Tag: ipod

Hurricane in Ohio

September 19th, 2008 — 5:28am

I’ve discovered a new reverence for hurricanes in general over the past week. In fact, it’s almost beyond normal “reverence” and falls into the OCD category and, once I realized this, I quickly switched my focus back on writing lest I discover that my newest life calling is meteorology. This obvious follows in Hurricane Ike’s wake, which still disturbs and intrigues me days later.

With spending as much time in Ohio as I have, I’ve grown completely apathetic to most storms. Tornadoes: meh, I live in an urban area so there’s no reason to really fear them *knocks on wood* Nor’easters: Don’t live in MA anymore so nothing to fear there and quite frankly, I love the idea of several feet of snow and forced solitude. Hurricanes: meh, that’s something that happens to people who live in the south and if they don’t heed the thousands of warnings to evacuate, they deserve what happens to them…or so I thought.

After Katrina, my view on people who “ride out the storm” did a complete 180 as I realized that many people simply haven’t got a place to evacuate. I know what finally drove that home for me, too. There was an image I believe on Time or Newsweek of these two women, one younger, one much older, in the midst of half a mile of floodwater as a rescue copter tries to rescue them. The younger women has one hand stretched toward the helicopter, but her other arm is wrapped around the elderly woman and the younger was is clearly screaming. It takes you a minute of looking at this image to understand the reason behind the younger woman’s scream; the elderly woman, most likely a relative, was dead and there was no way she could simply leave her body to the still rising waters. It was a very sobering image and it was more than anything that changed the way I viewed hurricanes and the people who were not simply “riding out the storm,” but were left behind to see if they could survive the storm. Ike, like Katrina, has taught me something about myself and also changed the way I view the world.

Of all the places in the world I could have imagined as being safe from a hurricane, as of Saturday September 13th, I would have put Ohio at the top of that list and yet after the fact, I’m not sure what still bothers me most: the idea that we had a low-level hurricane, my reactions during said natural occurrence or the fact that there are people who suffered a thousand times worse than me and still must figure out how to pick up their lives after this.

I’d been reading about Ike for days on the BBC (no, I still haven’t learned my lesson) and had even said a short prayer for those who were suffering under the weight of the storm before I’d gone to church Sunday morning. When I got home, however, and began my traditional Sunday ritual of procrastination, I was first bothered and then truly scared to hear the wind howling outside my window. I kept looking through the blinds asking myself “Should I take cover or something?” because of the way the trees were bending and, the real coup d’état, the way the walls of the apartment began to shaking under the pressure of the wind. There is something behind the realization that the building in which you sit could possibly collapse that is more unnerving than seeing swirling clouds against a red sky in the distance. Perhaps if there’d been some rain, I’d have been able to categorized all that wind as simply a normal storm, but without rain, there did not seem to be an explanation. There was only wind and, because I live in Ohio and the idea that a hurricane could ever possibly come across land and reach my midwestern state seemed utterly laughable a week ago, I had no choice but to fear the unknown.

I find myself rather intrigued over how I react to fear. Mostly, I counter it with denial until I receive utmost proof that something is wrong, ie: the power went out and I was forced to react instead of simply ignore. That phrase I always repeat to myself “Well, surely…” tries to disguise the denial, but that’s all it really is. Well, surely the building won’t collapse. Well, surely there’s nothing really wrong. Well, surely this must be just some random wind. When the power went, I knew that surely I’d been sitting in denial just keep myself from losing the proverbial “it.”

What was also fascinating about myself was the actual reaction to a lack of power. My first reaction…my first and only preoccupation was finding an internet connection. I stood in my bedroom for about two minutes staring at the clock as I finally conceded that the power was gone and was not just flickering and then I packed up my laptop to find someplace with WiFi. I didn’t think about getting provisions or making sure that when I returned I could find a flashlight and find my way around the apartment; just finding an internet connection. My mother has been saying for years that I have an addiction to the Internet, but Sunday was the first time I’d lent any credence to the idea. Even when I got to Panera and was able to log into this and that, I didn’t actually use it. It was almost as if the idea that the world was at my fingertips should I need any information that kept me sane.

