Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Black Rose Kate: On Technology, Fictional Pirates and More

Kate's digital self-portrait.All things being equal, it seemed best to leave Black Rose Katie Specks back at the house today while I went in to work as usual. Yesterday, people in the building accepted her as just another employee in costume, but that would not have worked on the first of November. So Kate stayed home and watched some of my DVDs - Pirates of the Caribbean, of course, and I think about two discs' worth of Buffy Season One. Afterward, I asked her about her day.

Karen: So, what did you think of the video?

Kate: I think I like that best of all the wonders you've shown me, except for the digital camera.

Karen: Why do you prefer the camera?

Kate: 'Tis participatory. With a camera like that to point at sea and land, at ship and shipmates, I could produce as many pictures in a single day as a painter could produce in a lifetime. I'll warrant that my sea pictures could best your Disneyland ones, by anyone's reckoning.

Karen: That would not be hard, considering that many of the photos from our last Disneyland trip were dismal failures. But Kate, if you took a digital camera back to the late 18th Century, it would do you no good. The flash memory would fill up, the battery would wear down, and you would have no way to print or view the photos.

Kate: So you admit that your modern devices have limitations.

Karen: Of course they have limitations. They're great, but they're designed to work together. You need all the related technologies, not just the one invention.

Kate: Aye, I've noticed how dependent you are on your vaunted technology. You live but a few miles from your workplace, and yet you drive as close to it as you can before using your feet. You own a stove that produces flame with the turn of a wrist, and yet you use your microwave oven, or eat food cold from the refrigerator. You have thousands of books, and yet you do nearly all of your reading on that computer of yours. You live within a few miles of a theater, and yet you watch DVDs.

Karen: What theater do I live close to?

Kate: The Gaslight Theater. I do like that name. I saw the place when you purchased that terrible red Jolly Roger.

Karen: The Gaslight Theater is a very different medium than tv and movies on DVD. They don't exactly play Shakespeare there. They do silly musicals, parodies, mostly.

Kate: Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn't Shakespeare, either. And yet it takes as much time as the longest of plays. I imagine that you sit all day and watch episode after episode. Small wonder you've developed such girth.

Karen: That's hardly a fair thing to say. You're as fat as I am.

Kate: Aye, but I'm fitter. 'Tis no sin for a pirate to be fat, so long as she can wield a weapon and climb the mast and handle sails and rudder in rough seas. For us, girth is a sign of wealth. Most successful pirates look more like Barbossa than Jack Sparrow.

Karen: We'll get to Pirates of the Caribbean in a moment. I'm wondering what you thought of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Did you like it?

Kate: Aye, I did. In some ways it seemed very natural, more true to your world than The Merchant of Venice is to mine. I liked that the heroine did not need a man to rescue her, and that the villains were often funny and eloquent. I've never heard of a vampire turning to dust, however.

Karen: That's because Joss Whedon made them do that for the convenience of the writers. Do you believe in vampires?

Kate: My inclination is to say no. Old maps may say "Here be Monsters," but in my experience there are no monsters. When you reach that spot on the map it's just more ocean, more land, more people--and perhaps an elephant or a tyger. I've never seen a vampire or a zombie, or a mummy that walked.

Karen: What did you think of Pirates of the Caribbean? Was that realistic?

Kate's skull and roses motif
(laughs): Some of it was true to life, certainly more so than that Pirates of the Caribbean CD from Disneyland that you played for three hours on All Hallow's Eve. Those Disneyland pirates are almost entirely harmless. Even your movie pirates are less dangerous than most of the freebooters I know. I liked Jack Sparrow very much, but he was more wily and better looking than the captains I've met. That curse was very interesting, and in keeping with tales told around a fire. 'Twould never happen in real life, however.

Karen: Of course not. Speaking of pirates who aren't harmless, Carly has a question for you--

Kate: Yes, I saw her question. I must say that I'm less impressed with your World Wide Web than I was last night.

Karen: Why is that?

Kate: If the whole world saw my words, then why did no one but Carly ask me a question? By your own admission, she lives less than a thousand miles from this spot. There should be questions from England and Australia and Africa.

Karen: I said that the words could be read anywhere in the world, by anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. I did not say that everyone with the means of reading my blog actually does it. Most people have never even heard of me or my blogs. And not all who do read them leave comments behind.

Kate: You've misrepresented yourself, then, or at least your blog. How many actual readers do you have for Musings? Four?

Karen: Dozens, at least. Can we get to Carly's question?

Kate: Aye.

Kate at Karen's house.  Photo by JBlocher.
Dear Black Rose Kate...

In all your years as a pirate, what would you say was your most challenging interaction? Was it with fellow pirates? With the sea itself? Inquiring minds want to know! :)

Always, The Mermaid Ondine
Comment from ondinemonet - 11/1/05 1:42 PM

Kate: What is the meaning of the colon and parenthesis?

Karen: It's a smile. Look at it sideways.

Kate: Aye. I see. Well, Carly, your question seems to me a very modern one. In my time, we do not think in terms of interactions. We judge the likelihood of attaining the prize without a fight, the strengths and weaknesses of friends and foes, and what tactics will bring us the victory.

Yet as I look at your question again, I realise that you are asking for an especially troublesome difficulty in my own life. To answer that, I think I need to tell the story of how I went to sea, and how I had to work to be taken seriously by seafaring men.

Karen: Do you want to tell that story tonight?

Kate: Nay! 'Tis likely to be longer than this entire conversation you've been typing, and I happen to know that you're two days behind on updating your church's schedule page. Tell Carly that she'll have her answer tomorrow night.

Karen: Why not tell her yourself?

Kate: Aye, I'll just do that. Carly, ye have my solemn word that tomorrow, assuming I am still in this city and century, I will tell you of a difficult interaction from the time I first went to sea. Meanwhile, I bid thee good night!

Good night from me too, folks! Remember, you still have time to get in a question to Black Rose Kate. Heck, she may even answer it! - Karen

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