Sunday, January 22, 2012

Nihil sub sole novum

Because of the snowstorm and following freezing ice, many in my region lost power and Internet service. I was fortunate because so far, no power outages, which is unusual. In the past, if the the wind even considered blowing, my power would extinguish like a candle under a giant's fart. (Sorry for that image, but the whole thing would stink.)

But the Internet--yes, if you search the hashtag #firstworldproblems on Twitter, you may think how damn whiny my writing about loss of Internet service is, or you may assume so. But believe me, I am not complaining. In fact, if anything, this is an appreciation of all things plugged in, ported, processed, things I do not take for granted. There are far worse weather and natural disaster related life-and-death issues, and having my Internet shut off for a spell is a trifle, a pesky inconvenience. (My current location? Starbucks. Not a school parking lot. The coffee is better, and the pumpkin loaf so good. Talk about your #firstworldproblem.)

Pan causing some panic.
As point of fact, since I'm all "silver-lining-what-lesson-can-I-learn-from-this" about the Internet valve closure, it was the best thing that could have happened to me right now. (Well, winning the Powerball would be better, but I'm speaking in small-scale terms.) I needed a break and just couldn't cut myself off, but the weather gods saw fit to power-down the junction box, then perhaps they are wise indeed. But this isn't about my selfish, narrow view that the gods do everything solely for, or to, me. (That kind of arrogance has gotten mankind in trouble since Pan first played Do Re Mi on his flute.) So, did I give it up to a higher power? (Viacom? King Wyrnn?) Sure, not willingly of course, but always look on the bright side of wifi.

In other words, I'm not putting a bumper sticker on my truck that says "One Realm Day At a Time."

Now, what did I really miss? Well, I could still check friends' updates on Facebook on my phone: everything from gay rights (yea!) to passive-aggressive coworkers undermining my comments (boo!), and a few missed Scrabble games with one of my best friends (who, incidentally has been kicking my alphabetically tiled-tail for weeks now, by the by: she knows I play WoW and laughs at my stories about dwarfs and gnomes when we treat ourselves to pedicures [these hooves need maintenance]; however, she cuts me no slack when I want to use "Exodar" for triple-word bonus points. Must be because it's a proper noun.) I can still read some of my favorite blogs on my tiny, tiny phone screen, I just can't easily respond. It's not an i-Phone, because of an issue with AT&T. Let's just say that's one gigantic boss I couldn't defeat, and just haven't had time to switch since they have come under the care and feeding of another big monolithic corporation.

I realize I'm late getting on the bus, but in terms of the SOPA/PIPA thing, it is a teeny-bit ironic to me that I'm blacked out because of weather when the whole hullabaloo brewed. But a wrap-up, of sorts:

I don't know why it surprised the author/creator of The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman, that his views on this controversial issue would go viral and get the media coverage it did. I mean, really, Jesus-Loving-Oprah-Jet-Skis and the "lovemaking habits of koalas" are enough for any of us to take a hard stand on Freedom of Speech. And I adore and applaud Bear's stance on this, too.  The thing is, the freedom part is the creation to do so, and the copyright laws are very important, too, because they protect the talented, creative, and hackers alike. I am a believer in good copyright laws, having been on both sides of the marketing meeting; I have had to do my homework on what is good for the goose and protected by the gander, In other words, I don't want anyone to get short-shrift with his or her creative works. Most importantly, when I applaud someone's talent, I don't want to be fooled into believing it's theirs when it's not. (No wonder why Jesus-Loving-Oprah was so pissed off at a million little pieces of fabrication.)

Most postings/musings I do my utmost to back-link, and have never downloaded any media (music or movies) illegally. Back in the day, mixed tapes were the shiznit. Still have one in particular that I need to archive, it is so precious to me. In other words, we all had and have music, and it's meant to be shared. (Just legally, with fair use, blah blah blah). Consider the songs on said mix-tape: I ended up buying the for my i-Pod, too, because someone told me about them, and they mean a lot to me. More music has been purchased because of the ability to get the word out. As far as art, passages, quotes, etc., I cut, paste, borrow, etc., and always try to give credit. I want to be a good Internet citizen. I don't want someone using my drabbles (sheesh, Matty, talk about if) or other ideas and claiming them all for their own. But, I adore and cherish when great creative ideas fertilize our virtual worlds (yes, I am a shoveler of bullsh*t and Master Blarney Gardener...) But you get my point: we are a creative world. Leave it to the lawyers to tell us if we're not being original. Who was it who said, "Nothing new under the sun?" John Lennon? Herman Melville? I'll go look that up on Google or Wikipedia. According to them, and I hope my sources are correct, it was Ecclesiastes (I actually thought it was Aristotle--silly me. But I did first hear it quoted by my high school art teacher, an old African-American man who changed my life.)

Fine Print: If I inadvertently link or cross-pollinate to your blog or other original works, and fail to give appropriate credit, please let me know. I am a guardian against misinformation and ignorance, and only wish to serve.

Blizzard is no fool when it comes to the use and practice of sharing screen shots, fan-fiction, blogs, etc. What company wouldn't worship an army of willing souls ready to evangelize its product? If record companies would only get wise to that, profits would go through the roof (the roof...the roof...the roof is ON FIRE!) And with those profits, perhaps Britney Spears could afford to get that belly-piercing infection seen to by a qualified medical professional.

Last Saturday, a new Saturday Night Live episode aired. It was the funniest I had seen in a long time. (Rephrase: it was the funniest one I had watched on TIVO in a long time because I didn't have my laptop and small-horned women blocking my view.) Daniel Radcliffe (!) was the host and he is truly wonderful. (Lana Del Rey's lyrics were awful, in the opinion of the cross-dressing rogue, by the way.) There was one skit in particular about the "Youtube Generation"being overly confident, and I have witnessed this myself. But I do believe, for every basement-dwelling non-juggler, or no-talent hack (looks in mirror), there are dozens, hundreds, thousands who use the Internet for good and creativity, as well as sharing incredible information to be used for engineering, medicine, and oh yes, that whole save the world, start the revolution. Consider the Jon Stewart interview with William Kamkwamba in 2009. Where was that Google when he needed it?

So, what else did I do while I couldn't slay dragons or try on pixelated robes? Did I save the real world? No, not this week.

I read Game of Thrones*, by George R.R. Martin. I am on the second book, halfway through. It is rich reading indeed. I have this, "Where have you been all my life?" feeling about the series, but am also of the belief that books meet us a the right place and the right time.

And, I found some great blogs to dig through. See new and old links, please.

So, just say "no" to censorship.
Unplug once in a while.
Go read GOT* and give me your analysis of the sexual tension between Daenerys and Jorah. Is it hot in here, or just my dragon breath?

Theme songs:
Some of the songs on that mixed tape, in case you were curious:
Post Modern Man/Devo
When You Come/Crowded House

About not having Internet juice theme songs:
"Turn Off This Song" /The Lonely Trees
Crackity Jones/The Pixies

I'll be glad to be back in Azeroth, though. If I got one golden nugget from Big Bear, it was a renewal of love of just play. Leave it to a druid or two to tease my Draenei seriousness out of my hair. Guarf, Senor, Kaybear, and all -- miss you.

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