I absolutely hate missing a day's blogging but yesterday my mojo was low. I was also having a pretty bad day. My cold has passed from the sore throat/aching/shivering stage to the stage where I can't hear a thing and my head feels like it's been pumped full of cavity wall insulation. I've also managed to give myself a black eye. I was lifting a box down from a shelf in the shed when a plank of wood slipped and smashed into my right cheek bone. Painful. Really painful.
On top of all that, I guess I was feeling a bit jaded. It's hard not to get jaded by the world and the internet in particular. You put effort into things and hope that you'll hit a pocket of enthusiasm and people will reward you for your efforts. Instead, you tend to hit a pocket of abject indifference or casual hatred. The story that had triggered my 'sod it, I'm not bothering today' mood was over on Eurogamer. If you're not a gamer, please bear with me. It's an interesting story about a guy who runs an online channel devoted to his gaming. He's one of the thousands of people who record themselves gaming and interact with an audience as he does so. Sadly, some people can't appreciate what he's doing or feel a need to harm him for simply indulging in a passion. Some people have taken to playing a sick practical 'joke' on them, though joke is a word completely inappropriate for what they do. Having discovered the broadcaster's home address, they make a call to US authorities and make some huge claim such as it being the home to terrorists. Given that America is currently suffering a terrible militarisation of their police force, the police response usually involves heavily armed men breaking down doors and throwing smoke canisters. This kind of hoax is called 'swatting' and there are quite a few videos online where you can see gamers getting 'swatted'. The video yesterday wasn't of the actual raid but the guy's response to it. I found it heartbreaking.
I found it heartbreaking not simply because of the tears or the drama of his young brother opening a door on men pointing machine guns at his head. It was heartbreaking to think we live in a world when people go out of their way to hurt people who do nothing except try to bring a little pleasure into other people's lives. It reminded me of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists. It reminded me of a program I watched recently about the theft of some Van Gogh paintings. It reminded me of that arsehole rapper (I know his name but I refuse to add to his fame by writing it) who tried to steal the limelight from Beck's Grammy award by invading the stage and demanding that the award should go to Beyonce. I suppose in some small way, it reminded me of the trouble I've been having with the Chinese hitting my blog with SPAM.
Anyway, that was yesterday. Today I intend to get back to things properly. I've no conquered the Chinese spammers by blocking the entire nation from accessing my server. I might even post a cartoon. I've been drawing quite a few recently, simply as a result of my doing a lot of work on The Gag Machine. Every day recently I've been adding new features which have emerged as obvious developments from my own use or as suggestions from the few people who use it and see to like how it helps them. Today I want to publish an update which contains all the new features. After that: I don't know. Prey for traffic and pray for cartoonists wanting to buy my software but, knowing my luck, I'll probably get swatted.