Intrepid Girl Reporter


Saturday, 4/3: dilettantes on Easter weekend
April 4, 2010, 12:06 am
Filed under: deep thoughts

I’ve been meaning to write this post for about half an hour, but my poor doggie is on his bed (I am at home) and every time I stop paying attention to him he just gives this piercing sigh, the sigh of one accustomed to being spurned, and I start hearing Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In The Cradle” in the back of my mind and give up and go snuggle with him. I think we have reached a compromise, as I am typing this and petting him with my feet, but I don’t think he is entirely satisfied with this arrangement. Look, pups, I have to go to bed sometime.

At dinner with IGR(x)B last week, the subject of the iPad kept coming up, and by “kept coming up” I mean “kept being inserted into the conversation in a Tourette’s-like way.” As in:

IGR I’ve heard that movie isn’t very good.

IGRxB Me too. But you know what is supposed to be good is the iPad.

IGR Let’s cross the street.

IGRxB iPad?

IGR NOW.

IGRxB iPad. iPad iPad.

When I asked him if he was going to buy one in the near future, he said, “Of course,” and when I asked why, he responded, only half joking, “Because it will make me happy.” The same thing occurred when we were still together and he bought a new MacBook and displayed much more excitement over that than, well, anything else. “It’s easier to be happy about things that don’t matter,” he told me at the time, and while I certainly think that’s true, I also suspect that, for him and for pretty much everyone else, such purchases, however ironically made, exist to fill a larger issue. (Welcome to the 21st century.) (Side note: IGRxB’s reappearance in this blog does not in any way indicate that he is on his way back into plain old B status – for one thing, there are certain factors now that are preventing it, and for another, well, it just doesn’t – but it does mean that we are, at the moment at least, on speaking/possibly friend? terms.)

“I thought the MacBook was supposed to make you happy,” I deadpanned.

“Well,” he said, “it wore off.”

Now is the time, I suppose, to disclose that despite my detached and scornful attitude towards the exchange above and the principles it represents, I have a serious and real crush on a product right now. Which is to say: As of about three hours ago, I want a Wacom Tablet Ril Bad. And I am probably not going to practice delayed gratification right now. I am probably going to go to Best Buy as soon as I possibly can and test the various types out, and then I will use the Amazon gift certificate I received for Christmas towards it, and then I will have achieved nirvana.

Does this make sense? No, this does not make sense, in any way, shape, or form. Graphics tablets are for artists and graphic designers, and I am neither of those things. I know some things about Photoshop, but those things have been gleaned exclusively from Google searches, and my understanding of the basic principles is almost embarrassing; I have no idea, for instance, what the slice-y icon does, and I do not have any idea how to utilize vectors in my drawing or in my cooking or driving, for that matter. I am not a particularly good artist – I think you have to be able to draw people to qualify for that, and I often don’t have the patience or discipline to sit around and practice. I don’t know a damn thing about perspective or layout, not even what I learned in the two weeks I spent in sixth grade art class. What I mostly remember about that art class, to be quite honest, is that the teacher was old and had an earring and was fond of life studies, aka naked people, and everyone found him pretty creepy, myself included.

Also, to further the arguments against my throwing money away, I am forever dabbling in things: playing the mandolin, screenprinting, jewelry making, stationery, singing. I cannot commit. (Also, I need to save money.)

The explanation for why this is, however, is also sort of the answer to why I want this. When I was a kid, I wanted to ballet dance because I wanted to leap and spin, to fly across the stage and experience the fleeting bliss that seemed so often missing from my life. I wanted to learn gymnastics because I wanted to do cartwheels down the stairs and out the door, not to stop, not to feel pain in my knees or to hit anyone. I wanted to just go, to hit the ground running and eventually depart from it. And, for reasons that I would later recognize as the early onset of the depression and anxiety issues that would shape so much of my life, I was never able to make the connection between the desire and the action. My days in ballet were marked by me feeling (/looking) chubby in my leotard and worrying that everyone could see my underwear, trying desperately to think of things to say to the popular girls from school who peppered my classes. I did not practice at home. My mind was always scattered, always felt like a laundry basket spilling clothes that constantly needed to be caught, and I could never get it to make my toes turn out and my neck extend at the right time. Eventually, they held me back, and I quit. I never got the hang of gymnastics – I was terrified of falling and hurting myself – and, to this day, I cannot do a cartwheel, down the stairs or anywhere else.

