Of the Icebox

Words about stuff and sometimes things

The Legend of (Mac)Ribbons and (H)i(P)Hoppins: A PC/Mac Debate — September 4, 2019

The Legend of (Mac)Ribbons and (H)i(P)Hoppins: A PC/Mac Debate

About 6 years ago, in the early days of our relationship, my husband tried to convince me that Macs were superior to PCs. At that stage in life, I’d been using an old HP laptop, lets call her HiPHoppins, that worked about as well as a refurbished vending machine.

I was in desperate need of an upgrade but had no money. So, despite being a lifelong PC’er, when my husband offered to hook me up with PC’s much hotter cousin, I didn’t need much convincing. I laid HiPHoppins to rest and even gave my hot, new cousin a name, MacRibbons.

At that point in my life, Macs fell into the ‘too expensive for my broke ass’ category. I didn’t really need a Mac. It’s only advantages, as far as I was concerned, were its cool-kid looks, its price tag (free when you sleep with the guy who has a spare), and Scrivener. Prior to inheriting MacRibbons, I’d dreamt about the organizational marvels Scrivener could do for my writing. While there was a Windows version, I was told that the Windows version of Scrivener ‘sucked eggs’. (I will not reveal my source.)

Prior to inheriting MacRibbons, I didn’t think of myself as a computer pro, per say, but I knew my way around a PC. Every IT person I’d ever worked with had complimented my PC skills and not even in a sexual harassment kind of way. So I had that PC confidence going for me and I was sure it’d translate into Mac Prowess.

I wanted to love MacRibbons. I wanted to understand him the way I understood HiPHoppins but every time anything went wrong, I didn’t know how to perform the most basic CPR.

Where’s my ctrl+alt+delete? Where’s my task manager? Why can’t I change the default download location? Where’s my developer toolbar in Microsoft Office? Bloody effing hell!

Me, once monthly for the last 6 years.

I should note, my husband learned on a Mac. He’d been indoctrinated in the religion of Mac. He believed they were superior in all ways to Windows. He also knew a command to fix everything I ever broke, corrupted or otherwise ‘magically disappeared’ over the years. This is how he became my exclusive doctor to MacRibbons and this is how gender inequity crept into our otherwise pro-feminist household.

I know, Bey. I’m trying!

Even though I knew that he’d be asking me all sorts of silly PC questions if the tables were turned, it was a real blow to my ego to have to turn to Dr. Mac for IT assistance over and over again. In our Mac dominated house, I became the equivalent of my tech-illiterate grandmother. She used to call my Uncle every time the TiVo prompted her to update because she was worried the request to reboot would erase all her daytime soaps.

I mean, there was that one time when I thought something was very wrong with MacRibbons and Dr. Mac discovered I hadn’t installed any updates for a year and a half. But how was I supposed to know that Apple automatically gave away new versions of its OS? I thought it was just some random guitar app doing weird, independent, glitchy shit again. And I couldn’t uninstall it because I couldn’t remember my password. Oy vey. Now I really sound like my grandmother. (May she rest in TiVo peace.)

All of this is to say, I grew more bitter and angry at MacRibbons as the years progressed. MacRibbons took away my ability to delude myself into thinking that I was a computer-savvy tech goddess. My only consolation was Scrivener.

As far as consolation prizes go, Scrivener was awesome. I use/d it all the time. I’ve written and abandoned entire books on it. If my house was burning down and I could only grab the dog or MacRibbons, there would ensue a 10-second internal dialogue wherein I’d argue that my Scrivener babies don’t have legs and so need me more than the dog. I offer this confession so that you’ll know that even if I’m morally troubled, I’m still honest. And I can honestly say that I didn’t murder MacRibbons.

The Murder Of MacRibbons

So this is where I have to tell you MacRibbons died a dramatic and painful death over the weekend. While I confess that I struck the first blow, I’m not MacRibbons murderer. You remember, I loved Scrivener more than I hated MacRibbons.

No. It was not me. I swear it. The true MacMurderer was this villain: Panda Joe Funny-shorts (real name).

Maybe he heard my internal dialogue about house fires and got concerned. Maybe he was jealous because I spent more time looking at the screen than at his beautiful face. Or maybe, he hated MacRibbons as much as I did. We’ll never know, really, but we’ll keep hypothesizing for years to come.

Back to the murder. It started like this. I had to take a tinkle (it happens), so I placed MacRibbons on the ottoman as I always do but, in my urgency, I did not carefully check the placement of MacRibbons rump to ensure he couldn’t fall off the edge. I kind of tossed him, to be honest. He’d been with me for years. I’d become complacent, reckless even, but not a murderer.

