s kid remembers Dunkaroos whether you enjoyed them or not.

1994 Dunkaroo commercial

A few years ago, I heard Dunkaroos were back. There were rumors that they had made a comeback at wholesale grocery stores (Costco and BJs and Sam’s Club). You had to be a member of an exclusive club to get a box of Dunkaroos. I’m not sure if they were ever even there or if this was some sort of lie the grown-up 90s kids were spreading.

Yesterday, at Winn Dixie I did encounter one box of (NEW) Dunkaroos. New style, new look, new everything. The problem was they were on top of some random boxes in the middle of the frozen food section. They weren’t yet set up on display.

No one was around so I grabbed the box and tossed it into my cart. I later noticed a hand-written code on the box. I also noticed that this was a display box, meant to sell each packet separately (I noticed this when I got home). So I wondered, Wait, how much did I pay for this display box? And, when I checked the receipt I was relieved to find out that I had paid nothing for them. Unless they were under some super secret code.

I scanned my receipt multiple times and found no sort of Dunkaroos or Kangaroo secret code. The cashier hooked it up, probably because she sees me each week. I saw her attempt to scan the box, but she acted like everything was good and tossed them into a bag.

New Dunkaroo Review

These new Dunkaroos are not the Dunkaroos I remember from middle school. The only thing that remained the same is the Betty Crocker cake frosting for dipping, even though this was a funfetti-style frosting. I remember having chocolate or vanilla frosting (maybe a cookies and cream one later on).

These new cookies are too thin and small. I even broke some when dipping them in the frosting. They’re like the Jesus cookies you receive at church kind of thin. If you make a product that comes with a dipping sauce, part of the R&D budget should go into making it so your product doesn’t break and get left behind in the dipping substance.

New “extra thin” cookies (biscuits or crackers)

They don’t taste the same either. The cookies don’t have the same flavor, but that could also be due to them being too thin. Also, in the 20+ years since we’ve last seen Dunkaroos I’m sure FDA standards have changed. Maybe there was some strange ingredient in the old Dunkaroos cookies that’s no longer usable — something to make them extra addicting to kids. I also remember different cookie shapes (including a kangaroo, a kangaroo limb and head). Now, they all just look like cheap kangaroo coins.

I’m not saying these are bad, they just aren’t the same. Also, if you want to enjoy dipping cookies in cake frosting I have a better idea for you.

Step 1 – Buy your favorite cake frosting:
Chocolate, Vanilla, Butter Cream, Funfetti, Birthday Cake…

Step 2 – Buy your favorite cookies, biscuits and sweet treats:
Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Biscoff, Nilla Wafers, Teddy Grahams…

Step 3 – Go home, put on a movie and start dipping all of your cookies
and treats in the cake frosting.

I dipped some Biscoff Plane cookies in my Kangaroo frosting.

Congratulations you’ve just made your own (better version) of Dunkaroos in 2021.
You’re welcome…

Smoking on Planes

There was a time when people were allowed to smoke cigarettes on airplanes — and they actually did it! Like all of the time. I think about this every few months and it still freaks me out.

I was on a plane a few years back (pre-COVID, but still not too long ago) and the arm rests still had ash trays built into them. They just happened to be glued shut.

A SHORT (BRIEFLY RESEARCHED) HISTORY LESSON

In the year 1990 smoking on aircrafts (to and from the US) was mostly prohibited. Pilots were still allowed to smoke in the cockpit. It wasn’t until Bill Clinton signed the Aviation Investment and Reform Act in the year 2000 that smoking on planes was completely banned. Some countries kept smoking on planes around until 2016 or later.

LINK TO HISTORY

Imagine being on a plane today and witnessing another passenger pull out a lighter or match and lighting up a cigarette. That person would be tackled so fast just for pulling that thing out, and rightfully so. Planes are smelly enough as is, they don’t need the help of someone smoking a cigarette.

“SMOKING OR NON-SMOKING?”

There was also a time, not too long ago when you’d be asked this simple question at a restaurant, “Smoking or Non-Smoking?” Meaning, do you want to sit in the clean part or the nasty part of this fine establishment? And on a busy night with no reservation the “Smoking” section was where you’d end up.

When I was in college people would smoke cigarettes in bars. Today, I can wear the same pair of jeans for weeks visiting different bars and restaurants. Back then, if I wore my jeans to a smokey bar they’d be in the hamper that night and washed the next day. Plus, I’d have to shower before going to bed.

Hotels used to have “Smoking and Non-Smoking” rooms, and I’m pretty sure many of them still do. Some unknowingly, “Would you like to stay in a room that smells like we cleaned it or one that smells like we didn’t even have enough time to change the sheets?”

