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 life!.

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 hollow obsessions?


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 look back.

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 your losses.

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.

p1k3 / 2002 / 4 / 2
tags: topics/technical