Real Contact

I’m reading Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad. It’s a fantastically strange novel, almost like a collection of short stories that span through a few decades and show the connections between a huge cast of characters that hardly seem like they should be related and yet are.

I don’t want to spoil it for those who’ve never read it, so I’ll just say that there’s a portion in it that deals with characters living a decade or so in the future, a time at which it seems that texting is the primary method of communicating with people. One of the characters seems profoundly uncomfortable with real speech and much prefers the cleanliness of the short messages we sent to each other via text, or T as it’s called by then. This disturbed me profoundly and I’m having a hard time getting through this section. The notion of real contact between people being something that’s disappearing is something I dislike. I also don’t really believe it’s true.

As a child of the generation that has grown up with increasingly small cellphones, increasingly faster internet and the increasing ubiquity of social networking in our lives, I still don’t believe that the near future contains the loss of real speech or contact between people. In my world, at least, social networking is another means of communication, true, but it’s far from being the only one or the most preferred one. I know few people who spend more time communicating with friends online than face to face.

Thoughts? Comments? Opinions?

Sometimes I Hate Techonology

Of course, I love it dearly, as well, and I couldn’t imagine my life being the same without it (for one thing, I wouldn’t have met all of you fine people) but when I come to realize just how much I rely on it and how much it bothers me when it doesn’t work right… well, that’s about the time I want to go read my books and let electronics rot.

A Story Excerpt

I was inspired today to start writing something else in addition to my main project. It was one of those things, like Robin of a few days ago, that just started writing itself in my head before I was ready for it. Luckily, I was able to turn immediately to my computer and write. This is only about half of what I’ve written so far, and I don’t know how much potential it has, but I’m going to keep working on it, because, well, I feel like it!

**

The sirens began to wail all over the city, and we made ourselves ready. We all knew what the sound meant. In our shelter, Ben and I gathered up the weapons we had at our disposal – he a staff, and I my twin daggers. He’d learned how to use a staff at his mother’s knee, and he wielded it as if it were part of his body. I envied his skill, especially when he’d shown me that the extras he’d added to his weapon. When twisted in the center, sharp steel blades shot out of either end of the heavy wooden staff, heavier still with the lead infused in it. I could hardly lift the thing, although I’d tried often enough. Ben had the muscles of an infomercial bodybuilder – he’d added two pounds of lead to the staff every year since he hit his teens.

My skills were harder won, for I wasn’t a child of violence. I had never meant to join the revolutionaries, never meant to get tangled up in any of this. My parents were simple folk, and I grew up in a small town near the coast. I learned fishing and cooking while Ben learned the fighting arts from his mother. While he sweated in the gym, I paddled happily in the vast salt lake’s waters. While he took his oath and swore his dedication to the rebellion and revolution, I was picked as beauty queen of the seventh grade. While he debated and studied philosophy and the way of life in which we lived, I was blissfully unaware of anything outside my small community. I didn’t even know how downtrodden we were.

We were allowed television, although no Internet access. I knew vaguely about the Net because of visitors that came to the coast to enjoy some free time. They often complained about the isolation – the radios only caught music stations, and our televisions had no news channels. In our town, the war might well have been a myth. It was a myth to me until I reached adulthood at seventeen and was allowed the knowledge that had been barred from me during my childhood: the world was at war.

Whoops, Techonology Strikes

Well, I am now a proud owner of Windows 7. My desktop computer has finished installing and it seems to be working perfectly.

There’s only one problem. One MAJOR problem. The Internet connection doesn’t work. Which sucks big time.

I’m currently writing this quick note from my little EEEpc Netbook, in order to explain why I’m not going to be around on blogs tonight or tomorrow [my time, which is probably anywhere between seven to ten hours ahead of most people reading this] because I’m going to be dealing with computer/Internet love-affair-gone-wrong issues. Hopefully by Saturday night, US time, I’ll be able to catch up with y’all.

I feel like some sort of failed superhero – managed to install Win7, only to fail utterly at being able to use the computer for very much for the time being. Yes, I’m pouting, how could you tell?

Don’t colleges WANT students?!

Why must colleges have such HORRIFIC websites? Can they not see they are losing the faith of the young generation, i.e. the generation they’re supposed to be catering to? Anyone who breaths and lives the internet knows how annoying it is to stumble across a website that is not designed well, has missing links, has strange ways of navigating users from place to place and is all-around generally bad.

Suggestion, O Collegiate Geniuses: take twenty jacking-off, pubuescent, nineteen year-old kids from your newest freshmen class, prefferably the ones taking many computer classes, tell them to design a more approachable and straightforward website and give them extra credit so they’ll do it. Your problem will be solved and your websites won’t make me and the other prospective students want to scream and hurl things at our screens.