Tag Archives: forwards into the past

demons

i have probably always been a computer geek, although for a long time i resisted being labeled as such because i was too interested in music, but my father has been a professional computer geek electrical engineer for as long as i have been around. one of the first “computers” i ever played with was actually a “dumb terminal” that had a big foam recepticle on the back of it to plug the phone reciever into so that it would do stuff more than just look and act like a selectric typewriter.

i saw my father at the Seattle Art Museum the other day. i was there for a performance of La Banda Gozona – where the consul general for mexico in seattle gave a long winded speech in spanish that i couldn’t understand – and i saw my father taking pictures. i was wearing my reading glasses, so i didn’t get a good look at him, and he disappeared before i could switch to my distance glasses, but i’m sure it was him. i find it very odd that, in spite of our differences, my parents haven’t spoken to me at all since my injury, and didn’t come visit me in the hospital when there was a chance that i would die… but i digress.

anyway, when i was first actively learning about computers, back in the late ’70s, i would frequently ask questions of my mentor, jim, and every now and then i would ask him a question which doesn’t really have an answer. questions like “why is it that when i tried X process, it failed, but when you tried exactly the same X process, it worked?” or “why is it that i send an email to X address and it never gets there, you send an email to X address and it takes two weeks to get there, and someone else sends an email to X address and it gets there immediately?” obviously there is some answer to questions like that, but often they are technical enough that even the experts might have difficulty explaining it, especially to someone (like me) who doesn’t understand.

when i would ask jim a question like that, he would get all quiet, look around mysteriously, and whisper “demons”…

he could have easily said “i don’t know” or “go look it up” or any one of a number of other perfectly rational responses, but that wouldn’t have made anywhere near the impression on me that blaming all my unknown computer problems on “demons” would have.

of course, i later learned that the electronic mechanisms that make things work inside computers are called “daemons”, but my impression is, even now, when i have wholeheartedly embraced the label of “computer geek”, that it still makes a fair amount of sense.

fast forward to a few days ago. i have just completed what i hope will be my last host provider switch for a LONG time, but i still have to figure out why the control panel on the new host works slightly differently than the (exact same) control panel on the old host: i set up a subdoman – przxqgl.hybridelephant.com – which, when you hit it with a browser, loads pages found at hybridelephant.com/przxqgl. it used to be that when you looked at the browser, you saw przxqgl.hybridelephant.com, but now, when you point your browser at przxqgl.hybridelephant.com it automatically redirects to hybridelephant.com/przxqgl and when i remove the redirect in the control panel, my browser gives me a “redirect error”.

so i wrote to tech support. he wrote back to me almost instantly, saying that he had gotten it to work, and that i didn’t need the redirect in the control panel.

… wait, what?

anyway, it works… and i keep thinking about jim and his “demons”…

break from break

so i’ve been emptying out the pile of boxes, sorting them out and putting them away in their new places – which is where the box of sketchbooks came from, and i’ve only succeeded in scanning 12 of them, so i’ve still got a lot more to go, but i came across this box of folders, and one of the folders had newspaper clippings. i’m not exactly sure when i stopped collecting newspaper clippings, but i haven’t even had a subscription to a newspaper in almost 20 years, so you can bet that there’s some stuff that has been buried and ignored for a loooooong time.

jugglers

including this one, which was taken in 1981, during my 2nd year of college. i remember being out juggling and this guy skulking around surreptitiously taking pictures of us, but he wouldn’t say who he was. then, when i was taking the ferry home (i lived on lummi island at the time) one of the ferry crew, who knew me as the guy who moved out to lummi island because if i had stayed in bellingham i probably would have been arrested, made some comment about how i couldn’t keep my picture out of the newspaper, and when i didn’t know what he was talking about, he showed me the front page of the paper, with my picture on it…

the really interesting part is that i only knew one of the other guys that well. barry was a jeweler who made The Sacred Object for me, a couple of years later. our juggling thing was sort of a random thing that more or less coalesced into the monday-wednesday-friday that we told the guy with the camera, but really, apart from juggling, we were all more or less strangers.

