It’s not a song, per se, but the theme music from the podcast I was listening to on the train is a bit of an earworm.
There is a certain weirdness to dragging people along on your hobbies, I get it.
People watch other people play video games.
People watch other people build furniture.
People watch other people eat food.
Maybe people want to watch other people out for a run. It’s not the craziest idea, is it?
I recorded and narrated a second episode of my MagPi Runner series, and gave it a bit more production value in the form of a slightly nicer bumper and lead in, a higher frame-rate on the video quality, and I deliberately was trying to channel a little more mellowed our Bob-Ross-style.
If you’re not one of those people who likes to watch other people do mundane things, you probably won’t get much out of this. If you are… let me know what you think. Share. Subscribe. Do one of those things that other YouTubers are always telling their audience to do.
The end of my self-imposed podcast fast.
November marks a kind of literary interlude near the end of each year.
The brave take on NaNoWriMo and attempt to conquer the writing of a short novel in the span of one month. I’ve tried a total of three times, and as the reminder emails become more and more prevalent in my email inbox as the end of October approaches, the thought occurred that…
Wait. Never mind. I’m way too busy.
So, I’m not doing that.
Instead, in honour of the literary significance of the month, and in recognition of another sad fact, I’m doing something else entirely.
Thus I say: Hi. My name is Brad. And I’m addicted to podcasts.
You all say… Hi Brad!
In a way podcasts are mostly just the modern equivalent of talk radio. Independent talk programming, downloaded to your device, and listened to at your convenience.
They are also filtered bubbles encompassing everything bad, destructive, and narrow-minded about the modern state of personalized media.
A double edged sword. And I’ll never quit them entirely.
But I can step back and for the month of November, in honour of that notion of literature and reading and storytelling in it’s most basic form, take a declared break in favour of a different audio fix: the audiobook. Novels, read aloud into my head while I walk, or run or ride, or even do that kind of work that just requires lots of left brain clicking or right brain abstractions. Stories that have been planned, edited, thought out, pushed through the wringer of clarity and purpose to convey a meaning beyond building an audience or generating ad revenue.
So, in November, for all of November, I’m going on a self-imposed hiatus from listening to anything pod-based. No pod comedy. No pod pop culture shows. No pod political commentary. No pod nothin…
Instead, I’ll be delving into a few new audiobooks in my queue. And for whatever it’s worth, I invite others to do the same. Let’s make November into more than a month to madly scramble to just write, and instead use it to purge our minds of the raw media of podcasts, twenty-four hour news cycles, and youtube gibberish, and instead read more, listen more, think more.
My 2 cents.
About two and a half years ago we had just arrived home from our ten day Icelandic adventure. I was sorting through a mountain of photos. I was pondering from a very unspectacular desk in the middle of my office in a concrete-locked city about how to top that vacation to the remotest heart of the world. And I was poking through the internet trying to grasp onto something to keep those memories strong just a little longer. A this same time I was still naively optimistic about Kickstarter… and rummaging through that site I came across a coincidence.
It was a film project that was seeking some crowdfunding: Bokeh, an independent feature film, a science fiction film, filmed entirely in Iceland just months prior to our visit there, and it was trying to get a bit of cash together to get it all edited and distributed.
I contributed my small bit and promptly forgot about it.
Well, I say I forgot, but in reality every couple of months a humble little update from the directors would drop into my email (and presumably the email of my 609 fellow Kickstarter backers, too.) Their estimated timelines, it seemed, fell into the category of “naively optimistic” as well.
“After nearly five months of staring at frame after frame after frame, we’ve finished editing Bokeh.”
or, “We recently held our first test screening of Bokeh in Philadelphia.”
or, “We are showing Bokeh to potential distributors at the end of the month.”
These mini-essay updates trickled to me over the last two and a half years. I didn’t complain that they never really included the downloadable movie that I had been promised as my backer “reward.” Film editing is not my world, but I’ll admit to having a tangential interest in it, so the updates were somehow just as good as getting a movie. For me, at least. In honesty, I paid my very small backing fee and was more than compensated by the meta-story that appeared in my inbox over the next two and a half years: the trial and tribulations of turning an independently filmed and edited movie into a feature release.
