Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

05 Jan 2010, 23:07 p.m.

Simple Pleasures

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2010 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Today's complicated pleasure: The Known Universe, a horror film about the end of the universe. OK, not intentionally, but Abbott's nonchalant narration seemed fine just until he got to the bit about what'll happen in a few trillion years. I'm really not used to hearing "this horrible doom approaches" without a "and therefore we should..." suffix.

The last few days, I've been enjoying simpler pleasures: Puzzlefighter (a game Mike Carns introduced me to eleven years ago) and essays by Andy Rooney. Yes, the stuff from the end of 60 Minutes. I loved them when I was a kid; a few minutes from the end of 60 Minutes, every Sunday night, my parents would holler for me and I'd run to catch his comments.

Upon reading Years of Minutes I begin to see as an adult what I adored as a child. He's really direct and honest about the little things in life, like a cross between Jerry Seinfeld and Mr. Rogers. He cares about details; over and over, he looks up statistics and puts them in context (especially about defense spending, taxes, and government in general), or goes somewhere, tries a whole category of consumer products, or experiments in some way to get at the experiential truth of things. He played football in high school, and served in the Army, which puts him on the other side of the jock-nerd spectrum from most writers I knew of. And now that I've done the weekly column bit, I find Rooney's consistency worthy of respect. I'll have to think more about his views & what I find in him once I've finished the book.

I find myself thinking of Rooney as an influence, alongside Dave Barry, Square One TV, Amar Chitra Katha, several teachers, Star Trek, my family, and P.G. Wodehouse.