Everything is Going to the Beat

Baby Driver is a film set in a world wrought of rhythm. A place that pulses, moves and grooves, somehow soothes despite the staccato rapping of knuckles, bullets, and shoes. Steps pounding the ground. Tires squealing, rounding abound. Pavement torn. Rubber shorn and strewn. Each cut, edit, never losing itself to the thumping tunes infused, pumping through veins and sinew. Cameras trained, bobbing, weaving, brain ingrained, the frame of mind painstakingly blending movement and sound. A clear vision. No refrain. And everything is going to the beat.

It's a world that feels the music as much as the eponymous hero. A world where dialogue is delivered as bass line and gunshots a sharp rat-tat-tat, hits on a cymbal, symbolically showing us each and every scene breathes in sync with the beat. And everything is going to the beat.

Even the things films treat as benign, like paying some mind to the players entwined, is clearly defined and cleverly timed. No mere introduction, no name thrown away. Baby, himself, always allays when a character relays a query, a toe-tapping "B-A-B-Y", percussive and short, a helpful retort to those who purport to have misheard the word escaping his lips. He misses no beat, no skips and no trips. You feel it, you hear it, you're here for the ride. No time to decide. It lures you along, like the piper who's pied. For Baby, each song is a vessel to escape from a mess. You'll watch and you'll hear and you'll grin ear-to-ear, the whole time in awe of the action, so raw yet refined. And everything is going to the beat.

It's a film that's not subtle, except when you double take and see that it's no mistake when the world stops to bop and shake and throw out a word or a phrase in front of your gaze. These details, this grace all over the place. Wright deftly shows he's a genius who knows how to build at such pace that begs you to chase as he directs you to wonder, a feeling asunder that bubbles and forms while the movie is swarming to its inevitable close. It will leave you breathless, even the brief bits of rest give you plenty to see, to hear, and to be in this world that beats like a heart: the source of Baby's tension, Wright's pure intention, a film's grand ascension beyond just a movie. It's plentifully groovy, but it moves me in ways that few have achieved. Beyond all the style, it's the substance Wright weaved. A world rich and grounded, characters rounded, and dialogue that adds as much rhythm as each song did. Each scene coalesces into something impressive, and I left it enamored and eager for more.

Absolutely no hyperbole. In short, I am floored.

AirPods

Longform critique is not something that frequently interests me. The pressure to produce something timely and relevant is enough of a deterrent to keep me from investing too much in writing reviews, and the sheer number of voices scrambling to scream similarly into the void about a product or a service or a piece of art typically convinces me that I don't need to pile yet another opinion onto the heap. Yet, every once in awhile there is something that I am so inexplicably captivated by that I can't possibly expel the thought of it from my mind. After experiencing it, I feel compelled to enumerate, to coalesce my thoughts. I search deep within, try to understand exactly what it is that stands out in such an immeasurable way above all else, and then, occasionally, the words appear (shameless plug for my review of depression and anxiety. Spoiler alert: 1/5, would not recommend.)

For the last seven years or so, my preferred way of consuming audio has been through remarkable pairs of in-ear headphones created by Bose. The latest variant I owned were the MIE2i model, but they've all looked and sounded similarly. You've likely seen them. The cord is an unmistakable two-tone black and white twist, like a flexible candy cane wrought of carbon rather than ruby. The earbuds themselves are unique in the sense that they never create a full seal when worn. Instead, the fitted rubber tip slips loosely into the ear canal, a hook made of the same soft material extends upward in an arch to brace itself along the ridge of the ear. The result is a pair of buds that feel as though you're barely wearing them, yet there is never any fear of them falling out. They're easily the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn.

