Archive for the 'Opinions' Category
So, we come now to tattoo #82, a lyric from one of my favorite songs, not just by Aimee Mann, but by anyone. The song is off of Aimee Mann’s fourth studio record, Lost in Space… the song is called, It’s Not.
It’s Not is really quite a sad song, yet very beautiful. It’s about being stuck, stuck without a way out. Sometimes life just doesn’t go in the right direction, and it feels as though it never will. It’s a horrible place to be, it’s horrible to feel utterly stuck, knowing deep down that nothing can pull you out of that blackness. I’ve visited that blackness, many times, too many times, and Aimee’s lyrics capture that blackness so completely. She describes such an awful place with beautiful words. Perfect words.
Now, even though It’s Not is astonishingly sad, it still holds happy memories for me. It played many evenings while someone I love slept peacefully with her head against my shoulder. I sang it to myself with a voice no one will ever hear as I looked into her eyes under a clear night sky one cold New Year’s Eve. I could get so lost in her eyes… she really did make everything and everyone else just an afterthought.
She’s gone, yet I miss her everyday, love her everyday. It scares me to write gone, scares me that I’ll never again hear her voice, or feel her asleep next to me… her soft warm breath against my neck.
I don’t want never, I want to go home.5 comments
So, it took me a bit, but I finally installed Mac OS X 10.11, El Capitan, and it’s really spectacular. El Capitan is basically Yosemite, but refined, polished… stable. Everything seems to run more smoothly, apps launch faster, OS-related animations are more fluid. I like the more robust Notes app, the subtle changes in Mail, Safari, and the new form of app management called, Split View. Split View is the sort of feature you didn’t know you really needed until Apple gives it to you. It allows you to work with two apps side-by-side, each occupies half the user’s display. So, you can, say, drag links and images from Safari into Notes without leaving either app. It’s really cool, I use it way more than I expected.
El Capitan feels the way OS X should feel, the dev team is redeemed.5 comments
So, Mac OS X 10.11, El Capitan, is here! Feature-wise, I’m totally excited about El Capitan, yet… I’m uneasy about installing. Yosemite went so astonishingly badly, I’m just nervous. Though, as I think about it, I’m getting disgusted by my absolute cowardice. I got into OS X at 10.2, and I haven’t missed a release day update until today. That’s upsetting. I can’t let being scared dictate anything, I’m letting it dictate too much. El Capitan is just the thing I’m up for talking about right now.
Well, then, tomorrow… I update.2 comments
So, this tattoo, number eighty, is a lyric from, and the title of one of my favorite Aimee Mann songs, Fighting the Stall, which is off her fourth studio record, Lost in Space. Though, it’s only found on the Special Edition disc.
One of my fears is being stuck, being worn away by circumstance and time until there’s nothing left of me. I’m scared I won’t be where I want to be before I quit breathing. Right now, that place is so far away I can’t even see it. When life takes its bad turns, it’s a fight not to get stuck, to stay stuck, to just stall out. Hence the tattoo, a note to myself that I’m fighting, and that I need to keep fighting to have the life I want.
A line from the song goes…
“…I’ll go down in flames just for the Hell of it all, ’cause I couldn’t take standing in place waiting to fall…”
That line has affected me since the first time I heard it, it’s how I try to live. I’d rather die because my vent failed while I’m on some adventure with a woman I love, than face the slow death that happens by inches over years just sitting “safely” at home. Death, the fall, is guaranteed, it’s the only guarantee time deigns to give us. I’d rather meet it on my terms than just wait for it. That’s the essence of the song, I think; make for the sky, fly high, fly hard, and no matter what, don’t stall out. Don’t die standing still.
To me, tattoos aren’t frivolous. Tattoos are permanent, even if removed your skin is never the same. I like that, I want that permanent reminder of a statement or thought or prayer. I get words or images etched into my skin that will always be important to me. It’s just a gut feeling, but certain things you simply know. I know fighting the stall is a fight that won’t ever end for me.
