Middling

The fancies and reflections of a loquacious ninja

Monthly Archives: September 2011

A study in personification

This post obviously needs some explanation. This is the best I’ll be able to give you.

Please note that this was written within a very short time period, with minimal editing, and less logic than is usual in mind.

Yes, I know it’s long. But believe me, it could be worse.

Enjoy!

My Enemy and Me

Recently, my life got infiltrated by an enemy I’ve been (successfully, til now) avoiding.

Cell Phone. We finally meet.

I don’t need you, I don’t want you. I know you’ll just be an annoyance to me, and that I’ll just lose you when that’s exactly what I’d like to do, but I’d get in trouble for it because you’re expensive.

As if we should never dare to do away with the stuff that torments us just because it cost a wad of moolah.

But that’s probably something I’ll understand better when I start paying for gas.

Anyway, back to my enemy, who’s now sitting next to me on my desk as I write, feigning innocence rather well by pretending to be off.

But it’s a lie. I know it is. He’ll still chime if a text comes through or blare a song if someone decides to call even if the screen is deceptively blank right now. I could turn him off for real (and hopefully for good), but I know I’m not free to do that. Once again, I’d probably get in trouble.

Trouble with whom? Perhaps that’s the worst part. My trouble would result with none other than the people I love most. My family.

They know perfectly well my feelings towards my foe here. At least they think they do. But for reasons that are perhaps better to not ponder… they are on his side.

I don’t know how, I don’t why. But they weren’t the only ones either. Many of my closest friends turned traitor and told me to, even begged me to let my enemy come into my residence and live beside me. I don’t blame any of them. I know they get along perfectly well with their Phones, some of them perhaps slightly obsessively. It’s not their problem. They simply cannot know what it is like to have such an enemy lurking in your pocket or backpack.

But they are not responsible for the infiltration. Sadly, it was my family. They simply and cheerfully informed me that they would be letting down the drawbridge and letting my foe in, and there was nothing I could do about it. They’d threatened to do it before, but until recently, I had been spared, partly because I was able to ward off the attempt using skill honed over a lifetime, and partly because the Fates had been indispoed to let me suffer so.

But recently, the Fates high-tailed it for Djibouti and left me without much-needed protection. I was out of maneuvers. My enemy got in.

And so, I was forced to open up my home and welcome in my foe, like a guest that you know will set fire to the furniture the moment your back is turned and blame it on the cat (if I had one… I guess he’d blame it on the fish). He sauntered in (as best a Phone can saunter), trying not to look smug, and utterly failing, but not looking too disappointed at failing. Certainly not as disappointed as me.

The problem with guests is that if they get lost or stolen, it’s your fault. Your responsibility. Maybe you couldn’t care less. But if they spill coffee on themselves, set their hair on fire, unleash a banshee or get left behind on a trip to China, someone gets in trouble, and it’s not going to be them.

I’ve always been on slightly shaky terms with Electronics. The Computer and I get along pretty well, except when he’s got a connection down and I have no cure, but at least we try to help each other. The Radio downstairs is pretty cooperative. The Radio upstairs is a jerk and likes to make me guess what I have to do this time to make him turn off. Electronics that are strangers are usually very cold and unwilling to do anything, or downright hostile. But a Cell Phone is a whole new breed.

He’s like a map of uncharted waters that look prime for sea monster breeding season. Thankfully, I’ve already had several run-ins with his kind already, in which my ignorance and complete cluelessness finally lead my younger brother (who is on very good terms with the Electronica Mafia) to pull me out of the murky depths and rescue me (with some amusement and completely justified we’ve-been-through-this-before scorn), so I’ve watched them in action close-up before. But still, my foe seems fathomless. He could pull out any weapon, any trick on me if I’m not careful; I know he’s capable enough with all those little icons and buttons, five-sixths of which are unknown, mystery boxes of death to me (or maps with none of the roads labeled and the compass upside-down).

But it’s more than just my uncertainty about his inner workings that makes me regard him the way I would regard a mosquito with fangs that I’m forced to house-sit. I know he’ll try to run away (they always do), and I’ll get blamed for it. It’s happened before. Thankfully, I can cage him in a zipper pocket usually (it’s annoying, but I suppose it’s wise to keep my enemy so close), but sometimes I have to transfer him between bags, and I know that each move is a prime opportunity for him to escape. I’ll have to watch him…

I could go on. Making sure he’s charged is like feeding and cleaning up after a pet you don’t like that needs way too much of both. Remembering to turn him on and off for classes is like trying to remember that one pronunciation difference in a foreign language that changes “I need bathroom now” to “Your kiwi is fat” (which would certainly insult someone in the wrong country). And so far, his behavior is already making me wary. He can delay a text I need to hear from someone for over a week if he wants to; he already has more than once, and I bet he’s planning something bigger soon too. And with an arsenal his size, I think I’m justified in considering sleeping with a staple gun under my pillow.

But who knows… perhaps if we learned to get along, life could work out… If we do, it’d have to be through his effort, it’s not my fault we’re at odds, I’m not the one being difficult. But maybe… just maybe…

I guess we’ll have to see.

But I still refuse to let Facebook in my house. He stays out.

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In honor of our military

Stories like this are worth celebrating, but there are many whose stories ended differently.

May they be in our thoughts and prayers.

Dancing Lights (so it begins…)

Two summers ago, aboard a ship in New York bound for across the Hudson, I made a discovery.

It was night; all the lights of the city were awake and transfixed against the darkness that was covering everything else. As the ship sailed on, I stood against the railing trying to take pictures of the lights as they passed by, but they were curiously misbehaving; instead staying riveted to the spot as points of light, as I’d intended and expected to find them, they were dancing all over the place frozen in the strangest shapes, all blurred.

At first I was annoyed, then fascinated. Then I started shaking and jiggling the camera as much as I could when taking the pictures to add to the effect, since I couldn’t get rid of it.

And so, “dancing lights” as I call it, was born.

I’d forgotten about the whole concept until last year, when I tried to take some pictures in the car, and the same thing happened. Now I’ve gone back to obsession.

You should see my brothers rolling their eyes whenever they see me shaking the camera like a madman while pointing it at some light source. I find it pretty funny. And I get some pretty cool pictures (though admittedly, the trend is to get one good picture for every five bad ones).

Of course, since my rediscovery last year, I’ve learned that it’s not really original. There are many photographers out there who have been doing this kind of thing for years as an actual photography technique (I think it’s properly called light painting), in ways much more elegant and sophisticated than my haphazard shake-the-camera-and-hope-it-turns-out method.

But I don’t it for originality. I do it for fun.

I have a ton of these pictures, so expect more sometime in the future. Lots more.

I hope you enjoy them more than my brothers do!

More to come in the future.

~ Timothy