They also sound fine. As you audioheads out there have probably deduced by my use of the word "remarkable" in the previous paragraph, it is obvious that I am but a mere plebeian in the world of acoustics. If anything, "remarkable" is a better term to describe how it is I've managed to dress myself successfully the last three decades. How do I procure sustenance on a routine basis? Dear god, it's a wonder that I have managed to hold down a job and consistently pay my bills with actual money instead of beans, what with my affinity for the products crafted by the Bose Corporation. Alas, we'll have to wonder together, dear reader (and far superior hearing person), and live with the reality that these headphones are perfectly pleasing to my proto ears. Fist eggplant emoji.

Truly, the only unremarkable thing about these headphones is how—without fail—the cord begins to fray at the base of the jack after a year-and-a-half-to-two-years' usage, leaving an indeterminable amount of time between when the fraying begins to when the cable inevitably ceases to carry audio, at which point you find yourself at Best Buy, scrounging together what little beans you have leftover from rent to buy a new pair of Bose earbuds, with the knowledge that in a few short years the cycle is destined to repeat once again. Planned obsolescence, indeed.

Aside from that, though, you know, pretty good headphones.

Somehow, I managed to squeeze a good three years out of my latest pair. It was only a matter of time before they failed me.

Enter AirPods: Apple's solution to their dastardly scheme of removing the headphone jack of all things from their latest iPhone. When they were announced in September, I was interested. Skeptical, but interested.

Also, what did past Keenan know that slightly less past Keenan did not?!

Eerie.

Why hadn't I jumped on the wireless headphone bandwagon (aside from the fact that I still had a perfectly good pair of wired headphones, of course)? Wireless audio quality didn't deter me like it does for some, but there were some major compromises in the offerings that existed at the time; overall bluetooth pairing and connectivity (oof), product design (most were ugly and I didn't want a half-necklace dangling around the back of my neck), and charging solutions (fuck micro-USB cables) were all things I was far more apprehensive about. Apple's impossible solution seemed to address all of these issues. A slick carapace (iconic white, naturally), each AirPod not much bigger than the existing EarPod design, sans wire, and smart enough to know when you're actually wearing them. Handy charging case that was small enough to take with you, no extra cables necessary. And W1, which promised to simplify the pairing process and seamlessly sync the headphones between your various Apple devices.

In other words: magic. You know, the thing Apple used to sell before Tim Cook literally shit all over everything and single-handedly ran the company into the ground in that alternate universe where Internet commenters live. If Apple delivered what they promised, the first great wireless audio solution would be upon us.

So they promised October. Upside-down smiley face emoji.

By the time they launched late December, the buzz from those who snagged a pair made it seem as though AirPods lived up to the hype. I couldn't help but feel excitement. What a weird feeling to have about an Apple product nowadays.

Then I tried them. It was one of the few truly wow moments I've experienced from technology lately. It was enough to convince me that I had to have them.

It helped that later that very same day, I realized the cable at the base of the headphone jack on my current headphones had begun to fray. Good timing, motherfuckers.

It also helped that it would cost just $30 more to go with AirPods than replace my Bose headphones with the current model. I had an inkling that the convenience of going wireless would more than make up for the little extra I'd spend.

I was right.

If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably seen at least one of my tweets gushing about AirPods. Further gushing has happened in private channels, I assure you. I can only imagine how much my friends in various Slack channels wish to god I'd shut the hell up about them already. But I'm enamored with these little things. My thoughts feel vast and a bit nebulous. I'll do my best to get them out here. Bear with me.

Like most people, the first experience I had with AirPods was connecting them to my iPhone. Miraculously, W1 completely delivers here. It provides absolutely painless pairing, unlike anything else I've tried. With the swift flip of the case's lid and a single tap on the screen, AirPods and iPhone are one. I'm frankly floored at the difference this makes. My wife was impressed. My wife doesn't care about pairing bluetooth devices.

The second experience I had was wearing them for the first time. I wasn't expecting to smile putting earbuds in, but they emit a pleasant little chime, as though to say, "Hi! Hello! We're ready to go! Let's do this." Every time I take them out of the case and place them in my ears, their gentle greeting gets me grinning.