As I exited the room, I heard a slide and crash of the screen against the tile floor. Panda Joe Funny-shorts, sitting 2 feet away, witnessed the entire spectacle. But even though Panda Joe was an eye-witness to this dramatic event that might have inspired his own hateful deed, I was the only one responsible for that initial blow.

I screamed, “No!” and other profanities so loud that Dr. Mac immediately ran to the scene of the crime where we both witnessed MacRibbons, slowly drowning in its own plasma.

At this moment, I had one thought on my mind and it wasn’t that my bladder was now at 120% capacity. It was that I needed to save my Scrivener babies from their untimely and eternal deaths.

Dr. Mac was stunned to discover I hadn’t been cross-saving my files on the Cloud as though I could remember my iCloud password. He also made an equally unhelpful comment about how I should’ve be more careful.

I didn’t have time for his nonsense. My babies were drowning. I scrambled around the house, hunting down a USB with enough space to save my files. I found one, thank the Mac gods, and returned to MacRibbons side, blindly diving beneath the spillage of MacRibbons perforated artery to locate Finder and raise my folders above the line of LCD devastation which grew a bar every 10 seconds.

I might have started verbalizing my prayers to the Mac gods at this point, begging that the files were properly transferring. I believe I did verbalize this because Dr. Mac started lecturing me about how there were no Mac gods. This, despite the fanatical Mac religion he’s a member of. But if that’s true, how do you explain this guys asexual reproduction?

Anyway, while I file transferred and tweeted Ashton Kutcher asking him if his transformation into Steve Jobs was his final contribution to Punk’d, Dr. Mac started searching for Mac repair stores in our area and getting quotes to replace MacRibbons screen. He’s practical, I’ll give him that.

It turns out that because Macs are the BMW’s of computers, the parts are way more expensive to replace than they would be if they were PCs. It was going to cost about USD$400 to replace the screen including service fees.

But while that knowledge hurt my wallet, it didn’t really matter to me because I had swum through the plasma of Mac screen death and I feared no evil capitalistic defeat. I had saved all my files. I placed MacRibbons on the coffee table in victory and turned him off to prevent the progress of visual devastation. This is when, quite unexpectedly, Panda Joe Funny-shorts murdered MacRibbons.

Having sensed my anxiety levels receding, Dr. Mac decided it was safe to return to the living room to offer consolation rather than his earlier attempts at advice. Smart men learn fast.

But it turned out his reappearance was too exciting for someone in our house. As soon as Dr. Mac sat down, Panda Joe Funny-shorts got excited. So excited to see his adopted father, in fact, that he quickly hopped off the sofa, wagging his tale with full vigor, and slung a glass of water across the coffee table. The water flew out like projectile vomit exploding all over MacRibbons.

So, you see, while I’d given MacRibbons the first knock, it was Panda Joe that delivered the death blow. Maybe he couldn’t stand to watch the poor fella’ suffer.

At that moment of shock, all I could think of was that my own bladder was now at 150% capacity. Panda Joe’s tornado tail was the final blow. There was no saving MacRibbons. There was no reason to even try. The dollar signs for repair were rolling ever higher. Rather than try to rescue MacRibbons, who was so obviously dead, I stood up and said “Wow, Panda Joe really hates Macs.”

I then ran to the bathroom to piss, leaving Dr. Mac to clean up the mess.

The Resurrection of HiPHoppins

When I returned, I saw Dr. Mac had snapped into action, flipping MacRibbons upside down as though in some sort of Mac Heimlich. He attempted to sop up the carnage dripping out of MacRibbons using a super absorbent cloth. But Panda Joe and I were certain, the motherboard had been compromised (or whatever you Apple-ites call hard drives) because when Panda Joe takes life into his hands, he doesn’t go half-tailed.

As far as I’m concerned, MacRibbons had a death wish and Panda Joe and I were determined to help him see it through. Dr. Mac was the only one committed to resurrection.

I googled new laptops on my Samsung phone as Dr. Mac sought out a dry and arid spot in the house, free from wives and dogs, to let MacRibbons fight the good fight in peace. But while MacRibbons fought for his life, I discovered that new, non-Mac laptops are dirt cheap compared to the old days.

So, I said, fuck this 6-year, failed domestic experiment. And my husband said, “What?! Don’t be rash, honey.” And I said, “I’m not talking about our marriage. I’m talking about the MacRibbons situation.” And because the defeat of MacRibbons was significantly less terrible than the defeat of our marriage, Dr. Mac encouraged me to spread my PC wings and take a trip to Best Buy, thus putting to rest Dr. Mac’s 6-year reign of IT-knowledge superiority and my fears of being a bad feminist.

