Digital bedlam

Yesterday I was riding the BTS here in Bangkok, when I noticed a guy standing in the corner of the car. What first caught my attention was his face, which was bathed in an unholy glow. Short of sleep as I was, my first thought was, yow, this is some kind of divine messenger, maybe sent by my dear, departed mother to have another go at finally setting me straight.

Then I realized the light came from the iPad he … Read more

Um… (attention-span failure)

Kindle Singles. Score one for iPad enthusiasts. Soon there’ll be no time to suffer the unfortunate effects of backlit screens. Kindles are better for extended reading? Yeah, well. Whatever.

Savage Chickens cartoon used with permission. Read more

Crack-crazed butterflies in rampant botanical garden

The future of the book

“Meet Nelson, Coupland, and Alice — the faces of tomorrow’s book. Watch global design and innovation consultancy IDEO’s vision for the future of the book. What new experiences might be created by linking diverse discussions, what additional value could be created by connected readers to one another, and what innovative ways we might use to tell our favorite stories and build community around books?”

1. Alice. To say I resemble a Ludditic old fart is … Read more

Things fall apart redux

I sit in my office sweating.

The 27-inch iMac gazes blankly at me from inside its raincoat, the pair of us waiting for the air-conditioner repairmen to arrive. It all started when my old PC laptop clapped out, exposing me to attack by the consumerist virus waiting in ambush. Next thing I knew, I was the proudish owner of a nearly-new iMac super doodah. And now look. The world is disintegrating.

Long-slumbering volcano erupts in Sumatra. Floods in Pakistan, India … Read more

Magic potion revealed!

One way to feel better, in these troubled times, is to buy an outrageously expensive computer for half price (see “Make yourself feel better and save $200,000 to boot”, 26 July; “No iMac for me, no siree!”, 2 August; “Let me explain” 4 August 2010). You can thereby save so much money you feel pretty rich.

Having thus propitiated the Great Gods of Consumerism and Mammon, and finding that you still aren’t feeling as … Read more

Let me explain

There’s a new and especially antibiotic-resistant bug on the loose, threatening to spread worldwide. As though we needed another new epidemic, not to mention all the floods and earthquakes and rising seas and so on. In fact the suspense is killing me, as I await the plagues of toads and suchlike falling from the skies (Exodus 7-12).

But the near-universal spread of the consumerist virus doesn’t get enough press. (Maybe that’s because governments around the world have every … Read more

No iMac for me, no sirree.

I’m not going to buy the iMac. (See my earlier post 26 July: “Make yourself feel better and save $200,000 to boot“.)

I recognize the syndrome. The world is going to hell all around me, and I haven’t won any literary prizes this week. My girl don’t love me and my chickens all ran away, not to mention my cotton won’t grow (© Mad Max iMac McGinty), and I sit here singing the blues and wondering … Read more

Balloon glasses & Buddhist Lent

Khao Phansa—roughly, “Buddhist Lent,” also known as the Rains Retreat, a time of spiritual renewal—began yesterday.

Sara came home late from a post-workday shopping excursion with Ms. Kook, her chief mentor in all things consumerist. They went to Siam Paragon Center, where many items were “70-80 percent off.” And what did she buy? A bunch of leaded crystal balloon glasses from the Czech Republic.

“Just look at all the money I saved,” she says, with a knowing … Read more

A grown man recognizes silliness when he sees it

I made the mistake of going into an iStudio shop yesterday and sitting in front of a lesser version of this Uber-computer I could buy for half price, which is so sophisticated the iStudio staff not only didn’t have one, they found it hard to believe that Apple had let one escape into the wild. Never mind, even the lesser version, with its acres of screen space, the entire computer built into the monitor’s frame, already had me thinking.

But … Read more

Make yourself feel better & save $200,000 to boot

We’re afflicted, here in Bangkok, by an atmosphere of foreboding. The messy events of April-May might appear to be behind us. But this surface calm, in some ways, resembles a moonlit pool on a still night. You’d never suspect this pool is full of big sharks just waiting to erupt in a frenzy. All they need is for someone to toss them a nice chunk of something bloody. Yesterday’s bomb was the mere slice of a dorsal fin, a wee … Read more