tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

27Jul/120

What I’m Absorbing: July 27th

Each week I'll post the things that are in my ears and in front of my eyes. This can include articles, websites, blogs, YouTube Channels, TV shows, podcasts, books, games, programs, utilities or anything I can think of! Where possible I'll try to put links to check things out. The idea here to share, critically look at what I'm doing, and to motivate myself a bit to not just play WoW all the time.

Watching: The Newsroom - This is Aaron Sorkin's new show, following a nightly news program in the US. Although Sorkin has a well-known liberal bent, the show seems to try and present a balanced approach to a lot of issues. It's been fascinating so far because it started off back in 2010, covering such events as the Louisiana oil spill, the shooting of Gabby Giffords, the midterm elections and other sorts of things. It has Sorkin's excellent flair for dialogue, but is definitely a bit preachy. Still, it's definitely entertaining, though they seem to be trying to do more about the personal lives of the news people, which is not Sorkin's strong suit. Stick to the politics and high-minded ideals, Aaron. I'd give it a watch though.

Reading: I finished Ready Player One by Ernest Cline this week. It tells the story of a future world where pollution and wars have left Earth mostly desolate. People live mostly in stacked trailer parks, and live out their lives online through an MMORPG called OASIS. The creator of OASIS dies, and leaves the key to his fortune hidden inside the game. The novel centres around Wade Watts, who searches in the game for the hidden fortune. Some of the book's references were a bit over my head, but if you grew up in the 80s, you'll find tons of great moments. It was good fun; nothing too serious, and didn't really touch on the implications of a society lived almost entirely online, but I'm hoping for a sequel that does. A great read overall, though.

Hearing: After Ashalah went to Florence and the Machine, I've had Shake It Out on repeat. Such a great song. I've also had a huge love for Call Me Maybe. Not ashamed to admit that. Also loving Lip Dubs and covers of it, particularly this one by the US Swim Team.

 

What are you absorbing this week?

20Jul/120

What I’m Absorbing: July 19

So I'm relaunching my weekly list of the things I'm watching/reading/listening to! Changing the name to What I'm Absorbing, cause I think that sounds better than consuming! As did GFM, I believe. 

Each week I'll post the things that are in my ears and in front of my eyes. This can include articles, websites, blogs, YouTube Channels, TV shows, podcasts, books, games, programs, utilities or anything I can think of! Where possible I'll try to put links to check things out. The idea here to share, critically look at what I'm doing, and to motivate myself a bit to not just play WoW all the time.

Watching: Doctor Who - Season 2. I've still got Buffy on the back burner, but lately I've been rewatching the first season of the 10th Doctor, with David Tennant. So far I'm loving it; forgot how full of energy and excitement he is, and how much I love the dynamic between Rose and 10. Just finished the Christmas Special and am moving forward from there. I don't know if I'll be able to watch his last episodes again, truthfully, but I want to get as far as I can before it gets a little depressing, and particularly revisit Steven Moffat's classic episodes like Blink and Silence in the Library. For you Yanks, I believe this is available on your Netflix (Editor's note: Damn you all.)

Reading: Right now, I'm reading Ready Player One, but I wanted to talk a bit about what I just finished, which is Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. This was a relatively quick but, honestly, hilarious read. It's a memoir, written in a kind of blog post style, of a woman's life. Her life is a little unique, growing up in rural Texas with a father obsessed with taxidermy, but her writing style, which is frenetic, tangential and just fun is what really captivated me. This woman could make the phone book sound interesting, and I've since started reading her blog and following on Twitter. Besides that, though, there is love, heartache, death and taxidermy in the book. Not to mention lots of blogging and Twitter related anecdotes. I'd highly recommend you read it.

Hearing: I'm tempted to talk about podcasts or music, but lately I've been reading a lot on my downtime and listening to WoW podcasts again, so I can't say that will be too interesting. The song I have heard and love lately is this cover of We Found Love by Lindsey Stirling. It's really hopefully, fun, and a beautiful video too. Her whole catalogue of violin covers of things is a really neat listen, particularly the LotR one.

Playing: Besides the obvious World of Warcraft, I've been playing a little fun game called Implode for iPhone and iPad. Essentially there are little structures that you place bombs on, to try and bring it down, while not hitting nearby buildings and make sure it falls relatively flat. It's a fun, simple little game that can be played any time you have a spare minute.

Using: Transmit. I'm a sucker for pretty, well-designed Mac software, and this one is no exception. Lately I've been playing around with editing bits of my website, trying to get a bit more comfortable with FTP, and Transmit has helped me work through that a bit. I'm sure it has tons of features I'm not using, but for what I need it to do, it's perfect, as well.

 

What are you absorbing this week?

1May/121

Content Consumption, Dream Jobs and Sleeping In

I've noticed lately I don't spend as much time consuming things as I once did.

I don't like that word, consume. It implies something very simple, like just eating. Here I mean that I don't read as many blogs, check twitter, watch YouTube or listen to podcasts as much as I used to. I read a bit of the paper, and try to keep up on blogs, but not nearly to the extent I once did. Even TV has largely taken a back seat; whereas I used to have shows for almost every night, now I only really watch a few, and rarely live as they air. What I mean is consuming things that enrich me. Watching good TV, reading good blogs, connecting with people on Twitter and YouTube. I've been doing a lot less of that lately, and I've decided I want to change that.

I've realized that I spend a decent amount of time reading WoW news and blogs. There is a Beta out, so there is a lot going on, but I worried a bit about it becoming my only interest. I do enjoy it, and I do play a fair bit, but the actual playtime is not something I'm really worried about. A lot of that is playing with friends, connecting with people and just hanging out. What worried me were the moments where I'd read all the news and just couldn't think what else to do on the internet. That was a scary moment, I don't mind telling you.

So I've been trying to make sure that almost every moment is used in some semi-productive way. Some of that is just saying that, instead of sitting around playing Solitaire, I'm watching an episode of a TV show, or listening to a podcast. I try to be sure if I'm walking for almost any distance I've got a podcast on. I've got a list of podcasts I'm listening to. I may see about setting up a "what I'm watching/reading/listening to" sidebar somewhere, in case folks are interested. I do also try to have more meditative moments, while walking sometimes, but when I'm jostling and speed walking for my train in the evenings, that's probably a good time to catch up on podcasts, and not so much to try and find inner peace. Maybe.

In short, I've been trying to get back in touch with my own interests. Most of these aren't anything new; tech, sci-fi, fantasy, politics and lately comedy. I find myself drawn to podcasts and interviews with comic actors, or actors who have some interest or experience in that sort of thing. Listened to some great interviews lately with Jon Hamm and Neil Patrick Harris.

The idea of this is getting to the point where I'm producing more of my own things, honing my own craft. Not just for the sake of it, but because I like writing, I like sharing what I've learned and what I've found, whatever that may be. I also am trying to find my own passion, my own niche. My failed interview got me thinking about what I really want to do, and I feel like through all this I can find a way to contribute that gets me excited to get up in the morning.

And, preferably, allows me to get up later in the morning. C'mon, what's the point of a dream job if you can't sleep in?