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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

I’ve put off writing here because I’m finding it entirely preposterous to put into words the experiences I’ve had here in Austin so far.  It would sound something like, “I feel like my head is a stationary buoy with a thin wire cable running through all of my insides down to my toes and if I don’t keep my feet on the ground my legs will be sucked inside of me and sprout directly from both ears.”

This post-it on my desk has several notes referencing gut-busting moments I’ve had at the YMCA, but it’s been so long since I’ve written them that I have no idea what I meant by “stuck to rear”.

A lot of people are worried about the last unflattering photo they’ve had ending up in the obits.  I’m worried about someone finding these awkward notes to self.

Although I do think it’s important for all members of my family to know that I fell in love for exactly one hour and a half with a black man named Devorak at the gym.  It was a cross between the fact that his name sounds like it might belong to a one-eyed, scary, orange monster with overactive salivary glands and warts with teeth, or because I wanted to take a nap on his graying, rain cloud-like afro rather than exercise.  If he googles himself he’ll know that our future together flashed right before my eyes and ended with him being reasonably upset with me for owning a Harriet Tubman action figure.  Needless to say, I didn’t retain a shred of information about their fitness equipment.

In fact, I didn’t even use the equipment for about a month after my “orientation”.  The thought of it weirdly overwhelmed me.  One afternoon I felt motivated and attempted to tackle one with a slightly welcoming, candy apple red seat.  I wrapped my legs around it and stared at the instructional diagram for entirely too long.  Ikea furniture instructions long.  And I’m almost certain that a descendent of Robert Wadlow had used it seconds before me because I couldn’t reach a damn thing.  Instead of asking for a bit of guidance from the obvious gym veteran across from me, I blushed and practically ran to the locker room (CARDIO).

Who was I kidding because if you’ve ever been to the YMCA you too know that the locker room is definitely not a safe place to take refuge.  It is a place where I’ve witnessed several instances of what I can only refer to as unnecessary bare-assedness.  I’m talking completely nude women bent over drying their hair.  Volume, people, it’s important.  I’ll tell you what else is important, me not knowing what my vagina is going to look like in thirty years.

On another note, I’ve also fallen in love with Austin’s moonlight towers which leaves me feeling a bit like the lady who married the Golden Gate Bridge.

Everything I’ve read about them sounds suspiciously romantic, so maybe I’m not the only one.  The department that handles their ongoing maintenance is called the Illumination Division for chrissakes.  Please let me have a job there.

“The towers were also guaranteed by the designers to be bright enough that a person could read his or her pocket watch within 3,000 feet of a tower on the “darkest of nights.”  Sigh.

I see 2 of the 17 remaining in the city regularly, but one clearly doesn’t know about the other.

In the 30’s farmers thought the artificial moonlight would cause severe overgrowth of gardens and lawns and that home owners would have to battle their yards with an axe.  At first I had a good chuckle and thought to myself, “how bonkers is that?!”

I then retracted that thought immediately when the slight fear of accidental lunar fertility, or worse retarded werewolves crossed my mind.

Now I can’t decide which is a new all time low – the fact that I just linked to http://www.menstruation.com, or that I just typed and italicized retarded werewolves (twice).

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I grew up with a computer programmer for a father, so by the age of 5 I was fully addicted to computer games such as Bouncing Babies (pictured above) and Digger (not to be confused with similar objective arcade games, Mr. Do! and Dig Dug).

My dad’s favorite arcade game is and will always be Donkey Kong, but I could never get past the first screen. The man can’t spell ‘aluminum’, but by god he can play the absolute crap out of a video game.

Flash forward to the year 2008 when Ben and I bought our first Playstation (just so we could play Guitar Hero).

It was delivered to us along with a complimentary video game called Metal Gear Solid. Neither of us could make the main character, a retired soldier by the name of Solid Snake, move an arm let alone neutralize the terrorist threat from a renegade Special Forces unit.

And why is everything solid? Was the name, Gas Snake, taken? Because who wouldn’t be terrified of a half man/half snake with canines full of venom and a tight butt full of paralyzing farts?

If I’m coming off like an old, crusty curmudgeon, that’s because I feel like the vast majority of newer video games leave me no choice.

I digress. And on a much lighter note, this fact alone made me eager to finally pick up the documentary, The King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters.

The story pulls you face first into the dirty, cut throat world of arcade gaming (?!?), and namely into the lives of two middle aged men vying for the prestigious title of Donkey Kong Champion.

Previous world record holding DK champ Billy Mitchell’s reputation/whole life is at stake when stay at home dad, Steve Wiebe, purchases a Donkey Kong machine for his garage and makes it his mission to beat Billy’s high score.

I have to tell you it’s the most entertaining, inspirational, and heart wrenching journey I’ve virtually taken with a movie. My eyes filled up with tears in sync with underdog/sensitive dad, Steve’s, every time.

I dare you not to become emotionally invested in the story.

And if doesn’t tug just a little I suggest you grab a lion, a scarecrow, and well you get the picture, Tin Man.

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I can’t get this picture to work, so click here.

Ben and I set forth on our journey to ZombieCon ’08 Saturday morning along with our friend, Linnea, (fellow undead enthusiast) and her trusty GPS Navigation… thingy. 

