Thursday, July 30, 2009

I don't want to ruin the friendship

I was thinking about something that came up in the life of one of my girlfriend’s friend. One of the age old clich├ęs that girls give guys, “I wouldn’t want to ruin a good friendship” is complete poppycock. Poppycock, I say! There is no circumstance that this statement would be true. The girl is either lying to him, and that she is really, quite simply, not attracted to him, or lying to herself, and is afraid of what would happen if she said yes. If she really valued the friendship, she would tell him the truth and actively ensure the friendship would not be ruined afterwards. If he cannot accept that, then he was lying to himself and was not really invested in the friendship, but rather a convoluted courtship and reached an unfortunate failure.

I have been lucky enough to experience one go the good way and one go the bad way. The difference is how we reacted to the admission. In both cases, it was I who wanted more. The good one happened earlier in my life, and fortunately for me, the friendship was important enough to her not to allow something like my romantic interest keep us from being friends; today, she is one of my closest. I don’t really understand what happened with the other. All I can figure is that I was not important enough for her to put in similar effort, and we are not part of each other’s lives, and it still bothers me, even though this happened some time ago. The fact that I have endured the first of these, though, proves that expression of romantic interest need not doom an actual platonic relationship.

The honest expression of emotion, however easy for me to write here, is not easy to actually commit to in practice. There is an established fear of rejection in all of us, and this is clearly a manifestation of that, which is counterintuitive, because the person doing the rejecting in this case is being pursued. But the real reason for hesitation is obscured, and when that happens, the friendship is being held back anyway. Like every healthy relationship, platonic, romantic or otherwise, honest communication is critical.

That idea is antithetical to the desired outcome of relationships, anyway; if someone is worth your friendship, they ought to be worth your better friendship, right? If they are worth a romantic relationship, they ought to be your friend, too. That is a definite success that my girlfriend and I have experienced, even if the achievement of that was realized in a roundabout way. To a degree, she could be a character in this story, with a very positive outcome.

The point is, though, that a friendship is not ruined by the expression of one party wanting more. It is ruined by the negative reactions of the parties involved. The object of desire can handle it perfectly and the desirer can e a crackpot and result in tragedy just as easily as the desired can turn awkward. Or there can be a combination of both. Or neither, and growth can occur. It’s all choice, and I hope my girlfriend’s friend makes a better one than the second girl in my story and I did.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

iTunes? More like iSuck! No wait, that came out wrong...

Apple has done a great jo cornering the market on cool. Their gadgets and computers and cell phones are what it is to be cool in electronics right now. Kind of like Chevy Chase was for that brief year in 1975. If Apple made a toilet, hipsters would line up to do something like mix trendy drinks in them while listening to Vampire Weekend. What do hipsters drink? Zima? Do they still make that anymore?

I considered getting a Mac, because while no hipster, I am a marketing sheep. My interest in the iPhone is well documented and while I ended up not getting either one (the cost of a Macintosh computer made me want to vomit in my mouth), I did buy an iTouch. It is pretty phenomenal, actually, and proably the coolest thing I am likely to buy for some time, even though I am Paul McCartney tickets. It feels a little anxiety inducing to spend as much as he wants to his play his violin shaped bass, but it is getting better all the time.

My only complaint on the magnificent iPod (and is a growing complaint) is that usint iTunes, the software rudder that steers the entire iFleet, is a horrendously flamty experience. I don't know how everyone doesn't bring this up when talking about Apple products. So much of the Apple lineup is considered cool and accessible and what not (we used a Power ac in the Film Clu in college and it made me get all tingly inside -- sadly, they made me write on the social and technological equivalent of stone tablets), but iTunes, their ambassador the PC World, is like the equivalent of having Joe Biden deliver a speech when Barack Obama is sitting down next to him eating M&Ms.

The interface is not intuitive, it is not fast and it is not flexible while pretty much all of the qualities Apple wants us to think of when we think of them. The corporation has a very vertical organization, maintaining a sort of autocratic control of their products and software, which is delightfully ironic coming from a company that made an ad identifying its competition with Big Brother.

The default synchronization operation is to copy every music file I own to the 'Pod (what is with the iEverything anyway? I nGaeilge is the only place I've seen capital letters show up in the middle of the words...) How any people really want every mp3 they have on his or her player? I am not exactly Lester Bangs or Cameron Crowe, but all of ine doesn't fit and some of my music (gasp!) is kind of crappy (Sugar Sugar by the Archies? Really?) or at least not all of it is everyday material. It is a giant resource hog, too, and unless this is some cheeky, trendy form of self-sabotage, I don't get what their problem is. They also make a huge nagging production out of updating the version and make you couple it with Quicktime. If I wanted to be nagged about my music and movies, I'd have Jewish parents. (Jewish moms still nag, right?) As I am switching from one computer to a new one, my podcast schedule is really screwed up and it has not been obvious how to correct it and it took like 3 hours to fix my playlist because, I can only suspect, someone was mean to Apple founder Steve Jobs as a child and did this to get back him.