Thanks to my grandmother I’ve never been a fan of cigarettes. I’ve never tried one and I plan to never try one. I loved my grandma, but I hated the smell of her smoking in our house when she would come over. Luckily, she stopped smoking early on in my life.

Whenever I find someone who still smokes cigarettes it’s like I’m meeting a strange time traveler. Of course, everyone switched over to e-cigs and vapes by now. Years later, we’ll find out that everyone is getting some sort of computer virus in their bodies thanks to all the e-smoking.

Bingeing vs Weekly Release

Remember when Netflix first started out and was basically just Blockbuster* sent to your house? Then Blockbuster created their own video mailing service, with the option to return movies to your local store so they could send you the next one even faster than Netflix. It sounded like a great idea, but where is Blockbuster today? They gone…

When Netflix first began creating original content they decided that the best way to release its newest series was to dump full seasons on us. At first it was a neat idea. There weren’t so many new shows, so you could watch them at your own pace.

Today, Netflix has multiple new shows, movies and documentaries dropping each and every week. It’s too much! Their formula is to let everyone make anything they want (which is good for creators). However, it can become a problem for consumers because there’s so many things to watch. Also, when you are making that much new content it can’t all be good, and most of it is not.

For every great Netflix show (Stranger Things, Ozark, Bojack Horseman) they also give us 100s of not so great shows (The Ranch, Marco Polo, Iron Fist). They also have given cancelled network/cable shows a new life, but they’re also hit or miss.

The Netflix formula of releasing shows all at once is way too overwhelming for me. I prefer to get one episode at a time — one a week. That’s the way it’s always been. I don’t mind waiting a week to let my mind process what I’ve seen. In fact, I prefer it. If I watch a season of a show too quick it just becomes one big ball mush in my brain.

I don’t think I would have enjoyed The Mandalorian Season 1 and 2 (on Disney+) as much as I did if I watched it all in a week or a day. I also enjoyed staying up late on a Thursday to check if it was out yet, and it wasn’t. For season 1, I woke up early for work most of those Fridays and watched the episode in bed before getting up and starting my day.

I’m also excited for WandaVision to be released weekly on Disney+. The first two episodes were released at once, and it was exciting to get one hour of this new strange show. It also gave me time to rewatch it and research what people thought was going on. When a show is released over time it also gives your brain time to come up with theories about what’s happening and where the show is headed.

I don’t really mind bingeing Reality TV shows. Just let me get it in and out of my system. It’s sort of like a mindless detox from good TV shows that is sometimes needed. It’s good for a day when you may be too tired or hungover and your brain can’t handle any story or plot. Instead you find yourself judging trashy people on some dating battle royale show, like Love Island.

Back in college, I recorded my weekly shows on VHS tapes with my VCR. Back then you had to watch it live, record it or miss it forever. Later on, I moved to DVR. Back then if an episode of a show was accidentally deleted it was time to let the entire show go, at least until there was another way to watch it. When OnDemand came along, you got a second chance to catch something you may have missed.

I do love that I can watch my shows any time and anywhere today. Yes, there may be way too many places to watch things and too many things to watch in each place. So much time is now spent figuring out what to watch vs actually watching shows. I’ve searched for something new or something I’ve wanted to watch, but by the time I find it it’s too late, so instead I watch an old favorite. I can binge a show I don’t really care about, but if it’s something I’m really into I enjoy watching it slowly with no distractions.

__

*For the young people, Blockbuster was one of many video rental stores (see also Hollywood Video). Instead of renting movies straight from your TV provider, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon or any other digital service, people used to go down to a Blockbuster and hope that they had whatever movie they wanted to rent in stock. If they didn’t you would walk around the store and look for something they did have. It was sort of like scrolling through streaming services looking for something to watch, but in real life.

Searching for Creativity

I’ve always been interested in the creative process of others. I love getting a behind the scenes look and hearing stories of how people make the things that I love. Movies, music, games, food, writing, art. Everything made by humans is powered by creativity.

It has always bothered me to hear anyone say, “I’m not creative,” about themselves. You are creative! Every human has the capacity to be creative in some way. The keyword is CREATE!

Make a work of art, write an essay, make some dinner, draw a little doodle, come up with a home workout, sing in the shower, do something small in your boring job. These are all creative things we do. Most of us exhibit some form of creativity each and every day. And many of us don’t even notice it.

I’ve read many books on creativity. My favorites are the ones written by the creators themselves. It’s not as interesting to read a book on creativity written by some science doctor who’s just studying other people’s work. I want to hear it from the source.

I want a first-hand account of how the thing I love got made. I like to hear about the process. I enjoy watching the special features on my DVD and Blu-Rays. I’ve read books on creativity by musicians, comedians, actors and actresses, writers, even doctors and lawyers. I like to look for differences and similarities between different industries.

