Monday, August 06, 2007

A Clean Slate

I'm sorry to say, my mood hasn't improved much since my last post. The last item of business I conducted before leaving work was to talk to the IT guy who was working on my dead Mac laptop. The hard disk wouldn't spin up, and he tried extracting the data in raw form, but said, rather pitilessly, that the software he was using estimated the time it would take as "more than a week." My only hope now is an outside data-recovery service, which may be more trouble and expense than it's worth.

I'm going to take this in the spirit of someone whose house has just burnt down, and who has lost all his possessions -- it's a Clean Slate, a time for renewal. In my Stages of Grief, I have gone past Bargaining and am fast approaching Acceptance. I have a lot of work ahead of me reconfiguring this new Mac to get it as well-ordered and useful as the old one, and some of that's actually fun.

It's either that or suicide.

I took Kevin Wolf's advice yesterday and hopped on the Triumph for a head-clearing spin, which worked a treat. I felt great afterward. Motorcyclists, I now find, have a rather puerile custom of waving to each other as they pass in traffic. The technique is not the dullard's hand up in the air, flapping your fin like a circus seal; rather, you hold your left hand down below the handlebar, index finger coolly extended in the direction of your boon-brother-outlaw-of-the-road. With each bike I passed, I couldn't suppress the thought: Cooler than yours. Cooler than yours. Much cooler than yours.

I imagine I'll stop this disgusting Triumphalism (har!) sometime along about the moment I'm stranded in the rain somewhere 100 miles from home, in need of a Whitworth bolt last manufactured in 1968. That's as may be, Brother Outlaw, but mine starts reliably...

Caught the Bourne Ultimatum with Freddie last night. Wasn't expecting much, but was quite pleasantly surprised. Paul Greengrass's direction of action sequences (and all this flick is is action sequences -- when the wham-bang stops and people start talking it's eye-rollingly banal) packs a huge amount of information into bewilderingly fast-unfolding events. But you're never confused; you always have the facts you need to interpret the action you're seeing, no matter how fast it's zipping by. This is by no means a common trait among directors.

I also like Matt Damon's Jason Bourne, who fights to regain his humanity through the series. Unlike, say, Jack Bauer, who, despite all the scenery-chewing, you don't believe for a second has a coherent moral center under all that crustiness, Bourne's struggle is to find not only his identity but his motive in submitting to the torturous program that stripped him of it. He has to work to figure out how to do the right thing rather than killing like an automaton. That he even tries is a testament to his virtue. "Do you even know why you've been sent to kill me?" he asks a hit-man in the climactic scene -- a question that all too many people need to be asked nowadays.

You'll never convince me, though, that 145 71st Street backs onto the Hudson River.


The Richmond Democrat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Richmond Democrat said...

I know of what you speak.

For I am that most crass of stereotypes: the tax attorney in a Beamer.

I drive a BMW Z-3, and like every other Z-3 driver I feel compelled to wave when we pass each other on the road, our tops down and music blaring, members of a well-ventilated fraternity.

glue birl said...

My blog's cooler than yours.

Christopher said...

Dear Neddie--

I've been reading your blog for a while now. I'm a big fan.

I too just saw The Bourne Ultimatum over the weekend, and I found it to be above the bar as far as action movies go. I totally agree with what you said about Paul Greengrass' skill at making sure the audience keeps up with the action. I disagree, however, with the idea that the dialogue is "eye-rollingly banal". I felt that, unlike most other films in the genre, the dialogue was refreshingly crisp and economical. The best example of this was when Nicky (Julia Stiles) reveals that she and Bourne had a relationship before he lost his memory. A sentence and a half plus an incredibly pregnant pause and we had all the information we needed without wallowing in all the pathos. And we didn't have to put up with witty one-liners each time Bourne knocked another bad guy to the floor.

Then again, I'm a sucker for all that CIA techno-babble in movies.

Sorry to hear about your Mac, by the way. That can't be fun. Glad to hear the Triumph makes it all better.

Neddie said...

RichDem: God, I remember Beamer drivers used to do that back in the early Eighties. I think we Ford drivers need to institute a similar practice...

GlueBirl: Let's have a cool-off! Period!

Christopher: Thanks very much, you're very kind.

I agree with you about that particular bit of dialogue, but I'm afraid I wasn't sold by some of the other bits. Maybe I've been living under Bush for too long (like we all haven't?) but I thought the ending was a bit pat (trying not to commit a spoiler, here) -- the Exposing The Whole Sordid Thing to the Media too easy. We've been seeing exposures of similar things for years now, and meeting them with big yawns. And on the drive home, both Freddie and I were coming up with Peterbilt-sized holes in the plot. (Not that that should stop anyone's enjoyment of the thing; action-thrillers nearly always have those kinds of holes -- pace Syriana.)

I think Bourne has a very happy future with Julia Stiles -- I know I would. Hubba hubba.

Gray Lensman said...

In Colorado, bikers often make the two-finger "peace sign" pointed at the ground when meeting another bike.

Kevin Wolf said...

The Bourne flick looks like a rental to me - but I'm the guy who told a friend I'd happily go see the new Die Hard, knowing full well what I'd be getting into. Yeah, I know. (Haven't gone, though.)

I have nothing to impart re secret signals, fraternal handshakes, brotherly borrowing of spanners, nor any other arcane practices related to motor vehicles. Shit, I drove the family Ford Granada for years. Not much to work with there.

Am I confessing far too much in this comment?

QRED said...

There is a tradition in Massachusetts where everybody salutes everybody else, whatever car they're in, with an upraised third finger. Very quaint. I think it started with the Pilgrims or something.

Time has slightly corrupted the original saying that accompanied the gesture, 'May God smite ye wt grievous disease so ye verie bowells grait within ye.'

theo said...

Hi Neddie,
Dumb question here - if your IT guy couldn't get the disk to spin up exactly how was he going to extract "raw" data (whatever that is) using a software program. I ask because I'm an Apple tech and I do this stuff for a living. Did he pull the drive from your toasted Mac?

Neddie said...


I don't think "spin up" were the exact words he used. I think it was "recognize," as in, the Mac couldn't "recognize" the HD. I imagine that to mean that it wouldn't boot from the drive. I'm guessing wildly here, but I imagine he pulled it from the dead machine, put it in a second shell, booted from a CD, and tried to get at the data that way.

Again, I wasn't in the room with him for any of this, but when he said he tried to extract the "raw" data, he mentioned he was using a Windows-based system to do it, and was trying to extract the files without using the MacOS filing system -- just pulling ones and zeroes off and hoping for the best.

I also got a fairly firm impression he was in over his head.

He gave me the disk -- I have it at my elbow as I type -- and advised me to try a data-recovery service.

I actually have a PowerBook G4 from the same era, and I may try putting the HD in there to see what happens. In fact, I was able to recover quite a bit of what I'd lost from that machine -- it was my main work-rig from 2004- early 2006 -- and I plugged it into the new machine and used Migration Assistant to suck off the apps and data. Now I only have a hole in my life from early 2006 to now. It's a bearable gap.

theo said...

Ha-ha. Using a Windows recovery utility on a Mac disk. I'd almost want a root canal over attempting that :) . Mind you, my philosophy towards the Windows OS is, "Life's too short to work on it full-time". As you have the disk, find an external 2.5" hard drive case at your local computer shop (they're cheap), put in and connect it to any Mac. If it spins up, you should be laughing.
Nice little Chile memory by the way.