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It Is No Longer Enough
Posted By Scott at 7/29/2015 4:19 PM

I'm going to go on a bit of a rant here, so feel free to skip to the bottom, because I think it's important you at least get the gist of what I want to say.

I'm going to exercise my white, male privilege here, the inexplicable ease with which it is to have my voice heard, and say that it's just not enough anymore.

It's not enough to not like the racist comments your friends make, or to sit in uncomfortable silence as it happens. It's not enough to repost a Jon Stewart video and feel like you've done your part; saying something the oppressed have been screaming for decades is not brave, it's bare minimum. It's not enough to idly sit by and watch friends or acquaintances argue the merits of the confederate flag as it's inclusion in public places hurts people every time they walk by it. It's not enough to chalk up ingrained, supported and in some circles encouraged racial terrorism to mental illness and just move on. It's not enough to listen to relatives and colleagues make gay and trans jokes and not speak up; to not defend those whose only crime is being in love with whomever they want, or living their lives the way they've always known in their hearts they were. It's not enough to say how much you care about your wife/sister/daughter, then listen to someone comment about a beautiful woman, saying things like "we all know how she got the job"; to look at gender as a dividing line and that crossing that line at any time is weird or out of place. It's not enough to smirk uncomfortably at jokes about rape.

This is your chance. Call someone you love out on their nonsense, bigotry and hatred. Tell them their words are hurtful, their line of thinking is outdated and outmoded. Put them in a spotlight and let their hate show. Tell them it's enough!

This is your chance. Tell the racists in your life you can't be friends with them anymore; their stereotypes and vitriol doesn't fly anymore. Tell the homophobes who think today is a sad day to be American you don't want to hear from them anymore; their hate speech just won't register. Tell the bigots who'd rather trans people live their lives in the cages they were born into than see them freed you can't stomach them anymore. Tell the misogynists in your lives that women are the strongest, most beautiful creatures to ever grace us with their presence on Earth, and if they can't see that they're blind, and you're blind to them.

Whether I've known you since we were kids, or we passed each other in the halls at work know this: if you'd rather gay people stayed in the closet, if you'd rather black people or anyone of colour stayed out of your neighbourhood, if you'd rather trans people stayed as what they were born, if you'd rather women stayed in the kitchen? We're not friends anymore. I don't want to hear your side of things. I don't want to argue the merits of your viewpoint. I don't want to see things from your perspective. We're done. I'm not sweeping you under the carpet either. I'll gladly paint anyone that cares to see the picture that you have hate in your heart. I'll climb up on my soapbox, to my pedestal and atop my high horse to let it be known: You are wrong.

Unfriend me, unfollow me, just crawl back under your rock.

This is my chance, and I'm taking it.

** I posted this to my Facebook wall on June 26, 2015: the day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same sex marriage was to be legal in all States. A good friend pointed out that I took the one day everyone on Facebook was (mostly) happy, and chose to "go for throats". It's a fair point, but this was on the heels of a year full of near constant reports of police violence towards black men and women (and children), the shooting of nine people in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston NC, and all the hand wringing, hemming and hawing that came along with doing anything but calling it what it was -- racist violence. Couple that with gamergate, white power marches and any other blatant display of crazy and I had to get it off my chest. A lot of people were faced with the true side to some of their 'friends' on social media during all of this; forced to read through "but wait a minute", "what about white men?", "#alllivesmatter" narcissism and bigotry. I loved reading about the same sex marriage ruling like everyone else, had had countless discussions with people who were uncomfortable with the idea about how they were just on the wrong side of history, but I guess I just wasn't done being disgusted with the rest of it. **

On Making Resolutions
Posted By Scott at 1/31/2014 11:32 AM

I know January is behind us already, but I've been thinking a lot about resolutions lately. They tend to revolve around losing weight, or doing more of what you love, or generally just taking the New Year by storm. It has always struck me as kind of strange.

In a lot of ways, this past year was amazing. I heard my daughter's first words, watched her learn to roll, then crawl, then walk (and now run). I figured out maybe I could be a good father, or at least figured out I'd never quit trying to be. I took the time to read books again, for the first time really since my daughter was born. My favourite was "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman. I discovered I love vinyl records, and rekindled that love of music all over again.

My wife launched her own business, Hoot & Holly, and so far she's done amazing with it. I've watched friends' babies grow up slowly yet all too quickly; watched as other friends have had their first child. A good friend of mine wrote his first book (which you can totally pre-order here). Some more good friends started playing new music together. I watched other friends launch businesses, or move on to great promotions and successes. All in all, some pretty great milestones to be celebrated.

In a lot of ways, this past year was also one of the hardest I've had. I lost a grandfather whose relationship I would call distant. It is one of those things I'll probably always regret in some way; I wasn't close with him, I certainly could have been, but now I'll never know. There's been family health scares, setbacks and strings of bad luck. I've watched really good friends go through break-ups and divorces, all the while wishing I could help in some way but of course knowing I couldn't.