I for one have tried many different approaches to unleash my creativity over the years: writing in the mornings, drawing at night, taking short breaks mid day, meditation and yoga. Sometimes it’s good to have a schedule worked out, but it’s also helpful to surprise yourself and be spontaneous.

I want to share my thoughts on some of the creative books I’ve read or started reading over recent years:

Creativity
by John Cleese

I recently finished this short book by John Cleese (Monty Python, A Fish Called Wanda). I enjoyed that it was a short biography followed by some creative tips and exercises. There were also some fun stories sprinkled in between. It’s an easy short read so I definitely recommend this book to everyone. Many of the tips and exercises were quick and simple. I even learned a few quick tips that I never really thought about.

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

This was a fun history book about the beginning of Pixar and the troubles they experienced along the way to greatness. Ed Catmull, one of the founders, goes into what makes Pixar such a creative place and the practices in place to keep it this way. Letting people from different departments come in with fresh eyes to look at projects, and always being open about what’s going on in the company are just two reasons that make Pixar a special company. It’s just a great read even to learn a few creative practices that can be used in your own business or life. Also, I am a huge fan of Pixar movies, so there’s that.

Sweat the Technique
by Rakim

I’m currently reading this book. I thought it would just be a good read to learn how one of the greatest lyricists got to where he is, Rakim. I actually have learned a lot from this book. One important thing Rakim has taught me is to learn about everything. Rakim would read and study just to have more ammo for his rhymes. I don’t plan on becoming a rapper, but there are still some aspects of Rakim’s creative process that are helpful in my life. It’s important to not only learn about what you believe in, but also the opposite side of the coin (especially in a world where social media feeds us only exactly what we want to see and hear). It’s important to learn about new subjects, even stuff you don’t think you’ll care about.

Wonderbook
by Jeff Vandermeer

I haven’t read enough of this one to give you enough information about it. I’ve only read a few sections. It was recommended by a writer I know. It’s a large book so I’m slowly reading a little at a time. This one is more focused on writing for fantasy and science fiction, but it’s a good way to learn about world-building, character creation and other aspects of that type of fiction. It also includes excerpts and short sections from many different authors and artists. People with tons of experience in their fields.

Embrace your Weird
by Felicia Day

I read Felicia Day’s first book, “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” which was a great read. It was more about her life and creating her web show The Guild. When I met her at Florida Supercon I told her how that book inspired me and she shared some “top secret” info with me. She told me that her new book would be announced in just a few days after meeting her. So, of course I pre-ordered her new book. Embrace your Weird is very different than the other books on this list. It’s more of a workbook. It’s filled with exercises where you get to write all over the pages of the book. Many of the exercises are idea-starters to get you out of your head.

Voice-Over
Voice Actor

by Yuri Lowenthal & Tara Platt

This last book has become very important to me. I first bought it and wanted to read it just because I was interested in Voice Actors and learning more about their lifestyle. I was listening to the “Talkin’ Toons” Podcast with Rob Paulsen and was obsessed with all of the great guests and their stories. While reading this, I was messing around with Voice Over stuff just to practice sustaining characters for longer periods of time (to help with on-stage characters for improv). After reading this book I wanted to do more with Voice-Over work and now I’m currently working on some secret projects. Yuri and Tara are also big names in Voice Acting and have many short anecdotes from their famous Voice Actor friends.


BONUS CONTENT:

I think the main thing I’ve learned from all of these creative books is what Rakim taught me (which I also have read in other books). The best thing you can do is consume content from all over the place. Live your life but do things that make you uncomfortable too. Don’t just stick to things you like or are used to. Don’t write things off because you think you won’t like them.

Ever try listening to people with a different point of view? It may make you angry, but you don’t have to believe them. It’s good to study how other people think, or just to try and figure out why people so crazy sometimes… 

It’s ok to not like things. It’s much better to try something out and make the decision to not like it on your own. Don’t just guess that you won’t like something. Listen to a podcast about gardening or something that sounds totally stupid to you and see what you learn.

READING: Analog vs Digital

For the past few months I’ve been reading an unreleased book (written by a friend) to help out with a super secret project for the upcoming release of this book. Since this is an unreleased work, it has not yet been printed onto paper and I was sent a top secret PDF. 

So, for the first time ever, I’ve had to read an entire book using only my iPad, and I’m not hating the experience. I’m talking about the experience of reading on an iPad. Not the content of the story. I’m really digging that.

For my entire life, I’ve enjoyed books in their physical form (I did read a few chapters of A Game of Thrones on my iPad just to test it out, since I owned both the digital and physical version). Sure, I read tons of articles on a screen most days. I even read stuff on my tiny iPhone screen (my current iPhone isn’t that tiny, but those older models were kind of tiny to be reading full articles on). I even do the bulk of my writing on digital screens (PC, MacBook, iPad, iPhone).

