Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

Let's Get Small

No point, just wondering.

Change happens. Every day.

And it's annoying.

It's funny how we go through life, thinking nothing will change. Not us, not the world around us, nothing. And then we look back. We look at the trophies we've collected from our life experiences or the things we've created or people tell us what was REALLY happening during the history we personally lived. And we realize things have changed. Our interests. Our goals. Our hopes. Ourselves.  I've been rereading some of my posts from when I started this blog, and I notice a very definite change since those early days.  I expect that to happen over time (Mark Twain, you can track his life by what he wrote about if you read things in order), but just two scant years?  Wow.

There are things you look at and go, "God, those were great times. Why did I stop doing that?" I used to love dancing, for example. And for some reason, I just stopped. I don't know why. I can't even pinpoint when that stopped being an option for me. It's not like I was chased away, I just didn't do it anymore. I used to be a huge fan of the Alan Parsons Project, had all their tapes at one time, including the original version of Tales Of Mystery And Imagination. I don’t think I’ve listened to anything other than their instrumental tracks since college. Used to be a big Billy Joel fan. Now, I hear about new projects and just shrug. I didn’t used to react that way. Joel, for all his detractions, is an excellent musician, and when he’s really on his game with his piano (the piano is probably my favorite instrument, and I regret I could never master it the way Joel, Bruce Hornsby, Herbie Hancock, and other could), few are better. But I just stopped caring.

Then there are things that changed on me and I stopped enjoying them. You can’t hit a home run every time, and you can’t be great forever. I was never a Doors fan, but I regard part of the reason for their mystique is that Jim Morrison died before his act wore thin. He didn’t overstay his welcome. My first encounter with something that I could tell was running out of gas was those glory days of Bloom County. It was around the time aliens replaced Steve Dallas’ brain and Donald Trump had his installed in Bill The Cat’s body that the strip started losing appeal. It wasn’t that it jumped the shark, it just wasn’t as funny or twisted the way I liked it before. I’m starting to lose interest in Over The Hedge. I don’t care for Hammy’s surreal humor and the strip is more about picking on Verne instead of him and RJ being opposite but equal. PvP was another great one. Then, at some point, Scott Kurtz started treating the characters as characters instead of vehicles for the gags. And the characters just aren’t that interesting (I think it was about the time Jase won the lottery).

Side note: I sometimes think its no coincidence that, as my enjoyment of other media has decreased (movies, anime, etc.), my own creative output has increased. When I got an IBM PCjr for Christmas, I wanted a Space Invaders game. My parents didn’t want games on the machine, so using BASIC and text mode graphics, I made my own. The more I’m dissatisfied with what I can enjoy, the more I create the things I would like to see. If someone made something like Sound Waves, I’d buy it and see no reason to make it, for example. Likewise, part of the reason I cooked up Holly was I wanted to see a female character who was smart, bold, and funny in comics, and she fit perfectly in Stress Puppy. Once again, if I’d seen someone like that already, I probably wouldn’t have felt so compelled to create her.

But then there are the things that you don’t change. You may not be ready for the ride to end, but whoever else it is is. In a way, I was glad Bloom County ended. If Burke Breathed wasn’t enjoying it, the strip wouldn’t be fun anymore. It simply ran out of gas. But then there are others where the potential is still there. User Friendly is a perfect example. Iliad, one of the greatest guys in the world, decided after ten years and the death of a family member to move on. He says he’ll still do occasional stories, but it’s now in reruns and won’t return as a daily strip. Frank Cho, despite promises to resume the strip and even introducing a new character, is letting Liberty Meadows atrophy. Hard Way Studios got shot out from under me. Video Game Trader felt that the return on marketing to classic gaming enthusiasts wasn’t worth it and started focusing on collectors. I would have loved it if the Monty Python troop kept doing comedy as long as they could breathe. I would have loved it if Douglas Adams could have lived forever. I hate that Stevie Ray Vaughn got on that helicopter. The list goes on and on.

Today I read that Pamela Jones, the guardian angel of Open Source, is going to end Groklaw. The site will remain, as she intended it to be a repository of information about SCO’s attack on Linux. But there will be no new articles as of May 15. She feels Groklaw succeeded in its mission, exposing the lies of Darl McBride, and it was time to end it. So no new articles. No new links. No new discussions.

No new lessons.

PJ made the law accessible for regular people. She demystified it. And most importantly, she maintained order. Despite the diversity of opinions and values, she kept the board (for the most part, there was one time that I know of where she nuked a thread) civil.

This is what hurts. There are plenty of places with Linux news. But what made Groklaw special was the dedication of everyone to keep it together and respect each other, to let them have their say. It’s what I try to do here. I don’t feel I should argue or comment on everything because it makes it seem like I’m trying to inject myself into the proceedings when people just want to talk. With the ending of Groklaw, we are losing another place where we could talk and learn, not be dismissed as trolls or stupid or anything.

We are constantly told, when we have a question, Google it (this is part of the problem I have with LUG’s). But there’s also something to said for human interaction, for being taught directly. And there’s not enough of this anymore. Communities develop social orders instead of being open to anyone who shares the bond.

It’s weird. I actually start weighing such things now. I have passed on certain hobbies and activities because I figure I’m not going to be involved in it for long anyway, so why bother? There’s a few things I know I enjoy doing and will continue to do (like writing. I mean, I’ve been doing it for over twenty years). Because I wonder if those things will be just a waste of time and they’ll wind up collecting dust. My Pokemon cards, for example. I haven’t been in a league in years, haven’t bought new cards in ages. I just gave them away. I look back on the games I played, and aside from a couple of fun times and a couple of fun people, like the tournament I held at my last job for the kids’ Christmas party, there really isn’t much there to remember.

Now, Groklaw was different. Just like Hard Way, I look back on those days, the friendships I made, the people I met, the work I did, and I smile. That was totally worth it. I just hate when it ends.  My teacher has quite a few years on me.  I think about how she will likely pass long before me and it fills me with amazing dread that she'll be gone.  Even when she was in California, we kept in touch by phone and IM.  That doesn't apply to what comes next.

It’s one of the worst things about life. You spend your time looking for people and places you can trust, that you enjoy, that make you feel fulfilled. But not only do they not last for ever, you will very likely outlast them. And not only is there this gap in your life where you used to do things, but you can’t have those times again. The means to them are gone. You have to search again for a replacement, and nothing will do it. That one point in time, where everything just magically came together, just happened. It wasn’t planned, it just worked out that way. And it can never be duplicated.

There’ll be other things to do and enjoyed. Life is supposed to be happy. But I find myself now weighing how likely it is that whatever I do will stick with me forever instead of just for the moment. And I’m not sure it’s worth that.

Like I said. No point, just wondering.

Tags: self reflection, sound waves, stress puppy

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