Too Many Empty Calories
"Once a man has seen, he can never turn his back on it. Never pretend it doesn’t exist. No matter who orders him to look the other way" - Rorschach, The Watchmen
I like being bored.
Even so, for some reason, I spend less time these days getting the time to be bored. To do nothing, to think, to stare out at the water drinking a coffee. To be.
After seeing this post from Dan Koe, I was inspired to spend a little time and be more proactive and aware of how I was spending time these days:
I quickly realized how much of my day, the vital time which I had to be bored, was being filled with nothing more than empty calories.
It's interesting, especially at larger gatherings like Thanksgiving, to sit back and take special notice and be consciously aware of what everyone around you is doing with their idle time. The overwhelming need to fill every waking moment with dopamine to stimulate some part the hippocampus. Even if filling the void with something that's not healthy such as mindless doom-scrolling, it seems essential to many to fill gaps in time with being fake busy. Again: empty calories.
Studies show that kids today don't even really understand how to be alone and bored, and alone time has tremendous benefits for their mental health. It's not a great sign on where we're going as a society and mental health.
Ryan Holiday talks a lot about this in his book Stillness is The Key, how the 'modern world is full of distraction.'
The world is like muddy water. To see through it, we have to let things settle. We can't be disturbed by initial appearances, and if we are patient and still, the truth will be revealed to us.
Yes, we have important duties — to our country, to our coworkers, to provide for our families. Many of us have talents and gifts that are so extraordinary that we owe it to ourselves and the world to express and fulfill them. But we're not going to be able to do that if we're not taking care of ourselves, or if we have stretched ourselves to the breaking point... Man is not a machine. Work will not set you free. It will kill you if you're not careful.
That could be where all these post-turkey rambling lands - force time for yourself to be bored. Take care of yourself, and don't fill the day with empty calories. Be aware of where, what, and most importantly with whom you spend your time. Be bored.
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Every November 22nd, I'm reminded of one of the most incredible hacks of all time. There's some pretty great analysis of one the few successful television hacks in history; however the mystery remains on who pulled this off.
In the control room of WGN-TV, the technicians on duty stared blankly at their screens. It was from their studio, located at Bradley Place in the north of the city, that the network broadcasted its microwave transmission to an antenna at the top of the 100-story John Hancock tower, seven miles away, and then out to tens of thousands of viewers. Time seemed to slow to a trickle as they watched that signal get hijacked.
A squat, suited figure sputtered into being, and bounced around maniacally. Wearing a ghoulish rubbery mask with sunglasses and a frozen grin, the mysterious intruder looked like a cross between Richard Nixon and the Joker. Static hissed through the signal; behind him, a slab of corrugated metal spun hypnotically. This was not part of the regularly scheduled broadcast.
Finally someone switched the uplink frequencies, and the studio zapped back to the screen. There was Roan, at his desk in the studio, smiling at the camera, dumbfounded.
To this day the unexplained transmission of 22 November 1987 remains an historic curiosity, since it represents the last such signal of its kind—no other instance of a complete hijacking of a commercial broadcast has occurred in the US in the years since.
Thought of the week
Last week, my oldest son and I watched Wakanda Forever in the historic 100+-year-old Palace Theatre up on San Juan Island.
Alfred Middleton built the theater in 1915 and named it "Fribor," a merging of Friday and Harbor. His wife, Vivian, played piano to accompany the movies.
Seeing a movie in these historic places has a bit of character to them that many of the multiplex theaters today lack. Sure, even though it doesn't have the latest and greatest digital sound/display technology, it has much more character than most other theaters do today.
This weeks "Deep Links"
Here are a few of the articles and videos that resonated with me over the last week:
- I was recently reminded about s"The CIA's Simple Sabotage Field Manual: A Timeless Guide to Subverting Any Organization with 'Purposeful Stupidity'." I had originally learned of this manual many years ago, but until I reread it this past week, it never clicked how similar the techniques used by 'citizen-saboteurs' are too toxic workplaces. Highly recommended, but read with caution. - More
- "What You Learn From Eating Alone" was a good post on why 'sad food is not the same as solitude food, which celebrates the luxury of being intentionally alone.' - More
- I hear people talk about the wonders of personalization (ahem, ads), and "The Quest for Interesting X" explores the idea that 'you-might-like content is not content I discovered or my network discovered; it is content designed by robots to get me to engage.' You may be surprised at the conclusion - More
- I love my AppleWatch, and it's become the center of my health-tracking universe. Recently, the app Parky, "Parkinson's Disease Patient Buddy" has been cleared by the FDA to 'track movement disorder symptoms such as tremors and dyskinesia.' It's incredible how far these devices have come - More
- "Psychology Reveals 10 Behaviors of Cynical People" was an interesting one, especially the tips on 'how can you remain confident in a world filled with cynical people' - More
- I've always been impressed with how famous biking is in the Netherlands, and "How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths" explores the history of 'massive street protests and very deliberate political decision-making' that created the impressive cycling infrastructure there - More
- "Intel's new deepfake detector can spot a real or fake video based on blood flow in video pixels" is some super cool tech - with a 96% accuracy rate. - More
- Yes, my wife and I have probably watched too many episodes of 'Property Brothers' and 'Help! I've Wrecked My Home' to count; we're obsessed with having HGTV on while multitasking. "Your Home Belongs to Renovation TV" explores the latest cultural fascination with a home remodel shows and 'how home-reno media has changed people's relationship to their home.' Some studies show that they 'make people feel uneasy in their own home' and create 'an unsettling feeling that the home you've made for yourself is no longer a good one.' - More
- You've heard by now of 'quiet quitting,' but "Are You Being Quiet Fired?". Apparently, 'to avoid the financial, psychological, and legal costs associated with forcing people out, some companies may intentionally create a hostile work environment that encourages people to leave voluntarily.' Sounds horrible. - More
- As usual, DC Rainmaker does the best in-depth reviews, and "Apple's Satellite Emergency SOS Feature: A Review & Deep-Dive Explainer" covers everything you want to know about the iPhone 14's new SOS system - More
- File under 'sounds like the plot to a movie,' but "' Project Merciless': how Qatar spied on the world of football in Switzerland" is a fascinating read on the world of spies .. and FIFA sports.. - More
To close out this Thanksgiving edition of Makoism, director Ryan Coogler sent out a message of gratitude regarding the fans, cast, and crew of Wakanda Forever.
Gratitude. That is the only word that comes to mind for your support of our work on the film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
I am filled with it. Thank you.
Our film is over two and a half hours long, so thank you for holding those bathroom breaks. Our film has 6 languages spoken an it. Thank you for bearing with the subtitles. And our film deals with the inescapable human emotion of grief.
Thank you for opening yourself up to the emotional journey of this film. We made something to honor our friend, who was a giant an our industry, and we also made something to be enjoyed in a theatrical setting with friends, family, and strangers.
Something to be quoted and discussed. To be debated. Something to make people both physically and emotionally feel seen.
I had to see the film twice to take in and appreciate it's brilliance. It pays such a wonderful tribute to Chadwick Boseman and is worth every one of those two and-one-half hours of your time.
Be grateful; and be well. ✌🏻