I’m stalled out now, but I’m fighting. I need to fight harder.2 comments
So, my tv is pretty much always on, or music’s playing, whatever. I don’t like quiet. If it’s tv, I’m only maybe, thirty-percent paying attention, but it’s there. One of my channels of choice is ID, or as people who frequent my room call it, “the murder channel.” It’s all True Crime shows, female serial killers, American mass murders and so on. I often hear, “How can you watch all these sick murders? It’s all so disturbing!” I just don’t find it so. It’s bad actors doing re-enactments, it’s akin to watching horror movies. I know it’s about real people, factual events, but I can’t help only seeing B-actors wielding fake weapons spilling fake blood. It’s too easy to see it all as grim fiction. It’s almost completely divorced from “True Crime,” though I hadn’t really thought of it so clearly until I read a True Crime book, Green River, Running Red by Ann Rule.
Being into things macabre, I’ve known of Ann Rule forever. Rule was a close friend to a fellow who turned out to be one of America’s most devious serial killers, Ted Bundy. They worked side by side at a suicide prevention hotline, as co-workers and friends. Ted Bundy came across as kind, charismatic, a real charmer. He was good with his callers, people grasping for any tiny foothold in their lives, any reason to keep going. To Ann Rule. Being so close to a perfect killing machine without even the slightest notice, being so absolutely fooled would totally change her life. She’d join law-enforcement. She’d become a foremost expert on serial murder, giving lectures about her personal experiences. She’d also go on to write True Crime books, several books about serial killers, from their beginnings until their ends, about their victims who are all too often forgotten, and about the investigators who often spend years of their lives in pursuit of such monsters. Earlier I used the term “killing machine,” I think, after reading some of Ann Rule’s work, machine is the most apt term for describing a serial killer, it’s a term she uses in Green River, Running Red. They’re machines pretending to be human beings. Any display of kindness, compassion, is just calculated mimicry. They know what kindness looks like, they know that a well orchestrated smile can be just enough to draw a victim in for the kill. They know that fixing bikes for neighborhood kids is the wholesome sort of activity that makes people overlook odd or eccentric or even flat out suspicious behaviors. Serial killers blend in, they evade capture longer than anybody would hope.
Green River, Running Red is a book that was some twenty years in the making, as it’s Ann Rule’s policy to never start a book until the killer is caught AND convicted. In the summer of 1982 she clipped an unfortunate, but seemingly innocuos article from a local newspaper in Kent, Washington, totally unaware that it would be the start of a twenty year-long nightmare, and a book. The clipping was about the body of a young girl found snagged in some pilings under a bridge that crosses the Green River. Three more bodies would be found, again, young girls, two weighted and in the river, one on the bank, near the river’s edge, as if her killer hadn’t had the energy, or more likely, the time to dump her. Four bodies of four girls under the age of twenty found near each other in a short amount of time gave cops that feeling, a really bad feeling that the end of four lives was just the start of something dark that would only grow darker. The cops weren’t wrong, girls would keep disappearing, young prostitutes who worked the SeaTAC Strip, a stretch of road between Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. Between the summer of 1982 and late 1983 girls would continually go missing, sometimes two a night. He would continue to kill, albeit less frequently. He’d come to feel safe, even proud of himself for supposedly outsmarting people who were supposed to be much smarter than him. He thought “they” gave up, and many did, but not the core investigators. The few men and women who were there from the beginning, they never forgot, never gave up. It took twenty-years for science to unlock the truth hidden in the evidence that was collected and preserved for decades, but it happened. This particular killing machine would be dubbed The Green River Killer, though, aside from those first four girls, he’d never use the Green River as a “dump site” again. He’d use lots of dump sites, he’d go on to confess to killing at least 71 victims, but the world will probably never know just how many he really took. He, the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway, may not even remember himself.
The sick irony is that while Gary Ridgway totally enjoyed killing people, troubled young girls, he himself was terrified of dying. Rather than face a trial that would absolutely end with a conviction that would probably carry the death penalty, Ridgway agreed to life in prison so long as he led detectives to the girls he confessed to killing who remained unfound. After being told of the stacks of physical evidence against him, DNA left on the girls he didn’t hide well enough, he willingly, almost eagerly, confessed to everything. He didn’t want to be caught, but seeing as that was out, he simply didn’t want to die. He wanted something he didn’t think twice about taking from others.