For me, I had one of the toughest years of my career, letting the stress and the negativity build up and boil. While I was able to move on, it wasn't without its toll. I have struggled for most of this past year to find the time and energy to be creative, having hardly drawn or written anything. It is the most detached I've felt from art in a long time. I still get very passionate, and think about it constantly, I just falter and struggle staring down at that all too intimidating blank page.

So why didn't I make some resolutions to change? I think in a lot of ways resolutions can be a detriment at succeeding at something. You're setting the goal line before you've met the racers or seen what the track looks like. I could have a multitude of unexpected successes in the coming year, but have none of them line up with the goals and resolutions that I've set for myself. So then did I fail? With most of what's laid out before me being out of my control, how do I measure where I'm going to land?

Does this mean I don't have any accomplishments I'd like to achieve in the coming months? Absolutely not. I do wonder though how you just put a hard stop on something and say "This, this right here is where it all turns around!" There are events that took place last year that will trickle into and effect this year. The coming and passing of December 31st cannot change or influence that. Don't get me wrong, I love people that can set goals and work until they're done. I just think that that is a function of living. Every day should be about reflection and reassessing. You can't set just a set of resolutions and only expect to be confronted with just those.

I think the goal line is constantly changing, so you have to just keep running.

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Fatherhood - The Story So Far
Posted By Scott at 11/13/2013 8:05 PM

Just over 16 months ago, after 41 hours of labour, my strong/brave/amazing wife gave birth to our 8 lbs., 6 oz. first born child, a wonderful little girl. Oh how beautiful this child is! From that moment on, I have have been forever and inexplicably changed.

Prior to that moment, and hard to admit, I had no idea if I could be a father. We had always talked about kids, and while I wanted kids, I never quite painted the whole picture in my head. I've always been slow to adjust to changes. I like my little routines. My whole life has been laid out in a very measure six times, cut once, maybe, but only if it will work out way... I guess I'm saying I'm cautious. For better or worse there have been situations where, paralyzed but some unknown fear, I've been too afraid to even have fun. Although, as I get older I'm realizing that that is not always my fault. So to say I had reservations about my ability to actually pull this fatherhood thing off is probably an understatement.

All of that changed the minute I held that twee, doe-eyed and wondrous creature in my arms. I was, and continue to be, smitten. At that moment, I knew that this beautiful baby girl was going to have if not the best father, the best father her father could be. I was going to pour myself into the act, and savour every minute of it.

So obviously, 16 months on, I'm a parenting expert right?

Nope, not even remotely close. I make mistakes. All the time. I don't always read the cues. I react the wrong way. I over think things -- a lot. I worry. Oh Lord do I worry! I'm probably worrying about something, somewhere as you read this.

So what am I trying to say? I guess I thought some of you might find some of the things I have observed to be helpful. Maybe you're thinking of having kids? Maybe you already have kids and like reading about other people's experiences? Maybe you're a sadist and hope there's some misery in here somewhere. You sicko!

 At any rate, here are a few observations I've made.

Simple right?

Let me be perfectly clear: fatherhood is not for everyone. Nor is it a badge of honour; simply being a father does not get you anything. There are no bonus points for getting someone pregnant and fathering a child. To be present, to be available and willing to do whatever it takes is however, an incredible amount of work.

The first thing that settles in right away? It is a full-time, no breaks, no breathers job.  That might sound like  a complaint, but it's not.  From the moment my wife went into labor, to this very moment now, I have been, in one form or another participating in the act of being a father. Whether that was not really sleeping for 6 months, balancing the books, wondering if she's having a good day while I'm at work, or dropping her off at daycare, I'm on the clock.

You get tired, you get cranky, but you love every minute of it.  Your children are the reset switch (and sometimes the cause) of your bad moods.

You would kill for your child.

I don't mean that figuratively, like, "Oh, I would do anything for my kid!" No, I mean you would kill another human being if it came down to it. It was something that my mother always said to me that I never really understood, or thought was hyperbole.

I'm sure there's people that think, of course you would -- survival instincts and all that, but what struck me was how palpable that sense is.  Your in the doctor's office because your baby's lost weight, or she's not eating right or something, and maybe the doctor doesn't take you seriously, or is telling you something you know in your gut is not right.  Maybe somebody cuts you off while in the car with your baby in a dangerous way.  You become protective.  You become defensive.  You become... parents.

You wouldn't (and you shouldn't) stop asking questions and pushing for the truth until you were satisfied. You wouldn't let any harm come to that child no matter what.

You will be changed forever.

What you thought about life, about what was important for you and where your priorities are will change.  I know that sounds like a smug, "Your not a parent, you don't understand" statement, but it's not meant to be. Your priorities will change. That doesn't invalidate the priorities of those who don't have children.  It simply means that some of the superficial things in your life might take a back seat. Even some really important things will have to back seat. Some things that were important will not be.  Some other things that were not important will become very important.

