There was a time when I was addicted to cable television and all it had to offer. My roommates and I had every single HD channel you could think of, including all the premium movie channels, along with Video on Demand, and few DVRs, the works. I could watch anything at anytime and I did. It I spent hours flipping through my favorite channels and searching for shows and movies to record. It was an addiction and I was hooked. Or I thought I was. Until my roommates and I decided that cable wasn’t worth it anymore and we discontinued our service.
You know what? It wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t that hard of a transition either, as long as you have a solid internet connection. It helps having a Netflix or Hulu subscription too. I don’t have Hulu, but I have Netflix and Netflix is pretty great. They have tons of movie and series and great original programming. You could survive on Netflix. But honestly, I rely on YouTube more than anything else for entertainment. I subscribe to a lot of channels like WatchMojo, Vice, Vsauce, and too many more to name. You can get stuck in a music video playlist. All the late night talk shows upload their best content. There’s tons of sports highlights too, its like having ESPN at your fingertips. YouTube is better than basic cable and it’s free.
The biggest thing that I miss is watching sports, particularly baseball. The first thing I did after I got rid of cable was go out and buy an old radio from Goodwill. Listening to Jon Miller and Dave Flemming on KNBR 680 with MLB Gameday open on my laptop is almost as good as watching the San Francisco Giants on TV. Almost. I will go to a friend’s house or to a bar for really important games. It’s more fun to watch with more people anyway so it wasn’t much of a change. Other than live sports, there is plenty of life after cable. I got rid of cable. I regret nothing.
PSY is the South Korean K-pop powerhouse that brought you “Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman”. He’s got a new YouTube music video out now called “Hangover” and it’s pretty terrible. It’s really terrible in fact. This song is a hangover. It makes you sick. It makes you nauseous. It makes you regret everything that you did that’s lead up to this point. It has an awful beat, lazy auto-tuning, and a bored Snoop Dogg mumbling his way through horrible lyrics. Snoop Dogg (or is still Snoop Lion?) spends a lot of time talking about smoking weed for a song that’s supposed to about a hangover. And how do South Koreans feel about weed anyway? Do they even smoke it over there? The video is mostly PSY and Snoop running around drinking and causing trouble wherever they go. They seem to be attempting to pull off the chemistry between Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour, but it’s way too forced. It’s a bad song, it’s a bad video, and it’s time to say goodbye to PSY. His fifteen minutes of fame are up and he’s no longer relevant. I don’t want to hear from him again unless he’s doing a duet with William Hung and covering “Chocolate Rain.” Avoid watching this video if you can.
RAT on the New York subway! is the descriptive title of a YouTube video about a rat running around a crowded subway car. It’s pretty funny because most of the passengers are standing up on the seats like they are all playing a game of hot lava. The rat runs around the length of the car causing people to shriek and jump out of the way. The rat is actually a blessing in disguise. Nobody is really freaking out about t, and you can tell that the rat is really a bonding experience. People are actually interacting with each other as they laugh, groan, and scream together. They all look like little kids, and that looks like fun. It makes you want to experience a rat on the subway for yourself. Besides, I’d rather deal with a rat on the subway than with one in my house.
Vsauce is a YouTube channel that produces short and entertaining educational videos on a variety of topics. There’s a sense of community on Vsauce. The host and creator, Michael Stevens, opens each video with his traditional greeting, “Hey Vsauce, Michael here…” before he dives into whichever question inspired the video. Most of the videos are in direct response to a subscriber’s question, and people ask some pretty awesome questions like “What if the Sun disappeared?” and “Why do we play games?” Vsauce is one of those channels that you can’t escape from. You’ll watch a video that somebody shared on Facebook, and then get linked to another interesting one, and then another topic will grab your attention, and before you realize that it’s 3:00 in the morning and you have to go to bed. But you don’t want to, so you watch one more video. It’s addicting. Trust me. I watched three Vsauce videos while writing this. So check them out, it’s a great way to kill time and expand your mind.
My Last Days is a short documentary about Zach Sobiech, a young musician with a few months to live. It was released by SoulPancake (actor Rainn Wilson’s YouTube channel), which is fitting because Zach Sobiech is a YouTube sensation. In May of 2012, he was told he had a year to live. He spent his time writing down lyrics and creating songs as a way to say goodbye to his family and friends. He made a video for his song “Clouds” and released it on YouTube where it quickly went viral. Hopefully you’ve seen either his original video or the video with celebrities lip-syncing to it. Even if you haven’t, you should watch this documentary if you have twenty minutes to kill. It gives the backstory behind Zach and his inspiration for “Clouds” and how he searches for closure with the people he loves. I’m warning you now, you will cry a lot. But you’ll also laugh. And you’ll remember to enjoy life, to hang out with friends, to spend time with family, to tell the people you love that you love them… Live life like you’re going to die, because you’re going to. Zach Sobiech had a great life and I’m glad he shared it with us. My Last Days is powerful and inspirational and you need to watch it right now.
There are quite a few websites on the Internet these days. Over a thousand by some estimates. So while in the old days when people would go outside or socialize with a friend face to face, these days people surf the World Wide Web. Killing time on the Internet is quickly becoming a pastime. Instant gratification is supremely satisfying. If you are unsure how to pass time before work or bedtime, there’s YouTube and Google and Wikipedia and Facebook. For some people there’s still AOL. I don’t know why, but it’s still there. There’s a lot of porn out there too apparently. I’m going to have to look into that.