CoMo, Media Binges, Experiments and India

 

In CoMo

For the first time in a while, I find myself back in Columbia, Missouri (where my family lives, and where I spent most of my adolescent life), and with time to spare (and my mostly-naked mug spanning a few spreads of a local magazine).

I allotted myself this time intentionally, partially because I wanted to be able to visit with my family for more than a week or two, and partially because I wanted to be able to focus on some of the more tedious aspects of my work, unencumbered by a social life (as most of my friends from high school have moved, and I haven’t had the chance to make many new friends in the little time I’ve spent back here since leaving for LA so long ago).

But then comes the wanderlust.

I like staying in one place for a while when I can, but my online social life lives on, and I see all of these opportunities; things I want to do, people I want to see, adventures I want to have, and all of them so far away! Time to buy a plane ticket…

I don’t, though. I hold back and prevent myself from running too quickly. I don’t want to become that guy who can’t hold still – who can’t find excitement or entertainment anywhere, and is therefore forced to take flight every time boredom takes hold – so I’m focusing, taking on a few projects (more on this in a second) and making the most of the time I’ve set aside to hold still in a familiar place. I may still take a few jaunts around the US while here, but not nearly as many as my travel-ticket-purchasing reflexes want me to.

It helps to know where I’ll be moving next, however, which is…

India

That’s right, you have spoken, and India will be the next country I’m moving to (India took almost 7% of many thousands of votes).

The plan is to head over that direction at the end of August or beginning of September, and since I know nearly nothing about the country, I would love any advice you have to offer as to which city I should live in, what I should see and do, and who I should meet. Let me know in the comments below, or shoot me an email.

I’m crazy excited to finally be making my way to such a buzzing and culturally-rich country! Thanks so much to those of you who voted, and watch for the next poll when I arrive in India!

Media Binge Project

So I’ve got this new project I’m working on while I’m here in Missouri, and I’d like your help on some of the specifics.

It’s come to my attention that I’m totally out of the loop about certain aspects of pop culture. In particular, I haven’t owned a video game console since the Sega Dreamcast, and a lot of times, while on the road, the only movies I watch are in languages I don’t understand or whatever is available on the screen embedded in the back of the seat in front of me on the plane.

Basically, my pop culture knowledge is suffering, so I’ve decided to take some time while I’m back in the States to refill my media tank.

Here’s the deal: before I leave for India, I’m going to beat five video games, watch ten movies, and watch every episode of two TV shows. There aren’t any hard rules for what I watch and play, other than that I haven’t seen/played them before, and that ideally the games will be sufficiently next-generation that my brain will be all like “whoa, what the hey?”

What I would like from you: recommendations as to what media I should be consuming. What’s the most important game of the past few years? What are some of your favorite movies of all time? What TV show is the cat’s meow? And do people still say ‘the cat’s meow?’

Drop me some knowledge in the comments below, or shoot me an email. Either way, I’d love to hear what you fine folk have to say about my endeavor and what brain-food it should involve.

The My Exile Lifestyle Pre-Launch Loophole

And finally, a quick report on the first few days after my new book‘s release.

There are a lot of little experiments involved with My Exile Lifestyle, but there’s one in particular that I’d like to share with you.

Before the official launch date, I opened up sales of the book to the folks who are subscribed to my newsletter. While I was setting it up, however, I realized that there was a complication with the system I was using to take orders and process the sales: when I put an order through, I received an email with a download link before I finished going through the payment process. In essence, this meant was that someone could fill out the order form, click the ‘purchase’ button, and then receive the book for free.

I asked a few friends if they had a solution to this, and one of them told me that he thought it was lucky I caught this glitch ahead of time, because if I had opened up sales with that loophole available, at least half of my pre-launch sales would have gone unpaid for. “Even at less than $3,” he said, “people love to steal stuff when they think they can get away with it, and that’s why DRM is necessary, yadda yadda yadda.”

I disagreed with him, and bet him that 5% of people would take advantage of the loophole, tops. “People don’t mind paying for things made by people whose work they respect,” I said, “and these people in particular opted-in to my newsletter, so I assume they have at least a modicum of respect for what I’m doing.”

To prove it to him, I left the loophole in the system when the pre-launch orders started coming in. I sold a total of 200 copies before launch day, and you know how many people didn’t pay?

One.

There were six people who went through the whole ordering process a second time when they realized they skipped the payment part. There were ten people who emailed me about the loophole, offering up advice on how to fix it. Five of those people had accidentally not paid, and sent me Paypal payments on their own, without me having to ask.

