What I learned by watching Super Bowl 48

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Rarely is there free time to jam out some personal writing, but I felt obligated after watching last night’s communal sports happening. I whipped up this quick list of interesting/insane/inane/other words that begin with the letter I stuff I learned while watching Super Bowl 48:

  • Pizza Hut’s biggest new innovation is making actual fucking pizza. Seriously. And that’s for a “limited time only.” Then they’ll go back to exclusively creating pizza some other way I guess? I sincerely couldn’t grok this, which either shows how disconnected I am from regular TV adverts or that I have a lot to learn still in terms of being surprised (or both). 
  • The Super Bowl is sort of about football, but also about attempting to bizarrely fuse the hardcore world of sports with patriotism and entertainment. This is a pretty obvious observation I realize, but the incongruity of themes sticks out way more as I get older. 
  • Sports music is the actual worst music in the world. I don’t mean the music playing in the stadium from Top 40 artists (which is pretty terrible by itself), but the stuff playing behind broadcasters talking, as the broadcast leads to commercial, etc. So dramatic! So silly! Rings pretty false when you’re watching a game where one team has eight points and the other has over 40, and rings cliché when it’s applied to actually dramatic moments. Either way, if I were a sports fan, that shit would drive me nuts.
  • Freaking out about Richard Sherman pseudo-freaking out is nuts when you consider the canned bullshit that came out of Russell Wilson’s mouth after winning the goddamn Super Bowl. It’s not quite the direct ad campaign that is, “I’m going to Disneyworld!”, but it’s pretty close.
  • You can totally watch the Super Bowl on *anything* at this point. Like, tablet, phone, laptop, broadcast TV — WHATEVER YOU WANT. It’s insane. We streamed the whole game, commercials and all, through this sorta-Steam Machine. Our friend didn’t even know! THE FUTURE! We are in it!
  • Wings are still delicious, but especially if you make them yourself using Alton Brown’s killer recipe. Dude is a champ. Whoever won the Super Bowl is immaterial, because I won the damn Super Bowl. Because wings.

And the view uptown, Hudson on our left.

West Harlem, May 2013

I’ve been less than honest about what I’ve really been up to lately. For the last year I’ve been secretly working non-stop with Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder on a new, full-length Nine Inch Nails record, which I am happy to say is finished and frankly fucking great. This is the real impetus and motivation behind the decision to assemble a new band and tour again. My forays into film, HTDA and other projects really stimulated me creatively and I decided to focus that energy on taking Nine Inch Nails to a new place. Here we go!
(Reblogged from nineinchnails)

Sometimes these humans, I swear

So there’s this thing that happens in Halo multiplayer where at the beginning of a match, people scramble for vehicles. Sometimes you happen to grab a vehicle before your teammate, just a fraction of a second before them, and they get mad about it. Since they can’t really hurt you or exact their (totally needless) “revenge,” they throw sticky grenades on your vehicle, which damages the vehicle (but not your character). This almost always results in your vehicle (and you) being destroyed by the enemy team immediately after the interaction I just described. 

It reminds me of the New York City subway system. Sometimes you’re trying to get off the subway onto the platform and people are so interested in getting themselves onto the subway — IT COULD LEAVE WITHOUT THEM, AND THEN WHAT WOULD THEY DO — that they push in on people trying to get out (including people carrying babies, the elderly, disabled folks, and others you probably shouldn’t be physically pushing into for no reason). 

Or when you’re on the West Side Highway, and some dude passes your vehicle in his own that’s going approximately 400 MPH, and then you see him cut in and out of traffic for the next 20 minutes. And then he’s stuck at the same red light as everyone else, despite having dangerously swerved through traffic going much faster than most other cars. It’s almost like he doesn’t realize that he could kill himself and several others around him.

What I’m trying to say is I don’t like it when people are inconsiderate. Obviously that’s what I’m trying to say. Or that people are the worst. I’m not sure. I think I’m gonna eat a banana.

Everybody poops

Which isn’t really what I’m gonna talk about here. But it’s the same sense of “one thread which ties us all together” for pooping that it is for lots of things that we functionally do as humans: eating, sleeping, defecating, and dying. Those are at least the four biggies off the top of my head (yeah yeah, breathing, whatever). It’s this concept — these unifying threads between all human beings, whether they be rich latino bankers or poor white farmers — that I’ve been focused on near-constantly as of late.

(I just finished two Jon Krakauer books back to back, so forgive my intensity here)

I’ve been trying to transcend my own personal bullshit as much as possible this year. Attempting to get past the day to day psychological minutia that often plagues my thoughts is incredibly difficult, but a worthwhile task (I think, at least). But I’ve been struggling to find a cipher — something that’ll help me focus on what’s actually important and not waste energy on meaningless things. In reading Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, his passion and devotion to climbing shines through, and clearly provides (for him) the focus and calmness that his mind needs.

(Aside: I cannot suggest enough that you read both Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, the two Krakauer books I read recently. Both are incredibly well-written pieces of very longform journalism, and very easy to read. I’d also suggest another book of his, Under the Banner of Heaven, but it doesn’t have any relevance on this piece I’ve written. It’s just a goddamn great book.)

It reminded me of how much I loved crew for the brief period that I rowed, and how much I want to get back to it. How important each movement felt, how I could only focus on my form and balance and not on the asshat who cut me off on the way to the marina (or how tired I was from waking up at 4AM). How the silence on the water and the sound of my synchronized oars fell into a familiar rhythm that allowed me to turn off my brain from all the nonsense and just focus on the moment. It’s the only healthy avenue I’ve found for turning off the brain noise that pollutes my daily life, and I’m only just now coming to realize how important it was to me. 

I say all this not because I want you to row, or that I want to start mountain climbing (I kinda do, though, right? Doesn’t everyone?), but because I think the need for *something* of focus in everyone’s life is yet another one of those threads that ties us all together. Some folks find Jesus, or take an oath of silence, or practice karate. Maybe it’s rowing for me. But I sure do need something.

Lower Manhattan, corner of Orchard and Broome, Feb. 2013

Pancake Christmas!

One last shot of the mighty Engadget doublewide before we depart. Hope you folks loved the coverage all week! Incredibly proud of the team and all of our hard work this week. A huge thanks to fearless leader Tim Stevens for everything!