English (US)

Picked up a Samsung Galaxy Tab E tablet a month ago. My big Logitech bluetooth keyboard works with it OK, but it created this stupid, annoying problem: every time I started typing, if I was the least bit sloppy with my shift key finger (left pinky) while pressing the spacebar (such as pressing space after the word “I”, which happens a LOT), the tablet would take that key sequence to mean I was selecting the keyboard language and would eat up the space keystroke, pop up a notification that I had selected the English (US) keyboard, and would pause my typing until the notification disappeared. I could not type delicately enough. This is untenable.

Screencap of typing

Trying to type “I am” it takes the remnant of the left shift with the spacebar to mean “change language”.

Luckily, I found the problem: in Android, all keystrokes (external or otherwise) are filtered through the selected keyboard input method. In this case, it was the default Samsung keyboard. Once I installed Google Keyboard and selected it to be the default input method, the problem disappeared because GK uses a different means to select language.

It’s the little things like this that just go completely under the radar and slip into production. Tiny little annoyances accumulate; so far, my experience with this tablet is lackluster (Bluetooth sometimes stops working and the SD card goes missing). Maybe I should’ve stumped for a more expensive model that’s had more dev resources allocated. Then again, who’s to know if Samsung functions like that?

On 44

Every day I’m dying, figuratively speaking. Ossifying. I’d like to think that I’m a vivacious operative of my own destiny, but that’s not exactly the case. If you don’t know what to make of that, you’re not 44.

It does me no service to look back and see where I may have gone wrong, or to drag along these threads of regrets, or to navel-gaze on what I’m not doing right right now. I’m a slave of habit, an addict of repetition, a drone of comforts, an engine of mediocrity. It’s not enough that I know what’s wrong, or that I have so many ideas of what might be wrong enough that I can fix. I can identify my barriers, obstacles, and impediments until the end of time, but I will get nowhere. No. Where. No. Place.

I need to shake it up. You won’t believe how much I need to shake it up. The grind. The same stomping grounds. Epoch. I lose so much time there, so much momentum, so much creativity. Why do I keep going there? I hope to run into the people I know; maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But I keep going. But so much changes, even in that static place, and I have to keep wondering at what point it is no longer worth going. Sure, there are some good people there. Sure. But by and large, I turn to that place as my default, and it kills me. I’m dying.

I don’t make music any more. I don’t write poetry. I don’t draw. I don’t write stories, read, philosophize, dream big…nothing. I’m dying.

There is a big fucking world out there beyond the little triangular groove I run. Home, to work, to Epoch, to home.

I want to live.

Metal

David Cronenberg’s “Crash” (1996, based on the J.G. Ballard book) is a psycho-sexual fetishization of the intensity of an auto accident as orgasmic transformation. Like the BDSM notion of pain meets transhumanism mediated by the devices of Detroit.

When my car was totalled on a morning in March of 2014 on my way to work, strangely I didn’t see things the same way. And that’s unfortunate.

I think it all comes down to support group, right?

Interestingly enough, “Crash” was shot in Toronto; same town as Cronenberg’s other old chestnut “Videodrome” (1983). I swear most of it was shot along the Gardiner Expressway or other points east-west. Practically recognize some of the places.

Keep it weird? Yeah, Toronto. Because Austin isn’t weird enough for this. For true. For true.

Until the End

In 1991, German director Wim Wenders released his magnum opus “Until the End of the World“. It is the penultimate road movie. It follows this young woman Claire on her journey from self destruction to finding her purpose to being a saving angel. It shows that we really are connected. The scale of this film is breathtaking. Although it had critical acclaim, it never had a wide audience.

I finally saw it a month ago. After hearing about it over coffee, yet knowing about it for a few years, I rented it. The only copy available anywhere in town was on VHS, so I had to dig my VCR out of storage. Even then it was at almost 3 hours long. On the first viewing, I was blown away. But there are more edits of this film than for Blade Runner.

Today, I took the opportunity to see the film in its original director’s cut, remastered, on the big screen, weighing in at 295 minutes (almost 5 hours). It was amazing. So beautiful. It’s so long that it truly is two movies in one. It shifts gears just before intermission. The first half is a globe-trotting chase of intrigue and exploration. The second half takes place almost completely in an aboriginal cultural preservation center in the Australian outback. It went from “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego” to “Johnny Mnemonic”-gone-native. It went from an expansive examination of the human condition on a broad scale, to an intimate examination of the human condition on a deep scale.

What the 5-hour cut had over the 3-hour cut was a lot of backstory, sidelines, and asides. We see the reason behind the character actions, such as why Claire was on a path to self-destruction. So much is explained, so much is explored. In watching the 3-hour cut, the characters go from one thing to another, and in the awkward jumps you can tell that there were some assumptions the viewer had to make. Those are fleshed out in the full cut.

It didn’t exactly have a happy ending, but it didn’t need to. It had a satisfying aftertaste. I was absolutely blown away, and I felt the connection to the characters and to the world more deeply. I feel like I’ve been on a vacation. I’m still savoring the flavor, texture, and aroma; it’s that good. I don’t have any life choices hanging in the balance, no actions to take, no resolutions. It’s not life changing, but I see things differently. Just like a road movie, my life is a string of events and episodes with motion but no direction; a ship under power with no captain at the wheel. Maybe, somewhere in the self destruction, I can find a transoceanic current to draw me toward making the world better. Who knows the sea?