This is something I’m really glad to see that I was right about, because I’m always willing to pay for products online so long as they support people that I like and causes that I agree with (fair prices help too), andost of my business decisions are made based on how I would act in the customer’s place. This is why I don’t run ads on the site (they’re so ugly), don’t do popups asking you to join my mailing list (so annoying), and why I’m going to continue to treat you the way I’d want to be treated.

Thanks for helping me win that bet, folks, and thanks for helping me have another great launch!

PS

If you’re interested in picking up a copy of the new book and didn’t see the link above, you can snag it here for less than a cup of coffee. I’d really appreciate it if you’d leave a review once you’ve had a chance to check it out, too (and tell your friends, if you’re feeling especially motivated)!

Thanks!

50 comments

  1. Have no idea about video games, and can’t think of any incredible movies at the top off my head – but totally recommend the TV program Modern Family.  Absolutely hilarious, and fantastically written characters.

    Since you mention annoying things like popups – one quick pointer: your twitter accounts sends out (in my opinion) VERY frequent links to your old articles – and it’s also often unclear when the link is actually to a new article… I understand this generates traffic, but others sem to mark their links with “from the archives” or similar.  Just thought I’d mention it – having already read most of your earlier stuff I am really only interested in the new posts :)

    Btw – did you ever get to travel around Iceland at all? 

    • Thanks for the TV suggestion, Maria, AND the comment about the Twitter updates. I’ll figure out some kind of indicator to make it clear that those posts are old without increasingly the length of the post too much (which was my original concern, since my Twitter handle is long, and I didn’t want to make the posts with longer titles impossible to retweet).

  2. Ditto on the Modern Family comment below, and it’s only 2 seasons so far, so less episodes to catch up on! I’m also a huge fan of How I Met Your Mother for a classic sitcom, and if you’re into reality TV, Discovery Channel’s The Colony is a pretty interesting one to watch.

  3. Ditto on the Modern Family comment below, and it’s only 2 seasons so far, so less episodes to catch up on! I’m also a huge fan of How I Met Your Mother for a classic sitcom, and if you’re into reality TV, Discovery Channel’s The Colony is a pretty interesting one to watch.

  4. TV:
    Firefly. It’s awesome, if painfully short. It does have a movie follow-up called Serenity, which takes some of the edge off; you’ll still have an undying hatred for Fox after the last episode.
    Arrested Development. Again, canceled before its time by Fox.
    Battlestar Galactica. I know, I know, nerdy, but it’s well-acted and well-written, and they’re meticulous about it. (Upside to nerdy shows:  nerdy writers are meticulous.)
    Mad Men. The cast is fabulous, the clothes are fabulous, and the portrayal of the time period is spot-on.

    Movies:
    Anything Pixar’s done, except Cars (including WALL-E, Up!, all the Toy Storys, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles). 
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. 
    Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz.
     The Science of Sleep.
    Pan’s Labyrinth.
    Moon. 

    Video games:
    Braid, assuming you can get it for Mac.
    Portal (1 and 2, they’re both mind-blowing)
    Super Mario Galaxy (really, it’s a stunning example of how advanced the physics of video game problem solving can be)
    And I’d suggest StarCraft II, but the joy of StarCraft is in the multiplayer, not the single player storyline. It’s also a PC game, and might not be worth the investment if you need to upgrade any hardware.

  5. Well, for TV in the past few years, you can’t beat Arrested Development and Friday Night Lights. AD is hliarious and short, and FNL is some of the best-written TV of the past decade (with the exception of one cheesy 2nd season storyline).

    For movies, I highly recommend The Dark Knight.

  6. Colin, congrats on the book first of all, I’m about halfway through and enjoying the hell out of it.
    India – exciting stuff, it really is next-level hardcore out there! I’ve travelled all over Asia and South America and there’s nowhere quite like India, every day is a mini-adventure just stepping out of your front door. Mumbai’s probably the most wired, expat-friendly city if you can handle the crush and the chaos, but Varanasi is a must-see for the real spiritual India. Getting from place to place in the cheaper train classes and chicken buses is an experience in itself too :D
    Video games – Red Dead Redemption for one of the most beautiful, cinematic, story-based games ever created. Super Meat Boy for old school, 8-bit, insanely, addictively hard button mashing madness.
    Enjoy!

  7. You might as well catch up on the best comedy and the best drama series of the past 5 years or so.  Those would be:

    “Arrested Development” & “Breaking Bad.”

    Both addictively watchable, complex entertainment.

