September 13th, 2001

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Electric Dreams, continued

The siege goes on.

I thought I was pretty clever. I'd go in through safe mode, where my computer is stripped of it's core personality, and change video settings there. It would never know what happened. I checked with Dave, who confirmed that this would be the best thing to do. We were both wrong, it turns out.

I was able to get to the video settings in safe mode, but could only change them to 16 colors, 640x480. So, now everything's big and ugly, and I still can't get in to even change things back.

This is a problem.

So, let's take stock.. I got my e-mail working again (long story, much bureaucracy), but can't operate my chat software. I can edit websites manually through Notepad, but the complexity of some of my sites makes that a living nightmare. I can probably reconfigure my web browser so it's not completely useless (disable background images, force a simple color scheme). Art production is out of the question - I'm afraid to even open Photoshop. I can still play Blockout (a marvel of programming genius, this game runs up to speed on an 8088), and I guess minesweeper, but any game more recent than that is going to have problems. MP3 playback works, but actual music production isn't likely to happen just now. DVD playback could be interesting. And, of course, using my system to troubleshoot other computers simply isn't a good idea.

That being said, what do I have to do today? Redesign some business cards, do some website work which is time consuming with even the right tools, edit a video, some major photo manipulation, troubleshoot another computer, and record some music with whatever time's left over.

Guess that can wait while I reinstall Windows and all of my tools.

(You hear that, computer?! I will destroy you!)
  • Current Mood
    determined determined
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mixed metaphors and ramblings on controversy

When bad things happen, it's hard to avoid stepping on people's toes. The theatrical release of "Big Trouble" has been delayed a few months because the story involves a plane hijacking. The "Spider-Man" trailer has been pulled from theatres because it features a helicopter suspended between the two towers, and I'm hearing rumors of that film being delayed as well. Now, I'm all in favor of increased compassion and sensitivity - I think that's the only good thing that can possibly come of all this. But logically, I don't think a few months is going to make that much difference.

The Columbine shootings resulted in the delayed broadcast of "Earshot", a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, because it featured a student bringing a gun to school. "O", the critically acclaimed modernization of William Shakespeare's Othello, was kept on the shelf until just recently, and then sold off to another distributor to further distance Disney/Miramax from any possible association the film's ending might bring up.

Those last two examples, I believe are backwards. The offending action was meant to horrify the audience, which in turn reinforces the idea that such behavior is wrong. The story is more effective because of the controversy, the alleged tastelessness, and I think we failed in our responsibility to teach the audience something when the opportunity arises. But in the inevitable backlash against Hollywood violence, the only thing to do was shrink back, and in doing so, lend credence to the case for censorship.

That's obviously not what's going on with "Big Trouble" and "Spider-Man", but I was already on the subject, and a secondary issue does apply to all of these:

I think we're agreed that it's inappropriate to laugh at a plane hijacking right about now. But was it okay a few weeks ago? More to the point, does it make any difference to release the film a few months later as opposed to now? Those who would be traumatized or enraged or merely shocked when such a thing happens onscreen are going to have that problem for the rest of their lives. A few months won't give them time to "get over it." That's just not realistic.

Perhaps the darker truth is that they're in the minority - the bulk of us are only peripherally affected by recent events, and will go on with our lives in a few days or weeks as though nothing has happened. Like throwing rocks in a pond - the immediate effects are felt as they ripple outwards, but everything returns to a general calm as the water flows around the disruption, smoothing it's edges through force of erosion. (of course, if your rock bounced it's way down a mountain on it's way to the pond, bringing down with it the weight of an avalanche, that would be different. but following that analogy, a few months time wouldn't make the film any more palatable because we'd all be dead.)

Is it better to live in a jaded culture which routinely puts atrocities behind it, or to die amongst what we think of as more "human," people who let their emotions carry them over the brink of destruction?

I honestly don't have an answer to that one. But I'm leaning towards the first option - we can always blow ourselves up later, but it's hard to take back world destruction if it turns out we don't like it.
  • Current Mood
    blah blah
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spreadin' the rhetoric

Yasser Arafat donates blood for victims of the recent terrorist attacks. Some declare this a"bogus PR move". And PR it is, but I doubt the few whose lives his blood saves will resent the gesture.

This letter makes a sobering case for the humanity of innocent people within the Arab communities so many would like to demolish.

And Michael Moore, as always, has some interesting and highly controversial points which are worth noting, whether or not you agree with his conclusions.
Worthy discussion of that over here.

The point, I guess, is that nothing's ever as simple as one might like it.
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    thoughtful thoughtful
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I'm way behind in posting this stuff. It almost seems disrespectful to be thinking about anything beyond a few days ago, but I'm not about to start censoring myself. No disrespect intended - maybe you can use the distraction.

So, my cousin married into a family of ranchers. Honest, hard-working people. Good natured, friendly, extremely hospitable. I've never met anyone quite like them. They held the ceremony right there on the farm, and cooked up a few hundred steaks and chickens for the multitude of guests. The night before, it was prime rib for everyone. Leftovers both evenings were collected, to be fed to their pigs - nobody goes hungry there.

The bridesmaids were told to pick their own dresses - something they'd want to wear occasionally on their own time. They went with a beautiful evening gown, which sparked in the light and shifted from black to blue based on what angle you viewed from. These weren't in any way hideous, which I'm told violates all known laws of the universe.

(Those details don't really affect the story, but I'd still be remiss if I didn't mention them.)

During the ceremony, when the reverend asked if there's any reason why these two should not be married, the groomsmen turned to the audience and shifted to reveal their sidearms.

Not surprisingly, there were no objections.

(Time passes. More things happen. They don't affect the story either.)

Towards the end of the reception, children are running every which way; a collective sugar-high brought about by wedding cake. As I walk over to collect my own slice, a child swerves to avoid me, and I guess jostles the groom's chair as he tears around the corner.

There is a heavy clattering sound.

The groom glances at the floor around him, and not seeing the cause of this disturbance, starts to lean his chair back for a better view.

Another kid runs past, threatening to knock the groom and his chair over.

The groom returns his chair to a full upright position and glances up at me with a look of "Can you check? I don't want to end up in traction."

So I look, and the word leaves my mouth before my mind can wrap itself around what I've found:


His look this time says "Are you sure?"

"On the floor, under your chair. Gun."

The first kid comes running through, and nearly kicks the thing out onto the dance floor. "That could be bad," I think to myself.

But, nothing bad comes of it. The groom rescues his sidearm and carefully puts it back in it's holster.

"God," he says. "I hate when that happens."
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    sleepy sleepy