You may not have as much time for twitter, or tumblr, or Facebook.  You may not catch all the latest YouTube videos (I heard the term "Gangnam Style" for almost a year before I knew what it was, and longer than that to actually see the dance, not even the original video -- not always a bad thing).  You probably won't see a movie in a theatre for a long while.  You'll start to care more about savings accounts, and life insurance, and lowering interest rates.

Most importantly though, at least for me, you won't miss the things that aren't important, and you'll find the time for the things that are.

You won't be changed at all.

Contradictions right?!

What I mean to say is, you don't throw on Dad jeans, grow a moustache, and start listening to John Denver.  You're still, at the core, you.  You're just you, for lack of a better description, as a parent.  Your musical tastes don't change.  My daughter and I bopped around the playroom to the Afghan Whigs just this evening (Black Love - a near perfect album if I've ever heard one), and we're learning she's a huge Al Green fan. You're still hip (if you were hip).

Your life is not over.

For me, it felt like in a lot of ways it had begun.  Or at least a very important chapter of it.  We had travelled quite a bit before our daughter was born, and will again, but I've said to my wife on more than one occasion that I'd wished we started our family earlier.  One of my biggest fears was losing myself in all of it.  Now that I've seen that that doesn't happen, it seemed like such a silly thing to be scared of.

Everyone has an opinion.

Part of your job, from now on, will be carefully navigating the social and family circles you reside in to come out the other end having done the parenting job you wanted to.  From older generations not understanding why things can't be like they were, to friends (with kids) chiming in on how they'd done it (or are doing it), you are now on display and open to public opinion.

Don't read anything on the Internet, ever.

Of course you will.  But don't. But you will.

I once texted a picture to a friend who has three kids of his own to ask "Have you seen this colour before? is that normal?!?" I've looked up symptoms that had no less that seven different conditions they could be a part of.  I've read all the forum posts, and shudder to this day to think about them.

The basic message, for any ailment your child has goes one of two ways on the internet.
a) My child had that as well, and everything was fine.
b) My child had that and exploded, may he/she rest in peace.

Don't. Read. Anything. On the  Internet. Ever.

Your child will not fit the mould.

I feel like this is a really important point, and not one that's always easy to find answers on.  It sounds obvious, but when you're experiencing everything for the first time, it's a little overwhelming.

Our daughter is smaller than most kids her age.  She doesn't chart high in any height or weight percentiles.  She didn't do everything the books said she should when they said she should.  She was barely on time, or late to some milestones.  Some things she did far earlier.  At this point, she says almost triple the words she's supposed to.  She skips some steps towards other milestones.

The point is, the idea of a child hitting all of these milestones on a schedule is absurd.  I read it best that milestones are not for doctors, they're for parents.


There are countless other things I'm sure I'm missing.  I'll probably learn and forget a dozen little lessons tonight.  The only real advice I can give you is to hold your baby, get on the ground with them and play, act like a complete idiot with them, and enjoy it.

There are a few topics I didn't touch upon, some too big for a tiny footnote in this article. Don't get me started on, upon having a daughter, how you become hyper sensitive to how appalling the media and entertainment venues (and some of your friends and colleagues) are to women. Maybe I'll revisit this every couple months or years and put it all in perspective.

All that said, becoming a father truly is one of the best things to happen to me, and I really feel like the luckiest man in the world.

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Posted By Scott at 9/13/2013 9:40 AM

Hey there, glad you could make it. Can I get you anything to drink? A snack perhaps? Excellent!

So the main focus of my online presence has been, for over a decade now, my illustration and comic work. The problem I've had for a while is that this paints me into a corner. While I love art, and drawing, and talking about drawing, it's not the whole of my being so to speak. I love movies and music and video games. I write stories, poems, song lyrics and, although it's taken a back seat over the years, I write music. My day job finds me creating web sites and web applications. So I end up in a lot of technical conversations, waxing ecstatic about all sorts of tech topics like web apps, mobile apps, and all the gadgets that get thrown out into the market. However, most people that find me online, or anyone that I have an online rapport with knows me for art.

The other sort of rub there seems to be the fact that I find myself perhaps not writing in my own voice when I talk about art. A lot of art writing is very dour, touching upon light sources and mood and tools used... which is great if you're focusing on art, but I'm not focused on art all the time. Sometimes I spend a week or more working on something else. So what do I do about that?

Why, start another blog of course! So what I've done is relabelled the old "blog" to "sketchbook". The content will be almost exactly the same, and hopefully update more frequently (ahem). The new blog will be called "words". This new blog will contain all the other things I mentioned above, and probably update far more frequently than "sketchbook", because I can type (and think... sometimes) far faster than I can create a drawing or finished illustration piece.

Sound cool? Awesome! Hoping you like what I'm trying to do here, and looking forward to getting some feedback.

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