When More Isn't Really More

On a blog called Reader Writer Runner I have a confession to make. I love TV. I can park my butt on the couch for an entire day watching baseball, hockey, Doctor Who or old 80's horror movies. I know; I have a problem, and worse, I have largely passed on the TV addiction to my oldest child. Luckily my wife, along with child number 2, are not nearly as into TV as we are and can keep things in check for the family. Until temptation comes along...

...in the form of a new bundling offer from a rival cable company.

The other day we got a knock on the door from a smiling young man spreading the good news of the...wait, let me start that over. Yesterday the cable man came knocking with an offer of faster internet, double the channels and a better price. Needless to say, it would be rude not to listen to the offer, so I spent the next 10 minutes or so going over what his company had to offer. Turns out he was right about the internet and the channels, but wrong about the price. Still, at the end of the day I could have much more content at roughly the same price I am currently paying. Go for it, right?

Maybe not. In fact definitely not. Here is why.

Living in America, more is generally a default positive, but sometimes more just isn't more. Up until yesterday I felt no lack in my TV viewing options, and my internet was plenty fast enough for my needs. While in this case getting more wouldn't cost me anything extra in terms of cash, there would still be a price. 

I'd be more likely to renew my Netflix subscription to take advantage of that new lighting connection speed.

I'd find more shows that I just had to watch regularly.

I'd fall in love with the MLB and NHL networks and watch way more games than I do now.

And I would spend even more time cut off from those around me staring at a screen. Sure I could tell myself I'd limit my viewing time, or I'd only watch at night after everyone else fell asleep (most of this stuff is on demand anyway after all). But I would be lying to myself, and I know it. 

I spent the first half of this year weening myself off of excessive internet "headline" news reading so that I could spend more time with serious fare: to fill that hole with mindless entertainment would be defeating the whole point. So I passed on all those extra channels and I will keep staying away from sites like Politico and Buzzfeed. 

Time is the only resource we all share equally, how we spend it is up to us.

Book Review: Black Order by James Rollins


I love James Rollins' books the way I love donuts; they taste good going down, even if there is no nutritional value whatsoever. Rollins' has taken the mantel of master of the by-the-seat-of-your-pants thriller, a post formerly held by the likes of Clive Cussler. 

In this episode of the ongoing adventures of the SIGMA force Gray Pierce races to expose a century-old plot that threatens to destroy the current world order and alter the destiny of humankind forever. Along the way the reader can vicariously- live through a sinister fire in a Copenhagen bookstore, reveal an insidious plot to steal a Bible that once belonged to Charles Darwin, dive headlong into a mystery that dates back to Nazi Germany, witness horrific experiments performed in a now-abandoned laboratory in Poland, go to a remote monastery in Nepal, as Buddhist monks turn to cannibalism and torture, and much, much more.

Cheesy dialogue and stereotyped characters abound but the real star of the book is the far reaching "sci-fiesque" concepts that Rollins always spins his yarns around. This time it is the idea of quantum evolution. While the novel goes into a farily detailed explanation of the idea, for our purposes here a simple definition will suffice. Quantum evolution deals with the comparatively rapid transition from one stable type of biological adaptation to another distinctly different type under the influence of some strong selection pressure. What that selective pressure is, is exactly what Black Order is really all about. And for my money this is what is worth the price of admission.

For the past few years, James Rollins' novels have been my go to summer beach books, and with Black Order he has maintained his place on my ever-eclectic bookshelf.