It turns out, if someone was going to pick the best date to murder a computer, it’d be over Labor Day Weekend when stores offer significant sales. I’m not saying I whispered this fact into Panda Joe’s ears every night for the last 3 months. I would never encourage murder, no matter how much I support feminism. I’m just saying I got a very sweet deal and I have divided my household by introducing a new lady: Rosa HiPHopster.

The Unified Theory of Social Media Platform Life-Cycles — August 28, 2019

The Unified Theory of Social Media Platform Life-Cycles

As you should all know, I’m not a social media trend-setter. While I’ve worked in marketing for years and managed many corporate social media accounts and strategies, I’ve never really been interested or invested in any social media platform for my own personal purposes. I recently opened a Twitter account against my better judgment and even that feels like too much work (or too close to work, as the case might be).

What you might not know is that while I’m not a social media trend-setter, I am a social media trend-spotter. I see patterns and analyze social media data like no body’s business. I’ve done it professionally for years. And through my years of painstaking labor, I’ve birthed something for your enjoyment. (You’re welcome & I’m sorry for the birthing metaphor. At least I didn’t make you eat the placenta.)

Kardashian jokes aside, I’d like to present to you The Unified Theory of Social Media Platform Life-Cycles (hereafter, colloquially known as, TUTOS MPLC).

I was inspired to post this after watching a documentary on Hulu called Jawline. (Hulu=consolation prize for living in the US during the Trump era.) It’s about young people trying to become social media stars and it made me feel simultaneously old and worried for today’s youth despite being only 29 myself.

The thing that didn’t surprise me at all about Jawline was that the kids documented were popular on social media sites that I’d never heard of, and that these sites were being used as a measure of their success. Anyone heard of YouNow? Cause the young people in your life probably have. And you’ll probably have an account in 5 years. Why? It’s all in the unified theory. So without further ado, I present to you…

TUTOS MPLC

If you’re a kid/teen then TUTOS MPLC will be intuitive to you. You just don’t yet have the verbal reasoning skills to express it. Allow me to help.

But first, for those of you that are not verbal learners (how the heck did you end up on my blog?), a visual aide to help you along.

TUTOS MPLC visual aide.

TUTOS MPLC written theory.

TUTOS MPLC dictates that a social media platform is born when, first, the kids ‘discover’ it. Then companies/brands sign up for accounts trying to market to kids and prove their continued relevance. The only reason companies discover these sites before parents is because social media marketing teams are run almost exclusively by millennials and millennial marketers can sniff out a teen trend like they’re Edward Cullen in a biology lab. Please pause for Twilight tribute.

And, for a split second, kids and millennials and marketing vampires are all hanging out in a hip and edgy ‘cool kids’ club that no ones parents are monitoring. This was Instagram 8 years ago.

But then some parent started asking where you, the kid, have been spending all your time because you haven’t been posting on Facebook lately even though your phone is permanently glued to your palm. You send out an emergency alert to all your friends, warning them that the ‘rents are sniffing around and reminding everyone to shut their big, beautiful, invisaligned mouths but there’s always that one kid that snitches, usually a mama’s-boy named Chuck, and suddenly all the parents flock to the site to see what you and 200,000 of your vampiric friends have been up to.

Then one of the parents writes some investigative piece of ‘journalism’ about where the youth of today have been spending all of their time and it ends up in The Atlantic and a spin-off of that article is adapted for a story on 60 Minutes and a spin-off of that story becomes an integral plot element in a true crime documentary.

The next thing you know, Grandma and Grandpa are calling up your parents, asking if they’ve heard about this dangerous, new social media site or app or whatever that kids are into. Your grandparents are genuinely concerned because they heard that kids are being sexploited and pressured into all kinds of peer activities.

Your parents make some sarcastic joke about how paranoid your grandparents are because everyone has an account on this platform, even them, and for a split second, your parents feel cooler than their parents again. But then your Grandpa pulls a fast one on your mom and calls you up to ask you to help him and Grandma set up an account. And there you are, Chuck, fucking us all again.

At the exact same time that your Grandparents are opening an account, campaign managers from politicians offices across the country are watching reruns of 60 minutes and realizing there are millions of voters now frequenting this one website and there are almost no politicians currently using it because they’re all still on Twitter. It’s their opportunity to bring their message to the ‘youth’. But let’s be honest. All of the ‘youth’ vanished from that platform in search of the next parent-free zone shortly after Chuck snitched the first time. And so the cycle continues.

TUTOS MLPC Numerical Aide

If you’re more of a numbers person, you haven’t been left out. Please feast your eyes on the Quantified Unified Theory of Social Media Platform Life-Cycles:

And so I leave you with my unified theory that I expect will one day lead to a prestigious award and much notoriety.

On really wanting to be a psychic. And failing. — August 14, 2019

On really wanting to be a psychic. And failing.

