Some days are really good.

I had scheduled today off work before I knew this week would be filled with house-buying-related errands, but it worked out well as Gloria was able to schedule my home inspection today at I time that I was easily able to be there and have the luxury of staying through the entire process. [I]nspector John was very thorough, testing every drawer in the kitchen, running full cycles on the washer and dryer, climbing up into the attic, bouncing on the patio floor. I took pictures of everything and Gloria and I followed John around asking questions, taking breaks occasionally to crack jokes about the decor and trade horror stories with John about scary houses we’d all seen. He found very little of consequence – a moderate wiring upgrade necessary in the breaker box, a small crack in the tub surround – and provided me a very short list to ask the seller for. Gloria’s hunch is that the seller should be willing to address most of it as we’ve asked them for very little so far.

I found a new shortcut between my new place and the old one on the way home for a quick lunch, enjoying a rare drive in my Z on what by now had turned into a beautiful, crisp fall Seattle day. Then to Z Sport, to talk cars with the mechanics and get a free-checkup that came out great. They complimented me on my car and its condition, and we discussed some things I’d like to do with it, things that are probably on hold for a bit now that I’ll be paying a mortgage but are still fun to talk about.

Then to Marysville and the emissions test center, where my Z passed easily on the first try, something it didn’t do two years ago. It could have been many things – weather, warmer engine, under-funded and miscalibrated state-run test facilities – but it made me feel good to think it might have also been my extra effort in the last year to do more of the preventative things and take a little better care of it.

And then, as if a Friday off work, driving my Z around in the sunshine, getting good news and hanging out with friendly people wasn’t enough that I should appreciate it in a blogular way, I found it. I found my lost iPod. Where, you ask? Why, in the inside pocket of the bag I carry to work every day. A bag I have literally dumped sideways, shaken, patted down and practically disassembled in search of my missing iPod. There it was, in its case, as though I had put it there yesterday. All I can figure is that the iPod gnomes must have felt guilty for taking it and returned it to its proper place, after the statute of limitations expired on their standard waiting period for confiscated objects. How else can you explain that it reappeared exactly one week (almost to the hour) after my replacement iPod arrived?

October Retrospect – Part 3

Not all of October has been sunshine and rainbows. Actually none of it, since this is Seattle October – it’s been more foggy mornings, hazy afternoons, fallen leaves covering the sidewalks and the occasional bitterly cold wind cutting through my five layers of clothing. Yes, layering is still in – look it up, people.

In addition to our first newsworthy winter storm (admittedly a very low bar for our drama-starved local news stations) I’ve also been brewing a storm of my own since early October, inside my head. As the chaos of this storm has grown with each torturous day and each insomnia-filled night, so has my sanity quickly but silently slipped from my grasp like so many grains of sand pouring out between my outstretched fingers. Lacking clarity of purpose and with no clean space inside my mind on which to organize my jumble of memories, dreams and hallucinations into coherent thoughts, I have been drifting through each day a ragged, hollow shell of a man, consumed in my own anguish.

For you see, I have lost my iPod. Picture a world without music. Like a movie that has no soundtrack, mine has been a journey that lacks accompaniment. My secret weapon for maintaining sanity amidst a tumultuous life, my crutch, my companion, my addiction… stripped from me by cruel fate and a messy apartment.

I don’t truly know when it happened. I’ve re-examined every flash of recollection in my mind so many times that the true memories are intermingled now with both the hopes and the fears, creating a fable that is woven so tightly I have lost faith it will ever be unraveled to separate the yarns of truth from the red herrings spun into gold. There was a day, however, that sticks in the flurries of my mind. A day when I broke routine, when I didn’t put my iPod in the usual place. I needed a little extra 160-beats-per-minute fix that evening and indulged in such on the walk to my parking lot, rather than tucking my friend safely into my bag. When I switched from “walk” to “drive” I moved it from pocket to cupholder – still within arm’s reach. At home it was transported safely into my room, unloaded on the bed along with the other contents of my pockets – or at least, that’s one of the clips played so much in my mind that I’m convinced it must have happened that way. I stacked it with the other things I intended to pack for vacation the next day.

