#100 Days - Praise the gods of entertainment
14,995 words

Day 53 - Switch up your pleasures

Boredom creeps in undetected when you rely on the same forms of entertainment all the time. Rather than work work work and then play, we need to take hold of brief little pleasures to punctuate the day. Try reading a book for fifteen minutes before bed. Choose a monthly magazine to read. Have a scotch or a cocktail, just one, on Friday nights. Play cards with your partner. Why not have an espresso next to you when you’re sitting on the toilet? Master cooking a particular meal. Get a haircut more often. Meditate. Exercise. Learn a new language. Fill every second with something. If you’re going to play around on your phone, play a good solid game that you paid for. Find a new app for learning. Whatever it is. Active relaxation. Make it a priority.

Day 52 - Cats

In every cat there is at least six cats, each one with a different personality. These furry little six-shooters can change it up in less than a second depending on what they want to achieve. Piss you off? Asshole cat. Kill you? Hunter cat. Make you laugh your ass off? Comedian cat? It goes on. So their gifts are not just physical. Their mental dexterity matches their physical gifts at all times. They’re perfectly integrated. Alien was a great movie about a perfect specimen. Well, there should also be a movie called Cat where a kitten bursts out of a guy’s chest, grows up, and uses its six personalities to survive and make its way into people’s hearts. Think about it. Praise the gods of entertainment.

Day 51 - All this about privacy

Privacy and security, as a single topic, is one of the pillars of discourse around today's technology. With phones, especially, concerns about privacy have been directed at Google while concerns about security have been cast over all major players in the technology sector. Though still complex, security seems to be a more straightforward topic. For example, all it takes for an app to be secure is for the maker to adhere to the fundamentals encryption. Privacy, however, extends to matters far beyond so-called guarantees. Google offers some of the strongest security guarantees in the business but in order to enjoy the world-changing services the company offers, we have to give up most of our privacy. Fingers are pointed at Google, and rightfully so, but accusations are not always sharp or insightful. Google is dishonest and opaque about what the company offers, how it operates, and what Google is.


For these reasons, the company deserves the highest scrutiny but as far as the privacy issue goes, we are all complicit in the phenomenon of Google. For the past few decades, people have turned their noses up to the very idea of paying for an internet service like email or web searching. The very idea was seen by many as an affront to what the internet was all about (the democratization of knowledge and commerce, apparently). Naturally, the power of advertising had to be harnessed to pay for web and app services. It was the only alternative. Google is simply the logical extensions of a market filled by consumers who refused to pay for web services. Oddly enough, the willingness to pay $1000 for a phone faced no obstacle or resistance whatsoever. The resistance was about paying for software-related services.   


And here we are today. There's a rise in the number of people who want to "de-Google" and are therefore willing to pay for services focusing on privacy and security. Perhaps we're seeing the beginning of a new phenomenon in which companies strike a balance balance between price (single payment or subscription) and privacy/security for basic services like email, notes, writing, and browsing. Perhaps, if privacy and security can be guaranteed for software, people will be more willing to buy cheaper phones. While Android remains one of the two superpowers in the OS market, surely a new operating system must be in the works for the next five years. Google itself might even offer the option of monthly payments for private browsing (though this is extremely unlikely). 


This is all tricky terrain. An important fact is that Google offers the best computing option for most people. Say what you will about Chromebooks, but they allow almost all people to do almost everything they need to on a computer. How many people in coffee shops need to be doing what they're doing on a $1500 MacBook Air or more for a MacBook Pro? How many people are paying for the extra RAM and an SSD for a Windows computer because they need the speed? A $500 Chromebook is a little piece of lightning that might have the best security available. And so many people are still overlooking these devices. There are good reasons to do so if video editing and gaming are main concerns. Otherwise, in a world where the Internet is virtually everywhere at all times, Chromebooks might be the best option for the vast majority of users. A possible downside is that, yet again, Google is a titan and their denial that their an advertising company is reason for concern.  