I also truly dig their style. Sleek. Simple. I'd even go as far to call them cute when they're just straight chilling on the table, waiting to be popped back into your hearholes. They look friendly, like so many Apple devices, which is a welcome shift from basically any other ear apparatus out there. I know aesthetics are entirely subjective, and, yes, I've seen the comments describing them as looking like miniature toothbrushes sticking out of your ear (what), or like you broke a Q-tip off in your ear and left it dangling (which, like, you shouldn't be putting Q-tips in your ears, can we stop please). You don't have to like the look of them, but something tells me the vast amount of revulsion in these hot takes stems from the fact that they're just... a bit... different than what we're used to, rather than any inherent problem in their overall design. To me, whether they're being worn or not, AirPods look better than pretty much anything else on the market. Especially when they're in your ear, they're so simple and innocuous, I can't imagine not liking how they look. A little taste of science-fiction flairPods.

They're light. They fit comfortably in my ears. I never worry they're going to fall out, even though it's easy to forget that I'm wearing them if I pause what I'm listening to for a moment.

And they sound good. Not incredible. Not mind-blowingly better than standard EarPods (though they do sound a bit better). Not "I'm going to permanently replace my $700 cans with these little buddies" amazing. Simply good. A sufficient replacement for my dying Bose headphones. I've listened to hours and hours of podcasts on them, as well as hours and hours of music. I'm surprised at the bass they produce. I'm surprised at their overall clarity. I am frequently delighted when I remove one for a moment, pausing the audio, only to have it pick up immediately the second I put the AirPod back in.

It bears mentioning that transferring audio from one Apple device to another is seamless, nearly instantaneous (except for the Apple TV, which you still have to pair the old-fashioned bluetooth way because we're all just savages and nothing makes sense anymore let's just give up).

Battery life easily meets my needs, though I have run them down a couple times due to the fact that I like wearing them. They're so easy and satisfying that I go out of my way to use them whenever I can. Without wires, it makes a lot more sense to me to pop headphones in when I'm lying down in bed, watching a few videos or listening to a podcast before I fall asleep.

To that point, fast charging is incredible (dead to one-hundred percent in thirty minutes flat). The little carrying case is brilliant. Snapping the lid shut is as satisfying as everyone says, but it's also just as enjoyable to return the AirPods to their cradle and watch them click into place. This product is full of little details that most companies wouldn't even consider. You can truly feel, see, and hear the incredible amount of thought and care that went into their creation.

Oh! I like that I can give one bud to a friend and we can listen to something together when the need arises. SharePods.

I like the freedom they provide. I can move around my apartment or my office without being tethered to my phone while listening to something. I don't have to worry about a cord getting caught on a button or a zipper on my jacket. I don't have to be strategic about which pocket I put my phone in. It wasn't until I started wearing AirPods that I realized how many subtle accommodations I'd made for wired headphones. This epiphany dawned on me the other day when I took my messenger bag off after I got home. I lifted the strap over my head and placed the bag on the ground and realized afterward that I didn't have to temporarily remove my earbuds in the process. I always hated the feeling of the bag's strap tugging at my wired headphones, so I made it a habit to wear the cord over the strap. With nothing there, I didn't even need to consider it, and that was lovely. Such a seemingly inconsequential moment, but being able to subconsciously revert those little behavioral changes add up to create a great overall experience.

On the other hand, the double-tap gesture continues to be a little wonky to activate. I don't usually get it on the first try. Annoying, but not enough to make me rip out my hairPods.

Although I guess that means it saves me from having to interact with Siri, right?! Au contrairePods.

I, honestly, don't really mind Siri. Maybe I haven't set my expectations high enough. Weird little shrug dude emoticon. Regardless, she works as expected here. If you are like me and don't have any major problems with her on other devices, then there won't be a change here. If you think Siri is indicative of Apple's inability to stay ahead of the competition and provide a compelling AI platform and she will ultimately be the misstep that causes them to be overwhelmed by the sheer software and services prowess of Google, Amazon, and Microsoft? Well, I am just so very excited to read your Medium post about how it turns out that AirPods are the final straw; Tim Cook personally let you down for the last goddamn time and you'll gladly watch Apple's inevitable spiral downward, fretfully clinging to the side of the toilet bowl until they are finally washed away. Thanks for nothing, Siri. Also Touch Bar. Also 16GB RAM. Also Maps. Also also also.

