Shameless

So, every time we got a new car, Sirius XM is always an option on the car’s entertainment system. It’s also signed up (automatically) for a 3-month trial. Sounds great, right?

Well, The calendar just ticked over to month 4, day 1 for my new-ish A4, and sure enough, the XM Preview channel is screaming at me (yet again) to subscribe.

“Never miss the great music of yesterday and today!”

“Want to take your music everywhere you are? Subscribe to SiriusXM!”

“Follow your favorite team for every goal, touchdown, and home run!”

Umm, no. I’m good. And that’s when I reach for the iPhone cord and plug in my phone to use CarPlay.

Ahh, back to normal.

But, yesterday, I was in the process of getting out of my car to walk in the grocery store. And right before I open the door, I hear a terrible, terrible noise. Imagine the sound a grinder makes on bare metal mixed with TV static. A screeching, ear-splitting sound at top volume. Horrible on so many levels. Surely this is a mistake, right?

Nope.

It was a commercial that went something like this: “Hate this sound? (Sound plays for 5 seconds) Yeah, who wouldn’t?! (Sound plays again for 5 seconds) Subscribe to SiriusXM to make sure you never hear it again!”

Are you fucking kidding me?!?!

Just shameless. And pathetic.

Guess what you’ve successfully done, Sirius? You’ve ensured I will never, ever again subscribe to your service.

Job well done.

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The search for Jackie Wallace

The search for Jackie Wallace
by Ted Jackson

Only a half-mile more and it would all be over. One hundred and 50 feet below, the powerful currents of the Mississippi River would swallow his soul and his wretched life. He dodged another car. But why did it matter? Getting hit by a car would serve his purposes just as well as jumping.

Read this. It is a roller coaster ride of hope and sorrow, redemption and desperation. This is what happens in a society of living in (and caring about) only the now. We so often forget what happens after the spotlight is turned off.

(PDF) The search for Jackie Wallace – NOLA.com

Maybe it’s the battery

For many years, I’ve heard the (now) old adage of “Apple must be sabotaging my (current) iPhone because they want me to buy the new one”. I’ve always rolled my eyes at this, because it’s a classic consumer whine; the world (big company) is against me (playing the role of David in their own David and Goliath story).

I mean, come on. Yes, Apple must have written code specifically to jack up your special snowflake iPhone at exactly the time a new phone is coming out. Yeah, that’s plausible.

If that were true, a) there have been plenty of generations of these things by now and they’d have been caught at some point, and b) that’s just fucking preposterous.

Anyway,…

Having had almost every model of iPhone ever produced, I do know that as the years go on, they do become more randomly buggy. Again, I code for a living. And there’s no more frustrating than troubleshooting an issue or problem brought from a user that says “it’s random”.

Has anyone ever thought it might be a consequence of the batteries? And to that end, a consequence of the underlying battery technology in use in modern-day phones?

We use these batteries constantly. 24/7. 365. Batteries were never intended to last forever. And given the usage and charging habits we all have (I’ve never been able to keep up with the “right way” to charge a lithium ion battery), have we ever considered that the randomness of a failing battery might be the actual issue in random bugs and crashes as these devices age?

Just a thought…

Update: Maybe I was more right than I thought: Geekbench Results Visualize Possible Link Between iPhone Slowdowns and Degraded Batteries

Promise Me No Promises

At dinner tonight, Caroline wanted us to hear a song she likes (she likes the beat, she says). Turns out it was a song called “No Promises” by a band called Cheat Codes.

She’s right, it does have a very good beat to the song. But I couldn’t get past one line in the song:

“Promise me no promises”

Wha?!?!

How can you promise no promises? The very act of promising no promises breaks the promise that you just got done promising you wouldn’t promise. Hence, you can never make that promise without breaking said promise, and the world ends up folding in upon itself. Now if you kept up with that, maybe you can explain it to me!