  8. For TV shows it must, must, must be Breaking Bad. As for the other one, if you want more pop culture watching Entourage will count as a TV show and you’ll catch up on Hollywood pop culture at the same time. Or for something entirely different and another HBO wonder try Game of Thrones. It has the word game in it, you might be able to count it as a game too :P

  9.  For a pop culture loaded videogame, get yourself a copy of Godhand, its hard but fair. It’s also funny as heck, plus, if you take the time to get the different references in the game, your pop culture knowledge will be greater.

  10. The Walking Dead had a great first season, especially if you are into zombies. And its not that long, there are only 6 episodes that you can get through easily.

  11. Hey Colin, future bro-in-law here,
     
    TV show wise, definitely “Arrested Development” (I own all 3 seasons) and while I haven’t seen it, I’ve nothing but amazing things about “Breaking Bad”. I’d stick with those two as they have only a few seasons, unlike “24” which has 8 (192 episodes, plus a TV movie).
     
    Movie wise, let’s go with this list:
     
    The King’s Speech
    The Dark Knight (own)
    The Hurt Locker
    300 (own)
    District 9 (own)
    Burn After Reading (own)
    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (own)
    Inglorious Basterds (own)
    The Social Network
    The Ghost Writer
     
    Gamewise we’ve already discussed with Kelly, but here’s the list:
     
    Fallout New Vegas (RPG)
    Mass Effect 2/Uncharted 2 (both are 3rd person shooters, though ME2 is more RPG while U2 is more action/adventure) 
    Halo Reach (FPS)
    Portal 2 (Puzzle)
    L.A. Noire (Sandbox)
     
    It pains me that we don’t have room for Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood, one of my favorite gaming series now. =(

    • I’m going to add Red Dead Redemption as an option for sandbox instead of L.A. Noire.

      L.A. Noire’s major factor is the detective work and the incredible facial animation technology that is incorporated into the gameplay as you try to discern whether someone is telling the truth, lying, or holding back information.

      Red Dead Redemption is everything you could want in a Western (cowboys and indians) game, and is a tremendous piece of work by the fine folks at Rockstar Games. If you’re wanting to expand your pop culture, then I would definitely go with Red Dead Redemption as it was neck and neck with Mass Effect 2 last year for Game of the Year. In fact, I’m going to recommend you play Red Dead Redemption for the full experience as L.A. Noire isn’t even on the same scale, though it is a good game. You can definitely appreciate L.A. Noire by watching it.

    • I’m going to add Red Dead Redemption as an option for sandbox instead of L.A. Noire.

      L.A. Noire’s major factor is the detective work and the incredible facial animation technology that is incorporated into the gameplay as you try to discern whether someone is telling the truth, lying, or holding back information.

      Red Dead Redemption is everything you could want in a Western (cowboys and indians) game, and is a tremendous piece of work by the fine folks at Rockstar Games. If you’re wanting to expand your pop culture, then I would definitely go with Red Dead Redemption as it was neck and neck with Mass Effect 2 last year for Game of the Year. In fact, I’m going to recommend you play Red Dead Redemption for the full experience as L.A. Noire isn’t even on the same scale, though it is a good game. You can definitely appreciate L.A. Noire by watching it.

  12. TV – If you don’t hate Ricky Gervais (or the things he produces) I’d go for An Idiot Abroad with Karl Pilkington. Most hilarious travel series I’ve ever seen…8 Episodes of pure gold. 

  13. TV – Death note (anime)
    Movies – Das experiment
    Baraka
    Head on ,anything by stanley kubrick or david lynch

    Bout India – everyone goes to goa , mumbai,delhi ,kolkata and dharamshala
    this time it should be something new …there is a city called ‘bhopal’ in india –called center of india . Around it are historical sites , religious places, national parks , archaeological sites ….and it can be the base camp for travels around india …pretty unexplored city :/

    • I also recommend Death Note.  I don’t normally watch anime but this was simply brilliant.  I almost watched all of it in one sitting because it was so suspenseful! The only other anime I’ve watched is Cowboy Bebop, which is also very visually stunning and the music is great (lot’s of jazz, hence Bebop).

  14. Fun Colin! 
    I think you’d get a kick out of the movie “Inception” w Leo Dicaprio. If you want a bonus when your done… Get the Ap (experience/game) on itunes. The best description I’ve received so far is :  is that its a real mind-f@$!” … which is pretty accurate but  if you can concentrate enough to follow along it might just be the most brilliant Movie you see this Year. 
    Our buds over  @ “The Minimalists” also recommended a new Brad Pitt Movie called “the tree of life” I haven’t seen it yet but based on their rec + having seen the trailer… I’m definitely in!
    I may also be in India in Nov… 2 weeks in an ashram there will check in w you to see if your nearby when I get there. Have fun!