Long live Steve.

Anyway...

To summarize: since they're small, light, and stylish, they're extremely easy to wearPods; they can be barePods or hidden under layerPods. I simply pop them in and go about my day. Out of all the options available to me, they're easily my preferred pairPods. Whether I'm vacuuming, walking the dog, or cooking dinner, it's easy for me to dance around like Fred AstairePods. I haven't had any issues dropping them, but I know others have. They are compact and a little slippery, so I'd definitely recommend you handle with carePods. If they do somehow end up on the floor, be careful where you step, because they're quite difficult to repairPods. I'd hate for you to break them, as I know that'd cause me a great deal of despairPods. Furthermore, it's great to have the option of watching the Apple TV without disturbing anyone. I can sit alone, late at night, and watch House of Cards. They're fantastic Frank and ClairePods. This is great, because the last thing I'd want is to be on the receiving end of my wife's glarePods. All things considered, I don't think about my Bose headphones anymore. They don't even comparePods. There's just something so magical, so enticing about these things, a product like this is incredibly rarePods.

If this all seems like a really roundabout way of me saying that I like the little bastards, I get it. I really, really like them. I even maybe love them a little bit (a lot a bit). It's hard to nail down what exactly it is that enamors most about them. There are plenty of things I can readily measure, and I've tried. But in the midst of everything I can clearly identify, there's so much that I find difficult to grasp. To me, it's all of the intangibles that speak so much more about the success of AirPods. The smile on my face when I put them in my ears. The insatiable desire to wear them whenever I can. The thought that somewhere at Apple there is a team of people that had an idea for a product. They wanted to iterate and refine and perfect. They wanted to live up to the reputation that preceded them. They wanted to introduce something that sounds impossible, something that it couldn't work, and they wanted to surprise and delight us all by proving all of our assumptions wrong. They wanted to get it right and show the world what is possible when you truly care about doing something and doing it well.

And they did. They got it right.

They got it so right.


The photo used in any thumbnails and on Apple News is provided courtesy of Apple.

What is Happening

There is Something Very Wrong

I haven't written in awhile (by the site's count, I last published something six months ago, when I vomited out a few paragraphs about Facebook Paper. Simpler times.) The mere thought of sitting down in front of a blank screen and haplessly pounding out a couple hackneyed musings cripples me. Free writing does nothing. Trying to use a journal to harness the random firing of brain synapses and molding them into coherent thoughts? Exhausting. To-do lists? No. The amount of turmoil my mind subjects me to is remarkable—a vicious, insatiable abyss sucking all of the words out of me. They pool together in an unrecognizable amalgam of half-digested sludge that consists solely of anxious worry, self-doubt, and the dozens of ideas and dreams I've dared to have. It's honestly a little surprising that I've managed to put up with it for this long.

Every day, I wake up. Every day, I fake as much as I can to make it through. By the time I get home, there's no energy left to devote to this stupid little website. Any sort of analysis—or god forbid: defense—of Apple, or sarcastic take on tech, or random link to something I marginally enjoy feels like a complete waste. When it takes every last ounce of willpower not to break down crying most days, a lot of what used to bring you any semblance of joy suddenly begins to feel more distressing than anything.

So I try to lose myself in a video game, a movie, a TV show. I lose myself in my wife's arms. Anything that takes me away from the reality that I am just... not. Happy. Anymore. I'm not happy and I don't know why, and I've been living with this reality far longer than I thought. There are times where I stare at myself in the mirror, only to find that the person on the other side is completely alien to me. In those moments, I don't feel connected to myself. I don't know who I am, what I want, or how to feel normal. This isn't normal. This isn't normal.

