Tag Archive: access


Picasso v. the Internet

I never thought it would come down to this.

But I had to choose.

Picasso or the Internet.

I’ve had some struggles getting decent, reliable Internet service where I live in San Francisco. It’s not that it hasn’t been available, just not to me. Other priorities have claimed enough of my meager artist stipend these last few months to prevent me from being able to order my own hookup until this month.

In the meantime I’ve been trying to maintain my online life with a neighborhood wireless connection that has the most interesting patterns to it. It would be fun to watch the times all during the nite and day when it gets busy or doesn’t, except that I find myself online at too many of those hours just trying to accomplish simple tasks. In the pursuit of said online life, I’ve been working a lot of those ‘round the clock hours trying to get things done.

Now I think I finally, really, honestly, reliably, have an Internet connection on order, and a date it’s supposed to happen.

It’s taken some detective work, and some naively patient waiting, only to find that gatekeepers on both sides of that coveted Internet connection have been giving inaccurate info for a couple months. I’ve been trying to get the really good service that’s available here, hi-speed cable modem, but it finally comes to light that my building did not know which carrier they’d approved. Turns out it was the other one.

The other service looks good, although based on phone lines, and I race to get an order placed. Again I get to the page that says, “no, not at your address. The good Internet service is not available to you.” It’s starting to feel like I’m living in a poor neighborhood on the Information highway, as well as in the physical world.

Responding to the offer of a “Live” chat to help me along, “they” find I really do qualify for the good stuff. At least according to them. I say “they” because while I sense there is a live person behind the chat window, they are typing in canned responses straight from the legal department.

Ironically the connection I’m on to place the order starts blinking out.

Finally, I do sense spontaneous words in the chat window as the chatter sends me a link to place the order. I start the process there, and woohoo; it likes my address this time!

Then it hits me!

You! Yes you, have just qualified to have a functional, reliable, online life. You have just made the cut between the haves and have-nots in the information fueled society we live in.

Had my name not been on that list, or rather my living cubicle in this fabulous city I live in, it would have had quite real consequences for me in terms of livelihood, education, and social life.

I’ve been in my building in San Francisco’s famous Tenderloin neighborhood for a few months now and getting settled into a more regular life after quite a journey in the past year that happily delivered me to this fabulous city along the way. I have come to love this crazy vortex I find myself living in the middle of, where a theatric production of real life unfolds from my third story window view in every minute.

I also feel quite blessed to live in and have housing at all in this very expensive, high demand city, but frankly, much more of my life takes place through my computer screen.

Another wonderful thing about San Francisco is the hella cool museums and the exhibitions we get here. Right now there is Matisse, Picasso, Cézanne and Renoir from the Stein Collection @ SFMOMA, Dutch and Flemish Masterworks @ Legion of Honor, Gertrude Stein and Charlotte Salomon @ Jewish American Contemporary Museum, and  the Musée National Picasso, Paris Collection at the DeYoung.

I’ve been trying to see Picasso at the DeYoung for a couple months now, I mean, how can you miss Picasso when it comes to your city, if you’re even in a city where it comes to?  On the free museum day once a month it’s $15.00, on regular days it’s $25.00. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s been more than I’ve had left at the end of my month the last couple months, and now this one too it seems.

In the order process for the Internet package it got to the hard questions…the security check. None of the answers I have these days are good ones. I settled on “Self-employed” as I usually do on these things knowing it is usually the kiss of death on credit related applications. Sure enough, there’s a problem; but alas, also a solution. Your rate for information access, you freelance writer and starving artist, is five months paid in advance plus the modem.

Quickly I start to do math in my head…I know I have enough for it all, but barely. I take a millisecond to consider…then I pounce! No looking back now! Food, cell phone, creature comforts, heh, who needs them? I’m going back to surfing like the upper crust baby!

So I pressed the button, and waited for the ramifications to set in. Hmmm, still seems to be good. I can get through yet another lean month if you will just stream music for me!

Then it hit me…Picasso! Again! Noooo!

Picasso will again have to wait until next month, and as luck has it, there are two months left. This month it will be Gertrude Stein and Charlotte Salomon which I’ve got a  free ticket to.

Will work for Art!

See you soon,

Calli

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Second Life 2.0

Well I’m back.

It’s been almost a year since I was in SL with any kind of regularity or being able to participate in much here; and it’s been quite a year as well in that life they call real.

One of the biggest impacts was not having much of a place ever to log in. It wasn’t that I could not get in at all, but just randomly and then from a coffee shop, more and more Starbucks for the quality of the Internet connection. But it was difficult to feel like I was in SL while sitting in one of the main arteries of American culture in 2011, Starbucks, who does consistently have an SL-capable internet connection.

