Welcome to my online journal. I'm Alex Mead. For many years people
called me AMPro --so much so that it seemed like my name. More recently,
a lot of people on the internet have come to know me as green.earth.al.
In case anyone's been wondering what I've been up to, this journal is a
place to find out.
(this news item posted on November.23.2007)
Seven one six is my area code. It's the area code for the phone number that I've had all my life (and even before that since it was my mother's phone number before I was born).
And 716BBS.com is the name of a website I started, in May of the year 2000, trying to stay in contact with my friends as they moved away from the 716 area code.
Once upon a time I graduated from High School. Not long after that I started a software company called AMProSoft to spread joy and goodness throughout the world. I was making shareware video games, thinking puzzle games and such and I knew that they really could travel all around the world. ... Somehow.
In college my friend Rob tried to help me out. He gave me a disk labeled BBSs. It did not end up helping me out as I had no clue what to do with it. I left it in among my pile of furiously scrawled notes, drawings and hand written programming code, having a gut feeling that some day it would mean something.
Some time later another friend from college, Kieth, actually came to my house and brought over some additional disks and did some magic on my computer and all of a sudden I could get BBSs on my computer.
BBSs, Bulletin Board Systems, then, slowly, became a huge part of my life. I would call them and upload my video games. And some people would download them and play them and give feedback. I discovered that if I left messages on the BBSs then even more people would know they were there and might play them and give more feedback. And then I found that the people I was leaving messages too had even more useful advice on how to upload games to more popular BBSs and online services in other area codes and even around the world.
And then many years passed in what one call call a BBS-existence. It became a big part of my life, and introduced me to some of the people who have made the biggest impact on my life. I became a big fan of BBSing as a form of communication and, as an artist, I latched onto the BBSing art scene, which was called ANSi Art. I created a program called tha AMPro ANSiNator, which actually became a widely used program for ANSi Artists worldwide.
Click for a gallery of my ANSi Art
As time went on some friends of mine and I started a comic/newsletter/magazine to support my games and then as the internet began to come on strong we developed a website at AMProSoft.com to support the whole franchise. I put much more time into those two things and into BBSing than into making new games, so at some point there was no more software coming out of AMProSoft. And that was okay because I was starting to have dreams of making educational games that would teach kids math and the industry was going in the other direction developing games like Quake and Doom that would teach players how to shoot and maim.
So the decade and the millennium came to close and I was called to do other things on the new and blossoming internet. I was making a lot of websites and designing lots of other stuff and learning to code for the web and finding out just how much I enjoyed writing. AMProSoft began to wither on the vine.
I put up 716BBS as a last effort to stay in touch with all of the quality people I had met. But then that too suffered from a lack of attention. I had a policy of not installing any software on any of my websites that I had not personally written. And I always had it in mind to write a proper BBS and message board system, but years went by and it had never gotten written to my satisfaction.
Over the summer my girlfriend Heather began installing some BBS software, Simple Machines Forum, on one of her websites that I host on my server. And at some point I had to do some maintenance on it and found it to be fairly easy to navigate. I still didn't really want to inherit any security issues by installing widely used software, but it was already there and I was getting to know it and developing a tolerance for it.
More recently I accidentally nuked her message board. I felt really bad and had to dig around in a lot of code and databases trying to figure out and fix whatever I'd done to make it unhappy. And I learned a lot more about the software. And I kind of like it now. I set up a BBS system for the band that I'm in the BloodThirstyVegans and then I went over to 716BBS.com and replaced the AMProSoft message board system --which had been gummed up with unfathomable moosetons of spam over the years-- with a nifty SMF BBS.
If you ever had a modem back in the 90s and called a BBS (in the 716 are code or not), please feel invited and encouraged to stop in and talk about the good ol' days.
(this news item posted on November.13.2007)
two is the number of head on collisions (bike to bike) I've been in over the last few years. The most recent one was today. The less recent one was... not sure... a few years ago or thereabouts.
Both head on bike collisions followed the same basic pattern. Sudden obstacle, little time to react, just enough reaction to avoid serious injury. Each rider checking to see if the other rider's okay. Then each rider checking to see if each other's bikes are okay. Then you smile. And then you ride off. The emotional diagram of the event goes something like: shock, fear, concern, relief, amusement.
Okay. Topic change. But it's all related, you'll have to trust me.
In Derrick Jensen's latest book, endgame: vol II, he credits Ward Churchill with having told him that the GNP (Gross National Product) is just a scorecard of how fast the nation converts life into death. Living trees into dead paper, living animals into fast food commodities, living plants into textiles and the like. Personally, I had never really thought about the GNP very much before, but I see where they're going with that. I think it's more than that though. I think that's one major component of it, and another major component is changing the earth's chemical equation (converting inorganic things into products (which also has catastrophic consequences (consequences, like turning the living into the dead I suppose (but that's a little too indirect for me)))). Anyway, the powers that are go around converting all kinds of non living things into products: water, rocks, gases, whatever else. Things like carbon and coal and oil and radioactive elements that are supposed to be buried under the ground are now out and just hanging around with us on the surface, changing our atmosphere, making us sick, doing whatever all else.
In book I'm presently writing, the Problem With Earthlings, I talk a lot about the battle I've been waging against the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for most of my adult life.
