Yesterday

And Another Thing... (Hitchhiker's Gui...Book 6) by Eoin Colfer (read in 2015)

Published by marco on in Art, Film & Literature

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an interest in this book, then I’m happy for you.


This is the sixth in the increasingly inaccurately named trilogy, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This installment picks up where Adams left off in Mostly Harmless and reads a bit like Pratchett’s Raising Steam in that absolutely everyone from the respective pantheon appears. The good news is that it’s a pretty good story and the characters are handled well and feel natural. The dialogue is clever and the writing is funny. Good old Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged features prominently as well as the always interesting Trillian and Tricia McMillan. A planet built by the Magrathean Slartibartfast has been populated by people far too rich for their own good and they’re petitioning for a God to rule their planet for them. Wowbagger and Thor both show up and lock horns. Even the Vogons, led by the implacable Prostetnic Jeltz and his son, who’s not as enthusiastic as his father about eliminating humanity forever (finally closing the chapter on every possible extrusion in every possible multiverse). A fun romp and an installment that can stand proudly next to the others.

Citations

““Bugger,” muttered the old man as the final crumbs dissipated on his fingertips, then he sat back on a cushion in the room of sky that suddenly surrounded him. Someone would be coming soon, he was sure of it. From the dim caverns of his old memories, the names Ford and Prefect emerged like gray bats to associate themselves with the impending disaster.”
Page 7
“The Cyphroles are tiny invertebrate free-swimming gastrozoa who absorb the hostile energy emitted by their predators and use it to power their own systems. This makes the predator angry and so the Cyphroles swim faster through the gas ocean. Sesefras Magna gas dragons have learned to approach the Cyphroles casually, whistling a little tune or pretending to search for a few coins they have mislaid. The Cyphroles always fall for these tricks, as nature gave them large energy filters and tiny bullshit detectors.”
Page 23

This is a nice callback. It’s one of the nicest lines from the original.[1]

““Humans think digital watches are pretty neat,” Ford murmured absently, then turned to face the three humans, who were busy doing their utmost to avoid being the least bit civil to each other.”
Page 26
“Trillian actually wrung her fingers as the exchange escalated. She was so far in the red as regards good parenting credits that she had no idea where the high moral ground was. Even if she could occasionally glimpse it as a myopic hiker glimpses a mist-sodden hill at night, she had no idea who currently occupied it or how to scale its slopes, should she accidentally bump into them.”
Page 117

Mr. Colfer is pulling the best lines from other works now. This one is from Blade Runner, delivered by the incomparable Rutger Hauer.

“Wowbagger could not hold her eyes. “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.””
Page 122

And this is a nice citation illustrating Colfer’s affinity and feel for the characters, Zaphod in this instance.

“Hillman drummed his fingers on the table, something he hoped the waitress would notice and for God’s sake come and take his order. He stopped in mid-drum. “Well, we have no waitresses for a start. They’re all down on the beach colony with the personal trainers. And they took all the booze.” Zaphod reached for his boots. “Well, it’s been great chatting to you, Hillman. If you could just point me in the direction of this beach colony.””
Page 183
““Every new society has teething problems. You need to work through them with diplomacy and alcohol.””
Page 183

And again, this time with Ford and Arthur. And, at the end, a callback to good old Marvin, who uttered the original line “Life? Don’t talk to me about life.”