A day went by before I packed to leave, and on that day it was nowhere. I settled on traveling without it – against my better judgement – and left for a week empty of both hand and heart. When I returned the memories were foggy, the clutter piled even higher, and the last known location of the iPod lost deeper and deeper in my mind’s abyss.

Weeks have gone by and the detachment has grown severe. Each day I cease to function a little more, slowly but continuously wilting like a plant denied the sun, retreating into a confused malaise of mumbling, self-doubt and misanthropy. In a rare moment of clarity today I determined to cut my losses, to sever the bleeding limb and cauterize the wound to salvage what of life’s blood still flows in my mind’s musical veins. I found another iPod on ebay, and bid on it, and won. The same model as before, a 60gb iPod Photo, far from the cutting edge but a seamless replacement for the missing puzzle block in my life whose lack has rendered the puzzle’s image irrecognizable.

My purgatory has a limit, and it is marked by a UPS tracking number.

Apple iTunes goes DRM-free

Big news in the digital music world today, as Steve Jobs announced Apple is taking the first steps to a more open digital music industry. The entire EMI music catalog will be available on iTunes starting May 1 with no DRM – that means no burning, backing up or any other restrictions on the downloaded tracks. They’ll also be higher quality – 256k vs 128k AAC’s – as well as higher in price – $1.29 US vs $0.99.

Several things are great about this:

  • (1) Online music purchases finally give you the same rights as a consumer you’ve been enjoying with CD’s for years: make a copy for your car, take some tracks to work, use any player you want, and yes, make a mix for a friend. As the AAC format (when not locked by iTunes) is open-source and fairly universal, the only limits to where you can take your music are technological, not ideological, and as we all know the technological limits get wider every day.
  • (2) There’s an upgrade option for people with existing iTunes collections: pay the $0.30 difference and get the track in 256k, DRM-free. A less-consumer-oriented company would have asked you to repurchase tracks in the new format at full value (I’m looking at you, Sony) but that’s not how Steve Jobs rolls.
  • (3) Full albums in the new high-quality, no-restrictions format will be the same price as the album was before. Music companies are desperately trying to save the full-album-purchase idea in the face of single-track ala carte shopping, and those of us who still buy whole albums will benefit from that desperation.
  • (4) This will first put the pressure on the rest of Apple’s music company providers to follow suit. Then, it will put the pressure on other online sellers to jump on the bandwagon in the name of consumer choice (and, arguably, higher margins on track sales).

So, hang on to that iTunes gift certificate a little longer… or buy the tracks you’ve been wanting now and upgrade (and unlock) them in a month. Either way, chalk up one victory for the consumer, and one for Steve Jobs and Apple.

What will our bathrooms look like in 50 more years?

Two quick and unrelated things:

One: how nuts is this?
It’s a real product. I hope you’re being nice to your iPod, cause they are taking over the world and it’s only a matter of time until we’re all merely their puny human slaves.

Two: old stuff, unearthed! The Walt Disney Company opened a time capsule letter written by Walt himself in 1956 and locked away for the last 50 years. The Disney properties are supposedly full of time capsules with various opening dates, as Walt was all about this stuff. There’s a PDF download of the letter. It’s pretty cool what Walt thought we’d be doing in 2006, and funny how much he thought 50’s breakthroughs (like radar) would be HUGE by now. Save that away and read it again in 10 years, make Walt proud.

