Intimate, Intimidating

Sweet  Dreams, as rendered by Marilyn Manson, followed by Tank, from The Stranglers, yeah, that fits this day. It’s a good start, motherfuckers. Yup, I mean you.
You know what I love? The fact that I can name a Photoshop layer “Balls and cock oh yeah baby”. I know it sounds crude, and I can’t quite say why it gives me so much satisfaction to do so, but it does. This bears examination (uh, no, not the bears which shit, proverbially, in the woods).
Perhaps it is because, back in the day, as an apprentice of the reproduction arts, I could not have afforded myself this grace. That was a world of layers of nameless plastic film and paper. No one who has grown up in the digital world can understand what the fuck we had to deal with, back then. Tons of slick material, analog stuff, you know, like, real. Film, with layers of fucking emulsion on it, for Christ’s sake. Egg-white. Slipping and sliding through our fingers like a pile of damned eels. Big vats full of poisonous chemicals. The scanner you have now did not exist, instead we used a monstrous photographic machine, bigger than a man, with huge blinding lights and utilitarian reflective surfaces and what-not. Thank God we don’t need them anymore: they were intimidating.
Ahhh, bullshit, I loved those machines. You felt them. You caressed them. Have you caressed your scanner lately? Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if you had, because people love their machines intimately, no matter if they are big sons-of-bitches or little cute sleek thingies with friendly surfaces and happy colors. Machines are alway extensions of our selves. They are tools, nothing more, nothing less. And we love our tools (especially men, grumble, why do women not love their tools? Or do they after all?)

One thought on “Intimate, Intimidating

  1. Dear Mr. Hellstrom,

    We DO love our tools. Here’s a blog post to come (fairly) soon at Dockwood Furniture:

    Musings – Death of an Old Friend, 1978-2013

    My electric drill died. After 35 years of faithful service, it finally gave up the ghost, while grinding the oxidation from a seat plank for Dockwood Bench 3. There was a “clang,” and it froze. Through the air vent I could see the cooling fan blades – not good. I took it apart and found that the fan had broken in half. I got the two pieces out, spun the armature, put it back together, but it was still frozen, lifeless.

    One expects tools to last a lifetime, if they’re of decent quality. I’m still using the same claw hammer, scrapers, chisels, and files I started with all those years ago when we came to New York. (My original tools, inherited from my father, remain in California, being used to this day by my brother, I believe. Many of those tools were inherited from his father.)

    Tools, after long use, seem to fit to one’s hand, and become a comfortable extension of one’s arm, in an intimate connection between one and the material being worked with. There’s satisfaction in learning, after years of their use, all their idiosyncrasies, and the nuances of the skill of using them to their best capability.

    So I regret the passing of my old, faithful, drill. I’ll purchase a new one, but really wonder if it’ll last the way my old one did!


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