Onion City over here.
Originally drafted on April 16, 2011. This is part of a new series where I clean out my Drafts folder.
There’s an old proverb that says “the faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.” At least I think that’s how it goes. I should probably write it down.
I was constantly terrified of writer’s block when I started Shyzer. I soon discovered the real threat was thinking of a great idea while sitting on the bus and then completely blanking once I finally got my ass to a computer. I spent dozens of hours trying to recreate moments in the off chance that it would help me remember whatever it was I thought I was forgetting. “Okay, so I was sitting on the couch like this, watching Price is Right and eating half a box of Froot Loops. Wait, no, maybe it was half a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch…”
I finally went out and bought one of these little spiral notepads when I was living in Australia. The fact that I was keeping great company was a mere bonus on top of never forgetting anything. They were the perfect dimension for riding in your back pocket, but the spiral inevitably destroyed itself. I blamed it on the lax Indonesian construction standards, but it probably had something to do with all the falling down that mysteriously coincided with my discovery of beer.
After some searching, I was able to find Field Notes. And yeah, that’s clearly a stock image. There’s no way my handwriting is that fancy.
This was a vastly superior option. I liked the grid layout and the pad itself held together with an unusually strong spine. However, the reason I had to use a stock image above was because every freaking pad I bought ended up looking like this.
I don’t know why in the world the cover is so flimsy, but it is. It came off on every pad I owned within weeks. It didn’t really bother me at first, but eventually the ink on exposed pages began to fade and blur, so once again I was in the market for a new pad.
Enter Moleskine. I’d used their larger notepads for journals, sketch & joke ideas, etc. But it was only recently that I tried out their softcover pocket pad. Tough as nail spine, lined pages, bookmark string, back pocket for scrap paper, and elastic band to keep it closed. You can’t beat it.
Oh, and don’t bother with any other pen than Uni-ball’s Jetstream. They’re like writing with magical Unicorn blood.
I’m not much of a smoker. I would classify myself as staunchly against the activity as a whole if it weren’t for those damn cigars. There’s something about sitting outside during the summer months with a cigar in one hand, a cold drink in the other, and an unfolding sunset in the distance that gets my spirits in a tizzy.
It’s so weird growing old.
When I look back on my life, there is one overarching theme. I plod along the same course for far too long and then suddenly, stunning even to myself, I take a 90 degree turn.
I spun myself dizzy today.
Starting tonight, I plan on burning through all of my ideas, jokes, and posts in 2012. No more holding back. I’m sick of this Brain Crack. Because you can’t grow unless you exercise those muscles, right?
1 Down, 900 To Go.
I’ve been going through a bunch of older comedy from the 80s and 90s that I missed. I don’t know what the hell I did as a child. I had friends who adored Monty Pyton or SNL, others who traded burnt CDs of underground comedy like they were blocks of herion, and then there was me playing with Legos and on Super Nintendo. Oops.
Oh well. I tried my best to make up for it in college, where I finally discovered Mitch Hedberg. And that, my friends, is how you bluntly segue into the following quote I just found on his new website in honor of his memory.
Once, while being driven from the Atlanta airport to the hotel, our cab driver started talking shit. He was creeping towards a racist rant. We were still a ways away from the hotel when it dawned on us that he felt super okay with being a hateful weirdo.
Mitch leans forward, “Hey Man. Up here on the right is a deli that sells Boar’s Head Ham. Can you stop so we can grab something to eat?”
Mitch returned with THREE subs. No one spoke for the rest of the trip.
Lesson learned. It’s impossible to spew racist crap while eating a delicious sandwich.
Seriously, kids, don’t do drugs. Cause then I’ll start to like you, but you’ll die before I get a chance to meet you and, yes, it’s all about me in the longrun.
So I’ve got cancer.
Well, I’ve actually had cancer for nine months now. Ten months? I don’t know. Math was never my strong suit. You’d think I’d better remember when I first had surgery, but it’s baseball season. I’ve got more important things to keep track of.
Things didn’t get too serious until last month when, during a routine visit, my doctor said “so yeah, get ready for chemo. Your cancer is a little bitch.” I’m paraphrasing.
Thus began lots of chemotherapy. I’m four weeks in and luckily it’s one of those good cancers. Stage II Testicular Cancer is fairly curable, plus I get the bonus perk of talking about my junk with complete strangers. But I felt like I needed to say something, otherwise the jokes that are soon to follow on Twitter and Facebook might seem a little out of left field.
In the mean time, if you want to help out, say a few extra stupid jokes today in my name. Trust me, I can sense them.
I always chuckle when I see people who brag about how awesome they are in a deadpan, serious effort. I thought those days were behind me, but it looks like I’m wrong.
I recently attending a blogging conference and Holy God, it was like high school all over again. Every other person was telling me how amazing they were and spouting off traffic or revenue stats that meant not a thing other than proving they had an ego that needed stroking. On the flip side I see fellow comedians offering up naming rights to their firstborn in exchange for watching their latest YouTube video. What the hell is going on here?
By August 2009, they had chewed through their savings and had just under 100,000 unique visitors a month, a nice number that was rich with media insiders and hip twentysomethings, but not the kind of traffic that would make a living. When an anonymous donor sent in a few hundred dollars at one particularly stretched-thin moment, Mr. Sicha used it to buy food.
No and no.
100,000 unique visitors a month is not a nice number that’s rich with hip twentysomethings. I’m a twentysomething and none of the hip people I associate with know what 100k monthly uniques mean. None of the people I hang out with know what’s a “rich” number because nobody knows what’s a rich number. It’s all relative from site to site.
Which leads me to my second no. 100k uniques is most definitely enough to make a living off of because if you’re drawing that many people a month (A) you’re doing something right and (B) it’s not hard to turn that number into a much larger number. As Ze Frank says, going from 0 to 1 is the hard part. You think the guys at Twitter are sweating bullets trying to figure out how to start earning some cashola? No, they’re thanking their deity of choice that they made the site popular to begin with.
But I digress. My point is that everybody, even in the 21st century, seems to love playing the numbers game. I have X number of readers, but darn, you have Y number of followers. It doesn’t matter. It all comes down to content.
I don’t love Louis C.K. or Jon Stewart because they have millions of other fans, but because their content is routinely phenomenal. However many other people also appreciate their work is inconsequential to me or my appreciation of them. In fact, I’m more willing to go out of my way to support people who have fewer followers. If there’s an upcoming comedian with 10 Facebook fans and I only have enough money to buy one CD, he’s getting my money over a more well known figure as I’m positive he needs it more.
I’d venture to take that one step further and say there are more fans like me out there than people think. Anyone who has tried to self-publish knows how hard it is to achieve sustaining success and let’s face it, what twentysomething hasn’t tried to launch their own blog or podcast?
Where does that leave us? Hell if I know. All I can say is if you want to be taken seriously and impress someone, show them examples of your work and leave out mentioning your Twitter numbers.