Emoji rant

Categories etc, Thoughts

How come emojis are different on every platform? It’s kind of annoying. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, LG, HTC, Facebook, Messenger (why a different set??), Twitter, Mozilla, and more all have different ways of showing you a smiley face. And so many of them look outdated or stupid. The Face with Tears Of Joy emoji. Why did Microsoft have to be different and give four tears (two going upwards)? It looks like a smiley with blue face tattoos.

I’d like to arrange a meeting between all these companies to make universal emojis. Maybe I’m the first one suggesting this here: there should be only one way to show the poop emoji. I’d like for what I sent to be what the other person receives. You know, like WYSIWYG. Type it in, finished product looks the same with some minor differences like we have across browsers.

Maybe I’m jumping the gun and don’t know what I’m asking for.

I’m aware each platform can have different design languages and a copyright on the images. But most android phones are similar enough anyway. For the most part, all the flagships update to the latest android version and adhere to those aesthetic standards. Couldn’t all android phones have the same emojis?

And another thing, how come I still don’t know how to type emojis on my computer keyboard? Apple is the first to come out with a touch bar with emojis, but it’s overpriced, underwhelming, and comes with dongles. Maybe browsers should have an addon built in. Why not? The casual social network user should be accommodated as well, that’s a big chunk of people who have no idea how to use emojis on their computers aside from :).

And did you know Sony has an emoji movie coming out in August? Me neither, but at the rate it seems studios are trying to monetize brands and sell products, it appears it was only a matter of time. I’m a fan of T.J. Miller and James Corden so I wish it luck.

In unrelated news, my banjo club short documentary (the one I received a grant from the Sprout Fund for) is just about finished. Everything is being edited together. Hang tight, thanks.

New Year’s resolutions

Categories Thoughts

Most people don’t follow through with their New Year’s resolution and I’d reckon the vast majority of them are also aware of this phenomenon. This is just my speculation, but it’d seem the awareness alone could make someone less likely to succeed. If you have this idea that most people quit on the thing you’re attempting, when the going gets tough you may falsely believe it gives you a free pass to give up too. Whereas if you started at any other time- let’s take the middle of March for example- that extra social reinforcement is absent.

Everyday is a new start, not every 365 days.

Updating my blog… and YouTube

Categories etc, Thoughts

Looks like I’ve got some updating to do on my blog, which I’ll now be giving more attention. I fell behind updating my YouTube page for a minute, too. If I told you the reason both have gone without updates, you’d think it was pretty dumb. The reason is… I render my Facebook videos in 720p. It’s quicker to render and faster to upload. 1080p on the platform will be scaled down to 720p anyway. I’d rather embed a YouTube video on my blog than a Facebook video, it makes more sense. The last thing I’d want to do is upload my YouTube videos in 720p. So I’ll wait to upload the YouTube video. I’ll render the 1080p version for YouTube later. (Then I don’t.)

Easily avoidable, all that has to change is the “then I don’t” part.

I’m heavily prioritizing Facebook because it’s where the attention of a lot of people who watch my videos is. There is a quote that goes “You have to meet people where they are.” from Iyanla Vanzant. I’m constantly finding that quote relevant. Facebook is underestimated as a video platform as far as I’m concerned.

Well my YouTube page has been brought up to speed now. Currently updating this blog to be up to speed before the New Year, I have about 40 minutes. Wish me luck.


GPAC 2-Day Artist grants info session

Categories Thoughts, Video
Amy Smith talking with part of the main group about elevator pitches.
Amy Smith talking with part of the main group about elevator pitches.

I was invited by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) to attend a 2 day session called “Nuts & Bolts“, a talk given by Seth Lepore and Amy Smith (of headlong.org) – two very funny and informative artists from Philadelphia. I like what GPAC is doing for artists. They weren’t even charging that much for entry – I believe it was a donate what you can afford event. They served breakfast and lunch and even had a nice selection of healthy foods – which I’m very happy about, the way to my heart is most often food related. And I’ve been steadily (*slowly) moving my food selection to be more healthy.

Plenty of vegan food options were provided.

Anyway, I happened to bring my camera to the event and decided to create this video to help the organization out and expose artists to a local and potentially very helpful nonprofit. As I continue to live in Pittsburgh, my goal is to contribute to the culture in this city by using my voice & perspective.

Link to the video. (Additional Facebook version.)

You’ll notice I’m not speaking at all in this video because on that day my energy and feeling to do it was zapped.

Believe it or not, I really beat myself up over it the rest of that day because I feel like I gave in to my comfort zone. There was a sense of obligation in my mind to have more of a presence for the video, but I really wasn’t feeling it. No idea what could’ve been said on camera that would have made the video any better either. Looking back, everything was completely fine- that’s how I felt, after all. But internally, there was a battle of negative self-talk there that was felt the whole day.

A huge desire of mine is to push to make my camera presence better (a challenge) but it’s easy for me to confuse that with my perfectionism.

If I hadn’t made it how I perceived to be imperfect at the time, there wouldn’t be a video at all. As if to say “all or nothing!” which is a big part of me at this time that I’m actively working to improve. I only just realized a few weeks ago from Brené Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” that perfectionism is actually a toxic beast. Turns out, it’s not a good thing at all. Here’s how she defines it in her book & I’ll let this finish the blog post:

Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame. Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Additionally, perfectionism is more about perception—we want to be perceived as perfect. Again, this is unattainable—there is no way to control perception, regardless of how much time and energy we spend trying.


Being Featured in a Northside Documentary

Categories News, Spotlight, Video

Local filmmaker Gabriel Colombo is working on a full length documentary about the Northside, supported by The Heinz Endowments. Here’s behind-the-scenes of me being interviewed for it at his place in Oakland. Big thanks to the whole “Searching Common Grounds” crew!

Link to the video.

This is another case of the internet being an awesome place. Me and Gabe didn’t meet but very briefly in the past, but because he sees what I do on Facebook – like with my Cool Pittsburgh Videos group – he thought I would be a good person to feature in this documentary and I’m very happy to have the opportunity.

That’s really what I like about living in 2016, opportunities that come from you putting yourself out there and contributing something unique are plentiful. Never was there a better time for connecting with like-minded people. I’m doing right now what 30 years ago would sound like the delusions of a madman and I’m enjoying every millisecond of it.