September 2009

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2009.

Okay, not even a week. Four days. But here’s the snapshot, the rundown, the little list of first impressions:

First off, let’s be straight: I am not anti-iPhone, but I am a full-on Palm geek. If this makes me biased, so be it. Actually, I was leaning towards an iPhone for awhile… The basic plan was to go iPhone when my current phone and/or my Palm T|X finally die. So, when my old phone was starting to show it’s age (failing audio, creaking chassis, random battery malfunctions), I decided that it was finally time to get a smartphone, and the iPhone was my first choice. Then out comes the Pre, throwing a wrench into the plan.

Now for the money. AT&T wanted $300 for an iPhone. Sprint wanted $150 for a Pre. Even with the security deposit to Sprint and the early-termination fee to AT&T, the Sprint Pre was $100 cheaper than an AT&T iPhone. (Yes, I know, as an existing AT&T customer with a phone not bought from them, my iphone “upgrade” actually costs more than a new iPhone with a new account; what can ya do?)
Ignoring the advertising, it looks like the Sprint’s Pre plan isn’t that much crazily less-expensive than an AT&T iPhone plan. But, it is still cheaper, and the basic plan includes everything: unlimited texting, data, navigation, etc., whereas these are add-ons with AT&T.

Further impressions: I was hoping that migrating my info from one Palm device to another would be straight-forward. It was not. The Pre pulled my contacts from facebook and Gmail instantly and faultlessly, but woe to the person who doesn’t use one or both of those. Getting the rest of my T|X info transferred over involved a somewhat labourious route of hotsyncs, exports, imports, and uploads. I still haven’t gotten my full calendar history synced, but everything else is there.
Surprisingly, the Pre does not (or at least , I have not discovered how to) employ the simple and expedient “beaming” of information in vCal, vCard, or any other format I use. I know the Pre has done away with IRDA, but the T|X still manages this with Bluetooth; unfortunately, it’s a one-way conversation. WebOS is so far removed Palm Garnet (or anything else out there) as to behave like it’s from an entirely different parent.

Functionally, the Pre does everything I’d need it to do. What little core functionality it lacks is sure to be addressed via push WebOS updates or new apps.
On the design side, the Pre feels a little plasticky, but only to the point where I’m reluctant to drop it in my work pants pocket; it’s not flimsy or fragile, but “robust” is not an adjective I’d use here. For my fat fingers, no keyboard will ever be big enough, so the single-thumb pecking on the wee keys is neither good nor bad; it’s just par for me. The screen and touch are both killer. The only lag I notice is on app launches; after launched, all the apps I’ve tried run quietly and neatly in the background, and pulling them into focus feels pretty snappy.

As an Ubuntu user, having an iPhone that syncs cleanly with a computer/iTunes is meaningless to me. The Pre is utterly cloud-centric, although I’ll be experimenting with just how well it speaks Linux. I’ve already gotten into an easter-egg or two, and am about to dig into dev mode. More to come…

I’ve been making this simply yummy salad in the evening to take to work the next day for lunch. Couldn’t be easier:

1 medium red onion, small dice
2 cans corn, drained
2 cans black beans, drained and washed
1 avocado, medium dice
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
cumin powder
salt
chili powder

Toss in a bowl. I season with a little less than a teaspoon each of the cumin, chili, and salt. The organic beans and corn I used are tastier as well as waaay less salty out of the can. Mmmmm, it’s all goood.
Let the works marry together overnight (the tomato juiciness needs time to burble around and love everything up). Don’t use a too-ripe avocado; it’ll just mushymash during the toss-up.

