Ed Driscoll

OUT OF THE MATRIX: I

Shop at Amazon.comOUT OF THE MATRIX: I just spent an hour doing major Photoshop brain surgery. Those of you who are veterans of this Website know that my wife and I had our home remodeled last year. Right around this time a year ago, I was blogging out of a nearby hotel room, because our house had the plumbing turned off, a front entryway that consisted of plywood sheets, and the lawn sported a couple of crater-sized depressions where the new concrete would be poured for the new entryway and a new walk-in closet.

This year, among other, more modest improvements, we’re thinking of changing the front fence, which is very rustic-looking, unlike our actual house, which is a fairly sleek looking rancher (after the architect, contractors and painters had their way with it last year). Unfortunately, the fence, due to years of weathering is now too rustic looking and is due for either replacement, or scrapping. Since it’s purely cosmetic (as it is now, it won’t keep any kids or critters in the front yard, nor keep anybody out), we may very well pull it out, or perhaps leave just a line of fencing in the front, and none on the sides.

So I said to my wife, “Hey, I’ll fire up Photoshop, and see what the house looks like with no fence!”

Easier said than done.

What was the line that Joe Pantoliano said in The Matrix? Staring a screen full of Kanji symbols and green gibberish, he tells Neo, “All I see now is blonde, brunette, redhead”. Having stared at a bunch of green pixels that represents my front lawn at 700 percent the size of the photo, sliding bits around to fill in where the fence was, I know how he feels. It’s a bit like when I’m recording music, editing digital audio and sliding little chunks of sound around to get it all in time. Both processes turn a computer into a device that feels a bit like an electron microscope, as you make what feels like subatomic manipulations of a photo or layers of sound.

On the other hand, it probably would have cost several hundred dollars to have an artist airbrush an 8X10 glossy of the front of the house. In The Third Wave, Alvin Toffler talked about how technology allows consumers to do many of the functions that professionals normally do, and is changing how we interact with them. And often eliminating the need for them. What he didn’t mention is how many different hats it would allow the average person to wear, and how strange it sometimes feels to put a new one on from time to time, perform brain surgery, and then return to your normal life.

Anyhow, just wanted to post some thoughts before the red pill wears off…