Archive for the ‘ Personal Life ’ Category

The Endless Update Cycle

Mac_LogoAbout a month ago I finally updated the operating system on my iPhone (an old 4S model) to iOS7.

I wouldn’t have done it by choice, but there was some feature or other that couldn’t open without the new OS, and that was blocking my access to some documents by not opening. So update I did, although the “new” OS at that point was due to be replaced in a few weeks anyway.

And now it has been. And now there’s a new operating system, again. This happens at about the same breakneck pace for full-size computers, for those of us still using them — I’ve updated OSX twice in the four-year lifespan of my current desktop, and it’s still several versions out of date.

So here’s my question: do any of these updates make such substantial changes that anyone else feels they’re worth the hassle?

For my part, I’ve never noticed a particularly stunning improvement in user experience from iOS5 to iOS6, or OSX 10.5 to OSX 10.6, .7, .8, etc.

Now, when OSX itself came out — that was a jump from the old family Mac that had been running MacOS 7.something-or-other for years, let me tell you. A whole new world, a dazzling place I never knew (era-appropriate reference, natch).

But then, we’d been using that Mac for years. It lasted from the mid-90s through the start of the new millennium without ever once downloading an automatic update, mostly because automatic updates and the bandwidth to download them didn’t exist at the time.

I don’t know that I’ve gained much from the ability to update my Mac all the time. Mostly I seem to have gained the inability to use my computer for basic utility programs unless I hassle with (and pay for) a new operating system every year or so. On the phone the cycle is even quicker, although the updates at least are free.

Which would all be fine and good, if upgrading from OSX 10.8 to 10.9 or iOS7 to iOS8 were a dazzling, eye-opening experience that changed the way I use my computing devices.

It’s not.

Silence of the Vans – Moving Days

“Moving Day” is usually, you know, a day, but when you’re doing it in one small car that only one person involved in the move can drive, it turns into more of a multi-day affair. (Or even a multi-week affair, at the rate this one is going.)

That’s where I’ve been. That’s where I will be, until things get just a touch more settled.

For those that are curious: Chicago, near Clark and Devon, with a girlfriend and no other roomies, and no I do not have a new job. I haven’t had a real job for years, are you kidding me? I can freelance from anywhere. This one’s just for the girl.

Oh, and also: four cats, so strong allergy warnings for all potential users of our (yes we have one!) guest room. And a hedgehog, but she seems mostly hypoallergenic, as far as we can tell. Just spiky.

Regular content to resume Monday the 18th, barring disaster.

Mercury in Retrograde

mercury-retrograde-inverted-symbolA good catchphrase is soothing when life goes to shit.

Now that I look back at it, that might actually be the most succinct summary of organized religion since “opiate of the masses.” Write that one down. But anyway: life, shit; catchphrase.

So you’ll be happy to know (if your life is going to shit) that Mercury is retrograde right now, which is one of those few astrological concepts that people who don’t give a shit about astrology (see also: me) recognize. You can even recognize it visually if you look up and happen to see the planet Mercury “moving” the wrong direction (it’s not actually; we’re just moving a lot faster relative to its current position, so it’s going backwards the same way that a slow-moving truck is going backwards when you pass it on the highway, which is to say not at all unless you’re on a steep uphill and its transmission just threw out).

Supposedly this is a time when, to put it simply, shit doesn’t work. This has something to do with Mercury being the messenger planet: communications get tangled when the messenger is out of whack, and since basically everything today depends on communications (e-mail, cell phones, the internet, etc.) that means everything stops working.

I’ll buy it. I’m not sure all of this week’s pet disasters (cat barf on the bed while I was in it, cat pee in the suitcase; hedgehog pooping blood in her bath) quite fit under the “Mercury in retrograde” header, but the incredible shitshow of basically every landlord who showed me an apartment this week could definitely count as a communications breakdown.

Maybe it’s for the best; the astrologers say you’re not supposed to be signing contracts (re: leases) during retrograde Mercury anyway.

But regardless, it’s been a real comfort to be able to roll my eyes and say “Mercury in retrograde” every time something new goes to hell, and that pretty much tells you right there why some people go crazy over this astrology crap. Cheaper than therapy, right?

(Well, okay, depending on your astrologer. Some people make bank on this shit. For the rest of us, there’s Googling “Mercury in retrograde” and calling it a day.)

Oversharing/Undersharing

I overshare my happiness. I undershare my sadness.

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I overshare my rage with structural and systemic injustices, and undershare my anger at wrongs done to my person specifically.

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I overshare my food and my drink and my hospitality. I will overshare yours, too.

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I overshare the fact that I think you are pretty, and that I would be delighted to make out and/or go to bed with you (although usually not until I have had some beer for courage), and I wish that you would do the same. I undershare the amazing extent to which said making out and going to bed is smiled upon by all current participants in my romantic and sexual life, but only because it seems rude to talk about them when I am with you.