After I got thrown out of Panera, I made another observation about myself. I had two choices in front of me. On the one hand, I had my cell phone, my own communication device and source of help should I find myself in an emergency and then I had my iPod which plays music and my Futurama episodes. I was down to one bar on my phone and yet, video on the iPod took up a lot of power, so I needed a source of power. The plan was to charge my iPod while I went to the movies and charge my phone overnight so I could have my iPod entertain me whilest the power was gone. Instead of choosing to ensure I had a means to find rescue in an emergency, I chose my iPod and its many playlists. When I realized the stupidity of this decision, I went into a complete state of denial thinking about the music I would later put on my phone to avoid the problem in the future as I went into Walmart to get car chargers for my phone and iPod.

Once in Walmart, the evening became a really interesting glimpse into how low mankind has gone as a society. Aside from the fact that people suddenly could not drive now that they had no traffic lights to tell them to do anything, the crowds in Walmart made no sense to the normal flow of things. The store was vaguely populated for a Sunday night, but that was to be expected considering the number of people with nothing better to do, but the amount of people in the electronics area defied all logic. There actually people standing in the aisles staring at random nature programs/or just an escalated screen saver that was playing on the televisions that were lined around the Wii games and DVDs. This one guy was just standing there and staring at the screen as if he’d never seen television before. Society has fallen to such a low that when the power goes out, we seek out the closest avenues that will bring us television, or simply electronics and the Internet in my case.

Normally, I pride myself as being above the rest of society in only turning on my television once a week to watch SVU during the season and never even knowing when the remote control is during the summer re-runs, but even I fit the bill of the doomed society when I could have easily lost my mind if I hadn’t found an internet connection as quickly as I could. Lord knows what we’ll all do once nuclear war hits and there’s no cable at all!

The most distressing thing out of this entire mess, however, is the damage a hurricane could create in a place not accustomed to receiving them. The tropics are used to having the crap slapped out of them every summer and early Fall, but Ohio was just not built to withstand that kind of thing except in the short bursts of a tornado. It was just too much for me and the rest of the city to take and understand and it was too much for our facilities and trees to take. Some areas were without power until Thursday afternoon and I shudder when I think about in what kind of shape I would be if I were one of those people.

My heart goes out to all the people in Haiti and Texas who have been battered by hurricanes this season. When something like this happens every single year, I know I at least, tend to get apathetic and forget all that I take for granted. This is evening/morning was the first time I’ve had Internet at my fingertips in the comfort of my own home and I’m amazed at how I’ve fared this long. I wish I could see I won’t fall into the trap of apathy and forgetfulness when it comes to this storm, but hopefully the feel of my walls shaking under duress will keep me in check when I’m thinking about how “bad” things are getting in my life.

2 comments » | Deep Thought, On Me

Why do people love music?

March 4th, 2008 — 2:17am

Removing the sad song from the blog that I had originally added after Edrith had died got me thinking: Why do I love this song?
{Fukai Mori (Deep Forest)}

  • I have no real relations to J-Pop and hardly anything to the Japanese culture outside of Sailor Moon and InuYasha. I cannot understand a single word of it and the English transliterations of the lyrics make no sense to me. And speaking of English lyrics, English version of the song is nearing terrible. So, why on Earth do I love, no obsess over this song?

    I suspect it may have to do with the fact that it was the second ending them for InuYasha; a theme that showed images with a focus on Sesshoumaru, over whom I have been very OCD, but i don’t think that is it. InuYasha introduced me to the song, but I loved it before I became enamoured with Sesshoumaru. Which makes me think about this song:
    {Shinjitsu No Uta (Song of Truth)}

  • Again, I don’t understand one word of it, but I love it. The big difference here is that when I became OCD over Fukai Mori, I went through and downloaded every theme song of InuYasha. In this case, however, I had no images of Sesshoumaru leading me to the story, I just heard the song and adored it. Mind you, once I heard it on the anime, I was jubilant, but only because I already loved the song. I guess I could say that I just happen to love Do As Infinity, which I do, so i guess that may discount my underlying theory, but what about this song?

