Category Archives: Oh, the Angst!

Deja Vu

So Apple came out with a bunch of new toys.

Correction: Apple came out with a bunch of old toys in new packages. Let’s see: An MP3 player, smaller than a pack of gum. Yep, it has been done before. A medium-power computer that costs less than 500$? Really, there are too many links to present in a snarky way. You can find far more powerful machines for less on Froogle.

So what’s my point? Am I an embittered Linux PC user jealous of the slick line of designs that Apple has come out with? No. I’m all for making your stuff pretty. As a geek, I like the fact that Apple based their latest OS on Unix, even if it takes quite a bit of work to get it to a state that a diehard *n?x user would call usable. What I don’t like is that people are deluding themselves into thinking that they are buying something on the forefront of technology. I’d like to say that Apple is presenting their products as something they are not, but the ads are actually pretty honest: “You can already do exactly this, but now you can do it with style.” It’s just the users, perhaps suppressing some guilt at shelling out more dough than they ought for pretty packaging, who decide that Apple is all bleeding-edge.

The iPod is a perfect example: I keep hearing people talking about the iPod as if it were a breakthrough, as if it were the first hard drive-based MP3 player on the planet. In fact, it is (arguably) the slickest-looking. It’s not the most featureful, it’s not in any technical sense the “best”. But it does have a hell of an ad campaign. Do I think people should not buy iPods? Fuck that, I like to have pretty things as much as the next person. Buy an iPod. But don’t delude yourself into thinking that this is something new.

And then there’s a whole community of people rallying around the iPod and “inventing” supporting technologies for it. “Podcast” is a new term that’s been bandied around the internet over the past… months? A year, maybe? Before that it was known as “audioblogging”. Yes, I’m afraid so. Adam Curry and Dave Winer did not invent audioblogging. They coined a word. The success of the iPod was what made audioblogs so popular, and the creation of an easy interface to it made the technology accessible to the washed and manicured masses. But if you are a podcaster or a listener don’t fool yourself into thinking it is anything more than an MP3 version of the millions of people on Blogspot or Livejournal.

Anyway, a point. I think I’m supposed to have one of those. My point is, buy Apple’s machines, if you can justify spending the extra money. But know why you’re buying them. It’s okay to spend more for glitz, but know that you are.

Still Bumming About

You’d think that a good place to find Go supplies would be Chinatown, right? Wrong. Bah.

Here the main stretch of Chinatown (at least, what I’ve seen so far) has been lined with restaurant, restaurant, restaurant, restaurant, random crap store, restaurant, restaurant, electronics store, restaurant, restaurant, restaurant, restaurant, restaurant, restaurant, herbalist, random crap store, restaurant, restaurant. Interspersed with a few restaurants.

I went into one of the random crap stores (you know the kind; the walls are covered with waving lucky cats and paper fans, along with some mass-produced ceramic dragons made to look authentic with gold-coloured paint) and asked if there were any stores about that would sell what I was looking for. He didn’t know what the hell Go was (I tried calling it Wei Qi and Baduk, to no effect). I tried another of the random crap stores (I figure if I ask people with grey hair I’ll stand a better chance of succeeding) and he at least knew of the game, but shook his head as vigorously as if I’d asked him where I could find some Opium and told me no, he knew nothing.

I did manage to find out through some online searching that there’s a Go club that meets Saturdays in Regent’s Park, and the addresses of a couple of gaming stores that carry Go stuff. So perhaps I’ll be able to find some nice bowls, finally… and perhaps even have a game! Wish me luck.

thanks to the UGA and, through them, the BGA

Ouch

One of my catchphrases (along with such classics as “This isn’t what it looks like,” “Sorry I’m late” and “No, it must have been the dog”) is “I’m old for my age.” I am of the distinct impression that it is abnormal for someone my age to have the regular chest pains I have, to have my bad back, knees, neck and everything else, and to feel as constantly run down as I.

Normally I’m the first to bitchslap people who think they know better than their doctor. They get lumped into the same category as people who decide that since scientists haven’t explained absolutely everything science is worthless. However, I do know that doctors are human. And sometimes they get lazy with diagnoses. For instance, an eleven-year-old boy comes into a pediatrician’s office complaining that his knees hurt. “Nothing to worry about,” says the doctor, “it’s just growing pains.”

Well, they never went away. They just got worse. Now I am in more or less constant pain. Not necessarily severe pain, but at any given point chances are something hurts: knees, feet, back, neck, pelvis, wrists, elbows, you name it. Of course I’ve grown to live with the pain, so I barely notice it unless it gets really bad.

Whoop! Time to take some muscle relaxants! Hmm… only a few left. I do notice some difference when these are in effect, but not much. Mainly I just get drunk a whole lot faster. Gah. I’m just waiting until medical technology advances to a point where I can get a spine replacement.

Stagnation

Thing about rutted roads is that even if you try to walk on the higher grassy bits you keep slipping into the furrows if you’re not vigilant. Fact is, it’s just easier to walk in the ruts.

Work drags on.
Same thing every day, and I feel like I’m just biding my time until I get into something better. Which I guess I am. bleh.

Hm. That reminds me: I need to write a man about a dog.

Me am Sad

So a friend of mine is leaving tomorrow for Toronto. This sucks. He and I have gotten very close over the past few weeks, and he’s fucking off to Drabville.

Some author (I can’t remember who, but it may have been Neal Stephenson) said something once about humans basically being pattern recognition devices (no, I don’t think it’s William Gibson I have in mind). Recognition, yes. But to such a degree that we see patterns where there are none. This is why we see shapes in the clouds and the stars. This is why we can stare at TV static and see Jesus Christ jackhammering Mickey Mouse in the doo-doo hole with a lawn dart as Garth Brooks gives birth to something resembling a cheddar cheese log with almonds on Santa Claus’ tummy-tum. And this is why it feels like when I start to get really close to someone, half the time either they or I fuck off.

Continue on if you don’t mind reading some details of my sex life.

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