Now that I’ve referred to it as a “thingy” you can only imagine the look on my face when the disembodied voice of a fembot began spouting out directions from behind a tiny, palm sized flat screen.

I held it dangerously close to my face focused on the blue cartoon car following us in time down a purple highway.

“April, you can put it down.”

Ben and I both are hilariously plagued with zero sense of direction and a knack for breaking things, so you can just bet your butt that with one disobeyed/missed exit the fembot became frazzled and malfunctioned. 

“TURN LEFT, TURN LEFT, THEN TURN LEFT, IN ONE MILE TURN LEFT, TURN LEFT!” 

I expected smoke or farts to start pouring out from behind the screen.  We couldn’t use the old fashioned printed directions or even an ancient road map because I balled those up in a fit of early 90’s rebellion.

Finally, we got our bearings and arrived at the Clarion Hotel where the marquee read: “Welcome, Zombie Con Patrons” on one side and “Welcome, *Rodriguez Wedding Party” on the other.  

It was definitely Alanis Morissette’s (incorrect) definition of ironic.  Not only was there rain on the bride’s wedding day, there was also a handful of damp zombies.

I instantly honed in on Robert Harris as we entered the room.  You might (not) recognize him as the general store clerk, Old Man Cadwell, in Cabin Fever.

We saved the best for last and made our way to the back where a classmate of mine had a table.  He graciously introduced me to the head of a local, low budget zombie movie making team and added that I could be of some help to them in the future.

On our way out I stopped back by Robert Harris’ table where he told us some great stories I wish I could have captured on video. 

He started to tell me who he was and I creepily said, “I know who you are!”  Unaffected by this he went on to tell us about his time on the set of Above Suspicion where he nearly fell into an open grave.  Then something like the following exchange took place between him and Scott Bakula:

RH:  “I’ve got to stop doing this!”

SB:  “No, you can’t, you’re a great actor.”

RH:  “No, I don’t mean acting.  I mean I have to stop drinking vodka this early in the morning!”

If the man wasn’t 79 years old Ben would have left that convention single. 

  

*Name edited to protect the living. 

   

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Re: Umbrella Hat

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I’m a PC.

The program I use to edit at school, Final Cut Pro, is only compatible with Mac which I have never in my life attempted to use.  In my head I call it “Final Cut, NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” 

You scream the last of that. 

I’m reminded constantly of that scene in Zoolander when Derek and Hansel learn that the files necessary to bring Mugatu down are in the computer.  So they end up throwing the monitor to break it and release them. 

The shitstorm blew in last semester when I was trying to right-click on something and realized there was no right button to click.  How could they do this to me?  I asked, blushed, died a little inside, right-clicked, and left-wiser. 

Thinking I had the basics down, I approached this semester’s Extreme Mac Challenge with the utmost confidence.  

My instructor handed me a cd to grab some files off of and I didn’t think twice about it because now that I’m 25 I finally know everything. 

I went to hit the eject button next to the drive and there wasn’t one.  There weren’t any buttons at all. 

It’s not like I was expecting a welcome mat at the front door to Fort Knox.   I’m convinced “they” took away the right-click and the eject button to punish me for not owning any ithings.

He moseyed on over to help just as I was about to give the computer a back massage with hot oils (that I keep in my book bag) and coax it with a whisper, “do it for daddy!”  

“It’s on the keyboard.” 

“OF COURSE IT IS!”

I’m obsessed and I’m rebelling.  If I ever get married I’m not even going to say “I do” at my wedding.  

I’m going to say, “Me do.”  

Last night I had to ask how to “empty the trash” aloud.  Then I imagined having to ask how to empty the trash in real life. 

“Try using both hands, April.” 

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I might be the last person I know to own a camera phone, and as groundbreaking as that technology is I can’t imagine why in the world I would ever need it/use it. 

However, the first words out of my mouth this morning at work were,  

“Hey guys, I got a camera phone!”   

Damn it, I had caved and there was little to no response.    

What kind of reaction was I expecting exactly?  The movie clap that starts off slow and ends in a round of applause, hoots, finger in the mouth whistles, ticker tape, or a spotlight and tap dance solo complete with jazz hands?   

I felt like Romy White in Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion: 

“If anyone needs to make a call… I have a cell phone.” 

Only it was more like:  “If anyone needs to take a picture… I have a camera.  It’s on a phone.  It’s a phone with a camera INSIDE!”  

Memories of my beeper/pager-less childhood came flooding back to me. 

All of my best friends had them.  I could send 80087355 (Boobless), but never receive it.  No one could even tell me to go to 7734 (hell, upside down).  I thought that if my parents really 4’d (loved) me, they’d buy me one.   

My dad kept his old beeper in the top drawer of his dresser and I’d “borrow” it when I went out on the town (across the street to the dollar movie theater).  I clipped it on my belt loop hoping for a miracle, but since it was no longer connected to a network I never ever got a page.   

There was a button you could push on the outside to make it vibrate, but that wasn’t fooling anyone.   

Luckily, no one ever asked to see it.  But that’s because I had one friend and no one wanted to talk to us anyway because we smoked cigarette butts we found in the movie theater parking lot. 

Ah, the wonder years.   

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