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.

2020/11/14

Unus Annus - Post Mortem

My son... is gloriously weird and I love him for it.

Like most kids his age, he's a big fan of certain YouTube 'celebrities' and though some parents might find that cringy, I think it can be neat. There are certainly some creeps to watch out for and avoid, but I've found that Sam is pretty good about knowing what to watch out for. And sometimes, when something is really interesting, Sam comes and tells me about it.

This past week, Sam brought me a video suggestion for a channel called Unus Annus, which means "one year" in Latin. This was a special collaborative project between two prominent YouTubers; Markiplier (who I had heard of) and Ethan Nestor (who I had not heard of). The plan for the channel's project was an interesting experiment in impermenance. The team behind the channel made a plan to make one video a day, every day for one year. An interesting or profound high-concept content video, every single day of the year for one entire year.

And then, on the last day of the year, while livestreaming their final video, they would delete their entire channel.

And the countdown to the end of the channel --and the mortality analogy-- would be openly discussed from the beginning. Here is Markiplier giving a post-mortem from his perspective.

Here is Ethan's video on the same subject.

And ...I'd love to share one of the Unus Annus videos. They were produced well with each of the hosts wearing tailored suits in contrasting white or black. The videos usually featured the group going through with some sort of "bucket list" experience, like getting pepper-sprayed or being brutally honest or hosting a sleepover. They also discussed legal stuff and just did a bunch of weird mortality issue discussions. A bizarre metaphor for death. What would you do, if you only had one year? Living life to the fullest.

Yes, some of it was downright creepy. Like I said, it was interesting and I'd love to share it with you. But, they made good on their promise. And when the clock reached it's countdown, with over 1.5 million people watching the livestream, they deleted the entire channel.

Poof. Amazing. Super weird and morbid. But also amazing. #MementoMori

In case you are worried at this point, yes I did have a lengthy parental chat with Sam about his interest in the channel and what he thought of it all. I was worried about his feelings and if was going to be super-upset when the channel was over. Or if the discussions about death scared him. And he's just fine. He just thought the whole idea was super interesting.

More Information

Featured below are a few screenshots that some fans captured, some only a few minutes before the end.




And it is already a sure thing that some fans of the channel have downloaded and archived the videos. And some will subvert the point of the channel by trying to reupload or reshare their copies. They will likely get taken down in due time after copyright strikes. In time, even these digital memories will fade.

And doesn't that seem like the right lesson here? Each of us only has a finite amount of time. No regrets. Give everything that you have left to give. The clock is always ticking. #UnusAnnus #MementoMori

2020/11/12

Removed Flickr Badge

Another bygone web site service that I must lament is going away is Flickr. Technically not going away, but certainly becoming less than useful.

As of today, I'm removing the code for a Flickr photo badge from the footer of my blog, because it has not been working for a while. This was a rotating set of photos of Lucas, so it comes with some amount of extra grief. I'd even done something neat with some photo frames. Anyhow, I'll save the code here for my personal historical note, but I don't expect it to magically start working again.

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2020/07/15

I ... Can't Read

It's time for me to admit something that embarrasses me,... but first let me get this reference to a Beggin' Strips commercial from 1998 out of the way.

What's in that bag? ... I can't read!!!

Heh, classic. Okay, time for the embarrassing admission. It appears that I can't read!

Or ... sort of. Maybe? Obviously I'll need to explain this a bit better.

It's not exactly that I can't read anything. I can clearly read well enough to write this post. I can read instructions. I can read a recipe. I can read most articles on certain topics. I read twitter multiple times a day and scan the headlines on CNN, NPR and Reddit among other places with a bit of frequency. Perhaps too much frequency. In fact I probably read a lot every single day right now.

It's just that I used to be a seriously avid book reader. I used to devour books, usually in rapid succession, novel after novel after novel. And I was proud of it. I'd go through shelves of them in a whole year. If I haven't mentioned it, Stephen King is my favorite author but I've got so many other books too. Piles of Star Wars books, fantasy, sci-fi, adventure, all kinds of digital books too, Lovecraft and graphic novels and vampire romance and more. Reading has always been so much fun for me.

However, it seems that with the passing of the last year or two, I've really slowed down and have read almost NO BOOKS that I can think of. I got several books of varying size for Christmas this past December and I've been handed or recommended a few since my birthday. And they are all sitting here stacked on my bedside table almost entirely untouched. What happened?

Obviously, I could list the things that I'm busy with instead. I guess. My current job now and the jobs I've had for the past few years before that have kept me pretty busy, which is good. I don't want to get into it right now, but the politics in my country have been a horrible nightmare since at least November 2016. So that's a bit distracting. More recently there is a global pandemic to think about constantly.

