#100 Days - Praise the gods of entertainment
23,869 words

Day 66 - Muscle (fiction)

Muscle was never about size. It was about timing, speed and spatial awareness. Managing your explosions to serve a higher purpose. That’s not to say a noble purpose or something that’ll make the world a better place. It means following up on someone else’s whim. If your boss needs to teach someone a lesson, you have to be ready to light their house on fire. If someone challenges your boss at a meeting you have to be ready a week or a month later, to slam a glass ashtray into his mouth. That means inviting the guy out for a beer and playing nice until the whole world opens up and you have a split second to shut his mouth forever. All because your boss felt like it. And that’s not much of a purpose, but it’s higher than you because you’re nothing. You’re too stupid to be afraid or find a direction for all that anger and confusion. All you know how to do is explode and now that’s your job. You get paid to be a sub-human, passed over by evolution. Open the release valve and keep twisting. Then take the cap and flick it into a river. You’re muscle now. Be ready.

Day 65 - Khabib versus Tony

Two apex predators facing off. There have been many cases of best versus best, but never have the two best been the result of such an evolution of MMA. George was the first to show what happens when a sport evolves after some years of success. There have been many standout killers, but George was the first to be perfectly well-rounded. People like him and Silva forced the entire sport to evolve. Then it evolves some more, heaps of money came in, and training evolves just the same. That and health science. And USADA all but eliminated the steroid issues. So the fighters, both men and women, evolved organically. More time passed. Conor started unleashing a new brand of firepower, too much for his own good. B Khabib and Tony kept ploughing through, kept destroying opponent after opponent. So now we have two battle-hardened assassins who never show fatigue and always move forward. Sweet Jesus it should be a great fight.

Praise the gods of entertainment 

Day 64 - Something to be said about aesthetics

One of the greatest strengths of Apple products are their aesthetics. Their goddam aesthetics. Navigating around an iPhone and through Apple apps is like skiing down a slope on a mountain made of chocolate. Everything is just right on the eyes. Smooth like butter. All of it housed in almost flawless build quality (iPhones are slippery fuckers, but jesus are they pretty). Things on Android are snappier, sharper. This is nice. But the Apple ecosystem is just too slick, too smooth and it's easy to see why people stick with or switch to this annoying walled garden. Pricey, but very very nice. Android and Google are just too fucked sometimes. Google phones are secure, great. Android phones are fast. Great. But here's a doozy for Apple: Five years of bang-on updates and everything is handled by the same company. Hardware, software, the whole shabang. That's why you get the silky smoothness. Apple is far from innocent. Sneaky fuckers with the throttling of older phones, for one. But goddamit it's just a more pleasing product for the most part. Well built with seamless integration. Problem though. Costs seven million dollars to own an iPhone and a Macbook, when chromebooks do the job for most people. The gods of entertainment give us too many choices sometimes. The god responsible for Apple is surely a classy lady who refused to compromise on quality. She came down to earth and made love with a hard-working man and that man gave birth to Steve Jobs. Now that's a guy who didn't fuck around. He respected the gods of entertainment and they rewarded him by making him a titan. We should respect the gods of entertainment by paying for quality products and strong art. Gifts to appease. 

Day 63 - The pros and cons of being in a book club

Community is nice. Sharing ideas is nice. Reading and sharing your thoughts on what you've read is a fine activity for the mind. But book clubs are the inorganic version of all this. A scheduling of meetings that should take place with a friend over beers and scotch with music in the background. A chat about a book is something that should take place naturally, if it simply pops up in connection to something else. This book club nonsense is a forced version of all this. It's just another tether to the ego. Not all, but many members of book clubs are afraid to lose the "I'm suuuuch a reader" part of their ego. Book clubs are not healthy. Imagine Netflix clubs. People meeting to talk about a show they've resolved to watch over the course of a month. Ridiculous. Books are no different. It's entertainment. It's good to step back into older media, no doubt, but we shouldn't romanticize any of them. They're all links in a chain that started the day a sapien did anything that wasn't necessary for survival. For a lonely beast, likely a drum beat or a cave painting. For a member of a tribe, likely a bit of laughter at seeing its brethren trip over a stick. Book clubs are about the members feeling special. Art is about knowing that we're not. 