I know what you’re thinking, and no, Walt did not correctly predict the iPod’s hostile takeover of the human race. But i think Nostradamus did…

It takes a lot of iPod to get thru the day

I’m really not trying to gripe. I’m not an ingrate; i appreciate this new job, the promotion, the better working environment… the business cards that arrived today, reading “Associate Software Engineer” (very excited about those, btw). But it’s tuesday of week three and i’m still completely useless, and it’s getting frustrating. It’s not just that i’m supposed to be testing things i don’t understand. It’s that i’m supposed to be designing tests for things i don’t understand, using tools i’ve never used – or sometimes even heard of – and that the (relatively few) people i have as resources sit as far away from me as is possible without an elevator ride. How can i attempt to break something if i don’t know what it’s supposed to do when it’s working, i ask you? Furthermore, how can i design an *automated script* to perform the aforementioned breaking in large quantity at high speed? Oh, and i can’t run our product on my own machine, cause apparently our product requires at least 2.5G of RAM and my desktop contains a 1GB pittance, which means i’m left trying to use a shared test lab environment, of which there are only a handful. Meaning they’re constantly in use by someone or something, via some secret verbal-only schedule that everyone but me seems to know (“of course you can’t use it right now! the [meaningless acronym] process is running!”). Also, it means i have to set the whole bloody thing up each time for whatever it is i’m trying to test, after whoever had it last screwed it all up for their own purposes, something which i’m lucky to get right once in 250 times, much less on an hourly, recurring basis.

It took me two hours to write that last paragraph, cause right in the middle of it a coworker roused me from my headphone-induced solitude. “why aren’t you at the meeting that started 10 mins ago that everyone’s supposed to be at?” Cause i didn’t know about it, smarty. Maybe if there weren’t still two of me in outlook, one that receives email you send me and one that does not, thanks to the genius internal transfer process, i would have known about it? Ya think?

Anyway, i forget where i was going here.. Oh, yes… how happy i am that my iPod is working again. And how disproportionately often i listen to the ‘long day’ playlist, compared to how rarely the ‘getting things done’, ‘hyper-productivity’ and ‘good mood for no reason’ playlists find their way to the D/A converter and down the white headphone wires. I’m just glad it works, that’s all i’m saying. It’s keeping me sane.

For those out there also using their favorite white music machine to steer themselves away from the looney bin, i’ve found some nuggets that you and your therapist might approve of. Download some totally free and DRM-less Bossanova tracks from Brazil. This guy runs Sabadabada for the purpose of digitizing and sharing his LP collection of vintage Brazilian tunage, and many selections from his constantly-rotating offering have found their way into my “must keep brain from melting” mood music.

For such large quantities of free music that you could even choke a luxo-chic 60GB iPod, check out this post on Tofu Hut that compiles gazillions of music blogs, artists that offer their own content for DL, and Pod-able free radio stations. Go nuts.

If you’re absolutely teetering on the edge between functioning member of human society and sociopathic office drone turned serial bludgeoner and soothing beats are not enough to quell your inner Mr. Hyde, turn to the wise words of some of the better (or in some cases, just famous) messengers from american history, as downloadable mp3’s. Sometimes only M. L. King Jr. himself can speak to the beast inside, and if it’s one of those days you can once again turn to your trusty iPod for snippets of audio sanity. On non-homicidal days, these tracks double as ammunition for a disparaging sneer at your cube-neighbor’s heavy Ashlee Simpson rotation.

I know what you’re thinking. Some days there is nothing left to do but disenchantedly battle the freeway home in silence, crawl sullenly into your dimly-lit apartment and imbibe your way to forgetfullness via the good liquor that you hide from your guests. Lest you traverse your downward spiral away from contributing citizen of earth alone, $10 for 900 mixed drink recipes will grant you a scroll-wheel-bearing sidekick for the duration of your journey from happy office drone to jaded, drunken misanthrope. Also great for impressing dinner party guests with your latest spiffy blended concoctions, whilst they mingle in your dimly-lit apartment admiring (and secretly coveting) the diverse collection of brazilian bossanova percolating from your dapper white plastic friend.

