My book, “The End is Nigh” a short story about conspiracy theories and alien conquest is free today, so if you’ve been too busy chowing down on Thanksgiving leftovers, take a break and get your free copy today.
“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
– Henry David Thoreau
What say you, 3.5 readers? They say a watched clock doesn’t tick and a watched pot doesn’t boil. Actually, I don’t think they say that at all because neither premise is true but you get the point. Go look for happiness and it won’t come. Go about your daily life and you’ll trip over happiness.
I’m not so sure. I feel like there’s a certain amount of planning, though I’ll admit, plans I made in youth were utterly terrible and that’s how I ended up as the proprietor of a blog that is only read by 3.5 people today.
To show my appreciation for all the reading you have done on this fine blog, I set one of my twisted shorts, “The End is Nigh” to be FREE today and all throughout the Thanksgiving weekend.
That’s right. It’s totally FREE and you don’t have to pay anything because it’s FREE. Writers should never make a dime and should be totally punished for getting into such a fanciful, pie in the sky occupation and therefore, this book is FREE and you won’t have to pay a cent because again, it’s totes FREE!!!
What’s it about? It’s about Harry, a crazy old vagrant who stands in the middle of a subway station, ringing his bell and shouting out crazy conspiracy theories. Most people think he’s a wacko or a performance artist/impromptu stand-up comedian. However, when video of his antics goes viral, one government agency is not laughing. What has Harry stumbled into?
This is a short read, perfect for distracting you. You can totally sit on the couch and read this while pretending to listen to your Aunt Gertie’s boysenberry nut bread recipe or while your Uncle Fred is critiquing all of your life’s choices even though he hasn’t earned a paycheck since the Carter administration. (There was a president named Carter, millennial readers, look it up.)
Don’t have time to get your FREE book today? There’s always tomorrow, when all the family is gone and you know you should get back on your diet but damn it, you need one last piece of pie and some turkey and stuffing and you know, you could put that all into one sandwich and boy would that ever be a tall sandwich but damn it, it’s going to be delicious.
Don’t have time tomorrow? It’s still FREE this weekend and when you wake up well rested from your food coma, you might consider leaving me a nice review…or at this rate, even a terrible review. Just some sort of evidence that someone got to the end of it and had a reaction, be it good, bad or indifferent.
I heard the simplest yet seemingly true saying the other day – “The grass isn’t greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it.”
When I was young, I constantly thought the grass was greener on the other side. I knew that kind of thinking was wrong but I didn’t think that was what I was doing. I wanted to be a writer from an early age and had some minor success at it as a young man but then chased other things that I thought would make lots of money only to realize that if you put enough time into anything, you’ll eventually make it so you might as well put that “water” into where your talent lies.
I suppose that isn’t always 100 percent true. We all know someone who watered their careers a lot and didn’t get anywhere. But by and large, I think yes, if you put enough water into what you want, your path will become a lot greener.
Oh well. Here’s hoping your grass is green, 3.5 readers.
“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!”
– Soren Kierkegaard
I agree with Soren here. Sometimes I find the hope of something awesome is better than something happening, at least when that something happens and it is a lower level of awesome.
Like…is it better to hope that one day you might win a million dollars on a lucky lottery ticket, or to find one dollar on the floor? The million will most likely never happen, but the dream of it is fun. The dollar is real but it is only one dollar.
You can do something with the dollar though. You can buy something worth a dollar. You can’t do much with unrealized dreams, unless you find happiness in the dreaming.
The older you get though, the less time you have and you begin to realize how unlikely your pie in the sky dreams are.
Doordash. It’s good because you can get food from your favorite restaurant brought to you even if that restaurant doesn’t have their own delivery driver.
It’s bad because you probably didn’t need that food anyway, fatty.
It depresses me when I get the buzz on my phone, indicating that the order has arrived, only to get a photo of my food sitting on someone else’s doorstep.
This has happened to me a few times and I always wonder what happens next. Does the homeowner open their door, surprised at the sight of free, unordered food? Do they eat it? Do they realize what happened, that they received a free order by mistake? Do they want it if it isn’t the type of food they ordered? Do they think it’s a prank?
Maybe they don’t even see it till the next day when they walk out in the morning and find a day old bag of food on their doorstep.
Can you believe it? It took me 3,805 posts in 6 years to gain the attention of 3.5 readers. If I give it another 6 years and another 3,805 posts, I might get another 3.5 readers for a total of 7 readers. That’s a lot of readers.
SPOILER ALERT! This is an episode where you can’t dive too deep without giving away spoilers so if you haven’t seen it, you should join the rest of the web surfing public and not read this blog.
OK, now that the people who have seen it or don’t care about spoilers are present, let’s discuss.
The first half of this episode seems like a simple friendship story. Two young women, Yorky and Kelly, meet in a seaside tourist town, San Junipero, in the 1980s. Their friendship grows into love, i.e. the romantic variety but sours as Kelly avoids commitment.