Praise the gods of entertainment. Stay humble in their midst.   

Day 62 - The Medium is the Message

Coined by Marshall McLuhan, this rather cryptic phrase refers to the following idea: When a new technology is introduced to our lives, the most important thing to pay attention to is how that technology alters our patterns of communication, thought, and work. An example: The content of television is much less important than the changes it brought on to how we consume information. A sub-example: It doesn’t really matter whether a television show is educational, or titillating, or “dirty”. What truly matters is the fact that television shows, commercials, and so on presents visual and aural information in a fragmented way, with sudden stops and changes in what we are seeing, the story being told, and so on. According to McLuhan, television represented a sudden change to our linear mode of thinking which he claimed was brought on by print centuries earlier.

Building on these ideas in his brilliant book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman claims that all this fragmentation has compromised our ability to sustain attention for extended periods of time. Hence, the chopped up, mutilated prime-time political debates (as opposed to the Lincoln-Douglas debates, or The Great Debates of 1858) which lasted hours and went on for days). 

There is no reason to think that both outlooks are completely correct. Fragmentation is surely a part of today’s psyche. However, it’s important to point out the anomalies. The rise in popularity of podcasts, meditation, and human re-connection is undeniable. Some of this, maybe quite a lot, is due to the technology that has brought on the very fragmentation we’re trying to solve: the Internet. While astounding in its potential to unite, its potential to divide will always remain if we all stay in the tribal mindset (something else McLuhan warned us about). Be kind, be caring, adopt healthy routines, interact in person, survive without harming others; presumably the traits that allowed humanity to survive the ice age and grow beyond the paltry number of about 30,000. 

Day 61 - Meditation Script #4

Take your seat and close your eyes. Now start to imagine the asteroid getting closer. And now look closer at the asteroid. What do you notice about the surface? You notice that it’s covered in some form of plant life. No. You look closer and realize that it’s millions or even billions of green organisms latched in to the asteroid, as desperate passengers. Are they fleeing from something, or are they heading toward us as marauders? Ponder this for thirty minis in silence. And now that you’re back with an answer, have a discussion with your alter-ego. Ask him: what are we going to do to prepare? If he says nothing, do that. If he says, pray, do so....to the gods of entertainment. And now open your eyes. Stare at any object. Close one eye. Take and hold a deep breath. Keep holding it. Let it out only when you’re admit to pass out. Think again about the asteroid. Now you see that it’s bare. No more organisms. But the asteroid is actually an alien super computer and you’ll have to deal with that now. Close your eyes again and keep them closed until hunger forces you to open them and seek out food.

Day 60 - Dear sweet Apple

Apple must offer a cheaper “lite” version of Apple Music that contains only two buttons: Library and Search. “For You” is almost useless and it’s less than a shadow of an effective citation tool. Browse is a fucking abomination. It’s like being forced to browse the candy aisle when you’re in the store to buy high-quality meat. Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga are noisy retards. We should be able to block “trending” artists from ever appearing in the Browse menu. Radio sucks too. A few decent shows amongst a strong focus on what’s trending. That said, it’s nice to be able to search for local radio stations from even remote areas of the globe. But. We should be able to curate it. The short of it is this: For You is useless. We know how to find an album we like. For this button to be useful, it has to be as good as the citation offered by Spotify. Browse is simply poisonous. It’s a garbage bin. It’s a wasteland of nonsense. Radio is decent, but the forefront of the browsing is dominated by stations that focus on what’s trending. More poison.

UI is stunning, as usual. But you should be able to never see Beiber’s face and music show up anywhere in my life if that’s what you want. Spotify has you beat, by the longest shot. Nice UI though.

