They fixed up the corner store/Like it was a nightclub

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The DSL has been out since Friday afternoon. This kind of sucks–not just for Kate and I, but for substitute as well, since he is on the same circuit. It probably sucks for a number of other people in Orange County, but these are the only two installations I personally know of. Kate and I are like little crack-monkeys, jonesing for internet access. I host my own web and mail server on business-class DSL, nobody can leave me mail or visit my sites until this gets fixed. Fortunately, we have a kind (or, more likely, clueless) neighbor who gets cablemodem service from AT&T and has a fresh-from-the-box D-Link wireless adapter, so we have anywhere between zero and two bars of signal, depending on the whims of chaos theory. The signal was getting so erratic at one point this morning that I wandered around the house, cradling the laptop in both hands, divining for better signal like a psychic dousing for water.

I went to the Apple Store the other night–the same night as Substitute's post, which I would like to here except I am not currently connected. I simply went to pick up some blank DVDs and rubberneck the big May 2nd event that they have been hyping for the past week. I really could not stand to be in there very long. I made my purchase and had a poster thrust upon me on the way out. There was a “DJ” in there–a term I am using loosely because she was just playing MP3s off of a 12″ aluminum Powerbook and iPod, hooked up to a four-channel mixing board and some big-ass speakers. I had tried to ask a question to one of the helpful employees about a serial port adapter, but I simply could not. It was too loud.

The whole experience brought to mind the They Might Be Giants song “Man, It's Loud In Here.” Everyone was excited and confused. I think the store they sang about was just a foreshadowing of the Apple Store. Everyone is dressed so oddly / I can't recognize them / I can't tell the staff from the customers…when they stop the drum machine / And I can think again / I'll remember what it was.

In all honesty, the Apple Store reminds me of my experience at Virtual World. For those that do not know, Virtual World was basically an arcade, for all practical purposes. It was composed of entirely customized virtual reality games (Battletech and Red Planet), but it was an arcade nonetheless. It had a certain sort of style, though. A large amount was manufactured style, but enough people bought into it that it became a real sort of style. It was really fun to work there. As reggiT can attest, we all had a great time, and quite often stayed at work–unpaid–until the wee hours of the morning, playing the games. Of course, this was partly dedication, and partly the desire to play, for free, a game that was normally about $10 for a half hour (which was 10 minutes of setup, 10 minutes of game, and 10 minutes of “instant replay” and scoring). Anyway, it was a blast. It was fun to work there, it was fun to hang out with the customers (at least, some of them). There was many a party that consisted of both employee and customer. Eventually the whole place closed down. There was a gigantic closing-night party that I was invited to (I had previously parted ways with VW because of some technology-and-clique-related issues–I wrote a game or two for their hardware, and the one guy on Earth who held all of the knowledge of the platform was a little threatened), which was fun and allowed Jeremy to utter one of the best responses ever: “Hey, I'm a Veteran Virtual World pilot, you can let me in can't you?” “OH–you. You're one of the guys I was paid to be friendly to.”

Anyway, the Apple Store seems, to me, to be like Virtual World was. It is cool and hip. The people who work there look happy to work there. Part of the hipness is artificial, and part of it is real. The real hipness may be genuine and may be just enough propaganda that people finally bought into it, but it is still real.

So, to quickly switch subjects, Kate and I were talking about pizza cheese the other day. We picked up some take-out food from Mother's Market (the local all-natural grocery store and restaurant), and she got a pizza with some pretty funky cheese substitute on it–it was basically cheese-flavored Elmer's White Glue or something. That led us into a discussion of what kinds of cheese are acceptable on pizza. Certain cheese (various white cheeses) are always good on pizza. Some cheeses are a little questionable, but generally accepted (yellow cheeses like some forms of cheddar or whatever). Among the remaining cheeses, some might be good on pizza, and some might be horrible. American, Velvetta, and Cheez-Whiz are bound to be bad. Some cheeses might be good, especially on a California Pizza Kitchen sort of gourmet pizza, like blue cheese crumbles, goat cheese, and the like. Some are bound to be nasty, like ricotta or limburger. I have no more point to make than that–just some cheeses are not made for pizza.

Tonight, I picked up an experimental wine from Hi-Time. While it has been generally established that the coolness of the bottle is inversely proportional to the quality of the contents, no rule has yet been established about the name of the alcohol. Tonight, I picked up something with an interesting name: “Old Peculiar”, with a plain black label. It is an English (Yorkshire) ale that I picked up on a whim, solely on the name. It turns out to be pretty good. It is a little too sweet for my everyday tastes, but is still a nice brew. It reminds me of a Belgian ale like Dovul (which I am probably mangling the spelling because I do not have a bottle on me), but not with the alcohol content of a Belgian ale.

You have to carry all your things / You can't misplace them / There's nowhere to place anything

Posted in: Dear Diary Music

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