a sigh of nostalgia…

i backed up, reformatted and reinstalled my os9 mac, and i realised that i may have just shut down mac os9 for the last time ever this evening…

i’ve been a mac head ever since the term was coined, way back when. my first experience with a computer that wasn’t running some form of UNIX (yes indeed, i am that old) was with my father’s trash-80, the year i graduated from high school. i got pretty good at manoevering around the proto-DOS interface and programming in BASIC, but my first experience with the technology with which i actually made money for a significant portion of my life was with a Lisa – the proto-mac. the first computer job i had was typesetting for kwik-kopy printing in bellingham with a mac plus, a floppy disk drive and an 80 mb hard disk which i thought was an electronic black hole into which i could throw documents forever and not fill it up. that was back before the operating system used Hierarchical File System – HFS – it used MacFS instead, which meant that you could only have one window open at a time, and no files larger than 20mb. it was back when the mac os was free, and you could get the latest version by taking 4 floppy disks to your local mac dealer. i remember being one of the first geeks in my group to figure out that the mac was more than just a platform, and that it would be an ideal thing if you could get the mac os to run on anything. it still hasn’t happened officially, of course, but it’s closer now than it has ever been before. it wasn’t more than 5 years ago that i was working at essentially the same job, only with a much more modern computer.

so i installed os 9.2.1 on my aqua G3 desktop with a G4 upgrade, and shut it down, and i believe that it could be the last time i ever shut down a mac running os9.

the end of an era… 8)

bellingham &C.

bellingham yesterday.

the banda gozona gig was cancelled, but i went through mount vernon anyway, to check up on a couple of places i used to live. the house on thillberg road has been completely replaced with a new, bigger house. from there i drove up through sedro woolley and then across to chuckanut, and then north on chuckanut to bellingham. i was alarmed to see how much development has gone on on the outskirts of mount vernon. the places that were big open fields full of cows and swans when i lived there are now seemingly endless tracts of identical, cheap-looking houses, with more on the way, almost all the way out to mud lake (which is now, ironically enough, called “clear” lake). there has also been a fair amount of development in sedro woolley. also, the building south of sedro woolley that had the “Talkie Tooter” sign that i always used to wonder about has a bright, new, spiffy sign that says Rothenbuhler Engineering, which is a lot less confusing… all thanks to internet (which didn’t exist when i actually lived in mount vernon).

Kamalla & low rider

so anyway, i got to bellingham about 1:00 and smoked a bowl or two with ken and kamalla, and then we went up to the college where they were having a low rider show in red square. when i wanted to have an event that involved driving on red square, the people in charge said that red square was “too unstable” to drive on, but the low rider show was a whole bunch of cars parked all around the fountain. i guess when i wanted to do it there were “political” reasons for preventing me from doing so, and that was the excuse they used. the low rider show was a bunch of people from various low rider clubs from seattle, although i did see one or two cars that said they were from bellingham, and a bunch of “cholos” (kamalla’s word for them) – hispanic/mexican culture folks – but hardly any actual WWU students, which i thought was rather unusual. there were also about half the cops in bellingham, apparently because they were worried that there might be some racially motivated violence from the large quantity of black and hispanic (read “not from around here”) people. of course there wasn’t any violence, and there were a bunch of dancers from mexico that were performing to a CD of the same music that i had originally thought i was going to perform in mount vernon.

then i went out to drive around and “reconnect” with the town that i lived in for 15 years before moving to seattle, getting married and having a brain injury. i was really surprised to discover that i remembered where things were that didn’t really make any difference (like Current Industries, one of the places i used to work), and that i remembered all of the secret ways to get various different places. i ran into darol, who was out on a bike ride towards lummi island. i saw this guy from behind who had stopped to pick up some litter by the side of the road and when i drove past him, i realised that it was darol, so i just pulled over to the side of the road and we chatted for half an hour or so. after that i drove around in the lummi reservation, past the lummi island ferry, and back through marietta.

then i went back to “the land” and went to a jam at kenyth’s. he was very surprised to see me, because nobody had told him that i was going to be there, and even more surprised when i said that i had an amp that i wanted to plug my long flute into, until he realised that it was me, who has the capability to play the trombone very quietly, playing into the amp. apparently he was worried that it was going to be some blasting noise that he was going to have to play with. silly kenyth… 8)

i got home around midnight. even despite the fact that the gig in mount vernon was cancelled, overall i would say that my visit to bellingham was a lot of fun and i had great time, and i am going to have to find an excuse to go visit again a lot sooner than i did the last time.

this morning i got verbal confirmation from the SSDI folks in baltimore that my claim for disability has been approved… finally… after 4 denials, three years of waiting, and – HELLO! I HAVE A HOLE IN MY SKULL! there’s no word on how much they’re going to give me yet, or when it’s going to start, but it’s a small step in the right direction.