““I guess X marks the spot,” said Ford, a hank of charred meat in his hand. He turned to the nearest cow. “Do you have any sauce? This is a little dry.” Arthur found that he was not as scandalized by this sort of behavior as he once had been. Repeated exposure to Ford Prefect’s rampant gourmandizing had eroded some of his behavioral notions. “I believe that someone mentioned wine,” he said, trying not to sound overly enthusiastic. Random scowled, although no one noticed as it was one of her two normal expressions, the other being a contemptuous curl of the lip. “That is disgusting,” she said, transitioning smoothly into expression number two. “You two are pigs.” “Pigs,” said the cow. “Don’t talk to me about pigs.””
Page 192
““Wasn’t it? I seem to recall you being linked to several starlets.” “That was just physical. Those females meant nothing to me.” This is historically the third worst thing to say to a female of any species. “They meant nothing? Why not?” Wowbagger spread his arms. “How could they? Even as we mated, they were growing old.” There’s number two. Trillian’s eyes flashed. “Growing old. We all grow old, Bowerick. Believe it or not, I’m growing old too.” Wowbagger realized that his lack of intimate communication over the years was doing wonders to increase his chances of dying alone in the very immediate future. “You may be growing old,” he said desperately, “but you have years left before you’re too old to reproduce.” And there’s number one. Badabingo. Green stick in the green hole.”
Page 196
“Hyperspace cleared its throat and hawked out a Vogon bureaucruiser into the clear swath of satin space .01 parsecs beyond Nano’s thermosphere. Inside the Business End, three thousand members of the Bureaucratic Corps flopped out of their hypercradles and rubbed the belt dimples from their tummies.”
Page 219
“If you worked on the outside, as a panel scraper or engine plunger, then it was possible to be driven blind or even mad by its sheer symmetrophobia. Most craft give a nod, however brief and unfriendly, toward beauty. Vogon ships did not nod toward beauty. They pulled on ski masks and mugged beauty in a dark alley. They spat in the eye of beauty and bludgeoned their way through the notions of aesthetics and aerodynamics. Vogon cruisers did not so much travel through space as defile it and toss it aside.”
Page 225
“Ford appeared on the opposite side of the square and barged through the thrumming crowds, making good use of his sharp elbows. As he drew closer, Arthur recognized the look on his friend’s face. “I don’t believe it,” he said, hurling his ice cream to the ground. “Daddy!” said Random, shocked. “There’s a recycler just there.” Arthur was unrepentant. He stood and stamped on the carton. “It doesn’t matter because I have a feeling this planet is about to be destroyed. Isn’t that right, Ford?” Ford arrived huffing. He was a journalist and unaccustomed to physical exercise.”
Page 231
““Okay, Ford,” he said urgently. “What should we do?” The question seemed to puzzle the Betelgeusean. “Do?” “About the Vogons. How do we survive?” “Oh. Yes. That’s what I came here to tell you. Did you see me crossing the square? I was all charged up. Didn’t care who I knocked over.” “We saw you. Now, what do we do? Can we hitch?” Ford laughed. “Are you kidding? The Vogons won’t fall for that again. Even their shields have shields.” “So what then?” “We need to run, quite quickly, to the spaceport. There might still be time to board the Heart of Gold.” “I see something,” said Random, pointing skyward at what looked like a cluster of shooting stars heading their way, descending in synchronized loops through the atmosphere. “Or not,” said Ford. He plucked Random’s ice cream from her fist and licked it slowly, savoring every drop.”
Page 232
““So you actually thought your one client was dead?” “Of course not. You can’t kill a god. Even that guy who drove into the white hole is still alive, even if his parts are spread across several dimensions.” “What about that special bomb?” Zaphod snorted. “The QUEST? Who do you think sold that to the Vogons? I’m surprised it didn’t fall out of the sky. I put a lawnmower engine on that thing.” Left Brain was quiet for a moment, except for the clicking of spider-bots gathering condensation on the inner curve of his orb.”
Page 263


[1]
“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly 92 million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”

Two Days Ago

Rant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk (read in 2015)

Published by marco on in Art, Film & Literature

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an interest in this book, then I’m happy for you.

The story is told through one-line to one-page–long biographical snippets. The story goes from Buster’s upbringing in a grindingly poor town, where his young mother teaches him to how to make Easter eggs with wax and boiled vegetable stock. He is an odd child, inuring himself to poison through repeated animal, insect and arachnid bits, collecting old paint cans from old folks, who don’t realize they might be full of extremely valuable coins dating back to the mid-1800s, and following the foretellings of an old man who he met once and claimed to be his real father.

He warps the local economy in a way that makes all the townspeople complicit in his scheme, he catches and beats rabies multiple times, all the while spreading it throughout the town, especially the girls who, oddly, can’t get enough of him. He takes his ill-gotten gains to the city, where more of the world he inhabits is revealed, in the form of a stark subdivision between night and day shifts for humanity as a way of solving traffic woes, as well as a whole subculture of people organizing crash parties, in which they crash their cars into each other to feel what it’s like to really live—something that almost no-one knows now that one can “boost peaks” from others.