This is all particularly baffling because the iTouch itself is so completely the opposite. It took me like two seconds to do figure out how to do awesome stuff on it. I'm pretty sure I just found an app to make it a functional Star Trek phaser. My question is this: What's your deal, Apple? Did you decide "Hey, let's make like 90% of our stuff really cool, and the remaining 10%, the most critical 10% that the gadgets and things can't run without, the technological equivalent of gargling malt vinegar." I feel like we're getting a Steve Job on this.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I am such a nerd

Hey everyone, I am typing this from my brand new desktop computer. I built it myself! As if writing this blog didn't make me nerdy enough. I am still trying to fill in all the gaps and what not of doing all the software loads from scratch and copying my writing and music collection over, and I am also trying to think of a way not to make this sound like a 13 year old girl's livejournal.

Oh, I have it. My parents had no faith that I could accomplish this task. While the only hiccups so far tthat I have run into are that I bought a fan I didn't need and I haven't sorted out my S/PDIF to HDMI issues so I am silently blogging right now, neither my mom nor my dad really expected that I would end up with a working computer at the end of my little purchase. Surely I am not the only one of you who gets this treatment.

Engineering has had a strange effect on the way they handle me. This task of building computers, routinely handled ably by 15 year olds, is one of those things that their skepticism will not permit them to think I am capale of, even though I do in fact have a master's degree in a technical field. It's not like I'm trying to pick out a tie for a suit, am I right?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

God Bless America

I write this as I am watching what might be the greatest television spectacle in all of sports. Before, I thought it was the Super Bowl or New Year's Day or possibly the opening weekend of March Madness. (I, myself, am partial to the New Year's Day bowls, as I feel like it is football's birthday gift to me.) I was wrong, all this time. The greatest television spectacle in all of sports is the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. If you doubt me, you have not watched it.

There is so much drama involved in this, so many story lines, so many jokes. I watch a good deal of football, some basketball, and even less of the other insignificant sports, so I see the coverage and interview cliches that athletes have to endure from reporters, like, "How did you prepare for this?" or "What's on your mind as you get ready?" none of which tells us anything about anything. Watching Erin Andrews ask Sam Bradford about how he's feeling after beating Texas Tech means nothing to me; clearly he's happy, and going to say that he's thinking about the next game. Who cares.

That all changes in competitive eating. I want to know what these people are thinking. I want to know what kind of human being looks at a hot dog and things, "You know, Nathan's hot dogs are tasty, and two are pretty good. But what if I ate 40 of them?" I want to know what someone who holds the title of World Asparagus Eating Champion does to prepare for a match. I want to know who this guy's heroes were growing up. I don't want to know what this guy's pee smells like afterward.

The announcers take this seriously, and I would have it no other way. They discussed the different eating techniques and broke them down in the same way that Bobby Knight might describe a 3-2 zone. (There are Solomon Methods, Tokyo Methods, and some other shake named after a guy.) It is incredible.

There are also women involved. What would you do if met a reasonably attractive girl, started flirting with her, and then when you ask what she does, she says, "I am a competitive eater. I ate 11 pounds of cheesecake in my last contest." And she weighs 105 pounds. What is the next move? Do you think, "Holy crap, that's incredible?" or "I will never be able to afford dinner with this woman." I don't know how these people don't weigh 400 pounds.

There is no doubt that this sport could only come from the nation that values individual liberty and thumbs its nose at past convention to the point that says, "Gluttony is how we roll, hombres." We created the Constitution, flight, the nuclear reactor and the shamwow. We can do anything. Happy Fourth of July everyone, and do something to celebrate individual liberty and defy convention today. Eat 68 hot dogs.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Yes, I need them all.

I went grocery shopping today, which is probably my favorite form of shopping. I do like liquor shopping too, but I don't drink it fast enough to really need to go very often, so it's not really the same. You can consume the purchase from the grocery store for breakfast without being Charlie Sheen.

As you read in a previous entry (or better have!) I have taken to going to Sams. But not today. I was thinking about an item I needed, though, and how strange it is to buy them in bulk. Somethings work out fine when you buy a thousand of them, like ziploc baggies or Teddy grahams. There are a few things that are not quite as seemly. At least, that's the impression that I get.

I am thinking, of course, of toilet paper. Is it just me, or is there some sort of weird stigma for someone carrying around a giant package of toilet paper? When you see someone, particularly a guy, carrying a 64 roll package of bathroom tissue, isn't your first immediate thought, "Wow, he must like tacos." Women, particularly middle aged women, get a little bit of a pass because they tend to be buying for families more often than men, and is probably dealing with children who are [probably] boys and don't know how to take care of themselves.

What other things can you think of that might be better served being bought from Publix rather than Sams? I say tacos.