‘Social’ Media

 Posted by on July 7, 2020  Thoughts, Updates
Jul 072020

My first forays into social media were in 2007, when my sister Victoria encouraged me to join FACEBOOK to find old pals. Having had this blog/website since 2001, I thought anyone who’d wanted to find me could already do so with a simple search on Netscape (or whatever the prevailing search engine was back then) but joined anyway. 

Almost immediately, I found old friends, and others were able to find me, just as my sister had promised. For someone who’d lived and worked all around the world when we didn’t yet have cellphones and email addresses (and consequently losing touch was commonplace) this reconnection with old friends from different phases of my life was a great joy. Fast forward past fun years of playing silly games throwing sheep, ‘pokes,’ and laughing at everyone’s high school photos.. Next, I got first hand experience in what a powerful tool for human connection social media can be, when I was a housebound shut-in recuperating from a long term medical disaster. In those troubled years, social media gave me a lifeline to sanity, and my activity expanded to other platforms as a consequence. 

In this year when the entire planet is in lockdown, social media could be a fantastic tool for replacing human connection lost due to quarantine isolation, but it seems to be driving people apart instead. Nowadays, people do the air quotes finger gesture as they say the phrase; “social” media, because it hasn’t felt social for quite sometime. The brittle crankiness out there is understandable given the harrowing events of 2020, but online interactions were already snarky years ago. I might go for months without encountering objectionable behavior in the real world, but hostility & hatefulness is ever-present online, and these days, that contrast is harder to bear, simply because my real interactions with actual humans are rare during lockdown and online interactions have become everything. 

FACEBOOK in particular has grown into something other than the fun platform it used to be, and now feels like a real life “MAFIA WARS”. Not just the constant name calling, but the corporate entity itself. I was certainly warned many times over the years, by wary friends grimly alluding to data tracking and other nefarious shenanigans of the Zuckbot.. but my feeling at the time was that if a corporation wanted to track my eyeballs on their advertising, so what? Wasn’t that always what they’d done, as I’d soaked in a bath of their advertising my entire life? But now I do feel a part of some dysfunctional toxic ecosystem, and need to PAUSE social media, at least for a while.  

Social media might simply be be a representation of the collective ID of the human race, a nonstop jabbering stream of consciousness, with all the rabid raw anxieties that implies. Perhaps it’s a fantastic diagnostic tool for taking the pulse of the human race, but looking steadily into the white hot glare of that pulsating cyclopean maw for too long becomes exhausting, possibly even dangerous, and it’s important to step away to other things.

I’ve periodically done fasting or ‘cleanses’ for my physical health in the past, and now it’s time for a media cleanse, when I lay off the social media candy. As with any real life fast, the goal is to reset. I’d like to get back to blogging, writing, personal creative projects, and things I used to do more consistently in the pre social media era. Blogging gave me fun, both writing my own blog and reading posts of others, and I hope to do that again. I’ve quit Facebook but still have a few active social media accounts. Instagram in particular is one I greatly enjoy, as its image-based interactions favour the sharing of drawings and photos, which I love.

Scribbling While Rome Burns

 Posted by on April 23, 2020  Comics, Doodling, Updates, Work  Tagged with:
Apr 232020
Scribbling While Rome Burns

It is strange to look at my last post and think how much has changed in a just few months. Back in January, I’d never even heard of the ‘coronavirus’ and wrote about enjoying casually drawing outside. Nowadays, we barely leave the apartment, and it looks as if we’ll all be homebodies for quite sometime to come. Any drawings I [READ MORE…]

New Sketch Gear

 Posted by on January 26, 2020  Lefties, Location Sketching, Watercolour  Tagged with:
Jan 262020
New Sketch Gear

For Christmas I received some new drawing paraphernalia. A monogrammed sketchbook given by John Hoffman and a pocket-sized set of handmade watercolours, from Julia. The Christmas/New Year break was very relaxing and I barely got out of my pyjamas the entire time, but on one of our few ‘proactive days’ (when we actually left home) I got to use these gifts [READ MORE…]

Life in the Lean-to

 Posted by on December 26, 2019  Family, My stroke  Tagged with:
Dec 262019
Life in the Lean-to

The Baker family has volatile brains. People on both sides of my family tree have suffered strokes, and on this day in 2012 it was my turn. The most recent victim of this family curse was my poor Dad, in mid 2018, and his stroke was much more massive than my own. I used to be a plucky & frequent [READ MORE…]

Mickey ♥ Chewie

 Posted by on October 6, 2019  Drawings, Lefties, Location Sketching, Watercolour  Tagged with: ,
Oct 062019
Mickey ♥ Chewie

I’d been to Tokyo Disneyland (in the mid 1980s) and Florida’s DisneyWorld (in the mid 2000s) but until recently I’d never been to the real deal Californian original; DISNEYLAND. Our trip was on 3 weekdays just after the Labour Day long weekend, in hopes of avoiding crowds (which I’m allergic to nowadays). The park was surprisingly busy, but thankfully the lines [READ MORE…]

A Day in The Presidio

 Posted by on August 4, 2019  Drawings, Lefties, Location Sketching, Watercolour  Tagged with: ,
Aug 042019
A Day in The Presidio

Last Christmas, Julia gave me a gift voucher for a posh massage place, and last weekend I finally got to use it, giving us the excuse for spending yet another pleasant day in The Presidio. After having a few kinks kneaded out of my battered body, there was time to kill until a dinner reservation, so we sat on the [READ MORE…]

Happy Birthday, Dad!

 Posted by on July 29, 2019  Drawings, Family, Lefties, My stroke  Tagged with:
Jul 292019
Happy Birthday, Dad!

My Dad’s 80th birthday is July 29th. I couldn’t get back to Australia to celebrate with my family today, but sent this card of cartoons and limericks to mark the completion of Dad’s 80th trip around the sun. Apart from all the typical similarities between a father and his son, Dad & I are bonded in a unique way; I [READ MORE…]

May 252019

I’m a much slower story-artist than I used to be, but random pauses at work sometimes give me chances to dabble on my pet personal project – an expansion of old Rocket Rabbit comics stories. For the past few years Rocket Rabbit has become primarily an art therapy project, as I continue to learn to draw with my left hand. [READ MORE…]

SF Botanical Garden

 Posted by on February 17, 2019  Drawings, Lefties, Location Sketching, Watercolour  Tagged with:
Feb 172019
SF Botanical Garden

The weather has been stormy & rainy lately and we’ve been housebound for several weekends in a row. When the sun finally came out briefly last Sunday, Julia & I hurried to Golden Gate Park. Julia was eager to see the magnolias, as it is now the season for them to bloom, so we quickly made our way to the [READ MORE…]

Jan 062019
Holiday Sketching

Just before Christmas, Julia & I attended the DICKENS FAIR again. Our focus this time was eating and drinking, with hearty portions of ‘Bangers & Mash‘ and “Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding‘, washed down with Hot Buttered Rum at a nearby pub, where there was a jolly sing-song (in drama club cockney accents). Christmas Day itself was a quiet one, [READ MORE…]