but is it art

(5 comments)
November 12, 2003

Quote of the Moment
"One hand washes the other... And both hands wash the face."
--Art Carney, 1918-2003

Geek Link of the Moment
A link that is ubergeeky even by my geek standards, organizing your life via CVS. Not the pharmacy chain, that's "Content Versioning Concurrent Versions System" (thanks Eric) a piece of (most often Unix) software that lets you keep track of modifications of old files and see their history, and when you're developing software with a team, let people work on some of the same files at the same time without getting in each other's way too badly. In practice, I found it a very difficult program to work with, and I generally prefer systems that let individuals "lock" files, keeping others from editing them, rather than CVS's philosophy of "lets have a big everyone edit party! I'll put all the changes together automagically, don't you worry your sweet little head about it."

I'm trying to find a reference to this one concept "file system of the future" (maybe by Ray Kurzweil?) that organizes your files in a giant timeline, where you have an at-a-glance-view of all the files you created (or modified?) at any given time. I think they picture it as recording even more than that. But my recent computer disaster have gotten me to think about a similar approach, that just for backup purposes, rather than having all my files in c:\data in a single "logical hierarchy", that it should be the same "logical hierarchy" repeated every year. Chronology is really central to how I think about all my myriad files.

Followup: Ranjit dropped a hint that led me to this Wired article on David Gelerntner's 'Lifestreams'. Actually, what he sniffingly and amusingly wrote was "I *think* it was David Gelerntner who 'invented' sort-by-date and says it's a revolutionary new system of organization", though reading the article I don't think he's giving it enough credit (though in 6 or so years since it hasn't set the world on fire.)

Passage of the Moment
So much for love's vertical axis. What about the horizontal, progress through time? Can love be measured chronologically? How do you measure the wild fluctuations lovers go through in minutes ('I hate you', 'I adore you'), let alone hours, days, weeks and months. Is there a line at all? In retrospect, remembered at a safe distance, love appears as a series of squiggles and dots -- vignettes, not a seamless narrative. Reflect on your own love-life and you'll see. A phrase, a hand, a birthmark, the beads of shower-water on her shoulder, the ferns we lay in as hikers passed along the fell-path, that day at the swimming pool, the amber slash in her left eye, the taste of her sweat, the tremor running under her skin just afterwards, the way she always eats the apple core, her laughter, her hair clogging the sink, her mispronunciations, the color of Lake Louise as we stood gazing down, the evening she'll say the thing I've been wanting her to say, a hotel room in Stockholm, her right breast cupped in my palm as I sleep behind her nape, the secret night away we've been promising ourselves, paella and wine on the empty terrace restaurant, me washing her sleeping bag in the sea after she got sick from eating shrimps, that funny tooth, that dress, that other dress, the model in the Scottish Widows advert, my hand between her legs as she drove the car, the photo ofher leaving the beach at Vai, the sudden thought (while out jogging) of the men she had before, that raffia bag she carried, the cards she sends, the e-mails, the phone call I'm still waiting for, the bump of her ankle, the curve of her leg, the shape of her mind. Love persists as an idea, the current under all we do, but these, the ways we remember love (or register it now, or anticipate it happening in the future), the palpable signs, have a separate existence. The in-love bits are just that: bits. Without them there'd be no line - no marriage, no children, no future. But on a graph the bits that matter don't show up.
--Blake Morrison, from "Things My Mother Never Told Me". S'funny, Mo has an amber slash in her eye...