With Spotify, you accidentally create an ecosystem of music rising out of the depths of your soul. So you’re basically God.

Bieber and Gaga show up now and then, but they’re buried as they should be. That’s what they are: Things that won’t stay buried. They’re part of a network of addiction to stimuli, an addiction that has confused beauty with intensity. Why else would Bieber choose to look like a crackhead from 1992? Why would Gaga choose to look like a crackhead from 2092? These are just two prominent examples. They’re talented and hardworking and they might deserve every cent they’ve earned, but they’re at the top of a garbage heap. Apple Music reaches into that heap, pulls out a piece off garbage and presents it as a decoration. Beautiful UI though. But imagine a beautiful perfect home, shiny and clean in all ways. Now imagine it with garbage strewn about.

But you could say, it’s not garbage to everyone and tastes are subjective. Fine. To modify: Its recycled plastic built to stimulate but not to last which is why they will all be forgotten, minus a few like Bieber and Gaga who will be remembered for their celebrity and not their music. Because that’s what all this is about: the cult of personality and image over sound (the sound is just there to sustain the brand). Apple is for the eyes and Spotify is for the ears.

Praise the gods of entertainment and all those (like Spotify) who respect the importance of good taste.

Day 59 - Radio. Why.

It seems that standard radio should be obsolete. “UH98.7 the home of lit radio”. Such phrases don’t seem to have a place. Yet they persist. And it’s not like radio is the best place to discover new music. Streaming services and social media have seen to that. So what are the appeals?

Random. You don’t know what’s coming next and you probably don’t care. It’s a noise filler. Horror vacui. Lady Gaga pops on, followed by an noisy ad, and you don’t have to face loneliness for another minute.

Some radio stations are good at curating trendy pop. A lot of young people like this, even though trendy pop is robotic noise meant to prolong immaturity. It only reminds listeners of images of the “artist”. It’s all garbage.

Some radio stations or shows are genuinely superb at offering and recommending good music with the addition of passionate and interested commentary. Elton John has a radio show on Apple Music. George Strombolopolous is an outstanding dj for the CBC. Good radio is like podcasts. People crave the craft of the spoken word, the craft of expressing interest and passion.

Praise the gods of entertainment for dispersing this gift. Maybe you have it as well. Look into it.

Day 58 - It might be wise to treat job security as an illusion

Job security does exist but it should always be treated as an illusion. While we all pay lip service to the important idea that uncertainty must be accepted and even embraced, relatively few people put this outlook into productive action. Constructing a war bunker might be an over correction, but installing a security system and sticking in food in the event of a natural disaster is a wise decision. Apply the same principle to your job. Have your resume ready and updated at all times and keep your eye on the job market. Apply for a few jobs here and there. Keep your name in circulation. Because in today’s world, a series of protests filled with white people telling indigenous people what their interests are can play a large role in derailing (pun intended) economic hopes.

Day 57 - The Ocean is a Terrible Bastard

There is a show on Crave called Disasters at Sea. It's about large ships going down, taking with it the lives of its crew. Numbers of deaths vary, though all cases are considered tragedies. The format of the show is compelling. It begins with a reconstruction of events with first-hand testimonies interspersed. The second have of the show is dedicated to some form of investigation into why the tragedy took place. Reasons vary. Negligence, design flaws, bad luck and so forth. In several episodes it is made clear that many such tragedies can be avoided by diligent inspections and refusing to compromise on craft, maintenance and the quality of materials. Perhaps the most important element of this show is that it tells us, as we've been told over and over again by innumerable tragedies and unimaginable cumulative loss, that it is shameful (at best) and murderous (at worst) to make these compromises for the sake of maximizing profit. Why does this happen? Arguably, it is cynical to assume that large corporations simply do not care whether employees live or die. True in some cases, but not a sweeping explanation for death caused by negligence. A more likely scenario is that the "bottom line" increases risk-taking behaviors in the people responsible for showing growth. And they push and push and get away with this until they don't, and lives are lost. Money is lost as well (think of loss of equipment, service, and public relations), so one would think that maintenance and safety standards should be perfect for the sake of profit. But again and again, we see this willingness to take risks for short-term profit, even despite the benefits and simple justice and humanity of refusing to take those risks.