Grimace and the Secret Sauce

The weather has been sun-tastic this week, and i thoroughly love it. Sometimes i think i may need to try living in southern Cali for a time, if only to experience the free, instant mood-altering effects of a sunny day on a more regular basis. Plus the skiing was better there this year than anywhere i could get to in a day’s drive from Seattle. Everybody whines about the housing market down there, but i’m not a home-buyer – i’m a throw-money-down-a-hole renter – so whoop-dee-do to that. Anyway, don’t anyone get all panicky that i’m jumping ship on Seattle; the proliferation of Starbucks in any other urban area still isn’t up to my standards.

Just a quick shout-out to my peeps at ipodresq.com, what an excellent crew they are! My ever-stylish music machine arrived via overnight formatted and working perfectly. They even cleaned it up a bit! For $29 bucks they covered two-way DHL and the fix, and i opted for an extra $30 upgrade to a new, 15-hr battery; with it’s newly-breathed life i thought a little extra juice was worth the investment. I very much appreciate their extra effort to do a backup/restore of all my music and whatnot; when asking for a drive format i assumed a blank slate would return to me, but was pleasantly surprised to see all my playlists and song ratings smiling back at me on first power-up. All-around a sweet deal, and they were excellent to both me and my little white plastic friend. I recommend them wholly.

In other gadgets-that-fit-in-my-pockets news, i swung by one of the numerous T-Mobile kiosks in northgate mall yesterday for some GPRS fiddling. My wireless data service has been all crabby lately, preventing me from googling things or checking my paypal balance from completely inappropriate places, and – as i predicted – a simple SMS from the mothership put all the settings right again in short order. It took me some wandering to find the “official corporate” T-Mobile kiosk that could perform this service, though, as i casually counted 4 T-Mobile branded phone kiosks and at least 8 total wireless gadget-islands in the relatively short stretch of the mall’s main hall. That is in addition to the numerous stores incorporating often-unrelated cellphone vendors (i’m looking at you, Kitt Camera). A bit of an overdose, i say. It is no wonder there are 3rd graders running around with cameraphones, nor that it’s the fastest growing industry in america right now. And does anyone else find it amusing that people will pay $2.49 for a 30-second ringtone but won’t pay more than 99 cents for a downloaded track (ala iTunes)? It’s obviously all due to marketing, as the carrier technology and handsets offered here in the states are a paltry embarassement by both european and pacific rim standards. It’s certainly not because the carriers really want you to have a good experience. With all the choices and the endless, proliferating blitz from the big names, it’s not an easy call to make (ha ha, i am a clever punster). It’s a lesser-of-four-evils decision between the Big Pink, Orange dancing guy, call-dropping-R-us, and Can You Hear Me Now?. I won’t hate you for making a wrong decision… but CDMA is not the future.

As long as we’re talking about crap marketing that belies an even crappier product, let’s talk about the arches that are not really so much golden as they are weather-stained and painted with cheap yellow lacquer. Yes, i’m referring to the home of Grimace and the Secret Sauce (which, incidentally, sounds like a good band name. Or an inane children’s book). Although you won’t find a free finger in your chili (which would at least guarantee there’s some actual meat in the food) you might still find yourself “Lovin’ It”, or so the marketing machine says. Even the menthol-cool stylings of J. Timberlake can’t make that slogan sound like anything other than the same industrial-strength brainwashing agent used to make people believe there’s a slice of something cow-related under that rubber pickle. Personally, i find Steve’s interpretations of the aforementioned abomination to slogan-writing much less stomach-turning than the original. Now if only there was a way to make the food less stomach-turning… but alas, in america, we are gluttons for punishment… in every sense of the word.

I am teh stoopid

I have been so stupid this whole week. I can’t even begin. It’s a real miracle i’m still able to type, as my brain seems to have failed me in everything else lately. I guess typing is half muscle memory, though… not that those are extremely reliable, either. For a very self-reliant person such as myself, it can be very disturbing and outright frightening when the only person you ever really put any trust in – yourself – suddenly becomes undependable. At least someday when i get old and go crazy it won’t be a totally unfamiliar feeling.

