Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not For Sale - Don't Pay for Mediocrity

As our dreams shift away from leaping tall buildings, running with super speed, and having x-ray vision, we set our sights on a different fantasy. The idea of having such influence and resources that whatever we want can be ours. We eventually want what's not for sale.

At least I know it's true for me. I am happy with living a simple life and having what I need. I think that many of the things people find necessary are excessive. I have found joy at every stage of life. So why do I find myself desiring to procure something that no one is offering for purchase?**<>**

I think it's quite simple. I have a big head. Just like my friends from the comics, Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark, I think too big for my own good. Those guys have money, too. Is there really anything for sale that they couldn't afford to buy? Absolutely. And that leads me to my next point: when all you care about is what's next, you see too clearly where your powers end.

Bruce Wayne is occasionally seen brooding because he can't buy his family back. He doesn't have enough to feed everyone in the world. Tony Stark was absolutely defenseless because of what he had and who he was. Even people that only care about what they can buy realize someday that it will all come to an end.

The thing I like about the above mentioned heroes is their ability and willingness to reinvent themselves when money is not the answer. True, it takes a pretty big problem to arise for either Bruce or Tony to have to look someplace other than their mad cash. ***The important thing is to realize that solutions can be found without forking over green. ***

Take style for example. Have you ever seen someone in the most immaculate, new, crisp, and yet the most unimaginative outfit walking down the street in a classy neighborhood? Never mind that the pants drape perfectly and the shirt has such an amazing weave that announces it's thread count and walks like an Egyptian. Clashing colors and patterns don't match, or worse, the combination is just utterly unimpressive. He's wearing it with FUBUs for crying out loud!

This weeks solution for obtaining something that's not for sale: be smarter than money.

A well put together outfit will make you look like a million bucks no matter where you shop.

"What about Goodwill?"

It can happen. I'm not going to outright approve it though. Do what you must. The point is, you can walk into one of those stores that says, in so many words, "brand names for less" and walk out with a lot.

This isn't breaking news, but I have heard people are ashamed to do this. But people are also generally ashamed to ask for what they want when it isn't for sale. You having the guts to stay out of the big, well-organized department stores with music that makes you feel successful while some guy tries to sell you a tie for 120 bucks may make you a better person. You'll never know unless you try (and it will only set you back about 15-20 bucks for a trial run).

Spend less time trying to spend and more time making an impression.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm not laughing at your cats

People keep sending me LOL Cats and I can't get them to stop.

I really don't like most cats. It's no fault of their own, cats are adaptable. They take on the elements that surround them. Their survival is based on blending in and dominating. It's a tough thing to do.

Based on this truth, house cats raised by losers resemble losers. Bitter old ladies will often have a house full of wretched, bitter cats. Either that, or they have a smugness like they are superior. They probably are, where they come from, but if I get a tail in my face, that cat's gonna go flying.

Here is the point, the captions for these pictures are often demeaning to anything intelligent. "I can haz?" What is that? Spell checkers all over the world are desperately trying to warn these LOL Cat people before they post, "NO! Don't save this as final! This will make you look like an idiot!"

Cat's don't have bad grammar. It's a fact. They think faster than we can possibly follow. You don't have to like them to know this. So stop misrepresenting.

Let's put it this way: any animal that can wear a heavy, noisy collar with all his contact information written on it AND sneak up on a bird THAT HAS WINGS AND CAN FLY is not just a furball with a cute smile. That's a killing machine.

Speaking of killing machines, Sylvester Stallone sometimes had bad grammar, but we know he knows how to order a burger:

Oh yeah, I WILL have a cheeseburger (not I can haz CERVEZA).

So show some respect, or my cat's gonna team up with Sly. Who KNOWS what'll happen then.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mac Vs PC Vs DOS

I went to school during the best time in history for the growth of computers. At least that's what I think.

As I was growing up, user interfaces were evolving. The black and white menus of the desktop were adding color. People were able to multitask now, run several programs at once. You could be legitimately working and at the same time, be playing solitaire. Minesweeper was invented. We saw the new era of computing and it was good.

I built my computer from parts my brother and I procured. I would have the phone book open and the phone in my hand, dialing and dialing all afternoon. I am sure I put some of those parts brokers to shame during those afternoons as a 10 year old, reasoning and haggling with tiny shops all over San Diego.

But I was left behind! When my classmates started running Windows 3.2 on those machines their dads bought from Sears, I was running my brothers copy of DOS 5.10. I had WordPerfect 6 for DOS and a monochrome screen. I was making book report covers with ASCII art coded in my BASIC editor. You could spot my report form miles away due to the tell tale perforations on the sides of a dot matrix printer. That and the slightly heavier weight and different color in a sea of superbright ink jet paper.

They had clip art, I had magazine clippings and a Kinko's color copier. Watching my Dad and I put together my projects the night before the due date was like watching 1950s Ad men trying to make the press deadline.

When Windows 95 came out is when I made my move. My brother and I procured all the parts I needed for a killer system. This was the system that would make the difference in my life. It was the piece de resistance, the 486. It was so fast, it could run video! I had a superVGA card, so my graphics rivaled the best. The sound card took me some time to actually configure and make work, but I'm a better man for it. A little work never made a man weak.

Although my machine was faster, though, the kids with Compaqs still thought they were better than me. They did, after all buy theirs from Circuit City or Best Buy. How can you compete with that?

In many ways, they were right. The day I got Windows 95, I started to wane in my computer proficiency. I slowly lost interest in programming. Information was too easy to access. My blazing fast 56k modem took me into another world of distraction.

Where would i have been if I had stayed behind, just a little bit? What would have happened if I had actually had to pay for that Windows 95 disc (or 10 floppies)? It was very long after I built that system and people were playing with the variations of UNIX we now call Linux. A whole world of text based browsers and actual system configuuration would have been open to me.

It's pointless to have regrets about anything, but I do believe in a therapeutic step backwards. You can expect, in the near future, to see me build the system I would have had during that time. What if it gets me by even now?

Monday, May 3, 2010

What's Next?

Okay I totally messed up my whole blogging launch. I should've already posted today.
Don't worry, exciting things happened, tomorrow is going to be epic.

For now, ponder this point, which will be expounded in great detail later:

Why are we so preoccupied with what's next?

A lot of us live in a society where we have a lot of things. We have water to drink and food to eat. We have a place to go to sleep. What more do you need? Stupid question, I know. Where would we be without the following:

Car for road trips
Running water
Credit cards
Blue Ray player
DVD Collection
Credit Card debt

The list goes on.

What more do we need? Some of you may see Blue Ray player and just now realize you need one of those!

Happy marriage? What about kids? Going on vacation, but why not to Buenos Aires? Nice car, but it isn't a Jag! This is broken down to a simple equation:

I am happy, but...

I am happy, but = discontentment

where 'I am happy' = I realize I have what I need and 'but' = that's not enough.

It's hopeless to try to change this thinking. It's written in our code. We're hardwired to think of what's next, what's better -- what's different.

Maybe we should re-direct that line of reasoning. If you're good at something, how can you get better. If you are bad at something, why not improve. Sure you don't know how to iron your shirts properly, are you just going to be content to stay that way?

Next time you see those Blue Ray players on TV (that OLD 40" DLP no doubt), don't get depressed that it's out of your immediate budget, make yourself better. What good is the new quad-core processor when you only type 32 words per minute? Learn to draw before building your Design Software Suite. What good is a luxury car when you can't even drive stick shift (or stay in your own lane for that matter).

All I'm saying is, improve yourself before you improve your equipment.

What will be the next addition to your skill set?