I feel like I need to mention that one of the (very few) positive side effects of being mildly (but not quite destructively) sick for most of January was that it gave me an excuse to sit prone in front of the television most evenings (all in the name of cooperating with the mucous-based intelligence that had taken over 47% of my cranium). As a result, I was able to find the many, many, many hours necessary to finish binge-watching all nine seasons of The Office, front to back, fully and completely, concluding last night with the finale. There is something to be said about enjoying a show over the span of nine years, letting it quietly become part of the background noise of your life, growing and changing with characters and watching their story play out in a believable timeframe. There is also something to be said about watching (about) 75 hours of that same show compressed into the timeframe of about 7 weeks and let those same characters become your only source of passive entertainment, filling your mind, heart, and dreams, and causing you to view the world through their perspective. Whatever can be said about that is probably not very positive, though. Now, can anyone recommend a good detox program(me)?
We’ve been here before. I’m a bit of a sucker for the pop-culture and philosophy book series, and recently added another two volumes to my collection, a collection that now counts as a “Collection” because it contains seven volumes. For those unfamiliar, there are now a couple publishers who now regularly put out a call to academics to submit philosophical essays that examine philosophical questions using aspects of popular television and literature as subjects or starting points for those essays. And yes, while the topics can be a bit whimsical, the subject matter is often very serious and enlightening.
I’ve only really had the opportunity to flip through the index and read a couple essays from each of these new books, but already I’ve got a good feel for the results of these particular collections. And (unlike the last volume I picked up which didn’t really seem to have sufficient content to explore — think twenty essays on nearly identical topics) these two books come from source material that is rich in complexity and curious characters whose humanity is rife for philosophical exploration.
Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy: Knowledge Here Begins Out There
For those who have not met my obsession with the modern incarnation of Battlestar Galactica, let me introduce you. Blog Reader meet Battlestar Fan. Battlestar Fan meet Blog Reader. Now that we’re all friends, let’s talk.
The depth of moral and philosophical exploration that is ready-built into the plot of this show is begging for this kind of discussion. I think, unless I’m mistaken, the last time I said that about one of these books was when the original volume appeared on shelves diving into the complex mind-frak that was The Matrix. Like that particular movie (and subsequent pop-thought book) the popularity of this drama is built around multi-dimensional, subtly-developed plots and characters who beg questions of mind, moral, and human philosophy, pulling themes from a society dealing with the collapse of civilization, war, revenge, religion, identity, and death. I think that’s a good starting point. The source material offered by this show is proving to be a dark hole down which the answers to these questions — often just more difficult questions — are able to pull so many curious minds. And so far I haven’t been disappointed.
The Office and Philosophy: Scenes from the Unexamined Life
The second volume recently added to my shelf is a series of twenty-odd philosophical essays and discussions derived from both the British and American series of The Office, that often-uncomfortable, faux-documentary peeking into the quirky world of day-to-day paper sales company.
Like the previous volume, the depth of character development in this source material is rich enough to handle a wide variety of philosophical exploration, and I’ve been delighted with the results so far. Unlike those dark issues of BSG, however, characters in The Office come from a starting point of comic flaws and tragic interactions and this book exploits that fact tackling issues of human character, ignorance, and the quirks of intra-office relationships. In fact I would say the source material is so entirely different (heavy, end of the universe, war ravaged science fiction versus light, situation-driven, comedically awkward, docu-drama) that the two books are a balanced pair to have purchased (and be reading) simultaneously.
Both: recommended. (So far.)
When we were in London a few months back, we spent a few nights in a “self catered” apartment. Basically, that means we had our own kitchen and we could cook our own food.
But we were in London… on vacation… so why?
We did (just to speed things along in the mornings) stop by a local Tesco and pick up some breakfast foods — cereal, milk, bananas — and, since we didn’t have a coffee pot, also a box of tea.
I picked it at random, and didn’t think much of it while I was there, but (it being a whole box and all, and not wanting to be wasteful) I brought it home and have been drinking it occasionally at the office.
Now, alas, I’m almost out. And I’m not sure where (or if) I can locate another box of Twinnings Cranberry Green Tea in this country. Odd, I know. But it kinda reminds me of vacation now.
