rainy day reading
Sunday, October 29 2000
For most of the day a cold steady rain was falling and I never left the house. Rain is a rare and beautiful thing here in Southern California. How can someone not like the way it sounds? It takes me back to all those rainy days of my childhood, when the forces of reality seemed straightforward and unthreateningly just. I remember cold rainy days when I would sit out on the front porch, wrapped in blankets, reading old copies of Ranger Rick. I'd get my feet in the coziness beneath those blankets and start snuggling them against each other's coldness as I'd prepare to dive into a another installment of fascinating reading. A car would go by on the wet gravel road making a "crrrrreeaHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHeeahhhh" sound. My old dog Wilbur (a black Labrador) would come shuffling up to me, tail wagging and soaking wet from a romp in the long wet grass of the front yard, all too happy to make a mess of my magazines.
I miss the rural East Coast, the rain, the humidity, the affordable real estate, even the dunderheaded rednecks. People are every bit as dunderheaded out here; the fact that they drive late model German cars as opposed to beat up old Chevy pickup trucks just makes them all the more obnoxious.
I spent much of my time in bed, snuggling my cold feet against one another as I read the bulk of Guns, Germs and Steel. I found myself thinking about all those little inventions scattered throughout humanity like Lego pieces, most of them introduced unusuably before their time. History is the process by which the unforgotten inventions were gathered up and assembled into the modern global technopatina.
That technopatina sure has come a long way, even in the past dozen years. Today my housemate John was casually watching Flash animation movies on the downstairs computer as if it was a television. These movies were streaming on-demand from othervision.com (he'd found the link in a banner ad at Bathtubgirl.com). It was amazing given that all this media richness was coming into my house over the previously unused bandwidth of my telephone line, over a pipe that any normal engineer would have completely ignored. Still, the novelty of the broadcast had me more wowed by the fact that it was there at all than by the actual content. It was a little like the dawn of the age of cinema, when people were so amazed by film's ability to capture visions that they would willing sit through a half hour silent film showing walking horses.
Inspired by all the Flash I'd seen, I dabbled in Flash 5 for a few hours this evening, clawing my way to a few basic nuggets of wisdom despite the unhelpfulness of most of the documentation.
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