Saturday, April 2, 2011

Virtual Reality: All Virtual, No Reality

a man and his pet peeve

I hate to sound like Andy Rooney, and I flatter myself to think that I'm too young to be a curmudgeon, but everyone has pet peeves, don't they? I don't know exactly what a peeve is, but sometimes I do feel like I'm dragging one around on a leash, following its every squat with a handful of plastic bags.

Mind you, I called this site "The Debifrillator" to remind myself to focus on things that get my heart going, not things that make my blood boil. I'm sure I'm not the first person to write about this... In fact, if I Googled it, I'd find hundreds of pages on this issue, which is why I try to avoid Googling anything I want to write about. And well, I'm not one to hem and haw, but .... (ahem)

WTF is up with things these days? Everything is "virtual," nothing's real anymore. And I'm not talking about the Intranets—after all, this is a blog, isn't it?—I'm talking about things that are supposed to be real, the things we now refer to as "real things"—which is what linguists call a retronym.

When I say everything's virtual, I'm talking about the things you can find at Walmart—in fact, maybe especially at Walmart. I mean, the other day, I bought scissors that don't actually cut. They're shaped like scissors, but they kind of just bend the paper. It's like watching someone without dentures gumming a sirloin steak—that is to say, pitiful.

And not just scissors. I bought of pair of sandals yesterday at DSW that looked exactly like the Teva's I got last year at Sports Basement, but these ones are called "Terra's" or something, with the double r looking suspiciously like a "v" if you cross your eyes a little. Well, let me tell you, my feet are f-ed up today. I had to walk barefoot on the sidewalk because it felt like my soles were being removed with a potato peeler.

And potato peelers? I remember when I first used one when I was a kid, eight years old maybe, and I covered the whole kitchen with blood. Now the darned things don't even make a good lint brush.

Scissors that won't scizz, peelers that won't peel, flip-flops that just flop, it's enough to drive a person crazy, especially a writer. And admittedly, driving a writer crazy is a pretty short drive, but still.

And speaking of writers, what about pens?!? Not that anyone uses them anymore. When I pull out a piece of paper and write on a San Francisco MUNI bus, people look at me like I'm showing off. But for those of us who do use the so-called utensils, we expect them to be filled with ink. But we've all experienced it—especially with those virtual pens you get at real estate expos and stuff, the ones they use to get you to walk over to their table, and then suddenly you're going into foreclosure all because you wanted a free pen. I swear, when I leave the house, I always pack at least five—five!—pens, 'cause you just never know which one's gonna work, and for how long.

I keep hearing that computers are supposed to make life easier. They used to tell me, "Just wait till you start writing on your computer; you can save everything to your hard drive and throw away all those sloppy, cumbersome vertical files." OK, so maybe I'm paraphrasing. They didn't all say it exactly like that. But you get the point. Well, now they say don't throw anything away. You never know when your hard drive, or even your backup external hard drive, might crash—maybe next time Mercury comes around, whatever.

And, now, because of smartphones and iPads, even keyboards are virtual, and nw its almst impssbl to write complt sntnc

I mean...why would anyone even want this??

1 comment:

  1. Virtual reality is often used to describe a wide variety of applications commonly associated with immersive, highly visual, 3D environments. The development of CAD software, graphics hardware acceleration, head-mounted displays, data gloves, and miniaturization have helped popularize the notion.

    Interactive Design