Tags: television



Wired for sound

The newest episode of has the highlights from one of their occasional live events. This one revolves around the deliberately contentious premise of television vs. radio.

AV Smackdown … The Podcast on Huffduffer

Seeing as Huffduffer is all about audio rather than video, you can probably guess that I’ve got a soft spot for radio. Not that I have anything against the moving image; it’s just that television, film and video demand more from your senses. Lend me your ears! and your eyes. With your ears and eyes engaged, it’s pretty hard to do much else. So the default position for enjoying television is sitting down.

A purely audio channel demands only aural attention. That means that radio—and be extension, podcasts—can be enjoyed at the same time as other actions; walking around, working out at the gym. Perhaps it’s this symbiotic, rather than parasitic, arrangement that I find engaging.

Neal Stephenson draws a distinction between vegging out and geeking out:

To geek out on something means to immerse yourself in its details to an extent that is distinctly abnormal — and to have a good time doing it. To veg out, by contrast, means to enter a passive state and allow sounds and images to wash over you without troubling yourself too much about what it all means.

He expanded on this distinction in a talk at Gresham College on Science Fiction versus Mundane Culture.

The Fork: Science Fiction versus Mundane Culture on Huffduffer

I enjoy vegging out in front of the television. I enjoy geeking out with podcasts.

Christmas in Brighton

I just celebrated my first Christmas in Brighton. I usually spend the holiday season either in Ireland with my family or in Arizona with Jessica’s family. This year, thanks to a Kafkaesque game of beaureaucratic tag involving the Home Office and Jessica’s passport, we were stranded in the UK—like most people as it turned out.

It ended up being a most pleasant affair, spent in the company of good friends and copious amounts of good food. Following a shady rendez-vous with chicken-pimp Pete, we had the raw materials for an excellent roast. After an evening (and early morning) of playing poker, in which Andy emerged victorious, the festivities were complete.

With Christmas done, I am now going to spend my first New Year’s Eve in Brighton. To be honest, I’m not much of a party-goer so I don’t think I’ll be enduring the cold for Fatboy Slim. Besides, my mother is coming over to visit and I don’t think that would be her scene either.

Instead, I’m planning to carry my current enjoyment of coziness, comfort food and mindless entertainment across the threshold of the year. The entertainment will be delivered via the big screen TV that I treated myself with at Christmas.

Now I can finally watch those films that I vowed only ever to watch on a big screen:

  1. Blade Runner
  2. Brazil
  3. 2001: A Space Odyssey

If you need me, I’ll be busy treasuring the twin spirits of Christmas present: gluttony and sloth. Once the new year has been rung in, they can go back to being vices but for now they are both most assuredly virtues.