BYTE ran a piece I wrote two weeks ago:
Turning Point for Be, Users
about the BeOS situation as it stands… just how bad it is, who should keep using and why, etc. Ignited quite a firestorm on BeNews, but most people didn’t begrudge my position… most agreed with it. A few flames, easily extinguished. The weird thing was that I got messages from old Be engineers and employees… people I hadn’t heard from for quite a while writing to commiserate, and to remember what it used to be like. Interesting that they’re still following Be after all this time, long after they’ve moved on personally. BeOS gets under you skin that way. People are never the same after they start using. Was kind of nice reconnecting with an older segment of the community.
Between that and the recent “Adamation leaves the BeOS scene” announcement I had to write, I feel like a Benedict Arnold. Except that I’m not a traitor – I’ve done everything in my power to keep things alive. Why there were never dozens of journalists on the BeOS beat is still a mystery to me. I shouldn’t have been alone.
Anyway, it just amazes me that there are people today who think I’m being unfairly harsh on Be. “They’re going through hard times. You shouldn’t be so callous.”
For godssake people, open your eyes.
Went to see the new Brothers Quay film In Absentia with Amy and Amy after work, preceded by five other Quay shorts. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched any of their stuff. This was a big departure from their earlier works. More live action, less puppeteering. About a woman in a room writing over and over again in these tiny, cramped, heavy loops, nothingness onto a page over and over again, breaking pencil leads with her heavy hand and placing the stubs on the windowsill. Eerie soundtrack by Stockhausen which I loved but the Amys hated. Took a while to shift gears. Brain still in work mode through most of the first shorts, then I slowed down and got into it more. Felt really good to get out of the office and into the theater, especially to see something more abstract.
Picked up a used copy of the Book of the Subgenius at a garage sale to replace my decades old, dog-eared copy. Tried to watch Conceiving Ada, but it was so badly acted and so corny we had to quit after 20 minutes. I’d love to learn the story of Ada Lovelace, but those filmmakers should be ashamed. Ended up watching some of Short 6 instead.
Took off early from work (well, 6) and went to the Oakland Arena with Mike to check out the arena cross — sort of the “superbowl of motorcross.” What they do is take a basketball court and fill it with dirt, then make this ridiculously torturous, windy whoop-de-doo track and pack it down. Kids and 20-somethings from all over the state race 125 and 250cc motocross bikes around, spending a full 1/3 of their time in the air. The jumps are absolutely insane. A 30 foot take-off run in 1st or 2nd gear off a 12-foot jump, and they sail in these perfect arcs halfway down the court, land and brake suddenly, hairpin turn, then two or three medium size jumps on the way back, a run of small whoop-dees, and back into the main jump. Over and over again.
I don’t know what they burn in those things, but the smell of dozens of two-stroke engines buzzing with this whiny noise and pooting out this acrid chemical smell. It smelled so bad and so brain damaging I can’t even believe they did it indoors. Afterwards we could taste the chemicals in our mouths it was so foul.
There was also a class of 65cc bikes ridden by 7 to 11 year olds. Cute, but not nearly as daring. They just roll over the jumps. Would have been more exciting if one of those kids were mine. In fact it seemed like half the audience was composed of friends and family of the racers.
I was hoping for a real white trash experience, but it was kind of ho hum. Graceful to watch, but it got boring pretty quickly, and there just wasn’t enough space to make for a good race. Whoever hit the first turn first always won. Wish they had trotted out more spectacle — big boobie babes, show-off stunts, etc. Think we’ll have to go to a monster truck rally for that.
$8 for parking
$6 for a beer
$4.50 for what they straight facedly call “nachos”
$27 for the ticket with all those absurd ticketmaster “service” charges (what f*cking service?)
Kinda fun, kinda gross.
I am disgusted and amazed at the Taliban and their intentions to destroy some 2,000 year old statues of The Buddha, 174 feet high and carved into the side of a sandstone cliff in Afghanistan.
The Taliban claim that the statues encourage idolatry and are un-Islamic. So they’re going to rewrite history. They’ve already started blasting at them with rocket launchers, and have chipped away at the heads and feet. It’s like blowing up the Parthenon or the Sphinxes. Human idiocy and arrogance know no bounds. The whole world is against this, but of course they’re not listening, not letting anyone into the site. It’s on their turf, they can do what they want. It’s one of the saddest things I’ve heard in a long time.
Of course, it’s not like they can kill off the buddha spirit. They’ll only make themselves look miserable and pathetic. The whole thing isn’t much different from the Chinese occupation / destruction of Tibet. The world hasn’t done anything to stop that either. Mostly because no oil is involved.
The pressure is intense. The politics make it much worse than it needs to be. Feel like I’m being pulled in two dozen directions at once. And I’ve only got four limbs with which to be pulled. From.
Just watched Requiem for a Dream with Amy… what a heavy way to end the week. What an intense movie. Also one of the most originally shot and edited I can remember seeing, ever. Inspirational in that sense, but if anything has ever sent a successful “don’t play with fire or you might get burned” message, this is it. Also about delusional goals, irrational justifications, and the seductiveness of the rabbit hole. Unh.
It’s funny… I thought I knew everything about the history of Be and BeOS… but I’m learning so much more working where I’m working. Not all of it is stuff I necessarily want to be learning, either. I mean, it’s not like I shun the truth, only that I’m realizing that I’ve only known part of the story, and have been naive in some respects. Won’t say more about that here. Only that I’m feeling a little down on account of having my eyes opened.
Jazz pt. #7 was tonight. WWII, Bird and Diz. Intense and amazing tonight, as every episode has been. Made me realize… if there was a war right now and I got drafted, and they brought the music of the day to the front lines to entertain me, I would curse the stars that it was Ricky Martin and Brittany Spears. 50 years ago, it could have Ellington, or Basie. Amazing that those geniuses *were* the popular music of the day, not some historical curiosities. What has happened to great music? Is it really all but gone?
Still putting off that Byte column. Don’t know why… it’s harder to find the motivation to do these than it used to be, even when things are going well for Be and I should be totally enthusastic, I have trouble whipping up the motivation I used to have.
Looking back, the reason I got into BeOS to begin with was to explore new avenues for creativity. After a while, the cart started coming before the horse, and I found myself more into BeOS itself than in the creative avenues BeOS was supposed to be all about. The religion of it overtook the reality of it. It’s been fun, and still is, but from a certain perspective, it feels like a case of misplaced priorities.
Lately I find myself more and more wanting to get back to the roots of it all… to create, regardless what OS the tools are running on. Face it: Be didn’t come through in that department, and the available Windows tools are just so much more evolved. So if I want to get into indie film making, I’m going to be spending more time in Windows. It’s just an ugly fact of life for me right now.
Fried. Worked 12-14 hour days, three days in a row. Amy returned from Oroville, where she’s been photographing a Chinese Joss House (a temple). s at the Red Tractor, trying to work up the energy now to write my next Byte column. Urgh… I need about a week off.