The basic issue is that we have so few options for quality services and operating systems. Luckily, a few options are superb. ProtonMail, Standard Notes, Brave Browser and Firefox (trying hard, Firefox is), Signal, and a few others. For integrated computing, Google is still far ahead, but only because too many people still refuse to pay for their services. ProtonMail, for example, is considered slow in turning out new services like calendar and storage. But how could it be any other way? People simply don't want to pay when gmail and Google at large offer so much for free. Well, we cannot have it both ways. If privacy and security are core concerns, we must pay for alternatives that do not rely on ad-based revenue models. If such a market grows, Google may have to adapt by allowing Chromebook users to use alternative browsers. Now wouldn't that be nice (although Chrome is outstanding on a Chromebook). 


To conclude, we all have to decide what we want in terms of privacy, security, and general quality of our web services. And once we decide, we have to accept that it might cost some extra money. To ease the pain of paying for an email account, maybe drink one or two less bear a month. Eat out one less times per week. Budget your groceries. It's all part of a healthy ecosystem of consumption that shapes our lives. The gods of entertainment want us to be happy, not distracted. Always remember, it was the need for entertainment that inspired that filthy caveman to pick up a bone and play a beat on a rock. 

Day 50 - Family Planning

"Family Planning" is a category of goods found in a particular aisle in the pharmacy. It's a nice, non-offensive label for where you find things for fucking, like lube and condoms and other things never in any way used for planning a family. Generally, these items are actually used to avoid starting a family. So where did this term come from? The same place that invented the "Asian" aisle and the "Ethnic" aisle? These funny little terms have been around for years and there are no signs that they have been challenged or questioned. So, out there somewhere, there is a person or group of people who are so clever and so attuned to general sensitivities that they are able to create terms that offend nobody, including people who have a tendency to voice their concerns over the supposed meaning and implications of such terms. These clever folks deserve some praise for navigating the murky waters of labeling goods and services. 

Also, this post was mistakenly emailed to subscribers. If there are any subscribers out there, pardon the intrusion. More and better works to come. 

Day 49 - Horror Vacui

Horror vacui is a beautiful Latin term that refers to fear of empty space. The term is used to describe art filled with complex detail. While the term is generally used to describe visual representation, it can also be applied to other phenomena. In the book "The Quick and the Dead," Pavel Tatsouline (the man who introduced the West to the kettlebell) uses horror vacui to describe people's inability to embrace minimalism, choosing instead to adopt training programs that are filled with complexity and fancy machinery. If we apply the term to human interaction, we find some explanations as to why people talk so much about so little. When many people talk about their vacation, they spare you no detail. A half hour to describe their feelings as they sat on the beach. Ask someone how their day went, and their description lasts almost as long as the day itself. Think about television shows like Gilmore Girls, where the characters cannot stop talking and moving and creating drama even for a second. Now contrast this with a masterful storyteller, someone who can tell you capture the magnificence of nature or the universe, say, in five to ten minutes. Think about the person who says relatively little and then, choosing to speak or even utter a single word, captures your interest and makes you want to hear more. And what about the musicians who can write a timeless masterpiece with just a few chords.These people relish and crave empty space. They are the angels of the gods of entertainment.

Day 48 - Vacation

If you are going on vacation, don’t tell people that you’re excited about having three books to read while you’re away. Don’t talk at all. Just go and enjoy the time and space. Reading is fine, but doing it to the extent that it overshadows other experiences is just stoking your ego. Get drunk on the beach and stay hydrated. Have a laugh. Focusing on reading is just a tragedy masked as a special trait. And if you do it, shut up. Just shut the fuck up about it.

Day 47 - An interruption

Gallante was half way through Beethoven’s first symphony when Joseph walked into the study and ruined everything. The second movement was just reaching a crescendo. The tea, now in perfect temperature, would have to wait and become stagnant. Perfection was all that Gallanted but it was so rarely what he got. He kept his eyes closed and clenched his teeth as Joseph began his spiel.

Gallante! Guess who’s visiting this evening?
Gallante did not care. His rage was becoming murderous.
Who, Joseph.
His eyes were still closed.

Mariam!

Who is Mariam?

Joseph, offended, said “you met her at Charice’s dinner last week”

That explains why I can’t remember Mariam. I spent the past week trying to erase that dinner from my memory and I was very close to doing so until you walked in with all this talk about Mariam.