    • Haha… Just got to the page in your book where you mention having watched inception! Too funny. Oh well… I watched “the tree of life” today… Was good
      :-)

  15. Okay if you must go to INDIA you have to learn about CRICKET….it is a religion there and if you can talk about it and play with the kids on the street then you are IN LIKE FLYNN.  

    Learn the name Sachin Tendulkar, he is the biggest cricket star in India.We don’t really say the “cats meow” in OZ we say the BEES KNEES.

  16. Minecraft (the video game) and Game of Thrones and Entourage for TV series.  For movies I’d go onto rotten tomatoes, and choose anything over 90% or better (like True Grit for example). And also the wikipedia list of highest grossing movies and going from top to bottom.  So watch Avatar, the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series, etc. If you haven’t seen it for some reason, the Matrix is also good.  Team Fortress 2 recently became free and is widely popular also. Crysis 1 & 2 are good games.  Everyone and their dog loves the call of duty and halo games too.  Guitar hero and rock band are also top selling games too, but they take some equipment costs and are mostly skill games.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_films

  17. I’d say Delhi or Mumbai is a good jump-off point, but at the time you are arriving in India – it will be wet, wet, wet! Plus, large expat populations, cosmopolitan life, and diverse food ranges.

    An American friend of mine is visiting me around that same time, so if you are near Delhi (Aug 27-30), Mumbai (Aug 31-Sept 2), and Kochi (Sept 3-5), get in touch! Would be glad to show you around and give you a crash course in local travel and food :)

  18. Red Dead Redemption is a great video game, for xbox or ps3.

    Dexter is a great TV series. 

    Inception, The Dark Knight,  and Sherlock Holmes are all great movies that are just a couple of years old. 

  19. Red Dead Redemption is a great video game, for xbox or ps3.

    Dexter is a great TV series. 

    Inception, The Dark Knight,  and Sherlock Holmes are all great movies that are just a couple of years old. 

  20. Red Dead Redemption is a great video game, for xbox or ps3.

    Dexter is a great TV series. 

    Inception, The Dark Knight,  and Sherlock Holmes are all great movies that are just a couple of years old. 

  21. Movie: Wall-E, The Shawshank Redemption
    TV show: The Big Bang Theory(its about a group of nerdy physicists and a normal I-don’t-know-a-thing-bout-science gal who hang out, it is very very funny to watch)

  22. I’m getting ‘caught up’ with pop culture too.  Did my own polling and just started watching the tv series The Wire.  Absolutely incredible.  I’m on season 3 and I’m already sad that there are only 2 more seasons.  Definitely worth the watch!

  23. People do say the “cat’s meow.” Here is my nomination for television:

    Arrested Development: hands-down the richest comedy written for television…possibly ever. It’s so smart, so layered, so absurd and eventually so self-referential that you feel like you’re an insider to some of the best jokes ever. It’s also one of the two comedies that get better with repeated viewings.

    Movies:
    Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal…watching everything by Ingmar Bergman would be not only an education in cinema but in life. He blows me away with everything.
    Annie Hall
    What About Bob?
    Sholay (timely suggestion because it broke so many Bollywood records)
    Rushmore

  24. I’m coming on here mainly to suggest that you play Braid. It’s
    stunningly artful and moving, and shows how indie game designers can be creative, revolutionary, and still successful. Along the same lines of
    innovation in game design, but less indie, you could play Portal and/or
    Portal 2, and at the opposite end of the spectrum – huge budget but
    still creative and beautiful – I would suggest Bioshock. But, mainly, I
    believe Braid is important.
    Wonderful website and lifestyle, by the way! I’ve just started a lifestyle experiment myself (polyphasic sleep – sleeping 2 hours a
    day in 6 20-minute naps) and would kill to be able to adopt an exile
    lifestyle myself, in addition… but I’m not certain it fits into my life at the moment. I wish you continued good luck.

  25. Hey Colin – so you’re still in CoMo, right? I’m in St. Louis, if you’ve got some time for lunch or something it’d be great to meet you man. 

    Anyway, as for movies I recommend:
    Avatar
    Batman Begins and The Dark Knight
    Lucky Number Slevin
    The Fighter
    The Town

    TV shows:
    Archer. It’s hilarious. 
    Eastbound and Down. Also hilarious. 
    Entourage. 