I’ve been giving away lettuce by the bushel. And I don’t even really know what a bushel is.
Apparently the steroids I put in my garden soil this year kicked into high gear and suddenly I’m cursed with an abundance of leafy green foliage beyond the capacity of we simple folk to consume it in a timely manner. I wandered around the office and had a few “nibbles” so I brought in a couple bags of fresh-picked-greens for those lucky few. But, alas, there is still more and with this warm summer just kicking into gear I’m thinking there is going to be much, much, much more to follow.
If you’d like some FREE LETTUCE send a self-addressed stamped ziploc baggie to our address and we’ll ship it right off. Ok, maybe not. But seriously, if you want some — anytime — let yourself in the backyard and pick. I’m going to need to run it over with the lawnmower otherwise.
I will avoid the deeper meaning, and simply state that as of this afternoon I’m on Christmas break. It should be noted that this is merely a break from WORK — the office — and not from anything else. At current count we have ten consecutive days off (counting weekends) making for ten “non-work-nights” available for party and fun. We’ve filled eight of those evenings with things to do and places to be. Eight. Leaving a mere TWO for recuperation.
It’s not a complaint. It’s bewilderment — that I could ever be so busy.
With only a week until Christmas I find myself sitting at home working on side projects before the holidays consume me in full. Don’t get me wrong. I’m looking forward to the break, but I want to go into it with a clear mind so that means getting a few things off the ol’slate before this weekend. Inasmuch as that is possible, of course. Y’know, within reason.
I was coding tonight for about two hours (the real project) and the dog, hunkered down in the chair in the office was ripe fodder for, yes, another stupid time-lapse movie (the distraction project). Consider it something of a video blog. And yes, it would really be SO much easier typing more drivel (just like this). But instead I’ve gone to the trouble to gather and produce another weird installment of Sparkle-theatre, just for you, my loyal reader/watcher/consumer or whatever you happen to be calling yourself these days.
And I know you’re watching them, so don’t try and deny it.
This was recorded over a period of roughly ninety minutes, with one frame every fifteen seconds. She slept and stirred, and left a couple times to wander around. Eventually she came back and moved the blanket around the floor (normally not allowed, but it made for funny video) and then gave up. I got bored watching her for a while and moved her toy a bit, and later took further creative license with the thought bubbles. If I only knew what she was really thinking.
Might be the last one for a while. I’m running out of stupid ideas — and good ideas take too much effort. And I’ve got some work to do, too.
My theory is this: for every doughnut / cookie / nibble / snack / et cetera that I skip (in other words, avoid consuming) for the next many weeks prior to our departure, gained is one more guilt-free strudel / pomme frites / bratwurst / et cetera in which I can partake whilst roaming about the European countryside.
For reasons best unexplained here, a significant number of (yes, very tempting) doughnuts were made (far too easily) accessible at the office today. It was every ounce of my willpower to resist. I vent here, but only because I couldn’t vent at work without appearing (shall we say) a little soft.
So, I ate my yogurt and orange (while everyone else scarffed chocolate and nut-basted pastries) and gloated in the self-satisfaction that only comes with long term investment towards future goals. Then I went to the gym.
Treadmill: 23 minutes, fast jog (1.9 miles)
Weights: Upperbody, double sets
My little sis, Sharyl, bought me a coffee grinder for Christmas. As requested. And, as I told her just this past weekend, that at the current level of usage it might need to be an annual gift. Yes, it’s being well-used.
So, I’ve been sampling from the world of whole-bean coffee lately. Not only does this mean I don’t need to either (a) drink the expensive pre-brewed stuff occasionally at Starbucks or (b) drink the swill from the office, but it also means I can experiment (did you expect any less) with my own oddly disturbing concoctions and blends. For example, I’ve discovered that Save-On-Foods has a good selection of bulk coffee beans with an enviable subset of “flavoured” beans. When things go right, such as picking up some cinnamon flavoured beans and blending them with a bit of French roast dark beans, grinding, brewing and drinking, well — it’s awesome. When things go wrong, such as purchasing a small bag of raspberry flavoured beans and mixing them with a medium roast holiday wintermint bean, well — uh — yeah.
