Half past Eight, Tuesday the Second of April
I was going to write this yesterday. Then I remembered a simple truth: You
can't post anything serious on April 1, when the network's standard Reality
Distortion Field is in full-on insane-trickster-god mode. Might as well just
marvel a little at the static and wait 'til the next day.
So here goes. It's not really half past eight, but that's what the
clock on the KDE taskbar says. It's not even close to eight o' clock. I'm
registering a deep suspicion that this hard drive is about to die horribly.
So to business, before a full blown local-storage disaster strikes.
...than fade away
It finally happened. I'd have sworn not me, no way. It happened anyway.
Look: I spent hours making games run on marginal DOS machines. I was a
master of AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS. I played Commander Keen. I sat in math
class and programmed the calculators. I wrote BASIC. I had
a stack of floppies this @#$%ing high. I did cheesy things with Hypercard. I
learned to love the Macintosh, and then to hate it. Doom rocked my
world. I read PC Gamer religiously. I wished there was a local BBS. I cared
about Windows 95. I waited two years for Quake. I played Quake
deathmatch at 14.4k while you couldn't access the one local dialup because I
had the persistence to monopolize it and you didn't. I wrote gamefic. I mocked
fanfic. I had a home page. I surfed with Lynx. I read Phrack. I logged a
thousand hours on IRC. I laughed at Real Life. I put my foot in my mouth on
Usenet. I wanted to be Hiro Protagonist. I cared about the CDA. I installed
Linux. I learned vi. I built a box from scratch and named it.
I burned out.
I don't know when, really. I guess the symptoms of impending collapse have
been obvious for a while.
One way or another, the shiny tech machine isn't what I thought it was or
wanted it to be. I can understand, now, all those sites fading from
existence, the long time posters gone from your favorite newsgroup, those
people you quit seeing on IRC, the guys who just don't write much code any
more... Cryptic messages about
real life getting in the way and those
recurring screeds that boil down to
go outside, read a book, get a
And it's not all that bad, really. It's just that the world really is bigger
and more complicated than I thought it was. There're more things that
matter than I thought there were, and lots of things that can't be seen from
where I was standing. Am I diminished by seeing beyond the borders of some
I realized I could just walk away from all this.
All this? Let's be honest, from the paltry residue of six or seven years'
earnest but ineffectual geeking. Take Wendigo the PC home for the family. Let
some accounts expire and a site or two moulder into oblivion. Find some
worthy home for a half dozen O'Reilly books and a stack of vintage games. Never
I thought about it, but there's a cost, and it's not one I'm willing to pay.
I could live with wasting half the concrete skills I've ever acquired.
Let's be honest again: I got no skillz. I couldn't hack my way out of a
wet paper bag. And as for the rest, well, sometimes you might as well cut
What stops me totally abandoning everything is that somehow or another, I've
still got a couple of pretty good friends who're bent on doing something with
all this stuff. Them, I can't walk away from.
The rest of this bullshit, however...
I'll get some later.