A personal weblog of Paddy Foran, updated daily. Uncensored, unfiltered, and mainly for his personal benefit, this blog may offend you, hurt your feelings, or most likely, lead you to believe the author is a freak. Proceed with caution: here there be dragons.

Monday, November 22, 2010

You know, it's funny. I was thinking a few hours ago about how much I missed having a good, awesome (in the original sense) storm. I wished it would rain. And, lo and behold, when I walked out of my apartment this morning, it was the raining. But it was entirely the wrong type of rain.

I wanted to watch God try to drown out his creation again. I wanted to see God's fury and shame and sorrow split the sky into fragments, wanted to see the agony of a creator assault the creations. I wanted to see God's hate, to be reminded that we are formed in his image. I was disappointed.

Instead, I got God's apathy. I felt God's vague sorrow drip on me, an unconvincing nag that coloured my day gray. I wanted technicolor, but got monochrome. I wanted passion, but got indifference. The same indifference that has been poisoning the inhabitants for so long.

There is no God here. He has left us for the country, for places where venting his fury yields satisfaction, where he can observe with grim delight as trees sway and branches shatter. We've learned to control his fury in our cities, and--like any caged beasts--he avoids our cities now.

I want to see God wash the world away, not moisten it half-heartedly.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I know I've written a lot about my indecision as to the future I'm walking towards, the path I'm putting myself on. I know I'm looking between software and teaching, and weighing my two loves, trying to decide which to pursue.

I was recently listening to the comedian Bo Burnham on YouTube (the guy is great, I highly recommend listening to a few of his songs. Vulgar, but true.) One of his tracks stuck out like a sore thumb, struck a chord in me. I've embedded it below.

See, I view my programming as art. There is an art to making cool things. In fact, I would posit that making cool things is, by definition, art. The question that I'm posing is whether that is something we should aspire to or not.

The literacy rates and graduation rates in my country, one of the wealthiest places in the world, the place that brings us Facebook and Twitter, are abysmal. They're so bad, I wouldn't be surprised if many adults were unsure as to what "abysmal" means. And yet, we're coming up with new and interesting ways to communicate with each other. We're employing some of the smartest minds in creating art. And while we have a need to nurture the inner artist, we need to remember that that inner artist exists in a world. We can't simply hold art up as an excuse, some lofty goal that we aspire to with no regard for the context around it. There are rumbles of dissent around Buffalo right now because the funding for the arts was drastically cut, but... we're in a financially difficult spot right now. Should we be cutting funding to the arts to support more immediately pressing concerns?

It's hard to open a mind that is rotting because it was starved to death. It's hard to light a spark in someone who was beaten for being different. Maybe art shouldn't be our highest concern.

I'm not sure on any of this. I'm just thinking about where art stands in our society, and the benefits it attributes to our society. Are they equal? Is there a separation of benefits to a society, two categories of necessity? The necessity for intellectual growth and expansion through art, and the necessity for basic survival? Should we be pursuing them in tandem? As a software programmer, am I doing a disservice by turning my code into art, by delaying the good that I could be doing for my society by insisting on doing it in this pure way?

I am an artist; please, God, forgive me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
This quote has stuck with me for a few years. Ever since I first heard it, as a leader in Vacation Bible School, it has remained lodged in my mind, taking up permanent residence there next to quotes about passion and excellence and pithy song lyrics. I think it has resonated with me so strongly because giving responsibility begets responsible behaviour, in my experience. Peter is the rock; he is given the weight of the entire Church, an Atlas of the theological world of Christ, but he's also given the strength and stability of a rock.

Perhaps the cure of my ills is the hair of the dog that bit me. Perhaps I need to be more of a Peter, not less.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This Twitch In My Eye Is Starting To Piss Me Off

I woke up today and went to work. For four hours straight, I worked in the same room on the same projects. One focus, one paradigm, one thing at a time. It was glorious.

I feel like I could wake up every day and do this. Not one paradigm for an hour, then another for two hours, then another for an hour and a half... I had focus, and things got accomplished.

This gives me hope. I've been worried about how I'd function in "the real world", with my numerous immaturities in behaviour that I can't seem to get away from, from my sleep schedule that doesn't really exist, to my inability to be productive unless the planets are in line. But apparently, in the real world, I'll be fine. As long as I know what my day holds, and have a consistent pattern with a long-term focus, it all seems to work out for me.

It's a shame my classes can't work under that structure.