MonthJune 2009

on cars and computers

My mom was describing my interests to family and she mentioned that I have no interest in cars, like boys often do, but that I was crazy about computers. The observation is true and I make no apologies for this. I don’t care much for cars apart from the fact that they’re used to travel from point A to point B. I have no knowledge of engine types or any interest in souping up my car with lights and rims. My use of the car is purely functional, it solves the mobility problem. My take on computers is similar, like the car the computer is just a tool. But I can do much more with this tool. It’s not so much about owning a computer or having it as it is about the fact that computers exist and carry with them tons of potential. And thus the excitement and “craze”.

It’s about the possibilities. It’s not about what your processor speed is or about the size of your RAM. It’s about what you can do with what you have. I’m not interested in programming and coding because they’re logical exercises. I’m interested in this stuff because it’s cool, it’s fun and it’s creative. It allows me to take an idea in my mind and create something out of it. The computer is simply a tool for that. No much more than what brushes and a canvas would be for a painter, or a camera would be for a photographer.

Sure the specifications do matter at some point, a faster computer allows you to do things faster. But the speed in and of itself is meaningless. What can I accomplish with that speed? What can I create?

I have a pen in my room. It was gifted to me by my father. The pen is still cased in the box it came in. I’ve never used it and I don’t intend to. It’s a Mont Blanc pen, and it’s expensive. I can’t wrap my head around that. The pen is a tool. It allows me to write. But will my words be any different if my pen is more expensive? Will it’s shine improve my creativity and my ability to think? I doubt it. Now, I do appreciate the gesture of the gift. But I don’t understand why this pen exists. I wonder how many people can get meals off of the “value” and “worth” of that pen.

I suppose my problem is when tools become a symbol of social status. So instead of serving a function, your tools become a display of what you have/own. What else is a more expensive car, a more expensive pen, or a more expensive watch? Why do people buy Hummers, Mont Blanc pens, and Rolex watches? I don’t get it.

So that pen will remain boxed, my iron ring will stay in my wallet, and I don’t see why a Lexus is any better than a normal Toyota.

I think a guitar has more value than a Rolex, and I’ll always like computers more than I like cars.

Another thing about computers and, in particular, the Internet is that they allow and promote conversation and collaboration. They are a powerful medium for conversation, expression and sharing. These things allow me to learn and then share that with others, and that is why I’m crazy about computers and that is why I love the Internet.

on remembering words

My vocabulary is awfully small. Not that that is a particularly awful thing, it just so happens to be true. The part of my memory that retains words seems to be diminishing (along with other parts). I just can’t seem to remember new words or terminology, this in addition to my already tiny word selection set.

If you use a big word in a conversation with me, chances are that I won’t know it. Oh, I’ll ask you what it means if I feel I’m missing the gist of what you’re saying. But chances also are that I’ll forget the meaning of that word. If I’m conversing via instant messaging, I’ll probably just look up the word on dictionary.com. Sometimes, if I’m feeling really lazy, I’ll just ask (yes, even in IM). But again, this doesn’t mean that I’ll retain knowledge of that word for future use. Chances are that I’ll look it up again, and again.

I remember when I was younger, my mom gave me this book titled something like “1100 words you need to know”. I never was interested in getting through it. Knowing words for the sake of knowing words doesn’t sound like too much fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love word play and a play on words. Puns are fun. It was similar with typing speeds. Driving up your typing speed just for the sake of driving up your typing speed seems rather pointless. And I’d score poorly in any such typing tests. Not anymore though, now I type fairly fast. But my typing speed improved as a result of wanting to code faster (getting the idea out in code as fast as I think it) and wanting to respond to ICQ messages quick enough.

I don’t know if I have any such equivalent for learning new words. I seem to get along fine with the ones I already know. Most other words are probably just fancy ways of saying words already in my vocabulary, and if they’re not, then I could probably still convey the idea through a combination of words I already know. Fancy words are overrated. Why would you want to look up a thesaurus? Just so you could make other folk look up a dictionary? What’s so wrong with using the words you already know?

One of the nice side effects of a small vocabulary is that the things I say/write can naturally lend themselves to being simple. I simply avoid the complexity of complicated words. In the end, it’s probably an internal mechanism designed to keep me lazy.

Note: No words were looked up during the construction of this entry. Although, the spell check feature was used multiple times.

your smile

i might have been staring,
i didn’t notice that i was,
that’s if i was.
and even if i was,
i wasn’t really staring.

i was just waiting for your smile.

Your reputation precedes you, and with any luck, you will depart before it does.

What I don’t like about translations, primarily, is that they’re not in the original language.

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