dirt road to a galaxy
Wednesday, March 24 2010
In an effort to fix lingering power management problems with Gretchen's computer (Badger) and make it run nearer to silent, today I replaced its 300 GB harddrive with a 1.5 TB unit that promised to be nearly silent and to also use less electricity. Because this swap didn't go as smoothly as planned, I had to reinstall the operating system and all the applications again, and in the process I decided to install Windows XP X64, the 64-bit version of this increasingly-vintage OS. This process ended up taking all day, mostly because one of the blind alleys I pursued necessitate a reformat of the hard drive, a process that takes hours. As Moore's Law has continued to pack storage onto hard drives, it hasn't been able to keep pace in terms of access and data transfer speed. A modern hard drive is like vast continent teeming with civilizations that can only be reached by a pothole-ridden dirt road. Some day that road might be paved and widened to two lanes, but by that point it won't be just a continent teaming with civilizations, it will be an entire galaxy.
This evening before American Idol Gretchen and I had watched a Chris Rock documentary entitled Good Hair on ths subject of the hair of African American women. It turns out that there is enough to say on this subject to fill a feature-length film. To begin with, black women are not, as a group, particularly happy with the hair that God gave them. So they are given to zapping it with chemicals (particularly Sodium Hydroxide) in hopes of giving it a more European texture. When that fails, they go for wigs and weaves, most of which are imported from India. A typical weave costs $1000 and must be regularly maintained by a hair stylist. I had no idea that black women's hair was such a gaping money pit. You think black women have disadvantages, but overt racism is only part of the picture. Needing to maintain a $1000 weave is an additional financial burden, a tax (if you will) that no white woman has to deal with. Of course, the fact that black women feel the need to spend so much Europeanizing their hair is really just a further manifestation of racism in its internalized, self-hating form. In this film Chris Rock didn't do much in the way of his usual absurdist Michæl-Moore-style street theatre, though there was a hilarious segment in which he went to various wig merchants trying to sell poofy bags of shorn African American hair. He could find no buyers.
This evening on American Idol Gretchen and I were treated not only to the horror that is Miley Cyrus singing sans-autotune, but also a grim phenomenon I hadn't even known existed: a duet comprised of Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas. It sounded like a Christian contemporary ballad from fifteen years ago, so I was surprised to see supposedly contemporary musicians allowing themselves to be seen performing it. To Gretchen it looked like a Saturday Night Live skit. To me it was just offensive, like hanging out with your bros and suddenly they all decide they want to jerk off to kiddie porn.
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