In the meantime two and a half years strolled by and Iceland had turned into this distant long-past vacation in the chambers of my memory. So, it was a wonderful, nostalgic reminder of an amazing trip when the download code for the film finally did appear in my email last Friday.
On Saturday, we downloaded and watched Bokeh after Claire went to bed.
It is a science fiction story about a couple who wake up one morning of their Icelandic vacation to discover that everyone but them has disappeared. A clever film. A film that speaks to it’s own kind of naive optimism versus the universe. A film that challenges raging hope against blind faith, pits fierce independence against following strict rules. A film about loneliness and isolation and the effects that can have on the mind and soul.
I enjoyed it, even if it took me a couple days of pondering to get it… if only enough to write this.
That said, I don’t think watching Bokeh changed my understanding of the world in any profound way, even though it was a beautiful and heartfelt attempt to do just that. It wasn’t great but it was ok… good, even and since I’m no film critic so take that for what it was worth.
On the other hand, contributing a few bucks two and a half years ago did change something in me, even if it was just a small tweak to something inside. I did so little yet gained so much more than my small donation. A glimpse into a process, a story about a story, and a reminder of a place that did leave a pretty big mark on my memory after all.
In the end I guess my naive optimism paid off.
Drew Barrymore is headlining this new Netflix horror-comedy series called “Santa Clarita Diet” and while I wouldn’t normally plug a tv show on this blog, I figure she was probably filming this a few weeks or months before the NYC marathon time frame and that’s just cool from an I’m-not-going-to-namedrop-too-much-more-about-actresses-i-met-in-central-park-really-honestly perspective. The show caught my eye in the sense that Netflix pushed it into my face enough times that I watched the pre-release trailer, and so because I’ve recently gained a newfound respect for my now-fav actress I gave the show an above average shot… and it’s actually pretty funny. I mean, it’s crude and there is excessive gore, but it’s a weird comedy suburban family take on a light zombie crossover thing. I don’t even know how to describe it. But I did watch three episodes back-to-back. Karin just hid her eyes from the blood spatter.
I can finally read all the reviews. I’ve been carefully avoiding too many spoilers for the last couple weeks waiting for a chance to check out the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
On a whim we cashed in my points and picked up a trio of tickets for a show earlier this evening. Now, I’m stuffed full of popcorn and crashed on the couch re-watching Episode IV because, with a skeptical nine-year-old as a date we had to come home and immediately prove that whatever the heck she just watched was a direct prequel to that nearly-forty-year-old flick I’ve watched more times than I can count… but to her is just another one of dad’s weird movies.
As for Rogue One, I’ll leave it at that because any review I write will just be a rehash of a thousand that probably already exist, or completely pointless as I try to avoid spoiling it for the two of you who haven’t seen it yet.
I think the honour of most overplayed song this year is Wham! “Last Christmas” … I gave you my heart but the very next day, you gave it away… uh, keep it.
December 15 You know Dasher and Dancer and… well… all the rest… and really just that classic holiday claymation standard tv show, the one called Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. You’ve heard of it? Yes? It’s the disconnected, nonsense tale of a elf and his obsession with orthodontics, who flees from his indentured servitude at the north pole and falls into league with a runaway deer, a juvenile mutant of a subspecies of the caribou family. It is the timeless tale of how society only really, truly accepts weirdos when they become useful to the normals. That television classic of the season… Claire thinks it’s disturbing. She refused to watch it tonight. “Dad! That show is so creepy!” Uh. Kids these days.
Like so many of us I get pulled into that click bait garbage in my new feeds and waste my time watching or reading fake or trivial stories online.
Very likely something with the words “Christmas” in the title.
If only because it has a haunting violin part, I’ve been listening to ‘Something Wild’ by Lindsey Stirling quite too much.