No dead hand this morning, but I did wake up face down in a rather attractive pool of dribble. Because I’d woken up so late yesterday, I set my alarm for 9 a.m. today. But I woke up before the alarm went off. I woke up, reached for my iPod, pressed the button and it was 8.08 a.m. I like waking up at times whose numbers are interesting because of other things. Like waking at seven-eleven, or seven-four-seven, or nine-oh-nine. If I wake at 9.09 a.m., I’ll have the Beatles song “One After 909” in my head. Not one of my favourite Beatles songs. As it is, I woke up at eight-oh-eight so I had 808 State’s “Pacific State,” a much nicer song, in my head.
I enjoy that feeling, when you know you’re awake enough to get out of bed, but it’d be really easy to drift back off if you allowed yourself to do it. You move over and the new position is even more comfortable, you stretch your legs and nothing could feel better. The brain is still a bit cotton wool, eyes still heavy, and it would make all the sense in the world to let go and float off again. And there’s really nothing stopping you, apart from the fact that there’s the tiny part of your brain taking notice of Sensible Craig’s plan not to oversleep. And you notice the traffic police blowing whistles on the street outside. And that noise drags you out of bed to go and Samuel L. Jackson and wash. Eleven lanes of traffic going east-west, and a one-way cross street going south only. There are traffic lights of course, but, and without wishing to be unkind or grouping all Mexicans together, traffic lights here often seem to be treated simply as suggestions. Thus the traffic police. On several occasions I’ve been walking across the street, with the green man telling me I have the right of way to suddenly find myself having to either stop or dash across because a car has decided that he’s gonna ignore the lights.
I’ve been in the habit lately of watching movies in bed before I go to sleep, but last night, I downloaded the Stanza app for the iPad, went to their list of Project Gutenberg free ebooks, and downloaded a couple. I’d forgotten how easy it is to fall asleep when you’re reading. And I kind of enjoyed reading on the screen. More than expected. For one thing, I could have the light off and read at the same time, which is a bonus for falling asleep, as I don’t have a bedside lamp, and would normally have to get out of bed to switch the light off, which kind of ruins the drifting off to sleep thing. Who knows long-term if I’ll get into reading ebooks, but I enjoyed reading a Kurt Vonnegut short story (“2 B R 0 2 B”) last night, and I had that nice hot-cocoa-in-a-comfy-armchair feeling, (a feeling that, to be honest, I’ve never actually experience in real life, and is just, rather depressingly, learned from television commercials, as what people – mostly women in the adverts because, as we all know, only women drink hot chocolate – do with a big cup of hot chocolate), when I also downloaded “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” a book I absolutely love, the paperback copy of which went to the municipal dump of my life when I left Berlin.
I think I might have to start using the generic words for iPod and iPad. I’m getting a little bit sick of typing those words, constantly mentioning Apple products. What do I call them, though? Wikipedia called the iPod touch a “portable media player, personal digital assistant, and Wi-Fi mobile platform” which is a bit of a mouthful if included in a sentence. For example, if I take an earlier sentence in this blog post and replace the word iPod, it becomes: I woke up, reached for my portable media player, personal digital assistant, and Wi-Fi mobile platform, pressed the button and it was 8.08 a.m. IPad is a bit easier, though, cos I can just say “tablet computer.”
