Archives For January 2014

There was a dark time in the late 1990s when Apple Computer, Inc. was going to go out of business any minute now and the tech (save, famously, WIRED) and business presses were so fixated on this fact that the company name was widely reported as Beleaguered Apple Computer, Inc. (NASDAQ: BAPL). To be fair the company unquestionably had its share of problems, notably a revolving door of CEOs with leadership skills as hinky as the hardware they were overseeing (going from my PowerBook 190cs with the faulty ROM to the Performa 6320CD with the realllllly faulty ROM was an experience and a half); but there was just something so friendly and elegant about that mass of code quivering on its last legs known as System 7. It was fun. It didn’t seem to want me to hate it, or myself. I eventually jammed it full of so many UI mods that I became an expert at troubleshooting the Mac OS and hardware just to keep myself up and running for those all-nighter essays in university. The community, too, was something else. One of the great criticisms of the Mac OS was that there wasn’t much software for it, but that turned out to be a strength considering I could get everything I needed to done and when I ever had to email a developer with a problem I’d invariably get a friendly response directly from the programmer. We were the underdogs, and we shared this odd and immediate bond as we forged ahead with our beige boxes with the purple smiles as many told us to simply give up. We circled our wagons. We bled six colours as per the original Apple logo.

I felt a profound sense of relief when on December 20, 1996 it was announced that Apple had bought NeXT. I was an old time Apple ][+ user and knew even at my young age that the two Steves ran the Apple show and as an older end user I cried tears of relief into my ADB II keyboard because Steve Jobs was coming home.

Obviously, we know how Apple’s fortunes changed with the introduction of the iMac, sparking the design revolution that had us admiring the internals of most of our household appliances for a few years whether we wanted to or not; and later the introduction of the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. I don’t think any of us who hung on through Apple’s worst troubles ever figured out when it would have been appropriate to say “I told you so” or who, exactly, to say it to, but it may not be that important considering how much the company has defined the nature and character of consumer electronics in the past decade.

When Steve Jobs died I feared that Apple would again lose its way, but although it isn’t the same company I loved those years ago, it hasn’t imploded, either. I’m ordering a new iMac to replace my end-of-life black plastic MacBook tomorrow.


Five minutes. It took five minutes from the time I entered Calypso Shoes and ignored the saleswoman’s initial German “can I help you?” to walking out with a decent pair of brown patent faux crocodile dress shoes. When I initially told the saleswoman my size her face dropped but she started picking through her selection. “That’s almost impossible for vintage,” she said.
“Oh, I know. I also have a balance disorder and require a low heel.”
“Stop. Those are too many restrictions. OK — here you go.”
I stuck my feet in them, took a few steps, fished out my wallet and there I went. That too ubiquitous to be hipster thing “Marry You” didn’t even finish playing.


I’m getting married next week, which should be a big deal but after the bureaucratic hassle that is German Matrimony with Ausländer and the bureaucratic hassle that will be Post-Matrimony Ausländer Verification and Grading this seems more like a pause for a nice lunch that I have to put on eyeshadow for.

When I moved to Germany I got rid of nearly everything, including those beautiful patent Nine Wests with the perfect sabrina heel, so I have to put together a bridal outfit essentially from scratch. The problem is that I dislike clothes shopping. I dislike clothes shopping about as much as clothes like getting stuck halfway on me in the dressing room while I attempt the worst half-moon pose ever trying to get something past my extra-wide shoulders or executing a very sloppy twist while trying to persuade any kind of movement past my upper thigh if going the over hip route. For these purposes I am told the appropriate cry is “hilfe” but since my German is not sufficient for me to offer an apology or an explanation I can’t be bothered.

Since Steilmann, a designer I previously knew to be kind to us sisters of wide currently exists in name only I decided that the vintage route would result in a minimum of popped seams and wounded pride. I spent three hours compiling a Google map of vintage shops in Berlin (this would have been a much faster process were my MacBook not dying and Firefox not eager to be the assassin); then I spent another hour researching why the Android Google client disabled the “My Maps” feature. After I had yet again reconciled Google’s shit usability with its creepy and abusive desire to be my everything (which is to say that I loaded my map up in Chrome and considered locking myself in the bathroom) I set out with a game plan that included nearby shops on or just off of Schönhauser west to Torstraße. I decided to start off with cache coeur, a shop two blocks from where I live renowned for their work in costuming for stage and film. The owner of cache coeur is amazingly friendly and within seconds of speaking to me had already started picking suitable dresses off of the rack, including a beautiful A-line 1970s number resplendent with the rich palette of East German fashion (brown, in case you were wondering).

I don’t know which particular fount I used up this karma from, but I’m going to give the next person I see begging outside of REWE some change just to be safe. On the second or third try-on, a perfect knee-length number I think I saw as an extra in the Breakfast at Tiffany’s party scene, I came out from the dressing area and the owner and I gave the “this is the one” smile and half-nod to each other. Her collection was so extensive that I tried on a few more dresses, but it was clear that this trip was a fast and sound success.

Although finding the dress so quickly brought an immediate yet anticlimactic sense of relief, I have yet to buy the shoes. I dislike shoe shopping, as I generally require flats in size gunboat.