On Privacy & Public Persona

It’s hard to believe but this personal website has been online for over 20 years. Over that time I’ve changed, society has changed, and the world has changed.

One striking change relating to this website is how I view sharing information with the internet. Prior to creating this site, I had a blog on a platform called Xanga (which has been defunct for more than a decade now). I remember how novel and exciting the idea of sharing information with the world was. My friends would write about what they were experiencing, I’d write about what was on my mind, and it was like a shared ledger of experiences connected through a novel technology. It no longer feels like that anymore.

A History of Disconnection

Fourteen years ago on this site I made a post commemorating the closure of my Myspace account: RIP Myspace. At the time I described it as ridding myself of an annoyance, and that was around the time that Facebook became the de-facto internet platform for social connections with friends. Eight years later I authored another post about restricting the harmful influence of Facebook in 2018: Locking Down Facebook. Since then, like Myspace, I have quit Facebook (and Instagram) entirely and feel much better for it. This post is the latest in a long-running series on receding from social media on the internet.

It’s no longer about an annoyance though. Now it’s about preserving what little privacy I can in order to put my attention and efforts where they are best used. Although it was in the past, creating a public persona is no longer on my agenda.

Sharing & Authenticity

An influential factor in deciding that I would quit using Facebook and Instagram was the 2020 documentary The Social Dilemma, which I highly recommend. The documentary describes how shallow online interactions have come to replace deeper, genuine social interactions and this was an observation which I profoundly identified with. I’m no longer seeking likes and petty interactions with a broad range of people from my past, and it seems that many others feel the same way that I do (when I closed my Facebook account I described the process to people I wanted to maintain contact with and many echoed my feelings and said they had considered doing the same).

For several years now I have not had much enthusiasm in updating this site because I am reluctant to share too much information with the world. Search engines, bots, and various crawlers are watching. I prefer to preserve privacy and cultivate private relationships more than broadcast a wide net. In that interest, the posts on this site have become increasingly rare.

The Future of This Site

I have no plans to take this site offline. However, I doubt I will ever return to the prolific posting which I did during many of the last 20 years that I’ve been publishing content here. The internet is a different place, and I am a different man now. This publication of this explanation is as much for myself as it is for others; to crystallize my thinking on the matter and commit my thoughts to written word.

Thanks for reading, and maybe I’ll see you in future posts here. Until then, here’s a nice photo of a sunset over a lake which I took.

June 10, 2024|

2023 Movies with One-Sentence Reviews

This is the second year in a row I’ve made such a list with short reviews; I watched and reviewed 29 movies in 2022 and this year I watched even more. The first in this list are new movies, followed by movies I re-watched this year. All of the movies I watch are scrobbled through Trakt.

Killers of the Flower Moon – Despite loving the director and star, I thought this movie would be a lengthy, uneventful, and thinly-veiled “white man bad” narrative set upon 1920’s Oklahoma and it was 6.5/10

Apocalypto – While not entirely unique, one of the most captivating “in the woods” movies I’ve seen, filled with shocking and memorable sights and sequences 9.5/10

John Wick 4 (Theater) – With mesmerizingly beautiful choreography and atmosphere, like Keanu Reeves himself, somehow this series manages to not weaken with age 9/10

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning (Theater) – A forgettable plot with unforgettable action sequences delivered by another one of Hollywood’s most persistent winners on an incredible streak 8.5/10

Sound of Freedom (Theater) – Unsettling and difficult subject matter presented in a format which feels more impactful and important than any other film because it’s happening now 9/10

The Northman – Lengthy and filled with obscure details, this is a challenging and uncompromising film which should have probably made some more sacrifices 8/10

Barbarian – A refreshing and surprising horror movie starring Justin “I’m a Mac” Long about a haunted rental property which is a lot of fun 8.5/10

The Menu – A bizarre and twisted thriller about a deadly perfectionist, and the best film I’ve seen on a plane in the last few years 8/10

Mr. Jones – A reasonable education on the little-known “Holodomor” genocide of the Ukranian people which is serviceable 7.5/10

Breach – The true story of FBI spy Robert Hanssen who lived in the neighborhood I grew up on before being caught, but not essential viewing 7/10

