Blog Pile

You Can Feel Crushed

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Clay Junell

First my body was physically demoralized by a brutal bike ride and yesterday it was my computer’s turn to beat me down.

Without going into banal details no one cares about, I pretty much spent 4 hours Sunday night, and most of the day MOnday battling with a problem on my aging MacBookPro (a 2009 mid year model), the software I use to manage my photos (Aperture), and what finally turned out to be the culprit, a malfunctioning LaCie external hard drive.

It’s only technology, and computers, and not who you are, or your life.

Still– my career, reputation, most of what I have devoted my last 20 years to, are tied up in these machines. And when repeated effort after effort failed to resolve it, man it got me down. It’s been a while since it was that bad (a few years ago when a major web site rollout failed miserably). Plus it was the pressure of trying to get my computer to work as it should so I could do all the things I need to get done, when instead I was trying to rebuild aperture libraries, recover files from a crashed hard disk, resorting to recovering the source images that were erased from the camera data card…

But what it really knocked me because it was keeping me form doing what I enjoy the most, editing and sharing my photos.

Perspective was called for. At 4pm I walked out the door with the camera to wander in the woods.

usually finding the right light, detail in a photo lifts me from a funk. I found a few, under the deep blue Arizona skies, and sharp later afternoon light

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

As I was bushwhacking off trail, I was aware, and saw blurs of, and eventually the bugling of a herd of elk. I could not get close enough for a photo, but the experience was better.

I got out into the neighborhood, and spotted this brilliant shot of a squirrel munching away on top of a house sign. The light had framed him perfectly, just a few feet away. My slow motion to get the camera off my shoulder was latre, he hopped off before I got the photo.

At least I captured it in my brain camera.

The flowers usually abide

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

Yes, I know what is important and what is not. But still it can get to you. And it helps actually to have this feeling, as a place of empathy for people who struggle with technology, who loathe it, who feel crushed by it. I do not usually feel this way, but it is humbling to be reminded of it.

Like biking, there is only one way to go but up.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I saw from your Tweets your struggle. At my Interpersonal meditation Skype group we did a contemplation on this quote by Pema Chodron:

    An analogy for the awaked heart is the rawness of a broken heart. Sometimes this broken heart gives birth to anxiety and panic, sometimes to anger, resentment, and blame. But under the hardness of that armor there is the tenderness of genuine sadness. This is our link with all those who have ever loved. This genuine heart of sadness can teach us great compassion. It can humble us when we’re arrogant and soften us when we are unkind. It awakens us when we prefer to sleep and pierces through our indifference. This continual ache of the heart is a blessing that when accepted fully can be shared with all.”  

    I was reminded of it when I read your post, we do feel crushed and great compassion comes from being willing to sit with that broken heart.

    I hope life has moved on to an easier place and the photos, by jickity, are just yummy!

  2. I feel your pain. Usually I can figure it out, but sometimes, it just won’t work, and I don’t know why. That is when I feel one with tech novices. It happens frequently, all too frequently.

  3. Alan,
    I appreciate your painful and compassionate post. As I have mentioned briefly on G +, my college yanked all my school blogs including Mind on Fire and Story Lane over to a new server and left chaos in its wake.

    I have been very patient with the techs left in charge of the mop up operation, but I haven’t posted on my blog in over a month because I am so distressed and embarrassed about the way my once beautiful blog looks.

    How I feel about having a beautiful blog surprises me, as does my surpressed anger at the do-gooders who are guving me no help fast.

    All of which is to say, I so understand the ambiguities of emotion in the face of melting tech…

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