ArcoJedi's Holocron

Who is ArcoJedi? A life-journeying Christian, ecstatic husband, proud father of four, web guru, all-around geek and Star Wars fanatic. Read these thoughts that he felt were worthwhile. Then wonder why he thought that way.

2018/01/17

MOVIE REVIEW: Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter

A while back I reviewed and gushed about the book Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter. And seriously it's a really great book. But shortly thereafter I meant to review the movie they made from the book. I was excited to learn they'd made a movie, but was a little perplexed as the book covered a lot of ground quickly, straddling the line between a historically accurate biography coupled seamlessly with a gothic-horror historic fiction story. And whereas Lisa and I missed the film in the theaters, we did rent it hoping that it would be a good rendition of the story.

Let me say this right away. This movie is terrible. Truly terrible.

It's angsty, over-the-top, campy and treats the subject matter with some sort of ignorant disdain. Don't ever watch it. I watched it and I hated it right away. My wife left the room within the first 20 minutes and refused to consume even one more frame. I powered through, hoping beyond hope that it might get better at some point and redeem itself or at least apologize for besmirching a book that resonated with me.

It did not. It could not. The only way for me to even remotely pretend to enjoy the film is to try to forget the book I love existed and mentally separate the two stories. AND that is a ridiculously hard mental exercise. Don't ever see this movie if you can avoid it.

2018/01/07

PostSecret

I briefly mentioned PostSecret as an aside from some other point, but it's long overdue that I talk in more detail about the actual site.

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard. Your secrets, posted here, every Sunday.

When I first found the site it was hosted on Blogger, but they've moved the site to WordPress somewhere in the last few years. PostSecret is the largest advertisement-free blog in the world, unless you count a link to the International Suicide Prevention Wiki. Here are some example postcard images.

I've loved the shared art project since I first subscribed, even though I didn't quite understand it at first. I love the idea that it's not just one person creating the work, but a whole organic community. And they are sad or angry or happy or melancholy or joyous. All together they are beautiful.

2018/01/03

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

It's good. It's really good.

There has been some backlash among some fans, some anger that has divided the fan base. But it's better to throw all that to the side and just talk about the movie in and of itself. It may not be my favorite all-time film in the franchise, but it is close to the top of the pile.

It's funny that I liked it so much considering that the experience of enjoying it in the theater was so crazy and ruinous. Lisa ordered 6 tickets online, and we should have all been in the same row C of theater 14. When we got to the theater and printed the tickets, we found we were in three different rows of theater 13. Something with Fandango didn't sell enough tickets so they shuffled everyone into the next theater. And by shuffled, that meant we were all separate rows; A, E and C. I sat by myself, next to a total stranger who fell asleep four times and snored loudly. We got refunded for all the tickets and new passes for another show, but I still never want to go back to that theater.

Despite all that, the movie was a great ride. Two and a half hours of Star Wars action and story. It was wonderful. I can't wait to see it again.

2018/01/02

Career Update

I haven't written about what I've been doing for my day job in a long time. Like two years or so. I'm still doing a lot of development, HTML, CSS and scripting. But most of the last two years I've been specializing in Salesforce Marketing Cloud, email marketing program. I worked a contract position at Enterprise Holdings for 16 months, and really learned a ton there. Now I'm working a similar job in SFMC at Graybar. Also a great job so far and I'm putting my skills through a good use.

To Make a Different Difference

I don't make resolutions. But in this new year it's time for me to find new ways to make a larger difference; for me, for my marriage, for my family, for my community, for my country, for the world. I've been... Perhaps unsure for far too long. Recognizing problems but also concerned of possible pitfalls. Hidden enemies perhaps. No longer. I'm going to speak out, but also I'm going to act out. I'm more worried about the opportunity cost of inaction. So... Happy New Year then.

2017/12/26

I Forget How Long I've Been Off Facebook

Was it October? Anyhow, I've been logged out of my Facebook account and it's been 'deactivated' since some point several months ago, likely October. And it has been great for the most part. In fact, my account has been on-and-off deactivated for most of the last year. There were a several instances where the account got unintentionally reactivated. For example, if you connected your Spotify and Facebook account back in the day and could at the time use your Facebook account to log into your Spotify account, that was semi-convenient. But then you separated them so you could still use Spotify after deactivating Facebook. And then later you log into Spotify, but mistype your password... it recognizes that your username was once connected via Facebook and tests this method. This attempt fails to log you into Spotify, but it does use the cached user and password token on Facebook behind the scenes. Despite not going to the Facebook site intentionally, you get a "Thanks for coming back to Facebook!" email as a surprise. When I get mad about that, I don't even know who to vent my frustration at.

But I've been taking an extended break from Facebook and enjoying that quite a bit. Is social media great and a powerful force connecting all of humanity in a new and amazing way? Or is it a cesspool of boiling atrocity where all of the worst of humanity feeds off each other's insecurities ad nauseam? I used to think it was the former. More recently, there are some days I think it might be the latter. But more rationally, more realistically, it's likely somewhere in between in sum total. Seventy-thirty? Sixty-forty? Fifty-fifty? I don't know, it depends on how you measure it. And it's a highly subjective thing anyhow. A multiple set of gray shades.

When the FB account would get reactivated, I'd often just deactivate it again right away. But a few times, I did browse around for a little while just to reaffirm my conviction that I'm not missing anything too important. And I do miss that certain connection with long-distance friends and family. Especially around the holidays these past few weeks, I've felt a bit un-tethered. But not enough to keep my account active.

I could list my reasons for avoiding Facebook, but they are many and some I don't want to share. There will be specific people who will surmise that it was something they said/did/posted, but it was not any one person or entity that soured the experience for me. There were several "last straws" and they couldn't be ignored in sum total. Maybe this will be permanent. Maybe not.

Note that I'm still on twitter, so this isn't exactly a completely closed moral stand against all social media, just Facebook. We'll see how long that lasts.

Update

Not even two days after I posted this and I am listening to the morning NPR radio show 1A, which I do lately. And they did a special program on The Psychological Effects Of Signing Off Social Media. In the recording, which you can listen to still, they discuss some important questions.

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