This. Isn't. Normal.

If all of this feels like painfully overblown, relentlessly hyperbolic, LiveJournal levels of attention-seeking bullshit whining, you're not alone. No one thinks that more than I do. I want nothing else than to feel like a functioning adult, completely rid of existential dread (which, I'm sure many will confirm that that's a pipe dream in and of itself). When I try to approach what I'm going through with logic and reason, none of it feels remotely sane. None of it makes sense. But the insidious thing about anxiety and depression is that they don't give a fuck what makes sense. They don't care if it's dramatic or cliché. You're a slave to the whims of an invisible beast that's sunk its talons into your psyche, manipulating each and every feeling with wanton disregard for your sanity. All you have is an unsettling loop of emptiness and despair. One begets the other. You worry that things are never going to get better, so you feel like things aren't getting better, which makes you worry. The brief moments of clarity, the sudden sense that you can beat the overwhelming sadness through the sheer strength of your logical mind, are quickly blotted out. You might build some momentum. You think you can beat it. Today is a good day. Today you start to drag yourself out of the hole you've been digging. But when you start to pull yourself out, you inevitably slip and fall back down.

All it takes is a single Tweet, maybe a news story about the impending doom of civilization as we know it. Or you just remember a brief interaction with a coworker that suddenly causes you to wonder if maybe you said the wrong thing. Maybe they hate you now. What could you have done differently? God fucking dammit, if only I wasn't such an idiot. The anxiety loop takes hold. You can't concentrate. A white noise machine turned on just loud enough in your head to be constantly distracting. It doesn't go away. And you worry about the noise. Why can't I shake this? Why am I thinking about this so much? Is this what life is now? When you can't calm your mind for a second, everything feels pointless. Why even try? That worry feeds itself. A tiny spark of doubt ignites a vulnerability you maybe didn't know was there, and you can't necessarily pinpoint the source of the flame, but you're inevitably immolated within the bonfire of anxiety. After you've burned long enough, you smolder. It doesn't leave you. Even when your mind quiets down, worry doesn't completely let go.

Then there are the moments of ambivalence. Like, maybe I'm being silly and everything I just wrote in the preceding paragraphs is just drivel wrought of a selfish desire for attention. How long have I been lying to myself that I'm depressed? You can't be depressed, not with everything life has given you. How fucking dare you try and make things about you when there's so much injustice in the world? Your plight is trivial. Grow up.

I want to. I do. I wish it was as easy as giving myself a stern talking to. I wish it was as easy as reading about the circumstances of others and gaining sufficient perspective to drive these feelings away. I wish it was as easy as attending therapy for six months, only to have your therapist move out of state, leaving you to be strong on your own. You can do this. Those sessions went well. You've got this. What do you have to be so sad about, huh? You'll be okay from this point on. You have everything you need to conquer this.

But you don't. No matter how much you lie to yourself. No matter how many times you tell everyone, "I'm fine," when they ask you what's wrong.

"You look tired."

Eh. Didn't sleep well last night. I'm fine.

"You look upset. Everything okay?"

That's just my face. I'm fine.

"Babe," your wife says. "What's going on?" She knows you better than anyone. She sees through the veil you pull up over your face. She's not fooled by your your attempts to obfuscate the pain within. It's the subtleties that belie. She latches onto those little moments when your concentration breaks and you forget to keep your brave face.

Really. I'm fine. Nothing is wrong.

How many times have you lied to her like this? You fucking coward.

Your stubbornness threatens your work, your friendships, your marriage. You hold so much in to spare others your misery, you suffocate yourself in the process.

But you wouldn't want to inconvenience anyone or make them worry, now would you?

So you create more pain for yourself, but because you're strong, you can handle it. Never mind the irritability. Never mind the sudden outbursts of anger. Never mind the obsessing over others in an effort to not have to pay attention to yourself for a second. You're just being a good friend. Some things are more important than you.

You keep telling yourself that.

