The Matrix Turns Twenty

One of the awesomest sci-fi movies ever came out in my life-time; it literally had people saying, “Whoa!” Yeah, it was influential. But the kinda scary/crazy thing that gets me now is this: it came out 20 years ago!

On March 31, 1999, The Matrix hacked its way into our psyches and astonished us with its genre pushing sci-fi dystopian imagery and special-effects. And besides the eye-candy, this cinema-scape was packed with mind-candy. It should have been called “sci-phi” for its mix of science and philosophy.

It was a milestone in cinema and even our culture since it sorta became an icon. I still wear dark sunglasses at night to this day (ok, just kidding). For me, it definitely was a big marker along my life’s path while I was in college.

I remember how I ended up seeing the movie under unique circumstances, being mostly unaware of it arriving in theaters. I don’t even recall much movie hype. In fact, I never saw it at the theater. Somehow it eluded my radar for a while.

One day at work, after The Matrix was on DVD (!), my co-worker started talking about it, telling me how cool it was. He asked me if I’d seen it. When I told him I hadn’t, he was quite surprised and was like, “You gotta see it!

He had the DVD and invited me to his upstairs garage apartment to watch it on like a small 24″ TV – it was not even a widescreen! This was 1999. HDTV was not even out yet. Standard def square screen all the way. At least it was not on VHS!

Now that we’re coming upon 20 years since Neo followed the white rabbit, it makes me step back and wonder: has it really been two whole decades already? My mind has a hard time coming to grips with this reality. Looking backward at the movie through 20 years of time is like peering through warped bullet-time itself. Two decades!? Whoa!

How is it that something so big can so easily become but a distant memory? Merely a point on a time-line that seems to grow shorter with more time? It’s an uncomfortable paradox of sorts.

In any case, I plan to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Matrix. I’ve got all the movies on Blu-ray, and I’d like to sit down with some popcorn and a coke, and get jacked into the matrix again, just to re-feel how impactful it was. It’s time for me to take the red pill again. See how deep the rabbit hole goes.

After all these years, the special-effects are not too dated. And although I know the plot, it’s still enjoyable. The Wachowski cinematography is like a blended anime/manga style with live action. The green tint to the matrix world itself is subtle yet defining. The movie is the coolest American cyberpunk ever. I love it when Neo learns kung-fu! And the mind-popping philosophy is still fun and intriguing.

Most people can identify with some of the existential and epistemological stuff in the Matrix. Like, something about the world seems off. You know it, but you can’t tell what it is exactly. Maybe it’s monotony or conformity that bugs you. Maybe it’s want of control. Who knows. It’s like an itch you can’t scratch.

Don’t overthink it though. If you can, especially if you have not seen it, go watch The Matrix. Don’t think you will; know you will.

Where were you when the Matrix came out? How did it impact you? Reply below, or message me! It’s good to hear from you. And thanks for reading.

A Groundhog Tradition

It’s Groundhog Day here in America. Kind of a weird holiday on the calendar when you think about it. But it’s kind of a fun annual event I look forward to.

“That’s right woodchuck-chuckers, it’s Groundhog Day!”

One of my favorite movies is Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. I have a tradition now; every year I watch the movie on or around Groundhog Day. It’s like I’m stuck in a time loop, doing the same thing every year…ironic.

I’ve watched the movie many times, and it truly seems like I get more out of it each time I watch it. It’s like an onion where layers keep peeling back to reveal more inside.

The thing about this movie is that there are no special effects like today’s common superhero movies. There’s no computer generated stuff. Even the setting is pretty much the same scene over and over.

The story, though, is compelling, not to mention humorous. I enjoy watching the main character’s story arc as he slowly does a complete change for the better from start to finish.

I like the existential or philosophical stuff the protagonist demonstrates. Trying to understand his weird situation (no spoilers), he goes through stages like disbelief, denial, and despair. He is selfish and hedonistic.

But after failing at finding meaning in his life in himself, he finally starts to look outside or away from himself towards others. He becomes selfless and then finds true meaning or fulfillment. He learns to love.

Anyways, I don’t mean to go deep on the movie. I just enjoy it and am glad to be watching it again in 2019. Maybe I will find more in the movie that I missed before.

In a way, I think our lives are similar to the movie. We are given many days to live and figure out how to live this life the right way or the best way. Each day may not literally be the exact same, but in general, we encounter the same basic circumstances over and over.

Through these experiences, we learn how to respond slowly over time. Our first reactions to things that are difficult are usually selfish in some way. We’re taught to be better than that, and we kinda figure out how to get along with others most of the time.

I think we should be thankful for the time we’ve been given and realize that whatever lesson we did not learn yesterday will probably come back around over and over until we learn that lesson. We get a lot of chances, and every day is a precious opportunity to learn and grow.

Anyways, not too insightful really, but I hope that helps bring some good perspective to the table.

If you have not seen Groundhog Day, now’s your chance to go watch it!

A Music Subscription Sounds Good

Lately, I’ve had a lot on my mind. Work has been busy and somewhat stressful. Outside that, my cognitive focus has been on designing a bedroom addition to our house. Plus my wife and I discovered the show Parks and Recreation and have been enjoying it nightly!

Meanwhile, something unexpected started. I have never been interested in subscribing to a streaming music service. I’ve never tried Pandora or Spotify.

But suddenly, I got really interested in joining Apple Music.

For years, I’ve been glued to getting my tunes the ‘old-fashioned’ way: a-la-carte. Buy one song at a time if I really like it.

For music discovery, I’ve just been using YouTube. But there’s drawbacks I may want to avoid. Like ads, Google tracking, and getting sucked into the video vortex.

Back when I was on Android and all the Google stuff, Google Play Music had good radio/music discovery. I miss that.

It looks like Apple Music has excellent playlists and other things for finding new songs, albums, and artists.

So I plan to start the 3 month free trial and see how it goes.

I’m kinda scratching my head over what made me start considering joining Apple Music in the first place. Maybe it was daydreaming about buying AirPods or finding an adapter to make my iPhone 7 work with my current headphones because the jack got jacked.

I used to think subscribing to a music service wasn’t worth $10/month. But now that I’ve actually looked closer at Apple Music, I see much to like. (No ads!)

What gets me is the fact that you can truly have all-the-songs! Every time I think of a song I like but don’t already own, or think of an artist or album I want to complete, it hits me: you can have all the albums. Every artist. Every song. Kinda blows my mind.

Every soundtrack for every movie?! Yes!

What do you use for music? Spotify? Vinyl albums? Mix tapes?