And while I’m blathering on about it, is there a reason why one has to write lowercase “i” uppercase “P” other than Apples own stylisation of the names of their products? Isn’t it us all just so very mindlessly falling into line. I mean, I try my best to always write E.E. Cummings, K.D. Lang, The Xx, and such, just because it seems wrong to me that one person, for whatever reason, can choose to ignore the rules of the English language. When two words are crashed together, that annoys me, too. Like YouTube or EastEnders. But mostly it’s when the stylisation means a word looks weird when it’s the first word in a sentence. “iPad” at the start of a sentence looks silly. Where’s the initial capital letter? “IPad” looks weird, too. Logically, “Ipad” should be the way it’s done. Oh gosh, I sound like one those people who moans about any old shite now, don’t I? But then, deep down, I guess I might be that person anyway. And it’s not particularly deep down, come to think of it. I always seem to be a slight slight away from having a good moan. The other day, sat in a cafe, I’d taken my earbuds out (not the generic Apple ones which come “free” with a portable media player, personal digital assistant, and Wi-Fi mobile platform, because they seem to me to be the audio equivalent of going to a dominatrix and asking her to use a cheese grater on your cock; I have some nice Shure ones which, for earbuds, sound pretty good), I’d taken them out, and as I lifted the coffee to my mouth, saw that one of the earbuds was lying in the foam of the cappuccino. Ho hum. Bollocks. I pulled it out, and without thinking about it, licked the foam off the bud. I wish I’d thought about it, cos the bud tasted ear wax-y. Immediately, the ear bud stopped working. And now, a few days later, the sound coming from that bud is still about half the volume of the other one. So yesterday, I went to Radio Shack, that finest of Mexican electrical stores, to get a new cable for my other headphones; big proper cans, they are. Made by a company called Audio-Technica (of course, on the side of the headphones, that name is written in all lowercase letters). I love them. I bought them before heading off on my travels in 2008, and they sound fantastic. And more than that, they’ve been my companion for three years. They’ve gone everywhere with me. They’ve broken a couple of times, at the point where the big circular headphone bit meets the plastic band that goes over the head, but each time I’ve superglued them back together again.
(Interesting, SuperGlue is a brand name. But like Hoover, Google, Photoshop and Sellotape it seems to have become a genericised trademark. Looking at the Wikipedia page for genericised trademarks, I did not know that butterscotch was one. Escalator, too. And heroin. Heroin! Who knew? That article goes on to discuss the efforts of companies to stop their names being misused, citing the example of Lego trying to stop people using “Legos” the plural word for their plastic bricks. I must admit to being a big snob about this, but that’s one word that I really hate hearing. It sounds so wrong to my delicate English ears (they’re not really delicate, I’m just being a ponce). “Anyways” is another of those. “I could care less,” too. But that’s me slipping into that most lazy of British traits: making fun of Americanisms. All this thinking about words reminds me, though, how, having spent some time in the States, and doing a baseball-related website primarily aimed at Americans where I do use American spelling I am never sure when to use an “s” or “z” in some words. I used “stylisation” above. Is that correct? The (American English) dictionary on my computer says nothing about there been a British version of the word with an “s.” But I get the red line denoting misspelled words when I type it with a “z.”)
So, my headphones have been superglued, they’ve been around Europe, North America, and South America with me. A man who ran a hostel in El Calafate, Patagonia came close to begging me to sell them to him. And, as easily-replaceable objects go, I’m very attached to them. But when I moved into this apartment, I was sorting out my stuff, putting clothes in the closet, that sort of thing, and my headphones were on the bed. So was the cat. And the cat chewed through the cable. I’ve had to replace the cable once before, when I was about to leave Europe to fly to Toronto in the spring. And it was tough to find the exact cable I wanted. And it really makes no sense, cos it’s not like the cable is a particularly weird concept: all I want is a cable where the jack that slots into my portable media player, personal digital assistant, and Wi-Fi mobile platform is a L-shape, so the jack slips in, and the hard area that contains the jack is then parallel to my portable media player, personal digital assistant, and Wi-Fi mobile platform. It just fits nicer in the pocket like that, as there’s no half-inch hard pokey thing coming out, which would be easier to break when I shove my hand into my pocket. Over time, surely the hand bashing against the thing is gonna weaken it, and eventually the wires inside will snap. But maybe that’s the point, the bastards. Long story long: Radio Shack don’t sell the cables with the L-shaped end. Boo. What was the point of all this? I really don’t remember. Better have a look up there and see where all this began. Oh yes, I will moan about anything, given the opportunity. As you have just seen.