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{	"date"		:	201305121840,
	"updated"	:	201305121840,
	"licence"	:	"copyright",
	"tags"		:	["gift"]

|	Howdy, folks! Kroc has decided to let me take over Camen Design for today -- not literally, mind you -- and has
|	given me the opportunity to borrow his podium for this blog entry.

|	My name is Clint Franklin. I am known on <the forums (//> here as "theraje" (no caps,
|	please). Way, way, WAY back in mid-2011, ol' Kroc chirps at me on {IM|instant messenger}, saying he had a surprise
|	for me. Not being one who is particularly fond of surprises, I inquired about the nature of this surprise.
|	If I recall correctly, he told me to wait a week while he put on some finishing touches.
|	I think it all boils down to him teasing me.
|	Well, after a week had passed, he said he was finished, and wanted to send me a video.
|	Now, I know what you're thinking -- "Big deal. I just go to YouTube and watch videos all day long."
|	But, as I'm sure a few of you will recall, at that time, I was using the very best Internet connection I could
|	afford in my area. 56k dial-up. Not only that, but 56K dial-up that would, on its best days, max out at 28.8K.
|	Even a "standard" video would be impossible to view via YouTube. In fact, poor Kroc had to virtually obliterate the
|	video quality, to the point where things could be vaguely recognizable. He then had to reduce the picture size down
|	to some ridiculous dimension. Think along the lines of: Barely takes up all the screen space on an average cell
|	phone manufactured in 2003.
|	I think the final "preview" video was around 2 megabytes. Of course, it took about 15 minutes to download this
|	2-meg file. Yes -- 15 minutes to download 2 measly megabytes. And that was pretty decent, for me.
|	And this was less than two years ago.
|	When I saw the video, I just watched, slack-jawed, as I saw Kroc's work. Long story short, it described my
|	situation (and included plenty of amusing, yet home-hitting, visuals) in a way people could understand.
|	Because, folks, I tell you what -- you just have no clue how precious data is until you have to wait 20+ minutes
|	for a 3-minute MP3 song to download onto your computer! Or when you can't browse 90% of the Web because of server
|	timeouts and JavaScript-heavy site architectures.
|	The real shocker was that this video (in higher quality, of course -- if Kroc had released the "preview" version
|	publicly, the world would have gouged its eyes out) was part of a campaign to encourage people to donate money so
|	that I could afford the only means of acquiring anything remotely similar to broadband
|	(which would have been satellite Internet -- 3G was completely unavailable in my house).
|	The reason Kroc wanted to gather up the money was because I had no access to anything faster than 28.8k dial-up,
|	except for satellite -- and not only does it _START_ at $60 a month... you are forced to sign a two-year contract.
|	If you wish to cancel before the two years expires, you are required to pay an early termination fee
|	(several hundred dollars!).
|	I, being legally disabled and unable to work (and even if I _COULD_ work, I lived out in the boonies,
|	and the nearest grocery store took half an hour to drive to), was certainly unable to afford such. That said, I
|	never was one who liked to ask people for things (I hated the idea of having to apply for disability in the first
|	place, but that changed when it became obvious that I had no other choice). I value self-sufficiency.
|	So, initially, I was a bit perturbed. No... I was sick to my stomach. I didn't have the heart, at the time,
|	to say "no" to Kroc on this. He put _WAY_ too much work into it. He was _WAY_ too excited about it.
|	So, even with the knowledge that not only did I dislike the idea, but also that people would get the urge to assume
|	things (which they did -- calling me a bum, telling me to get a job, and so on, not knowing my situation), and that
|	even if people did find it in their heart to help, that it would not necessarily work out (satellite Internet
|	performance and reliability is very, very dubious). And if that were to happen, I would have wasted those people's
|	charity. I don't know if I could have dealt with that.
|	But, I caved. Kroc wanted so badly for me to have the chance to do the things I love -- working on programming
|	projects, artwork, and so on -- that I couldn't say no. Plus, the idea of me having the opportunity to work again,
|	doing contract work online, made me feel as though I could at some point become productive and not be at the mercy
|	of a government check.
|	<aside>
|		This video is available only in WebM format. It may not play on some devices.
|		If in doubt, view this page with <Mozilla Firefox (//>
|	</aside>
|	<video preload="none" src="/&__HREF__;/help_clint_trimmed.webm" width="600" height="336" poster="/&__HREF__;/poster.png" controls>
|		<"Help Clint" /&__HREF__;/poster.png>
|	</video>
|	In the end, <we collected over 50% of our goal of $2000 (/help_clint)> (the total cost of covering the contract
|	period). We <stopped short (/an_update)> because after catching a lot of flak from those people I mentioned early
|	(the ones who like to _ASS_-ume things about which they have no understanding), I had basically decided to commit
|	suicide. The world and everyone in it wanted me to suffer, but I'd rather just kill myself and get it over with,
|	I thought.
|	I regained my composure a few months later, but still went to bed, every night, saying the same prayer to a god
|	I didn't even believe existed: "God, please let me go to sleep now, and just never let me wake up again."
|	To wrap things up, I spent the following few months in and out of hospitals (both medical and mental), hoping that
|	my life would just end. Then, out of nowhere, something very strange happened. I won't go into details -- some call
|	it a "revelation" from God himself... others call it a severe psychotic breakdown... all I can tell you,
|	definitively, is that something changed in me. I regained the will to live.
|	After my "psychotic breakdown," I was put into group therapy. While there, one of the other patients told me about
|	an apartment complex that is set up for people like me who are disabled -- think of it as a retirement community,
|	not for retirees, but for the disabled.
|	Long story short, a former tenant caused problems at that complex, and the building manager (who had met with me
|	previously) told me she had an opening, and wanted me to move in. That was in October of 2012.
|	The money donated to me for the campaign Kroc started allowed me to not only pay the deposits for the rent and
|	electricity (which added up to several hundred dollars, and would have kept me out if I were unable to pay them),
|	but to accomplish the original goal -- I now live in an area that has access to DSL Internet service! So long,
|	28.8 {Kbps|Kilobits per second}... hello 12.0 {Mbps|Megabits per second}!!! Goodbye, 6 minutes to download 1
|	megabyte... Good to see ya, 1 megabyte per second!!!!!!
|	And now, of course, my life has improved by an order of magnitude from before. The people who donated did not
|	merely help me get on broadband. They gave me a place to stay, an opportunity to get the help I need (medically,
|	psychologically, etc.), to find work (it no longer costs $30 in gas to take a trip to the nearest business!!!),
|	to attend church (I was an atheist for roughly 8 years, until my "revelation" from God gave me the strength to get
|	out of bed again), to form my first real romantic relationship (wedding bells may not be far off), and to help
|	others and be blessed by the people who are now a part of my life, and would not have been otherwise.
|	Those of you who donated have helped far, far more people than just little old me.
|	I may have been upset with Kroc starting all of this fundraising jazz in the first place, but now, all I can feel
|	is immense gratitude to him and all of the people who helped -- whether it was by donating money, moral support,
|	a shoulder upon which to cry...
|	Now that I'm getting all sentimental, I'm just going to say that I'm incredibly blessed to have a God that heard
|	my cries, and had all the right people in place who gave me the strength to push myself forward, to the point
|	where I could waste three dozen paragraphs explaining what could have been said in two simple words:
|	Thank you.
|	Yours Truly,
| Clint Franklin, aka. "theraje"