That is, full-bore digital sensory capture is freely available and lulls the populace. And this is very much what it is intended to do, according to some of the later biographical participants—to keep people from discovering that, if you crash your car just right, and you’re in just the right theta-wave, meditative state, you will be transported to another place in time, where you can become your own progenitor and increase the power of your current self, until you reach a point where you can kill your own parents, terminate the loop by eliminating the beginning and live forever, suspended in a liminal state. Very much an Infinite-Jest vibe (even a bit of Pynchon at times).

Some wicked cool concepts and intriguing thoughts in this one. Recommended.

Citations

“Near as I recollect, Chet and Buddy didn’t start out slow eaters. I trained them that way. It got to be too much, baking a devil’s-food cake from scratch and watching Chet and Buddy wolf it down in three bites. Two of them hurrying to choke down one slice, then another, until the cake was nothing left but the dirty plate. Even while they’re inhaling my food, they’re talking plans about something next, or reading out of a catalogue, or hearing the news on the radio. Always living months into the future. Miles down the road.”
Page 91
“Here’s a single girl’s secret—the reason you eat dinner with a man on a first date is so you know how he’s going to fuck you. A slob who gobbles down the meal, never looks at a bite, you know not to crawl into bed with that guy.”
Page 92
“Eight hours every day, renting out copies of Little Becky’s Seaside Hunt for Shells. Everybody wanting the same mass-marketed crap. Saying it’s for their kid, but really it’s not. All these fat, middle-aged dumbshits just want something to kill time. Nothing dark and edgy or challenging. Nothing artsy. Just so long as it’s got a happy ending.”
Page 114
“My point is, this seventy-two hours is coming out of someone’s life. This boost will replace something real a person might do, so it should be decent. Hell, it ought to be beyond decent. If some asswipe’s handing over his time, he should get the train trip sweetened by having the whole mess rewitnessed through a Playboy Bunny on heroin. Morphine at least. Watch those boring, bullshit mountains roll past while zonked on opiates and fondling your own set of love-a-luscious titties. You want to wish the old man a happy Father’s Day, that would be my gift suggestion.”
Page 118
“Renting out copies of Little Becky’s Easter Egg Hunt to people who just want to get through another awful night, alone. These people, boring themselves to death.”
Page 121
“From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: Perpetuating Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny breaks ground for further socialization—including conformance to traffic laws which allow the maximum number of drivers to commingle on our roadways. In addition, insisting that the journey is always a means to some greater end, and the excitement and danger of the journey should be minimized. Perpetuating the fallacy that a journey itself is of little value.”
Page 131
“Even the night Rant died, my automatic first thought was: Philip Glass’s Violin Concerto II, or Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major…?”
Page 139
“None of the engineers impacted with enough velocity to hurt their comrades, and none of the events was worse than paint scratches and sheetmetal body damage. Still, on video you see traffic immediately slow to a voyeuristic crawl. The infamous and bothersome rubberneck effect.”
Page 173

Definite vibes of Infinite Jest.

“Rant’s hand slides across the seat until his fingers touch mine. He lifts my hand to his face, his lips touching my knuckles, he sniffs, eyes closed, and says, “Wrong.” He says, “Yesterday, you had rolled-oat granola with maple sugar and pumpkin seeds, vanilla yogurt, and dried cranberries…” And of course he’s dead-on.”
Page 178

There’s also more than just a hint of Das Parfum, now that i think about it.

“Neddy Nelson: You have any idea how bright the sun looks if you’ve been raised at night? Have you spent a hundred-something-thousand heartbeats wondering if you’re not already dying of rabies? Maybe you haven’t boosted in weeks, because you’re afraid you won’t be able to? You ever see friends you recognize get machine-gunned by police on real-time traffic cams? You ever found yourself trapped in a world where you’re everybody’s worst nightmare?”
Page 224

His wizardry lies in slowly and with tiny pieces accreting a story, a world, in which these words make sense. They mean something only now in the context of the rest of the book I’d already read.

