This is a strange picture from my collection of images from the Philippines (my father provided me with a CD with images from my camera, my sister's camera, and my cousin's camera). This was taken in Baguio, when my family visited my relatives in the mountains. The temperatures are cooler there and the trees are primarily pines and conifers, something that one doesn't expect in a tropical country. Here, I am sitting on a roof of the low-lying half of the house. The flat roof is used as a small basketball court.
The picture was taken at the perfect time. Unknown hands have thrown the basketball so it is stopped in midair exactly over my uncle's head. I find the image extremely comical.
Perhaps, I'm just easily amused.
My friend, Val, pointed out in my Digital Destiny entry that I didn't mention Webgrrls at all. Or in my Digital Diva page! The travesty!
Webgrrls did a lot for me when I was in college. I joined the Chicago chapter of Webgrrls, looking for someplace where I could talk to other people interested in web development. I was a serious hobbist and was considering seeing if I could do web development as a career.
It turned out that I could. The opportunities where there if I was interested in them, especially for people with a more technical spin, like HTML developers. Many people in traditional design mediums were looking to expand their design careers into the web medium. With their traditional knowledge, I knew I would be no match in the design arena, but with technical experise, I could possibly make a life out of it.
I decided that there was a need for a Webgrrls chapter in Champaign-Urbana, a hotbed of web development. Also, I thought it would be good for a chapter to be focused towards the needs of the women in the area: a focus on starting a career and being mentored in web development and design. It turned out that being part of Webgrrls gave me a lot of experience in being a mentor and not a mentee.
Val was one of my first developers I mentored. I helped her with HTML and she helped me as an extra eye. It was a really great relationship, especially since she's got far more of an eye for design than I do. I loved learning to see with new eyes. I still do. I like helping people get into the web, get excited about it. Other passionate developers got me into it and now, I'm in their place getting others into serious hobbying.
Computers gave me my experiences as a teacher. Although knowledgable and skilled in botany and the biological sciences, it is in computers that I really shined. It was because of passion, I think. Having that drive and excitement makes a world of difference.
I spotted this article on CNN today, about a storytelling machine. I have a feeling that this will be my next book purchase. It reminds me of an earlier novel that I read by Hofstadter, Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought . Hofstadter's book discusses computers and style when applied to the letters of an alphabet. What are the rules that allow us to determine if something is in the same style as another? Where does creativity stem from? Can a machine mimic creativity? There is a fascinating exercise called "Table Top" in Hofstadter's book that I played with Mike and a few of my friends who were interested in those type of thought exercises. The creative process through analogy. Brutus, the storytelling machine, looks like an extension of Hofstadter's work. We shall see. It's intriguing, to say the least.
For some reason, I thought about anime today. I decided to look up my favorite character, Gally. Sometimes, she's called Gunnm. In America, she's known as Alita. Battle Angel Alita. I love the story, a human mind given the body of an android and her search for what she is. Where she came from. Even though I know where I am, where I've been, I'm still searching for myself. That's the appeal of Gally for me.
Mike finds Gally a bit disturbing. "The artist couldn't decide to make her a kid or a sex pot and they put a bit of both."
I have no objection to that.
Mike commented further, "That's because you were a kid and a sex pot."
"Oh yeah." I grin.