Once you start frequenting places less often or not at all, your conversations with SL friends gets more difficult to maintain as you lose context and knowledge of life in SL. So you drift. I told many of my good friends I’d be gone a while, and have picked up with most of them now that I’m back. But some have gone, and others are doing new things like I am, and so the context of what brought you together changes. Just the same as happens in the concrete world.

There was definitely some magic afoot for me to be back and writing this today, and it’s given me new thoughts about accessibility and privilege I want to explore.  A few factors that helped me were:

A random wireless connection that appeared one day from my new digs  in the City

A computer crash and then Resurrection

The fact that in a year of living on my feet (the real ones), I managed to hang on to my aging laptop in working condition. Thank you Gods of Technology!!

My 3+ year-old laptop, one step up from the bottom, is not supposed to run SL anyway, It has decent graphics for a laptop of it’s era and pedigree, but now an aging dinosaur in the light speed world of technology. While I’m pretty happy with some of the changes and plans I’m hearing from the Lindens since I’ve been back, the renovations to the grid have been working my Win Vista laptop to the limit.

Then things stopped altogether.

And the Resurrection brought improvements

Windows 7 – fresh install

Memory – 2 to 4 GB

Cooling – the laptop is elevated about 4 inches above the table now with a $13 fan blowing across the exhaust fan. It barely gets warm, if that.

Now it works really well! When it still has a moment, it’s not a blue screen freak out like before,  just a polite black screen that you can back out of. Sa-weeet!

I can also multitask now with the new memory and the Win 7 environment. Yay! At the moment, I’m listening to music from my patio in SL, while typing in Word with Firefox on and a few tabs open like WordPress. This really is a whole new experience to me to be able to work outside SL while I’m in-world. It was not easy to do before.

As long as I’ve been in SL I’ve heard that I, among many, have never really seen SL. That since I don’t own at least a certain level of machine I can’t appreciate the SL experience as it was meant to be. I’m sure that experience is truly amazing, and I’m looking forward to seeing it. But I’m also here to say that I’ve built a fabulous life in SL with a door to entry that was supposed to be locked, and I snuck in anyway. I realize I ‘m on borrowed time and the upgrade has kept me surfing just ahead of the crest of the technology wave, so a new surfboard is in the works.  But I’m here!

Many things in our modern culture come with critical thresholds we are warned to abide by, or else….or else what? I find that in our hurried busy lives we often accept much too easily the words of modern soothsayers who probably have different goals for such limits than you do if you were ever to chat with them about such things. Those safe limits are created by people that like where they fall on those thresholds. In fact, their perspective determines what they can ever be. Yours is likely different. So trust your intuition and plunge ahead. In many situations any damage is not corporeal or substantially impacting anyway. How safe do you want to live life? I suspect there is a whole population of people like me living happily below those margins because SL is still very cool with what you’ve got, clunky moments and running into things not counted.

For me this upgrade has meant a much richer detail on textures. They have really come alive from previous photography or just viewing on my laptop. Interestingly all that old photography was blown away in what I’m calling The Great Computer Crash of 2011, but I am having fun with SL photography again and out filling up a new Flickr account. It seems the old account was lost in some tech merger or something while I’ve been away. Oh well. This is all obviously the work of Gods and Goddes… well probably just the Gods. But no worry…it’s my Second Life 2.0!

So I’m back in SL and loving every minute of it. I missed the art, and the technology, but mostly I missed the people. Old friends and new ones I’ve  just met- I’ve missed you all!  Because I don’t find that many of you in my RL. Perhaps because you are already in front of your screen as I race back home from necessary RL errands to get back to what’s really become my real life, here with you. SL is where I think the people I’m looking for hang out. It’s where I find myself when the larger world makes me pull in just a bit. Here in SL I find the part of me that doesn’t always find it’s way out in the concrete world. In my SL I can have experiences that escape me in the other world; cost, time, or maybe you can only get across town once in an evening even with a reasonably unlimited budget. Those are very real factors for many people even in a place like San Francisco. In SL, those barriers are much smaller.

And where else can you have a Vegas-style weekend like I just had over America’s Fourth of July weekend. One where you awaken to find you’ve taken some vows of some kind with a person you could easily spend much time with…never to see that person again. Haha. I love being able to laugh about those things when they happen here. Outside of SL an experience like that would likely bring much to untangle; here I can remember what fun it was and remember it’s the experiences that are the wealth I seek.

We’re a young republic here in SL, and we come here with some hurts from the other world, but taken altogether I’ve not met a finer batch of folks anywhere. It is truly my joy to meet more and more of you in SL. It will keep me coming back for the duration. I just met a few more lovely folks during what I’m calling My Orange Weekend, and I’ll post about that next. No, that’s not a nod to the overload amount of the color orange you see everywhere in San Francisco. Think orange latex, of which there is a shortage even in Fog City.

Be seeing ya,

Calli

Random music during post:

That’s What Friends Are For – Dionne Warwick

Dinka – Elements (Edxs 5un5hine Mix)

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