“a curfew officer named Daniel Hammish, age forty-seven, a nineteen-year veteran of curfew patrol, was making his evening sweep when he assaulted a passerby.”
Page 226

That’s a rather nice way of adding more context, temporal this time.

“I mean, what if you found yourself a long time ago—by accident—and you met your own great-great-grandmother before it was wrong to date her? And what if she was a babe? And let’s say you two hooked up? And how about she has a baby who’d be both your daughter and your great-grandmother?”
Page 250

h/t to Up the Line by Robert Silverberg, which developed this concept into a major plot point three decades before this book came out.

“How can you expect Historians to feel anything for the suffering of the rest of us? Do you cry when a flower wilts? When a carton of milk goes sour? Don’t you think they’ve seen so many people die that their sympathy or empathy or whatever is pretty much wore out?”
Page 268
“The Emergency Health Powers Act simply enables the federal government to suspend all state and local powers, seize property, and quarantine populations in order to effectively deal with any infectious agent.”
Page 299
“Neddy Nelson: Doesn’t it scare you that the Emergency Health Powers Act now preempts all legal rights of the individual? Shot Dunyun: The way you lock up all your enemies without charging them with any crime, or providing lawyers, it’s called a quarantine. Doctors are the new judge and jury. Disease is the new weapon of mass destruction. Neddy Nelson: Why do you think every political radical gets “diagnosed” as rabid, then locked up until his inevitable death is announced? Don’t you see how this is legalized assassination?”
Page 302
“Wallace Boyer: Nothing says you have to believe this. Nothing says you have to even listen, but consider that plenty of smart, rich, powerful folks in history went to their graves swearing that the sun went around us. Also consider that someday, when you’re dead and rotted, kids with their baby teeth will sit in their time-geography class and laugh about how stupid you were.”
Page 307

Or perhaps that there is only one time, shared by all, instead of individual manipulated loops and whorls. it’s like the myth of the common economy now. We don’t all share just one. It could turn out to be the same with time, once we make a breakthrough. (Made me think of how the main plot conceit of The Long Earth changed everything we know about “being on Earth”.)

“And Green said, “Who do you think invented this little game you enjoy so much?” He said, “Who do you think decides the field and flag and window, then sends the word out?” He said, “What do you suppose would happen to Party Crashing without me?””
Page 307
“Wallace Boyer: If it helps, consider how people used to think the world was flat. Two-dimensional. They only believed in the part they could see, until somebody invented the ships and somebody brave sailed off to find the rest of the earth. Consider that Rant Casey is the Christopher Columbus of time travel.”
Page 310

Blindness by José Saramago (read in 2015)

Published by marco on in Art, Film & Literature

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an interest in this book, then I’m happy for you.

The story is of a man who is suddenly struck blind, seeing only a wash of milky whiteness. Others soon follow, as it becomes clear that the blindness is caused by a communicable disease.

Soon enough, everyone has it and the city is filled only with the blind, All, save one lady—the doctor’s wife, played by Julianne Moore—who is unaffected by the blindness, but not by its horrific effects (she lives in a world of blind people). The effects are as you can imagine, if you were to think about it: a city filled only with the newly blind, fumbling about, looking for food, looking for shelter, for a place to urinate or defecate. Before everyone has succumbed, the government ruthlessly quarantines the initial afflicted in a mental asylum. Food is delivered sporadically but relatively regularly. The place becomes nearly unbearably filthy.

As more and more people arrive, an element finally arrives that understands that societal rules no longer apply. They take all the food for themselves, rationing it out to the others in exchange for the last of their worldly possessions. When those run out, they naturally demand that the other wards send their women. After several days, the women volunteer for this horrific duty, even the doctor’s wife. Afterwards, though, she’s had enough and takes a pair of scissors she found to kill the ringleader, threatening the remaining pirates that she will kill more if they don’t give up. Another woman, traumatized by the rapes, finds a lighter and sets the pirates’ den on fire, taking them all out.