Wag the Dog – A tremendous cast including DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman shrewdly and hilarious depict the politically convenient illusions orchestrated within a sitting US administration 9/10

Dirty Work – A 1990’s SNL relic starring Norm Macdonald, Artie Lange, and Chevy Chase which is a lesser-known window into the last great decade of comedy films 8/10

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – A haunting and stylish depiction of a town taken over by invading aliens, which demonstrates how the art of filmmaking was in many ways no less culturally developed in the 1950’s than today 9/10

Sin City: a Dame to Kill For – The sequel to Sin City which I never knew existed, and while it doesn’t match the original, it is great fun 8/10

Leave the World Behind – A Netflix production about an American apocalypse which declares Barack Obama as a producer isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be 8/10

Lord of the Flies (1963) – A phenomenal book which doesn’t translate quite as well to the silver screen in this black and white adaptation 7/10

Payback – Mel Gibson is immortal, unstoppable, and enigmatic in this slapstick crime thriller 9/10

Scream VI – I think it’s time for this series to finally die and, for once, not be resurrected 6.5/10

Videodrome – A David Cronenberg movie from the 80’s which I had missed, about the hypnotic power of the television that fits neatly into the same category as They Live, which I also love 8.5/10

The Covenant – Another Iraq war military drama which, while well crafted, is a premise which no longer excites me 7/10

The Invitation – A movie about a dinner party with a satisfying final course that you might not see coming (this pun also works with The Menu) 8.5/10

Bullitt (1968) – An iconic 1960’s crime thriller led by Steve McQueen that created the modern Hollywood template for car chases 9/10

American History X – The cartoonishly simple execution of this movie’s “Just don’t hate” premise is weak, underwhelming, and not redeemed by great performances from two Edward’s (Norton and Furlong) 6/10

King of New York – One of my favorite cinematic depictions of the city of New York, directed by Abel Ferrara and starring Christopher Walken in his best role with Laurence Fishburn playing his sidekick “Jimmy Jump” 9.5/10

Face/Off – The timeless story of how Nic Cage just wants to take his face… off 9.5/10

Blade – Sits among the greatest cinematic comic book adaptations along with Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman 9/10

Koyaanisqatsi – A cinematic eyeful which joins two others in the Qatsi trilogy; a striking vision of nature and society 9/10

Inception – Still one one of my favorite movies which I watch annually because it has just the right ratio of heady, creative narrative complexity and engaging action 10/10

28 Days Later – An inspired independent film about the London zombie apocalypse with an unsavory “Toxic masculinity is the true villain” subtext 7/10

28 Weeks Later – An uninspired sequel which is inferior to its predecessor in every way 5.5/10

Apocalypse Now – A disorienting and unsettling portrayal of the madness of the Vietnam war, which I now understand while iconic, is just not for me 8/10

The Devil’s Advocate – Keanu Reeve’s Georgia accent is as bad as Pacino’s portrayal of the devil is good 8.5/10

El Mariachi – Landmark Mexican independent film which inspired Desperado, put Robert Rodriguez on the map, and still thrills 9.5/10

Airborne – Prime 1990’s nostalgia bait in movie about roller blading in urban Ohio co-starring Seth Green; radical 8/10

Predator – Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura remain impossibly cool in the Guatemalan jungle 9/10

Heat – One of my all-time favorite movies which excels in so many areas that one sentence can’t possibly do it justice 10/10

My Cousin Vinnie – It’s fun to watch Joe Pesci effortlessly play a fast-talking comedic counterpart to his conventional mafia sidekick role which he was typecast as in the 80’s and 90’s 8/10

Saving Private Ryan – Unquestionably one of the best WW2 movies, cemented by the first Normandy Invasion scene 9/10

The Thing (1982) – Weird, disgusting and fascinating; John Carpenter’s best along with They Live 9/10

Friday the 13th (1980) – The original is still the best, typified by the outstanding conclusion which is not what you expect 8.5/10

Human Traffic – A lightweight but quintessential 1990’s rave movie which humanizes its charming British subjects in a way that few films built on this theme can or do 8/10

December 31, 2023|
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