Myopic books

12.15.2008

art-37Spent half the morning asleep and half the afternoon blogging.  Not sure if it’s healthy to let this activity consume a fraction of your day.  It’s a one-sided way of communicating, to be sure, but still I do enjoy the act of self-publishing.

My life has become increasingly insular as a result.  The transition from living on the outside to rarely going out has reintroduced me to creativity.

I see window panes of sunlight and sky, snippets at best, and I do not have a need to open the door.  The cell sounds seldom, and when it does it is my lover on the other end either letting me know where she is in her school day or else describing where she is in her commute.  The segments of the day that do find me outdoors last x minutes, where x does not exceed five.

There is no place to walk to in NMB, aka, North Miami Beach.  Trust me, the name is much more provocative than the place, which requires a car not because it has a large surface area, but because there is nothing but insular urban pollution that is uninteresting when traversed afoot.

Streets, concrete block and stucco condominiums, and traffic, that is the sum of what surrounds me.

My existence also contributes to the problem because I, too, stay inside, and when I go out it is mostly to get in the red car and travel in an insulated capsule to a destination.

The street life is offal in my neighborhood; there is no stoop recreation, there are no niche stores, no hip secondhand bookstore, no hip secondhand music store, no bevy of liquor stores, no parks with fountains and playgrounds and children jumping rope to the same beat that moves the Giant Schnauzer to the Frisbee.

Here where I live there is street, CBS condos, and millions of cars.  Inside the condos, people stare into the light of some screen to familiarize themselves with knowledge that is new and, in varying degrees, unknown.  The screens follow them into the car, in the form of GPS toys and multi-touch iPhones.

My job is the reason for these reflections.  For six hours a day I am on the Net, which makes this virtual world twenty-five percent of my life.  It is my teacher and companion and entertainer.

If I am spending this much time on the computer why not invest a little bit of money and a little more time into tailoring a machine to my liking.  That is precisely what I have done with the MSi Wind.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  if it weren’t for the Wind I would not be writing as much as I am.  This little computer that runs OS X 10.5.5 with Office 2008 is my workstation.  Amit got it equipped with three operating systems, and I made the drivers work in Leopard.  It weighs three pounds at the most, and it has a battery life of nearly four hours.  This consul is where I spend a quarter of my weekdays.

But today it was not obligatory to spend six hours on the machine, it was a choice to blog and attempt again to get the Ralink driver installed and operating.  Because I am not IT, it was the latter of the two that gave me trouble.  I was connected to the router but not to the Net.  While I fiddled with the network panel and hexadecimal passkeys, Bridget created an account on Second Life, which is an ultra realistic virtual world.

Diana’s sister in Spain is an accomplished writer, and she was asked to do an article on Second Life, but in order to do this Net World some justice, she had to join it and assume its gear.  The article she wrote is in Spanish.  After several sentences, Bridget understood what exactly she was reading about, and she was interested.  I guess there are some who make their living in Second Life.  They sell avatars or clothes or other products related to the alternative world.

So you see, we, too, were part of the mass of people who stare into bright screens.  The light emanating from my 10.2-inch display pushes my eyeballs back, at least that is what it feels like after staring into it for hours.  Our projector, on the other hand, splashes light onto the wall, so it is not at all like watching a TV, which, with emanating light, also pushes eyeballs back instead of letting them focus in comfort.

While I tried getting wireless working in Leopard, I began downloading 1 of 36 of iLife 2008.  Not sure if I will ever use the applications included in this suite, but I might as well have them for the rainy day when there is nothing to do, not even in the world of blogs.

After hours of persistent forum rummaging for an answer to getting the Ralink driver functioning, Bridget suggested an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm with some popcorn.  She shuffled the seeds in our red pot until they popped one at a time.  The ones that didn’t pop, we put back in the container of seeds.

We’ll make efforts to conserve if it doesn’t require too much.

Earlier, we went to our Vietnamese restaurant and ate a hearty dinner.  Bridget had her favorite:  eggplant and rice and lemonade.  I had the shrimp and onion rice.  We drank most of the green tea that the restaurant served to every customer and then left to Barnes and Noble.

These days of insulation have also meant significantly less reading.  “I am a Cat” is bookmarked about a third of the way through, and at the bookstore I only took magazines to peruse.  An issue of the New York Times Review of Books was as literary as I got.

But it was the work of Brian Dettmer in an art magazine that got me thinking about books in ways I have never considered.  He should excavate a copy of a WG Sebald piece.

We didn’t leave until the bookstore was closing, which happened at 11 AM.  I remember Myopic Books in Chicago was open until 1 AM.

Brian Dettmer

Brian Dettmer

Once, late one Saturday night over three years ago, I walked out of Inner Town Pub on Thomas Street with friends in company.  We explored the neighborhood streets of Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park, weed and beer making us light and youthful.  I had my pea coat on, my beanie and gloves and scarf to maintain a pulse in my extremities, and for no particular reason other than because I could, I took a detour into Myopic Books to peruse some of the New Arrivals.

I remember talking with the man behind the counter about writing.  He, too, had a missive in his charge.  His wasn’t quite as developed as mine, which at that time happened to be about Ernest Pipe in progress.

I wonder if ever he managed to get his story in print since our talk, or if, like mine, it sits in electronic form:  completed and unread, effectively dead.


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