Finally!

It took me four months from the time I originally decided to buy one, but I finally got an iPad. I had planned on getting it before Christmas with my year-end bonus, but we all know what happened to that money.

I’m actually quite surprised by how much I like it.

It will never replace my MacBook, but for reading, Tweeting, and general internet browsing, it really can’t be beat. Magical? Sorry, Apple. I wouldn’t go that far, (just goes to show how innured we’ve all become to the technology that would’ve seemed like magic when I was growing up), but I will say it’s pretty damn amazing when you stop to think about it.

Rediscovering an Old Friend

Music can do wonders to improve one’s mood.

Back in the day, this album—along with Constance Demby’s Novus Magnificat—was one of the quintessential “New Age” recordings in my collection. I first bought it on cassette tape and nearly wore it out on many a late Friday night drive from Phoenix to Tucson while dating my second partner, Bernie.

I bought it on CD after we moved to San Francisco, but like so many other recordings over the years, it was either lost, loaned and never returned, stolen, or sold.

I stumbled across it on iTunes the other day and thought “What the hell…you’ve wasted $20 on worse,” and downloaded both volume 1 and volume 2.

When I started listening, I was immediately transported back to what seemed like a much simpler, far more innocent point in my life, and as those familiar notes washed over me, I felt my blood pressure immediately go down and I entered what I can only describe as a very happy warm-and-fuzzy place. I suppose anyone hearing this for the first time in 2013 would think it’s just so much electronic schlock, but after all these years, it can still play me, and while I can never regain the innocence of my 20s and 30s, the music allowed me to at least reconnect—if only briefly—with a part of me that used to believe in magic.

I’m not talking about magic as in “now you see it, now you don’t,” but rather the simple wonder of the Universe and belief in something bigger than myself; something I used to consciously feel while living in San Francisco but seem to have lost during the intervening decades.

I’d really like to have that part of me back and cast off this bitter old queen persona that seems to have taken over of late…

Movie Review

While I am not a big fan of Tom Cruise, Oblivion was surprisingly good. In fact, I’d go so far as to give it an 8 out of 10. It’s one of those films that left me thinking about it hours later.

As many reviews have stated, the visuals are absolutely stunning. In a lot of films, CGI often overpowers the storytelling, but in this case it it simply blended seamlessly into it. And while I hate to admit it, Mr. Cruise is a decent enough actor that I can ignore the Crazytown bubbling beneath the surface of his real life to accept the character he’s playing as believable.

Damn, I want that house in the sky. (And of course the vehicle required to go to and from the place.)

I also have to applaud the storyline. Yes, it used a dozen well-worn tropes of science fiction, but combined them in a way that still seemed fresh, and while there were a few plot holes left unanswered (exactly how did that mountain paradise escape destruction?) they were minor in comparison to some other recent big-budget highly anticipated sci-fi I’ve seen (cough, Prometheus, cough).

I didn’t see the plot twist coming, which is always a good thing as far as I’m concerned. Surprise me, Hollywood. Make me walk out of a theater not feeling like I’d just fed fifteen dollars into a shredder.

It was also a very pleasant surprise that when the true nature of the invaders was finally revealed, it wasn’t a hoard of rubber-masked applied-prosthetic bipeds.

And the OST by M83 is pretty damn good too.

 

I’ll Pray for You

From Rosa Rubicondior:

What the Pious really mean.

I’ll pray for you because:

  • If I tell the truth and say I hate you people won’t think I’m a kind, caring person.
  • I want you to think I have some power over you that you can’t do anything about.
  • I like to think I have some power over you that you can’t do anything about.
  • I like to think I have an invisible friend who gets those who won’t agree with me about everything.
  • I can’t be bothered to learn stuff but I want people to think I’m better than you in some way.
  • I want you to feel guilty about beating me in an argument because I should be allowed to win every time even though I can’t be bothered to learn stuff.
  • You won’t agree with me so I’ll try threatening you with my really powerful imaginary friend.
  • I want people to think I’m religious because I’m hoping to get away with people thinking I’m a person they can trust.
  • I can’t counter your argument so I want to threaten you whilst making other people think I’m your morally superior.
  • I want my friends to be impressed with my smugly self-satisfied piety.
  • I want people to think I’m so special I have a close personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe who makes my wishes come true.
  • It costs me nothing and is much easier than doing something practical to help.
  • Pretending to be other peoples’ moral superior makes me feel good about myself.
  • If there really is a god I’m hoping to impress it with my piety so I show it off at every opportunity.
  • What use is religion if you can’t use it as a weapon when you need to?
  • What use is religion if you can’t use it to try to elevate yourself above other people?
  • I’d really like to abuse you physically but I can only use words and make-believe.

