I haven’t talked about my little project lately, because I don’t want to bore people with my hair-pulling frustrations as I move between the hard-edges of my understanding of coding and systems. There is only so much a poor arts geek can do when it comes to technical things, and waving my hands and shrieking in frustration seems so not-me.
Frustrations is a bad word, because it is not so much that; it is more a realisation that I should get some help from someone who lives and breathes this stuff and focus on what actually interest me. Coding, and teaching myself coding is only a means to an end. That end is an aesthetic goal of having the digital magazine I’ve been tinkering with. And that digital magazine is an artistic project, for me, and not a technical one.
While it does look pretty here on my development server, the frustrating things are more the back-side handling of things. If I want to make some sort of payment system, it needs to be meticulously secure. If I want to make it really secure, then I must know a lot of esoteric stuff. And, the kicker is that I am most likely reinventing the wheel because I don’t want to involve other people (and have to pay them).
My dad and I discussed this and I tried to tell him what I was doing. His response was a lecture where he told me not to waste time and focus on school and my future. His point was that my only goal now should be to get a degree, whatever degree, because degrees were good.
That is kind of funny because I have never really thought of my dad as insulated and removed from reality, but when engineering majors can’t get jobs at Starbucks with their degrees, what hope does an English major have? It is not like when he was my age; a degree means nothing. You must have one to have a chance at that Starbucks job, but the chance of getting that job is still slim.
The older brothers and sisters of my friends, those who have these degrees, struggle mightily now. About one third are actually considering leaving the country for Germany or the US because they think that they will have a future there that this place won’t offer. Of course, this may just as well be a pipe-dream because none of those brothers and sisters have studied German or French or Spanish. They think that speaking English is enough, and I’m afraid they’ll have a rude awakening.
This is why I’ve urged Mark to study German or French. I am not certain there will be a place for him in this country once we finish with university. Engineering and science jobs are probably a lot more abundant in Berlin than in London. He is considering doing just that, and I can write anywhere.
As for me, this magazine project of mine seems like ‘a thing’ that, if I can make it work, would mean I don’t have to try to apply for that Starbucks job when I get my degree. I won’t have to compete with those science major other applicants. And I won’t face the indignity of paying taxes, VAT and such, for all these years and then having sods like David Cameron tell me that I’m a yob that deserve nothing from the welfare state I’ve helped to finance.
Not that I’d probably need to use job-seeker’s allowance and such. It’s more the principle; having some posh Eton boy tell me that I’m lazy and unambitious doesn’t sit well. Like it doesn’t sit well with most of my friends and peers.
But making the magazine a ‘thing’ means telling dad that I want to spend some of my cash on it, and knowing him that will lead to a crisis intervention. That I’m supposed to be an adult now won’t matter. I’m supposed to study, study, study. If I hint that I’m doing this on the side, with some sort of vague notion that it might grow into this ‘thing’, then I’m sure he will go ballistic.
It is frustrating, back to that again, to know that this thing that I feel like I want to do is limited by my knowledge about coding and systems, because I could see how it could fill a vacuum in my soul where my former goal and ambition used to live.
I could take down the vacant-sign of my hopes and dreams, and do this. It is more frustrating that the biggest challenges are not likely technical or aesthetic, but other things like my dad and mum and the expectations of finding employment at a later date.
I oscillate between loathing journalism and admiring the hell out of it. No, that’s not true. I think I have a consistent distaste for media in this country, and want nothing to do with it. However, I admire some people working in the media, and want to be like them. I think they have a nice job.
Taking a job in the media seems to demand a corrosion of my personal ethics. That can be translated into ‘joining the real world’, which is a horrible statement because it presupposes that the real world must be grubby and deceitful and base. I don’t believe that I have to join entities that believe this, like most of the newspapers and media outlets in this country.
So, the compromise is to build my outlet where I won’t have to compromise with anything that is important. I have a sneaking feeling that a lot of people feel like this, and that such an outlet would find a niche. I also have a sneaking feeling that a lot of people would pat me on the head and think me ignorant and naive.
I can easily keep it separate from school since my hours per week are fairly light. It could be my part time job. It could be my goal, my ambition, and my training ground. It could be my future. Right now it seems a little weird to me, but it also makes me daydream about it.