#Septemblog Day 28: Standing before kings…or bored teenagers, in this case.

Some Youtube videos I’ve watched lately that I’ve enjoyed feature two incredibly talented musicians, Rob Landes and Frank Tedesco. Rob and Frank play violin and piano, respectively, and they have posted many videos where they would go on this randomly-generating streaming platform called Omegle and play songs for strangers. As I understand it, the website randomly connects you to another streamer, which in many cases seems to be bored (and often foul-mouthed) teenagers. (The whole prospect of such a site seems risky, so I don’t recommend it in any way and have never gone on there myself.)

These musicians then ask their new viewers for song requests, and they either already know the song to be able to play it expertly or can listen to just a short clip of it and are able to play it by ear. Sometimes they’ll start with something stiff and formal like a classical composition and then expertly slide into a hip-hop or pop music cover. It’s a blast to listen to.

What really makes these videos so much fun is that delightful moment when these jaded, bored teenagers are suddenly confronted with the talent and artistry of these musicians. An unfiltered joy steals across their faces, mouths often agape, as they’re suddenly surprised by beauty. Even the most posturing or disaffected person on these videos is caught off guard, the mask of cool slips, and there’s an almost child-like giddiness that emerges.

It’s so easy to be “over it all” these days, even at a young age. That makes these moments of unchecked joy so cool to see.


#Septemblog Day 10: Worth a look.

I saw a video recently on YouTube by Sean Malone, a creator who developed online content for the Foundation for Economic Education including one particularly excellent series called Out of Frame. Out of Frame uses pop culture as a lens for exploring questions about ideology, government, economics, and art from a conservative/libertarian viewpoint.

Malone is ending this particular channel to move on to other projects, and while I’m a bit sad that he’s doing this (I love his work), I get it. Sometimes, you need to make a change.

If you haven’t checked out Out of Frame, here’s the direct YT link to the playlist. I’ve linked his videos before, but they’re definitely worth a look. Let me know in the comments if you check them out and which ones you liked or didn’t like.

#Septemblog Day 7: Rumble on.

I’ve written about working on Susan’s farm in the the past, but despite my protestations 3 years ago about wanting to value my own time better, I still consume online digital content as much as ever. I know it’s pretty hollow and meaningless, but sometimes I just like turning my brain off and watching a video game playthrough, listening to some lo-fi, or laughing at funny political commentary.

In recent months, it’s become much clearer that the behemoths of the digital space despise what folks like me have to say (we troublesome Christian types who have conservative politics and generally walk against the progressive cultural winds). As a result, there’s been lots of buzz about finding alternative platforms for social media, video sharing, and information gathering. While so much of that discussion is bluster, I think it’s a proposition worth considering

Granted, it can be the wild west out there, with some rather wacky characters running about, but I find myself wanting more and more to decentralize my infotainment. I’ve started watching certain content creators on Rumble and Bitchute rather than on Youtube, and I’ve considered finding an alternative to Twitter/FB that isn’t just as full of insane people.

Have you explored some of these alternative options for news, entertainment, and communication? Which do you recommend? Which should I avoid? Hit me up in the comments. Looking for good recommendations here.

Saturday Videodrome Redux! (7/17/2021)

Photo by Pietro Jeng on Pexels.com

Happy…uh, SATURDAY, friends!

Hope your weekend is starting off great. My week has been a wild one (including one of my kids needing an emergency visit at the pediatric dentist–YIKES), but I’m excited for the weekend.

Here to help you get the fun started is another round of video recommendations from yours truly–the weird, wild, and goofy things I’ve collected from Youtube over the last couple of weeks. Hope you enjoy!

Analyzing a lesser-known Twilight Zone episode set at Christmastime:

The story behind Radiohead’s original version of the theme song for the James Bond film Spectre, and why it’s better than Sam Smith’s song.

Here’s the full track by Radiohead:

Another “Inside A Mind” video–this time about a wild ARG connected to a TV show (and Jason Segel).

I shared a video last time about Meow Wolf’s latest art experience, “Omega Mart.” Here’s a full walk-through, for those of us who will never make it out to Las Vegas to see it for ourselves.

If you haven’t seen In the Heights yet, this is spoilery, but it’s a neat examination of how the movie and stage show differ. I haven’t see the movie yet, but couldn’t help myself and had to dig in, and I think this is pretty cool, if true.

