Friday, June 27, 2008

. . . and switch

It started with a rumor whispered around the office. "They're thinking of getting you a laptop" they said. "I hear it might be a Mac". I tried not to get too excited. You can't put too much stock in office babble. But the rumors persisted and a little seed of excitement began to grow.

Before long, I got confirmation. They *were* getting me a laptop and it was a Mac and it was on its way. I proceeded with my usual response to change: research. I wanted to know what switching would be like. Would I have regrets, I wondered? Would it be all flash and no fire? Was I being sucked into to a clever ad campaign that makes me want to hang out with Justin Long? Was this going to be the technical equivalent of the Emperor's New Clothes?

I had a lot of questions (you're shocked, I know) so I starting reading. I found a great version of what was basically What to Expect When You're . . . Switching. Dave Pogue's Switching to the Mac from the Missing Manual series was everything I needed. I bought Post-It flags and dove in.

So often Macs are associated with cool designer types and the hipster in crowd, but as I got closer to joining this illustrious group the comment I kept getting was "your nerd factor just increased ten fold". For the first time in my life I slept with a computer book on my bedside table. I flagged, I noted, I made marks in the margin.

I was told the machine was a few weeks away and then, suddenly, word came. Your Mac is just up the street, you can go and get it now. I was out the door in a flash. I headed down to a non-Apple store but authorized Apple reseller. I expected a mecca of cool techno-chic and instead had one of the nerdiest experience of my life (Which is something. In high school I was a two time Physics Olympics champion, I'm just saying....)

I walked into the store and talked to an associate who had no idea what I was talking about. He called the manager over and we quickly assessed that the order got put in wrong, it was supposed to be a black Macbook, not white, along with a wireless keyboard and a VGA/Mini DVI adapter for the sweet, sweet 23" flatscreen that was coming from another store. The Manager went off to check things out and the store fell into silence.

There were four staff members in the store and just me, no one else to serve, no phones ringing and we stood there, in total silence for four and a half minutes. I had a crazy thought, could it be that I -- me? -- I was the most social person in the room? I decided to ask Manager guy why he was running a Windows POS program in a de facto Apple store, seemed like a safe bet. As soon as he realized I speak Nerd he rediscovered his vocal chords. And when I casually tossed out my one Unix factoid the conversation got downright lively.

So now, here I am. Macbook in hand. Even though it's black, not white, and therefore matte finish, the best word to describe is Captain Mal's descriptor of choice: shiny. My fears that it would turn out to be pretty but dumb were unfounded. Shakespeare said it best -- he often does -- "the world is still deceived with ornament". But in this case, it's not just a pretty face.

I know there's lot to learn but already I can feel the switch take hold. I love Spotlight, not just because it finds things for me, but because it shows me how it did it so I can do it myself next time. I love that I open the lid and everything is just as I left it, that I can customize this thing to within an inch of its life. I love that they finally made it possible to right click with a simple double tap to the trackpad. I love that the first time I turned it on it located my wireless network and politely asked if I wanted to enter the password now so it would be all set up when I wanted to use it later.

Oh Macbook, my Macbook (ok, ok technically it's *their* Macbook) there is still so much to learn, but I have a feeling it's going to be sooooo worth it. If this is the darkside, it's OK by me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

auntie 2.0: the remix

I'm going to be an Aunt again! Below is the first ultrasound of the newest member of the Colvin family. In the last 4 years my family has grown 25%. Keep up the good work, I say. At this rate we might take up a whole row one of these days.
So here he his, and yes, that's an intentional he -- a biological one you might say. Is it weird that I think this little guy already has his Dad's profile?

There's a painting that hung in my parents house for years that my Grandpa did of Mark when he was two. (Did I mention that this is baby #1 for Mark & Rachel and not baby #2 for Dave & Janie? Well he is. First Aussie in the family.) Anyway, all my growing up years this was this painting of a two year old Mark and now, before very much longer there will living breathing version. Pretty exciting times.

Welcome little man. You're still pretty new but there are already a lot of people who love you. Can't wait to meet you on the outside.

Monday, June 16, 2008

red carpet girl

Update: Turns out that not that many people actually dressed up for the "this is a dress up event" event (teenagers!). Kendra and I figured that you can't get all dressed up with nowhere to go so we got a little fancy ourselves and took Amanda out for dessert. MMmmm cheesecake at Afterthoughts. Not bad for a Monday night.
It's the season for grads and proms. Amanda doesn't grad until next year (thank goodness!) but her youth group was having a Red Carpet Event tonight so it was time to get all dolled up. As you can see, she looked pretty amazing. She always does. Kendra and I got to go over and help with her hair and managed to sneek into the picture taking too.You can't see them, but Amanda is wearing her Aunt Kendra's serious shoes so she really is taller than me in this photo. Crazy times.

Have you seen Sarah Jessica Parker's print ad for her perfume? In the shot Sarah is in a puddle of dress, all prepped for going out and the caption reads "Lovely on the inside". Reminds me of Amanda. I hope you had a great time tonight!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

inspiration from robots

Recently a lot of people have been sending me cartoons. I hope this trends continues :) In particular, a friend of mine has been getting me hooked on We The Robots. One from last week had me doubled over laughing (at work, no less) and heading off to the color printer to make an addition to my cube wall collection:

If the text in the first panel is too small for you, it reads, "In the tradition of all the great poets of the past, I shall take my inspiration from nature." There are certainly times when I have felt like this.

I've had the great privilege of having two interns with me this summer. Several times over the past weeks we've had great discussions about writing and it has felt pretty good. It's been a while since I last rolled the words of writing across my tongue, or ran the craft of writing through my fingers like ribbons. They've been asking me for writing advice (when did I become old enough to be on the giving end of advice?) and I've been reminded of some of the great advice given to me over the years. Two things stand out.

Years ago, my friend Idelette reminded me of the need for practice when she asked me simply "What do you call a writer who doesn't write?" I've also been reminded of Professor Szabo who told us "Scientists will tell you that the world is made up of atoms but they're wrong. The world is made up of stories." There is so much truth in that -- if you want to know the world, if you want to really understand it, ask people their stories. Learn their whys and wherefores and you will learn about yourself and about worlds you never knew.

Plato wrote, "He who tells the stories shapes society." I have that pinned to my cubicle wall -- that and a quote I found years ago that says "In ancient Rome, the name of the person who organized a gladiatorial fight to death was Editor." -- not far from the cartoon about robots.

Monday, June 02, 2008

this one's for my Mom...

... who wondered just how blonde I'd gone.

It's about that blonde. I think it looks a little lighter in person but that may just be me. Jury's still out on whether I'm having more fun, but between this and the fancy-schpancy shoes I'd say I'm definitely headed in the right direction :)