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I make toys for kids who don't want to grow up. I'm on the lookout for new projects. If you're interested in commissioning me to build something ridiculous, shoot me an email.

Monday, June 4, 2018

I Read the Comments

On rare occasions, after something I’ve done gets noticed and some media outlet posts a bit of video or an article about me or my projects, I get a chance to see someone else’s take on what I’m doing with all of my time.  Then, even though I know I shouldn’t and it’ll almost always sour my mood, I do the one thing I never should.

I read the comments.

Usually, they’re pretty positive.  But then, almost always, there’s the trolls.  The smug web-dwellers that seem consumed with a need to talk about how pointless my endeavors are, how frivolous or meaningless my latest achievement is, or just make blatant assumptions about who I am or what my motives are, then proceed to talk down to me from there.  I'll never fully understand what drives people to think their time is well-spent by shoveling crap on top of someone else’s efforts, but it always manages to get under my skin just a little.

Today a friend of mine pointed out that those folks who usually have the harshest critique about something others create tend to have done the least with their own lives.  He tells me that the hot air spewing from the nobodies who claim they're certain they could have or would have done better is hardly my concern. 

On an intellectual level I know that their vitriol is a manifestation of their own festering doubts and insecurities.  A malignant side-effect of what they haven't done with their own time.  A re-branding of their concern that they're utterly wasting their short lives.  They go about their mundane day to day doing nothing challenging, bringing nothing of any particular interest to the rest of the world. They live in fear that the shaky timbers of their fragile ego might any second be beaten down by the roaring waves of reality.  Their only hope; to discourage the doers to the point of inaction so that mediocrity becomes just the way of things rather than their own personal failure.

I welcome criticism.  It’s always valuable to have an objective viewpoint that can point out the details that I may have overlooked or a distant third-party who is unhindered by the limited view from my particular trench and can offer the occasional insight that must come from outside.  This is the kind of feedback that drives us to learn and improve, and in so doing thrive.

But these are not critics.  These people are faceless shadows in the night calling you into a dark alley. Their words, occasionally even disguised as wisdom, are traps.  They are every bit as lost as any one of us.  But unlike those of us who create, who dare to fail, they’re too cowardly to try.  Too afraid to admit their potential for fallibility.

These comments are the death-thumps of sad little pigeons slamming into life’s windows.  Pitiful, ignorable noises of hapless creatures flailing and failing to understand a limited attempt to show them something.  

If you’ve ever found yourself feeling down after getting unnecessarily negative feedback, just remember they're most likely just upset that you’ve reminded them just how little they do.  How little they are.  How ridiculous they look.

If you’re about to post a nasty comment to make yourself feel better about what you’re not doing, realize that the only difference between a dream and a goal is a solid plan and the only difference between a goal and an achievement is solid effort...

...and the only thing holding you back is you.

A Couple of Videos from the 2018 Bay Area Maker Faire

Every time I go to the Bay Area Maker Faire, it seems like there's at least a few different times where someone sticks a camera and a microphone in front of me and asks what I'm doing there. This year was no exception. Here's a couple of videos that I've found so far.

For starters, Caleb Kraft from Make: was livestreaming a walking tour of the Faire. You can see it cued up to start with my segment here:


Then Norm and the guys from Tested.com stopped by to take a look at the newly-finished Fallout power armor:   

I'm sure there will be more as time goes by.  Not everyone gets their posts online in a timely manner like I do.