Not Everything Should Be Interactive

What a great column:

Here’s what my Internet-fearing editors have failed to understand: I don’t want to talk to you; I want to talk at you. A column is not my attempt to engage in a conversation with you. I have more than enough people to converse with. And I don’t listen to them either. That sound on the phone, Mom, is me typing.

Not everything should be interactive. A piece of work that stands on its own, without explanation or defense, takes on its own power. If Martin Luther put his 95 Theses on the wall and then all the townsfolk sent him their comments, and he had to write back to all of them and clarify what he meant, some of the theses would have gotten all watered down and there never would have been a Diet of Worms. And then, for the rest of history, elementary school students learning about the Reformation would have nothing to make fun of. You can see how dangerous this all is.

Not everything should be interactive.

Someone actually had the audacity to say it.



My mom’s finally upgrading her original Bondi Blue iMac from 1998. OK, I’m actually upgrading it for her, which is kind of fun on some level, I guess. I get to configure a whole new computer without having to pay for it. And I get to move her off AOL once and for all, which is a huge bonus.

It was strangely surreal walking around the Apple store with my mom. There were no Mac Minis in stock locally, so we had to go to The Streets at Southpoint in Durham yesterday. It’s unfortunate that most Apple stores are in such repulsive, icky malls. The hipster fashion victim factor in this particular mall is way off the chart.

On the geeky homefront, I also finally got my phono preamp today, so I can connect the turntable to the computer and start digitizing vinyl. We’d been doing a bit of that before, but with a far more cumbersome system involving a component DVD recorder and a mini-disk unit. This way will be better and easier, and soon my considerable collection of 1980s New Wave and indy rock (not to mention obscure Top 40) will be comfortably enclosed in an iTunes wrapper.

FYI, right now I’m working on “Vertical” by Horizontal Brian.

Also, thanks to a really long set of AV cables (a Christmas present from my hubby), I now have my DVR connected directly to the computer for video input and DVD burning.

I may never leave my office again.

Randomly Thursday

Random Thursday stuff:

Heaven Is a Place on Fifth Street

Yer Humble Host at the Kopper Kitchen in downtown Winston-Salem Friday morning.

You can pretty much tell just from the color of the booths that the place is pretty close to my idea of heaven. It’s one of those ancient eateries in a slightly run-down low-rise building on the periphery of downtown. Most of today’s planners and downtown boosters would want to raze the place and replace it with some sort of shiny, overplanned “mixed-use” complex (with loft condos, of course) because that would, by definition, be more “urban”, right?

Yeah. Right.

Family Crises

After thirteen years on the other end of the country, it’s sometimes strange being so close to home again. There are small and inisgnificant aspects, like the fact that my mom tells me about sales at stores I can actually go to, and that we discuss local news stories on the same channels and in the same newspapers. There’s also the disorientation that comes when I realize that I’m living in the same general area where I spent so much of my early life, but not in the same city; my hometown is thirty miles away, and it still feels like a bit of a road trip to visit it.

The thing that’s hardest to get used to, though, is the fact that family crises have suddenly become much less abstract and much closer to my everyday exisitance. When a close relative is sick or has a problem, I’m expected — not just by my family, but by my own conscience — to be there and offer help when I can. It’s inconvenient and unpleasant, but it has to be done. That’s how families work; I know that if I ever have issues myself or with my own parents, my extended family will help me out as well.

Right now, it’s an uncle who had a stroke last week and clearly can’t take care of himself, but seems determined to do so anyway. It’s an issue that’s going to make my parents’ lives miserable for weeks and months to come. My uncle’s illness and my mom’s new computer have taken up a lot of my time over the past two weeks. But I guess it’s an investment; my turn for help might be next.

It was a lot easier being 3000 miles away, to be sure. All in all, though, I’m still glad to be home. And at least I’m far enough away that I’m not usually the first one called in a crisis.

The Little Things

Sometimes it’s the little things that make you happy after a long day dealing with family crises, things like discovering that Boomerang is running Wait Till Your Father Gets Home reruns in the middle of the night. Or realizing that the microphone input on your G5 actually accepts a line-level input as well, thus sparing you one of the more time-consuming detours in your vinyl digitizing journey.

Wow. Eleven Years.

It was eleven years ago today that I began doing the website that more or less became this one.

I’ve been doing this for more than a quarter of my life, and, depending on your definition, for more than half my adult life.

That’s a mildly disturbing thought. I can’t say for certain that I even remember how not to do it anymore.