December 11th, 2000

self portrait (escher)

Architecture by Tarzan

This conversation just cracked me up.
    self: ...I'd give him the change, but he'd only eat it.
    ego: Stupid kid. There's no nutrition in that.
    self: Don't knock it - that's all I ate through so many years of school.
    ego: This explains a lot.
    self: I asked for food, the parents gave me lunch money. What was I supposed to do?
    ego: Buy lunch?
    self: Oh yeah, huh.
    ego: At least they didn't give you a lunch monkey.
    self: I would have killed for a lunch monkey! All the other kids had one.
    ego: Really?
    self: Sure. The cafeteria was up in a tree. If you couldn't climb, you sent your lunch monkey.
    ego: And it would get your lunch for you?
    self: Not me. I never had one.
    ego: That sucks.
    self: Yeah.
Later on, we reminisced about the TV commercials.
      teacher: Aren't you going to get your lunch?
      student: But the cafeteria's so high up!
      teacher: Tell me about it. I have to swim through the snake pit every day to get my coffee.
      student: I'm so hungry...
      teacher: Yeah, looks like you're screwed.
      (The boy's companion, a cartoon monkey, clamors for attention)
      monkey: Aren't you forgetting something?
      student: Lunch Monkey!
      (The monkey scurries up the tree, and returns with a heaping tray of goodness. He has, of course, selected a nice banana for himself.)
      student: Thank you, Lunch Monkey!
      (teacher and monkey wink conspiratorially at the camera for no apparent reason)
The subject came up one final time, as well.
    self: ...and they'd always run that commercial during my favorite shows, just to mock me.
    ego: They were trying to advertize their product. Not everything's about you, you know..
    self: Then why'd the president of the station call first every time to make sure I was watching?
    ego: That is kind of strange...
    self: To this day, that commercial haunts me. "Thank you, Lunch Monkey!"
    ego: Right.
    self: Even so, you should probably buy one for your son when he starts school.
    ego: I don't think they make them anymore.
    self: Why not?
    ego: The monkeys started throwing feces at people. PR nightmare.
    self: Great. How are kids supposed to get their food down now?
    ego: The old way, I guess.
    self: Hydrolics?
    ego: Yes.
...and there you have it.
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    amused amused
self portrait (escher)


I'm now an official paying LiveJournal user. Not that I have much need for the advanced features or anything. Just part of the whole "being a good person" thing.

You want to be a good person too, don't you?

** Guilt Link **

Just checking.

The other thing which just changed is my profile. I went ahead and filled in the Interests list, figuring it might draw some strangers over. Seems to be working - I've seen evidence of two now. (Welcome, folks!)
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    surprised surprised
self portrait (escher)

On a serious note...

I've said for some time that computers are the great leveler. We no longer live in a society ruled by whoever can lift the heaviest rock or catch a deer with their bare hands (though, admittedly, such a contest would liven up our election process). Regardless of race, gender, or other arbitrary designation, kids who grow up with computers have a huge advantage over kids who don't. At it's most simple: data entry jobs pay better than fast food.

But there is a deeper level, much closer to my heart. The computer can extend artistic ability.
  • The simple freedom an "Undo" function allows can't be summed up in words. When you can save your progress and experiment without fear of destroying your work, that opens up some possibilities.
  • The computer balances it's expense by eliminating many of your consumable material costs, allowing you to layer performance data, and automating repetitive tasks. Canvas and paint are expensive. As is hiring a full orchestra. Or a room full of in-betweeners to work on your animation.
The computer offers a level of flexibility never before available to all but the seasoned pro. It opens up sophisticated artforms which would be prohibitively expensive to enter by any other means.

The problem, of course, is that computers are prohibitively expensive.

I'm not talking about software licensing, although that can certainly run up a few dollars. No, kids have clever ways around that expense.
(you really don't want to know what your kids are up to. but I do recommend keeping a nice heavy mallet next to your system in case the feds show up)
(Note: Your computer stores no information in the monitor screen. Smashing that will only make the feds laugh at you and your kids shake their heads in disbelief.)

Mostly, it's just maintenance. Call your local computer store and ask them how much it would cost to send someone out to your house to reinstall some software. It's ridiculous.

When your computer dies, it takes a certain amount of hope for the future with it. When someone asks you to restore hope for the future, how much can you ethically charge them? This is largely why I have no money. I put too much time into fixing people's systems, and then I fail to charge them what I'm supposed to because of my deeply passionate belief that computers should just work.
    I'm getting off topic, but what if we taught kids computer repair as soon as they're mature enough to handle a screwdriver? I mean, auto shop is offered as soon as you have access to a vehicle, and it's universally agreed that this is a good and responsible thing. But kids are depending on computers without any equivilant lessons in maintenance.

    If you think about it, there's no reason why we couldn't take that one step further, and have all of them MCSE certified by graduation. Sure, most people will never need to administer a corporate intranet, but is that any less useful than the current curriculum? No, the problem is our whole economy would collapse when the next generation takes our jobs and makes us serve them at McDonalds.

    I'm drifting further and further off subject, but I think I'm on to something here. I'd much rather campaign for education than fight this uphill battle one computer at a time. Any ideas how to go about this?
    (I'm working with a number of organizations already, but am not yet convinced that any of them are particularly effective)
ANYWAY... This whole thing was just an intro to my topic, which is that I found a poster child for the cause:

Meet John Charpentier.
John writes music on his computer. Innovative stuff, blending elements of classical and techno, and rivaling the film scores of many action flicks. He writes his music using a freeware program he downloaded over the internet, on a long outdated family computer. Regardless whether you like the genre, it's clear this is professional quality. He's 17 years old now. I believe he was 16 when his computer died, taking all of his unfinished pieces with it. He hasn't written anything since.

You can check out his music here. Doing so translates into ad dollars for him, which will in turn become new equipment. It's surprising that the world would let such potential be lost for so long. Seems like someone out there could commission some original music in exchange for equipment. Prime endorsement opportunity, guys.
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    determined determined
self portrait (escher)

If I'm on your friends list, take note:

Lately, I've been writing my longer entries in "private" mode, editing them to satisfaction, and then changing the status to "public" when they're ready. What I've discovered, however, is that even though I change the date when things are finalized, the "friends" view doesn't immediately reflect that change. You may have to scroll past days of entries you've already read to find my new stuff, and most people will never think to do that.

In the future, I'll take the time to copy and paste to a new entry, thereby eliminating the problem. But, for now, it's probably best if you just click here and make sure you haven't missed anything.

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    indifferent indifferent