MacBook RIP

That's me at the Apple Store in Walnut Creek yesterday afternoon, right before Antoine at the Genius Bar turned to me and broke down the meaning of that clicking noise my five-week-old Gori's Seagate Momentus 60-gig hard drive started making earlier in the day.

It came with a year warranty. I'd popped for AppleCare as well. A replacement's ordered. But a metric fuckload of last weekend's pictures are gone. That is, unless I care to spend at least $500 for five-to-seven-days' turnaround at DriveSavers.

And a 500-gigabyte Firewire drive sits on my desk at home, nigh well useless, for as often as I'd been in the habit of backing up my PowerBooks' contents, who, I ask, expects failure five weeks into an uncrated item's life?

This book, wow…

There've been several small ones that left cracks in my head. I'll fill them in as I reminisce over the course of the day.

Friends. How many of us have them?

"Social Isolation Growing in U.S., Study Says," Washington Post, Shankar Vedantam

[…] Robert D. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard and the author of "Bowling Alone," a book about increasing social isolation in the United States, said the new study supports what he has been saying for years to skeptical audiences in the academy.

"For most of the 20th century, Americans were becoming more connected with family and friends, and there was more giving of blood and money, and all of those trend lines turn sharply in the middle '60s and have gone in the other direction ever since," he said.

Americans go on 60 percent fewer picnics today and families eat dinner together 40 percent less often compared with 1965, he said. They are less likely to meet at clubs or go bowling in groups. Putnam has estimated that every 10-minute increase in commutes makes it 10 percent less likely that people will establish and maintain close social ties.

Television is a big part of the problem, he contends. Whereas 5 percent of U.S. households in 1950 owned television sets, 95 percent did a decade later. […]

[…] Putnam […] said Americans may be well advised to consciously build more relationships. But they also said social institutions and social-policy makers need to pay more attention.

"The current structure of workplace regulations assumes everyone works from 9 to 5, five days a week," Putnam said. "If we gave people much more flexibility in their work life, they would use that time to spend more time with their aging mom or best friend."

So how often do you actually see any of the people in your blogroll? I mean, physically? In real time?

I’ve got $10,000 and an hour

I'd take it to my car dealership's finance office and get an early start on paying down the loan I took out two weeks ago. That'd leave about $8,000 more to go, or about 20 months and one good tax return away from renewed freedom and clarity. The car's name is Karza. I'm told that's Hindi for "debt." Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with it and happier I can get the loan at all, but I miss the three years I spent running around in my old, banged-up, sturdy, reliable and oh-so-paid-off '98 Nissan Sentra. Not having to pay anyone anything at all, that's my piece of the rock, Jack.

The soundtrack to my life

(I wrote this before seeing this Metafilter thread on an 80s-music Youtube archive.)

I posted about this a few years ago. I had some idea about a song from every decade, based on the idea that a cross-section of music would be better than a raw list that would risk running in and out of genre and slopping over any barriers of sense and sentiment I might have erected. I'm pretty sure I settled on something from Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" was a mortal lock for 1971. I think Bobby Womack's "If You Think You're Lonely Now (Wait Until Tonight)" was a lock. Massive Attack's "Unfinished Sympathy" was probably 1991. If I had to guess right now, I'd say PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke's "The Mess We're In" could stand for 2001.

(Involuntary aside: Jonathan Lethem's James Brown profile in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, the one with Eddie Vedder on the cover. I'm chuckling at the whole thing, but I'm nodding my head at the comparison of the Godfather of Soul with Billy Pilgrim. Picture a visionary unstuck in time, a creative force  who's lived so long that years become nothing more than arbitary delineations of sonic innovation.)

This question of the day could be a lifetime's work, a good long essay for some or a motherfucking novel. A inquiry time-stretched like a jump-up breakbeat, like one of those days at the heart of "Inherit the Wind."