Now, until I read Green River, Running Red, I didn’t really see how far from True Crime channels like ID really are, how fictional they feel. Reading about each victim’s life, then reading Gary Ridgway’s confessions, his almost gleeful descriptions of killing, I felt… appalled. Disgusted. Disturbed. Scared. I actually felt scared, scared because the girls were surely scared, scared that someone could take pleasure from ending life. The way he so casually described how he would pick a girl up, then let her go safely, knowing that he’d find her again the next night to finish what he started, it was chilling. The girls were scared, being cautious about their “dates.” He liked fooling them, making them trust him, laughing that they felt safe right up until he strangled the life out of them. You don’t realize how vile people like Gary Ridgway are through re-enactments.
I think it’s important to know that true evil exists. It’s not that getting into cars with strangers was safer fifty years ago, it’s that we didn’t have people studying crime patterns, publishing case studies. We need such knowledge, but it’s far less valuable when it’s diluted and sensationalized under the guise of “True Crime” tv. It’s important to know the difference between “True Crime” and True Crime, as the former is more akin to morbid entertainment, while the latter gives us true knowledge. Writers like Ann Rule give us the stories of monsters and those lost to these monsters, so that we might not be lost in the same way. Being wary of that stranger offering a ride just down the block, being wary of meeting someone charming offering a ride on their boat, these don’t mean a loss of innocence. Such innocence never existed. That “innocence” was a lack of awareness. Now we have the tools to be aware, the tools to be safe.5 comments
No, this isn’t now The Apple Watch Blog, I’m just not done being amused by and experimenting with its myriad of faces. They’re all so stylish, yet functional. Though, I do tend to lean toward the faces that are just straight-up pretty, rather than those that show current stock prices, the current time in London, the current moon phase, and so on. I’ve always been a sensualist.
Also, I wanted to test the camera on my new iPod touch. The new touch is really spectacular, it’s what I’ve wanted from the beginning; an elegantly portable iPod that shoots 1080p video and gorgeous still pictures, oh and it runs apps, does everything internet-related, and brews a good cup of coffee. We’re talking gourmet French-roast, not Sanka.
Anyway, enough rambling.1 comment
So, before Father’s Day Dinner my brother and I went to the Apple Store to pick up a new band for my Apple Watch. If I had any actual gripe with my Watch it was with the included Sport Band. See, I have very sensitive, new-born infant-esque skin, earned through thirty-four years of no manual labor, and exposure to the sun only when absolutely necessary. Personally, I prefer to describe my skin as “vampiric.” At any rate, yes, I have very sensitive skin that did not get along with the Sport Band.
First off, the Sport Band’s rubbery material, especially in black, made my wrist very hot, and itchy. I always had little blotchy spots of heat rash.
Second, the metal clasp left a cut on my arm after wearing it for only a few days. I’m not above suffering for fashion, but this was a bit much, and a rubbery watchband isn’t exactly high-fashion.
Fortunately, in true Apple-style, changing bands is elegantly simple, no jeweler with tiny tools required. I chose the Classic Buckle type of band, and left the store wearing it. Though I have the low-end Sport body, it certainly doesn’t look “low end,” everything Apple sells is art that happens to be technology. No matter the watch body, all the bands look well-suited. My leather band, Dutch leather band with a swanky stainless-steel buckle, looks like it belonged with my Aluminum Space Gray Sport body all along. The leather itself feels so decadent, so soft I hardly feel like I’m wearing anything at all.
If you got a Sport Band and don’t like it, or maybe just want something a bit more sophisticated, the Classic Buckle is a fine fashion upgrade for your Apple Watch.
While we were out, we also got the Watch paired to the car audio-system via Bluetooth. It took some tinkering, but after that, it worked beautifully. My music sounded spectacular, it just seemed so cool to have Aimee Mann, Nirvana, Elliott Smith, Alanis Morissette, all my favorite artists playing in my car through my WATCH. It’s so BADASS! Also, it’s really neat that when leaving the vehicle the music stops, then picks up right where it left off when the vehicle is started again.
I enjoy my Watch a little more every day, and I only see that like growing stronger as watchOS and its ecosystem of apps continue to evolve.