  26. i’ve just gone off all that media, so i can live vicariously through you! tv show wise, i’d recommend community, which is a show about a study group at a community college that manages to spoof every other genre out there (zombie, western, war movies, to name a few), and also doctor who, just the fifth series (the matt smith episodes) because they go back to the sixties, and watching all of them might get a little insane.
    movie wise, i just watched my first movie with marilyn monroe (the misfits), and was blown away by how insanely photogenic and generally captivating she is on screen. woman’s a legend for a reason …

  27. Hey Colin,

    I’m a bit late to the party, what TV shows did you settle on? Arrested Development, Modern Family.. there’s a good start. Then again, I’ve always wondered if American’s find American TV as funny as it is..

    Anyway, best of luck. When’s the India departure date? Try and get hold of a book called ‘Shantaram’.. It’ll get you very well prepared.

    All the best,

    Andrew

  28. Pingback: My Time in New Vegas and a Few Questions | Exile Lifestyle

  29. Pingback: Finally Friday » Consciously Corporate - When business is your life.

  30. The link for your book in this post is to the kindle version. Could you please add the links to the other versions as well/instead?

    Games you could try –
    Braid – poster boy for indie games. Lovely art work and game design. Quite challenging and puzzles revolves around controlling time
    Samarost/Machinarium – Another indie game with brilliant art work and soundtrack
    Mass Effect 2 – Action and Role Playing Game – Just simply a lot of fun. Must try! :)
    Vanquish – Fast paced shooter on the PS3. Short but fun!

    Movies you could try –

    Gainsbourg – lovely french film about Serge Gainsbourg(french musician).Really charming

    When you’re strange – Documentary on the doors – Narrated by Johnny Depp , I got hooked on to the Doors because of this movie.

    Delicatessan – Another french movie made by the director of Amelie. Unique art style and nice story. Quite well done.

    Kick Ass – Superhero movie about a normal kid who turns into one but doesnt really have any superpowers.

    Will recommend more once I get access to my list. Hope you have a fun time! :)

  31. Late to the party~ I would have voted for Morocco. Your post made me wonder how good streaming movie apps for ipads are on planes during long flights- any ideas? Don’t know what your tastes in movies are, but, ‘Country Strong’ is actually a pretty good movie.

  32. TV:  Dexter.  There are 5 seasons, so it will at least pose a challenge, and has about 10x the substance of a normal cable show.  It’s very intense, and at times, even funny.

    Movie:  Bad Boy Bubby.  If you are into cult films, then this is for you.  The first 30mins are some of the most disturbing cinema I’ve ever watched, but the whole experience was one of the most rewarding I’ve had with movies.  Read a little on IMBD before jumping in.

    Video Game:  Red Dead Redemption.  I, like you, haven’t played a video game in years.  I played this game last semester while we were snowed in for a while.  The best way I could describe it is Grand Theft Auto meets the wild west.  The story is great.  Red Dead Revolver comes before it, but I haven’t played it and did not think my enjoyment of its sequel was affected at all.  I occasionally play my roommate’s maxed-out Grand Theft Auto IV when I’m half-drunk and it’s incredibly fun, but that’s probably not the type of commitment you’re looking for ;)

  33. TV:  Dexter.  There are 5 seasons, so it will at least pose a challenge, and has about 10x the substance of a normal cable show.  It’s very intense, and at times, even funny.

    Movie:  Bad Boy Bubby.  If you are into cult films, then this is for you.  The first 30mins are some of the most disturbing cinema I’ve ever watched, but the whole experience was one of the most rewarding I’ve had with movies.  Read a little on IMBD before jumping in.

    Video Game:  Red Dead Redemption.  I, like you, haven’t played a video game in years.  I played this game last semester while we were snowed in for a while.  The best way I could describe it is Grand Theft Auto meets the wild west.  The story is great.  Red Dead Revolver comes before it, but I haven’t played it and did not think my enjoyment of its sequel was affected at all.  I occasionally play my roommate’s maxed-out Grand Theft Auto IV when I’m half-drunk and it’s incredibly fun, but that’s probably not the type of commitment you’re looking for ;)

  34. Pingback: My Time in New Vegas and a Few Questions | Life Design HQ

  35. Pingback: My Time in New Vegas and a Few Questions | Life Design HQ

  36. Game: Halo or Call of Duty or Guitar Hero

    Tv: Mad Men, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Modern Family

    Movies: King’s Speech, Black Swan, Little Miss Sunshine, Eat Pray Love, and oh so many more…

Comments are closed.