Disasters at Sea covers this theme very well, without obvious bias, without assigned guilt to the corporate overlords, and without the use of drama. Each episode is simply a documentary of a tragic event including the details of that event and a chronicle of the investigative events that followed. And a good job is done by the actors playing real life people involved in the events. It's a different brand of acting we see here. It's a group of actors (professional or amateur, it's difficult to know) simply doing a job, delivering short lines, doing their best to convey a version of events. This is a refreshing break from the blinding brilliance of cinema and mass audience television. Watching Disasters at Sea is like watching a show in the 1980s, when you watch something by accident when you only have a few channels.

How does the show achieve this in 2020? Is it like podcasts, where people now crave truth, subtle presentation, and full explanation over the barrage of fireworks inserted into our daily lives by the internet? Perhaps. In any case, watching Disasters at Sea is a refreshing exercise in sustaining basic human interest in the nature of tragedy, how it happens, and how it impacts the lives of other people in a society that thrives on the balance of profit, hard work, and maintaining humanist codes of performance that hold employees together as a team.  

Day 56 - Umbrella academy just crossed a line

The show goes beyond the “slow reveal”. It runs backwards just when it’s about to reveal something important, something that moves the story forward. It shifts focus from one story to the next, never committing to completion. Well. Episode 6 - The Day that Wasn’t takes this to new heights of annoyance. Near the end of the episode it reaches a point where multiple revelations are about to occur, finally making sense of the conflict that arose during some new and very intriguing storylines. Then, the fucks, it does a literal rewind after a character fucks with the fabric of time. Literally. The show does a visual rewind and we’re brought back to a point where none of the interesting sub-plots matter and the audience is farther than ever from any answers. Now. It’s a mark of a decent show when the build-up creates such angst and childish demand. But moving a story forward only to move it backwards is an affront to the gods of entertainment. Therefore, we can expect misfortune to befall this nice little show.

Day 55 - The Umbrella Academy

The Umbrella Academy is a compelling television show. Most of its appeal comes from waiting for explanations. What’s going on? How does the world end? When will do and so use their powers to their full potential. The problem with the show is that the pay-offs are too delayed. The storyline is good but not so good that can get away with releasing the flood in small drips. Patience is a virtue but so is balanced and well-spaced writing. Perhaps (likely) the show was designed for Netflix binge-watching, because if the audience’s patience was stretched to viewing episodes weekly, the show would lose much of its appeal. Certainly worth watching, nonetheless. The billionaire’s house is a gothic marvel. The aesthetics of a donut shop are pleasing enough to indicate strong creative efforts. The overall dusty and grayish backdrop of the every-city sustains a nice little mood of blasé. But the nature of superhero whodunnit demands a storyline with a certain pace, one that’s more balanced and doesn’t rely so much on making the viewer wonder for multiple episodes. Wonder, pay-off. For every episode. That would be suitable.

Praise the gods of entertainment

Day 54 - Blog renaming

When renaming your blog due to potential trademark violations, it’s good to choose something that you don’t have to explain. If you have to explain where the name came from or it’s meaning, you’re either annoyed or you’re boosting your ego. Imagine. “The name is a a combination of the first name of the main character in The Prophet by Paula Coelho and the title of the first song I ever wrote. Because the journey of being a musician...”. No. Die. It should be something simple and something that simply slides into the brain without confusion. Here are some examples. Coffee Readings. Nonsense and Babble. The Daily Babble. The Cassowary. Read Before Bed. Grindcabin. Grindgarage. Zombie With a Purpose. My god the list goes on. The Gods of Entertainment. Something basic, maybe indicative of the content. Google it first. Google it hard.

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.