I’ve been a YouTube Red subscriber for years now. Ad-free videos, YouTube original content (which were pretty lame, to be honest), YouTube Music, and so on. It cost a little something each month, but in exchange, I had a wealth of information and entertainment in front of me. I could learn about sports, a diverse range of political ideas, woodworking tips, sermons, product reviews, marksmanship concepts, apologetics, concerts, cooking and more. YouTube has been established as the dominant medium of informational video on the Internet. My $9.99 a month was given in exchange for a world of uninterrupted content.
But that world is just not worth it any longer. YouTube has been constricting certain viewpoints that don’t march in lockstep with the social engineers of Google. This goes for thoughtful channels such as PragerU, who is actually suing YouTube for censorship beyond the contractual agreement they had entered into. This goes for other channels I have enjoyed like Apologia, which is actively spreading the gospel and opposing societal problems such abortion and the distortion of biblical marriage, have received strikes against them for thinking and speaking in ways that are not in complete agreement with Google. To be clear, I am not looking for a service that checks all of my boxes. I am looking for a service that isn’t actively unchecking them.
Not that long ago, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and others were actively protesting the end of Net Neutrality. They had claimed that this Neutrality ending would result in unfair data speeds and in people being censored by those evil ISP’s. But now YouTube is demonetizing their content creators, removing their videos without recourse, and shutting down channels that they disagree with, regardless of the number of fans of those channels. They are the ones censoring their own partners. And I have heard from people who I follow on both Twitter and Facebook who say that the companies are refusing to allow them to advertise on their networks because they disagree with their stance in one way or another.
I don’t know what else to call this, but hypocrisy.
So what am I to do? I have all these DIY honey-do projects lined up and YouTube has been my main source of inspiration to learn the concepts. And I have learned other skills by watching people do them. Should I call a government bureaucrat and demand that they step in?
Only if I want to be a hypocrite myself.
You see, I want to be consistent. I don’t want the government to force someone to bake a cake in celebration of an event that they disagree with. I don’t want the government to force someone to affirm a behavior that repulses them. I don’t believe that a Hilal deli should be forced to serve pork products either. And I don’t believe government should be asked to force YouTube to accept any video outside their existing contracts. If I were to ask government to get involved in determining what First Amendment rights YouTube has, I would be ceding too much power to a government comprised of extremely polarized viewpoints.
I won’t ask any member of government to advocate for the channels I enjoy. What I will do is voice my displeasure at the constriction of free speech by cancelling the membership that had once benefited my experience with YouTube. This doesn’t mean I can’t watch YouTube videos. It does mean that I would rather deal with interruptions, advertisements, loss of services, and other annoyances than offer up my monthly tribute to the virtual monopoly of video on the Internet.
I know that I haven’t exactly been faithful to my resolution for 2017, that being my desire to complain more. Well that changes right now, at least for one post. You see, I had to go to work today. On July the 5th. But I got all day off yesterday so I could… run errands. I’m not complaining about running errands mind you. I’m complaining about getting an illogical day off.
Sure, Independence Day is a great day to remember my country’s OG Brexit event. And to do so I could go to a local carnival. But let’s get real. The municipal fireworks are the real main event of the national holiday and they don’t happen during my 9-5 job. They start at least four hours after I would normally get off work. I don’t need July 4th off. That doesn’t really accommodate the holiday because when those fireworks have finished, everyone disperses.
Once you’ve gotten back to your car, gotten the car out of the parking lot, managed to get on a main road and returned home it’s pretty late. But you’re OK. You had the whole day off! Nevermind the fact that you will need to get up at your regular time tomorrow and go back to work.
That’s a travesty. We should celebrate Independence day with July 4th fireworks and July 5th office closings. Let an evening carnival and nighttime fireworks serve as the peak of the holiday, not as the conclusion! This is something I would do, were I king of the world.
Of course, getting out from under the thumb of a monarchy is the whole reason we celebrate Independence Day. I guess I’ll settle for being free to complain.
Never one to shy away from controversy, I have decided to tackle this topic today. I have long put it off, but it is a topic I can ignore no longer.
