Wednesday, February 16, 2005

iPod People

February 16, 2005 - Wednesday

iPod People

I came *this* close to joining the Cult of Apple. You almost got me, Steve Jobs. And I thought Bill Gates was the antichrist, but he's much too blunt. Your deceptively seductive ways nearly drew me over to the dark side of the Force, and I very nearly became the oh-so-proud owner of an iPod Shuffle.

Back, ye demon of the abyss! Away with thee, hellspawn!

As I walked past a Circuit City this evening, annoyed at my inability to track down an iShuffle which for some inexplicable reason I was desperately hungry to own, I felt an odd tug on my soul. "Come inside" a voice said, fairly mysteriously. "Come inside, and seek your heart's desire!"

"Really? There's a table with Anna lying nude with a sushi buffet spread across her for me to eat?"

A quick (and unnecessarily painful!) metaphysical slap upside the head, and I found myself inside Circuit City looking over their MP3 players. Would this be where I find my preciousssss? Finds it, we must! Yesssssss, needs it, my preciousss!

Then did the light of the Lord shine down from the Heavens, and lo and behold what did I see?

A Sandisk 1.0G Digital Audio Player.

WTF? Where's my glistening white iPod? They had sleeves for them, skins for them, speakers for them...but no iPod to be found! I want my Shuffle, dammit!

Pouting, I read over the specs for this...this...imposter of a device.

Digital FM Tuner with 20 presets. Voice recorder. Plays MP3 and WMA formats. Includes carrying case with armband, earphones and software. USB 2.0 port. Full digital audio control. Backlit LCD display. Runs for 15 hours on 1 AAA battery.

And: I did not need to use the provided software. Open My Documents, click on the music you want, drag and drop. Done.

"Hah!" I cried. "And what ransom are they asking for this miracle mechanical marvel? $300? $500?"

I spied the price tag. $159.99.

Can you hear it? The angelic choir? "AAA-aaa-AAAA-aaa-AAAhhh!" It brought a tear to my eye, it was so beautiful to behold.

I fell in love with this silvery holy creation. I did not need to become one of the Pod (iPod) People. I could reject the Apple Nation, and be proud of my PC-ness once again!

Hallelujah and amen!

But...was it a scam? Would it prove to be a lie, all of it, just a seductive doppleganger teasing me with it's inferiority, leaving me - in the end - wanting the sacred Shuffle all the more?

I brought it home and instantly plugged it into my USB port. "New found hardware!", my PC cried. "Your device is now configured and ready for use", it assured me!

Oh the joy!

Lovingly I loaded Windows Media Player, purposefully ignoring the Installation Disk my player came with - MusicMatch software embedded within. A popup! "Would you like to synch this USB device now?" it asked, quite pleasantly I might add.

"No", I replied. "I would like to do it manually."

"As you wish" it said, smiling it's pleasure at my choice. My Choice!

I browsed my music files. I Added Them To My Synch List. And when I was done, I Synched.

And it was Good.

And Lo and Behold, there was a Light - and My SanDisk Digital Audio Player was filled with the light of the MP3, and it also was Good.

And the Lord, Me, was Pleased.

So: I say, Get Thee Behind Me, Apple-Satan!

I am a PC user, untainted by the bleached sterile mark of the Apple-Beast.


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Starfish & Coffee

February 13, 2005 - Sunday

Starfish & Coffee

So. Why does having a different view on what you want this world to be, have to make you psychologically damaged?

Let's rewind. I recently had a conversation with a casual friend who, not knowing me very well, was still determined to catagorize me.

En garde, have at thee knave!

This all stems from me having recently broke up with my gf of a year, because I had the foresight to see it wasn't going anywhere long-term and wanted to end it before it turned a brighter shade of ugly. The near-argument that ensued was brought on by my annoyance that this friend was having trouble comprehending why I seem to have no desire for the "package" - the wife, the 2.5 kids, the house in the suburbs, the dog named Scruffy and the cat named Fluffy. This, she feels, is what normal human beings want so there must obviously be something wrong with me for not wanting it. The "fear of committment" argument was brought out, dusted off and placed high on the mantle - which I quickly slapped aside, kicked into the fireplace and burned to ash.

My point was that I fully admit I don't want "the Life" - but it isn't because I don't want to settle down. It's because I refuse to settle, period. So what if everyone else follows the same path? Why should I spend 3 months pay on a ring to buy a potential bride? Why should we then anchor ourselves in one place, and forget that we ever had dreams, goals, aspirations? Why does having a family - or hell, just becoming a couple - mean you have to cut yourself off from your friends, to metamorph into this amalgamated Thing? No longer a person, you're now a Couple. People no longer talk about you as an individual, you're now JohnAndMary, a hybrid creature with no resemblance to the people you used to be.

This is what "maturing" is supposed to mean in our society; it means giving up your Self to merge, to become one with the hive mind. We are the Borg, you will be assimilated. Well frag that. I told another friend once that I'm not looking for someone to settle down with, I'm looking for someone to keep dreaming with. Eagles fly free, they still spread their wings and glide on the wind, but they do so together - family and all. The nest is a comfort place, but the sky is where they really live. And I don't want to burrow underground and join the community, sorry - not me. I like the treetops, the clouds, the mountaintops. I don't care if this is a dream, a fantasy, if I'm chasing rainbows - dammit I'll keep on chasing it, and to hell with the rest of the world if they just don't get it.

If that means I keep jumping from relationship to relationship until I find another dreamer, so be it; I'd rather be alone and imaginatively free, than married and dead inside. I don't want to be the pair of caged songbirds, watching the world through a dirty window. So, in the words of the immortal Prince:
All of us where ordinary compared to Cynthia Rose
She always stood at the back of the line
A smile beneath her nose
Her favorite number was 20 and every single day
If u asked her what she had 4 breakfast
This is what she’d say
Starfish and coffee
Maple syrup and jam
Butterscotch clouds, a tangerine
And a side order of ham
If u set your mind free, baby
Maybe you’d understand
Starfish and coffee Maple syrup and jam