Tag Archives: introspection

i’m still with it!

“I used to be with it! Then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you!” – Abe Simpson

http://www.kitguru.net/software/operating-systems/brian-smith/ui-guru-jakob-nielsen-says-windows-8-is-misguided-product/I truly have become an old fogy.

I never thought I’d become that guy who clings to old technology claiming it as superior to what’s new; I’ve often embraced the evolution of technology in general. But as I write this on my Windows XP-powered subnotebook computer, I’m thinking about the new trend that’s developing.

I hate Windows 8. I was one of the early adopters of Windows Vista, and I enjoyed it. Then I hopped on Windows 7 and found it even better. But my time spent with the Windows 8 preview and now, to a lesser extent, the released version of Windows 8 has been unnecessarily frustrating. Yes, it’s probably faster, and there have been some thoughtful under-the-hood changes, but the only overt changes I see are those designed with tablets in mind that translate into a more vexing experience for traditional PC users (or anyone without a touchscreen). We’ve got charms popping up and no clear pattern of navigation and it takes way too long to find out where to just shut down the PC. Where’s the control panel? Where’s the universal search? Oh it’s all there somewhere, but you’ve got to dig for it. Windows 7 was, and is, a much more pleasing experience for me.

And now I’m thinking of other manifestations of this pattern. I had a hard-drive based MP3 player (from Archos) before the iPod was in full-swing, and I had Pocket PCs with color screens when everyone was still using monochrome Palm Pilots.  But now I listen to most of my music from a 32 GB microSD card on my DROID 3, despite the increasing prevalence of cloud player options; there’s just a reassurance I get from having everything stored locally, not subject to the whims (or ownership) of any other entity/service that might go down or be inaccessible when the zombie apocalypse finally occurs. And I’m sure you noticed that DROID 3 reference; I haven’t been upgrading phones on a bimonthly basis since I’m locked into a Verizon contract, and that means I’ve missed out on great Android OS revisions and apps. Granted, that’s a separate issue – I’d upgrade if it were reasonable to do so, so that doesn’t really fall into the fogy category. But I am clinging to a device with physical buttons as long as I can, because I enjoy gaming and don’t trust on-screen keyboards and joysticks. So there’s a fogy knock, one might say.

So why am I still using this Fujitsu ultraportable laptop when there are so many viable new ultrabooks and tablets and convertibles? Well, because I paid good money for this and it still runs. Now there’s the Surface Pro and the Razer Edge gaming tablet on the horizon, and some well-made Lenovo devices that deserve attention, but I’m still running a Pentium M and 1 GB of RAM. I could blame the economy, but it’s still fogy-ish.

There’s a slew of other tech trends I’ve eschewed too: I still hate Facebook, and Twitter (and #hashtagging), and Instagram, and Battlefield 3, and the annual Call of Duty iterations, and electronic music, and online leagues/playing cards in FIFA, and the trend toward using real names online instead of anonymous handles (Covert, anyone?). Taken as a whole, it’s hard to deny my fogy-status, but perhaps it’s just something I’ll have to come to terms with. Why should I compromise my astute taste just to stay abreast of the latest trends? Not all change is for the best, anyway – remember when “Made in USA” indicated a quality product?

Neither do I, but I’m told there was a time that was true.

the skyrim lifestyle

Would you not want to explore this?

To my future self,

I apologize for not being more productive these past three weeks. Yes, out of 416 non-working hours, I’ve spent 168 hours sleeping…and 90 playing Skyrim. I’ve been in this shameful position before, but it would appear I’ve learned little from my past indiscretions. However, before you judge me too harshly and go back to your workaholic millionaire lifestyle, let me explain why I’ve sunk so much time into this fictional universe. My defense begins with an anecdote from the game itself.

As I roamed the frozen countryside, a dragon came swooping down to destroy me. I tried many different strategies, but I could not defeat it – I was clearly outmatched. After succumbing to his frosty breath numerous times, I decided to run for it. The dragon gave chase, and as I sprinted through the hills I attracted the attention of a pair of bears, and then a pack of wolves. All of the beasts were hungrily pursuing me when I finally made it into the camp of a giant and his mammoth companions. The predators lost interest in me and it became a frenzied battle as bear, wolf, giant, mammoth, and dragon collided. From safety, I witnessed the dragon defeat the wolves and bears only to fall beneath the might of the mammoths and their keeper.

How does this tale help my cause? Maybe it doesn’t – maybe I need more sleep. But I will say this: the game is relentless in its desire to offer more to do. Despite my duration of play, I still have to discover two more cities, and solve dozens of problems, and stop a civil war, and figure out why the dragons are returning. When I realized I could make my wife chop wood for me, then make her carry the wood to the store where I could sell it for a profit, there was no longer any question: this game has it all.

So I hope you’ll forgive me for the time I’ve spent bettering my wood elf character rather than my real person, but take comfort in this: in reality I could never be this good at wielding a two-handed battleaxe, or picking a man’s pocket, for that matter. I’ll just make this time up to you when I’m far more virile and able-bodied than other retired elders. If that doesn’t happen, consider it for the better; I would’ve just found some other way to waste the time.



proctology is all around us

The Braves just finished losing a game against the Phillies in spectacular fashion, having their side struck out in the top of the tenth on nine pitches to a generic AAA reliever (how rare is that?), then bringing in the Proctologist to pipe one down the middle for a walk-off homer to the catatonic Raul Ibanez. Good.

Watching the Braves play gets me despondent and calls to mind several things I’m not proud of (or, as the vernacular-shunning, grammar Nazi Chip Caray would say, “things about which I’m not proud”). First of all, I should have stood up for myself against the bipolar housewife who was discourteously bold enough to ask me to move my car over a spot so she could park at the end of the row, thereby insinuating that her generic creme Lexus was understandably more valuable than anything I could fathom.

Baffled, I moved my car for her.

Then there was the incident at the thrift store, with the ideal-but-just-slightly-overpriced end table. I should have bartered for it, or at least haggled, or at least feigned disinterest.

I bought it at full price.

We can’t always make the right call, as Fredi Gonzalez knows. But we can learn from our mistakes, man up, and designate Scott Proctor for assignment so these kinds of things never happen again. Or, wait. Well, something like that – there’s an expansive life lesson in there somewhere.

the act of removing weeds from one’s garden

You know that feeling you get when change is imminent…that understanding that things will never be the same? Yeah, I’ve got that.

I considered writing something weighty and solemn about the sanctity of marriage and of the significance it should, but sometimes does not, carry. And then I considered taking a less formal but decidedly more personal route to discuss, as mentioned, the emotional import of such endeavors. But I settled on this approach – a hodgepodge of words that, in their syncopation and disharmony, could accurately reflect the stress and excitement and sheer joy of planning and committing and calling and moving and deciding, and accepting. And knowing…

…That she will be with me for everything that is to come,
…That she will be the most beautiful girl in the world in that wedding dress,
…That something will almost certainly go awry, as the bard predicted, (but it won’t matter),
…That the bathroom sink will never be the same again,
…That the monthly budget will be completely shot,
…That I won’t be able to spend every spare minute playing video games,
…That I will finally have to be the man I should be (or at least try harder).

And she will love me when I don’t deserve love, and that’s the greatest gift a man can get.


If I could create a single Christmas ornament that was the epitome of “me,” it would be a faux-wood bear clad in a festive, hunter green vest, carrying an old-fashioned lantern and a meticulously-chosen walking stick, with his legs in motion as he trespasses through the forest on his way to spread love and good cheer to small children.

Also, he isn’t wearing any pants.