When I was little there was a framed quotation on our wall that said "Live Simply, So that others may simply live". I figured it was just there, like all of the other things on the wall that meant little. Something to walk past. But it was seeping into my brain a little bit every day. Live simply.
These days I take my anti-consumerism to a ridiculous extreme according to many of my friends. According to me I'm just living my life. I am pretty zealotous about it though. Around this time every year I sit down and calculate how much money I did not give to Altria corporation by not smoking? And how much money I did not give to McDonald's by never ever going to McDonald's? How much money is Anheuser Busch lacking due to my not drinking? And it goes on and on and on.
For the last eight (almost nine) years now I have had another calculation to make. The car savings. How much money am I not giving to auto manufacturers? How much interest on the loan? How much money am I not giving to GEICO in auto insurance (a total legalized racket)? How much in gas to these HUGE petrol corporations? How much evil would they have done with my money had I given it to them? They're good at multiplication of evil, I know they are.
And then a day like today happens. Head on collision on a bike. Maybe I would drive more carefully than I bike. Actually I'm sure I would since I do drive once in a while. But a head on collision in a car does NOT end with amusement. Not at all. Quite the opposite.
The bike accident I got into a few years ago was at the apex of a bridge. The other rider and I actually did exchange names. We didn't have to. But I felt it only fitting since we'd bumped into each other. His bike had been undamaged. Mine was nearly undamaged. My insurance is still zero. Had I chosen to get my bike repaired the bill would have been under twenty dollars.
Living simply does allow others an opportunity to simply live. But more than that... living simply makes life really, really simple sometimes.
(this news item posted on November.10.2007)
thirteen is the number of trucks I did at work this week. I was going to try to set the record... but that was not to be. I think my record is fifteen. Probably. Though I don't think I was keeping track back during the forced 12 hour workdays that paid well for suffering hard.
This week with the thirteen trucks was hard too now that I think about it. Trucks have gotten more difficult than they used to be now that the company has decided to put the maximum amount of weight possible on them.
Not an especially big deal to me --the added weight. I go to work to exercise anyway. Little more weight = little more fun as far as I'm concerned. But there are no more easy trucks to dole out to the newer workers when they need an easy day. And there is much less variation than there used to be. The surprise easy trucks are few and far between these days. Now it's just heavy truck, over and over again.
New people have not been lasting long on the job. It's been a revolving door lately. And when the latest wave of new people quit I figured I would just pick up the slack with a few of the people that have worked there for a while who maybe could use the extra work.
So then at the start of the week a freind who I work with had a serious illness in the family. I should have tried to call in some reserves, but I figured I'd just stay later and make up the trucks myself and make more money.
I wasn't thinking thirteen or anything over ten even. But that first day I ended up staying all day and throwing four and that was a lot. It had been a while since I'd thrown like that. But I paid for it. The next day I was sick. I had become disused to spending all day long in a series of trucks. I don't think my immune system cared for it. On Tuesday I had a sore throat, stuffy nose and the like. Riding my bike to work was tough let alone throwing trucks once I got there. Nevertheless, three more trucks. Wednesday was much the same. Stuffed up nose and difficulty staying focussed, but there was nobody else to call on to throw trucks so I threw three more.
Thursday was like a whole new world. I discovered the amazing powers of oxygen. I had not been able to breathe for two days. But suddenly my congestion had broken and I could breathe. Plus, it was the day after payday so I had eaten. Plus, I overslept so I had actually slept. But since I had overslept, I rode my bike to work as fast as I could and that just pumped me full of oxygen. By the time I got to work I felt almost high on air. I felt like I was thinking twice as fast as I should be, and I probably was thinking twice as fast as I had been in the past two days. I was running around doing five things at once and loading motorcycle tires at fantastical speeds. I loaded the equivalent of three trucks in five hours and I had all day with nothing else to do since it was a Thursday. I felt like I could literally throw all day. Another two trucks would have been a new personal best for a week as far as I know, and I felt I had at least that in me if not more.
And so then they told me they had run out of work.
I was stunned. What do you mean? I have like a bajillion kilojules of surplus energy. They can't send me home like that. I had at least 2,000 more calories that I needed to expend before I could feel in sync with the world. And I only work four days a week so I might be stuck like that all weekend. But they sent me home in that condition. I tried to run around cleaning my house, but that didn't do anything. I was stuck that way.
So that ended up meaning that I made a lot of money. I'm eager to see how I throw next week. There probably won't be nearly that many trucks to throw, but I'd like to see if I can throw that fast again.
But that can wait until Monday I suppose. Tomorrow the Bloodthirsty Vegans and I have another exciting adventure playing the WNY Peace Center Annual Dinner. That's going to ROCK!
(this news item posted on November.02.2007)
five trips around the sun for our love
the year together, the years apart, the years together again
five repetitions of four seasons in various variations
sixty five wax and wanes
ebbs and flows
rages and pages
receivers and stages
we've met up in some strange places along the way
we've made some interesting friends
we've made up, made amends
made the true believers and the new believers uncomfortable
we've refused to pretend
Five times outlasted the darkness,
and waited long enough for our side of this big ball of iron to tilt back toward the sun.
we've made it over impassable terrain.
With out a doubt that doubts would always be about
we've loved and lost, turned and tossed and settled in
and remained best friends
five trips around the sun so far
you remind me of that star
|Copyright © AMProSoft 2005. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED|
Published in Buffalo, NY U.S.A.