Maybe when you've cried for the third time writing this draft you'll finally admit that there's something very wrong here.

Something is very wrong.


No Octothorpe

I've always best expressed myself in writing. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeves (except for when I don't; see above), but when I truly want to convey the complexity of my own thoughts, I have to break them down in text. Otherwise, I ramble, or I'm afraid that I don't explain myself clearly.

Looking back over this post thus far, I can't help but feel I've never been further from reaching the clarity I seek in my writing. While I'm inclined to trash this entire draft (like the other half dozen that came before it), I'm afraid that if I do, it'll never get written. And I'm tired of writing this in my head over and over and over only to never have the words come out. I'm tired of living with them. They haunt me. I need some sort of reprieve.

I am no stranger to depression. It's something that I struggled with through high school. As an adult, it occasionally rears its head. Sometimes it's worse than others. But it ebbs and it flows, and for the better part of the last sixteen years, I always end up fooling myself into thinking that I've somehow overpowered it when it subsides. I always think I won't have to struggle anymore. At a certain point, you'd think I'd fucking learn.

Because I express myself through my writing, depression tends to strike there first. It plants a little seed of self-doubt in my head that grows into a sapling that saps me of my motivation. Its sustenance is my failure. It's won when I start to question every post I've written, the validity of my perspective, the quality and the value of my voice. Each time I decide not to write anything, it wins. The more it wins, the less I want to write. As it grows, it branches out. I start to question everything else. My dreams. My work. My relationships. It drags me down until all I want to do is burn it all to the ground, because I deserve none of it. It drives me to destroy everything, to punish myself.

I initially started No Octothorpe to channel my passion for a few topics into one place. I wanted to have a site that was an extension of myself. At a certain point, that got away from me. My first mistake was that I became trapped in this idea that I had to have a link blog, as though I was only as good as the things I found interesting. Some sudden notoriety, however fleeting, drove me to shape the site in that image. I became transfixed on this idea of following in the footsteps of people I admired, and that I wanted to be a source of information or commentary for a large audience like they were. Somehow, I linked the idea of success to that thought. I had a niche I could wedge myself into. I focused on Apple and the surrounding industry. It worked for a little while, and the feedback (when I got any) was largely positive.

It wasn't long before that bored me. It wasn't long before the idea of trolling the web for interesting posts became a chore. I didn't feel like I was adding value or being true to who I am.

This, of course, is not to disparage the idea of link blogs, or the people who write them. I love link blogs and I still follow a bunch of them. It's more that I was at my happiest when I allowed myself to explore creativity on my own terms, or when I felt like my sentimentality wasn't forced. I was at my unhappiest when I felt like I had to hit a post quota to bump traffic (dopamine is fucking weird). I liked exploring ideas when I was inspired, and when I could do so at length. But that kind of inspiration is hard to predict. So in the face of unpredictability, I decided that I just wasn't good enough to write. Each day I didn't post anything was more evidence that I didn't deserve to do it in the first place. I slowed and I slowed and I slowed, until I stopped writing altogether.

Yet, I couldn't stop thinking about writing. In the midst of all of this shit that has embroiled my brain for over a year now, I couldn't shake that what I had in this site was something I did truly want to continue to pursue. I'd peck away at a draft, only to delete it. I'd make small design tweaks to see if that'd help reignite my interest. I'd tweet, hoping there would be some encouragement out there from people who wanted to hear from me. When the encouragement came, I'd tell them that I was working on it. I was trying to figure stuff out. But each time someone reached out with words of encouragement, I felt more guilt than anything, because I didn't know if I was actually capable of following through.

To be clear: I was the only person setting up an impossible standard for myself.

This all feels very chicken and egg to me. I questioned myself, which caused the doubt to pile up, which caused me to stop writing altogether. Or: depression started to take hold again and it hit me at a time when I was most vulnerable and things spiraled that way. Maybe it's a mixture of both. In any case, the end result, of course, was me reevaluating what I was doing (for pretty much everything in my life, naturally) and not really making substantial movement in any particular direction. Except down. I dug myself into a hole. And now I'm trying to climb out of this cavern and I see glimpses of light, but I'm wary to praise the sun just yet.


