[Spoiler alert: not much]
It’s been a couple of manic weeks. Those types of weeks when you start early and finish late and the intensity of the work day is such that you come home and your brain is buzzing with tension and at the same time so tired that the thought of making it do anything creative or new is a chore. I’ve had two of these. Meetings after meetings and so much to think about and consider that I came home and collapsed into my bed and obsessively watched Instagram stories of funny dogs.
It’s also been a few weeks of some introspection because in my Cyberpsychology class we have our first assignment due and, while I started off wanting to write about Fake News, it soon became clear to me that there is limited research on fake news and the scope of our 1st Assignment was a bit to constrained for me to go off brief. So I’ve ended up reading and writing about our constant checking of phones and other screens and whether that genuinely interferes with attention, concentration, etc. If I’m allowed I will link you to my short paper after Nov 30th.
It’s complicated, I can only tell you that. Not everything is as black and white as papers have it appear to be, and to that end, one of the things I have been reflecting on, is the comforting effect of watching Insta stories when your brain does not have enough energy to focus. I’ve been thinking that this is maybe due to the concise and soundbitey nature of short form content, so easy to consume and get pleasure from — like a small piece of candy, and of course you immediately think this is probably bad because you can become addicted to the Stories’ “sugar”. But there is something to be said about being able to build a story, a comical moment, a “pa-dam” moment into 20 seconds and that it probably takes a lot of talent and work and thought. I wonder if the better analogy of this is eating pistachio — there’s incredible gratification in each piece, and you want more and more and eventually it turns out not to be good for you. But pistachio is tasty and nutritious and if you could only eat a handful, you’d probably get a few of its benefits as well.
At any rate, this is not about my Cyberpsychology paper — although most of these past weeks’ readings have been research papers for that particular paper.
It’s been a few very very “content dry” weeks. Watching wise, we’re still trying The Peripheral, and I have started the much teased 5th Season of The Crown on Netflix. So far, I can see why people are asking for the series to finally end. It’s dull and plods along and I’ve found myself phasing out huge chunks of each episode as the dialogue is just tedious. I’ll do my best to finish it. We’ve also started watching Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+. Ummm, not sure why you would watch this one either. The intrigue is null, the characters- predictable and some of the CGI really glitchy. I probably won’t watch a second episode. Finally, we started and never finished “See How They Run”. Seems like a nice Friday night movie, but I’m glad I did not have to pay to see it. I do have a long list of movies I am pretty excited to catch, among them “After Yang” and “On The Count of Three”. These are not on streaming yet so need to wait a while.
Listening wise, it’s even worse :( . I’ve been half-heartedly listening to The Tennis Podcast and The Rest is Politics (still good) and that’s pretty much it. Haven’t really had any time to research any new podcasts either so I’m afraid no news on this front.
Finally, reading wise, only a long list of research papers as I mentioned, and some wish list reading (a chance find of an Eve Babitz book, a collection of Korean short stories called Cursed Bunny, an incredible collection of essays about AI curated by Janette Winterson (!!!!!) and a book of recipes entitled “Recipes in Confinement” — basically stuff people made up to make themselves feel good during the lockdowns). Lots to look fwd to. I’ve also been slowly making my way through the Michael Lewis “A Premonition” which is turning out to be a bit of a manifesto for design thinking and responsible algorithm development. I am so excited to have more time to dive into all of these but …well, work’s not been on my side these past few weeks.
What have you been reading/listening to/watching? Make me jealous :)