First Date

Good day! It’s 7am, and my name is not Fred Savvage. I went on a first date the other day. My first in a while, but that’s not important today. My date had suggested a walking tour of the Art Gallery here in Ontario. I decided not to spend too much time thinking into the deeper meanings of such a date, and said yes.

As much as there is a full wonderful story of the way the first date went, today’s writing is actually about something unrelated, but inspired by my visit.

The AGO has to be open free one day a week for the everyman. It’s a Government funded gallery, and as such, it needs to be accessible to everyone, so one day a week, it’s free. In this case, Wednesdays. They don’t have huge banners and posters declaring Wednesday as FREE DAY. You have to want to go looking, much like the way REAL MEDIA makes it so difficult to find their FREE PLAYER amongst pages and pages of hype for the pay version. To be fair, I hear they’ve gotten better, but I stopped using Real Player years ago, and so I use them for my analogy based on old information.

In any case, the museum style art gallery is free because of an ideal. Culture is a right, or at least something that should be available to all, regardless of social status or wealth. The idea got me thinking, and I quickly discovered a whole slew of examples where Government makes an effort to mix classes and throw the poor into the neighborhoods and social activities of the not-so-poor.

While I’ve always been fascinated by how society as a whole caters to different wealth levels, and how I can find almost everything for my home in a dollar store if I know to go looking, but yet people seem very satisfied to pay upwards of $10 and $20 for the same items in the brand name stores… myself included.

The story takes an unusual term, when I take these ideals, and apply them to what the Internet started as, and has become. Although nobody owns the Internet, and there is no head office running it – like most things on earth, we all know it’s the Americans who make the choices; The Government of governments, although we don’t usually admit that in public.

So it occurred to me, that piracy of software and music – may be officially sanctioned… kind of.

I bet you didn’t see that one coming. A written discussion about Art Gallery quality culture for the masses takes a sharp right turn, and all of a sudden I’m justifying ripping off Britney Spears new songs without paying her.

But free access is nothing new. If I was less the lazy author, I’d GOOGLE up the history of the Library and site some examples of how long it’s been important to have free access to culture via the library. Likened to the dollar store analogy, there is a strange percentage of the population that has no issue with paying $10 for a novel, and reading it once, when the exact same book is available free for the minor effort of signing up for a card. In this case, a shocking percentage, as I personally don’t know anyone who frequents a library anymore.

Using yet another example where Government regulates free culture via TV and Radio, where people have been taping songs and videotaping Survivor for years.

So today, our kids are “wired”. They’re hip and new and online… and a library doesn’t translate well to a medium where the electronic equivalent to photocopies are 100% identical to the original. Video taped copies are not as bad as the songs from Top 40 that always had the DJ announcing something over the end, just so copies wouldn’t replace purchases altogether. The system tried to maintain a fair and honest balance. People who could afford to pay, helped the economy survive, but those who couldn’t afford it didn’t have to do without.

With music, very few can afford it, and that’s a loop of circular logic fit for the executives. The percentages of fairness have changed. Even for those kids that can afford to buy music, the world is filled with so much marketing of choice, that it’s not a high priority. There are just to many other things to spend that money on, and since the copies are identical, kids almost feel like idiots if they’re the only ones paying for something.

The idea of online music is intentional. It was an idea to allow access to music, like a library did, but the problem was it was a wild puma let out of the bag, not just a cat. Peer pressure makes it so that it actually doesn’t make sense to pay for music, unless you’re really rich, or stupid.

Whoops.

Like so many things, knowing the problem doesn’t help. I don’t offer a solution. Stars need to be paid. Money needs to be generated.

Well… that ended up being a totally different essay than expected. I love writing free flow without editing. My mind just wanders.

Err… I mean the mind of, who did I say I was today…

Just a guy.

My name is not Arthur Dent, and as much as I like to think I’m a great mind in today’s society, I know I’m just a guy. However, I strive to be a great mind. I am currently reading a really fascinating book about the history of discovery through time, and I am somewhat comforted by the history of all these great minds, most of which were complete crazy basket cases.

I’m a little crazy, but I’m enjoying it. I spend a fair percentage of my free time thinking about the way the world works, or more specifically, the way different brain types fit into society, and everything works out pretty well.

In school, we learn about evolution and history in facts, and if we’re smart, we work out a lot on our own. We understand that if we kill all the deer, we may lose the wolves who eat the deer, and countless other rippling side effects we never thought of. Life is a delicate balance, and we’re always cautiously aware that there is no rule that says we, as a species will survive. Before us, and presumably after us, life in general evolves and continues, but we’re just one species in the game, and we’re fighting to be a long lasting one, rather than a short lived story. So far, it seems we’re the only one capable of memory worship, and story telling anyway, so when we’re gone, so is the memory of us.

