Gnat at summer school

Hi there! I’m Mr. Manic Depressive. How are you? Fine. And me? Thanks for asking! As despondent today as I was elated yesterday. Sort of. Oh, the tale I will tell eventually, when all is finished – I know I’ve been making these allusions to Big Changes now and then, and you may imagine, if you bothered to spend a nanovolt of brainwave activity on some other guy’s personal contrusions (not a word, but should be), that things have been just beavering away behind the scenes here at Jasperwood. But nothing has happened. That’s the problem. If my life was a noir movie it would be the Big Wait. Or the Big Stall. Or the Big Sick Feeling in the Pit of the Stomach. The Big Limbo. Although what I remember of Limbo from Dante, it was a place of sorrow without torment - and while I am not in a state of full-bodied torrmentiousity, the needle on the Torment-o-Meter twitches up a few more degrees every day.

It’s all very instructive, I’ll say that. There are several possible outcomes, and in the end they’re all good, but some are harder than others. One is particularly bitter, and you’ll know if that one comes true. Trust me.

Today’s Fence is indistinguishable from a Bleat, just tighter. Screedblog also up, re: NO LA. But first:

Augh! Stop it! Stop making toys I want!

This is maddening. I recently put my iTunes house in order, gathering album art for all the music in preparation for getting a 60GB iPod some day. I liked the idea of having everything with me all the time, as opposed to the Shuffle, which I use when writing at night at the kitchen table; it serves as a tour of the recesses of my collection, picking things I’d never pick. (I have a special playlist composed solely of things I liked on the Shuffle.) I have a Mini for travel; it always has the stuff I’m listening to now, plus a batch of old radio shows and Gnat’s music. Four gigabyte seems fine. But now that Mini looks like a fargin’ Hummer compared to the Nano. I should probably hold off and wait for the SubAtoma, which will be implanted directly in the fluidic layer overlaying my eyeballs, but dang, this is cool:

Okay, I exaggerate. But it's still small. If this means the Mini is dead, that's a pity; it had something that will be lost as these tools get smaller and smaller: it was a joy to hold. Few items I’ve owned have been so satisfying to hold – something about those rounded metal sides made you want to turn it over and over and over again in your hand. If it had stuck around long enough perhaps some gangster movie would have used obsessive iPod Mini turning as the new coin-flipping gesture, a la Paul Muni.

The new iTunes 5.0 is out as well. No Video Store, as some had suggested – for that matter, the smaller iPod’s drool factor made me forget all about the Video iPod for which some have clamored. (Me included.) (Why, I have no idea. As if that matters.) The improvements in iTunes are twofold – you can group your playlists into folders, which is nice, and the interface has been tweaked to reflect what I presume are the next generation Apple apps – the corners are less rounded! Let the flame wars begin! I don’t mind it, myself; round-cornered aluminum windows are so late 2004, and brushed metal is starting to look old. I expect the entire interface and product line will change to something else before the Intel-based Macs come out, and we’ll all walk into the Apple stores and think: gee, it’s new, but plaid?

Oh, and here’s a new tweak: the edges of iTunes 5 windows are not exactly square; there’s a three-pixel 45-degree slice, which I think was put in there as a test: how many Apple nerds will debate the merit of these three pixels?

Oh, lots. In fact some say there are two pixels. Splitters!

Of the iTunes Phone we will not speak; like a party guest who just made a horrid off-color joke then vomited in his lap, we will simply turn away and carry on.

Of the Mighty Mouse – the name of which either summons up an image of a buff flying rodent punching the air with his fist or Andy Kaufman standing on a stage, grinning, waiting – I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and find the scroll wheel a wonderful addition; it’s become so ingrained in my habits that when I was mousing around at the office I instinctively tried to move the PC scroll wheel sideways. Needs tweaking for Doom 3, though – I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried to blow off the noggin off a hell-spawned only to hit the scroll wheel and select “flashlight” as my death-dealing weapon of choice. They’re still laughing about that one in the Imp break room, I’m sure. So I’m about to throw a firebomb at this meatpile, ‘kay, and he raises his boomrod, which as you all know smarts if he gets you right, and then he fumbles around – pulls out a pistol, the drops it and puts up his fists, then gets out a flashlight and starts hitting me in the head with it.

Now I’m off to watch more “Lost.” I was hooked about 17 seconds into it. Screedblog up concerning New Orleans, and other matters. See you tomorrow. Remember - Fence & Screedblog. If you like.

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