Monday, April 13, 2009

iWork? Pages? -->Back to OpenOffice

Not fond of mykrosoft, when I came back to the land of Mac after years of putting up with a cheap PC, I started using OpenOffice. It had to use X11, it was slow as frozen jello, and its purported 99% .doc friendliness was overrated. So I started using Pages. Pages is good as far as it goes, and its .doc port wasn't terrible, but it lacked some of my favorite features, such as indexing. And, the .doc wasn't that good, really. Writing a novel, I tried NeoOffice (slow), CopyWrite (don't recall), Scrivener (interesting, but overly complex for me), and StoryMill (not featureful enough).
So, I'm back to OpenOffice. So far, all I can say is: not very slow; crashes a lot, but not so much I'm screaming; and has a nice UI. I can't use the TOC as a hyperlink to a page, at least, I haven't found a way. It has a TOC-making style that is just as arcane and likely to screw up as MykroWord--not worse, not better. Oh, and the TOC removal process seems to cause crashing.
I'll give an update when I have more data.

Dream as Reality

Wow. I was reading an article by Dr. Temple Grandin called "Do Animals and People with Autism Have True Consciousness?", and I was stunned by her comment, "Perhaps language blocks access to the subconscious." This seems true to me at an instinctive level. When I wake in the morning, I remember my dreams quite clearly initially, and I marvel over their complexity. I often feel they are the basis for a new story or that I have discovered some great truth, even when the dream isn't a big dream. However, I can't hold onto the dream for long unless I verbalize it, either aloud or in writing. Thinking about it won't work, unless I think in specifics, actually speaking words to myself.
The problem is, once I speak the dream, it loses something in translation. Sometimes I capture a bit of the thrill, but never to the extent I felt while dreaming, and often once I verbalize the dream, it loses its luster.
Dr Grandin says that those who think in pictures (like she does, like animals may) cannot grasp philosophical or abstract concepts. That makes me think of my current fascination with the idea that there are many experiences and emotions for which I have no name, and no way to quantify. There are emotions that have no parallel to any feeling I have had before, and felt experiences that are hard to describe, perhaps impossible to describe, because I have no language for them. It makes them very difficult to remember. But then, having a word for something may only give me a vague approximation of what it really is.
In Plato's theory of forms, what we see is not the thing itself, it is simply a shadow of it. Perhaps my language-less felt experiences are my seeing the thing itself, in all its glory and complexity, and the ones I can name and remember are my pitiful brain's way of creating a shadow that I can grasp.
Maybe the dreams I give voice to are simply Form or appearance, and the dreams themselves are the substance--which makes me think of the aboriginal Australian belief that The Dreaming is more real than waking life.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

I'm celebrating having a new project by advertising my new client: the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. The three-week project to help them get flyers and press releases ready for some events was brought to me by Spherion, a headhunter that I approve of because their hiring documents and time sheets are all online! Love that.
Back to ASF: "More than 70 astronauts are helping the United States retain its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination, and exceptional performance in the science or engineering field of their major."
The project I am working on is an auction. If you'd like to own a memento of the space program, check out the items. Bidding starts April 9.