First things first, it is important that we determine the parameters of a sandwich. That is, what it means to be a sandwich. If you can’t properly define what a sandwich is, then your opinion in this matter bears very little weight. A quick Google search (AKA: “Research”) tells us that a sandwich is an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them, eaten as a light meal.
If you ask my lovely bride, a hot dog is not a food item. If you ask anyone who has ever eaten a hot dog, the bun is expected to be cut down the middle, but not separated into two distinct pieces of bread. A hot dog is a sausage that is frequently served in a split single bun, and it shares that category with bratwurst, polish sausage and other sausages of European origin, with a strong emphasis on Germany. The frankfurter and kielbasa are also within this category. Please note that the category is the sausage, specifically the linked sausage. The bun is an optional modifier. The category that houses the hot dog is German while the proper sandwich is of British origin.
Then comes the debate over whether it is acceptable to use ketchup on a hot dog. If the hot dog is intended to be served to children, I say that it is acceptable. But don’t you dare put ketchup on a Chicago style or on a Chili dog. Those versions are not for children but for men.
Benjamin Franklin famously said that guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days. The idea being that both are delightful at first and can be enjoyed for a while, but in time you will begin to tire of them and at a point you will really not want to be in the proximity of them. Three days for guests and fish. 7-8 seasons for most successful television shows.
The television show expiration date is one that can be manipulated somewhat, depending on the show’s premise and the ability for the scope of the show to expand without losing credibility. Signs of impending doom for a show include the addition of a major character and a large change to the premise of the show. These are both indicators that the writers have used their best ideas and are frantically searching for more.
—– SPOILER ALERT: THE WALKING DEAD —–
I have been watching The Walking Dead since my son suggested I watch Season One on Netflix in preparation for Season Two. We binge watched that first season in a weekend and I was completely hooked. I had never watched any zombie shows or movies before, save the Scooby Doo show as a child and had very few preconceptions about zombies to begin with, so this show was able to set the table for me.
This new world that Rick Grimes woke up into was populated with animated corpses that would attack any living beings they encounter and eat. There were very few survivors and your best hope was to find others and look out for one another, raiding the stores and homes that were suddenly vacant for food and supplies. Season one was more about the zombies in the beginning, but quickly shifted toward being more about the human interactions with the ever present danger of zombies prodding the humans to keep moving.
As the seasons progressed, the zombies became less and less the worst threat in this world. Reduced resources and the resulting conflict between groups of survivors became a bigger problem. This is why the Prison, Woodbury, Terminus and Alexandria became such interesting arcs. The addition of the Hilltop added intrigue as a potential friend or rival with Alexandria. The survivors began to reclaim a sense of civilization.
Up to this point, everything was feasible, if you allow your acceptance to include a world overrun by corpses that walked around seeking living people to consume. Under that premise, it was believable that people would raid stores and homes, that some groups would try to be agrarian and defensive while others would be more apt to fight and raid even the other survivors to their benefit.
The show has been in a really good place for several seasons, but ratings have slipped a bit. The premise of the show cannot continue to be one of lather, rinse, repeat forever. Even compelling storylines and characters cannot keep a similar concept going indefinitely. The story has to be kept fresh and has to continue to advance. And sometimes the only way to do this is to kill off a major character and build up new characters to change dynamics. You can do this in a post-apocalyptic story.
—– SPOILER ALERT: NOW I’M SERIOUS! —–
The current season has the survivors fighting a group that calls itself “The Saviors.” This is a group that finds the nearby groups of survivor communities and runs a protection racket on them. Each understanding they come to is unique to that group. In the case of Alexandria, they are to give half of everything and all of their guns, which makes long term survival in this world unlikely at best.
The first half of the season did two things.
- It built up the Saviors so everyone would know that they are the big dog on the block. They killed two major members of Rick’s group, both strong fighters and they did it in cold blood. They are too strong for our main group of survivors and too ruthless to be allowed to continue.
- The other thing the first half season did was introduce the viewers to other groups in the area. These groups are generally unaware of each other, though they are all fairly well established. And that’s where the bounds of belief begin to stretch.
