Jesus saves (I do not).

Let me be frank, computers have turned me into an asshole. Partly, I have become so accustomed to the reliability of today’s computers, that I completely forget that something could happen while I’m in the middle of a project and wipe out all of progress. I’m particularly lucky as I do most of my work on my MacBook Pro, so I do not need to worry about power interruptions. On occasion, when I’m on the go, I’ve put my computer to sleep, packed it up and hele’d on, not realizing that I had about nine hours of unsaved work lying in data purgatory.

Nevertheless (yet not helpful to my cause at all), the power grid here in North America seems to be much more reliable than Maui Electric Company’s setup back when I first started getting into computers back in 1993 on Seabury Hall’s old Macs. As I know you are all wondering right now what exactly “getting into computers” meant for a 12-year-old back in the early 1990s, who, up until this point has never successfully posted a blog, let me take this moment to lower my guard and share exactly what 12-year-old Neal did with computers. If there was one thing that justified the 2/3-the-cost-of-my-college’s-tuition tuition, it was the computer lab in the middle school hall, filled to the brim with new Macs. At morning break, I would consistently be at the computers, hoping that the daily allotment of free Jelly Belly samples offered at JellyBelly.com had not been completely called for. I do not remember how many months it took me to finally be one of the first 400 people to request a sample, but the drawn-out battle eventually paid off. There’s no feeling like knowing you fought the good fight and that in four to six weeks, I would have my sample of Jelly Belly beans. Contrarily, there’s no letdown like what you experience when, upon finally receiving that packet in the mail, opening it and finding a measly twelve pieces of candy.

Getting to know computers also involved discovering the world of internet chatting. Oh, there were hours of chats in private and public chat rooms hosted via Mattchat, a long forgotten HTML based chat client that was AWESOME. There were many genuine people to meet in the general chat rooms. The most memorable (except for, of course, Scott Ponte and Mikey Rosales who would set directly adjacent to me) one such persons was TheBob. Oh, how I idolized TheBob for his popularity. Fortunately, I was a smart little kid and soon realized that I, too, could be TheBob. Oh the grandeur!

Not everything I did was over the Internet. Eventually I found Telnet, which even at that time seemed. For a few months, A Moment in Tyme, a MUD game, was all the rage in my class until I found myself strapped for gold coins and realized I could create an endless number of characters and give their grubstake to me! entire network excluded from the game. Then, we all decided that Amazon Trail was seriously the best game. Instead of hunting, you got to spear fish. Sure, it’s not as exciting as shooting 3402 pounds of food and only being able to bring back 378. But buffalo are cliché. Now spearing a piranha, that’s a thrill ride!

Even with all the play, I did start learning the ins and out of computing. I learned that PCs and Macs weren’t friends. I learned how to use “graphics.” I knew what a scanner was. In my science class, we had to learn basic HTML code. I even had a teacher with a digital camera that recorded onto floppy disks! Through all of that, I learned how important it was to save my work.

So when I came back to my blog a few days ago only to find that the blog was gone, I felt like an asshole. Sure, I can blame that on Google. But I cannot blame the other instance a day later when I lost about three hours of work I had done on an illustration because I hadn’t saved the file at all and my computer decided to restart instead of falling to sleep. That, right there, is my fault and I can sum it all up here: Don’t trust me for your salvation needs.

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