And, oh by the way, it fascinates me that she listens to music through Pandora (for random “shuffle”), and YouTube (of all things) for finding a specific song. No iTunes, no Amazon Music. No taking advantage of our extremely large existing iTunes library.

Purchasing music may, in fact, be leaving us. This fact just proves to me that the “latest trend” is passing me by.

And with that, my transformation to my dad is complete.

Nothing Is Forever

I hear the word “forever” used in lots of places as I go through my everyday. “I’ll love you forever”, “I’ll be here forever”, ”that’ll be here forever”, “this will be remembered forever”, or “they’ll rest here forever in peace”. That last one struck me as I drove past a cemetery one Saturday a couple of weeks back. The sad reality is that it’s just not true. Think of some of the things you think about truly being forever:

The idea of you
Your loves
Your relationships
Your “mark”
Your photographs
Your resting place
Even your country

But guess what?

After several generations, you (as an individual person) will be forgotten.
People that you love, and love you, will die.
Your existence will be erased by time.
Pictures fade.
Land will be needed for other purposes.
Countries rise and fall.

It’s hard to think of something, anything, that will truly be here forever. Forever is a really, really long time. The concept of forever is infinite. Is anything really infinite?

I often here the word “eternity” thrown about, especially when it comes to the idea of what’s after death. It’s hard for me to believe that. For many reasons.

There is a sadness that washes over me when I think about the lack of a “forever”. Like something is lost. Something that will never return. And I realize that I, and everything I love, hope for, wish for, will be forgotten at some point. As if it, or I, never existed.

It’s sobering.

So I focus on what I can control. To live and love to the fullest while I am here. While I have time. While I still matter. While I am not forgotten.

What’s in a word?

Brian asked me a question this evening that I didn’t quite know how to answer:

“Why is using the word ‘fuck’ so bad?”

Hmmm, ok.

Let’s see.

I could explain the idea of social norms to him. We could talk about “polite society” and why it’s not “proper” to use “bad” words in public. And let that be the end of it.

I could do all of that.

But I wouldn’t be answering his actual question. His question was “Why?”

So I started thinking…

Why is using the word ‘shit’ any worse than ‘crap’ any worse than ‘bad’?

“That statement is bullshit.”
“That statement is crap.”
“That statement is bad.”

The last one is fine. The first one is not so. And yet, all three of them are simply syllables that form words. Why are they any different?

The real difference is the meaning to which we give these words. It is a tangible example of how we define ourselves as a (collective) people. As well as who we are as individuals. How we have agreed to live and communicate.

If we deem the word ‘shit’ as bad, then we have all agreed that its usage is discouraged because of its “bad”-ness.

The best example I can think of is the use of the word ‘nigger’. In the worst usage, it is a (terrible) slur against African Americans and, really, any people of color. But think about it this way. It’s only a slur when used in a certain context by a certain group of people.

If that word is used by a certain homogeneous group of like-minded individuals, its usage is not considered bad or hurtful. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

“What up, my nigger?” is something that I have heard by (African American) friends addressing each other. Its usage denotes a sense of oneness, a togetherness, that is shared by those individuals within that group. It’s used in a loving manner, not a hateful one. It’s accepted. And it’s accepted because those within that group have agreed that its usage with one another is acceptable.

Conversely, when used in an entirely different homogeneous group of like-minded individuals (let’s use the KKK as an example here), its usage denotes a sense of hatred and revulsion. And it’s for the same reason. The individuals within that group have all agreed and accepted the fact that the word means something “bad”.

A less polarizing example would be the word ‘love’. We all understand that the use of the word ‘love’ denotes a deeper connection, a deeper sentiment than the use of the word ‘like’. Why? They’re just words, right? But they mean what they mean because we have given them that meaning.

So what did I end up telling Brian about using the word ‘fuck’?

I told him that we, as a group of people, as a society, have determined that the word ‘fuck’ is not to be used in public. It is impolite in an improper context.

And why?

Basically, because WE said so.