Archive for February, 2011

A book by any other name

Sometimes I run out of things that annoy me. It’s a weird feeling, when you’re me and you suddenly realise that for 6 months you’ve been writing about things you actually do rather than those that irritate the hell out of you. Suddenly you wonder if your purpose in life has evaporated like a damp annoyed mist in the radiant sunlight of a world filled with things that actually work.

Then you have the same conversation you have had 40 times already, the unjustifiably emphatic irritation resurfaces, and the world makes sense again.

I have a kindle. For anyone who does not know this because they have spent the last 2 years hiding under a rock with their eyes closed and their fingers in their ears humming a jaunty Broadway tune they have not yet seen the Glee version of, a kindle is an e-book reader. It uses a technology called e-ink that means the display screen looks identical to a paper page. It is not backlit, and looks nothing like a computer screen of any kind. Because as previously stated it looks like paper, goddammit.

I love books. But much more to the bloody point I love reading. People for some reason view kindles as soulless objects that simply do not have the touch and feel of real books. To me this is akin to eschewing mp3 players because vinyl had character. Yeah, it did. Records are lovely, books are beautiful. Technology is BETTER. Unequivocally, totally, definitely better.

Kindles are not perfect. I will grant you that a book does not run out of battery, even after a whole 3 weeks. On the other hand, a kindle involves cutting down no trees, is the size of a small notebook, and holds three thousand books. Ah but wait, it does have a major flaw. One glaring, massive issue that I shit you not every single person I have ever talked to about a kindle has said to me. Every. Single. One.

It doesn’t smell like paper.

Yes, this is what we want from technology. That it smell different. Because Alexandre Dumas clearly has less insight into the human psyche when his words are transferred via a medium without that crisp new-book odor. Are you people fucking serious? This machine is amazing. It is compact, pretty, doesn’t strain your eyes, and can be held in one hand while lying in bed about to drop off to sleep. And it holds 3 thousand books! Is that not wondrous and amazing? Is it not lovely when you finish a book in the middle of a long train journey and just flip to the next one in the series, or switch genres because you felt like some Isaac Asimov before bedtime.

The books are cheaper, you can lose the device itself but not the data if you bought it from Amazon. You can also manually put books on it without going via the official site. I guess I am just curious as to what the hell it is you want from the damn thing. I mean granted it is not actually a flying car, but I am pretty sure its one of those “yey! We live in the future!” things. No, it doesn’t do what an iPad does. Then again it also doesn’t have a monthly bill or a battery life of 10 hours,  or cost $600 dollars.

Perhaps I am just biased. I fly constantly, I read very fast, and I have an exasperating habit of moving to a new country every few years. The kindle is not perfect, for a start it doesn’t support graphic novels and about the 17th time I drop it from a height tends to start rattling scarily when shaken. But then I am reliably informed it is not ideal to drop expensive electronics on the floor. Despite its fairly minor shortcomings though it has been one of the best things I have ever purchased, and should I lose/break/donate to Will-It-Blend a dozen more of them I will probably still buy another one.

Someday, someone will whine that those new hyper efficient skull implants that interface directly from your brain to the internet just don’t have have the feel of freshly molded matte plastics.

I aten’t dead

As usual the presence of vast quantities of material to write about goes hand in hand with having no time to write any of it. I should probably provide some sort of update on what has been happening over the past few months. Hurray, it’s bullet point time!

(Hint: bullet points are a cool way of making it sound like you have done a pile of stuff when really it’s a little bit tragic that 6 months of your life can be summarized in the equivalent of a paragraph).

  • I made some really amazing friends in Philadelphia
  • I went to Burning Man, and had the best burn ever
  • I had an epiphany (complicated, but boils down to my life being a bit too fucking boring).
  • I navel-gazed for a while about the epiphany  (yeah, shocking)
  • I decided to quit my job
  • I went to Australia for work
  • I wavered about quitting my job
  • I quit my job (thank fucking christ)
  • I went to Thailand on holiday with the Polish girl, missing christmas at home for the first time ever
  • I had another epiphany (Also a tad convoluted but basically I realized I am too much of a jerk)
  • I went to Australia again, for work again
  • I met Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer.  (I also regressed to about the age of 12 at this point, but let’s not dwell on that)
  • I went to Italy for zemphis’ wedding to a Dub
  • I went to Zurich to see diamond and eat cheese. Diamond was alright, cheese was phenomenal.
  • I moved to London (epiphany 1 side effect)
  • I accepted a contract job identical in every way to my previous job but with a defined end date. I decided this was not selling out (internal debate still rages on this one. But hey, if I’m wrong I will only be wrong until May 31st)

What am I doing after May 31st, one might ask if one gave a shit. The answer is “something really cool”. Seriously, that’s the only part I am entirely sure about. There is a definite plan A, but I can’t be sure it will work out – too many feckless hippies are involved. Which hasn’t stopped me telling everyone I meet about it, but telling everyone I meet what I am doing is just one of the many vexing personality flaws I shamelessly flaunt on a daily basis.  As is referring to people as feckless hippies even though I plan on willfully making myself unemployed in a few months. Oh yes, that’s the other part – whatever I do for the summer will not involve making any money whatsoever. Try not to faint on anything really uncomfortable in your deep and abiding shock.

Summary over – more details on Australia, Thailand, and possibly even the epiphanyX2 will be forthcoming very soon. I have been writing over the past few months, just not very frequently or particularly well. But fuck it, I don’t have to read it.