I’ve seen Gordon Ramsay do a couple quick soups like this on the telly, so I’m certainly not claiming originality here. There’s variations to be had (I’m trying them out as able), but the basic deal is:

Slice super-thin: 2-3 new potatoes, the wee sweetish ones
1-2 cloves elephant garlic
Coarsely chop: 1 BIG bunch watercress
Barely boil: 2+ cups veggie stock

In a nice large pan, saut√© the taters and garlic in a tablespoon or so of olive oil and (perhaps) a wee pat of butter, over med-high heat, until the taters just barely begin to tenderize. Lightly salt&pepper. Then toss in the ‘cress and roll around until the greenery just barely begins to just start to think of wilting. Lightly salt&pepper. Now turn off the heat and pour the barely-boiling stock right on top of the works. Stirstirstir for 37 seconds, or until ‘cress stops leaping around and settles down a bit.
Now transfer to blender and/or food processor and puree.
Now put in bowls and eat.
Now cunningly screw with your dinner guests by allowing them to assume that there’s 1/2 a gallon of heavy cream in there somewhere, somehow.
Shhhh… i won’t let on if you don’t.

I recently got back in touch with Kyla. The casual reader will not, of course, have any idea what this means. Those who know me well enough, however, may pause here to let it sink in.

Kyla Chapman was my first love. I met her the summer I turned 17, in Nelson. Alongside a mixed table of other friends old and new at The Vienna Cafe. Summer afternoon sun slanted in through the window, lit up her hair. And that smile. A walk of two blocks later, and we shared a fetish for green jellybeans.
Our first kiss in that tent among the apple trees; her bare-assed run back to the house, dress a-blow in the moonlit breeze; a scene worthy of some re-mixed or otherwise less-melancholic Cure song… (“Pictures Of You”, if I might suggest it).
But summertime romance far from home is never meant to last, not like that. Yes, there were the letters, the calls, and when all seemed lost (hell it was lost!), the run-run-run-away, the long weird bus-ride south… And that last Bonnington night, I sat on the Chapman’s back porch, looked up at a different kind of moon, filtered by barren autumn branches, and cried out all the hopeless tears a rejected teenage soul can hold. I was so sure then that these things that do not last will be forever lost.

For ten years on after, I thought of her every day; not always a large thought, perhaps just a fleeting half-tone image or un-grasped note on the wind, but every day. Other relationships came and went; some in time proving to be of far more substance than that sliver of summer… But in each, there I was, trying in some same small insane way to fix that past failure. In every woman I found myself seeking out that part of Kyla, that part to whom I would beseech and plead and ultimately fail to “fix” at all.

At 27 years old, I hit bottom. I had destroyed, one by one, the best relationships I had. I’d broken Krista’s heart by falling in love with another younger girl, someone in whom I saw more of my relationship with Kyla to fix; that relationship, too, would quickly and painfully pass. I was broke, increasingly homeless, and steadily alienating every last friend I had.
Then… There was this one crazy 5:00 AM autumn morning… the weirdest mist flooded up from the lake and had the local visibility down to a few feet… the barest trickle of dawn light suffused the scene with an unworldly glow. Even inside, with no glass in the windows, the fog rolled in.
I stepped outside, and into the smallest feeling I had ever had. Right then, I felt as small and insignificant as I could be… and then, for the shortest moment my awareness could sense, the I which felt so small shrank to nothingness itself.
Of course, this is not an awareness than can be held on to. But in that split second, I learned to stop holding on to that perpetual awareness of Kyla.

A couple more relationships have passed through my life in the next ten years since then. Some have fared poorly (with Kim, I was trying to repair mistakes I’d made with Krista), while some have fared beautifully. Most beautifully, many of those past relationships and friendships have come full circle, or had their own circles overlap mine; love or hate Facebook, there’s been no few re-connections there. A few things never fail to amaze me: people have seldom forgotten me, although they usually assume I have forgotten them; furthermore, they are themselves typically amazed to learn just how much, and in what detail, I remember them.
Perhaps it is closure after all. Or maybe it’s just that, in looking down the timeline from the other end, we see that some things never needed to be closed at all. Mostly, I think it is knowing so much more of how I think that has changed so much of how I feel.

7, 17, and 27… interesting years, still redolent with the mistakes/lessons that have been my rod and staff. I find myself looking forward, with wry smile and cocked brow, towards 37. Perhaps the best lesson I’m learning is to stop trying to fix the past, repair the mistakes, and un-break the hearts… and that while indeed nothing does ever last, nothing is ever really lost at all.

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