Instead of leaping right onto the bike like usual, I sat around in the motel lobby catching up with my email and dumping out a lot of notes about the previous three days, which I hadn't had time to turn into journal entries. I'd forgotten how easily the computer distracts me. Whooosh! Three hours gone. I threw my geek equipment into the backpack and saddled up.
To save time, I decided to minimize my stops and just keep on' pedalin'. I started a new audiobook, the first in the "Pip and Flinx" series of classic sci-fi novels called "For Love Of Mother Not". It had a decent beginning, but then chapter 3 came along, and I was yanked out of the main narrative to get a steaming pile of expository dialogue from the villain, like a racehorse pulling up short to move its bowels halfway through the first lap of a race. "Whooaaaah, hold on, I gotta do this right now, sorry..." (Splaaaaaat)
Actually it would have been okay, but it was so clumsy. Most of the chapter was a collection of inner monologues, and they were so plot-ex-machina that they could have doubled as the voiceover for a movie trailer. "IN A WORLD WHERE SCIENCE AND MORALS COLLIDE... WE ARE A ROGUE BAND OF MISFITS... CHALLENGING THE EMPIRE..."
It was so execrable that I paused the book and pedaled in silence for a while, trying to decide if I should just cut my losses and delete the whole Pip and Flinx series from my iPod, never to return. "On the other hand, this book is so old, and it's written for such a young audience, that maybe these ugly, overexposed tropes are an accidental exception, and the rest of the book is still pretty good. After all, chapters 1 and 2 were decent, and the series is beloved by fans... Okay, I'll give it another chance."
So I continued, with chapter 4, and listened with a question suspended in my mind: What if chapter 3 had never happened? What if we didn't have the central mystery of the book and the main character rudely explained and spoiled only a few pages in, and were instead left to struggle with the mystery as Pip appeared, and then the kidnappers, and then the scientists and the agents? Putting it together from clues, with the narrator's perspective stuck entirely on Flinx? I went all the way to the end of the book with that question, and realized that with only minor editing, it would have gone from a mediocre book to an excellent book just by obliterating chapter 3.
But! I got this awesome photo of another state line:
By the time I rolled into Bryan, it was dark and cold. I ate a big meal in the restaurant adjacent to the motel, and booked two nights, so I could spend the next full day resting my legs and editing photographs. In the evening I felt like taking my brain off the hook with a big dose of pop culture, so I downloaded a heap of Weird Al videos, and swapped links to old songs with Erika on youtube, reminiscing about the 90's music scene and our evolving tastes and childhoods.
This video is awesome: CLICK IT, YO!
The price of digital content is being driven inexorably down, and I think that's a good thing. Even if it may cost tens of millions to make a feature film, the cost should go down because the method of delivery is being stripped of value. What is that method of delivery, if you include yourself in the equation? You sit in a room, looking at a screen, passively. You do not move, you do not create art, you do not give your opinions. You get no exercise, you get no interaction with another human. This should be cheap. This should be seen as cheap. A culture where this is made cheap will gravitate to participation and engagement.