Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Internet and "Outrage Culture"

"Outrage culture."

I have no idea where this term came from, but I like it. And I also hate it.

I like it because it aptly describes the state of social media. I hate it because well, it so aptly describes the state of social media.

Is "social media" too broad a term? Maybe, but go with it until I come back and edit in a better one. A lot of people are so quick to lose themselves over whatever happens to be trending, that they end up looking foolish in the process. My first thought is that they want to seem "in the know" about the issues, so they skim some headlines and parrot them to impress their friends.

The issue, or at least one of the issues, that comes up with this is one that plagues many Facebookers: these people seemingly don't read the stories that have them so upset (I hope none of them are in the journalism field). They take a headline, or just part of it, and go off about how the issue is "unconstitutional" or "immoral." Oftentimes they have half the story and completely miss, or willfully ignore, the other half. And forget about trying to explain it. They are more stubborn than I am about not getting a cat.

It can make for some entertaining reading at lunchtime, but mostly it makes me wonder if there should be some kind of test before some people should be allowed to post online.

Let me give a recent example of what I mean - I was going to go with three, but I dealt with backlash on Planned Parenthood stuff already so I won't address that again. And the Kim Davis story will lead me into a diatribe on crazy religious people, and I don't want this blog to be that deep.

That example is this "TROPHY" shirt that Target debuted a few months ago:

Some took this image and blasted Target for being sexist, because there was no similar shirt for men on shelves (my guess: "PROVIDER"). Others took it as the store sending the wrong message to women, that being an "object" or a "prize to be won" is not how they should be viewed. No matter which side they took, people were adamant that the shirt should not be sold. A woman even started a petition to have the shirt removed, saying it "perpetuates rape culture." I wish I was kidding about that. I also wish I hadn't read most of those Facebook comments, but I suppose I'll never learn.

These people clearly have no sense of humor, or were not smart enough to "get" the shirt.

I can say that with some confidence, as everyone I spoke to about the shirt - men and women - found it funny. And Target came out and said the shirt was meant to be funny, so there's that. Also my wife, who is a female person, wants to have this shirt. That is why she wins. (Of course, my local Target doesn't have the shirt in stock.)

In this case, people didn't take part of a headline to jump on their soapboxes. They merely formed super serious, even obscene, opinions about a t-shirt that doesn't even have a dirty word on it. Only in America, my friends!

If you find yourself in the situation many others do, where you are upset about information on the internet, take a lesson from our pal, Tim:

I know, a meme. Really, Pat? Yes, really. It is an easy and effective way to wrap up before I go off on another tangent. Plus, who doesn't love pictures? Wait, maybe I shouldn't have asked...

Thanks for coming to the table, my friend! Come back next time for more of the same, or something completely different!

Crap open a cold one!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Melting Pat on Next Level Radio Episode 1 Now Available!

Hey friend!

I know I still need to blog this week, and I will do that tomorrow. But I wanted to take a moment to let you know that the first episode of my new podcast is now available for your listening pleasure!

I told a retail story, previewed FOOTBALL and rasslin (took full advantage of no longer having a time limit, by the way), ranted about kids on leashes, and got excited about some Fall TV shows! I also threw in a fun fact to tickle your brain cells! Woooooo!

Click the link to give a listen to The Melting Pat Next Level Episode 1: Grab Your ID Already, That Kid's on a Leash!

Thanks for the support! High fives for all!

Crap open a cold one!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Public Transit Adventures Part 2: A Tale of Two Seats

Hello, friend!

This week, I want to take you back into the world of Philadelphia public transit. We talked about the panhandler, and we'll visit the salesman down the line, but today I want to highlight a special kind of jerk: the double-seater.

Now, I will exclude those who are "larger than life" as they cannot immediately remedy the situation. I am instead going to focus on those who decide that purses, suitcases, food, and/or their feet paid to have a seat. So join me as I take you inside the bus with one, or several, of these upstanding citizens.

It's 5pm, Friday afternoon. You finished a tough work week and just want to get home and play video games sans pants. Not an outlandish request, you think to yourself. You arrive at the bus stop, just under 20 minutes from home now. The bus is filling. You just hope you can at least get on so you don't have to wait for another one.

As luck would have it, you step up to board and pay your fare. For a moment, you see that wonderful empty seat. There are other passengers standing, but they haven't noticed so you make your way toward it. As you draw near, excusing yourself by the dudes on their phones barely paying attention, a travesty occurs.

The joker in the seat next to yours decides his backpack is more deserving.

You sigh in disappointment and squeeze back to an empty space to stand. As luck would have it, that spot is next to the offender. Feeling brazen, you get his attention and ask him to move his bag. At first, he pretends not to hear you as he is buried in his fancy gadget. The ride begins and you ask again. This time, he notices your plea and does what has become standard: rolls his eyes and goes back to his gadget.

You ride isn't a long one, so you choose not to press the issue further. Soon your pants-less gaming will begin and this nonsense will be behind you.

But as you get off the bus and start to walk home, you wonder: why has this behavior become so common, or even standard? Why, when there are elderly folk, pregnant women, or even people like you forced to stand next to a seat with a bag on it?

Since you have video gaming to do, I'll step in and jump on the soapbox.

It has become "okay" for people to be inconsiderate, and that is crap. If you're on a full bus, take a second to think of someone else. The man with the cane or the pregnant woman struggling to hold on are absolutely more deserving of the seat than your backpack.

