Saturday, April 12, 2014

Things that piss me off: Not owning the bits I buy

When you buy an ebook from most outlets, including Amazon, the leader, you don't really own that ebook.  That pisses me off.

The thing is, even though you may think you're buying an ebook, you're not.  You're licensing it.  The "seller" has the right to freeze your access to the book by freezing your account, and Amazon has even in the past wiped purchased books from a Kindle account.  I know the license makes clear you are licensing, not purchasing, but that's just bullshit.  When I buy bits, I want to own them.  I want to be able to store them anywhere I want, use them on any device I want, and generally treat them like any other bits I own.

More to the point, I want to treat the bits like any other product I buy.  If I want to loan a CD or a book to a friend, I can.  I can store those items where I want.  Etc.

I must note here that not all outlets behave this way.  If you buy an ebook from Baen, my publisher, you not only own it, you get it in multiple formats and can do whatever you want with it. 

I understand the piracy concerns of the outlets, but I just don't think they're worth worrying about.  If someone wants to steal my ebooks, nothing I can do will stop them. 

I want to own the products I buy, even if those products are digital.  Until I can, this aspect of ebooks will continue to piss me off.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I didn't see this show at TED

because I was at TEDActive in Whistler, and Chris Hadfield played these songs at a show, an impromptu event that Amanda Palmer organized, that took place in Vancouver.  I sure wish I had been there, though.

Then Palmer sang "Astronaut" for Hadfield.

Very cool indeed.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My power is out

and I'm dealing with various related household issues, so I have nothing for you tonight. 

Oh, okay, here's something:  It now seems likely that I'm going to debut a new spoken-word show at Balticon late next month.

More on that another time.

Even without electricity flowing to my house, I can tease.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why is this song following me around?

It tormented me in the dentist's chair Monday morning, and I've heard it at least twice daily since then.


My theory:  Our robot overlords demand that I pass it on to you.  In return, it will leave me.

So, here.

Don't blame me.  No one can resist our robot overlords.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson is perhaps the most idiosyncratic major film director working today.  His work is not like anyone else's, though as Kyle and I agreed in discussing him, each movie of his is a great deal like his work as a whole.  Most frequent moviegoers I know either quite like his films or very much dislike them; few are in the middle.  I am in the former camp, with his last movie, Moonrise Kingdom, being my all-time favorite of his oeuvre. 

The Grand Budapest Hotel, which a group of us saw earlier tonight, did not, to my taste, have the wonderful heart of Moonrise Kingdom, but I still very much liked it.  The look was amazing:  heavily stylized, as you would expect, and otherworldly, as you would also expect, but completely charming.  The cast was the usual amazing assemblage of talented actors, and all of them played their roles with scene-chewing gusto. 

I could go on, but I don't want to spoil anything for you.  If you at all like Wes Anderson's work, don't miss this one.  If you generally don't like his films but happen to be in the mood for something absurd and witty and extremely odd, give this one a try anyway. 

Oh, yeah:  If you do go, stay to the very end of the credits.  You'll be glad you did.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The distinct pleasure of unsought moments

Plans dominate so much of my life that I've come to appreciate more those little moments that happen on their own, unbidden and unsought. 

Scanning the latest offering email from Amazon is fine, and it's great to be able to order the books and music and other items we know we want, but I still love encountering a new and enticing book on a store's shelf, or hearing a song for the first time in a music store and needing to know who was performing it. 

Being able to listen to any song at any time is wonderful, but so, too, is sitting in the car in the garage or in your job's parking lot as a song finishes on the radio. 

Encountering a friend at a movie and grabbing something to eat afterward, or even just chatting about what you both saw, is a special sort of treat.

A year ago right now, I was on sabbatical.  On April 7, 2013, I was spending my last night of the trip in Florence, a city I deeply love.  (For more on that day, go here.)  I built that entire trip on a plan-less foundation, a dedication to the goal of awakening each day with virtually no plan in mind.  I loved it, and I miss that time.  I've realized, though, that I can find a great deal of unplanned joy in everyday life, if I but open myself to it.  I hope to do a better job of that in the years ahead. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Give a listen

Pop on over to Aaron Dethrage's SoundCloud site and listen to this cover of Kevin Devine's "Just Stay."  Ben's vocals are a treat, and the song is lovely. 

I love that people young and old are always creating new songs and reinterpreting old ones.  I think often of The Count's final speech at the end of Pirate Radio:

Years will come, years will go, and politicians will do fuck all to make the world a better place.

But all over the world, young men and young women will always dream dreams and put those dreams into song.

Nothing important dies tonight. Just a few ugly guys on a crappy ship.

The only sadness tonight is that, in future years, there'll be so many fantastic songs that it will not be our privilege to play.

But, believe you me, they will still be written.

They will still be sung and they will be the wonder of the world.
Indeed, to me, they are.


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