My wife and I are crazy dog people. It’s like being a crazy cat lady or crazy cat man, but with two important differences:
- Dogs, not cats
- We’re married, not living alone with tons of animals
That second point actually makes us scarier than your average crazy cat lady/man, because there’s an element of shared insanity.
So, this weekend, we added two new dogs to our household, doubling the canine numbers and officially outnumbering the humans in the household:
Met Ziva and Rocky, or, as I call them, Ham-with-Legs and Peter Lorre. Peter Lorre sits on his pillow and glares at everyone most of the day: Ham-with-Legs stares off at nothing and farts. They’re super-talented.
So, if I’m quiet on the internet for a while, I’m chasing these guys around, or chasing my O.G. dogs Sadie and Edie around.
Pseudo-philosophical ramblings and dissections of pop-culture will resume soonish.
Things that always surprise me when people say them:
“I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket.”
“I’ve never broken a bone.”
“I’ve never been to jail.” (Please note: jail, not prison.)
Why does any of this surprise me? Because earlier in my life, I assumed that everyone thought (and lived) the way I did. I thought all of the above we’re normal parts of life, especially for young men. I assumed just because all of those things had happened to me, they’d happened to everyone my age.
The truth is, of course, that everyone’s experiences are unique. What’s normal to one person’s life is completely abnormal to another’s. Things that I see as a normal part of growing up (those examples above) actually might show a shocking lack of responsibility and intelligence on my part.
Point being: we all see the idea of “normal” through the lens of our own lives. That means there are about 7 billion permutations of “normal,” one for every human. There are averages, of course — things like median income (I suppose that’s considered a “normal” income), but even those vary wildly.
What’s normal to you? Does the concept even exist?
While I’m working today, one of my old computers is silently dumping it’s brains into the cloud. I use OneDrive (because of course I do), and I have 150 gig of online storage (because of course I do). The machine in question is a few years old, and a netbook, so there’s more than enough room to move the entire machine’s contents into virtual storage.
I have the OneDrive app on my phone, so every now and again, I bring up the app and see which part of the netbook’s brain is dumping now. Every time I check in, it’s like visiting a place and time in my old history: pictures of Las Vegas from 2011, or New Orleans in 2010; the first draft of 47 Echo; tax returns from 2009; a backup of my Blackberry Curve from 2010.
The really interesting thing I’ve found, though: so many manuscripts. Some of them have seen the light of day through the Twitter Novel Project, and some of them have never seen eyes other than mine.
You might know where this is headed.
I have a ton of manuscripts. I run an indie publishing company.
I haven’t decided on the delivery method for these books yet; some might be offered for free on Kindle and Nook, some might simply be emailed out to folks who have bought stuff from Eddington Press as a thank-you. But I plan to make at least four or five of them available this year.
And I wouldn’t have even thought of it of I didn’t live here in the future, and offloaded my memories to machines and servers.
So, be prepared, folks. Cool stuff is coming.
Sooooo… this picture popped up in my Facebook feed this morning:
Now, while I’ve made no secret of my liberal leanings, and have voted for our current president, I’m not at all offended by this picture… though it did make me curious, because I remember paying a lot more than that before January 2009. (I don’t remember paying less since… I don’t know, high school?)
So a quick search of consumer reports from September 2007 showed me that gas prices were more than a dollar higher, on average, than they are in that picture.
This isn’t a post to pick on conservatives at all. They have gripes that are just as legitimate as mine about politics, gas prices, the weather, what have you. It’s more a post about finding facts, even truth, in the modern age. Is it possible?
In the 80s, I never doubted something was true if it was “on the news.” Now, I was also 12 when the 80s ended, so some of that was just me not understanding that agendas were a thing that existed. Generally, though, it seems as if “the news” was more about reporting the facts than it is today.
Now, if something is “on the news,” I’m very much less accepting of the truth of the story. With certain news outlets (CNN, Fox News, MSNBC), it’s easy to determine agenda. To say, “oh, CNN is saying this because this is what their liberal viewership wants to hear,” or “Fox News has tailored this story to confirm what their conservative base wants to believe.” As I showed above with a quick web search on gas prices, it’s very easy to cherry-pick information to make something look how you want it to look, regardless of fact.
So where can we go to determine the truth of any story we hear? Most places will have their bias (which is kind of a funeral dirge for journalism), so we’re only getting part of the truth most places we look, if we’re getting any piece of it at all.
It begs the question: is there such a thing as “the truth,” anyway?
Have you found any reporting outlet that seems unbiased? Share with this jaded old man in the comments! (Or via email, which it seems quite a lot of you prefer.)
Endings are hard.
As proof, I’ll pick one of my favorite sci-fi franchises of all time (and definitely one of the most enduring), Star Trek. I loved all of the incarnations of the series… and only one and a half times did they end well.
Anyone who’s seen Turnabout Intruder, the last episode of the Original Series, knows what I’m talking about. That series, while flirting with greatness plenty of times, ended like a driverless car slowly rolling into a low-speed collision with a telephone pole. It wasn’t just that it was a poor episode on which to end the series — it was just kind of a poor episode of Star Trek in general.
Next Generation did their series finale quite well, though one could argue they completely cocked up that ending by continuing to make movies. Deep Space Nine got away OK. Voyager and Enterprise recalled the Original Series ending by not being particularly great episodes of great series, last episode or not.
It holds true outside of Star Trek (the Battlestar Galactica reboot) and even outside of sci-fi (Dexter, anyone?). When a series is so strong (as all the above were), is there ever really a good way to end it?
What were the best endings to series you’ve ever seen? What one stands out in your mind as the worst?
It’s still too cold for Texas. It’s also too cold to get my brain to work properly, but I’ll give it a try anyway.
I went to school long enough to be a doctor (in South America, anyway), but I actually majored in Journalism. If I’d known how that field would have ultimately turned out, I would have picked something more relevant, like boneshaker repair.
But one thing studying for a Journalism degree taught me was the ability to talk about anything for five minutes to an hour. It taught me to get interested in all sorts of stuff, and how to quickly research any topic and think about it critically. And that’s something I do on the podcast every week.
Still haven’t had to use differential calculus, though.
What about you, folks? Did you pick a major that actually taught you skills you still use (i.e., are you smarter than me [most likely "yes"])? Or did you skip that whole college thing and go straight to work?
I’m about ready for winter to be over. It’s Texas; it should be 68 and sunny right now.
If any of you have friends who make any sort of “I thought we were supposed to have global warming” comments, please slap them. If you’re making them yourself, stop.
Just… warm up, already, Texas. This isn’t what we were promised in the brochure.