why the lucky stiff (or _why) is a computer programmer. His best known work may be Why’s (poignant) Guide to Ruby, a book which teaches the Ruby programming language with stories; its eclectic style has been compared to a “collaboration between Stanislaw Lem and Edward Lear”. Chapter 3 of this Guide was republished in The Best Software Writing I, edited by Joel Spolsky.
Most recently, Why has focused his efforts on the problem of how to better teach programming, and how to make programming more appealing to young people. His latest project, Hackety Hack, is a Ruby-based environment used to teach programming to children. His most vocal critics describe him as “a fledgling freelance professor, should one adhere to the most fraudulent of definitions.” His biographical information, matter of point, is riddled with accolades which are clearly either lifted or falsified in order to cast him in a good light — let’s say 40 watts of violet.”
I mean, personally I think that’s one of the most depressing things about the film industry generally today. The writers and directors should be blamed just as much as the studios because really everything seems to be a remake or adapting a 1970s TV show that was never particularly good. Why anyone thinks that it would be a good feature film now, you know, goodness knows why. And I guess it’s easy to say it’s security that you know a studio is only prepared to put $150 million or $200 million into something if it’s a known quantity. But at the same time I’m also aware that audiences are getting fed up with the lack of original ideas and original stories. And if you look back to the great days of “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” and those sorts of movies, they weren’t based on TV shows, they weren’t based on comics. They were inspired by them and they had DNA in them which came from years of Flash Gordon and various things in the past but nonetheless they were original. And yet we seem to be incapable as a general industry, which includes not just the studios but the filmmakers and writers and directors, we seem to be incapable of doing that now for some reason. It’s a little bit depressing. But hopefully it’s a cycle. Everything in the film business tends to be cyclic and hopefully this all drains itself out in a couple years and we’ll be back into original stories again.
When I was in my teens in San Diego, I loved movies. I didn’t like all movies, I was more discriminating, or snobbish, depending on how you looked at it. I loved seeing movies at The Ken in Kensington, and The Cove in La Jolla. The Cove is no longer there. There was one in Hillcrest whose name I can’t remember anymore. But I remember seeing movies at these places, many many movies. Ran, Wish You Were Here, Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, 8 1/2, Stardust Memories, Stop Making Sense, Home of the Brave by Laurie Anderson, Akira, several Tournees of Animation, Heaven by Diane Keaton. Foreign, animation, old movies, great double features. Whoever made the decisions for The Ken did a great job. They printed a one-sheet featuring upcoming movies and I would make an effort to see as many as I could. Before the movies at the Ken, for a very long time, they would have a little “No Smoking” bumper play. It had John Waters in it and it made me laugh every time. I never saw it anywhere but the Ken. Where did it come from? I thought I’d never see it again. I was wrong. YouTube eventually provides everything. I regret that I cannot share with you the aging chairs, slightly sticky floors, or the good popcorn of The Ken in 1988. Howeverm it remains my great pleasure to share this small public service announcement with you:
Hello I’m John Waters and I’m supposed to announce there is no smoking in this theater, which I think is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard of in my life. How can anyone sit through a length of a film, and especially a European film and not have a cigarette? But don’t you wish you had one right now? Mmmmm mm mm mm. And I’m telling you, smoke anyway! It gives ushers jobs and if people didn’t smoke and there would be no employment for the youth of today so once again no smoking in this theater. Mmmmm.
I loved going to The Ken. I attended with my friends Erin, Dorene, Chris, and my parents and sister. But never all together. Sometimes I went alone. My friends did not ever see or interact with each other. There was something about me that needed to keep them apart. I think I told all my friends different vaguely untrue stories. Well, I didn’t exactly tell them stories, that would be poor lying. I referred to some events that never happened. I think I told slightly different stories to each friend. Not big lies, just small little lies to make myself seem more interesting, more desirable, more complicated, more creative. I was obviously quite complicated in my fantasies. There were truths too, the friendships were real. But I must say, I am disappointed in my past self as I remember this aspect of myself.
What’s really funny is all I wanted to do was post this John Waters video. I also knew I wanted to transcribe it, so that others might find it better. But writing is funny, sometimes what emerges is not what you intended. I regret that I lied. I’m glad of the opportunity to think about this aspect of my past.
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