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300 Seconds Episode #118: “The year Two Thousand and Suck”

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You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 118, “In the year two-thousand and suck,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!

It can be hard to believe sometimes, but we are now living in the Twenty-First Century.  The Future, such as it is.  Back on New Year’s Day of 2010, I thought back to all of those Nintendo and Super Nintendo video games that I played that took place “IN THE YEAR 20XX” and realized:  Wow, we’re there now.  In the novel 2001 A Space Odyssey, we were supposed to have a space station and a moon base.  Here we are, twenty years after 2001, and while the International Space Station is neat, it’s no Space Station V.  There is also no Clavius Base on the moon.  Heck, we don’t even have a Moonbase Alpha. 

My vision of how the future was going to play out was heavily influenced by all of the episodes of The Jetsons that I watched growing up as a kid and Isaac Asimov’s stories and novels, so it would be an understatement to say that I have been sorely disappointed in what I have seen in the first fifth of the twenty-first century so far.  Let’s be honest, the future just isn’t what it used to be.

To begin with, technology as a whole has not advanced as far as it could have, and one could argue that some things are moving in the wrong direction.  Take cars, for example.  Flying cars were a thing in The Jetsons, though George Jetson still had to contend with lousy traffic, because despite what Star Trek preaches, lots of people are still going to suck one hundred years from now.  I’m not even a fan of the concept of a flying car, because what goes up will eventually come down, and given the number of poorly maintained vehicles I regularly see on the road, I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a lot of people ignoring the ‘Check Anti-Grav Soon’ light on their future-car dashboard.  Honestly, though, I don’t even want flying cars, I think it would be enough for them to hover, just maybe a foot off the ground like a Star Wars land speeder.  Hover-cars would solve a lot of problems.  No need for tires, less wear and tear on the roads, or maybe, as Doc Brown once said, we won’t need roads. 

I think robots are neat, and one thing that The Jetsons gave us to look forward to was having a robot maid to clean up the house.  Given that at this point in time, we barely have a robot vacuum cleaner, I don’t expect to have a robot maid clanking around my apartment keeping things clean anytime soon.  I also think that Artificial Intelligence is also going to have a pretty hard time replicating the sassiness of Rosie the Robot.  It’s going to be a while before we figure out ‘smart technology,’ and even longer before we can have “smart-aleck technology.”

While science fiction made a lot of educated guesses as to what kind of technology we would have in the future, I don’t think anyone predicted the emergence of the Internet to say nothing of having access to it via a hand-held computer.  Isaac Asimov wrote several stories about a giant computer called MultiVac that literally contained all the information about the world.  I have a friend who refers to their cell phone as their “Mother Box,” which is probably the best description of a cell phone that I think I’ve ever heard, so maybe Jack Kirby was onto something.  Unfortunately, it is a great irony that unlimited access to unlimited information has collectively made people dumber.  This is partially thanks to social media, because no matter how terrible, out there, or insane the belief is, there will be a bunch of people with similar views online.  I’m just saying Flat Earthers should not be a thing in the 21st century.

One particularly awful trend that I have noticed in this year of twenty-twenty-one is the slow deterioration of the written and spoken English language.  Maybe it’s because of all the science fiction that I have read and watched over the years, but I was kinda hoping that we’d be using cool future words by now.  Going back to Asimov, he had his characters say things like “Aw, space!” in situations where one would expect to swear.  The Battlestar Galactica reboot famously used frak as it’s and one of my favorite future comics, Magnus, Robot Fighter would have characters say things like “I’m feeling sore down to the subatomic level.”  I always thought future-talk was neat and have adopted a similar tactic to cut down on the amount of salty language coming from me, though my preferred exclamations are “Craters!” and “Shazbot!”

People are inherently lazy, so I understand using acronyms on-line.  LOL, AFK, WTF, STFU and so on.  My personal favorite is IANAL, which stands for I Am Not A Lawyer.  I still remember the first time I heard someone actually say LOL out loud in a conversation: The person, whom up to that point I thought was otherwise intelligent said “LAWL!”  When I heard that, I wanted to smack the taste out of their mouth.  Seriously, what the hell?  Is laughing so difficult for you that you have to abbreviate it instead of actually laughing?! 

