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13 Aug, 2014 – leave a comment

my superman plot

Superman Kingdom Come

I’ve been reading a lot of comic books recently (the iPad was made for it) and have been a lifelong Superman nerd. Here’s my own idea for a non-cannon plot. By the way, can you tell this site is just for my personal ramblings now? You should at this point.

It’s been years since Superman has had to save the Earth.

Luthor has been reformed. Brainiac is a distant memory. Doomsday is defeated once and for all. Darkseid destroyed himself and his own planet in the process. Even ordinary crime is down. Batman is in retirement (if you can call it that). The Green Lantern Corps has left the solar system to patrol other regions of the universe. Wonder Woman has returned to Themyscira to rebuild the Amazon empire.

If Superman were ordinary, he’d be middle-aged by now. He’s married to Lois. He no longer keeps up his secret identity as Clark Kent. The world has accepted him. He is finally coming to terms with no longer being the alien, no longer feeling isolated from those he protects.

Then, of course, things change. He wakes up one morning to the world burning down around him. Seemingly, a distant star has gone supernova, bathing our planet in gamma rays which traveled near the speed of light, scorching the thin layer of atmosphere around our rocky home before any warning could be issued. Like Krypton before it, the Earth is no more. Lois is no more. He screams but there is no atmosphere to carry his grief.

Superman stands now only among ash and rubble. No villain to fight. No justice to uphold. He is alone, now more than ever before. The God with the soul of a man, with all of his powers, finally realizes how powerless he truly is as he scrambles for some way to undo this event. Eventually, he realizes his fate and the fate of his doomed world are sealed.

So he leaves the Earth, the husk that it is now. He travels beyond our galaxy. At first, just to be far away from the memory of it all. Then, to find some place to rest, maybe some place to have a purpose again – a society to protect and to grieve amongst. He can’t imagine starting over, but his sense of duty, his sense of justice won’t let him stay unmoored.

After several tries, he finds a civilization amongst new stars. They are humanoid and thus, he can blend in. He lives his first few months there pretending to be ordinary, to understand the culture, the rituals, the new way of life. But of course, he is Superman. After his first feat of heroism, word spreads and the people declare him to be a God. Never have those words been more hollow to him. He begins to regret ever thinking he could settle into a new life. His guilt for being a survivor, twice over, consumes him. He imagines how he might fail this world.

And then he sees a familiar symbol. The Green Lantern Corps protect this region of space and make a routine clandestine visit. But they bring with them unimaginable news. It wasn’t a supernova which destroyed the Earth, it was an object in deep space with an intelligence even the corps can’t comprehend. Superman wasn’t the victim of a random force of Nature, he was the target of an assassin’s weapon. Dozens of Green Lanterns have already tried to reach the object and did not return. Meanwhile, turmoil on Superman’s new home planet has reached a fever pitch – society is struggling with the thought of a super being among them. Disorder and chaos ensue.

Superman now faces an impossible decision. Does he venture into deep space to confront the entity which destroyed the Earth, destroyed Lois, and likely perish in the process? Or does he stay and protect the people of his new home and attempt to undo the damage he inadvertently caused with his presence?


11 Aug, 2014 – leave a comment

whose billion is it?

whosebillions

In 2011, I proposed a user’s bill of rights for sites built upon the labor and networks of its users.

Since then, tech valuations have skyrocketed. Meanwhile, feature sets for many of these platforms have gotten simpler. It’s never been clearer that the value being transacted is in the users, the content they create, and the networks they bring with them.

I’d like to head to SXSW next year and work towards an explicit contract between a platform and its users – and a means to demand it.

To do that, I need your vote. Consider it, please.


02 Aug, 2014 – 2 comments

hello, thirties

I am a 31 year old man, now nearly 32 years of age. I’m as shocked as you might be.

My 20′s were spent living what could best be described as bedouin isolation. I had the luxury to live in Austin, Chicago, Manhattan (then Brooklyn), Boulder, Florida, and finally Los Angeles. Well, my body made the trips. My mind, mostly, remain fixated on itself.