But these all seem like part of the problem. I hate to admit it, but I think the real problem is that I'm buried in my phone so much. Obviously, I'm doing a lot of reading there, but I'm also doing a lot of gaming, scrolling, retweeting, reblogging, liking, tagging, upvoting and trolling. And also a lot of doomsurfing, which also isn't healthy. It feels like my reading comprehension, which I've always know was super high, is slipping into an abyss.

I have got to get back into reading and reading right now and reading heavily. It may not solve any of the other problems rolling around, but it's so strongly a part of who I am and who I want to be that I feel out of place just recognizing that this change has occurred.

Who am I? Time to open a book and find out.

2019/04/03

A Streetcar Named Desire @ Florissant Valley Community College

Oldest daughter Reese is once again impressing everyone with her thespian skills.

And here the performance back in February of Streetcar was reviewed by professional reviewers on their YouTube channel. Reese shows up at 1 minute and 25 seconds.

2019/02/22

Bastilles, Mississippi Nights, Bernard's Pub... and my high school days following the St. Louis Music Scene

Back in high school, mid-90s, me and the buds would sometimes frequent a place called Bastilles and I was reminiscing on it today. I think I saw the Urge there and/or perhaps MU330 and/or Sinister Dane and/or Fragile Porcelain Mice, and so on. Jeff K. and I would have likely gone many times.

First occasion of slam dancing happened there.

Likely first understanding for me that as a trombone player, I could still be in a rock band. All my friends were sax/trumpet/guitar players.

One of the times I was there last, some unnamed punk/grunge band was playing and someone opened a can of mace that cleared the place out.

Today, I was trying to recall where it was (in town) since the other clubs I recalled were mostly downtown or in the loop. Other places included Mississippi Nights, Club 367, Bernard's Pub, and... Meshuggahs in the Loop? There were others too.

I got the message that Bastilles was at Kehrs Mill Rd and Clayton. I checked Google Street View and found that there's a UMB Bank there now. Meh.

But then I noted that there's a place I recognized just down the road; Wolf Public House. Back in 2013, when I was in Dirty Soap, we played a several hour gig there. I checked their site's calendar and there we are!

2018/03/03

Delicious Bookmarks

Back in June, I posted about del.icio.us again and how the site was being mothballed. I spent a few hours looking at alternatives but didn't get very far. All the official announcements everywhere suggest that adding new bookmarks was blocked back in July and now the site is forever read-only with no ability to create new.*

It turns out that although that is the case for the official bookmarklet which loads a "Sorry" message if tried, that post URL was not the ONLY method available over the lifetime of the site. Older bookmark form URLs were different and one of them still works. I'm not sure if the new owner is unaware or if he just doesn't really care. My intuition tells me the situation is temporary, but here we are several months later and I'm still adding new bookmarks.

Some of my favorite features don't work. For instance, there was always an RSS feed of the various pages, but the entire subdomain for feeds appears to be down or inaccessible. This means that a lot of the automated accessories I'd set up around del.icio.us are defunct. For example, the reposting of my bookmarks to my wordpress blog via IFTTT stopped working and some of the topical RSS feeds I'd followed are unavailable. But the main feature -- a public repository of links that I collected, tagged, shared and curated -- continues to be there. A lot of the shared network features appear to be broken, so I can't see any of the other members that I was following.

Come to think of it, I therefore can't tell if I'm the only one that is still adding bookmarks. I'm probably jinxing things by mentioning it because there's always the slim chance the new site owner will get an alert about this very blog post. My apologies in advance if that's the case.

Delicious Alternatives

Eventually, I'll need to do something and move my bookmarking elsewhere. But I can't muster excitement about any of the choices I've found. My bias is probably clouding things. Let's see...

  • There's Pinboard, which seems like the most obvious choice. Seems likely to have all of the same features, several new ones and a viable profit model. The price of $11 / year is super reasonable.
  • Diigo exists and I even used it as a direct backup from Delicious for a while (via IFTTT). Comparably, it's a little bit more modern and slicker interface, which isn't really a draw for me but whatever. Also seems a little more corporate and has a higher price tag of $40 / year.
  • Google Bookmarks is still around, but let's draw a big question mark around that one.
  • There's Are.na, which seems to be a combo of the social bookmarking of Delicious plus the automation tools of IFTTT. They must be new and small, because I can't find much about them other than their site. Basic version is free, with premium add-ons.
  • There are some open-source self-hosted alternatives to Delicious, but I haven't tried any of them out yet.

There are others, but the main reason I haven't pursued one and moved on is that the old one still works. Eh, it will happen one of these days.


* There was a whisper of an impending announcement posted on Twitter back in August about the long-term future of Delicious offering "free bookmarking to K-12 teachers worldwide" but from what I can tell there was no follow-up.

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