I am not, by nature, optimistic. But I am not entirely pessimistic, either.
You know the old “glass half empty/glass half full” thing? It’s usually understood to mean that if you see the glass as half full, you are an optimist, and if you see it as half empty, you are a pessimist.
I don’t think this is as clear-cut as it appears: if my glass of water is half-empty, and I recognize it as being half-empty, well, that implies that I want to refill it.
And if I want to refill it, that implies that I believe it can be refilled.
It is not pessimistic to want more of something good.
So without further abstract bullshit, here is my hope for the new year:
I hope that you – if you haven’t already – figure out that people that are different than you are not a threat to you just because they are different.
They are just people.
Other than a few superficial details, they are exactly like you.
I hope that you – if you haven’t already – realize this.
This is my hope for the new year.
Am I optimistic about this hope? Well, the way I look at it, if tolerance and empathy for other humans could be described using the “glass half empty/glass half full” metaphor, the glass is half-empty.
Prediction: within a month of this film (which looks badass) being released, there will be scads of blog posts and articles from people who watch this and then read the book, where they will discover that wherever the word “crusade” was used in this movie, the word “jihad” was used in the book.
The two words mean basically the same thing: “holy war.” It’s just that historically, holy wars associated with Christianity have been called “crusades” and holy wars associated with Islam have been called “jihad”.
I get why this change was made: to avoid association with terrorists who consider themselves jihadists.
You know that song at the end of “Breaking Bad,” the one that plays while Walt’s lying on the ground at the end?
That’s by a group called Badfinger, and oddly enough, their real-world experience in the music industry was quite similar to what happened to Walt in the Breaking Bad backstory:
Walt was in some chemistry startup called “Gray Matter” with a couple of his friends from college (grad school?), a man and a woman, and it’s never really made clear what happened exactly, but Walt was romantically involved with the woman, who ended up hooking up with the other dude, and Walt accepted a buyout of I think $5k or something like that…
And then Gray Matter took off, and the other 2 became billionaires off of the company Walt helped found, while Walt struggled to make ends meet as a chemistry teacher.
I don’t know if this played into the song choice at the end… but Badfinger had a similar experience in the music industry. Long story short, they had hit records and made millions of dollars for record company crooks, meanwhile they were living on 7 pounds 10 a week (guessing that’s about $25-$30 American nowadays; not much money at all) and having to borrow shoes for gigs.
By the way, I watched that documentary after seeing the episode of Peep Show where Sophie Breaks up with Jeff, and Jeff comes over to get his stuff, and Sophie and Mark see Jeff crying in Sophie’s room, listening to the Badfinger song “Without You” as performed by Harry Nilsson.
This is the song, I couldn’t find a clip of Jeff crying:
…which is a shame, because it’s an hilarious scene. Which might sound strange if you aren’t familiar with Peep Show.
I mean you like going to the mall (for the sake of argument, let’s say), and you have fun shopping there, talking with your friends and people you meet…
And you need a job, because honestly lately you’re doing a lot of window shopping (and loitering) and you’re having a good time but you’re not really actually doing much actual shopping…
And so one day you’re at the mall and you bump into a friend of yours who has a job at the mall, and they tell you the place they work at in the mall is hiring, and so you go apply for the job and you get it.
And you like the job, and it pays decently well, and you’re at the mall even more than you were before now… except instead of just spending money or killing time, you’re actually making money at the mall, and not only that you actually like your job, and the people you work with, and you want to keep this job for all those reasons, among others.
And so one day you’re at your job, and it’s a pretty busy day (and I said you like this job, I didn’t say it was an easy job), and you’re handling it pretty well and you and your coworkers are in sync and kicking ass and taking names at your respective jobs…
And then your friend you used to hang out with at the mall and like, I dunno, annoy people who work at the mall for fun, that friend comes up to you at your job while you’re super busy and starts talking to you about how you should totally go beat the crap out of that one doosh who works at Corn Dog 7 because that guy sucks and WHOOPS you’re the doosh he’s talking about and he like, dumps a Coke out on the counter and tells you to clean it up, like just to be a dick, and like knocks over the trash can or something, just causes a big stink there in the place where you work at the mall…
And you ask him to please just leave you alone but he doesn’t, he starts yelling at you that he wants to see your manager, and just yelling and cussing and starting a shitstorm at your job…
And you call mall security and have him removed from your store.
That’s what it’s like.
And after that, you can focus on something that actually adds value to your life, as opposed to bickering with some dude you met at the arcade with anger management issues about God knows what, there in the Corn Dog 7 in front of your boss and everybody.
It’s like that, if you can dig what I am saying to you.
So I have fallen into sort of a habit, and personally I think it’s great:
On Saturdays, I do nothing.
I have a small amount of online work I have to do for my job (mostly just checking on stuff, so no big whoop), but other than that, I do nothing.
Remember Peter in Office Space? Well, I don’t have a million dollars (neither did Peter)…
…but like Lawrence says, you don’t need a million dollars to do nothing.