Already, as humans, we’re having a hard challenge figuring out who we were 10,000 years ago. So the point is, life is a balance we can only guess at controlling.

So for me, it’s been fun looking, and observing, and coming up with theories and ideas. One of the ways I do this, is by coming up with a scenario of life, in my head… and then working out the entire story to completion. Almost like a mini TV show encapsulated piece of fiction, and then trying to sit it into my reality, as I know it.

This type of thinking is swift, and hard for me to journalize, because I do it so often, and not all thoughts go anywhere. I seriously considered writing a book called 50 FIRST CHAPTERS, which was just a book of every first page… every start of a book or story, regardless of where it ended or stopped. To me, the excitement of a new idea inspires me to write, but the drudgery of completion, or even continuation at a later date repels me from actually creating any completed work.

Today, at about 5am, I had a new idea. I’m glad I have not forgotten it yet, because often a long preamble like the one you’ve just been reading is a sign that I’m stalling, and have forgotten what I woke up to write about, but today’s thought was cool enough to remember.

What if I have no life of my own? Through my memory, I have been happiest slipping in to everybody else’s life. Their friends, their social activities. I’m just the new guy.

Then, I went overboard,, but stay with me, and you’ll get a better understanding of the way the mind of Jeff Goebel works. Then I thought, what if I have no thoughts? What if I walk around, and all these ideas I have, are actually the thoughts of other people, and I just don’t have a psychic filter, so I don’t notice it. Indeed, some of my thoughts and thinking are very abstract and spontaneous. It is conceivable, that they’re the thoughts of that stranger I just walked by.

Within a few seconds, I had realized this one particular scenario wasn’t really worth pursuit. It was exciting for a fleeting moment, and I envisioned the TV show set, and how it would play out in a script or story…but then the true genius hit me. Even if I don’t particularly like this idea as an example of what reality could be, it was a more perfect way for me to express my ideas. IT allowed for a forum of random ideas, presented without an necessary end.

My book could be; the great minds of other people. A story about a guy (me) that just walks around, and tells you what other people are thinking. When I look at strangers, and I often do, I sometimes create a story for them. It’s fun. Now, I can take that silly game, and expand it, using my writings. I no longer need a whole story, or book on one topic. I can use Mr Jenkins, the man with a moustache that looks like he’d love to have a huge handlebar moustache that goes up 6 inches on each side, and needs constant waxing and attention, but can’t, so he has a small bushy one just ever so slightly bigger than the norm. A safer, but still commentible choice. Mr Jenkins, is thinking about Mars. He’s ..

Oh, I like this idea… at least at this moment. If my own personal writing history has taught me anything, it’s that good ideas to me, are still instant, and this one is probably no different. I still can’t seem to convince myself, or motivate myself (a better word) to do any writing at all… except in the instant it motivates me magically. This means, I’ll create a whole new Chapter 1 next time, and this idea will just be thrown in the proverbial drawer, which of course today is actually a folder labeled “writings” on my personal computer.

In case this ever does get published, it might be fun to know my personal computer is a Pentium 4 Windows XP computer running at 3.06Mhz with 2gb of ram. At the time of writing, it was one of the fastest and best machines available, but even if this were to be sent to a publisher by 9am this morning (it’s still only 6:30) , these specs are probably laughable, in much the same way I laugh at how amazed we all were with the Pet 2001 or the Commodore 64.

Aside idea: We should really think about keeping NEW stuff more often, just so we have one in 60 years when it’ll be cool. Imagine having kept a brand new in-box Commodore 64. Still not uber cool, but another 30 years…

Actually, I’ve often dreamed about buying one of the first Volkswagen Beetle’s or the first PT Cruiser or some “more cool than normal” car, and then put it on blocks for 40 years. Investment money is easier if you think in terms of 60 years. .hehehe

I suppose that is the draw behind baseball or game cards, an invention intended to appeal to that particular mind “bit”. I need to come up with a better word to describe these ideas about specific things some minds have that others don’t. We may learn they’re genes or DNA strands, or we may delve into my overall theory of BINARY life. Every decision is a yes or no, and we’re pre-programmed to prefer a specific path, both through birth (dna or genes or something yet undiscovered) and society as we grow. Our brains have a YES/NO preference mechanism, and our upbringing teaches us when to ignore it. A perfect balance of who we are, and who we’ve become.

I love that theory, and would love to express it into words one day. That truly is the legacy I imagine, when I go back to thinking I could easily be one of those great minds I am currently reading about. And with an ending tie-in to the start, so well crafted… I should be.

Heheh… Wow. Finally a story with an end other than; and then I got up to eat something and never came back…

April 9th. Good Friday 2004

Edited at 6:57am… I have decided to blog online, and not tell anybody I know. If you find it, cool. If not, it’s still better than sitting in the folder. It’s out there, although at this stage, my look back at how old my brand new super powered Hyper Threaded P4 is still impressive.