Thursday, October 20, 2005

Veronica Mars

FINALLY got time to watch the second season opener for Veronia Mars. Goddamn! It is one fine show. Really hit it's straps, and (to quote Joss Whedon) "big emotion, I mean BIG.."

Oh, and in case you didn't know, Joss went absolutely gaga over Veronica Mars, and is now the biggest and best known fan of the show. And with reason... this is rare TV. And let me tell you, Kristen Bell is the most charismatic, engaging and HOT lead in a TV show for aaages.. well, since Caroline Dhavernas in Wonderfalls, anyways.

Update : Watched the third episode last night. All I can say is - OMFG!! The funny has fallen to the side to be replaced with the dark and scary. Very dark. This show is going from strength to strength... I don't know how the new problem can be solved, short of the Mars' going into Witness Protection... ooh, and talk about stunt casting. Really didn't like Charisma Carpenter as the "hot mom"... Cordy in a bikini is just WRONG. But Steve Gutenberg as the too nice Mayor (to be)?! Love him! Overtones of Richard Wilkins III. Creepy. Kevin Smith as a freaky convenience store owner? Even better. But JOSS WHEDON as a used car salesman??? Heaven!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Attention

Attention is a problem. Or least giving something my full attention is. I've noticed that my attention span has grown dramatically shorter over the last ten years. I used to be able to read a book and give it my full attention for 5 hours, 10 hours or even more. Now even a good book only lasts about 3 hours at best. I used to be able to put on a Phillip Glass or Brian Eno CD and just listen to it for an hour, with no problems. No any more. I've been trying to get into Peake's Gormenghast (known to have a slow start) for a while now and I find it incredibly hard.

It's not just books and music. I don't have the attention to watch TV or read the news. It's really quite scary. If something does not require interaction then it's just too boring.

So what has caused this? Obviously our life is full of interruption and our minds are having to change to be able to cope with the interrupt-driven lifestyle. I have recently come across Linda Stone and her term "continuous partial attention" at the Attention Panel (discussion) during Supernova 2005. Someone said that " we're over-stimulated, over-wound, unfulfilled." So very true.

So what can you do. It's not like you can just ignore the interruptions, because our work life (I noticed this specially at IBM) is so very interrupt driven. I might have got a 20 minute stretch at best on any given day without interruptions. What can we do? Change our lifestyle (and by that I mean work as well). Learn to live with it?

I'd rather not live with it because I really miss being able to read a good book, or listen to a CD or just DO NOTHING for a few hours.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Andrew Olle Media Lecture

I've just finished watching a broadcast of this years Andrew Olle Media Lecture, presented by the multi-talented John Doyle. I have seen a few Olle lectures, and must say that this stands head and shoulders above anything else. Doyle (or Rampaging Roy Slaven, if you prefer) covered a number of topics, covering everything from the blandness of commercial media, the rejection of elite opinion, string theory (!), evolution, religion, human rights, economic rationalism and terrorism.

Doyle was funny as always, and there were many times when you could feel the audience torn between serious concern and outright laughter. He so carefully and effectively poked fun at the stupidity of media and society that it WAS hard to know if to laugh or cry.

Of course it wouldn't be right for me to let his Buffy comment go without a mention - he used Buffy in a list of TV shows which were indicative of the wastes of western civilisation.. I'm assuming that he's never actually seen Buffy, becuase I think he would find a lot in common between his world-view and that of Joss.

I have quoted a snippet of his speech below, of his view of the ABC and where it fits in :

So that when the commercial media is dictated to by myopic intrusive ownership and ill-informed populism, is forced through thoughtless need to make irresponsible programs that lack both style and substance, caresses inflammatory and cheap, nasty demagoguery that seeks to marginalize the already marginalized, that seeks to describe the world in simple terms, provide simple solutions to complex problems and is purely a servant to fiscal outcomes, then the ABC will always seem to aggravate, annoy and frustrate and it.s precisely when the ABC is doing this that it is serving its charter.

The ABC have put up a transcript and audio (MP3) of Doyle's address. This should be compulsory reading/listening.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Last week

If you are reading this blog you probably already know this, but I'm leaving IBM after just over a year. It seems like yesterday when I blogged that I applied for and got a job at IBM. And not too long ago I remember blogging about leaving Proxima. So maybe this blog thing is useful after all..

Anyways, I will be starting my new role at Dimension Data on the 17th. I knew DiData was in the right headspace when I read "The Campus is built around a cricket Oval and is surrounded by a nine-hole mashie golf course" on their company information page... Well, OK that's not the ONLY reason.. but still..

The last few weeks I have been busy wrapping up the various projects I'm doing and handing over my SME/focal point tasks to various people. My buddy Faiyaz is getting the honour of being the CIRATS focal point, which I know he absolutely LOVES (right, dude?) :) It's amazing the number of little things that I have to wrap up after only 12 months here, and the amount of stuff that lives in my head that I need to write down... yeesh..