28 July 2007

The Whole World's Against Me

Ok. So. Here's the deal.

Last night my macbookpro's power cable finally expired in a cloud of smoke. It had been just barely hanging on for a couple of weeks and it finally died on me, melting itself in the process. I went to the Apple store today to try to get a new one, but Emily loaned me her power cable for a couple of hours so I could hang out at a coffee shop while she took her dog to an acupuncture appointment. The café had no internet access, or it was at least very intermittent, so I couldn't get any work done really there. Then, we went to the Apple store, and they wouldn't replace it for free, so I had to pay for one. But then they didn't have any in stock anyway, so I went home. Then I looked online at Apple's website and saw they take 3-4 weeks to ship. I needed this thing yesterday so I nixed that. Looking around three or four other retailers yielded ship times of between 1 and 4 weeks if they even carried the power adapter. So, I went to eBay. I got a used power adapter for about the same price (with shipping) as a new one, and it's likely to have the same problems as my old one.

So, I've been using my powerbook g4, but it's lacking all the software I need to get anything done and the operating system is so old I can't even install the software I need (Adium, for one, requires at least Mac OS 10.3.9). So I resolved to download linux for it. Gentoo installation was far too much of a pain (before anyone accuses me of not being hardcore enough, I did try, and I run Gentoo on two other systems). Ubuntu is available for powerpc systems, but not the newest version. I looked through all my CDs and couldn't find a copy of Ubuntu Edgy Eft for powerpc. So I have to download one. It's been going for four hours and it's still not downloaded.

Without a system loaded with the right software to work, I can't do my freelance illustrations for Liz, can't do any work on beyondscreens*, can't do any work on Typopolis, can't do anything. It's really, really, really shitty over here. *sigh*

I swear... the whole fucking world's against me these days.... Pray for my sanity, space cadets.

No Splinters, But a Generation of Pansies

Good evening, space cadets. This is a little bit off-topic from the usual fare, but just roll with it.

As I was walking through my neighbourhood earlier today, I noticed for probably the hundredth time the "Wood free neighbourhood" sign in that "Luddite's Unite!" guy's window, and it got me thinking again. The photo depicts a sign outside a playground saying it is "wood free", and honestly this makes me really sad. Let me back up a bit here.

Years and years and years ago, when I first moved to Georgia, I went to Barnett Shoals Elementary School (go barnett bears yay!). Barnett Shoals—and in fact all of the other public elementary schools in Athens-Clarke County, GA—had an amazing playscape. That's right. A playscape, not a playground. Let me explain. Nowadays when you go to a playground, you go to a rectangular space, filled with rubber strips scrapped from old tires, with a plastic, splinter-free, multicoloured structure on it with no surface higher than safe falling distance for kids. All of this so they don't get hurt, right? But these playscapes are booooring and laaaaaame. The one at Barnett Shoals was beautifully architected and made out of wood, old and weather-worn and full of splinters! I loved it. There were so many little places to jump around and hide and squirm around, and so much space to just run around. The playscape was taken down and replaced by a boring, run-of-the-mill plastic and steel affair. I was so sad.

One of my frequent soapboxes is the systematic dumbing-down of the American child, as many of you will know. These new-style playscapes are just one more part of that. Rather than an amorphous, angle-ridden, rickety wooden structure kids can use their imaginations with, they're given linear play structures with specific paths through them for the kids to follow. Run up the ladder, scamper across the bridge, traverse the improbably-low monkey bars, slide down the slide. Over and over and over again. I realize that my adult mind gets bored with a lot of things that used to be utterly enchanting to me as a child. But does that mean we shouldn't ever build anything or do anything or say anything that will challenge kids? Oh and about the splinters: a little splinter never hurt nobody and kids just need to be tough.

Alright. I'm done ranting about this right now. Later, space cadets.

02 July 2007

iPhone Awesomeness

I do not yet have an iPhone because I was in transit when they came out and I don't really have the money right now anyway. I have, however, been immortalized on Thom's iPhone. It is the hardcorest address book entry ever!
I don't know if you can tell by looking at the little tiny picture of me on there, but I'm throwin' up the horns \m/.