Thursday, January 27, 2005

Mental Meanderings over lunch

Lunch, unsurprisingly, is the one time the mind at work flees the cubicle and wanders aimlessly through its own dark alleyways.

At the post-office: the first thing that struck me is how much I hate queues now, and how little I can now tolerate something that I used to endure with incredible stoicism. It says something about how convenient and efficient most of our services have become that a simple 15 minute queue at the post office stands out in my mind. The two things that made it bearable: the interesting wildlife adjacent to me in the queue, namely, man with Jack Russell terrier in his backpack (no, really) and my iPod Shuffle.

On the iPod Shuffle: enough about the features (blogged about even before I bought it), the one thing I only realised when I got it yesterday is that Apple has once again resurrected that particular shade of green that crops up once in a while in its product line. It first reared its head with one of the last iterations of the original iBook (called variously the clamshell or the toilet seat, depending on your attitude towards it) somewhere in '98 or '99, and I remember Steve Jobs making a big deal about the colour. It died its own shocking green death after Apple moved on to the white minimalist purity of iPod and iBook for the next few years.

The packaging for the iPod Shuffle, however, is that green. The iPod Shuffle itself, while mercifully sterile and clean in design and colour, displays one slash of that green when you flip the switch through off-play-shuffle. Either Steve Jobs must really like that particular shade of green, or Apple has done some marketing research on the effect of green on consumers. Like it makes their eyes hurt, perhaps.

On Sushi bars: Being downstream at these conveyor belt Sushi places is lousy. All the nice stuff gets gobbled up by people upstream, and all you're left to do is twiddle with your chopsticks, while a lobster stares dolefully from its aquarium prison at you. I think it's very disturbing to be face to face with a potential food source so close to its demise. Steak restaurants do not make you confront the cow before you consume the steak, and neither should sushi places force you to eyeball a lobster. While I didn't eat any lobster for lunch, having them stare at me like that was distinctly unnerving.

It made me wonder about lobsters though. They seem to possess a very inefficient design: almost half their body mass consists of the large muscular tail (the bit that most of us eat, as well), which seems to serve no purpose in everyday activities where locomotion is accomplished by the legs. The tail only kicks in (literally) in an emergency, when it propels the lobster backwards rapidly. All that food and energy to sustain a muscle half its body weight that only serves to give you an emergency escape route, and that being only limited to one direction of escape? Seems inefficient - and it seems that most animals are designed purely to survive and propagate, and thus there's a vicious cycle - a massive tail is needed to keep the animal alive long enough so it can grow ... a massive tail. A body for the sake of survival, survival in order to build a body.

Thoughts only possible when you're downstream on the sushi conveyor belt and there's nothing appetising coming your way.

The Jack Russell terrier, by the way, was incredibly well behaved throughout its post office experience - not a single bark or yelp, just quietly hanging out from the backpack and waving its tongue at the people in the queue.

2 comments:

said...

wah lao! i also want to get the shuffle leh!!! :-) when will we ever stop lusting after Mac products? its great that our friends, one after another, have all seemed to switch to Mac! NAB has been thinking about getting the Mac desktop for our place in a'dam... hmm...

said...

oh - and green is my favourite colour... another reason to get it!