The Future is Now

For those who prefer to skip to the back of the book before reading or, more harshly, wish I would “just get to the point,” enjoy my discussion of the film with Ian here:

Kicking the Seat Episode 238: A Millennial Odyssey

Amazon Prime Day recently took over my browsing history for a short time. In the days that followed, my apartment entry flooded with cardboard-lined books, games, and trinkets. One of said trinkets, a Wemo Mini Smart Plug, earned the honor of ‘first-opened.’

The Smart Plug turned a forgotten decoration–a wine bottle adorned with a painted turtle and filled with lights–into a frequently used lamp, conversation starter, and TV stand staple. I plugged the lamp into the Smart Plug, then the Smart Plug into the wall. After some fiddling with the companion app and my Google Home, I ushered in a new technological era with one simple phrase:

“OK Google. Turn on the turtle light.”

With a small *click* the light illuminated my twilit living room and added a splash of yellow-white color to the premier furniture piece in the apartment. Google caught up:

“Okay, turning on the turtle light.”

With one simple action, this Smart Plug gently reminded me that my thirst for gadgets will never be satiated, if only because men and women much smarter than me will soon create something better. And after that, something even better. And so on and so on, ad nauseam. One little device powered a superfluous decoration in my living room, and it led me to evaluate the progress of mankind in general. That, and I’m expecting five more Smart Plugs in the mail this week.

There’s a chance I would’ve  glazed over these thoughts completely if I hadn’t seen 2001: A Space Odyssey a few days prior, but I’m not convinced.

2001 Odyssey

I joined Ian Simmons, founder of Kicking the Seat, for a 70mm screening of the iconic film at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre. You’ll remember Ian from my brief stint as a movie critic. Despite (or perhaps thanks to) my minimal cinematic knowledge, Ian and I saw an opportunity for a fruitful partnership. Simply put, I’m an inexperienced and uneducated moviegoer; I’ve missed such landmark films as The GodfatherGhostbustersJurassic Park, and many more. Together, Ian and I planned to navigate the world of film with the eyes of an uninitiated blogger and a seasoned movie critic. Perhaps Fate of the Furious wasn’t everyone’s idea of a paragon starting point for such a venture, but here we are. And if that’s the case, 2001 certainly atones for the sins of yesterday.

I watched 2001 in its entirety, experiencing an onslaught of varied emotion that can only be described in writing as a jumbled mess. I shared my thoughts somewhat cohesively on the Kicking the Seat podcast, so I’ll save you the trouble of reading them and let you listen. Once again, here it is:

Kicking the Seat Episode 238: A Millennial Odyssey

I’ll trust that if you really care what I thought of the film itself, you’ll listen. But I will share here that it stayed with me. It isn’t my favorite movie by any stretch, but I left with a hankering for more. In the days following the showing, I thought more about technology and its role in the world, thus the Smart Plug interaction. I thought about catalysts and what it may take to spark a new era in human life. I thought about how far we’ll go to make our lives easier, and whether that, in the end, would be our downfall or our transcendence.

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2001 ignited a hunger for more information on the franchise itself: the book, the sequel, and various online theories. The first two items are on my ‘to-read’ and ‘to-watch’ list once I digest 2001 to the point of needing more. The theories, though, began a whirlwind journey to corners of the internet I never imagined. Enlightening? Some. Crazy? Some. Ridiculous? Nearly all. But that’s the magic of such an impactful movie.

For now, I anxiously await my next seat-kicking adventure with Ian. In the meantime, as I search for the next Smart Plug, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a monolith.

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