Instant Mashed Potatoes

I am a terrible student. Really, after growing up with so many head traumas, I can’t remember formulas if my life depended on it. There were times I couldn’t remember to do my homework, let alone remember how to do it. They didn’t know much about concussions back then. I am an abuse survivor.

That’s my reality.

So I hack learning, thanks to “The Gooooooogle” as my dad likes to call it.

When, years later as an adult I “discovered” JavaScript codes and snippets of codes with particular functions with HTML examples, well, I was soooo excited! I compared the snippets of coding as “recipes” to be “saved” for future use. I spent hours and hours “playing” with different ones, not knowing the JavaScript language nor having ever taken a class. I just wanted to see what I could do and how far I could take it.

I created fun websites using the JavaScript coding. I explored the source code of exciting websites to see what coding they used, then “borrowed” snippets of their code to break down it’s function so I could experiment with them.

I went to a large bookstore one day, I read about pod-casting and wanted to learn how to use it. I wanted to create a radio station. In Montreal. As a single mom living below poverty in a rent control apartment. With no education, no support, no mentor but just an article that excited me, I decided to look up how to do it. I couldn’t even afford the book so I read it with notes in the book store.

I sat next to a man who admit to being 2 years into his computer science degree. I failed computer math in high school. So it never occurred to me to take computer science. “Do you know anything about pod-casting?” I asked him. Nope. He was waiting on his teachers to spoon feed him.

Meanwhile, I was teaching my daughter as a home school parent how to create and mix music online so that we would have content to post. (She was 16 years old at the time. I had taught her HTML when she was 12 years old.) I wanted to experiment with whale songs mixing them into musical songs.

I created an interactive radio station that included visual images rolling up a frame of a television.

That was 10 years ago.

You’ve come a long way baby!

The point is, it’s amazing what you can accomplish when there are no rules. That 15 inch screen is the same screen used by multimillion dollar companies. The cost to entry is amazingly low.


A hack is a work-around or short-cut. Like instant mashed potatoes.

Sure, you can do it the way a “purest” would do it.

  • Grow your own potatoes from seeds.
  • pick them at the right time,
  • peel them,
  • boil your water,
  • boil your potatoes until the fork can pierce them easily,
  • empty the water,
  • let them cool,
  • mash them,
  • find a cow and a bucket to get your cream or open the fridge and use your milk and butter and spices.

Mashed potatoes. Hmmmm-mmm

  • Or boil some water,
  • pour some hot water in your cup for your instant coffee,
  • and some hot water for your instant potatoes
  • open the bag of instant potatoes and pour into the hot water.
  • mix.
  • add spices.
  • invent something fabulous!
  • take a bubble bath.
  • watch comedy hour.
  • learn a new language.
  • call a friend.
  • go to bed early.

Is this part of the gender differences between men and women? Is this a single mom vs someone who only has to take care of himself and his biggest worry where others are concerned is to make sure nobody notices his fly’s open?

Ok, I’m being mean.

In a few seconds you’ll know why.

There was a man who wanted to shut me up with a heavy dose of coughing in the back of the room when I asked a question. Ironically, he was in the previous computer language class I had attended where it was pointed out I didn’t belong because I was a woman in a room full of men.

Today I attended a JavaScript class and the male instructor who was giving it was, like myself, a multimedia artist, although he may not see himself as such. He creates music byte by byte playing with the JavaScript code. He explained it passionately. I sat in the front of the class and as the hour was slipping by, having had no coffee all day and no sugar…I could feel my blood sugar level making me tired and I was fighting comatose unconsciousness aka looks like dozing off.


Pizza saved the day! Whew! He later asked questions, concerned about boring people. I explained my medical issue. He thanked me for asking questions. He had brought his 15 year old female niece who wasn’t really into the JavaScript language. He is a purest. I explained the “mashed potato” analogy to them. I was corrupting the next generation! I reminded him that passion keeps people from dropping out.

It takes just one man who has genuine talent and doesn’t feel so insecure as to get clubbish to change popular opinion. Soon, other men came to our area to discuss coding. I don’t push myself on people. I wanted to find people like myself. People I can talk to about those things I’m passionate about and trade ideas. This year, this month, in the last week, combining the art meetups with the technology meetups, I’m coming close for the first time. I can smell their armpits!

But the passionate brainstorming that comes from like minded people sharing their passion and showing their work…Not even close. OK, maybe a teensy, weensy hint of things to come. He gave me his card at the end of the break. It turns out, the copyrighting questions I had about pod-casting was an issue he mentioned in his blog and he perked up when I mentioned creating music using whale calls.

Collaboration, to meet like minded people… to have someone answer questions, such as how is HTML5 affecting JavaScript? What happened to the old JavaScript code? Is it dead? Why was it that when the wind went through an open truck and I heard a melody that resembled a flute being played but tried to record it, all I heard was crackling?

I know, I know, who cares?


That’s the point, isn’t it?

This is about fitting in, or not, or being the lone stranger in a room full of clickish people. It’s about being different, because, let’s face it, as a woman faces equality, she faces an equal and opposing force trying to hold her down in business. To keep her ignorant, to keep her from laughing in public, to keep her from learning to drive, to keep her from going to school and those opposing forces are willing to shoot her DEAD for it.

So using that same 15 inch screen (I’m getting old, I need bigger print) I am building another radio station online and later an online TV channel and with all of the copyrighting issues, while launching this magazine, I decided that it would make a great platform (literally) to produce a talk show covering the issues in the SISTER MEDIA BUSINESS AND SURVIVAL MAGAZINE. With no investors, with no funding, with no advertisers to tell me what can or can’t be on the show. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t turn down funds…it’s just that if an investor or an advertiser decides to try to use extortion as a form of control…

…well, I have this AMAZING Italian salute and I might even go out and get a manicure for the occasion!

Who would have thunk it!

Use your gifts for good, not evil.