What was so bad about the dinner?

It was dinner with a crowd of people.

Like all of these dinners.

Yes.

You hate them all?

Every last one. And now I hate you as well and I especially hate Mariam.

Day 46 - Apps and apps and apps and apps

There are too many choices. To guide our choosing, we need a principle. One option is to seek out the products best-suited to your preferences. Focusing on interface, for example, might lead you to Pocket Casts, Spotify, and Brave. For privacy, Duck Duck Go, Standard Notes, and Firefox. Another common focus is to go with integration on your device. If android, Google apps. If iPhone, Apple. Both are excellent, although Apple is better for privacy while Google is better for cross-app integration and web-based usage across devices. Regardless of the chosen route, an abundance of options is a top-tier first-world problem. Sticking with a set-up for more than a week is an affront to our addictions to technologies. It’s when choosing entertainment media becomes a form of entertainment in itself. Praise the gods of entertainment. They can be complete bastards.

Day 45 - Locke & Key PTSD

Locke and Key is a decent little show with good acting, lovely visuals, and a story arch that entices you with the promise of more with each new episode. Overlaying the general quality of the show is a driving theme treated delicately while brought to the forefront: post traumatic stress. How characters cope with loss sets the mood of the show and creates depth in the characters. This creates a strong foundation for the narrative which is already quite decent. There is also a feeling that the show is careful to differentiate itself from Stranger Things. A smart move and a goal that is fully achieved, though comparisons will be made because that’s the limit of critical reviewing these days. Which show is better? Binary thinking. Useless thinking.

Onward

Each key allows the holder to escape reality, in one way or another. The keys also allow the users to confront reality by facing their fears in a simulated world before confronting those same fears in real life. However, excessive reliance on escape leads to disaster, reminding the dear viewer that at some point traumas and fears must be faced without the aid of illusion.

It’s a good show. People should watch it.

Day 44 - Apple Music and Spotify

Apple Music is almost useless. There are five buttons on the bottom: Library, For You, Browse, Radio, and Search. Library is nice. You can organize your music based on categories. Albums, Artists, Genres, Playlists, and so on. You can even edit the categories and their order. A particularly lovely option here is shuffling an entire genre. For You is fine, but unnecessary. It just suggests albums that are similar to whatever you've recently listened to. Browse and Radio are utterly useless, unless you're into the latest pop. Interviews with Justin Bieber and Billie Eilish, mumble rap hip hop, Canada's top 100. Fine, if that is the listener's preference. Similarly, radio leans toward current pop with a few good episodes scattered about. But mostly it's about whatever's trending. And finally, Search is Search. It's fine. Does it's job, excellent if you simply know what you want. Visually, Apple is pleasing and it works extremely well with iPhones (Apple Music has a lot of clever functions on an iPhone, in case tapping an app and using it is just too much work). 

And now Spotify. Home, Search, and Your Library. Library has Playlists, Artists, Albums. And Podcasts. Everything but the Joe Rogan Experience, unfortunately. Liking songs and albums is easy, so is deleting. Visually, great. Navigation, great. Recommendation algorithm, a class of its own. But here's another excellent feature: You select the little "more" ellipses, or whatever they're called, for a song and you're taken to a drop-down menu featuring view artists, share, like all songs, add to playlist, add to queue and (best of all) go to radio. Go to radio takes you to a station (basically a long playlist) filled with songs related to the song you're listening to and its artist. This is one of the finest features of Spotify. 

In short: Apple has superfluous nonsense, while Spotify is tailored to cultivating a library and finding new music to suit your tastes. It makes sense. Spotify is a company that focuses on one product. Apple focuses on a zillion products. And it's all about hardware. 

So go with Spotify. It's better and it works with any device. Apple's walled garden is retarded. 

Praise the gods of entertainment. 

