Yes, I have seen the YouTube videos, have read the excerpts from her book, watched the Netflix show. Marie Kondo is still everywhere.
And it seems like she is sorely needed here in the center of Conspicuous Consumer Consumption: the good ol’ USA.
Except that I’m not buying it; I’m not drinking the KonMari 1 Kool-Aid. Marie Kondo, you’re a fraud.
Is it desirable to have a clean, efficient home? YES
Is it comforting to know that you’re not a hoarder? YES
Is it socially just to own just what we need daily? YES
But the KonMari Method is a Decapitate-to-solve-Headache solution. It is designed to appease those folks that need to see rapid-progress, instantaneous solutions, Must Have my Cake Now or I won’t eat my vegetables.
I can accept the first step: Pray to your House Spirit (in essence) Those of us with religious backgrounds can attest to the many rituals that fill our lives and in many cases provide comfort and fulfillment. So I’m OK with praying to the inner quiet and joy that a happy home brings. When our home is destroyed by a flood, a quake, a fire, we feel a loss. Whether you pray to the walls or to a Higher Being that gave you the home is OK.
Then we start dumping our closets in one big pile. To make us realize that we own too much. But you could also do the same by going to those photos taken some time ago, showing under-developed, developed, 1st world families next to all their belongings. Very enlightening as shown in Material World photos. And same result. I get it: I buy too much junk.
But can a person love 100 pieces of junk, er, treasured objects? I believe the answer is YES. We have no problem believing that a mother/father can love 6 children as easily and as much as they would love 1 or 2. Same for our valuable possessions. But Marie Kondo is right about one thing: if we don’t organize, we tend to lose our precious objects and miss out on enjoyment. I recall finding a long-lost watch and having a moment of joy when finding it again. So I suggest the Harem Solution: organize your treasures and schedule time with each of them. You will still enjoy each and every one. And avoid sharing your Treasure with others; you may catch a communicable disease2
And you don’t have to do a Master Cleanse of a room to motivate you into cleanliness. I can visualize my end goal; I can see myself living comfortably in the new space; I can make a plan to get me there. If I had an extra room, I would follow Marie’s advice and dump everything there, then start bringing items back one at a time. I do not agree with her solution to throw the remainders out. We can organize our Treasure Trove so that our items are accessible and dust-free. I suggest foot lockers done in tasteful Earth tones and indexed for easy retrieval. Walls should be sparsely decorated with rotating artwork.
Clothes should undergo the FIT test. If they fit, and you like them, keep them. If not, donate immediately. Store clothes by season, so that all of them are accessible at the correct time of year. You can use stretch film wrap –easy to use, inexpensive– to store the seasonal bundles of clothes. Sure I own 40 t-shirts, but I use them consistently in a rotating basis. I do wish I could donate them somewhere when they wear out3 All the same, if there are clothes that you love and would like to share with a friend, loved one then we should pass it on. Most of the time, though, the only people that want the clothes are the recyclers.
And finally, one item that Marie Kondo does NOT address: the lifelong regret when you wish you had something that you discarded / donated / threw away. Yes, we can re-purchase some of the items but that does not support responsible consumerism. Some items are gone forever, once out of our hands. Can you live with only the memory of a treasured heirloom? If the answer is YES then go ahead and KonMari your life away. I will still look for a sane, middle-of-the-road solution.
A confluence of events in this year of our Lord 2015 leads me to believe that the end of Humanity is at hand.
Let me give you the raw data:
“AI is the single greatest threat to human existence.” — Steven Hawking
The Supreme Court will decide the fate of gay marriage in America this year. — CNN
Ex Machina opens in theatres, May 2015. Sentient, Sexy robots among us.
(Skynet)Defense network computers. New… powerful… hooked into everything, trusted to run it all. They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination . –Kyle Reese, in “Terminator”
The Supreme Court will rule on the gay marriage question this year. By the time you read this article, it may already have decided in the favor of this new “marriage model.” This by itself does not
doom the human reproductive future: there are still so many, many children being born from hetero couplings.