When I was a younger youngster than I am now and psychics were a regular feature of daytime TV and commercials , I wanted to be a psychic. As a typical millennial, a belief that I could do whatever I put my mind to was fed to me daily at breakfast. So I ate my Froot Loops and put my mind to it. And so would begin my decade long journey towards repeated failure and disillusionment.

I didn’t go into this quest blind and dumb. No, friends. I knew I’d have to do more research than watch Sylvia Browne on Montel twice a week. I went to Barnes & Noble and Borders and browsed several books on the topic for several hours each. When one book suggested I try squinting and crossing my eyes until I saw auras forming around other people, I stood right in the middle of Barnes & Noble and did my darnedest to summon some auras. And, honest to G-d, it worked for a couple hours.

This convinced me that I might have the gift after all and would keep me on my wayward path for way too long. Eventually, one of the bookshop employees told me I needed to buy the book or get a library card because I was wearing out the spines and they promise people new books, not lovingly used books. I settled on a deck of tarot cards from Amazon and a library card which explains why America is where it’s at today–Borderless and B&N-less (that’s buns & nuts).

Anyway, after my aura experience, I was so convinced that I had the gift that I even talked to my PCP about it when he asked me what my goals were in life. I told him about my quest to psychic-dom and the auras I had summoned at B&N and he told me that seeing auras were a symptom of my migraines. My faith was shaken, friends, but not stirred.

So I told my PCP that I read a numerology book that had my moderately unusual name listed in it (what are the odds?) and it said that I was going to grow up to spend all my money on books and wine and that I wouldn’t settle in love until I met my soulmate and we were going to be passionate and loyal lovers.

He had nothing to say about this except that it sounded like a good life and he wished me luck but to remember that alcoholism runs in my family so I should take it easy on the wine. Small town PCP’s are the best. But I digress.  

When I failed to accurately predict anything in the lives of anyone I knew for the 1000th time, I was forced (via intervention by all my loved ones) to concede that I might not have the gift of foresight. I didn’t even have the 50% accuracy rate that would be expected by random chance. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t look backwards and summon up some dead people. I just had to change course.

So I spent the next several months trying really hard to see dead people. I even went to a metaphysical shop in Old Colorado City and the retail clerk suggested I wasn’t seeing them because my 3rd eye was blocked. I didn’t even know I had a 3rd eye which explains a lot. Anyway, after she opened it for me (like, bam!) and I told her I still wasn’t seeing them, she insinuated that I didn’t believe enough. But not to worry, she had a product that could clear away my doubt and transform me into a channel for the spirits. That’s when she presented to me a small vile of fairy dust hidden behind the counter that she had somehow come into possession of. She assured me it was by cruelty-free methods. No fairies lost their wings in the making of this dust.

She suggested I let myself be sprinkled in fairy dust to clear out the bad energy my doubt had created around me. ‘You don’t want to see bad spirits, honey,’ she said, ‘trust me.’ And I did trust her. Even though the fairy dust looked like purple glitter, I didn’t outwardly doubt her.

In my defense, let me just say that she was 19 and cool and I was 15-ish and wanted to be cool like her. Peer pressure is real. How do I know this? Because I let her sprinkle me with fairy dust and I walked around with purple glitter on my scalp for 4 days. Absolutely nothing in my life changed but if I were to go back, I’d let her do it again. That’s how I know peer pressure is real, unlike psychics or mediums or ghosts which I have yet to find proof of.

The moral of this story is that even though I tried my hardest for an amount of time that can only be categorized as abnormal, I never developed psychic or medium abilities.

That is, until this week.

This week I had a dream that I can only describe as prophetic. So, picture this. I’m in my dream, holding my phone, looking at the weather app and it says that here in Florida it’s going to be 113*F on one day and 115*F the next day. Naturally, when I woke up, the first thing I did was open my weather app to see if I was subconsciously replaying weather forecasts I’d previously looked up. But none of the highs even got close.

I have interpreted this to mean that I was dreaming of a future time in which temperatures in Florida will rise so high that they’ll reach 113* & 115* respectively in these parts that currently rarely exceed 93*. Given what I know about climate change, I think this is not too far off and I might have finally been visited by the spirits and bequeathed the gift of foresight that I’ve been asking Santa to grant me for over a decade now.

So, I consulted my deeply skeptical and staunchly logical and ever patient husband who just so happens to be a scientist (opposites attract, go figure) and guess what he said? He said if climate change models are right, this part of Florida is going to be under water in 30 years which means that even if it reaches 113* or 115* by then, no one’s going to be reporting about it on a weather app because there’s not going to be a city here. Then he told me I should probably stop eating ice cream before bed.

And so the dream dies again and, with it, my spirit animal is crushed.

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