Friday, January 30, 2009

Sick Day

I'm at home. Sick. Working from home. Technology both cramps my style and blows my mind. I was on my phone a few months ago in a park talking to the friend I was meeting for lunch- we were trying to find one another- and he said, "How cool would it have been if we had this as kids?" I'm not actually sure that he said that. But the point stands.

Yesterday I came home from work early to crawl into bed and die and ended up sitting in front of the monstrosity of a computer I now own for almost three hours. I use the phrase, "now own," even though I've owned it since last summer. I use this phrase because I understand about 1/1000th of what it's capable. This became even more apparent last night as I was digging through help files trying to figure out why my video chat installation wasn't working. Then it started working. I don't know why. But I'm glad it did. This week marks the first time I've ever engaged in video chat. I was at work and a black box appears over a chat box initiated by that same friend with whom I was having lunch in the park and there you have it, a perfect reason to use the word viola in a blog. I'm too sick and lazy right now to figure out the accent mark. Maybe not.


I was introduced to computers at a pretty young age. I had an Atari 800. I had an external floppy disk drive. Eat your heart out, ladies. I had a tuner and a pair of rabbit ears. And yet, when my aunt bought me a Nintendo for Christmas despite my father, who worked in sales for a computer company and who'd helped me put together that set-up, I thought she was going to end up in the trunk of our Volvo. They never really got along.

Most of my friends and co-workers know of my reluctance to get onto the pop-tech bandwagon. But it's a total lie to say that I don't like technology. I'm a huge geek for it. I spent an hour at work one day loading software to view The World Telescope and when I did it made me tear up it was so beautiful. The only thing that keeps me from being frustrated that there's not a fully-functional jetpack in production is that it'd probably be used for war more than any other purpose. I want my computer to be a screen that appears out of thin air and allows me to manipulate it by moving my hands and speaking and I'm confident that this will happen in my lifetime. But it scares me when people stop asking questions about the effect any type of behavior that becomes popular has on our well-being, not to mention our culture, which may be one and the same. I don't understand why I'd want to have an instant messenger that allows me to digitally chat with someone that I can see in the same room, unless of course it's to talk about how hungover we are and how much we don't want to be at work. I see that there are useful applications of technology. What I don't see is the general population using them usefully. And I'm not sure that I know any better. That's why I'm cautious. This stuff is addictive and solipsistic. Case in point, I'm in bed, blogging about myself and technology.

In other news, it's nice to have a president that seems to have a sense of justice.

Love always,

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I keep a copy of Bertrand Russell's autobiography next to my bed.