So, you want examples, huh? Humorous anecdotes allowing you to laugh at my expense? Well, i guess that is why you’re here, after all, so i’ll indulge you. There have been lots of little things this week that just keep tightening the straighjacket one lace at a time:

I headed to opening day baseball monday without the two things i really needed: an umbrella for the drenching walk through south Seattle, and sunglasses for the inevitable roof opening. Now i pondered both these things before i left home, but somehow decided it wouldn’t rain and also wouldn’t not rain, so i would need neither. In Seattle you always need one of those, usually both. I chose none. Stupid.

Bought my parking pass for April on friday, and put it “somewhere safe” until i was in the truck again. Promptly forgot about it. Remembered this morning, and then couldn’t find it. Looked in my work bag, then tore the house apart, then found it in the work bag 20 minutes later, suddenly no longer invisible. Set it on the counter so i wouldn’t forget it… and walked out of the house without it. Left my truck running in the driveway, door open, heater on, while i searched the house for it once again. Surprise…it was on the counter. Stupid.

Monday’s iPod fiasco. Ugh. I’m still mad at myself for this one. So – in case you forgot – it’s half worked for the last year. Plays music, charges battery, but won’t talk to Powerbook. So no changing the music collection or playlists. But still usable. Apple store techs said it needed a new logic board, and i found one on ebay last week for $35 – sweet! It came on monday. This is where the story goes briefly uphill, and then plummets straight back down. Installed new logic board, wasn’t that hard. It worked! I couldn’t believe it. I was giddy with joy! Synced right up to the Powerbook, was all set to slap some new songs on there, so exciting! Then i got greedy… and this is where the regret starts. Makes me sick just thinking about it. I thought maybe i should install that update (iPod software update 2005-03-23); probably cool features i didn’t have, and other goodies! I mean it’s working perfectly and requires no update, but i can’t miss out on free features! Right? Stupid. The update totally busted it, now it’s hung in a boot loop with a fried OS. No syncing, no charging, no music… 100% less iPod than before. So stupid. Ugh. I hate myself for this one.

You think i’m done? Ha. Tuesday is errand day, and as it’s officially spring now the skis are headed to storage, and the summer gear is coming out. Plus the stock rims/tires from the Z need a better home than my itty bitty garage. Loaded the Pathy all up with junk. Yes, i did remember to loosen the ski bindings, thanx to Gabe for that. Word to the fellow stupid-heads out there: if you’re going to be an idiot at least have friends that are willing to nag you about taking proper care of your stuff. Anyway, i haul my sorry self and a big pile of gear down to Renton (30 miles) and just as i reach the exit, i realize the key to my storage unit padlock is still at home in Edmonds. U-turn, an hour in traffic back home. Retrieved key from counter where i left it so i wouldn’t forget it (perhaps i need a new “don’t forget this” spot?) and spent an hour in traffic driving back down there. Oh, and 30 dollars in gas, too. Yeah, that was awesome. I am so stupid.

So we’ve concluded that i’m stupid. Yes, standardized test scores cannot compete with this kind of emperical data. Anyone who was counting on me growing up to be a nuclear physicist might want to invest their stock in someone a little more likely to succeed, like or that guy.

I need a gadget. I mean, like *need*.

Okay, i’m going thru withdrawals here. I need something shiny, flash, beepy… with buttons and/or a screen… i need a new toy. My old toys just aren’t fun anymore! 🙁

I’m not saying my old toys aren’t any good. Although some of them are showing signs of wear. A year and half later, my iPod is down to 5 hours of play instead of eight. But that’s nothing serious… what’s serious is that i haven’t been able to put any new music on it or take the bad stuff off for like 9 months! So those same stupid tracks keep popping up when they’re not wanted. Argh! I really don’t have the $$ to buy a new one, and a shuffle just isn’t the same. :p

And then there’s the phone. I still really like my Nokia 7210… but man i wish it had bluetooth! Cause i have this nifty bluetooth headset, and bluetooth for the Powerbook… and the phone is soo out of the loop. Plus i somehow cracked the faceplate while i was home in MT… apparently the environmental extremes of my jeans pocket were too much for the high-quality plastic. Now i could just buy a new faceplate on ebay for 25 bucks (which would include a new keypad, too, to replace mine with the dangling 1-key)… but that’s no fun. I just want a new phone… something shiny and cool like a 6230. (Cause i don’t think i’m cool enough for a 7610. Sigh. How am i supposed to feel socially confident with a wireless clunker?

