March 31, 2010

Scrapbook: 3/31/2010

Repentance

I haven’t posted in the past few days… a lot of reasons, mostly that I’ve been in training all day, then going back to work, home, various personal projects (expedio will live SOMEDAY!) and socializing (very great Passover seder hosted by Christina & Ross, with pretty much all my favorite new DC friends in attendance). Anyway, no excuses… life is more than the internet.

The Stuff

  1. When I first put on the album Actor by St. Vincent, I allowed my mind to wander such that I came to think of it as a recording of Ellen Ripley, last survivor of the commercial ship Nostromo. The (very) superficial resemblance (the hair, maybe?) Annie Clark has to Sigourney Weaver on the cover must have planted that seed…. or maybe I’m just obsessed with Alien. Anyway, all respect to Clark, but I find the bizarre mental image very comforting. It adds a dimension to the Ripley character that absurdly feels kind of right to me for no reason I can explain. Anyway, I like it.

  2. We All Have Photographic Memories - My last girlfriend used to hate it when people would take pictures as mementos. At first I thought it might be just a kind of shyness or self-image thing — Don’t take a picture of me! — but when we started dating, I realized it probably wasn’t anything so simplistic so I asked what was up. “It takes you out of the experience,” she explained (I may be paraphrasing). At the time I didn’t really agree… or agreed but didn’t see an alternative, perhaps. I guess I always kind of felt like I’d rather have a dull and imperfect memento in photo form than no memory at all, and really did believe that the alternative of “no memory at all” was more likely. I’m less sure now. I know I forget a lot, and there are things I don’t want to forget, faces I’d rather have a image of to trigger my recollection than to have that recollection fade over time. Maybe I’m not yet as comfortable with the transience of life as I ought, but I’m coming around. Perhaps all our technological memories have not only supplanted our real memories, but also removed our ability to experience a lot of things in a deep an genuine way. For the moment, I’m really glad I have at least a couple of pictures to remember her by, and hate that I’m sure my memories of her face would fade without them, but I’m thinking my girlfriend was ultimately right… better to fully experience each moment and possibly forget a few than capture only the shadows of a partially-lived life.

  3. I saved this link — Writers Define the Stages of Life — months ago, but didn’t know quite what to do with it… sooo it goes here! Some are more interesting than others, but I favor A.A. Gill… there’s something kind of comforting about regressing “into being Belgian” someday, while now living on the boundary of France and Switzerland…

  4. The Nerd, Dork, Geek Venn Diagram has been a hot meme this week, but that doesn’t invalidate it. I reckon I fall somewhere in the area below the ‘N’ in Nerd… less Socially Inept than a genuine Dork, not as Intelligent as a real Geek, but Obsessed (albeit variously) for certain.

  5. Man, this ariticle on UXMAG really hits a lot of notes. I feel like there’s just a ton in here, but the key takeaway for me was this:

    The pain inflicted by blatant UI flaws such as black background color and yellow and orange text is strangely transformed into the rewarding experience of feeling and looking like a hard-core professional.

    They're talking about the Bloomberg app, which replicates the old ubiquitous Bloomberg terminals, but attitude translates into a lot of other areas. Since everything’s been all about the iPad lately, I’ll relate it to that. All the “it’s not like a real computer” and grousing about no flash support or no USB port or no access to the file system have brought back all my memories of growing up a Mac user in an IBM town. Kingston, New York, until the ’90s, had a giant IBM plant that represented a huge economic lynchpin for the region. I was not altogether innocently treated as a traitor for using a different kind of computer (for fucks sake, right?) so I heard every taunt, jibe and complaint that was ever levelled against the Mac (and there were many). At any rate, I think it’s part of people’s natural resistance to change that this effect occurs, but I’m getting all kinds of deja vu right now… from people who just don’t get — for example — that ditching the necessity of dealing with a hierarchical filesystem is a Good Thing for the average user, and probablty for the vast majority of non-average “sophisticated” users. There’s an impulse to assume that the way things work now is naturally better, because you already understand it and can make it do what you want, but while that’s true sometimes (I’m still a daily user of the command line on my Mac) it’s just not always so. I truly believe that this kind of touch interface is our future, and while the iPad may not be The Device That Rules The World, it’s damn certain to be The Device That CHANGES The World. It’s a milepost, and regardless of it’s individual success, it’s setting the stage for what comes next, absolutely.

  6. Final note, go order the new Gangstagrass record… the first one isn’t available anymore (at least not legitimately it would appear), but it’s completely awesome and I’ve got high hopes for the sequel.

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