On a Different Note, The Microsoft Surface 3

SurfaceI finally gave in and got a new laptop. Tablet. Laptop-tablet thingy. The Surface Pro 3. So far, I’m liking it a lot.

Microsoft seems to be positioning the Surface against the MacBook Air. I’m not an Air user, so I can’t say how it compares. I’m shifting from my 2007 MacBook and my god-only-knows-company-throw-away-partially-broken HP Laptop (it was a freebie from my former roommate’s work, and as such, totally awesome). The Surface is more than sufficient to replace both of those.

I love the touch screen. It just feels natural. I also love the stylus. If you’re like me, and writing things out by hand makes it easier for you to brainstorm, it’s great. I’ve done a ton of that since I got it two weeks ago (confession, it was an Ambien purchase–but one I’d been debating for three months already).

The keyboard works just fine and is a great size for my hands. It’s a little unsteady on my lap (in part because my lap is just a tad too small for it when I sit cross-legged on the floor; it’s fine when I’m sitting normally in a chair). I found my old lap desk and that solved the problem nicely. It’s great on a table or desk. It also fits really easily into my bag, which I’d sized for carrying my Nexus 7 and a paper journal. I’m no longer carrying either of those (it was time, the Nexus 7 was flickering).

All of my regular software runs on it, which was actually a big consideration. Jim and I checked out the Surface RT several months ago, and it couldn’t run Chat Mapper. Which meant it was a no go, even though it was cheaper. With the Surface Pro, I can run Office, Adobe, Chat Mapper, Scrivener, etc. It also has some fun drawing programs. As a tablet… it doesn’t have anywhere near the apps Android or iOS have. It has some, and more are probably coming. However, there’s a way to run Android apps on it. There’s BlueStack, which I’m using, and it’s possible to dual boot. The latter isn’t worth it to me. I did find Bluestack has a tendency to crash the whole thing when part of the Start menu, but I don’t use that many Android apps. So not a big deal.

It’s a good laptop. An acceptable tablet. And lots of fun to draw on.


Sometimes Safety is a Golden Retriever

(I really, really debated whether or not to post this. Then I realized, I’m probably the only one who cares, so why not? I’m going to preface this by saying my father apologized to me. A few years ago, of his own volition, he apologized to me for the way he behaved when I was a child.)

I tried EMDR for the first time the other day. The therapist had me think about a situation that makes me anxious in my life now, that makes me want to run away. And then she asked me to think of another situation when I felt the same way.

So many moments come to mind when she asks me to think of a time I wanted to escape. All of them, all of them, with my parents. The one I settle on, which is no surprise to me, as I’ve settled on it before in my writing, is a fight between my parents. My father is yelling at my mother, I don’t know why. She’s crying and then yelling back, her voice desperate and raw. I’m hiding on the stairway, out of sight near the top. I can’t really see them, just the tops of their heads, an overhead view nearly.

At that moment, the therapist asks “What do you feel?”

“My hands feel small,” I tell her. My hands and arms feel small to me, like the hands and arms of a five year old. It’s the strangest thing.

“What are you thinking?” she asks.

I half laugh, disparagingly, at myself. “I keep repeating the dog’s name in my head, over and over and over.”

“What was the dog’s name?”

“Bryce.” And suddenly I’m crying. I had no idea her name would do that to me. But I feel this rush of grief, tying into a knot at the base of my throat.

“Where is Bryce?”

“Next to me, on the stairs. I have my arm around her.” I pause. “She died when I was five. She was my best friend. She made me feel safe.”

“So she was your best friend, the only one who made you feel safe, the only stable thing in your life…”


“And then she died.”

And suddenly, I understand. When Bryce died, there was no more safety for me. There was no safe place I could go, no one who would always protect me. The one reliable thing in my life was gone. All I had left was the turbulence between my parents. No Bryce to hide with me at the top of the stairs while my parents fought. No Bryce to hold on to.

That was the first time my parents sent me to therapy. When I was five. I was depressed. No, Depressed, with a big D. Because Bryce died and I was alone.

A Sketch of Bryce

Sketching to Short Circuit Perfectionism

I’m stalling out on the story I’ve been working on (the Troy story, for Swan_Tower). Not because I don’t know what happens next, I do. It’s that whole “It must be perfect, oh my god, it isn’t perfect, I must waste away of consumption and die now!” thing. You know, that thing.

So I’m sketching. To give my brain a break. To let my subconscious run the show for a while. To do something creative in which I have a lot less invested so if the end result sucks, it’s completely okay. And if it doesn’t work, well. It will have been more fun than putting in commas and taking them out again.

So, look! Sketches!