And speaking of clunkers… ooh, don’t get me started! The Z is doing this weird thing now where every time the driver seat shifts, the sub cuts in an out. Since the driver seat is missing a bolt (don’t ask) every curve, brake, bump and (especially in this car) hit to the gas makes the sub go “thub… thub thub” as it turns on and off. Sooo annoying.

Now i’m not so desperate for a cool new battery-sucking toy that i’ll take anything. I certainly have no use for a nail polishing kit powered by USB, or any of the weirdness that such a juxtaposition of tasks implies. I also have almost no desire for a hello kitty cellphone. But i don’t think the Koreans are completely crazy to build wireless phones that monitor your blood sugar, body fat, or who knows what all else via some undisclosed cyborg link. How cool would that be?

Well, enough linking you to weird electronic stuff. Screensavers is on, and according to Sage the lovely Morgan Webb has new photos up since yesterday (probably of Adam doing stupid things, but i still have to check… can’t dis on my dream girl). So I’m gonna go do that… and maybe do an ebay search for “3G ipod for parts.”

I’m lit and I’m on vacation

My first vacation in a while, Danielle and i are headed to montana tomorrow to spend a week with the folks, see our grandparents and extended family, and have a fun, relaxing (early) Christmas – since we’re both working thru the actual holidays. I decided it would be a good idea to procrastinate packing until, oh, about an hour ago, and also to knock back well more than the legal limit of gluwein (hot spiced wine) as i’m scrambling around the house alone tidying up, wrapping presents and rummaging for things i wanted to bring – most of which seem to be in boxes i haven’t even unpacked yet. Being noticabley lit didn’t make packing any easier (i kept tripping over stuff) but i think i am done quicker than usual. I’ll probably get there tomorrow and realize i forgot something like socks or a winter jacket, but right now i’m just concentrating really hard on typing… must… keep… fingers… on the… home keys…

My iPod is pumping out a punk cover of “99 Luftballons” – not exactly holiday music, but music with a ferocious beat helps me move quickly. Plus i’ve been listening to that

same Christmas playlist for the last month or so, and it’s the same playlist i made *last* Christmas and listened to every day and nite on the bus, so it’s getting pretty tired. “Make a new one” you say? Well, funny you should suggest that, since my iPod is *broken* or at the very least has developed some sort of aversion to my computer, as the two refuse to speak to each other. I know they’re connected – cause the iPod’s battery charges – but they just won’t resolve their differences and engage in their little digital conversation so i can add songs, edit playlists, and remove those couple of stinkers on my fav playlists that always seem to pop up when i’m least in the mood for them (ahem… Beyonce). Other than that, things work great – i play the music all the time, no issues there. But it’s a real bummer, cause i bought a bunch of great tracks with an iTunes gift certificate from Lindsay and Adam, and then got carried away and bought a bunch more (plus i’m in there every week for the free track like the handout-seeking bum that i am) and there’s no way to add them to my iPod, which really squashes all the fun. So if anyone has $299 they want to spend on me for Christmas (or only $7 a month on the Apple credit account – now who can’t afford that?) you can just run right over to Apple and pick that up for me. I’d do it myself, but i’m still making payments on the busted one…