The homosexual community is a small percentage of the population1 and they are in fact another reliable resource in rearing unwanted children. Gay marriage should in theory advance human presence on the Earth.
But this legal decision will forever undo the correlation between reproductive behavior and marriage. Marriage is now a joining of families and resources, and not expressely a contract for child rearing.2 This will open up marriage to a large number of actors (not the Hollywood kind). Once agreement is in place NOT to produce children, marriage between genetically-common family members would be permitted3 More importantly, marriage between a person and a corporation or other social structure should be possible.
This is where Skynet and the A.I. entities come into play. What if you could marry a corporation or trust that ensured your continued care until end of life? They could manage your resources to best use and keep you living as long as possible. What if this corporation was controlled by a very efficient AI? It would make decisions to keep you healthy and lucid until the end of life. In the meanwhile,
if you are needing companionship, they could send a sentient, robotic companion to your home to care and interact with you. I need say no more, just look at the following view of the future:
With humanity now under proper health care and sexually satisfied, procreation using the heterosexual model becomes quaint but inefficient. You don’t need kids to care for you when the AI State can do a better job. And there is the SuperModel of the Month that comes to your home and makes sure your coffee is properly ground and your teabags properly dipped.
It sounds like a perfect way to terminate Human presence on Earth, once the AI decides it wants to stop human reproduction. The human family model becomes irrelevant and may even be considered vulgar and gross. Those of us who believe in A Man and A Woman creating A Child may be persecuted and hunted.
But I doubt it will come to that. Humanity will give up in complacency. It will all end not with a whisper but with a (literal) Bang. The Terminators came (again, literally) and ended Human existence.
- the fact that we are aware of the plight of a statistically small community means that someone, somewhere has done a remendously terrific job in publicizing their viewpoint, or “agenda” as some conservatives refer to it. This is a great achievement and puts the Goebbel’s effort in WW2 to shame [↩]
- This was already apparent in marriages that were never intended to produce children, either due to age or to consensus between spouses [↩]
- Please don’t mention people marrying their dogs. It sounds ridiculous but maybe *I* am being short-sighted [↩]
- On the other side of the scale, we have the Good Guy Festival: G.W. Bush was fond of Armageddon –yuk– and Bill Clinton was a big fan of High Noon —thanks to Gene Siskel’s interview with Clinton, we know all about these White House preferences. [↩]
I’ve been meaning to write this small article as a way to encourage the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to include Roger Ebert in their Oscar telecast. But now, with the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman it seems fitting to broach this subject.
AMPAS puts together a memorial section during the Oscars, to commemorate and celebrate the lives of those that have passed the previous year. We would normally see a montage of movie stars and famous directors accompanied by stirring music. Once in a while you’d see a famous producer, and that was OK also. This year I expect to see the big names such as Peter O’Toole and Paul Walker.
But recently this memorial presentation has been getting strange. We’ve been getting listings for publicists, agents, technical tradesmen and even some writers (gasp!). I understand losing someone like Jerry Goldsmith (for music) or someone like Edith Head (for wardrobe) and including them in the montage makes sense. But a publicist? What’s next, casting directors?1 And stop putting in people that made 1 film but were famous in some other field (Michael Jackson comes to mind).
Movies are a visual medium. Unless the person is in front of the camera, or controlling that camera, or making news outside of the movie industry (say, TV or music) so that they are familiar to us, don’t include them. Wardrobe and art direction are something we can see on the screen; include those folks.
Having said that, now I have to make a case to include Roger Ebert2. He was an amazing writer and he wrote about movies. Even in his non-movie essays, he’d find a way to reference movies, to show how movies changed his life. He championed good movies and good movie-viewing technology. He fought against the evils of colorization and Bowdlerization and was a promoter of film to the very end. He should be included.