What Is Happening?

To be frank, I have no fucking clue where I'm going. I'm fumbling around in the dark. I'm taking things one day at a time. I can't rely on my brain to treat me well at any particular moment, but today... Today is the day I get this shit out of my head and be honest with myself that there's something I desperately need to overcome before I can ever hope to return to normalcy. I thought I was writing this to try and shed some light on what's been going on with me and this site for the past year or so, but I think I'm writing this now more to hold myself accountable during a period of lucidity. To publish it is to document the struggle. Hopefully I can look back on this somewhere down the line and see it as a turning point, even if I'm more convinced that this is but a brief respite before I reach the nadir.

What I can say is that No Octothorpe is something I still love, even when I don't love creating. I can't shake it. I also know that, as much as I love it, for awhile it wasn't what I intended it to be, nor what I intend on pursuing in the future. If this site is going to be an extension of myself, it's going to follow the same tumultuous path that I take. Writing about Apple and tech and games and whatever else can be nice, but it's mostly not. Truth is, I just don't want to have a link blog. I love to love things, and I have a perfectly good Twitter account where I share a lot of that stuff. If things still require more commentary, I'll consider it. Mostly, I'll be chasing what feels best. I'll write what feels right. I'll write what interests me right now. I'll write what allows me to try and exercise some creativity. I hope that leads me down a better path.

If that at all feels like things are left to uncertainty: no shit. That's the hand I've been dealt. I plan to roll with it. We'll see where things go from here.


If you are depressed and/or living with constant anxiety, I implore you to find help if you haven't already done so. Please don't be like me and think you can overcome this on your own. I know how hard it can be to admit to yourself that things are bad, but it truly is worth it. For your own sake, and for your loved ones, please speak with a professional. You'll feel better about it in the long run. I promise.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, know that there are resources out there and people who want to help. If you're in the U.S., please go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or call 1-800-273-8255.

If you're outside of the U.S., resources like IASP or Suicide.org can help you find a lifeline in your country.

Facebook Shutting Down Paper

Casey Newton, writing for The Verge, which I don't like that I'm linking to any more than you do, but this is where shit stands right now:

Facebook is shutting down Paper, a bold reimagining of the company's flagship app [Warning: Verge link] for iOS that impressed critics [Warning: Verge link] but failed to attract a large audience, the company said today. The app transformed the core Facebook experience into a kind of newsreader, with customizable sections for politics, technology, food, and other subjects. Visitors to the app received a message saying the app would no longer function after July 29th.

Well... Fuck.

The writing has been on the wall for a while, but I do have to express remorse over the confirmation of one of my greatest fears (I don't live a very hard life): the only Facebook product I've ever truly enjoyed using is going the way of the tired clichés people use to describe when something goes extinct.

Pour one out for Paper. It'll continue to have a place on my home screen until Facebook finally takes it off life support in a month.

Accidental Podcast Podcast

While preoccupied with not writing for the site, I've put a large amount of focus on other areas of my life. One area in which I was not putting any effort was creating another podcast. So, naturally, I'm announcing today that, whoops, I created another podcast. It's called Accidental Podcast Podcast, and it stars Klein Maetschke opposite yours truly.

While the name is part earnest descriptor of a podcast that was conjured out of pure happenstance, part playful wink and a nod, this is not another tech show. Not in the slightest. It's a candid, exploratory conversation between two relative strangers. I consider it far closer to something like Reconcilable Differences or, ahem, Sextless Marriage. Though, to be fair, there's far more sexting going on between me and Klein than me and my wife.

If you're not yet tired of hearing my voice, or long for something different than the endless Apple discussions happening on other shows, I'd encourage you to give this a shot. Who knows? Metaphors that equate making lasting friendships to digging through dinosaur shit might just turn out to be your thing.