Okay, i’m starting to do the sleepy head-bob, as it’s currently two hours past my bedtime and alcohol is, after all, a depressant. I think i should go to bed, since i have a 600 mile drive ahead of me tomorrow, with Danielle, her cat Ferris and a truckload of Christmas gifts and baked goods. So while you’re all headed to work tomorrow, we’ll be getting fat on cookies on I-90. And i may not chat with you kids until i get back – there’s usually no GSM service anywhere in montana unless i climb a tree wearing a tinfoil hat, and i think that freaks Mom out (she already thinks i’m strange, so i really don’t have far to go until she starts shopping for used straightjackets on ebay). Mom and Dad have internet (broadband, actually!) but i’m really just trying to set low expectations so i won’t disappoint my loyal readers (either one of you!). I’ve learned this past year that having high expectations of people only ends in frustration or disillusion, where if you presume only the worst from everyone, you will occasionally be pleasantly surprised that some people aren’t totally useless, or complete weasels, or flagrant attention-whores. There are actually a few good ones out there. But you don’t always know which ones they are at first, and it’s more fun to be astonished than disenchanted, so i suggest that as a course of action. It may even be my new year’s resolution…

Television is my Matrix

I freakin hate internet exploder. Can i just say that right now, that it just sucks? Beef of the day: i just had half an entry written. And then i hit backspace, but apparently the cursor had moved out of my typing window (probably one of those incessant popup dialogs that keeps me from keeping any concentration) and apparently backspace means “go back a page” in explorer and so it went back a page and wiped out everything i’d done. Now i’m all about keystroke shortcuts, but they should be a little less incidental. I mean, the computer doesn’t reboot every time i touch the “r” key, does it? Well, things do crash pretty often, but i haven’t yet attributed them to a specific key. Augh! Who can i punish for this infamy?!?

So i spent about two hours reading an interesting article about the future of power generation. Some new, more efficient, cleaner methods that are on the horizon. Pretty cool if you enjoy that sort of stuff like i do. I think i should have taken more physics, or at least played less tetris on my calculator in the courses i did take. I wonder if physicists have an easier time finding good jobs…

Now why did it take me two hours to read the article? I’m not a slow reader, and it’s not a long piece. No, it’s just the yammering television in my left year preventing me from concentrating for more than like 3 seconds at a time. Having a headache the size of Sheboygan doesn’t help. My microwave lunch is in the initial stages of preparation; i’ve been biding my time to eat until it’s OK to take some more Advil. But the headache is secondary; this idiot box is making me crazy today, more than usual.

I pretty much hated tv already. It’s mostly mindless drivel, insulting to my intelligence and deadly to my productivity. I’m not saying i don’t watch tv, or find things that hold my attention on tv, but i almost always regret the time i spend glued to the giant brain-sucking eyeball and rarely – if ever – come away smarter, happier, healthier or better off. Usually, in fact, the opposite of all those things. So that aspect of this job is killing me. I’ve received lots of comments along the lines of “you watch tv all day at work? that must be nice!” but i’m here to tell you it’s not nice. It sucks.. The flapping jaws of the news media, the whizbang strobing of ads and promotionals, the circular plots and brainwashing plastic sameness that raise today’s children and therefore shape tomorrow’s world into whatever MTV wants it to be are driving me mad. 12 hours a day, pounding on my brain. Perish the thought i should try to work or concentrate or form coherent thoughts during a period of the day when i’m theoretically being paid to do all those things. I turn it off when i’m here alone, but that is most often not the case. Even without the sound, i can feel it sucking my brain away. Augh! There is no apparent escape…

I am not one of those people who turns on the tv while i’m spending time on a project, or puts in a movie and then walks around the house. The flickering box distracts me, interrupts my thoughts. Music is different – music motivates, empowers, relaxes and recharges me. With only small exception, every part of my day is a little easier with a soundtrack – thus my justification to buy an iPod. Note, however, that i felt i could afford an iPod, but still feel that i cannot afford cable tv. I believe that sums up my priorities right there.

Television is my Matrix, a false world that is broadcast in front of my eyes containing all the laughter, sadness, drama and entertainment that would be possible in real life were i not planted here watching it artificially happen to someone else. The problem is, i’m not buying it anymore, and i want to unplug. Now where is Morpheus with my red pill??