Archive for May, 2008

Google Android Demo

Quick demo of Google's new operating system for phones, shot by someone from the Alice Clancy School of Cinematography (i.e., you will get motion sickness). With the exception of the compass mode at the end, there's nothing jaw-dropping. What is cool is how quickly the iPhone interface has gone from out-of-this-world amazing to an expected baseline of functionality (at least I'd like to think so, Sprint).

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Lone Watergunmen

I have a theory. A rather dangerous theory. I believe Numbers Stations (the whole Yankee Hotel Foxtrot thing) are a blind to hide how governments really do secret communication. Archie & Jughead Double Digests in the grocery store. Have you ever seen anyone buy those things? Anything else that doesn't sell by the truckload gets yanked from the impulse buy section in seconds.

I'm the only person I know who's picked them up; once to see if they had somehow improved so much over the inanity even my ten year-old self couldn't stand and the second time because the first time annoyed Michelle so well. The clerk didn't say anything either time, but those bitches are well-trained to maintain their mask of utter disinterest. A couple of flash mobs to clean out the stock at Shaws, and the world would be plunged into chaos.

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For Michelle,

who wanted to know, while watching Lost, why fickleness is always presented as a "female" quality.

Joe Weider Big

First she wants to get rid of it, then halfway down the page she's amazed by it.

Joe Weider Small

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The AV Club

has replaced deadspin as the one place where I read the comments. The first 100 or so in the earth-shatteringly important Square Pegs review are terrific. I'm guessing it's as much a function of being close in age to the majority of the posters as it is any great coming together of Internet humorists. I'm basing that assumption on scant evidence: the number of people who remember an 80s show and the fact one of the posters has a nick based on a MC Paul Barman line. Speaking of MPB, he has new tracks out but they didn't do it for me on first listen. Don't take my word for it though; I tend to immediately stop listening whenever someone on the 'net starts a foreskin debate.

FBoFW

There are a zillion stupid things I'm going to run into that make me realize how much I'll miss my mom (yesterday's twin headlines blared at me from the Foster's paper box: "Super Mom" and "Secrets for a Long Life"), but the thing that's got me right now is I've lost someone who enjoyed bitching about For Better or For Worse as much as I do. If she'd been more computer-literate, I'd have loved to send her this. I can't decide if it's horrifying or reassuring there are people willing to argue about the lives of a bunch of fictional Canadians.

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Foodstuffs I Miss

Lays' (Ruffles?) Bacon and Cheddar Potato Chips, as endorsed by Mark Messier (though not in the commercial seen here):

7up Gold, for obvious reasons:

Wise Crazy Calypso Chips

Bring them back.

So . . .

My mom died. I write this, not because I want to bring down the legions of people reading this, but because I need to write about it. Because it sucks, but it sucks in all sorts of weird ways. Some of it I can't process yet, more than a week later, some of it I want to crate up and never hear from again, but some of it sucks actively, rightthissecond.

It's a bitch to be outside. Ever since Saturday, when she finally, truly "lost" (as far as the rest of us are concerned), there's been this overwhelming sense of otherness. Driving home I wanted to shout at people in other cars, send them back to their houses to grieve, to mourn. Instead they just went about some personal business that required over-sized, novelty, shit-eating grins. It's a pain in the ass: to explain to neighbors where you were, to business contacts why you were out of reach, etc. All of it requires giving up a piece of knowledge that serves only to depress them and me to have to rehash.

I'm hoping it ends, feeling like an outsider. It's not that crazy to be short a parent. I got four more years of my mom than she did of her own mother whom she loved dearly. But I keep thinking of a kid I went to school with who lost his mom in second grade. For the next six years we treated him with kid gloves, never picked on him, never teased him, not out of any goodness, but because he seemed fundamentaly broken and maybe we could catch that disease too.

I don't write this because I want to or because I want anyone else to read it. I'm writing it to divest myself of it. I want my goddamn memories back. When I walked into the hospital room on Thursday, I couldn't come up with any specific memories of she and I. It's a stupid game to try to play because of course you wind up with a huge mental block right there. It's like trying not to think of a blue-eyed polar bear. But I was ok with it, because those memories that I couldn't recall in specific still coalesce into a warm fuzzy feeling in general. So I was ok on Thursday. After Saturday, I'm freaking out that all of those memories, all the warm fuzzy will be forever replaced by a series of very visceral, very recent, very ugly memories of what it looks like to die. Fuck me. It's a damn fine test of religious faith and not much else. The cancer that had put her there, it feels like it sat and waited for me to get there. And then it started beating on her even better than ever before. It beat her until she couldn't speak words anymore. It beat her until the sounds she was making turned into simple grunts. Then it beat those out of her too. It beat her badly enough every touch was pain to her. It set her on fire, it made her throw up a river of shit and then throw up a goddamn eel of coagulated black blood. I think my faith in anything went into one of those pink sick buckets with the eel.

When she was lucid I managed to choke out that it was the bravest thing I'd ever seen. She'd always told us, "No life support," but that's an easy thing to say in abstract conversation. To act on it, or for my dad to support her doing that, I can't ever imagine being that strong. She said, "I'm a yellow-bellied coward. If there was something else I could do, I would." We stood there, we sat there, we laid there, my dad, my aunt and I in a weird sort of sentry duty. There was no way to win, no way to protect her or save her, but there was no question one of would always be standing there when her eyes opened. It hurts now, but I'd be heart-broken forever if I thought she'd ever have woken up in that room alone. When the actual, for-reals end came, it was obvious. Her breathing, which had been a lurid imitation of respiration, ripping air into her body through her mouth (twisted into a sort of maw), changed into a different sound, like someone using a hand pump on a bike tire and getting tired of the job.We all stood up, a dozen or so of us, and stood around her in a semi-circle and watched the breathing end. It was fifteen minutes if it was a second and it was a mean joke: there had to be twenty or thirty breaths where everyone thought it was the last. No one spoke, but people gasped and shoulders shrugged, stomachs knotted and just when you wanted it to be over, it was and you realized you fucked up and should have wished for the opposite. Except that's not really true. We were going to lose her no matter what and we were going to get hurt and oh well. All that really matters is she doesn't hurt anymore.