Oh, and I’m so not done writing about the Watch and wi-fi… At least, not until I’ve made one more post, or three, or twelve…1 comment
Part of it doesn’t make sense to me… The article I linked says, next year Apple will release a 2nd generation Watch with its own wi-fi chip, thus eliminating the iPhone go-between… Doesn’t the Watch have a wi-fi chip RIGHT NOW? It can join previously used wi-fi networks WITHOUT the iPhone being present.
If the watch has a wi-fi chip, and it DOES, isn’t it capable of independent use if the OS allows?
Really, if I’m wrong, comment.
Am I stupid?2 comments
So, when Apple Watch was announced, I kept hearing, “I’m not going to buy a first-generation gadget for $350, let alone $17,000, I’ll wait until the second version comes out next year.” I didn’t buy into that sentiment. The simple fact that a $17,000 iteration would be available told me that we almost certainly wouldn’t see new Watch hardware next year, or the next, or the next. If people paid $17,000 for a watch, only to have even a somewhat better version ship a year later, it would hurt Apple’s most valuable asset, our trust in their brand. When you buy something with the Apple logo on it, you know you’re getting quality, and you know it’ll be plenty useful for many years to come. Generally, you also know that your $400 device, or even $1200 device still won’t be the best of the best for very long. The Watch, however, felt like a totally different proposition. It struck me that, whether you buy the lowest-end $350 Apple Watch Sport, or decide to go all-in with the $17,000 Apple Watch Edition, the Watch’s internal specs are EXACTLY the same. The Edition isn’t the fastest, it doesn’t do anything the sport can’t do. If you buy the top end Apple Watch Edition, you’re getting an 18k gold case, a sapphire glass face, a sexy leather band… you’re paying for the epitome of style, sophistication, and elegance. I also believed from the moment the Watch was announced, up until right now, and including many tomorrows, that you’re paying for an unspoken promise, the promise that your solid-gold, sapphire glass, sexy leather masterpiece is going to be the best of the best for awhile.
All that said, at first glance the Watch does seem kind of underpowered, How could Apple NOT ship an upgrade, like, yesterday? Why buy any model if it’s hobbled? It requires an iPhone to set up the Watch, the iPhone has to be near the Watch to do anything internet or telephone related, most of the Watch’s apps run on the iPhone while the Watch displays the processed results, the Watch can only hold 2 GB of music, and so on. According to plenty of “professorial reviewers” the Apple Watch is a DOOMED device. At least, it was until last week, when Apple confirmed everything I’ve been thinking all along. At Apple’s annual World-Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple CEO, Tim Cook, took the stage to announce that watchOS 2 would ship this Fall, the Watch’s first major software update. Suddenly, all those “professional reviewers” are walking back their cries of DOOM.
See, hardware-wise Apple Watch is plenty powerful, absolutely powerful enough for everything needed of a Smart Watch. Its supposed short-comings are all in software, a fact that became clear to me after spending five minutes with my Sport model. Yes, I had to sync with an iPhone to set up my Watch, but the iPhone I used didn’t have cell service. An iPhone without cell service is basically an iPod Touch, meaning the Watch could be opened up to sync with ANY iOS device and run as a pure internet device without cell service…. like a Touch. I synced my 2 GB of music, yet the watch has a remaining 6 GB of storage. Another “short-coming” easily adjusted via a software update. These changes may be in watchOS 2, but if not, I won’t flip out, these tweaks are only a matter of when. We do know watchOS 2 will address one giant roadblock in the way of making Apple Watch self-sufficient, the lack of native apps. watchOS 2 will fix that lack. Apps will no longer require an iPhone to do the heavy lifting, they’ll run entirely on the Watch, AND they’ll be able to connect directly to the internet. Much less iPhone go-between. Were native apps the only feature introduced in watchOS 2, it’d be a big deal, but it’s really just part of a long list of features. watch OS 2 is just a first step toward Apple Watch realizing its true potential. I see Apple Watch becoming self-sufficient, only requiring a nearby iPhone for phone calls, as it is with Macs, and iPads.
Unlike other Apple devices, I see Apple Watch evolving through incremental software updates rather than hardware upgrades. The base hardware is already strong enough for some time to come, innovative software will make it shine. Apple won’t break its $17,000 unspoken promise.
Of course, I could end up totally wrong about everything, but I feel right enough.2 comments