Posts Tagged ‘free writing’

New Machine

June 3, 2009

So, I haven’t written anything here in awhile – in fact, I’ve scarcely written anything on this blog at all. The reason for that is my first extended entry, a lengthy overview and commentary of all the Lynch and Fellini films I’ve seen, which took at least an hour to produce – completely disappeared from Totally gone. Oh, that whole “revisions” feature, where you get to revert to previous drafts? No help at all. So I already feel somewhat disenchanted with this website. That, and it’s alienating: the whole “Dashboard” feature actually evokes a real dashboard – such as, perhaps, that of a highly complex aircraft, one which I am not qualified to handle. Yet all that, and I can’t change the background image without taking a crash course in Cascading Style Sheets. I mean, you gotta me kidding me – I don’t even communicate in HTML. Why can’t I just upload a JPG file? (Maybe I’m just not competent enough to handle the Dashboard.)

All of which, in one long breath, explains why I might migrate over to’s chief competitor if I’m serious about continuing to blog. Complaining aside, though, I’m fairly pleased right now because for the first time ever, I bought a new computer. Not only that, but this is the first Mac I’ve owned since before it was fairly routine for personal computers to be hooked up to the Internet.

My last machine was a generous gift from my family, one of those solidly built Dell desktops (the Dimension series) that is very rectangular and black. (If you have any association with Naropa University, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about because it’s pretty much what the school’s able to afford). Anyway, I’m typing this on my brand new 24-inch iMac desktop. I’ve never used the word sexy to describe a machine before, yet suddenly that’s the word I feel compelled to use.

Actually, my intention for this entry wasn’t to bubble over with loving praise and adoration for machines – even one as admittedly awesome as my new iMac. I must be getting carried away, because what I was trying to say was actually more along the lines of “Yes, this is a wonderful machine, and technology is clearly awesome, BUT–

Along with my wonderful iMac, which makes me want to use the word awesome for yet a third time, I also bought an iPod Touch, which because I am a student, will be in essence a completely free purchase. That’s right – Apple is going to send me a check for $229 or whatever for the iPod Touch because I bought it at the same time as the iMac (which was $100 cheaper for me – after all, I’m a starving student). I know, I should shut up and stop complaining now, right?

Well, I’m not complaining. Just observing that technology is a funny thing. It’s kind of like Pringles or cocaine – never enough to keep you happy. I would have been pretty happy with just the iMac, but now I’m kind of attached to my new iPod as well. I can read news during my lunch break at work, or respond to an email. I even have the entire Qu’ran on it, in both Arabic and English translation, and I can even listen to the recitation of any surah I want if I’m willing to wait a few minutes until it downloads…

So, my point is? I almost forgot it, I’m having so much fun just typing and gazing at my brand new iMac. But you know, I’ve been reading Judith Butler’s book Gender Trouble (which is in my reading list – go take a look and offer me suggestions) and since I bought this machine, I’ve scarcely read two paragraphs of it. I just can’t tear myself away from the machine…

…which doesn’t really bother me too much. I have plenty of time to read, and I plan to do lots of reading this summer. I know I’m still kind of in the honeymoon phase here (my old machine was really on its last legs, the poor thing can finally retire) but I guess I’m just a bit disconcerted, because there’s a tiny voice inside of me that insists that technology, as amazing and wonderful as it is, is like capitalism only thousands of times more potent… the final development of human civilization that incontrovertibly spells doom for us all.

It doesn’t help that there’s something voyeuristic about this huge screen I’m sitting in front of. I mean, you know what the iMac looks like, right? The whole freaking thing is a screen. It’s not like there’s the monitor, and it’s connected to the actual box, the “brain-case” so to speak, that houses the processor and all that. No. The screen is the brain. And the more I stare at it and interact with it via the keyboard and mouse (admittedly quite a pleasurable experience), the more I wonder whether it is staring back at me… oh, I also engaged in video-chat today for the first time ever, with my friend Roo. That’s weird too. You can see yourself, and the other person. But then you realize that the other person can see you even if you’re not looking at them, like if you’re checking your e-mail or browsing through the music in your library. That’s not like real life, really. Instead, you are completely subsumed within the intensity of your own gaze. You forget, or somehow repress, the idea that you might very well be the object of the gaze of someone else… perhaps of the machine itself. There’s something Lacanian about all this. Too bad I don’t speak, or comprehend, Lacanian well enough to articulate it.

Know what I think? Barack Obama may well be the last human U.S. President ever. Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Skynet…