The Hilltop is a group that lives on the grounds of a living history museum. I could see that. The Kingdom? Some dude convinced other survivors that he was a king like Hamlet who had a full sized pet tiger, and they should wear armor made from motocross gear and act like knights? A group of women who kill any outsiders on sight and their community has no men whatsoever, even if it was the Saviors who killed all of the men? And now a community that lives in a garbage dump maze and who have somehow lost their ability to speak coherently with others in just a few years?
The gameplan for Rick is to try and convince these groups to band together and kill off the Saviors once and for all. In the years his group was without a home base, when they would scout from one area to another, hunting and foraging as they went, they did not see any of these other people, and now they’re tripping over them? And these groups had no knowledge of each other? Every group has been making attempts to provide fresh food for themselves, but every group has also been raiding the canned goods as they go. But only the Hilltop and Alexandria had any real knowledge of the other? And the Saviors were unaware of Alexandria all this time?
I’m invested in this show. I either want the show to return to feasibility or I want it to come to a logical and conclusive end. I don’t want to see it fizzle out the way so many others do. Fonzie jumped a shark on water skis while wearing his leather jacket. Roseanne won the lottery and the story changed from one of a lower to middle class family just trying to pay the bills to one of a recently widowed millionaire. The audience could no longer relate and the show was cancelled.
The Walking Dead is now it its seventh season and an eighth season is in the works. The writers claim they have enough material to produce an additional 5-7 seasons. If the show doesn’t return to a look at society under a lens where there is no universal government, law or order, if it doesn’t become the Western that apocalyptic shows really are, then I don’t think we’ll have a season nine.
I hope you’re still reading. I hope you keep reading this.
Side note: this can also happen in a Christian context. The newness of one’s faith may begin to fade and they are desperate to return to that feeling once again. Sometimes the person will change churches. Sometimes they will change denominations. Sometimes they will begin to incorporate religious practices that are inconsistent with Christianity! As often as not, these people are rooted in their own feelings instead of Christ. This is idolatry in your own feelings and in your own self and is detestable before God. I am not saying that these people cannot be true Christians, though it is possible that they may not be. I am saying that these people need to repent of this sin and turn to Christ as the only satisfying need in their life.
It’s time for my next New Year’s Resolution post. As you may recall, my resolution is to complain more often. And just as I haven’t exactly been consistent in my resolution, the same could be said for most people and their personal resolutions, can I get a witness?
I sit here, typing away on a keyboard without a fitness tracker on my wrist because it is charging, as it has been for about 48 hours now. Not because it takes that long, but because it’s presently “out of sight, out of mind” and yes, that is a lame excuse. Why should I go for a walk now if I can’t get credit for it? Yes, that’s another lame excuse. I still slept last night, even though my tracker didn’t monitor the quality of my sleep.
But that’s not even the focus of my rant. Oh no! The problem I have with fitness trackers is the same problem I have with Instant Messaging programs. They’re all proprietary, and they’re actually pretty stupid. And I’ll address each complaint directly.
Proprietary components and programs are the result of anti-consumer, pro-greed sentiments. The only reason the masses haven’t marched on Washington to protest them is because the biggest offender is Apple. And based on the number of iPhones you see in the vertical videos of protests on YouTube, protesters love their Apple products and are immersed in proprietary chargers, headphones, messaging apps, and more. They don’t try other products, claiming these products don’t meet their needs. And what are their needs? They need to work with their iProducts that they are already so heavily invested in.
And the same is true, to a lesser degree, in fitness trackers. One has the better app. One has the cooler wristband. One syncs with a few other apps that you already use or would like to. All of them do a few things great. None of them do everything the consumer wants them to do. And they won’t open up their API’s so you can use the better tracker with the preferred software. Why? Because then you would be managing your healthy patterns using components that they can’t control and leverage for their benefit.
Now to address the stupidity of the fitness trackers. This has nothing to do with my belief that your sleep data can only be estimated based on your nighttime movements or that if you walk like Fred Flintstone with your arms motionless at your sides your steps will be miscounted. This ties into the proprietary nature of fitness apps again.
