Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 05-08-12

And just like that, the world changed…

Happy Monday evening!  It’s late, for some, about 10:15, and for some reason I just worked out at the gym then made a cup of coffee.  This erratic behavior is usually indicative of a substance abuse problem, but then I wouldn’t need the coffee, I suppose.  No, I’m good.  I get really good coffee from Joe Beans in Lynchburg, VA (it is the coffee on our bus as well), and it pretty much kicks ass. So instead of a donut after a workout, I am soothing the savage beast (and forgoing being asleep before 2) with Coconut Butter Cream coffee and a sleepy Diesel at my feet.  Sleepy Diesel had to be the name of a band at some point.  At least it should be.

I have been pretty busy with a lot of little projects lately, and that is a pretty good thing.  First, George Johnson and I finally edited the final version of the video for ‘Can’t Outrun The Radio’, which is finally up on youtube.  (Go back 6 words and click on the blue title, in case you missed it.  I’ll wait.)  I have been talking with a fantastic microphone company about doing some video work for them, and for my musician friends, check out Earthworks Audio for some amazing products.  And for those of you scoring at home, I am using the SR40V vocal mic live, and have the QTC40’s in my home studio.  Simply amazing.  Enough of the product placement, already.  Let’s get down to weezness.

As some of you know, I am a tortured soul.  I am a sucker for all things old, yet attempt to (begrudgingly) embrace the future.  It’s tough for a guy who loves to see an oil pan under a vintage airplane yet has been shopping for an electric vehicle.  I’m all screwed up.  I thought that facebook would be the decline of western civilization (it’s actually Angry Birds), and that we were on our way to UPC codes on our necks and tasteless gel as a Happy Meal.  If you listen to the Chicken Littles of the world, the end is near!  But if we listen to reason, not rhetoric, then  we may see some light at the end of this crazy tunnel.

If you go back and study (which is essential before we can move forward), you can see some crazily effed up times in this world’s history.  You think the economy is bad?  Ask someone about the Great Depression.  You think HIV is a tough one?  (Is it me or has THAT education sort of disappeared?) Try the plague.  Remember the plague?  Wiped out HALF of Europe over the course of two years.  (Aww rats, you say?)  Problems in the Middle East?  Umm, read the chapter on ‘ The Last 2000 years‘.  How about that little gem called World War I, where they were using mustard gas?  How about the Civil War, where brothers were fighting brothers?  Could you shoot at your brother?  ( I threw a fondue fork at my big brother once – no points for a hit).

Whilst in Chicago last week, J Dawg and I took in the space exhibit, which was pretty amazing when you see the technology that was available at the time.  There is more computing power in an LED calculator than was on the Mercury capsules.  Think about that for a second.  Now come back in and focus.  There has been a lot of talk of returning to the moon, and the big question is really why.  We’ve done it, the Transformers have their allspark back or whatever, so we’re good.  The next step is, in fact, Mars, bitches.  Technology will just dictate when (probably right after they perfect an ion engine and/or cold fusion).

But technical mumbo-jumbo aside, over the past 20 years or so, the world has changed.  And even more so in the past 5.  Well, let me rephrase that – the world is actually the same – we just know a lot more about it.  We see the gritty underbelly firsthand, and then stream a picture of it so we can all comment.  Bullying, rape, war, disease, poverty, despair, and futility have been dogging us since day one.  I don’t like any of it, but it’s there.  So is all the good stuff.  All right there in front of us.  To share and embrace.

But technology has taken us to the dark side.  We are told that we have bred a nation of programmers who just want to make apps and a quick million bucks.  Weren’t we doing that with the .com craze?  But weren’t we also decimating landscapes and springing boom towns during the Gold Rush days, spawning a generation of get-rich-quick folks?  Or maybe the fur traders during the 1700’s?  I don’t know – call me crazy, but there will be a few of us that strike it hugely rich, and the rest of us will just be OK.  And that’s OK.

Technology and development are not the enemy, here.  We are.  It’s what we choose to do with it technology, not the technology itself that is the danger.  Are we neglecting our math and history lessons and science classes in exchange for reality TV and video games?  Without question, yes.  But who is to blame there?  Don’t blame the video game console.  Blame the parent who won’t regulate it.  I had to finish my homework most of the time, but I was also on my bike until the street lamps came on.  And I didn’t need an app for that.

But in the middle of all this ‘Wow Steve you sound like my Grandpa’ jibberish, remember:  The future is brighter than you think.  I read a great little article recently (and you probably read it, too) about how brighter days are ahead.  Think about this – not only can that phone put you in touch with any one of 5 billion people at any time, but the wealth of information at your fingertips is simply staggering.  Millions of books, maps, instructions, and even amazingly informative blogs (sans this one) are out there for you to use.  And there is the key.  Are you using your powers for good or bad?

How many of your apps are for toilet time, and how many are for learning?  (And if you are learning while on the crapper, then kudos!) Scroll through, and check out some of the things you have on your phone.  If you are playing Oregon Trail yet have no idea what the Oregon Trail is, then maybe it’s time for a little overhaul. And if you are on a computer (since not all of us are all smart-phonin’ and junk), then find some new sites to visit that expand your mind.  Hell, just Google a topic that remotely interests you, and see what kind of world is out there.  And remember – this (being the internet) is not life, but merely a portal to show you what kind of life is out there.

I’m not saying we do away with technology, I am the polar opposite.  I say develop until we can’t develop any more.  I would love to visit the moon, Mars, and beyond in my lifetime.  I would also like to see the rest of this planet (and save the damn polar bears, please!!!) before it is all said and done.  I have many electronic gadgets that get me through my day, and I am on my computer a lot, (which is probably the source of this rant), but I also know when to walk away from them.  It’s the ones who are connected 24/7 that I worry about, since the cyber world has become their world.  Just remember this: ALL electronics have the greatest feature ever built to help you slow down and take a breath.  It’s called an ‘off’ switch.

See you on the road!!


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