November, 2010 Archive

A New Computer (2)

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

This morning I finished the transfer and update and backup of files, erased all my data from Lubertson and turned him in to the College of Liberal Arts. Most likely he’ll be sent to China for recycling of parts. Now I sit in my armchair comfortably typing in front of an extremely bright glass covered screen with a good deal higher resolution than Lubertson’s. There’s no power cord to worry about, no throbbing furnace in my lap, no loudly whirring hard drive, no long waits between operations or need to shut down applications to move from one to another, no need for an external hard drive except for backup. My pose is a lot like that on the ubiquitous billboards for ipads in Los Angeles: relaxed, at leisure. This is all extremely nice: a huge upgrade in comfort and convenience in using the instrument I spend most of my waking hours with.

But what’s more amazing is the fact that this machine, nine years newer than Lubertson, has no functions, cant do anything, that he couldn’t do, simply does it all better. If one compares technological progress in the most recent interval to the progress of the previous nine years, 1992-2001, the slowing of innovation is what’s striking. Netscape was founded that year—the beginning of the world wide web. In 1992 Doug and I created the Multimedia Blake Hypercard stacks that within two more years were rendered obsolete by html. 1998 marked the advent of the Powerbook G3 laptop, allowing for portable computing. I carried the machine everywhere—to England for the Shakespeare conferences, to Lund, to Ketchum. Digital cameras and iphoto and itunes came online at the end of that span, in 2001, just before I got the Titanium. By then I had all my course materials generated in Dreamweaver, was working paperless and was taking the computer to every class and projecting onto the screen most of the time, for better and for worse.

The technological change of the preceding nine years was even more transformative. In 1983, computers were only for geeks. My high technology was a selectric IBM typewriter. We got the first Mac 512 in 1984, when Jan started law school. The power it conferred to delete, replace, find, cut, paste, outline, and save was as magical as the ability to flap my arms and fly in dreams. I still have it in the garage.

A New Computer (1)

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Yesterday morning I went to Dusty’s office for a consult on my blog and other computer matters and he looked at my old Titanium Mac and shook his head—how can you still be using that thing? I’ve been planning for a couple of years now to replace it and purchase my own computer instead of using a university issued one, as part of the large retirement strategy, and lately old Lubertson has been going slower and slower and louder and louder and behaving more erratically, and any day I was fearing it would crash. I went home, spent an hour researching different purchase options and then biked down to El Corral Bookstore and returned with this new Macbook Pro—cost $1099.

I’m calling it Independence, offspring of Lubertson2, the Titanium I wrested from the University as a prize for producing the Field Guide, offspring of Lubertson 1, the first laptop I inherited in 1998 from an unnamed colleague who never used it, offspring of LuLu, the office computer I worked on with Doug Smith, and Albert, my home computer.

I spent the night until Jan came back from City Council at 12:45 am migrating all my data and then loading my songs from Tucson, the portable hard drive, onto it, with much troubleshooting along the way. And this morning I started to transfer the 20 Gig Photolibrary which right now is still copying its 28 thousand pictures. That was going on while I meditated, after a short night’s sleep, and it felt as if my brain itself were undergoing some kind of transfer procedure like the one they show with androids in the movies. The new machine feels clean and powerful and ready for a lot of new beginnings. Acquiring and using it is part of my own cleansing and regeneration efforts.

A.M.

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Took my listening walk with the dog up Poly Mountain this morning. The clock moved back on Saturday. The dawn was fresh and brilliant after last night’s rain. On the way down, near the gate, I was arrested by a burgeoning yellow acacia at the side of the path. Two peeps emerged from inside its opaque crown. The new leaves glowed green as the light swelled. Pearl-shaped leftover raindrops glittered like diamonds in the sun. The slow strains of cello and viola in Beethoven’s Hymn of Recovery slowly crescendoed in my earbuds and burst into a high-pitched dance of the first violin. A tiny bird flew out of the canopy, remained suspended and vibrating, then fired a blast of colors from its emerald head and ruby throat.

The Garden

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

When I saw white butterflies in the sun
Flutter among my broccolis,
Like a tragic king at the oracle
I knew what was in store.

Now dark mornings find me
On aching knees
With headlamp pointed down
Searching undersides of ragged leaves
Stems fouled with droppings
Tangles of shredded buds.

I spot the velvety worms
The color of what they’ve eaten,
The shape of where they hide.

I lift them tenderly
With forefinger and thumb
To squeeze out their guts.