I want a smartwatch. I want a nice one that looks like a nice watch and also has the features of a smartwatch. A smartwatch will do the same things as an exercise tracker, but I would take it off before I go swimming or jogging. Stop laughing. It could happen. I’d also take it off while sleeping.
I want a smartwatch that would be put on and taken off regularly. But I also want to wear a fitness tracker on a more semi-permanent basis. Is it too much to ask for software on my phone that is intelligent enough to recognize when two reporting devices are reporting the same activity? I do, but I don’t want double credit for when I exercise.
Why isn’t this already a thing? Why couldn’t the there be a universal phone app that takes all of the data collected about my activity, and credits me for the steps that the devices collects, divided by the number of devices? Or the most reliable device is counted and the others are discounted?
So there you have it. My rant about proprietary devices, with most of my wrath directed toward fitness trackers. Now I take a deep cleansing breath, let it all out, and go for a walk. Which isn’t being counted. Because my tracker is still at home. On the charger.
With the holiday season recently behind us, you probably think I’m referring to ugly Christmas sweaters here, but oh no. It goes far beyond that! Sure, Christmas clothing tends to be obnoxious, and poorly made. Why? Because you can only wear it for 2-4 weeks a year, that’s why. You can get away with that awful shirt and light-up pants combo from Black Friday to December 27 at the extremes, though it’s really a borderline faux pas to wear it before December 15 or after midnight Christmas day.
But 2-4 weeks is actually pretty good! Think about it. Would you wear hearts for more than a week before or a second after Valentine’s Day? What about clovers beyond St. Patrick’s Day? That ‘Merican Flag T-shirt looks great at the Independence Day carnival and fireworks, but it really starts to show it’s age by mid-July.
Your better plan is to dress for the weather or to just avoid going outside altogether. The clothing will be of better quality and much better taste. Plus you won’t have to have totes and bins holding all of the egregious clothing that you really can’t wear right now unless you want everyone to think that you just haven’t had a chance to catch up on your laundry.
I get it. I really do. I have a couple AWESOME Christmas sweaters. And my “Triple Dog Dare You” t-shirt is the shizzle! I have a few patriotic shirts and there are a couple pastel shirts tucked away for Easter in my closet, because nothing speaks to the resurrection of Jesus quite like a shirt that shows everyone just how confident I am in my masculinity. But really, why do I need these limited-use garments? If we can ship our “Detroit Lions NFC North Champions” shirts to third world countries, can’t we do the same for our kitschy clothing that we bought in last year’s after Christmas clearance sale anyway?
This whole “Complain More Often” resolution is kinda fun!
My New Year’s Resolution, decided upon just recently, is to complain more often. If you like, we can call it an “airing of grievances.” Before you correct my attitude or behavior, please know that I am doing this for comedic purposes, not serious ones. If you have read this before, maybe just a day ago, save it. Yes, I understand that the airing of grievances is associated with Festivus. No, I won’t include the unadorned aluminum pole or the feats of strength. Maybe, I will label easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles”. What, you demand an unadorned aluminum pole? Fine. I’ll include a picture of one. Good enough.
I was at the mall recently, against my will in case you’re wondering, and I had to change levels, or floors if you will. You’ve done it before. You know what it’s like. You get on the moving steps a little tentatively at first to make sure your Crocs aren’t anywhere close to the edge of the step, then you reach out with your free hand and grasp the safety rail next to you. As you go up (or down if that’s your trajectory) you notice that your hand is no longer right beside you. And by the time you reach the next level of the mall, you find yourself standing at a 45 degree angle, possibly with a dislocated shoulder.
This is completely unacceptable! Do they expect you to let go and reposition your hand as you look at all the next floor of the mall has to offer? Don’t they understand the annoyance of that? Isn’t the customer always right? The whole purpose of an escalator is to move customers from one store to another with minimal effort. The only rational response I have left is to buy a baby stroller so I can take the elevator without looking like I’m too lazy.