It brings back memories of my one and only sample of Sprite Ice(?) that toxic experiment by the beverage distributor at creating a mint flavoured lemon-lime soda. Eerie and unnatural combinations of flavours that remind me of chewing gum while eating pie, or brushing my teeth while drinking lemonade — these are things that just should not be allowed (in the vast cosmic perspectives of a livable universe) to exist.
My pen, the green one, ran dry this afternoon so I’m a little bit frustrated. Not that you would think something so trivial should be frustrating. But there is somehting about not being able to use a pen that has a visibly two-thirds full ink idicator, yet will not submit to my scribblings.
As such, the day trods onwards.
The lack of CBC is driving me crazy. Not because I’m addicted to the droll ramblings of public radio, but because the alternative is so much more disheartening. Take for example the morning drive to the office. The station to which I had the dial temporarily tuned had decided it might be a good idea to hold a contest. This is no abnormal event for any radio station, you might have already thought to yourself, but this particular contest threw a particularly sad and annoying light onto society. Object: win a prize by luring a friend to the mall and publicly confessing something to them. For example, the vapid specimens this morning were a pair of giggly-girls of whom one had killed the other’s pet hamster by a particularly disgusting kind of neglect involving friends, a party, too much alcohol, and some evacuated fluids — and then had the hamster replaced with a similar model before she was discovered dead. Months had passed since, the victim of the lie completely unawares. Then one day — this day — she is lured to the mall for a live-on-air confession by her “friend.” Guess what: remember your hamster. It’s dead. Sorry. Huhzah! You just won concert tickets. The friendship crumbled right there on live radio.
I miss CBC. So simple. So uplifting, in its own way. And I miss my green pen. What a day.
A slightly abridged list of the random things I couldn’t resist doing today, including, in full, existensial glory, but not limited to:
:: driving home at lunch and bringing Sparkle into the office for the afternoon. She’s resting in her bed at my feet. She was a little scared, at first, but she’s getting better with both (a) people and (b) riding in a vehicle.
:: stopping for coffee at the Starbucks that is slightly out of the way. I hadn’t been to Starbucks for a week. All vacation long, lacking. How is that for withdrawl?
Before I escape for the weekend I thought I should mention Blue. You recall, right? The little bettafish swimming around his little green aquarium on the shelf in my office. For those still wondering, yes, he’s alive and well. Eating. Munching. Hiding out behind his fake stump for long hours and generally enjoying a peaceful existence.
It’s his birthday tomorrow — or whatever you might call the day marking a one year anniversary of me going to the pet store to rescue him from a little plastic cup on a noisy shelf. One year ago (tomorrow) I brought him back to the office and wondered if he’d survive the weekend.
We celebrated humbly. I cleaned the water in his bowl and gave him an extra helping of dehydrated blood worms. Snail-Bob made an appearance from his usual lurk at the back of the tank, and Blue swam around him for a few minutes until we all got bored.
All-in-all… well… Survival is good. I guess if I can keep a fish alive for a year, maybe it’s time to graduate to something larger.
So, betwixt the furstrations of having a ill-tempered website, a mess of chaos at the office, and innumerable little terrors mixing through the folds of my everyday existence, there has been the house. It seems that the bitterly cold weather of weeks past caught us up, and we spent a number of frustrating post-work and weekend trips to the site to look at a slowly progressing concrete hole.
When it rains, it pours: when it shines, the sky opens and heavenly light streams through the atmosphere. Work stabilized for a bit, the web-stuff is sorting out, and when Karin and I visited the house-site on Wednesday evening there were the makings of a floor. The framing has begun; And I imagine by the time we spin around this evening there may even be something resembling walls and stairs and other house-like structures built of the wooden bits now scattered around my future front yard.
Photos? Well, it was dark and we were being sneaky. The showhome was “barely open” so we went by without saying much. And far be it from me to terrorize my neighbors with bright flashing lights from my camera late into the evening. I’ll save that for when I live there and have a house to duck into for protection.