  • Again, I have a song in Japanese and though there are a few words here and there in English, I still don’t understand 90% of it and yet, I love it. I adore the song and it almost moves me like Aaliyah’s “I Care 4 U” or The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” I loved the song before I heard it on InuYasha, long before and this one is not by Do As Infinity. So, now I present my real question: What makes people love music?

    This subject has always fascinated me in regards to instrumental music, but I had always brushed of the idea as simplistic due to the lack of lyrics, meaning that everyone could understand the music and therefore love it. My introduction to InuYasha brought me J-Pop and brought about loads of questions. It’s not like I am totally enamoured with J-Pop and every song I ear. Far from it, but there are songs that just sound good. Take the theme from Bleach. What intrigued me even to watch a little of it was the song. Interestingly enough, once the anime changed themes, I lost interest.

    Here’s another piece of a crazy puzzle. Mos Def, on his album “Black on Both Sides,” there is a song Rock N’ Roll . Most of the song is very hip-hop, but the end of it breaks into mosh-pit worthy thrashing. I like the song up to that point, but why? I love rock music, revel in it, sometimes I prefer it to “my own” cultures hip-hop and definitely over rap, but I don’t like the rock music of that song.

    I have a theory: What separates humans from the other animals is not just our intelligence, but our ability to use that intelligence to create. Since we create, there is something as yet undiscovered in our brains that loves a certain aspect of music that exists outside of nurture, culture and politics. That is how someone can appreciate Bach, Tupac and Do As Infinity on the same iPod.

    Nurture, culture and politics, as much as we hate to think it, shape who we are as human beings Nurture being are close environment, the place where eat, slap, spend most of our time away from the world, culture being farther from us, but represented by a community; this is what tells us that we are an “us” and everyone else is a “them,” culture tells you that that a black American likes rap music and a Southern white American likes country or bluegrass. In other words, culture sucks. Politics is what keeps culture in line. Politics is what makes it seem odd that a white Scandinavian can find fascination in the soulful music of Jill Scott or that a black American can find solace in the seemingly nonsensical words, since she can not understand them, of Japanese rock music. Music breaks all three of these moulds in a way that even literature or visual art cannot. Since music has this remarkable ability, it allows me to ask the question, what gives music its appeal? Why does the song “American Pie” seem to transcend time? How can Chopin’s music still elicit emotions centuries later?

    I wish I knew. I wish I had an answer, but I doubt my finite human mind can truly grasp such ideas. I suppose, for now, my shuffled playlists of John Williams, Jill Scott and The Strokes will simply have to suffice.

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    December 15th, 2006 — 1:40pm

    Why does Micro$oft have to put their hand in everything? It’s like Bill Gates sees something wonderful in the world and says, “What? A market that doesn’t make me richer in some way? Inconceivable!”

    Consider the past five years of human evolution: Sony comes out with the Playstation; Microsoft says “me too” and comes out with the X-Box. MySpace erupts into a phenomenon; Gates comes up with Windows Live Spaces. The iPod becomes the greatest thing that has ever come from Apple, or ever will for that matter; Microsoft comes out with the Zune player, for no other reason than wanting a piece of another pie. Now, YouTube is becoming one of the greatest entities, or tragedies, depending on you look at it, to grace the internet. God knows how long before Gates wants to dig his hand in there too, if he hasn’t already. The entire idea of it makes me sick. If I only had the time and patience to discover Linux, I would drop Microsoft and everything it entailed.

    I dream of a world where people are not just offered shoddy products and expected to buy them, just because they are offered. My thinking is that after this current generation, my generation, grows up a bit and raises our kids aware of how companies like Micro$oft just love to continue their monopolized marketing strategies, that the world will move away from nonsensical entities like Microsoft. Just imagine what the world could be like if we didn’t have people like Gates standing in the doorway of progress because he isn’t ready to take his piece of the pie yet.

    All this ranting stems from this article. How on Earth can Gates say that copy protection is too complex for buyers when it is his company that does the most DRM?!? It’s mind boggling! Now that his Zune player might suffer from his self-imposed copyright protection, we suddenly have a problem. Blech! The whole thing makes me want to vomit all over myself.

    Anyways, I’m down two pounds. Whoop-de-doo.

    Comments Off on Micro$oft…blech | Politics, Rant

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