Basically, other than a small amount of computer work, I watched TV, played my guitar a little, and slept. I ate a couple times also, but that’s all.
And I had an AWESOME time.
But anyway, one side effect of that manner of spending a Saturday (which I highly recommend you try some time) is that you might end up falling asleep early and then waking up at 2 AM Sunday, with no desire to go back to sleep, because you’re pretty well caught up with that for the moment.
That’s what I did; it’s 2:57 AM as I type this.
Since I wanted to do something at least semi-productive, I decided to tell you about one last toy I am buying for myself this year. Have bought for myself, I should say, I was trying to cram too much information into that sentence, the added information being that I don’t intend to buy myself any more expensive tech toys until at least 2021… although I may end up getting a new phone before the year is out.
But a phone isn’t a toy, it’s a necessity and blah blah blah blah.
Anyways, this last toy of 2020 I am buying myself is not a toy either, really, I am just calling it that because in my own special case, the things I intend to use it for will be strictly recreational.
I am getting a refurbished Macbook Pro. Specifically a 2015 model, one with 16 GB of RAM, a 2.5 GHz processor (with Intel Iris Pro Graphics
plus an AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics card whatchamacallit; it’s slightly more powerful than the 2015 base model but it’s not the most powerful one), 512 GB of storage space, 15.4″ Retina display, a pre-butterfly keyboard (butterfly keyboards were on 2016-2019 MacBook Pros and they mess up easily, according to the internet at large), and last but definitely not least, a variety of ports:
I straight up stole that image from the Apple website; maybe it won’t get taken down. Go here to see where I got the image and see more specs.
This new-to-me laptop will be the second laptop I have bought this year. The first is the one I am typing on right now. It’s an HP, specifically a HP Notebook – 17-ca1031dx, nothing fancy, but perfect for what I use it for, which is work.
I bought this laptop as a necessity earlier this year, when the battery on my other HP laptop (an HP 15-ay039wm I got at Walmart for about $350 including tax in late 2016) abruptly died on me, forcing me to work (as in the “for a living” sense) on my barely-working (as in “almost completely broken”; I have to use an external keyboard with it because I spilled wine on it in I think 2015) 2GB memory Acer that is slow as molasses (I am not even going to bother looking up the model number for it), and anyways when the battery on my HP 15-ay039wm died I immediately ordered another one, but as I was not 100% sure it was just a battery issue and didn’t want to be stuck with the piece-of-crap Acer if it was more than just a battery issue, I also immediately started shopping for a new work computer.
And after a couple days of intensive (albeit really slow) online shopping, I found this laptop I am using now. I am more than satisfied with my purchase, and I intend to use this laptop for work as well as internet stuff for (hopefully) years to come. I don’t drink alcohol anymore, so the keyboard is at least relatively safe, ha ha.
At the moment, “work” for me does not include much in the way of graphic design (I do a little basic text + image stuff every now and then but that’s about it) nor video editing (though I have done basic video cuts as part of my job a time or two), but I do enjoy messing around with both of those things from time to time. And I just bought a drone this summer that shoots HD video (it’s still in the shop getting its gimbal fixed; as a sidenote Mavic Air 2s are awesome drones but don’t use the parallel active track on them unless you are in a completely open area)…
And my current work laptop, while capable and equipped for light video editing, well, it’s not optimized for video editing. And also, regarding one of my other main creative pursuits (music), I don’t have any audio recording software on here, and the webcam sucks, to be blunt.
So, I got to looking at MacBook Pros. And I found at least a few YouTubers who said the 2015 models were great (slower for things like exporting videos than newer models but still great), and I found a refurbished one in “mint” condition for a decent price, so taking into account that they literally don’t make Macbook Pros like this anymore, I decided to buy it.
I followed a similar line of reasoning last year when I bought a new (as in never before owned) iPad Pro 10.5 (2017 model); newer iPad Pros don’t have regular headphone jacks, and since I wanted it primarily to play around with Garageband, I wanted that headphone jack to avoid the slight delay with Bluetooth headphones.
And I am super-duper looking forward to hooking my iPad up to the Macbook Pro when it comes in and doing some next-level Garageband stuff. I will probably end up getting Logic Pro X (and Final Cut Pro), but I will just see what I can do with the included software first.
Here’s some stuff I did with just my iPad on Garageband:
That’s the first set of tracks I did; you can go here to check out the other one.
Actually the Parallel Active Track flew it into the branches of a magnolia tree, causing it to fall about 13 feet and break the gimbal, the camera doodad that moves around and stays level when it’s functioning normally.
The rest of the drone is unharmed, but I have to send it back to DJI to get a new gimbal put on. And I will probably have to pay for it, but I sent them the link to the video below to show what happened.
Basically I think the drone was trying to get a better view of me, it swerved out to get one, and found itself in a bunch of leaves. It wasn’t a hard crash, not at all… those gimbals are pretty fragile.
Anyway, I guess I will have more drone videos at a later date, whenever I get my drone back from DJI.
(As of this writing, I have not sent it off, just registered my repair request. I will send it in the next day or so.)