Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Those juicy Apple commercials

light #2
Originally uploaded by blakie.
Sad proof of how I currently have no life to speak of: I was nearly heartbroken when someone decided to discontinue those commercials where the adorable AOL guy quells potential customers’ anxieties in a verbal volley of reassurances ("Viruses? Zapped! Spam? Blocked!"). Perhaps AOL has finally bit the dust, or can’t afford advertising anymore. Does anyone still use AOL, anyway?

In any case, despite a happy long-term relationship with my boyfriend, I couldn’t help but experience a frisson of excitement every time I saw that cute but geeky guy quelling all fears about the hazards of the Internet. I could relate, since I’m still a bit gun shy when it comes to computers myself.

Fortunately — perhaps just for me — there’s still those Geek Squad commercials. In them, a hapless consumer, usually a damsel in distress, goes ballistic when her computer crashes. But those kind-hearted, dependable geeks will go to any lengths to come to the rescue as quickly as possible.

Like Superman, they are faster than a speeding bullet in their response — gunning it in their little beetle geekmobiles, parachuting down from the skies when necessary, jet packing their way to the rescue when a traffic jam stalls them. Of course these guys really do look like true geeks, but they are still kinda cute — all you’d have to do is maybe buy them a longer pair of pants and get their glasses repaired, or put them in some tight black jeans and boots, and they’d practically be marriage material. After all, to the less than computer savvy, a geek has the power to restore lives to sanity and order once again. They are the closest thing to gods in cyberspace.

I didn't have the same feeling about the “Dude, you’re gettin' a Dell" guy. He was just some clueless, Eddie Haskell-type looking for a party rather than a truly knowledgeable nerd. In fact, I believe the Dell kid was unceremoniously dumped when it was alleged that he had been smoking herb. Party on, Dell dude!

But now, at just about the same time Microsoft’s Bill Gates has decided to, as the Microsoft website attests, "transition out of a day-to-day role in the company," Apple has come out with some ingeniously irresistible commercials. They typify the evolution of the traditional geek into a triumphant neo-geek who actually possesses social skills. Though Gates' phenomenal success may be a metaphor for the revenge of the nerds in the latter decades of the 20th century, Apple seems to have topped them by representing the sexy nerd who can actually get laid.

The commercials feature Mr. PC and Mr. Mac. Mr. PC looks alarmingly similar to, well, a poor man’s Bill Gates — outmoded glasses, cheap looking suit, awkward demeanor. I’m sure that PC is married, and equally sure that even his wife doesn’t find him sexy.

Mr. Mac, on the other hand, is a boyishly handsome, slightly scruffy, laid back guy who likes to have fun above all else. I imagine him being the fantasy of many a young lady who would love to date him, but he seems so casual and elusive, albeit affable and friendly, that I doubt he could be caught easily. He reminds me of — well, of a young Steve Jobs, the charismatic CEO of Apple.

In one spot, PC and Apple are both standing in their packing boxes. PC has his work cut out for him — loading all his software, deleting the software files that came with him, and so on. Mac is ready to do all the cool stuff, right out of the box — make a movie, set up a website, and record a song. Noting that PC has a lot to do before he can do anything, he hops out of his carton and tells PC he’ll catch up with him later.

In another commercial, PC tries to demonstrate how much fun one can have assembling pie charts representing fun things. Apple replies along the lines of “Sweet! I feel like I’m there.” A third spot has Apple modestly bragging that he’s a "PC" as well as a Mac, since he can do all the things a PC does and more.

In all the spots, PC is a hapless dude, but the affable Apple guy is always friendly and cordial to PC. He would never dream of insulting PC but it’s abundantly clear who the hippest geek of all is, hands down. I like to think of it as the revenge of the nouveau-nerd.

A fellow Blogcritic recently referred to Apple fans as a cult. If so, I’m happy to be part of the cult, which one might even consider, especially after viewing these commercials, as a cult of personality. About a year ago, I purchased Herman, my trusty Apple Power Book, and it was love at first sight. I asked the young, cute, yet geeky salesman what he would recommend, and he said if he were buying this is what he’d get.

I asked about anti-virus software, and he told me there was no need to purchase any — Apple’s virus protection was built right in. As he recommended, I purchased the Apple Care Protection Plan, which came in handy almost immediately. I could speak to a troubleshooter over the phone and get all my stupid problems resolved immediately. No need for any Geek Squad housecalls.

It just makes sense that a company that has produced one of the most must-have accessories of the last decade, the iPod, would also rock my little piece of cyberspace with their awesome computers. In my book, Mac is smart, sexy, and adorable to boot. For me, Herman is the man. I don't give a measly microchip what the fuddy duddy PC holdouts say.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Still alive...

sleeping cat
Originally uploaded by mjd-s.
Yes, I'm still out there somewhere. I've been going through a down-ish period for awhile where I don't seem to have the wherewithal to write anything. I've jotted down some ideas from time to time, and a minute ago I started a post, but I just don't seem to have it in me to complete it at this point.

Part of it is that I have certain standards in my writing, and what I started to compose seemed boring and trite. This may or may not be true, but in my present state of ennui I can't work up much enthusiasm for anything. I suspect that the mood stablilizers may be a partial culprit, but even if they're inducing this twilight zone of emotional flatness, I'd be terrified to stop taking them because they may very well be all that lies between me and insanity (read: full-blown, psychotic depression) right now.

Even e-mailing is hard, due to both a paucity of enthusiasm and a lack of much to say, other than my standard litany of kvetching, and how many times can you repeat that shit? I used to live for e-mails, and get frustrated when I didn't get a return mail or got a very short one back. But now I can go weeks without responding to the couple of regular e-mail pals I have right now.

Well, maybe it's a good sign that I even got this far with a "post," such as it is. I guess I'll try again when I'm up to it.