Recovered Ramblings

After taking out (most of) the annoying bits, I am posting this draft I wrote on a recent train ride. I spent a few days away form my laptop: on one hand I loved “unplugging” and reading a real print magazine, on the other hand I was totally jonesing for the internet:

Presently, I am on a train, bound for Toronto. I’ll only be there one day plus two half days, so a brief trip.

A middle aged lady in the seat in front of me is watching Twilight on a DVD player, and for some reason I find that fascinating. I’ve been reading the March 2010 issue of Wired, intrigued by the idea that our “digital remains” may need management (page 60) (posthumous Facebook status updates? RAD!), and endeared by the brief Q&A with Kevin Smith on page 80. I was surprised that he is among the Twitter Elite – meaning someone with over a million followers. I only wish I had that many followers, but sadly I’m struggling to break 400. It reminds me of how my mobile phone is only a few years old but already totally and completely out of date. It is not even wifi-capable. How can I keep my social network a-flutter without it? How will I attract more followers, if I can’t even watch and/or post a YouTube clip on my mobile? I mean this confounded WordPress app is totally pushing my phone’s limits…if I see that hourglass one more time…

Yeah, I know: boo-frakking-hoo. I’m just bored out of my mind over here. My kid is asleep next to me, drooling all over the armrest. What else am I supposed to do? Anyway, all this stuff is boring, and I apologise.

Aren’t we collectively glad that I saved that? I’m making up for lost internet time today; wasting hours looking for cheap flights, appraising coins on eBay, and creating a profile on myouterspace.com (username: Natalia – Be my friend, nerdz!).

*giant sigh*

The Good in Everyone

Why is Craigslist such a Mess? Click to find the answer, and learn about a perfectly dysfunctional social organism.

Art Machine Journey

Since it is literally -30C degrees outside, I have been trying to think of ways to entertain Neptune and myself by remaining indoors. We sat on the couch this morning: her watching PBS and me trolling the internet. Let me share the journey.

All internet adventures start with the bookmarks list. I have Wired.com in there, which is where I found: art machines: I want a “Sub-Sonic Dissidence Propulsion Device”. The amazingly D&D meets gothic art constructions are fascinating, and I only wish I could see the pieces by Kris Kuksi in real life. One piece that I can’t link through to (on Page 3, called “The Deadly Sins”) is particularly magnificent. This work teeters dangerously on the border between gothic-pop genius and fantasy/sci-fi rubbish. I love it.

From there I went back to the Wired article which brought me to artmachines.org. A delightful compendium of tech-inspired art, sculpture and photography. You can see Kuksi’s “The Deadly Sins” here, too. But scrolling down through other pieces, I came upon some always fascinating interpretations of the Rube Goldberg machine. Neptune is in a serious Looney Tunes period right now, especially the Roadrunner and Coyote so the Rube Goldberg is always on my mind.

And so I watched these two clips: one from a famous installation called “The Way Things Go” from the 80’s:

The next a corporate spin-off, entitled “Cog” commissioned by Honda. It does very cleverly re-interpret car parts; especially the wind-shield mobile. Apparently the interesting fact is that they tried to run their machine over 600 times, and this is the only success:

Now you don’t have to go outside, either.

Preview More of Missiles…

…courtesy of my favourite place on the internet, Wired.com. I am totally elated by the nerd love:

Exclusive: The Dears Launch Sad, Beautiful Missiles

Enjoy “Berlin Heart”…it’s only there for a limited time.

Entering Nerdshire

A series of recent events caused me to realise that they should create a variation of the term “grupster” that incorporates the word “nerd”. While “negrupster” connotes a black grupster, and “grupsterd” sounds like it belongs in a toilet, I contemplated “grerdrupster” before giving up on trying to pigeonhole my already complex identity any further.

So what events could possibly lead to this assumption? First: a childlike glee that I experienced after learning that the latest title I purchased for my Nintendo DS was really quite enjoyable. And that I was looking forward to playing “Professor Layton and the Curious Village” through to the end.

Next, due to weeks of rainy days and thus a listless, playground-deprived daughter, I decided to try the Centre des sciences de Montreal. I have such fond memories of the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, what with all the buttons and things to touch, ancient Chinese xylophones and that model train that drove through tunnels between two glass display cases. And the running. There were bridges to jump on and technicolour replicas of my shadow to be made. Anyhow, the Centre des sciences is much newer, smaller and a little less in-depth. There’s still a lot going on in there, but nothing recommended for toddlers. They literally told me to not bother buying an admission. So we went to see the river and a pond in the rain, got a giant lollipop and went home. I love science but I guess not that much.

Finally, and most awesomely, was that I posted a comment on an article on Wired.com’s Listening Post blog and the author (Scott Thill) knew who The Dears were. That blew my mind; it was really rad and made my day. I read Wired.com every day, so it was like we were exchanging a knowing nod: yes, nerds and music can co-exist…as they must…

Then, after all this I met up with my misanthropic pal Michael, who completely de-asserted my nerdness. This was after I admitted to him that I hadn’t read a science fiction novel in years. And that I had never read (nor had I seen) “Dune.” He recommended I read “Valis” by Philip K. Dick and call him in the morning. I felt ashamed and unworthy of my admittedly hasty claim to the “grerdrupster” title — even though he was totally right.

I’m a little bit of a nerd at heart, and at least that I can be proud of.

Top 3 Top 5 (or more)

Lists are fun to read when you’ve been reading your smart magazines all day. Here are three lists-like pieces I read recently that were entertaining:

Five Gadgets That Will Make You a Superhero on Wired.com. ‘Nuff said.

The Hater’s Guide to Summer Fun on The Onion’s AV Club. The Hater is generally good for lists. I like the dress but does it come in black?

Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to be Green on Wired.com. An OK list, but seriously has some holes. Like take number 2: “A/C is OK”. Yeah, if you’re living in the 1800’s and talking about heating your home with OIL or COAL. Very non-progressive. It’s called HYDRO, dufus. Come to Quebec. Check it out. Number 9 (Used Cars – Not Hybrids) was interesting, too, since Murray told me the story of Paul McCartney ordering a hydrogen car and then finding out it took like a billion gallons of oil to fly it over for him (McCartney was pissed). And number 10 gets a nod: just because it’s my mantra: Expect the Worst.