I am, as I said, in my early thirties, and my perception of life has changed much more dramatically since my twenties than I could have expected. I live in Los Angeles, married now to an extraordinary woman, who came with a dog that’s now part best friend, part child to me. Luckily, my days end and begin with the both of them. I’ve been in this apartment longer than anywhere I’ve lived since my childhood home. I even own pieces of furniture that came pre-assembled. I’m trying to jump start my own office of an established company (and in the process becoming more like my father than I could have imagined). I worry about sales and about spending time with my wife that isn’t colored by my worrying over sales.

I’ve been jotting down random thoughts lately on what this new decade of my life has asked of me that the last decade didn’t.

For one, maintenance. My body is a poor excuse for what it once was. If I allow myself to actually look below the neck in a reflection, I shudder at thoughts of the gym, time seemingly wasted running on a treadmill or in some other form of repetition. My relationships require maintenance, too. My closest and most sacred relationship, to the woman I married, is the one I stress most over. She is so incredibly important to me, and her own character deserves that I be my whole self in front of her. Possessions, too. I suddenly have things which require I keep them humming, or cleaned, or otherwise lubricated. I have to flip mattresses, vacuum under couches, and actually clean the microwave now. It’s intolerable.

Related to maintenance, I now find myself without a shred of discipline. In my twenties, I could make a snap decision and suddenly I was going to become a passionate expert in some new esoteric discipline, or decide to cut out some evil in my diet and would without trouble be one of those smug dieters. I could draw any line in the sand and easily remain on the other side of it. Now, I mostly want to eat the food that tastes good, drink the drinks that feel good, and do whatever sounds good. I just hope that in my forties, the firemen that cut me out of my home will do so with respect and discretion.

Presence. As I said, I lived my 20′s, mentally, in the comfort and, at times confinement, of my own head. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression most of my life. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed of that anymore. I see it as a chronic condition that occasionally flares up and demands more of my attention. I also see it as a part of who I am, it has shaped me in both positive and negative ways. It has taught me most of all to be kind to others, to understand that anyone I pass on the street is at war with their own emotions, that they could be injuring themselves with their own thoughts. With that in mind, I’ve recently begun a practice of mindfulness, as you do in LA, where I practice being present so that however long I have to be here with the rest of you, I can spend that time living the life in front of me, rather than my perceptions about what’s passed or to come.

As my practice has developed, I find myself at times whispering or thinking a short, non-theistic, prayer. It goes something like this. May I be present in this moment. May I be safe, protected from both inner and outer harm. May I be at ease in my mind and in my body. May I live in peace with the world around me, free from judgement and kind to whatever or whomever I encounter. Finally, with all of this in my mind and in my heart, may I be happy in this moment.

Don’t worry, dear reader, I am not about to start dressing myself in all white, hemp woven garbs, or cross the country with bare feet. I’m as weary of hippies as the next Texan. I simply want to be able to write a similar post to this when I turn 40 (assuming I’m still a living fourth dimensional traveler at that time) and it not be a sad retelling of a popular Talking Heads’ song.

Click that link, it’s a great outro. Otherwise, this post kind of sputters to an end. Life, though, goes on.


29 Jul, 2014 – leave a comment

global juxtapositioning system

It boggles my mind that, in my neighborhood, we monitor our heart rate, order food (and it even shows up), spend money frivolously to unlock new levels on games, watch any kind of pornography we can imagine (and some we never would), and get news from anywhere on the planet – all (simultaneously if you’re good) on our phones, devices themselves that are nearly unexplainable.

Meanwhile, in another neighborhood around the globe, for reasons too complex to truly understand, some people struggle for food, resort to eating monkeys and bats, lack a modern understanding of disease altogether, and face one of the deadliest pathogens our species has yet encountered.

Economic inequality is something we talk a lot about these days in my country. Perhaps we should also be focused on the widening, nearly-incomprehensible, and potentially destructive educational inequality in the world, too.

If not for the sake of the other neighborhood, for the sake of our apps then.


23 Jul, 2014 – leave a comment

Back to Bud

This blog is at a fork in the road, and you dear reader are as well.

If you want posts at the intersection of technology, marketing, organization design, culture, etc – you might want to read and subscribe to Responsive.org from now on. Also follow it on Twitter, Facebook, and GoodReads.

If you want posts that meander from topic to topic, mostly centered on me struggling to be a rounded (yet not rotund) human being, keep reading WhatConsumesMe.com and come back soon for fresh content.

That is all. You’ve officially been warned.