Sunday, February 11, 2018

Future World

This never happened on Star Trek.

It was Thursday night and I was trying to attend my most fabulous writing class via Skype, but I couldn't make the magic happen.

I'm still wearing these awful leg braces from December's surgery, so riding the subway to my instructor Rosemary's house in Park Slope is out of the question.

But my classmate Joan, who is in New Mexico, and I were getting all 21st Century so we could join in without actually being there.

Or at least I was trying to join in.

However, I was having trouble getting online and the Skype calls kept crashing with this obnoxious noise that sounded like someone punching a heavy bag.

Rosemary called me to guide me through the process, but all I got for my efforts was another phantom punch in the ego.

Video conferencing has been around for ages, but to a techno-thal like yours truly it's something akin to voodoo and Buck Rogers. This seems strange, since I was such a science fiction fan when I was a kid, but then the computers in the books and movies were cool, not complicated.

I've been forcing myself to stretch my fossilized knees and I'm not the calmest fellow on this side of the ocean to begin with, so this latest run-in with the Internet was twisting me in all the wrong directions. I was seconds away from losing my Shatner.

Where's the transporter room when you need it?

"Just think positive thoughts," Rosemary said.

If only. While I think I've been making some progress with my anger management efforts, there's something about me and misbehaving machinery that just strips my gears.

I guess it's the feeling of helplessness. We're so dependent on this equipment that when something goes wrong we're pretty much screwed.

Captain's Log

And the fun really begins when you call tech support and find your warranty has run out and if you want any help you'll have to crack out the credit card. This never happened to Mr. Spock.

During the last few days I've also been battling with my TV remote and my printer, which decided on Saturday that it didn't feel like scanning documents anymore. It's a good thing phasers aren't real.

I got a rather disturbing example of my computer-driven rage when I was listening to an earnings call webcast and the sound suddenly croaked on me.

Naturally I did the mature thing-hurling F-bombs like they were beads at a Mardi Gras parade. The sound returned a short time later, but I kind of doubt if all that cursing was the cure.

I would've forgotten about my outburst except I was playing back the meeting on my digital recorder to check some quotes when I heard this psycho cursing and fuming.

And he sounded mighty familiar.

"What the fuck!" This freak shouted. "What the fuck is going on?"

Hearing myself freak out like that was unnerving because, honestly, I never really hear myself in a real time temper tantrum. I'm too busy savoring all that allegedly righteous anger.

I wonder if I should get another tape recorder just to keep track of my outbursts-a kind of captain's log where I essentially Watergate myself in the act of being a short-tempered loon. Fred the Shrink suggested a voice-activated device that would only switch on when I flip out.

I suspect that recorder will get quite a workout.

I never did conjure up those positive thoughts on Thursday, but Skype came to life nonetheless and the class was fantastic.

I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to write anything due to the odd conditions but once Rosemary read off her lists of prompts I picked up my pen and wrote myself into a frenzy.

I was so glad we got Skype to work. Of course, my technophobia still hasn't abated. I'm going to take another run at scanning some documents and if the printer doesn't work I'll give that buggy little bugger the Vulcan nerve pinch so hard it'll spew 50 dollars bill.

Did you get all that?


Jay said...

Hahahaha! No... I'm afraid I missed some of that, Rob. There was some guy in the background effing and blinding and it spoiled my concentration. :D

Seriously, I have come to believe that swearing is good for you - it lets out the anger in a harmless way and acts as a safety valve for your emotions. I swear - a lot. I don't blaspheme because while I personally doubt that it damns my eternal soul (God being a bigger Supreme Being than that), it does offend an awful lot of people. I do, however, use pretty much all of the earthier turns of phrase. As long as you can choose when and where it's appropriate to swear, I don't see a problem.

Good to know that you managed to get Skype working and joined in the class. Skype is a wonderful thing, but it can be a real pain when it doesn't work properly. I have been slacking on my Italian conversation evenings, but I can tell you that trying to speak to someone in a foreign language with pixellating video and distorted sound is extremely frustrating! Must see if my Genoese friend is at home this evening...

Bijoux said...

I've been feeling the phobia as well. During the olympics, they've showed all these robots that South Korea has developed and all I can think of is, "Why do we need that?" And "Who has lost their job thanks to that?"

Rob K said...

Hey, Bijoux! A lot more people will be losing their jobs as AI advances. Once autonomous vehicles become popular, then cab drivers, truckers, and delivery drivers will be out of work. Who's next?

Rob K said...


I think it's great that you're Skype-ing in Italian. I can see where it could frustrating, but here's a good chance to curse in Italian!

I've heard that cursing is good for you, but I think with me it's not so much the cursing, but the anger that's underneath it. I don't feel like I'm letting anything out--I'm just setting up for the next outburst.

So I'm going to meditate and breathe deeply and do all the other things in my bag of tricks to keep from going completely pazzo!

Ron said...

Rob, I am the EXACT same way when it comes to technical "gadgets", I get frustrated when I can't get it right, and then I get angry (hurling F-bombs). I'm a very impatient person when it comes to that kind of stuff, so that's why I react that way.

I used to have Skype on my computer many years ago because I thought it would be neat to try, however, I never actually used it, so I eventually uninstalled it. I did the same with Twitter and Facebook - after joining them, I discovered I had no use for them, so I cancelled my accounts. But I do know several people who use Skype and love it.

Glad to hear that you were able to get Skype working and that your class was FANTASTIC!

And speaking of printers, mine died last year so I had to get another one. I actually found a fantastic HP printer/scanner at Staples, ON SALE for like $39.00!

Have a super week, buddy!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron!

So you hate gadgets too? I'm glad I'm not the only one who has issues with all this equipment.

I have Facebook and Twitter (which I barely use). I hope I get more comfortable with Skype. And thanks for the tip on Skype!

Take care, buddy!