Day 43 - Soft hangovers

Even the softest of hangovers is an affront to consciousness. You feel stupid and as if you're being slow-roasted from the inside out. It turns coffee into headache, destroys the cathartic joy of exercise, and compromises your listening skills. Even water tastes like envelopes when you're hung over. It's peak waste of time. Fun while you're drinking though, but decide on your limit and stick to it. Decide how much of a hangover is worth what amount of alcohol. Wine is a good measure. One bottle is a good limit for an average person. With heaps of water. Otherwise, a subtle feeling of dread will be a blight upon your day. Make sure that wine is damn good, drink it for taste, and be a civilized human being. It is the liquid preferred by the gods of entertainment. Praise their glory. 

Day 42 - Meditation Script #2

Take your seat and close your eyes. And now become aware of the oncoming asteroid. How big is it? What is it shaped like? Try to imagine that it has a smell. Does it smell like an old basement or maybe a potato? And now considered whether the deaths will be in the millions or billions. What are the chances that you will be among the cosmic victims? Try to consider how you might feel if the world’s population was instantly pushed back to a hundred thousand. What would the new dawn of human kind look like? Perhaps we would spend lost of our days trying to not be killed by large cats. Or large bats. Or an incomprehensible space virus that thinks as well as travels. Perhaps our dreams will only be rewind repetitions of the physical struggles we faced that day.

Day 41 - It’s Valentines Day

The death of the superego requires a crucial step: Stop shitting on holidays and special occasions. These times are not shoved down our throats by the capitalist and colonialist overlords. They are marketed and monetized and, to some degree, constructed solely for profit, but who the fuck cares. This happens with everything. Construct your own meaning and turn these “capitalist” events into excuses to appreciate one another. The cynicism around holiday hatred is a marvelous thing to behold. Such a quick injection for the ego, to hate something that other people enjoy. The sense of superiority, you can almost taste, like the stench of fermenting garbage. Imagine telling someone who spends months away from home, working to support a family, that the Christmas holiday is capitalist/colonial bullshit meant to sucker people into buying things. Directed at a specific company, there’s a bit of sense to this, but painting all of a holiday with the same brush. This is peak ego and stupidity. Valentines Day is considered the biggest bullshit of all, so what’s the value in participation? Because someone enjoys it. No more is needed. Even on Twitter, people are using Valentine’s Day as an excuse to say hello to strangers and wish them well. This is a lovely demonstration of how we can construct meaning for positive outcomes. And if there is any bullshit associated with a holiday, it’s the bullshit that should be called out, and with some humor, not this doom and gloom nonsense about holidays being for the idiots duped by capitalism.

Happy Valentines Day and all due praise to the gods of entertainment

Day 40 - To work at a butchery

The most beautiful hue of red, the feeling of your muscles as you carry around meat and bone. Using powerful tools to practice precision, hour after hour, with a team of fellow tradesman. Full knowledge that what you offer to the world will be enjoyed by everyone, each and every bite. Learning from mentors, the fellow-obsessed.

And now a 180. Resolving to write for 100 days is a fine thing. But it represents a plateau that needs to be surpassed. To the practice, the cultivation of the craft must be added. Resolve to write and submit a short story. Find an online publication to submit your works. Find an outlet for all your inklings, small and large, minor and marvelous. Always have the next level in sight. Collect your outlets so you always have a destination for all shapes and forms of your written work.

Day 39 - News Competing with Twitter

It isn’t, though it’s trying. Twitter is the news but with concentrated sensationalism, opinion, fact, latest events, entertainment, horrorshow, everything, optimized for mobile consumption and hyper-tailored to each users interest, with contributors from every level of the celebrity spectrum, putting us in (somewhat) direct contact with the very people and events we are following. All for free. Traditional televised news: segments won’t commercials, one-way transmission of information that is sometimes relevant. In the competition for attention, traditional news-yelling is dying. Fast. Podcasts on the other hand, represent the opposite of Twitter. Perhaps the two media compliment each other as people crave two different products. Traditional news is somewhere in between, where the unadapted go to die. The gods of entertainment don’t even need to intervene. They don’t even watch and they don’t even care. The death of news is left to evolution. And it’s fun!