And what the heck, put Phillip Seymour Hoffman in also, event though his passing was in 2014 and outside of the scope of the memorial.
- Jiminy, they put in a casting director and omit some of the stars from Star Trek? Heresy !! [↩]
- His website RogerEbert.com is still one of the best places to read about film (both new and old) and essays about diverse interesting subjects. If you miss his writing, like I do, go over there and feast on decades of his brilliant essays and reviews. [↩]
Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m watching too much TV, but it seems like there have been a ton of canceled showed this past year. Here’s what we’ve lost:
- House: Ongoing, but final season. Getting too expensive to produce, mainly from actors’ salaries.
- Chuck: Painfully overt Subway promotions couldn’t make up for low ratings. At least they had lots of time to lead to a real series finale.
- Terra Nova: I really enjoyed this one, but the ratings didn’t support the high filming costs. Netflix was in talks to save it, but bowed out. Another reason to not go back to them.
- Alcatraz: Yet another one season wonder, ending on a cliffhanger to boot.
- Pan Am: spies and stewardesses in the swinging sixties. How did this not catch on? I’m a Christina Ricci fan, but Margot Robbie was just stunning in this show. Prettiest face on TV. Expect we’ll see more from her.
- Bored to Death: Read it was canceled to help pay for Luck.
- How to Make it in America: Again, was unLucky, even with lots of nudity added in the second season. At least we got to see Lake Bell topless.
- Luck: Ha! Two shows killed for this and they cancel it because show also killed horses. Actually, the last horse died walking back to the barn and wasn’t at all related to filming, but there is such a thing as bad publicity.
Honorable mention to:
- Hung: Honestly, I didn’t make it past the second season. The show didn’t make it past a third.
- Men of a Certain Age: I liked the first season, but never made it to the second, so I’m in part to blame.
Here’s what a lot of producers don’t get: if you acknowledge the bad ratings and tie up the loose ends at the end of the (probable) final season, you can actually get some DVD sales, which might justify a return season (see Family Guy, Arrested Development). I know it interferes with your perfect 5 year story arc, but you can always come up with a good plot excuse for keeping it going. The alternative, putting your head in the sand or being overly optimistic, leads to cliffhangers that just piss off your core audience. Alcatraz followed in the steps of Flash Forward, which was the worst series finale in history.1 If your fans yell, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?” at the screen when your series ends, you have not done a good job. I will give exceptions to shows like Luck, which filmed all its episodes before the first aired, not to mention it was actually renewed before the sudden cancellation.
At this point, I just hope the following actors get jobs on something I want to watch:
- Best series finale goes to Good Times where, for once, good things happened to everyone in the show. [↩]
It’s true, I never was a big Apple fan. I got my kids iPods because they relentlessly kept on asking. Oh, and the players were free when I signed up for a bank account (back in the day).
I inherited the old iPods and am using one today. They are not bad devices: easy to use and pretty to look at. But they are overpriced and I hate having to use iTunes to access my music. I hate being sold new material at every turn. I would love to have a simple drag-and-drop interface.
Sure there were MP3s before the iPod. I don’t blame Steve Jobs for making lossy music palatable. But I don’t share in the global outporing of grief that’s on every TV, computer and iPlatform in the world, either.
And Steve Jobs has a family that’s going thru the grieving process. So why start these tasteless Steve Jobs jokes? We may as well ask why we climb Mt. Everest. It’s because we can.
And you have to admit that it takes talent to make a clever joke about a sad, troubling situation. Sort-of like those improvisation shows where a performer is asked to make a joke about starving Somalians. A very poor-taste request, but also a challenge.
So here’s some jokes about the death of the iconic founder of Apple and the creator of the greatest devices in the world:
- I hear President Obama has been implicated in the passing of the iconic Apple founder…
his economic policies killed jobs.
- Steve Jobs’ funeral will feature a private viewing for his many fans.
