In Your Pocket

It’s all already in your pocket.

Have you noticed, that essentially these days many of us are defined not exactly by what’s in our pockets, be it one phone or another, or maybe a phablet, if you’re skipping right too one of those, not the gizmo itself, but what’s contained, or accessible, from our small flat touch screens within the lint mines of our pockets. I keep my album collection there through iTunes, my movies there as well lately, my television mainly through YouTube and Amazon, and certainly Disney Plus will play a role. My books are there through kindle, access to recipes, this website, which I edit online. It’s all here out in the nothing of the internet, what I love is that no matter how much stuff there is, the tablet never gets heavier. Cloud storage. It’s a wonder too. I can write on my iPad, set it down to sync, and pick up the same story on my computer just a moment later. I can turn everything on, and broadcast, live any minute, to anywhere in the world, as soon as I get more than a couple of viewers at a time. Imagine what I can do once I’m walking again. 


I love television. Doesn’t anybody? Okay, I know there are a select few (that I am incredibly envious of) who don’t have a television and don’t care what’s on it, but I do. I’m not devastated if I miss a show, and the more time I spend writing lately, the less I miss it, but these days, if I even begin to watch the Great British Baking Show, I know that before I know what’s happened, it seems, it’s time for kids to go to get and lights to be turned off and when I started it was something like two in the afternoon. 

Another thing that’s happening is that people my age, who grew up on the things I grew up on are starting to get in charge where television and movies are made, so there are plenty of revitalized shows that are based on intellectual properties that I grew up on. They want Star Wars shows, so Disney Plus is planning to launch their little service with at least one if not two or three live-action Star Wars shows, and I’ll get back to what Netflix among other services has done in a minute. Speaking of Netflix they’ve got the Dark Crystal as a prequel series, which so far (amazing I know) I’ve had absolutely zero time to watch, and I’m the perfect aged fanboy geek who should be going ape-butterfly-bananas over it. I loved that movie and still do. I dreamed of becoming a puppeteer for the Muppets for years, and still occasionally fantasize about that, even though my hands still don’t work properly. It’s one of those ‘if I could go back in time and…’ stories that I tell myself. I’ve also heard there may Ge a muppets revival. Ack! 

Good Eats has also returned. Have I made time for more than one show? No! (Well, maybe by the time this is published…) I love that show. To me, it’s almost a cartoon, in a world of its own, but there are certain tropes that make it a Good Eats episode that Alton Brown has adhered to, and that makes them even better. There are recurring characters, themes that match up, cabinets and ovens to speak into, styles and flow that make it work for me. I bought the new season on iTunes because I love them. I just heed to watch them…

Did you watch the whole thing? Just part? Maybe? Now I’m getting to it. You used to have a TV. If you were lucky as I was, also cable. There your options opened up, more channels, and more channels, then a new cable box, with more channels. Add an Atari 2600 console game system on top of that, then a Nintendo, then Super Nintendo on top of that, PC gaming, now you have Amazon Fire Sticks, Netflix, Apple TV, and Disney Plus might be close to those, especially in original programming, and each service is like buying cable all over again, and the monthly fees can pile up, so you need to choose which one suits you best, all powered by your best internet speed, which is another discussion. I wonder if by the time Star Wars episode nine comes out this Christmas, will we ever buy movies again? I mean like a copy, that’s yours and you can carry around with you.

So it all brings me back to the idea that, especially with good internet, because that’s really my window on the world right now, am I simply satisfied that these shows, these things, to exist in the world that I live in, without having to watch them? Maybe? I’ll eventually get around to some of them,  The thing is, call them what you want, there are too many channels out there, and no possible way to even try to cover them. We’re a long way from ABC, CBS, NBC and a few UHF channels here and there, at least coming from Georgia, and growing up when I did, and even then you couldn’t be up on everything. DVRs were still a distant thing at that point, you still knew a whole lot of it. Forget programming a VCR, though I could, and did a lot of that in the day. 

I think my brain is actually melting from the pure amount of television out there, and don’t even get me started on YouTube… oops, I did… God, where was YouTube when I and my friends were filming so much? Given the ability to start my own channel then, holy cow. My kids don’t care one lick really for ‘normal’ television. To them it’s all life, streaming at their fingertips every second, and updated with new shows daily or at least every few days. What regular shows they watch are all streamed, and they have only limited access because my wife and I make it so. Given YouTube and an internet connection, they’ll never have a cable bill. I just don’t know, where they’ll get their credible information about news and politics from. Newspapers are all but dead and look darn hear close to many other blogs nowadays if done well.

It’s a strange idea to me, since I grew up on Muppets, Star Wars and home makeover shows, that I’m perplexed by the abundance of shows young adults are making on YouTube, which my kids are obsessed with, where they play video games with their head visible in the bottom corner, I admit I’m dabbling in this, jumping on trampolines through obstacle courses in their back yard, and playing hide and seek in their huge, yet modestly furnished houses. Unboxing? They’re over that. Dog breaking a trampoline in the snow? Their eyes are glued.

I don’t know. I think my head just exploded. Too many options. I love playing (the real) Dungeons & Dragons, which I like to think of as the original MMO, and I enjoy its cousin, Dungeons & Dragons Online, but barely play now. It’s just another distraction, another screen to get my attention with. iPad, which I’m working on now, smartphones, laptops, televisions, pretty soon we’ll be sprinkling screens on our breakfast cereals. 

Too many options, so I’m off to read a book on my kindle. (Oof! Another screen! Too bad I can’t flip pages yet….) For the first time in a while, I’d like to flip through a big old coffee table-sized book, just to do it. 


This week, I read Outliers. Amazing book about how some folks get ahead. Most of the people I consider successful in writing, my idols, like the people at the level of the folks in Malcolm Gladwell’s  Outliers are already dead, or very advanced in age. Ray Bradbury, Arthur C Clark, J. R. R. Tolkien, Michael Crichton. King’s getting up there, though I still love him. I realized, looking through my books the other day, that among those who aren’t dead most are seventy or more, not to say that’s wrong, I’m just saying they came from the world of three channels, with a couple of UHFs, and New York publishing houses as the gatekeepers of what books we’re printed. Now, through Amazon, and other ebook venues, every author is now on their own BookTube channel whether they think about it not, because you don’t go to the bookstore anymore, because everyone has one in their pocket, much like with YouTube, all the entertainment you can shake a stick at, in your pocket too. Outliers is a great read. How did I experience it? The author read it to me. An audiobook on Audible, also bringable, just in your pocket.

Radio? No friend, that’s all podcasts now. In your poker also. Sirius XM is great. We have that too, but I think podcasts, downloadable audio is the way that’s headed, or all streaming, though I do think that video podcasts should let it go. They’re too big to download. I think they should just do a YouTube show instead, that’s where those eyes are. Maybe become good enough to be a part of YouTube Red, another paying service. 

It’s all in your pocket. Are you reading on your smartphone? If so, I’m in there too. 

It’s all such a long way from George of the Jungle.

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