Day 38 - People and babble

For some people, time, audience and atmosphere mean nothing when it’s time to talk. Exhausted after a log day of work? They will fry your brain with details about something that might happen if we don’t do this right away and are you listening? At work, asking how someone’s weekend went? Let me tell you every detail and then how those details connect to other details from the past when I also had weekends.

What is this dark habit people have, where talking is just a means of venting grievances or spewing out excitements to conceal the blunt despair of daily life and all its uncertainty? What explains their lack of ability to put things aside for a better and more productive time, where solutions can be found in a fast and efficient manner? What is this anxiety?

The gods of entertainment are themselves baffled.

Day 37 - Random contact with humans

Every now and then it is necessary to interact with new people, face to face. There are talkers everywhere, and whether or not you want to hear them speak, they might share information that could be useful or even essential to positive change. They disrupt the norm. This is important because the norm can turn into a nightmare that you fail to notice. The norm creeps in like a tepid mist filled with rot and disease. Even the incessant babbler can spit out a jewel now and then, something you can capitalize on if you’re in the right frame of mind, which you should be at all times. That’s what goals and dreams do. They put your mind in a state of agility or readiness, so you can turn new stimuli into something constructive and entertaining.

Praise the gods of entertainment. They sometimes send their little messengers.

Day 36 - Australia, from being burnt alive to drowning

Australia is a very assertive country. For months, it burns to cinders. Steady rain is the only lasting solution. So what does the country get? Torrential downpours (labelled "life-threatening" in some areas) and flash floods. There is at least one video of reverse waterfalls, where the winds are blowing waterfalls upward. Let's pretend there exists the gods of weather. There's one god for fire, another for water, another for wind, and another for earth. The god of fire is an unhinged dickhead. The god of water is much nicer, but has very little control, always trying to do a little too much. The god of wind helps out the god of fire. The god of earth is the toughest motherfucker of all, but is abused constantly. Fortunately, Australian flora and fauna are pure lunacy. They are growing back, adapting. Amongst all the char and death, bright and almost neon-colored plants are blooming out of the sides of trees and blackened dirt. The animals will make a comeback, but it will take more time. Vibrant, assertive, and sometimes murderous. Those are the words to describe the flora and fauna of Australia. It's a truly marvelous country. 

Day 35 - The Best People

There are special places in North America where the best people live. These people, almost always from somewhere else, landed where they are because they blamed all their problems on where they live. Too small-minded, too ignorant, not the type of place where an artistic free spirit can flourish. These people know, without a doubt, that their new home is where the best people live, the most open-minded, progressive, and artistic. The rest of their country is ignorant and backwards by comparison. These places also tend to have the most temperate climate, ideal for the comfort-seeking. These places are special because there's a darkness you can almost taste. The people who have flocked there, who have continually doubled down on blaming their surroundings for their lack of success and appreciation. Despite having found one another, their dreams have died. They work terrible jobs and cognitive dissonance is rotting their brain. They have a mental disability preventing them from simply looking and changing the state of their affairs, so they turn back to what they know how to do: double down and double down. Comfort in climate, comfort buried by their own ego. Comfort working in the service industry and only the service industry. A noble profession if done with dedication and focus, but they resent their position and their customers because they've settled for something below them. 


In real life, this fascinating phenomenon is at play in Victoria, British Columbia. In television life, it's at play in Gilmore Girls and the purgatory of Stars Hollow. There are very positive elements of both places, but these elements are held up by a foundation of darkness that is marvelous to behold. If you train yourself to look, entertainment is everywhere 


Praise the sweet gods of entertainment. 

Day 34 - Paddington

Paddington is a delightful little movie about a talking bear that moves to London in hope of being adopted by a family. Predictably, he’s lovable, accidentally troublesome, and at first rejected by the stern patriarch of the house who finally opens his heart as the result of his family’s love for Paddington the bear. In turn, they save home from a sexy villain. Despite the arch of the movie being predictable, it’s filled with little gems of creative imagery and excellent comedy. And wonderful juxtapositions between the dreary weather of London and the wonderful architecture and visual heritage of the great city. It’s a lovely thing, to see a popular family movie created by people with the sense to recognize that if they have to peddle cliche, this does not have to stop them from creating joyful new entertainment. Happy marmalade day.