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journalWelcome 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 and in show biz...My Rap Name is Alex. Whatever name I'm known by, I still seem to have the same opinions and convictions, I still like to write and make public my introspection and try to say something that will provoke some thoughts and help people see the world in new and helpful ways.
January 2013
Digital Diversions
this journal entry posted on January.27.2013

    In November I set everything aside to try to organize and complete all of my web design software so that it would be usable to my web clients and I would be able to work faster. It's always a lot harder than I think it will be trying to be a coder while being a full-time parent at the same time, but by the end of 2012 I had gotten pretty close. So close actually that I decided I wanted to try to come up with one piece of content for every day of the month in January 2013.

    I underestimated how difficult that would be also. My experience so far indicates that everything that you think you will be able to find time for is much harder to find time for when you're doing childcare at the same time all the time. But, so far I have not yet missed a day and there are only 5 days left to go in January. Looks like I might make my goal.

    There have been days like yesterday where all I've had time to produce was a touched up Computer Generated Image. But actually, that's a pretty interesting/cool image and I did spend a good bit of time modeling those old AMProSoft characters in order to now be able to just tell the computer to crank out some images of them.

    My biggest challenge with creating a content item each day --my biggest problem with anything really-- is I get side-tracked. I have so many diverse interests and there is so much available information about all of them out there on the internet that it's hard to maintain a focus. One day I was intending to make one 3D model in blender for my computer generated images gallery. The next thing you know I've discovered they have a new version of the software available, tons of new tutorials are out there for free on YouTube. A few late night/early morning hours later I'm finally past my old road block (an inability to put skeletons in my models and move them all around and pose them.) Next, I'm totally diverted into digital sculpting again.

    Oh well, I have had a lot of fun creating content this month. I've also managed to cobble together some more substantive efforts like YouTube videos of my own. This recent one of my daughter Aya is particularly good.

    The other big bonus of having gotten sucked back into digital sculpting a bit is that the very bleak, desolate looking "under construction" page for AMProLand may get to come down some day soon. I bought a domain name for AMProLand many, many years ago with the intention of resurrecting the old AMProVerse characters from the 90s. Well now that there are 3D models of the characters all of that is much more of a possibility. I don't want to get into to many "I'm gonna" plans because it'll all probably be a lot harder than I think it will be while juggling child-care, but I'm pretty impressed with the "What I already did" with what digital sculpting I've gotten through so far. Just as an "oh by the way" the featured image for this blog post over to the right is an old Pirate Ship from the old comic books. It looks a lot better in the 2013 beefed-up version.

    In February I will definitely be slowing way down with the content creation. But man-o-man has it felt nice to have AMProSoft.com be an active website again. Slowing down will hopefully allow me to fix a lot of the broken stuff and complete more of the incomplete stuff. But it's great to sit back and realize that AMProSoft's output for 2013 is already comparable to 2012 and January isn't even over yet. Taking a bit of time to get a little more organized last year and then taking some time to pick up new skills this year has already been an incredible tangible boost in my web abilities.

    So that's pretty much what I've been up to this month.

Good or Bad at Capitalism
this journal entry posted on January.12.2013

    I have a great many anti-capitalist friends. Several of whom will often say things like "Yeah, I admit that I hate capitalism because I suck at it." Taking a quick look around at the debt to income ratio of the average person in my circle of friends, a LOT of us suck at capitalism. Not me though. I was pretty good at it.

    About 15 years ago when I was willing to play the game of Capitalism I was a recent college graduate with one of those highly touted computer degrees. I was an entry level contract code monkey working on Y2K fixes at a time when entry level contract code monkeys working on Y2K fixes made a pretty decent buck. I had 401k and 2 retirement accounts, benefits and very modest habits and interests so I was able to save and invest even more. I was pretty brainy so I was reasonably good at investing and in the span of a few years I had amassed half of my first 100ks of net worth. It was easy to see how I could just keep doing what I was doing and keep being rewarded and make a game of how fast I could become a millionaire. 60? 55? 50 years old if I really went after it maybe.

    Even when I was fired and I decided to go into business for myself and look after my ailing mother rather than shop myself around I viewed it as a temporary hiatus. I figured after a few years I go back and get after it again with the movers and the shakers.

    And then George W. Bush happened.

    A lot of folks think that the W derailed our country and steered us down a frightening imperial path. I tend to believe that W just made it so obvious that we couldn't ignore it and more. Lots of folks like me who were just coasting along had to put on the emergency brake and get out and try to figure out what happened.