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I will probably overshare “the deets” with said participants, but purely from a mental and physical health standpoint.

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I overshare on digital spaces that feel like they are mine: my blog, my own Facebook feed; my writing. I undershare on all other social media.

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I think you should do the same. Especially re: Facebook.

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I overshare about anything pretty willingly, but only if you ask me directly. I undershare when I’m making my half of the conversation up as I go along.

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I overshare about things I have read recently that I thought were interesting. This is not to show off; it is because I cannot carry all the interesting things I have read recently around with me all the time to give to you when it seems relevant. I would be happy to clip an article or e-mail you a link if you would rather read the full text and form your own opinions.

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I overshare clippings and links, too. This seems to be embedded on the paternal gene.

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I undershare the degree to which I worry that you have not contacted me recently because you are angry with me, or have decided you do not like me for some reason, rather than because there has been no real reason to contact me and you have other things to do with your time. Or I did until now.

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I overshare my business cards. Why not? FedEx sells them in lots of like 250, and I don’t meet that many new people.

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I overshare love.

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I undershare love.

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But I am, on the whole and when you come down to it, generally in favor of more sharing rather than less.

What about you?

Housekeeping: MA101 on the Road

MA101 is on the road!

Mostly US-151, as it happens. I’m headed down to Iowa for my college reunion.

There will be posts while I’m down there, potentially even about classes, since the college is good enough to run cute little “Alumni College” seminars for those of us that haven’t held a spiral notebook in far too long.

The most visible effect for readers will be a delay in comments appearing. (I’m back to approving them individually for the time being, since we talked about violence against women this week and any post with the “misogyny” tag automatically gets you an influx of dudebros screaming about whores, cunts, and fags, which I’ve been efficiently filing in the “Trash” section as fast as they come.) I’ll try to go through and approve everyone’s at least once a day, but no promises.

Other than that, content will limp along at its usual semi-regular pace, possibly punctuated with endearingly Iowan sights.

iowa-corn-postcard

The Ups and Downs of Being Really, Really Tall

Being tall isn’t always fun and games.

Sometimes, in fact, it is quite literally not fun and games; an absence of fun and games: on a recent trip to Six Flags Great America (frivolous summer whims wooo!), I was told I couldn’t ride their new X-Flight ride. It had a maximum height limit of 6’6″.

More like SUX-flight, amirite?

More like SUX-flight, amirite?

Obviously the designer was a small person. And based on the oversized train twisting through dark tunnels (which is presumably where the height becomes an issue), I’ll go ahead and cruelly say that he was obviously a small man, too, if you know what I mean.

You know what I mean.

So anyway, that side of thing sometimes sucks. But on the other hand, you get some awesome fun times, too.

Case in point: there I was at a local roller derby bout, using the bathroom with all the other halftime drunks. The drunk at the kids’ urinal (which in his defense was right up next to the sinks) is bitching in a very loud voice about how the worst part about getting stuck with the little urinal is having to pee right there next to everyone washing their hands, blah blah blah.

And as luck would have it the stall next to him opened up, so I got to loom on up and rumble “Yeah — and it’s really fucking small” in my deepest, most subterranean tones.

Guy was looking the other way, so we got a lovely “Yeah, man, and it’s reallllOH HOLY SHIT YOU’RE BIG” rising inflection as he pivoted to look at me and spasmed in primal fear.

So yeah. I was so big I made a guy pee on his shoes, once. No big deal. Shoulder dust, shoulder dust, wink.

You gotta take the good with the bad. And maybe watch where you pee.

The Death of a Rabbit (The Life of a Crow)

Yesterday I held a baby rabbit in my hands (and dropped it from my hands, briefly, onto the hood of a white car: red blood turned orange by smearing, subcutaneous fat).

A crow had been pecking at it. I chased the crow away, but, doing so, scared also the mother of the baby (or else some unrelated large rabbit that had taken an interest), and I wondered if it was worth it, to the bunny, to trade the familiar face for a moment of respite.

Inside the bank, I asked a teller for a cardboard box, “one of the small ones that you keep the rolls of change in would be perfect.”

When she asked why, I told her a little rabbit had been hit by a car in the parking lot. Her eyes turned wet: “Don’t tell me that!”

“I think he’ll be okay,” I lied, “If I can get him some shelter from the crows.” (He was not going to be okay. One leg was badly broken, the bone a throbbing bulge beneath matted fur. Flesh was torn and bleeding in many places.)

As she turned to get the box, she watched the crow fly by the window, our wounded rabbit in its beak.

And I thought, “How sad,”

And I thought, “Well, crows have to eat too.”

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