Sometimes, my weird hobbies become a topic of conversation at work. Perhaps someone comments on the Winamp Control Box and asks me whether I make more stuff like that, or they ask me how my weekend was (“Excellent! I received another shipment of 220 LEDs!”). When I tell them that I am building my own DVD player, I invariably get incredulous looks. People don’t understand why: why not just buy one? Why not just buy a DivX-player, hook it up to your TV and be done with it? This week, a colleague went out of his way to tell me that he bought a DivX-player for a mere 40 euros and that it worked like a charm!
That’s fine if you merely buy it for the functionality. As greatbiggary comments on a post about someone’s attempt to clean up a set of screws for the restoration of an old classroom-chair: people just want to buy shiny boxes and be done with it.
Another example: babarage is thinking of getting a new computer. I proposed some parts to her, which would give her a good system for her needs at a very affordable price. Yesterday, she mailed me with a box from Dell that was comparable to the partslist that I recommended her, at a comparable price. She wondered what she should do: build the machine herself, or buy a pre-built box?
People buy stuff because it ‘kinda’ fits their need and then make do with what they’ve got.
That’s just not good enough for me. Why make do with the things that other people thought you might like? Why not make it so you know you will like it?
You see, I feel the need to create. That’s the very definition of creativity: to create something that wasn’t there before. To make your visions into physical matter. To shape your environment to your particular needs.
Why would I adapt to the machinery around me? Machinery is made to serve humans. I apply my sentient force, and the machinery should obey.
Today’s MegaTokyo-strip puts it so much more elegantly. In the next-to-last panel, Largo speaks of computers, but his words can be applied to pretty much any appliance/machinery that you use with any significant frequency.
Pre-built is an affront to everything that is l33t. Only when you have carefully selected the parts, assembled them by hand and tuned them with utmost care, then you have an appliance worthy of being used by you, The Creator.
Telling me that you bought a DivX-player for 40 euros is missing the point entirely. I guess I’m weird that way.