But the urge to create, to make things, has never left me, and as I’ve grown older and better able to organize the hive cloud that is my consciousness, I’ve tried to channel it in various ways. I have the patience to practice piano now in a way I never have before. When I remember, and when I stop worrying, I sit down and I craft and listen to music. I sing with abandon when I am alone (and sometimes when I am not). I write, of course, mostly about myself, which in a way is the least risky. Part of the life and time planning I talk so much about here has to do with me trying to establish the connection, to build the bridge, between this energy that needs channeling and the channels that let me send my energy out to the world.

So something as small as a $90 tablet (or $45, depending on which one I decide on) plays into all of this. I’ve been drawing more lately because it relaxes me and because I can crumple up anything that doesn’t work, and because I have had a smallish venue for it (Lancelot Sturgeon). And I love the idea of being able to sort of take that piece of paper that I draw on and expand it – to be able to zoom in, for Christ’s sake, to paint without the hassle of mess but with more control than a mouse gives me, even if I’m not any good (and I’m not – believe me).  I can justify it if I make a point not to lose these other hobbies, so that I don’t make a habit of just picking things up and abandoning them.

These are not thoughts for this holiest of weekends,

Side note: dog is making faces at me as a distractionary tactic

but they are what I’m thinking about now – also, imagine what I can do with a tablet and Curio! Amazing! Wow, technology – and that’s that. My whole life sometimes feels like a toy chest that’s been dumped onto the ground – you can’t play with the toys if you can’t find them. I wonder, often, if things as small as a graphics tablet are ways to clean up, or if they just add to the mess. I’m leaning towards the former right now. I hope I’m right.

All this is a roundabout way of saying I’m not in line for the iPad today or tomorrow or any day in the near future, but I get it.



Wednesday, 3/31: android identity issues
March 31, 2010, 11:43 pm
Filed under: deep thoughts

Listening to my very favorite podcast in the whole wide world, Jordan, Jesse, Go!, I heard a discussion re: the tendency of praise to children to sound condescending. E.g.:

To a child who has not hit someone:

MS. IGR I’m proud of you for not hitting and yelling. You’re doing a good job coping with conflict.

To a child who has brought me a stack of construction paper:

MS. IGR Thank you so much. You are an excellent helper.

Now, I understand why this comes across as condescending, but from me – and I recognize that this perhaps applies to me alone – it is not. I think this is because, quite frankly, I am sometimes very easily impressed. Also, now that I’ve spent serious amounts of time with smaller children, I generally mean my praise. I TOTALLY know how difficult it can be to not scream when you really want to. I frequently drop things, especially in larger loads, and a kid who can get it down the hall without incident when I sometimes cannot deserves all the compliments he or she gets, in my book.

Also, side note: PLEASE go subscribe to Jordan, Jesse Go! and its sister podcast, The Sound of Young America. TSoYA is the best interview podcast currently on the air. JJGo is perhaps more polarizing, but in my opinion, it’s what a morning show could be if a morning show was funny and somewhat self-aware. (You know, sentient.) It follows roughly that same format, anyway, with two guys just sort of talking to each other and taking calls and occasionally having guests, but those two guys are incredibly smart and funny, basically.

I’m driving home tomorrow and trying desperately to acquire the Avett Brothers’ “I And Love And You” album before I go. As previously mentioned, I am banking on this album based almost entirely on the fact that right now, I am convinced that the song of the same name is the best song in the whole world. This happens periodically and has nothing to do with the merit of the song itself sometimes, but I can’t help but feel that this, THIS is the song that I should have listened to driving up the back roads in Kentucky – even though, at that time, I had other songs that I thought were the best songs in the world and that perfectly captured those lonesome turns, so my feelings don’t quite hold up. But seriously, this song is the perfect mashup of two songs I used to listen to a lot on the way to school: “Okkervil River Song,” which is an amazing song by the band Okkervil River (well), and Matt Nathanson’s “Angel,” which is maybe a song that does not hold up as well in retrospect. It looks like I am actually going to have to buy this album. Are you kidding me.

Comment on songmeanings.net re: my new favorite song: “This song is about becoming a worthless hipster.”

Also, I went to a friend’s birthday tonight and we got into an interesting discussion: do androids want to be human, or could there possibly be such a thing as android pride? We also got into a long talk re: public vs. private schools, but I need to go to bed and that would take too long to summarize.