Isn’t it great the way religion can be used against other people is so many different ways? Has mankind ever devised any better source of excuses for the morally bankrupt than religion?

Ten

With everything else that’s happened in my life since the start of 2013, I’m not surprised that a rather important anniversary slipped by under the radar.

I am now a ten-year cancer survivor.

April 1st came and went this year with none of the fanfare my 5-year anniversary garnered. I guess it was a combination of everything else that’s been going on coupled with a clean exam last November and the doctor’s pronouncement, “At this point, for all intents you’re cured and can relax. See me in two years,” that put this on the back burner in my mind.

That’s not to say I hadn’t thought about about it entirely. Almost immediately after getting inked for my 5-year anniversary (something that did not turn out the way I’d hoped; something you’ll remember if you’ve been reading the various incarnations of my ramblings for that long) I started wondering what I’d do for the big one-oh.

About a year ago it hit me.

Ten, ten, TEN:

Because I like dual meanings.

And who have I chosen to poke me, to guarantee that this time will not be a repeat of the last? Why, Erik of course!

Ben and I are planning a road trip in August, and a visit to Pea Ridge is definitely on the agenda.

Oops, I Did It Again

Say hello to my new little friend.

Why did I replace my MacBook Air with a MacBook Pro Retina after only about a year and a half of ownership? Most importantly, it was because I got tired of feeling like I had to treat the Air with kid gloves every time I picked it up, and worrying that the slightest little thing would crack the display panel (yeah, it really is that thin). Secondly, having come from a regular MacBook Pro, I was never completely happy with the quality of that ultra-thin display. In comparison to the Pro, the colors were washed out no matter how much I messed with the color profiles.

There was also issue of case noise. Almost from the very beginning, the Air suffered the most horrible squeaking from the bottom case whenever it was picked up. Some creative engineering on my part minimized it, but even then it still required periodic attention and was by no means a permanent fix.

When the display started developing small “oil slicks” under the glass a few weeks ago I knew I it was time to at least start considering a replacement for those other reasons, even if Apple Care would cover the replacement of the display because of the Newtonian Rings.

When I started looking at replacements, I wasn’t immediately sold on the retina display models per se; I just wanted something more robust than the Air. There was also the issue of image retention, or “ghosting” that plagued the first generation of Retina machines that came out. Additionally, at first blush my aging eyes really didn’t see that much of a difference in the display to justify the price difference, but when I priced out a regular MacBook Pro with a SSD (having had one in the Air it was now an absolute requirement for all future machines) it was actually cheaper to get the equivalent Retina model. (Apple ain’t stupid, people. They want to move these Retinas.)

Of course now that I have it, I love it.  I also appear to be among the lucky ones who have a flawless display. (Or maybe it’s because I have one of more recent models and the issue has been corrected.)

No Spring For You!

While I know certain people are going to laugh and call me a wimp when they read this, but after having gone through two winters in Colorado, I now know why many more people move to Arizona instead of from there in spite of the batshit crazy political climate.

Last year the final snow of the season occurred in February and we had a delightful spring. “That wasn’t so bad,” I thought. It corresponded in an inverse way to roughly the same length of time you can be expected to run your air conditioning in Arizona. This year, however, it seems the fucking white shit just won’t go away. “Oh, we usually get our craziest weather in March through May.”

Really? May? Seriously?

So essentially what I’m being told is that if we’re lucky, we’ll get four months this year when it doesn’t snow at some point.

My sister is tired of hearing me complain about it. “Well, you did move to Colorado.”

My dad was big into astrology (an understatement if there ever was one), and before Ben and I moved he printed out and gave me an astrological “relocation report.”

I never read it, preferring instead to discover life in Denver without any preconceived notions, but at this point I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it read, “You’ll hate it.”