Okay, guilty pleasure admission: I *love* all the international versions of the music competition show The Voice. You can find the coolest performances and covers on these other versions. Here’s a neat cover of “Seven Nation Army” on The Voice of Ukraine that I was not expecting AT ALL. (You can click this link here if you don’t want to watch the 2-minute pre-roll package that’s entirely in Ukrainian.)

(Yes, the guy is a total goob. But the arrangement is dope–and sounds like it could be a stadium anthem for a World Cup match.)

And finally, one more tune: Let me leave you with the Power of Love. Have a good weekend, everybody!

“I ain’t gonna work on Susan’s Farm no more…”

mokup smartphone technology phone
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

So…how much is your time worth?

Last night, while looking at a freelancing site, I was shocked how many people underestimated the time and effort required to complete the jobs they posted. In one instance, a poster offered $5 per 4000 words proofread, and flatly stated that if the price wasn’t right for you, then you weren’t the right person for the job. (This comes out to a fraction of the average burger-flipper’s hourly wage.)

I was both amused and offended. “You need to value my time better!” I smirked.

Then the irony dawned on me: I don’t value my own time even that much.

I had just spent 2 hours watching Youtube videos as I finished the dishes and sat down to unwind at the end of the day (not an uncommon occurrence).

Youtube sells its users’ attention/eyeballs to advertisers. Essentially, we’re the product being sold. And I gave Youtube a few hours of my time to sell for…what? Fractions of pennies?

I enjoy content creators on the platform who cover geek culture or video games. But after giving away hours and hours of my attention for a trifling bit of amusement (“a-muse”=”not-thinking”), I start to wonder if $5 per 4000 words might be, comparatively, a princely sum.

I use Youtube for lots of things: music, information, but mostly distraction. It’s often background noise while I work or do chores–a sometimes distracting video-podcast. To be honest, I was afraid to look up how many hours of partial or full attention I’ve given away to a platform that seems to be more interested in reshaping my worldview than supplying my entertainment needs. But I went ahead and did it just now.

26+ hours in the last 7 days.

More than an entire day in the last week. Almost 4 hours a day of this ubiquitous screen demanding my partial or full attention. I’m…mortified.

It’s time for me to step back from Susan’s Farm, find another source for my daily music listening, and (crazy thought) go without a daily distractor for a few weeks. I don’t like being a product. Beyond that, I don’t like that I’ve consumed all this media without producing much of anything. This feels really out of balance.

If Youtube is the way you unwind, I get it. It’s cheap, and there’s lots of options. I hope it benefits you.

But looking at those numbers, I have to wonder if, for me personally, there may be a better way to spend these fleeting moments, even in leisure. (Perhaps I need to re-read Digital Minimalism or Competing Spectacles for inspiration.)

#FridayFive: 07/20/2018

You know the deal–let’s do it:

Teens are Flocking to Youtube to…Study?: If you’re a computer-based office worker like me, one of the most important elements of your workday is background music to drown out the sound of your coworkers loudly calling out to each other. Especially your boss, who has no sense of–oh, that’s just me? Sorry. So yeah, background music is essential. I sometimes listen to podcasts, but when I need to focus just a bit more on the less-data-entry-like aspects of my work, it’s distracting. That’s why this article turned me on to what is becoming a lifesaver in my particularly slammed workdays: lo-fi streams on Youtube.

The Trophy: An Essay on Fatherhood: As the daddy of an…almost-one-year-old [*choking back tears*], essays about fatherhood hit me hard. Goins’ posts are always a good read, including this one.

5 Weak Words that Make Your Writing Less Effective: Another Goins post, this time on the weak/filler words that creep into our writing and water it down.

Why You Don’t Need to Read Those Productivity Guides: Although the author drifts dangerously close to “not having an act is your act” territory, he makes some good points here about “enough,” a word that is almost anathema in productivity discussions.

A Choose-Your-Path Twitter Fairy Tale: This is SO GOOD that I furious with myself for not thinking of it. Every so often, there’s a moment–one shining moment–where we all stop and realize, “hey, social media is actually a pretty cool invention that can bring people together in an interesting way.” I think this is one of those moments.


Your Turn: Any cool stories or blog posts you want to recommend? Throw ’em in the com-box below!