Throwing the Past Away

After my parents cleaned out their storage room, I rediscovered my high school yearbooks. I might have kept them if the signatures left inside hadn’t reminded me why I made no effort to keep in touch with my acquaintances of that era. Even when I saw my best friend from junior high in an art class I took at junior college, I did not talk to him; I preferred the company of the two thirty-year-old mothers beside me. That I never saw them afterward either felt appropriate; I was still lost in transition.

I don’t hate the people, but I hate the past. I have no fond memories of it outside of daydreams and music, and those only served to sedate me in my inadequacies. I have nothing to show for those years; I no longer even have count them as part of my life. Sure, all those regrets and mistakes shaped me into the person I am now, but what more will those memories do for me?

I’ll preserve the music, the video games, and the passion, but the people and the memories can go right into the graveyard. I have new people to befriend and new memories to make. This new life fulfills me so much that I no longer harbor fantasies of returning the past and redoing everything right; even if I could, I know the success I could gain would not compensate for what I’d lose. As much as I regret the past, all those years spent inside my head molded me into the person I always wanted to be. Thank you, Past. Thanks for making me a fighter. Now go away.

A Nook for the Pond

Duckpond

I like to spend time between classes at the pond at the university; it’s more peaceful than the cafeteria and less stuffy than the library. Few students bother me there, and the few who do keep their distance. The ducks who beg for bread can be a nuisance, but they compensate with their beauty. My biggest grievance is with the sun.

I don’t mind it, but my iPad mini does: I can only see the screen at the brightest setting, but the glare hurts my eyes even then. I could suffice with paper, but all my books reside in apps, and I hate to write on actual paper anyway. That reason, a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, and a trip to Disneyland I had hoped to make encouraged me to purchase a Nook Simple Touch Reader yesterday.

It took some time to set up. Syncing with my Barnes & Noble account gave me no trouble, but turning it into a full-fledged Android tablet took me an entire evening: First I had to purchase a Micro SD card–Thankfully, OfficeMax had one on sale for $7–, then I had to root it, then I had to backtrack to correct my careless mistakes, then I had to find a text editor to install, and then I had to tailor it to my satisfaction and remove all the unnecessary Google junk that would kill the battery and violate my privacy. After that, I wanted to add my own images to use for the screensaver. At last, I was ready to actually use it!

Android on Nook Simple Touch Reader

Reading on the iPad did not bother me except when outdoors, but the E Ink display makes text look so much better that I will use this as my main reading device. Typing on the text editor surprised me too; though nowhere near as good as typing on the iPad mini, it has proven responsive enough to keep up with my thumbs. I can correct the typos later. I can’t do much else with it. Technically, I can play Angry Birds on the device, but realistically, all I can do on it is read and write. That’s all I really want to do when I’m at the pond anyway. I want to read, write, and feel artistic. When I want to dick around on the Internet, I’ll return to civilization.

Tinker Bell on Nook Simple Touch Reader

The New Adventures of My Old MacBook

I’ve wanted to upgrade to a new Mac since last summer. I first considered a MacBook Air, and then a MacBook Pro with Retina display, and then a Mac mini, and then even a used Mac Pro, but no matter how well I rationalized each possible purchase, I knew my MacBook was not ready to retire.

I bought this MacBook in November 2008 on an impulse. I had some birthday money left, a new credit card, a new Apple Store in the city, and Apple had released a new thirteen-inch aluminum MacBook; even though I originally intended to purchase a battery for my two-year-old MacBook Pro, I couldn’t resist. After all, why spend $160 on a new battery when I could spend $1,600 on a new machine altogether?

As impulsive a purchase as it was, this has been the best computer I’ve ever had. It’s almost a half-decade old, but it still hasn’t shown its age. It runs better than most PCs I encounter. It looks better too. The aluminum retains its shimmer. Except for a couple dead pixels, you would never guess how old this computer actually is. It only shows its age in CPU-intensive tasks such as rendering videos, but since I rarely make movies anyway, I won’t notice.

IMG 6085

This week, I replaced the hard drive with a solid state drive, a 256GB Crucial m4 SSD, and upgraded the RAM to eight gigabytes. Now it boots in forty seconds and almost has the snappiness of my iPad mini. To truly utilize this machine’s rebirth, I’ve made some rules for it: no Flash, no Java, and no computer games. All of those slow down the machine and heat it up, and they all waste my time. Less junk leads to more productivity. I have enough toys as it is; I don’t want my MacBook to be one of them anymore.

When the CPU dies and I must replace it, it will be with a regular MacBook Pro. They may not be as sleek as the MacBook Airs or as pretty as the MacBook Pros with Retina display, but their upgradeability will ensure that I won’t have to worry about its longevity. I may have found joy in upgrading hardware before, but now I consider it a waste of money. I intend to keep this one until the very end. It’s a part of me.

IMG 6089

Psyching Up

This is the moment when the Sunny Sky needs to be at its brightest and the High Tide needs to be at its fullest. The Sea focuses me on the Moon, but what is the Moon? Is it a person or a thing? Is it an idol or a lifestyle? Perhaps the Moon has become a colony of many things and people that draw me up. Pull toward the Moon, and add another drop, then another and another. Resurface and drown everything.

Death, where is thy sting?

Emily Dickinson’s poetry is often short and cryptic but also rich with emotion and imagery one can appreciate even if they cannot fully decipher it. A versatile woman who wrote of nature, death, love, religion, and even feminism, she had a unique perspective on everyday sights. She was able find the beauty in death and the melancholy in joy. The following is one of the latter:

From all the Jails the Boys and Girls
Ecstatically leap –
Beloved only Afternoon
That Prison doesn’t keep

They storm the Earth and stun the Air,
A Mob of solid Bliss –
Alas – that Frowns should lie in wait
For such a Foe as this –

Like Emily, I dwell on death and misery too much. Death’s contours are accentuated most by a joyful sight, such as children at play. I suffer the same thoughts Emily did when I see a happy child. The joy empathy blesses me when I see one quickly sours as reality reminds me of the cruelties of the world. Some children will die early, some will grow wicked, and some will suffer atrocities no loving god would allow. I’d prefer to avoid such thoughts, but such hardships happen too frequently to ignore.

I don’t voice such worries, because I don’t want to frighten away everybody with my pessimism. Instead, I muffle them with videogames and alcohol. But to read a common thought of mine written by my favorite poet eases the sting with which Death bullies me. It’s become an incantation to repel that demon far enough to where I can’t hear his bark anymore.

I can enjoy joy again.