At the same time, the doctor’s wife takes her small group outside to ask the soldiers for help. They are gone. There is no authority remaining. All is chaos and anarchy, with only the blind to fill the power vacuum. The small group escapes back to the city, the doctor’s wife the only witness to the utter horror of the place, overrun by people who can no longer take care of themselves. They survive better than most, with the doctor’s wife’s sight helping them find food that others have missed. They return to the doctor’s home and settle in for a somewhat better existence than they had in quarantine, but one still bereft of true hope. And then, just as quickly as it left, their sight returns. The end.

This is a decent enough book, written in a flowing style that is nearly punctuation- and paragraph-free. I enjoyed the concept more than the writing style. Considering some of the implications—the filth of a blind world—was pretty horrifying. It became clear that, while the blind can survive well in a world peopled by the non-blind, a world where everyone is blind quickly becomes unlivable and likely unsurvivable. How do you farm? How do you protect yourself from the elements? How do you construct shelter? And so on.

Citations

“These observations of a psychological nature, whose subtlety has no apparent relevance considering the extraordinary scale of the cataclysm which our narrative is struggling to relate, only serve to explain why all the blind internees were awake so early, some, as was said at the outset, were roused by the churning of their empty stomachs in need of food, others were dragged from their sleep by the nervous impatience of the early risers, who did not hesitate to make more noise than the inevitable and tolerable when people cohabit in barracks and wards.”
Page 94
“I suppose we’ll all be contaminated, there cannot be a single person who has not been within sight of a blind man, If a blind man cannot see, I ask myself, how can he transmit this disease through his sight, General, this must be the most logical illness in the world, the eye that is blind transmits the blindness to the eye that sees, what could be simpler, We have a colonel here who believes the solution would be to shoot the blind as soon as they appear, Corpses instead of blind men would scarcely improve the situation, To be blind is not the same as being dead, Yes, but to be dead is to be blind, So there are going to be about two hundred of them, Yes, And what shall we do with the taxi-drivers, Put them inside as well. That same day, in the late afternoon, the Ministry of Defence contacted the Ministry of Health, Would you like to hear the latest news, that colonel we mentioned earlier has gone blind, It’ll be interesting to see what he thinks of that bright idea of his now, He already thought, he shot himself in the head, Now that’s what I call a consistent attitude, The army is always ready to set an example.”
Page 107

Joyland by Stephen King (read in 2015)

Published by marco on in Art, Film & Literature

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an interest in this book, then I’m happy for you.

You can tell this is a Stephen King book from a mile away. It’s about a young man—Devin, a writer—who’s been jilted by the love of his life. She’s decided that it’s time to see other people and he’s not quite on board with that yet. So he takes a job several states away and spends a good deal of time mooning around over her.

He makes a couple of good friends at this odd little amusement park called Joyland. They have a dog mascot that he’s especially good at playing. After learning of a ghost in the haunted-house ride, Devin becomes nearly obsessed with the case and is convinced that he can release the ghost if he just finds the real killer.

Along the way, he befriends a standoffish woman, Annie, through her son Mike, who’s physically disabled but gifted in other ways. He is crucial to releasing the ghost because of his psychic powers. They finally discover the real killer hiding right under their noses. They all learn a lot about life, go their separate ways and nobody really lives happily ever after, but that’s OK too.

