Wednesday, November 25, 2009

iPod Idolatry

today's the day my new ipod comes, yay yay yay yay... i love my ipod and this new one is gonna be awesome it's 160 gigs and like i can get so much music on dat mutha... IT'S HERE!!! omg..... the box is dented! did it get crushed? amazon fools only put one bubble pack in the box... people this is an ipod...

ok, let's fire up copytrans n get all the old stuff off troubador... what should i call my new ipod? lemme see lemme see... matangi, she's a real sweetie, inspires all that bad-ass musical wildin'... can't wait til all my stuff's on here... omg... but "matangi" isn't as catchy as "troubador"... hmmm... tara...? saraswati???

how long'll this take? i want it all on there now... blue lotus! cuz matangi's the color of a blue lotus... ♥♥♥ ok, it'll be like 2 1/2, 3 hours.... what if it doesn't work?? what if there's that song i don't remember i have and i lose it and i only remember it six months from now but i can't download it again... debora by t rex... took forEVer to find that... it has to work... i'll make it work... please work...

16,000 songs... omg, they're transferring... can't sit here all 3 hours... have to get songs off the work computer, too... and the laptop... hope it works... OMG the new ipod doesn't fit the old dock!! craaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAP!!!... what am i going to-- have i listened to any of these lectures by alan watts??? songs still copying, still copying... why doesn't it fit????????????

still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying... still copying.............

IT'S DONE! 16,000 songs... ! now get them all on the new ipod... should take about... not as long, probably hour and a half ... ok... select all... drag.... and... and... AND? AND? NOT RESPONDING!!??!!! got-damn apple idiots, hire some google programmers... seriously!!!

reboot... goddamit... apple... sheesh... ok, let's try dragging about, like, 3000 songs over...surely that won't tax itunes' little brain, RIGHT????? draaaaa-g-ing... they're loooaaaading... my songs! onto my new ipod! let 'em load... come back in a few minutes--



oh great, 93 problems identified! 93 songs not copying over-- !!! how the HELL am I supposed to-- thank you, apple!!! fearless defenders of corporate music! leaving no half-assed software code untweaked in your quest to enrich sonyuniversalemiwarner hydraheaded media monster............. dammit!!!!!!!!! auuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggghhh--

sophia says just authorize the computer and start over. that'll work.

highlight... drag... come back in a few minutes... highlight... drag... come back, do something to take my mind off it, god's sake empty the trash or something, make a tuna sandwich, it's going to work, it's working, my music, all my music, on my new ipod... it's happening... i need a case for this thing... i haven't seen a good one online anywhere, or in the apple store... maybe highlight... drag... down to the last 3000...

oh. it does fit the dock after all.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Skeptic Who's Skeptical of Skeptics

Elyse over at Skepchick has an excellent post about reflexive, jingoist Skepticism Lite. The comments are really good, too. I spend so much time reading Pharyngula (which I like a helluva lot, don't get me wrong) that I forget sometimes that there are skeptics out there who seriously entertain the possibility that they, too, could be wrong and that (in the words of Skepchick commenter Chasmosaur) not every religious person is "a slack-jawed, neo-con jackass."

The skeptic in me is clamoring that what I'm about to say sounds totally essentialist, but: isn't it interesting that ♀ Skepchickseems so collaborative, and such a tolerant forum for diverse points of view? It's a blog that shuns ex cathedra pronouncements and instead often asks its readers to supply the content--as if valuing multiple perspectives... no, no, none of this has anything to do with the blog's heavily female editorial staff... impossible! Just--a-- coincidence! [omg there's a <3 in Skepchick's Twitter feed...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

UPDATE: Ladies and Unicorns

In a post about my pilgrimage to the City of Our Lady, I mentioned another lady, namely that Lady who hangs out with the unicorn. The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries housed in the Musée de Cluny in Paris are one of the great artworks our species has produced, and rather predictably I interpret them as an allegory of the spiritual path (exhaustive exegesis forthcoming).

Now, Nina Shen Rastogi, in a wonderful essay, seeks to answer the timeless question, "Why Do Girls Love Unicorns?"

If you're thinking what I think you're thinking, Rastogi's subtitle is "It's more than just the horn."

Rastogi jets from ancient Greek lit to Rabelais to "sticker and stationery queen Lisa Frank" to trace the devolution of the once-fierce, once-sexy equine into a universal symbol of schlock, and she ends up decoding a pivotal moment in the cartoon epic The Last Unicorn. Much like the tapestries, this sub-Disney narrative points to hidden or lost parts of the self and dares us to reunite with them, to become whole, to gather what is scattered.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Kalibhakta Sutra, Part Three

Verse 3:
Her play begets star-play begets neuron-play begets All.

Vimala-lila tara-lila manisha-lila nitya-lila.

We begin to evolve beyond our individual and cultural limitations when we appreciate that play [lila] is the source of existence and that flux, not stability or hierarchy, is "the way things are." Vide the quantum world, vide the rise and fall of civilizations and of the universe itself. As Kalibhakta puts it in a marginal note to the MS: when we expect the universe to conform to our wishes, "We are like a bandit extorting a penny from a queen who sits astride a hill of rubies." [Note menstrual imagery.]

Some have called this the "fractal zoom verse" after the way it zips from the ultimate macro-level of being to the micro level and back again. Note that the words for "star" and "neuron" [mind] are also names of goddesses, thus emphasizing the all-pervading, all-encompassing nature of Godhead. The verse also refers to the fact that stars and neurons arrange themselves into similar, fractal structures. Manisha has the connotation of desire, an allusion to our arching upward to Her even as She bends downward to us: the interlocked triangles of Tantric iconography, as seen in symbols such as the Sri Yantra and the Masonic compass and square.

The epithet Vimala ("pure") for the Divine Mother calls to mind the book of Titus: "To the pure, all things are pure." The reader is thus recommended to keep the mind pure via devotion to God, since an impure (i.e., self-centered) mind creates suffering. Vimala also evokes Bollywood, and a certain controversial guru.

On the topic of externally-created suffering, implied by the verse's consideration of the individual's place within the cosmos, Shaktism unravels the perennial and overblown “problem of evil” with the advice to “Stop wishing things were some other way. This is what you have been waiting for” (Sayings of Kalibhakta, vol. 1). [The latter phrase has been traced to the poem "The Gate," by Marie Howe.]

Though our perceptions do not literally create the universe, they are all we have of it, directly or indirectly, and they provide the only "order" in an infinite sea of chaos. The verse portrays matter, mind, and Divinity as a feedback loop, creating one another in an embrace that never ends. Its depiction of creative chaos can be seen as a synthesis of verses 1 and 2.