    I never really got back in the vehicle, figuratively or literally. For a while I thought maybe I could just amass a million dollars and use it to smash capitalism? Or, the ever popular, maybe there's an ethical path to obscene wealth? But in a very short time I just felt an unavoidable need to withhold my participation in the system while I started looking around for an alternate system.

    As to capitalism: who knows what its potential could be. It never really had a shot. Autocratic monarchical systems ruled the day and then some Capitalists appeared to throw them off one day and start something new. But the elites just poisoned capitalism in its sleep and put on its clothes and have been masquerading around as capitalism since well before I was born. All of the obvious alternatives to capitalism don't seem any less cooptable to me.

    As I see it. We live on a world where greed is revered and rewarded. As a consequence an ever increasing portion of the ever increasing population is ever greedier (among all socio-economic strata) and greed is the determining factor in so much of the decision making on planet Earth. Humanity needs to figure out, FAST, how we can make greed the reviled human characteristic that it once was, that people are inspired to turn away from it. How do we reempower the least greedy among us and disempower the culture of death and destruction before we are dead on a destroyed planet.

of Gifts and Fighting
this journal entry posted on January.03.2013

    Today would have been my mother's 69th birthday. When my mother passed away in 2001 it left me shattered in a way that took years to put myself back together. I literally spent a year in my house just figuring out what does life mean and how could life work in a world without my mother in it.

    In 2003 and 2004 I found myself writing a book. An autobiography. I made my best effort to gather up all of my feeling about growing up with my mother, the last few years of taking care of my mother, and the devastation of loosing my mother and throw them all into the writing and then not dwell on how difficult it is not to have my mother around any more. You know, start living with what you do have and can do instead of remaining stuck on what you don't and can't.

    I did well with that. Considering what the bond with my mother was like I would say I've done a job job of not allowing myself to be paralized by its absense. But now I have a child of my own. And every time I see other parents of young children just reach out to their own parents for help (or get help thrust upon them without even asking for it) I am forced back into that mentalspace, daydreaming about the infinite love my mom would have for my daughter and the limitless life lessons, the infinite patience, all of the qualities and gifts that my mother had to offer.

    Barely perceptable in my childhood were my mom's gifts for removing obstacles. I was able to develop and flourish believing that many obstacles must not exist. The last ten years have been an exercise in learning not to just stand and marvel at the enormity of the obstacles that can exist in this world and set about to work chipping away at or toppling them.

    I am extremely grateful that my daughter has two parents taking obstacles out of her way. A lot of qualities in my love person, Sophia, remind me of my mother. And of late I'm finding obstacles removed and stunned by not having had to remove them myself.

    As of January 1st I have vision care. I have hope, for the first time in a long time, of getting new glasses and lenses. If anyone ever closely examined the pair of glasses that I have been stitching back together and squeezing more life out of for the last couple years they might get some small sense of what the prospect of new glasses means in my life. On nearly no income I have twice saved up multiple hundreds of dollars and deployed them in the pursuit of new lenses only to end up with no lenses and no money. The idea of Sophia having access to things like family vision plans and health spending accounts seems like "fantasy things" rather than real world things.

    A few months from now I will even have health insurance. When the Health Insurance reform was a big news item, my natural reaction was "Oh great, another huge obstacle for me to have to fight." As a person with no income in a country that self-describes as FREE to anyone who will listen, the idea of mandatory purchases of any kind seems very counter-intuitive. So off I went trying to figure out what are the punishments going to be for not being able to afford to feed the health insurance corporations. And then suddenly there was Sophia telling me that all of us will just have health insurance.

    You don't like fighting but your in a fight whether you like it or not. You're tired from the fighting but you still have to defend yourself. Fighting is constant. As you finish a fight you must ALWAYS be ready for the next fight. You must always be ready to be fighting on multiple fronts at any given time. Suddenly, you look up and the fight just isn't there. And you get to stop and rest for a minute. I almost don't know what to do with myself.

    Health insurance, that's such a not real thing for everyone to be having all of this fuss over.

    When it's all said and done the best I can do with the days ahead is summon those gifts of ease that my mother so graciously gave to me and pass them on to my daughter and then let her know where they came from as I am able. She contines a long life of truly remarkable women and I tremble to imagine what she will be able to achieve with her gifts.


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