I’m thinking it may be a good idea to start making the switch to more digital books. For one thing, I have my iPad with me most of the time, and my iPhone with me all of the time (which could also keep track of my reading habits through the mysterious iCloud). It will be much easier to read anywhere without having to take a book around, plus I wouldn’t have books all over my room (but I love books! Books for reading. Books of art. Books of music and poetry. All kinds of books).

I love reading physical books. I enjoy turning pages and although the iPad can digitally simulate that feeling, it’s just not the same. I kind of like, but also sometimes don’t like how iBooks tells me, “you have __ pages left in this chapter,” at the bottom of the screen. When reading a physical book late at night I do find myself counting how many pages are left in the current chapter. But sometimes I don’t need to know (ten or more pages left is always a discouraging number and I am on the verge of quitting reading to play video games instead).

I like using bookmarks (I use movie tickets, business cards and sometimes actual bookmarks). The iPad bookmark is strange and I almost always forget to unmark it when I begin reading again, leaving an iBook with tons of marked pages throughout my journey. 

I don’t want to read my iPad out in the sun and get it all sweaty and full of sunscreen. On a bright day, the screen just can’t get bright enough. Physical books are way safer in the great outdoors.

However, on an iPad reading in the dark is much easier. Perhaps books, like DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s should come with digital copies when you purchase the physical version. It would be nice to freely jump from a physical book for certain occasions to the  digital version at other times. I don’t need an audiobook though, unless it’s in the form of a radio play or there’s something fun going on with the voice over (I have been listening to Rakim read his book Sweat the Technique, since the audio version is available on Apple Music. That’s a fun audio book because he’s reading his lyrics throughout the book).

Perhaps my next project will be to read a physical and digital book at the same time, maybe as a race to determine which is faster for me. And which version of reading will truly win. Otherwise, I will continue to read physical books and digital articles and other stuff too.

*I mentioned iPads, iPhones, MacBooks, Apple Music, iCloud, iBooks and more in this article, but in no way is this a paid ad for Apple. I just happen to be a fan of their products and services.

THE GREAT DEBATE(S)

Ever since the late 1950’s, there has been an ongoing debate. According to my very quick internet research, that’s about the time the three point seat belt was created. We all know that seat belts save lives, however, a large amount of the population still chooses not to wear them.

Sure, they’re not very comfortable. They hurt your gut. Maybe you think you’re too cool for school (Well, I’ve got a newsflash for you, Walter Cronkite… You Aren’t!***). Guess what fools! It’s the law (in Florida and I’m guessing in some other states too. Because Florida is always way behind on the times.) 

That’s the clever slogan around here

The new version of the great seat belt debate is whether to wear a mask or not during the current pandemic. A mask is like a seat belt (for your face). Wearing one (when in public) can save your life (as well as others), but some people are fools or they just don’t care. Maybe they don’t believe the virus is real (It is very real. Just ask Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson). Maybe they just love the current president and think “that [idiot] doesn’t wear a mask, so I don’t have to either?”

Here’s a new slogan for you, “Wear a mask, you stupid idiot!”

By now every person should own at least one mask, so put it on your face. If you don’t own a mask that’s a different story, you should just stay in your home until you find one.

Another problem is that some people are carrying around a mask, but don’t know how to properly wear them. I’ve created a series of drawings so we could all learn together HOW TO and HOW NOT TO wear our masks when in public or crowded spaces.

CORRECT!
I wear my mask/seat belt. I care about my safety and the safety of others.

How to properly wear a mask. Cover both your mouth and nose holes, because these are the two places you can breathe from (Unless you are some sort of fish/human hybrid with gills. You would need an entirely different type of mask with gill covers, possibly two separate types of masks?)

WRONG!!
I only wear half of my mask/seat belt.

People wearing a mask with their nose out are wrong. It’s like wearing just the top or bottom part of your seat belt. It doesn’t count unless you’re wearing the whole thing. Did you know that you can breath out of your nose as well as your mouth? Even if you are predominantly a mouth breather, you still need to cover those two nose holes.

THE MOST WRONG!!!
Hey, look at my mask/seat belt. No, I will not wear it.

These are the worst kind of people. They have a mask on their person, but still choose not to wear it. If you need to take off your mask for some reason, get away from everyone and do it, then come back when you’re ready to be a member of society.

If you have your mask hanging around your neck or off your ear. That’s like driving drunk, you shouldn’t even be here. You’re unqualified to be in public. Who invited you to the party?

So, I guess the point of this week’s learning is WEAR YOUR MASK! And if you have been wearing your mask I tell you this, “Great job! Keep up the good work.”

Congratulations! You get a virtual internet high five! (or two because I couldn’t decide which one I liked more)

***Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) said this in the 2001 box office hit ZOOLANDER.