I talked in the previous post about certain THINGS coming to matter in ways that transcend base materialism. Motorcycles, for instance. But not everything can be so earth-moving, and so here's my nod to what Lincoln called, in one of his less well known speeches, the tawdrier angels of our nature.
Actually, I make no apologies for my love of gadgets. I used to feel--for about 15 minutes back in my freshman year of college--that my love of stuff was some kind of character flaw. But that was about the amount of time it took for the realization to penetrate my concrete-dense cranium that it is a disease which afflicts over half the population--virtually anything in the Western world with a penis, and many creatures without penises. "So," I argued with myself, "get over it and start feelin' the love."
To refer to that previous post, I realize that the reason I don't mourn more the passing of each car or motorcycle I let go of is because the action is always paired with the acquisition of a replacement, something by definition exciting and new. My anticipation and interest in the new & unknown always trumps my sadness at letting go of the comfortable. This business of selling a motorcycle and not getting another one is almost unprecedented for me. And I must admit that it is made tolerable by my leeching a couple much smaller goodies off the proceeds like a tax, a kind of carrying charge for my sacrifice.
In this case, we have two new toys to play with, both quite exciting, if nowhere near as alluring (to me) as a new motorcycle. Nor nearly as expensive (which is kind of the point of the whole exercise). Item No. 1 is a new cell phone. Given that my life as currently constituted would be inarguably impossible without a cell phone this is a logical place for my gadgetry passions to light.
I have no particular need for a do-EVERYTHING cell phone (like a Treo or a Blackberry), as I travel with a laptop pretty much everywhere. But even so, I check my email with my phone about 20 times a day, and I use it all the time to locate things, to find phone numbers over the internet, to check weather and showtimes, etc. Most mid-level phones now have cameras on them, so that was a feature I wanted to upgrade to. Sprint does not seem to have the most cutting edge phones (actually, no American carrier seems to offer what appears commonplace in East Asia), but they have been quite satisfactory as a provider of phone service in all the places I seem to regularly visit.
So, we stuck with them. I've also had really good luck over the years with a series of Sanyo phones (and apparently, talking to the Sprint Store reps and looking at J.D. Powers, my experiences are not exceptional) so we stuck with them, too. Susan got a Sanyo 3100 (to replace her nearly-carved-from-stone 5-year-old Sanyo 4700) and I got Sanyo's new MM7500. 1.3 mp camera, video capture capability, hi-res screen, MP3 player. Plus, I've never owned a flip phone, so that's something new. We'll see how this all works out.
The other new toy, the more significant one, is a replacement for this much-traveled 3.5 year-old Powerbook. I had planned to replace it with their new version of the same machine, the MacBook Pro, but after looking at their just-released entry-level MacBook I could not figure out why to spend another grand (not that there is anything to dislike on the former machine).
And so I'm ending up with a black one with as much hard drive space as I could get (for music files). It's otherwise quite comparable to this machine, but has a slightly wider screen. And they've made a bunch of minor but significant upgrades to things: magnetic, break-away power adapter (I damaged this one a couple years ago, but it's been functional, so I got lucky); lid held closed by magnets (not a latch); flush keyboard; brighter screen. The new one also has a DVD burner, which I'm not sure the value of but there it is. I actually think the plastic case is to be preferred to the metal one on my current machine, at least if you actually travel with the device. This one slipped off a bed onto a carpeted floor early in its time with me--it was not a straight drop, as my hands rather caught it part way down--and one corner is just slightly bowed out now as a result. I'm aware that both these injuries I inflicted would have been better suffered by this new machine.
Anyway, given the amount of time I spend on this machine (between email and blogging and listening to music and watching movies and surfing--literally a fair number of hours each day), I'm most excited to see how the new model drives! Updates to follow, I'm sure.
BTW, if you haven't seen Apple's new ads (which I saw on the website, but which Susan had told me about), they're definitely worth a look. Some ad agency earned its pay here, methinks.