It really isn't hard to do. Move your bag to your lap and offer the seat. You are inconvenienced for maybe half an hour, and it's really not an inconvenience at all.. You can still play on your fancy gadget. You don't have to become best friends with the person next to you, you don't even have to talk to him or her. All you need to do is go against the "norm" (unreal) and not force someone to stand.

Before I start rambling and possibly using some dirty words, I'll leave you with this: drop this "all about me" nonsense and be a decent person. Elderly men and women and pregnant women should always be given seats, especially if those seats are unoccupied. Move your bag, your food, or your feet and give me some hope for the future already.

Okay, that's out of my system, so I will bid you farewell until next week. Don't forget that my first podcast will be up on Next Level Radio (link is to the right) on September 19!

Crap open a cold one!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Party 934: Where's My Jacket? It's Time to Go

Tomorrow I will host my final radio show on the station I've called home since June of 2011: Party 934. My time there has been a rollercoaster ride for sure, but I have enjoyed being a mixologist and I have definitely learned from the experience.

When I started the show, after my brother Bill found their ad on craigslist, I had only a rough idea for the premise. The Melting Pat had been around for a year at that point, but only as a failed podcast and a neglected blog. I knew I wanted to incorporate a lot of elements from my college radio shows, and bring a different flavor to the menu. That's why I jumped at the name suggested by my good friend, Tim, a former WDSR co-host of mine.

I knew I wanted to play sweet tunes. I knew I wanted to talk about sports. I knew I wanted to talk about wrestling (sorry, Mom). I knew I wanted to share my retail stories. Beyond that, I didn't have much. I figured the stories and recaps would be enough, and that the show would kind of structure itself. After all, this was already the most prep I'd put into anything radio-related, and I had been doing it for two plus years. I figured I was good to go.

I learned rather quickly that I was not nearly as ready as I thought.

Many of my early shows were, to be frank, awkward. Some of them came off like I was unprepared, which was not true. I think my biggest issue was, and still might be occasionally, timing. I was not used to hosting a show by myself. The sports, wrestling, and talk shows I had done were with one or more co-hosts. I was able to play off them and [almost] hide my flaws. We had our plan for the show and adjusted as it went. As a solo act, I had a lot more adjusting to do.

One part of the process I am grateful for, even though they seemed harsh sometimes, was peer reviews. The station had consultants (real world radio people, the MAN, other mixologists) who would listen to shows and critique them. Partly to make sure we were saying all the things we needed to say - station ID, social networks, podcasts - and partly to let us know if we were putting out a good product. The feedback I received from these reviews was incredibly valuable, and I used the input to drastically improve the show.

A bigger, and more important, piece of the puzzle came from THE MAN. He allowed me to change my timeslot as my schedule(/life) changed...twice. After 21 episodes, he expressed concern that I had been prerecording too many shows because I had to work. This was an issue because Party 934 brands itself as a live station. He could have dismissed me right then. But he instead offered me a different day and time, one I would stay on for more than a year. And, when I took my big boy job and needed to swap, there he was again. I am so happy he was willing and able to do that, because this show has been very fun and rewarding for me. I am glad he saw my passion and allowed me to keep going.

I am going to do this on the show tomorrow, but it would be unfair of me to reflect on the show and not show my wonderful fans some love. I mentioned my brother, Bill up there, but here he is again. Without him showing me the ad, this show likely never exists outside of the aforementioned podcast. We originally planned to do the show together, but that fell through and The Melting Pat was reborn. Thanks for giving me the heads up, and for all the topic and song ideas (TRL Queens #1) over the years. Log this.

She may be miffed about not being first, but my Mom was vital to the success of the show. She let me use her internet, her attic, and her old computer after mine from college crashed. She also got me a neat doohickey so I could use my fancy headset. She also transported me with all my stuff when I spent weekends at her house so I could do the show from there. Add to that how she always shared my Facebook posts to spread the word, and you get why she warrants a paragraph! Love you, Mom!

Speaking of Facebook, I have to give a shoutout to my sister. Bridget was the driving force behind me making a page for the show. And by "driving force" I mean she bugged me every day for a week so I did it to make the nagging stop. She also listened from everywhere, even when I talked too much wrestling. And she made Josh a fan, who became my quasi-engineer. Thanks, buddy! And love you, short stack!

To keep this from becoming like a pinterest page, I will end the shoutouts with Brian and Tim, the only two people to actually appear on the show. These two were co-hosts of mine (and the former a roommate) on WDSR, and they have been so helpful during my time at the party. Brian gave feedback constantly, even if it was "hey that stunk." He also downloaded every episode, which is wild to me still. And TIM should be a damn producer at this point. He named the show, did my graphics, and was always giving me valuable feedback. Again, even if it was "hey that stunk." I am pumped that you both are still helping me not sound like an idiot all these years later. Thanks, gents.

I have way more people to thank, so please don't feel bad if you were not mentioned here. The shoutouts will be plentiful on the show tomorrow. Should that be the other way around? Maybe, but Buster looks like he needs a walk right now. And if I forget you on the show, you have permission to scold me and I will give you coveted space on my blog next time.

So I shall end with this: I am, again, extremely grateful for the experience of being a Mixologist at Party 934. It had ups and downs, but it was always fun when the broadcaster started. I have learned so much and met a lot of wonderful people. I thank you all for the support and criticism (constructive or otherwise, because sometimes I needed real talk), and for sticking with me all this time. Doing this show was often the highlight of my week, and I am so glad I was able to share it with you.

I do have some new projects coming up, which I will update via my Facebook page so give me a thumbs up over there to keep up with me!

Until we meet again, Party 934: I need you to have fun, be safe, and (of course) don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Crap open a cold one!