On the plus side, a common trope in near-future science fiction is that marijuana is legal, and that seems to be slowly happening, so hooray, I guess.  It also might explain a few things…

This has been 300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz, the next episode will be posted after I start writing a story about a tomorrow where nothing freaking changes, just to be different.  For more wonderfully weird, witty and mostly grammatically correct words written by me, visit Eduardo Soliz dot com and I thank you for listening!  Be good, take care, and God Bless.

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300 Seconds, Eduardo Soliz, JUST SAYING, Podcasting, PODCASTS, RANDOMIZER9.COM, SAN JAPAN, TECH, TECH SUPPORT, WORDS, WORK

300 Seconds Episode #117: “Radio”

NOTE: This is a transcript of a podcast for those with hearing difficulties, those that prefer to read, and those who would prefer to not hear the sound of my voice. 😉

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You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 117, “Radio,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!

I consider myself blessed to be a part of Generation X.  I was born in the analog days of the seventies, grew up during the early digital age of the eighties, when video games and home computers were new, and saw the internet grow up in the 1990s from clunky beige PCs dialing up over phone lines to now being an indispensable part of modern life in the twenty-first century as we carry around our cell phones wherever we go.

Despite all the new super-awesome whiz-bang music technology that has come and gone over the years from cassette tapes to Walkmans to CDs to MP3 players to streaming services, I still have a soft spot for radio.

Back in the day, radio was where you went to hear the newest music.  If there was a particular song you really liked, you could use a tape recorder to catch it the next time it came on.  Hopefully you were there to press Record and hopefully the dee-jay didn’t blab over the beginning or the end of the song too much and hopefully your tape didn’t get chewed up by the player.  Ah, good times.

My mother had a radio in the kitchen when I was a kid.  I remember sitting nearby in the mornings watching her cooking breakfast while music played.  Years later, when I eventually bought a house, I also bought a radio for the kitchen.

My first car back in 1990 had a tape player that ended up being less than reliable so I spent my first years of college listening to local radio stations during my twenty-mile commute to school and back.  I particularly liked the oldies station; I remember listening to the morning DJs reading the local school lunch menus during my commute, peppering them with corny jokes and funny sound effects.  The radio in my car eventually quit working to the point where it would only pick up the AM dial and even then, there was only one country station that the thing would pick up reliably.  I don’t care much for country music, but they did play Paul Harvey in the afternoons during my drive home, so I got to hear a lot of Paul Harvey.  Good day.

It wasn’t until 2005 that I got a car with a CD player in it, so radio was my driving companion for a number of years, and over those years, I have noticed a few changes.  Like everything else in life, some of those changes have been good and others have been not so good. 

One trend that I liked was when stations started popping up that didn’t have DJs.  Jack-FM in San Antonio was the first one that I heard, and I’m pretty sure there is one in your neck of the woods, whether it’s called Jack or John or Bob or Sue or whatever one-syllable name they happen to give to it.  As much as I enjoyed the two guys on the oldies station back in the nineties, way too many DJs fill the airwaves with annoying blather that could be filled with music instead.  Yeah, I’ll switch over to the AM dial if I want to hear mindless yakking.  But, if there is one thing that AM radio is still good for, it’s sports.  I have spent many a Sunday listening to the Dallas Cowboys play on my drive home, and I have to say that listening to them suck is only slightly less painful than watching them suck on television.

Even though I have a USB drive loaded with my favorite radio hits of the 70s and 80s plugged into my vehicle, I still listen to radio for music on occasion, though it has become a bit harder as of late, and of course, commercials are to blame.

I get it.  Complaining about the number of commercials on the radio is like complaining about the weather:  You can’t do a whole lot about it so there really isn’t much point.  But, just like the weather, radio is getting worse:  You see, in order to play more commercials, you have to play less of something else, and kind of like how network TV shows became shorter over the years, radio stations have been trimming songs to make room for more commercials.  I mainly listen to stations that play of 80s and 90s music that I heard growing up, so when something is taken out of a song, I immediately notice.  Usually it’s something like a guitar solo, but I was legitimately upset the first time I heard Michael Jackson’s Thriller with the Vincent Price voiceover cut out.  Whomever made that decision needs to be fired…preferably from a cannon.  Radio, somebody still loves you, but we need to talk. 

This has been 300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz, the next episode will be posted after I sign up for Pandora.  For more wonderfully weird and witty words written by me, visit Eduardo Soliz dot com, and I thank you for listening!  Be good, take care and God Bless.

 

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