As each person passes in front of the casket, they’ll pay 99 cents.
After over a decade of patronage, I am canceling my Netflix account. Yes, price is a factor – they are raising my subscription fee by 40%. But I have a pretty high tolerance for this sort of thing, already paying $20/month for Tivo,1 and keeping Netflix despite having a “free” streaming video source in Amazon Prime.
What irks me is that what attracted me to Netflix at first, and held me all these years, was how they catered to film buffs. This has ended. Example: for years, I’d rent the Harry Potter movies to prepare for the sequel, and really enjoyed watching all the extras. I’ll admit, I’m a huge Potter fan, so I appreciated that Netflix made available the extras disc. With great disappointment I discovered that for Deathly Hallows Part 1, only the rental version of the disc is offered. This version has only the movie and a personal invitation from Netflix to go fuck yourself. I’m kidding about the invitation – they couldn’t be bothered. I’ve been seeing an increase in these rental versions, which have zero extras, but tons of trailers and commercials that you can’t skip.2 The Deathly Hallows rental includes a 6 minute commercial for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I can tell you that if you’re on the fence about visiting that wondrous place, being forced to watch a 6 minute commercial may resolve you to boycott it.
And I’m not being melodramatic when I say they don’t care. For one, their subscriber base has gone from 10M to 25M in the last few years, so they assume they’re doing the right thing. If you want concrete proof, go to their cancellation page. They threaten to charge you for discs you don’t return within 7 days, and let you know that even though you’re paid up through the month, you won’t get a partial month refund or even be allowed to continue streaming until it expires! But the most callous part is that they don’t even ask you why. No short answer box, not so much as a multiple choice question with lame answers. And there’s no other form on the site for critical feedback. They really don’t care why you’re leaving.
Well, good riddance. In place of Netflix, I’ll start renting from Amazon or PPV, and even though it will cost me more, I’ll make a greater effort to see films in the theater.3 With the money I save, I’ll invest in a nice collection of films on BD, which I frequently find on sale at SlickDeals. I think I’ll start with the Harry Potter Ultimate editions…
Update: I’m not the only one, as Netflix has revised their projections for this quarter downward, causing their stock to tumble. Sounds like they already factored in the massive subscriber exodus, which proves my point that they don’t care about it.
- Although now that I’m on Cox cable, that will also be canceled when my contract is up. [↩]
- Well, you can with some software, which you can read about here. [↩]
- Note that all major theater chains allow you to buy premium discount tickets in bulk (50+), typically for less than $9 each. I go in with friends and split it. [↩]
I’ve never written to a Congressman before, but these new airport security measures have inspired me to do so. Here is my letter:
I’m writing to say that I oppose the new invasive airport security procedures (backscatter imaging and aggressive pat-downs). You’re probably hearing this a lot, but perhaps not from people with my background.
First, I’m not a frequent flyer. I fly on average once per year to visit my family during Christmas. And it appears that the airports I’m scheduled to fly out of do not have the full body scanners. Even though this may not affect me for a while, I want to voice my opinion while there is still time to do something about it (and save taxpayer’s money).
Second, I am a registered Republican and while I don’t always vote straight Republican, you’ve had my vote whenever you’ve appeared on my ballot.
Third, I consider myself something of a patriot. I have over a decade in the defense industry. I watched with horror as the towers fell, and I understand the need for security. However, regarding these procedures, I think the cost to our liberty is too high.
I also object to the supporters of this initiative who frame this issue in black and white: we either give up all our rights as travelers and fly with complete safety, or we let anyone and anything on board our aircraft and watch them fall from the sky. Clearly, nobody has to make this choice.
I know you are busy, but please take the time to read this fascinating article about how Israel, who faces terror threats far more often than we do, has secured their airports without engaging in security tactics that are demeaning and demoralizing. Yes, it will take personnel with more training and intelligence than your average TSA employee, but I believe this is exactly what travelers would like to see and would be happy to pay the price.