SPOILER – by the second half, we realize San Junipero is a simulation. Everyone is either dead or dying in real life. The dying get a free, limited trial to see if an afterlife in the sim is what they want, while the dead have already signed on.
Ultimately, the love story becomes a will they or won’t they as they meet again and again during their free trials. They want to and yet their are issues in their real lives that hold them back.
The main takeaways. It would be great if some kind of simulation like this would be invented. Though as we see, it doesn’t take away from all of life’s problems, but it could give us that piece of mind we need to know that life doesn’t end at death and all our learning, struggling, working, growing…all that experience isn’t lost when we go.
Perhaps the most realistic thought is to enjoy youth while you have it and try your best to extend it. Eat your veggies. Exercise. Stay off the bad food and alcohol and cigarettes because when the body goes, it goes. The contrast between the real life oldsters and their simulated young bodies is something else, and it truly is sad what time does to the human body.
The good news? If you don’t dwell on all the complications, this episode has a rare happy ending for Black Mirror.
The bad news? If you’re like me, this episode will make you feel super old. I was a boy in the 1980s, a teenager in the 1990s, and a young adult in the 2000s and apparently, each time period are now considered as nostalgic places for the elderly and dying to visit in simulated space.
Spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen it, look away. It’s ok, I have a total of 3.5 readers so I can lose up to 2.5 and still have a full reader. It’s just hard to talk about this episode without delving into spoilers.
Death has become a hashtag. Whenever the Internet folk post a name along with the hashtag #deathto they are voting for that person to be killed under mysterious circumstances, with the name that receives the most votes becoming the victim of the day.
Two days and two victims – a journalist who wrote a scathing, unkind op ed about a handicapped rights’ advocate and a rapper who mocked a young fan’s tribute dance to him, dashing the kid’s dreams on live television.
Detective Karin Parke (of Boardwalk Empire fame) has seen it all and is breaking in her young partner, Blue Coulson (Faye Marsay). Along the way, they team up with British government agent Shaun Li (Benedict Wong of Doctor Strange fame.)
At first, the episode is a slow burn and feels a bit like an episode of Law and Order set in England. As we learn the killer’s method, it picks up the pace.
Spoiler – robot bees! Yes, it’s the future and robot bees have replaced the usual kind, apparently due to a lack of hot and steamy bee on bee intercourse. An entire company has emerged to produce robot bees, setting them to work on the UK’s pollination needs, each robo-bee buzzing from one flower to the next, deliver the special yellow dust along the way.
SIDENOTE: Listen people. We need to save the bees to save the plants and save the world. If you know any bees, please encourage them to engage in a lot of indiscriminate bee on bee fornication to prevent a nightmare world where robo-bees take over.
Like Alfred Hitchcock’s birds, Black Mirror’s robot bees take on a life of their own, buzzing and stalking the prey programmed into their little bee minds by the killer. Many harrowing scenes of people narrowly escaping bee attacks ensue.
Overall, the robo bee concept is interesting and sadly, may be needed one day if all these male bees can’t build up their confidence and start hitting on all these lady bees. Wait, there’s just one Queen Bee right? All the male bees go to work and then return to the hive to service the Queen Bee’s needs? Yikes.
Also, it’s a meditation on when Internet anger goes too far. People are stupid. They do dumb things. They say dumb things. Much of this stupidity went unnoticed back in the day but now that the Internet preserves everything, people often engage in a social media pile on, spewing all kinds of vitriol toward someone who they believe has crossed a line. Sadly, this leaves no room for a person to apologize and seek redemption.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy, mostly because of the bees. I do remember enjoying Boardwalk Empire back in the day and thought it was cool to see Nucky’s GF in the present day.
It’s not easy being a parent. This is the understatement of the year.
You want to protect your child, extend their youthful innocence for as long as possible – shield them from everything and yet, the more you shelter them, the less resilient they become.
You don’t want them to scrape that knee yet they won’t learn to not run around like a goofball until they get that scraped knee. It is indeed quite a slippery slope. Maybe the best you can do is safeguard them yet as they grow up, hope your lessons take hold and they make wise decisions or at least learn from their mistakes.
Marie (Rosemarie DeWitt) wants to keep her daughter, Sara, safe. After an incident where she briefly loses sight of her kid at the park, Marie signs Sara up for Arkangel, an implant that reports everything and anything about what Sara is up to directly to Mom’s tablet.
There’s good news. Mom can monitor daughter’s health. Put her on supplements as needed. Mom can block out anything that is scary, i.e. that scary dog in the neighbor’s yard just becomes a blur.
However, the as the years past and the more protective Mom is, the less able to comprehend the dangers of the world Sarah becomes. Ultimately, you don’t want your kids to see violence and yet, until they see one kid shove another kid and cause a boo boo, they don’t learn to keep their hands to themselves.
All this control and lack of learning about the world seems like a powder keg a brewing and how it will explode…well, you’ll have to watch.