June 22nd, 2002

self portrait (escher)

Can't we just destroy all the old stuff and start over?

My friend Kevin picked up a used computer from a thrift store in Moorpark. P75, 16 megs RAM, 1.0 gig hard drive. Nothing special, just something to check his e-mail and type things up on. But for some ungodly reason, I couldn't leave well enough alone, and spent about a week upgrading it with frankenstein parts from systems I had lying around. Brought it up to P133, 64 megs RAM, 1.86 gig hard drive. And I cleared up a ton of space by starting Windows over without all the superfluous Packard Bell software. Now, you have to understand, Kevin never asked me to do any of that. He just wanted a modem put in so he could run AOL. But I anticipated problems running the latest software on a system that old, and figured this would end up saving time in the long run.

Long story short, we've got early plug-n-play implimentation, and I can't seem to get a dialtone through the modem. So, I really should have worked that out first before bothering with the rest of it. And now it's another week later.

Kevin's being a really good sport about it, but I feel bad that this is taking so long. I'm really not spending as much time on it as I should. Part of that is because I'm really busy, but more of it, I think is because I'm caught in the usual cycle of "constant failure lowers self-esteem" that seems to haunt me whenever I take on what looks to be a simple computer job.

Not that it's a paying job or anything. Nor should it be, on any ethical level - it's an old friend who needs help, they can't do this without me, I volunteered without being asked, and the computer's not worth the cost of labor anyway. I want him to have this. So, I'm going to make this work if it takes a hundred years.

Plus, he keeps buying me food. Which is great, 'cause I like to eat. But it does add to the whole guilt cycle. Still, it's nice to spend time with him. We don't do that enough nowadays...

In happier news, one of the hard drives I went through to put on that computer was storing a bunch of my old Photoshop and 3D Studio source files. And to demonstrate how happy I was to find those, I've recompiled the first animated GIF I ever made into an LJ user icon:

Dancing Slugboy
© 1996 by self

So, yeah. I had nine or ten related "delving into the past" stories I was going to try to string together, but it's really all about the Dancing Slugboy icon.

I guess if you want to get technical, most of it's actually about software incompatibility brought about by neglect, and the senseless overhead we've bought into over time (a fully installed copy of Windows 95 only takes up 35 megs of hard drive space, where my Windows XP directory's running over a gig right now). But the slugboy thing seemed like a better note to end on.
  • Current Mood
    nostalgic nostalgic
self portrait (escher)

Where are all the elitist snobs when you need them?

Ran a quick search on the phrase "best bass player who ever lived" and found two references to Jaco Pastorius and two for Cliff Burton. No mention of Brian Bromberg, Geddy Lee, or the man I'd have voted for out of personal bias: Victor Wooten. And, okay, I can forgive everyone for not thinking of Edgar Meyer, since he's technically not a bass player.

But why so few webpages, devoted to so few artists?

Maybe people just don't care about bass players. That's understandable, I suppose - most of the bands I grew up on let their synth players handle bass, and/or kept the bass parts mind-numbingly simple. But occasionally, someone stands up to show the world how much a great musician can contribute on any instrument, and I guess I just thought this would leave an impression.

To check that theory, I searched for "best guitar player who ever lived" and found two Jimi Hendix links, and two for Stevie Ray Vaughn. Good solid choices, to be sure. But where's Robert Johnson? Eric Clapton? Andres Segovia? Duane Allman? Eddie Van Halen? Jeff Healey? Kenny Wayne Shepherd? Kyle Gass? The Great Kat? Surely they each have their own rabid following, ready to fight to the death anyone who dares dispute their champion's obvious superiority!

Is it possible the fanboys have called a truce, acknowledged that their heroes have all made significant contributions to the world of music, that the individual styles and personalities which put them ahead of everyone else make it impossible by their very nature to directly compare one musician's relative merit to another?

Why, no. Of course not. Something isn't right.

Must be my wording.

"Greatest bass player who ever lived" brings up two pages of links, mostly devoted to Jaco Pastorius. That's a little better. We've got a consensus, at least.

"Greatest guitar player who ever lived" also brings up two pages, and a more diverse list of names, but the popular vote is clearly with Hendrix.

But the numbers still don't add up. Perhaps no one cares about guitar players, either.

"Best singer who ever lived" brings us two pages, and "greatest singer who ever lived" brings us four. So, twice as much interest in singers as guitar players, who are exactly as popular as bass players.

I don't buy that either.

So, after several hours of careful deliberation, there's really only one conclusion I can come to:

          This wasn't a very scientific test.

...maybe I'll put up a poll later. =)
  • Current Mood
    nerdy nerdy