Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Early Morning Mind-Swirl

 We call it the mind-swirl. The phenomenon of waking up at 3:30, or 4:45, or worst of all, 5 AM and thinking about all the things that need to be done in the coming days, weeks, months, years.

  • File that annual report and be sure to have the budget details nailed down, and justified.
  • Finish writing that book chapter
  • Re-write the entire lab-manual
  • Build a raised bed for vegetables
  • Pack for vacation
  • Make sure to enjoy your vacation
  • You're too heavy, do some serious cardio
  • Scroll on social media and see an article that says you can not just decide to be a different person
  • Contemplate if you should subscribe to the Atlantic
  • Find print copies of the New Yorker you have not read for months
  • Decide you should not subscribe to the Atlantic
  • Make sure to channel the loving spirit of your parents
  • Mourn the loss of the last few year's worth of joy due to the Pandemic
  • Realize the overwhelming joy you have experienced over the last few years despite the pandemic.
  • Be more charitable after reading an article about a meal shared between Jose Andres and Ron Howard in one of those neglected New Yorker magazines.
  • Log on to your computer to start working on that annual report.
  • Write a silly blog post on Tom Paine's Ghost instead
  • Are you sick?
  • Is it DayCare funk?
  • Yes.
And here I am back to writing terribly but doing it so I can cultivate the feeling of keystrokes in a dimly lit basement with the white of the computer screen lighting up the keyboard.

OK, I'd better go figure out how to use Microsoft Teams and R.


Monday, May 23, 2022

Spider and the Web

The interwebs are not what they used to be and I guess that is OK. Just now I caught my mouse, I mean my eyeballs, I mean my brain, hovering over a clothing advertisement on a large social network's website. Each night while my 3-year-old watches his favorite cartoons I scroll through reels or TikToks or whatever for far too much time. NYU Marketing Professor Scott Galloway sums up what the internet is becoming now in the video below. TikTok is winning and I do not see it stopping this colossal run. Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow. It is strange to me how somehow we stop using technologies while others ramp up. I can not even recall the last time I sent a g-chat and yet for so long g-chat was part of my daily life. The same goes for AOL instant messenger. What is my point? Back to the title of this blog post (hahahaha anachronisms make me chuckle). We are all prey voluntarily flying around a predator's web. Each day we wake up and flock to the web mostly to see each other without seeing each other. At some point, we had debates online. For me, this has mostly stopped. There is no reward for arguing online so I stopped. At the end of this semester, I saw someone share a nonfiction bestseller list from Canada. Manufacturing Consent, a book published in 1988 written by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman topped the list. I have a copy, somewhere, given to me by my old friend Tera. It struck me that this 34-year-old book was a current bestseller so I went to YouTube to watch old interviews summing up the crux. Here I posted about it. When Netflix came along I was in college and then graduate school. At this time it was a "DVD by US Mail" service. This was great as I could mostly avoid advertisements. It had an edgy feel, bucking a system that traditionally drew eyeballs to the trough of entertainment and enlightenment through television and movie theater screens. Anyone who puts on makeup to deliver you a message probably wants some money in return. Netflix was no different, they were just more upfront about it. Pay us a monthly subscription fee and we'll spare you all the previews and Coca-Cola ads. And now at the dawn of a Netflix with the ads put back in I see the end of an era that started about 20 years ago. An era to free us from the manufactured consent Chomsky railed against so hard back in the 1980s. We could's handle that kind of freedom. Some of us could, maybe, for a few years just out of college. But then Donald Trump was elected. The pandemic came, and the companies wanted all their advertising revenue back. So then came TikTok and Mountain Dew paid Charlie Day to sing along to piano tunes for the kiddos. They were awful but novel enough for me to mention. And now here I am reverting to an outlet that was once my home. My place to spew my mind and feel like it was my house online. It was a fun exercise. Thanks for reading. I'd like to keep going. 
@profgalloway You are one of 1.6 billion monthly active users #tiktok #fyp #instagram #facebook #chartoftheweek #profg #scottgalloway ♬ original sound - Scott Galloway

Friday, May 13, 2022