Friday, October 23, 2009

Computer has un-busted itself

Apparently it just needed a nice little rest. Lovely.

All is go with the birthday extravaganza preparations. We are (temporarily thank goodness) in possession of high levels of sugar and plastic tat. Even with a fairly minimal approach, we still seem to need a lot of stuff.

Reading

The Noodle: he is halfway through Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. He has been halfway through it for days, so I assume he is not enjoying it as much as the others. I didn't enjoy it much either. Apart from Fred and George's joke shop there is precious little fun in it as far as I can remember. However, the Harry Potter monologue has not slowed down, so it is not affecting his pleasure in the Potterverse at all.

Me: Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, by Vincent Lam. As with other Canadian books it is about people having emotional crises and catching the train. These people are doctors, so they eventually earn enough money to start driving their own cars, unlike people in stories by Margaret Atwood or Alice Munro. Although Carol Shields people often have their emotional crises on long-distance drives I suppose. Anyway, in Canada people in stories have emotional problems and also cover long distances. In British stories people seem to go to the beach to have emotional problems. I like Vincent Lam's book generally, but the stories/chapters are either too disconnnected or too connected to really make me feel comfortable reading them. There's no work to do to figure out the connections with events and ideas, but there's no real reason (that I can see) that they need to be disconnected from a kind of narrative line either.

I also just read some Greg Egan short stories, which are thematically linked and kind of form a progression of quantum science and its effect on humans/people. While I very much enjoy Egan's thoughtful speculations, I find that once his characters can start sending themselves as data packets at the speed of light and everyone can live forever that I lose interest. His characters keep questioning whether some meaning is lost for them in these circumstances. I don't have much of an opinion either way on that, but certainly some narrative tension is lost when the (dead) characters can just download themselves again, or when they can erase memories they don't want any more. When they travel to the other side of the galaxy as data on beams of light, they do seem to leave their problems and preoccupations behind. Unlike, say, moving from Melbourne to Brisbane when you find that, horribly, you have brought your prejudices, ignorance and emotional patterns right along with you.

And yesterday our little workpod was sprung eating cheese and fruit instead of working on Friday afternoon, after a really, really busy week. We had a little time spare-ish because we were all waiting for work to come back to us for the next step on the public service merry-go-round. But when the Big Boss looked at us with 'incredulity' we all adopted behaviour that we hadn't manifested since leaving high school with the hanging head, blushing, brazening it out or whichever, So I don't think travelling to the other side of the galaxy would change our collective relationships to authority figures all that much, even if it solved the problem of proximity to them.

1 comment:

Roger Parkinson said...

When computers behave like this I put it down to neutrinos. You probably know they are particles that are so small they go right through everything without ever hitting anything, hardly.

But sometimes they do and I find this a useful way to explain away computer bugs and glitches (especially in my software).

When the problem comes right then, obviously, the neutrino storm has passed.

No, I never convince anyone, but they forget to be annoyed.