September 26, 2005

I'm at my desk, but I could be somewhere else if I wanted to.

I like for things to have epithets, and I mean that in the sense of descriptive titles that replace or elaborate upon names. For instance, Jacob used to call Bella the Stinky Princess; I approved of that strenuously. My own personal cat is most often denoted by the use of her partial name, Nut, and any of several status indicators: the Bed Nut, the Lap Nut, the Squeaky Nut, the Unhappy Nut. Katie and I went through a period of referring to each other almost exclusively as Darling Baby Sister and Darling Big Sister. In my head I tend to call Jacob the Jacob of Jacobs.

I said things, and not people, but in fact it is both. Household items in my presence have epithets as well. For instance, my computer was named Beige Floyd almost 6 years ago and has remained Beige Floyd to the present day. But Beige Floyd is on its way out. After two weeks of not restarting because restarting reminded it of its bad drive sectors, it passed out last night and woke up in Windows mode, remembering nothing of what it used to know in Linux.

This is not a post about the lamentable fate of my computer. This is a post about the delightful fact that I have acquired, just in time, a replacement computing entity. It's a cheap, basic Dell laptop, sturdy (one hopes) and utilitarian with no space-age stylings. What it says to the viewer is "I am a black rectangular solid", rather than "I am exciting new technology". So far, it is Ye Great Black Beast, but other descriptors are possible. The color lends itself to something along the lines of the Gothtop, but I'm also enamored of a far-fetched idea involving painting it a particular shade of mushroomy-ecru. It would then be the Laptaupe.

Jacob the Wise remarked last night that he and I have a markedly similar approach to computing. If something -- anything -- shows up on the screen unasked, we both scowl and immediately look for how to remove it. A helpful piece of Dell internet-search-assistance software was sidetracking me last night as I tried to go to a site that wasn't functioning, and I was threatening it under my breath with dire consequences if it tried to direct me to the site one more bloody time. It doesn't matter if it's trying to help. It doesn't even matter if it does help. You let the computers do the thinking and the next thing you know it's Terminator all over again. I won't tolerate that kind of behavior from my machines. Around here the meat engines do the thinking, thank you very much.

Posted by dianna at September 26, 2005 11:30 AM

w.r.t "I am a black rectangular solid"

After reading entirely too much cyberpunk, I might mention that the unmarked, dense, rectangular piece of impact-resistant black plastic is the one that you REALLY want to watch out for.

Posted by: Erik at September 26, 2005 12:48 PM

Would you (or someone else) please elaborate why?

Posted by: Dianna at September 26, 2005 01:05 PM

No, but I will say I like the name ÂJacob of Jacobs.Â

Posted by: jason at September 26, 2005 01:38 PM

Thanks. I do too. For a while there he was also the law firm of Jacoby, Jacoby, Jacoby and Jacoby, but I think I already told you that.

Posted by: Dianna at September 26, 2005 01:45 PM

Black rectangular solids have a "solid" (har har) place in the sci-fi canon. I can't remember off the top of my head to which particular cyberpunk novel Erik is referring, but you should be wary of large, monolithic black rectangles as well - especially if your and other laptops start gathering around it.

In other news: "dude, you got a Dell!" Their new motto should be: "now you can do your computing in a very uncomfortable place, like the back of a Volkswagen."

No no, wait.

"Dude! Now you can do your computing in a very uncomfortable place, like the back of a Volkswagen!"

There we go.

Posted by: poot at September 27, 2005 05:18 AM

Yeah, IÂm pretty sure weÂve talked about Jacoby & Meyers before cause itÂs one of my favorite subjects. IÂm always compelled to use them in a joke but nobody but you ever knows what IÂm talking about. Larry Parker too.

Posted by: jason at September 27, 2005 07:59 AM

I'm not even sure that I know what cyberpunk novel I'm referring to. I think that Neuromancer had a similarly-described piece of hardware, and I'm sure that Snow Crash did, too. I don't have Neuromancer in front of me or I'd check.

Posted by: Erik at September 27, 2005 07:08 PM

The Chinese virus was stainless steel. But Dixie Flatline's casing was, IIRC, black polycarbonate.

Posted by: Jacob at September 27, 2005 07:13 PM

You are no longer the Jacob of Jacobs

Posted by: jason at September 27, 2005 07:35 PM