Dogs and Cats Living Together Since 1968

Category: Silly Observations (page 1 of 5)

Dreamers in Crisis: Zombie Edition

I wanted to watch the pilot episode of Fear the Walking Dead despite the lukewarm reviews. I checked and it was available for streaming at the AMC website. They often do full episode streaming but maybe the poor reviews helped. The only hitch was that I would prefer to watch on my TV instead of my laptop. Bookmarked the streaming link for later.

Cut to me firing up my Xbox to watch some Netflix and there on the Xbox home page was a graphic for Fear the Walking Dead. I clicked on it thinking, “Could it be this easy? They’re promoting it. I can watch on my TV.”

But no. It could not be that easy. Through Xbox video they are charging to watch the pilot episode. Screw that. I watched it on my laptop.

And I thought it was pretty good. I’m not sure why people are complaining. The entire rest of the series will be full of zombies. This episode was about life just before the zombies and as the zombies emerged. For me, that transition is the most interesting and creative part of the show anyway. Things falling apart.

What I think they got right is the general cluelessness. If anything they underestimated it. We humans are lousy at recognizing change. Me included. When I first heard about both Facebook and Twitter, I thought, “Sounds like a total waste of time.” And they are. And I have accounts on both. What I failed to understand is that humans are constantly looking for new ways to waste time.

Just like we are always looking for more shows about zombies.

Zombies would sneak up on us like Hitler snuck up on Russia. Even though every ounce of intelligence screamed to Stalin, “HITLER IS GOING TO ATTACK,” he was sure Hitler would never invade. If I encountered a zombie, if I saw someone rise from apparent death, my first thought would be, “Well, I guess he ain’t dead.” Not, “Oh my god a zombie!” If I saw police shoot a guy ten times and watched him fall down and then get up, I would think, “I can’t believe he’s still alive after all that, but humans are resilient.” Not, “He must be a zombie. Only a zombie could survive all that.” If an apparently dead guy got up and started growling at me and gnashing his teeth and chewing on other bodies, I would think, “So he’s alive and he has rabies. I better get out of here because animals with rabies have hulk strength. Plus I don’t want rabies.”

Watching TV as I get older, I feel for the actors in the same way I feel for any player that gets cut from any NFL team. Dreamers in crisis. I imagine a particular actor getting the call from his agent:

AGENT: Good news, buddy, you’ve been cast for a major role in the new Walking Dead!
ACTOR: Holy shit! I can’t believe it! My big break!
AGENT: The bad news is you die in the pilot.

You were good [name redacted — spoiler]. I’m sure you’ll get more parts soon.

Here come the zombies.

Health Update & Religion

I’ve been in the middle of a health episode since just before Labor Day and unfortunately the various treatments I’ve been doing haven’t worked. My lung capacity is still down over 10%. So I’m doing another Solumedrol blast this weekend. Hopefully the second time is the charm. I’m calling King Arthur and his knights back out of the castle for another gallop!

Wide awake and jacked up on steroids at 4am, I may as well riff on religion, right? Some friends and I were talking about religion yesterday and one said all religions are crazy fictions, with Mormonism being among the craziest. Here’s what I think:

1. In just the visible universe, what we can see from Earth, we know there are billions of stars in our own galaxy and billions of galaxies. We estimate the entire universe is at least 250 times bigger than the visible universe, or maybe infinite. We are small. We are ignorant. We barely have a grip on what the universe is all about.

2. Here on Earth, we barely have a grip on how our own brains work.

3. When someone dies, something that was there is no longer there. Call that something the soul, life energy, whatever. Where does that go? Does it go somewhere or does it just dissipate into the ether? Nobody knows.

4. In short, we know next to nothing. If you have a religion that helps you deal with these unknowns more power to you. I’m not going to get worked up about your belief system. It would be nice if you didn’t try to ram it down my throat, however, and most people don’t. The ones who do are loud. That’s why fundamentalists and rabid atheists annoy me equally. (Also, I don’t like many of the political stances taken by religious organizations, but I’m not getting into that here.)

5. People are going to find their own belief systems. This cannot be stopped. So why stress over what people believe? (As long as they don’t harm the rest of us with it.)

6. Even people in organized religions rarely believe every tenet of the religion. If you talk to people about what they actually believe, there are as many belief systems as there are people. I think most Westerners and maybe most non-Westerners too, whether they know it or not, live within an eclectic belief system comprised of many tenets of many religions.

7. When it comes to the Universe, death, God and so forth I suspect we are ALL WRONG. The Truth is unknowable for us at the present time. So how can I hold it against someone for coming up with a fiction that works for them? We all live within our own fictions, religious and non-religious.

8. Don’t bother worrying about what is Truth. Believe what you want to believe.

9. I’m about to epublish a novella called “The Forever Library” in which I talk about what I want to believe about life and death. Stay tuned!

Lost Time

Geez, has it been that long since I’ve posted? I am going to have trouble renewing my blog license.

You know how they always have stories about lost American productivity due to some activity at work? Like, “$300 million in productivity is lost every year in corporate America due to fantasy football.” (Just to make up a figure.) I hate those bullshit statistics. They never seem to take into account that every office has a certain amount of goofing off. And this type of goofing off is acceptable and human. How much productivity is lost every year due to people chatting about American Idol or Lost or 24? Or gossiping about so-and-so in sales? Or daydreaming? (Answer to all these: a lot.) The “lost productivity” statistics seem to assume that if not for activity x, the person would be working. It is more likely that if not for activity x, the person would be engaging in activity y — still not working.

You want to talk about wasted time? I’ll give you an example of wasted time. You know when you watch a DVD and you start it up and the screen that says, “The comments in the commentaries on this DVD are not necessarily the opinion of ACME Entertainment Company.” And then the message is repeated in French. (Stupid French, but that’s another story.) Did someone sue some movie studio based on a comment made in the commentaries? Is that why we are subjected to this? Thanks asshat. Or were these preemptive moves by some studio lawyer? Thanks asshat. More candidates for banishment to the Island of Asshats.

Then there’s also the Interpol warning in English and French about how copying is illegal. I’m sure that has stopped many movie pirates in their tracks! The clincher is that you usually you CANNOT fast forward through all these idiotic warnings.

Let’s say the average person watches 50 movies and TV episodes per year on DVD. (I watch more but let’s go with the average.) Let’s say the warnings in English and French (two each) last ten seconds. So I spend 500 seconds of my life every year watching these warnings. That’s eight minutes. There are about 300 million people in the U.S. and we all watch DVDs, or almost all of us. Let’s say only 200 million people watch at least 50 movies and TV episodes per year on DVD. If my calculations are correct, that means we as a nation spend at least 27 million hours per year watching those warnings.

Forget about lost productivity, how about lost personal time? Think of all we could accomplish with those lost 27 million hours. Ten seconds at a time, we can change the world.

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