Category Archives: Bytes

Longer, more polished posts

The Force Awakens Review

This post on the new Star Wars film contains spoilers.

I wonder at what point J. J. Abrams first felt The Force Awakens coming together. Through a multi-year-long process that involves intense planning, cooperation, vision, and compromise, it surely is an extremely stressful endeavor. Abrams himself was reluctant to take on the mantle of restoring The Most Beloved Franchise.

That’s what’s in my mind when I think about this new Star Wars. Everything worked, and that’s amazing. Not only as a single film itself; not only with the context of episodes I, II, and III; not only as beholden to the glory of IV, V, and VI; but as something that must capture everyone across gender, race, age, and more, for the newcomers and old fans alike.

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What makes Back to the Future so Beloved?

It’s the late night of October 21, 2015, the day that Marty McFly visits the “future” in Back to the Future Part II. It’s being celebrated and laughed about in all corners of the internet, mixing nostalgia for a beloved trilogy of films with amusement at the inaccuracies of its predictions. I think it’s causing some reflection upon the state of society and technology today compared to our expectations.

No, nothing hovers, but you do have WiFi on your cell phone. I’d say we’re good.

But what makes these films (notably the first two) such touchstones in our culture? Why are they so endlessly memorable and entertaining?

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Modern Romance: The Missing Polyamory

This is my second post on Aziz Ansari’s new book, Modern Romance. Check out my previous one on dating profile images.

I finished the book recently, and I enjoyed the experience of reading it. Ansari mixes surprising jokes with a fascinating investigation into the changing behaviors and technology of dating and relationships. It does only dive as deeply as you’d expect a book by a comedian would do, though. Erring on the side of “fun and light” was probably a wise choice.

In the second half of the book, Ansari starts building a case for the dilemma of modern romance: in the age of emerging adulthood, young people have a choice to either enjoy the single life and the highs of romantic love in dating, or to appreciate the slow build of companionate love that comes from settling down into a long-term relationship. He focuses significantly on the “fear of missing out” (FOMO) when marrying one person.

In one of the final chapters, Ansari begins a small discussion on open relationships, which could be one solution to this dilemma. Unfortunately, the scope of the section was small, and the attitude towards it not nearly as welcoming as other developments in modern romance. I found it pretty disappointing.

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Modern Romance: The High-Angle Selfie

I’ve been reading Aziz Ansari’s book, Modern Romance, which I heard about from his interview on the Freakonomics podcast. It intrigued me that a comedian would write a book that is not just full of jokes and humor but also solid independent research and references to other literature on the subject. There are graphs, charts, and footnotes to studies noting the changing landscape of the dating world, between all-caps complaints about “Tanya” not texting Ansari back after an important message.

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After 8? years, a visit to the doctor

I’ll be talking in detail about some minor medical procedures (involving needles and blood) you commonly get done during a check-up. These are things I have strong phobias of, but this is my way of trying to get past them. If that’s not stuff you can read about, I feel you. See you next time.

I went to the doctor yesterday for a wellness visit. Haven’t done that in many years, and never independently. Even the doctor remarked that I was a rare case being a male in my 20s coming in.

He’s an MO, which means he is trained in osteopathy:

Osteopathy is a type of alternative medicine that emphasizes the physical manipulation of the body’s muscle tissue and bones. … Osteopathic medicine in the United States differs greatly in scope and approach from osteopathy as practiced in Europe elsewhere. The USA recognizes a branch of the medical profession called osteopathic physicians, trained and certified to practice all modern medicine.

I was a little concerned about this, since I very much value science and evidence in medicine. I’m a fan of Steven Novella and the Science-Based Medicine blog. (I was wearing my SGU “placebo band” that morning.) Words like “holistic” or osteopathy being linked with so many alternative medicine treatments made me a bit skeptical. With more reading, I learned that opinions vary, and MOs can be just about identical to MDs.

I stumbled into this two weeks ago when I was getting STI tests done. I agreed to the recommendation the nurse practitioner gave that he sign me up for one of their doctors as a primary care physician, so I didn’t have much input into whom. (Still an adulting win, though!)

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