Citations

“This is a badly broken world, full of wars and cruelty and senseless tragedy. Every human being who inhabits it is served his or her portion of unhappiness and wakeful nights. Those of you who don’t already know that will come to know it. Given such sad but undeniable facts of the human condition, you have been given a priceless gift this summer: you are here to sell fun. In exchange for the hard-earned dollars of your customers, you will parcel out happiness. Children will go home and dream of what they saw here and what they did here. I hope you will remember that when the work is hard, as it sometimes will be, or when people are rude, as they often will be, or when you feel your best efforts have gone unappreciated. This is a different world, one that has its own customs and its own language, which we simply call the Talk. You’ll begin learning it today. As you learn to talk the Talk, you’ll learn to walk the walk. I’m not going to explain that, because it can’t be explained; it can only be learned.”
Location 760–767
“What’s carny-from-carny mean?” “Means you’re like old man Easterbrook. His father worked the carny circuit back in the Dust Bowl days, and his grandfather worked it back when they had a fake Indian show featuring Big Chief Yowlatcha.” “You got to be kidding!” Tom exclaimed, almost exultantly. Pop gave him a cool stare that settled Tom down—a thing not always easy to do. “Son, do you know what history is?” “Uh…stuff that happened in the past?” “Nope,” he said, tying on his canvas change-belt. “History is the collective and ancestral shit of the human race, a great big and ever-growin pile of crap. Right now we’re standin at the top of it, but pretty soon we’ll be buried under the doodoo of generations yet to come. That’s why your folks’ clothes look so funny in old photographs, to name but a single example. And, as someone who’s destined to be buried beneath the shit of your children and grandchildren, I think you should be just a leetle more forgiving.”
Location 825–834

UPC CableCom Replay

Published by marco on in Design

tl;dr: If you think you’ve finished signing up for UPC Cablecom Replay but have never used it, think again. In order to completely enable it and to be able to use it, you have to actually try using the service from the Guide. It is at this point that you will be required to confirm yet another activation-acceptance dialog before Replay is available. Even then, it’s enabled only for content aired after this final confirmation. So go use it now for any old crappy show just to finish enabling it for when you really need it.

We have a UPC CableCom Mediabox. It’s a DVR, so we can record any content we like, up to about 100 hours or so.

The Super Bowl is on really late for Central Europeans, so we cheerfully enabled the “record” icon on the Super Bowl on BBC2 and went to bed.

The Mediabox interpreted our command as a suggestion and failed to record a single minute of the Super Bowl.

Set up Replay

Never fear! This had happened before and we’d set up a free service at CableCom called Replay. I have no idea why you have to explicitly sign up for a service that is included free as part of the UPC Cablecom package, but there it is.[1]

We set it up the last time we’d failed to record a Vuelta a España stage that we had really wanted to see. Even at that time, we signed up for Replay and were greeted with little Replay icons on a lot of the content in the Guide. However, anything older than now didn’t have an icon.

We scuttled back to the web site to discover that having signed up for Replay ex post facto did us no good in the case of the Vuelta stage in which we were interested. Replay was only enabled on content that aired after your acceptance of their license agreement.

This seemed at the time like a needlessly shitty restriction since CableCom has the prior 30 hours of all channels recorded anyway. The service is free, so what’s the harm in letting me use it immediately?[2]

Ok, fine. Replay activated. License accepted. Time to move on.[3]

Use Replay

So we come to the Super Bowl, which failed to legally record on our legal DVR that captures content for which we’ve paid legally.

No problem. I signed up for Replay months ago.

Fire up the Guide, switch to BBC2, scroll back one day and VOILA! There’s the Super Bowl broadcast at some ungodly hour of the morning. And there, right in front of it, is the shiny Replay icon.

Click.

“Please select OK with your remote control to indicate your acceptance of the license agreement for Replay.[4]

OK.

“You have activated Replay. Only content aired after your acceptance of this license agreement will be available via Replay.”

But I’d already accepted the license agreement once when I signed up for it! This system is absolutely designed to ensure that the first piece of content that any given Replay user selects will be unavailable.

So here’s my advice to anyone who wants to use Replay: after you’ve enabled Replay for the first time, use it. Use it for any old program, it doesn’t matter what. Just make sure you’ve accepted all of UPC Cablecom’s multiple agreements before you want to use Replay for content you actually care about.

As for the Super Bowl? It’s not like I’m not watching it right now—and commercial-free, to boot—but why make it such a fight? And why is it that the path to content that is legal and purchased is always far less well-paved than the free one? Being more expensive and shittier is not a good business model.


[1] As we will find out, you actually have to sign up twice.
[2] I’m totally aware that it’s probably something to do with the content-provider agreements, but it’s still utter horseshit from a design/user-experience perspective.
[3] We will find some other way of obtaining content, I suppose.
[4] I’m paraphrasing the citations of text from the TV because I was blinded by rage at the time. I have since calmed down and am completely aware of what a first-world problem this is.