Random Thoughts

Mar 19 2011 Published by under Film/TV, Internet/Media, Music, Personal, Random, Sports, Technology


  • Finally got around to seeing The Social Network.  It’s an excellent film–well acted and directed and all that.  But what struck me most was how similar it was to The King’s Speech.  No, really.  Think about it: both are historical dramas featuring introverted main protagonists who struggle with communication in the technology age.  Yes, the historical eras of the two films are quite different (1930s vs. 2000s), and the communication mediums that focus on are different (radio vs. Internet).  Yes, King George is a nice guy who only becomes a jerk when his stutter gets the better of him, and Zukerberg is a jerk pretty much all the time. However, at their heart, both films are about technology and communication.  King George’s struggle is with technology–being able to deliver a speech on the radio without devolving into a stuttering wreck; Zuckerberg’s struggle is with actual human beings, and he overcomes this struggle through technology (creating a social tool that lets anyone communicate with anyone else).  These are different types of stories with different outcomes, but they are wrestling with the same basic themes.  As I see it, the real difference between the films is that, whereas King George actually learns to control his affliction and emerges triumphant in the end, Zuckerberg really doesn’t change at all from the beginning of the film to the end (that friend request to his ex-girlfriend doesn’t really count, I think–not enough of a change to warrant the audience’s admiration or respect).  That’s a big reason why The King’s Speech won the Oscar–happy ending vs jerk ending.
  • I’m using my iPad now more than I ever have.  It’s starting to fit better into my daily activities.  For the first 9 months that I owned it, I used it mostly when traveling and when in meetings at work.  Now, it’s the computer I keep with me when I’m watching TV or hanging out around town.  I watch Netflix on the iPad all the time.  The Google Readers on the iPad are excellent (I use River of News).  Twitter is easier to follow on the iPad.  I can read The Wire magazine on the iPad weeks before my print copy arrives.  And games, of course, are awesome on the iPad (I’ve been playing Plants vs Zombies lately, though I also like 10 Pin Shuffle).   The iPad is improving as a sports fan’s device of choice.  I love the MLB at Bat app, and that’s been on the device since it came out.  I’m going to cancel my DirecTV MLB subscription because I can watch all games on the iPad now.  But now there are other live sports apps for the NHL, the NFL, and MLS (along with the March Madness app).  Most of these require you to pay a little cash to watch the games, and I don’t pay for NFL or NHL, but I did get the MLS package ($40 for the whole season).  So, as a sports fan, the iPad is awesome.
  • The iPad’s not perfect, though.  I wish ESPN would open up ESPN3 to the iPad.  Also, Amazon should expand their Video on Demand to include the iPad as well.  And there are some crappy news apps like the BBC’s (though CNN’s is excellent).  And there are other problems, like the lack of cloud storage and document transfer integrated into the iPad (Dropbox is excellent, but you need to go through a few hoops to transfer files created on the iPad into Dropbox).  And there are other problems that others have discussed better than I.  Still, as a first-generation template for the future of computing (nope, I don’t have the iPad2 yet–and won’t get it for a while), the iPad is quite impressive, and it’ll only get more functional and flexible as the years go on.
  • UCLA lost their second-round March Madness game today against Florida.  UCLA was the #7 seed, and Florida was the #2 seed, so I can’t really be all that disappointed.  Still, they had plenty of chances to win, and their immaturity at the foul line and their inability to hit shots further than 2-feet from the basket pretty much doomed them.
  • SDSU barely won their 2nd game, but they won.  The majority of people where I work went to SDSU, so they’re all excited about their run.  I didn’t go to that school, so I don’t have any particular vested interest, but I always root for the west coast teams in tournaments, so I am happy they are moving on (and will play their next game in Anaheim, which should give them a nice home-state advantage).
  • I’m starting to understand Harry Partch, but I’m not completely there yet.  More on that later.
  • Recent music purchases: Sublevel’s Total Erosion, Trevor Duncan’s Final Frontiers, Indignant Senility’s Plays Wagner, and The Soulless Party’s Exploring Radio Space.  I’m in a hauntological/hypnagogical spiral.
  • Nearly done with my latest album.  I’ll be mastering it soon and distributing it via every online store I can find.  The working title is Riverrun, though that will most likely change.
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