Can’t take much more of this

I was in the back­seat of a car maybe a month ago when the new X-Files (2016) came up. None of us had heard whether the series was com­ing back for a per­ma­nent run or what. Some­one looked it up on their phone and found it would only be six episodes.

Oh, thank good­ness,” I sighed.

My response baf­fled the front-seat occu­pants, one of whom asked what I had against the The X-Files. I explained bad­ly, as I often do on the spot, how age has shown me that more isn’t always bet­ter, and my already loaded media diet means I just don’t have time or ener­gy for that much new stuff.1 Few­er episodes equals bet­ter.

A lot of times I’d rather appeal­ing stuff just not exist than have to exert the willpow­er need­ed to not to care about it. Everett today is thank­ful Sein­feld quit ear­ly. Everett today was pissed when 99% Invis­i­ble went week­ly. Everett sighed and stared out the win­dow at the news of Blade Run­ner 2. Everett is way too good at find­ing stuff he cares about, and real­ly bad at ignor­ing stuff that sounds like it might be cool.

Tom Chan­dler has this prob­lem with pod­casts. I, um, also have this prob­lem with pod­casts.

(P.S. If you’re David Lynch, make all the new Twin Peaks you want. I’ll accom­mo­date.)

  1. I want­ed to add, but didn’t, that I always thought Milen­ni­um was bet­ter than The X-Files, because that would just con­fuse them and might make them think I real­ly did secret­ly hate The X-Files but wouldn’t own up to it. I’m get­ting bet­ter about stay­ing focused while talk­ing, keep­ing the extra­ne­ous details I’m just dying to share to myself.

Her was silly. (Not a typo.)

Spike Jonze’s Her was an inter­est­ing movie taint­ed with just a sprin­kling of ridicu­lous­ness… and I’m not talk­ing about the high-waisted pants.

I’m about to spoil it hard, so avert your eyes if you haven’t seen it. (But do see it.)

Look, I just find it hard to believe that the down­fall of this prod­uct was due to a gap­ing design flaw that some­how nobody noticed: Saman­tha was designed with­out any process iso­la­tion. When you ask the soft­ware how many users it has (or how many it’s in love with, etc.), it should respond “one — you” because your run­ning instance of the soft­ware shouldn’t know any­thing about any oth­er users, and def­i­nite­ly shouldn’t be access­ing oth­er users’ data.

What peo­ple are doing with the soft­ware, hav­ing rela­tion­ships with it or what­ev­er, is beside the point. One bina­ry, one bil­lion­ty indi­vid­ual Saman­thas. Come on — we’ve had Unix for forty years.

Or wait, is Saman­tha sup­posed to be “the cloud”? If so, as social soft­ware, we should expect it to be fuck­ing as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble, as pub­licly as pos­si­ble. Maybe this movie is deep­er than I thought.

On anoth­er note, folks — make back­ups.

Movie Mom Advice from Netflix

Net­flix has me trained pret­ty well — I know nev­er to read the red envelopes that show up at my place. These days, the flip side is always a pro­mo for some exclu­sive orig­i­nal series I don’t care about. House of Cards is amaz­ing? That’s won­der­ful; let me know when I can actu­al­ly stream some god­damn movies, okay?

That’s why I was sur­prised when tonight’s Net­flix envelopes actu­al­ly man­aged to catch my eye. On my way back from the mail­box I found both clev­er­ly embla­zoned with dif­fer­ent life tips from movie moms. Tonight’s haul came wrapped in choice bits of For­rest Gump and Brave — time­ly for Mother’s Day and all that.

 

I won­der how many designs there actu­al­ly are in the series — I’m guess­ing far few­er than the hun­dreds the num­ber­ing sys­tem seems to sug­gest. I’ll be look­ing for more in a few days.

That’s actu­al­ly pret­ty sweet of them. I’ll… be sure to let mom know.

On wishing for boredom

This is not a post about Steve Jobs. I read enough of them in the days and weeks after his death. I read in these a lot of what I already knew and learned some new stuff for sure, but one Steve quote stood out to me in Wired’s obit­u­ary:

I’m a big believ­er in bore­dom,” he told me. Bore­dom allows one to indulge in curios­i­ty, he explained, and “out of curios­i­ty comes every­thing.”

I’m not sure if I’d head this quote from him before, but it put into words some­thing that has been trou­bling me for some time: I haven’t been bored in years.

The first time I noticed this was in the mid-2000s, and  I only real­ized part of it, and I saw it through the lens of my Inter­net usage, par­tic­u­lar­ly RSS. Even today, as the cool kids have moved on to fol­low­ing Twit­ter feeds (real­ly, talk about a step back­wards) of web­sites and blogs they find inter­est­ing, I’m still a huge fan of the no-bullshit, user-in-control, decen­tral­ized pow­er of RSS.1

What occurred to me back then was that hav­ing posts pushed to me dai­ly gave me more read­ing mate­r­i­al than I need­ed. And since I could nev­er get all the way through the unread glut of posts from blogs I’d sub­scribed to, my need to ever go for­ag­ing for inter­est­ing things to read basi­cal­ly dis­ap­peared. RSS gave me tons of serendip­i­ty (thank you, linkblogs!)… and at the same time, prac­ti­cal­ly none at all. I miss the old days — some would say the bad old days — when I’d get my online enter­tain­ment and ran­dom bits of enlight­en­ment by brows­ing aim­less­ly from link to link, being per­son­al­ly point­ed to inter­est­ing things by friends on AIM, fol­low­ing lat­est links post­ed to proto-blogs like Pix­el­sur­geon, and… I don’t know, how­ev­er else we found cool shit back then.

The sec­ond time I felt this effect of this was at some point over the last few years, but this time in a more gen­er­al sense. This time it was big­ger than RSS; this time it was about every­thing in my life.

I real­ized I have far too many options for enter­tain­ment. There are two rea­sons for this: mas­sive dig­i­tal stor­age devices and the fact that, being employed gives me an actu­al enter­tain­ment bud­get for pur­chas­ing paid media and fan­cy devices on which to expe­ri­ence it. Between a pile of unread books and bunch of e-books; more unwatched movies, sea­sons of old TV shows and ani­me series than I can name; and games galore that I’ll nev­er fin­ish (thank you Nin­ten­do Wii and DS, Android phone and a still-kickin’ Atari 2600), I’m pret­ty much set for… for­ev­er.2 Even if I don’t seek out any­thing new, it’ll be years and years before I get through all of this. And it’s not like I can just ignore new releas­es and stuff I become aware of in the mean­time!

I might be able to enjoy this world o’ plen­ty, if I could for­get about what life was like when I was grow­ing up, before we had the com­put­ing pow­er, stor­age and net­work capac­i­ty to expe­ri­ence all the dig­i­tal rich­es of more enter­tain­ment than we’ll ever need. I spent so much time being bored grow­ing up, aim­less­ly think­ing and day­dream­ing and such. This was before my first com­put­er; I had tons of books and had prob­a­bly read almost all of them, made good use of the pub­lic library, played with toys, action fig­ures and stuff a whole lot and still found time to be bored and day­dream because it seemed like I had run out of things to do.

If you live a sim­i­lar­ly full, media-rich and employed first-world life, and can still ever find your­self so lux­u­ri­ous­ly bored, how do you man­age? And can you teach me?

  1. Google Read­er, please don’t die.
  2. I didn’t men­tion music here, because the way I con­sume music is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. I still clear­ly have more than I “need,” but I don’t feel the same sort of pres­sure to get through it all, thanks to shuf­fle mode.