Friday, August 10, 2012

Half Empty

"How does one articulate the ongoing sadness of after?"

I feel like I've been writing too damn many of these in the past year—which really just means "any at all"—but even with practice, I feel like I'm very not good at them. I always feel so horribly unqualified, not to mention unprepared; it's not as if I sit around thinking "what would I say about so&so if he/she died?"—especially since I prefer to delude myself with the belief that everyone I care about in any sense of the word will continue living forever. And it already takes me far longer than it should to piss about with writing, re-writing, nit-picking, and finally giving up, saying "fuck it," and hitting "Publish" when I'm writing about something that doesn't matter. It never seems possible to give anyone the kind of tribute they actually deserve. But you shut the fuck up about it and just do it anyway because, good enough or not, they deserve your best effort, which, I hope, is this:

I first discovered David Rakoff simply because of a cover blurb by David Sedaris on his first collection of essays, Fraud. PROTIP: When one of your favorite authors calls someone "the wittiest and most perceptive man in the world," you fucking listen. By the end of the week, I owned and had read both Fraud and Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems, which were the only two he'd written so far. Meanwhile, the expanding pile of work on my desk went largely unnoticed—by me, anyway—as I laughed, sometimes even to myself, while I read.

And then I listened—not often, but when I thought of it. Occasionally I would catch him on This American Life, and of course, I would laugh then, too. I took the opportunities for granted because not only was he only in his 40s, but he was going to live forever anyway. Still, whether it was out loud or on paper, he immediately became another of my examples of How You Funny. So, for a brief moment this morning when I saw his name trending, I forgot about the Laws of Twitter and got excited. This lasted exactly two seconds until I remembered that any time someone's name is trending on Twitter, it is a Bad Fucking Thing. It's always either a) some total douchecannon that you wish would have the decency to go the fuck away forever and stop inflicting themselves upon the world, or b) someone fucking awesome who has died because the universe is a total dick that's already taken Maurice Sendak, Ray Bradbury, Nora Ephron, and Gore Vidal this year, but apparently that wasn't good enough, so it had to take David Rakoff, too. At 47.

So today, too late as usual, I'm listening to his contributions to This American Life and reflecting on yet another huge loss for the writing community, and for the world. You can find his contributor page here:, and I would strongly encourage you to listen to every single one of them. And laugh. Laugh, because we need it now more than ever.
"But how lovely those moments were, gone now except occasionally in dreams, when one could still turn to someone and promise them something truly worth their while just by saying "hey, watch this!"
P.S. You can find what others have said, probably much better than I, here:

And one in his own words:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The system is down, yo.

So, I'm about a million years (read: a couple weeks) behind on all the shit that's happened that I've been meaning to write about. I could tell you why, but you'd probably be disappointed, so just imagine that something really awesome happened, but it's somehow top secret because of reasons, so I can't tell you anything about it, ever. In fact, let's assume that's the case every time I get too busy/lazy/depressed to write for a while. It's better for everyone that way.

Anyway, last November, HTC rolled out a Ridiculously Important System Update Meant To Fix Shit That's Totally Broken For Real, That We Promise Won't Actually Just Fuck Up Everything About Your Phone for the Incredible. Yes, the Incredible One. Shut up.

You'll probably remember how, after I finally had to force the update to actually install, it didn't fix anything, and actually did fuck up my phone badly enough that I had to do a factory reset on the fucker.

Well, guess what came out relatively recently...ish? June, maybe? um, before today? RISUMTFSTTBFR,TWPWAJFUEAYP for the Incredible TWO! (Update two, not the Incredible Two.) Like the last update, it's so full of awesome that you'll have to do a bunch of secret hacker shit to even get it to install in the first place! But RISUMTFSTTBFR,TWPWAJFUEAYPFTI2(U2,NI2) is better than the first one, because it's newer!

I was super-excited that there was a new update, because my phone is an unholy pile of fail was having some minor performance issues. Like how roughly 60% of the time I tried to call my wife, it wouldn't actually bother to place the call, just fake it for a little bit and send me to voicemail. It would proceed to do this the next six times I called, until my GAD took over and could not be convinced she was not dead in a ditch somewhere until a) I finally got home and actually saw her, or b) my phone decided to stop being a douchewagon and put my fucking call through. Or how I would get a text from her and try to reply, but it would say "Invalid Destination Address, Asshat" and refuse to send anything.

After a few weeks of wankery in which I would tell my phone to install the fucking update, then watch as it counted down from 10 and did nothing, I finally broke down and forced it to install. Here's what the update changed:
  • Caused the phone to freeze every 5-10 minutes.
  • Deleted all the apps, except the pre-loaded bullshit that is apparently so permanently encoded on the fucker that even it can't get rid of them.
  • Disconnected my Google account.
  • It would allow me to re-download the apps it deleted; however, it wouldn't actually run the motherfuckers.
  • After re-downloading apps, a notification would pop up saying that an app that it supposedly couldn't fucking run anyway had encountered an error and needed to close. It then refused to close the app, waited two minutes, and repeated the whole goddamn cycle.
  • It couldn't find the SD card. Again. Or still. I don't even fucking know anymore.
  • It no longer did the cool weather animations, which may have been the only pre-loaded feature I actually liked.
But it did add an "App Associations" option to the Settings menu so I could change the default app to use for certain actions. Of course, it couldn't fucking run anything but the pre-loaded shit, but it was at least nice to know I could pretend to have options.

Oh, and my favorite thing of all: every time I restarted the phone due to the freezing and other assorted fuckery, it gave me this popup that said "UIDs on the system are inconsistent, you need to wipe your data partition or your device will be unstable." Instead of an option that said "OK" or "Then Show Me How To Fucking Do It, You Prick," my only choice was a button that said "I'm Feeling Lucky."

"Your system UIDs are inconsistent, punk."
After the hard reset:
  • It can't find anything on the SD card from before the previous hard reset.
  • It can't find anything on the SD card or its own internal storage from after the latest hard reset.
  • Eight out of ten times I look at it, it's collecting "anonymous location data" because of reasons. If I turn this off, I can't use the weather app, and the map app does this.
I'll give it one thing, though—it's definitely incredible.