The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
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    Where did all the fun go ?

    where did the fun goThere was an aritcal in the Guardian that I did a blog on.  About how mondane our jobs are becoming.
    Admit it: you've got a bad case of post-holiday stress disorder. I could offer up pop-psychology tips for smoothing the transition from beach to workstation – but most of them are crap. My favourite bit of heal-yerself glibness is the advice to have a meal from the country of your holidays, as if a trudge down to the local Thai will transport a wage slave in Kensal Rise back to Koh Samui faster than he can say "green chicken curry". The truth is that you're probably right to hate being back in harness. It's not just that, from here, the days get wetter and shorter, that there are no more bank holidays till Christmas or that sacrificing the surplus value of your labour to The Man is really no fun (although that last point alone surely justifies more than one sharp kick to the office LaserJet). Those are all-important, but something more specific is going on. Our jobs are getting worse.


    And not just our jobs but our everyday lives as well.  Technology has taken a lot of toil out of our lives. We no longer need to actually cook any more, we have microwaves. Our cars, washing machines, refrigerators, televisions, audio systems are run by computers and can be remote controlled. Nearly everybody has a computer at their jobs that they enter data into.  And actual computer programmers are becoming more and more rare as most of the applications are canned.

    While technology has relieved us of a good deal or the work in our lives, it has also removed quite a bit of the fun as well.  When was the last time anyone saw somebody working on their car, with the hood up. Checking the engine - rummmm...rummmm.  All cars today are monitored and controlled by a computer. With fuel injection and electronic ignitions and some even have computer controlled valve timing.  There is very little one can do themselves.

    I got interested in radio and electronics at a very early age. When vacuum tubes still ruled the roost. I would get a radio and would start futzing with it and take it apart to see how it worked or modify it some which way. My father never really understood that for me this was fun and educational.  My first real job in high school was in a TV Service shop and it was fun.  Now nearly all electronics today use very tiny parts with 40 or more leads and cannot really be repaired. You pitch it away and get a new one.  There are very few service shops left and those that are - it they cannot repair something by replacing a circuit board, will not attempt any further.  I remember repairing and building radios and audio equipment and modifying electronics and that for me was play.  Mty current radio does everything anyone would want perfectly. I use it rarely these days.

    I also remember being able to go out and play just about anywhere outside. Back in some woods climbing trees or in the spring I would play in any creek or wash out gully.  Baseball was who ever got some other kids together with balls bat and gloves and a big yard.  You really cannot do that anymore. Everything seems to be structured and controlled and empty lots are posted and fenced.  Streams are protected and sometimes fenced to keep people out. Not just for the streams sake but also to keep someone from bringing a law suit against who ever owns it.

    In the 1950s and 1960s do-it-your-self was very popular. From houses to electronics. Kits or from scratch. Now not so much. Yes you see people in the Home Improvement stores all buy the exact same pre-manufactured cabinets and doors and windows to put in their exact same size kitchens, baths and basements. Even the houses themselves are quite often pre-assembled  and trucked to the site.

    The fun and experience of just doing something different in a different way is being lost. The play is going out of our lives.  I remember the shortwave radios I use to own years ago. They were big and heavy and had lots of tubes and did not work nearly as well as those we have today. But we could modify them and add things on and well play with them and it was interesting and exciting and fun. The fun of failure and finding out why and then doing it better the next time.

    This entire planet was constructed for our race of people
    to come...
    and play.
    Play?
    As advanced as you obviously are,
    and you still play?
    Yes, play, Mr. Sulu.
    The more complex the mind,
    the greater the need for the simplicity of play.


    We need to be able to get back to free form play and fun. Away from all the perfection in out lives. For perfection will only make you perfectly carzy.

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    I wonder what else we have lost ? Creativity maybe or imagination ? Spontaneity ?


    Creativity and imagination can not be packaged and sold to a consumer.

    Business only needs people to do what they're told, when they're told, at the time they're told...no discussion. If you think out of turn, you will be punished. Thinking is not allowed. That's not what you were hired for. So shut up and do your work.

    There's nothing worst than seeing a problem, recognizeing what the cause it and how to fix it only to be told to mind your own business, get back to work and if you bring it up again disciplinary actions will be taken.

    We've lost a lot in the quest for ever increasing corporate profit goals.


    I guess that's why I like working in wood. I can still shape it any way I want, sand it, and then stain it any shade I want. I built our base cabinets, and will replace our wall cabinets someday.


    I always envied those who could do wood working. I did not aquire that tallent from anyone in my family. My younger brother, however is very good at it.


    I often have the same sorts of thoughts when I see the toys that are on the market for babies. They're heavy on the flash and squeak and light on the imagination. Luckily, little kids don't know they're supposed to like them. The kids still prefer to play with the boxes!


    And all of these changes require a lot more money each day of our lives to function and maintain.  We've enslaved ourselves I guess by going down this path.  I find myself daydreaming of getting "off the grid."  Last month I bought a non electric coffee grinder, which aren't so easy to find anymore.  Ha!


    Non electric anything ain't easy to find any more.


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